Luo Binghe doesn’t choose his servants for their intelligence, but for his loyalty. That’s how two dumb demons go down the stairs to the Water Prison and they find another dumb demon.
“What do you want?” The guardian grumbles.
“Our Lord has demanded tonight the presence of a certain prisoner,” the first servant says, winking and smirking.
“Where can we find his special guest? ” The second adds, with mockery lifts two fingers, wagging invisible quotations.
Everybody knows their Lord’s tastes. That explains a lot, the guardian thought. He is aware of all the prisoners he is keeping an eye on. The Water Prison only had a few captives, since Luo Binghe prefers kills without making prisoners. The demon frowns.
“It’s a certain prisoner, right? A very, very special guest? ”
“Yes!” They answer in unison.
Luo Binghe himself has used those same words to refer to his favorite captive. The guardian smiles, understanding now his fixation for the former Peak Lord. The demon’s obsession is quite evident, tainting his gaze, his decisions, stealing his time in some dark cell. Leaving that putrid corner is an advance.
“You’ll find it at left.” He explains to them. “Be careful. His tongue is quite sharp.”
“Don’t worry. Our Lord has already warned us that his guest may try to resist.”
The dumb servants enter the prison. At right a beautiful and wild demoness is waiting.
On left is Shen Qingqiu.
Shen Qingqiu doesn’t understand what's happening. Those stupid servants are an abnormality in his unchanging and painful routine. However, he knows how to recognize an opportunity. So he pretends docility and follows them out of the Water Prison. He breathes in relief as he leaves that damp hell. Despite his intentions, he can’t control his own weakness. Something inside his heart is melting. How much time has passed since the last time he saw those vivid colors? He views the afternoon sun through the windows. It’s painfully beautiful.
Shen Qingqiu, who never cried during torture, is shaking because he believed he would never see sunset again.
The servants led him through narrow and lonely corridors, which reek of demons. Finally, they come to a room. Shen Qingqiu wrinkles his nose, nervous. The room is quite elegant, but small. Its purpose is abhorrently obvious since it only has a huge bed and an attached bathroom. Red reigns in every corner, on the sheets, and on the curtains.
He pretends to be docile until they untie him.
His escape attempt is a failure.
“Our Lord has already warned us that you would try to put up resistance .” One servant mocks, traping his arms while they drag him into a bathtub.
“Your Beast Lord is insane,” Shen Qingqiu clenches his teeth until he hurts himself.
The servants snort, scandalized.
“Our Lord is saving your pathetic human life!”
“Our Lord is making an effort to win your affection, you should appreciate it!”
Shen Qingqiu almost laughs. Luo Binghe never scratched his heart, not even as a caring disciple. Does he really think he can get it now? After destroying his reputation, humiliating him, and taking him prisoner? Maybe he is trying some new kind of torture, he muses.
Even so, he struggles and scratches the servants in hopes of fleeing. But is useless. Every failure ruins his spirit. At least he finds some satisfaction in destroying the silks they try to dress him with. The servants almost cry. Too bad he doesn't care.
After hours of fighting, they finally get to wash and dress him. Shen Qingqiu feels that he has been disguised as a concubine with no sense of taste. In addition to a red dress and unnecessary jewelry, they have wrapped him like a gift with three immortal bindings. One is around his wrists. Another one ties his arms to his chest. And the last one catches his ankles.
It's so humiliating that he would bite it off if he could.
However, the servants are whining, not him.
“Our Lord warned us that you could be aggressive... But this has been excessive!” Yells one.
“He should leave you locked up for another month until you calm down!”
“You call him a beast ... But it's you who needs to be tamed!”
They drag him to the bed without contempt or respect, just careful to not destroy the clothes even more.
“Luckily the Lord will tame you tonight,” one servant mocks with a wicked grin. The other nods without saying anything.
Shen Qingqiu wants to gouge out their eyes with his nails. It's hard to keep his composure tied up and dressed in that way. At least he can feign indifference. However, terror catches him when the door opens. Luo Binghe walks in and the remote possibility begins to turn into certainty. The demon wears a smile that fades when he recognizes him.
“What does this mean?”
His voice is deceptively calm, his eyes flash red. The servants bow, trapped by chills, and pale.
“Our Lord…?” Get one of them muttered.
“We have prepared your special guest as you requested!” Says the dumbest one. “We regret the result. These lowly ones have had a hard time with this certain prisoner.”
Luo Binghe listens to them without saying anything. His expression is almost absent and not even Shen Qingqiu knows if he is mad or amused. After an awkward silence, the demon laughs.
“Your idiots, you messed with the wrong prisoner!” He covers his face with one hand while still laughing.
The servants pale even more.
If Shen Qingqiu wasn't caught in such a strange situation, he would make fun of them. Stupid morons, he thought. He is trapped in a humiliating situation because of a misunderstanding!
Shen Qingqiu stiffens when Luo Binghe’s gaze fixed on him. The demon doesn't blink, he doesn't say anything. He just looks at him curiously. Shen Qingqiu panics when a mischievous smile appears on his face.
