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let your dreams be dreams

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Rumour has it Earth Masters are given a spiritual device called the Crescent Shovel. Xie Lian has heard it can dig far enough to reach the centre of the Earth, should one be stupid enough to try. Xie Lian wishes very much he could have access to that weapon so that he could dig himself in a hole deep enough to contain the enormous amount of his shame. He'd just shovel and shovel and shovel, and then he'd bury himself in the ground and never have to talk or see anyone ever again. He'd stay awake ad vitam eternam, and no one would be able to force him to go to sleep.

Unfortunately, he does not have a fancy shovel to dig a hole where he could die of shame in peace. Instead, he only has one room and he's never ever leaving it.

"Your Highness!" Feng Xin yells from the other side of the door. "When I said you couldn't leave until you had eight hours of rest, I didn't mean it literally! It's been three days, please come out!"

"GO AWAY!" Xie Lian screeches from inside his blanket cocoon.

He looks absolutely ridiculous kicking a fuss like a frustrated child and he knows it. Tragically, this humiliation is so minor compared to the ocean of his shame he can scarcely gather the will power to care about it.

"What's wrong with him?" Mu Qing inquires, his voice barely audible through the thick door of Xie Lian's chambers. "Very belated teenage crisis?"

If only. More like a belated 'oh no I do have a sexuality after all' crisis. Which, now that he thinks about it, isn't very far from a teenage crisis. Xie Lian is twenty-seven years old, and a god, he shouldn't have to deal with that kind of nonsense on top of this already enormous amount of divine duties. He was just fine in his asexual lifestyle, not being attracted to anyone and not knowing intimacy could feel like this, thank you very much.

Whoever said ignorance was bliss clearly had a point, but you know what else is bliss? The man in red's hand stroking Xie Lian's cock. Or just touching Xie Lian, anywhere. Those agile fingers running across his skin, that mischievous mouth curled up with desire, that one black eye glinting with adoration, the sheer pleasure of their lengths rubbed together and oh no, not again...

Xie Lian screams of frustration inside his pillow and tries to ignore the lower part of his anatomy twitching in interest at the reminder. No one should be allowed to be so attractive! Not where Xie Lian can see them! It's not fair, he has no clue how to deal with… with those sinful thoughts!

"Mu Qing, if you're not going to help, you can shut the fuck up! Your Highness, please!" Feng Xin tries again to appeal to Xie Lian's reasonable nature. "At least let us in! We can talk about… whatever is troubling you."

Talk about it? Xie Lian honestly would sooner cut off his own manhood and be done with the whole issue! How is he supposed to explain he slipped inside one of his most faithful believers' wet dream, not only once but twice? That instead of leaving like a normal and decent person would have, he stayed and enjoyed it!

Explain that Xie Lian is a pervert who literally gets off his beautiful and very much younger believer's unshakable faith in him? That he's the worst of worst of scums abusing his devotees' trust for the sake of his own pleasure? That he debased himself even lower than the most perverted man ever did without so much a moment of hesitation?

Never.

"Your Highness, please excuse my boldness," Mu Qing cuts in, not sounding apologetic in the least, "but you have duties you need to attend to. Your absence has been remarked upon."

"Mu Qing! There is no need to shame His Highness!" Feng Xin exclaims.

"I'm not." Mu Qing says. Xie Lian would bet his best swords his attendant is rolling his eyes right now. "Merely reminding him of real facts."

As much as Xie Lian would love to set aside Mu Qing's words and keeps wallowing in self-hatred, embarrassment and regret, he does know his attendant is right. Xie Lian is a god. An imminent martial god, General of the East, the Crown Prince of Xian Le. His people are counting on him. Prayers won't answer themselves. His own stupid identity crisis woes matter little compared to the mass of things that requires his input. He really needs to get his shit together.

And that's exactly what he's going to do.

"One day," he sighs as he sits up on his bed. "Give me one day and I'll be back to normal. I swear."

He can do this. All he needs to do is to find this devotee again, refuse his advances and set the record straight for good. Then he'll be able to move on and return to his sexless peaceful existence. It's a flawless plan.

Xie Lian lies back down on his bed and allows his exhaustion to sweep him away.

.

The first thing Xie Lian smells is the bewitching perfume of flowers. Sweet and cheerful aroma, elegant and seductive scent, and a musky and rich spell that enthrals his senses. Despite his resolution not to indulge in anything dream-related, he takes a deep breath and basks into the loving fragrances cradling his nose.

'You are my life', the camelia longs.

