“And that’s how my most successful life ended,” The young soul said somewhat proudly.
“Damn! A villain! Truly a villain! You’re such an amazing villain, ah! Can I call you big brother?!” The old soul asked excitedly to the other traveling soul who seemed rather embarrassed.
“I don’t dare, you have been to thousands of worlds, living thousands of lives as villains. I’ve only ever been in less than twenty worlds,” The young soul said sheepishly.
“But you have such an important role! Damn it, I’m jealous, ah! All I’ve ever done was only transmigrating, say one line, and got killed by the son of fate! Sometimes, I didn’t even get to say ONE word before I got killed and transmigrated away again!” The old soul sighed in disappointment.
“To be honest, Qingqiu is not even satisfied with Shen Qingqiu’s end, ah,” The first soul, Shen Qingqiu, said in low spirit.
“Why?” The old soul asked.
“Although I antagonized the son of fate thoroughly, I wasn’t strong enough and couldn’t be a challenge to him. I just got captured and tortured for years till I die, even my best friend there died, even though I’ve already worked hard to alienate myself from him because a fate as a villain will only drag any ally down,” Shen Qingqiu sighed.
“Mm, you’re right. That friend Yue is certainly rather pitiful,” The old soul nodded, agreeing. “And you didn’t get to be the last BOSS.”
“Right? I was actually planning to betray the Sect, but then I found out another of the peak lord had betrayed the Sect first. I didn’t want to go to a mainstream way where someone already walked it once,” Shen Qingqiu huffed. “Before I could plan for my spectacular disappearance where I would go in a long game of chase with the son of fate, he already returned and I soon got captured...”
“Pitiful, you are. But you did such a great job!” The old soul praised, comforting the younger soul. “I like about that game of chase plan. It’s so dramatic, sigh, if I one day got transmigrated and lived a long life like you, I would do that and be the top villain.”
“Senior is wise and experienced, he will be able to do that,” Shen Qingqiu consoled.
“I wish so. Moreover, Shen Qingqiu, you were charged of killing your shidi, killing an entire clan, abuse and many more. I still think it’s not spectacular enough,” The old soul said. “It should have been grander! World domination or something.”
“I didn’t even want to kill my shidi, I planned to help him and get him to be in debt with me. Then, I will have a minion who would do anything to repay my grace, but who knew when I tried to help him, he died tragically! The reason is embarrassing, that’s why I didn’t explain myself, I even admitted to killing him to Yue Qingyuan just to add my villainous point and get him away, which, you know, failed,” Shen Qingqiu sighed.
“Right, and also that Qiu Family? I say, they deserve their outcome and it’s really the perfect background story for a villain, your story made me want to hug you and tell you it’s gonna be alright!”
“Senior, you did that earlier.”
“I did? Well, but the problem is, did the protagonist find out?”
“What’s a protagonist?” Shen Qingqiu asked.
“I mean, the son of fate.”
“No, I don’t think he did,” Shen Qingqiu scowled. “I originally wanted to run away and lead a game of chase, I might drop some hints of my background story,” Shen Qingqiu said in frustration. How could he be called a peak villain if the son of fate didn’t know his background story???
“You blackened this one, you should have seen it coming. He was such a good and pure kid, why didn’t you just keep him for a while? These days, about ninety percent of sons of fate were blackened, your family’s son of fate started off good, without slaughtered clan or slaughtered village, yet you blackened him!”
“But I’m a villain, I can’t keep him close and dote on him.”
“Well, if it’s up to me. I’ll certainly keep a pure and nice son of fate for a while before betraying him so suddenly in the middle of the story,” The old soul said with a determined glint in his eyes.
“Sigh, I hope I could go back and ended it more spectacularly. I’m still not satisfied with Liu Qingge and Yue Qingyuan’s end, and with the Sect’s sudden abrupt disbandment,” Shen Qingqiu said mournfully.
The old soul sympathized and patted Shen Qingqiu’s shoulder, they conversed some more when the old soul suddenly recalled something, “You know, I heard there’s this store in between realms that sell halo for various job.”
“Yes. An invisible halo. You know, son of fate has a ‘protagonist halo’. Son of fate’s women had a ‘female lead halo.’ Villains have a ‘villain halo.’”
“What does it do?”
“Sigh, they generally make the people they protected save! Villain halo made the villain safe from any deaths that wasn’t caused by the son of fate himself and enabled a villain to push through to the end of story and ended their story epicly!” The old soul said passionately. “I really want to get one! In fact, I already saved up so much from my measly one-liner cheap lives. I’m sick of living and dying uselessly, I will buy that halo and became the strongest and coolest villain.”
“Really? How do I buy it? I saved up many from my life as Shen Qingqiu,” Shen Qingqiu asked.
The old soul looked at him warmly, “It’s very rare to meet someone with the same aspiration as I am, but to get there, it’s all up to your luck and ability to jump carefully in between the realms. You have a wonderful talent, young one. I believe you will be an awesome villain.”
“Senior, it’s also rare for me to find someone who actually understood. Many souls I encountered looked at me in disdain when I said I want to be the villain.”
“Ignore them! We’re friends of the same path, I’ll support you! Oh, I think I’m going to be forcefully transmigrated again. Goodbye!”
Shen Qingqiu was rather excited when he actually entered the shop. He straightened up and summoned all of his elegance as ‘Shen Qingqiu’ and looked at the lone person, “I want to have a villain halo, please,” he said.
The person looked up unconcernedly, “Oh, a customer. It’s really lively nowadays, usually we wouldn’t have any costumer for years but we got two in a span of three days. What do you want?” He asked.
“A villain halo that would make me become the evillest existence that also very important,” Shen Qingqiu said.
“What a surprise, the same order. Is being a villain a trend nowadays?” The man said as he randomly grabbed a pretty-looking box, glanced at it and gave it at Shen Qingqiu. “You have what it takes to exchange with it, right?”
“How strong is it?” Shen Qingqiu asked skeptically.
“Really strong,” The salesman read the procedure. “One glance and others will cry, if you glanced in a certain way to people or even glared, it would activate the halo. Also, the keywords to activate it even more is ‘I’ve never been a good person to begin with.’ Or laugh as bitter as you can as a villain. It can also activate some random features with some random words which had ‘disappoint’ or any other associated words.”
“I’ll take it,” Shen Qingqiu said and put his change on the counter.
“We have no change,” The salesman said as he looked at Shen Qingqiu’s ‘money.’ “Would you like to buy more things instead? How about Talent Boosting Veins? Regret Reset Pill to erase your cultivation and start a new and automatically rebuild your trashy cultivation that you got second-hand? Four Spring Youth Pill, if you ever want to deage your old man appearance should you’re transmigrated to an old man’s body? Life protection talismans? Life-saving elixirs? Pills that stopped qi deviation for noob and plot reasons? Some high-tier disguise items?”
“Which one of those can I buy with the remaining of my money?”
“I’ll take everything,” since he didn’t know when he would be able to jump into this place again anyway. Might as well spend everything.
Shen Qingqiu opened the box inside, he didn’t want to be scammed, it was hard to jump into this place and if he was scammed he would die with regrets. A light appeared inside the box, glowing softly but also made Shen Qingqiu felt goosebumps. This halo... is really powerful. He touched the light and the light floated up and went to Shen Qingqiu’s forehead and disappeared. He didn’t feel any different.
“It should take effect if you transmigrated to a world,” The salesman said blankly. “It also can work passively when needed, so convenient.”
“What if it didn’t work?” Shen Qingqiu asked.
“I guarantee the halo will work, or else, may the heavenly punishment descended upon this store,” the salesman said and handed his other purchase.
“I’ll allow it,” Shen Qingqiu said and took his purchases. “I’ll leave then,” he nodded at him and disappeared.
“Song Yi!” The two old men whom Shen Qingqiu saw arguing and entering a room earlier got out and called for the salesman.
“Oh, masters, just now, we got another customer,” Song Yi said.
The two old men paused, pleasantly, “Really? What did they buy?”
“A villain halo,” Song Yi said blandly.
“A villain halo? The same as our first customer since years?”
“Yup. Alongside many other things, this is what we made,” Song Yi showed them how much they made.
“Song Yi, where’s the box I put here?” One of the old men said in worry.
“Oh? That? I sold it to the villain man, that’s a villain halo, right?”
“AAAHH! No, it’s not! It’s the White Lotus halo! The complete version without side effect- Oh, Lord! We just deceived two customers!”
Shen Qingqiu opened himself, ready to start on the new world when he faltered. This is... Wasn’t this Spirit Caves of Cang Qiong Sect?
Shen Qingqiu looked around, lost. He... He got transmigrated to his ‘biggest’ world again? Shouldn’t the story finish? Shen Qingqiu looked down at his hands, got up and walked over to a small pond nearby to see at the familiar reflection on the water. Qing Jing peak lord’s, Shen Qingqiu’s, face stared back at him. This face was his arguably most favorite face, he would never forget it...
He was back into Shen Qingqiu’s life, his favourite life. Did that mean he got a chance to retry and get a better and more villainous ending?
Shen Qingqiu then frowned when he felt the familiar unstable foundation of his cultivation. Ugh- if he had to retry, this unstable cultivation would be his main problem again. Shen Qingqiu then recalled he bought some good things from the heavenly store and took out the soul item. He saw a bottle with a label ‘Regret Reset Pill’ and popped out one pill into his hand.
He tossed it into his mouth unhesitantly and sat down to meditate. The effect seemed to be taking a long time since the pill was carefully unraveled his cultivation and worked to make it more stable and getting rid of the unnecessary burden.
Shen Qingqiu felt pleased when he observed how the pill worked, this way, he could have more stable cultivation and wouldn’t need Yue Qingyuan’s coddling again. Yue Qingyuan kept thinking it was all because of his abuse in the Qiu family and his scummy ‘master’, but truly, it was only because Shen Qingqiu truly didn’t know how to cultivate back then and simply tossed things here and there. He was new to cultivating, alright? His previous worlds only have him as a lowly crook. He was too afraid to do more and too inexperienced to know when to not add some strange things into his cultivation.
By the time Shen Qingqiu finally got a hold of the right way to cultivate from his gentle and loving Shizun in Qing Jing, it was already too late and it made Shen Qingqiu lost his motivation, so he only did a mediocre job (Which was still a wonderful job minus the prone of qi deviation part.)
BAM! BAM! BAM!
BAM! BAM! BAM!
Shen Qingqiu opened his eyes and a feeling of crisis enveloped him... Shit, at what timeline did he transmigrated in? He should be a peak lord, now, right? Could it be...
Shen Qingqiu stood up and quickly ran out to the source of the furious sounds.
He stopped by the mouth of a cave where a man in the bloodied white robe was breathing heavily and harshly. The man’s dazed eyes snapped towards Shen Qingqiu and he immediately lunged.
