The two of them soon reached the innermost room of the palace and Hua Lin Yu forgot all about his previous concerns about how An Rong had come up with those ideas. He probably should’ve expected it but the heart of the palace was a large hall and in its center stood a white jade coffin with beautiful carvings all around that made its appearance more delicate. Most likely, this was where Duan Gui Ying’s body was stored.
An Rong went over there, his fingers brushing over the lid, his gaze tender. “You know, if I had been born a god instead of a demon, I assume I would have fallen myself. Don’t take it to heart that I thought that your lover might have died. I just thought that that would be an explanation for what happened to you. I’m sorry for saying such an unlucky thing though. If your lover is still alive, that is good. I’m happy for you. Losing the person you love, that’s never easy.”
Hua Lin Yu didn’t even know what to say. He gingerly walked over and stopped on the other side of the coffin, looking at the person that was lying inside.
He didn’t know what he had expected when he originally heard of Duan Gui Ying. He had known that he had been a cultivator, an alchemist, somebody who had given his life to creating pills and potions, finding out more about the features of spiritual herbs, and researching recipes.
He had probably thought that such a person should have a very scholarly appearance and look a bit dignified. The Duan Gui Ying in this jade coffin … he wasn’t sure if he could say that he was like this. There was indeed a hint of dignity about his appearance but maybe this was also the way he was simply lying there, completely still, without a single sign of life. His eyes were closed, there wasn’t the slightest curve to his lips, and his hands had been folded atop his body. He was so obviously dead that Hua Lin Yu really wondered why An Rong was still trying to revive him.
He looked up but didn’t dare to ask the question in the end. Especially after what An Rong had just said, it seemed too unkind.
An Rong also raised his gaze and smiled faintly. “No need to ask, I can see that question written in your eyes. This is indeed my lover, and yes, I want to bring him back. But I guess if you came here before and went to the Hei Dian Sect afterward to talk to Shen An De, you probably knew about that already.”
Hua Lin Yu nodded. “I’m not sure if I get it though. He’s been dead for so long. Are you not going to give up?”
An Rong shook his head. “No, I won’t. Not ever. This person … I spent my whole life with him. When he left … what else was I supposed to do? I simply don’t see another way for this to end. I will either manage to do this or I will die trying. I don’t think that’s so bad.”
Hua Lin Yu looked back at Duan Gui Ying’s body and finally gave a hum. “Aren’t you afraid of trying and trying without a result though? I mean, if you’re a demon, then you can potentially live forever. And it’s not like alchemy is very dangerous, right? So you could go on living for thousands of years without the slightest progress. Doesn’t that scare you?
“Not to mention that reviving somebody that has been dead — and even for such a long time — sounds completely … crazy.” He tried to find a nicer word but, in the end, this was the only one he could come up with.
It wasn’t that he didn’t get why An Rong was doing this. Clearly, he loved this man. But, at the end of the day, there was a point where trying was useless. At a certain point, he would have to give up. Rather than waiting or trying to find a way to revive him, he might be better off waiting for him to be reincarnated.
An Rong smiled faintly. “You know, people have been saying the same since the moment I kept his body and thought of trying. It was even worse in the beginning. You see, I was never an alchemist. I didn’t know the least about these things, only having seen Ah Ying work on it before.
“But I knew that if there was a way to revive him, it would be by relying on alchemy so I buried myself in Ah Ying’s books, and I learned a lot over the years. I made up for my lack of knowledge from the very basics to mastering what Ah Ying had mastered, and finally going further than that.
“And yes, it is indeed impossible to revive a person with the alchemy known to mortals, but I am a demon so there is a chance. I have more options at my disposal. The knowledge on refinement in the immortal realms is deeper, the resources more varied. What is there that I can not achieve?”
He raised his hands, seeming almost nonchalant about it. “As for waiting, what else am I supposed to do? I don’t want to go on living without him. I … guess I could follow him but then, I don’t want to give up that easily.
“So what if it’s centuries or millennia that I invest in making this work? Since I have nothing else to do with my time, I might as well keep trying. One day, I might succeed and then I can wrap him in my arms again and we can go on living as before.”
“Then what if in this time, he reincarnates? Isn’t that what happens to souls? Aren’t you afraid that he could be out there in this world already again and you would miss him?”
An Rong gave a hum. “You’re not bad. You actually thought of this issue.” He smiled faintly before turning serious again. “This is a possibility that I indeed thought of. But don’t worry. I have already found a solution to this problem and to similar ones. After such a long time, there is really not much left to take care of.
“Actually, I think I’ve come pretty close to solving this whole mystery. There is only one last burst of inspiration missing and then I am sure that I can make it work.” He smiled more brightly, his gaze slipping back to Duan Gui Ying’s face again.
Clearly, he could hardly wait for that day even though he had said that he had time and didn’t mind waiting. Well, who wanted to be separated from their lover for any length of time? Of course, he was looking forward to their reunion.