"You are perfect," the orchid vows.

'I'll eat you up', the cherry flower whispers. "I'll drink you down, I'll swallow you whole until you beg for more, I'll…"

No. No, no, no. Absolutely not going there. This time, Xie Lian will remain unmoved and untouchable like the elegant and flawless immortal he's meant to incarnate. No more letting the desires he's not supposed to have in the first place take control of his body. He's like a statue, cold and unfeeling, and wrong metaphor, definitely the wrong metaphor.

Just when Xie Lian thought he was ready to confront his believer, a new fragrance blooms in the air, sweet and strong, so intoxicating he drowns under it like some people drown into alcohol. It slips right under his skin and into his soul. Xie Lian's back arches by reflex as he breathes into the perfume, inhaling deeply until his lungs are infused with the addicting flavour of the flower.

He sinks into the smell with a blissed-out sigh. It smells like faith, if faith had a scent. It smells like devotion. It smells like love.

And Xie Lian can't get enough of the sensation. God, he was such a fool thinking he could just say no to the adoration overload, walk away unscaled and go back to his old life of Before He Knew How Love Felt Like.

"Your Highness?" His believer's voice snaps him out of his drunk-like stupor. "Are you alright?"

Xie Lian opens his eyes to an endless field of flowers. He's laying in the grass, his head resting on silk pillow-soft and tender as a cloud, many flowers blooming around his body in a colorful embrace. Far up his head, the blue sky is littered with colours that shouldn't exist: hues of silver, traces of gold, spirals of purples, storms of red.

And, sitting cross-legged near him but within a respectful distance for once, a crown of braided flowers on his lap and the umbrella spread open behind him, his worshiper.

"Your name," Xie Lian croaks before he has the common sense to swallow back his words. "Tell me your name."

The man in red's eyelashes flutter in surprise. Abandoning the flower crown on his lap, he bows down to Xie Lian. "This servant is named Hua Cheng, Your Highness."

Hua Cheng. Flower City. How fitting. If Xie Lian couldn't smell his sincerity, he would think the man is lying to him.

"Hua Cheng," Xie Lian says, tentatively rolling the name in his mouth.

That's the moment he's supposed to tell his believer their little shared dream sessions has to come to a halt because Xie Lian is too weak to handle the heat. And he would have, honestly, if not for the thousands of flowers surrounding them blooming at once. A symphony of enthralling scents overwhelms Xie Lian's mind completely, intoxicating him with pure adoration and happiness, and he. Can't. Think. Anymore. Raw bliss tugs on his nerves, sending waves of pleasure all over his body and sparks of delight under his eyelids. It feels as if his very own core is being showered with care and affection.

It's Hua Cheng's happiness that's making Xie Lian loses his mind through the scent, and Xie Lian, wanton and greedy monster, can't get enough of it. It must be how drunkenness feels like. No wonder people get addicted to it.

Though he doubts any mortal substance could manage to reproduce the sheer delight he's currently drowning under. Just hearing his name from Xie Lian made Hua Cheng that overjoyed? Xie Lian is literally a god, born a spoiled prince, yet he has never felt so powerful over someone before. Powerful, and powerless at once.

This man's love is unravelling him from the inside.

"Your Highness," Hua Cheng shyly says, his head bowed lowed as he presents his gift to Xie Lian. "It is but a humble token unworthy of your attention, but if I may be so bold, may I have the honour of crowning His Highness?"

Xie Lian stares down at the delicate flower crown, glowing hopefully between Hua Cheng's hands. He should say no. He really needs to start saying no to his believer. That's why he's here in the first place. But how can he just refuse when he can smell the love and devotion in every single flower on that Crown? He can't be so cruel to his most faithful devotee. He simply can't.

"You may," Xie Lian mutters, averting his eyes to the side. "But only for this once."

Looking away doesn't save him from the tide of perfume blooming away. He can't help himself from turning his head again and take in Hua Cheng's blissed-out smile. "This servant thanks you for your kindness, Your Highness."

Xie Lian's breath dies in his throat when Hua Cheng unfolds from his prostrated position, sits up properly and leans forwards. The man is so tall he's practically towering over Xie Lian. The flower crown is nested carefully over Xie Lian's unbound hair.

A rush of energy runs across his body and it feels like a second ascension. At that exact moment, Xie Lian feels so powerful he could level entire mountains on his finger. So powerful eating the sun and stealing the stars would only be a small feat to him. So powerful he sees those red lips so close to his own and thinks 'I could kiss those.'

