Shen Jiu didn't have many dreams as a child. As a street rat, dreams were useless to them. After all, it was a common occurrence for many to die without even reaching a two digit age.
To become a cultivator was what he always replied his Qi Ge when he asked. Unlike the rest, Qi Ge always took him seriously. He didn't belittle or make fun of Shen Jiu for holding such an impossible dream.
‘A street rat is what you will forever be’ they always said.
Becoming a cultivator when he didn't have any notable backings or even parents to support him? Laughable. But Shen Jiu didn't have a single doubt in his mind when he made up his mind at the tender age of seven, he’d become a cultivator or die trying, he never once looked at any other pathways he could take.
“I believe wholeheartedly that Xiao Jiu will become a cultivator,” His Qi Ge would always reassure, “Not just any cultivator, but a peerless one famed across the cultivation world too.”
Shen Jiu blushes. He always did whenever he was met with Qi Ge and his honest to fault compliments.
Whenever Qi Ge asked Shen Jiu about his dreams he would always answer with the same reply, but there was just one more, one dream which he had even before he had dreamed of becoming a cultivator.
To always be beside his Qi Ge.
It was a childish dream. An embarrassing one which would make him sound like a clingy person.He knows how much delight it would bring the other if he were to ever reveal it and so he kept quiet. There was no need to talk about this dream with Qi Ge anyway. Because he knew no matter what, his Qi Ge would never leave him.
Oh how wrong he was.
Achieved and lost
Shen Qingqiu stirs in his bamboo hut, a gentle breeze greeting his room. He reaches out for the familiar warmth which is always next to him, grasping onto thin air before realisation dawns upon him. ‘ Oh ’ this wasn't the wooden shed he was in, it was the bamboo hut. Shen Qingqiu gets up and his eyes slowly adjust to the unfamiliar scene.
After years of serving the previous peak lord, he’d finally become one himself the day before. All peak lords from the previous generation stepped down and left, moving towards a new generation.
He was peak lord of Qing Jing, a peak famed for its scholarly ways. A far cry from what he was like in the past, He’d finally done it. Achieved his dream of becoming not only a cultivator but a well known one too, and yet why does he feel so empty? Even Emptier than when he was with Wu Yanzi?
I want to go back
Shen Qingqiu bit his lips and stifled a sob.
What use was there for fame and power?
Everyone didn't believe in his capabilities and sought to belittle his years of efforts. He’d learnt the hard way that playing dirty was necessary for survival, being surrounded by these ignorant young masters who knew nothing about the real world disgusted him. The one called Liu Qingge especially.
What use was there for money?
He had plenty now but it lost its importance once he’d gotten so much. In the past he believed solely on the fact that money could buy happiness but was proven wrong, instead he now knew that money corrupted people, the finest example being those Huan Hua lot.
What use was there to be surrounded by all this disciples who looked up to him with such pure eyes?
He wasn't the pure lofty immortal they all thought him to be, should the day ever come where they came to know of the real him? The thought scared him. He knew how his disciples were behind his back.
What use was there for him to be a peak lord?
None. None whatsoever. Afterall he wasn't here.
What use was there for him to even be here,
to still be alive?
when he couldnt be with his Qi Ge?
He weeps not for Yue Qingyuan, he weeps for his dead Qi Ge. The one who died the night he left Shen Jiu with a promise to come back. The one who held him back whenever he got too out of hand, the one who willingly took it upon himself to look after Shen Jiu, the one who looked like the world would blow up the first time he was offered Shen Jius precious tanghulu.
The one who treasured Shen Jiu the way Shen Jiu treasured him.
He wants to go back.
He doesn't mind being a powerless child once more, starving for days with no guarantee for food, having to take beatings daily with no reprieve.
To go back to when he was enveloped in his warmth every night to fend off the cold, When he was showered with the disgustingly sweet compliments, when he could share his precious tanghulu he’d bought with the measly amount of pay he barely managed to scrape together with his Qi Ge.
He wants to go back to the time when the world was only him and Qi Ge.
But he can't. And so today as well he puts on the mask of Shen Qingqiu and plays the part of the lofty immortal everyone expects and sees him to be. Locking away the child in him which yearns for his Qi Ge, to a place where no one but him can see.