Somewhere in the back of his mind, Xie Lian vaguely recalls his past self used to hate paperwork. A dull, joy-killing loss of time, he used to think. The plague of his immortal life, he once said. A lesser god might have made his subordinates do the deeds in his stead, but not Xie Lian, oh no. He was too noble to inflict that pain on his poor underlings. If anyone had to suffer, it should be him, he said.
The him from a month ago was such an idiot. He didn't know how to appreciate the mind-killing virtues of paperwork. Xie Lian has never so happy to fill reports on property damage repairs and run accountability on his merit stocks. Focusing on the task is literally chasing away any thoughts that isn't a number, and that's exactly what he needs right now.
Not. To. Think.
"Your Highness, I brought another cup of tea?"
"Don't bother, he didn't even touch the first one."
Silence as Feng Xin checks the fact that indeed, the cup of tea remained untouched on Xie Lian's desk. He probably wouldn't believe Mu Qing on principle; if Mu Qing told him the sky was blue, he would look up just in case it changed when he wasn't looking.
"...Dammit. He's been like this for five days!"
"Brain-dead, you mean?"
"HOW DARE YOU! HIS HIGHNESS IS NOT BRAIN DEAD! HE'S JUST GOING THROUGH SOME STUFF!"
"DON'T YELL AT ME YOU SIMPLETON! IT'S NOT MY FAULT HE'S ALL BROKEN!"
"WELL, I DON'T KNOW, WHOSE FAULT IS IT THEN? HE HASN'T TALKED TO ANYONE BUT US FOR WEEKS!"
Xie Lian clears his throat loud enough to be heard over the cacophony of his two attendants fighting. It's a skill he was forced to develop over the years, as it became obvious the rampant hostility between Mu Qing and Feng Xin wouldn't get better anytime soon.
"Excuse me, but I'm trying to work here," he says without looking up from his report. "If you can't stop yourself from bickering, you can do so elsewhere."
"Sorry," they both mumble, properly chastised. By experience, Xie Lian knows the remorse will last about thirty seconds before they forget and start yelling at each other again. He sighs and tries to lose himself into blissfully boring accountability.
"On the plus side, he tackled one year worth of paperwork in three days," Mu Qing says after a minute of considerative silence. "What's that sword?"
"A gift from a devotee. I thought it might cheer his Highness up…"
"Wait a minute… Isn't that Liliang Jian? I thought Haipa Jiahuo had it?"
"He did, up until two days ago."
"... Don't tell me it's that freak again."
"... Who else could it be? Does it matter who gifted it? A sword is a sword."
"It does if it's that Crimson Beast! He's obsessed with His Highness. Who knows what kind of wicked sorcery he enchanted that sword with?"
"You're being ridi-"
"Crimson Beast?" Xie Lian cuts it, repeating the moniker with growing dread. How likely are the chances that another devotee of his is famous for wearing red clothes? "Who are you talking about?"
Mu Qing and Feng Xin look at each other. For two people who claim they can't stand to be in the same room as the other, they sure are good at this silent conversation thing.
"Happy now?" Mu Qing hisses at his co-worker.
"You're the one who mentioned him! Don't blame me if you can't hold your tongue!" Feng Xin protests, clenching his left fist. The other is carrying a long wooden box that must contain said sword.
"You should have thrown away that sword the moment you got it!"
"Enough!" Xie Lian snaps as he hits the desk with his open palm. He has no patience left to deal with their constant quarreling. "Feng Xin! Tell me who's that Crimson Beast you spoke of!"
Feng Xin, ever the obedient servant, or as Mu Qing would snort, 'a well-trained dog', straighens by reflex at Xie Lian's commanding tone. "En, Your Highness! Crimson Beast is one of your devotees. We call him like that because of his red clothes and his bad temper. He's very…invested in Your Highness' cult."
Bad temper? Hua Cheng has been nothing if not perfectly well-behaved for Xie Lian. Sort of.
"His name, Feng Xin."
Feng Xin hesitates, but has no other choice than to comply. "Hua Cheng, Your Highness. He serves in Xian Le's royal army."
Xie Lian closes his eyes very slowly. Of course. To paraphrase Feng Xin himself, who else could it be? And he what? Battled a monster and gifted his legendary weapon to Xie Lian? For what purpose? Earn back his forgiveness?
Just when Xie Lian thought he couldn't feel any more like a scum, he just keeps getting lower and lower.
"He's an obsessed freak," Mu Qing mutters, his eyebrows furrowed in concern. "You shouldn't approach him, Your Highness. That would only fuel his delusions further."
Too late, Xie Lian thinks hysterically. 'Approach him' doesn't even begin to encompass how thoroughly Xie Lian fucked up with Hua Cheng.
