On a scale of oddity of 1 to 10, Shen Yuan felt the day of his transmigration was a solid 10.
Not only had he died (quite pathetically and in pain), been linked to a System, and transmigrated, but he’d also woken up to the strangest scene there could be.
Lightheaded from the sensation of waking up after dying, it took a long moment before he could even begin to decipher what he was feeling and what was going on around him.
He was... lying down in a bed; with a soft mattress, and a soft pillow, instead of the porcelain pillow one would expect from a xianxia setting. A light and airy cover covered his body up to his chest, with only his head and his arms thrown over the bed-sheet.
It seemed there was an open window or wall nearby, letting the sunlight pour down on his neck and face, wind blowing softly and ruffling his hair. Perhaps there was a forest or a park outside, because birds could be heard chattering, their song so clear it would heal someone’s heart.
Someone was sitting at his bedside.
Their soft and relaxed breathing, along with the regular sound of paper ruffling, alerted Shen Yuan to their presence. A sweet scent wafted over from that figure, coming along with the light breeze.
Although he still did not dare open his eyes to peek at that person, he still lightly opened his eyelids to see where they stood.
Her back was to him, but it appeared to be a woman, dressed in shades of pink and yellow, not unlike a peach, with exquisitely detailed and precious jewels and accessories decorating her complex hairstyle. A decorative insignia laid on her forehead. Without doubt, she was one of the most beautiful woman there could ever be. She was not, in fact, sitting at his bedside as much as sitting on the bed itself. Her weight barely made a dent in the mattress.
She turned towards him, earrings and hanging hairpins clinking with the movement, and Shen Yuan suddenly realized he had opened his eyes fully without thinking.
To his surprise, she smiled gently. "A-Yuan, you finally woke."
The woman closed her book, laid it gently on the bedside table as though it was valuable, then turned her body around slightly, legs still hanging off the bed. She interlaced their fingers with one hand, and cupped his cheek with the other one.
"You've been sleeping for so long... A-Jiu and I grew worried. You have never been so exhausted before..." She caressed the skin under his eye, her gaze roaming over his face. "A-Jiu said, if you stayed asleep for one more day we would have to fetch Peak Lord Mu. A-Yuan, you have to be more careful, hm? Please, promise me this."
Shen Yuan, who had no idea what she was talking about or even who she was, opened his mouth and obediently said: "Will be more careful."
She giggled, the sound bright. A shiny pink coated her lips, paired with the peachy blush on her cheeks. "A-Yuan is too sweet. It's good that he is with A-Jiu and I, else I fear he would be taken advantage of mercilessly."
Faced with this woman who made strange feelings bubble in Shen Yuan's chest, he could only stare uselessly. What... what was this feeling? Was he only taking in the feelings of this body's previous owner? What was the relationship between his body and this woman?
With so much confusion bubbling in him, Shen Yuan forced himself to keep a straight, neutral face. At least, he still was named Yuan...
The woman took in his lackluster reaction and frowned lightly. "A-Yuan looks confused. Are you still half asleep?" She sighed, then smiled as she sat back from where she had been leaning over to peer into his face. "I should warn A-Jiu, he has gone grumpy with worry. He'll be so relieved to find you awake and well. I will be right back, with a meal."
She leaned down again, laid a kiss on his brow, and left the room, sleeves floating gently behind her. She looked like an immortal, having descended onto this plane for a visit, causing mischief among the mortals, making heads turn left and right.
...Was she a fairy!?
She must have been a wife in the original novel... Was there such a woman in any novel he’d read? Apart from the scum villain named Shen in <<Proud Immortal Demon Way>>, he couldn't remember anyone sharing the name Yuan in any of the novels he’d read. Yet this fairy, who could only be a wife, knew someone named Yuan...
It seemed he had fallen into a plot far away from the main storyline. And where was the System? Hadn't he just been linked to one right after his... his death?
Shen Yuan was not confused so much as utterly baffled.
Exploring the room, he found that it seemed to be a cultivator's house: cultivation manuals, bestiaries, botany books, relics, talismans... a sword, two empty stands at its sides, was resting on the wall.
He looked back at the bed. It was quite big. Four people could fit in it.