Shen Qingqiu gritted his teeth and dodged, no matter what he had outlived this man before! He couldn’t let him beat him!
“Liu Qingge, stop!” Shen Qingqiu said, but the same as the first time he encountered this mad man, he didn’t stop at all.
Liu Qingge’s eyes were red as he swung Cheng Luan again to Shen Qingqiu’s side. Shen Qingqiu jumped, his face was solemn as he eyed Liu Qingge, last time, when he tried to help, Liu Qingge died tragically and he had used him as his villainous bonus point towards the end. This time, he should be a good aloof shixiong he planned he was, helped Liu Qingge, make Liu Qingge owed him, gain Liu Qingge’s loyalty, betray him so that he would help the son of fate. Perfect!
Liu Qingge’s little sister, the beautiful Liu Mingyan, would also be the son of fate’s, Luo Binghe’s, primary wife. A wife whose older brother was a loyal little brother of your ultimate enemy, this would add more points and importance in Shen Qingqiu’s life story.
But how could he stop this stupid, arrogant, all-brawn no-brain, madman?!
Shen Qingqiu parried Cheng Luan with Xiu Ya and channeled his qi to knock the sword away.
Shen Qingqiu blinked blankly when Chen Luan did not even falter in Liu Qingge’s unstable grip. It wasn’t that Liu Qingge could still nullify the attack even in his mindless state, but Shen Qingqiu’s qi had been too weak to do that!
‘The Regret Reset Pill...’ Shen Qingqiu immediately jumped back before Cheng Luan could slash open his chest. The pill was still working in his body! It would erase his unstable cultivation before rebuilding it again, right now, it was at the erasing progress!
First, he had been too happy to immediately reset his cultivation when he came here (Because it was the Spirit Caves, where else would it be perfect to erase and rebuild your cultivation?). And then he found out he was transmigrated around the time Liu Qingge experienced qi deviation and immediately ran to help (He was determined to change the outcome).
... Shen Qingqiu really should have checked first.
Shen Qingqiu then recalled one of the side purchases he brought. He summoned the item from his soul and a round purple pill appeared in his hand. Coiling Dragon Soothe Heart, a magical pill that can stop a qi deviation. Shen Qingqiu looked at Liu Qingge and calculated the best chance to shove this pill into Liu Qingge’s mouth. He had to do it fast before he got killed first because of his lack of sufficient cultivation.
Xiu Ya glimmered weakly because its master’s own qi slowly depleted, it even shook fearfully, taking his master’s rapidly declining qi as a danger to its master’s wellbeing. Shen Qingqiu gripped it tighter and swung it in front of him to parry Cheng Luan. Shen Qingqiu’s leg shot out to kick Liu Qingge on his side, Liu Qingge tumbled but quickly launched himself back to Shen Qingqiu.
Shen Qingqiu swung Xiu Ya again to redirect Cheng Luan from stabbing his chest and used his body to shove Liu Qingge back. Now! Shen Qingqiu’s left hand shoved the pill into Liu Qingge’s mouth. He immediately swallowed it on reflex.
Alarmed, Liu Qingge thrashed about and kicked Shen Qingqiu away. He flicked his wrist and Cheng Luan swished past Xiu Ya.
Shen Qingqiu’s eyes widened as the sword aura of Cheng Luan slashed through. Blood splattered and Shen Qingqiu rolled on the ground, clutching his wound. Liu Qingge lost his strength and slumped on the ground, breathing heavily.
Clarity slowly dawned in Liu Qingge and his eyes fluttered open, he could feel the cold comforting feeling inside his chest that pushed back his hot and furious inner demon back and canceled out his qi deviation. The same cold feeling like he tasted in his mouth when Shen Qingqiu shoved something inside.
After a while, Liu Qingge sat up. He furrowed his brows, not understanding what had happened as he looked down on his body. His qi already calmed down and he was back in his state before trying to break through his bottleneck. His head snapped to the person who came and gave him something earlier.
Liu Qingge pushed himself up and staggered towards Shen Qingqiu, he sighed in relief when he saw Shen Qingqiu was still breathing. “Hey...” Liu Qingge touched his shoulder hesitantly and Shen Qingqiu seemed to suddenly wake up and slapped his hand away.
Shen Qingqiu quickly sat up and his wound immediately protested, he glanced coldly at Liu Qingge and brushed his sleeve, his calm and aloofness immediately returned to his face, “Awake?” He said, cutting and mocking.
Liu Qingge’s face burned in embarrassment, “Why?” He asked. When Shen Qingqiu only gazed coldly at him, Liu Qingge continued, “Why did you help me? Didn’t you...” He trailed off.
Shen Qingqiu scoffed, “In this cave, there are only you and me. Even if I don’t want to help, I need to. Should you die, this master will only be dragged down despite his innocence,” he said calmly.
Liu Qingge frowned, “What did you feed me?”
“This master’s fortunate encounter, it could cancel out qi deviation,” Shen Qingqiu said. Liu Qingge was not suspicious, after all, it wasn’t a secret amongst the peak lords that Shen Qingqiu frequently suffered qi deviation.
Liu Qingge did not ask anymore and looked at Shen Qingqiu’s bloodied robe, he was about to rummage through his space pouch when Shen Qingqiu stood up and aloofly walked out of the cave. “Hey-“
“Don’t disturb me,” Shen Qingqiu said as he walked out and returned to his own cave. Liu Qingge watched his shixiong left, too bewildered and unsure to do anything.
Shen Qingqiu was pale as he sat down on his cultivation platform, he took out a simple healing elixir and put it into his mouth. That was close, Shen Qingqiu’s cultivation had completely unraveled when Liu Qingge attacked. It should have been a disaster, but it was actually a blessing for him. If it was him, who still had his unstable cultivation, there was no doubt he would also be in a state of insanity after getting direct hit from a violent qi like that.
The problem was, it seemed like Liu Qingge’s attack made the Regret Reset Pill worked slower, but he could feel it would do his job perfectly fine.
Alright, saving Liu Qingge was a success. Next, get even stronger, do as he always did, and ran away from Cang Qiong after he pushed Luo Binghe off into the abyss. Solid plan. After he lived a notorious and peak villain’s life here, get killed honorably, he could skip to the next world.
Shen Qingqiu’s heart became passionate when he thought of his future life as a villain, after meeting that other soul who also had the same goal, he became even more firm in his way of life. His existence mattered because he was the one who would make the son of fate grow and hence, made the world even richer. He had no goal to overturn the table and became the king of the world, world domination is such a boring thing to do.
It was unknown how long he had stayed and waited for his cultivation to recover, but at some point of time, Liu Qingge had decided to come and visit because of his guilty conscience.
It was all downhill from then.
“YOUR CULTIVATION IS NON-EXISTENT!!!” Liu Qingge shouted after he managed to seize Shen Qingqiu’s wrist when he felt there was something wrong with his shixiong’s cultivation. When he injected his qi, imagine his shock when he found nothing. Absolutely nothing. There was barely any spiritual qi present, only slightly above normal mortal!
“Shut up!” Shen Qingqiu yelled back.
“Is it because of me?” Liu Qingge asked solemnly. “I attacked you when I was going berserk, right? Did that harm your cultivation?”
“No,” Shen Qingqiu replied.
“Then, why?” Liu Qingge demanded.
Fuck, there was no logical reason for Shen Qingqiu to not have his cultivation. He couldn’t just say ‘I reset it’ to Liu Qingge, there was no such a thing as resetting cultivation! Even if there was, it would be a big thing and absolutely cannot be done alone.
Shen Qingqiu’s silence was apparently an answer to Liu Qingge, “You...” Liu Qingge’s hold on Shen Qingqiu’s wrist tightened.
He came to help him, injured by him, refused his help, and he hid away from him as his cultivation gone with the wind. He must have had feeling scared but he did nothing and hid away in this cave, did he think he could recover his cultivation? Even if he could how long would it take? Did he think of locking himself away until he could recover?
“You, come with me,” Liu Qingge said sternly as he pulled Shen Qingqiu up.
“Leave me!” Shen Qingqiu glared at him.
[Ding! Activating the halo’s active ability; Killer Glare!]
Shen Qingqiu’s heart jumped when he heard the robotic voice but he immediately felt pleased. His halo is truly the best.
Liu Qingge saw the glare, it was perhaps because this cave was especially humid, but Shen Qingqiu’s eyes were more watery than usual. It made him looked like he was actually trying to hide his real feeling, he looked so pitiful. Liu Qingge felt his chest tightened, he couldn’t help but to be more gentle.
“I promise to you, no one will dare to do anything just because your cultivation is gone,” Liu Qingge said.
What the fuck is he talking about?! What was with that gentle tone? Disgusting! “This is none of your business,” Shen Qingqiu said coldly.
“I caused it!” Liu Qingge said. “Come on,” He pulled on Shen Qingqiu.
Shen Qingqiu held on, “Liu Qingge, I’m your shixiong, how dare you to force me out?!” He demanded.
“We’ll see Mu Qingfang.”
Hell no. “Stop it, I’m fine!” Shen Qingqiu said. He wanted Liu Qingge to be loyal, but not this type of loyal! This is disgusting! “Let go of me!”
“Your cultivation is gone!”
“It will come back!” He blurted out.
Liu Qingge looked at him disbelievingly. Was Shen Qingqiu in denial? That wasn’t healthy, Liu Qingge had to bring him to a healer. “We need to see Mu-shidi first to make sure of it,” Liu Qingge insisted.
Damn it. Now Liu Qingge had witnessed his cultivation was gone, this complicated things. When Shen Qingqiu was thinking up an excuse and logical explanation to it, Liu Qingge had enough of waiting and pressed his acupoint and threw him over his shoulder.
“Liu Qingge-!” Shen Qingqiu yelled. “You fucker, let me down!”
“You saved my life, I wouldn’t let your life be ruined like this,” Liu Qingge gritted his teeth.
“The only life which will be ruined if you don’t let me down is you!” Shen Qingqiu shrilled.
When they were out, Shen Qingqiu was still shouting some profanities towards Liu Qingge and Liu Qingge ignored him. They encountered a few disciples in the mouth cave, looking terribly relieved when they came out and a bit horrified at how they came out.
“Liu-shishu! Shen-shishu!” The disciples of Qiong Ding cried out in relief.
Seeing their strange attitude, Liu Qingge stopped walking and Shen Qingqiu stopped cursing.
“What happened?” Liu Qingge furrowed his brows.
The disciples desperately tried to explain but an explosion cut their explanation halfway through. Liu Qingge’s face darkened as he rushed off, Cheng Luan unsheathed itself and shot off.
“Filthy demons,” Liu Qingge’s gaze darkened when he saw an infantry of demons already marched so close to Qiong Ding Peak. He stood at the top of the stone staircases, about ten demons died below his feet. He jumped down to the vast area between staircases.
