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The paint jars in Hua Cheng’s arms gently clink together as he makes his way to his private chambers. They’re the last array of colors he needs to paint his masterpiece. Servants attempt to help him so he doesn’t need to make so many trips back and forth, but Hua Cheng brushes them off. Something must’ve happened for His Lordship to be so friendly. He even says “no thank you”! It’s a miracle.

Hua Cheng opens the door to his private chambers with his foot and smiles at the scene before him. The desk against the wall is pressed against the foot of the bed for easy reach, where Hua Cheng’s paintbrushes and the rest of his paints wait to decorate his newest canvas.

Speaking of which...

“Ah, my canvas arrived from Puji Village.” Hua Cheng closes the door with his shoulder and arranges the jars of paint on the table.

Xie Lian kneels on top of a tarp covering the bed, which has been stripped of its comforters and sheets. Xie Lian is stripped as well, wearing only a length of red silk around his eyes and one around his wrists. A third length of silk loops around his bound wrists and suspends his arms over his head from the curtain hook above the bed.

Hua Cheng takes off his jewelry and red outer tunic to reveal simple clothes underneath. The off-white robes are splashed with paint and smeared with clay from previous artistic endeavors. He removes his boots and watches Xie Lian turn his head in the direction of the sound of jingling chains.

“Is San Lang's new canvas pleasing?” Xie Lian laughs nervously, pressing his thighs together in an attempt to hide his mostly flaccid cock. Hua Cheng hums low in his throat and unscrews the lid from one of the paint jars.

“His Highness is perfect. His skin is so pale, I don't even need my white paint.” Xie Lian ducks his head and blushes. His hair is tightly braided against his head so Hua Cheng won’t accidentally give those chestnut locks a dye job when he paints. Hua Cheng joins him on the bed, holding a jar of light blue paint in one hand and a horsehair brush in the other.

The first thing to get painted is that black collar around Xie Lian’s neck. With a few strokes of the brush, Hua Cheng turns it into a cheerful river. In this one gesture, Xie Lian’s posture relaxes and he sighs. “Thank you, San Lang.”

“You’re welcome. Such a filthy mark is unworthy of His Highness’s delicate body.” Hua Cheng swaps out the jars and maple-red trees line the river. His brush strokes around Xie Lian’s throat are gentle and delicate so he can watch the muscles underneath the smooth skin jump and twitch, seeking more of that touch. Hua Cheng doesn’t give it to him; he actually chooses a smaller brush to add dainty touches: black branches among the bright red leaves, fish jumping in the river, an ancient stone bridge. Hua Cheng pauses, wanting to add a wedding couple crossing the bridge, but decides against it and moves down to paint Xie Lian’s collarbone.

Peach blossoms, magnolias, lotuses, and orchids bloom across Xie Lian’s bare skin. Hua Cheng finds it fitting: flowers for the Flower-Crowned Martial God. Every petal, pistil, and stamen receives Hua Cheng’s utmost attention so the details look as real as possible. But the touch remains gentle and barely brushes against Xie Lian’s skin hard enough to give him any real pleasure—he continues shuddering and chasing after Hua Cheng’s paintbrush. By removing his sight, Xie Lian’s other senses are heightened. He feels every stroke and caress on his skin like a fiery brand. He hears Hua Cheng’s low tones as if his lips were right against his ear. It has the desired effect: Hua Cheng looks down while exchanging the paint jars and Xie Lian’s cock shows some interest in their play.

“I’m not going to paint you,” Hua Cheng chastises, still looking down. “So stop reaching for me.”

Xie Lian’s brows furrow under the blindfold. “San Lang, I’m not reaching—” It dawns on him and he splutters. “Are you actually talking to my…my privates?”

“Yeah, I’m talking to your dick. I think we’re well acquainted enough to have a friendly conversation.” Hua Cheng picks a jar of green paint. “Also, I’m not going to fluster like a maiden if you call your dick…well, your dick. Or cock.” That’s the whole reason Xie Lian’s hands are tied. Lately he’s taken to pointing when he wants something in the bedroom. He points to the lube. He points to a sex toy. He points to Hua Cheng. Communication is necessary in sex, and if Xie Lian is too nervous to ask for what he wants verbally, it could end badly if Hua Cheng misinterprets a gesture.

“It flusters me!” Xie Lian pouts. “Besides, don’t you like it when I’m flustered?”