And so, high on faith as he is, he does. He barely got a taste of Hua Cheng's sweet mouth before when he recoils, shocked by his own actions. That's.. that's not appropriate! He's here to put a stop to those highly incorrect encounters, not assault his own believer!

Gods, he's so ashamed he could die. He's so embarrassed that he even managed to ignore the intoxicating scent this time, and that's an exploit worthy of notice. The sweet smell is so strong, too familiar lust joining the cacophony of mind-blowing fragrances.

"I… Your Highness, you're going to kill me," Hua Cheng says, his black eye wide with disbelief. "Please… please let me…"

He never finishes his sentence and dives down instead, without waiting for permission. Voracious flesh covers his unprepared mouth, and lips mould themselves against his own. Daft fingers hold his jaw, reverently running over the line of his bone and infusing his skin with tenderness. There's an ocean of yearning pressing against the shores of the tiny island of Xie Lian's newly discovered desire.

He's going to drown. He's going to be swallowed whole, he's going to sink into unknown depth, submerged under endless waves of longing and he doesn't even mind.

The sweet scent of cherry pulls all over his body and he pants desperately against Hua Cheng's mouth. Ah, if people could see him, moaning so wantonly at a mere kiss! How they would laugh at him. Look, this is the prince who thinks he's nobler than anyone else, taken apart by his first kiss and greedy for more. As the great poet Pei Ming once said: 'I swear there is no creature thirstier than a virgin.'

Xie Lian forgets how to think when Hua Cheng presses even further, silently asking for permission. He opens his mouth without a second thought, surrounding himself to the invasion. It's only as Hua Cheng's tongue melt against his own that Xie Lian realizes he has no idea how to kiss. Panic raises up on his belly, twisting his desire into knots of self-consciousness, its scent so acidic it overwhelms the sweet taste of cherry.

Xie Lian breaks away from the kiss, half disoriented, half freaking out. "I-I'm sorry, I… I don't know how to do this!"

Why is he like this, so awkward and weird? What kind of twenty-seven years doesn't know how to be kissed? Even in a dream! How pathetic is that? That will teach him to ignore anything relating to interpersonal intimacy. 'I have no use for this', he said. 'I'm a serious cultivator', he said. Such an idiot. Xie Lian would throttle his foolish past self if he could.

"It's alright, Your Highness," Hua Cheng whispers soothingly against his hair. "You're doing so great, allowing trash like me to touch you at all."

That's enough to snap Xie Lian out of his self-inflicted shame-fest. "Stop it. You're not trash."

Hua Cheng laughs brightly. "If His Highness says so, then it must be true."

It doesn't sound like he's very convinced though. Xie Lian is about to argue when Hua Cheng changes the subject. "If kissing makes His Highness uncomfortable, I could kiss him… elsewhere. That way he wouldn't have to do anything."

Xie Lian's mind immediately goes south. He remembers the feeling of Hua Cheng's fingers on him, the sensation of their lengths dancing together, and gets hot all over again. Hua Cheng's crimson lips taunt him, and he can't help but consider how to feel to be inside that wicked mouth.

Haha, to think he genuinely meant to put this sinful fantasies behind him…

"That… that doesn't sound very fair," he mumbles, staring at the sky in the faint hope his cock will stop over-reacting.

"I assure you nothing could make me happier than touching his Highness and making him feel good." Hua Cheng says with painfully honest sincerity. "I can think of no greatest honour, except dying for him."

"Don't die for me!" Xie Lian exclaims, alarmed. "Live for me instead!"

Oh god, he did it again! Telling someone to live for him so shamelessly, for the second time too. Once was embarrassing enough! How self-centred he can get? Instead of recoiling in disgust as he should have at such a gross display of egocentrism, Hua Cheng beams, his eye alight with joy.

"Yes, Your Highness." He vows, earnest and adoring. "Would you like to lie down?"

Xie Lian does so, his mind hazy and dazzled. He's burning hot with want, and when Hua Cheng leans over him, the corner of his mouth curled with mischief, staring at Xie Lian like he's evaluating how he's going to eat him, his cock twitches inside his pants in expectation. Xie Lian really is that guy now. Those vows of chastity were thrown away so fast.

It doesn't count if it's in a dream, he tells himself. It doesn't count.

To his surprise, and slight disappointment, Hua Cheng does not touch Xie Lian straight away. Instead, he straightens, taking in the spectacle of Xie Lian laying among the flowers, his skin coloured in a red as deep as the camellia blooming near his cheek.