...Was he the fairy's partner? Was that why his character was not one he remembered? Had he died in order to let the protagonist marry the wife? That spelled trouble for his future...
Looking in the wardrobe, he found that the clothes were neatly folded on the left side, only in shades of peach in the middle, and somewhat in disarray on the right. Apart from the clothes in pink and yellow, the clothes were generally in a refreshing, light green.
Just as he was ready to leave the room and find someone who could direct him around, light steps came from just outside the opened sliding doors. He hurried to make himself more presentable, checking that he would not be inappropriate in the eyes of any disciple incoming.
A man finally appeared, and paused at the sight of Shen Yuan standing up. "What is A-Yuan doing standing up? Go sit back down, immediately."
Shen Yuan did not answer, did not even move.
This man...! Why did he evoke the same feeling in him as the fairy did...?
With a stern, unimpressed expression, the man stood, dressed in many layers of white and green. With his beauty, he would be more than competition for the protagonist--for surely, no man could be more beautiful than him! He fit the fairy well, an immortal cultivator that could easily be the Main Lead of a romance xianxia novel. A seemingly cold, internally kindhearted mentor.
Seeing that Shen Yuan was not moving, his expression changed. The furrow in his brow softened, the edges of his lips lifting. An amused huff escaped his nose as he tilted his head down.
"What are you staring at me for? Sit down, Haitang is coming back with your meal soon."
Saying so, he stepped up to Shen Yuan, laid his hand on the small of his back, and gently herded him back to the bed. The contrast between his stern expression and delicate touch of his palm on his waist made him even more alike a Male Lead.
He obediently let himself be guided back into sitting on the bed, legs under the covers and upper body lifted up by a small mountain of pillows. The Male Lead put Shen Yuan into this position with a kind of ease that spoke of habit. Perhaps he was a physician, used to taking care of patients.
Finally, as Shen Yuan laid both hands on his lap, over the covers, he allowed himself to stare up at the man.
The man paused. "Why so silent? Do you feel ill?" He held the back of his hand against Shen Yuan's forehead, then checked his pulse. A furrow appeared in between his brows. "A-Yuan, say something. Are you hurt?"
"...I'm alright." He was finally forced to talk, but with so little information given about the situation, it was hard to determine how he was supposed to act. Why hadn't his System given him any help yet?
"...Alright?" His eyes narrowed. "If you are hiding something from me again..."
It took all his willpower to keep his gaze straight ahead. "Apologies, I must still be tired. I am alright."
The unimpressed expression returned. "Why the sudden lying?" He pursed his lips, then sighed, sitting down just like the woman had. His hand lifted, then hesitated, fingers hovering just over his cheeks. In the end, he delicately pushed back the strands of hair blocking Shen Yuan's eyesight. "A-Yuan, you have not acted this way in years... Did the qi deviation trigger something?"
Shen Yuan, who had no idea what he was talking about: "..."
"Your qi seems stable now, but with this body..." He trailed off forebodingly. "What happened, to trigger this one? Did you attempt cultivating again? Haitang and I could have accompanied you, in this case."
A voice came from behind him, saving Shen Yuan from finding an excuse.
"Are you already scolding him, A-Jiu?" It was the fairy from earlier, carrying a tray of food that she hurried to lay on the bedside table. "Really, A-Jiu... A-Yuan just woke from such a long sleep, and you're already being such a meanie."
Faced with this young mistress-type woman, the cold cultivator sighed in what seemed like fond exhaustion. "It is not scolding. I am only..."
"Concerned, I know," the woman nodded, like the feeling was radiating from the man. She thrust a bowl of plain congee in his hands. "Be useful and feed our A-Yuan now."
The man looked down at the congee with a blank face. Shen Yuan stared at the congee with horror.
From the purple color and the bubbling, thick texture, this was not just plain congee. The smell wafting over from the bowl did not help the sentiment of dread mounting in Shen Yuan's heart.
The man asked: "...You cooked by yourself?"
Not even glancing at them, arranging the bowl of fruits on the tray: "Hm? Oh, Ming Fan was not here, I believe he's still busy with our newest disciple... What's with this strange gaze? A-Yuan, don't look so horrified, I promise this congee is healthy. You'll feel better in no time!"
Shen Yuan was too terrified of this sweet-faced, poison-handed fairy to speak.