“I like it when you’re flustered because of something I did or said. Not because you’re too skittish to say or do what you want. Don’t be afraid to ask for something, ge ge. I’m here to serve.”

Xie Lian bites his lip. Hua Cheng idly adds a few leaves in between the petals of a magnolia bloom.

“San Lang.”

“Yes, ge ge?” Hua Cheng strips the paint from the brush with his spiritual energy.

“I want you to…paint…” Xie Lian clears his throat awkwardly.  “P-paint my nipples…please…” The request comes out soft and tremulous. His chest trembles against Hua Cheng’s fingers.

To tease his husband, Hua Cheng deliberately avoided painting Xie Lian’s sensitive nipples even though the stiff pink buds begged for his attention. A lopsided smirk splits Hua Cheng’s lips. “Well, if His Highness wishes it, how can this San Lang deny him?” He dips the brush into the pot of blue paint and cups Xie Lian’s pectoral with his free hand. His thumb barely brushes against the areola and he delights in the little shudder of anticipation he feels.

“AH!” Xie Lian’s entire body trembles as Hua Cheng paints the beginnings of an orchid on his nipple. His hips grind futilely into the air, his cock fully erect in one simple act. The sight of his husband so debauched and needy is affecting Hua Cheng too; his cock begins to fill under his loose robes. Ignoring the desire to toss aside the brush and paint and latch his lips onto the rosy peak, Hua Cheng paints an iris onto the other nipple and Xie Lian groans brokenly.

“I want…oh, I want San Lang to touch me,” he gasps.

“Touch you where, ge ge? I’m already touching you.”

Hua Cheng feels Xie Lian’s glare from behind the blindfold, tempered by his red cheeks. “I want San Lang…” His voice drops to a near whisper. “To touch my…my…”

“You want me to what? I can’t hear you.”

 Xie Lian swallows. “T-touch…my penis…”

Not quite the wording Hua Cheng wants, but baby steps. Besides, Hua Cheng’s cock isn’t picky about what Xie Lian asks for in that desperate, reedy voice. He puts down his brush and paint and fetches a fourth length of red silk from the nightstand. He wraps the silk around the base of Xie Lian’s cock and cinches it underneath in a bow.

It takes a moment for Xie Lian to realize what Hua Cheng did, and he chokes on his own saliva. “San Lang is too mean!”

Hua Cheng nuzzles into chestnut locks. “Don’t worry, I’ll let His Highness come. I just want to draw out his pleasure for as long as possible.” He nudges Xie Lian’s legs apart and begins painting on the inside of his thighs. He paints in wide swathes of dark blue and dots constellations in white and yellow. Xie Lian has a cute little birthmark on his knee and Hua Cheng paints it into the moon. This will be ruined the moment Xie Lian comes, but it’s worth it to watch him squirm and pant wantonly.

Sitting back, Hua Cheng admires his work, one hand cupping his chin and the other palming his clothed cock. “Ah...there. My masterpiece is complete. Oh! I still need to sign it.”

Xie Lian brightens through the haze of his pleasure. “Is San Lang going to write his name?”

“Er…” Hua Cheng scratches his cheek as he scoots behind Xie Lian. Despite Xie Lian’s lessons, he’s still not proud of his handwriting. Like the collar around his neck, Hua Cheng’s messy handwriting has no place on such a beautiful body. “N-no, I’ll just draw something. A symbol that represents me.” His eye lands on a jar of silver paint and dips his brush into it.

The delicate horsehairs touch on the nape of Xie Lian’s neck and Hua Cheng paints a silver butterfly right onto the section of the collar that isn’t covered by the cheery river scene.

“S-San Lang,” Xie Lian gasps, equal parts surprise and pleasure. “I’m—I’m sensitive there, it seems…”

“Oh?” Hua Cheng presses the brush a little harder into Xie Lian’s skin to watch his reaction. A lusty moan passes Xie Lian's soft lips. “So you are! I’m learning so many things about my husband tonight!” He wipes off the brush and dips it into the jar of dark blue paint, adding lowlights to the butterfly’s wings so it looks like it’s flying.

Xie Lian’s desperation hits new heights. His painted chest heaves and he rubs his thighs together to alleviate the growing pressure between his legs. It doesn’t escape the eye of Hua Cheng, who peers over Xie Lian’s shoulder disapprovingly.

