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How to collect 10.000 coolness points

Chapter Text

[Congratulations, you eliminated the monster who killed seven townspeople. Coolness + 50 points, reputation + 50 points]

Shen Qingqiu flicked a drop of blood off his sword with a huff. „Only hundred points? Give me a break! That damn monster almost ate me alive!“
With a disgusted look he turned away from the huge pile of bloody mess on the ground. Maybe he went overboard when he shredded the monster beyond recognition, but he was so annoyed, so he vented out his anger on that thing.

„System, tell me, how much points did I achieve until now?“

[This system is pleased to be of assistance. You collected 2450 points until now.]

Suddenly Shen Qingqiu felt exhausted. Only 2450...? This has to be some kind of bad joke! Since the system told him Luo Binghe would lose 10.000 coolness points if he doesn't fall into the abyss, Shen Qingqiu was almost every day on the run, completing mission after mission. Sometimes he took Binghe with him so he would gain some battle experience, but most of the time he was all alone.
It was painful.He never thought that this would hurt him, but he really felt lonely from time to time.
At some point Yue Qingyuan asked him with concern in his eyes if everything was okay, but Shen Qingqiu told him, he just „wanted to practice his martial skills more“. How could he tell him the truth? That he wanted to save Luo Binghe in the future from blackening?
So he was all alone with this burden and with the big secret concerning this world and his prtagonist. There was noone to talk about it, noone who would help.

And now he was goind to pester the mission giving NPC Yue Qingyuan again tomorrow for more missions. Almost one year went by until now, and with this low amount of points he earned from the missions, it was almost impossible to gain the amount needed.

Well, he could pay the points – with his life. But he didn't want to die. Not because of this shitty system! But he didn't want to be cut into a human stick, too!

Shen Qingqiu grittet his teeth. Giving up was out of the question! He had more than two years left, he would make good use of the time!

-

When he came back, a concerned little flower was waiting for him. „Shizun!“ Luo Binghe cried out when he saw the tattered hem of She Qingqius sleeve. „Are you hurt?“
„No, nothing happened. I was just careless.“
Shen Qingqiu spared a soft smile to the concerned Luo Binghe before sitting down on his bed. Just a moment later a cup of steaming hot tea was brought to him.
„You came back awfully late.“ Another glance full of concern. „This disciple was worried.“
Shen Qingqiu took a sip of his tea, before he exhaled a deep breath. „The monster this time was a tricky one. It took me some time to lure it out“, he explained.
Luo Binghe wasn't convinced. He kneeled before his Shizun, then he lifted the sleeve to examine the damage it had taken. „Why is Shizun going out so much recently? This disciple really doesn't understand!“
If you just know the truth, Binghe...
Instead of answering, Shen Qingqiu gripped his fan lying on the bedside. With a elegant move he put the tip under Luo Binghes chin, lifting his head a bit so he could examine him. „Look at you, you are growing up so fast right now!“

Indeed, Luo Binghes face matured quite a bit in the last year. He still was a youthful little flower, but signs of his later charm and handsomeness were showing more and more. With a faint blush Luo Binghe looked away. „Doesn't Shizun like when I mature?“ He asked with a hint of uneasiness in his voice. „This disciple want to mature fast, so he becomes strong for Shizun!“
Now it was Shen Qingqiu who almost blushed, so he took his fan back and hid his face behind it, only the eyes showing. „Nono, Binghe, you will be a splendid adult! I just like this soft face of yours, too.“

Welp... he said it. These cheesy lines. Almost like flattering a lover. But he wanted Luo Binghe to remember, that there was this soft warm and innocent side Shen Qingqiu wanted to save. That he doesn't need to blacken, even if he -

Shen Qinqius train of thoughts was interrupted when Luo Binghe jumped to his feet, his face beet red. „We-well... this disciple prepared dinner. I'll go and get it!“ And before Shen Qingqiu hat the chance to say one word, Luo Binghe rushed out of the room, leaving the other man baffled.
Okay, somehow his words reached Luo Binghes heart – didn't they?

-

Another month went by, but almost no missions were given. So Shen Qingqiu decided to teach Luo Binghe various things. First he began with literature and poetry. This should lift his coolness, too, right? The more knowledge Luo Binghe had, the more he would be able to solve difficult problems and impress more female characters, and so his harem should grow.

It was a warm sunny day when the both of them were sitting under a tree, several scrolls scattered around them. Luo Binghe was reading some strategy manual, when the system ringed in Shen Qingqius ears.

[Luo Binghe reached another level of knowledge, + 50 coolness points!]

Only 50 points again... Shen Qingqiu sighed inwardly. But since he heard this message some times since the last mission, he was still quite satisfied. This tactic to gain points was successful, too. The more options, the better. Especially because he could let Luo Binghe gain points while he himself was away on missions.
„Shizun...“, the young man in front of him spoke up. His voice was cracking a bit, puberty began to hit him more often these days. „I understand that knowlege is essential. But isn't it better to practice martial arts and become stronger?“ He looked at Shen Qingqiu with irritation in his eyes. „How can I beat an enemy with... books?“
Shen Qingqiu fanned himself. „There are a lot of enemies out there who don't rely on brute strength alone. For example, if someone is better in debating, how will you beat him? You make an enemy of yourself if you use just your sword and your reputation will drop.“
This seemed to make sense for the protagonist. If his reputation went down, his Shizun would be the one who would be made responsible. This should never happen! So he nodded with a smile on his face. „This disciple understands. There are battles to fight without physical contact.“
With a clap the fan was closed. „Exactly.“ Shen Qingqiu was satisfied. „I'm glad, you understand. You are a smart child.“
This praise let Luo Binghe smile more, and with renewed energy he went on reading the scroll in his hands.
Yes, in the future, Luo Binghe will be able to outsmart others easily, Shen Qingqiu thought. This will save his life more than once.
While he stared absentmindedly on the young man before him, the other felt the eyes of the other person laying on him and blushed slightly. It seemed Shizun liked seeing how he engrossed himself in literature, and so Luo Binghe swore to himself to study more and harder in front of Sheng Qingqiu.

But this was just adding water drop by drop instead of filling a bucket with one scoop. Shen Qingqiu needed a bigger scoop, and not long after this day Lady Luck seemed to be on his side, when an unexpected visitor showed himself in front of Shen Qingqiu.

Chapter Text

„You are ruining the whole plot!“

The first thing awaiting Shen Qingqiu when he returned to his room was a furious person glaring and shouting at him.
„...what?“ Shen Qingqiu looked stunned. But before he had the chance to take up his usual distanced attitude, he was was grabbed at his collar. The other one shook him several times, no intention showing of letting go.
„I don't know who you are, but you are definetly not the original! And I won't let you ruin the whole damn plot!“

Wow, okay. That was a first one since he came to this world!

„...then I assume you aren't the original Shang Qinghua either?“

Now it was the one in front of him who looked stunned.
„Ah damn...“, he said after a moment of staring into the others eyes. Then he squatted down on the ground. „How could I blow my cover like this?“

The original Shen Qingqiu knew the person in front of him. It was Shang Qinghua, a minor character in the novel and one to become a spy for the Demon Realm. The original never bothered to be acquainted to the other one. He was just using him for his own goods, as long as he was useful. But the person right now in front of him – he did migrate, too, didn't he?

It took only a few seconds for Shang Qinghua to recover. From the floor he looked up to the still standing Shen Qingqiu. „Well, tell me. Who are you? And why are you trying to ruin everything?“

Shen Qingqiu coughed. „You are an intruder here. Yet you still demand things? Why don't you tell me who you are first?“ He took out his fan, his fingers tight around it. Whoever was in front of him, nobody will be a hindrance to his plans!

„Well... I'm the author of this novel.“

The fan cracked.

Seriously?!

„Airplane... Shooting Towards The Sky?“

„That's me.“

From the look on the face of the other man, it seemed he wanted to boast about himself. Never did he imagine the thing that happened right now.

WHACK!

The sound of hitting filled the entire room. Stunned again, Shang Qinghua looked up to the person right before him while is left cheek began to turn crimson red.
A long pause and silence followed, then he lifted his right hand to touch his hurt cheek.

„Did...did you just hit me?“

„Well deserved!“

It was now on Shen Qingqiu to let out his rage. „Why, just why?! Why had the protagonist to fall into the abyss? What shitty writing! To make him the lead of this stallion novel you don't need to let him go through all of this grieve! Seriously! Were you fed up with a good story, or why did you-“

„Woah, calm down, calm dow!“ Shang Qinghua jumped to his feet, waving his hand in front of the other man. „Someone will hear you out there!“

With a huff Shen Qinqiu tossed the broken fan aside, then grabbed another fan and opened it, sending cooling air to his burning face. He wasn't that angry in forever! And yes, it was a really good feeling to let it all out and vent his fury and frustration out on the cause of all this – the shitty author!

„It wasn't my choice“, said shitty author explained. „I needed the money, and the audience demanded for something new. No happy ending like all the others, but a blackened protagonist, and so I did write it! What's wrong with that?“ He looked a bit guilty, but mostly pitiful. „I just wanted to live, too, you know?“

„Then tell me.“ The fan suddenly was closed and poked at the chest of Shang Qinghua. „Why should I longer follow the script? Now that you're here and such...“

„Because...“ Shang Qinghua paused and closed his eyes for a moment before opening again. Tears were welling up in them. „I will die if you do this!“

„...“

Shen Qingqiu went quiet.
How could something like this happen?

„I believe you communicate with a system like google from time to time?“ The author asked. He wasn't sure, but the look on the other mans face darkened, and so he assumed he was right. „It told me. That you were collecting points. And you wanted to change the fate of the protagonist. And that the whole plot would go to nothingness if that would happen. And so... I would die. Because I wouldn't be necessary any longer.“

Shen Qingqiu sat down on a chair, looking up to the author with a helpless expression. „And why should I care about you?“ He asked, but the helpless sound of his voice was the proof that he DID care. It was a human in front of him after all. Someone from his world. He didn't think of the other novel characters as cannon fodder any longer, but this... this was different.

And Shang Qinghua knew it.

„If you follow the plot, everything will go smoothly. And you don't need to push yourself so hard any longer.“ His voice became soothing. „The protagonist will survive, and so will we-“

„Luo Binghe.“ Shen Qingqius gaze became harder. „He has a name.“

„Yes. Yes. Well, Luo Binghe will survive. And we both can live a happy life in here.“

Shen Qingqiu stood up again. „No, this doesn't work out.“ Slowly he walked to the window, gazing outside. The sky began to turn yellow and red, as the sun was about to go down. „He will cut me into a human stick! I have no future right now.“

„Are you sure?“

Shang Qinghua moved himself next to the other man. „As I was told by one of your disciples... Ming Fan I think? You have a very good relationship with the protag- I mean, Luo Binghe. Even if he goes down the abyss, he will not harm you when he comes back! I'm sure of it!“ He laid one hand on Shen Qingqius shoulder, but the other shook it off. „Don't assume things you didn't have written in your shitty novel!“ he hissed before facing the author again.
„I will go on collecting points. I won't give up! Tell your system, that you still be needed, especially when the plot is changing dramatically. And perhaps“, his face showed a bitter smile. „Perhaps you are now able to write a better story with less plot holes and a real happy ending.“

Shang Qinghua laughed bitterly. „You're trying to make this easy for you, right?“ He then turned around to leave, but stopping right in front of the door. „The abyss will still open. And you only have two years left to collect the 10.000 points to save him. We will see which future we will have.“

Without waiting for a reply, Shang Qinghua left, leaving a bewildered Shen Qingqiu.

What to do from now on...?

-

Nobody noticed the fifteen year old boy who was hiding in the shadows of the door when the other man left his Shizun.
What were they talking about? Points? Abyss? Protagonist?

Luo Binghe was utterly confused. He knew, he heard things he wasn't supposed to hear. But when Shizun began shouting, he-

The tea he was carrying went cold long ago and so he decided to go to the kitchen to make new one.

Should he ask his Shizun about all this?

While he heated the water, he decided to keep quiet for now. But one thing remained:
A warm feeling in his chest. His Shizun was trying to protect him, wasn't he...?

Chapter Text

The first thing Shen Qingqiu heard in the morning was the ringing of the system in his ears.

[Leveling up the IQ of other people +20 points! Coolness of the protagonist raised +50 points! Communication skills raised +10 points!]

Woahwoah wait, what was happening?!

Well, it was good to gain points, at least he needed every one of them! But how?!

He had just woken up, so he needed some time to come to his senses.

„System, what happened?“
The direct way to gain answers was to ask the system itself.

[This system is glad to be of service. Right now, the protagonist is teaching one of the disciples some of the knowledge he achieved during the last month~]

...okay? That wasn't bad?

Shen Qingqiu didn't tell Luo Binghe to do something like this, and for the past year he was sticking at his Shizun like glue, never glancing at other people once. Sometimes he feared for the protagonist to develop a real antisocial character. But perhaps he got some insight and began to socialize with others? Maybe with a cute girl? He would build a harem in the future after all, so it was good to learn how to interact with others sooner than later.

With pride rising in his chest he dressed himself. Luo Binghe was the protagonist after all! This had to happen, right?
Gripping a fan he left his room to look for Luo Binghe. And there he was!
Sitting under the tree with several books, his cute disciple was teaching Ning YingYing something. She was listening intensely to every word, or so it seems from the outside. The protagonist didn't really look at her but was explaining things pointing at something in the book he was holding.

Aaaaah, sweet youth! This seemed promising! He thought, Ning YingYing lost her spot in the protagonists harem, but look at them! Sticking so close together, this had to be the first step on the path of enlightment for Luo Binghe.

With slow pace Shen Qingqiu walked toward the both of them. „Aren't you two diligent disciples!“ he said loud enough for them to hear.
Two pairs of eyes went to watch Shen Qingqiu walking closer. „Shizun!“, Luo Binghe exclaimed happily. His face was all smiles now while he stood up and greeted him respectfully, with Ning YingYing following closely.

„Sit down“, Shen Qingqiu said and made a move with his hand to encourage them to continue what they were doing. „Do you mind telling me what my disciples are doing right now?“

It was Ning YingYing who answered the question. „Shinzu was away so often, Ning YingYing missed you! And when you are here, you never look after your disciples, only favoring Ah Luo! And since I missed the both of you, I asked Ah Luo about what he was doing with you. And he was willing to teach me some things.“
She happily clinged on Luo Binghes arm, not noticing the frown appearing on the others face.

Ah so that was the reason for gainig points!

Shen Qingqiu felt a bit like a father who was watching his children grow up. Even if it still seemed to be a long journey raising Ning YingYings IQ, this was a good start.
With affectionate gaze he looked at the two young people in front of him. „This was a good choice“, he told them, patting both of them lightly.
This was like watering flowers in the desert. Both faces lit up.
„So... this disciple did the right thing? Shizun is proud?“ Luo Binghe asked shyly, with a hint of red on his cheeks.
„Indeed“, Shen Qingqiu nodded. „Sharing wisdom and teaching others is the right thing to do. But don't forget to cultivate, too! You'll need this abilities in the future.“
Now his little disciple smiled brightly like the sun itself. „I won't forget!“

Shen Qingqiu wanted to say another thing when Yue Qingyuan came closer with a fcomplex expression on his face. He seemed to be in a hurry.

Oh... the mission giving NPC was back. Shen Qingqiu could almost see a blinking question mark above his head, and he had to restrain himself from letting out a chuckle.
He greeted his shixiong respectfully, but before he could say a word, Yue Qingyuan made a move with his head. „Can we talk for a moment?“

Shen Qingqiu looked at his disciples, then nodded. „Sure. How can I be of service?“

They walked a few steps away. After Yue Qingyuan was sure, Luo Binghe and Ning YingYing coulnd't listen anymore, he broke the silence. „We have a problem. Do you remember the demons who invaded our Canq Qiong Mountain?“

The other one nodded. Of course, he wouldn't forget! The poison in his arm still acted up from time to time, hindering him to use his skills. Nonetheless Shen Qingqiu went on missions without anyone, risking his life from time to time. He had to gain points after all!

„They are wrecking havoc in one of the larger cities in our territory.“ The NPC began explaining the mission. „It is only a small group, but they come and go as they please, taking townspeople away every time. The one armed elder is with them, and I was told, he wants revenge for the beating he took here. And...“ Yue Qingyuan pauased a moment. „He wants you.“

Oh wow. Shen Qingqiu facepalmed inwardly. He heaved a sigh. „These demons are quite troublesome.“

This definitely wasn't part of the original novel, because after the shameful defeat the demons didn't dare to act up like this again. Did Airplane Bro write something like this? Or was it because Shen Qingqiu already changed the plot a bit, so the system tried to fill plotholes or something like this with tis event? Well, it didn't really matter. Shen Qingqiu would listen to the description of this quest, deciding afterwards what to do. So his gaze on Yue Qingyuan showed some kind of interest.

In comparison the other ones expression darkend. „I don't want to give these demons what they want, but... I already sent Liu-Shidi, but he came back with no result. The demons wouldn't show when another cultivator arrives. But when noone is there, they will go on murdering the townspeople.“

Another silence followed, and it was clear, that Yue Qingyuan hesitated, his gaze travelling around. But then he looked right into Shen Qingqius eyes. „Will you go? Of course I won't let you go alone. Liu-Shidi will come with you.“

To have brute strength and talent accompanying him really would make this trip save, and since his relationship with Liu Qingge improved a lot after the qi deviation incident, the trip itself would go smooth. Not a bad situation, Shen Qingqiu summarized. And it wouldn't hurt to be not alone for once. Since he was the only one collecting points, he didn't have to share them either. The only question remaining was how beneficial all of this would be.

'System, how many points can I achieve when I take on this mission?', he asked in his head.

[Thanks for using this system. This mission will give you 500 points when fulfilled.]

500?! God bless you Brother NPC and stupid demon!

He was about to accept this, when the system spoke again.

[To fulfill this mission, the protagonist has to accompany you and has to play a major role in solving the problem.]

Wait what? System are you kidding me?!

'How should I let him play a major role in this?'

[That is not up for the system to decide.]

With this words, the system stopped speaking, leaving Shen Qingqiu at a loss what to do.

How could he bring Luo Binghe with him to something like this? Shen Qingqiu knew, that nothing major could happen to his disciple because of his protagonists halo. Still it was dangerous to the bone, and this child still had to mature a lot...

But there were 500 points to gain. 500! This was such a large amount, comparing to the far to little gainings in the last missions.

He pondered for a moment, then nodded. „I accept.“

Yue Qingyuan seemed relieved, still looking concerned. „You don't have to, if you don't want. But since it's about you and since you did so many jobs lately, I-“

„Nono, it's fine.“ A smile appeared on Shen Qingqius face, which he hid behind his fan. „Rest assured, I will solve this problem. But I have one condition.“
He turned to the place where his two disciples were sitting.
„I will take Luo Binghe with me.“

Chapter Text

The carriage clattered loudly as they drove along the mountain path.
Inside were a grumpy Liu Qingge, Shen Qingqiu fanning himself and admiring the landscape outside and Luo Binghe, who pressed himself at the side of the carriage. He looked to the ground almost the whole time, only glancing up to his Shizun from time to time. Since he was seated next to him, Shen Qingqiu didn't see the faint blush appearing on the childs cheeks from time to time.
But Liu Qingge did.

„Why has this brat to travel with us?“, he asked, no friendliness in his voice. Luo Binghe shrinked back a little more, not daring to lift his gaze. He was asking himself this question the whole time, too.

It came out of the blue for Luo Binghe when his Shizun asked him to accompany him. „Isn't this an important mission?“, he asked with uncertainty. „Won't I be in the way?“

But Shen Qingqiu only cut him short. „That's why I'm taking you with me. Because it IS important.“

Ning YingYing was bawling her eyes out, not wanting to be left alone again from the only two men important to her in her life. But there was nothing she could do, and so she let go very reluctantly. „Come home safe, both of you! Ning YingYing is waiting!“ she shouted when the carriage set off.

And now they were here.

„Well, 'this brat' has a lot of knowledge about the demons were are facing“, Shen Qingqiu began explaining. „He faced one of them in a fight right before you exited seclusion.“

Liu Qingge scowled. He didn't like to be reminded of... that day. „So what? He doesn't have a lot of fighting strength.“

To speak so many words – the one sitting on the opposite really seemed to be pissed! Liu Qingge was a man of few words, never would he insist on conversing more than necesseary. But on the other hand this discussion arose the need inside Shen Qingqiu to defend the child beside him.

„He has. More than you expect him to have. And as we agreed before, you, Liu-shidi, will not show yourself. Not until it's necessary.“ His eyes fixated on Liu Qingge. „You know what happened when you showed up in the city the last time.“

The other one gritted his teeth, while Luo Binghe faintly flushed again. „So the brat is a better choice?“

„Indeed.“ Shen Qingqiu fanned himself again. „He was there when the demons lost in the first place. The one armed Elder will recognize him. I want to enrage him more to make him careless. We don't know if there's a hidden plot behind all this, and maybe I can geht him to talk.“

What a wonderful explanation he put together! He wrecked his brain the whole night how to explain things, and this was the best he could muster up. But Shen Qingqius words seemed to convince Liu Qingge, since the warlord only huffed and looked out of the window, not saying a word anymore. Inwardly, Shen Qingqiu almost cried tears of joy about this. Another obstacle was gone now! He feared, the other one would take Luo Binghe and bring him back to Cang Qiong Mountain himself just to get him out of the way. And that would mean bye bye 500 points! This must not happen! He would do almost everything to lay his hands on this precious prize.

As the group traveled on, Luo Binghe raised his head to look at the man beside him. „Shizun, I won't get in the way! Not like the last time, when the demon hit you with his thorns!“ He seemed to have pondered a long time about this and finally mustered up the courage to say it out loud.

„I know“, Shen Qingqiu smiled warmly and patted the child on the head, earning a beaming smile from him and a snort from Liu Qingge. „Mark your words“, the warlord said, not glancing once at the child.

Luo Binghe nodded, his heart thumping loudly in his chest. No matter what the other man travelling with them said, as long as his Shizun believed in him, everything was possible! He was sure of it!

Again the carriage became quiet for some time. Shen Qingqiu was meditating with his eyes closed, Liu Qingge was still staring out of the window and Luo Binghe was looking at his hands in his lap. But this didn't hold on for long, since the child lifted a bag he brought with him and pulled out a small package. He carefully unwrapped it, before holding it up to Shen Qingqiu. „Shizun want some refreshments?“, he asked shyly.

Shen Qingqiu opened his eyes and eyeing carefully the sweets which were presented to him. „Long Xu Su?“, he asked. „You made them?“

Luo Binghe nodded eagerly. „This disciple thought maybe travelling would be tiresome, so this could replenish Shizuns stamina.“

What a thoughtful disciple!

Without hesitation Shen Qingqiu took one and bit down on it. Such a wonderful taste! So light and sweet, any professional cook would turn green out of envy regarding this childs cooking skills!

„Does it please Shizun?“

Luo Binghe was watching expectantly every reaction of Shen Qingqiu. He was just about to burst out in praise when he catched sight of Liu Qingge, who was watching him, too, only with some kind of disdain in his eyes. „Liu-Shidi, you want some?“, he asked with a smile. „This really is good.“

Another bright smile from his side, another scowl from the one facing him. This seemed to become quite funny...

„We are not on a vacation trip!“ Liu Qingge growled. „So stop playing around! I still don't understand why we couldn't fly there on our swords.“

„Because we have to maintain a low profile.“ Shen Qingiqu took another bite, chewing with delight before swallowing down this delicious food. „We don't want the demons to find out about us too soon.“

By the look on Liu Qingges face it was clear, that he wasn't satisfied.

„Bear with it, Liu-Shidi.“ His voice was soothing, like he was talking to a child. „When we return, we can use our swords for travel.

The only reaction was another glare full of disdain, then Liu Qingge didn't talk for the rest of the time.

-

„Why did we split up?“

Luo Binghe was sitting on a chair, watching his Shizun prepare several talismans and some strange powders and liquids.

They arrived at the inn quite late at sunset. Right before arriving at the towns gate, Liu Qingge took his leave and went to the other side of the town. They ate something and then went directly to their room. It was spacious with a separate part for sleeping hidden behind some colorful folding screens.

„Because we must not be seen together“, Shen Qingqiu explained calmly. „Liu-Shidi will investigate in secrecy while we will show ourself openly from tomorrow on.“

He took some of the talismans and handed them to Luo Binghe. „If you throw them at an enemy, they will explode“, he exclaimed. „You only need a small amount of spiritual energy for it. Use them if you need to flee or to distract the enemy“

The child recieved them with glimmering eyes. „Many thanks to Shizun!“

Not that Luo Binghe really would need them, wouldn't he? He had the protagonists halo after all. But this mission was not to test out the whole spectrum of the halos functions but to push the child farther away from danger, namely the abyss. So better safe than sorry, right?

Shen Qingqiu himself checked again all the materials he piled up on the table. Since he didn't have said halo, he needed to be prepared. He wanted the coolness points, not courting death!

„Shizun... are you scared?“

Aaah little flower, don't look at me like that! I can't stand it when you are innocently worried, when I am the one who has to protect you!

Shen Qinqiu cleared his throat before smiling softly. „Everyone is scared sometimes. But that's not it. I just want to guarantee everyones safety. So I have to think everyhting thoroughly to minimize the risks.“

He patted Luo Binghe on the head before storing away the materials. „Don't worry, I am prepared now. Everything will go smoothly. But now we have to go to sleep, we both need our strength tomorrow.“

Well, he said that, but the next problem was right around the corner. Because of it getting late he focused on checking his goods rather than examining the room. And now he had it coming.

„...why is there only one bed?“

Luo Binghe blushed from one ear to the other.

And Shen Qingqiu screamed inwardly.

What shitty cliché plot was this?!

Chapter Text

„Shizun...“

Luo Binghes face was beet red. Hee took a glance at the man beside him who only stared blankly at the bed. It was a huge bed, so there would be no problem to fit in at least two people. But still, it was just one freaking bed.

He himself had imagined how to lie down in a comfortable bed and resting until morning undisturbed. But as things were now....

„Shizun, this disciple really doesn't mind to sleep on the floor“, a small voice resounded from his side. „I'm still used to it.“

No way! The protagonist had to be in best health and shape! Letting him sleep on the floor, this just wouldn't work.

„It's fine, just rest“, Shen Qingqiu answered after regaining his composure. „Your Shizun will just meditate while you sleep.“

„But Shizun!“ Luo Binghe shook his head. „Don't be considerate of this disciple!“

Shen Qingqiu felt a headache rising in the back of his head. It was no use. Even if he went on meditating, this child wouldn't sleep, he was sure of it. So he decided to do the only logical thing right now.

„Then let's share the bed.“

The reaction of Luo Binghe was quite amusing. He first stared at his Shizun with his mouth agape. His face turned then crimson again, and he began nervously plucking at the hem of his sleeve. „Sh-Shizun...“, he stammered.

„What, are you afraid of laying beside a man?“ It was impossible to resist the urge to tease this innocent child. „The bed is spacious enough, you don't have to fear me touching you, even by accident.“

„That...that is...“ Luo Binghe stammered again, then decided to stay quiet. His heart felt as if it would jump right out of his chest any minute. In bed... with his Shizun...

Shen Qingqiu didn't notice the complicated feelings of his disciple. Instead he loosened his hair and took off his robe, folding it neatly on the bedside. „Come on now, undress and then go to sleep“, he ordered.

The hands of Luo Binghe were shaking when he undressed, too, then hastily crawled under the blanket. The last thing he wanted his Shizun to see was how nervous he was right now. And why.
He pulled the blanket right under his nose, watching as Shen Qingqiu stood up and blew out the candles in the room only wearing his undergarment and with his silky black hair flowing down his back. Beautiful, he thought. The most beautiful sight he ever had.
Luo Binghe felt his blood rushing through his veins to a spot he never thought there could be so much heat! He instinctively closed his legs, trying to avoid showing what was going on. But the heat didn't subside, and so he had to close his eyes and roll to the side, only showing his back to his Shizun. Calm down, he said to himself while trying to control his breath and pulling the blanket over himself.

When Shen Qingqiu returned to the bed, he only saw a curled up ball under some cloth and some strands of black hair poking out. He smiled. Was Luo Binghe that tired from travelling that he already fell asleep?

„Binghe?“, he asked softly, but there was no response. „Are you asleep?“

The ball moved a bit. „N-no, but this disciple is tired and will sleep soon“, Luo Binghe said with muffled voice, and Shen Qingqius smile widened a bit.

„Then sleep“, he ordered. „Tomorrow will be exhausting.“

After this words Shen Qingqiu laid himself down, closing his eyes. The bed creaked and moved a little bit, and Luo Binghe only avoided a moan with biting on his knuckles.
It felt like his Shizun radiated a heat that seeped right into his skin and to the undescribable place between his legs, even without touching him. Only lying beneath him at arms length was so... alluring. He also meant to notice the fragrance coming from the other man...

Shen Qingqiu really was oblivious. He only thought Binghe had some kind of dream when the other moved, but since he didn't want to disturb this child, he didn't say anything more and drifted to sleep quite soon.

He didn't know that Luo Binghe feared this would be the longest night ever...

-

The next morning they stood up early. Shen Qingqiu felt refreshed, while Luo Binghe seemed to have bags under his eyes. With some concern he asked his disciple: „Didn't you sleep well?“

„No, Shizun, it only was a bad dream.“ Luo Binghe smiled shyly while avoiding gazing too much at the man beside him. But this was too much of a forbidden fruit to not taste it a little. And so he tried to take in as much of the sight of his Shizun early in the morning with slightly dishelved hair as possible without reacting too much. Only when Shen Qingqiu was fully dressed again he mustered up the courage to stand up, hoping, his body wouldn't betray him at this very second.

„I didn't know you were someone who liked staying in bed“, Shen Qingqiu teased him again. Since Luo Binghe moved to live in the bamboo hut next to him, this child stood up early every morning to make breakfast for him. „Did you feel forced to do this for me?“

Again Luo Binghes face turned a bit red. It seemed to become a habit of his during this trip. „This disciple is very happy to serve Shizun breakfast every day!“ He hastily explained. „This disciple don't want to stop doing this!“

Shen Qingqiu hid his smile behind his fan. „That's good. I would miss your cooking“, he said before sitting down on the table. A maid had brought a light breakfast for them, and with taking a first bite he knew, that there wouldn't be any cook in this era who hat similar skills like this child at his side. He really was a lucky man!

-

Time flies, as they say, and soon it was afternoon. Shen Qingqiu led both of them to a famous tea house where they sat down. He ordered tea and snacks and sighed after taking a sip of the hot beverage.

They went through almost the whole town, showing themself everywhere. They visited the marked and looked at lots of stalls, showing themself to various other places. But there was no sign of the demons showing up.

Did they see through their plan? Well, that would be bad. He didn't want to waste more time than necessary. With every day passing, the moment when he needed the points came nearer. And he knew, he had to collect so many of them!

Shen Qingqiu sighed again, turning his look at the child in front of him who silently, but with a glimmer in his eyes, was inspecting a hairband. Shen Qingqiu had bought it on a whim when checking some goods from a merchant. It was quite plain, only some light green fabric but with a embroidery of leaves at the end.

„It isn't something special“, he said to Luo Binghe. „It would be too suspicious, if we didn't buy anything.“

Luo Binghe nodded, but his eyes were still fixated on that hairband. He only touched it with the tip of his finger as if he was scared to destroy it.

Shen Qingqius chest grew warm. To be happy about such a small present... this child eally was cute. He emitted such a charming aura right now, worthy of being the protagonist. Shen Qingqiu vowed again in his heart to protect this little flower.

[Protagonists feeling towards Shen Qingqiu deepened. Raising favorability +20 points!]

The cheerful sound of the system echoed loudly in Shen Qingqius head, startling him so he almost spilled his tea. Don't scare me like that! He shouted in his head

[This system only provides you with important informations]

Then can you do it with a quieter tone?

But the system didn't response.

Well... at least it was good news. Did the present gained him these additional points? Should he buy more for Luo Binghe? But wouldn't this lose effect if done too often?

He pondered for a bit, his gaze far away. When he came back to his senses, Shen Qingqiu saw Luo Binghe staring at him with concern. „Is Shizun all right?“

He coughed slightly. „Just a slip of thoughts. But tell me, Binghe, you bought something, too, right?“

The child nodded. „Yes, this disciple found some beads.“

„Do you mind if Shizun wants to know for what reason did you buy them?“

A faint flush rose on Luo Binghes cheeks. „That... they were pretty“, he said shyly.

„Oh, maybe you want to make something for your lover?“, Shen Qingqiu teased with an easy tone. Maybe for Ning YingYing, since she was waiting for Luo Binghe to return?

But Luo Binghe didn't answer, only looking at the hairband in front of him with hints of red on his face.

Chapter Text

A talisman from Liu Qingge arrived, telling them, nothing happened on his side, either. Shen Qingqiu was disappointed.

He and Luo Binghe were still staying at the tea house. They were seated on a table where they could see anyone – and anyone could see them in return. Sometimes people whispered to themselves; seeing a nobleman like Shen Qingqiu sitting with a innocent child here all day long wasn't something the townspeople get so see that often.

Since his senses were very keen, Shen Qingqiu heard most of the talking. A lot of people thought he had bought this child for 'private use'. And he exactly knew what they meant by it.

No! you're wrong! He would never abuse a child, especially this one!

He inwardly explained himself times and times again, almost coughing up blood, but it was no use. He couldn't just stand up and convince them that they were wrong! He didn't want them to know he heard them, especially when he wasn't sure if Luo Binghe heard what the townspeople were saying, perhaps giving them the wrong ideas about his Shizun.

He glanced over to the child and was greeted with a convincing smile. „Shizun... don't mind these people. This disciple knows that there is no need for worry.“

Oh. So he heard.

Shen Qingqiu hid a nervous smile behind his fan. „Of course. I would never touch a child.“ If he harmed the protagonist in any way, Luo Binghe would return this thousandfold! And that was something Shen Qingqiu really didn't want to experience!

Luo Binghe, on the other hand, hid a bit of disappointment. If he wasn't a child, maybe his Shizun would...?
He shook his head to get this thought out of his mind. He mustn't think like this! Shame on him! Shame! He already had all of this dirty thoughts at night, he didn't want them to rise up again!

This time, it was Shen Qingqiu who watched Luo Binghe in his actions with concern, but decided to stay quiet. Who knew which thoughts were troubling him? Maybe it was better not to know.

-

The day passed by without any incident, and so Shen Qingqiu and Luo Binghe had no option but to return to the inn. After taking in dinner they sat on the table, pondering on what to do.

„Our messenger told me, that the demons appeared at broad daylight, so I thought, if we show ourself then, they would find us. But they didn't move.“ Shen Qingqiu tipped with his fan closed at his chin. „Maybe I should take a walk outside at night? Who knows if they observe us right now.“

„But Shizun, isn't this dangerous?“ The child next to him asked nervously. „Wouldn't it be better to wait for the day?“

Ah, this little flower was so cute!

He patted Luo Binghe on the head. „It is as dangerous as walking around in daylight. Our senses are sharpened as cultivators, so we can discover some threats soon. And at night there aren't that many people around, so it's safer for the citizens.“

Luo Binghe didn't seem convinced. „But!“

„Don't worry, child. If you want to come with me, I will protect you. But if you're too scared, then stay here and wait for your Shizun to return.“ Well, he didn't want to force Binghe, but he needed him to come with him. 500 points were at stake when the demons showed themselves!

And to Shen Qingqius relief the child shook his head. „This disciple is not scared and will follow Shizun!“ He feared of Shen Qingqius safety, but that was something he never would say out loud! So he renewed his resolve to protect his Shizun with his life.

Shen Qingqiu nodded. „Then stay close to me and don't wander off on your own“, he reminded Luo Binghe.

After sending a talisman to Liu Qingge both of them left the inn to search through the streets at night. They walked quite a distance, but nothing showed up. Instead, Shen Qingqiu found it quite amusing to walk around with his disciple, because Luo Binghe was sticking to him like a little puppy, never staying away more than an armlength.

„You're sure you aren't scared, staying THAT close to me?“, he teased the child with his voice held low. Luo Binghe pouted. „Shizun said to stay close to him. Is it wrong for this disciple to do so now?“

What honest and straightforward answer! Shen Qingqiu smiled slighty. „No, you are doing well.“ He wanted to say something addionally, when a talisman arrived and told them to meet Liu Qingge in some distance, because he found some evidence of the demon activities. Shen Qingqius mood lit up. Finally the mission began to proceed!

-

They met in some kind of storehouse. Liu Qingge still maintained a low profile and waited in the shadows. He scowled at the sight of Luo Binghe but said nothing. Instead he pulled some kind of crystal out of his pocket and gave it to Shen Qingqiu.

„What is it?“, he asked curiously, eyeing that thing from every angle.

„Seems like a communication device, like our talismans.“ Liu Qingge leaned on the wall, his arms crossed. „I saw a demon talking through this with another one before disappearing. He lost it on the way.“ His voice sounded indifferent, but Shen Qingqiu knew, that he was a bit tense.

„I assume you didn't look into it more, right?“ Shen Qingqiu asked, knowing the answer already. Of course, if Liu Qingge had activated this by accident, their plan would be blown to pieces. „I'll see what I can do with this. At least we know the demons are still here and maybe they already spottet us.“

He took out a handkerchief and wrapped it around the crystal before storing it away. „I'll let you know if I find out more about it.“

Liu Qingge nodded then disappeared into thin air. Wow, even a warlord with brute strength like him could be this sneaky!

Luo Binghe watched the whole scene with high interest. „Does this mean, there will be a fight tomorrow?“, he asked anxiously.

„Maybe tomorrow, maybe the day after“, Shen Qingqiu replied. „But I don't think we will have to wait that much longer.“

Satisfied, he returned to the inn with Luo Binghe. There he sat on the table and carefully unwrapped the crystal, examining it closely. „It seems like a normal crystal at first“, he explained. „I think a trigger is needed to activate it.“

Like demonic energy. He tried sending some of his own energy into it, but it didn't response. So it had to be some kind of different-

Before he could avoid it, Luo Binghe touched the crystal, too. A faint red light appeared but died down instantly. Fascinated the child looked at the crystal, then at his Shizun. „What was that?“

Fuck! Did Luo Binghes demonic energy already begin to awaken?! This was way too soon!

Cold sweat formed on Shen Qingqius forehead, and he barely avoided wiping it away. „I... don't know“, he said. „Maybe because we both touched it at the same time it reacted?“ He hurriedly wrapped the handkerchief around the crystal again. „But I think some demon has noticed this reaction. We should get up early tomorrow and prepare ourself.“

Luo Binghe nodded, glancing one last time at the wrapped up thing. „But that... this disciple didn't do anything wrong, right...?“ He looked up to Shen Qingqiu as if he was fearing to have angered his Shizun.

But the other one just waved his hand a bit. „We want them to notice us, so there is nothing to worry about.“ He only worried about the demonic part in his sweet little disciple...

Luo Binghe smiled brightly, then bowed. „Then this disciple will go to sleep now!“ He stood up and went behind the folding screen. He wanted to go to bed before his Shizun undressed himself. Even if he really liked to look at him so badly, he didn't want to experience the same thing he did last night!

Shen Qingqiu stayed at the table, pondering over different things. He didn't think the demons would attack at night, but he intended to stay awake and just pretend to sleep. So it was better to wait until Luo Binghe was fast asleep to not concern this child more than necessary.

After waiting for some time, he joined Luo Binghe in bed. The child was all curled up again, but his breathing was steady, and he only mumbled something unrecognizable when Shen Qingqiu moved himself unter the blanket. He closed his eyes, still pondering about how to let Luo Binghe take the initiative with the demons-
When he woke up in a bamboo forest. Next to him was a hot spring and he found himself only wearing his undergarment.

Wait... he fell asleep?

He looked around and tried to understand where he was, when he finally realized.

Fuckfuckfuckfuck! This was a dream realm!

From the original novel Shen Qingqiu knew, that the protagonist was learning under the dream demon, but this was something that should never be discovered by him!
Panicstricken he tried to think about a way out, when a deep voice resounded in his ear.

„Shizun...“

Fuck. Shen Qingqiu was screwed.

Chapter Text

Shen Qingqiu panicked.

To be pulled into the dream realm...This old man really is honored for still being the person you trust most, little child. But this was too much!

How should he react? What was the Shen Qingqiu in Luo Binghes dream supposed to do? He wanted to turn around when two arms wrapped themself around him from behind.

MANLY arms.

„Shizun~“, a hot breath was beneath his ear, making Shen Qingqiu shudder. „I missed you.“

Okay. Plan B activated. DON'T turn around.

„What are you saying?“ He smiled a bit nervously. „We are together, aren't we?“

„Yes, but...“ The arms tightened a bit around Shen Qingqiu. „I was so worried. I thought I might never see you again!“

What was that child thinking? They were still searching for the demons, and even if they found them, there wouldn't be any real danger to face, he was sure of it. They were well prepared and already knew their enemies!

„You silly disciple. This won't happen. We won't be separated.“

Shen Qingqiu tried to soothe the... man... behind him and laid his hand on the other ones to comfort him. „You still are my precious disciple.“

His hand was caught and brought over his head, where something soft touched it. „But I want to be more than that. I want to be strong to protect you.“

A small wet sound came from above his head. Was Luo Binghe... kissing his hand...?