... All the while still holding Shen Qingqiu like a potato sack.
Shen Qingqiu wanted to die.
He was a villain, how could he be treated this ridiculously? Where was his dignity as a peak villain? Damn Liu Qingge- Shen Qingqiu should have had let him die!
Liu Qingge pulled Shen Qingqiu into a princess carry and handed him over to the nearest disciples with Qing Jing uniform which just happened to be Luo Binghe and Ning Yingying.
“Shizun, what’s wrong? Are you okay?!” Ning Yingying immediately fussed as she helped Luo Binghe to lower him down slowly to the ground. Shen Qingqiu held up his hand to stop her from stressing over him.
Shen Qingqiu did not say anything and only helplessly watched as Liu Qingge domineeringly pushed back and killed the demons that dared to invade Cang Qiong Mountain Sect. But... He had to get Luo Binghe to fight- that would be one of his crime!
Luo Binghe should be fighting against a demon elder which would help him gain his future wives’ attention and added Shen Qingqiu’s cruel points... But the boy was currently all healthy and standing guard beside him, torn between being in awe because of Liu Qingge or being worried about his Shizun.
Damn it, Liu Qingge! This master is rapidly regretting his decision to keep you alive!
“This is all my fault!” Liu Qingge snapped as he clenched his fists.
“Liu-shixiong, please calm down,” Mu Qingfang said desperately.
“Shizun, do you feel anything strange? Are you in pain? How could this happened?” Ning Yingying sobbed harder.
“M-Mu-shishu, is there any way for Shizun to recover?” Ming Fan asked. He was the head disciple and Ning Yingying was akin of his deputy, the peak lords decided to call them in and told them about their Shizun’s condition to help him manage the peak.
“I don’t know... But your shishu will do his best to make sure Shen-shixiong could recover,” Mu Qingfang said. He looked at Shen Qingqiu, “This shidi is unskillful, please forgive me.”
“No, you’re not at fault. It’s all my fault,” Liu Qingge looked at Shen Qingqiu. “If only I came to you sooner, I could have dragged you out and seek treatment immediately,” He said bitterly.
Going by that logic, it should be Shen Qingqiu’s fault for not saying anything sooner. But like hell Shen Qingqiu would say something like that when it wasn’t even a fault.
The door was opened to reveal Yue Qingyuan and Qi Qingqi, looking rushed and worried. “I heard about the invasion and returned as quickly as possible. Is Qingqiu-shidi injured in it?” Yue Qingyuan directly walked up to the bed.
“Um, no. But, Zhangmen-shixiong, we need to talk,” Mu Qingfang said.
Yue Qingyuan already seized Shen Qingqiu’s wrist before the younger peak lord could snatch it away, the movement was almost too practiced. Yue Qingyuan injected a wisp of his qi to check for any injury and he soon paled as he looked at Shen Qingqiu.
“Qingqiu-shidi... Why can’t I feel your qi?” Yue Qingyuan asked calmly, his eyes searched Shen Qingqiu’s body for any Immortal Binding Cable that was tied on him to make Yue Qingyuan panic. But even with Immortal Binding Cable, something such as cannot feeling any trace of cultivation at all in someone’s body was a bit too far-fetched...
“Shen-shixiong lost his cultivation,” Mu Qingfang said softly as to not agitate anyone. However, he was indeed too blunt.
“WHAT?!” Qi Qingqi exclaimed incredulously as Yue Qingyuan was too speechless to react. “How could that happen?!” Qi Qingqi immediately walked over and took Shen Qingqiu’s other wrist to inject her qi in. Nothing.
“Stop touching me,” Shen Qingqiu said coldly as he flicked the hands on his wrists off.
“It’s my fault,” Liu Qingge said.
“What happened?” Yue Qingyuan stressed.
“From what Liu-shixiong tell me. It seems like Liu-shixiong suffered qi deviation in the Spirit Cave and attacked Shen-shixiong who tried to help him, Shen-shixiong managed to help him but was wounded. He refused any help and returned to his own cave, however, when Liu-shixiong came to visit to check on him, he found out that Shen-shixiong’s cultivation had disappeared,” Mu Qingfang explained.
“So, this might be because of Liu-shidi’s attack?” Qi Qingqi asked, furrowing her brows.
“It could be, the violent qi might have invaded Shen-shixiong’s own meridian and somehow made his cultivation disappeared.”
“Do you know why this happened?”
“Qingfang doesn’t. Forgive this shidi for being unskilled, shixiong, shijie, but there wasn’t any record about this except for a few unconfirmed folktales,” Mu Qingfang said. “This shidi is useless, this is my fault,” Mu Qingfang bowed down.
“No, it’s my fault,” Yue Qingyuan furrowed his brows. “Qingqiu-shidi always had a history with qi deviation, if only this shixiong prepared more, this wouldn’t have happened... It is this shixiong’s mistake that has harmed him.”
“No, you did nothing wrong Zhangmen-shixiong. It’s my fault,” Liu Qingge insisted.
Why are you guys playing a blame game now? Shen Qingqiu’s head ached badly with these guys trying to take the blame from each other. This wasn’t supposed to happen at all, damn it, can’t he be the villain without being embarrassed by them?
Shen Qingqiu refused to look nor acknowledge any of them as they argued who was wrong, however, his glazed and distant eyes made him seem even more pitiful. Qi Qingqi put her hand on her shixiong’s shoulder, “Be at ease, Shen-shixiong. We’ll find a way out,” she said determinedly.
Ning Yingying nodded, “Shizun, please don’t worry. Ying’er believe you can go through this, please, Ying’er will absolutely take care of anything you need,” she wiped her tears off, but it was useless as more tears flowed down her cheeks. Her heart ached when she saw her usually aloof Shizun to be like this. So fragile-looking and lost.
“Shizun, Ming Fan will take care of everything in this peak until you recover. Please, don’t worry,” Ming Fan also assured.
“Qingqiu-shidi, don’t be stressed. We’ll seek a way out,” Yue Qingyuan stressed.
“Shen-shixiong, Qingfang will devout everything of his power to your recovery,” Mu Qingfang vowed.
“I’ll help with anything,” Liu Qingge said.
Everyone fussed to get Shen Qingqiu’s attention and Shen Qingqiu looked at them all, wait, did that mean all of his duty would be handed to others? This can’t be, according to Shen Qingqiu’s personality that he had carved and planned, he was supposed to be someone who never trusted anyone with his own duty. Shen Qingqiu’s gaze turned cold, “You all taking over this master’s duty, are you gonna rid of me finally?”
“No. Of course no,” Yue Qingyuan immediately denied. “We just want you to not be burdened.”
“I finally didn’t have anything to be useful for, why wouldn’t you get rid of me?” Shen Qingqiu demanded with a glare.
“What is wrong with you? You’re a peak lord, there’s no way we’re getting rid of you!” Liu Qingge said.
Mm, this is the perfect time to show them how much of an asshole he could be. “Get lost! You think this master doesn’t know what is in your mind?!” Shen Qingqiu glanced coldly at them. Come on, come on, come on, please activate to make him more intimidating and made them all alienate from him even more.
[Ding! Act: Chilling Glance has been executed! The Halo’s power has been activated!]
Mu Qingfang covered his mouth and stared at Shen Qingqiu with a look of disbelief. Shen-shixiong... Just how insecure he could be? To even think everyone around him like this, not to mention they were all brothers and sister yet he still couldn’t trust them... This... This case of distrust and insecurity, just how much Shen-shixiong actually suffered inside?
His distrust towards them was really big, his insecurity was even bigger for him to said it outright. Yet, despite so, he saved Liu Qingge and damaged his own cultivation in the process, but not once did he blame anyone, even though no one would blame him if he did so. He only insisted that he was fine, too proud to admit his own disability. Yet when they tried to help he immediately revealed a protective stance, not trusting any of them at all.
He didn’t hesitate to sacrifice himself yet he didn’t trust anyone to do the same... This cold and distant brother of theirs... He turned out to be so fragile, and not just fragile in cultivation or foundation, but also his feeling.
Mu Qingfang looked at Shen Qingqiu in distress and sympathy as he thought of that. In fact, not only him, but the others also reached a roughly same conclusion in their minds.
Ning Yingying sobbed, “Shizun... Shizun... At least, let Ying’er to help you...?” She begged as she took her Shizun’s hand and squeezed it. She might be very young and didn’t understand fully about the implication of Shen Qingqiu’s words but she knew that her Shizun needed help.
Shen Qingqiu blanked. Wait, why did the gazes toward him turn into sympathetic and sad? Didn’t the halo activate? Didn’t they supposed to either feel fear or not daring to look at him at all...? Or at least, being angry?
Was it something he said?
“Qingqiu-shidi, please, let us help you,” Yue Qingyuan held Shen Qingqiu’s shoulders and looked into his eyes deeply. “I swear, we will never stop trying until you recover. No one will try to remove you from your position. In this generation, there’s no one that can be Qing Jing peak lord except you.”
“You can take my oath on it. You saved my life from qi deviation, if there’s anyone who wronged you from now on, they can answer to me,” Liu Qingge vowed.
“Shen-shixiong, please believe me. Qingfang will do anything in his power to cure you, even if it takes a lifetime, I will devout everything and every resource for your recovery,” Mu Qingfang assured with a gentle gaze.
“Shen-shixiong, I know this might be really hard for you. But please depend on us more. We’re your brothers and sister! Or Cang Qiong Sect is one, everyone is family. You are our family, we will never leave anyone behind,” Qi Qingqi passionately stated.
... Yue Qingyuan, he could understand, but why did his three shidi and shimei suddenly being so compassionate towards him?
Ming Fan clenched his fists, “But... How long till Shizun be able to recover?” He asked. “Without his cultivation...”
“No!” Mu Qingfang hastily snapped before Ming Fan could finish.
“This disciple has overstepped his bound,” Ming Fan immediately kneeled down and begged for forgiveness when the other peak lords looked at him in warning. Ning Yingying sobbed harder.
Yue Qingyuan forced out a reassuring smile at Shen Qingqiu, “Qingqiu-shidi, please be at ease... We’ll protect you.”
No, the pressing matter was not protecting him but his cultivation. They didn’t know how long they until they could cure him, if it took too long... Without his cultivation, Shen Qingqiu would grow old and...
That wasn’t the outcome everyone would want.
“Leave,” Shen Qingqiu said. Why can’t they just take the signal and leave? No, they decided to loiter around trying to assure him over something that wasn’t even a problem. When he saw none of them moved, he became angry, “I said LEAVE!!” Shen Qingqiu lashed out.
Mu Qingfang immediately looked at Yue Qingyuan for help, if Shen Qingqiu refused to be treated it can only be a disaster for them.
“Qingqiu-shidi, you need to be-“
“Are you all dumb?! I said leave!” Shen Qingqiu snapped.