"Duly noted," Xie Lian says dryly. "You may go now."
"Your Highness…" Feng Xin tries.
Xie Lian has unfinished business to attend to.
Finding Hua Cheng is surprisingly easy. Xie Lian just needed to stroll among the army barracks near the Capital and listen to the gossip. 'Crimson Beast' seems to be a hot topic today, and probably every day. Xie Lian heard no less than three soldiers complaining about the Captain as he lurked among them.
"Sergeant Yue is in a terrible mood," a foot soldier bemoans to his friend. "He forced me to do two hundreds push-ups, just because I was three minutes late this morning!"
"He's still mad about Captain Hua sneaking out to battle a monster on his own again," the other soldier laughs good heartedly, patting his back. "It'll pass."
At the name of Captain Hua, Xie Lian approaches the two men eating near the window of the mess and leans by the edge. They don't notice him, naturally. He would be very worried if they did.
"Not if Captain keeps on escaping the infirmary to train despite Doc's orders! Ah, don't laugh! You're not the one being blamed when Captain does crazy shit!"
"Sucks to be you and forced to serve under the command of a lunatic."
At the jab at his superior's expense, the first soldier bristles indignantly and waves his chopsticks. "Hey there. Captain is not a lunatic. He's just very intense!"
His friend rolls his eyes long and hard. Mu Qing would be impressed. "Not you too. I swear all the guys in your regiment are indoctrinated. Do you have to pray to His Highness The Crown Prince three times a day too?"
If Hua Cheng really makes his soldiers pay their respect to him so often, Xie Lian doesn't know whether he's going to cry or laugh. Both, most likely.
"Of course not. Captain Hua being a very devoted man doesn't mean we have to be as well."
That's a relief to hear, Xie Lian is not going to lie. It's funny how after ten years of godhood, he's still not quite used to the devotion he's showered under.
"No, you just have to clean the mess he makes after he loses his shit when someone says anything less than stellar praise about His Highness."
"That bastard of Jin Huan had it coming, and you know it!"
"Dude. Dude. Your Captain almost tore off his arm."
The soldier under Hua Cheng's command crosses his arms in front of his chest defiantly. "Well, what was he expecting after breaking into Cap's private shrine, uh? He made fun of his statues! He's lucky Cap didn't tear off his dumbass head instead!"
To his surprise, Xie Lian finds himself to be quite angry on Hua Cheng's behalf as well. No matter how odd it is, Hua Cheng spent a lot of effort and care in his art. Xie Lian could feel it when he was incarnating his statue inside the second dream. Who is this man to think he can trample over all that hard work so easily? And insult Xie Lian by association while he's at it?
"Still, Sergeant just lets him do anything. Is your boss sucking his dick under the table or wha-"
"FUCKING TAKE THAT BACK!" Hua Cheng's soldier shouts, waving his fist angrily.
Xie Lian's blood boils in his veins at the casual accusation. He dares to imply… What? It could be true for all Xie Lian knows.
He leaves for the training fields before he can convince himself to join the fight. The sun is almost down, but he knows, considering what he overheard from the soldiers, he'll find the man there. This is quite the trip down memory lane. He used to come here occasionally to train with Feng Xin and Mu Qing. He wonders if they miss it. To be truthful, Xie Lian's dream has always been to ascend and become a god, and he more or less assumed it was the case for his followers as well.
They didn't say anything at the time, but perhaps they would have wished to stay human and build their own life. Xie Lian needs to stop taking loyalty for granted.
He hears the man before he sees him. Familiar sounds of swords clashing and exhausted panting stirs him in the right direction. He can't help but quicken his stride, feeling impatient and excited. Unlike the terrifying depth of his own sexuality, this is a world Xie Lian knows.
Two men are fighting in the training field when Xie Lian walks by the corner. One short and muscular, who's struggling to defend himself against his opponent and looking like he'd rather be anywhere else right now, and the other tall and lean in a red tunic and armor, fighting like a furious beast despite his obvious injuries.
Hua Cheng, in the flesh this time. And oh god, he's beautiful. Lean muscles rolling with his smooth movements, agile hand wielding his saber as skillfully as it does a brush and a chisel, glossy back hair held back in a ponytail, a bloodthirsty grin stretching those tempting lips Xie Lian keeps on dreaming about.
Xie Lian has hoped perhaps the dream has influenced his perceptions, but, if anything, the man is even more breathtaking in person. He doesn't even have the excuse of being inside a wet dream to justify the wave of pure want rushing through his body at the spectacle. There are very few people who can compete with Xie Lian in martial prowess alone and even less mortals. Yet, he knows just by watching him pounce over his opponent like a voracious tiger on his prey, relentless and restless, a spirit of spite and determination made man, that this man could give Xie Lian a run for his money.
