The storyteller picked up the cup of tea again and took a sip, carefully watching the expression of those two guests. Everyone else was familiar with the story and liked it, so there wasn’t much to see but things were different when it came to these two.
Qiu Ling still looked somewhat bored but Jing Yi was clearly interested. In fact, when the storyteller stopped there and was looking at them, he couldn’t help himself and spoke up. “So, what happened to them afterward?”
The storyteller lowered the cup and looked at him in confusion. “Afterward?”
Jing Yi nodded. “Yes, after the kingdom was founded, what happened to them?”
Finally, the rest of the people got spirited as well. Usually, the story ended at the point when the kingdom was founded. This was the story of the Long kingdom’s creation, after all. Nobody cared too much about the fate of these two lovers. The storytellers usually didn’t bother to add more than a sentence about that.
The one currently on stage wasn’t any different. “Well, Lang Ling stayed with Shui Jin Ning until the day he died. Then, when his son acceded to the throne, he stayed as an adviser for a while before finally retreating to the valley where the two of them had originally met. He lay down to sleep for all eternity and his body became what we know as the Long mountain range today.”
Jing Yi lowered his gaze, not sure what to make of this. Naturally, the Long mountain range wasn’t actually the body of a dragon. When he was little, he might have believed it, but by now, he clearly knew that this had to be fake. Dragons weren’t much different from the other races and while their bodies were more durable, it wasn’t to the point of becoming actual stone.
But other than that … what might be worse was hearing of Shui Jin Ning’s death and how Lang Ling had stayed alone afterward until he finally died. He had never really thought about it but yes, with the life span of a human, you naturally couldn’t accompany a dragon forever.
He sighed. “That’s sad.” In Lang Ling’s eyes, Shui Jin Ning’s life had been over in the blink of an eye. And with Tian’s curse on him, Lang Ling had needed to follow him into death, even if he managed to hold on for an astoundingly long time.
The storyteller was dumbfounded. “Sad? How is it sad?”
Jing Yi looked up but finally just shook his head. Others wouldn’t understand so there was no reason to say anything. He turned to Qiu Ling instead and his lips curved up into a smile.
Actually, now that he thought of it, maybe he had forgotten to count his blessings. He had always begrudged not having had enough time but, in fact, this was wrong. How long did a human usually live? Fifty years? Sixty? Maybe it could be up to a hundred years or so if they were lucky. But holding on longer than that was a pipe dream and by the time you reached such an advanced age, life wouldn’t be the same.
Yes, your life was still worth living but what would the impact of such an old age be? He hadn’t spent much time among regular humans but he still had a rough idea: Your eyesight and hearing would falter, your movements becoming slower. Oftentimes, illnesses would become more frequent and even your bones could break easily. Then, there was also the problem that some people wouldn’t be of sound mind until the end of their lives.
He hadn’t needed to live such a life because he started to cultivate. He had managed to live for more than a thousand years and his body even stayed that of the youth he had been when he was trapped in the Leyuan region’s hidden realm. For most of that time, Qiu Ling had been at his side. Wasn’t that wonderful? Wasn’t it a gift not many could be in possession of?
He reached out and took Qiu Ling’s hand, suddenly feeling that his point of view had been too narrow in the past. It was strange. In the Yun Zou Sect, in the Nine Heavens, and even in the dragon realm, he had always longed for more. He had never stopped to think about what he already had. He only ever focused on the future and not the current moment.
He already knew that he had missed out on many things because of that. It had slowly become clear to him in the last few weeks, and especially so in the last few days since returning to the mortal realm. Maybe this was a sign. Maybe from the very beginning, he really hadn’t been destined to leave here and get into contact with the world that Jing He came from.
It was a pity things had turned out differently but still, he was happy that he was finally able to realize this. From now on, he wouldn’t repeat those same mistakes. He wouldn’t think too much of the future or worry about the past. No, he would live in the moment and cherish what he already had. If he was meant to have more, he would get it. If not, then what did it matter? He was satisfied with just this. There was no need for anything else.
He smiled at Qiu Ling and tugged at his hand. “I think I heard enough. Do you want to go?”
Qiu Ling wasn’t sure what Jing Yi thought but he could see that the story had had a great impact. Since all of this was only for Jing Yi’s sake anyway, he naturally nodded. “Let’s go then. Just say what else you want to do and we’ll go and do it.”
Jing Yi nodded and the two of them got up and left under the confused gaze of the storyteller who didn’t have the slightest clue how he had managed to scare off the two customers he had intended to make a fortune off.