“Alright, alright, I will leave, everyone will leave. But let Mu-shidi stay to treat you, okay?” Yue Qingyuan coaxed.
Shen Qingqiu glared, “Fine,” he hissed. He needed Mu Qingfang to ‘slowly recover’ anyways. Since Liu Qingge found him, Shen Qingqiu knew he needed to have someone to slowly ‘cure’ him as he controlled his cultivation’s rebirth.
Yue Qingyuan sighed in relief before nodding at Shen Qingqiu, “Alright, we’ll leave now...” Yue Qingyuan nodded at Liu Qingge and Qi Qingqi who nodded back at him.
Mu Qingfang saluted at the three, Liu Qingge and Qi Qingqi saluted at Shen Qingqiu. The three peak lords walked out and the disciples looked at their Shizun.
“Shizun, Ming Fan will take care of everything, please be at ease,” Ming Fan bowed down.
“Ying’er will take care of Shizun’s needs, please be at ease. Mu-shishu, please don’t hesitate,” Ning Yingying said softly.
“Mm, I will need your help a lot,” Mu Qingfang said as he nodded. Since this condition couldn’t get out to other disciples, Mu Qingfang would need Ning Yingying and Ming Fan’s help a lot.
“You two, quickly leave,” Shen Qingqiu held his head and said in annoyance.
“Disciples excuse themselves,” Ming Fan and Ning Yingying bowed down and walked out.
Luo Binghe couldn’t hold in his curiosity about his Shizun’s condition, especially when Mu Qingfang almost practically stayed in Qing Jing. He didn’t truly stay, mind you, but he came in the morning and left in the afternoon before he came back again at the evening.
Not to mention Bai Zhan’s peak lord, Liu Qingge seemed to frequently stand guard at Qing Jing now. He didn’t seem to even try to hide, just came and started meditating by the koi pond near Shizun’s abode.
Finally, finally, Luo Binghe couldn’t hold in his curiosity and asked Ning Yingying about it, making sure that he looked extra worried and concerned. After a few sentences, Ning Yingying easily melted down and pulled him to a corner where she told him everything in a hushed voice.
Shizun’s cultivation had been harmed because he tried to help Liu-shishu from qi deviation in the Spirit Caves? Luo Binghe felt a spark of concern, despite his Shizun had been nothing but cruel, he was still his Shizun. Luo Binghe truly felt indebted to him for taking him in despite he did nothing but making him miserable. Moreover... Shen Qingqiu had given him a cultivation manual and opened the way for Luo Binghe to cultivate.
Even though he felt resentment towards Shen Qingqiu, his kindness in giving him that cultivation manual earned Luo Binghe’s gratitude all over again.
Luo Binghe easily made up his mind. His Shizun might be cruel, but Luo Binghe owed him. He would do something to lighten his Shizun’s burden.
Shen Qingqiu’s eyes twitched as he brought the small bowl filled with concoction, bitter concoction, to his lips. His eyes twitched even more when he smelled the bitter smell. Mu Qingfang was by his side, watching him intently to make sure he drank everything.
Damn him! Shen Qingqiu hated bitter things the most! This whole ‘cure’ is a disaster! Fuck him and everything! Fuck Mu Qingfang for giving him this! Fuck Yue Qingyuan who insisted everything for his sake! Fuck Liu Qingge for finding him before he could let the pill reconstruct his cultivation!
Shen Qingqiu downed the medicinal soup (motherfucking bitter poison) and handed the bowl back to Mu Qingfang, resisting the urge to just throw it to his face.
Mu Qingfang smiled, “Here, have some tea, Shixiong,” he said as he offered a herb tea that has some sweet taste.
Yeah, the only problem was that ‘some sweet taste’ cannot even be tasted with Shen Qingqiu’s tongue which had been dominated by the bitterness of life.
After sipping the tea, Mu Qingfang bowed and excused himself, saying he would come again later to check on him again. Shen Qingqiu was almost tempted to let his cultivation come back in one night but that would be too suspicious.
‘But to consume that damn bitter ‘medicine’ is an even more tragic fate,’ Shen Qingqiu bitterly thought.
A knock on the door roused Shen Qingqiu from his lament, the first thing Shen Qingqiu wanted to respond with was ‘get lost.’ But his guest quickly announced his presence.
“Shizun, this is Ying’er. Ying’er is with...” Ning Yingying’s voice faltered.
“Shizun, this is Luo Binghe... Can I come in?” Luo Binghe asked humbly.
The son of fate. Shen Qingqiu hadn’t bullied the son of fate for such a long time! Finally he got the chance, he was actually wanted to ask Ming Fan to bring Luo Binghe in tomorrow, but the son of fate had his own initiative and sought him out instead. “Come in,” Shen Qingqiu said coldly.
The two disciples came in quietly with wary and worried faces. The brought something with them. They bowed down to greet him before Ning Yingying stepped aside as Luo Binghe hesitantly stepped up.
“Shizun, I heard you are taking medication for your injury,” Luo Binghe didn’t mention what kind of injury purposefully. Shen Qingqiu’s lost of cultivation was a secret that he wasn’t supposed to know and he didn’t want Ning Yingying to be blamed. Though, it wasn’t a secret that their Shizun might be ‘injured.’
Shen Qingqiu glanced at Ning Yingying and the girl did her part by smiling an enigmatic and understanding smile.
“This lowly disciple made something for Shizun,” Luo Binghe said as he awkwardly smiled and presented the tray he brought and took off the lid. It was a bowl of six flavours soup.
A soup! Something that Shen Qingqiu could throw at Luo Binghe! “Serve it,” Shen Qingqiu said coldly, detached and distant.
Luo Binghe bowed down and served the soup for him, Ning Yingying put a teapot on the table and prepared the teacup. Luo Binghe kneeled down and bowed as he handed a spoon to Shen Qingqiu.
Shen Qingqiu gracefully took the spoon and looked down at the soup. He dipped the spoon into the soup and brought it up-
Oh my God, it smells divine.
Shen Qingqiu faltered, he opened his mouth and put it inside his mouth, ‘Oh. Ooh, okay, this tastes divine...’ the sweet flavor immediately cleansed his mouth from the cursed medicines Mu Qingfang gave him. It tasted incredibly fresh and a bit cold, incredibly sweet without being too sweet.
Shen Qingqiu’s expression softened as he enjoyed the food, this food... He couldn’t bear to toss it away. Eventually he finished the soup clean, Ning Yingying seemed happy when she saw her Shizun finally looked relaxed, she thought that bringing A’Luo here might not be a bad idea after all.
“Shizun, A’Luo also brew this tea. Please enjoy,” Ning Yingying said as she poured the tea into the teacup, the steam danced in the air as if seducing Shen Qingqiu to drink it.
Shen Qingqiu picked up the teacup and took a sip. The tea is also good! It complimented the sweet soup greatly.
“Shizun, how is it?” Ning Yingying asked, holding back her excitement as she glanced at Luo Binghe.
“Mm, not bad,” Shen Qingqiu nodded dignifiedly. “You have some skill,” Shen Qingqiu said after some subtle hesitation.
Luo Binghe felt his chest burst out in excitement and relief as he bowed down, “Thanking Shizun for the compliment.”
“Mm, from now on, you’re in charge of my food,” You think Shen Qingqiu would praise someone without having a secret intention? Those bitter concoction had made him miserable enough to throw away some of his villainous points to praise the son of fate.
“Yes, Shizun!” Luo Binghe beamed in delight as he kneeled down and kowtowed. “This disciple won’t disappoint!”
“Clean these up. I want to rest,” Shen Qingqiu said as he gestured to the table and stood up, walking back to his room.
When the two disciples were outside, Ning Yingying let out a delighted giggle, “Isn’t that great, A’Luo? Now Shizun going to treat you better!” She said. “Your cooking skill is so great to soften Shizun up!”
Luo Binghe smiled, “Yes, Shijie.”
“Where are you going?”
Shen Qingqiu almost jumped disgracefully when he heard the voice and he glared to the person who suddenly appeared behind him, “Can’t I walk around my own peak without being questioned?” he sneered in contempt.
Liu Qingge hesitated, “No, you can walk around as you please. I... Just be mindful of your condition,” Liu Qingge said.
Shen Qingqiu snorted and ignored him as he walked further into the bamboo forest of Qing Jing... But he tripped before he could even walk two steps further.
Shen Qingqiu was startled and flailed ungracefully before Liu Qingge caught him and steadied him on.
“What did I say about being mindful?” Liu Qingge said with a harsh tone on the edge but it sounded half-hearted.
Shen Qingqiu’s face burned, “Shut up!” Shen Qingqiu growled and pushed him away. “Go away, what are you even doing here?” he snapped.
Liu Qingge straightened, “I need to repay my debt-“
“You’re not. Go away, go back to Bai Zhan, my Qing Jing does not accept your kind,” Shen Qingqiu said in frustration as he walked on. Liu Qingge followed silently and Shen Qingqiu sighed in annoyance.
Shen Qingqiu reached a clearing where he usually meditated and trained his sword skill. He inhaled deeply and unsheathed Xiu Ya, the sword had lost its luster because it couldn’t feel its master’s qi but its connection with Shen Qingqiu was still there.
Liu Qingge saw Xiu Ya’s condition and turned somber, “Is it still connected to you?” he asked.
“Of course,” Shen Qingqiu scoffed. Xiu Ya would never lose its connection to him unless one of them was destroyed... Like in their last life.
“I see,” Liu Qingge nodded, gripping Cheng Luan tighter. Liu Qingge watched as Shen Qingqiu got into a stance and immediately forgot about Liu Qingge.
If he wanted to be stronger, he had to improve his swordsmanship. Only then would he be able to be called a peak villain that had succeeded in life. Shen Qingqiu swung his sword, quickly entering the state of contemplation and devoted all of his attention towards his sword and technique.
Liu Qingge watched him in silence. Shen Qingqiu was recovering nicely according to Mu Qingfang, a wisp of his old cultivation peeked every once in a while and it was a great improvement. Every peak lord had been relieved to hear that and Liu Qingge was still devoted in standing guard by Qing Jing if Mu Qingfang did not need him to go on a foraging mission to retrieve some herbs to help Shen Qingqiu.
About Shen Qingqiu, Liu Qingge was certainly very grateful for his help and very guilty that he lost his cultivation even though it was proven that it slowly recovered and actually looked more stable than it was. In this last few days, Liu Qingge had devoted himself to watch over Shen Qingqiu and not daring to step into his personal space.
If even Yue Qingyuan was unhesitantly kicked out every time he visited more than five minutes, Liu Qingge didn’t want to know what Shen Qingqiu would do to him if he entered his abode.
