Li Qiye seemed to wake up as he accepted the teacup. He gently took a sip, letting the tea seep into his belly. There was an indescribable comfort that stemmed from the perfect temperature.
Dragon cries resounded from his belly as if he had just swallowed a gigantic dragon.
Li Qiye couldn’t help but praise: “A great tea like this dragon tea can only be found in this place.” The aftertaste was incredible as well.
He finally opened his eyes fully and found the garden to be at peace. The old men that were gardening earlier have all disappeared, only Li Qiye and the old tea-maker were left.
At this time, the old man seated himself in the other chair and slowly savored the taste of his tea in a natural and leisurely manner. It was as if he was drinking a tea of immortals. In fact, his tea was not far from being an immortal tea. Even Immortal Emperors wouldn’t necessarily be able to drink his dragon tea.
After finishing his cup, Li Qiye sighed with great satisfaction. The old man finished as well.
Li Qiye smiled and teased: “Old man, it seems that you can’t stand the loneliness again? Is that why you are playing around like this?”
The old man lied down comfortably in his chair and chuckled: “Being in bed for too long makes my arms and legs numb, so I had to get up to do some work. Toiling is unavoidable in life after all.”
“Being hard at work is good, I was actually afraid you would panic from having nothing to do.” Li Qiye smiled back.
The old man happily looked at the countless strange flowers in the garden and said in a carefree manner: “What can I do with these old bones of mine? Don’t worry about that, Crow. Plus, I can’t leave the Giant Dragon Mountain either way, so I’m just running around and playing the merchant — just some coolie’s works.”
Li Qiye laughed; he was truly enjoying the carefree atmosphere at the garden. This was a conversation with someone at the same level as him, yet they weren’t enemies. It was a very enjoyable matter.
“I thought you would continue to plot and hide behind the scenes until all the old men take action. I didn’t expect for you to come out in this generation.” The old man stated: “It is quite surprising that you were able to resist the supreme artifact in the Immortal Demon Grotto as well. I actually thought that you would return there and try to seize it.”
“Am I really that kind of person?” Li Qiye couldn’t help but smile: “I have always been upright, I’m not the type to scheme like that.”
“Upright?” The old man burst out in laughter: “If a crow like you claims to be upright, then even the high heavens would start tearing up from laughing.”
Li Qiye was amused as well. Eventually, he replied: “After I left, that existence in the grotto still figured out some way to make my situation very unstable. Lil’ Blackie was too anxious. Under a raging fit, he recklessly charged in there.” He sighed softly at this point.
“That brat had always treated you as a father.” The old man dismissively said: “Outside of that little girl, nothing else is as important to him as you, so of course he did what he did.”
Li Qiye replied with remorse: “Back then when I took him to the Mortal Emperor World, I only hoped for him to be able to soar to the nine heavens like an eagle. Unfortunately, he couldn’t let go of a few things and decided to stay in the Mortal Emperor World. Because of that, well, you know what happened to him next.”
“His decision also made you lose the opportunity to seize the grotto. Haven’t you always been scheming for that item? Unfortunately, you failed.” The old man stood up and chuckled.
“It is true that I want the item, but only if it is without a hitch instead of having to risk many people’s lives. I can only say that I got very close to doing so. I guess certain things were doomed from the start.” Li Qiye gently shook his head.
“Heh, this is fine too. If it wasn’t for Lil’ Blackie getting you out of there and, by chance, if you actually obtained that item, the old heavens would turn blind. If you could obtain all the supreme items that you wanted, how could others bear such injustice? Even the villainous heavens wouldn’t want to live on in such an unfair world.” The old man cheerfully gloated at Li Qiye’s misfortune.
“Just let the past go. I’ve grown tired of living after such a long life anyway.” Li Qiye smiled: “Since Lil’ Blackie has saved me, I’ll just live through this generation freely and go all out. I’ll finish what must be done, there’s no need to worry about life and death afterward.” 1
The old man emotionally sighed after insipidly stating: “Yes, it is tiresome to live for so long.”