The man looked back at the congee, then used a spare moment when the fairy was turned away to burn away the congee, seemingly using a cultivation trick. The fire made his gaze look deeper. Noticing Shen Yuan's stare, he glanced up and—
smiled, just the slightest.
Shen Yuan's heart went strange. He looked away.
The fairy turned back around to find the bowl empty. "Aiyah, A-Yuan, you must have been famished! You finished it all so quickly. Should I go make some more?"
The Male Lead: "Don't bother, I will fetch a disciple later."
Shen Yuan, who felt this scene was too ridiculous: "..."
The fairy was satisfied by the empty bowl, humming joyfully. "Should I boil some tea also? A-Jiu seems so scary, I'm sure he wants to scold you a lot."
The Male Lead frowned, confirming he was A-Jiu. "Not scolding," he insisted, as the fairy began the preparations for the tea. He sighed. "However, I do wish to know what happened. A-Yuan, do you recall what happened? What is the last thing you remember?"
Shen Yuan forced his face to remain calm and collected, thinking about what answer he could give.
Earlier, the Male Lead had said he'd had a qi deviation, and mentioned that it was perhaps due to an attempt at cultivation. There also seemed to be something peculiar about his body. However, it appeared like he (or his body's previous owner) was supposed to know about these things and thus avoid doing that.
With the little information he had on hand, he couldn't possibly find another excuse. He pretended to look down guiltily. "My memories are trouble, I am not sure... I believe that I may have attempted cultivation."
The fairy and the Male Lead exchanged a look, both silent.
Eventually, the fairy faced him and took his hands in her own, forgoing her tea. "A-Yuan... Why would you do that? You know that we do not care for your cultivation levels, and will always protect you ourselves... You are more important to A-Jiu and I than any gossip."
Contrasting with the fairy's angelical expression, the Male Lead's face grew frosty with displeasure. "Did someone tell you nonsense again? If anyone dared to spread rumors again... A-Yuan, I have told you before: I am powerful enough to silence anyone who would think those lies."
The original Yuan must have been greatly appreciated and coddled, to be treated like this. Shen Yuan felt guilty about stealing his place and turned his eyes away. "I'm not sure why. Since I am fine now, it is better to forget about this matter."
They looked neither satisfied nor convinced, but nodded after some more staring.
The fairy grew joyful again: "A-Yuan, no need to look at us with those begging eyes, we will listen to your wisdom. As long as you are aware of our love for you, this husband and wife will respect your wishes."
The Male Lead nodded, impassive face softening. "Haitang is correct. A-Yuan, as our spouse, we need to take care of you. However, if you truly feel this way, we will not do anything until you ask us to."
Husband?? Wife??? Spouse?????
Who's your husband! Who's your spouse! Shen Yuan was married now!? No way! He hadn't even gone out with one person before dying! Why was he now so suddenly married!?
"A-Yuan? What's wrong, you're so flushed suddenly..."
Shen Yuan, who could do nothing but stare at them in shock: "...I, I am... I am... I..."
The Male Lead— the husband took his wrist and checked his pulse again. His eyes grew wide. "A-Yuan! Are you having another qi deviation!?"
The fairy— the wife was equally as panicked: "What? So soon? What triggered it? Do we need to send notice to Peak Lord Mu!?"
Shen Yuan regained his composure and said haltingly: "I... am fine. I was only..." He looked down at the husband's fingers, first curled around his wrist and now sliding down to his palm. "I only... I never... never once..."
He... he'd never even held a girl's hand!! And now his first hand-holding was with an unknown man!? Why couldn't it at least be with the fairy!?
“I just… need some more rest,” he finally managed to get out, tugging his wrist out of the man’s hand.
“Oh… Is that so?” The fairy didn’t look very convinced, but she smiled and patted his covered thigh. “A-Jiu and I will leave you alone then, or would you like me to sing you a lullaby?”
What was she, his mother? “…No need.”
A hurt expression crossed her face, but then was smothered under her cheery smile. She forcefully took the man’s hand, and coaxed him out of the room. “Sleep well then, A-Yuan!”
They closed the sliding doors behind them, leaving him alone. It was obvious they were only leaving in order to discuss his odd behavior between the two of them, but it was not like A-Yuan could do much about this. How could he? He had no idea what he was supposed to act like.