Liu Qingge leaned his chin on Chen Luan’s sword hilt, he looked at Shen Qingqiu’s cold feature and mused. Who knew behind that cold and harsh front he was actually really fragile inside? Liu Qingge recalled the scene from when he first brought him back.
“That’s not how you do it,” Liu Qingge spoke up when he saw Shen Qingqiu misstepped at one point in his technique.
Shen Qingqiu glanced chillingly at him but Liu Qingge ignored him as he stood up and walked over.
“When you stepped with your right foot and wanted to transfer all to burden to the left, you incline your body like this,” Liu Qingge said as he showed how it done.
Shen Qingqiu looked at him and haughtily ignored him, but when he got into that movement again, he did it perfectly like what Liu Qingge taught, grudgingly. It’s okay, he just had to be better, after this, Liu Qingge would regret for ever teaching him the right way when Shen Qingqiu got to the point of betraying him.
Liu Qingge saw Shen Qingqiu actually did what he said and smiled. So they were right. That difficult and distant front was only a mask to cover up the fragile thing inside. Was this the true Shen Qingqiu? Cute...
Liu Qingge blinked rapidly and shook his head, what did he just think? That’s... weird. But lately, Shen Qingqiu really did feel... softer? Liu Qingge immediately pushed it out of his mind with a rapid shake of his head. He immediately joined Shen Qingqiu in his light training to get his mind off of stupid things.
Yue Qingyuan came to visit and couldn’t find Shen Qingqiu, after worriedly roaming around Qing Jing, he found his two shidis were training alongside each other despite looking like they were ignoring each other. Yue Qingyuan stopped and smiled. He really hoped this would improve and Xiao Jiu would finally be honest of his feeling.
Yue Qingyuan always knew Xiao Jiu only seemed harsh because people didn’t really know him. Now their brothers and sister started to see it, Yue Qingyuan hoped Xiao Jiu would finally come out of his shell someday...
Luo Binghe put down the tray and served the food silently as Shen Qingqiu tried to not look interested to the new confectionary he brought.
“Shizun, please,” Luo Binghe stepped back and bowed as he hugged the tray close to his chest.
Shen Qingqiu indifferently picked up his spoon and started eating.
Luo Binghe’s eyes trained carefully on Shen Qingqiu as he gripped his tray harder, his eyes faltered in between hate and some other complicated feelings. His chest felt tight, he had an urge to laugh out loud in the most bitter way and cried at the same time.
He recalled the words of that mysterious Dream Demon which had brought him a lot of troubles last night with Ning Yingying in the dream world. Ning Yingying didn’t remember anything in the next morning but Luo Binghe remembered everything. Including the piece of information that Dream Demon told him about his cultivation manual.
In this last few days, Luo Binghe had feel content in the current status quo of serving his Shizun, but that Dream Demon’s words disturbed his mind greatly. Especially when all the Dream Demon said about that cultivation manual had been true. The side effect, the difficulties... everything. And upon further investigation, it was... true.
Did his Shizun truly want him to die out of qi deviation caused by incomplete cultivation manual...?
Luo Binghe felt like crying and screaming.
He had put so much hope and trust in his Shizun, giving him chances again and again. Despite all he had done to Luo Binghe, Luo Binghe still felt a filial piety towards him. But if he truly wanted him to die... Luo Binghe could only resign and made him his sworn enemy.
“Is there something wrong with this master for you to stare like that?” Shen Qingqiu said unpleasantly and Luo Binghe was snapped out of his daze.
Luo Binghe quickly averted his eyes and lowered his head, “No, Shizun... Th-this disciple lost in his thought just now. Apologize for disturbing Shizun...”
Shen Qingqiu snorted and continued with his lunch.
Luo Binghe slowly looked up again to his Shizun’s side profile. His Shizun might not be the most beautiful person, but he was absolutely devastatingly beautiful. His face was truly pleasant to look at and no one would feel tired to look at it. Luo Binghe’s heart faltered again as he stared at Shen Qingqiu in disappointment and anger. He knew it was selfish and foolish, but he truly didn’t want his Shizun to hate him so much that he wanted to kill him...
Shen Qingqiu looked up and their eyes met, “Is there anything you want to say, mongrel?” Shen Qingqiu furrowed his brows.
Luo Binghe jolted slightly and looked away, he pursed his lips. He hesitated, “Sh-Shizun... This disciple... This disciple found himself an obstacle while cultivating. This disciple wonders if Shizun could point out his flaw...” Luo Binghe asked.
Shen Qingqiu might not have full access of his cultivation right now, but to point out flaws for him didn’t need any cultivation. Had it was before, Shen Qingqiu wouldn’t hesitate to add his villainous point by refusing Luo Binghe and even punish him. But Luo Binghe was currently his chef, so he had no choice... “Explain yourself,” Shen Qingqiu said.
Luo Binghe began to explain his made-up explanation that was half-based on a true story and Shen Qingqiu furrowed his brows.
Was the son of fate this stupid? But Shen Qingqiu had made sure it was a manual that has no plus points nor minus points, in short, a completely mediocre one. How could such problems appear?
“Where’s your cultivation manual?” Shen Qingqiu held his forehead and massaged his temples. Could it be Luo Binghe truly wasn’t made for human cultivation? Right, didn’t he have that Dream Demon to teach him cultivation? Where did Luo Binghe get that cheap demon? It should be before Immortal Alliance Conference- whatever, since Luo Binghe had asked, Shen Qingqiu would answer first.
Luo Binghe took out the incomplete manual and handed it to Shen Qingqiu, not showing anything on his face.
Shen Qingqiu paused when he saw the cover, he flipped open the manual and his eyes twitched... This wasn’t the mediocre manual he instructed Ming Fan to give to Luo Binghe...
That Ming Fan, did he want to compete with Shen Qingqiu to be the most villainous one?! Now, come to think of it, back in the previous life, Luo Binghe indeed mentioned about incomplete manual but Shen Qingqiu had been too focused in not screaming in pain because of the tortures. So this is what he meant...
However, Shen Qingqiu still couldn’t stop himself but to praise the son of fate’s tenacity. He didn’t die from implosion, truly praiseworthy.
“Ming Fan gave you this?” Shen Qingqiu asked indifferently.
“Call your shixiong here,” Shen Qingqiu ordered.
Luo Binghe blinked, “Yes, Shizun,” he nodded and went outside. A few minutes later, he came back with Ming Fan.
Ming Fan bowed down to Shen Qingqiu, “Shizun,” he greeted.
Shen Qingqiu glanced at him and tossed the manual before Ming Fan, “This isn’t what I told you to give to Luo Binghe,” Shen Qingqiu didn’t realize his slip of using Luo Binghe’s name but Luo Binghe did. Luo Binghe inhaled and calmed down his heart as he watched the scene.
Ming Fan was startled and soon paled as he lowered his head, “Shizun...” He started.
“I did not realize that you’re already ready to be the peak lord, to even choose a cultivation manual for your shidi yourself and ignoring my order. How brave of you,” Shen Qingqiu said with a sneer.
“No, Shizun. This disciple doesn’t dare...”
“Then, explain to me why is your shidi cultivating the manual I never even lay my eyes on?” Shen Qingqiu raised his brows. “I already handed the manual to you, your only job was to hand it over but you handed over a different one. Are you trying to test your power here, Ming Fan?” Shen Qingqiu said and sipped his tea.
Ming Fan lowered his head and Luo Binghe looked at him with dark coldness.
“Speak!” Shen Qingqiu flung the teacup in his hand towards Ming Fan and Ming Fan flinched as it shattered in front of him.
“This disciple is wrong. Begging Shizun to punish,” Ming Fan clenched his jaw and kowtowed.
Shen Qingqiu looked at Ming Fan, blinked, then looked at Luo Binghe. He blinked rapidly. Wait, there was something wrong here... Why did he start bullying Ming Fan instead of the son of fate?
Shen Qingqiu covered his lower face with his paper fan. Ah shit, whatever, let’s just continue. “You truly have disappointed this master!” Shen Qingqiu chastised.
[Ding! ‘Disappoint’ detected! Special feature activated!]
Shen Qingqiu paused, special feature?
‘What is this special feature about?’ Shen Qingqiu questioned.
[Special feature is to add the seriousness of the situation, host!]
‘Fuck, you can talk?’
[Only to your excellency!]
‘Then, can you help me to be even crueler without destroying my potential early?’
[Halo doesn’t understand the command. Would you like to run a free trial instead?]
‘What’s a free trial?’
[A free trial is for the halo to take complete control and activated its power to the maximum for greater effect on the host’s fate! You have three free trials left.]
‘What the hell, I’ll take it. Create a situation where this would be very favorable for me where I could hurt both.’
[White Lotus Halo: Free Trial Activated!]
‘-White what-? Hold on!’
“Sh-Shizun...?” Luo Binghe murmured when he saw two trails of tears flowed down Shen Qingiu’s cheeks. Ming Fan looked up, shocked.
“You truly have disappointed this master this time, Ming Fan. How could you try to kill your own shidi?” Shen Qingqiu glared at Ming Fan. “No matter how unfair I might be in the past, it was all to show you all about the real world! In the end, we’re all family, you’re all my disciples. Luo Binghe might be very different than any of you who were children of prominent families, but he is still your shidi!”
“I might be harsh to him, but that’s because he came from the same background as me and I have more expectation for him!”
“Wh-what?” Ming Fan’s eyes widened.
“Shizun...?” Luo Binghe gasped.
Shen Qingqiu sighed, “That’s right, are you surprised? I indeed came from a very humble background like Luo Binghe. When I came here, many disciples of Qing Jing back then despised me but I used that as my motivation and here I am, being the peak lord of Qing Jing. I have the same expectation of Luo Binghe, even though I have no intention to let him be my successor, I expect him to grow splendidly. I let you all do anything as you please, those from Bai Zhan did worse to their own, but for trying to kill your own shidi... Unforgivable.”
“I have my expectation for you Ming Fan and you betrayed my trust! Go to the Quiet Reflection hall to repent and copy the Art of Discipline for five hundred times! You’re not allowed to come out until you reflected on it fully!” Shen Qingqiu ordered and Ming Fan kowtowed again.
When Ming Fan left, Luo Binghe looked at Shen Qingqiu again. There was no trace of resentment in his eyes, only devotion and gentle affection. “Shizun... Is that true? You... You have your own expectation for me?”
Shen Qingqiu’s eyes turned cold. He regained his control over his body... What had happened? He looked at Luo Binghe and noticed Ming Fan had gone... Why did he look at Shen Qingqiu with that shy and affectionate look?
“Leave,” Shen Qingqiu turned his head away and hid his expression behind his fan as he furrowed his brows.
Luo Binghe blinked and smiled brightly, his Shizun is being shy... “Yes, Shizun,” He bowed down, he first kneeled down to collect the shattered remains of the teacup Shen Qingqiu had flung and walked out of the door.