„That day when you were injured because of me, when the poison entered your body. I was so scared to lose you!“ The voice behind him cracked a bit. „I never want something like this to ever happen again!“

Shen Qingqiu lost track of his own thoughts. This was... what was it? Heh didn't understand at all. Luo Binghe kissing his hand? Wanting to be more than a disciple? Then what-

„Look at me, Shizun!“ The voice behind him pleadingly asked, and Shen Qingqius heart ached. He had no choice but to do what he was asked for-

And the sight before him took away all of his breath.

Beautiful! Stunningly beautiful!

Still holding his Shizuns hand at his lips, there was a tall man with distinctive features. He had fair skin and a muscular body which was showing through the thin fabric of the white undergarment. His silky hair was tied with an oh so familiar green headband, but it was hardly constrained by it, flowing around this pretty face of his like water. He seemed to be in his mid twenties, the time when he came back from the abyss originally. But there was no malice, no demonic energy in this appearance, no demon mark on his forehead. He had an aura of a pure white lotus, and if Shen Qingqiu wouldn't knew it better, one could assume he was a saint.

Wow. So this appearance really was worthy of a protagonist. Shen Qingqiu knew, that this was the future Luo Binghe he would get to see if he only was able to gain all the points needed! It really was worth any effort!

„Binghe...“, he said slowly, not turning his eyes away. „I am here.“

„Yes~“ Luo Binghe closed his eyes, laying Shen Qingqius hand at his cheek. „I feel you.“

Do you really need to feel me? You better look for some girls to feel!

But somehow he understood what was going on inside this childs heart. His Shizun was like a father figure, protecting and risking his life for him. The only person who really cared about him up until now. So wasn't it only logical that he wanted to protect his 'family'?
The hot spring, the bamboo forest... everything seemed to give Luo Binghe some kind of security in his heart. He had to reassure this child that everything would be fine.

But why was Luo Binghe an adult here? And why were both of them wearing only their undergarment?

Shen Qingqiu did not try to think about these facts. Instead, he caressed the other ones cheek with his thumb. „Everything is fine. Believe in your Shizun, I will protect you.“

This didn't please the other one. He squeezed Shen Qingqius hand tight. „I know you will protect me. But what about me? Won't you believe in me? Won't you believe that I am able to protect you?“

Maybe in the future you will be able to do this. But not right now. Right now you are a precious little flower, waiting to mature into this handsome young man. Right now you are building up your strength under my care and using your protagonists halo. So I am the one who has to protect you. Who WANTS to protect you.
All of this ran through Shen Qingqius head. Nothing of this could be said.

„I know you will.“ Shen Qingqiu smiled slightly. „But I feel that strong about you, too. I don't want you to witness any harm.“

A faint blush appeared on Luo Binghes cheeks. „Shizun~“, he cried out, and a moment later there was a loud splash when both of them landed right in the hot spring due to Luo Binghes attempt to hug his Shizun way too enthusiastically.

Shen Qingqiu appeared on the surface, coughing. „Binghe!“ he exclaimed, trying to fill his lungs with fresh air. „What did you do?!“ He needed a moment to collect himself before he realized something.

Luo Binghe was sitting in the water, staring. Then Shen Qingqiu realized his own appearance. His hair was sticking to his skin and his clothes were wide open, revealing his manly chest.

Binghe himself was a mess, too, but his eyes were glued to Shen Qingqius chest, and without realizing he reached out and touched it with his fingertips.

Shen Qingqiu shuddered again. „What... are you doing?“, he asked, his voice low.

„Shizun...you are beautiful...“ Luo Binghes voice was nothing more than a whisper.
Finally... finally he was able to touch this smooth skin! Even if it was in a dream, this feeling – it was indescribable!

He began stroking Shen Qingqius skin, slowly going down and pushing the cloth of his top aside.

„...Binghe?“

Shen Qingqiu didn't sound as confident as he wanted to. What was going on right now?

His abdomen was under water, and so he couldn't see clearly how Luo Binghes hand was traveling down even further. But he could FEEL it.

What was this child thinking?! This wasn't right! He had to do something!

But how without revealing that he wasn't just a figure out of Luo Binghes dream?

A sudden noise saved Shen Qingqiu. It was loud and urging, and the whole dream began to turn red.

„What is happening?!“ he asked alarmed, looking into Luo Binghes shocked face. „No, this wasn't-“, the other one began, but then...

He woke up.

The child beneath him was holding his hand and woke up, too. A moment later he sat upright with a beet red face. „Shizun, I'm sorry, I...I...“

He didn't speak more, because both of them became aware of the ringing sound in their room and the deep red in which the whole room was shrouded in.

Shen Qingqiu stood up and slowly drew closer to the source of this all: the crystal on the table.
He unwrapped it and suddenly heard a laughter and a deep voice. „I finally found you, Peak Lord Shen!“

The one armed Elder!

„I'll come and get you tomorrow morning! Say goodbye to your beloved ones!“

With this the crystal stopped glowing and became a simple rock again.

„...“

Okay, they now had a date when they were facing off the enemy. Not bad. And it helped him to get out of the dream realm unharmed. At least, Luo Binghe had learned to react on things from the outside and cancelling the dream realm, even if it was unintentionally.

…...

That was scary!

What was that child thinking?!

He blushed hard, pulling his top closer around himself. Startled he turned around, when he heard a voice behind himself.

„Shizun...?“

Aaaah, the soft and tender voice of a child growing up, and the face yet to be refined! This sure was a better sight! He sighed soundless, regaining his composure while stepping next to Luo Binghe.

„You heard him, didn't you?“, he asked, and the child nodded. „We have another day to prepare ourselves and to lay out some traps.“

He went on and put some strands of hair on Luo Binghes head in order, but stopped then. Too clearly flashed the images of the dream realm through his head, let his heart beat faster.

No...that was just a fantasy running wild, wasn't it? Just because this child didn't touch a girl until now and he only was around this old man the whole time. He really should introduce him to more female characters!

He convinced himself before pushing Luo Binghe softly to the bed. „Sleep. It is still the middle of the night.“ He then turned around and sat himself on the table, working again on some talismans.

The child nodded slightly and crawled under the blanket again. He was lucky his Shizun didn't pay him too much attention.
His face was hot, his heart beating rapidly. Again the place between his legs was pulsating. Slowly he lifted his fingers which touched both the original and the dream realm Shizuns skin to his lips, kissing them lightly.

His Shizun. Only his.

He lay there, listening to the faint sounds his Shizun made behind the folding screen, before drifting again into a light sleep.

Chapter Text

They met again with Liu Qingge early in the morning. Shen Qingqiu told him what happened with the crystal last night and what he thought would be the best course of action.

„There is some grassland right in front of the city“, Liu Qingge explained. „I can hide behind some trees growing there.“

Shen Qingqiu nodded. „I think it would be best to meet them outside to avoid getting the people here involved.“ He opened his fan to hide his smile. „Everything is going according the plan.“

Liu Qingge lifted one eyebrow, before looking at the child next to the other man. „And you're really sure you want to bring that brat along?“ He still thought of Luo Binghe as a nuisance, especially since he seemed to cling closer to Shen Qingqiu than ever before...?

„Yes. This is my final word regarding this.“ He closed the fan, sighing. „Do you trust me?“

„I trust you. But I don't trust that brat“, he said as a matter of fact. „And I will not save him if needed. This is your responsibility.“

„Of course.“ Shen Qingqiu pattet the childs head, not seeing how Luo Binghe almost looked triumphant at the warlord. His Shizun defended him! He would stay, and there was nothing Liu Qingge could do about it.

Same man snorted, then turned away. „We'll meet at sunrise“, he said before disappearing again into thin air.

Instead of becoming a warlord, he really should have considered a career as ninja...

Shen Qingqiu fanned himself, then turned to Luo Binghe. „So... since Liu-Shidi will prepare everything, we have another day for us to use how we please. Is there anything you want to do?“

Luo Binghes heart jumped in his chest. He had lots of ideas! But none of them could be spoken out loud! So he shook his head. „This disciple will be happy with everything Shizun wants to do.“

Okay... so it was his turn to decide? Shen Qingqiu thought hard. He knew they should cultivate, but they could do this later that day. He intended to cultivate until morning anyway to prevent him from accidentially been pulled in Luo Binghes dream realm again! That was way too scary!

Maybe it was time to introduce this child to some pretty girls? Shen Qingqiu spotted some brothels yesterday, so should he do this? But this could take too long and would possibly distract Luo Binghe too much, so he cancelled this idea.

What to do, what to do?

He pondered for a moment, not knowing where to go, before Luo Binghe spoke up. „Shizun... this disciple had an idea.“
-

A hot spring? Really?

„A passerby talked to her friend about this“, Luo Binghe explained. „This disciple wants Shizun to relax!“

Relax, my ass! The dream realm seemed to come real right now! Shen Qingqiu went hot and cold at the same time. This was too much of a coincidence, wasn't it?!

Since his Shizun didn't step in, Luo Binghe asked anxiously. „Is this not good? Shizun said to go wherever this disciple wanted to go!“ The look of an abandoned puppy returned to his face, and Shen Qingqiu just sighed.

„Of course it is good“, he said while patting Luo Binghes head. „Who am I to go back on my promise?“

And this was a mixed bath. Maybe, with some luck, there were some pretty girls who this child could set his eyes on.

Satisfied with this thought, he nodded and then entered the entrance.

Of course Lady Luck took her sweet time and didn't appear. They both were alone in a spacious bath.

Luo Binghe was sitting next to him in the hot water, his face red. He seemed a bit tense and only barely looked at Shen Qingqiu.

He had put himself under water all the way up to his chest. Oh well... now they were here, so he should take this chance to really relax, even if this child didn't seem to do well.

„Didn't you say something about relaxing?“, he asked the child in a mocking tone. „Why are you sitting stiff like a rock?“

Luo Binghe pouted. „Shizun is mean to tease this disciple that much lately.“ He sank deeper in the water, until only his face from the nose upwards was seen. Some small bubbles appeared in front of him, and Shen Qingqiu found this quite adorable.

He still was a child! Thank heavens!

He leaned back and closed his eyes. Yes, this really was nice in here, he had to admit. Nice and warm and...

He didn't saw Luo Binghe watching him right now. He had pinned up his hair, but one strand got loose and was now sticking to his bare neck. Under water Luo Binghe was licking his lips, staring at a drop of water following the curve of his Shizuns chin. This was too delicious!

He unconciously reached out to touch the white skin when Shen Qingqiu opened his eyes, giving Luo Binghe almost a heart attack. He stopped dead in his movements.

„What is it?“, Shen Qingqiu asked curiously. The look on his disciples face was... strange. „Your face is red. Maybe you should go out of the hot water?“

Out of the water? Now?

He swallowed, then nodded. „Th-this is too hot for this disciple! I will get us some refreshments!“

He jumped straight out, gripping a towel and covering himself before running out of the bath, leaving a confused Shen Qingqiu.

Damn! He should have asked his Shizun to allow him to wash his back while he could, but since his body in the midst of fighting hormones betrayed him again, he was only able to cool himself down in another tube. And when he returned, his Shizun already had left the water and was dressing himself.

While Shen Qingqiu seemed refreshed, Luo Binghe felt tired.

„Aaaah, this was wonderful! Binghe, you did well taking me there“, Shen Qingqiu said with a smile on his face, and the other one only was able to nod.

Oh well... his Shizun praised him, so he gained something after all! But this body of his was... problematic.

As problematic as the system which rang in Shen Qingqius ears.

[Leading the protagonist to manhood: +20 points]

...huh?

System, what are you trying to say?

But the system didn't respond.

Shen Qingqiu sighed. There were some strange points given recently. Well, he took them all with gratitude. Maybe this childs awakening as stallion novel protagonist wasn't that far away any longer? Maybe he began to fit in this role? This would explain why Luo Binghe appeared as an adult in the dream realm! He wanted to be the leading stallion!

But then he should stop thinking of touching a man just because he was sexual frustrated! Poor child didn't had any other person at hand right now, so he tried to define himself with his help. This must be changed!

With new resolve he walked along the streets with Luo Binghe, eager to find him a companion for bed soon. Being fifteen years old, he was almost an adult in this time and place!

-

They returned to the inn. On the way Shen Qingqiu got some things to eat and a few books. Sadly, there wasn't one single erotic book to find on this market which he could give to Luo Binghe. So he bought some more historical notes for him to study.

After they ate, he sat himself with Luo Binghe on the table, discussing on how to cultivate right.

„You learned so much recently, Shizun is proud“, he said. „I'll think you will have a breakthrough soon.“

Luo Binghe clearly liked to be praised and he nodded. „This disciple soon wants to find his own sword. But I want it to be a good one, so I want to cultivate some more before going.“

Since the sword itself chose its Master, it was necessary not only to show strength but to own some skill.

„A wise decision, indeed“, Shen Qingqiu nodded. But he already knew which sword Luo Binghe would get, and it really would be a fitting one. „I'm sure it will be marvellous.“

Luo Binghe smiled warmly. „Shizun praises me so much today. I... like it.“ He looked away bashfully, and Shen Qingqiu couldn't resist to smile. So sweet!

„If you do praiseworthy things, then I will praise you. It's as simple as that.“

Luo Binghe began smiling, too. „Then this disciple will try to do more praiseworthy things from now on!“, he promised enthusiastically.

Haha, sweet child, you already did so many things. Please don't go overboard just because I praised you!

Shen Qingqiu felt a little headache coming up, and so he shooed Luo Binghe away and they both began cultivating to prepare for the upcoming batte.

Chapter Text

The sun was't in the sky when they reached the battlefield. Liu Qingge was already hiding there.

He had planted several talismans around the area which would save them from being discovered by the citizens. Some others would explode by will. Other traps were set, too, but he didn't tell them what they was and where to find. He still distrusted that child and feared, Luo Binghe would talk if anything went wrong.

It wasn't that they were afraid of the demons. Two Peak Lords could easily defend against a bunch of them. They simply didn't know if they schemed something more than that.

When everything was prepared, Shen Qingqiu decided to sit down on a stone in the middle of the grass. „Binghe, come here!“, he said, and the child happily ran over and obdiently sat down at his Shizuns feet.

Then they waited.

It took quite some time for the demons to arrive. Shen Qingqiu and Luo Binghe were chatting with each other and seemed to be entirely relaxed. Even when a door opened and several demons poured out, they didn't stop and didn't even glance at the newcomers.

There were now almost fifty demons who were moving around and encircling the two humans. The last one appearing was the one armed Elder.

„Look who's there! The tiny peak Lord who dared to oppose me!“ he roared, stepping forward with an arrogant attitude. „Are you here to receive your punishment?“

Shen Qingqiu didn't even took a glance around. He was telling Luo Binghe a fairy tale right now, and the child hung on his lips like he was drinking honey.

„And you know, Binghe, the proud young man went to the beautiful maiden and-“

„...“

The one armed Elder was baffled. „Hey!“, he shouted. „Don't you dare ignore me!“

Only then did Shen Qingqiu lift his head, hiding his face behind his fan. „Oh my, isn't this the one armed Elder. Long time no see, did you overcome your loss last time already?“

The demon was fuming with rage. „Stop provoking me! I'll kill you today, and then I'll kill this child!“

Now Luo Binghe was the one raising his eyes and focusing on the one armed Elder. Was he smiling like a happy child before, now he looked ice cold with murderous intent. The demon shivered under this staring at him but regained his composure again without any other demon noticing this. „Or should I kill this brat first before killing you?“

„Hoh, how poor of you, trying to bully a child right before his teachers' eyes.“ Shen Qingqius voice had a mocking sound. „But oh well, you can try to fight him, but I doubt it is my disciple who will be killed.“
Luo Binghes eyes never left the one armed Elder even once. „I will fight“, he said with cold determination in his voice. „No one will ever lay a hand on my Shizun!“

How scary! This child really isn't someone you should play around with!

Shen Qingqiu patted Luo Binghe on the head, and suddenly this child turned around and smiled innocently at him. „Is it okay, if this disciple will kill him? Shizun doesn't mind?“

Okay, the cold shiver which was running down his back was real. Fuck, now he was scared, too! Calm down, child!

But he still hid his face behind the fan, so Luo Binghe couldn't see the faint twitching of his lips, thankfully. „Of course. This demon wants someone to be killed, so you shouldn't hold back.“

Luo Binghe nodded with a smile, then turned back to the one armed Elder. Instantly his gaze went cold and murderous again. He stood up and pulled out his sword. „Then let's fight.“

The one armed Elder swallowed. Something wasn't right here! But he wouldn't – no couldn't – back down now, especially not while faced by a child! He looked left and right. „Then it's decided. Get the Peak Lord and bind him up, so he can't interfere!“

The demons nodded, and a moment later Shen Qingqiu was grabbed and forced down on his knees. A red unbreakable binding immortal cable was tied around his wrists which were brought behind his back.

Fuck! Fuckfuckfuckfuck!

This was something Shen Qingqiu didn't think of. Him being tied up wasn't the real problem right now. It was uncomfortable, but he feared more that his companions would lose it. He felt the energy of Liu Qingge rising. But more than that he feared that Luo Binghe would go berserk.

That child was first terrified, but then his face distorted in a very ugly expression full of hatred. He clenched his teeth, and a dark aura seemed to rise up from him.

Oh no! The demon blood seemed to arise within him! He had to do something about this!

Shen Qingqiu tried to hold up his cold appearance and gave a signal with his fingers to Liu Qingge while focusing his attention on the child in front of him. „It's alright, Luo Binghe“, he said with a voice as soothing as possible. „When you defeated him, you can free me again. There's no need to enrage yourself.“

Please. Pleasepleaseplease, let him react to my voice!

Luo Binghes breath was ragged, and he tried to take a step towards Shen Qingqiu, but he spoke again. „Don't do it. Binghe, keep your cool. When you win, I'll grant you one wish of yours.“

That was effective.

Luo Binghes eyes cleared up. „One wish?“, he asked, and Shen Qingqiu nodded. „Yes... one wish. I'll grant you whatever you want if I can make it possible.“

Instantly Luo Binghe relaxed. „I'll remember this“, he said happily and turned around to face the one armed Elder. „Let's fight. I want to free Shizun as soon as possible.“

This rapid change of mood clearly was too much!

The demon fumed again. Even this trick didn't work to take away their moral „Very well“, he snorted. „I know you defeated Elder Sky Hammer, Brat. But I am different! And I trained so much until now, you won't stand a chance!“

Luo Binghe only showed a thin smile. „You will never lay hands on my Shizun“, he said with an ice cold voice. And the moment the demon unsheated his weapon, he sprinted forward in unbelivable speed.

It was over in an instant.

The eyes were almost popping out of the demon's head, as he saw the child standing next to him, the sword thrusted deep into one armed Elders chest.

„This is way too merciful for you. But I don't want Shizun to be shocked“, Luo Binghe whispered. He then pulled out the sword with one movement and stepped back a bit.

The one armed Elder fell backwards with a loud thud and never moved again.

Heavy silence surrounded the place.

Luo Binghe flicked the drops of blood from his sword before sheathing it. He then turned around and walked leisurely towards Shen Qingqiu. „Release him!“, he ordered the demon holding him down without hesitation, domineering him only with his eyes.

Shen Qingqiu went pale.

This wasn't the sweet little flower who was by his side only a few hours ago. This was the Demon Lord himself, the future Luo Binghe if he didn't find a way to prevent this.

Child, don't go that path!

His heart cried, but he wasn't allowed to show it. He clenched his fists. „Binghe...“

Before the demon behind him could loosen the rope, everything went out of control. The other demons started rioting. „Kill! Kill!“

They lost their leader, and so they lost their minds. They only smelled blood and began to close in more and more.

Lui Qingge, help...!

Shen Qingqiu saw the warlord breaking out of some bushes, his sword ready to attack. He was about to cut down the first demon, when-

The rumbling of the earth shook the whole area, getting some demons to fell on the ground. Another portal opened, and a ferocious beast appeared, ridden by one single demon.

Suddenly the environment turned cold. Some strands of grass froze up cracking.

Mobei Jun!

Shen Qingqiu screamed inwardly. Holy shit, what was happening?! This is wrong, so wrong!! Now they would die for sure! The whole plot was a mess!

He already saw himself lying dead on the ground, but this never happened. Instead, all of the demons stood still and bowed before Mobei Jun. And without a word spoken... the demons began to leave!

...huh?

What now?

The Ice Lord still was sitting on his beast, scanning the area. He then focused on Luo Binghe, who looked at the other one with disdain. With a „humph“ he gave his beast a sign, and after the last demon had left the mortal realm, he let it turn around and left, too, closing the door behind him.

Shen Qingqiu needed some time to react. He finally realized it was over, when Liu Qingge cut the ropes, and an almost crying Luo Binghe was kneeling in front of him. „Shizun! Shizun! Is Shizun alright?“

He looked at the child with some kind of disbelief. While the system happily ringed in his ear to tell him he achieved his goal and earned the five hundred points, he only managed to say: „Binghe, we need to talk.“

Chapter Text

The room was dead silent.

Because there was no other option right now which didn't include returning to Cang Qiong Mountain directly, Shen Qingqiu and Luo Binghe went back to their inn. Liu Qingge already flew back to report about the occurrences.

So only Shen Qingqiu and this child were here right now. Shen Qingqiu wore a grave expression, and Luo Binghe was kneeling right in front of him with tears in his eyes, staring at the ground. He looked like he was extremely wronged by his Shizun.

Shen Qingqiu watched Luo Binghe for a while, then sighed. „Do you know what you did out there?“, he asked, trying to sound neutral.

„I only did what I had to do“, he answered, his fists clenching on his legs. „Shizun was in danger, so I had to kill him as fast as possible.“

Now I'm the reason for all this? How come?

„You know I wasn't really in danger“, Shen Qingqiu said slowly. „Liu-Shidi was there, and you know I trusted you, too.“

With a glimmer of hope the child lifted his gaze but was hit with the fan on his head. „I'm not done talking!“ Shen Qingqiu raged. „Sit properly!“

„But Shizun~“ Luo Binghes voice was now as miserable as his looks. „This disciple didn't want anyone to tie you up, other than-“

He stopped, biting his lips.

Other than... what?

Shen Qingqiu couldn't process these words right, so he coughed lightly. „It was necessary to deceive them. But it wasn't necessary that you lost your cool!“

Luo Binghe sniffed. „Shizun, pease don't punish me! This disciple won't let it happen ever again!“

So he understood? Or did he act all cute and innocent now on purpose? Shen Qingqiu highly doubted this child suddenly had some kind of insight, but for now he didn't want to go any further. This miserably looking puppy right in front of him was way too much!

So he kneeled down and patted Luo Binghe on the head. With soothing voice he began to explain. „As long as you understand. It is never a good thing to lose your composure, unless you want to play the enemy in his hands. That was exactly the tactic we did-“

„Shizuuuuun~“

A moment later he found himself on the floor, that child clinging on his waist. „Thank you, Shizun. Many thanks! This disciple feared Shizun would hate him now!“

Wow, protagonist, don't hug another man without warning like this!

Shen Qingqiu sighed, then stroke the back of this child a few times. „Why should I hate you? You saved me after all.“

Only the way you did it was wrong, but we'll work on your temper issues together.

After some time which seemed like forever, he shoved Luo Binghe away. „How long do you want to cling to me? You aren't a little child anymore!“

Luo Binghe resisted at first but then sat himself up properly. „This disciple just was so happy not to be hated“, he said before wiping the corners of his eyes. „I couldn't go on living if Shizun hates me.“

Now now, don't exaggerate! Little protagonist, there will be so many people in the future who will worship you, you won't need this old man!

It was a strange feeling thinking about this. Right now he was hugging the protagonists thigh, but sometimes it seemed more than he was the one who got the thigh hugged. He knew that this couldn't go on like this forever, and he feared that day they would change roles would come faster than expected. He needed to take measures before this. Even if the protagonist went away, he wanted to live a peaceful life without being cut into a human stick. But right now... well, he couldn't imagine the protagonist leaving his side soon, and so he had to do everything to educate that little flower properly!

Luo Binghe, on the other hand, felt the loss when he was shoved back. The warmth of the other ones body, the faint odour... he wanted to stay close much longer! But he felt the rapid heartbeat and his breath becoming faster, and so it was the best to separate for now.

Instead he grabbed Shen Qingqius wrist. There still was a mark of the ropes on it, and with concern, he asked: „Does it hurt?“

The other one looked down. He didn't even notice the small scratches, and so he shook his head. „I'll let my spiritual energy circulate later. It will be gone in no time.“

He wanted to pull back his hand, when suddenly-

The child kissed his wrist!

WTF!! Protagonist! What are you doing?!

Before he could react, he felt some spiritual energy flowing into his body, strong and clear, and within seconds the marks disappeared.

The soft lips of the child stayed a little longer on the spot before Luo Binghe removed them. „Now everything is fine“, he said, satisfied.

„...“

Shen Qingqiu was baffled. „...you do know that you didn't need to transfer spiritual energy to me? And you do know you don't need your lips for it?“, he asked with reluctance in his voice.

Luo Binghe only smiled and said nothing.

-

They returned later that evening to Cang Qiong Mountain by riding Shen Qingqius sword. Luo Binghe was standing behind him and clinging to him like sticky candy, but Shen Qingqiu was too busy thinking to notice the happy smile on the face of this child.

System, how many points did I collect until now?

[This system happily is of service. Since the mission was finished with best results, you got the additional 500 points. So you actually collected 3.145 points]

Shen Qingqiu sighed soundlessly.

Well, at least he got almost one third of the points needed in one year, and there were two years left. But would it be enough? He couldn't hope for a lot more missions like this to speed up everything. He had to find other ways to gain points!

Especially after today... Luo Binghe showed what could happen if his demon blood awakened. It's not that Shen Qingqiu had hope to be able to suppress it. But maybe he could lead this child step by step to accept his other side?

This would be a hard task. He didn't know how to accomplish things without letting Luo Binghe knew that he was the protagonist of a novel and his Shizun just a reader who knew everything. This was the worst case, and he was sure that the system would punish him severely for it.

So what to do?

He was grieving inside, when he felt a tuck on his sleeve. „Shizun...?“

He came back to his senses and turned around to look at his disciple. „What is it? Are you tired?“

Luo Binghe shook his head. „No, but...“ He looked away shyly for a moment, then turned back with a pleading expression. „Shizun promised to fulfill this disciple one wish if he wins. Am... am I still allowed to make this wish?“

You're thinking about this now?! Don't you have other problems to take care of?!

Since Shen Qingqiu was hesitating, Luo Binghe looked quite depressed with tears welling up in his eyes. „Shizun, you promised! This disciple did everything you asked for, don't go back on your word!“

This puppy eyes were too adorable! Stop it!

Shen Qingqius heart hurt. He couldn't decline, could he? After all he made such a promise. He still wanted to hug Luo Binghes thigh, so there was no turning back. And so he cleared his throat and spoke with confidence. „Of course you can make your wish. Despite losing your composure, you did well today. So, do you already have a wish you want Shizun to grant you?“

But to Shen Qingqius surprise, the child shook his head. „This disciple has no wish to be fulfilled right now. If Shizun allows it, I would ask for something another time?“

Shen Qingqiu looked puzzled, but then nodded. „Of course. But why did you ask then?“

„Because...“ Luo Binghe shrank a bit, so Shen Qingqiu couldn't see the expression on his face while looking over his shoulder. „I just wanted to make sure I still can make a wish some day.“

Shen Qingqiu was more confused than ever, but he accepted this answer. If there was nothing Luo Binghe wanted right now, maybe the child would forget about the whole thing very soon. So nothing to be concerned about.

What he didn't know was – Luo Binghe wouldn't forget. Never.

He had so many wishes right now, but he knew, nothing of this would be granted. So he decided to postpone it for a better time.

He licked his lips and buried his head on Shen Qingqius back, inhaling the alluring scent that was coming from the man in front of him.

His Shizun.

Chapter Text

Not long after they returned, Shen Qingqiu met with Yue Qingyuan. Even if the other one already was informed by Liu Qingge, he still wanted to know what happened from his shidi himself.

They talked for a while, and Shen Qingqiu told him everything except-

Well, he couldn't tell about the dream realm and Luo Binghes demonic power, could he?

Yue Qingyuan listened, most of the time in silence. After the other one had finished, he knitted his eyebrows. „Im worried.“

He took a deep breath. „This disciple you are raising... I feel that something strange is happening with him and around him right now.“

You don't say?

Shen Qingqiu would've liked to massage his temples, but he hold himself back from it. „I will investigate“, he promised and was ready to leave, but Yue Qingyuan held him back.

„Shidi, I mean it. I can't see the full picture right now, but-“ His soft eyes showed a lot of concern. „Please, be careful.“

A strange feeling befell Shen Qingqiu, and he nodded before finally leaving.

What Yue Qingyuan said was true. Everything that was happening right now seemed to differ from the original plot. Especially when Mobei Jun appeared.

He knew this demon from the novel. Very powerful, soon to be under Luo Binghes command. Rarely seen in the mortal world.

The urge to massage his temples grew, and, finally alone, he followed suit to prevent him of getting a headache. He just wanted everyone to survive, this shouldn't be so hard!

When Mobei Jun was taking action already, that meant he needed to talk to Shang Qinghua – Airplane Bro.

-

„I already told you, don't change the plot that much!“

A book was thrown into Shen Qingqius direction, and he dodged it easily, while the poor book collided with the wall and then landed on the floor with a 'thud'.

„So you DO have connections to this demon!“

Shen Qingqiu was fuming with rage. „So why did you sent him?!“

„I was saving your ass, dammit!“ Shang Qinghua sat down on a chair. „If he didn't interfere, the protagonist would have already awaken!“

„...“

That was true. Shen Qingqiu had to admit, that the other one really saved the plot there And the protagonist.

He sat himself down on a chair, too. „But why? What went wrong?“, he asked a bit helplessly.

Shang Qinghua snorted. „You needed to meddle with everything, so it went out of control. Now we can only try to get everything back on track.“

Shen Qingqiu shook his head. „I was just fulfilling some missions! And I still don't want to let Luo Binghe fall into the abyss. There has to be another way!“

He had seen to much of this innocent little flower, this pure angel. Even if he didn't want it, this bond had grown over time into something he couldn't ignore.

The other one sighed. „But what if there isn't? Would you rather die for him?“

Shen Qingqiu didn't answer.

-

He returned to his room deep in thought. When he opened the door, a wonderful smell of freshly made food wafted through the air.

„Shizun!“

Luo Binghe was sitting at the table, waiting for him to return. When Shen Qingqiu entered, he jumped to his feet with a bright smile on his lips.

Aaaah. When he saw that face, Shen Qingqiu felt some sense of relieve. Yes, for saving this smile he was ready to fight on!

He sat down and Luo Binghe served him a congee and hot tea. „This disciple made dinner for you. I hope Shizun likes it!“ He was excited to see if his food was to his Shizuns taste, that Shen Qingqiu almost saw a wagging tail popping up.

And how good this was!

The food they ate while away wasn't bad, but this congee really was on an entire different level! No wonder, Luo Binghes cooking was a killer move to bewitch people!

He cried tears of joy inwardly and nodded at the child. „Yes, Shizun likes it.“ He gave Luo Binghe a slight smile. „It's good being home.“

He finished eating in no time. Luo Binghe had himself seated on the ground, waiting for his Shizun to finish. He watched him the entire time, but since this wasn't new to Shen Qingqiu, he didn't notice that Luo Binghe seemed a bit nervous.

He had barely finished, when Luo Binghe again jumped on his feet. „Shizun~“, he began. „May this disciple can have your fan for a moment?“

Huh?

Shen Qingqiu was irritated. „Why do you need my fan?“, he asked, but the child looked to the ground, a faint shade of red spreading on his cheeks. Luo Binghe looked up through his long eyelashes, looking unbearably cute.

„Please?“

Shen Qingqiu sighed, then pulled out his fan. It was his favorite one, with light green shades and bamboo painted on it. He then gave it to that child. „Just don't break it“, he reminded him, and Luo Binghe shook his head. „I would never do something like this!“

He took the fan and placed it gently on the table. Luo Binghe then pulled out some kind of string and tied it at the end before returning it. „It isn't much, but... would Shizun please accept this gift?“

Shen Qingqiu took the fan back and looked closely at the 'string'. He then saw what this was: a tassel.

Luo Binghe used the beads he bought at the market. Fine green was mixing with translucent white. The cord was green, too, being the same shade as the fan itself. It was only a small detail but brought the fan to a whole new level of elegance.

Shen Qingqiu was stunned. „For me...?“, he asked, and Luo Binghe nodded, face still red.

„Shizun was so good to me, I... I just wanted to repay somehow“, he said. „Even if it's not well made, but...does Shizun find it pleasing to the eye?“

Protagonist, why are you good at everything? This handmade tassel was exquisite! Even a professional worker wouldn't be able to make a better one than this!

Shen Qingqiu didn't know whether to laugh or to cry. There was no need for that child to thank him! He still tried to heal the wounds, the original Shen Qingqiu inflicted on the poor little soul. And he tried to prevent Luo Binghe to get hurt in the future because of him. There was no need for thanks!

But one glance at the little flower and Shen Qingqiu knew, that this was important for that child. And so he nodded and patted Luo Binghe on the head. „It is very well made, Shizun will treasure it, many thanks, Binghe.“

The sun went up in the room with the brilliant smile Luo Binghe was showing. Shen Qingqiu almost had to shield his eyes. „Are you so happy about me accepting your gift?“

Luo Binghe casted his eyes down. „I wasn't sure if you would accept this after I failed at the mission“, he said honestly, and Shen Qingqiu sighed. „

We talked about it. You didn't fail. You just can improve and make it better next time.“

Luo Binghe nodded obediently.

Maybe... just maybe he really understood? Shen Qingqiu had hope. So if he could advise this child right, this really could turn out well in the end?

He watched the child leave with the tray of empty dishes.

There was no way he could let the demonic blood awaken in this child without anyone noticing, that was an undeniable truth. So he needed to do something else. Was there a way to involve the other Peak Lords in it? Was it possible to let them know and get them to accept Luo Binghe wholly? He highly doubted this, especially thinking of Liu Qingge.

He wrecked his brain the whole night through without coming to a conclusion.

-

Luo Binghe was washing the dishes, humming a happy tune.

Shizun accepted his gift!

He was so happy right now, he never felt like this before.

His Shizun showed him such a feeling.

Luo Binghe closed his eyes for a moment, indulging himself in this sweetness. He wanted more of it!

He then finished his work and dried his hands. Could he let his Shizun feel the same like he did right now? Was there a way?

If he wasn't the only one feeling happy, wouldn't it be even sweeter?

Luo Binghe returned to his room, recalling something he heard some time ago. Collecting points... His Shizun said something about this. So he needed ways to collect these ominous points to make his Shizun happy, right?

Chapter Text

It wasn't that Luo Binghe could ask his Shizun about these ominous points. He talked about this with another man and not with his disciple, so it was some kind of secret...? But didn't it involve Luo Binghe, too? He definitely heard his name!

But... if his Shizun wasn't willing to talk to him about it, then he had to find another way to get the answer on how to collect these points.

So what to do?

He thought hard about it. And the first step was to face Ming Fan.

The young man still couldn't stand Luo Binghe, even if, no, especially because he became Shen Qingqius favorite. But he couldn't do anything against it and didn't dare to bully him anymore. But this didn't mean he had to be on friendly terms with this brat.

„What do you want?“, he growled when Luo Binghe approached him.

„I have to ask you something“, Luo Binghe began. His tone was cold. Inside the memories of being bullied by the other one were still fresh, but he needed some information right now. And since Ming Fanwas well-informed about almost everything regarding Cang Qiong Mountain, he had to endure talking to the other one.

„Why should I answer you?“ Ming Fan was glaring at him. „Go to someone else!“

Luo Binghe clenched his fists. He inhaled deeply to keep his cool. Just like his Shizun told him, he would play into the other ones hands if he lost it. „It's about something that could help Shizun“, he kept talking, his voice still cold. „I don't think you will decline helping me if it's like this?“

Ming Fan, who still held Shen Qingqiu in highest regards, swallowed. „Okay, if it's for Shizun, then ask. I only will help you with this.“

-

It was not long after the last conversation with Shen Qingqiu when Shang Qinghua visited Cang Qiong Peak again. He had just crossed the Rainbow Bridge, when he was pulled into some bushes away from the path.

He squeaked and panicked before realizing that there was no danger befalling him.

Well, except a wild protagonist, who appeared right in front of him.

„...you?“, he asked in disbelief. „What do you want from me?“

So this man knew him. Luo Binghe didn't waste time. „I need to collect points. Help me.“

Shang Qinghuas face went blank. „What... are you talking about?“, he then asked, his voice slightly shaking.

„Points.“ Luo Binghe repeated. „I don't know what this is, but my Shizun needs them. And you talked about them with him. So tell me where I can get them and how.“

He didn't know why, but there wasn't any respect for the elder one in Luo Binghes voice and words. Instead, everything inside him urged him to put pressure on this man, as if he instinctly knew that this would work.

And really, the one before him began shivering, when his tone grew colder. This person was not a brave one.

„Spare me“, he whimpered. „I know nothing about any 'points'!“

„Liar!“ Luo Binghes eyes began to burn like fire. „I heard you!“

„Eavesdropping is bad~“, Shang Qinghua said with quivering voice. „And you better forget about something like this!“

„But I want Shizun to be happy!“ He grabbed the man who was almost as tall as him by the collar. „so tell me what to do!“

Shang Qinghua pressed his lips together, then answered in a low voice. „If you really want to help him, then forget everything about collecting points.“

-

Luo Binghe was frustrated.

After the last sentence, Shang Qinghua refused to say anything anymore. And even if he threatened him, he couldn't get any more informations. So he let that man go and watched him fleeing like a hunted rabbit.

He should forget about this 'points' if he wanted to help his Shizun? Then why did his Shizun wanted to collect them in the first place?

Frustration was mixing with confusion.

Was there no way to help his Shizun with this?

He was so deep in thought that he didn't notice Shen Qingqiu approaching him. „Binghe, what's wrong?“

Startled, he looked up and met his Shizuns gaze. He then smiled. „It's nothing. This disciple was just thinking about something.“

„Oh?“ Shen Qingqiu opened his fan and hid his face behind. The tassel floated in the wind, and Luo Binghe went a bit red seeing this. „Did you think about someone you love?“

The shade of red deepened a bit. „Shizun, this disciple would never think of something improper like this!“

„Just because you think of love, it doesn't mean it's improper“, Shen Qingqiu said with a smile. „And if you're in love, you should let the other one know. Most of the time the people being loved don't recognize it even if it's obvious for everyone else around.“

Luo Binghe swallowed. Then he nodded and tried to act cheerfully. „This disciple will remember this and make good use of Shizuns advice.“

-

While Luo Binghe was investigating, Shen Qingqiu had come to the conclusion it was the best option to speak again to Yue Qingyuan. He knew that there was enough hatred bewteen humans and demons to never establish a peaceful relationship. But maybe it was a possibility if the Sect Master himself acknowledged that Luo Binghe won't do no harm to anyone, and instead being useful to Cang Qiong Mountain. And so he planned to go on step by step to convince Yue Qingyuan that the protagonist should stay even when his demonic blood would awaken.

So he met again with the Sect Master.

He was greeted with a warm and friendly smile as always. He didn't know why Yue Qingyuan was so fond of him – and the original Shen Qingqiu -, but Shen Qingqiu respected him highly, too. Not only for giving him missions, no. This person was gentle and caring and only saw the best in the people. So he didn't deserve to die the way he did in the original novel.

As Shen Qingqiu sat down, a familiar voice rang in his head.

[Side mission: Convincing Sect Master to accept demon related affairs had opened up. Would you like to proceed?]

Yes! Yes!!

If the system offered him this by itself, how could he not accept? He wanted to try this anyway! And assigned with an official mission meant he could gain som extra points.

Yue Qingyuan watched the other one closely. „Is Shidi alright?“

Shen Qingqiu coughed slightly. „Yes, I'm fine.“ He took a sip of tea before he began speaking. „About the demons...“

Yue Qingyuans eyes turned a bit cold. „Yes? What do you want to know?“

Uh-oh. Not good. It will be hard to convince the other one, this was clear only by looking at him. But Shen Qingqiu still had to try. „Well, I was asking myself... are there cases recorded when they helped humans?“

The Sect Master watched him closely, then a sigh escaped his lips. „There are“, he said, and Shen Qingqiu, face lit up, „but.“

His stern face let Shen Qingqiu know, that it wasn't the good sign he wanted to see in it.

„With every demon who was willing to help humans, there were thousendfolds who didn't Not one case is recorded where the meddling between the two races went well in the end.“

He knew it. His heart sank a bit.

„But, theoretically spoken, it is possible?“ He asked again. He didn't want to give up right now.

„Theoretically spoken, yes.“ Yue Qingyuan furrowed his brows. „Shidi, what in the world are you planning to do?“

„Nothing!“ Shen Qingqiu put up his fan to hide his face. „I was just wondering why that powerful demon didn't attack us, but instead pacified the other ones, even led them away. They could have easily destroyed us back then.“

Yue Qingyuan nodded. „Well, I was thinking about this, too. But we don't have a clue what is going on inside a demons' head. Maybe he wants us to trust him so he can get closer to us? Or he just wanted to display his power and show off?“

He was deep in thought, when he finally saw the tassel hanging on Shen Qingqius fan. „This is a very pretty tassel. Do you have an admirer or a lover?“

Shen Qingqiu just smiled awkwardly. „Maybe?“

Chapter Text

The next thing Shen Qingqiu needed to know was, who could find out if anyone was of mixed blood when the demon blood awakened, and how. Maybe it was possible to hide it in any way?

