Jing Yi stared at him, a little unable to believe that they would meet again like this. Actually, he shouldn’t be surprised. After all, they had just run into each other in the Nine Heavens when he tried to flee. It was just that there had been no time to talk or even think much about their reunion and when Xiao Dong and his family left with Jinde and Leng Jin Yu, he had thought there wouldn’t be a chance again anytime soon.
Now though, not even a day had gone by and they already stood in front of each other again. Other than surprise, he mostly felt nostalgia. Back then, he had met Xiao Dong in the capital city of the Long kingdom when he had been a mere ten years old.
At that time, Xiao Dong had seemed a little odd but for him who hadn’t really had friends before and only recently met Shao Hai, he didn’t realize that as much. He still vividly remembered that first impression of how he walked into the teahouse with his almost golden hair and the bright blue eyes, went straight in for a hug, saying some strange stuff, and then quarreling endlessly with Guanyu.
It really wasn’t how a human child would behave. But despite that or maybe because of that, they had become good friends soon enough. And he honestly regretted that they had lost track of each other after the first five years at the Yun Zou Sect.
This time, he wanted to speak up to catch up a little since this moment seemed much better suited than that in the Nine Heavens but just then, a woman stepped out of the room, interrupting them.
Jing Yi only needed one glance to recognize her as well. Clearly, this was Xiao Dong’s mother, Ai Hua, who had dealt with Li Bo and his lackeys after they had come to harass his mother again after his father’s death. She had given a very vivid demonstration of her temper back then.
Now, she was looking at him with glittering eyes and a splendid smile. “Oh, if it isn’t Zhong Jing Yi!”
Jing Yi hurriedly nodded, once again surprised that she recognized him this quickly. With Xiao Dong, he had still been able to explain it to himself considering that he had spent more time with him in the beginning and they had still seen each other every now and then while they were at the sect
His mother, on the other hand, had last seen him when he was ten before they did that quick run to the gates over in the Nine Heavens. Even though Duan Ming had introduced him, he had done so as “the ascended deity Zhong” in the hope that the guards wouldn’t catch on to his identity.
He was confused but then remembered that she likely knew about him because of Qiu Ling. In any case, Qiu Ling had known about him when he was a child which was likely why Xiao Dong and his mother had turned up at the teahouse in the first place. And since he had stupidly mentioned how he hooked up with the dragon king … Yes, no wonder she knew exactly who he was.
Ai Hua pretended not to see how his face changed color when he thought of Qiu Ling and focused on the situation at hand. “It’s nice to meet you again! There really wasn’t much time to talk in the Nine Heavens before. It’s nice you’re here now after all.”
Jing Yi hurriedly nodded but then couldn’t help but change the subject. There was something he still wanted to tell her after all. “I still remember how you helped my mother and me back then. Thank you for that!” Back when he was a child, he had been afraid and hadn’t really had the chance to thank her. Now was probably as good a time as any. And he really felt that he owed her this thank you.
Ai Hua raised a hand to her lips, chuckling faintly. “Oh, don’t mention it! For our king’s beloved, what wouldn’t I do? Speaking of which, where is His Majesty?” When asking the last question, her eyes were glittering.
She was still incredibly happy about the task of pretending that Jinde was a family member of theirs and being able to interact with the king’s partner who had apparently come to live here was just the cherry on top. This day couldn’t get any better!
Jing Yi was a little taken aback at the question and then glanced at Xiao Dong. “Well … to be honest, I’m not quite sure where he is. I was actually looking for him as well but I don’t know the palace that well yet so I wasn’t successful. I had actually hoped to ask somebody if they had seen him.”
Ai Hua’s shoulders slumped when she realized that most likely, she wouldn’t get to see the king again over this. Ah, it would’ve looked so nice if he came in here to swoop up his beloved right in front of them. The questions she would be asked and have to answer after that … Oh, it would’ve been glorious! But in any case, it seemed that this wouldn’t work out.
“Well, I’m afraid I can’t help you much with that. But if you’re worried about the palace, why don’t you come along with us? My family and I just wanted to go to show an extended family member of my husband’s and his partner around the palace anyway. You could just come along!”
Jing Yi raised his brows and hesitated for a moment but finally nodded. “Well, if it wouldn’t bother you. I guess it would indeed be quite helpful.” Also, if they walked around long enough, they were probably bound to run into Qiu Ling sooner or later, right? Then, at that time, he could just leave with him and have a talk while everyone else just continued on with what they were doing.
At the very least, he hoped that things would go that way. Right now, it was still up for question whether Qiu Ling would actually be happy to see him or if he wouldn’t just get angry. He shouldn’t have any illusions about how happy he was with him right now.
Ai Hua clearly was happy when he accepted. “Oh, don’t worry about being a bother. The more, the merrier, right? Anyway, don’t you know the husband of our relative? His name is Leng Jin Yu. Weren’t you going to the same sect?”
Jing Yi raised his brows and then realized that this was what they had also told the guards in the Nine Heavens. He hadn’t been there when they made the plan to present Jinde as a relative of theirs so it hadn’t really registered at that time but it seemed this was something they had come up with not just for that situation but to explain Jinde’s identity in general.
Well, in any case, he was quite happy to hear that he would be able to see the two of them. Jinde and Leng Jin Yu knew about what had happened in the Nine Heavens and they also knew Qiu Ling quite well. So they were definitely someone he could ask for help in this kind of situation.
And even though he didn’t know them that well personally, he had the faint feeling that they would be willing to do it. So maybe it was a blessing in disguise that he had run into Xiao Dong and his mother. In fact, he was really looking forward to this meeting now.