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A Thorn Amongst the Flowers

Chapter Text

The half-demon's gaze lifted from the mess on the ground before him, lips curled and eyes sparkling with amusement.


“Shizun does not appreciate my gifts?”


Shen Qingqiu simply turned his face away.


Luo Binghe let out a breathy chuckle and began to come over, not bothering to step around the unwanted jewelry strewn all over the bedchamber. Gold bangles, rings set with glittering gemstones, intricately carved pins; all priceless and gaudy, all kicked aside like so much clutter.


A weight settled on the bed beside Shen Qingqiu. An arm slid around his shoulders. He bristled at the touch, but remained unmoving, even as Luo Binghe’s other hand toyed idly with a loose strand of his hair.


“Shizun, your coldness wounds me.” Luo Binghe’s tone was like that of a spoiled child who’d been denied sweets and Shen Qingqiu felt his stomach turn in disgust. This menace of a man had bent the wills of so many with his silver tongue, and he seemed to revel in this play-acting, not even attempting sincerity.




“I wanted Shizun to feel welcome, to give him trinkets that suit his new station.” The arm around him tightened, pulling their bodies closer together.


He kept stiff. Any attempt to pull away would just be thwarted and provide his tormentor with more entertainment.


And the less he provided of that, the better.


Shen Qingqiu finally spoke, voice sharply emphasizing the first word, “Prisoners do not wear such fineries.”


“Then Shizun will wear them after the ceremonies?”


Disgusting mongrel. Manipulative bastard child. Stop calling me your ‘Shizun’.


He wanted to spit but on the surface he remained as aloof as possible, cynically asking despite knowing the answer, “Will I cease to be a prisoner at that time?”


Luo Binghe just laughed and squeezed the furious Shen Qingqiu with delight, nuzzling into his hair; a mockery of a light-hearted, loving gesture. “Preparations are almost complete,” He said, shifting the subject. “No expense has been spared. Your disciple is beside himself with joyous anticipation.”


Shen Qingqiu refused to acknowledge him. He didn’t want to think about the ceremony that lay ahead of him. Once it was performed, his fate was sealed.


Hot breath was against his ear and he shuddered involuntarily. Luo Binghe’s voice was low and devilish, “The esteemed Sect Master Yue Qingyuan has been invited.”


That tore it. Shen Qingqiu made to wrench himself free, but he was unexpectedly released instead. He jumped to his feet and spun around, glaring, finally pushed into a reaction. Luo Binghe made no move to recapture him. Rather, he just sat there looking pleased with himself.


“You swore.”


Luo Binghe stood up from the bed, still wearing that little smile that Shen Qingqiu wanted to slap right off of him. “It would be extraordinarily poor manners to harm a wedding guest. What does Shizun take me for?”


Shen Qingqiu spoke firmly, “Only the beast that you are, Luo Binghe.”


The smile vanished. A shadow seemed to pass over the Demon Lord’s face, but it was gone just as quickly as it came. He chuckled dismissively and headed for the door.


“Truly, this disciple is blessed,” Luo Binghe could be heard saying to himself on his way out. “Tomorrow I will be taking Cang Qiong Mountain sect’s most refined, most elegant Peak Lord as my bride.”