Shen Qingqiu touched his cheek and felt it was wet. “What the hell?” He hissed darkly as he wiped his tears off.
“Damn it, I got scammed,” Shen Qingqiu growled. “White Lotus halo? Fucking son of a bitch!” He swore as he looked at himself in the mirror. No wonder they all looked at him with sympathy instead of fear! Damn it, did he really look like a white lotus in their eyes now?!
“Fuck it!” Shen Qingqiu cursed.
He needed a plan. A new plan.
Chapter 2: The Snake
This has been sitting in my draft for a while... Lately, my muses decided to glance at it and grace it again... Don't look at me with those hopeful eyes, I can't promise you anything!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
After pushing Luo Binghe off into the Endless Abyss, all the while staring coldly into his eyes as he fell, Shen Qingqiu felt relieved. Now that son of fate had fallen to his rightful place, Shen Qingqiu only needed to proceed with his easier planning.
Shen Qingqiu wiped his eyes that had been invaded by dust and sniffed, wiping off a few tears in the process. That damn Mo Beijun, how could it be him?! He wasn’t prepared for such a strong demon to come and spar with him at all!
Although Shen Qingqiu was far stronger now, he couldn’t just fight Mo Beijun without preparation. In fact, Shen Qingqiu had used all of his effort to fight that damn ice bitch now he felt like his arms were no more.
Shen Qingqiu sighed...
He got five years.
After five years, Luo Binghe would return and started his counter-attack towards him. In that span of time, Shen Qingqiu needed to alienate himself from Cang Qiong Mountain Sect, alienate himself further from his disciples, and then leave the Sect without any prompting. That was a good way to go.
Maybe he should leave a human experiment lab somewhere in Qing Jing? So that when they searched for him or when Luo Binghe searched for him, they would find that secret lab and would condemn Shen Qingqiu even more?
Shen Qingqiu saw that scenario once in the seventh world he had lived in. Of course, he was nothing but a little bad guard who supported the villain there, died tragically too. He doubted anyone even knew him there.
Surely, even this useless un-returnable halo wouldn’t be able to mess with such disgusting and villainous act, right?
... Hm, Shen Qingqiu could use some real human trashes like rapists to be his experiment model. Kill them, cut them up a bit, arrange them a bit fancily, sprinkle some random medicines, seals, unfinished spiritual treasures- he would nail the scenery for sure.
He couldn’t ask Qian Cao peak to get some random herbs for his ‘experiment’, they would be suspicious and Mu Qingfang would overreact again. Shen Qingqiu didn’t know why, his shidi in this life was very prone to overreact and tell the other peak lords. Must be the halo...
Also, going out of the Sect was a pain to do, mainly because everyone would keep asking him where would he go and if he was feeling okay. Shen Qingqiu tried to alienate himself from them, but they made it very hard to do that.
“Qingqiu-shidi!” He could hear Yue Qingyuan’s exclamation from behind, Shen Qingqiu put up his ice-cold mask and turned around.
Shen Qingqiu felt like the White Lotus Halo was the bane of his very existence.
Lately, he had been very sure that he had act rather mean and bad. Even worse than his previous try in this world, but nothing happened! Everyone was still treating him nicely and never keep a grudge!
It also didn’t help that they all looked at him with deep and meaningful gazes pity ever since Luo Binghe’s ‘death.’
Shen Qingqiu didn’t understand why, all he did was staring coldly at them when he told them about Luo Binghe’s death. He was sure he looked absolutely cold and heartless, uncaring about his disciples’ death. Refusing to bring home Zheng Yang, because that beast was disowned anyway, he forbade anyone for ever talking about Luo Binghe, always cutting them up coldly when they tried to. But from some reason, they all cried and hugged him like he was a poor widow whose husband just died in the battlefield. How could they even misinterpret that!?
Fuck the White Lotus halo! How could he break this stupid, shitty and pathetic halo!? He wants a refund! Damn it, without this halo, he could be a scum villain just fine, but with this halo, being a crook alone is already very hard! That being said, of course, Shen Qingqiu’s aspiration was higher than being a mere crook.
However, in the end, making a human experiment lab was something that couldn’t be done because of the amount of surveillance around him... And also his thinning patience when faced with his fellow peak lords, disciples, martial nephews, and martial nieces.
He had to wait for one entire year to make sure his foolish disciples all settled down after the death of one of their own. After preparing for everything, Shen Qingqiu finally ran away in the dark of night without anyone knowing and not leaving anything behind at all.
That morning, Qing Jing peak was in shamble when they visited their Shizun to get their daily dose of peace by just looking at their Shizun’s face (they didn’t know why, something about Shen Qingqiu just calming and cooling in their opinion, which was strange as they never felt anything like this before). Why? Because they couldn’t find their Shizun and Xiu Ya, his sword.
They reported this to Qiong Ding peak and Yue Qingyuan immediately searched for Shen Qingqiu himself but no traces left.
That day, the whole Cang Qiong Mountain Sect was in shamble. Searching for the poor and ‘mourning’ peak lord of Qing Jing.
Shen Qingqiu trudged along the path of Bai Lu Forest seriously. He already thought of it seriously, he had no grudge against Zhao Hua Temple’s monks even though they were all annoying and he had continuous urge to hit their baldy heads when they preached. He also had no grudge against the people of Tian Yi Overlook, although they were also very unnerving most of the times.
No matter what, he couldn’t kill any of them so suddenly.
Huan Hua Palace is different, though.
Shen Qingqiu had grudge against them, not only they were all pretentious assholes, most of them dealt in many shady deals that Shen Qingqiu was even jealous of their corrupt way. It had to be known the on of fate, Luo Binghe, had to uproot some elders who tried to rebel against him because of his young age when he took over the Palace Master after marrying the little Palace Princess.
How did Shen Qingqiu know this? Huan Hua Palace’s disciples were all gossipy even when they were in prison duty. And Shen Qingqiu was bored, aside for being tied up, bleeding, feeling every inch of his body screaming as the demon blood coursing hatefully inside him- he had nothing to do.
As a dimension jumper, his ability to withstand pain was pretty high. After all, he died dozens of times. Whoever said that death was painless? It hurt like a bitch. Shen Qingqiu didn’t dare to say he had experienced every way of death, but from his dozens experience, eleven out of ten hurt like a bitch. Whether it was lightning fast death or slow and prolonged death. Being tortured... Was really painful but the reward after all of those was plenty that Shen Qingqiu could let it slide. He didn't want to be tortured again though, he wanted to die an honorable villain death. Which was swift and dramatic.
That was why Shen Qingqiu really admire that one senior who had experienced hundreds of death, all in the way of a villain.
Back to his problem, Shen Qingqiu was currently thinking up a way to taint his name more. He would make sure to create as many crime as possible, leaving trace yet never show up his face. Since if people hear and not seeing, they would come up with many misunderstanding.
What good this white lotus halo could be when people didn’t face him directly? Haha, that’s right, Shen Qingqiu would just make a crime and control others behind the screen, would the white lotus halo work that way? Shen Qingqiu was not one hundred percent sure, but it shouldn’t be.
This halo might be able to hypnotize people and confuse them. But when it wasn’t around, who would be able to stop the people from exaggerating and condemning?
Shen Qingqiu would lure and kill someone important from Huan Hua Palace. Preferably an elder. An easy thing to do. If Shen Qingqiu recalled right, the one who appeared in the gossip the most was the second elder? Shen Qingqiu will kill that old guy, how dare him to have so many evil deeds? Better killing him early to get rid of competitions.
Coming to Bai Lu Forest had been a part of his plan, he would disturb the formation laid here and lure someone out. If a disciple came, he would let them go. If two came, he’d send one home and hold the other a hostage to lure an even bigger fish.
If an elder came, just directly kill. Elders had their own special life jade that would break when they died, regardless, many other elders would come to investigate. Solid plan. Flawless. Moreover, if he created a grudge with Huan Hua Palace early on, Luo Binghe would integrate more easily with them and with less opposition too since their enemy was the same, Shen Qingqiu.
He also had to prevent the white lotus halo from ruining his plan... Ugh- Shen Qingqiu should have asked for a halo removal item or something when he was in that damn store.
He wouldn’t let a wrong purchase ruining his entire career.
“A killer trap, a cave will be nice...” Shen Qingqiu mused loudly.
After walking for so long, he finally found a cave. Going around and investigating, Shen Qingqiu created a plan to mess up with the formation, leave a few traces that would be followed by whoever that came which would lead them to the cave, the plan can commence then.
Shen Qingqiu gritted his teeth as he took out a large bottle of blood that somehow was in his list of purchase with other flasks of blood, Shen Qingqiu read the label. “Villain package: In case you want to perform a forbidden ritual. Attracts wild beasts- whatever,” beasts are his least concern right now.
Shen Qingqiu sprinkled the fake blood.
“So ugly...” Shen Qingqiu murmured. Turned out, the label was not kidding when it said it attracted wild beasts.
The white and deformed huge snake in front of him hissed, staring at him carefully. In Shen Qingqiu’s many lives, it was the first time he saw a creature so ugly that looking at it alone made his eyes hurt. Shen Qingqiu almost pitied it, just which beasts that decided it was a good idea to crossbreeding? Didn’t they pity their offspring?
But it was one of a kind. So ugly and evil-looking.
“Do you want to be my pet?” Shen Qingqiu’s eyes flickered in dark determination as he unsheathed Xiu Ya. Snake is an embodiment of evil, many high-class villains in his previous worlds had snakes as their pet, mount, or wives. If he could get a deformed snake as his pet, it would be his signature animal.
Zhuzhi-Lang stared at the human in front of him in bewilderment. He came because he sensed a disturbance so close to the cave which held Sun and Moon Dew Flower Seeds and also the strong smell of divine blood. He didn’t expect to see a single human sprinkling the divine heavenly blood like it was a waste of space.
Seeing such a good item that could certainly help him to build a perfect body for his uncle was wasted, of course Zhuzhi-Lang felt heartache. However, a single human sprinkling divine blood around, Zhuzhi-Lang was suspicious. No matter how much he looked at it, it was like a flashing sign of ‘trap.’
In the end, Zhuzhi-Lang couldn’t just stay quiet when the man kept wasting a treasure, he had to reveal himself directly to stop him. Hoping to scare the man and snatch that flask of blood- he would pay him back later. However, the man simply stared at him in a mix of horror, disgust, and pity. Horror and disgust were normal. But pity?
And now, he wanted Zhuzhi-Lang to be his pet?
Did he know Zhuzhi-Lang was the Zhuzhi-Lang?
“If you follow me, I can find you a mate that would be willing to be with you,” Shen Qingqiu half-heartedly promised.
... Never mind. This man didn’t sound like he knew this deformed white snake was the vaunted demon general at all. Zhuzhi-Lang stared carefully at the gleaming sword in the man’s hand, it looked like a type of sword that would surely produce bright light, Zhuzhi-Lang couldn’t risk it at all.