Fight me, he finds himself bemoaning internally, his fingers twitching for the handle of his sword, his blood answering the call of war, his cock throbbing eagerly. Fight me, fight me, fight me, fuck me. If you give me a good fight, I'll let you worship me raw in the open, right there on the dirt.
"Cap!" The soldier cries out as he barely manages to counter Hua Cheng's sword. "Maybe we should call it a day? You're going to reopen your wound!"
Hua Cheng halts, and sneers at the idea. "I'm not done yet. And if you're too tired to keep going, I'll find someone else to spar with."
"Sergeant Yue is going to murder me if you hurt yourself again," the soldier insists. "Please get some rest…"
Xie Lian snaps out of his fight induced trance. That's right, Hua Cheng is injured. He shouldn't be fighting at all, even less so recklessly. And he got wounded in the first place because Xie Lian ran away without an explanation. Another thing Xie Lian messed up with his believer.
"Fight or leave, I don't care either way," Hua Cheng says, to his subordinate's despair.
That won't do at all. Xie Lian approaches Hua Cheng from the side, filled with determination. He doesn't know how, but he has to take responsibility and make this right, somehow. His devotee does look at the end of his rope, as if spite truly is the only thing keeping him going. He touches Hua Cheng's uncovered wrist with the tip of his finger.
Hua Cheng shudders, and he looks around him, searching for the invisible presence of his god.
"Your Highness?" he asks, his previously acerbic tone now laced with hope.
"Sleep now," Xie Lian whispers as he infuses his energy through Hua Cheng's meridian. "Foolish man."
Hua Cheng's eye flutter, trying to remain awake. Unfortunately for him, there is no point fighting the spell for a mortal, even one as stubborn as Hua Cheng. He staggers on his feet, then would have crumbled on the floor, if not for his subordinate catching him.
Xie Lian peers at his devotee's face with surprising fondness. Most people look peaceful when they sleep, but not Hua Cheng. He looks in as much pain unconscious as he does awake. Those tender smiles he showed Xia Lian in the flower field seems like a fareway memory.
"Cap? Cap!" The soldier cries as he tries as he can to adjust his hold on Hua Cheng's tall body. "Fuck, the sergeant really is going to murder me now!"
Xie Lian follows the soldier carrying Hua Cheng back to the infirmary, where he should have been recovering all along, unable to leave until he knows for sure his believer is tucked safely in his bed. Hua Cheng's underling keeps mumbling about how heavy the Captain is for someone so skinny and how he's going to survive the sergeant's wrath, and he narrowly avoids hitting Hua Cheng's head no less than three times. Xie Lian has to physically restrain from throwing rules and caution to the wind, making himself corporeal, and carrying his believer to safety himself.
Eventually, after that excruciatingly long journey, they reach the infirmary. A man in his fifty, wearing a leather armor and looking incredibly pissed off, exits just as the soldier stumbles in front of the building, Xie Lian on his tail. Xie Lian guesses by the soldier's gasp of horror this is the sergeant he's so afraid of.
"S-Sir!" The soldier confirms his suspicions right away. "T-This is…"
"He sneaked off to train again?" the sergeant cuts in, very unimpressed.
"E-En… Cap seemed fine, until he passed out out of nowhere."
"Get him on the bed and go fetch the healer."
Hua Cheng's subordinate staggers in and manages to lie Hua Cheng down over the unruffled sheet. Less gently than Xie Lian would have liked, but beggars can't be choosers. The nervous man then bolts out of the room to look for the healer.
Xie Lian tiptoes next to the bed and sits down by Hua Cheng's side, staring at the sergeant intently. The older man leans over Hua Cheng and opens his clothes, looking for his wound. Xie Lian turns white when he sees the stitched line running across his believer's abdomen. That kind of injury could have killed him.
"Wild child," the sergeant sighs as he puts his palm over his forehead. "What am I going to do with you?"
That's an excellent question. How did Hua Cheng end up in the army anyway? The last time Xie Lian saw him, he was a scrawny little thing, barely hanging on to life. His chest constricts at the memory of a poor kid offering white flowers and quiet devotion to him. A wild child indeed, who grew up to become one of the wildest men Xie Lian has met.
Xie Lian freezes at his title. Surely this human does not know of his presence! The sergeant is not looking in his direction, but staring at his joined hands in a prayer. "Your Highness," he repeats, his old eyes closed. "If you have any mercy… please let go of your most devoted servant."
Xie Lian blinks. His hand reaches out to stroke Hua Cheng's cheek, slick with sweat. "I don't think I can do that, least I erase my memory from his mind entirely."