Was he… supposed to be lovey-dovey with these strangers?
Before his death, he had not been able to say “I love you” to any of his family members. Even now, if he were able to see them at least once, were able to say his goodbyes, it could not be said with certainty that he would utter the dreaded words.
Just to test the words out, he muttered aloud: “I love you…”
He imagined saying them to the fairy and the male lead. Somehow, it suddenly didn’t seem as bad as he thought. Perhaps it had something to do with their impressive beauty.
Was it in character for him to say that? How would they react?
He thought the fairy might smile, cheeks flushing, a bit embarrassed in the confession, a bit smug at being on the receiving end of such forwardness. Hanging hair accessories clinking in a clear melody as she tilted her head to hide her pleased eyes, eyelashes lowering… glancing at the male lead, a twinkle in her gaze, looking out for his reaction…
The male lead closing his eyes in false calm, blinking slowly then using his fan to hide their faces as he leaned in closer and closer, whispering: “A-Yuan shouldn’t say such things in public.” The fairy giggled, and Shen Yuan opened his mouth and said:
“I only say it because it’s true.”
Shen Yuan flushed red. Had he really become so engrossed in his daydream that he’d spoken aloud?
After that first day of utter confusion, finding out he was married with people who would undoubtedly win every beauty awards in his past world, Shen Yuan continued to explore his new life, trying his hardest to avoid his new spouses at all cost.
In the evening, the husband and wife returned. Shen Yuan pretended to be asleep (which wasn’t far off from the truth, as he was just about to doze off), as the fairy fussed over his posture and the male lead scolded her for speaking so loudly. Eventually, after they dressed in their sleeping gowns, the two went on each sides of Shen Yuan and cuddled into him. Although he at first tensed up in discomfort, Shen Yuan found that he soon relaxed, letting himself be lulled to sleep by their gentle breathing.
The most difficult part of his new routine, in Shen Yuan’s humble opinion, was letting his new wife dress him in the morning while his new husband observed them from behind his painted fan. Having both their gazes on his almost naked body made him flush uncomfortably, but he could not protest too much, as he did not know how to wear those clothes by himself.
After this, the husband said: “A-Yuan must still be tired. Rest here as you wish,” while his long fingers gently played with the few strands of hair let loose, tickling his cheek.
The wife smiled: “A-Yuan, if you need for me, tell a disciple to call for me, hm? I will be right over in seconds.”
Shen Yuan felt like a kept wife, but nodded obediently. The husband and wife each took their turn kissing his forehead, then departed, leaving red-faced and flustered. He could not even begin to explain how he felt.
He turned back to their shared house, then hesitated. He was not sure if he could find any more clues in this house, since he had already investigated it the day before.
Just as he was about to wander into the bedroom again to look in the drawers, he heard a terrible crashing sound just outside the house.
Opening the door, he found that a boy was collapsed on the ground. He slowly sat up, rubbing his reddening forehead like he had slammed into the door.
When he looked up and found Shen Yuan standing there, the boy stumbled back and would have cracked his head against the rocky ground if Shen Yuan did not grab his shoulder. “M—Master Shen! This disciple… this disciple did not mean…” The poor boy was so nervous that he could not speak clearly.
He was clearly not meant to be here, with how he was glancing around nervously, as though trying to see if the Male Lead and the fairy were still there and ready to scold him. However, he didn’t appear scared of Shen Yuan himself.
Shen Yuan quickly adapted to this new situation and straightened him up, taking the time to pat his shoulder in encouragement. “What is it? Speak clearly.”
The boy bowed his head. “Master Shen… This disciple was only worried, since Master Shen has not visited him in so long… This disciple thought that maybe Master Shen…”
Were the original and this boy close? “This Master Shen was only…” Shen Yuan trailed off, blinking as he realized he was also named Shen Yuan in this world. “…busy with other things. Show me your face.”
The boy obediently tilted his head up and let Shen Yuan study his features.
…This white bun was familiar.
…Wasn’t this… wasn’t this…!?
Shen Yuan fearfully opened his mouth and asked: “Luo Binghe?”
The boy nodded, waiting patiently for more words to come.
Luo Binghe! This white lotus bun was Luo Binghe!