He searched through any script he could find, but to no avail. No one ever seemed to speak about people with mixed blood, and Shen Qingqiu soon understood, that this was a taboo theme. There was no one who would willently mate with a demon. The rare cases which were documented only told him about women being raped or men being forced to give their seed.

Or some poor souls who never showed up again after being enchanted by Incubi and Succubi.

He knew, that Luo Binghes parents were a different case, but there was no way to ask directly about this topic, knewing, this was a taboo theme, too.

Shen Qingqiu covered his eyes with his hand. Maybe he should ask the author himself? He wrote this novel, he should know something.

Right when he stood up and wanted to leave in search for that person, the door was slammed open, and said one stood there, breathing heavily. „He knows!“

-

It was hard for Shen Qingqiu to calm Shang Qinghua down. He raged on and on without making sense, and only after a while his energy ran out and he fell onto a chair, huffing loudly.

„So... you say, that Luo Binghe overheard our conversation and knows now, that I collect some kind of points? But he doesn't know what this points mean?“, Shen Qingqiu summarized, and Shang Qinghua nodded fiercly. „Yes! That brat heard us talking! I can't believe I wrote him to be so nosy!“

Shen Qingqiu sighed and poured the other one a cup of tea. „Calm dowm. What's done is done. We should think about what to do from now on.“

„I know what we should do!“ The other one was raging again. „Let it be! Stop meddling with the plot and let everything happen as planned! Our systems will punish us for sure if there are more things going wrong.“

Shen Qingqiu shook his head. „I don't think so.“ He took a sip of his tea before continuing. „I got another mission from the system., It said I have to get him accepted by Yue Qingyuan. And when he knew about the points for so long now, there had to be a punishment until now, no? So I don't think anything will happen.“

„...“

What Shen Qingqiu said was true. His own system never reacted once since that day.

„...does that mean my plot isn't needed anymore?“

From one moment to the other Shang Qinghua looked miserably. „Everything I spent so much time on creating... for nothing?“

„Waitwait!“ Shen Qingqiu lifted his hands. „The plot is still there, all characters are there, too. And up until now there still is the fact, that if I can't collect the 10.000 coolness points, the abyss plot will activate.“ He looked a bit gloomy. „So I think the systems don't care as long as the plot is running smoothly and the plot holes are filled.“

Shang Qinghua gritted his teeth. „But it isn't my plot anymore! And... there's still the fact that my system stated, that if the protagonist doesn't go down the abyss, I will die!“

„...will you? Really?“ Shen Qingqiu opened his fan. „I highly doubt, this system of yours told you exactly that you would die.“

„...“

Shang Qinghua was baffled. „I... I didn't ask if I die then“, he admitted after pausing for some time.

„See?“ Shen Qingqiu nodded in an approving manner. „So if you don't care about your own protagonist, please... just don't meddle with my affairs any longer and let me try to save him.“

There was a long silence, until Shang Qinghua sighed. „I understand.“ He stood up. „Then do as you wish.“

He wanted to leave, but Shen Qingqiu stopped him. „Wait! I still have one question.“

-

It seemed that Shang Qinghua couldn't remember if he wrote anything regarding people with mixed blood, and so Shen Qingqiu was back to square one. He was barely able to hide his disappointment, when Luo Binghe entered the room.

„Shizun, this disciple needs your advice.“

„What can I do for you, Binghe?“

The child standing there was watching him with his clear bright eyes. Shen Qingqiu found it hard to imagine him threatening Shang Qinghua, but since the incident with the one armed Elder, he knew that there was another side in this child which was way colder and kind of merciless. He began to develop potential to be a cruel leader who gets what he wants.

But right now... right now he was just the little white flower. Well, little... it really didn't fit anymore. Luo Binghe had grown again, and Shen Qingqiu was sure it wouldn't take long for him to grow bigger than his Shizun.

„This disciple wants to retrieve his sword. Does Shizun thinks I am ready to go?“

Luo Binghes stand was firm, and Shen Qingqiu could feel the power growing within this child everyday. He knew which sword he would bring back, and there wasn't a better one for now. So he nodded with a slight smile. „Yes, your teacher thinks you have all the qualifications to go.“

-

Some disciples needed several days to find their sword, others almost a month. But Shen Qingqiu wasn't surprised when Luo Binghe came back after only three days, a magnificent sword in his hand.

„Shizun, look!“

Luo Binghe was presenting his sword to Shen Qingqiu with proud. „I named it Zheng Yang!“

The other one carefully took the sword in his hand and examined it closely. He could feel the clear strong spiritual energy flowing through it. „Indeed, a magnificient sword“, he praised before returning it. „This suits you well.“

Luo Binghe looked like a puppy that was called a 'good boy'. „So Shizun is proud of this disciple?“

„Yes, very.“ Shen Qingqiu patted him on the head, crying inwardly about the poor sword to be broken soon if he couldn't save this child from falling into the abyss.

Luo Binghe was happy and excited. „Now this disciple can help Shizun a lot more!“

Shen Qingqiu was irritated. „Help me? With what?“

Uh-oh. Luo Binghe Scolded himself inwardly. He didn't want his Shizun to know that he still wanted to help collecting these 'points'. So he hastily tried to explain himself.

„Shizun plans to go out on more missions, right? This disciple can come with you and help Shizun!“

„...“

Shen Qingqiu sighed. He didn't know if he was ready to let more things like the last time happen. But it wasn't good to refuse to hard and dampen this childs' spirit. So he smiled slightly. „Many thanks, Binghe. If there are suitable missions, I'll take you with me.“

This wasn't exactly what Luo Binghe wanted to hear, but it wasn't that his Shizun didn't allow him to go on any mission. So he accepted quietly and smiled instead. „Since I now have my sword, would Shizun mind sparring with this disciple?“

-

Too hard!

Shen Qingqiu hold the tip of his sword at Luo Binghes neck. From the outside it seemed as if he'd won with ease, but Shen Qingqiu knew it better.

He still was able to defeat this child, but it was way harder than only a few weeks ago.

Child, do you use any kind of cheat?! How were your powers growing THAT much right now?

Luo Binghe stood still for a while before slowly moving back and lowering his head respectfully. „This disciple lost. Many thanks for this sparring!“

Shen Qingqiu sheathed his sword. „If I had lost, I wouldn't be worthy of being called your teacher anymore, right?“

Just thinking about how soon Luo Binghe would be more powerful than him let his heart ache. Then there would really be no one able to stop him! Would he even listen to his words anymore?

But Luo Binghe lifted his head and smiled. „Shizun will forever be my Shizun. There is nothing in this world that will change this.“

Chapter Text

„How come you did invite me over today?“

Yue Qingyuan was sitting together with Shen Qingqiu. The last few weeks Shen Qingqiu had decided to pursue the goal of getting his disciple accepted by getting closer to the Sect Master. Since Yue Qingyuan was already fond of him, it wasn't uncommon for them to meet.

After some visits at Yue Qingyuans place, he decided to invite the other one over. There was some killer move he wanted to try out to gain more favor...

When Shen Qingqiu heard the question, he opened his fan. „Since I was visiting you so often, I thought, it only would be fair to invite you and return the hospitality“, he said nonchalantly, and Yue Qingyuan smiled. „That's very generous of you, but you know that this is not what I meant.“

He wanted to go on speaking, when the door opened, and Luo Binghe came in, carrying a tray with tea and some delicious looking sweets. He then placed everything in front of both of the men before bowing respectfully. „This disciple made some snacks. I hope they will be to your liking.“

Yue Qingyuan raised an eyebrow and thanked the child. He then tasted one of the small pastries and instantly his face lit up. „They are delicious!“

Luo Binghe bowed again. „Many thanks!“

With a wave of his fan, Shen Qingqiu let the child know he was no longer needed. „I will call you when we need something. Please proceed with the protocols.“

„Yes, Shizun.“ Luo Binghe smiled, then left again.

Yue Qingyuan watched him leave before turning back to Shen Qingqiu. „Your disciple has many talents. I kind of understand why you are so fond of him.“

„Indeed.“ The other one nodded. „His talents are showing more and more every day. Lately he is helping me with administrative work at Qing Jing Peak.“

To raise his reputation more, Shen Qingqiu lately began giving Luo Binghe paperwork to do and sent him out to run errands. And to no surprise, he did everything with greatest effectiveness and without any flaws.

Luo Binghe took heavy workloads without any complaints, even asking if he could do more. Was it because he knew about the 'points' or was he just trying to help? Whatever the reason was, he did very well. And Shen Qingqiu was happy every time the system rang to give out some points because of the raising reputation and developing some skills.

He was just about to praise the child some more, when Yue Qingyuan spoke.

„...is it because of this boy?“

Shen Qingqiu said nothing.

He was right to not underestimate Yue Qingyuans sharpness.

The other one sighed. „And here I thought you'd seek my company“, he said with a smile that seemed a little bit sad. „Tell me, what do you want me to do?“

Shen Qingqiu casted his eyes down. He felt guilty.

All the time he spent with this man was precious, becaus he rarely had such a good conversation partner, but he knew, too, that he did it because of Luo Binghe. And so he just bowed slightly.

„I really enjoy your company“, he began, „but it's true. I have a favor to ask of you.“ He then lifted his gaze to watch Yue Qingyuan.

The other one made a small gesture. „Then tell me. If it's possible, I will fulfill it.“

What followed was a moment of silence. Shen Qingqiu collected his thoughts and tried to find the right words. Then he asked: „Do you trust me?“

Yue Qingyuan nodded. „Yes, I trust you.“

„Will you trust me in the future, too?“

That made the other one look puzzled. „Of course I will.“

Shen Qingqiu sighed. „Please, remember your words when the time comes.“

Yue Qingyuans face shiftet to one full of concern. „Tell me, Qingqiu-shidi, are you planning to do someting dangerous? Or... is your disciple someone I have to fear?“

There was only a sad smile on Shen Qingqius face. He knew this was very OOC, but he couldn't help it. „I just want to do the right thing“, he said. „Nothing more.“

The look of concern deepened, then Yue Qingyuan sighed, too. „You've changed a lot“, he stated. „But whatever the 'right' thing foru you is, if it's righteous, you'll have my full support.“

-

Shen Qingqiu still sat in his room after Yue Qingyuan left.

The first step was done. He wasn't even halfway through this 'mission', but he was sure, his shixiong got the gist of it. Even if the demon powers would awaken in Luo Binghe, Shen Qingqiu could depend on, that Yue Qingyuan wouldn't abandon him right away but would try to find the right solution for all of them. That was something he could work with.

Thinking about that child, a knock on the door was heard, and Luo Binghe entered. „Shizun“, a cheerful voice resounded. „I did all the tasks you gave me!“

„Already?“ Shen Qingqiu turned around to look at his disciple. Did he grew again?

He stood up, taking measurements with his eyes. „Children these days really grow fast.“

Luo Binghe puffed out his chest proudly. „I'm trying to grow tall and strong to protect Shizun!“

Oh boy, there he goes again!

Shen Qingqiu patted the head of this child, feeling the soft hair tickling his hand. „Don't say something like this. This master can protect himself. Use your powers to protect the weak and the ones in need!“

Luo Binghe began pouting. „But I don't need anyone beside Shizun! They should be protected by other people!“

Shen Qingqiu sighed inwardly. He then replaced his hand with his fan, giving Luo Binghe a light knock. „Don't focus too much at this old man! You need to be more social!“

The child looked like he had been wronged but nodded obediently. „This disciple will try anything to help Shizun gain p-“ He stopped, a hint of panic in his eyes. „I-I mean, to not bring shame over Shizun!“

„...“

Fuck!

Shen Qingqiu knew what Luo Binghe almost gave away, and his heart almost gave out. What to do now? Should he talk about it or should he just ignore it?

He decided to ignore it for now.

„This will bring you a lot of benefits in the future“, he said with a lecturing tone. „So you really should learn how to deal with other persons and how to get along.“

Luo Binghe nodded while seemed to be relieved for some reason. „This disciple will take Shizuns advice to heart.“

Shen Qingqiu nodded approvingly before taking the last bit of sweets. „You tried something new, didn't you?“, he asked and then took a bite. Really delicious!

A smile bloomed on that child's face. „Shizun noticed? Shizun ordered this disciple to make something special. And since we recently got some sesame seeds I tried to combine them with some other ingredients.“ He came closer, with shining eyes. „Does Shizun like this?“

To say he liked it would be an understatement! It was that delicious it almost brought tears to his eyes!

„You did this well. Even the Sect Master praised it“, he approved, and Luo Binghes smile widened.

Ah, there was the wagging tail again! Shen Qingqiu really could see it!

„Then this disciple wille surely make this again for Shizun soon!“

He collected the used tableware before bowing slightly. „This disciple will take his leave now. Rest well, Shizun.“

Shen Qingqiu watched Luo Binghes back, thinking. If time ran out, shouldn't he just take this child and run away with him? With his cooking skills at hand they could just open an eatery in any town...

As if it would be that easy!

He smiled self-mockingly before beginning to meditate. He had to prepare for a mission tomorrow and wanted to collect his thoughts.

Chapter Text

It was Luo Binghes dream realm again.

Shen Qingqiu was baffled when he looked around and found himself in a large room full og luxury. He himself was sitting in some kind of throne with soft cushions making it overly comfortable, and in front of him was a table with lots of different kinds of food, nicely arranged and very appetizing.

He wore finest clothes in white and green, less like a scholar, but more like royalty. A finely crafted fan was next to him, the tassel Luo Binghe made attached to it.

What was this all about? Did this child dream of luxury and an easy life? But why was he in the middle of all of this? It was almost like he was worshipped in some kind of way.

He was still pondering over the meaning of this setting, when Luo Binghe came into his field of view. He was carrying another tray of food. Again he was showing himself as the pure hearted grown-up in white robes, radiating a gentle and warm aura.

„Shizun“, he said softly, placing the tray on the table. „Is anything to your liking?“

Shen Qingqiu looked all over the various dishes. „Everything is so well cooked, Binghe. You are really talented.“

The other one smiled brightly before kneeling down next to Shen Qingqiu. „Many thanks, Shizun. I'd do anything to please your tastes.“

„You please me every thime, with your cooking. But why did you make so many different things? This is a life worth of food here!“

„Because you liked my sesame sweets so much.“ Luo Binghe looked up to his Shizun with a faint blush. „So I want to find out more of your favourite dishes and make them more often for Shizun.“

He then grabbed a piece of a small plate with some flower shaped sweets. „Please taste some of them.“ He held it before Shen Qingqius mouth. „Say ah, Shizun.“

…what? Did This child really try to feed him?

„I can feed myself“, he tried to resist, but Luo Binghe instantly looked like a sad puppy. „Please? Just once?“

Inwardly, Shen Qingqiu scolded himself. He shouldn't let this child get away when looking like this! He would exploit this even more for sure! But at the same time this look pulled on his heartstrings. So not fair!

Just to maintain the appearance of being the Shen Qingqiu of his dream realm, I'll just do it for this, he tried to convince himself before taking a bite.

Wow! Even if this was just a dream, this was marvellous! The light sweetness melted together with a fruity taste of the light cream inside the petals.

Shen Qingqiu still was enjoying the taste when he suddenly felt a fingertip on his lips. His gaze followed this finger from his mouth to that of Luo Binghe. A moment later the other one licked his own fingertip with a gleeful expression! Shen Qingqius were almost falling out of their sockets!

„Binghe...?“ Shen Qingqius voice was shaking a bit.

„You had some cream there, Shizun“, he said with a dangerously lascivious tone. „I just wiped it off.“

Hell, boy, where are these seduction techniques coming from?! Don't use them on this old man!

He felt a faint of red spreading on his cheeks, and so Shen Qingqiu grabbed the fan and hid himself behind it. „Oh my, when did this disciple get so bold?“

Luo Binghe smiled, displaying a bit of shyness. „Shizun once told me to show my feelings more. And I just try to follow this advice.“

Well.. he said something like this. But still... what did this have to do with him?

He coughed slightly. „Then I'm glad you are such an obedient disciple.“ He shifted himself a bit in the cushions to sit more straight and averted the gaze towards the table. „But don't you think you made too many dishes?“

Trying to change the subject – should be a good tactic, no? Better than letting this situation get even more awkward.

„I would have cooked more, I would work even more for Shizun... I just want Shizun to like me. I want to make you happy.“

Shen Qingyiu felt his hand grabbed, and a moment later Luo Binghe rested his forehead on the back of it. „Please, Shizun. Tell me... how can I make you happy? How can I collect this points you were talking about? I would do everything to be of use to you!“ His voice sounded miserably, almost as if he was about to cry.

Don't do this, Binghe... please.

Shen Qingqiu felt guilty. So Luo Binghe wanted to do all of this to make him, his Shizun, happy? That was the reason? But why? This was just wrong! He still hadn't atoned enough for the cruel behaviour of the original Shen Qingqiu, these wounds in Luo Binghes soul shouldn't have healed until now.

He wanted to say something, when suddenly Luo Binghes forehead began to feel hot. Before he could say anything, the one kneeling began changing, turning into his actual appearance of a young man, and everything began to turn dark. „Shizun~“, Luo Binghe cried out, and then-

Shen Qingqiu woke up.

Cold sweat was dripping down his back. What didi this mean? He wanted to stand up and take a look at this child, when suddenly his door was opened.

Luo Binghe was barely standing, gripping the doorframe hard. His whole body was shivering while sweating profoundly and breathing heavily, while his face was flushed red like he had a fever.

„Shizun~“, he cried out miserably. „I don't feel well...“

Shen Qingqiu jumped from the bed and just caught the other one before falling to the ground. He felt the temperature of Luo Binghes forehead, and just as he assumed, this child was burning up.

He carefully lifted the child up and laid him down on his bed. He then began pouring some spiritual energy into Luo Binghe with his hand on his forehead again.

The child was groaning in pain, but after some time he seemed to react to this at least a little, his breath still ragged and uneven. Shen Qingqiu was deeply concerned.

While pouring his spiritual energy, he felt some kind of... resistance in Luo Binghe. As if something tried to hinder the cooling force to go deeper into that childs body. And when he lifted his hand for a moment, he saw it – the demon mark had on Luo Binghes forehead.

Fuck! Fuckfuckfuck!

Please, protagonist, not now! He wasn't ready for this!

It flickered in the dim light, its color blood red. But every time, Shen Qingqiu tried to increase his power, it dimmed down a bit, just to flare up again after a moment.

Shen Qingqiu bit his lip and steadied the stream of his spiritual energy. He had to calm the demon aura down, he was so close on getting everything ready for Luo Binghe to be accepted!

Luo Binghe opened his eyes halfway. „I-I'm sorry, Shizun...“, he said weekly. „I'm not strong enough!“

„What are you talking, Binghe!“, he cried out. „Just don't stop fighting! Don't let it overwhelm you!“

Luo Binghe closed his eyes again. Shen Qingqiu desperately fought the demonic energy inside Luo Binghe, but to no avail. Panicstricken he then thought of something.

He once had it with Luo Binghe that his healing techniques didn't work properly, and so he made more skin contact to increase the effect. Maybe this would work here too? More skin contact meant more spiritual energy transferred at once.

It seemed to be the best option. And so he pulled off his outer robes and then undressed this child. The whole not-fully grown body was drenched in cold sweat, and Shen Qingqiu wiped it away with careful strokes. He then watched Luo Binghe After a moment of hesitation he placed himself next to Luo Binghe on the bed and pulled him into an embrace.

„Please... calm down“, he murmured, pouring more and more spiritual energy into this child.

After some time Luo Binghe relaxed and seemed to fall into a deep slumber, cuddling himself more at the warm body beside him. Shen Qingqiu sighed in relief but still didn't stop fighting the demonic energy. He only was satisfied when he didn't feel any of it in this childs' body going on a rampage any more for now.

He won the fight, but not the war. And now was totally exhausted. And before Shen Qingqiu knew it, he fell asleep, too.

Chapter Text

The morning sun shone through the window into the bamboo hut when Luo Binghe woke up.

He felt so warm and comfortable... he didn't want to open his eyes. There was a familiar scent around him, and he rubbed his nose against the soft skin in front-

Skin?!

He almost jumped up, only hindered by manly arms which held him in an embrace. A slight murmur was heard, and the arms only held him tighter.

Shi-Shizun?! Is that you?!

He already realized where he was before finally opening his eyes. In front of him was the face of his Shizun, still asleep and a bit exhausted. The hair was dishelved, giving him the appearance of a normal man, not like the aloof immortal he always seemed to be. His lips were slightly parted, his warm breath tickling the childs' face. He only was wearing his undergarment while Luo Binghe only wore pants, so he felt the hands on his back very clearly.

Luo Binghe instantly turned red.

His memory was hazy, so he couldn't recall what happened and why he was here with his Shizun, cuddling like lovers. He only remembered feeling unwell and hot, and the only thought he had was about his Shizun. It seemed like he had walked over at that time.

He closed his eyes again, and even if it was way too hard to concentrate in this situation, he tried to remember more, wandering into the depths of his mind. And instantly he felt the cool and soothing aura of his Shizuns spiritual energy, still lingering inside him.

So his Shizun gave him this energy?

He still didn't know what happened, but it dawned him, that his Shizun had saved him somehow.

The feeling of embarrassement faded, and instead gratitude filled his heart.

Again his Shizun had done so much for him...!

He opened his eyes again, staring at the lips in front of him. He wanted to touch them... to-

His body inched a little bit closer, face nearing face, when suddenly-

His Shizun opened his eyes!

He jerked back, his face beet red again. That was close!

Shen Qingqiu yawned, then looked at the child in front of him. „You awake?“, he said, still a bit sluggish. „How are you feeling?“ He laid a hand on Luo Binghes forehead, feeling the temperature. But he hadn't a fever any longer, and the demon mark had disappeared, too. Shen Qingqiu sighed in relief. Good. This was settled for now.

„F-Fine?“, that child said with uncertainty in his voice while his eyes were halfway covered by his Shizuns large hand.

Luo Binghe didn't know what to do. This whole situation was just too much! He knew he should get away as fast as he could, but his body betrayed him and didn't want to move away from this alluring body in front of him. He felt the heat rushing to an undescribable place again, and he knew: He was doomed.

But suddenly Shen Qingqiu let him go and sat up, leaving Luo Binghe baffled behind him. The child looked at the back of his Shizun, before curling into a ball, instinctively trying to savour the heat and the scent of the man in front of him. He should be relieved, but he only felt some kind of loss.

Shen Qingqiu on the other side felt the exhaustion washing over him again, and he sat straight for a moment with his back facing the child before he came to a conclusion. „Binghe, I... I have to tell you something.“

Luo Binghe inhaled deeply. This... didn't seem good? He squeezed the pillow and sat up, too, still behind his Shizun. He opened his mouth to speak, but suddenly the door flung open and an enraged Liu Qingge entered the room.

„I was waiting! We wanted to go on a miss-“

He stopped his sentence midway, when he saw a man with loose clothes and his hair dishelved, and behind him his disciple almost naked... on the bed!!

He stared for a moment, and the other ones stared back. Suddenly his face lturned red, and he stormed out of the room, smashing the door shut.

„...“

Seriously?! Who made up this cliché plot again?!

Shen Qingqiu groaned and covered his face, while Luo Binghe was hiding his red hot cheeks behind the pillow. „Shizun, I-Im sorry...“, he stammered, feeling a bit guilty. This was like a couple being caught in the act! And he kind of liked this thought.

He then felt the pat on his head.

„I will solve this misunderstanding with Liu-Shidi. Don't worry“, Shen Qingqiu said and tried to ease the atmosphere. He didn't know, that Luo Binghe wasn't that eager to get this solved...

He then finally stood up and dressed himself. „Please get yourself ready, we talk while we go out.“

-

They walked side biy side for a long time, not talking a word. Luo Binghe glanced at his Shizun several times, but his expression was very serious, and so the child felt more uneasy with every step.

They stopped at a cliff. His Shizun still hadn't said a word and was just staring into the distance, and Luo Binghe felt like he was about to cry.

Did he do something wong? Did he offend his Shizun?

He lifted his hand to tug on his Shizun's sleeve, when Shen Qingqiu finally began to talk.

„Binghe... I know you are cultivating in demonic art.“

His hand stopped midair.

His Shizun... knew?

Shen Qingqiu was still looking into the distance. „You are studying under the Dream Demon Elder, right?“

Luo Binghe swallowed. „Shizun, this disciple can explain...“

It was only then that Shen Qingqiu turned around. He examined the child from head to toe, then looked him directly in the eyes. „I know what we were talking about allying with demons, and I don't judge you for this. But!“

Luo Binghe was about to sigh in relief, but suddenly his body became tense. Was he still punished for it?

„It seems, that this has an influence on the energies flowing inside of you.“

Shen Qingqiu lifted his fan and pointed at Luo Binghes forehead. „You grew incredibly strong in such short amount of time. Don't think I wouldn't notice this. I feel a bit disappointed not being your only Master any longer.“

His tone was strict, his gaze was sharp. Luo Binghe felt like his Shizun saw right through him, and so he sank down on his knees. „Shizun... you're the only Master I acknowledge“, he whimpered, and this time he really tugged on Shen Qingqius sleeve. „So please, don't abandon this disciple! I'll do anything for Shizun!“

Damn, he didn't want to make this puppy in front of him cry. So Shen Qingqiu cleared his throat.

„It seems I have to adjust my teachings and concentrate more on teaching you ways to keep you under control.“

Luo Binghes face instantly lit up, but he recieved a knock on the head with the fan.

„I'm not done! First of all you have some demonic energy in you. I have to investigate where this is coming from!“

Well, he knew about Luo Binghes parents, but it wasn't the time to talk about it. He still had to prepare more things to lead this child into a bringt future.

„Second! Don't...“, he hesitated, but then decided to go on. „Don't pull me into any more dream realms.“

Luo Binghe first turned pale. Then his cheeks flushed.

„Shizun... was there...?“, he said, highly embarrassed.

Shen Qingqiu coughed. „You should learn to keep your fantasy under control, Binghe.“

The child casted his gaze down and said nothing more.

Chapter Text

Shen Qingqiu watched the little flower leave. He heaved a sigh.

This went better than expected, no?

As if to confirm his thoughts, the system was back on track again.

[Congratulations on bringing forth the protagonists insight. Additional +50 points achieved]

So it was a good decision to share his knowledge with this child? But this was just another problem that needed to be taken care of. Informing this child, getting it to be accepted... collecting more points...

The problems seemed to pile up higher and higher...

Not to mention the misunderstanding with Liu Qingge.

He was supposed to go on a mission with him today, but after depleting all of his spiritual energy, Shen Qingqiu didn't wake up early eneough. And to be fair, he still felt like an empty battery right now.

He really needed a way to let Luo Binghe control his demonic energy!

Maybe if he poured his own spiritual energy into that child regularily? But that would mean he'd run low all of the time! That wouldn't do.

He thought ho and fro, but the only conclusion was to let the demonic energy awaken, so that Luo Binghe could learn to control it by himself. His protagonists' halo was that strong, he wouldn't be harmed in any way.

But there still was the problem with getting him accepted here.

He sighed again.

System, are you still insisting on letting the protagonist fall into the abyss?

[This system will gladly answer your question. Yes, the plot ist still active.]

Why? Just... why? There had been so many changes until now, so why has it to be this kind of plot?

[If the protagonist doesn't fall into the abyss, the plot will change dramatically and the future plot can't take place. In regards of saving the future plot, the protagonist has to fall into the abyss.]

Great. Who cares about the future plot? Couldn't it be changed, too?

His head hurt.

For now he decided to replenish his own spiritual energy and then search for a solution for all of these messed up plotlines. And so he sat himself in Lotus position and began meditating.

-

Luo Binghe wandered in his dream realm. He needed to talk to the Dream Demon Elder.

„Dream Demon Elder?“, he shouted, and after a while, the dark mist appeared before him, and a rumbling noise resounded. „Brat, what are you shouting for?!“

Luo Binghe sat down, watching the black fog getting into a vague shape of an old man. „I need you to tell me something“, he said, his gaze showing a hint of fear.

„My, are you scared?“ The shadow laughed, and it sounded like thunder. „Did your dear Shizun do something to you?“

„No, the opposite.“ Luo Binghe didn't want to talk about his Shizun right now, even if this was his favorite topic after all. But this didn't regard to him.

„I want to know something different.“ He eyed the Dream Demon Elder somewhat suspiciously before going on. „Is it my fault for cultivating the demonic path, that there is demonic energy circulating in my body?“

The Dream Demon Elder was stunned. But then the roaring laughter resounded again. „Brat! What do you think? Just because you cultivate this path, does this mean you'll possess such energy? That's simply not possible!“

All color was drained out of Luo Binghes face. The truth was dawning on him slowly, and he swallowed hard. „Does that mean...?“

„Of course!“ The black fog flickered in front of him. „If you cultivate in this path, you can use the energy, but you don't really possess it. I told you I sensed something special about you, right? It must be because you inherited some demon blood.“

„No way...“ Luo Binghes voice was a mere whisper. He clutched his fists tightly. „This can't be!“

His Shizun despised demons! Even if he said, that he would ally with demons with a pure heart, there was no way he would overlook this!

Tears welled up in Luo Binghes eyes. If he really inherited demon blood... his Shizun would abandon him!

„Brat...“, the Dream Demon Elder growled. „What are you crying for? It's not that bad, is it? That means you have access to even greater power! Isn't that what you wanted?“

But Luo Binghe only bit down on his lip.

A moment later he woke up in his bed. Tears were streaming down his face, and he covered his eyes with his arm.

„Shizun~“, he sobbed. „What should I do from now on...?“

-

Several days passed by, and Shen Qingqiu noticed, that Luo Binghes mood was getting worse by the day. At first Shen Qingqiu tried to ignore it, but when the child was standing in front of him, bags under his eyes and devoid of the usual energy, something in his mind snapped.

„Sit down!“ he advised sharply, but only became a sluggish reaction when his disciple slowly sat down. „What is wrong with you, child?“

„...“

Luo Binghe didn't answer. He just casted his gaze down, staring at the floor.

Inwardly Shen Qingqiu was raging. What happened lately?! He didn't say anything which could have hurt that child. So what was it that he didn't want to talk about?!

He barely held up his calm demeanor, but as he looked closer, he saw that Luo Binghe was totally dispirited.

Suddenly, his heart hurt.

„Binghe, why don't you tell me what bothers you? This Master will gladly lend you an ear.“

But Luo Binghe shook his head. „I... can't“, he said, barely audible. „I just can't...“

Shen Qingqiu sighed soundlessly. He then took his fan and put it under Luo Binghes chin, forcibly lifting his head with this. „Look at me.“

The child still casted his gaze away.

„Look at me!“ Suddenly Shen Qingqius voice was harsh, and he apologized in his heart to this child. But it had an effect.

Luo Binghe looked scared at his Shizun. His lips were slightly quivering.

Shen Qingqiu stared straight into the other ones eyes, not letting Luo Binghes gaze wander another time. „So, now that this Master has your attention. Tell me Binghe, what is wrong?“

First, there was no reaction. But suddenly Luo Binghe began to cry.

„Please... please don't hate me Shizun~! Don't abandon me!“

The not yet fully matured body trembled heavily, shaken with sobs. „I'll do anything, but please~“

Shen Qingqiu was perplexed. Luo Binghe had used tears and puppy eyes ever so often since he had found out that it hit a soft spot inside his Shizun. But this wasn't like this in the slightest.

This child was scared. Helpless. Desperate.

Even in the memories of the original Shen Qingqiu this child never had shown emotions like this. Even when bullied, he still held his posture, still a proud little flower. So Shen Qingqiu was really concerned now about what happened to throw Binghe out of balance like this.

He withdrew his fan and instead ruffled that childs' hair. „I can't think of anything that would make me hate you“, he said in a voice as soothing as possible. „So won't you talk to me? Don't you trust me?“

Luo Binghe sniffed. Everything inside of him screamed not to tell anything. His Shizun must not know this!

But he knew, there was no escape. Sooner or later, his Shizun would find out anyway.

And so he opened his mouth after taking some time to find words to say. „I... I think I inherited demon blood.“

Chapter Text

Shen Qingqiu froze on the spot. Did he hear right? One of the greatest secrets in this novel was exposed... by the protagonist himself??

He stared at Luo Binghe for quite some time. His brain needed time to process. But that child misunderstood.

Luo Binghe shrank back, fear in his eyes still growing. „Shizun despises me, he really hates me now, right...?“, he whispered. Tears were still falling down in an neverending stream. „I disappointed Shizun...“

He buried his face in his hands, crying out. „I shouldn't be here! I shouldn't have been born!“

He was weeping in utter despair. When his Shizun turned away from him, there was no way he could survive any longer! So why was he still alive then? He should've died a long time ago!

Seeing these reactions from that child, Shen Qingqiu finally woke up from his daze. He had to do something quickly! Otherwise he feared Luo Binghe would break apart.

And so he did the only thing he thought was right.

Being embraced by his Shizun, it was now Luo Binghes time to freeze on the spot. „Shizun...?“, he whispered almost soundless and in disbelief.

„I'm sorry, Binghe, my reaction was wrong.“ he laid his cheek on Luo Binghe's head, stroking his back in attempt to comfort him. „I already knew it... I just didn't know how to tell you...“

No honorifics. No pretense to be aloof. This child needed warmth and closeness right now.

Luo Binghe stared into the distance. His mind was a mess, and he tried to sort out what was happening right now. „But how...?“,he asked slowly. „How did Shizun know?“

„When you got that fever, a demon mark was showing on your forehead“, Shen Qingqiu answered. „And since I transferred my spiritual energy, I felt the demonic energy fighting inside of you.“

Luo Binghe nodded in his Shizun's arms, trying to grasp the facts. So that's how it was. His true nature was exposed in front of his Shizun for quite some time. And... he didn't chase him away, did he? „So Shizun doesn't hate me?“ his voice was still shaking, he was scared to the bone, but he had to ask. He needed certainty.

Shen Qingqiu shook his head slightly. „I would never hate you“, he said with a warm sound in his voice.

„And Shizun won't abandon me?“

„I would never abandon you either.“

Shen Qingqiu leaned back to look Luo Binghe into his eyes. „You are my precious disciple. I am not done teaching you yet, so you don't have permission to leave my side.“ He finished his sentence with the hint of a smile.

Luo Binghe was watching and listening with his wounded heart. Everything that his Shizun said seemed to heal it bit by bit. And when he saw that faint smile, something he rarely was gifted with, his heart ached in another way. Driven by relief and happiness, he suddenly hugged his Shizuns waist, almost throwing him off the chair he was sitting at.

„Hey, Binghe, what-“ , Shen Qingqiu began complaining, but when he felt the tight grip and saw the quivering shoulders while hearing a sobbing sound, he sighed and continued to soothe this child until the tears finally dried up.

Reluctantly Luo Binghe let go of his Shizun. He then realized what he did, and hastily bowed his head. „I... I stained your clothes, Shizun. This disciple...Sorry...“, he stammered, but Shen Qingqiu only waved his hand. „It doesn't matter. This Master hopes, you're feeling better now.“

The child in front of him lifted his head again. His whole face was a mess, with red swollen eyes, wet cheeks and a snotty nose. But he wiped it away and nodded. „Yes. Thanks to Shizun, this disciple has the will to go on!“

Ah, there was his usual positivity again! All the negative feelings seemed to have faded away, and Shen Qingqiu nodded in satisfaction. „That is the spirit!“ He patted that childs head again. „And now go wash your face, we still have much to do today!“

Luo Binghes began to smile brightly. He nodded, but instead of standing up, he hugged his Shizun again. „Thank you, Shizun! Thank you so much!“

Shen Qingqiu was taken by surprise again, and so he couldn't react in time, when suddenly the door was opened and Liu Qingge entered.

Seeing the other one cuddling with his disciple who definetly cried before...

„...“

„...“

Liu Qingge stepped back and closed the door with a slamming sound.

Urgh, not again. Who was it that found this kind of situations so funny they had to occur again?! He still hadn't have the chance to talk to him about the other scene!

While raging inside, the system seemed to think its time had come, and so it rang in Shen Qingqius ears.

[Congratulations! Restoring the protagonist's confidence: +100 points, strenghtening the bond with the protagonist: +50 points. Choosing how to solve the problem: -20 points]

System, are you kidding me?! How did I chose the wrong way to solve this!

[The way you acted was too OOC, so points were deducted.]

OOC my ass! Didn't I unfroze the OOC-function long time ago?! I should have obtained the option to act how I want to right now!

[You decided to play the role of Shen Qingqiu by maintaining a goodwilled but distanced teacher. You actions did'nt match with this, so points were deducted.]

WTF! Shen Qingqiu wanted to cry but couldn't. What a shitty explanation! The system just wanted to bully him!

But he decided to ignore this for now. After all, this problem was solved, and he gained a lot of points unintentionally. So he made profit with this, right? The shitty system should just die happily swallowing this 20 points!

But he had now other problems to take care of. For example this sticky child still clinging to him and rubbing his face all over him.

Enough, Binghe!“, he cried out and shoved him back a little bit. „Stop hugging this Master.“

It neededsome time, but finally the child came to his senses, and he jolted back. „Shizun, I-I'm sorry... this disciple was just so happy...“

Shen Qingqiu sighed. He then opened the fan. „It's good to be enthusiastic again, child. But now you have other duties. First of all, instead of pondering over your problems alone, you should talk to your Master.“

Luo Binghe straightened his back, listening carefully with glimmering eyes. „This disciple will take this advice to heart!“

„Second! If you ever feel the demonic energy rising up, tell me instantly! We will calm it down as good as possible!“

Again Luo Binghe was listening intensely, nodding by hearing this. „This disciple will tell Shizun right away!“

Good. If this child reacted faster, maybe they could prevent the demonic energy from going on a rampage in an early state. But there was one thing he still had to manage.

He finally shooed Luo Binghe away to finally wash his face, so he could think about what to do.

Right now they had no control over the demonic energy, so they didn't know how and when it would act up. So maybe it was better to let it awaken fully? If they knew how powerful it was, maybe they could take better countermeasures. And, as an ultimate goal, they could bring this energy to circulate regularily in Luo Binghes body instead of attacking, so he could live with both energies inside of him and use his whole potential.

Shen Qingqiu sighed. The second year was slowly coming to an end. Only one year remaining until the abyss plot activated, and there were still so many things unsolved.

System, how many points did I collect?

[This system is glad to be of service. Right now you have collected 4.835 points.]

No way! That's far too less points!

If I solve the problem with Luo Binghes awakening and being accepted by the Sect Master, how many points can I gain?

[This depends on the side quests and how you solve the problems. But by getting the Sect Masters approval, the mission will be rewarded with a final amount of 2.000 points.]

2.000?!

Inwardly, Shen Qingqiu cried tears of joy. This were good news! With this additional points, hope won't be lost! So he now knew what he had to do.

Yue Qingyuan, please let tea be served! I'm going to visit you!

Chapter Text

Yue Qingyuan heaved a sigh. „Why don't you just tell me what's going on?“

Shen Qingiu was sitting together with him in front of Yue Qingyuans bamboo hut, talking about nonsense like weather and enjoying his tea. He was fanning himself when he heard that question, and curiously he looked over to the Sect Master.

„Don't give me that look, Qingqiu-Shidi.“ Another sigh. „You can't fool me.“

Shen Qingqiu closed his fan. „You know me too well, Shixiong.“

„It's about your disciple again, isn't it.“ Yue Qingyuan stated this as a matter of fact. „I heard some rumors about both of you...“

Shen Qiingqiu tilted his head slightly. „Which rumors?“

„...“

There was a pause, and the Sect Master seemed a bit uncomfortable. „Qingqiu-shidi, it's not my place to mingle into your private matters... but... to have an indecent relationship with a disciple...“

What?!

That damn Liu Qingge, of course he saw it wrong!

He coughed slightly. „No, Shixiong, it's not like this...“

„No?“ Now Yue Qingyuan looked curiously at his Shidi. „Then that's fine. But you still have something to say, don't you?“

Shen Qingqiu nodded. He had prepared himself for quite some time, but now that he was sitting there, he was at a loss for words.

„Shixiong...“, he began, then stopped. After a moment of pondering, he finally spoke up. „I think, this child inherits demon blood.“

There. He said it. There was no turning back now.

Yue Qingyuans eyes widened, and he stared at the other one for a long time. He then nodded to himself. „So that's what this is all about.“ He didn't seem that much surprised.

„I'm sorry.“ Shen Qingqiu didn't know what to say right now. Luo Binghes fate depended on the decision this man had to make now. He waited anxiously to hear the next words.

Yue Qingyuan stood up and turned away from Shen Qingqiu. He folded his hands behind his back, thinking. After some time, he asked in a low voice. „You do know that demons are our enemies.“

„Yes“, Shen Qingqiu replied.

„And you do know that there is no way to predict what is happening in the future when a demon resides on our Mountain.“

„...yes.“ Shen Qingqiu hesitated. „But, this child, he-“

Yue Qingyuan turned back around with a stern face. „I cannot approve to this.“

Shen Qingqiu's heart sank.

„I don't have a guarantee that this will work out. I have to protect our sect and all the people living here.“ He inhaled deeply. „Your disciple has to prove himself worthy. Until then you have to take full responsibility of his actions.“

That was unexpected.

Shen Qingqiu needed some time to understand. „So.. he can stay?“, he asked carefully, and the other one nodded.

