Up the mountain, Ma Zhi Wu was leaning against the fence of the Grand Elder’s herb garden, watching Nian Hong Fang busy about. More than a thousand years had gone by since he had been rescued from the Chun Feng Sect’s dungeon and pulled back from the brink of death by Jinde. Even though he had still dealt badly with things at the beginning, it was different by now.
He had recovered most of his strength and even though his future prospects were limited now, he was satisfied. He had his life back. More than that, he had not only managed to see Nian Hong Fang again as he had wished for, but he was even able to live at his side. What more could he wish for? After all, this was already much more than he had been able to hope for in the years that he had been imprisoned.
Nian Hong Fang glanced up, smiling sweetly. “Ah Wu, you know you don’t have to watch all the time. You can just go inside. I’m sure there are things you need to deal with.”
Ma Zhi Wu shook his head though. “No, I’m good here. I just … like watching you.”
This was what he had always thought of in those long days in the darkness: A time where he would be able to stand at the side of a herb field, watching his love crouched down beside the uniform rows of plants, pulling out weeds, watering the herbs, tending to the earth, and finally filling that little basket he brought along when one of the herbs had ripened.
It was an incredibly familiar sight, one he would never forget. When they had met in the demonic sect back then, this was how he had gotten to know him. And even though it had been for his mission at first, this was still what finally made him fall. And seeing the same things over at the Yun Zou Sect as well, knowing that they were actually standing on the same side had just comforted him so much. It was something that he would always associate with his lover. “Are you going through the whole field today?”
Nian Hong Fang shook his head. “No, I’ll just finish this row.” To be honest, he would actually finish the whole field if it was just him. But despite a millennium going by, he just couldn’t help himself and still worried about Ma Zhi Wu. He just didn’t want to take any chances. It was important to make sure that he didn’t strain himself too much. So one row it was.
He smiled to himself, and then finished up, dusting off his hands and taking the basket with the leaves that he had just picked, hanging it over his arm,f and then leaving the field.
Ma Zhi Wu had already come to the entrance and leaned down to give him a peck on the lips. “Ready?”
“Yes, let’s bring this away.”
Just when they wanted to leave, Nian Hong Fang spotted the two people coming up the mountain. “Ah, that might be some official business. How about you bring this inside already so Master can use it and then wait for me in our room?” He kissed his lover on the lips again and unceremoniously handed him the basket. He didn’t know why somebody was coming up but if it was something that took a little longer, he definitely wouldn’t leave Ma Zhi Wu standing at the side.
Ma Zhi Wu chuckled, pretty sure that he knew exactly why his lover was saying this. Well, he could live with it. There were worse things than having somebody care so much about you. “Don’t take too long then. If it’s bothersome, just throw it to one of your junior martial brothers. Being the head disciple of the Grandelder has to have some benefits.” He kissed his cheek and then waved, turning around to bring the herbs inside.
Nian Hong Fang laughed as well and then turned to the front, folding his hands behind his back while he waited for the two people to come up the mountain.
Xin Lan slightly raised his brows when he saw that somebody seemed to be waiting for them. After glancing at the person, he noticed that he had seen this person before. He needed a moment but then remembered just who he was.
Nian Hong Fang also raised his brows when he saw Xin Lan. Contrary to the dragon who usually couldn’t be bothered to pay much attention to the humans, he remembered quite well who this person was. In any case, the dragons’ appearances were quite notable in the human realm. Xin Lan’s especially so thanks to the silver mask he always wore to cover one side of his face.
His expression immediately turned more solemn. “Greetings.” He inclined his head and then glanced at Hua Lin Yu but wasn’t quite sure who he was. He had seen him at Jinde and Leng Jin Yu’s wedding as well — just as quite a few of the higher-ranking disciples of the Yun Zou Sect had been — but most people hadn’t been directly introduced so he actually didn’t know who this person was. Seeing his hands on Xin Lan’s arm, he could figure out that there was a special relationship between them though.
Xin Lan also nodded faintly and then felt that since his Master was in the sect, he should probably be a little nicer. “How is that lover of yours?”
Nian Hong Fang was actually surprised that Xin Lan would remember. He smiled faintly, some of the happiness he had felt back then showing quite obviously on his face. “Thank you for asking. Ma Zhi Wu is completely back on his feet now. My Master said that there shouldn’t be any hidden dangers any longer and the person of your race also echoed his words. I guess there’s really nothing to worry about anymore. It could just be that his future prospects are limited now since his core was injured like this but it doesn’t matter. He is alive and well.”
Xin Lan nodded faintly, feeling that this was a bit too much information after he had just asked out of politeness.
Hua Lin Yu couldn’t help but blink his eyes at Nian Hong Fang. Back then, he had still only been a child so he didn’t quite remember what had been going on. “This is …?” He looked at Xin Lan, wanting him to introduce the two of them to each other.
Xin Lan could only smile wryly. Well, if his little lover wanted to know, then who was he to deny his wishes? Thus, he quickly sketched the situation from back then in a few words for Hua Lin Yu and then also introduced his fiance to the person of the Yun Zou Sect. Ah, in any case, it was nice to be able to say that he was his fiance. Just for that alone, he could consider this to not be a waste of time.