The seven people that had already gathered in the Long kingdom’s capital city spent the next four days just like that. When convenient, they would all come together, and when the couples wanted some alone time, they would split up.
Everyone was happy with this setup. At most, Wu Ya would sigh every now and then about how he still wasn’t at the point where he could ask for some alone time with Hong Bao. But then again, after being advised by Qiu Ling and getting some help from Xiang Yu along the way, she at least seemed to warm up to the idea of maybe considering him so it also wasn’t a loss.
Finally, when the evening of the day arrived and everyone was sitting together to eat, Qiu Ling gave Wu Ya a deep look. “Say, when you went to the Hei Dian Sect, did you actually tell the disciples Jing’er told you about where they should go for the gathering?”
Wu Ya blanked. Originally, he had wanted to do that but … “Well, I went to find Hong Bao first since I didn’t know my way around, and then …” He looked embarrassed and didn’t dare to say it.
Shen An De who was sitting three seats further sighed deeply. “Then we urged him to go back here together with us because we had heard about there being a fallen god and were a bit worried.”
Xiang Yu raised his head, surprised. He had gotten along well with everyone for the past few days so he really hadn’t expected this.
Hong Ai reached over and patted his hand. “Don’t mind it. After getting to know you, nobody would believe there was reason to worry. We just weren’t sure before being able to spend some time together.”
Shen An De nodded. “Yes. I admit Qiu Ling was completely right about you. It was our fault. But anyway, because of that, it seems we forgot to inform the rest.”
Qiu Ling sighed and turned to Jing Yi. “So, do you want to take a trip there to invite them yourself?”
Jing Yi gave a wry smile. “The inviting isn’t the problem. It’s just … I promised Yue Lin I’d help with his work. Seeing how he is usually buried under all the matters of the alchemy division, I don’t think he’ll even make it. Even if we went to help out all day tomorrow …”
At that, Shen An De raised a brow. “What’s the matter with the alchemy division?”
Jing Yi turned to him and wasn’t sure how to explain it. “Well, Yue Lin is the direct disciple of the Elder in charge of the alchemy division. Apparently, he got assigned to do the paperwork of the division but he seems to struggle with how much it is. He said he wouldn’t have time for the gathering so originally, we promised to help out but … well.” He pressed his lips together, not knowing what to say.
This was indeed his fault. He was the one who had promised to be there in the first place to work on the documents with him. Xiao Dong had left to help out later but he wasn’t sure how much the two of them could accomplish together. Then, later on, Wu Ya had said that he could help out as well but had never gotten around to it. Jing Yi himself hadn’t thought of it again either, his thoughts always on the time spend with Qiu Ling. Now, he didn’t know how far Yue Lin had gotten and felt like he had broken his promise. Naturally, he felt guilty.
Shen An De clicked his tongue. “So one disciple is doing all the paperwork of the division? What about his own work? His cultivation, I mean.”
Hong Ai couldn’t help but glance at her husband. “It’s even the alchemy division. Don’t they usually need a lot of time to practice and learn?”
Shen An De nodded. “Yes, that seems to be the case.” Personally, he didn’t care much about alchemy. He had to agree that it was important but he had never had a knack for it so he had only brushed up on some general knowledge on it but never bothered to pursue it.
Still, he also knew that it was an arduous path that needed all kinds of resources to succeed. Not to mention precious herbs and materials or the cauldrons and furnaces that were needed for the refining process, time was the most valuable resource of them all. So, clearly, the Elders in the division had freed up some of their time by assigning the tasks they disliked to the disciples.
In general, this wasn’t a problem. If you had a disciple, you might as well throw some tasks at them. Considering that they would get resources and guidance from you in turn, this was fair. But from how Jing Yi described it, this Yue Lin hardly had the time to practice himself. Where exactly was the trade-off then? Clearly, they were just taking advantage of him.
Shen An De tilted his head and finally got to his feet, smoothing out his sleeves. Then, he raised his gaze to Jing Yi. “You tell me again which disciples you wanted to invite. I’ll go over personally to lead the way. And maybe … I’ll also have a short chat with that Yue Lin’s Master while I’m there. After all, he will likely want to know what I’m inviting his disciple out for.”
Jing Yi’s eyes widened. He had a rough guess that Shen An De wouldn’t just politely go over to have a chat and invite some people out to play. No, he knew this look from Qiu Ling when he dealt with official business. It spelled trouble for some person.
He gulped but finally figured that this wasn’t his matter to worry about anyway. Shen An De had found out about something in his sect he wasn’t pleased with so no matter how he responded, he would still deal with it sooner or later. Not to mention … Yue Lin was his friend and he had clearly suffered from the treatment he got in the past. Since this could help him, why shouldn’t he say something?
Making up his mind, Jing Yi finally smiled. “Oh, it’s only Yue Lin from the alchemy division and Niu Hai from the division of blades. Niu Hai often goes to accompany him though so you might find both of them together.”