„You have to monitor him closely. And you have to report to me if anything goes wrong. I'll give my final approval when it's proven that there is no harm coming from him.“ He then smiled. „You asked me to trust you, no? And so I do. I don't trust your disciple right now, so you have to convince me otherwise.“

If it wouldn't be OOC, Shen Qingqiu would cry tears of joy right now. „Thank you, Shixiong“, he said and bowed his head.

It wasn't a full success, but it was another step towards his goal!

Yue Qingyuan waved his hand. „Don't thank me. As I told you, you still have to convince methat it's the right decision to let him stay.“ He then smiled again. „So go now and tell your disciple the result of our discussion. That's what you want to do right now, am I right?“

Shen Qingqiu hid his face behind his fan. „You really know me too well, Shixiong.“ He then stood up and wanted to take his leave, when Yue Qingyuan stopped him.

„And don't be too intimate with this child, you hear?“

-

Luo Binghe was practicing his sword skills when Shen Qingqiu returned. He stopped when he saw his Shizun and happily walked over. „Did it go well?“

Child, you're smiling too bright for asking this question!

He hit the child softly with his fan on the head. „Who told you to stop training? I only tell you when you have finished your exercise!“

Luo Binghe looked a bit wronged but obediently began practicing again.

Shen Qingqiu watched his disciple training for some time.

He was maturing fast, his face was manly and handsome now. His body had built up a bit, and his moves weren't that of a sluggish youth anymore. It was a fascinating sight to see this innocent and cute child growing into a stallion novel protagonist bit by bit.

But still.. there was this pure white aura around Luo Binghe, and Shen Qingqiu was afraid to see him lose it and be blackened. He had to prevent this from happening. But he didn't know what the demon blood would do to him, although it would be better to watch closely and be able to intervene if anything bad happened.

And so he spoke up again. „Binghe, what do you think about waking up the demon blood inside of you?“

Chapter Text

Binghe almost let his sword fall to the ground. He barely catched it, then stared at his Shizun. „Waking up the demon blood...?“

Panic was raising inside of him. He knew that this heritage wasn't a good thing and only would throw himself into more trouble. And so everything inside him rejected this idea.

„I... I don't want to...“, he said after a pause. „This disciple is afraid of it...“

He didn't look his Shizun into the eyes. He couldn't do it. But Shen Qingqiu only nodded. „I understand.“

He didn't sound disappointed. Quite the opposite, and Luo Binghe lifted his gaze in wonder. It wasn't that he didn't appreciate this soft side of his Shizun. It was just too good to be true. He feared he was dreaming again and could wake up every minute. His heart felt so soft around his Shizun, every day a bit more.

He already knew, that he couldn't live any longer without being able to stay by his side. And if he were to harm his Shizun... no. The thought alone let him shiver. That must not ever happen!

Shen Qingqiu stood up and slowly walked to his disciple. „I know this is hard for you. So take your time and think about it.“ He patted Luo Binghes head. „Personally I think it would be better to let it awaken when you are the one who wants it. It will be easier to control it like this.“

Luo Binghes heart hurt. His Shizun cared so much for him right now... he just couldn't bare it. He was an unloved child, no one really cared about him except his mother, the washerwoman. And now he recieved so much warmth, he didn't do anything to deserve it!

„Shizun...“, he said with a cracking voice. „Don't... don't be so nice to me. I just don't know how to react...“

Shen Qingqiu hid his face behind his fan. „Binghe, you should just accept if someone spoils you. There is no need to react in any way other than enjoying it. Just be your usual self.“

Just being himself? If he did what he wanted to do now, his Shizun wouldn't be standing there any longer. He would lay on he ground, his clothes-

Luo Binghe blushed and turned his face away. No he couldn't be himself in front of his Shizun. Not now. Maybe some time in the future.

He then changed the topic „So will Shizun tell this disciple now what the result of the discussion was?“

His Shizun followed the change of topic. „It was... partly successful.“ Shen Qingqiu decided to not hide anything from this child. „We will have to prove that no one will be harmed when you stay.“

Luo Binghe nodded enthusiastically. „This disciple will do everything to achieve this goal!“

This child sure was motivated. If only he could fulfill all the promises he made up until now.

„How is it going with the socializing project?“, Shen Qingqiu asked, and instantly Luo Binghes face darkened. „Shizun knows, this disciple only needs you.“

Well...

„You flatter me too much, Binghe!“ Shen Qingqiu waved with his fan. „But how can the people here know that you actually are a nice person if you avoid them? I turned a blind eye on it up until now, but we have to work on this, too.“

The child... no the young man lowered his head, looking quite miserably. „Shizun... this is too hard! Have mercy with this disciple!“

Luo Binghe used big puppy eyes. The attack was very effective!

Shen Qingqiu sighed. To force him wouldn't do any good. He knew that Luo Binghe wasn't the type to make friends easily, regarding his history. And so he decided to postpone this mission again for now.

„Well, then how do you want to convince the Sect Master to let you stay here?“

Luo Binghe rested his chin in his hand. „Maybe if I work harder...? I still can do much more!“

Young man, you are overworking yourself already! Stop it!

He coughed slightly. „Don't do this, Binghe This Master knows how much you are working and that you are very diligent. But you are doing enough already.“

Luo Binghe shook his head. „No. There is much more-“

„Stop it!“ Shen Qingqiu cried out, and Binghe shrank back. „Only putting more workload on your shoulders won't be productive enough.“ He turned away, thinking. „We need to find more important work to do. Something impressive...so that the people notice your abilities.“

Luo Binghe was watching his Shizun pondering over these matters, and he clutched his fists tightly. This wasn't what he wanted! He wanted to be the one to protect his Shizun, to gain points so he could be happy! Now it seemed everything was reversed!

„Shizun, I...“, he began, then stopped. Shen Qingqiu looked at him questioningly, and he decided to go. „Is there any way I can convince you to depend on me more...?“

He wanted to be supportive to his Shizun, someone to be leaned on! Not the one who needed to be taken care of the whole time!

Shen Qingqiu hid his face behind his fan, the tassel Luo Binghe made dangling in the wind. „But I already depend on you so much. All the work I gave you up until now was important, and I would never entrust anyone else with it.“

That's not what this one meant, Shizun...

He sighed but then decided to cheer up. At least, his Shizun trusted him in many ways. That should be enough for now.

-

Liu Qingge was meditating, when Shen Qingqiu entered his room. He didn't even knock, so the owner wasn't very happy to see his guest.

„What do you want?“

„Liu-Shidi, I need to talk to you.“

Without waiting for an invitation, Shen Qingqiu sat down, facing the other Peak Lord.

„When it's about your relationship with this disciple of yours, then I don't have anything to say.“ He seemed indifferent, but on the inside his feelings were in turmoil.

„Of course you don't have anything to say! You already said too much!“ Shen Qingqiu showed some kind of disdain. „You only saw something and then pretended to know it all. But you misunderstood.“

Liu Qingge snorted. „What was there to be misunderstood?“

Everything, Liu-Shidi! But you had to leave right away every time!

Shen Qingqiu opened his fan and calmed his thoughts. He didn't want to get points deducted because of being OOC!

„Please listen just once, Liu-Shidi“, he then began talking again. „What you believe or not isn't for me to decide. I just want to tell you my side of the story.“

Liu Qingge threw a sharp gaze at the other one, but then he made a gesture with his hand. „Then talk.“

Okay, at least he had the chance to say something. But how should he start?

„You know, that I am very fond of this disciple“, he said. „That's because he is very diligent and obedient.“

„Obedient in any way, huh?“, Liu Qingge stated, and Shen Qingqiu barely hold himself back from rolling his eyes. „No. He just clings to me because I'm like a father to him. And lately he had some problems to be taken care of...“

Well, that sounded real shady. But how to explain without exposing the truth?

He had an idea.

„He was about to go through an qi deviation. I saved him by pouring my spiritual energy into him, but he needed more than you in the cave back then and so I had to take other measures to save him. Skin contact was the only way to transfer energy at once.“

„...“

Liu Qingge still looked sceptical. But since he himself was saved while having a qi deviation, he couldn't speak up.

Shen Qingqiu went on. „And since he was afraid of being hated because he felt weak back then, we had a heartfelt talk about it and he hugged me out of gratefulness. That's all.“

Hopefully Liu Qingge would let this matter slip.

And really, he wiped through his face. „I won't talk about this anymore. But please“, he had some sort of disgusted look on his face. „Don't ever talk about this again, either.“

Okay. Liu Qingge didn't believe a word he said. But it was fine, as long as this matter somehow was solved. „Many thanks, Liu-Shidi“, he said with a slight bow, fanning himself meanwhile.

Liu Qingge grumbled. „If there isn't anything else you want, get out!“ And with this words, Shen Qingqiu was thrown out of the other Peak Lord's hut.

Chapter Text

Another month went by, and nothing significantly happened. Shen Qingqiu began to feel nervous since there were not many opportunities to gain points.

He often let Luo Binghe teach Ning YingYing whenever there was time, and she really seemed to mature well and became more intelligent. But these points he gained through this only were small fries.

He needed more points.

In his previous life he wasn't someone who needed to think about the future and how to live his life. But now everything had changed, and he felt like someone who was already counting his remaining money in the middle of the month just to survive the next two weeks. Maybe even worse.

Luo Binghe was out, running some errands. The young man tried his best to do more work than ever and was training diligently when he didn't had a task assigned to him. But there was no real progress, and even he became a bit frustrated. It resulted in being even more clingy every time he was around Shen Qingqiu, and he was often shooed away by his Shizun.

They needed something to do. And they needed it urgently.

It was then when Mu Qingfan visited Shen Qingqiu.

„I heard you are eager to fulfill some tasks?“, he asked bluntly. Shen Qingqiu was astonished that this news even spread to Qian Cao Peak, but he simply nodded. „Yes. It depends on what task it is.“

He invited the other Peak Lord to sit down, and Mu Qingfan did so, taking his time to speak up again.

„You know, lately I was experimenting with different kinds of herbs“, he said. „But I'm low on certain plants. Some are very hard to reach, so I don't want to send out any disciple randomly. Especially the young ones who cannot fly on swords. Are you willing to help me? I'll give you a map with the whereabouts of these herbs, so you only need to collect them.“

Mu Qingfan barely stopped talking, when the system happily rang in Shen Qingqiu's ear.

[A side quest appeared: Collecting herbs. Possible reward:500 points. Do you want to accept?]

500 points for collecting some plants?! This seemed to be a task too easy for this amount! Nevertheless, he had no choice. There wasn't a change for the better in sight. And so he nodded inwardly to the system while fanning himself. „Of course I lend you a hand. I'll send my disciple over to get that map from you.“

The other one smiled slightly. „Many thanks to you. You do me a great favor.“

-

When Luo Binghe came back with the map, he already was in deep thoughts.

„Binghe, what is it?“, Shen Qingqiu asked, and the other one opened the document and spreaded it out on the table. „Shizun, this disciple is planning how to collect the needed herbs the fastest way.“

Okay, that wasn't bad. Luo Binghes strategies were always on point. So he looked curiously at the map while following the other one's finger, pointing at one location.

„First, we should-“

Waitwaitwait... we?!

Young man, what are you talking about?

Shen Qingqiu pointed with his closed fan at the other one. „What are you saying, we? Who told you to tag along?“

Luo Binghe looked wronged. „But Shizun, it's dangerous! This disciple only wants you to stay save, so it's better if we travel together!“

Don't decide something like this on your own! When did you get so cocky?

„It is only collecting some plants, Binghe. This Master is capable of doing so himself.“

And instantly there was the big puppy look on Binghe's face. „Shizun doesn't want this disciple anymore? Have I done anything wrong so that Shizun doesn't like me anymore?“

Shen Qingqiu had the urge to facepalm. „When did I say I don't like you, Binghe?“, he said as calm as possible.

„But then why doesn't Shizun want me to come with him?“ His voice already was pleading. „This disciple just wants to help! And this disciple will gain more practice while on a mission with Shizun! Besides...“, he looked his Shizun in the eyes. „When my demon blood will act up randomly... who will save me then?“

Well... Shen Qingqiu had to admit, that his disciple really learned how to debate him effectively down. It was true, that Luo Binghe could gain more experience when he used it in real situations. And the thing with the demon blood... this really was a killer move. There was no way he could refuse it with this information.

He simply couldn't afford it to let Luo Binghe go on a rampage. This would nullify all of his efforts up until now.

And so he only sighed soundlessly and then looked at the map again. „Then tell me, Binghe, what do have in mind?“

Shen Qingqiu didn't saw the sparkle in Luo Binghes eyes. He would be on a mission with his Shizun.

Only the two of them.

-

They left two days later. Luo Binghe had planned out a route that was the most effective one. Although Shen Qingqiu had to let him correct it several times, because he had arranged to make several detours, for example visiting a hot spring... Shen Qingqiu believed this young man liked hot springs a lot, but he wasn't ready to compromise about all of this. Even if Luo Binghe again tried to look like an abandoned puppy, this time Shen Qingqiu didn't give in and insisted on taking the fastest route.

He wanted to go through this mission as fast as possible. Every delay was a possibility to miss another chance to gain points, and that was something he couldn't afford at any costs.

After looking at the route Shen Qingqiu knew why the amount of points as the reward for this quest was that high. They would be away for several days, maybe weeks. Some herbs were only growing on high mountain peaks, others at the bottom of cliffs, only reachable by flying.

There were twelve different plants they had to collect in total. But Shen Qingqiu already felt stressed before even starting!

The reason was his disciple. Luo Binghe was smiling from ear to ear all the time while preparing this trip.

„I thought you'd take this seriously?“, Shen Qignqiu asked the young man, and he nodded enthusiastically. „This disciple is serious. But he is also happy to travel with Shizun and be trained by him!“

He was packing several things, even spices. It seemed more like going on a camping trip than fulfilling an important quest.

And the nearer their departure came, the more excited Luo Binghe became, even asking about preferences which pillow his Shizun preferred to sleep on! Shen Qingqiu felt like he aged several years in these two days.

Finally, they departed. Even if Luo Binghe didn't have his own sword for long, he already was able to fly on it in quite a steady pace. Shen Qingqiu knew, he had to take breaks more than when he would travel alone, but that this young man was flying right beside him really was something only the protagonist could do.

„When did you learn to fly so well?“, he had to ask. He only showed him the basics and saw the first attempts to fly, but after this, Luo Binghe trained a lot out of Shen Qingqius sight. Obviously.

„Shizun taught this disciple well, so it was easy to learn it“, Luo Binghe said with a smile.

As if! Shen Qingqiu envied the protagonist's halo a little bit. He struggled hard to get stronger while Luo Binghe learned something like this that easy. The day he would be stronger than him was approaching fast. And who would be there to control him then?

But this was like it had to be. And so he just looked at the young man and said: „No, you worked very hard again, Binghe. This Master is very proud of you“, earning a look of pure joy and warmth from Luo Binghe.

Chapter Text

The first herb was picked easily, since it was growing not far away from Cang Qiong Mountain. The only difficulty was, that it was growing on a very sharp cliff hanging freely in midair. Luo Binghe was almost disappointed, since there was nothing more to do than waiting for his Shizun to pluck some stalks.

He was bored, and while waiting on the foot of the mountain, he drew some characters in the mud with a stick. When Shen Qingqiu finally came back, he hastily erased them and jumped up. „Shizun! Were you successful?“

„Of course. This was an easy task“, Shen Qingqiu said, glancing at the scribbles. He imagined seeing 'Shizun' and an addition symbol, but it was too blurry to be sure. And so he decided to ignore it.

He then stored the stalks away. „First one done. Where do we have to go next?“

-

They were flying silently to the next location. Luo Binghe seemed a bit restless, since he was always looking around.

„What is it?“, Shen Qingqiu asked, a bit annoyed. „You'll waste your energy like this!“

„Shizun... can you talk to me a bit more?“ Luo Binghe sounded pleading.

„...“

Shen Qingqiu raised an eyebrow. „Why should I? Do you need entertainment?“

Luo Binghe looked down a bit bashfully. „Well... our journey will be long... maybe Shizun want to use the time to teach this disciple some of his knowledge?“

Oh, so this young man was interested in studying while travelling? Very diligent, indeed!

Shen Qingqiu opened his fan. „Of course I can teach you more things, as long as you don't fall off your sword while you do.“

„Well then...“, Luo Binghe said, a faint hint of red on his cheeks. „Maybe Shizun could carry me on his sword?“

Shameless!

„And here I thought you were diligent, Binghe, but you're just too lazy to fly by yourself!“ Shen Qingqiu humphed, ignoring the pleading of the puppy flying beside him.

-

Night already had fallen when they arrived at the second location. Since the herb here was growing on top of a snowy mountain, they decided to rest first in a cave and to harvest it the next morning.

They were lucky to find enough firewood, and not long after they sat there, roasting some flesh Luo Binghe had prepared. Shen Qingqiu was astonished how this young man made a delicious meal out of it with only a few spices. It really felt like the protagonist was cheating with this ability! But Shen Qingqiu would never complain about this, was he the beneficiary of Luo Binghe's cooking.

Whoever would be in his harem later on would be lucky! He should enjoy these meals while they lasted!

Luo Binghe watched his Shizun while eating. Even if he looked aloof most of the time, he learned to distinguish between the few litte gestures and facial expressions his Shizun made. And this time it seemed he really liked his cooking!

Happily he took a bite himself. He didn't think much about his cooking, but since he accepted the task to provide his Shizun with fresh food every day, he felt good by improving this even more. Maybe his Shizun became addicted a bit so he only wanted his food in the future...?

While daydreaming he smiled a bit, and Shen Qingqiu looked quizzically at the young man. „Did something good happen?“

Startled Luo Binghe came back to his senses. He then smiled innocently. „This disciple is just happy that Shizun seems to like his cooking, even if it's such a plain dish.“

Shen Qingqiu finished his last bite. „Even if it's plain, it's made by you. You know that I favor your cooking.“

Luo Binghe's eyes sparkled. „Many thanks, Shizun!“

He then stood up and obediently prepared their bedding for the night. He laid out only one bolster and one big blanket, slightly bigger than the normal beds, but if the both of them used it, they still had to stick close together.

Shen Qingqiu remembered saying to this young man that they should only bring the most necessary things with them, but...

Spices: okay

Two bolsters and two blankets: not okay?

Shen Qingqiu facepalmed inwardly. It was already awkward when they shared a bed in the inn some time ago, but now it was fine with this young man?

You sure became sticky! Sleeping together with a man, you were supposed to hug cute soft women!

But there was no use of discussing it with Luo Binghe. He already laid down, leaving as much space for him as possible and looking at him expectantly. And so he had no other choice but to follow and lay down himself.

-

The soft breathing of his Shizun was steady and regularily. Luo Binghe was still awake, watching him sleep. The light of the dying fire illuminated Shen Qingqius face, enhancing the beautiful features. Oh how he wanted to touch this face, this lips! But it still wasn't time for this. His Shizun didn't seem to feel the same as himself, so he still had to wait.

He closed his eyes after a while, the image of his Shizun still lingering in his mind.

-

The next day they climbed up the mountain. A blizzard was raging on top, and it was hard to stay on the swords, even for Shen Qingqiu. And so they landed and fought their way upwards.

Shen Qingqiu was freezing cold. He suddenly missed the warm climate of Cang Qiong Mountain and was wondering, how different the weather was only this distance away from his home.

Luo Binghe was going in front of him, trying to shield his Shizun from the wind, but to no avail. The wind was howling from every side, throwing snow and rain on them. When the blizzard reached its peak, they seeked shelter again. There was no chance of going forward now, and so they had to wait for a while.

Before Shen Qingqiu could react, Luo Binghe hat pulled out the blanked and covered both of them with it, pulling his Shizun in an embrace, one arm around his shoulders.

„Please bear with it, Shizun“, he whispered.

Shen Qingqiu wanted to say something, but since this was warmer than sitting alone and since the blanket shielded them a bit from the wind, he swallowed the words. Yes, he would bear with this for the moment.

„If we could make a fire, we could dry our clothes...“, Luo Binghe said, but Shen Qingqiu shook his head with certainty. „I will not undress myself here!“ Even if his clothes were wet and sticky and cold. There was no way they could make a fire here, since there wasn't any firewood. So he decided it was better to leave the clothes untouched.

„But we can warm ourselves when we undress. It would be more healthier-“, Luo Binghe tried to argue but was cut short. „No. We just wait until the wind dies down a bit, then we go on. I don't want to stay here longer than needed!“

Luo Binghe looked miserably, but his Shizun didn't even spare him a glance. And so he had to endure missing another chance of touching his Shizun's skin.

He heard the heartbeat of his Shizun sitting so close to him, was smelling his scent that was stronger due to the wetness of his hair. It was so delicious...

Shizun, would you mind if I just kissed your hair?

He stopped himself from saying this out loud, and while Shen Qingqiu was cursing the weather here and ignoring their improper position, his disciple tried to held his unpure thoughts under control.

Chapter Text

The blizzard lasted a few hours, and Shen Qingqiu began to feel restless. He still was in Luo Binghe's arm, and that child came closer over time, saying he wanted to share the warmth of their bodies with each other.

As soon as the wind decreased, Shen Qingqiu jumped up, leaving a big puppy behind. Enough was enough! He couldn't bear it any longer, this sticky disciple so close he could feel his heart beating... and it was beating so fast...

Shen Qingqiu drew his sword to get ready to fly. Behind him Luo Binghe was crying while hurrying to follow his Shizun. „Don't leave me behind, Shizun~~“ He inwardly rolled with his eyes.

„If you're so energetic, you can catch up with me while flying“, he said and mercilessly started to fly.

-

They reached the herb shortly after. The blizzard had died down completely, and so they were able to fly freely. Luo Binghe was waiting patiently next to his Shizun who plucked some frozen berries from a bush.

„Shizun“, he asked curiously. „What are these herbs we are collecting for?“

Shen Qingqiu stopped in his tracks.

Oh no. Nononono! Don't you dare try bringing that shitty cliché plot of consuming some herbs and reacting strange or growing some useless body parts! He knew how this could end!

„That I don't know“, he said, looking straight at his disciple. „But Mu Qingfang warned me to touch them for too long, since he doesn't know all of their effects, either. So don't touch them and leave the collecting to me.“

It seemed he hit the nail on the head. Luo Binghe's gaze went from overly interessted to mostly disappointed. „This disciple won't do this“, he promised, but Shen Qingqiu didn't know if he could believe this or not. He had to make sure this young man didn't get the wrong ideas. „But didn't Shizun get some more informations? Maybe some plants are poisonous?“

So he was concerned of his health?

„It doesn't matter. Normal poison cannot affect me.“ He plucked another berry. „But yes, I got some few informations Mu Qingfang already has about these plants.“ He held this berry in front of Luo Binghe. „This berry, for example, isn't poisonous. It has relaxing effects and can let someone feel drunk when consumed too much at once.“

Luo Binghe wanted to grab one of the berries, but Shen Qingqiu pulled it away. „He doesn't know if there are other effects while used with other herbs, and so he needs them to experiment more.“

Luo Binghe nodded, looking exactly where and how his Shizun stored this herbs. „This disciple understands.“

Did he really? Well, Luo Binghe was interested in almost every topic, as long as he knew it would help him in any way. And to know about different herbs wasn't a bad thing, and so Shen Qingqiu decided on sharing his wisdom with this young man from now on.

-

When he collected enough berries he started to fly again. Two of twelve herbs – not bad.

They left the mountain and were flying high in the air, leaving the icy area behind. The next plant was located in some kind of swamp, with lots of wild beasts guarding the area. Shen Qingqiu was deep in thoughts how to maneuver through this area. Flying would be useless there, because the herb only grew on hidden spots, not to be seen from up above.

Mu Qingfang really did an amazing job, finding all of these plants! No wonder, he wanted someone to collect them for him, regarding the difficulties which awaited them on the way.

500 points really weren't that much of a reward for this! System, give me more points!

He was flying on, cursing the system in his mind, when suddenly his spiritual energy died down. He tried to reactivate it, but a familiar feeling was spreading along his arm into his whole body.

Fuck!

He had forgotten, that there still was the 'without a cure' poison inside of him, blocking his spiritual veins entirely! It hadn't acted up for so long, so why now?!

He didn't have time to think about it. A moment later he lost balance and felt himself falling... and it wouldn't end good! There was nothing down there but sharp rocks!

„Binghe~“, he yelled, and the other one reached out – and failed to catch him.

„SHIZUN!!“, he screamed and tried to fly after him.

Shen Qingqiu fell faster and faster. Okay, this is it. I'm dying here.

After everything he went through, this was a miserable way to die. If it was in a battle, he wuouldn't even complain. But this...oh well, he already died miserably once, it didn't matter, did it? There was no way he could change it. And so he closed his eyes, waiting for the unavoidable.

He felt something rushing by his side, and suddenly he was forcefully grabbed and pulled into strong arms. He opened his eyes and looked in the scared and deadly pale face of his disciple who tried to stop their fall with all of his might.

A moment later they crashed on the ground and rolled over. Luo Binghe cried out but still held his Shizun in his arms, trying to shield him.

And then they were laying there, Shen Qingqiu on his back, Luo Binghe on top of him.

Silence followed while the dust settled down. His whole body hurt, but he felt he was fine regarding the circumstances. No broken bones, only scratches.

But what about Luo Binghe? He knew the protagonist's halo would save this young man from dying, but it wouldn't prevent him from getting hurt.

And so he asked in a small voice. „Binghe...?“

The one above him twitched and then began to tremble. „Shizun...I was so scared...!“ His head was buried at Shen Qingqius shoulder, and he heard his disciple sobbing. „I thought you would die...!!“

Oh well, he thought that, too. But a miracle happened, and he was saved. By him. „I'm alright, Binghe. Thanks to you.“ He then tried to sit up, but Luo Binghes grip was too firm. „Let go of me, I have to check on you! Surely you are hurt, aren't you?“ There was no way he wasn't unharmed after crashing into the ground like this?

But Luo Binghe only shook his head, still staying where he was. „Shizun, don't you know? I can't live without you! You can't leave me, you just can't!“

I didn't intend to leave, child...! It wasn't on purpose!

Shen Qingqiu sighed slightly. „I'm here, Binghe. This Master won't go anywhere.“

„Really?“, Luo Binghe said with a voice full of insecurity. „I have to make sure you don't!“

And with that Luo Binghe lifted his head, and a moment later Shen Qingqiu felt his lips on his own.

…!!!

[Intimacy level with the protagonist increased. + 100 points!]

Chapter Text

Shen Qingqiu was laying there, frozen. He didn't understand what was happening right now.

Did they... just... kiss?

No. No! That wasn't possible!

Luo Binghe was still on top of him, only reluctantly letting go of his Shizuns lips. His eyes were reddened, and tears were streaming down his face. „Shizun, I... I...“, he stammered, not able to say anything more.

Why?

Why did it hurt so much to see this young man like this?

Weakly he lifted his hands and wiped away the wetness on Luo Binghes cheeks. „Stop crying already. We are still alive, so there's no need for tears.“

He wanted to shove that young man away, but Luo Binghe was still clinging to him. „Are you alright? Does it hurt anywhere?!“ He then began examining his Shizun, touching him all over...

Something cracked inside of Shen Qingqius mind.

„ENOUGH!“

With full force he finally managed to push Luo Binghe away and sat up. „I told you, I'm fine. So care for yourself and tell me if you are hurt!“

This young man shielded him mostly, after all.

But Luo Binghe shook his head while squatting in front of his Shizun. „I'm fine, Shizun!“ He moved his arms to show him that there was nothing wrong. „See? There are only a few scratches.“

And really, Luo Binghe only had some minor injuries. His clothes were ripped on some spots, but after an overall look Shen Qingqiu could tell, that there was nothing serious.

That protagonists halo really is something!

Shen Qingqiu exhaled the breath he was holding unconciously. He then sat down and inspected his fan. To his pleasant surprise it was in top condition. Even the tassel Luo Binghe made was fine. He then began fanning himself, thinking.

What to do from now on?

His spiritual veins still were blocked, and so he couldn't fly on. Calling his sword wasn't possible, either. So they first had to search for it before travelling on.

And... there was this kiss.

Shen Qingqiu felt uncomfortable thinking about it, and so he tried to shove it to the back of his mind. This was something he needed to discuss later with that young man. It seemed he was so sexual frustrated, he had to vent it out on him, the only person close to him. And Shen Qingqiu didn't feel like he wanted to be the one the young man could practice his seduction skills!

Well, it was an emergency situation, maybe this was only a case of imagination running wild in this young man, maybe he should overlook it? He felt a bit helpless dealing with a situation like this.

-

Luo Binghe was still sitting in front of his Shizun, watching him closely. He still was scared, and so he had to look if there was anything wrong, something his Shizun didn't tell him. He was sure, the man in front of him wouldn't let him see anything which could be seen as weakness, even if he was hurt badly.

But then a thought crossed his mind, and he remembered: He kissed his Shizun!

He kissed him out of instinct, relieved, that his Shizun was alive. His feelings overwhelmed him so much, that there was no thinking, only acting. He couldn't hold back that moment. And now he began to fear, his Shizun would hate him...

But his lips were so soft, so delicious... they felt alive.

Luo Binghe was blushing a little, and he looked away for a moment. Should he say something? His Shizun didn't mention this kiss up until now, so wasn't it better to stay silent? But he wanted to kiss him again, and this time with all of his senses concentrated on this...!

He looked back at his Shizun.

His hair was slightly dishelved, and so Luo Bingh couldn't resist and reached out to tuck a strand of hair behind his Shizuns ear...

Whack!

He felt his hand was smacked away by his Shizun, and a look of shock appeared on both of their faces. After a moment Luo Binghes face distorted in despair.

„Shizun... doesn't want to be touched?“, he asked with trembling voice.

„...I'm sorry.“ Shen Qingqiu looked to the side. „I think it's better to avoid this as much as possible.“ This wouldn't end well, he was sure of it.

And so he stood up and dusted off his clothes, then looked around for a hint where to find his sword. „Binghe, we-“, he began talking but stopped when he saw how miserable his disciple looked right now.

His head hung low, and he made himself as small as possible. With his mess of hair and the torn clothes he even seemed more pitiful than ever.

Shen Qingqius heart and head simultaneously began to hurt. He didn't want to give in this time. But his disciple pulled on his heartstrings so much.

This young man was a stallion protagonist who should concentrate on building a harem, not staying with this old man. He shouldn't waste his youth like this...

He surprised himself by thinking about so many reasons why he didn't want to be touched by Luo Binghe, but none of them was 'because I just don't like it'. It wasn't that he hated to be touched by Luo Binghe. It just... wasn't right.

When did he get used to being so close to this young man? He didn't know. But it was a strange feeling. Too strange.

„Binghe...“, he tried again to talk, and the young man lifted his head, tears in his eyes.

„Don't hate me, Shizun...“, Luo Binghe whispered. „If you don't want it, I won't ever touch you again. Just... let me stay by your side, please!“

Shen Qingqiu sighed soundlessly. He had the feeling he heard this words countless times.

And so he sat down in front of this young man again. „Binghe, listen...“

He carefully sorted out which words to say. „As I told you, I don't hate you. But I don't like to be touched. Please respect that.“

Luo Binghe nodded with tears in his eyes.

„Also... you should look for others to be close with. You are a very attractive young man, so there should be no problem-“

„Shizun thinks this disciple is attractive?“ he was interrupted by this words. Something in Luo Binghes eyes lit up. Young man, that's not the point! Don't interrupt me!

„Of course, because it's true. So-“, he began to talk again and was again interrupted by the other one who gripped his hand tightly.

„I also think, Shizun is very attractive“, he said with a smile that could kill women when he would be fully grown up. Shen Qingqiu couldn't stop his heart from beating faster for a moment.

„Well... thanks...“, he said irritated, watching as Luo Binghe placed a small kiss on his fingers. Didn't he just say 'no touching'? When did this disciple get so naughty? He then came to his senses and tried to pull his hand back, but failed. Luo Binghe was still holding it next to his face.

„That doesn't mean I allow you to touch me!“, Shen Qingqiu said with an agry tone in his voice. „So give back my hand!“

Luo Binghe looked deep into his Shizuns eyes, searching for something. He then placed another small kiss on the fingertips before reluctantly letting his hand go. „This disciple will learn to behave decent“, he said, but the faint smile gave away his lie. Shen Qingqiu knew, from now on he had to look out even more what this young man had in mind.

Slowly it dawned on him, that something didn't go right in this kind of plot. And that involved him more than he ever wanted! There was no way he could be oblivious about this any longer.

He needed to find out what was going on soon! Otherwise he feared, the plot would turn out even more crooked than it already was.

In the meantime Luo Binghe had calmed himself down. His Shizun didn't seem to share his feelings of affection, not yet. But he made the first step into the right direction. He would treasure this kiss forever, even if it was unintentionally.

He knew for quite some time now that he was in love with his Shizun. And if he went on, maybe someday his Shizun would love him back.

Chapter Text

„Shizun, I found it!“

Luo Binghe waved his Shizun to come over. Relieved, Shen Qingqiu followed suit and finally was able to get his sword back.

After the... incident they searched for quite a while. Luo Binghe was able to call his sword with his spiritual energy, but Shen Qingqius spiritual veins were still blocked due to the poison. And so they went up and down the whole area just to find it.

Carefully Shen Qingqiu lifted the sword up and inspected it. Luckily it was only covered in dust, but there was no scratch on it. Indeed a magical sword! It would have broken his heart when something had happened to it.

With a cloth he wiped the dirt away before sheathing it. Without being able to fly, it wasn't necessary to carry it around in his hand. He then turned around and began walking.

Luo Binghe was watching intensely, not disturbing his Shizun. To a cultivator, his sword was a very precious item, more so, when it was a famous sword like the Xiu Ya sword. But when his Shizun moved, he was irritated.

„Shizun... where are you going?“

Shen Qingqiu stopped to look at the young man. „To find the next herb. Where else? And we need to buy new clothes. These ones are beyond repair.“

„By foot?“

Shen Qingqiu was irritated, that his disciple was irritated. „Of course. Right now I can't fly. But I don't want to stay here until I can use my spiritual power again.“ He fanned himself and turned around to walk on, when he heard a small voice.

„...this disciple can carry the both of us on his sword?“

Young man, maybe you can, but it's not that I want it! We would need to touch, and didn't we talk about this already?!

Shen Qingqiu coughed slightly. „I don't want to exhaust your spiritual energy, Binghe. Besides, this Master would lose face if we were seen like this. No one knows about the poison, and it's better to keep it hidden.“

Luo Binghe casted his gaze down. „This disciple will make sure that no one sees us! And this disciple has lots of energy to spare right now.“

Shen Qingqiu felt a new headache coming up. He wanted to say something, when Luo Binghe continued. „And if we go by foot, won't this take much more time than flying?“

-

Shen Qingqiu was standing behind Luo Binghe on his sword, gripping his clothes to steady himself. The other one wanted him to stand in front of him at first, but Shen Qingqiu denied. He feared, the young man only wanted to hug him or anything like this, and there was no way he would allow this.

He was glad that Luo Binghe couldn't see his face, because he wasn't able to hide the look of embarrassment on it. To be carried by his disciple... this really was a pitiful sight!

But Luo Binghe was right. They needed to accomplish this mission as fast as possible, and going by foot would cost too much time. So Shen Qingqiu had no choice but to trust in Luo Binghe's abilities and spiritual energy to fly his sword.

„Shizun, wouldn't it be better to lay your hands around this disciple's waist?“

Luo Binghe didn't look back, but Shen Qingqiu could imagine the pleading look on the other one's face.

„No, Binghe, I'm fine like this.“

„But it would be safer that way!“

Now Shen Qingqiu heard the pleading sound he imagined before. „I thought you were able to carry us both? If you're not able to fly steadily enough so I can stand like this, maybe we should land and walk the rest of the way?“

Luo Binghe bit his lip and shook his head. „No. This disciple will ensure Shizun's safety“, he said, feeling a bit dejected.

-

They landed next to a town. Luo Binghe really did a great job and they were able to cover a long distance, but when the sun began to set, exhaustion got the better of both of them, so they decided to stay for the night. This would be better than camping outside after all.

They entered the market and went straight to a clothing store. The owner at first was suspicious of the two men with their tattered clothes, but when Shen Qingqiu showed him some coins, he became overly polite and showed them the best he had to offer.

Well... it was a small town, after all.

Shen Qungqiu bought some quite plain clothes in black and blue for Binghe and some in white and green for himself. He wasn't quite satisfied with the purchases he made after living in the novel for some years now and getting used to high quality fabrics, but that had to do for now. He paid the owner and they left to search for an inn.

Luo Binghe seemed quite happy since he wore the new clothes, even if the colors didn't match his usual appearance. But he only said: „Since Shizun gave them to me, this disciple will gladly wear them“, and smiled like a child receiving a christmas present.

Shen Qingqiu, on the other hand, barely hid a gloomy expression. He would have liked to give other clothes to Luo Binghe, but there was no choice. These were the only fitting clothes for him, slightly too big for his still gorwing body. And these colors just didn't match! He needed white clothes for this young man to wear, the black ones just didn't suit him! It reminded him of the future which was laying ahead of them if he didn't succeed...

-

There only was one inn in this town, and gladly they were able to rent a room. Shen Qingqiu feared, there would be only one bed again, but-

Two.separate.beds!

Finally, some deity had mercy with this poor old man! No shitty cliché plot this time!

And so Shen Qingqiu seemed happy right now and Luo Binghe looked kind of gloomy. The young man thought of moving the two beds together, but there was no reason he could think about to do this without upsetting his Shizun. And so he sat on his bed, watching his Shizun closely with some kind of disappointment.

Shen Qingqiu felt observed and turned to look at his disciple. „What is it?“

Luo Binghe came up with a plan. When he wasn't able to touch his Shizun right now, he wanted some attention.

„Shizun... did this disciple do well today?“

Confused, Shen Qingqiu sat on his own bed himself. „Are you a child that needs to be pampered?“ He pulled out his fan but laid it beside him. The tassel was spread out, too.

Luo Binghe looked intensely at the tassel, his heart beating faster. It was still there, and his Shizun seemed to be quite fond of it. „Maybe? It's reassuring to know when Shizun is proud of this disciple.“

Shen Qingqiu sighed inwardly. This young man sure is needy! „I don't want to repeat myself, Binghe. I already praised you a lot today. Isn't that enough?“

Luo Binghe lifted his gaze. „This disciple can't get enough of Shizun's praise. So please?“

If Shen Qingqiu didn't praise the young man right now, he would have to face the big puppy eyes all night long. And tomorrow, too. So he said: „You did well today, Binghe.“

With this, Luo Binghe's face lit up and he smiled. „Many thanks, Shizun!“ He wanted to jump up, but just in time Shen Qingqiu gripped his fan and pointed it at his disciple. „And now sleep! We have to replenish our stamina.“

Luo Binghe stopped in his tracks. He then nodded and obediently lay down. Soon after, a steady breathing was heard. This young man sure was exhausted!

Shen Qingqiu couldn't sleep right away. There were so many things which confused him today, and his mind was running wild. What concerned him the most – beside some... strange habits of his disciple – were the fact, that the 'without a cure' poison still was blocking his spiritual veins. It didn't act up for such a long period of time, and fear was growing inside of him, that this wasn't temporary this time.

If he lost his power, what would be left of him?

With this thought, exhaustion caught him, too, and he fell into a deep slumber.

Chapter Text

After a light breakfast they traveled on. Luo Binghe was in peak condition again, and Shen Qingqiu could only wonder about that protagonist's halo of his. Even a fall from that heigth didn't really harm him at all!

Luo Binghe saw that Shen Qingqiu somehow was concerned the whole morning . And since his mood didn't improve, he began to feel a bit anxious himself. Since he was standing in front of his Shizun on his sword, he couldn't look at his expression. So the only thing he could do was ask directly.

„Shizun doesn't feel well today?“

Shen Qungqiu was surprised that the other one noticed it. But well, his disciple already knew, that his Shizun wasn't able to use his powers right now. And he felt like it could ease his mind a bit if he talked about this.

„As you know, the poison didn't subside until now“, he began speaking, and Luo Binghe nodded. „Is Shizun concerned?“

„Well...“

He looked to the side for a moment. „What would you do if this Master loses the ability to use his spiritual energy forever?“ His voice was barely audible for Luo Binghe.

The other one widened his eyes for a bit. His Shizun was the most powerful person for him. No one could compare to him the tiniest bit, and his goal was to become as strong as him. Without his spiritual energy flowing free, his Shizun wasn't more than a normal man.

But was that really a bad thing?

A smile appeared on Luo Binghe's face, and he turned his head around a bit. „Then I have just to become even stronger to protect Shizun!“

If it just was as simple as that! Shen Qingqiu gripped Luo Binghe's clothes tighter. „Don't be silly, Binghe. You can't just become stronger just because you want to! You need to put in a lot of effort and train hard! And besides...I don't want to be protected for the rest of my life!“

Luo Binghe looked disappointed. „What's wrong with being protected?“, he asked, but Shen Qingqiu's eyes darkened a bit. „If it was you, how would you feel? You already have the wish to become stronger. Would you abandon it like this was nothing and sit down obediently to be protected?“

Luo Binghe turned his head back to the front. No, he wouldn't. There was no way he would let this happen. He would protect his Shizun from now on until forever with his own strength.