Hissing softly as a sign of peace, Zhuzhi-Lang lowered his head, keeping his eyes on the sword. Shen Qingqiu understood what he meant and reluctantly resheathed Xiu Ya much to Zhuzhi-Lang’s relief. Looks like this man could be coaxed over, no need for violence then.
“A... aa...” Zhuzhi-Lang tried to communicate.
“What?” Shen Qingqiu blinked.
After a painful moment of attempts to communicate, Shen Qingqiu finally understood what Zhuzhi-Lang meant and raised the half-full flask, “You want this?”
Zhuzhi-Lang nodded frantically. A few drops of that divine blood alone would suffice to build a stronger body for his master, of course he wants it.
“... You understand me?” Shen Qingqiu voiced out his suspicion.
Zhuzhi-Lang nodded again.
Great. An intellectual but a mute, “You will follow me if I give you this blood?” Because searching a mate for a snake this ugly sounded way harder than to just give him a jug of blood.
Zhuzhi-Lang hesitated for a bit before nodding solemnly. He would pay whoever grace him. Ten folds, one hundred folds, he would die for his benefactor.
“What do you want to do? Is it going to make you stronger and able to talk?” Shen Qingqiu asked again.
Well... Zhuzhi-Lang nodded. Technically, it could. But Zhuzhi-Lang would only use it for his uncle.
Shen Qingqiu raised his brows, so it truly wasn’t a useless flask of blood. Shen Qingqiu could sense something different about this blood, but in the end, he was a human, he couldn’t feel everything. Demons were much more sensitive to divine blood especially a part-Heavenly Demon like Zhuzhi-Lang.
Shen Qingqiu hesitated, this was an intelligent beast. How could Shen Qingqiu trust it wouldn’t turn on Shen Qingqiu when he grew stronger?
Zhuzhi-Lang noticed the distrust in Shen Qingqiu’s clear eyes and slithered over slowly, he ignored how Shen Qingqiu’s hand tensed on Xiu Ya and kowtowed to the human. Shen Qingqiu’s eyes went wide.
“Sssha...” Zhuzhi-Lang hissed mournfully. He really didn’t want to fight someone who didn’t even have a bad intention towards him, moreover, this man looked kind and his source of hope currently.
Shen Qingqiu mused. This beast looked weak, Shen Qingqiu could kill him before he got stronger should he betray him. In any case, he had thrown away the blood so carelessly, who is to say that he wouldn’t be able to use the blood on the ground? Might as well give it to him to gain his favor.
“Alright,” Shen Qingqiu nodded.
Zhuzhi-Lang raised his head, touched. Just a few pure drops-
“Here,” Shen Qingqiu gave the entire half-full flask. “Drink it,” Shen Qingqiu felt he had done his good deed of the day and looked at Zhuzhi-Lang expectantly.
“Open your mouth, I’ll pour it in for you,” See? He was so kind to even pour it in himself, after giving this grace, he would gain a pet that he would abuse with impossible missions to intercept the son of fate a lot in the future. It wasn’t a bad price.
Zhuzhi-Lang stared incredulously. Wasn’t this man too kind?! Zhuzhi-Lang only needed a few drops from the flask, the blood that already touch the earth was not pure anymore and already integrated with the soil, that was why Zhuzhi-Lang needed unsullied drops, but half a bottle? Which deity had decided he was bored enough to throw around a bottle of divine blood?!
“Sss...” Zhuzhi-Lang shook his head. If Zhuzhi-Lang drank the half-full bottle of blood, he might as well explode. Zhuzhi-Lang gestured frantically as Shen Qingqiu stared blankly.
The two man and beast once again experienced a moment of several failed conversation before Zhuzhi-Lang gave up and began to frantically gesture on a way which Shen Qingqiu understood in the first try.
“Follow you? Okay,” Shen Qingqiu nodded as he strode after the huge white snake demon.
On the other hand, Zhuzhi-Lang felt a mixed feeling as Shen Qingqiu obediently followed him. He was happy, sure, but he was also concerned for a cultivator following a deformed ugly snake monster just because it gestured so. This immortal is indeed too kind...
Shen Qingqiu was confident in himself, he wasn’t that weak and fragile peak lord anymore. His cultivation had been reset and was greater than before that even Mu Qingfang thought it was a miracle, not to mention, he also had consumed a pill that raised his talent root from that damn store. Huan Hua Palace’s Palace Master did not even enter his eyes now. Following a beast that he had seen as his own pet was not a problem.
As they trudged on, Zhuzhi-Lang kept picking a dark route as he couldn’t stand the sun, the path was getting darker and damper as Shen Qingqiu walked further.
Eventually, they stopped before a large pile of rock. With his eyes, Shen Qingqiu could see the hidden sealing formation on them, he suddenly felt uneasy. “What are we doing here?” Shen Qingqiu asked.
Zhuzhi-Lang did not say anything as he lowered himself and gestured for Shen Qingqiu to mount him. Shen Qingqiu crossed his arms suspiciously, he looked at the pile of rocks and then to Zhuzhi-Lang. Was he some kind of divine beast trying to show him the way of power? Wasn’t that the son of fate’s job to get some kind of divine power?
Moreover, Shen Qingqiu had a feeling it wasn’t a divine power... Especially with such an ugly creature. “If I die, I’ll drag you with me,” Shen Qingqiu finally sighed and gave in to his cursed curiosity.
Zhuzhi-Lang looked at him in amusement as the human jumped and landed on his scaly back. Zhuzhi-Lang turned serious immediately, time to trespass some seals without a trace.
Shen Qingqiu almost fell off when Zhuzhi-Lang moved, he quickly used his qi to secure himself and squatted down. He astonishedly watched as the giant snake slithered, coiled, and avoided many, many, trigger points of the formation seal, continuously pressing forward without stopping.
For some reason, he felt a bit useless but he quickly waved that thought off when they reached the very depth of the mountain. The pressure of the air was low and suffocating, it was both damp and hot in here.
Zhuzhi-Lang hissed loudly to announce his presence and a pair of dark eyes in the darkness opened.
“Ah...” Zhuzhi-Lang responded.
Shen Qingqiu stared as dread pooled in his stomach, he already had a bad feeling about this at first. But now, he truly regretted it.
Tian Langjun moved his body, slow and feeble but looking extremely eerie. In the darkness, Shen Qingqiu couldn’t see clearly but from the rotting stench, he knew it wasn’t a pleasant sight.
He found himself a real villain boss...
“Was he really that broken-hearted? It’s just a disciple, I... I’d mourn too, but this is...” Wei Qingwei turned to his brothers and sister who all looked thoughtfully solemn.
“Refusing to look at the remains of his disciple’s sword, refusing to talk about him, and now he’s leaving the place full of memories about his late favourite disciple that he failed to protect. I say, it’s really a broken heart,” Ye Qingjiu, the peak lord of Zui Xian, slurred.
“How about we warrant a search? It’s been a week since he’s gone without any news,” Mu Qingfang didn’t care about such gossip and only cared for his fragile shixiong’s safety and wellbeing.
“That’s a good idea, Mu-shidi,” Yue Qingyuan nodded. “The disciples of Qing Jing are also getting restless. I think, if we send them out for a search, it could ease them somehow.”
“Not to mention, it also can be a form of training,” Liu Qingge agreed.
“Good idea, but we also can’t be too obvious since the other sects might get the wrong idea,” Qi Qingqi’s eyes darkened and everyone agreed with her.
“Alright, then, it’s decided,” Yue Qingyuan nodded.
Meanwhile, in a place somewhere in the demon world, void of life and light, a youth looked up and clenched his newly attained sword back in the Abyss. Red demon mark shone on his forehead, promising nothing but destruction to those who opposed him. His originally black eyes bled into crimson, shining eerily in the dark.
He finally got out of that hellish place, Endless Abyss. Luo Binghe’s eyes flickered back and turned black as he resheathed his rebellious sword back into its scabbard.
A feeling of relief and tiredness overcame him as he squinted his eyes up, just like he always did for the last one year he was trapped in Endless Abyss.
Slowly he crawled up by himself. Slowly... He’s slowly making his way back to... To his Shizun.
Luo Binghe clenched his hands, he remembered that shaking hand that pushed him off, a pair of red and teary eyes which refused to look away from him as he fell, as if he wanted to take responsibility in seeing Luo Binghe off... Away.
Luo Binghe clenched his jaw as he raised his hand and covered his red demon mark. All because of this. Because of his dangerous and sinful heritage. He betrayed his Shizun’s expectation of him and forced him to cast Luo Binghe away.
Luo Binghe had spent so much time to mull over it, he was angry at his Shizun. Furious. But when he remembered that pair of clear eyes reddened and stared at him as he fell... Luo Binghe found himself to be unable to...
When Luo Binghe took up Xin Mo, that feeling of anger and indignance came back, multiplied. However, as Luo Binghe spent time to control it, that feeling subsided a bit. Despair, disappointment and longing overtook him. Ever since he took up Xin Mo, he also randomly recalled all those times his Shizun had been very cruel to him. But on the other side, there’s another force inside him that insisted to never forget his kindness...
A light pink that dusted his cheek when he tried the sweet soup, Luo Binghe found himself to be fascinated on such sight. “Mm, not bad. You have some skills,” he later on complimented which almost made Luo Binghe burst from joy. “From now on, you’re in charge of my food.”
A light gaze of curiousity pinned on Luo Binghe as he served the desserts on the table, Luo Binghe finally couldn’t resist to peek on his Shizun’s expression and what he saw almost made him broke into a stupid grin. His Shizun was eyeing the sweet confectionaries he had prepared with earnest interest, Luo Binghe was confident a small smile was present from behind that green paper fan, oh how much he longed to see it. “You can leave now,” His Shizun dismissed him indifferently. Luo Binghe smiled and bowed down.
Luo Binghe couldn’t resist a grin when he left and heard a light, appreciative, hum from his usually aloof Shizun. His heart longed for a moment where he would be allowed to stay inside and watched his Shizun eating all of those dishes Luo Binghe had made. He sighed, maybe in the distant future...
Luo Binghe witnessed how Shen Qingqiu looked away and used his fan to cover up his expression, his back looked so lonely and desolate, making Luo Binghe yearn to hold him and comfort him. To tell him that Luo Binghe didn’t mind the double standard placed upon him now he knew the truth. To tell him that Luo Binghe still idolized him regardless of his past that wasn’t as prestigious as many people seemed to think. “Shizun...” he called out, however, his Shizun looked at him with squinted eyes, seemingly holding back embarrassment. “Leave,” a single word left his Shizun’s mouth and Luo Binghe’s lips couldn’t help but to quirk up. Such act, it was very cute of his aloof Shizun to do.
