Shao Hai sighed and the tension he hadn’t even noticed left his body. He looked at Jing Yi for a moment and then shook his head. “You don’t have to. I mean, yeah, I wasn’t happy you left with him. But then, I didn’t have the right to demand that you should marry me. Since you liked him and things obviously worked out, that was the right choice. Don’t let me throwing a tantrum about it cloud your judgment on that.”
Jing Yi blinked his eyes in surprise. That … was not what he had expected. It also wasn’t really what he had meant. He hesitated about whether he should say it but then, he decided that since they were already sitting here, he might as well go ahead. “You’re right that when it comes to my marriage, I made the right decision. But what I meant was that I neglected you as a friend because of that and … well, everything else. I wasn’t a good friend and that’s what I owe you an apology for.”
Shao Hai gave a hum, not quite convinced. “In that case, I owe you one for my reaction back then. I … Well, alright, in the beginning, I was actually angry. I was complaining to Xiao Dong every day until he couldn’t hear it any longer. But the truth is, some years later, after I did some growing up, I realized that my behavior contributed a lot to how things turned out.
“You know, I always thought that if I reacted differently, the outcome might have been different as well. I mean, just think about it: Had I accepted it, then the four of us might as well have traveled together. Xiao Dong clearly wouldn’t have minded and neither would you have. Me … I wasn’t ready. I was too immature. Now, I also know that but I do like to think that if it had been at a different time, it could have turned out like that.”
Jing Yi chuckled. “Seems like we both thought about it. You know, it’s a pity we didn’t have more time together. I loved the time we spent together in the capital city and I was incredibly happy when you and Xiao Dong made it to the Yun Zou Sect. Those … I sometimes think those were the best days of my life. It sure was easier back then.”
Shao Hai raised his brows. “Is life being difficult now?” To be honest, after being apart for so long, he hardly knew anything about Jing Yi. He would have thought that things should be nice after ascending but it seemed that there was more to it.
Jing Yi shook his head. He didn’t want to burden Shao Hai with the knowledge of his real identity or his impending fate. No, it was best to let him believe that everything was alright. “It’s not quite that. There were some … difficulties adjusting to living in a whole different realm but it’s better now. It’s just … I do miss the mortal realm sometimes and the days when I was younger. Maybe it’s just nostalgia though.”
Shao Hai nodded. “I do get that feeling. It’s … hard to describe.” He thought back to his own youth, feeling that it had indeed seemed … lighter, somehow, as if there hadn’t been anything to burden them. Nowadays, he didn’t feel that way any longer.
When had that stopped? When Jing Yi left with Qiu Ling? No, that shouldn’t be it. Back then, he had been angry but he had gotten over it after a while, and even though his feelings for Jing Yi had needed a while longer to diminish, even that had happened later on.
In fact, he didn’t want to mention it in front of him but when he thought of the best time of his life, it hadn’t been the time when Jing Yi was still there but the years after that. Yes, the time he really wished to have back … it was the time spent with Xiao Dong.
Shao Hai picked up the cup of tea he had ordered earlier and took a sip to somehow busy his hands. The water had already grown cold but he hardly noticed. He had no idea where Xiao Dong was and this wasn’t the first time that had happened. This time had hurt the most though.
He put the cup down and glanced at Jing Yi again. “Speaking of our childhood days … I also haven’t seen Xiao Dong in a while. How is he doing? What happened with the demon-hunting sects was quite severe.”
Jing Yi raised his brows and only then remembered that Xiao Dong seemed to have left sometime after that and not returned to the mortal realm since then. “Well, he’s doing alright, I guess? He is also in the immortal realms right now.”
Shao Hai nodded. “Yeah, figures. He is a dragon after all.” He drummed on the table and pushed the cup of tea away again, once again lost for words. Xiao Dong … probably didn’t care about him the same way he cared about him. Maybe he didn’t care about him at all. It really wasn’t a wonder. He wasn’t human, after all. Why would he bother with one of them?
Jing Yi also wasn’t sure what to say but since Shao Hai had already brought Xiao Dong up, he figured they should probably stay on the topic. “Actually, Xiao Dong came with us this time. He’s at the Hei Dian Sect right now but he’ll come to the capital with the others.”
“Really?” Shao Hai looked up, his expression a bit hopeful. He knew he shouldn’t expect much and yet, he couldn’t rein in that feeling. He just … wanted to see him again. Even if it wouldn’t be for long, even if Xiao Dong didn’t really want to talk, just seeing him again would be nice. He didn’t hope for more than that.