-

There was thick fog lingering over the swamp, making it even more unsightly Some feral beasts were cowering in the bushes, growling at them, while some living plants tried to catch them and drown them in the hidden puddles. Shen Qingqiu had his sword drawn and was cutting some twines to clear the path while Luo Binghe was scaring away an animal only by looking at it. He seemed to be in a bad mood, and Shen Qingqiu didn't know why. Since they entered here it went worse by the minute.

„Binghe...“, he tried calling out, but the other one didn't react. Only when he touched his disciple's shoulder, the other one turned around.

There was coldness in his eyes that only faded after a moment. „Shizun, what is it?“, he said with an innocent smile. But Shen Qingqiu wasn't fooled. „Tell me, Binghe, what's wrong?“

The other one turned his head away, but Shen Qingqiu grabbed his chin and forcefully turned it back. „You're not yourself right now, so speak to me!“

„...“

It took a moment until Luo Binghe began speaking. „Why did Shizun come here, too?“

Huh?

Shen Qingqiu was taken aback. „We talked about this, didn't we?“

Before they entered the swamp, Luo Binghe tried to convince his Shizun to let him go alone, but Shen Qingqiu denied his request. The young man wasn't happy, but his Shizun stubbornly insisted on going in. „I still have my swordsman skills“, he said and entered without delay.

Luo Binghe had no other choice but to follow. He needed to protect his Shizun, but it felt like everything inside these area was trying to kill them. How should he protect his Shizun like this?! This situation showed him how powerless he really was, facing so many enemies at once.

Anger and helplessness flared up inside of him, and he grabbed his Shizun's hand. „Yes, we talked about it. But Shizun! This place is far too dangerous!“

He was pleading, he was angry. Why didn't his Shizun listen to him even once?!

But Shen Qingqiu only showed a slight smile. „Who told me he wanted to grow stronger and protect me? Besides, if we search together for the herb, we will be faster!“

To use his own argument against him... Luo Binghe only could grit his teeth in frustration. „Then please stay close“, he said before turning away again.

-

It was not long after when they finally found that herb. Just like Shen Qingqiu thought, it was growing hidden beneath some rocks and plants, barely visible to the eye.

Luo Binghe was agitated. The longer they were here, the more merciless he became, cutting down almost everything in sight. Shen Qingqiu decided, that they needed to get out of here as soon as possible to calm his disciple down.

He stored away the herbs, when suddenly the earth began to shake. Branches were breaking, making clear that something big was coming closer!

Shen Qingqiu got his sword ready, but Luo Binghe stepped in front of him. His aura seemed to darken, while the monster finally broke through and showed himself. It was a giant lion with sharp spikes as an armor. He roared loudly and bared his fangs, ready to leap on the two humans invading his territory.

But it stopped dead in his tracks, and a ripping sound was heard. A moment later the whole area was drenched in guts and blood, only sparing the place Shen Qingqiu and Luo Binghe were standing.

What the actual...?! What happened?!

Baffled, Shen Qingqiu looked around, trying to understand the situation. He then looked back at his disciple's back. And this time he clearly could see the dark aura emitting from his body.

„I told you, Shizun...“, he said in a low voice while turning around. His eyes were crimson red, and as if this wasn't enough, the demon mark had appeared, glowing dangerously in the dim light.

„...you should have stayed out of this area.“

Fuck.

They were screwed.

Chapter Text

„Binghe...calm down.“

Shen Qingqiu still was standing on the same place, his eyes fixated on the demon mark. He had gripped his sword as hard as he could, but he knew, he was no match for Luo Binghe right now. And so he tried to speak to him in a soothing voice, trying to awake the reasoning inside the young man again.

The other one slowly walked over, his lips turned into a cruel smile, and laid a hand on his cheek. Shen Qingqiu shivered. Even if Luo Binghe's body was emitting a hot aura, his fingertips were cool as ice.

„What's wrong, Shizun? Are you afraid of me now?“ he said this with mocking sound, but it wasn't clear if he didn't mock himself. Shen Qingqiu swallowed, now directly looking into Luo Binghe's eyes.

„And what if I told you I am?“, he said in a low voice.

Something inside of Luo Binghe's gaze broke.

His face slowly changed, losing color while a hint of fear and sadness began to crawl up, robbing his eyes from the crimson red color.

„Shizun, no... I...“, he stammered, and his hand left Shen Qingqiu's cheek, falling down powerless. He took a step backwards. „Don't be afraid, please... you're the only one I don't want to-“

His sword, which he held in his hands until now, clattered to the ground, while Luo Binghe covered his face with his hands. A pained scream was heard, echoing through the fog surrounding them, like a wounded animal.

Shen Qingqiu sheathed his sword. His throat was dry, his hands trembling. It tore himself in two seeing the other one like this. But there was no time to think about this for too long. He now had two options, and both of them were no good.

Helping Luo Binghe fighting the demon blood and suppressing it again, dragging this on for a while longer.

Or trying to awaken it together with him to bring it under control.

Whatever he decided to do, he would hurt this young man. But he had to decide quickly! Otherwise the demon blood would take over completely, blackening him, killing the person Luo Binghe was right now.

Suddenly Luo Binghe began staggering and broke down, and Shen Qingqiu barely made it and caught him in his arms. „Binghe!“, he cried out, letting him slide down to the ground, laying his head on his lap.

Luo Binghe had a high fever again and only while mobilizing his last strength he was able to open his eyes. „Shizun~“, he whimpered quietly.

Seeing this young man, Shen Qingqiu understood. There was no other way.

They had to awaken the demon blood.

He couldn't use any spiritual energy right now, but even if he were able to, it would exhaust both of them so they were prey to the beasts inside of this swamp. Carrying this young man outside wouldn't be possible, either, since he couldn't defend the both of them like this.

He needed to act while the beasts were still scared because of Luo Binghe's aura.

And so he laid his hand on Luo Binghe's burning hot forehead. „It's okay, Binghe. I'm here.“ He took a deep breath. „Pull me into your dream realm. We need to fight there.“

Luo Binghe barely heard his Shizun's voice, but he tried to nod before closing his eyes.

The next moment the world seemed to explode.

While being pulled forcefully into the dream realm, Shen Qingqiu was desoriented at first. But he already smelled burnt wood and the stench of blood. And after his mind cleared up, he could saw what he already had sensed.

He was sitting in the ruins of unknown buildings. Fire was raging around him, dead faceless bodies were laying everywhere, torn in pieces and the guts splattered like leaves in autumn.

If the sight of the monster's guts was horrible – this was just gruesome.

He suppressed the urge to vomit and tried to concentrate. The demon energy was pulsating through the whole dream realm, robbing himself of strength and barely let him breathe. But he didn't want to be finished of like this! He had to find his disciple!

„Binghe?“, he called out. But there was no response. Only the cracking sound of the fire and the wind blowing ashes along the way was heard.

Shen Qingqiu stood up and looked around. Where was he? There was no way he was all alone in this dream realm! „Binghe?“ he shouted, and finally, there was a small voice in some distance. „Shizun~!“

He hurried over, just to find a trembling young boy crouching on the ground. His pure white clothes were stained with blood and ashes. He was trembling and tears were streaming down his face. When he saw his Shizun, he jumped up and threw himself at him. „Shizun~ I'm scared!“

This was the boy the original Shen Qingqiu met when he entered the sect. Small, pure white and – weak.

So this was how he saw himself in front of this mass of black energy...

Shen Qingqiu laid his arms around the small body. „Binghe, I'm here“, he tried to soothe him. „Don't be afraid.“

The boy looked up, his eyes full of despair. „But how can I not? Didn't you see it?“ He pointed behind himself, and Shen Qingqiu suddenly knew what he meant.

A huge black shadow was towering over some bodies, ripping them apart. Its form was vaguely human, reminding him of the adult Luo Binghe he saw before. Red merciless eyes were staring down at the chunks of flesh piling up on the ground. When it became aware of the intruders, it lifted its gaze.

Shen Qingqius blood almost froze in his veins, and he pulled the young boy closer.

A sadistic smile seemed to spread on that shadow's face. „Shizun~“, it growled and began to move.

Fuck. Fuckfuckfuck!

„Listen, Binghe“, he said, eyes fixated on the monster. „Even if this shadow seems invincible to you, it is still a part of you. You are his Master.“

He kneeled down to be at eye level with his disciple. „You can control it. You became so strong until now, you don't need to fear it.“

Luo Binghe shook his little head. „NO, Shizun! This isn't me!“ He began crying again, and Shen Qingqiu stroked him softly. „Don't deny it. You have to accept this part of yours. Only then you will be able to use this power at free will.“

He wiped away the tears with his thumb. „You trust me, don't you? You believe my words?“

The small boy nodded, but then he grabbed his Shizun's clothes tightly. „But will I still be myself then? It's so different, so evil! I'm scared Shizun will hate me if I change!“

So this was all about? The little flower was afraid to change and to be hated? They talked about this so often, but seeing this mass of black energy still coming closer, he somehow understood.

„Look“, Shen Qingqiu began talking again. „I said countless times that I won't hate you, and I will say it again and again until you believe me. But if you let your demon blood run free, even I can't predict what happens. But when you finally accept it, we can work on ways to control it together. And if you believe in yourself and your powers, you will stay yourself, no matter what! It is your choice who you are!“

The shadow was only a short distance away. It was now or never if Luo Binghe found the courage to accept himself for who he was.

And really, the small child began to transform, growing into the young man he was now. „Shizun believes in me“, he said. „So I have to believe in myself!“

He then grabbed his Shizun's hand. „As long as Shizun is with me, I can achieve anything!“ He smiled brightly before turning to the shadow. His eyes showed strength Shen Qingqiu never saw before like this. But now he was sure:

Luo Binghe would succeed.

Chapter Text

Luo Binghe stood firm in front of his Shizun, facing the huge shadow.

He was scared. He had to admit it. And he still would crouch down on the ground, not being able to do anything, if there wasn't that one person who gave him strength.

His Shizun was right here with him, holding his hand. He had accepted him wholly. There was no need to hide himself anymore.

With his other hand, Luo Binghe unsheathed his sword and pointed it at the shadow. „I'm not afraid of you“, he shouted. „You are a part of me! I won't let you take over me!“

Even if these were mere words, they seemed to work. The shadow shrank a bit, growling in a low voice. He lashed out, but Luo Binghe parried with ease. „Don't even try it. You can't harm me, this is my dream realm, my body after all! You are only a small part of it!“

Luo Binghe's body began emitting a white aura, contrary to the shadow, and the black mass took a step backwards, semmingly frightened.

Love yourself. Believe in yourself.

Words, Luo Binghe never spoke to himself before. He knew, he was an unwanted child, pushed around by others, so there was no time for something like this. He only needed to survive, that was his sole purpose.

But now, everything changed. He had someone who cared for him, he had earned some respect from others... he wasn't unwanted anymore! And if only his Shizun stayed by his side – there was nothing more to wish for. With this, he could go on and fight.

He smiled towards his Shizun one last time before stepping forward, letting the other one's hand go.

Suddenly Shen Qingqiu felt awkward.

Was it that easy? Some encouraging words, and Luo Binghe was able to fight his dark side?

But he could only stay where he was and watch. There was no way he could interfere now.

Luo Binghe made another step forward, the tip of his sword still pointing at the shadow. The dark aura swayed, and then-

The black shadow leapt forward!

It all happened in an instant.

Luo Binghe was swallowed by the blackness, not a trace of that white aura remaining.

„Binghe!“, Shen Qingqiu cried out, but there was no response. Only the darkness was spreading again, growling loudly over its success.

Shen Qingqiu jumped up and tried to rush forward, but black hands shot out of the earth, grabbing his feet and keeping him in place.

„Shizun~“, that black mass growled again, and goosebumps spread all over Shen Qingqiu's body. Was he now the next target?

And really, the mass began moving again, coming closer and closer. It reached out it's hands, touching Shen Qingqiu's face, then chest...

A ripping sound, and suddenly Shen Qingqiu's chest felt cold.

That thing had ripped his clothes apart!

A satisfied sound escaped the black shadow, and the hands traveled ofer the fair white skin, exploring it almost gently...

Shen Qingqiu tried to shove the hands away and break free, but instead another bunch of arms shot out of the earth, capturing his hands, too. He squirmed, but to no avail. The grip was too tight, almost bringing tears to his eyes.

The hands were touching him more, testing his reactions, watching him closely, as if it was waiting for something.

Shen Qingqiu felt a chill running down his spine. The blackness was thick and cold, leaving no spot untouched. „Stop it!“, Shen Qingqiu blurted out. „You have no right to touch me!“ This was humiliating! He had to stop this thing, or otherwise he feared it would touch other regions of his body...

„Binghe!“, he shouted again. „Do you hear me?! Stop hiding yourself in that thing! You're much stronger!“

He didn't want to depend on his disciple so much, but right now there was no choice. He could only hope, Luo Binghe would free himself out of that... thing.

The shadow seemed to stop for a moment when hearing his words, but then it growled again, bending his body forward only to expose a blood red tongue, dripping with saliva. It didn't intend to let go, instead it was ready and on its way to lick the two red flowers blooming on his chest...

Shen Qingqiu closed his eyes, waiting for the touch - but it didn't come.

Instead, a gurgling sound was heard, and a white sword was shoved out of the shadow's throad. With one clean cut it was split in half.

„You can do whatever you want to me, but don't you dare touch Shizun!“, a young man shouted, his eyes raging with fire.

The shadow staggered back, trying to gather his form again, but Luo Binghe attacked again and slashed it into more pieces.

An earpiercing scream was heard, and suddenly the pieces became a black liquid, throwing itself on the young man, covering him entirely.

Luo Binghe broke down on his knees, trying to get rid of this oily fluid, but couldn't. It seeped right into his skin and disappeared there.

'I will acknowledge you. We are one', he suddenly heard a voice in his head. 'But you can't rum from your desires for ever!'

And then the liquid was gone.

Shen Qingqiu who still was held in place finally could move again and staggered forward, kneeling beside Luo Binghe. „Are you okay?!, he asked, gripping concerned the young man's hand.

Luo Binghe couldn't understand what happened right now. All he knew was, that he suddenly felt... powerful. Refreshed. As if a chain holding him down had disappeared.

He looked at his hand, firmly held by his Shizun, then on the bare chest in front of him. Instantly his face became beet red. „I-I'm fine, Shizun, b-but...!“ He quickly averted his gaze.

A voice inside of him whispered: 'Touch it. It is yours...'

He swallowed, suddenly understanding the new battle he would have to fight. The battle within himself.

Shen Qingqiu didn't understand the other one's reaction at first, but when he finally realized, he tried to cover himself up with the few pieces of fabric left. „It's just the dream realm“, he then said, his face showing a hint of red, too. „When you're feeling better, it's time to wake up.“

A moment later, he opened his eyes. Luo Binghe was still laying on the ground with his head on his lap, Shen Qingqiu's hand on his forehead. But the fever was gone, and the young man looked a lot healthier than before. Shen Qingqiu lifted his hand, just to see that the demon mark was still there.

So... it happened. The demon blood had awakened. Now he had to guide this child into staying the white flower he was.

A moment later Luo Binghe opened his eyes. He sat up and rubbed his face before looking at his hands, opening and closing them like they were a new tool to use. Only after a long moment of silence he turned his head.

„Shizun“, he said with a warm smile.

Shen Qingqiu, who held his breath for quite a while, finally felt some relieve. „Binghe, are you-“, he began but was suddenly pulled into an embrace.

Young man! Don't do this!

He tried to squirm, but Luo Binghe held him firm in place. „Thank you“, he finally heard beside his ear. „Without Shizun by my side I wouldn't be able to win this!“

Shen Qingqiu sighed inwardly and stroke the back of the young man for a moment. „You did this yourself, Binghe. If you want to thank anyone, thank yourself.“

But Luo Binghe shook his head. He sat himself straight up again, looking deep into his Shizun's eyes. Shen Qingqiu couldn't avert his gaze. There was something new in these eyes. Something deep, magnetic and dangerous. It had an enticing charm, and Shen Qingqiu had the feeling, in this short period of time Luo Binghe had matured again.

„How are you feeling?“, he was finally able to ask, and Luo Binghe laughed. „Good. Better than ever before.“

He then stood up and held out his hand to his Shizun. „Should we travel on?“

Chapter Text

Again there were flying on Luo Binghe's sword, but this time Luo Binghe held his Shizun in his arms. It wasn't that Shen Qingqiu wantes this, but with his newfound power, the young man wasn't able to control how fast they flew, and so the risk to fall was too big.

Luo Binghe was smiling brightly behind him, and Shen Qingqiu felt uncomfortable by the minute. This young man really was too happy about this!

But he had to admit: This protagonist really was something! Coming out unharmed and having gained so much power with it – no normal man could have done this.

If he just wasn't this clingy...

He felt his face heat up when he thought about the ripped clothes in the dream realm and the huge shadowy figure. It called out to him the moment it saw him, didn't it? This was creepy! Again he felt goosebumps crawling over his body.

Luo Binghe felt, that something wasn't right and snuggled up a bit more. „Shizun, is everything alright?“, he asked with a hint of worry in his voice.

Don't come any closer, young man!

He wanted to say something, when the system suddenly rang in his ears.

[Congratulations! Congratulations! Congratulations! Important things must be said three times! Awakening the demon blood successful: +1000 coolness points!]

…!!!!!

Shen Qingqiu had to bite his lip to prevent himself from crying out loud. So many points! Why didn't he do this earlier if it was worth this much!

[You never asked.]

… and then there was the sarcastic system back in business! He really missed it – not.

But he was happy. These were points he never thought of gaining! With this he came his goal to reach 10.000 points a lot closer!

He was crying tears of joy inside, when the system spoke up again.

[This system would like to give the advice to use a scenario pusher.]

Huh? System, what are you saying? Why should I use a scenario pusher? Everyhing is going according to the plan!

[This system has to tell you that you forgot to take your medicine with you to suppress the poison. If you don't take it the next two days, it will spread and you will die.]

Fuck.

Fuckfuckfuck!

Shen Qingqiu wanted to throw up this instant. The system was right. He wanted to take the medicine right before they departed, but – he forgot. He knew the place where the pills were stored in his room. And he knew they were still laying there.

Even in his last life, he never was someone to take medicine regularily. But he wasn't in any life threatening situation, so it didn't matter. But now it was different. His carelessness would cost him his life, and this time there was no chance to transmigrate again just to survive.

So what to do now?

They could try to travel back to Cang Qiong Mountain. Since Luo Binghe could bring them back faster, maybe they could reach his bamboo hut just in time. Maybe.

No. The risk was way too high! If something was to happen to them, it all was over!

He pondered for a moment, then reluctantly asked: System, how much does a scenario pusher cost?

[This system is glad to be of service. Since this is a life and death situation, the scenario pusher will cost you 750 points. Do you want to activate the scenario pusher?]

750!! This was way too much! Almost all of his efforts in awakening the demonic blood would be in vain! System, do you want to see me begging you for mercy?

But Shen Qingqiu knew, there was no other way. If he didn't activate it, he would die.

And so he nodded to the system. Yes! Activate!

A moment later he felt the both of them falling.

„Shizun~“, Luo Binghe yelped, while trying to activate his energy, but to no avail. They fell down like rocks with nothing stopping them.

Fuck! Fuck system! Fuck scenario pusher! Why had it to be extreme every time?!

Water splashed around them, when they fell into a lake. Shen Qingqiu needed a moment to orientate. With a few strokes he swam to the surface, inhaling the air deeply. Not soon after Luo Binghe appeared next to him, looking extremely shocked. „Shizun! Are you alright?!“

Shen Qingqiu didn't waste time and swam to the shore, his disciple following close by. They had to climb some sharp rocks, but then they sat down, both breathing heavily and wet clothes sticking to their bodies. Finally safe, he answered the question. „Yes, I'm fine. What happened?“

„I... I don't know. Suddenly I lost control, as if I was running out of energy...“ Luo Binghe looked miserably, and Shen Qingqiu sighed. The system shut down the young man's energy like pulling a cable out of an electrical socket! Gladly he knew that this was only temporary, and so he tried to comfort his disciple. „There's nothing that can be done. You still need to learn how to control your new power.“ He looked around to scan the area and find out if there was any danger waiting for them, but it seemed to be a normal lake in the midst of trees and nature.

He squeezed out water from the hem of his clothes and tried to arrange his dishelved hair. „We should dry ourselves and then see how to travel on. Maybe your energy is restored until then. Can you make a campfire?“

Luo Binghe watched his Shizun intensely. This appearance was way to alluring! His heart was beating faster, and his gaze followed some drops rolling down his Shizun's neck. This man didn't know what he did to his disciple by just sitting there!

He came back to his senses, when his Shizun asked him to fulfill a task. He nodded and wanted to stand up, when Shen Qingqiu saw a bloody scratch on the young man's arm. He held him back and tried to inspect it. „You hurt yourself“, he said, but Luo Binghe shook his head. „It's nothing. This disciple was careless when climbing the rocks. This will heal in no time.“

He jumped up and hurried into the little forest next to the lake. He couldn't stay any longer! Shizun, have mercy! His skin felt feverish where his Shizun had touched him, and his face was flushed in deep red.

Shen Qingqiu was left behind, deep in thoughts.

So... this was a scenario pusher? Letting them almost drown? And how should this help getting the poison under control?

He couldn't wrap his head around this, when suddenly he felt a metallic taste on the tip of his tongue.

WTF?!

He finally realized, that his body had moved on his own. He formerly had some droplets of Luo Binghe's blood on his fingertips, and without realizing – had consumed them!

He felt hot and cold at the same time.

Shen Qingqiu knew, that consuming demon blood was bad news. Really bad news. And he did it willingly! WTF system, what did you do to me?!

As if the system had waited for its moment to shine, it answered with a voice that sounded like a happy young maiden:

[This system is glad to be of help. Right now, the demon blood will suppress the poison in your body. Your spiritual veins will be restored soon.]

System, I know you hate me. But it would be better if you have killed me off instead of tormenting me like this!

The system seemed offended.

[You demanded a scenario pusher to save your life. Don't blame the system for it!]

With this, it became quiet again, not answering to Shen Qingqiu's grievance.

This demon blood could make a slave out of him for his disciple, if Luo Binghe wanted it to. Even this small amount was enough.

He only could hope, that it would take Luo Binghe a long time to realize what he could do with the demon blood inside of his Shizun, and that Shen Qingqiu could lead him to a righteous path not to do evil deeds with his new power!

Chapter Text

They sat by the crackling fire in their undergarments, their clothes hanging on a tree to dry.

Shen Qingqiu was brooding in silence, and Luo Binghe didn't dare to disturb him. Instead, he was cooking and sometimes looking after the fan resting on a rock, When it was dry, he handed it back to his Shizun, looking guilty. But still both didn't talk.

They ate quietly, and Luo Binghe became anxious by the minute. He couldn't wait any longer!

„Shizun...“, he said and kneeled in front of Shen Qingqiu. „This disciple has something to say.“

Finally, his Shizun lifted his gaze and looked at his disciple. „What is it?“, he asked, trying to sound as calm as possible.

Luo Binghe nervously looked to the side for a moment. He had discovered this ominous feeling when he was in the forest, searching for firewood. It was like he had left something behind, always knowing where it was. At first he didn't know what this meant, but when he came back, he felt, that the feeling came from the place where his Shizun was sitting. No, more correctly, from his Shizun himself.

He needed to muster up the courage, but finally find the words to say. „I-it feels like... a part of this disciple is inside Shizun...?“

Fuck.

Shen Qingqiu didn't count how many times he said this word today. But it seemed he didn't say this enough.

What to do now? Being honest wouldn't do him any good, would it? But lying wasn't an option either! He had to find a solution!

„Well, you see“, he tried to explain. „Maybe... as a possibility...I consumed some drops of your blood by accident?“ He hid his face behind the fan. Shen Qingqiu didn't know if it was the right thing to tell Binghe this much, but it was better than let him find out forcefully. Who knew if he tried to test what this feeling was about and hurt him without knowing?

Besides... the system promised him that this would help him to suppress the poison. But he didn't feel any change. Instead, his arm recently began to feel numb and cold. So maybe he HAD to tell Luo Binghe the truth so he could act and help him?

The young man was still kneeling on the ground, trying to understand what his Shizun was telling him right now. „...why?“, he asked after a pause.

I didn't have a choice, Shen Qingqiu thought, I was forced to and I will die without it. But he didn't say it out loud. Instead, he fanned himself. „I forgot to take my medicine back at Cang Qiong Peak. And demon blood is very powerful. I thought, if I drink it, it would help me suppress the 'Without A Cure'-poison, since I ran out of time...“

Shen Qingqiu looked miserably behind the fan. He was bad at lying, especially in this kind of situation. So he tried to find an answer with half of the truth in it. This much was okay, wasn't it?

Luo Binghe casted his gaze down. „...it doesn't work, does it?“, he asked disappointed. „Is it because it's my blood you drank?“ He still felt guilty. His Shizun was fighting the poison because of him. He was well aware of this fact. So it wouldn't be surprising if he wasn't able to help, if his blood was too weak. Maybe it was because he wasn't fully a demon?

Shen Qingqiu slowly shook his head. „That's not it“, he tried to comfort his disciple. „It's just-“

He didn't have the chance to say anymore.

Suddenly, the fan fell out of his hand to the ground. He lost all control over his arm, and shocked he gripped it, shivering from the cold the skin was emitting.

It began. The poison was spreading.

Luo Binghe was shocked, too. „Shizun!“ He laid his hand on Shen Qingqiu's arm, too, but pulled it back in shock, as if he had burned himself. „Cold...“, he whispered, and panic rose up in his heart.

Shen Qingqiu smiled a bit self-mockingly. „It seems, the medicine ceased to function...This is it, I suppose.“

„No...“, Luo Binghe stared at his Shizun's arm. „No!“ His eyes glimmed red. Instantly, Shen Qingqiu felt heat rising up in his veins.

„Binghe, what-“, he cried out, when he felt himself pulled into an embrace.

„I won't let you die!“ Luo Binghes voice was firm. As if he knew by instinct what to do, Shen Qingqiu felt the demon blood flowing through his body into his arm and beginning to fight the poison. It hurt like hell, and he gritted his teeth.

Fuck! Fuckfuckfuck! What are you doing?!

He felt that if the poison didn't kill him, it would be the pain.

Luo Binghe laid his head on his Shizun's shoulder. He was breathing heavily and concentrated all of his senses on battling in his Shizun's body. This new ability costed him a lot of energy, and he felt, that there wasn't enough of his blood in his Shizun's body to win over the poison. And so he bit his tongue hard.

„Shizun... please bear with it“, he whispered, before he kissed Shen Qingqiu.

The other one's eyes widened, his lips parted automatically. He wanted to push Luo Binghe away, but was held firm in the embrace. He felt the young man's tongue entering his mouth-

The taste of iron was overwhelming. Shen Qingqiu began coughing, but he felt blood flowing down his throat, finding his way into his veins and joining the fight in his arm.

Hot!

Finally Luo Binghe let go, and Shen Qingqiu jumped back. His whole body was boiling, and he bent himself over, trying to endure the pain and the heat. He trembled out of pain and he would have rolled on the ground, if his body wouldn't feel paralyzed. His sight was blurry when he looked up to the other one. Blood was dripping down Luo Binghe's lips, his eyes still crimson and his demon mark glowing.

„Please, hang in there“, Luo Binghe cried out and reached out for him. And then he lost conciousness, the sight of bloody lips still in his mind.

-

When Shen Qingqiu woke up, night had already fallen. The campfire had burned down, and a chilly breeze was blowing. He looked up to the sky, watching the stars for a moment and tried to remember what happened.

It dawned to him, that he had swallowed a lot more of Luo Binghe's demon blood. He still had the taste of it on his tongue, and he suppressed the need to wash his mouth. He still felt the heat inside of his body, concentrating in his right arm. It was the opposite of the heat he felt only a short time before. Other than that he felt exhausted. The pain had taken its toll on his body, and he would have to deal with the aftereffects for a while.

But most importantly:

He was alive.

Shen Qingqiu lifted his hand, opened and closed it slowly. It felt light and was reacting as it had to. Good. He then closed his eyes and tried to circulate his spiritual energy in his body. It needed some time, but slowly it began to flow again.

Luo Binghe did it! He saved him!

Relief washed through his mind, and he didn't suppress the single tear that fell from his eye. He had to thank this young man properly.

After a short time of celebrating his 'new' life he wanted to stand up and look for his disciple, when he finally realized that there was something heavy laying on his stomach.

He lifted his head, but the only thing he saw was a mass of black hair!

So after Luo Binghe saved him, he used him as a pillow?!

Shen Qingqiu sank back and sighed. From below he heard a soft mumble, and he decided to let his disciple sleep. He owed him so much now, after all, and his body still felt heavy enough to stay where he was and to recover his strength. So he didn't push his disciple away.

Instead, he lifted his hand automatically and began stroking the soft hair, earning another mumble full of pleasure. „Shizun~“, Luo Binghe said in his sleep. And Shen Qingqiu couldn't hide a soft smile. „I'm here“, he said. „I am still here.“

Thanks to Luo Binghe, he was able to live for a while longer.

Chapter Text

Luo Binghe had a dream.

He was wandering aimlessly through a deserted field that stretched on forever. Some dried up plants were there, some rocks, nothing more. He looked around, but there was no one to be seen beside of him.

„Shizun?“, he asked, but there was only a hollow echo.

Fear crept up his spine.

„Shizun?!“, he asked again, but there was still no answer.

He wanted to run, but a clod hand was gripping his neck, clenching it tightly.

„He's dead.“ a dark voice said into his ear, accompanied by mad laughter, and he awoke with a small scream, panting heavily. His eyes searched the whole area. „Shizun?! Where are you?“

The campfire was burning again, and dawn was breaking. He noticed, that someone had covered him with a blanket, and a pillow was laying on the ground. It seemed that his Shizun had taken care of him.

A rustle resounded, and Shen Qingqiu was stepping out from some bushes. He was fully dressed and held some firewood in his arm. „Binghe? You awake?“, he asked, and a moment later he was lifted off his feet and fell on the ground, a big puppy clinging to him. „You're alive“, he cried, rubbing his face all over him.

„Hey, stop hugging me! Learn to behave!“ Shen Qingqiu tried to shove the puppy away, but the young man was stronger than he imagined. „Of course I'm alive! Wasn't it you who saved me, after all?!“

„Yes, but“, Luo Binghe sobbed, finally letting go just to inspect his Shizun's arm. „I heard a voice... it said you were dead!“ He looked up with tears in his eyes when his Shizun smacked his hands away. „Maybe your demonic side wanted to scare you. Don't just believe everything!“

Luo Binghe lowered his head. „Shizun, don't be mad! This disciple just was worried...“

Worried, that his power wasn't enough to save his Shizun.

Shen Qingqiu couldn't resist and patted the dejected young man. „Don't be worried, Binghe. This Master is feeling fine. Even my spiritaul powers have returned.“

Luo Binghe wiped away a tear. „Really?“, he whispered, and Shen Qingqiu nodded. „You saved my life, don't underestimate you powers.“

The sun went up with Luo Binghe's smile, and again Shen Qingqiu was pressed down by a hugging puppy. „Alright, alright. Stop it!“

Reluctantly the young man let go, but the smile never left his lips, even when they traveled on. He was a bit sad not being able to carry his Shizun any longer, but to see him fly freely again on his own sword and displaying his elegance made Luo Binghe even more happy. This was how his Shizun shined the most.

They returned to being Master and disciple, but Luo Binghe knew, that they were closer than ever before.

-

While they were flying, Shen Qingqiu was thinking.

They only found three out of twelve herbs! And his world was already turned upside down. So how should they proceed? He feared that there was more to come... more obstacles, more traps, and he would be rewarded with only 500 points! Almost not worth the effort!

So he decided to be extra carefully while approaching the herbs, waiting for more problems to arise-

But nothing happened!

They needed two days to find three more herbs. And this was like a walk in the park! Who made this shitty plot so unbalanced!

While Shen Qingqiu was picking up the plants, Luo Binghe was using the time to meditate and to find out how his powers had grown and what was possible to do now. Especially to control his demon blood inside his Shizun had piqued his interest.

He had to hold almost all of the blood in place to suppress the poison, but since his Shizun had swallowed a fair amount with the... kiss – well, it wasn't really a kiss, but Luo Binghe was still blushing - , he began moving some droplets without causing harm.

Still, he was hit with a fan as response.

„Stop it!“ Shen Qingqiu felt the blood wandering inside his veins, leaving a funny feeling as if being tickled from the inside. „It's uncomfortable.“

„But Shizun“, the other one exclaimed. „Wouldn't it be better to know what this disciple can do with his blood? Maybe there are more things I can do to help!“

„Suppressing the poison is plenty“, Shen Qingqiu answered, and Luo Binghe stopped his experiment while looking extremely wronged. But he wanted to respect his Shizun's wish At least for now.

-

They were resting again at a riverside. Shen Qingqiu had spread out their harvest on the ground, inspecting the plants.

„Not bad“, he said, tipping the fan against his chin. „Half of the mission is done.“

Curiously Luo Binghe was looking at the herbs, too. These were plants he had never seen before. He reached out and wanted to touch some twigs full of small leafs, but his hand was smacked away. „Don't touch!“

He looked up to his Shizun questioningly. „Does this herb do any harm?“

„I don't know“, Shen Qingqiu answered. „As I said I only know some basics. But what I know is, that this plant has a strong smell when the leaves are grated, and it could attract other living beings. I wouldn't call this harmful, but I don't know which beings would be attracted and if there are any other side effects.“

Luo Binghe nodded. „This disciple understands“, he said, when his gaze finally fell on the berries they collected on the mountain. What did his Shizun said? A relaxing effect, but when consumed too much it would make someone feel like being drunk – or something like this?

Herbs really were interesting things!

'Take some', a voice in Luo Binghe's head rang out, alluring and tempting. 'It will help you get closer to Shizun.'

Luo Binghe shook his head slightly, trying to get rid of this voice. But it still rang inside of his head, giving him ideas he never had before.

Shen Qingqiu grabbed a small bowl. „I will get some water“, he explained. „The one on the left needs to be sprinkled with water at least twice a day to be kept fresh. In the meantime you could prepare some food, so we can travel on after.“

Again the young man nodded. „This disciple will prepare something“, he promised while rummaging through their luggage. Shen Qingqiu left, coming back not long after and took care of the harvest before storing it away again.

He didn't notice, that some of the berries were missing...

-

They were eating in peace, chatting about some things regarding the herbs. Shen Qingqiu felt the food was especially tasty today, a stew with several vegetables and dried fish. It had a sweet aftertaste which was unusual, but made it even more enjoyable.

Luo Binghe wasn't eating much, and so he asked if everything was alright, but the young man was smiling innocently, telling him he had tasted too much beforehand since he was experimenting with a new recipe. Shen Qingqiu let him be and instead ate some spoonfuls more than usual.

It was when he wanted to stand up he suddenly felt a bit dizzy.

Luo Binghe had jumped up and caught his Shizun in his arms who began to smile softly.

It was strange. He felt so at ease and calm right now, Without noticing it he leaned himself more into the embrace, enjoying the warmth. Ah, such a nice feeling!

Luo Binghe was blushing slightly, holding his Shizun close. „Are you okay?“, he asked, and a soft giggle was heard. „When did you become such a worrywart, Binghe?“, he said, catching a strand of hair and twirling it around his finger. So soft! Like the fur of a big puppy!

It clearly wasn't the usual Shizun! A hint of guilt flashed through the young man's mind, but the cuteness of his Shizun's behaviour took all other thoughts away. This was fine. He decided to enjoy the moment while it lasted!

Chapter Text

Shen Qingqiu felt at ease. For the first time since he transmigrated, everything felt fine. There was no need to be worried right now, was it?

His head was resting at Luo Binghe's shoulder, and the young man had clasped their hands together. His mind was fuzzy, but he thought that wasn't bad. It let him relax.

Luo Binghe's heart was pounding rapidly. Did his Shizun knew how alluring he was like this? He couldn't resist but to kiss him on the hair, and again a giggle was heard.

„Child, what are you doing?“, his Shizun said with a smile.

„I'm not a child anymore.“ Luo Binghe felt wronged being called like this, and his Shizun waved vaguely with his free hand. „Right, right. You're a young man soon to become a harem master.“

Huh?

Luo Binghe wanted to say something, but his Shizun went on with his thoughts. „Why are you staying with an old man like me? I don't understand. You could have all the beautiful women in the world!“

Shen Qingqiu again waved his hand to demonstrate how big this 'world' was in his mind. But then he rested it on Luo Binghe's cheek. „You're way too beautiful to stay hidden like this!“

The young man swallowed. „But I just want to be with Shizun“, he said in a small voice. His cheeks were now burning red. „I don't need anyone else beside you.“

Another giggle. „What are you saying? I'm not you're destined one, there are may women out there who are wai-“

The voice died down when his lips were forcefully captured. A moan escaped Shen Qingqiu's lips, and his hand slid down, just to grab on the young man's clothes.

Something was wrong... his disciple seemed angered for some reason, and wht was he doing now...? Shen Qingqiu's mind tried to wrap itself around this, but everything was so warm and fluffy and blurry...

He gave up, feeling the warmth Luo Binghe was emitting, feeling something entering his mouth. Everything seemed so distant, but it was good, so good...

He wanted to let go of all his sorrows, drunk by the moment. No need to be concerned. Everything was fine the way it was now.

Surprised Luo Binghe almost ended the kiss when he felt kissed back all of a sudden. But then he intensified his efforts, earning another moan from his Shizun. Only after a long while they parted.

Luo Binghe's cheeks were flushed in deep red, his heart almost jumping out of his chest. He felt a heart building up inside of him, especially when he saw his Shizun's face. No! He had to restrain himself! He never wanted to do... more without his Shizun's consent! But it really was hard...

Shen Qingqiu's cheeks were tinted red, too, his lips moist and lightly swollen. His eyes had a faint glimmer, and most of all: he was smiling.

„Binghe...“, he whispered, stroking the young man's cheeks again. „Don't do this to me. You have to aim higher. After all, you're a stallion prota-“

His hand fell down, and suddenly a soft snore was heard.

Dumbfounded Luo Binghe looked down on the sleeping man inside of his arms. He...fell asleep?

He bit his lip, but then stroked his Shizun's forehead, tucking a strand of hair behind his ear. After all, the amount of berries his Shizun had consumed were plenty.

Luo Binghe felt guilty, confused and happy at the same time. Even if this kiss wasn't out of free will, his Shizun had kissed him back! The warmth and the taste still lingered on his lips.

But there were things which concerned him.

What did his Shizun say? Harem master? Stallion? What did he mean by this?

He gently laid down his Shizun right where Luo Binghe himself had rested before, before he decided to cool himself down. His body still was hoping for more, but he couldn't bring himself to touch his Shizun while sleeping.

Maybe...next time.

And he still had to think about lots of things.

While sitting in the cold river, Luo Binghe tried to make sense of his Shizun's words. First there was the thing with the ominous points, now his Shizun mentioned more things.

What did he know? What was behind all of this?

Luo Binghe's head began to hurt. So he decided to find more about this the next time he had the possibility to.

-

The young man wasn't the only one whose head hurt. Waking up after a few hours, Shen Qingqiu's head felt like it was about to explode. He clearly had a hangover, and he sat up with a groan, seeing that the sun had already risen high up.

„Binghe!“, he shouted, but regretting this instantly by gaining a stabbing pain as a reward. He didn't know that an immortal body was capable of feeling like this!

He thought for a moment but then began circulating his spiritual energy to get this under control, while his disciple rushed to his side, clearly concerned. Before he could say anything, Luo Binghe bowed down on the ground.

„Sorry, Shizun, sorry! This disciple can't atone enough for making such a mistake! Punish me how you think it's appropriate!“

...huh?

Shen Qingqiu had a bad feeling. He tried to remember anything, but his mind was blank. So he had to ask his disciple.

„...what happened?“

He listened to the explanation of his disciple. In short, Luo Binghe told him, that he had spread out his spices to sort them out before cooking. And he grabbed some of the berries they collected by mistake and mixed them into the food. And after consuming them – he fell asleep.

Shen Qingqiu couldn't believe that Luo Binghe would make such a mistake while cooking. That he wasn't affected himself would be thanks to the demon blood he inherited, but something felt fishy. Shen Qingqiu just couldn't proof the other one wrong, and since he seemed in peak condition again after getting rid of the headache-

Ah well. Can't be helped. He wasn't harmed in any way after all. And the miserable looking puppy in front of him really seemed to feel guilty all over.

„Don't make such a mistake again!“, he advised sharply before standing up. „We lost a lot of time again. We need to make up for it!“

Luo Binghe began smiling. „Yes!“ He hurriedly packed all things up and then followed his Shizun on his sword.

He had stolen a kiss from his Shizun. That was something the other one should never know!

For a moment that smile of his had some longing and a hint of mischievousness in it, before returning to normal.

He would treasure this forever.

Until the next time.

Chapter Text

Another herb was picked quite soon, and Shen Qingqiu decided to rest in a city nearby. He longed for a normal bed and fresh clothes!

Luo Binghe didn't object, and so they approached their next destination. The only thing bothering Shen Qingqiu was the demon mark on Luo Binghe's forehead. Since they were only wearing plain clothes and crowns, the didn't even have a headband they could use as forehead ribbon. And Luo Binghe didn't have the control over his powers to hide it yet.

That was when the young man pulled out the green headband Shen Qingqiu hat bought him when they were on their first mission together.

„You still have it?“, he asked surprised. „I didn't see it on you before.“

Luo Binghe just smiled. „It was a present from Shizun. This disciple didn't want to wear it so it wouldn't become ragged.“ he stroked it gently with a loving gaze.

