Speaking of the dragon king, he was silently walking hand in hand with Jing Yi thanks to the fact that Hong Bao had somehow managed to take over the task of leading everyone through the Long kingdom’s capital city. She seemed quite excited at the chance to do this and with her exuberant nature, everyone else’s attention was drawn to whatever she did or pointed out. It was to the point where he wondered if he could just sneak off with Jing Yi without anybody noticing and spend some alone time before the gathering.
In the end, Qiu Ling didn’t follow through on that urge. Instead, he simply contented himself with strolling around for the time being. Anyway, as long as Jing Yi was happy, he was also happy. Not to mention … with everybody’s attention being elsewhere, it was almost as if they were doing this all on their own. That sure was a nice touch.
Jing Yi glanced up at him with a smile. “Bored?” They had been exploring the city for several days in a row. By now, there wasn’t much that was left to see and with Hong Bao showing the others her favorite spots, they definitely wouldn’t stumble over the last few things that might be new on this outing. He wouldn’t be surprised if Qiu Ling was over it by now.
Qiu Ling shook his head though. “No, it’s nice. I won’t be bored as long as you are here.” He squeezed his hand and leaned closer, quietly giving him a peck on the lips. Yes, no matter how uninteresting the city was, he was satisfied with just spending more time with Jing Yi for as long as it was possible.
Jing Yi nodded and then didn’t say anything else. He just leaned closer to Qiu Ling, finally hugging his waist. Just this one day was left before they would return to the dragon realm in the morning. Then, a few more days until their wedding and until he finally had to give up his soul. It was hard to imagine while leisurely strolling through the city but his life was coming to an end.
He raised his head and looked up at the blue sky dotted with white clouds. Everything seemed so calm, it was tough to imagine what was about to happen. But then, he felt like he had finally made his peace with this. The constant resentment from before was gone. Now, he was simply grateful for the last few days they had together and was looking forward to the time after whenever that would be.
He smiled to himself and then looked at Qiu Ling again, noticing that his lover was watching him. His lips curved up further. “What’s the matter?”
“I just thought that you seem a lot happier here in the mortal realm.”
Jing Yi gave a hum and looked around again, finally shrugging his shoulders. “I think that impression might be deceptive. It’s simply that when we came to the immortal realms, there were so many things happening — few of them good — that I didn’t have the opportunity to actually enjoy my time there save for very few moments. Right now though, I have that opportunity again so I seem happier in comparison. At the end of the day, whether it’s here or there, there will be good and bad times. It’s just that in my case, those times were strangely concentrated while I was in each realm.”
Qiu Ling nodded but didn’t know what else to say. Of course, Jing Yi was right. Well, at least he had tried to make it better.
Before Jing Yi could find anything to add himself, Hong Bao stopped at the front of their group, motioning to a restaurant up ahead.
“And this is the last of my favorite spots in the city. It’s the best restaurant I have found so far. Of course, there might be other ones that are better but I haven’t eaten there yet so … this one is the best for now. Maybe we should go in and grab a bite?”
At this point, the others turned back around to Qiu Ling and Jing Yi. They weren’t particularly concerned with whether or not they ate here considering that they were all either cultivators of a certain stage or — in Wu Ya’s case — already born as half an immortal. So this would only be about passing more time and with how long Hong Bao had been leading them around the streets, they weren’t sure if they should tag on this much time.
Qiu Ling turned to Jing Yi and raised his brows. “Should we take a break here or go back directly?”
Jing Yi pondered for a moment. “Well, the others might have arrived already. Maybe it would indeed be better to leave for now. Anyway, everyone can still come back here another day.” Minus him, of course, but he didn’t add that.
Hong Bao deflated a little, but thinking of meeting the others, she cheered up just as fast. “That was the last place I wanted to show you. In that case, let’s go back then? I really wonder if everyone is there now. If they are, are we going to start the gathering immediately?” She rushed to Jing Yi’s side, thankfully picking the one that Qiu Ling didn’t occupy.
Jing Yi gave a hum. “I guess so? Anyway, it’s not like there are any rules. It’s just coming together among friends. But if everyone is really there, then we should go and use the room we booked. That way, there’ll be enough space for everyone to be comfortable and we won’t bother the other patrons of the establishment either.”
Hong Bao nodded. “Well, let’s hurry then!” She clapped her hands and then took the lead again, trying to find the shortest way through the city she could. In the meantime, she turned back to Jing Yi though, clearly having a few more words to share.