While Shen An De was getting ready to take a stance at the Hei Dian Sect, Qiu Ling and Jing Yi reached the Yun Zou Sect. This matter was something Jing Yi had planned and wanted to do and which involved his friends, so Qiu Ling simply accompanied him and waited for him to take the lead.
Jing Yi actually wasn’t sure how to go about this. Should he tell the others first or look for Shao Hai? But then, it would be strange to gather everyone else and then rush away to take with Shao Hai in private. Thus, after a moment of consideration, Jing Yi first went to see Shao Hai’s Master again.
Elder Wang looked at him and recognized him immediately since he had only come by a couple of days ago. “Looking for Shao Hai, I presume?”
Jing Yi nodded. “Yes. Did he return by now?”
Elder Wang shook his head. “He didn’t. You’re still lucky though because I just received a letter so I can tell you where he is.”
Jing Yi raised his brows. He had thought he would have to do this without Shao Hai after all but now, it seemed that things were still going well. “Thank you, Elder Wang! This really means a lot to me.”
Elder Wang just waved, not thinking that it was a big deal. He took out a piece of paper and handed it to Jing Yi. “Here, I wrote it down for you. You should hurry if you want to catch him. After all, he’ll leave there soon to return here. If he gets side-tracked, you’d have a hard time finding him again before the next message gets here.”
Jing Yi nodded and thanked the Elder again before leaving with Qiu Ling. He stared at the piece of paper, wondering what to do now. “Maybe I should have set the gathering for a week later. If we can’t find him …”
Qiu Ling shook his head. “No, I’m sure it’ll be alright. Anyway, since we know where he is, it shouldn’t be hard to find. Don’t you still have the map Shen An De gave you?”
“Right!” Jing Yi had just worried about where this city might be but now that Qiu Ling mentioned it, they indeed had a map. He hastily took it out and looked for the city.
It took a moment but Qiu Ling finally motioned at a city in the other direction. “This seems to be it?”
Jing Yi compared the name and nodded. “Yes, indeed. It shouldn’t be a problem to get there and back in time, should it? Even with telling everyone?”
Qiu Ling shook his head. “No, it should be alright. Anyway, we can just hurry.”
Jing Yi nodded and looked at him questioningly. “So … do we go there first, then come back here together, get the others, and leave for the capital again?”
Qiu Ling nodded. “That does sound like the best way to go about it. Unless you don’t want me there?” He did remember that Shao Hai didn’t like him too much so he wasn’t sure if he shouldn’t stay further away. But then, they had little time left so he also didn’t want to make Jing Yi go the whole way alone. Especially if there was any chance that he might need to search for Shao Hai for a while. Two people would have an easier time scouring the city, after all.
Jing Yi smiled and shook his head. “No, it’s alright. Although … you could probably take a walk around while I speak to him.”
“I will do that.”
Jing Yi nodded and the two of them left the sect to go to the city. Their flying speed wasn’t slow so they arrived soon enough. Since the message had just arrived, there should be a decent chance to still catch him.
Jing Yi looked around, trying to think of a way to go about this. He didn’t know this city so it would take some time to look around. Thankfully, it wasn’t as big as the capital city. In fact, it could likely be called a bigger town. There were only two or three streets in one direction with a few more in the other. If they split up and asked around, they shouldn’t have that much trouble finding him.
He looked up at Qiu Ling and suggested the idea but his fiance shook his head. Jing Yi raised his eyes in doubt. “Do you have a better idea?”
Qiu Ling looked at him and smiled. “Isn’t he a practitioner? Even though they don’t use spiritual energy, you can still perceive them when they reach a higher level. Since we know that he is likely in this city, we can just look for him that way.”
Actually, Jing Yi had no idea how to do this but he still nodded. Clearly, Qiu Ling was different in this regard. He probably shouldn’t be surprised but it still made him sigh. There were so many things that he still hadn’t learned. Even when he thought that he got closer, he would find new things along the way. Well, that was just how life worked.
Meanwhile, Qiu Ling closed his eyes and sensed his surroundings, finally motioning in one direction. “Alright, I have the rough place so let’s go and look more closely.” Anyway, he sure hoped that this was indeed Shao Hai and not some other practitioner. Otherwise, this would really become awkward. Although then again, they could ask the person whether he had seen Shao Hai which could prove helpful as well.
The two of them made their way over there and came to the door of a guesthouse that was lit up brightly now that it was getting later.
Jing Yi smiled and looked up at Qiu Ling. “That seems like the right place.”
“Let’s go in then?”
Jing Yi nodded and took the initiative to open the door. He thought that they could ask whoever was selling the rooms but when he had just taken a step in, he realized that he didn’t have to. At a table in the room right next to the door, he already spotted the familiar figure of his childhood friend, or rather the person he had grown up to be.
Jing Yi’s smile brightened and he walked over there, faintly clearing his throat. “Shao Hai?”
The person in question turned around and then stared at him in a daze for a few moments. Only then did he slowly get up. “Xiao … Xiao Yi?” Even though he tried the name, he could hardly believe it. In his mind, he had long since made his peace with the fact that they would likely never meet again.