Xiang Yu heard the few whispered words while Xin Lan stepped through the gate he had created for him and suddenly, he couldn’t bring himself to leave. He knew it was stupid. Even though there was no way to truly grow after a god fell, he hadn’t been an idiot when he was still a trueborn god. He had merely been a bit naive and too focused on finding love.
Now, nothing had changed about that. He was able to see slightly deeper because his eyes had been opened before he actually fell but he still had that same longing for love. Hearing Xin Lan’s words, even though they were directed at the body of his mortal reincarnation, his heart couldn’t help but beat wildly.
He glanced at the gate he had originally opened for himself and then waved his hand to close it. Instead, he followed Xin Lan into the dragon realm, observing what he would do. As expected, the place that Xin Lan brought Hua Lin Yu’s body to was his own estate that they had visited before together with Hua Lin Rong.
Xin Lan carried the body to the pavilion in the garden of the house and gently put him down on one of the chairs, leaning his torso against the stone table. Once again, he brushed aside his hair before he leaned down and kissed his temple. “Give me a moment. I … I will go and arrange everything.” Saying so, he took a deep breath and turned away, going to find a good spot to bury him.
This was the person he had fallen in love with so, naturally, he wouldn’t be stingy. He surveyed the garden and finally picked out the most beautiful spot. Previously, Hua Lin Yu had also liked this one and had joked about how they could put down a chair here and sit in the summer.
Thinking back to that time now, Xin Lan had to close his eyes. How come he had so little luck in love? It almost seemed as if he hadn’t been spared from Tian’s curse but had been given his very own personal curse. Otherwise, how come when they had finally reached the last step, Hua Lin Yu died just like that?
Despite his long life and despite all the knowledge he had gathered throughout the years, even Xin Lan had no idea that as soon as the purpose of a fallen god’s trial was achieved, he would lose that mortal life. This was their trade-off, the law of harmony that balanced all things in the universe. Even Tian with his soft spot for fallen gods wouldn’t be able to change it for them.
Thus, no matter what had or hadn’t happened with Xiao Li, from the moment Hua Lin Yu realized his true feelings for Xin Lan and how he had been played by fate when he met Bai Mu and Xiao Li, he had been doomed to die. Unfortunately, those last few hours hadn’t been spent together because neither of them noticed or even knew the signs. Now, it couldn’t be changed anymore.
Xiang Yu watched Xin Lan walk away and then turned to the body of his reincarnation. He actually didn’t know about these things either but he also didn’t care too much. Instead, his gaze was attracted by the earring that peeked through Hua Lin Yu’s hair.
He stared at it and finally walked over. He didn’t hesitate before he pulled it off Hua Lin Yu’s ear. This earring had been given to his mortal reincarnation as a token of love. It might not have been meant for him but this was still his reincarnation. Why shouldn’t he take a memento from his own trial?
Justifying his behavior to himself, Xiang Yu finally opened a gate and left the dragon realm. He didn’t need to watch Xin Lan bury Hua Lin Yu’s body. No, he’d rather go and be alone for a while. He had some thinking to do.
Of course, such a thing wouldn’t be done in the mortal realm. Instead, he returned to the High Heavens and sat down in front of the palace that he usually picked when he stayed here. It wasn’t often but in a way, it also carried the feeling of ‘home’. At least as a fallen god, this was probably the closest he would ever get to having a home again.
Xiang Yu pursed his lips, suddenly unhappy. He stared at the earring in his hands and had no idea what to make of this. As a mortal, he could receive a token of love, have a family and a home, even fall in love, and try to get married. How come none of this was possible for his current self?
He raised his head and found Tian standing a few steps away. His eyes filled with tears and he got up, rushing over to stand in front of him. “Am I not lovable?”
Tian gazed at him, keeping quiet for a while before he raised his hand and patted his head. “Very lovable.”
Xiang Yu paused, the tears quietly slipping down his cheeks while he tried to make sense of that response. “Then … then do you think he can love me too?” He raised the earring, hoping that Tian would understand what he meant.
The supreme ruler looked at that token of love and really wanted to sigh. This was why the fallen gods seldom went on trials. They could. In fact, they didn’t even necessarily need his help to reincarnate for a while. It was just that … the outcome was rarely to their liking. Clearly, the same had happened to Xiang Yu.
He reached out and closed Xiang Yu’s fingers around the earring. “I believe he can but … maybe not now.”
Xiang Yu’s gaze became uncertain. “Then when?”
Tian gave a hum and looked up at the sky as if the fate of every person could simply be deduced from the way the clouds drifted past. “When? It should be when you have put down the last of your obsession and he has mourned his loss. Until then, there is no future for the two of you.”
And maybe, just maybe, there were a few steps in-between but he wouldn’t tell Xiang Yu that. Otherwise, who knew how many fates he would go and mess up in the meantime? Some things, as harsh as they may be, simply had to happen for the final result to be a good one. He of all people should know this.