He was in <<Proud Immortal Demon Way>>!?
But didn’t that mean… the scum villain, the scum teacher, the master of this peak, the man who wore white and green and used painted fans…
Wasn’t the scum villain his husband!?
Shen Yuan, who was frozen in his shock, managed to spit out: “...It’s nothing. This master only wanted to check for himself if Binghe was well…”
Luo Binghe flushed red, such a young child who could feel full with just a few words of care. “Master Shen, this disciple swears he is well… Master Shen needn’t worry anymore, Shizun promised him I would be fine.”
Shen Yuan was so confused he couldn’t say anything else. He patted the little bun on the head and turned around, walking back towards the daybed in the garden.
When he sat, he found that Luo Binghe had followed him, and was nervously peeking up at his expression. Shen Yuan gently offered him to sit next to him, but Luo Binghe only shook his head and refused to say anything.
Since the little bun was satisfied with only standing there like a ghost, Shen Yuan took the time to fold his hands in his lap and breathe deeply.
What was this weird plotline?? Wasn’t <<Proud Immortal Demon Way>>’s canon plot completely different from what he’d managed to gather so far? Since when was the scum teacher married? And to two people to boot! Who was this Haitang? Why was he named Jiu instead of Qingqiu? Why was Luo Binghe not treated badly?
Why did he not have a System!?
Who was the original Shen Yuan??!
Shen Yuan was so distressed that he let out a whimper and hid his face in his hands.
He could not understand any of this nonsense! Where was Airplane when needed!? Why didn’t he have a System to guide him!?
“Master Shen! Master Shen!” the poor white lotus protagonist was tugging on his sleeve, trying to make him show his face. “Are you unwell? This disciple will call for Shizun and Madam Qiu!”
Shen Yuan grasped his elbow before he could run off and warn the people who needed to be warned the least. “There’s no need for that. Binghe, tell me plainly, what is our relationship?”
Faced with such a forward question, Luo Binghe flushed but remained obedient and stopped struggling: “Master Shen is my benefactor. This disciple is truly grateful!”
“What happened between us?”
Blanching this time: “Master Shen! There was… That is… This disciple…”
Shen Yuan tugged his elbow until Luo Binghe was sitting next to him, and asked again: “There is no need for politeness. This master finds that his memory is lacking, and so needs this disciple’s help remembering… May disciple clear his doubts and tell this master what happened between us? How is… my husband involved?”
Luo Binghe’s brows creased in worry and shock. “Master Shen needs this disciple’s help?”
His face cleared, pride shining through. “This disciple will try to help Master Shen as best he can! The truth is, in the past, Shizun acted… that is, this disciple was not warmly welcomed by Shizun, though he could not figure out why—although this disciple is sure Shizun had the most important of reasons for this treatment! But when Master Shen learned of this and met me, he demanded his husband to relocate this disciple and change the treatment done onto him.”
…So the white lotus protagonist was abused as he was in canon, until Shen Yuan’s predecessor stepped in and demanded his husband stop abusing this poor little bun? Shen Yuan nodded in agreement over his body’s past actions, and patted the white lotus’ hair in reassurance.
“Very well. This master is glad disciple is treated well.”
Luo Binghe beamed up at him. “Ever since then, Master Shen has been very kind with this disciple, and visits me often… Although I am not sure why…”
Shen Yuan, who did not know why, excused quickly: “Do I need a reason? What about my wife? Do you have any relationship with her?”
“Madam Qiu? This disciple has not met her many times, but Madam Qiu has always been kind with the disciples. She teaches politics.”
So her full name must be Qiu Haitang… Huh? Wasn’t there a wife by that name? Why was one of Luo Binghe’s wives now married to the scum villain? And to an OC too?
Shen Yuan massaged his brow. “Many thanks, Binghe. Naturally, this master expects disciple not to talk of these matters with anyone else… not even your Shizun or Madam Qiu.”
Luo Binghe’s eyes widened, but then his obvious attachment to Shen Yuan’s predecessor won out, and he nodded seriously. “This disciple understands! This disciple won’t betray Master Shen’s trust!”
Shen Yuan smiled gently, and tugged this serious white bun’s cheek. “This master thanks you.”