“Stop that! You’ll ruin the paint!” He snaps two fingers against Xie Lian’s ass in frustration. For exactly one millisecond, shame floods Hua Cheng’s entire being. He hit Xie Lian; even if it was just two fingers, he raised a hand against his beloved husband, and—

Xie Lian moans brokenly.

Hua Cheng stills. His hand rests against the patch of skin he just struck, rubbing a stream of healing spiritual energy into it. “This San Lang apologizes sincerely for striking His Highness. But if it brings His Highness pleasure…”

Twisting in his bonds, Xie Lian tries his best to look at Hua Cheng while still fettered and blindfolded. “Do it again. And use the palm of your hand this time.” His rough, commanding tone goes right to Hua Cheng’s cock and he hastily strips himself before complying with Xie Lian’s request.

SMACK!

“Again.”

SMACK!

“Again!”

SMACK!

“Do it again until I tell you to stop!”

Every time Hua Cheng smacks Xie Lian’s ass, he’s rewarded with more moans and groans, each more ragged and huskier than the last. It’s a side of Xie Lian he’s never seen before but Hua Cheng fucking loves it. Struck by inspiration, he grabs a paintbrush and the pot of gold paint, smears it on his right hand and smacks Xie Lian’s ass as hard as he can.

SMACK!

Xie Lian’s entire body seizes up and his lips part in a silent scream. His thighs tremble and his cock jerks violently but doesn’t come. He strains against the bonds for a brief moment but slumps forward, tears leaking from underneath the blindfold.

“Ge ge? Ge ge! What happened?” Mortified, Hua Cheng unties Xie Lian’s blindfold, leaving streaks of gold paint on his face in the process. “Did I hurt you? Did I go too far?”

Blinking against the sudden light, Xie Lian shakes his head. “San Lang.” His voice sounds wrecked and Hua Cheng ignores the insistent throbbing of his cock. “It feels like I…I just came? But I’m still…” He looks down at his own cock, still angry-red and hard.

Hua Cheng sighs in relief as he puts together what happened. “You had a dry orgasm. Do you want to continue, or are we done for the night?”

Xie Lian leans back as best he can under the bonds and noses against Hua Cheng’s face until he turns and their lips meet in a kiss. Hua Cheng forces himself to abate his own desire for the sake of his husband; he thinks of cold baths and freezing snowstorms and icy winds.

Pulling back, Xie Lian smiles at him. “I want San Lang to make love to me.”

Hua Cheng scrambles to untie Xie Lian from the ceiling, all pretenses of cooling down his arousal abandoned. There’s nothing special about the silk scarves tying him; if Xie Lian really wanted Hua Cheng to stop, he easily could’ve given a few tugs and pulled himself loose. He could’ve even pulled the hook right out of the ceiling!

“Ah, San Lang? Don’t untie me just yet. I like this position.”

Hua Cheng pauses. “Are you sure, ge ge? This posture must be uncomfortable for you to hold. At least let me maneuver you into a more comfortable position.”

He loosens the scarves so Xie Lian can lower himself onto Hua Cheng's lap and spread his legs, numb from kneeling for so long. Hua Cheng massages up his legs and gives his ass a squeeze, parting one cheek to reveal the jade toy nestled inside Xie Lian’s hole.

“His Highness is more patient than I expected, waiting for his husband without a complaint in the world.” Hua Cheng slowly and gently pulls out the toy, relishing in the moans from above. It’s slick and shiny with lube and Xie Lian’s hole flutters with its absence. The obscenity of the sight is too much for Hua Cheng to handle. He nearly drops the lube slicking his cock and grabs Xie Lian’s hips just a little too tightly to thrust inside, bottoming out in one smooth slide.

Xie Lian hisses. “Gentler, San Lang! Gentler!”

“One thousand apologies to His Highness; this San Lang became entranced by His Highness’s sensual beauty and forgot himself.” Hua Cheng loosens his grip on Xie Lian’s hips and grinds slowly into him. Xie Lian’s head rolls back onto Hua Cheng’s shoulder and moans.

“San Lang is forgiven, as long as he treats this husband sweetly.” Xie Lian grinds back against Hua Cheng and they start up a back and forth rhythm. “Haaah…San Lang feels good…inside…”

Hua Cheng’s mouth falls open to respond with something witty and sexy but all that comes out is a choked-out “nnnnghnnn.” Xie Lian’s boldness affects him more than he thought it would. He just wanted his husband to be a bit more vocal with what he wanted in the bedroom to avoid problems later. He had no idea it would be like this!

