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A Collection of Stardust

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Xue Cheng was almost killed by a snake monster when he first met Shen Qingqiu. Aside from rumors or gossip he’s heard passing through towns, he almost knew next to nothing about Shen Qingqiu. It turned out he’s nothing like the rumors. On the first meeting, Shen Qingqiu saved him and wrapped his wounds, without even asking for anything back. He hasn’t met anyone so kind-hearted and selfless in so long, it was befuddling. 

 

Once they’ve introduced themselves, Xue Cheng snapped out of it. Immediately, he asked to repay his kindness with a dinner. Shen Qingqiu turned him down as he couldn’t even walk, how would they reach the nearest town? 

 

Xue Cheng became embarrassed and sulked, before he perked up and decided to make dinner instead. They chatted throughout the night until Xue Cheng brought up Shen Qingqiu's recent nomad lifestyle. He realized he had made Shen Qingqiu uncomfortable and felt bad. 

 

Although Xue Cheng still felt bad, Shen Qingqiu had already moved on and pretended like nothing happened last night. Xue Cheng wasn’t going to push him so he let it be as well. They only just met after all, it wouldn’t be proper to push a person’s boundary.  

 

Eventually they managed to get out of the forest and find the nearest town. All the while, they still talked and got to know each other. Xue Cheng doesn’t know why, but he felt it was so easy to open himself up and talk to Shen Qingqiu about themselves. 

 

In the span of a day, Xue Cheng had found out that Shen Qingqiu is quite a private person, preferring to observe monsters than to talk to other people. In fact, Shen Qingqiu enjoyed monsters so much that he spent half a sichen ranting about the Three-Tailed Leopard Spotted Scorpion (Xue Cheng learnt so much about it that he thinks he has it memorized in his brain, Shen Qingqiu just have that aura that made people listen to his lecture. He wonders if this was how he taught his disciples). Xue Cheng normally doesn’t like when people talk so much but he finds he doesn’t mind it if it’s Shen Qingqiu.

 

Shen Qingqiu also apparently liked tanghulu and street foods--Something Xue Cheng had the honor of watching Shen Qingqiu spending nearly half of his money pouch on just sweets--, Xue Cheng himself gorged on meat buns and savory snacks. They walked around the marketplace just talking about miscellaneous things like gossip they’ve recently or whatever catches their eyes in the market.

 

Xue Cheng doesn’t think he’s had this much fun since… well, he can’t remember it anymore.

 

Eventually, all good things come to an end when a spiritual falcon beast comes flying through the streets for Shen Qingqiu. Xue Cheng feels like cold water has just been poured onto him as he comes to the realization that the person in front of him belongs to one of the top Sects and a Peak Lord, not a kind random person who decided his life should be spared. 

 

It must be nice to have a home to return to.... 

 

After continuously assuring Shen Qingqiu to return back to his Sect where he was needed and watching him fly off with the promise of correspondence between him and Shen Qingqiu, Xue Cheng for the first time in a while, felt his shoulders droop.

 

It felt like he had just been fed water after weeks in the desert only for it to be ripped apart from his hands again. It was quite disorienting to be honest. He’s been on his own for nearly a decade and now it’s like he’s forgotten how it feels to be alone again. Xue Cheng shakes his head, clearing his thoughts from being distracted from his main objective. 

 

After all, there is a reason he came to this town in the first place, and he’s already wasted so much time talking having fun.

 

 

EDIT:

Idk how to add link in notes rip, so here it is! I drew Xue Cheng!

Xue Cheng Sketches!