After questioning the white lotus protagonist some more, Shen Yuan urged him out of the hut’s perimeter before his husband (the scum villain) could arrive and torture him some more simply because he was around their house.
Now alone, Shen Yuan busied himself by thinking over everything Luo Binghe told him:
From what Luo Binghe was able to perceive of their relationship, Shen Yuan had known Shen Qingqiu and Qiu Haitang before they even arrived at Cang Qiong Mountain Sect. While Qiu Haitang headed to the female-only Peak, Xian Shu, Shen Qingqiu went to the Qing Jing Peak. However, at the time, Shen Yuan was nowhere to be found. It was only after Shen Qingqiu became Lord of Qing Jing and Qiu Haitang “graduated” from Xian Shu that Shen Yuan appeared.
Luo Binghe only heard of the events secondhand, so the timeline Shen Yuan drew was confusing: soon after he became Qing Jing Peak’s Lord, Shen Qingqiu disappeared from Cang Qiong, followed closely by Qiu Haitang. When he came back, he was weakened and carrying an unconscious man, Qiu Haitang still following. The witnesses at the time said it was the happiest they’d ever seen him in all the years they’d known him. Even Qiu Haitang was said to be radiant with joy.
And all of this joy was directed towards the man they bought back.
While the other Peak Lords pestered Shen Qingqiu for answers on who this man was, both Qiu Haitang and Shen Qingqiu remained quiet on his origins, not even revealing why this man was asleep for so long.
Weeks after he’d been brought back, the man finally woke. Shen Qingqiu’s bamboo hut was shut for months, no one able to say what was going on inside, and even after Shen Qingqiu and Qiu Haitang left seclusion, the mysterious man remained inside for some more years. It was only years later that Shen Qingqiu finally revealed something about his guest, while attending a Peak Lord meeting:
“This Lord is to marry. My fiancée Qiu Haitang and my fiancé A-Yuan would be overjoyed at having my martial siblings attend our wedding.”
Yue Qingyuan, who had always been close to Shen Qingqiu, dropped his teacup in shock.
One month later, Shen Qingqiu, Qiu Haitang, and the mysterious man married. Both the wife and the mysterious man wore red veils. Even the coldhearted scum villain could not remain calm at his own wedding, and so had glowed with such happiness that it made even his resentful martial siblings smile.
Shen Qingqiu and Qiu Haitang once again disappeared for about a month, as they and their mysterious husband went on something resembling a honeymoon.
It was only when they came back that the name of the mysterious man was finally known.
Of course, Shen Yuan, who had woken up married to Shen Qingqiu and Qiu Haitang, knew who this mysterious man was. He could only imagine the shock of Shen Qingqiu’s martial siblings at hearing this scum villain had managed to get not only one wife, but also a husband.
Since the disciples of Qing Jing were very curious, the past Shen Yuan who was “kindhearted and gentle” (in Luo Binghe’s own words), revealed to them that he was a childhood friend of Shen Qingqiu and Qiu Haitang, and that they had promised long ago to always be together. That they had been separated was only a “minor setback,” and so they had found one another after gaining a comfortable position in Cang Qiong Mountain…
Shen Yuan felt this story was a bit fishy, but did not have enough evidence to explain what bothered him the most.
Was it the fact Shen Qingqiu was allowed to marry two people, while not in a harem? That the past Shen Yuan had married as soon as he’d woken up from his coma? That Shen Qingqiu and Qiu Haitang waited until they were in a position of power to rescue their fiancé (who was in such a dangerous situation that they brought him back while he was in a coma)?
That a scum villain like Shen Qingqiu was able to love in the first place!?
Did they even love one another…?
Shen Yuan sighed endlessly as he thought over this timeline of events. It was all so confusing, and apart from Luo Binghe, he had no one to rely on. He could not even trust his spouses, as he feared they would kill him if they suspected he was possessed…
System! Please come out and help me! How am I supposed to figure out what to do in this impossible situation!?
In Qing Jing Peak, and in Cang Qiong Mountain as a whole, he felt he was very alone. These people expected him to continue to act the same, but he felt the past Shen Yuan was very far from his own personality, and so knew that he would never be able to satisfy their expectations. He truly had no one…
Should he try to run away…? Would Luo Binghe resent him for running away and not protecting him from the scum villain? Would he become a human stick too?
