The two of them closed their eyes and reached out to hold each other’s hands. For a moment, they kept still and quiet. The wind brushed past them, carrying the sounds from throughout the palace over to the courtyard.
When they opened their eyes again, they both knelt down toward the north. This was the direction where the Heavenly mountain stood, the entrance to the High Heavens where Tian was rumored to live. It was to thank him for this opportunity and also to ask for their child’s health and safety.
Behind the two of them, Qiu Ling stared in the same direction, finally kneeling down as well. Usually, this kind of ceremony was only done by the couple so it wasn’t like there were any rules on what guests were supposed to do. But since he was here, he figured it couldn’t hurt to be a bit more careful. Some blessing from Tian wasn’t the worst thing to hope for.
The three of them kept like that for a moment. Finally, Jinde and Leng Jin Yu straightened up first. They looked up at the sky and then reached out to the side, holding each other’s hand.
The dragons had never liked complicated rituals so this one was as straightforward as their wedding ceremony. After thanking Tian and inquiring for good luck, they could get right to the creation of their child.
Glancing at each other, they got to their feet and walked into the pond, stopping right in front of the shell. They didn’t rush ahead. Instead, they took another look at it and only then slowly opened it, exposing the inside.
Both of them took a deep breath. The first to reach out was Jinde. He pulled up his left sleeve, extended his claws, and then cut his skin, letting the blood drop down into the shell. He closed his eyes and exhaled. Then, he pulled his arm back, turning to Leng Jin Yu.
Leng Jin Yu pulled up his sleeve as well and held his arm in front of his husband. Anyway, he didn’t have claws anymore so he could either rely on him to do this for him or take out a dagger. As someone who had been a dragon in his last life, the latter option seemed wrong, even though he knew that the gods weren’t doing it any differently.
Jinde didn’t say anything and merely cut his husband’s arm open as well, watching as he let his blood join his own. His heart thumped faster and faster seeing this. He didn’t know what to do with this excitement.
This child, created from their blood, nurtured by their spiritual energy, it truly would be theirs. A moment like this, it filled his heart with happiness and satisfaction.
Leng Jin Yu pulled back his arm as well, the sleeve dropping back into place. His gaze was kept on the blood inside the shell. He knew that this was the way to create a child but looking at this small, red puddle, it really was difficult to imagine that it would become a child in a mere ten months.
He reached over to take Jinde’s hand and the two of them mobilized their spiritual energy at the same time, wrapping what should become their child one day tightly in it.
There was no rule on how much energy should be used but this would nurture their child and allow it to grow so the two of them naturally weren’t stingy. They wrapped and wrapped until most of the shell had been filled. Going any further would make it troublesome to close it back up. Only then did they stop, exchanged a glance, and carefully closed the shell. Finally, they wrapped the shell itself in another layer of spiritual energy.
Jinde stared at it and slowly, his eyes filled with tears. He turned to his husband, plunging into his arms. “It’s done.”
Leng Jin Yu embraced him, nodding with difficulty. “It is.” And really, he understood his feelings. They should be laughing with happiness but it had been so many years, so many things going wrong. While there was relief, there was also a deep sadness for the things they had lost. This feeling … he could hardly put it into words and other than tears and a smile to accompany them, nothing seemed fit to express it.
The two of them stood like that in the pond. Time slowly passed by but they didn’t even realize. In their mind, those twists and turns that had led them to this day were all laid out, intertwined with the hopes for the future.
Finally, Jinde reached up, cupping Leng Jin Yu’s cheeks while he looked into his eyes. “No matter what was in the past, from now on, only the future counts. In ten months … we will start anew.”
Leng Jin Yu reached up, covering his lover’s hands with his, and shook his head. “We start anew today.”
Jinde finally laughed and nodded. “Yes, today.” He let go of him and then turned to the side, looking at Qiu Ling who was still kneeling on the ground.
Stepping out of the pond, he walked over to his side and sat down next to him. “Don’t let anyone catch you like that. You’re still the dragon king.”
Qiu Ling smiled faintly. “I am asking for blessings from the supreme ruler. No matter my status, kneeling seems appropriate.” He raised his head to look at the sky, giving a hum. “I don’t know much about him, only that Jing He always looked up to him. But … I guess if he is willing to bless others, despite what happened to himself and his lover, he can’t be that bad of a person.”
Jinde glanced at him and gave a hum as well. “I wouldn’t dare to speculate on that but a person is a person, no matter where they hail from. Whether it’s the mortals, the people of our race or the gods, or even the supreme ruler himself, they should all have good and bad. Either way, it’s a day worth to celebrate. I’d say I’ll go and dig out a jar of wine but then, I haven’t hidden any yet.”
Qiu Ling gave a drawn-out hum and finally got to his feet. “You might not, but I sure did. Let me get it from next door.” With that, he turned around and left the couple alone for a moment. Anyway, there were probably some words to be spoken between them alone.