And that's something he's more than reluctant to do. It's selfish, but he doesn't want his believer to forget him.
"He's going to burn down if he keeps trying to reach out to something that cannot be reached," the sergeant adds, his rough voice shaking with emotion.
Cannot be reached? But Hua Cheng reached out to Xie Lian already. He snagged him from all the way down here, caught him between his soldier's hands, crafted him into godhood with his artist's hands, and unraveled the human within with his lover's hands.
He reached out to Xie Lian. It's him who does not know how to reach back. It's him who's terrified of what he can have.
After the healer walked in and confirmed Hua Cheng was fine, Xie Lian ascends back to Heaven, even more conflicted than when he left. When it comes to Hua Cheng, it seems Xie Lian is unable to solve anything.
The least he can do is try.
"Where is my sword?" Xie Lian asks when he storms inside his palace.
Feng Xin looks up from his plate, slowly blinks at Xie Lian, then points at the sword by his side. "Not this one," Xie Lian sighs. "The one I was gifted."
Understanding alights his attendant's eyes. "In the armory, but, Your Highness, trust me, you shouldn't indulge this guy's sick fantasies…"
It's a bit too late for that, Xie Lian chuckles to himself. "Thank you. And I'm sorry I've been… like this. It's not fair to Mu Qing and you."
"Your Highness, there is no fair or unfair." Feng Xin shakes his head. "We're your servants, you don't owe us anything."
Oh, Feng Xin, ever loyal Feng Xin, who's always been there by Xie Lian's side, in abyss and in heaven, who's his family. What would Xie Lian do without him to support him?
"But I do. I really do. And I'll try to do better in the future." He promises.
The first thing Xie Lian feels is the metallic taste of blood underneath his tongue. Bitter and powerful, strong and rich, like pure battle thirst running down his throat and into his veins. He tentatively licks his lips, tongue heavy and mouth dry. They taste like cherry still, the sweetness tainted with sorrow.
Once again, Xie Lian has entered Hua Cheng's dream, and found himself entangled into his believer's musings. But this time, he did so on purpose. This time, hopefully, he'll remain in control.
He's standing inside a room he hasn't visited in years, yet cannot fail to recognize: the Throne Hall of Xian Le's Royal Palace. He's been there often enough, at his father's knee then by himself, to be intimately familiar with the place. The smooth jade pillars, the gleaming white floor, the precious colored glass windows, and of course the throne, crimped with jewels, giant and imposing, As a child, he used to think there wasn't any place more impressive than the Throne Hall. Now that he's walking by Heaven's golden streets everyday, this display of wealth appears bland and tasteless by comparison.
At the center of the room, a figure in blood-stained rags is prostrated a few feet in front of the empty throne, his dirty red clothes a sharp contrast with the luxury of the Hall.
"This is a very faithful reproduction of the Throne Hall," Xie Lian says in guise of a greeting as he comes out of the shadows. "Have you been there before?"
A tremor shakes Hua Cheng's exposed back at the sound of Xie Lian's voice. He doesn't raise his head. "I was appointed in the royal guard for a few weeks."
Xie Lian hums along in understanding. That can't have ended well. From what Xie Lian has seen, Hua Cheng has no patience for anyone that isn't the Crown Prince of Xian Le. "A few weeks only, ah? Who did you offend?"
A muffled chuckle tingles through the solemn silence. "The question should be who didn't I offend, Your Highness."
Xie Lian can't help but laugh as well. He wishes he has the pleasure to watch rough, merciless Hua Cheng walk his way through the complicated politics inherent to the royal palace without giving a single damn who's foot he was stepping on. It must have been quite the show.
"I did say it was a terrible idea, in my defense," Hua Cheng adds. "The royal guard only interested me when His Highness still lived in the Palace."
Xie Lian wonders if that's what might have happened, if he hadn't ascended. Would Hua Cheng have managed to claw his way back to him then? Most likely. He is an incredibly determined man. Xie Lian wouldn't have been ensnared inside his dreams if it wasn't the case. "I see. Hua Cheng."
His believer shudders. Still he won't rise. "Your Highness."
"Are you planning to stay prostrated forever?" Xie Lian asks lightheartedly.
"I…" Hua Cheng stutters. His believer, so strong and unshakable, brought to his knees by a simple word from Xie Lian. "I'm scared to face Your Highness."
Xie Lian's heart constricts painfully at the sheer vulnerability in his voice. He crouches down by Hua Cheng's side and puts his hand on his head.
"I'm not angry," Xie Lian says softly as he pats Hua Cheng's hair soothingly. "Well, I am angry, but at myself, not you. You don't have to plead for my forgiveness. If anything, I should be the one to apologize for..."