Surely not… right?
Shen Yuan held his head in his hands and sighed.
Did he really have to stay and pretend to be all lovey-dovey with his not-spouses!?
When Shen Qingqiu and Qiu Haitang arrived back to the house in the evening, Shen Yuan was still pondering over this troublesome situation.
They dined together, this time the meal cooked by a disciple instead of Qiu Haitang. Shen Qingqiu and the wife discussed quietly, occasionally attempting to include Shen Yuan into the conversation but not forcing him when he showed obvious reluctance. By the end of the evening, Qiu Haitang’s overt worried glances were making Shen Yuan fidget.
As the only calm and collected person present, Shen Qingqiu took a sip of his tea, closing his eyes. “Haitang, you’re bothering A-Yuan.”
Qiu Haitang finally could not hold back anymore: “If I’m bothering A-Yuan, it is only due to concern! A-Yuan, tell us, has something disturbed you so much that you refuse to talk to your wife and your husband?”
Although Shen Yuan was tempted to turn his gaze down awkwardly, he looked at her straightforwardly. “No such thing. I am only still tired.”
It did not calm Qiu Haitang’s worry in the slightest. She leaned over to grip his elbow tightly. “Was the qi deviation truly so severe? Is A-Yuan hurting? Is there need to call for Peak Lord Mu?”
Even Shen Qingqiu, the scum villain with a cold heart, showed a tense face.
Peak Lord Mu was not well known to Shen Yuan, so he could not say whether the man would be able to help him—or would even be trustworthy. But it was not like he could continue on like this forever… He had so little information about his relationships with those around him.
Although he was not entirely sure there was any love involved in their relationship, Shen Qingqiu and Qiu Haitang were his spouses, so logically he should be affectionate with them…
He swallowed with difficulty, feeling himself flush, and finally found the courage to lay a hand on Qiu Haitang’s, where she was gripping his elbow. Lowering his lashes so he did not have to look at either his spouses, he reassured: “There is no need for concern. I truly am only tired. A few more days of rest will cure me of any ill.”
There was a moment of tense silence, as Shen Yuan waited for their judgment. Would they accuse him of possession!?
“…If A-Yuan says so,” Qiu Haitang’s voice was normal, not a hint of suspicion in it. Instead, she leaned further into him, until her head was against his shoulder. Her chest pressed against his arm, making him tremble. From this position, he saw that she was pouting jokingly. “Husband, forgive this wife’s worry. I only wish to ensure my dearest’s well-being.”
One down! Shen Yuan thought, trying to ignore the terrible flush climbing up his throat. He used all the strength left in him to tilt his head up and look at Shen Qingqiu in the eyes.
The scum villain was looking at his spouses quietly, folded fan against his lips. When he caught Shen Yuan’s eyes, he smiled, not a hint of cold in his expression. “We shall take care not to tire our A-Yuan anymore, then.”
Shen Yuan, whose mind was perhaps a bit too dirty, suddenly reminded of certain activities done between spouses: “…”
Qiu Haitang giggled into his shoulder. “That’s a shame. It’s been so long, I’m anxious to exercise with A-Yuan again.”
Weren’t they in an Ancient China setting!? Why were they speaking about it so overtly!? Shen Yuan felt his face was about to melt from embarrassment. Would he have to exercise with his new spouses in the future!?
At least it answered one of his questions. This three-way couple did seem to love one another.
In Shen Yuan’s opinion, this only made it all the more heartbreaking. He could barely bear the pressure of suddenly being married, but now he was also taking on the role of someone who was so dearly loved…
While Qiu Haitang coaxed him into the bedroom and into sleeping robes, Shen Yuan tried his best to remain blank faced—or at least, not start frowning or crying right now.
If he told them he was not their Shen Yuan, their hearts would break from grief. They would no doubt attempt to kill him or exorcise him, considering him guilty. But he could not remain like this forever! How could he pretend to be the person they loved? He had to find a solution…
Perhaps he could try to make them fall out of love, or refuse all their advances until they asked for him to leave. Did divorce exist here? Maybe he should really attempt to flee…
Unbidden, a sigh escaped him.
Qiu Haitang stopped fussing over his collar long enough to pat his cheek.