Li Qiye smiled and teased: “I see that you are living quite well. You sleep for a bit then run out and play for a bit. How comfortable and carefree.”
The old man glared at him in response: “When the villainous heavens played me like this, what else can I do? I can’t die even if I want to, and if I want to live, I can only stay in this place! Luckily, my descendants didn’t let me down and managed to pass down my bloodline, so I don’t have many regrets.”
Li Qiye looked at him and asked: “Have you not thought about going strong one more time to the end of the world?”
“Hahaha, Dark Crow, don’t try to drag me down with you. This is your war, not mine. I’m just an ordinary old geezer now.” The old man chortled: “I am living a nice family life. Running around when I want to, making some tea when I feel like it, and sometimes beating up a few bad kids who won’t listen — I’m quite content with this kind of life already.”
“I can’t believe it.” Li Qiye chuckled: “Back in that distant era, a dragon demon dared to fight all the way to the nine firmaments and opposed the villainous heavens himself. Where is that dragon now?”
“Damned crow, there’s no need to goad me.” The old man didn’t become angry. Instead, he grinned and said: “I have no more aspirations and have nothing to say about my loss back then. I don’t have any grievances about being imprisoned here either. After all, I was not as strong as I imagined, but I can handle losing.”
Li Qiye pondered for a bit before nodding his head: “This is what I admire about you the most, you can see things clearly and are very open-minded. It is true that there is no humiliation in losing to the villainous heavens. This path is very difficult. For millions of years, countless others have tried, and just as many have become bones.”
“In the end, how many are still brooding right now?” Li Qiye gently sighed: “Being able to let things go is the sign of a real hero. I myself can’t get through this hurdle, I just can’t gracefully admit defeat and will try to get up from where I’ve fallen. No matter what it is or who it is, I will start from the beginning to sweep through it all by cutting down all those who try to stop me!”
“But being able to give up is really nice, really nice…” Li Qiye lamented: “By letting things go, everything else will feel acceptable in life. Or rather, many other things are insignificant compared to just being alive. As long as you don’t care, things that used to be important will no longer matter. Like the drifting clouds, they won’t be worth mentioning.”
“Damned crow, it is not the same for you.” The old man smiled and replied: “I have lost completely — this made me realize that I have other things to protect in life, such as my children.”
“If you give up, you would be wasting your immortality.” The old man reflected: “If possible, you should gamble everything just once. If you win, you will have everything. If you lose, at least lose everything as well after utilizing everything at your disposal.”
“After suffering an utter defeat, you might be able to see through it and let go.” With that, he smiled: “When you don’t have anything left to bet with, you will have no choice but to give up.”
“Maybe.” Li Qiye had a somber expression as he responded: “If I’m able to put everything on the table, then I might as well gamble it all away just once. When Wenxin asked me why I can’t stop, the truth is that I didn’t know back then either. Perhaps it is because I haven’t tasted true defeat, being left with nothing but empty hands. Maybe this defeat will even end with my death.”
“Regardless of victory or defeat or even death, there is nothing to be afraid of.” The old man said: “Your life has been quite productive. For many generations, who has led a more brilliant life than you? You have experienced and done everything possible. Even if you stay as an ant, it would still have been a good life.”
“An ant trapped between the heaven and earth…” Li Qiye eventually shook his head and smiled before putting on a determined look: “Even as an ant, I still don’t want to hide. One day, I will stand above all else. My destiny is my own, the heavens will not decide my fate!”
“That’s what I want to hear.” The old man laughed in agreement: “Even as an ant, you still want to be an extraordinary ant and not an insignificant one.”
“Well said.” Li Qiye chuckled: “Yes, I want to be an extraordinary ant!”
1. This sentence might not make sense unless you remember the artifact that is in the Immortal Demon Grotto and what it does.