Shen Qingqiu wantes to sigh. „I can buy you another one anytime, Binghe...“

„Many thanks, Shizun. This disciple is very grateful. But this one is enough.“ With a swift motion he tied it around his head, hiding the demon mark. The color didn't fit with the rest of the clothes, but they wanted to buy new ones anyway, and so this shouldn't be too bothersome for now.

After the preparation was done, they entered the bustling streets of the city.

A cultivator like Shen Qingqiu and his handsome young disciple stood out even in plain clothes and even while walking through a mass of people, and so they were surrounded soon by a lot of people, offering them different things and hoping for money, or they just wanted to see the handsome men and gossip about them. Shen Qingqiu simply ignored them while Luo Binghe scared some people away with his eyes only. Especially the girls were scared to the bone and left.

„Binghe, manners“, he said in a low voice but with a hint of softness in it. He didn't want to be bothered, either, but they wanted to stay here and not stirring up troubles. But his disciple just looked wronged. „If they see money, they will favor Shizun no matter what. And this disciple don't want any clingy women near Shizun for this reason!“

The young man really is a clever one! Understanding the basics of the world without much experience, knowing that money is one of the things that rules thr world.

Shen Qingqiu was impressed. Nonetheless, he advised the young man behind him to behave properly. „I advise you to train your social skills here. It is a necessary thing for you to stay calm and endure other people, after all.“

Luo Binghe pouted but said nothing. Instead he tried to ignore the other people from now on and follow his Shizun even closer.

-

Finally they were wearing new clothes, both in white and green as they were used to. Even when Luo Binghe insisted to keep his old ones, Shen Qingqiu gave them away to a beggar on the street. The young man felt betrayed, and his mood clouded over. It only brightened again when his Shizun bought another present for him: A tassel for his sash, made of fine threads holding an almost pure white jade dragon bending in a circle with a hint of green. It was finest craftsmanship and the prize was high, but that didn't matter to him. He thought it fitting and bought it, leaving Luo Binghe speechless.

He didn't dare to touch this present, and so Shen Qingqiu couldn't bear it any longer and tied it on the sash with skilled moves. It was now swaying on Luo Binghe's hip, giving his whole appearance a noble aura.

Shen Qingqiu was satisfied. „This suits you well“, he said and wanted to walk on, when he realized that his disciple was standing there, frozen in place. A bit concerned he went back, just to be hugged suddenly.

„Bin-“, he started, but he stopped, when he heard the voice of his disciple. „Shizun... don't be so nice to me“, he whispered, his voice hoarse. „I don't deserve this!“

„What are you talking about“, Shen Qingqiu said. This young man was hitting his weak spot! „Of course you deserve this, just accept it and let us move on!“

Reluctantly Luo Binghe let go. His eyes were glistening with tears, and he wiped them away. The first thing in his life he had treasured was the pendant his mother had given to him. It was just fake goods, but it meant the world to him. Since he had lost it, his Shizun gave him more things to treasure. And now he was rewarded with something so precious!

But rewarded for what? He betrayed his Shizun's trust by lying to him and stealing a kiss. He felt terrible, but at the same time warm inside. Even if his Shizun thought he had to be with women... Luo Binghe would never choose someone else over him!

And even if his Shizun had some secrets he wasn't willing to tell him... sooner or later he would find out. And then he finally would be able to help him unconditionally!

-

They ate something on their way to an inn. Shen Qingqiu was relaxing slowly, and Luo Binghe followed him around, watching him the entire time. He wanted to know if he could do something for his Shizun or if he felt somehow uncomfortable. He didn't want to miss even the tiniest need his Shizun might had!

After some time Shen Qingqiu noticed the behaviour of his disciple. „Is everything alright?“

Luo Binghe was surprised to be asked a question like this. „Of course. This disciple couldn't be happier right now. He just wants Shizun to feel comfortable, too.“

Oh, how thoughtful? But wouldn't the young man miss the chance to enjoy the outside world like this? He shouldn't hinder Luo Binghe from exploring the city without him! It was necessary, that the other one experienced some things without him by his side.

„Don't mind this old man. I'm fine, really! But isn't there anything you want to do? Like strolling around, visiting some shops or some other things? I can give you some money, so you don't need to worry.“

Luo Binghe didn't seem to understand. „This disciple is fine by Shizun's side“, he said with a smile. „There's nothing more I can wish for.“

Shen Qingqiu thought about it, then began fanning himself. „Well, I won't send you away if you don't desire it. I just want you to know that you are free to go wherever you want.“

Luo Binghe felt how much his Shizun cared. Again, a hint of guilt befell him, and he shoved it away. He would try to make up for it!

„Then... would Shizun lend this disciple some money?“, he asked. „I want to buy something. I will pay you back!“

„No need.“ Shen Qingqiu pulled some money out of his purse and gave it to the young man. „If there is something that piques your interest, just buy it. This Master will search for an inn meanwhile.“ He looked around and saw a teahouse nearby. „Let's meet later over there.“

Luo Binghe nodded. „This disciple will soon return.“ And then he turned around and disappeared in the crowd.

Shen Qingqiu was watching until the other one was out of sight. Suddenly he felt a bit lonely. It was strange. He never felt like this before, especially not since transmigrating Every day was bustling with liveliness, so much, that he sometimes wished for a break.

And now his disciple only went away and now he didn't want this?

He smiled a bit self-mockingly. How despicable! He should enjoy his own free time while it lasted!

But he couldn't fight the feeling. He was too used to have the little flower around him. And so he hurriedly rented a room and came back as soon as possible to wait for his disciple to return to his side.

Chapter Text

The tea was cold already, and so Shen Qingqiu ordered a new one.

His disciple sure was taking his time.

If he was in his original world, Shen Qingqiu would already have called him and killed time while surfing in the web or playing some games on his smartphone. But here there was nothing to do beside waiting and observing. And since the townspeople were observing HIM, he couldn't just stare back. He didn't have a book at him, too. So he began to become restless.

He sighed and was thinking about going on a stroll, when finally his disciple appeared. He was carrying a wrapped package with him.

When he saw that his Shizun already had arrived, he smiled brightly. „Shizun! This disciple missed you dearly!“

Shen Qingqiu, who had concentrated on listening to some gossiping women next to his table, was startled, but then his gaze softened. „Binghe, stop talking like this. You were just a short time away!“

...said the one who was lonely all by himself. But oh well, he would never admit it. Especially not in front of his disciple!

But Luo Binghe saw the slight change on his Shizun's face. Was... was his Shizun happy to see him? He wanted to believe it, but was this even realistic? He hoped for this being the truth, and his heart beated a bit faster when he sat down, looking expectantly at his Shizun.

Meanwhile Shen Qingqiu had ordered some more tea and some snacks. Curiously he looked over to the package. „I see you have found something?“

Luo Binghe nodded. „Yes. It took this disciple some time, but it was a success after all.“

Inwardly Shen Qinqiu was dying to know what this was! But he didn't dare to ask. This would ruin his reputation as distanced teacher, something he didn't even want to risk since he already lost some points because of this. So he decided to sip on his tea in silence. He assumed right, that his disciple wouldn't stay quiet, because only a few moments later Luo Binghe began speaking again.

„Did Shizun find an inn?“

Shen Qingqiu nodded. It was a trivial thing to talk about, but Luo Binghe seemed to be highly interested. „It's no far away. Seems like the inns here are quite luxurious. We can take a bath and there will be services for a massage, too, if we want.“

But this didn't seem to be to the young man's liking. He seemed to pout. „If Shizun wants a massage, this disciple just can-“

Shen Qingqiu waved his hand. „Binghe, I know you are skilled in so many things. But this Master wants you to relax, too. So I just wanted to ask you, if you are interested in something like this.“

To his surprise, the young man shook his head. „Many thanks, but this disciple politely has to decline.“

-

They visited the inn's eatery for dinner and withdrew then for the night. To Luo Binghe's surprise Shen Qingqiu booked only one room again.

Even if there were two beds, it was just.one.room!

Luo Binghe's heart was almost bursting out of his chest. He stared at the two beds, never expecting to see this happening. They were standing close beside each other, then he faced his Shizun. „...“

Shen Qingqiu was standing lazily in the room. „I need to monitor you, Binghe“, he said while fanning himself. „Outside we slept next to each other, so this was easy. But since you still need to learn how to control your demon power, I cannot be responsible for not watching out for you.“

His Shizun didn't need to explain. Whatever the reason, they were sleeping in the same room again! He was so happy, he couldn't hide his excitement.

Shen Qingqiu coughed slightly. Young man, I can see your tail wagging again!

But this was kind of... cute? Until now they slept together for so many times, it didn't matter anyway. Even if sleeping in the same room seemed more... intimate? But ah well, surely it was his imagination. He should be used to this after all.

They received some water and tea from the innkeeper, and then decided to go to bed. Luo Binghe was already prepared and watched intensely his Shizun loosening up his hair for the night, brushing with a few strokes.

When the long black hair was flowing down his neck, Luo Binghe felt mesmerized. Such a beautiful man! He wanted to touch him so badly, but somehow he seemed too pure to be stained by this young man again. He already left an imprint, though invisible for others, but visible for him, reminding him of what he had done. But it was his imprint, he made it, no one else. And even while feeling guilty, he felt a bit proud, too.

Sensing that his disciple's look was strange, he questioningly looked back. Instantly Luo Binghe blushed and turned his face away.

Shen Qingqiu found this strange, but didn't say anything more. Some things shouldn't be questioned further than necessary.

-

They departed without making use of the massage service. Shen Qingqiu was grieving a little, but he swore to himself, that next time, when he was visiting a city, he definetly would use this!

When they finally left the city, Luo Binghe instantly untied the head band and tucked it away safely. It was the first present his Shizun had given him after all! He then pulled out a plain white headband and replaced the green one with it.

Ah, so that's what his disciple bought! Shen Qingqiu had understood, that the headband he gave Luo Binghe was his treasure – even if he didn't know why – and so the young man was thoughtful enough to get a new one. But...

„Plain white?“, he asked. „You could have bought something more flashy or at least with some embroidery.“

„This disciple doesn't need something too expensive. It is just to hide the demon mark anyway“, the young man said. „After this disciple learned how to control his power, it's no longer needed.“

Well, that was true, but still, you were free to choose whatever you wanted! Very modest of you!

But then he thought about the package. It was too huge for just a headband, so maybe Luo Binghe bought some other things for himself which he found more useful? Still he didn't ask. Curiosity killed the cat, and he didn't want to be that said animal...

He noticed that he thought more often about how to pamper that young man. He really shouldn't do this, his disciple was already too spoiled! But he couldn't help it, something inside of him urged to do even more good things to Luo Binghe. And that wasn't just to atone for sins of the former owner of this body.

Even if the biggest deed still had to be done.

'System, how many points did I collect until now?'

Time for an interim result.

[This system happily informs you, that you collected 5.765 points.]

...so many?

Well, not that he really minded, but when did he miss the adding of so many points? When he calculated it himself, he barely had a total of 5.500!

He didn't had the courage to ask. The system had way too much fun to deduce the hard earned points, he feared to lose them faster than he added them!

-

The next three herbs were gathered fast, too. They were just hard to reach and one was guarded by some violent beasts, but Luo Binghe just blew them away. Luo Binghe was proud of his power and asked for praise, and his Shizun did so, to Luo Binghe's delight.

Shen Qingqiu was relieved. He feared for more problems, being on guard all the time. But seeing that the mission was coming to an end slowly let him feel more relaxed. They were away far too long; Shen Qingqiu recounted how long and was shocked it added up to twentythree days. It would be at least one month until they finally returned to Cang Qiong Mountain.

He didn't knew, that the next herb was a tricky one to harvest...

Chapter Text

Shen Qingqiu was inspecting the herb in front of him, their next target. It was a small white flower with bluish green leaves, growing in a cave. It was hard to find, since the cave they were growing in was quite spacious and there were many hidden corners. But some mystical stones lit up their way, and finally they succeeded and found a large field.

Carefully he picked some of the flowers, trying to not touch their sap. Mu Qingfan had instructed him to avoid it, since this could be stimulating like caffeine in someone's body. And Shen Qingqiu didn't want to make such an experience. He was unlucky enough on their journey until now.

He was so engrossed in collecting the most healthy flowers, when suddenly Luo Binghe began to shout.

„Shizun, watch out!“

He felt himself swept from the feet and wrapped in warm arms. A moment later, a crashing sound was heard while he found himself laying on top of another body. Only then he realized, that a part of the ceiling fell down, almost crashing him!

„Thank you, Bin-“, he began, trying to sit up, when a strong smell was emitting from around the young man.

Fuck!

It was the sap of the herb, and Luo Binghe was almost bathing in it, since he saved his Shizun and landed with him in the flower bed.

„Are you okay?!“

The young man had let go of his Shizun only reluctantly and nodded hearing the question. „As long as Shizun is fine, this disciple will be fine, too.“

Shen Qingqiu furrowed his brows before finally standing up. „ Don't talk nonsense.“ He held out his hand to help his disciple up. Luo Binghe gladly accepted and stood up, dusting off his clothes, while his Shizun inspected him intensely.

Luo Binghe was drenched in the sap, but it was already drying up. Concerned, he had to ask again. „Are you really okay? Do you feel strange or agitated or something like this?“

„No, this disciple really is fine!“ He showed a bright smile and waved his arms to show that this was the truth. Shen Qingqiu sighed. Maybe the demon blood neutralized the effect of the sap? When it even was able to cure the „Without A Cure“-poison...

„I believe you. Thank you for saving me again.“ He turned around to inspect the collapsed ceiling. „The way out is blocked. We should search for another exit, since using our energy could let the cave collapse more.“

Luo Binghe nodded. „There has to be another exit. The air is fresh, even though we went deep inside.“ Shen Qingqiu admired how much his disciple had learned. But he didn't want to stay any longer, and so he commanded: „Then let's go, Binghe.“

They went even deeper into the cave, searching around. Even if there was a gust of wind sometimes, they didn't find out where this was coming from.

After some time, Shen Qingqiu sat on a rock to take a break and think about what to do. Only then he noticed, that Luo Binghe didn't say a word for quite some time.

He turned around to look at his disciple, but froze in place.

In the dim light of the glowing stones Luo Binghe's face seemed pale all of a sudden. „Shizun...“, he said with a whimpering voice. „Maybe I don't feel too well after all...“

Before Shen Qingqiu could even react, the young man sank on his knees, groaning. The demon mark was beginning to glow, clearly seen through the white headband. And with this he began to transform.

Slowly his ears became long and pointed. His canines became longer, same with his fingernails, until they became sharp claws.

Now it was Shen Qingqiu's face that became pale. „Binghe?“, he asked with a weak voice, stretching out his hand.

Luo Binghe's body was burning up. He could even feel it through the clothes.

„Shizun“, he cried out, his voice deeper than before. His body seemed to grow, becoming more muscular. His facial features sharpened, looking like that of an adult, while his eyes turned red and his pupils became slits.

His breath was ragged, but for a moment, it seemed like the changes ended.

Then Luo Binghe screamed.

Black curved horns were beginning to grow on his head, became larger and larger. Only when they finished growing, his body temperature began to return back to normal, and he sank against his Shizun.

„Binghe!“

Shizun catched the young man in his arms and embraced him. „Talk to me!“

Still breathing heavily, Luo Binghe tried to answer. „I...what happened...?“, he asked weakly. Shen Qingqiu was startled by the deep voice, but didn't let go. Instead he poured some of his spiritual energy into his disciple's body.

What he felt was a turmoil of different energies, fighting each other. Especially he felt the demon blood raging against some unknown force.

„I... I think your demon blood reacted because of the herb's sap“, he said with concern. „It changed your appearance.“

Luo Binghe flinched in his arms. „How did I change? Is it bad? My voice... it's different...“ He still was clinging onto the other one, confused and scared, and Shen Qingqiu began to stroke his back. „Well, you...“ He stopped for a moment. How should he say this? But then he decided to not hide anything.

„You changed into a demon.“

Finally Luo Binghe lifted his head. His expression was miserably, but even if he had demon features, he also became stunningly beautiful. „I don't want this!“, he cried out. „Will I have to stay like this?“

Distracted by his handsomeness, Shen Qingqiu needed a moment to focus again. „I don't think this will last forever“, he then said. „Your body is fighting the effects of the sap. It will need time to recover.“

Luo Binghe lowered his head, and Shen Qingqiu softly touched the horns. „It hurt, didn't it?“ His voice was soft, trying to soothe the young man in front of him who looked like a man in his mid twenties. „Yes, Shizun“, he whispered, admitting the truth. „It still hurts a bit, but I can bear with it.“

„You're strong“, Shen Qingqiu tried to encourage his disciple. „You'll overcome this. I will help you.“ He then stood up and prepared a camp. „You should meditate and try to bring it under control. I will pour some spiritual energy into your body to help you calm down.“

Luo Binghe nodded. „This disciple will follow Shizun's advice.“ It sounded strange with this voice, which sounded so deep and alluring. He sat down in lotus position and closed his eyes.

Shen Qingqiu sat beside him and held his hand while beginning to pour his spiritual energy into the other one. But he couldn't resist and watched his disciple.

With the aging of the body he had grown quite a lot. The clothes were now strained to the maximum, showing the muscular body beneath. His adam's apple bobbed up and down when he swallowed, something that wasn't that developed before. The hand Shen Qingqiu was holding was now as big as his own, maybe even a bit bigger, the sharp black claws making it into a dangerous weapon.

Shen Qingqiu looked away for a moment. This body was pure manliness! It took away the impression of softness which lingered in Luo Binghe's appearance. Quite different, but very alluring. If he was a woman, he might have fallen for him instantly!

He already had seen a vision of Luo Binghe's future self. But it was just that young man's imagination. So this was also a possibility...

He then took a closer look at his disciple's face. Defined features, a sharp, almost cruel gaze, the brows manly but furrowed right now. Still his lips seemed soft as if they were ready to kiss someone any time.

Shen Qingqiu was glad, that Luo Binghe had closed his eyes, because a hint of red was appearing on his cheeks. Body, stop it! I'm not a maiden in love!

Still scolding himself, he poured more energy into the other one's body.

Well, he said that this wasn't permanently, but he wasn't really sure. He only said this to reassure Luo Binghe. And he hoped to be right. With this features, Luo Binghe wasn't able to show himself in front of others. It was like pushing him in the abyss early on!

No. They would succeed. They would turn Luo Binghe back into the pure white flower he was.

They just needed some time.

Chapter Text

They took their time, and Shen Qingqiu finally felt, that the energies in Luo Binghe's body calmed down enough to stop treating him.

The young man didn't change back, but since there was such a turmoil in him before, Shen Qingqiu was relieved, that nothing more happened – like growing wings or a tail or something like this. Still... there was no way the young man could show himself like this openly.

So what to do?

Maybe they should ask Mu Qingfang for help? It was possible he had a cure – or would find a solution.

But Luo Binghe declined. „I'm not accepted as half-demon. To show myself like this wouldn't do me good.“ He clearly was afraid of how the other peak Lords would react. Shen Qingqiu somehow could understand this. If he didn't knew who and how his disciple was, he would've mistrusted him, too. But now... now he only felt some kind of guilt. His disciple was dejected, and it was only because he wasn't careful enough. Maybe he trusted too much in Luo Binghe to look out for him...

Inside this demon body it was still the young man, his disciple. He just looked different. And now it was time to look out for him in return.

„Still, we should return to Cang Qiong Mountain“, Shen Qingqiu said. „We will be safe there.“ He stood up and wanted to pack things up, when Luo Binghe grabbed his hand and held him back. His eyes were glowing mysteriously in the dim light, and Shen Qingqiu felt his heart beating a bit faster. „Let's finish our mission first“, the young man suddenly said.

What? Young man, you had such an... accident, but you still were thinking about the mission?!

„This can wait“, Shen Qingqiu said and tried to free his hand, but now there was a lot more power behind the grip.

„We came so far, it would be stupid to stop now.“

Luo Binghe's deep manly voice seeped right into his heart. Dangerous... utterly dangerous! But he was right. The last herb was near, and there was no town next to it, so they wouldn't be discovered on their way.

After a moment of pondering Shen Qingqiu finally nodded. „You're right. Then let's get the last herb quickly and go home after this.“

Only then did Luo Binghe let go and stood up himself. He was staggering a bit, not accustomed to this body of his. But finally he stood tall next to his Shizun. He was now a bit taller, and both seemed to have mixed feelings, seeing their positions reversed.

It was Shen Qingqiu who broke the awkward silence. „My, if you'll grow that high in the future, this Master will be sad“, he said with a half-joking tone and patted Luo Binghe on the shoulder. „I will miss the small disciple looking up to me.“

Luo Binghe lowered his head. His expression was unreadable. „This disciple will always look up to Shizun, even if this body will grow taller.“

With his voice so low, Shen Qingqiu felt like there was a hidden meaning, and he hid his face behind his fan before Luo Binghe could see the faint blush. „Stop talking nonsense with this voice“, he said with a hint of warmth in his voice before moving on, searching again for the exit.

-

It took quite some time, but finally they found a way out. Broad daylight was streaming into the cave, and Shen Qingqiu sighed in relief. „Binghe, we made it“, he said and stepped out, enjoying the fresh air and the warmth on his skin.

But then he realized, that Luo Binghe wasn't following him.

Irritated he turned around, only to see his disciple standing on the edge of the light. „What's wrong?“, he asked and took one step in the young man's direction.

Luo Binghe took one step back in the dark.

Young man, aren't you a bit too old for playing games like this?

Again he stepped forward, only to see his disciple going back.

„Binghe, come here!“, he said with a hint of anger. „Didn't we agree to leave the cave and search for the last herb?“

Luo Binghe flinched. „Yes, but...“ Anxiously he looked around. „I don't want you to see me like this in the sunlight...“

Really?!

Shen Qingqiu wanted to facepalm. „Why? This Master already saw you. There's no need to hide. It doesn't matter if it's sunny or the dim light of the cave! You are who you are, even if you look different right now.“

It was understandable, that this young man was scared to show himself right now to others. But there was no one else here beside the two of them! There was no difference between being in the cave and being out here! It didn't matter to him!

Well, it did matter.

Luo Binghe hesitated for a moment, but then he stepped outside. And Shen Qingqiu was staring in awe.

Was the young man already stunningly beautiful in the cave, seeing him now took his breath away for a moment. This was how a demon lord had to look like in his opinion. The protagonist of not only one novel, but whole series! Everything he saw a bit faint in the cave was now clearly in sight, leaving no place for imagination. Even the clothes showed the muscles and the rock hard eigth pack underneath. The white and green of the clothes were in contrast with his dark demon features, letting oneself concentrate more on the handsomeness.

„Shizun?“, Luo Binghe asked with a shy voice. Being stared at like this made him feel uncomfortable, even if it was his Shizun who was staring.

His voice brought Shen Qingqiu back to reality. „Uhm...“, he mumbled, trying to find an excuse, but Luo Binghe was the one talking with fear in his eyes. „Am I ugly?“

Ugly? Ugly?! You are the most handsome creature on this planet right now, young man! Ugly, my ass!

Shen Qingqiu was raging inside, while his face stayed calm. „Quite the opposite. I can't let anyone see you right now. Not because you look like a demon, but because everyone would try to steal you away.“

This compliment was turning Luo Binghe's heart upside down. For a moment, he thought he was so unsightly, that his Shizun was too shocked to avert his gaze. But... he... liked this look?

Instantly his whole face turned bright red, which gave him a hint of cuteness. „Sh-Shizun...“, he stammered, not knowing what to say or do.

Shen Qingqiu coughed slightly. „Don't get me wrong. This Master wants his disciple back. But it's not like the world will end if you stay like this for a while.“ He himself hid a bit of redness behind his fan again.

He had to admit it. Even if he was a straight man, the aura around his disciple was mostly alluring right now. It could bend most of the men in this world, he was sure of it. So it was reassuring, that his disciple still was the same on the inside. So it was a good thing to turn him back. A necessary thing. Meanwhile he could enjoy this look for a while. And maybe in the future...

Shen Qingqiu inwardly shook his head. No. Don't think about a future with a demon by his side. He was about to save Luo Binghe from blackening, to change his fate and avoid the fall into the abyss. There was no space for horns and claws on his disciple!

He took a last glance at Luo Binghe for now before mounting his sword. „Let's go. The earlier we finish this, the earlier we can find a way to change you back!“

Chapter Text

They landed on the shore of a lake. It wasn't a long distance to travel from the cave to this place, but for Shen Qingqiu it felt like eternity.

His disciple was flying next to him the whole time, and he couldn't help it, he had to steal some glances at the other one. There was no uncertainty left in the way he used his energy to fly on the sword; he was pure demonic elegance and maturity, bursting with strength. Only when he looked over to his Shizun, he became a bit unconcentrated and unstable.

Luo Binghe had wished to gain more affection of his Shizun, but now... it was awkward. He felt like this wasn't his true self, this wasn't the part of him that he wanted to be lookled at. It was kind of depressing. What was the saying? Be careful what you wish for?

The demonic whisper in his heart was quiet now, too. It seemed to be satisfied with his demon appearance, so it didn't need to act up, leaving him all alone with his thoughts.

He didn't see himself until now, and having the water which could reflect his appearance only few steps away, his heart was torn. Did he want to see what his Shizun obviously was longing for?

Shen Qingqiu, who was inspecting the lake, turned around to look at his disciple. Watching him ponder over something depressing made him feel weak. He walked over to the young man. „What are you thinking about?“

Luo Binghe jolted back. He was so deep in thoughts that he didn't see his Shizun coming closer. He then averted his gaze.

Shen Qingqiu took a step to the side, following his eyes. When Luo Binghe turned his head the other way, he did it again.

„Shizun!“

Finally, Luo Binghe looked up, his red eyes glimmering, his cheeks faintly pink. Shen Qingqiu nodded in satisfaction. „At least, you are looking at me now. Will you now tell this Master what's bothering you?“

The young man's mouth opened for a moment, then closed itself again. After a moment of silence a small laugh was heard. „I can't beat you in this, Shizun!“

He sat himself on the ground, looking up. With the heigh difference now, he seemed a lot more like the disciple he used to be, even if every move was manly and somehow... sexy.

Shen Qingqu kneeled down to not give off a feeling of being unreachable. He wanted his disciple to trust him, after all.

„I didn't know we had a contest going on?“, he asked a bit jokingly, fanning himself. „But of course this Master would win!“ But then he turned serious. „Will you now tell me what's wrong?“

Luo Binghe sighed. „Shizun...will you still accept this disciple if he turns back?“

Shen Qingqiu's eyes widened. „Of course. Why shouldn't I?“

The other one bit his lip for a moment. „Well... Shizun seems to like this appearance very much...“

What?

Luckily, Shen Qingqiu still hid his face behind his fan, so his disciple couldn't see him blush.

Well... he had to admit, that it really was a sight to behold! And yes...maybe... he was looking a bit more than usual... a tiny little bit?

But it was just appearance! Nothing more! A very nice appearance, indeed. But that didn't matter. It was Luo Binghe's heart and soul that mattered after all.

So he cleared his throat before going on. „Well, you're really handsome like this, I told you already. But what I already told you, too, is, that no matter how you look, it is you I want as my disciple. The Luo Binghe inside of this body.“

He reached out and touched the place where Luo Binghe's heart was beating fast underneath his skin. „Your heart, your soul, your spirit. That are the things that matter to me.“

Tears were welling up in Luo Binghe's eyes, and he closed them, laying his hand over the other one's. „Thank you, Shizun“, he whispered, and Shen Qingqiu was close to blushing again.

Don't whisper with this voice, young man! It gives me goosebumps the wrong way!

He pulled his hand back and ruffled up the young man's hair. „Don't worry. Maybe you will look like this in the future, maybe not. But you will still be the same.“

Luo Binghe nodded, seemingly relieved. He then looked in the direction of the water. „I want... to see myself“, he said shyly. „Will you accompany me?“

Shen Qingqiu nodded. This young man still was so soft inside, so insecure! He waited until his disciple stood up and then followed.

Slowly Luo Binghe leaned forward to look into the water mirror. What he saw took away his breath.

„This is... me?“

He touched his own face, the lips, the ears. His fingers trailed along the horns, only to turn back to his cheeks.

Shen Qingqiu stood behind him. „Maybe now you understand why I was looking so much. It is quite different to what you really look like.“

Luo Binghe stared a bit longer before averting his gaze. „This is not me“, he stated.

„Yes and no.“

The young man felt a hand on his shoulder. „It is a part of you, a part of the demon blood inside of you. Don't deny it. And I think it's better than transforming into a fierce beast or something like this?“ Shen Qingqiu spoke soothingly, and finally Luo Binghe calmed down. „Shizun is right.“ He smiled a bit awkward. „Shizun is always right.“

He stood up to face his Shizun again. „And as long as Shizun accepts this disciple like this, I won't hide any longer!“

This firm resolve, Luo Binghe was emitting, the strength...

Wow.

So this was a stallion protagonist after all. Even his knees became a bit weak now!

„As long as you hold this in mind, then everything will be fine.“ Shen Qingqiu turned to the lake to hide the mixed feelings welling up inside of him. Change of topic! Now!

„We only need the herb growing here, then we can return home“, he said while bringing his voice under control. „But it's under water in the middle of the lake. I have to dive.“

„I'll do it.“

Surprised Shen Qingqiu looked at his disciple. „You?“

Luo Binghe nodded. „I am very good at diving. It will be done in no time.“

Well... There is nothing you're not good at, young man! But yes, that would be very convenient. Shen Qingqiu wasn't the best at sports in his last life, and he didn't really test it out what he was capable of without using spiritual energy.

And so Shen Qingqiu nodded. „Very well. Then undress yourself. I will cast a protection spell that will help you save your breath under water.“

The disciple did what he was told while Shen Qingqiu closed his eyes and concentrated on the spell. When he opened them again, he almost fainted out of surprise.

The whole young man had matured so much!

He couldn't resist to look at him from head to toe, resting for a moment at that huge... thing between his legs.

This couldn't fit in any body, neither male nor female If erected this really was a sky pillar rising up to the heavens! Airplane Bro, what were you thinking designing your protagonist like this!

Luo Binghe blushed again. „Shizun, please! No staring“, he said a bit helpless and shy, trying to hide his intimate parts with his hands.

Shen Qingqiu coughed slightly. He then made a handseal and put his fingertips to Luo Binghe's forehead. A small blue light appeared and merged with his body.

„Be careful“, he said, and the young man nodded.

A moment later Luo Binghe sprang into the water and vanished under the surface.

Chapter Text

Luo Binghe sure took his sweet time collecting the herb, and Shen Qingqiu was sitting at the shore, waiting like a wife for her husband to return. He sighed and stared at the pile of clothes the young man had left. They were neatly folded and sorted.

They had to buy new ones again...

But that wasn't the main point. What was bothering him the most was the fact, that he didn't know how to face the sect master now.

It was not that he didn't trust his Shixiong. But...

He blushed by the mere thougth of Luo Binghe's naked body. Holy, he needed to talk to Airplane Bro! What was he thinking when he created such a protagonist!

He himself had some kind of...positive reaction to the changes. But how would Yue Qingyuan react?

He said he needed to be convinced, that this young man wasn't dangerous, that he would do no harm to the people living on Cang Qiong Mountain. That surely didn't change, but it was so hard to prove now.

People were judging a book by its cover after all. Not his Shixiong. But others. The people living on Cang Qiong Mountain were no exception. And Yue Qingyuan knew it.

It was on the Sect Master to decide how to proceed to make sure the peace and safety of the sect were guaranteed.

Shen Qingqiu finally decided to send a talisman beforehand and meet outside Cang Qiong Mountain. This way it would be safe for both parties to talk about the future without being noticed by others. If Yue Qingyuan didn't let Luo Binghe return, Shen Qingqiu would find shelter with him in some distance. He wouldn't leave his disciple now.

Shen Qingqiu sighed again. Why was this so complicated? He just wanted to gain the points needed, nothing more!

Talking about points...

The system didn't act up lately, so he almost forgot about it. And now he didn't dare to ask anything. He had a feeling this wasn't a good idea... This plot was so twisted now, it felt almost like he was in a whole different novel! It was a good thing per se, when the shitty plot and such changed. But there was no way to predict now how this would turn out.

He was scared. Yes, he had to admit it.

At first he just wanted to survive. Maybe while hugging Luo Binghe's leg, if this wasn't possible, idling the days away would've been enough. Now he was hoping for a happy end – for both of them. While traveling with this young man he began to feel attached somehow. He felt, that he would miss the protagonist if he'd leave his side.

Wasn't there a way to convince him to stay?

Shen Qingqiu knew, that this was a selfish request. But oh well, everything he did was selfish, wasn't it? So regarding this matter it wouldn't hurt to follow the path further.

He was still pondering, when finally something broke through the surface of the lake. With a few strong strokes a black shadow came nearer until the water was shallow enough to stand.

Luo Binghe shook his head and let drops of water splashed everywhere. In one arm he held a lot of the herbs they were looking for.

But Shen Qingqiu only had eyes for his disciple.

It was the shitty cliché romance stuff. An overly handsome man coming out of the water, drops sliding down the bare naked skin, the hair glistening in the sunlight...

He needed a moment to focus himself. Even if he wasn't bent, this sight would've caught everyone's attention! Then he stood up to receive the plants. „You did very vell, Binghe.“

The young man was smiling brightly. „Thanks to Shizun this disciple was able to collect that much!“

The mesmerizing red eyes were staring into his own, looking down into his soul. Shen Qingqiu and his disciple were standing there for a moment, not moving an inch. Suddenly Shen Qingqiu broke eye contact and turned away. „You should dry yourself up so we can move on.“

Dangerous! He felt like being sucked into this beautiful demonic eyes!

Luo Binghe's gaze followed his Shizun who tried to hide how fast his heart was pounding right now. He had mixed feelings, seeing him somehow flustered. On the one hand he didn't want his Shizun to look at this body too much. On the other hand... wasn't it because of him? Was he able to win his Shizun over when he grew up?

He sat down and dried his hair, thinking. At least it didn't matter how, he just wanted his Shizun by his side, seeing him, talking to him. And...

He didn't think the next part through. He still was naked. Going further, even in his mind ,would mean there was no way to hide it from his Shizun. And so he shoved this into the back of his mind and concentrated on tying his hair. But with the demon features it was almost impossible for him, and so he gave up, looking up miserably to his Shizun.

The other one had watched him working so concentrated at his hair and hid a grin behind his fan. This was way too funny! Protagonist, now you are big and sexy but aren't able to tie a simple ponytail!

He made a gesture with his hand. „Leave it to me, young man!“

He stepped behind Luo Binghe, and with few moves he tied the hair and attached the crown with a hairpin. „There. All done.“

Luo Binghe smiled a bit awkwardly. „Many thanks, Shizun.“ He was embarrassed to not being able to do it alone, but to have his hair tied by his Shizun was... nice. Maybe he would do it again for him as long as he was in this form?

What Luo Binghe didn't know were the struggles Shen Qingqiu had in the beginning after transmigrating. His original hair was short, so the mass of hair he now had on his head was new to him. And to tie it properly... he practiced a whole day and a whole night only on getting the knot right where it belonged! Not minding the details!

Even now he sometimes cursed this hair and just wanted to cut it down, knowing this would be way too OOC in this setting. So he had to endure it. He had to admit, it suited this body very well.

But that was a secret he would never tell anyone about!

-

When Luo Binghe was dressed up again, they set sail to their home. Shen Qingqiu told his disciple about meeting up with Yue Qingyuan in front of Cang Qiong Mountain, and the young man agreed. He didn't want to stir up any trouble. Even if he didn't get along with the people there – it was still his home. And most of all, it was his Shizun's home.

And so they landed some distance away. Luo Binghe made a campfire while Shen Qingqiu sent out the talisman.

It took Yue Qingyuan no time to arrive. Concerned he looked at his Shidi who was waiting patiently. „What happened?“, he asked and looked around. „You were speaking of some trouble? And where is your disciple you took with you?“

„Well...“, Shen Qingqiu was fanning himself. „That's exactly the problem I was talking about.“

He turned around and made a welcoming gesture. After a moment of hesitation Luo Binghe stepped out from behind a tree.

„...“

Yue Qingyuan's eyes went wide. He always had something to say and find the right words in every situation, but this time he was utterly speechless.

„You see“, Shen Qingqiu went on. „A lot happened on the way, and now he is looking like this...“

Luo Binghe had his head lowered and didn't dare to look at the Sect Master.

Yue Qingyuan stared for a moment longer, than he heaved a sigh. „Oh well...“ he sat down at the campfire next to Shen Qingqiu. „Would you mind telling me what exactly happened?“

Chapter Text

„...and so this young man happened to be trapped in this body.“ Shen Qingqiu ended his report. „We were now hoping to meet with Mu Qingfang to ask him if he knew a cure.“

Yue Qingyuan was resting his chin in his hand, watching the young man sitting by his Shizun's side. Luo Binghe didn't say a word even once and was only staring at the ground. Sometimes he blushed a bit when his Shizun praised his actions, and Shen Qingqiu wasn't sparing with good words for him. He wanted to convince his Shixiong to let him stay, after all.

After Shen Qingqiu ended, Yue Qingyuan sighed deeply. „You never know what's hidden behind something that seems so easy in the beginning“, he said, and now it was Shen Qingqiu who lowered his head. „Shixiong...“, he began, but Yue Qingyuan waved with his hand. „Can't be helped. It wasn't anyone's fault.“

His gaze wandered back to Luo Binghe, and the young man finally looked up. „This disciple just don't want to cause any trouble for Shizun“, he said with his deep voice, and Yue Qingyuan nodded. „I know.“

He stood up and smiled slightly. „You did a good job protecting my Shidi. I owe you for this.“ He then laid one hand on his chin. „The question is how we can go on. You can't hide forever, so the best thing would be to find a cure soon.“

Luo Binghe lowered his head again.

„But since it would be very exhausting for Mu Qingfang to search for you day in and day out, it would be better to stay close and in one spot where he could find you.“

It was now Shen Qingqiu who looked up. „So you mean...“

„Hide him in your bamboo hut.“ Yue Qingyuan's smile widened a bit. „I know I told you to not have intimate contact with your disciple, but there's no other way right now. Stay close to him and let no one near him.“

Shen Qingqiu was a bit irritated by the remark, while Luo Binghe was blushing deeply. „So it is okay to return?“

Yue Qingyuan nodded. „I will make sure that Liu Qingge won't come near you for some time and inform Mu Qingfang about the circumstances. He will visit you soon.“

He took a last glance at the both of them. „Take your time. Maybe it would be best if you return at nightfall or later.“

With this, the Sect Master left, leaving two relieved people behind.

They sat in silence for a moment. "Sect Master is a very generous person“, Luo Binghe suddenly said.

„He knows me for quite some time now“, Shen Qingqiu replied. „So he knows how to interpret my talking.“

Luo Binghe blushed again, remembering what his Shizun said. „Shizun praised me quite a lot“, he whispered, and before Shen Qingqiu could react, he felt a head on his shoulder.

He wanted to push the young man away, but then he realized, that Luo Binghe was sleeping. All the action of the last days, the transformation and the insecurity of what would happen now took their toll on him. And so Shen Qingqiu stayed where he was and let the young man sleep for a bit.

-

They followed Yue Qingyuan's advice and arrived at midnight at Shen Qingqiu's bamboo hut. No one had seen them, and so Shen Qingqiu opened the door relieved, when-

„You two sure are late.“

In the middle of the room sat a person. He was calmly sipping tea as if nothing could disturb him in any way. His face was illuminated by a candle, revealing some traces of tiredness. But other than that he seemed indifferent, even while looking up to Luo Binghe.

„I was waiting for quite a while now.“

„Mu Qingfang!“ Shen Qingqiu cried out in surprise, but then he took a deep breath and lowered his head a bit. „I am very sorry, but it was safer this way.“

Mu Qingfang just nodded before standing up. „You found all the herbs?“

„Yes. With some difficulties, but... yes.“ Shen Qingqiu handed them over, and instantly the system woke up.

[Mission 'Collecting Herbs' accomplished. 500 points were added.]

...thank godness. At least that had worked out. Now there was only one... problem for now. He looked at his disciple who was quietly standing beside him.

The other Peak Lord followed Shen Qingqiu's gaze and stepped over to inspect Luo Binghe. „Mhmh“, he mumbled. „I see, I see.“

Luo Binghe became insecure. He avoided the gaze of the other one and instead looked a bit miserably back at his Shizun. He then suddenly felt a hand on his chin, turning his head forcefully back to the Peak Lord. „Look at me“, Mu Qingfang ordered.

„Please follow his lead“, Shen Qingqiu said. „He needs more information and has to see the change for himself.“

Luo Binghe was dejected, but he did as he was told. Since his Shizun trusted this man, he didn't want to cause trouble. And so he exchanged gazes with Mu Qingfang who observed every move.

„Speak to me“, the Peak Lord ordered again. „Then show me your teeth.“

Luo Binghe swallowed. „What exactly does this disciple should talk about?“, he asked with his deep voice, but Mu Qingfang nodded. „That's enough. Teeth, please.“

He waited until Luo Binghe opened his mouth, then began touching the sharp fangs. He inspected his tongue, too, just to find nothing unusual.

„Sit down“, he then said with a wave to the bed.

Again, Luo Binghe looked at his Shizun, and Shen Qingqiu nodded. „It's fine. Go on.“

I know, this is hard for you, but please bear with it, young man. It's for your own good.