"Your Highness!" Hua Cheng suddenly straightens up to face Xie Lian, his eye wide with outrage. "Don't say such preposterous things, please! You don't have to apologize to anyone, and certainly not a low life like me. I was too bold. Too selfish. Too greedy. I deserved..."
Xie Lian smacks the top of his head, cutting his self-recriminating tirade short. "Ah, stop right there!" He scolds his surprised worshipper. "You're not a low life or trash, how many times do I have to say this? The fault was mine. I didn't realize you were that child from ten years ago before you said…"
He can't finish his sentence, flustered at the memory of Hua Cheng between his legs, his mouth wrapped around his cock, pledging his life to Xie Lian unconditionally.
"His Highness didn't know?" Hua Cheng wonders. "It really is you then. Or my imagination is more tricky and inventive than I thought."
"It really is me!" Xie Lian laughs. "You doubted it?"
"Of course I did." Hua Cheng shakes his head, his tone full of self-loathing. "Why would Your Highness enter my dreams in the first place? Why would he indulge this shameless servant's sick fantasies? It's not the first time I imagined his Highness paying attention to me. He never felt so real before, however."
Well. It wasn't intentional. In the beginning, at least.
"Your Highness," Hua Cheng adds, facing Xie Lian. "You're right, I was that child you saved. I have never forgotten your kindness. That being said, I'm not a child anymore. I may be younger, but I'm a man. You don't have to feel guilty."
"I noticed," Xie Lian mumbles, avoiding looking at Hua Cheng and his alluring body leaning toward him.
"Hmm, did you really?" Hua Cheng smirks in a way that makes his inner organs twist in arousal. Xie Lian feels himself die a little inside.
"Don't make fun of me," Xie Lian says, trying his best to pretend he's not blushing hard. Where has the contrite devotee from two minutes ago gone?
"I would never dare." Hua Cheng flutters his eyelashes. "Hmm, how could I prove to His Highness I'm a fully grown and consenting adult?"
Too forward, he's too forward, Xie Lian despairs behind his hands. It's obvious what ways he's thinking of to convince Xie Lian! Then, he's hit by an epiphany. "Fight me."
It's perfect. Xie Lian could never see a child in a man that fights like Hua Cheng does. He could only see an equal worthy of respect. Ever since he spied on his spar, Xie Lian has been daydreaming about battling about the 'Red Beast'. Even exhausted and injured, Hua Cheng had been magnificent. Xie Lian is aching for a live demonstration of his skills.
"Your Highness?" Hua Cheng says, visibly hesitant.
"Fight me!" Xie Lian repeats as he springs up, excited at the prospect of a good spar session. It's been too long since he indulged in his favorite activity. He was running out of partners, as most gods now politely refused his invitations. He was too intense for their taste, apparently. "Come on, up, up!"
"As Your Highness commands," Hua Cheng stands up, still looking conflicted.
Xie Lian sighs. Right, let's raise the stakes. Without daring to look directly at Hua Cheng, he adds, trying his best to channel the seductive side of him that didn't exist a month ago. "If you impress me, I'll… reward you."
Hua Cheng lunges at him, his saber forming inside his hand out of nothing but intent. Xie Lian avoids the blow easily, his own sword appearing inside his fist.
"I didn't even say what kind of reward!" Xie Lian laughs delightedly, not offended by the treacherous attack in the least. Everything's fair in war and… yeah. Everything's fair.
"Doesn't matter," Hua Cheng says, quickly retreating. "I'll take whatever His Highness is willing to give me gratefully."
"Alright then. Don't you dare hold back, Captain!"
Xie Lian wins. Hua Cheng never had a chance in the first place. He's an excellent fighter, but he's still a mortal. Xie Lian is simply more experienced and a god. But he does put up a good show for Xie Lian. His worshipper is a ferocious beast, daring, suicidal even, some might say. He goes at Xie Lian as if he's genuinely trying to kill him, without holding back, without trying to coddle him, and Xie Lian is loving every single second of it. Sensuality is confusing and scary to him, but fighting? That's a language of the body Xie Lian understands. Master of it even. Clashing swords are words on their own, a form of communication Xie Lian prefers to verbal language, as savage as it might sound.
People lie. A sword or a fist never does.
He can feel the thrill of uncertainty and adrenaline throbbing inside his body, and he revels in the rush. It's been so long Xie Lian had so much fun fighting someone else. If in the end, Hua Cheng ends up on his knees, the tip of Xie Lian's sword under his chin, it's not because he didn't give his best. For that alone, Xie Lian is grateful.
"You're a formidable fighter, Hua Cheng!" Xie Lian says, full of enthusiasm, the elation of adrenaline pulsing in him still. "Let's do that again soon!"