‘He’s a prince and a god; of course he’s good at being bossy.’ The thought flickers in and out of Hua Cheng’s hazy mind like a guttering candle. Xie Lian is hot and wet inside, his taut muscles on display, the paint shimmering on his skin. He’s perfect; gods he’s perfect and Hua Cheng’s entire body melts around him. Hua Cheng is the pale, blemished moon chasing after the golden sun. They were never supposed to meet but Xie Lian stopped in his circle around the world so the moon could share his sky and enjoy his warmth.

Clumsy fingers untie the length of silk around Xie Lian’s cock and he sobs in relief as Hua Cheng finally finally FINALLY takes him in hand and strokes him firmly. Every vein throbs and precum leaks from the slit. He's careening towards a proper orgasm and Hua Cheng will be damned if he's not the one to push him over the edge.

“Ge ge, I’m close. I’m so close,” Hua Cheng rasps into Xie Lian’s ear. “If you want—want something, tell me now.

Xie Lian gulps, hips stuttering into Hua Cheng’s paint-splattered hand, tugging on the ropes like they’re a lifeline. “Please, please don’t—I want—San Lang, please fill me up! Please!!”

Were Hua Cheng not in the throes of mindless pleasure, he’d tease. “Fill you up? But you’re already full of my cock, ge ge. You need to be more specific. Do you want my fingers? My tongue?” He’d tease and prod until Xie Lian expounds on his desires, usually red faced and stammering.

Hua Cheng doesn’t have time left to tease. The aching heat in his body burns hotter and hotter with each thrust and grind until finally he gives into Xie Lian’s desires and comes inside of him, Xie Lian's name written on a throaty groan. Xie Lian follows suit, whining and whimpering and gasping as his seed coats his starry thighs and Hua Cheng’s hand.

They sit in silence for a time, breathing although neither of them need it, flushed and hot and sated. Hua Cheng pulls out slowly, watching his seed drip from Xie Lian’s hole. He wants to say something; more praises for Xie Lian’s beauty, but everything feels cheap and turns to dust on his tongue. Xie Lian is cosmic and untouchable and kind beyond measure to look at Hua Cheng as lovingly as he does. He loves, and loves, and loves, and—and—

“I love you,” Hua Cheng whispers. He finally moves to untie Xie Lian and carefully lowers his arms, massaging them to get the blood flowing.

“I love you too,” Xie Lian murmurs. He looks down at the masterpiece on his chest and thighs. “You did a lovely job painting me. I’m sorry I ruined it when I came.”

“Mm, no; ge ge looked the loveliest when he came.” Hua Cheng kisses Xie Lian’s hair and helps him off the bed. He stumbles and leans on Hua Cheng, shaking his legs out with a grimace.

“Pins and needles…”

“I got you.” Even though he’s on unsteady legs himself, Hua Cheng lifts Xie Lian into his arms and carries him into the bathing chamber. They rinse off in the antechamber first so the paint and cum doesn’t dirty the bath water. The bath itself is hot and Hua Cheng uses a mix of lavender and chamomile to relax their bodies. He washes Xie Lian’s hair and reluctantly allows the favor to be returned.

They lounge quietly in the bath until the water runs tepid and Xie Lian pulls the plug. Fluffy robes and heated towels await them. Hua Cheng dons a robe and sticks a towel inside it so the chill of his skin won’t disturb Xie Lian when he inevitably wants to cuddle.

Back in the bedroom, Xie Lian doesn’t so much as “cuddle” with Hua Cheng as drape himself over his husband’s entire body. Hua Cheng cradles his neck and hums a soft song long forgotten. The tarp and paints are put away, the table pushed back into place, and the bed remade with its usual curtains, pillows and comforters. Good food is on the way to replenish the energy they expended during their passion.

Hua Cheng sighs into his husband’s hair. He wants Xie Lian to see himself as beautiful without Hua Cheng’s paints, without silks, furs, or jewels. Not as the Flower-Crowned Martial God. Not as His Highness the Crown Prince of Xian Le. Not as the God-Pleasing Crown Prince. Just as himself. Xie Lian. Ge ge.

Just as Hua Cheng loves him.