"Your Highness, you're so beautiful," Hua Cheng whispers with reverence. "Thank you. Thank you."

What for? Xie Lian is the one being adored, he's the one being pleasured, he's the undeserving recipient of this staggering amount of love and care. If anything, he should be thanking Hua Cheng.

His eyes widen when Hua Cheng finally makes a move. His believer does not go for his chest or his crotch, the only parts involved in lovemaking as far as Xie Lian knows. Which, admittedly, isn't much. No, Hua Cheng sits at the end of his legs and gently put Xie Lian's foot on his knee. Then, ever so slowly, like he's savouring unwrapping an unexpected gift, he removes his shoe. That's nice but… what?

"Your Highness," Hua Cheng enunciated carefully, still staring at Xie Lian's foot as it's the most beautiful thing he has ever seen in his life.

"Yes?" Xie Lian croaks.

"Please tell me if I do anything that makes you uncomfortable."

Hua Cheng raises Xie Lian's leg and takes his foot in his callused hands, then stops. Xie Lian waits for something to happen until he realizes Hua Cheng is waiting for a verbal agreement. "I-I will."

"Thank you."

Hua Cheng's long fingers trace the lines of his foot with endless patience. His hand circle the ankle, caress the heel, run along the sole, play with the toes. You'd think he was trying to cartography Xie Lian's foot with his touch alone. Surely Xie Lian's completely normal foot cannot be that interesting? Xie Lian certainly never paid any attention to them before.

Then, so slowly it's practically torturing to watch, Hua Cheng raises the foot and lean down to lay a kiss on the arch. Xie Lian's gasp is so embarrassingly audible he puts his hand over his mouth by reflex. It's a foot. Not an interesting part of his anatomy, at least for that. Why is Hua Cheng kissing him there? Why is Xie Lian getting off on this?

Oh god, maybe Xie Lian has been a foot pervert the whole time, and just never noticed. He tries to remember if other people's legs ever arose anything in him. The memory of Feng Xin's strong thighs and Mu Qing's slender calves leave him completely indifferent, to his everlasting relief. His eyes drift toward Hua Cheng's long legs, folded neatly under him.

His attention is snapped back when Hua Cheng licks the side of his foot. "Y-You… don't do that, it's dirty."

Hua Cheng blinks at him, looking wrecked. "Does His Highness mind?"

No. He doesn't. He likes it. He likes the tenderness, he likes the feeling of Hua Cheng's lip and tongue tracing prayers over his skin, he likes being worshipped in his entirety. "Do what you want," he says, his voice raspy with arousal.

"That's a dangerous thing to say to me," Hua Cheng chuckles against his heel.

And so the torturous delight keeps ongoing. Not a single patch of Xie Lian's body seems to be below Hua Cheng's notice. Once he finished to explore and adore his left foot, he unravels the other, and the process starts all over again. After that, he slowly and thoroughly walk his way up Xie Lian's legs, the curves of his calves first, then the crook of his knees, the swell of his thighs, caressing, kissing, licking, removing his clothes one by one, whispering endless praises, soaking Xie Lian with affection and appreciation.

By the time he reaches his crotch, Xie Lian is so hard he could cry. The musky scent of lust, Hua Cheng's skillful hands and mouth, the restless waves of faith crashing inside him, all of this is making him lose his mind with want. Only the last shreds of his dignity are stopping him from rolling his hips to get the friction he's craving. Or worst, demand Hua Cheng puts his goddamn mouth on him already.

Finally, finally, Hua Cheng's hands drift to his hips. Xie Lian licks his lips in anticipation, his cheeks heated like a burning furnace. Hua Cheng is hard too, he notices with equal nervosity and excitement. More of the latter than the former, if he's being honest. The memory of that long, pretty cock rubbing against his surfaces on his mind and his fist clenches around his sleeve. He fails to hold back his moan when Hua Cheng's fingers crook around his hip bone.

"Your Highness," Hua Cheng says, brokenly, deferently and Xie Lian thinks yes, yes, I am Your Highness, I am your God, touch me now, fuck me well my beloved worshipper.

However, Hua Cheng makes no move to reach the throbbing tent inside Xie Lian's pants but catches his hand instead. He has to know, he cannot not know, he's sitting between Xie Lian's legs, right in front of Xie Lian's very obvious hard-on. Clearly, he should be paying attention to that, but no, he'd rather take Xie Lian's hand in his own, cradle the wrist and kiss every single of the knuckles, before he plunges Xie Lian's fingers inside his mouth and sucks on them in the most erotic way possible.