Hua Cheng's awed expression brightens at the praise. He doesn't seem bothered at all by the presence of the blade so close to his neck. He's just so… pretty like this, his neck arched and his legs slightly spread on the floor. "I'm nothing compared to His Highness."
"Nonsense! You were a formidable opponent!" Xie Lian sincerely gushes.
"His Highness is too kind," Hua Cheng purrs, his eye greedy and his mouth hungry. Xie Lian could taste the lust on those lips if he tried. "Does that mean I earned my reward?"
Xie Lian's eyes flicker on the ground. Oh god. Oh god, but he's… "You're…"
"I am," Hua Cheng admits easily, his erection obvious now that Xie Lian is paying attention to something else than just fighting. "His Highness underestimates how appealing he is when he's lost to battle lust. And now dominating me so beautifully… Have mercy on me, Your Highness, I'm only one man."
And Xie Lian is only one confused and easily embarrassed god! He pulls down his sword, mortified by his own arousal at the sight of Hua Cheng at his mercy on his knees, begging to be taken. "I-I... W-What do you have in mind? For your reward."
"If I have the luxury to choose," Hua Cheng starts slowly. "I'd like to finish what I started last time. But only if Your Highness is comfortable with that."
Xie Lian feels himself flush from head to toes. "You want me to…"
"I want Your Highness to cum in me," he confirms without any shame whatsoever, staring intensely at Xie Lian's midsection.
"H-here?" Xie Lian asks, doing his goddamn best to look like he knows what he's talking about and has any experience at shoving his dick into people's body to cum in them.
The worst part is that he can absolutely picture himself doing that right then and there. Hua Cheng is already in the perfect position, kneeling obediently between Xie Lian's legs, his head looking up, mouth open and just ready to be filled.
Hua Cheng's eye flicker tellingly to the side. Surely he doesn't mean…
"The throne?" Xie Lian squeals, mortified at the idea. His father used to sit on that thing. Still does, actually. "Really?"
"Hmm, if it bothers Your Highness, I'm fine wherever." Hua Cheng muses out loud as he nuzzles Xie Lian's thigh, sly fingers caressing circles in the crook of his knee. "But I won't deny I would love to pleasure the only man I call my king on his throne."
Hahaha, oh dear, this is bad. Xie Lian is into it, he's way too much into it, why did Hua Cheng have to put it like that? "W-WELL THEN!"
Without letting himself a chance to chicken out on their deal, Xie Lian grabs Hua Cheng's hands, pulls him up, and drags him toward the throne. Hua Cheng follows along, chuckling at Xie Lian's red face, his hand holding Xie Lian's tightly.
"It's alright, Your Highness, we don't have to."
No! Xie Lian can overcome fifteen years of shying away from his own sexuality and self-imposed chastity. He can do it. No big deal. As long as no one ever learns about this. He would die if anyone found out about him indulging in kinky throne dream sex with his worshipper. Combust of shame where he stands.
Xie Lian lets himself drop on the throne and does his best to sit regally. Time to pretend he has the slightest clue of what he's doing. "Captain." He tilts his head up.
"Your Highness," Hua Cheng breathes out. He falls on his knees again, nested between Xie Lian's legs as if he belongs there, hands reverently roaming from calf to thigh. He doesn't spare the slightest bit of attention to his own erection tenting his pants, but Xie Lian does. Oh, how much he does.
"I hope you hope you don't plan on teasing me again." Xie Lian scolds, forcing himself to avert his eyes.
"Not this time," Hua Cheng smirks as he reaches out for Xie Lian's robes. Xie Lian can't hold back his shudder at the potential next times. "I don't have any patience to spare today."
Frankly, neither does Xie Lian. Patience has never been his strongest point, and his half hard-on isn't helping with his natural tendency to demand the things he wants now. Xie Lian really is a spoilt brat, just like the Head Priest claimed many times. It's fortunate Hua Cheng doesn't seem to mind so far.
"Ahh." Hua Cheng bites his bottom lip when he unravels Xie Lian's clothes, revealing his half erected cock. "I, Your Highness… are you still alright with this?"
Hua Cheng is staring so intensely at Xie Lian's length, he would combust if he hadn't already transcended his shame threshold. "I… Yes. Please. Are you alright?"
Surely this position can't be very comfortable for Hua Cheng? Maybe Xie Lian could get him a pillow or something? They're inside a dream, it won't be hard at all to solve the issue.
"I'm exactly where and how I want to be."
Prostrated between his god's legs, determined to prove his faith by worshipping him the most intimate way possible. Sly fingers curl up around Xie Lian's cock, and he gasps at the touch, his hips swaying onward by reflex to get more of that delicious friction. He really needs to work on his self-control. Hua Cheng chuckles at Xie Lian's eagerness and puts his fingers inside his mouth to wet them. Xie Lian couldn't look away from his lover thrusting between his lips, even if Heaven itself demanded it. His cock twitches in anticipation, to Hua Cheng's amusement.
