Jing Yi dropped the questions after receiving Qiu Ling’s answer and instead focused on the city around them until he finally spotted a teahouse. He patted his lover’s arm and motioned ahead, his eyes sparkling with excitement. “There seems to be a teahouse there. Let’s have a look if they also have a storyteller?”
Back then, his uncle’s teahouse hadn’t had one but he knew that it had been different in others in the capital city. In fact, he had slipped out to visit some of them a few times with Shao Hai. So, he was pretty sure that they shouldn’t have too much trouble finding one.
Qiu Ling nodded and the two of them strolled over there, quietly entering and taking a quick glance around to see if they had found the right one.
Maybe their luck wasn’t bad but there actually was a storyteller in this teahouse. He currently wasn’t telling a story though and simply sat to the side with a cup of tea of his own. Instead, there was a young woman playing the guzheng seated on the stage where the storyteller would usually stand.
She looked a bit similar to him. Obviously, those two were actually related and working together. Qiu Ling and Jing Yi didn’t know about that but at least they saw the stage which was a good indication that they had found the right spot.
Qiu Ling turned to Jing Yi and raised his brows to silently ask whether he wanted to stay.
Jing Yi nodded. Anyway, they were simply looking for some information. And even if this couldn’t answer their question about the position of cultivators, it would still be nice to sit and listen to a story for a while.
Qiu Ling gave a hum and the two of them went to a table to sit down. They had just eaten before coming here so when the server came rushing over, Qiu Ling simply ordered a pot of tea and had him add a plate of snacks. They might not touch them for the time being but depending on how much time they spend here, it couldn’t hurt to have them either.
As soon as the server had left, Qiu Ling leaned closer to Jing Yi and lowered his voice. “If their storyteller isn’t telling us what we’re looking for, we could ask them or somebody else in a roundabout way afterward. With the story to go off, it might not seem too awkward.”
Jing Yi nodded. “Good idea. Let’s do that then.”
The two of them fell quiet and listened to the musician for a while. When the song ended, she flashed the audience a smile and slowly got up, bowing to everyone before she left the stage and walked over to the storyteller. For a moment, it didn’t look like he was going to take her place. Instead, the two of them sat at the side, chatting with each other while she poured herself a cup of tea as well.
Qiu Ling gave another hum and looked at Jing Yi. “You know, this is actually quite nice. Even if it doesn’t work out immediately, we’ll have a nice afternoon.”
Jing Yi smiled and nodded faintly. “Yes, it also reminds me a bit of the past. When my parents were still working in the teahouse, I was there a lot. We only went there together for a very short time but I enjoyed that little time very much. I feel like it wouldn’t have been too bad to live like that the whole time.”
Qiu Ling looked at him, his expression turning a bit thoughtful. “You regret ascending, don’t you? Even … cultivating, maybe?”
Jing Yi looked at him and finally shook his head. “No, it’s not that. Anyway, cultivating and ascending is what is giving me another shot at life. I just can’t help but wonder how life would have been if things had happened differently.
“For example, if I hadn’t done those things, I would’ve never known about Jing He. And the two of us could have just lived in the capital city, get married while my mother was still there, and then lived just one mortal lifetime together.
“With your abilities, you probably could’ve made me believe that you were human until the very end. It would’ve been … I don’t know, I guess it would have been a happy life. Not that we are not happy now but it’s just different. It’s not … as simple I guess.”
Qiu Ling nodded, feeling that he could somewhat understand what Jing Yi was talking about. “There wouldn’t have been as many things to worry about for sure. Sometimes, ignorance really is bliss. I’m sorry I took that from you.”
Jing Yi shook his head again. “No, it wasn’t just you. I mean, in part, it was what you did, sure. But there was also what Qiang Wei said and the fact that Wu Min Huan and the other disciples of the Yun Zou Sect came to the capital city right at that time, and I guess everything just led to this outcome somehow.
“And who knows? Maybe that simple life wouldn’t have been so great after all. Of course, when I think about it now, it will seem that way. But that is because it’s something I never had.
“If things really went that way, then who knows if maybe we just … we would’ve run into problems regardless? It’s entirely possible. In fact, it’s quite likely. Anyway, my uncle owned a business but his status wasn’t high. In the capital city of a kingdom, that can be a problem.
“So who knows what else we would’ve been embroiled in? Maybe it’s better not to know. This way, I can tell myself that it would’ve been awesome or that it would have been totally awful, depending on how I feel that day, and then be happy about the life we currently have. There’s really no use crying over spilled milk, after all. Since I didn’t have that kind of life, it’s better not to dwell on it.”
Qiu Ling nodded and then motioned over to the man sitting next to the musician. “It looks like they’re finally moving. I sure hope this means we will get to hear a story.”
Jing Yi gave a hum, feeling that he actually wasn’t in the mood to hear one right now. Thinking about the life he could have had, even though he was saying that it was better not to think about it, it still pulled him down a bit. But maybe hearing the story of somebody else’s life could take his mind off things for just a moment. That wouldn’t be too bad either.