Luo Lin had to admit that his memory was pretty good. That was probably the main reason he had managed not to mistake any of the men he had been with over the years. After all, most of them wore white robes, and depending on what type of cultivation practice they chose, they also tended to have similar physiques. You really needed to keep the memory of all of their faces and special features fresh.
Either way, he perfectly remembered the pattern as well. Using his spiritual energy, he drew it in the air, not needing more than a few minutes. He was going slower than the red priest. After all, this was the first time he was doing this. It was easy to make mistakes.
The spiritual energy stayed equally thick in most parts but he did have some trouble getting the edges in the pattern just right. His brows furrowed tightly when he encountered an especially difficult one and he slowed further down.
Next to him, Yan Jian Hong used his spiritual sense to watch. Seeing Luo Lin’s handiwork, he couldn’t help but nod slowly. This youth surely had an eye for detail. At least until this point, he had managed to accurately grasp the points he needed to pay most attention to. This might just work out.
Luo Lin didn’t think about who was watching. He just focused on the task at hand. After the last line of the pattern was created, it hovered in the air. Comparing it to what he had seen before, he felt that he should have done it right. Now, he had to create a second one from the first.
Luo Lin’s brows furrowed even more tightly. He had never done something like this. He hadn’t even considered whether it was possible. Even if he had known of such a technique, he would have just created two patterns after each other. But then, it likely wouldn’t work like that.
Yes, this technique only affected the person for a set amount of time. You likely couldn’t apply them after each other. And keeping one up while focusing on creating a second one wasn’t easy. Well, not that splitting one was.
Luo Lin stared at the thin lines of the pattern, feeling that this would have been easier if they were thicker. Now, if he split this apart, both sides wouldn’t be much thicker than a hair. It wasn’t easy to handle. In fact, it was likely that either of them would rip apart if he wasn’t careful.
For a while, Luo Lin didn’t seem to be doing anything but his scrunched-up face showed that this wasn’t true.
Shen Lei looked at his face, feeling pained in his heart. It hadn’t been long since he woke up, only to find his lover in gut-wrenching pain in the middle of the night. Now, with his expression twisted like this and sweat starting to coat his brow, he was reminded of that night.
He would have loved to pull Luo Lin into his arms and soothe him, but he also knew he couldn’t. He had to let him do this. It was the only way to figure out whether Luo Lin had an ability and if that turned out to be true, then that would be beneficial to him.
The border region was dangerous. Even more so if there were personal grudges involved. He would have preferred if Luo Lin wasn’t here at all and instead stayed back at the sect where he was safe but that clearly wouldn’t happen. Going back now was too dangerous and he also wasn’t sure if his lover would be willing to leave even if he could. After all, a lot had happened.
While Shen Lei’s thoughts were tangled, Luo Lin finally took the plunge. He started to cut the pattern in half. It was thin and it wasn’t big either. The chance to screw this up was huge. He didn’t know what the consequences would be but he wanted this to succeed. Not because of that ability-thing but for Shen Lei’s sake.
He managed to cut the pattern down until the halfway point but finally, one of the nodes ripped.
Luo Lin cursed, his brows knitting together before he hung his head and turned to the red priest. “I’m sorry. I couldn’t do it.”
Yan Jian Hong looked at him and retracted his spiritual sense. Actually, he was surprised to see him get this far. “You know, an ability doesn’t mean instant success. We all needed to learn how to control ours. Yours … it seems even more elusive. Right now, we are only testing. It is normal that things would go awry every few steps of the way. Just try it again. Take your time.”
Luo Lin’s expression still wasn’t back to normal but he still nodded and turned to Shen Lei again, wanting to start over directly.
Shen Lei reached up and cupped his cheeks, leaning closer to kiss his lips. “Take a breather first. That looks like it was exhausting.” Saying so, he wiped the sweat from his forehead and pulled him into a hug, closing his eyes.
He couldn’t do much for him at this point, only wait until Luo Lin succeeded or came far enough for the guardians to judge whatever it was they wanted to see. He could keep an eye on him though and make sure that he didn’t overdo it. After all, nobody would be helped if he collapsed because he had strained himself too much.
Luo Lin froze in his arms first but then hugged him back, indeed taking a few deep breaths. He couldn’t help but smile to himself. All these years, he had drifted around, and even when he met Shen Lei, he had doubted where this would lead.
But honestly, when he was with him, it was always like this. Yes, a lot of their relationship might have been physical but whenever he wasn’t doing well, Shen Lei had been there. Whenever he was in trouble with somebody, Shen Lei would quietly take care of it for him. If he was worn out after trying to advance in his cultivation, he would help him through that time, going to get him whatever he needed or just quietly accompanying him.
This man … he had always been there for him, quietly supporting him. It was time to give back.