"Your Highness is impatient." He smiles like a cat who got his cream, very pleased by the effect he has on Xie Lian.
"You're terrible," Xie Lian hides his face behind his hand, mortified beyond words. "No more teasing me, just get on with it!"
"As Your Highness commands."
Wet fingers find their way back to Xie Lian's cock, stroking, rubbing, and coaxing blissed out moans straight out of Xie Lian's open mouth. Soon enough, his mouth joins the party, and Xie Lian loses his ability to process anything but the feeling of those artist fingers circling his length and that sinful tongue licking him raw. He forgets he's a cultivator who vowed not to indulge in the distractions of the body. He forgets he's a prince whose reputation would be in tatters if anyone found out he laid with another man and enjoyed every second of it. He forgets he's a god who has to remain morally upstanding in all things, a pillar of his country and Heaven. He forgets the rest of the world exists outside of their bubble.
All that's left in his mind is himself, Hua Cheng, and the universe of pleasure they're sharing.
"Your Highness." Hua Cheng's lips pops out, his voice hoarse. "Does this servant please you?"
He knows he does! Xie Lian has been panting wantonly and on the verge of losing control to thrust inside his believer's throat for… how long has it been? Minutes? Hours? Days? Eons? He can't tell anymore. "Yes! Yes, my dearest devotee is so good to me, ah!"
Hua Cheng moans brokenly, one of his hands moving frantically under his tunic, where Xie Lian cannot see. His other hand finds Xie Lian's and grab it, gently redirecting his palm to rest on the top of his head. "Your Highness, please don't hold back. Be forceful, take what you want, use my mouth as you wish."
Xie Lian's breath dies in his lungs. "Y-You want me to..?"
His eye darkens with hunger, and he whispers, "I want to be filled with Your Highness's cock."
Xie Lian could come from the way he says 'Your Highness' cock'. "Ahhh, I'm… I'm not going to last much longer."
Xie Lian's fingers tug on Hua Cheng's ponytail. The sound his devotee makes could have unleashed earthquakes and destroyed entire countries. Xie Lian would destroy entire countries for that sound, he realizes with no small amount of horror. He shortly forgets his shame at his selfishness when Hua Cheng takes him back inside his mouth, just like he forgets anything but his lover's warmth eagerly swallowing him and gagging for more.
Is this how Heaven truly feels like? No complicated politics, no moral conundrums, no backstabbing each other for a handful of merits, no prayers demanding and demanding and demanding, but devotion made fire, accepting him in his entirety.
True to his words, Xie Lian feels himself on the verge of orgasm quickly after he started rutting inside his believer's throat without inhibition. "Ahh, I'm going to…"
Hua Cheng blinks slowly up at Xie Lian to convey his understanding, his mouth sucking him even deeper. Under his red tunic, the rhythm of his hand accelerates. Suddenly, the idea that his devotee reaching climax without Xie Lian able to properly appreciate the spectacle seems unbearable. "Don't come!" He orders, shameless and so, so selfish. "Don't come, Hua Cheng!"
With a cry, Hua Cheng holds up his hand for Xie Lian to see he's not touching himself anymore, ever the obedient worshipper. The long fingers are wet with precum, and that's enough to send Xie Lian over the edge. He comes with stars bursting under his eyelids, full galaxies erupting into his whole body and the name Hua Cheng ascending out of his mouth like a prayer. Hua Cheng takes it all in him, determined not to let a single drop of Xie Lian's cum go to waste and moaning around the cock down his throat as Xie Lian writhes on his throne.
Eventually, he lets go of Xie Lian's softening length, a trail of white dripping down the corner of his swollen mouth. "Ah, Your Highness came so much in me," he says after he swallows down Xie Lian's cum. "How cruel of him to forbid me to follow him though."
It is rather cruel, Xie Lian bemoans at his forwardness. He has a reason for that but his brain is mush right now, blissed out and useless. Words are so hard to find when his nerves are tingling with pleasure still. "It's because… I wanted to make you come myself."
At the bold declaration, Hua Cheng chokes, his eye wide with surprise. "Your Highness! You don't have to debase yourself like this!"
Debase? Is that what Hua Cheng has been doing? It's not fair if he's the only one debasing himself then. "Get over here," Xie Lian frowns as he tugs on Hua Cheng's clothes.