Shen Qingqiu watched when Mu Qingfang inspected the horns and the pointy ears. He gripped one of Luo Binghe's hands and touched the black claws with interest. After a while he was satisfied and with this, he gave his final comment.

„Undress yourself.“

Instantly Luo Binghe blushed deeply, and Shen Qingqiu lifted his fan and fanned himself discreetly. „But-“, he voiced, but the Peak Lord was merciless. „I have to see for myself how your condition is. You're a man after all, so don't behave like a young maiden!“

Wow. Shen Qingqiu knew, that Mu Qingfang was very serious about his work. But since he seemed indifferent and tired most of the time, Shen Qingqiu never knew he could command others like this. Good, that he hid his grin behind the fan!

As if he needed permission, Luo Binghe looked a third time at his Shizun. Seeing that he wasn't moving away, just watching quietly, he sighed and gave in. He wasn't alone. His Shizun wouldn't leave him now.

Slowly he began undressing, and the slowness made it even more sexy than just exposing his body. Shen Qingqiu coughed slighty, and even Mu Qingfang raised an eyebrow and stared at the perfect masculine body in front of him.

„Well-matured“, the Peak Lord said on point what Shen Qingqiu thought the whole time.

Luo Binghe blushed again, resisting the urge to hide himself. He turned around when he was ordered, showing his broad back and a booty that lets every man became green of envy. Shen Qingqiu had to look away for a moment to calm himself down. He didn't have the time to look at his disciple's backside for long when they were at the lake, and now he didn't dare.

But the voice of the other Peak Lord resounded in the bamboo hut, and so he had to turn his gaze back.

„Was this here before?“

He had lifted Luo Binghe's ponytail up and pointed at the neck. Shen Qingqiu stepped next to Mu Qingfang to take a closer look.

Startled he shook his head. „No.“

He was sure. He had tied Luo Binghe's hair upnonly short time ago, so he would have seen this.

But right now small black scales were growing there and beginning to climb down his back.

Chapter Text

Luo Binghe tried to turn his head around, but Mu Qingfang gripped his chin again and forced him to look straight forward.

Shen Qingqiu touched the scales with his fingertips. They felt hard and a bit cold. „Do you feel this touch, Binghe?“

„...faintly.“ Luo Binghe hesitated. „It seems Shizun barely touches this spot.“

Shen Qingqiu swallowed.

„So this is getting worse?“, he asked, and Mu Qingfang shrugged with his shoulders. „It seems so.“

His heart sunk. And even Luo Binghe's shoulders slumped forward. „But is there a cure?“

„That I don't know.“ Mu Qingfan allowed the young man to dress himself and walked to the window, thinking. „I will try to find a solution. But first we need to stabilize his energy even more.“

Shen Qingqiu sat down, and Luo Binghe followed when he was dressed again. The young man was shaken, and so was his Shizun. „How can we stabilize this?“

„By transferring spiritual energy.“ Mu Qingfang was still deep in thoughts, but then he turned around. „I will send you some pills to help you recover your energy. They can have some smaller side effects, but it will be endurable.“

As if the system had waited for another moment to shine, it rang up and announced:

[A side quest appeared: Returning the protagonist's body back to normal. Worth: 500 points. Do you want to accept?]

Shen Qingqiu had a bad feeling about the side effects, but he had no choice. He would've done this even if there wasn't this chance to gain more points. And so he accepted the side quest silently.

„I will visit you tomorrow and get the medics“, Shen Qingqiu said quietly. „Maybe you already have clue until now.“

After this, Mu Qingfang left. Luo Binghe was looking tothe ground, feeling powerless and dejected. „Shizun“, he said with a weak voice. „I'm sorry.“

Shen Qingqiu sighed. „I feared this would happen. When you first transformed, I gave you a lot of my spiritual energy. But there is nothing left of it in your body, so of course the transformation would go on. But I believe in Mu Qingfang.“

He patted Luo Binghe on the shoulder. „Everything is going to be alright.“

Luo Binghe grabbed his Shizun's hand. Fear flickered in the beautiful eyes of his. „I don't want to transform any further. But most of all I dont want Shizun to bring danger over himself because of me!“

Shen Qingqiu squeezed the young man's hand gently. „If Mu Qingfang says the side effects are endureable, then I have no fear.“

While holding hands, Shen Qingqiu began transferring some energy into Luo Binge's body. „I don't know how much spiritual energy is needed to stop the transformation completely. We will have to find out. But at least it should slow down the process.“

Luo Binghe closed his eyes. The gentle energy was flowing through his veins, calming the blood inside of him. „Please don't transfer too much, Shizun. I don't want you to weaken yourself.“

A faint smile appeared on Shen Qingqiu's face. „Don't underestimate me, young man. This Master has a lot of energy to spare!“

Luo Binghe smiled faintly, too. „Thanks, Shizun...“

No. Don't thank me, young man. It was my duty to look out for you, to protect you. And I failed greatly.

Shen Qingqiu felt guilty and poured more spiritual energy in his disciple's body.

-

They laid down together in Shen Qingqiu's bed. Since Luo Binghe was hiding in his Shizun's hut and he still had to receive spiritual energy, they had no other choice. But they already slept together, so that was nothing new. Except...

„You are way too big, Binghe!“

Shen Qingqiu scowled a bit while looking at the big puppy in his bed. „Why did you have to grow so huge?!“

„Shizun, this disciple is very sorry.“ Shen Qingqiu could almost see puppy ears drooping. „This wasn't this disciple's intention.“

I know, young man. I was just teasing you.

Shen Qingqiu sighed inwardly before pulling Luo Binghe's arm out so he could rest his head on it. „Don't cry when your arm grows numb at night.“

Luo Binghe blushed, feeling his Shizun so close by his side. „This disciple would never complain!“

„Very well. Then go on and sleep. I will pour some more spiritual energy into you.“ Shen Qingqiu gripped Luo Binghe's hand again. „You need every strength possible right now.“

Luo Binghe smiled, and some of the innocence he was harbouring showed on his lips. He didn't know if it was because of the transformation or because he felt the calming spiritual energy inside of him, but this time his body didn't react in an improper way. And that made him somehow happy. He could enjoy being next to his Shizun now without anything disturbing him.

He closed his eyes and inhaled the faint scent of the other one. It was somehow sweet and calming, and soon he was sleeping again.

Shen Qingqiu stayed up for a long time, pouring more energy. When he heard a soft snoring, he stopped and stroked Luo Binghe's cheek. „Shizun“, he whispered, and startled Shen Qingqiu pulled his hand away. But the young man didn't wake up. Instead, it seemed to let him sleep even deeper.

With a sigh, he stroked Luo Binghe a bit more until he fell asleep, too.

-

The sun was already high up in the sky when Shen Qingqiu woke up. He felt something heavy on his chest and his whole body was warm. When he opened his eyes, he saw, that an arm was encircling him, while he was pulled into an embrace. He blushed and felt a bit uncomfortably, seeing the overly handsome face in closeup now.

But ah, he felt too sluggish to stand up now. His disciple was still sleeping like a log, and he didn't feel like there was an escape out of this embrace. And so he closed his eyes and tried to meditate.

It was then when there was a knock on the door. „Shizun?“, he heard a female voice from outside.

Fuck. Fuckfuckfuck!

The last one he wanted to see right now – beside Liu Qingge – was Ning YingYing. How did she find out he returned?!

He was thinking about a solution, when he heard her sighing outside. „Still not there... Shizun where are you? Ning YingYing misses you dearly!“

With this he heard footsteps leaving the ground. He breathed a sigh of relieved, when suddenly he heard another voice, this time deep and right next to his ear. „It's good that she left.“

Startled, Shen Qingqiu turned his head around, only to see red mesmerizing eyes staring at him. He needed a moment to calm down. „Why didn't you tell me you were awake?“

Luo Binghe slowly sat up. A faint blush was covering his cheeks again. „This disciple just woke up. I don't know what I have done when she had seen us... like this.“

Ah so the young man knew it was improper to hug his Shizun like this? Wasn't he ashamed? And... no, he really didn't want to know what this young man meant!

„It would be easier if you didn't hug this Master in your sleep“, Shen Qingqiu responded and finally stood up. Ah, this was better, to being too close wasn't good for his heart!

But to be honest – even if Luo Binghe didn't hug him, this situation would give the wrong impression to everyone.

With few moves he washed himself up before turning to Luo Binghe again. „I will go out running some errands. You stay here and meditate.“

The young man could only nod and watch his Shizun leave. It hurt him, but he had no other choice but to do as he was told. With a sigh he sat down in lotus position and began trying to bring the different forces in him under control.

Chapter Text

Mu Qingfang was already waiting for him. He made a small package of pills ready and gave it to Shen Qingqiu. „Before you ask: No, I don't have an idea. I will experiment with the herb, and maybe I need some blood froom your disciple. And no, I can't predict what side effects the pills will have. But they'll boost your spiritual energy to the max, so be careful when taking them.“

Shen Qingiqu nodded while receiving the pills. He thanked the other one and wanted to leave, but suddenly his hand was grabbed. „What happened to the 'Without A Cure'-poison inside of your body?“

He should have known that Mu Qingfang was aware that he forgot to take the medicine. He coughed. „Well, you see...“

Mu Qingfang sighed. „You didn't found a cure, you found another way to suppress it, right?“

Shen Qingqiu nodded. „It is quite the unconventional way“, he admitted before telling the other one what happened.

„Demon blood truly is powerful“, Mu Qingfang said after hearing the story. „I want to research it!“

„I will ask Luo Binghe for his help in this matter“, Shen Qingqiu promised. „But now I will help him return to normal.“

The other one was in deep thoughts again. Shen Qingqiu wanted to leave, when he heard his voice again. „He really is handsome like this.“

Huh?

„Ah... well... yeah, he is.“ Shen Qingqiu answered slowly. What was Mu Qingfang thinking by making such a remark?

„Maybe it would be better if he stayed like this?“

Okay, that was too much.

„What are you implying?“ He raised an eyebrow and fixated his gaze at the other one. „Just because his demonic appearance is pleasing to the eyes, should I let him suffer and imprison him? He can't show himself like this, this is no life worth living!“

Mu Qingfang smiled satisfied. „It's good to hear this words from you. Keep them in mind.“ He then turned his back to the other one, and Shen Qingqiu knew, that the conversation has ended.

-

Shen Qingqiu visited some other stations before returning to his bamboo hut. He still felt sluggish from the energy transfer, and so he was glad when he closed the door behind him.

What awaited him was an obedient disciple who was meditating – and a lot of prepared food.

Ah yes, that was his sweet diciple. He had thought of what Mu Qingfang had said, and he knew, there was a deeper meaning, coming from this person. Still, he didn't have a clue what this was about. But seeing the other one waiting for him like this, like a caged animal waiting for his Master, it hurt. He had to give Luo Binghe back his life.

Shen Qingqiu sat the bag down and inspected the dishes. „Binghe, when did you make all this?“

Luo Binghe opened his eyes. „Well, Shizun went away for quite some time, so this disciple thought he would be hungry when he came back.“

Astounded, Shen Qingqiu looked at his disciple. „That's true, but... did anyone see you?“

Proudly, Luo Binghe shook his head. „No. I went to the kitchen when no one was there. This disciple was very careful!“

Well, he believed the young man. And he really was hungry, so Shen Qingqiu began to eat. So delicious! He almost had tears in his eyes. „Please sit down with me, Binghe. Dont let this old man eat alone.“

The other one did what he was told and sat down next to his Shizun. Shen Qingqiu watched his disciple trying to eat, but had difficulties holding the chopsticks with his claws. „Was it difficult to make all of this?“, he asked, feeling guilty. But Luo Binghe shook his head. „As long as Shizun likes the food, then everything was worth it.“

Shen Qingqiu lowered his head a bit. „You don't need to cook until you turn back. I don't want you to feel forced.“

A strained smile appeared on the young man's face. „This disciple doesn't feel forced. Shizun, please don't take this task away from me.“

Oh my... can't be helped, can it?

„Then do as you wish“, he said. „Just take care not to be seen by others.“

-

The pills were spread out on the table. Luo Binghe was looking at them with interest and fright. „Shizun really want to take them?“, he asked carefully.

Shen Qingqiu nodded. „One at a time. I don't want too many side effects at once.“

He reached out to fetch one of the round glistening pills, when Luo Binghe stopped his hand. „Shizun doesn't have to. Not for the sake of this unworthy disciple.“

„If not for you, for whom would I do this?“, he asked in return, and when Luo Binghe hesitated, he take a hold on one pill and swallowed it. He then closed his eyes, waiting for something to happen.

But to his surprise, everyhing was fine.

„Is Shizun alright?“, Luo Binghe said with concern in his voice.

„Yes, I'm...“, Shen Qingqiu began, but suddenly his body began burning up.

The burst of energy was overwhelming!

Helpless he reached out to hold himself up, hold anything... anything would be fine!

Luo Binghe cried out when his Shizun fell backwards and caught him just in time. „Shizun!“

Shen Qingqiu's vision was blurred. „Bin...ghe?“, he asked. He was sweating profoundly, like he had a high fever.

„I'm here, Shizun.“ Fear was crawling up his spine, but the young man tried to look positive. „It will be better soon, surely this is just for a moment!“

Luo Binghe wanted to jump up and run over to Mu Qingfang, but there was no way no one would see him. Ad so he just bit his lip and wiped away the sweat on his Shizun's face. The other Peak Lord said, it would be endurable, so he had to trust this man.

Shen Qingqiu lifted a hand. It felt like it was on fire. Trembling, he laid it at Luo Binghe's cheek.

The next moment it was Luo Binghe's world who was bursting in flames.

The rush of spiritual energy entering his body was almost too much to bear! Gasping he tried to breathe, but even this was almost impossible.

His soul was drowning in pure white spiritual energy, was washed away like a leaf in a stormy river. His whole body was filled to the brim with energy, not able to contain all of it and on the verge of breaking...

Suddenly it was over. Shen Qingqiu's hand fell down when he passed out, ending the connection between him and his disciple.

Luo Binghe bent forward and buried his head on Shen Qingqiu's chest, panting like he had run for a thousand miles and climbed a hundred mountains afterwards.

That was way too much! His body couldn't hold all of the energy!

When he finally calmed himself down, he was able to lift his Shizun up and lay him down on the bed. The fever had subsided and now he was sleeping peacefully.

Gently, Luo Binghe tucked a strand of hair behind his Shizun's ear. „There has to be another way“, he mumbled to himself. „Taking this pills isn't good for both of us...“

He then had an idea. It was a gamble, but he saw no other way.

And when night fell, he left his sleeping Shizun and vanished into the night.

Chapter Text

„I don't know, I know nothing!“

Shan Qinghua was cowering on the ground, shielding his head with his arms. In front of him stood a raging protagonist, looking like a demon and gritting his teeth in frustration.

„What do you mean, you don't know?!“

His muscular body was almost bursting out of his clothes when he moved, and Shang Qinghua couldn't help but look up. There was another man created after his ideals in his heart, but right now, his protagonist was hella hot. This father was very proud!

But he wasn't proud of the tantrum his child was throwing right now.

„I'm a simple Peak Lord, how should I know about how to return a demon into a human?!“

„Because you know more than you tell.“ Luo Binghe was squatting down, holding his head in his hands. „I won't ask you what exactly you know, but... help me! I need a solution. Something that doesn't hurt Shizun any more!“

Slowly Shang Qinghua looked up. What did he hear from this young man right now? „You care so much for him?“

„Of course!“ His voice thundered through the hut. „He is the most precious person for me!“

Even if the protagonist was pressuring him.. somehow, Shang Qinghua felt sorry for him, seeing him so helpless. He felt like a father arguing with his son – and wanting to help him after all.

But... there still was the system. And wasn't it his novel after all?

Screw this shit! The plot was a whole mess, so why should he care about anything plot-related anymore?! He could do what he wanted with the storyline now! And so he spoke up after some time. „Maybe there is something I can do. But I can't promise anything!“

Instantly Luo Binghe's face lit up, radiating handsomeness with this beyond imagination. Shang Qinghua couldn't help it; his heart began to race a bit. Holy shit, what did he create with this beast?!

He swallowed. No, he had to resist this temptation! He had his dream man by his side, there was no need to look after other men... children... whatever!

„What do I have to do?“ Luo Binghe's voice was way calmer than before. „I'm ready to do whatever is necessary.“

Shang Qinghua was impressed. Even being only 16, this young man acted very grown-up. It warmed his heart. „Nothing. I will contact you if I can say more.“

-

When Luo Binghe returned, his Shizun was awake again. His face was pale, and when the other one entered the bamboo hut, he jumped up, but almost stumbled back again. „Binghe! Where have you been?“

The young man wasn't able to hide his concern, and so Luo Binghe sprinted forward and grabbed his hand, stabilizing his Shizun. „Shizun! How are you feeling?“

Puzzled Shen Qingqiu stopped in his tracks. „I'm fine... I think?“ He was about to scold his disciple, but the fear of being left alone subsided when he saw the big demonic puppy in front of him. „But where were you, Binghe? This Master was worried...“

A sigh of relief escaped the other one's lips. He slumped down on the floor, still holding his Shizun's hand. „Don't... don't take these pills anymore!“

Shen Qingqiu kneeled down. „I can't. You need my spiritual energy. Besides, you didn't tell me where you went?“ He stroked Luo Binghe's soft hair soothingly.

„I was... visiting someone who may help us.“ Luo Binghe suddenly felt tired, and his head sank down a bit. „Shizun...this disciple was worried, too.“

Did you know how shocked I was? How desperate?

But Luo Binghe had the feeling, that this thoughts would never reach his Shizun. He didn't want him to hurt himself because of this unworthy disciple.

To his surprise, Shen Qingqiu nodded. „I know, Binghe.“ He lifted the young man's chin. „We both worry about each other. And in the end we don't want the other one to be harmed, but self-sacrifice is the same as stabbing each other. It's enough.“ He smiled a bit sadly. „We should stop this and accept the effort the other one is offering.“

Shen Qingqiu had some time to think when he woke up. At first he thought the young man was caught by other people here. But there was no way they wouldn't try to wake him up if that had happened. Then he thought maybe he had run away. But that wasn't a thing his disciple would do. And so he only thought of one option: Luo Binghe was searching for a solution by himself.

But since he didn't know where his disciple went, he had no choice but to wait. And as time went by, his concern grew stronger and stronger, that something bad had happened to him.

This fear was just to painful!

He remembered, how desperate Luo Binghe was when he fell down because of the „Without A Cure“-poison. It must have been the same for the young man.

So it was time to come to an agreement. Otherwise this would repeat again and again.

Luo Binghe was listening and then sighed. „So what does Shizun want to do from now on?“

„We should tell each other what we are planning to do. That is the first step.“ Shen Qingqiu was happy, that his disciple was so understanding. „And we have to tolerate what the other one wants to do. In exchange...“ His gaze was stern. „We both need to know our limits and don't try to harm ourselves. We have to stay safe and healthy.“

This was easy to understand. Watch out for yourself and let the other one do what he wants to do.

Luo Binghe thought a bit about it. Then he nodded. „This disciple will try to do as he was told“, he whispered. Without a warning, he pulled his Shizun into an embrace.

Shen Qingqiu was too tired to resist. „Binghe, this is inappropriate“, he said weakly while feeling the manly arms around him, smelling the masculine scent and hearing the strong beating of the other one's heart. The whole situation was overwhelming for him, too, so he had to admit, it was a good feeling to be hugged like this. To feel protected and be allowed to feel weak for a moment.

„Shizun should push this disciple away“, Luo Binghe said in a low seductive voice, sending a shiver down Shen Qingqiu's spine. „Because right now this disciple don't want to let go for a long time.“

No. Don't let go. It was fine like this. Shen Qingqiu knew that he shouldn't give in, but just for now...

Shen Qingqiu tried so desperatly to hold up his aloof and distanced manner the whole time, but right now it wasn't possible. His body still was exhausted, and so he stayed like this for a while, before he ordered the other one: „We should go to bed, Binghe. We both need to sleep.“ He tried to free himself and stand up, but suddenly felt lifted up by strong arms.

„Binghe?!“, he yelped in surprise, clinging at the other's neck.

„Don't worry, Shizun, this disciple just carries you to bed“, Luo Binghe said overy calm, giving his Shizun goosebumps.

That's sweet of you, young man, but you don't need to princess carry me!

But he wasn't able to scold the young man, since the distance to the bed was short and... it wasn't that bad.

Gently Luo Binghe laid his Shizun down, smiling warmly. „Thank you for being so nice and considerate to this disciple.“

With this, he climbed over his Shizun, giving him almost a heart attack. But he only laid beside him and stretched out his arm to be a pillow for his Shizun again.

Shen Qingqiu needed a moment to calm himself down, but finally he found the position he had the night before, too. „If you want to thank me, then sleep and recover“, he said, closing his eyes and drifting off to sleep in an instant.

While the other one was sleeping, Luo Binghe watched his Shizun for a while. After he was sure the other one wouldn't wake up any time soon, he lifted his hand and traced his Shizun's cheeks with his fingertip, sliding along the smooth skin and resting on his lips. Seeing the ugly black claw, he grimaced. This claw shouldn't touch his Shizun! Luo Binghe had the feeling, this body he had right now could stain the other one way too easy. And he wanted to avoid this at all costs!

He wanted his Shizun to stay the pure saintly immortal. This was the man he had feelings for. He knew it for a long time now, but for the first time there was the tiny hope, that his Shizun felt something, too.

When he turned back he would admit his feelings to Shizun. Maybe.

Chapter Text

When Luo Binghe woke up, his Shizun was already dressed and was inspecting something. He sat up and looked over, just to see some clothes spread on the ground.

There were two different robes, but both were made for disciples of Bai Zhan Peak. But there were some green details. Especially the sash was made for Qing Jing Peak disciples.

Luo Binghe raised an eyebrow, watching the unsatisfied look on his Shizun's face, who was tipping his fan to his chin. He was pondering about something, checking the fabrics again and didn't notice, that his disciple had woken up.

After some time Luo Binghe decided to stand up. He made some noise on purpose, so his Shizun would realise he was awake.

It was that moment his clothes gave up.

With a ripping sound his top bursted in two, exposing his broad chest fully.

Instantly Luo Binghe's face turned red.

Shen Qingqiu turned around and opened his fan. „My, good morning. Did you sleep well?“ He seemed refreshed, at least one thing Luo Binghe was gladly noticing. But with a guilty face he took of the ripped cloth. „This disciple is sorry...“

Shen Qingqiu waved his hand. „No need. They held on for a long time, regarding the circumstances. Good, that this Master had organized something.“ He took a glance at this manly body before he pointed at the robes on the floor. „It was only possible to get some robes of Bai Zhan Peak, because the students here aren't that... muscular like you. But the sashes of my peak should still fit you.“

So it was bothering his Shizun to dress him in the uniform of another peak? This was kind of cute...

Luo Binghe bowed. „Many thanks, Shizun. This disciple will gladly accept this!“

He took a step forward to get the clothes, but Shen Qingqiu stopped him. „Since you are already undressed, please turn around. I want to check if there are some changes on your body.“

Luo Binghe did what he was told. He showed his Shizun his back and felt that his ponytail was lifted up. After this a cool touch was trailing down from his neck to his shoulder blades.

„It didn't work“, he heard a dejected voice. „The scales are spreading.“

Luo Binghe felt a knot inside of his stomach. „What... what will I become, if this goes on?“

„I don't know.“ Shen Qingqiu looked a bit helpless and was glad his disciple couldn't see it right now. „I just hope this can be stopped.“

In the original novel was no description of a demonic form of the protagonist or his father. So he couldn't predict anything right now. Maybe this young man would change into a dragon, maybe into something entirely different? He really didn't know. And he didn't WANT to know.

„You can't stop it with just pouring spiritual energy in his body.“

Another deep voice resounded, and startled, bot of them turned around to see-

„Mobei Jun!“

The demon lifted an eyebrow. „So you know me, Peak Lord?“, he asked, slightly amused. But then he lost interest and looked at the other demonic figure in this bamboo hut. He walked over to Luo Binghe who tried to shield his Shizun, and laid two fingers on the demon mark. „You can't fill more into a bowl that's already full to the brim.“

The demon mark lit up, and it seemed that some demonic energy was flowing out and into the other demon's body. Instantly, two translucent horns were growing on Mobei Jun's head. He groaned slightly but seemed satisfied to receive the energy. It didn't take long and he stepped back, his own blue demon mark now glowing, too.

Luo Binghe sank on his knees, panting heavily.

„What did you do?“, Shen Qingqiu cried out, but again the other demon only lifted one eyebrow, as if he was saying 'what a dumb question'.

„I took in some of his demonic energy.“ With this he turned around an vanished into thin air.

Shen Qingqiu was frozen in place. What happened right now? Why was Mobei Jun here? And what the fuck did he really do?!

Shen Qingqiu cursed inwardly, when a flustered Shang Qinghua stomped in. „Where is he?!“

Oh. Now he understood.

„If you mean the huge pureblood demon... he just left“, Shen Qingqiu said, and Shang Qinghua seemed dejected. „I told him not to rush things, but well... he won't listen to me anyway.“

He sat down in front of Luo Binghe, inspecting him. „So he helped you?“

Luo Binghe grittet his teeth. „He said he took in some of my demonic energy...“

„But will this help?“, Shen Qingqiu couldn't stay quiet any longer. „Will he help again or was this enough?“

Shang Qinghua ruffled his hair. „Of course he didn't explain anything!“ He sighed, then looked at Shen Qingqiu. „You need to listen to me, okay?“

Since Luo Binghe visited him, Shang Qinghua researched his own script the whole night and talked to Mobei Jun. It appeared, that the demonic energy had merged with the sap and was now growing uncontrollably. And with this, Luo Binghe's body was overly full with different energies, and the spiritual energy poured in by his Shizun was too much and didn't work. But now that Mobei Jun took away some of the demonic energy, it was time to pour the energy again into the young man to fill the 'space' the other demon had created and slow down the growth of the demonic energy.

„I don't know if he will take in any more demonic energy“, Shang Qinghua admitted. „Even if he is a pure blood, it is hard to handle, especially if it's powerful energy like this.“

Shen Qingqiu fanned himself, a bit distracted. „So I should give him my spiritual energy now and hope for Mobei Jun to return?“

Shang Qinghua shrugged with his shoulders. „I would say so. Another way would be to take in his demonic energy by yourself, but...I don't know what would happen to you.“ He stood up again, ready to leave. „I hope Mu Qingfang will find a solution to disable the sap in his body. Then he can slowly return to his normal body.“ With this, he left.

Luo Binghe looked down to the ground. „To receive help from another demon...“ He wasn't sure if this was what he wanted, but it was true, that he felt a bit lighter right now.

„If it helps, it's good.“ Shen Qingqiu was back to business, at least on the outside. He lifted up some clothes and gave them to his disciple. „Please dress yourself. I need you to look out for me when I take another pill.“

Luo Binghe flinched. „Shizun still wants-“

„We talked about this.“ Shen Qingqiu sounded a bit stressed. „It won't harm me too much, and I have you by my side, so everything will be fine.“

There was no use. Luo Binghe gave in and dressed himself quietly, while Shen Qingqiu spreaded out the pills. But before taking one of them, he watched the newly dressed figure in front of him.

The robes were elegant but good for fighting, so it pleased the body in an appealing way. If Luo Binghe would show himself at Bai Zhan Peak, he would be the role model for the warriors there. The green sash was reassuring, reminding him of being a member of Qing Jing Peak, giving the young man something familiar.

„It suits you“, Shen Qingqiu said, and Luo Binghe blushed slightly. „This disciple would prefer Qing Jing Peak's uniform“, he said shyly.

Ah young man, that's so sweet of you! This old man is moved!

„You will wear it again soon“, Shen Qingqiu said, trying to soothe the big puppy. „I'm waiting for that day.“

With that he turned his attention back to the pills. After the effect he experienced yesterday he was a little scared, but he still was eager to do this. And so he took one pill and swallowed it.

Like the last time it happened nothing at first. But suddenly he felt the spiritual energy in his body slowly rising – and he himself shuddered. „Did it turn cold outside, or is it me?“, he asked, while pulling the robe closer around his body.

Luo Binghe put a hand on his Shizun's forehead, and concerned he said: „Your body temperature is dropping.

Chapter Text

At first, Shen Qingqiu was muffled in his blanket, but as time went by, the shivering grew worse and his body temperature was dropping even more. Luo Binghe held his Shizun in his arms, trying to warm him, but it wasn't enough.

Again, Luo Binghe was about to call Mu Qingfang over, but his Shizun stopped him. „It's alright“, he said with a chattering of teeth. „I feel my spiritual energy growing. When it's enough, I'll give it to you, and with this I should return to normal.“

Luo Binghe wasn't really convinced, but had to accept the situation as it was.

After Shen Qingqiu's body temperature dropped even more, the young man couldn't stand it. He carried his Shizun over to a bathtub and filled it with water. He then began to undress his Shizun.

„What are you doing?!“, Shen Qingqiu tried to struggle, but his body won't move. His limbs were stiff like being frozen, and Luo Binghe was shocked how cold he was. „I'll make it better. I promise.“

He lifted his Shizun up and placed him in the tub. He then began heating up the water with his spiritual energy.

Instantly Shen Qingqiu felt better. He still was shivering, but the hot water around him was way more effective than the blanket and the clothes. With a sigh he sank deeper in it.

He knew, Luo Binghe shouldn't waste his spiritual energy like this, but he also knew, that this was only a tiny bit of the energy Luo Binghe had in him. And he ould fill it up later on anyway. So Shen Qingqiu said nothing. Instead he closed his eyes and tried to focus on himself and the growing energy inside of him.

Luio Binghe was watching closely. His concern vanished after some time, since his Shizun didn't shiver that much anymore. With a loving touch he took a wet strand of hair and brought it to his lips.

Slowly Shen Qingqiu opened his eyes. „What are you doing?“, he asked a bit weakly. If he only had felt better, this gesture, so simple but oh so sexy, would have had a huge impact on his heart. But right now he wasn't in shape to recognize this.

A sad smile appeared on Luo Binghe's lips. „Sometimes I think, the heavens don't approve of me, maybe even forsaken me and bringing you down with me.“ He kissed the strand of hair before giving it back. „So much happened since my childhood, so much changed. So many unfortunate things befell me, and now they befell Shizun, too, since Shizun changed and began caring for this disciple. But...“ The young man who was looking like an adult right now turned his head away. „Why can't I be unhappy about it? Why can't I stay away from Shizun, knowing I'll bring him misfortune?“

Shizun was listening in silence. When Luo Binghe stopped talking, he lifted a shivering hand and laid it on the other one's head. „You don't bring me misfortune. You're not the reason for things to happen. Don't blame yourself.“

He sounded weak, weaker than he wanted to. Luo Binghe turned his gaze back to his Shizun. „I will try. But even if I bring misfortune... I don't want to be parted from Shizun anymore.“

The water made rippling sounds due to Shen Qingqiu shivering, but other than that it became quiet. They both only stared in each other's eyes.

Mixed feelings were welling up in Shen Qingqiu's heart. Their relationship improved so much since he transmigrated. It was his wish in the beginning to hug Luo Binghe's leg to survive, but now he already felt lonely when this young man only left for a few hours. So how would it be if Luo Binghe left for real?

He averted his gaze and closed his eyes. The thought alone made him feel miserably.

„It is yours to decide, Binghe“, he then said. „I will be here. This is my home after all. But you shouldn't forsake your future for this old man.“

Especially when he wasn't able to collect enough points to save him.

Again, it was quiet for some time. Luo Binghe didn't look at his Shizun when he spoke up. „Shizun didn't need to answer this, but I was wondering for a long time now... Shizun isn't the original Shizun I met when I entered Cang Qiong Mountain?“

Shen Qingqiu stared at his disciple in disbelief. Young man, you are too smart for your own good! He wasn't able to say anything at all, and so he sank even deeper into the water.

Luo Binghe laughed a bit. „Don't worry, Shizun. This disciple really is glad Shizun in front of me right now is his Shizun.“ He looked at the man in the bathtub again. „If not, I would have never wanted to stay here. But now, I think, maybe heavens didn't forsake me after all and instead gave me a wonderful person and hope.“

With his body temperature so low, Shen Qingqiu was happy, that he wasn't able to blush. Who taught this young man such a cheesy line?! And saying them with this face!

Shen Qingqiu hoped the other one won't regret his words one day.

At a loss what to do or say to such words, he closed his eyes for a moment. „I think I waited long enough. I can transfer the spiritual energy right now.“

He gripped Luo Binghe's hand, and the other one felt a cool aura entering its body. It wasn't uncomfortable, more soothing, and he felt his veins filled with it, suppressing some heat inside of him. Luo Binghe sighed. „This feels good, Shizun.“

The more energy Shen Qingqiu transferred, the more his body heated up again. When he finished, his body was almost back to normal. „I think I can leave the bathtub now.“

He stood up, but before he was able to leave, Luo Binghe already had a towel ready. „Let me help you, Shizun.“

Shen Qingqiu wanted to protest, but then he only sighed, feeling sluggish again. „Fine.“

With utmost care Luo Binghe dried Shen Qingqiu's back and then wrapped the towel around him, lifting him out of the bathtub like a precious and fragile thing. Shen Qingqiu didn't dare to struggle, but he looked at the other one. „Binghe, it's fine. I can do the rest myself!“

Being out of the warm water he began shivering again, and so he dressed himself up as fast as possible. Right after this he felt strong arms encircling him and a warm body pressing at his back. „Shizun still is so cold...“

Shen Qingqiu began grumbling. „I'm fine, Binghe. You don't need to be so clingy!“

Luo Binghe looked wronged but he took a step back. „This disciple just wants to keep you warm!“ He seemed to pout, and Shen Qingqiu sighed quietly.

„I appreciate the thought. But there's no need for this.“ Just because the had a heart to heart talk didn't mean they had to be literally heart to heart with their bodies!

Luo Binghe wanted to say something, when there was a knock on the door and a Peak Lord with bags under his eyes poked his head in. „Are you two alright?“

It was Mu Qingfang.

„Please, come in“, Shen Qingqiu said and made an inviting gesture.

When Mu Qingfang sat down, he looked at Shen Qingqiu first, then at Luo Binghe. „No changes, huh. How is it going with the pills?“

Shen Qingqiu sat down, too. „...so-so“, he said. „As you mentioned, the side effects are... bearable.“

Mu Qingfang nodded. „These pills are all protoypes, made from different ingredients. That's why I can't predict the outcome. I can only guess.“

He listened to Shen Qingqiu's explanation and felt his pulse and his temperature. After this, he nodded. „At least, they work and replenish you with spiritual energy. If not, giving away too much energy-“

„I know.“ Shen Qingqiu waved with his hand. „I didn't want to damage my spiritual veins by giving away too much energy.“

„That's good to hear.“ Mu Qingfang relaxed a little. „I still din't make progress, sadly. I need more time.“

Shen Qingqiu didn't expect anything else. Only Luo Binghe looked somehow dejected. „Can't be helped. It isn't a trivial matter after all.“

„Hold on a little longer, I hope to bring you good news soon.“ With this, Mu Qingfang stood up. „Please don't hesitate to call for me if there are more severe side effects.“

With this, Mu Qingfang left.

More severe side effects?

Shen Qingqiu didn't want to imagine what the other Peak Lord meant with this. Hopefully he wouldn't grow horns or ears or something like this. There was already one of them with such a... problem, and he didn't want to be the second one.

Chapter Text

After they meditated for a while, it was already dark, and so they decided to go to bed. Not long after they rested, Shen Qingqiu woke up in another dream realm. He sighed.

„Binghe?“, he shouted and looked around.

It was Cang Qiong Peak. He stood in front of his bamboo hut, hearing the wind rustling in the bamboo fields. It was peaceful, but his disciple wasn't nowhere in sight.

He began walking, searching for his disciple. And there he was, sitting by a pond, looking at the surface. But it wasn't the demon appearance. Sitting there was his pure white flower.

„There you are“, Shen Qingqiu said with relief, and his disciple lifted his head. „Shizun!“ With one swift motion he stood up and came over, smiling brightly.

„Why are we here?“, Shen Qingqiu lifted his fan and inspected his disciple. Yes it really was the Luo Binghe he knew. Relief was washing over him, even though he missed the manly figure a bit.

The other one turned faintly red. „This disciple just wanted Shizun to see his real body.“

Ah. So that's what this was all about.

Shen Qingqiu patted the other one's head. „This Master understands and is glad to see you here.“

Luo Binghe closed his eyes for a moment, looking like a puppy which was called a 'good boy'. But then he opened his eyes and looked depressed. „But Shizun...“, he said with some sadness in his voice. „I can't bring my reflection to look like me.“

„What do you mean?“ Shen Qingqiu asked with irritation.

„It only reflects the demon appearance.“

Gently Luo Binghe took Shen Qingqiu's hand and brought him over to the pond and pointed at the reflection. „Look.“

Shen Qingqiu leaned forward, and really, there was the overly handsome demon with the huge horns, pointy ears and blood red eyes. He needed a moment to turn back to his disciple. „Binghe, are you scared because of this?“

Luo Binghe lowered his head. „...yes“, he admitted after a while. „This disciple is scared.“

The not yet matured body, the soft voice... the whole person seemed smaller than Shen Qingqiu remembered him. It broke his heart. „You don't need to“, he began talking. „This Master is happy to see you like this here. And we will turn you back.“

He kneeled next to his disciple, laying a hand on his cheek. „But it is a good sign you can see you as a demon, too.“

Luo Binghe didn't look convinced. „How could this be a good sign?“

„Because you begin to accept yourself.“ Shen Qingqiu began stroking the soft cheek. „This Master already accepted you as a whole, but it is you who needs to accept himself after all.“

Luo Binghe closed his eyes and leaned into the touch. „Still, this appearance...“

„...is nothing more than appearance“, Shen Qingqiu finished the sentence. „It is your heart that matters. And your heart is still the same.“

Luo Binghe nodded. „Shizun is right...This disciple is sorry to bring this up time and time again.“

This time Shen Qingqiu shook his head. „It's fine. I'm here to be your support in times of need.“ He casted his eyes down. „And, to be honest... since Mu Qingfang visited us, I am a bit scared, too.“

Irritated, Luo Binghe looked up. „Shizun is, too?“

Shen Qingqiu stood up and hid his face behind his fan. „Well...“ He turned away a bit. „I don't know what could happen to me, swallowing the pills. Maybe I have something growing on my body, too? Maybe I become ugly?“

Luo Binghe jumped up and hugged Shen Qingqiu from behind. „Then don't take them! I don't want Shizun to suffer!“

Shen Qingqiu sighed. „I know, but I have to. I don't want to stop giving you my spiritual energy.“ He wanted to shove the young man away, but he felt the slight trembling of the other one's body, and so he gave up the thought. „So, will you receive it and stay with me no matter what?“

„Of course!“ Luo Binghe was eager to nod. „I would never leave Shizun!“ With this, he kissed his Shizun on the cheek.

-

Finding himself in the demon's arm was one thing. Being kissed, even if it was in the dream realm was another. Barely awake he tried to squirm his way out of Luo Binghe's arms, but there was no use.

Luo Binghe only opened his eyes for a moment before closing them again, pretending to be asleep. He knew he went overboard, but he didn't regret anything. Instead, he let his head sink forward, touching his Shizun's hair with his nose. Ah, his scent was so sweet!

He knew he couldn't stop his Shizun from taking the pills. But he would be there to comfort him, just like his Shizun did with him.

-

Since Mobei Jun had taken in some of the demonic energy, the scales didn't spread. And so Shen Qingqiu took a day off from taking the pills. Instead, he visited the Sect Master to report what happened until now. Yue Qingyuan listened quietly and sighed at the end.

„You are willing to do a lot for this disciple of yours, aren't you?“

Shen Qingqiu lowered his gaze a bit. He didn't say a word, there was no need to.

„I won't say anything against it. Just... be careful, okay? Promise me.“ Yue Qingyuan looked concerned, and Shen Qingqiu nodded. „I'll do my very best.“

-

 

When he came back, Luo Binghe was reading a book, waiting for his Shizun to return. It hurt Shen Qingqiu to see his disciple imprisoned all the time, so he had made a plan.

When his disciple looked up, a large straw hat was placed on his head.

„Shizun?“, he asked, looking irritated.

„We go out“, Shen Qingqiu said. „It's not good to shut in for too long, so I prepared something.“

A smile spread on Luo Binghe's face, and he bowed slightly. „Many thanks, Shizun! This disciple makes sure not to be spotted!“

„That's the spirit.“ Shen Qingqiu seemed satisfied. „It's not far away, so we go by foot. I hope it's to your liking.“

-

They arrived soon at a hidden place, reserved only for the peak lords. It was a natural hot spring at one of the mountains, secured with a secret spell. No one could ever find this if he wasn't with a peak lord, even if he knew the location.

It was an open cave with some stalactites on the ceiling. Some gems were embedded in the walls, giving off a faint light. And even if it was a cave, one could see the sky when sitting inside the water.

Luo Binghe's mouth was open when he looked around. Excitement was seen on his face, and Shen Qingqiu thought he could see the real age of this young man right now. „No one should disturb us here“, he said. „All the Peak Lords are occupied right now, only Mu Qingfang could come here, but I'm sure, he wouldn't.“

Shen Qingqiu took a basket and began undressing, folding his clothes neatly and putting them inside. „There are several incenses good for relaxing, too. We could burn some of them.“

He slid into the water before Luo Binghe was finished staring at this location, so the other one missed the opportunity to see his Shizun naked. But it didn't matter. His heart was fluttering right now, and his stomach was filled with butterflies. His Shizun prepared this for him! He brought him here where even the head disciples weren't allowed!