Is Hua Cheng trying to kill Xie Lian with frustration? Because that's exactly what's going to happen if Xie Lian doesn't get that mouth on him soon.

"How long do you intend to tease me like this?" Xie Lian tries to sound reproachful instead of desperate, with mixed results.

Hua Cheng blinks innocently as the fingers pop out of his mouth. "I have no idea what His Highness means. Is there something in particular you want his servant to do? His Highness only has to say the word."

It's obvious what he wants! Is he really going to make Xie Lian say it? How cruel! "I-I… I want your… on my… on my…"

He can't say it. He truly can't. This is the most frustrating thing ever. Why is he like this? Fortunately, Hua Cheng takes pity on him and gently lets down Xie Lian's hand.

"It's alright, I understand. I'm sorry for teasing His Highness. I'm going to give him what he wants now."

The tall man bends over Xie Lian's lap and breathes in. Predictably, the flowers release another wave of perfume. At that point, Xie Lian's sanity is but a mere memory and he bucks his hips eagerly. Hua Cheng puts his hands on his sides to hold him, then finally kiss the tip of Xie Lian's cock through the clothes.

"Ahhh," Xie Lian sobs. It feels so good. He needs more, so much more.

The remnants of his pride forgotten, he wills away his clothes, leaving only his inner tunic loosely opened. His hardened length is violently red as if trying to beg for attention, leaking at the end. Hua Cheng licks the precum with an expression of pure bliss.

"So pretty, so beautiful," he mutters incoherently. You'd think he was the one being sucked off.

Frankly, Xie Lian never thought of his penis as anything more than an annoying presence before. It hanged uselessly between his legs, usually expressed itself at the most inconvenient moment possible and Xie Lian just didn't like it very much. Certainly not something worthy of being called pretty or beautiful. His vows of chastity were a relief at the time.

But the sight of his length between Hua Cheng's lips might be the most arousing thing he has seen in his life. If he wasn't restraining himself, he could come from the sounds of sucking alone. And the scent, oh gods, the scent.

"Don't hold back, Your Highness," Hua Cheng pleads as he releases Xie Lian's hips from his grasp.

"Give it all to me," he prays, his tongue playing with Xie Lian's leaking slit.

"I'm your most devoted worshipper," he vows, his lips running along the shaft.

And then, right before he swallows Xie Lian down, a reminder: "You're my only reason to live."

Two different hammers shatter Xie Lian's fragile understanding of reality at once.

One, the absolute euphoria of Hua Cheng's wet mouth surrounding him and sucking him in. There is no going back from that. Just like he hasn't forgotten the sight of his devotee pleasuring himself inside the temple of his dream or the feeling of his hand rubbing his god's hardness, Xie Lian will never get over the sheer bliss of his warmth taking him whole, a worship that wrecks him deeper than hundreds of temples of temple and thousands of prayers ever could.

Hua Cheng moans around him, his lips swollen and crimson, and Xie Lian reaches the essence of divinity.

Two, the horror of realizing the man Xie Lian rescued as a child now has his cock down his throat. The very same child Xie Lian stupidly, selfishly told to 'live for him.' because he didn't know what else to say. That child did exactly that and he actually lived for Xie Lian. And now he's happily sucking Xie Lian off in his dreams, worshipping his god with literally everything he has and gagging for more.

It's Xie Lian's fault. He did this. He did this.

"No, no, no!" he cries out, forcefully pushing away Hua Cheng's head.

He springs up and sits on the grass, his inner robe flying around him. His cock bounces over his belly, wet and red, still hard and throbbing, shameless begging for Hua Cheng's attention. It doesn't care for morals or Xie Lian's conscience. It only wants pleasure, more pleasure, always pleasure.

Around them, the field of colourful flowers wither. It smells like death.

"Your Highness?" Hua Cheng asks hesitantly, his deep voice wrecked. He looks like a mess, his collar undone, his hair in disorder and a trail of drool down the corner of his mouth. "Did-Did I hurt you?"

No, it's Xie Lian who hurt him. "I'm sorry," he babbles as he tries to sit up. His legs falter and Hua Cheng has to catch him. Pathetic, pathetic, pathetic. "I'm so sorry! Please forgive me!"

He disentangles himself from Hua Cheng's embrace. His worshipper, still on his knees, looks up to him, visibly distressed. "Your Highness, please…"

Xie Lian flees the dream like the coward he truly is.