Hua Cheng springs up and crumbles over Xie Lian's lap, his knees parted on each side of his god's legs. Throwing dignity to the wind, Xie Lian tears apart Hua Cheng's red tunic with his bare hands. He was planning to do so anyway. Hua Cheng deserves better than those tattered rags. He should be adorned in proper robes, crimson silk and cherry velvet to hug that slender waist and those sleek muscles. Xie Lian takes in the sight of his half-naked lover hungrily, committing the lines of his scars, the swells of his muscles, and the curves of his strong thighs to his memory. And his long, leaking, violently red length.
"Your Highness..." Hua Cheng tries to speak, sounding utterly lost.
With one hand, Xie Lian cups his cheeks tenderly. With the other he grabs that lovely cock begging to be touched. He has no idea what he's doing but surely it can't be that complicated. The sounds Hua Cheng makes as Xie Lian strokes him reinforces his confidence.
"Ahh, if you touch me like this, Your Highness, I won't be able to hold back at all," Hua Cheng moans against Xie Lian's shoulder
"That's alright," Xie Lian says soothingly, his free hand petting his lover's hair. "You were so good to me. You deserve to come, dearest. Kiss me now."
"I would love to, believe me, but I taste like cum." Hua Cheng chuckles, smiling helplessly.
That turns Xie Lian on instead of grossing him out as it should have. He really has no limitation anymore. He finds the courage to kiss Hua Cheng himself, a tentative peck at first then a full mouthed kiss. He takes everything in, the taste of sex, the bitterness of blood, the debauched prayers Hua Cheng lays at the altar of his body. He can't tell how long the moment stretches, only that he keeps caressing his lover over and over, until Hua Cheng is trembling from the need to finally tip over the edge.
"Your Highness, please, please," he whispers with fervor, his hips bucking uncontrollably against Xie Lian's belly.
Xie Lian wants nothing more than to answer his prayer. "Come, my dearest worshipper."
Hua Cheng does so, shattering into bristle glass shards while he cries out in ecstasy and breaks inside Xie Lian's arms. Xie Lian holds him close, broken body and broken soul and broken shards, patiently waiting for the wave to pass, and slowly puts Hua Cheng back together.
The other man is leaning completely against Xie Lian, chest against chest, his legs nested between the armrests and Xie Lian's thighs, his head tucked in the crook of Xie Lian's neck. Hua Cheng laughs when he looks down and sees his spend all over Xie Lian's robes. "I really made a mess of you, Your Highness."
He really did. And Xie Lian can't even find it within himself to mind.
"...and that's why I believe it would be for the best to advance our influence towards the northern territory. It might cause some issues with General Ming Guang, but the rewards are worth the drawbacks."
Xie Lian hums along in agreement, despite having about zero clue what Mu Qing is ranting about. His attention has been snatched by the rather adorable ladybug flying by the window. "Quite, quite."
How did she even get here? Surely she didn't fly all the way up to Heaven on her tiny wings? She's so adorable with her cute polka dots and her stubbornness to enter Xie Lian's palace. That being said, Xie Lian might just be biased toward surprisingly resistant and determined creature in black and red dresses.
"Right," Mu Qing drawls out, clinging to his folders. "I was also thinking we could sell all your swords and buy toothpicks instead.
Xie Lian smiles to himself as he holds out his hand invitingly. The ladybug has the kindness to land on the tip of his finger. "Sure, you do that."
"Great. What about firing Feng Xin and hiring someone actually useful?"
"I'm very glad you think so, Your Highness. Since we're brainstorming so efficiently, what are your opinions on pink? We could dye all your official robes in salmon. I hold it on good authority it's the new white."
Xie Lian laughs. The ladybug flies away. "An interesting choice but I'm more partial to lavender myself."
Mu Qing's eyebrow raises gracefully. "So you were listening."
"Not for all of it, I have to admit," Xie Lian says sheepishly. "Sorry I have been so distracted lately."
"At least this time you seem to be in a good mood," his attendant sighs.
That's the closest thing to a verbal display of concern Xie Lian will ever get from Mu Qing. "I am!"
And he really is. Last night, Hua Cheng dreamt of a meadow alight with thousands of lanterns adrift above them. They cuddled for hours under the glowing night sky. How could Xie Lian not be in a good mood?
"That's better than the zombie you were for those last few weeks, Your Highness," Mu Qing deadpans.
"I won't disagree with you on that!" Xie Lian laughs. "I really am sorry I was so difficult. Thank for your patience."
At that, Mu Qing's cheeks flash pink with embarrassment. How cute. "It's nothing. I was just doing my job."
"And I'm grateful for that. Don't actually fire Feng Xin though."
"Does that mean I can dye your robes in pink, Your Highness?" Mu Qing snorts.
"I was never worried about that. Your professional pride wouldn't allow it." Xie Lian says, leaning over his elbow.