Jing Yi nodded, his eyes curving up. “Yes, I was looking for you.”
Shao Hai nodded as well, still in a daze. He had no idea what to say. Most likely, he should invite him to sit down?
Behind them, Qiu Ling cleared his throat and motioned to the door. “I’ll go and take that walk we talked about. Just … call when you’re done.”
Jing Yi nodded and watched his fiance leave before he turned back to Shao Hai.
Thanks to seeing Qiu Ling, Shao Hai had somewhat woken up from his daze. He sighed and sat down, motioning at the chair on the opposite side of the table. “Why don’t you sit? I’m surprised to see you, actually.”
Jing Yi nodded and took a seat, sighing as well. “I can imagine. I … I haven’t been around much.”
Shao Hai nodded, not sure what to say.
Originally, the two of them had been childhood friends but after so much time apart, how much of that was really still left? There was the nostalgia of those days and some of the feelings had certainly remained in their hearts but it wasn’t easy to connect again.
For a moment, they just sat there awkwardly. Then, Shao Hai motioned over his shoulder. “So, the two of you are still together?” Actually, the question seemed stupid as soon as it was out, considering that Qiu Ling had come together with Jing Yi and just left for what he called a walk, but since he had already asked Shao Hai also didn’t know how to take it back.
Jing Yi nodded. “Mn. Actually, we’re going to get married in a few days.”
“Oh.” Shao Hai nodded and cleared his throat. “Well, I guess it’s more surprising that you haven’t had a wedding yet. I mean … how long has it been?”
Jing Yi gave a hum. “Over a millennium. Things got pushed back a few times but this time, it’s for sure. I … Actually, I came here to say goodbye. We’ll be moving to …” He thought for a moment but then figured that maybe it would be better not to give too many details. “To the immortal realms. You know how I ascended, right?”
“Yeah.” Shao Hai raised his brows and rubbed his chin. “That surprised me. I mean, we went to the Yun Zou Sect together back then. You needed forever to get the hang of cultivating and … now, well, you’re an ascended deity.” He might be a practitioner who usually needed longer than cultivators to reach the right level but still, he knew that even cultivators needed a long time. Jing Yi … he had probably broken every record there was. People had talked about it endlessly when it happened.
Jing Yi nodded. “Yeah, I am. Anyway, time flows differently over there so I wanted to come here one last time to spend some time with everyone. I … invited a few people from the Yun Zou Sect but also from the Hei Dian Sect and we wanted to celebrate at a guesthouse in the Long kingdom’s capital. So maybe you’d like to come as well? It’d be tomorrow evening.”
Shao Hai hesitated for a moment but then nodded. “I’d like that, yes.”
Jing Yi nodded. “Well, Qiu Ling and I are going to go back to the Yun Zou Sect to pick up the others. You could accompany us.”
Shao Hai nodded again. “Yeah, that seems like a good idea.” He cleared his throat again, still not sure how to deal with the current situation. Really, if he had known that he would see Jing Yi again, he’d have thought about what to say.
Not that he hadn’t thought about it. In fact, he had done so quite often. But he had always thought it would be … different. Not him sitting in a guesthouse, thinking over his plans for the next few days, when Jing Yi suddenly arrived behind him. More like … him finally getting the chance to save Jing Yi from a disaster or something.
He knew it was idiotic. Clearly, Jing Yi had long decided on Qiu Ling. In fact, just as he had said, he was surprised that they weren’t married yet. So, seeing that Jing Yi was somebody else’s fiance, he certainly shouldn’t think about saving him from anything. He probably shouldn’t think about him at all. It was a ridiculous notion that anything could or should change between them. But then … this was the dream he had had in his childhood days.
He rubbed his neck when he thought of that time, feeling that it was no wonder he wasn’t dealing with this better. He had had a crush on him and not hidden it very well. Back then, he had really thought they would get married one day and then live happily ever after. Qiu Ling’s appearance had made that dream crash and burn.
By now, he actually didn’t want to anymore either. After all, they hadn’t seen each other in so long. Why would he still be holding onto that? If he really still loved him after a thousand years had passed, he’d be an idiot. But that didn’t mean that he wouldn’t still like to play the hero just to prove to himself and this friend from his childhood days that he wouldn’t have been a good choice as well. It was … more about his pride than his heart, if he was being honest.
Jing Yi had no idea what Shao Hai was thinking but the awkward atmosphere between them was palpable. He lowered his gaze and took a deep breath before slowly exhaling. The invitation had been given. Now, he should just get to the reason he had wanted to catch Shao Hai alone.
He looked back up and then gave Shao Hai a faint smile. “Ah Hai, actually, I also came here to apologize.”
Shao Hai raised his brows, not having expected that. “Apologize?”
“Mn.” Jing Yi nodded. “Back then, after I met Qiu Ling, I didn’t treat you very well. Definitely not how a friend should. For that, I owe you an apology.”