“It’s ok,” he says to his useless servants. “This will be fun.”
“Beast.” He hisses, scary as disgusted. “I’m your master.”
“I don’t have a master since you pushed me in the Abyss.” Despite his grin, his voice is cold and sharp, giving off hatred.
The servants are dumb but not so much since they have fled swiftly.
“You know?” Luo Binghe approaches. “I dreamed a thousand times with your defeat, but I never imagined that I would see you so pathetic one day.” Shen Qingqiu turns his head when he reaches out his hand. His caress is a mocker that grabs his hair forcing him to look into his eyes. “Red looks nice in you.”
Shen Qingqiu tries to remain indifferent. Anger bubbles in his veins, but he needs to stay calm and pretend that his attacks don't affect him.
“You said that the first time you made me bleed,” he points. “Are you going to use your parasites again as the coward you are?”
It’s easy to affect the demon, but not very clever. However, he is pissed enough not to care.
“Coward?” Rage shines in his eyes. “You were the one who abused a child!”
“You may no longer recognize me as a teacher, but I acknowledge that you have learned the worst about me.” Despite the pain in his nape, he grins. He can feel that Luo Binghe is shivering. “Yes, you are a coward who tortures me with his blood instead of his hands. You are a coward who never defeated me, instead you set me up with a trap that only worked because we're surrounded by idiots.”
“That's why it was so pleasant, shizun ,” he says, mischievous. “You think you are very smart, but you fell under the weight of your sins. You deserve it for mistreating me, for massacring the Qiu, for cowardly murdering Liu Qingge ...”
Shen Qingqiu rolls his eyes.
“As I say, it only did well because the others are idiots.” He snorts. “I never killed Liu Qingge.”
“Why do you insist on lying even if it's just the two of us?”
For some inexplicable reason, that seems to sadden him. Shen Qingqiu shoots a defiant look at Luo Binghe.
“Cause it’s true. I. Didn’t. Killed. Him.”
“Do you take me for stupid?” The demon growls before smirking. “Fine. Do you like gambling?”
Shen Qingqiu frowns, uncomfortable by his gaze. There’s a shine in his eyes, a little malevolent secret that makes him shiver. Although he had gotten used to being helpless and tied up before Luo Binghe, he feels lost in that odd situation. For the first time, he doesn’t know what’s going to happen, nor how it's going to end.
“What are you thinking?” He says with feigned calm.
“I will find out if what you say is true or false.” Luo Binghe explains. He moves his hand away to sit on the bed in front of him, pushing him against the headboard. “If you are saying the truth, I'll take an immortal binding off you.” His hand stops on his ankles and he no longer moves away. “But if you are lying… We’ll play a little.”
Shen Qingqiu tries to control his breath. He doesn’t care about the consequences, but about the method. Even if he is telling the truth, he doesn’t have any evidence, just a bunch of angry idiots blind by their prejudices. Luo Binghe misunderstands his panic.
“I hate it when you lie to me,” he mocks. “See you in your memories, shizun.”
“Wait, what?” He mutters before sudden exhaustion catches him.
The last thing he sees before closing his eyes is Luo Binghe’s sweet and poisonous smile.
His memories are dizzy and dark. Shen Qingqiu doesn’t feel anything. He is just an idea, an echo of his thoughts. He is wearing green and has his favorite fan in his hands.
“Why do you have so many skills?” He grumbles.
First, he heard his laugh. Then, Luo Binghe appears at his side.
“It’s the fastest and most effective way to check your words, shizun. And you won't be able to complain that I cheat.”
No, he can’t. And he wouldn’t. That’s unexpectedly… great. Shen Qingqiu raises his hand, but he doesn’t hide an expression of disgust behind his fan, instead of a grin. His panic turns to bitter joy. Since the demon wants to relive one of his worst memories, at least he will make fun of him a little.
“What do you want if I lose?” He asks him while they cross the Lingxi Caves.
“Are you scared, shizun?”
“Curious. What do you want from me that you don't already have? What kind of shady desire has led you to bet with me?”
Luo Binghe squints his eyes. He takes his time to respond.
“I want to destroy you little by little.” He murmurs. “Until there is nothing left of you.”
The two stop. They have come to the memory.
Shen Qingqiu stands aside and allows Luo Binghe to contemplate his memory. At first, he is angry and sad for the stupid death of the stupid Liu Qingge, but he begins to smile as the demon's expression twists. You deserve it, presumptuous beast, he thought.
Luo Binghe stares in silence at how Liu Qingge falls in his qi deviation, how he tried to help, how he failed.
How the War God died.
When Shen Qingqiu wakes, Luo Binghe has already untied his ankles. That little freedom allows him to sit in a more comfortable posture. Shen Qingqiu lifts his head with pride and confidence, looking him straight in the eye.
“You are right, gambling is quite funny.” He mocks, bitterly. “Shall we continue?”