In the midst of the girls’ soft protests, Luo Binghe couldn’t believe it when his Shizun put up the list of disciples who would be allowed to go in the Immortal Alliance Conference. Which only consist two names, Ming Fan and Luo Binghe. “Shizun... Only the two of us?” He asked, unsure.
“Mm, it’s too dangerous for the others,” His Shizun said indifferently.
“Shizun, what makes A’Luo qualified? He’s my shidi, ah,” Ning Yingying whined. “If I’m not going, then, he shouldn’t be going too!”
“No,” Shen Qingqiu shook his head seriously. “He has to go. He can handle it.”
“Shizun... Trust this disciple?” Luo Binghe stared with hope. At his Shizun’s reluctant nod, Luo Binghe’s face light up in excitement and pride, “This disciple will not disappoint you!”
Luo Binghe gritted his teeth, no matter what, he couldn’t get rid of the good memories... Luo Binghe dropped his head and his eyes gleamed red again. But this anger also couldn’t disappear, mixing with his positive feeling for his Shizun and turning it into something else.
“I’ll definitely be strong enough and return to you, Shizun,” Luo Binghe clenched his hands. “At that time, you didn’t have to have expectation on me again. I will give everything to you until you wouldn’t be able to ask for anything else. But in return... You will have to stay by my side forever.”
“I don’t understand what you’re trying to say at all!” Shen Qingqiu snapped at the two demons, one inside the powerful seal and another in front of him. “Why can’t any of you talk!?”
“Ah...” Zhuzhi-Lang struggled. “Sshelp... bloo-sh...”
“Sigh...” Tian Langjun sighed.
“What? Shelves? Bloosh?”
“Dee- vine,” Zhuzhi-Lang gestured.
“Vine? Pine?” Shen Qingqiu got more and more impatient as they continued. “Are all demons dumb?! Speak human!” Shen Qingqiu scolded.
Tian Langjun felt aggrieved, he used to be able to speak, but years sealed and left to rot here made him unable to. He couldn’t even form a coherent word with his rotten voice core, it wasn’t only Shen Qingqiu who was frustrated, he was too!
“Blood? Body? The blood? You need the blood for your body? No?? For Tian Langjun’s body?” Meanwhile the attempts of conversation still continued on, Shen Qingqiu gritted his teeth and disgracefully guessed whatever he could interpret.
Zhuzhi-Lang nodded furiously.
Shen Qingqiu had an urge to wipe off his sweat, “Can you write?” he asked seriously.
Zhuzhi-Lang shook his head.
Tian Langjun groaned. He wrote the best words, the most articulate of demons... once. This is just painful.
“Alright, talking with you only made my blood pressure shot off to the roof. Let me say my understanding and you can either nod or shake your head,” Shen Qingqiu ordered.
“So, you’re the demon general.” A nod. “You want to make a new body for Tian Langjun,” another nod. “From my understanding, if you made a new body for him, that means he also would be able to transfer his soul to it if he kills himself in there, that way, he would be freed,” a hesitant nod. “After that, you will make a move and dominate the human world,” a frantic head shake.
No? But his villain-reading intention was top-notch, how could he get it wrong?
“Once Tian Langjun is freed, you will destroy the human world?”
Zhuzhi-Lang blinked incredulously and once again shook his head with frantic pace.
Not dominating, not also destroying, then what?
“Once you’re freed, you’ll get revenge?” Shen Qingqiu said passionately.
Zhuzhi-Lang only hesitated for half a second before he honestly nod his head much to Tian Langjun’s horror and despair.
“Agh...” Tian Langjun groaned lamentingly. How could he have such a foolishly honest nephew? Why did you tell him that they were planning for revenge if Tian Langjun could ever get out? That guy is a human, you know? And he looked very pristine and seemed to hold a title too. Why would he help us now?
“Perfect,” Shen Qingqiu nodded, pleased. “I’ll help you.”
See? There’s no way-
Hold on, wait the fuck, WHAT?!
“Hah?!” Tian Langjun made a noise of incredulity which would sound a lot louder if only his voice core was not so rotten.
“I will help you two, let me join in your quest,” Shen Qingqiu’s lips bloomed into a grin. Like his Qianbei* once said, a villain- a true villain- had his own halo, a protection and assurance to do everything evil that can only be foiled by the son of fate in the very end. An existence so dangerous, second beloved of fate herself, the villain king. If Shen Qingqiu worked with Tian Langjun, his natural villain halo might be able to overpower this damn White Lotus Halo that Shen Qingqiu had.
Moreover, working together is way easier than working alone. If he couldn’t be the main villain, then, at least he would be one of the main villains. That would still be better than a crook or a scum villain.
“There are some ways to build a body, but they are all cannot be trusted. The best bet is to search for Sun and Moon Dew Flower Seeds,” Shen Qingqiu spoke up.
Zhuzhi-Lang and Tian Langjun shared a glance. Zhuzhi-Lang grabbed Shen Qingqiu, bade a goodbye to his uncle, and quickly slithered out.
Tian Langjun stared as they leave. Where... Did his nephew found such an elusive human? There was no trace of deceit and underhanded intention in his clear eyes which made Tian Langjun baffled. Mainly because Tian Langjun was sure that he had seen that beautiful green jade dangling on his waist once.
Another handsome man once wore that jade, the jade dangled freely from his waistband. A signature green robe that billowed in the wind. That jade was an heirloom and identity jade of Qing Jing Peak of Cang Qiong Mountain Sect. One of the four Great Sects that had besieged him, he should have known just who would bear his revenge, but why did he help them?
Tian Langjun could only wait until they manage to build a body for him, when he gained his voice, Tian Langjun would ask that man himself about his intention.
This would be long and lively years.
“Plant... water... blood...” Zhuzhi-Lang gestured to the seed, the soil, and then the flask of divine blood in Shen Qingqiu’s hands. He was already in his human form, wearing a loose robe that Shen Qingqiu had bestowed, he had consumed the blood that Shen Qingqiu forgot to give him and now able to transform to his other form.
“You said you would be able to talk once you consume the blood,” Shen Qingqiu murmured begrudgingly. He almost went mad when he recalled that Zhuzhi-Lang mentioned that the blood he had brought could make him grow stronger and talk. Turned out, he did grow stronger and even turned into a human, but he still couldn’t talk clearly.
“Sssorry...” Zhuzhi-Lang lowered his head sullenly, also feeling bad that he was burdening Shen Qingqiu with this strange language barrier.
“No matter,” Shen Qingqiu sighed. “We’ll take care of this seed, I will also teach you how to talk and how to not hissing your ‘s’,” he said as he kneeled down and put the seed on the hole Zhuzhi-Lang had dug out.
Zhuzhi-Lang buried the seed and watered it with the spiritual water he took from the cave’s lake. Zhuzhi-Lang took out a grinded out high-grade spiritual gems, that usually used to make a formation, and drew a strange formation around the seed. Shen Qingqiu then carefully dropped one droplet of blood into the middle of the formation and formation pulsed slightly before disappearing into the ground.
“One year...” Zhuzhi-Lang showed one finger up.
“That fast?” Shouldn’t it be half a decade at least?
Zhuzhi-Lang shook his head and pointed at the flask of blood, “Blood... again...”
Shen Qingqiu resisted the urge to bite his lips in frustration, “We will... drop another droplet of blood in one year?”
Zhuzhi-Lang nodded brightly, beaming.
“Would it suffice?” Shen Qingqiu asked. “He’s a demon and this is a spiritual plant. This blood can reverse the nasty effects?”
Zhuzhi-Lang’s eyes cast down. “Little. But... stronger.”
“I swear, even Liu Qingge is not this worse,” his shidi talked really curtly, but at least it was understandable ninety-five-percent of the times. “There will be little nasty effects but it would be stronger?” Shen Qingqiu questioned.
Zhuzhi-Lang nodded. Little side effects, almost neglectable.
“What else could make it stronger without little nasty effects?” Shen Qingqiu asked.
Zhuzhi-Lang shook his head, smiling softly. He was touched that Shen Qingqiu wanted to help more but gaining divine blood to nourish Sun and Moon Dew Flower Seeds alone was already a very big help.
“Oh. Can I plant some other seeds?” He could die too, he didn’t have the villain halo that promised protection, he had White Lotus halo. White lotuses often died a terrible and tragic death. He didn’t want to die so quickly, he had a role to do.
Zhuzhi-Lang nodded, “Can plant,” he said.
Shen Qingqiu took three seeds and Zhuzhi-Lang helped him by digging out the soils. When the seeds were planted, Shen Qingqiu reached into his pocket sleeve to retrieve his own spiritual water that he got from the cave.
Several items fell out of his sleeves- damn it, this was why he always had to search carefully when he wanted to take something- to avoid humiliation. But since no one was here except for Zhuzhi-Lang who hardly able to talk, Shen Qingqiu was not concerned. He retrieved the water and watered down his seeds himself, not quite noticing how Zhuzhi-Lang was frozen still behind him.
Zhuzhi-Lang stared at a flask of blood, a different one. Zhuzhi-Lang sniffed and used his snake tongue to confirm what he was seeing and sensing. A... A cursed demon blood of highest saint level? Divine blood and cursed blood... Just who is Shen Qingqiu?!
“Lord... S-shen...” Zhuzhi-Lang called out and pointed at the flask. With that, Tian Langjun would gain a perfect body like his own.
“Mm?” Shen Qingqiu looked at the flask and took it, he looked at the label, “In case of creating forbidden ritual- never mind just another of that mostly useless blood.”
“Seed...” Zhuzhi-Lang tugged on his sleeve and pointed to where they planted Tian Langjun’s future body.
Shen Qingqiu frowned as he worked to translate what Zhuzhi-Lang meant in his mind, “This blood too?” he asked hesitantly.
Zhuzhi-Lang’s eyes lit up and he nodded.
Shen Qingqiu opened the bottle as Zhuzhi-Lang drew another formation, “You know...” Shen Qingqiu dropped a droplet of blood. “You need to learn how to talk as soon as possible or you’ll degrade my wisdom to a three-year-old baby,” he said blankly as he put away the bottle of blood.
“Thank you,” Zhuzhi-Lang flushed happily when he saw the formation took the blood away into the seed buried in the ground.
“That’s not the right answer,” Shen Qingqiu sighed. Never mind, this is great. With Zhuzhi-Lang’s lack of intellect, Shen Qingqiu could be number two main villain after Tian Langjun. But Zhuzhi-Lang really needed to be able to talk... and read.
Shen Qingqiu looked up to the sky and lamented, he ran away somewhere else, but in the end fate still willed him to be a teacher. He was indeed miserable.
Shen Qingqiu: *Casually just bringing flasks of blood with him wherever he went*
*Qianbei : Senior. (That's how Shen Qingqiu called Yin Biyue if you didn't get it.)