He undressed himself, too, and followed his Shizun. Shen Qingiqu, on the other hand, had a clear view on the naked demon body in front of him, and he coughed slighty and looked away.

One thought he had recently, was, that this still was a stallion novel, and lots of problems were solved by making papapa. So what if this would help to reduce the demonic energy inside of Luo Binghe's body? But first of all, Luo Binghe was too young for this, second... who would be the one to... do it? Seeing the huge pillar between Luo Binghe's legs reminded him of this thought. No, this wasn't an opportunity. But what other options could there be?

He was pondering over this option, when he suddenly heard someone entering the cave. Startled, he looked up – just to see the worst person possible to come here.

„Liu Qingge!“

Chapter Text

The other Peak Lord was already undressed, when he finally saw the two guests already staying in the water. His heart was beating a bit faster, when his gaze met Shen Qingqiu's, but when he finally discovered the other one...

„Demon!“

Instantly he grabbed his sword and unsheathed it. „Get away from him!“

Luo Binghe was shocked at first, but then his face grew dark. Shen Qingqiu knew, that he didn't approve of the other one, but looking at him like this – this was bad!

„Liu-Shidi, please stop it!“, he cried out, but it was no use. Naked as he was, the other Peak Lord entered the water, pointing the tip of his sword at Luo Binghe. „What is a demon doing at this sacred place?!“

Luo Binghe growled a bit and got ready to defend himself. This was only adding fuel to the fire, and Liu Qingge swung his sword to stab the demon in front of him...

Shen Qingqiu couldn't do anything. „Stop it, both of you!“

The sword clashed with a shield made out of demonic energy. Sparks were flying, and Liu Qingge jumped back just to attack again. And Luo Binghe, too, was preparing himself to attack. Both were lunging forward mercyless, when-

„STOP!“

Finally Shen Qingqiu was able to jump right between the two men, panicstricken. The tip of the sword stopped right in front of his eyes, and he felt the demonic energy sizzling behind his back, only away by a hairbreadth.

„Shizun!“

Instantly, Luo Binghe stepped back, looked scared at the man in front of him. „Did...did I hurt you?!“

Liu Qingge was shocked himself, and he too stepped back. But finally he realized what he heard, and he blurted out. „Shizun?! This demon is calling you Shizun?!“

„Well...“, Shen Qingqiu relaxed a bit when the weapons were distanced from him. At least he didn't die because of a bad temper. „It's a long story. Are you willing to listen? Without a sword in your hand?“

Liu Qingge looked to Shen Qingqiu, then to the demon and back. Seeing the two of them naked in front of him and realizing to be naked himself let him feel embarrassed. Hesitantly he lowered the sword, feeling the pleadig gaze of Shen Qingqiu following him.

Finally he brought his sword out of the water, and with a 'humph!' he sat down when he returned, crossing his arms. „Then talk“, he said growling. „But I want a good explanation.“

Shen Qingqiu sighed in relief, then sat himself down in the hot water and gestured his disciple to do the same. Still shocked by almost hurting his Shizun, he did as he was told and lowered his head a bit, inspecting the back of his Shizun as much as possible without touching him.

Meanwhile Shen Qingqiu explained the situation to Liu Qingge, hoping, that the other one would show some mercy and didn't attack again.

He indeed didn't attack, but his face turned ugly. „I told you, I don't trust this disciple of yours“, he said. „I knew something was fishy.“

Luo Binghe lifted his head, his red eyes fixating on the other Peak Lord. Shen Qingqiu felt the atmosphere tensing up again, and he laid a hand on the young man's shoulder. „Just because he is a half-demon doesn't mean he's bad!“

Liu Qingge's eyebrow twitched. „You still trust him that much?“

„I owe him my life.“ And maybe more, but that wasn't something his Shidi should know.

With a sudden splash, Liu Qingge's fist hit the surface of the water. He tried to vent out his anger somehow, and Shen Qingqiu felt a bit guilty. „I'm sorry, Liu-Shidi...“

„If you feel sorry, let me beat this child up!“ Liu Qingge was growling again. „Even if he saved your life, you're in danger almost every time because of him!“

So, he was concerned about him? That's sweet of you, Liu-Shidi! But there was no need for this.

On the other side...

„Beating him up? Maybe that's not a bad idea!“

-

What Shen Qingqiu really meant was sparring with each other. Liu Qingge was eager to vent his frustration out on his disciple and would never refuse a good fight. And Luo Binghe, well he wouldn't refuse this, either, thinking about how he seemed to dislike the other Peak Lord. And with this he could use up some of the demonic energy. At least that was the plan.

Both men agreed to it, and they finally were able to enjoy their bath in peace.

„Liu-Shidi, why are you back so early?“, Shen Qingqiu asked, and Liu Qingge only shrugged his shoulders. „The mission wasn't that complicated. There were only a few lower demons going on a rampage on some marketplace, it took me no time to kill them.“

Oh. So that was the reason. The Sect Master had told him, he would be away for some time. Maybe he had some false information regarding this mission? But it didn't matter. Meeting with Liu Qingge went better than he thought it would. And it gave Luo Binghe another option to use up some of his demonic energy.

The only thing that was bothering him right now was to find a place where they could spar. But this time, Liu Qingge had a solution.

-

After they finished bathing, Shen Qingqiu and Luo Binghe followed the other Peak Lord to a place at the border of Bai Zhan Peak. There was no one to be seen, but it was obvious, that someone had vented out a lot of frustration here.

„It's my private training ground“, Liu Qingge explained. „No one is allowed to enter.“

Shen Qingqiu lifted an eyebrow and looked at all the holes in the ground. „It seems, Liu-Shidi visits this place quite often.“

Liu Qingge humphed again and unsheathed his sword. „Let's begin.“

Shen Qingqiu sat down on a rock some distance away while the other ones began fighting.

The forces clashing together were enormous!

Liu Qingge was an excellent fighter. Not only his sheer force was amazing, his skills were refined and graceful. More than worthy of a Peak Lord! Luo Binghe, on the opposite, was a raw gem that needed to be trained, and soon he was at a disadvantage, only blocking the strikes. His demonic energy was unbelievably strong, but he wasn't used to fight with it, and so he lost ground and finally gave up.

„Again!“ Liu Qingge demanded, and there was some kind of joy flickering in his eyes. Luo Binghe nodded and got ready again, not willing to lose against the Peak Lord.

They repeated this several times under the observation of Shen Qingqiu, and it was his disciple who was losing every time. Luo Binghe somehow was frustrated when he again was brought down to his knees, but Liu Qingge held out his hand to help him up.

„You have a lot of potential.“

Luo Binghe just smiled and gripped the hand tightly, accepting the help offered.

Shen Qingqiu was baffled. Was he in another dimension?! Did he see right? Was this the way men made up by fighting each other and beating each other to a pulp? He never understood how this worked, and this situation didn't make it better. But as long as they found mutual basis it was fine, right?

-

They parted with Liu Qingge, and his disciple was tired, but somehow happy. „I need to learn how to control my powers, so I can beat him!“, he said with a smile, clenching his fist, and Shen Qingqiu sighed. „First of all we need to return your body back to normal. After this you can train your powers!“

Luo Binghe nodded. „Shizun is right. But this disciple learned a lot today.“

„That's good, Binghe“, Shen Qingqiu said approvingly, and right at that moment the system rang in his ears again.

[Improving connections to other peak lords: + 100 points!]

Ahhh... hearing this really made this day a success! 100 points! What a present!

Shen Qingqiu fanned himself satisfied, and curiously Luo Binghe looked at him. „Shizun is happy about something?“

„Indeed.“ He hid his smile behind the fan. „I think we made some progress today with Liu-Shidi and with bringing your demonic transformation under control. So it's something we both can be happy about.“

The young man smiled. „This disciple wouldn't be able to achieve this without Shizun's help. Many thanks, Shizun!“

At this moment they arrived the bamboo hut. While Luo Binghe prepared for the night, Shen Qingqiu was looking at the pills still laying on the table.

Everything that happened today was almost too good to be true. Hopefully this would continue the next days, too.

Chapter Text

„So Liu-shidi was behaving quite well“, Shen Qingqiu ended his report, looking at the man in front of him.

Yue Qingyuan was visiting again, and Shen Qingqiu thought, that even if they had to hide, it was indeed lively here, with all the visiting Peak Lords and such.

His Shixiong was sipping some tea, looking relaxed. He seemed to have a lot of free time at hand at the moment, but Shen Qingqiu didn't find it wrong. Instead, he hoped to get him to approve Luo Binghe faster this way.

The young man looking like a demon sat in some distance, watching the other men talk. He had managed to make some sweets again, and Yue Qingyuan was enjoying them very much.

„I'm worrried“, the Sect Master said while looking at the pills on the table. „You really shouldn't take them.“

„I have no choice“, Shen Qingqiu answered. „I need to replenish my spiritual energy as fast as possible. And they shouldn't be too dangerous.“

„Wouldn't it be better, if I asked the other Peak Lords and we would take turns giving your disciple spiritual energy?“

The thought really was sweet of Yue Qingyuan, but Shen Qingqiu shook his head. „No. This is my responsibility, and even if all were helping, it wouldn't be enough.“

Yue Qingyuan sighed. „You're right. And thinking about the upcoming Immortal Alliance Conference, everyone is beginning to collect their strength. Even the Peak Lords who aren't even participating.“

Shen Qingqiu swallowed. A bitter taste was spreading in his mouth, thinking about the conference.

There wasn't even a year left, and he still had to collect so many points! It would help to win Yue Qingyuan over, but at the moment his disciple was in no shape to participate! If he wanted him to appear there, he had to turn him back, no matter what.

„Well, there is still time“, he said with a thin smile. „The other Peak Lords shouldn't panic so much.“

Hear yourself talking! The one panicking is you, Shen Qingqiu!

His Shixiong just sighed. „You're right, but still... it's better to concentrate on this than wasting time.“

...that hurt, Shixiong.

Shen Qingqiu felt like he was wasting time a lot right now. From all of the Peak Lords he was the one who didn't focus on anything except saving the young man from... well, almost everything? He barely escaped showing his exhaustion right now.

„You're right, Shixiong“, he simply said. „I will focus on this, too.“

-

The pill he chose today had a faint green color, and Shen Qingqiu was thinking about which side effects this could have. But since he didn't even know what the ingredients were, it was no use. He wouldn't even be close to guess it right. And so he decided to swallow it; green was his color, after all.

The pill barely reached his stomach, when he felt a tickling sensation inside of him beginning to spread. Uncomfortably he moved a bit, but it didn't go away.

„Shizun, what is it?“

His disciple was watching him intensely, ready to intervene anytime.

„I... don't know.“ Shen Qingqiu looked down, when the feeling reached his fingers. „It's tickling, but I don't feel bad...“

The moment he said this, his fingernails turned green.

Startled, he lifted his hands to inspect it, when he saw, that his skin also began turning faintly green. Great... was this pill changing the color of his skin?

He pulled up his sleeves to inspect more of himself, when something else caught his attention.

It was a ray of light, falling into the bamboo hut through closed shutters, and as if being pulled by a rope, he stood up and went over. Then he began bathing in it, spreading out his arms to have more skin exposed.

„Shizun?“ His disciple was concerned, but the sunlight was so good, Shen Qingqiu felt like his energy level was increasing through this. „I... I need sunlight“, he whispered, and reality hit him hard.

Green...

Needing sunlight...

He turned around, his face ashen. „It seems... I'm becoming something like a plant.“

Luo Binghe's eyes went wide. „What in the world did he want to achieve with this pills?!“, he blurted out, and Shen Qingqiu closed his eyes for a moment. He really wanted to know this, too. Maybe he would ask Mu Qingfang when they met again.

But now he had to take care of himself. His body told him what he needed. „Binghe, would you mind bringing me some water?“ He suddenly felt dried up from the inside and was craving for it.

Instantly, the young man jumped up to fetch a jar full of fresh water. When he came back, he was stunned.

The hint of green had spread on Shen Qingqiu's whole skin, especially his lips and his eyelids were colored in a pleasant darker shade, giving him a more androgynous appearance. Some little white flowers were spreading along his hairloops like a flower crown, and a faint sweet scent was wafting through the air. He seemed more like a flower fairy right now than an immortal cultivator.

Luo Binghe wasn't able to move. For him, his Shizun was the most beautiful person on this earth, but now he simply was breathtaking. He only realized he was staring, when Shen Qingqiu turned his head around with an irritated look. He still was bathing in the sunlight and had opened the shutters a little bit, but it seemed, he wasn't aware of what had happened to him.

Hurriedly, Luo Binghe grabbed a cup and filled it with water, giving it to his Shizun. He gulped it down in one go and finally felt refreshed. Still seeing how Luo Binghe was staring, he had to ask. „Did I change a lot?“

Wordless Luo Binghe grabbed the bronze mirror standing on a desk and gave it to his Shizun. Now it was him who was staring.

He watched his reflection, touched his lips and the small flowers before returning the mirror. „I'm really like a plant right now“, he stated and sighed. „Hopefully, I'll turn back when I give you my spiritual energy.“

But was it possible? Concerned, he did feel his energy level rising, but it was more like he was 'eating' the sunlight. It wasn't the boost of spiritual energy he was waiting for and had experienced before by taking the pills.

The longer he sat in the sunlight, the more scent was wafting through the air, and Luo Binghe began to feel a bit lightheaded and bewitched. It was so alluring, he had to kneel down next to his Shizun, taking his hand and sniffing on it.

Startled, Shen Qingqiu pulled back his hand. „Binghe, what are you doing?!“

„Smelling the scent of this precious flower.“, Luo Binghe smiled innocently. „This disciple likes Shizun's scent, but right now it is so sweet and delicious.“

Young man, don't behave like an insect, trying to collect some nectar! I'm maybe like a plant right now, but there is no harvest for you!

Shen Qingqiu tried to sniff himself, but he wasn't able to smell the scent. And so he sighed. „Maybe your imagining things?“

But Luo Binghe shook his head. „No. This disciple knows, it's coming from Shizun.“ He stood up, his nose next to Shen Qingqiu's hair. „It's getting stronger...“

There had to be a source of this scent. He had to find it!

Shen Qingqiu tried to back away, but bringing his face next to his disciple's had the opposite effect.

Because Luo Binghe found his nectar.

And a moment later he was kissing his Shizun.

Chapter Text

It was nothing new for Shen Qingqiu anymore to be kissed by his disciple. But until now there were good reasons for doing so – or so he thought.

But this time it came out of the blue.

At first he was shocked and frozen to the spot. After this, he laid his hands on Luo Binghe's chest, trying to push him away -

But then his lips parted automatically!

He needed some time to realize what his body was doing, and even Luo Binghe seemed surprised. But then the young man took the chance and let his tongue slip into his Shizun's mouth.

Young man, don't do this!

But it was already too late.

They were kissing intensely, and even if his mind was screaming no!, his body was saying yes, was welcoming the tongue and...

Was giving away something?

Shen Qingqiu tried to focus on this feeling, but the sensation of the tongue moving inside of his mouth, skilfully playing with his, was too distracting!

It took them quite some time to part again, and both were breathing heavily. Luo Binghe's cheeks were colored deep red, while Shen Qingqiu's showed some mix of red and green. They stared into each other's eyes, not able to talk for a while.

It was Luo Binghe who casted his gaze to the ground first.

„I-I'm sorry, Shizun, this disciple...it was... I couldn't resist...“

He kneeled down, feeling guilty, and Shen Qingqiu, still embarrassed, looked out of the window, not able to say a word. He did give in, did he? He didn't push the other one away.There was no way he could blame this young man!

Luo Binghe went on, trying to justify himself. „Shizun's scent was too sweet to resist... and Shizun's taste, too...it was like drinking honey!“

He looked up again, pleadingly, and Shen Qingqiu couldn't avert his eyes any longer. But when he saw his disciple, saw his mouth moving-

„Binghe, open your mouth!“

Startled, the other one almost jumped backwards. „Shizun...?“, he asked with a shy voice, but after receiving a sharp glance, he obediently parted his lips, showing his teeth.

Was it just him, or did the fangs seem smaller than before?

Shen Qingqiu leaned forward to inspect this, ignoring the blush that returned to Luo Binghe's cheeks. Indeed, they seemed to have shrunken a bit!

Inhaling deeply, he sat straight up again. Was it because of the kiss? Or because of his...condition? Was there a connection? He needed to ask Mu Qingfang about this!

Luo Binghe was watching closely. When his Shizun stopped talking and looked outside the window, he laid one hand on his Shizun's knee. „Is Shizun angry?“

Waking up from thinking, Shen Qingqiu was confronted with a big demon puppy, looking up at him. He sighed. „Because you kissed me?“

Strangely, he didn't feel angry at all. It was more like... being satisfied. And so he shook his head. „No. But you shouldn't just kiss someone unasked.“

The face in front of him lit up. „So it is okay if this disciple asks first?“

Uh-oh... he forgot, that this young man was only hearing the things he wanted to hear. So he hit his disciple softly with his fan on the head. „Just... don't do it okay?“

Luo Binghe looked a bit dejected, and so Shen Qingqiu didn't hold back with the news. „But well, I don't know if it's because of the... kiss... or because of anything else, but I think your body began turning back. Even if it's just a tiny bit, it still is a success.

The eyes of the demon began shining. „Is this really true?“

Shen Qingqiu nodded. „I would never lie about this.“

Relieved, Luo Binghe sank back. „This really is good news.“

Opening his fan, Shen Qingqiu was watching the other one closely. Seeing this reaction, his heart filled with warmth. „We need to observe if you turn back more. But I have a good feeling about this.“

-

When the sun went down, Shen Qingqiu instantly began to feel tired. It was like his body wanted to rest until it could enjoy bathing in the sunlight again.

It was a strange feeling not being entirely human right now, but it wasn't as bad as he thought it would be. Luo Binghe was taking care of him with utmost affection, preparing a foot bath for him and fetching fresh water whenever needed. He was sad, that his Shizun wasn't able to eat anything home cooked right now, but Shen Qingqiu just smiled. „I will enjoy your cooking again soon, but right now maybe you should train your talent as gardener. You would make the most beautiful flowers bloom.“

„A garden is only worth being taken care of when Shizun is part of it“, Luo Binghe simply said, letting his Shizun blush again in his unique way. That young man already learned a lot of cheesy lines these days...

They went to bed early, and Shen Qingqiu was waiting for him to turn back again the next day like he did when taking the other pills...

But it didn't happen!

Instead, there were more little flowers blooming on his hairloops, and with a depressed look he sat down again in the sunlight, collecting energy.

But the good thing was, that Luo Binghe' fangs shrunk even more, so they almost had human shape again.

This was the first time they succeeded, and Shen Qingqiu began thinking that this really was an aftereffect of kissing him.

So if they kissed again, Luo Binghe would change back even more?

The thought alone gave him a strange feeling. Yes, he wanted to help his disciple, but doing it like this...?

A tickling sensation began spreading through his body, and it was that moment, Luo Binghe closed his eyes, inhaling deeply. „Shizuns scent is getting stronger...“

Shen Qingqiu closed his eyes, too, trying to understand what this feeling was. Somehow he felt like...being in full bloom? Was this the right phrasing?

He was full of vitality, and suddenly he realized, that his body wanted to lure something in to share this source of life.

No. Not something.

He wanted to lure someone in.

He opened his eyes again, only to see the longing face of his disciple right in front of him.

„Binghe...“, he tried to speak, but he felt a hand on his cheek and stopped.

„This disciple will kiss Shizun now“, Luo Binghe said a bit breathless.

Young man, that's not asking!

But before Shen Qingqiu could react, his breath was taken away again by the soft lips of the demonic disciple.

Chapter Text

Shen Qingqiu couldn't resist.

This young man shouldn't be so good in kissing, but wow! They kissed yesterday, too, but it seemed his skills improved over night even more. He only was able to grab the hem of Luo Binghe's robe to hold himself up somehow. His whole body felt weak, while Luo Binghe's tongue was interacting with his own, giving him no time to think.

After they parted, Shen Qingqiu was breathing heavily, while his disciple smiled brightly and happily, licking his lips in pleasure. „Shizun tasted even sweeter today“, he whispered, sending a shiver down his Shizun's spine.

„I... I told you to ask!“, Shen Qingqiu said helplessly, shoving the other one - who was way too close - away, still feeling weak in the knees and with his heart beating wildly. „This wasn't asking!“

„But Shizun enjoyed it, didn't he? So it's fine?“ Luo Binghe's smile deepened when he sat down in front of his Shizun, watching him closely. His Shizun's lips were swollen, and his cheeks were tinted in a darker shade. It made him want to kiss his Shizun again.

„No it isn't!“ Shen Qingqiu turned his head away, embarrassed. Even if this would cure his disciple – he couldn't go on like this! His heart simply wouldn't make it!

A moment later he felt something heavy on his knee, and when he looked, he found the head of his disciple resting there.

„You're becoming quite clingy“, he said dryly, and he heard a chuckle as response. „Shizun should have gotten used to it by now.“

With a sigh Shen Qingqiu began stroking the soft hair. „I don't think I'll ever get used to this“, he answered. „This isn't how it's supposed to be.“

Luo Binghe lifted his head, his magnetic eyes deep pools of red. „I don't care about how it should be. I like it the way it is now.“

Shen Qingqiu felt some kind of guilt welling up. This young man should walk another path. His good-hearted nature could lead him to a future full of happiness, being the top of the cultivation world and worshipped as a hero. That was, if he wouldn't fall into the abyss.

But even if he did fall...he would be a blazing star, admired and feared by countless people. There was no way clinging to this old man would bring him any benefit.

Feeling sucked in by these beautiful demonic eyes, Shen Qingqiu looked away again. There was no way he could tell Luo Binghe what he really was. And he himself lost track when he stopped thinking of his disciple as a novel character.

Luo Binghe was real. He was right in front of him, living, breathing.

He turned his head back to his disciple. „Young man, you shouldn't forsake the world out there. There is so much you have to experience, to grow on.“

Luo Binghe just laid his head on his Shizun's knee again. „I don't need this“, he said with so much resolve. „Shizun is my world, I don't need anything else.“

Hearing this, Shen Qingqiu wasn't able to say anything.

Don't... don't say something like this. This put your Shizun in a tight spot.

Mixed feelings were welling up. Happiness of being able to let his disciple feel good, embarrassement because Luo Binghe said this line... but most of all he felt even more guilty. As if he had robbed the world of his protagonist.

He wanted to say something, wanted to scold his disciple, but he couldn't. And so he only began stroking Luo Binghe's head again.

-

Evening came, and Mu Qingfang was visiting again. Shen Qingqiu had sent a talisman over and asked for a consultation. Seeing the two sitting together, the Peak Lord raised his eyebrow. „It's like meeting day and night in person“, he said, and Shen Qingqiu smiled wryly. „I don't know if this is the more severe side effect you were talking about, but well – here I am.“

The other one came closer and observed the changes in appearance. „Tell me, which pill did you choose and what exactly happened?“

Shen Qingqiu reported everything and let Mu Qingfang examine him. He especially told him about the possible aftereffect of the kiss, even if he was embarrassed to the bone. But he knew, Mu Qingfang wouldn't judge him for this.

„Indeed, I can smell a sweet scent“, he confirmed what Luo Binghe had experienced. „It's very faint, but maybe it's because of the demon blood that your disciple reacts stronger than myself and couldn't resist you.“

He then began examining the young man, and really, there was a change again. The scales on his back had began to disappear.

„It has to be the combination of the plant I used, and your spiritual energy“, Mu Qingfang said, a glimmer of excitement in his eyes. „I will try to make some potions, so maybe we can turn him back in no time. Until then – stay like this!“

Shen Qingqiu fanned himself. „It's not that I can change back at will“, he stated. „I don't even know how long this will last or if I will be able to change back at all.“

„You will change back“, Mu Qingfang said. „But if I can't make a potion, I will make more pills so you can give your disciple more remedy.“

„...as long as I don't turn fully into a plant“, Shen Qingqiu sighed.

-

When the sun went down, Shen Qingqiu left his place at the window. He longed for a bath, and after pondering for a while, he decided to take the risk and visit a small spring hidden in his bamboo forest. Of course he was accompanied by his disciple, but he didn't mind.

„So it seems you can turn back to normal soon, Binghe“, he said with a slight smile. His disciple nodded, but he wasn't as happy as Shen Qingqiu thought he would be. „It's a good thing for you.“

„Shizun, I've been thinking...“, Luo Binghe said with some hesitation. „Maybe it would be better to not turn back?“

Shen Qingqiu was beginning to undress but stopped the moment he heard this. „Why are you saying this?“

Luo Binghe sat down on a rock nearby. „With this body, I am far stronger than ever. I can protect Shizun better this way.“

Shen Qingqiu raised an eyebrow. „Protect me from what? It's peaceful, Binghe, there is no need for this. Many thanks for your concern, but wouldn't it be better to learn how to control your powers and use them to your liking than staying like this and neglecting your human powers?“

He went on undressing and stepped into the water. Ah, this was refreshing! His whole body seemed to blossom, taking in the fresh water with joy.

Luo Binghe was watching this, thinking about the words his Shizun had said. It was true, that there was no need for him to protect his Shizun. But this was only part of the truth.

He got used to this form. Being taller than his Shizun, having this matured body, being able to control his hormones... he liked these benefits this body gave him.

And now he got used to it, he wanted to know what he really was. What he would look like if he transformed fully.

He rested his chin in his hand. He was scared thinking of what would he become, but at the same time he was curious. And he thought, if he knew what was waiting inside of him, maybe he could bring it under control more easily.

He should talk about this with his Shizun. At least, they found a way to transform him back, so it was safe now to go further, wasn't it?

Suddenly something caught his attention and brought him back to his senses. He lifted his head a bit to take a closer look. And really, what he saw was real.

„Shizun, your body is glowing!“

Chapter Text

If Luo Binghe hadn't said it, Shen Qingqiu wouldn't have noticed it. But yes, his whole body was glowing in a soft green light. No wonder, he felt being at his peak condition and his body was full of energy.

And as if he needed proof, his hair suddenly grew longer, and a strand of flowers began blooming in it. Irritated, he looked at it, but then he sighed in defeat. Mu Qingfang, this pill is way too powerful! You need to adjust the ingredients!

A splashing sound brought Shen Qingqiu back to reality, and suddenly he felt strong arms around his shoulders. „Binghe?“, he cried out, feeling his disciple right behind him, fully dressed, burying his face in his Shizun's hair.

„I'm jealous“, the young man said. „No one should see you like this except me!“

A bit helpless, Shen Qingqiu tried to free himself, but to no avail. Of course. „There's no one here beside the two of us...“

„The whole nature is watching!“ Luo Binghe pointed over his shoulder to a bird, sitting on a branch. And really, it seemed like the tiny creature was looking at him. „And not only the animals, even the plants are watching!“

Well... to call it 'watching' wasn't the right way to phrase it, but all the flowers around the spring were suddenly in full bloom, too, and the bamboo stems had new leaves growing on them. It was like Shen Qingqiu was nurturing them with his spiritual energy.

He watched in amazement, while Luo Binghe was growling. „It would be better to get out of the water...“

Somehow, Shen Qingqiu managed to turn around in the other one's arms. „So you're not affected from this?“ Beside being jealous, of course.

Luo Binghe was quiet for a while. But then he lowered his head.

„My demonic energy is growing again.“, he finally admitted.

Shen Qingqiu's face ashened. „Why?“, he whispered. This wasn't how it was supposed to be! Shouldn't it be the other way around with so much spiritual energy floating around here?

Luo Binghe bit his lip, and really, the fangs began showing themselves again. „Because I'm jealous.“ He looked away.

Shen Qingqiu inhaled deeply. He gently laid a hand on Luo Binghe's cheek. „How can I convince you that there is no need for you to be jealous?“

Luo Binghe shook his head. „Shizun can't. As long as I'm alive I will be jealous and afraid of losing Shizun.“

He smiled a bit wryly. „Well, I was thinking about letting my body fully transform into a demon anyway. Maybe this is a sign to do it.“

„...why?“

Shen Qingqiu was at a loss what to do. He was never confronted with feelings of another person, and being jealous about him... he didn't understand.

Luo Binghe thought, his Shizun was asking why he wanted to transform, and so he answered honestly. „Because I want to know what demon is inside of me. I want to see for myself what I am, what I have to fight and control.“ He laughed without humor. „Of course I'm scared, but-“

Shen Qingqiu gripped Luo Binghe's collar. „I thought it would get better? That you wanted to turn back being human?“

„I will.“ Luo Binghe brought their foreheads together. „Because Shizun is there, I will turn back.“

So he decided it on his own. There was no way to convince the young man otherwise now.

Luo Binghe closed his eyes. Since his Shizun entered the state of an even more other-wordly being, the feelings inside of him were raging. Especially the fear of losing him was almost driving him crazy. And he knew, there was no way to control it right now. The demon in him would break through, no matter what, since he found his weakness, breaking down every resistance the young man had to offer. It was only a matter of time, after all. So why not let loose?

If the force inside of him got what it wanted, it would be much easier to get the control back. At least, that was the plan.

„I don't like this“, Shen Qingqiu said. „But if this the path you chose for youself, I will support you.“

Luo Binghe smiled sadly. „Many thanks, Shizun.“ Then he took a few steps back. „I will give in now.“

The pain instantly brought him to his knees.

Luckily, the water was shallow there, so he didn't have to fear drowning. He couldn't concentrate on something like this anyways.

„Binghe!“

Shen Qingqiu wanted to lunge forward, but the other one held his hand up. „Stay where you are!“

His body was burning up, and everything was tinted red of pain. But he mustered up the strength to lift his head and smile. „It really hurts, Shizun... maybe I underestimated this a bit...but I don't know if I would hurt you, so please... stay away!“

Scared, Shen Qingqiu was watching his disciple writhing in pain, unable to do something. „I'm here, Binghe“, he said instead, trying to calm both of them down. „I won't leave you!“

He didn't know what he could say other than that. His heart hurt so much! What would happen to the young man now? Airplane Bro, what did you hide here? Why didn't you write about this in the novel?!

He was cursing the author for the stupid writing, when the transformation began.

A second pair of horns were growing on Luo Binghe's head, smaller than the first pair, but still huge. Scales wer appearing everywhere, covering his entire arms, legs and back. His body bulked up a little more, his face turning even sharper, more cruel.

He was panting heavily, and tears were flowing down, crystal clear at first, then turning into blood. He toppled over, and water splashed where his hand hit the ground. He was trembling, trying to hold himself together.

Shen Qingqiu slowly moved forward, still maintaining some distance. Was it over?

He wanted to reach out, when his disciple began to scream.

A ripping sound was heard, when the clothes were shredded to pieces, and huge black leathery wings were unfolding, while a tail covered in black scales grew out of his back.

Only then Luo Binghe lost conciousness and fell into the water with a loud splashing noise.

Shen Qingqiu cried out and kneeled down next to his disciple, lifting his head out of the water and laying it down on his lap.

Even unconcious, Luo Binghe still seemed to be in so much pain, bloody tears on his cheeks and still panting heavily. As gentle as possible Shen Qingqiu wiped away the tears.

„Such a stupid disciple“, he murmured, holding back tears himself.

Luo Binghe was now a full demon, a mix of a dragon and a human. Shen Qingqiu faintly remembered reading of such a race, and of course, since this was a shitty novel with shitty cliché plot, it had to be something like a dragon race.

And if it wasn't enough, the shitty system rang in his ears.

[Mission: Transform the protagonist back into a human failed.]

What? Wait a moment! They weren't done here!! he still wanted to turn him back! He was able to do it!

[Penalty is loading, please wait a moment.]

Penalty?! Shitty system, you never mentioned a penalty when a mission failed!

Suddenly the demon blood residing in his arm became boiling hot. He clenched his teeth and suppressed a scream. Holy! The pain was unbearable, and it was only a hint of what Luo Binghe had felt!

Helplessly he had to watch his fingernails turning black and sharpening, and small black scales were spreading on the back of his hand.

Then the pain subsided as fast as it came.

[Punishment complete.]

System, you seem way too happy about this! I can hear the joyful tone in your voice!

The demon on his lap moved slightly, and instantly his attention was focused on the young man.

Luo Binghe becoming a demon, being punished and losing the option to gain 500 points...

In retrospective, this day was entirely a failure.

Chapter Text

Shen Qingqiu was watching over the huge demon laying on his lap. He wanted to bring him out of the water, but it was impossible for him, and so he had to wait until he woke up.

He was stroking the wet but still silky hair, waiting for the inevitable things to happen. There was no way this had gone unnoticed by anyone, even if Yue Qingyuan was trying to manage that they weren't found out and took care of the diciples at daytime. But the disciples were still living here, and Luo Binghe screamed so loud when he was in agony...

He needed a story to cover everything up.

Deep in thoughts, Shen Qingqiu almost missed hearing the rustling sound coming closer. Startled, he looked up-

Only to look into Liu Qingge's eyes.

The other Peak Lord was watching the scene spreading out before him with his mouth wide agape. He needed some time to collect himself. The sword which he had unsheathed, was lowered by the sight of the distinct couple.

„Liu-Shidi“, Shen Qingqiu began with a weak voice, but a sudden movement distracted him.

Luo Binghe had opened his eyes!

A loud growl was heard, and the demon jumped up and spreaded his wings over Shen Qingqiu as if to shield him from the other Peak Lord.

Liu Qingge facepalmed.

„Listen“, he said. „Since your demon is awake you should dress yourself. Your disciples are coming; I will distract them.“

Shen Qingqiu nodded. But knowing, the other one couldn't see this, he spoke. „I will. Many thanks to you.“

„Thank me when I get both of you out of here.“ Liu Qingge turned around and vanished into the bamboo forest again. There were voices in some distance, arguing with one another.

Shen Qingqiu stood up and tried to leave the protection of the wings, when he felt grabbed and pulled back. The demon didn't say a word, he only was staring into Shen Qingqiu's eyes. A mix of pain, anger and fear was seen, and soothingly Shen Qingqiu stroked Luo Binghe's cheek. „Don't worry. I won't leave. Not without you. But Liu-Shidi is right. I should dress myself and we should leave the water and get ready to hide somewhere.“

The demon listened, then reluctantly let go. Shen Qingqiu smiled slightly. „Thank you, Binghe.“

He walked out of the water and dressed himself. Since his hair had grown so much, it was now laying on the ground. Feeling like Rapunzel, Shen Qingqiu braided it and laid it over his shoulder. It still reached the ground, but it was manageable this way.

The demon was watching the whole time. Only when Shen Qingqiu waved at him to come out of the water, he moved.

He folded his wings, but they still were so huge. And when he stood beside Shen Qingqiu, the other one was only as high as the demon's shoulder. Anyone else beside him would be scared to the bone, since Luo Binghe's whole appearance was now powerful and frightening. But not Shen Qingqiu.

He took the large hand in his, stroking the black scales. They felt cool, and automatically, he looked at his own hand and the scales there. Luo Binghe saw this, too, and lifted Shen Qingqiu's hand up, licking softly over it with a split tongue before kissing it.

„Binghe?“, Shen Qingqiu softly asked.

„Sorry...“

The voice was even deeper now, like coming straight out of the demon realm. But it still had an alluring charm. And at least, his disciple was able to talk. He was still there! And obviously, he knew that his blood had gone on a rampage in his Shizun's body – even if he didn't knew that this was a punishment for failing the mission. Only by looking at him, Shen Qingqiu knew, how miserable the other one felt by seeing this.

Shen Qingqiu held still and shook his head. „No need. Just... will you work together with me to change you back?“

Luo Binghe nodded. He would do everything to heal his Shizun, to help him, to make this go away! He never wanted to stain this pure figure in front of him with his own blackness!

But then he growled again, looking to the place where Liu Qingge had vanished. And there he appeared again, raising an eyebrow at the growling demon.

He readied his sword and began flying. „Follow me. I hope these wings aren't just for decoration.“

-

They traveled for quite some time. Shen Qingqiu was princess carried in Luo Binghe's arms while the demon proved, that he really was capable of flying. Shen Qingqiu had preferred to travel with Liu Qingge on his sword, standing upright, but there was no way this possessive creature would let him go. And so he accepted his fate and was clinging at the demon the whole flight.

After a while they arrived at a large cave. It was at the outskirts of Bai Zhan Peak and seemed abandoned. Liu Qingge landed and waited for the other two to land, too.

„We didn't saw each other for just a short amount of time“, he said. „And now you look like this.“

Shen Qingqiu smiled wryly. „Yes, things... happened. Many things.“

He sat down on a rock after he freed himself from Luo Binghe's grip. The other one followed suit and sat right beside him, not wanting to leave his side even for a moment.

Liu Qingge sat down, too. With a humph he crossed his arms, and Shen Qingqiu knew, he wanted an explanation. So he tried to sum everything up without talking about the feelings of his disciple.

Another humph was heard. „Peak Lord Mu told me about your condition. But this exceeds every description.“

„It all happened so fast.“ Shen Qingqiu felt tired. Not his body, but his mind. „I need some time to understand everything, too.“

Liu Qingge nodded. „Stay here. I will inform our Sect Master.“ He stood up. „This cave was used for training purposes some times ago. Nowadays it's deserted. But maybe you find something useful in there.“

He readied his sword.

„Many thanks, Liu-Shidi“, Shen Qingqiu said. „For this and for saving us at the spring. You reached us so fast, why were you nearby?“

Instantly Liu Qingge blushed. „Someone has to look out for you“, he simply said and flew away.

„So he was worried“, Shen Qingqiu stated and smiled a bit.

Luo Binghe growled again, and Shen Qingqiu patted his head. „It's good to have friends in times of need. So don't be so rude to him.“

Luo Binghe lowered his head, he then looked at his hands. „Shizun... is not scared?“ He seemed to have a hard time talking, so Shen Qingqiu decided to do the talking for both of them. „Why should I? It's still you, after all. But you really need to learn how to control your powers...and your emotions.“

The lowered position showed, that the demon had understood. It was quite comical to see the huge black demon with only strips of fabric covering his body cowering there and being scolded by a man looking like a flower fairy. If it wasn't that serious, Shen Qingqiu would have laughed.

A little sigh escaped his lips, and he picked a loose piece of fabric off of Luo Binghe's shoulder. „It's a pity, the clothes were suiting you well.“

The eyes of the demon followed the hand who was touching him. He then caught it and brought it to his cheeks, rubbing his face at it. He needed warmth, the warmth of his Shizun.

Shen Qingqiu let him do this. He knew, that this young man's heart was fragile right now. But after some time he pulled his hand back. „So, enough of this. Stand up, I want to inspect your new features!“

Chapter Text

Only reluctantly the demon stood up. He was unsure of showing his body he didn't fully understand himself. But since his Shizun had asked, there was no way he would decline.

Shen Qingqiu stood up himself and wandered around his disciple, inspecting him from head to toe.

On his face downward to his belly there were only a few scales, but the rest of his body was covered with them. He stroked Luo Binghe's arm and felt the coolness radiating from them, but they didn't seem to hinder his movements. The long tail was moving slightly, and Shen Qingqiu heard his disciple inhale deeply, when he touched the root of it. So he was sensitive there, Shen Qingqiu noticed with some amusement.

Standing behind him in some distance, he ordered his disciple to spread his wings. It was good, that the cave was large, because the span was impressive. They moved at Luo Binghe's will, and they quivered a bit when Shen Qingqiu touched them. They really felt like they were made of leather, but they were warm, and Shen Qingqiu could feel the blood pulsating in them.

These changes were frightening and impressive at the same time, and Shen Qingqiu became even more curious. It reminded him of a fantasy novel he once read, and to see something like this in front of him woke up the otaku inside of him.

He climbed on the rock he was sitting before to be taller than the demon. He leaned forward to look at the horns and lost balance, almost falling down. Luo Binghe gave off a scared sound and caught his Shizun, his big hands now resting on his hips.

„Many thanks, Binghe“, Shen Qingqiu said warmly and began inspecting the second pair of horns.

„Shizun should be careful“, he said, watching him intensely. He smelled the sweetness emitting from his Shizun's body, and it was almost unbearable to resist.

„I have a big strong demon in front of me. There's no way I can fall“, Shen Qingqiu answered, before touching Luo Binghe's lips. „Show me your tongue and your teeth. Then I'm done.“

Obediently Luo Binghe opened his mouth and sticked out his tongue. The tip was split, and not only his fangs had grown, some more teeth were now sharp, too.

If Shen Qingqiu had to kiss him, this would be... interesting. And painful. He hoped, that wouldn't be the case...

He then sighed. „The body of a demon really is something else“, he said and tried to step down but was held in place by his disciple. „Don't go.“

Questioningly, Shen Qingqiu looked at the demon. „I just want to-“, he began, but was hugged suddenly by that huge body. Regarding the power which were displayed openly in the wholeshape, the touch was very gentle. „Don't“, Luo Binghe repeated, and Shen Qingqiu stood still. „Did you turn into a big demon or a big baby?“

Nonetheless, he hugged the demon back.

Shen Qingqiu had the feeling of a crying child in the wrong body was hugging him. „There there“, he said like soothing a small child. „Everything is fine now, isn't it?“

Luo Binghe shook his head. „I hurt Shizun“, he said. „Unforgivable.“

It wasn't you, who hurt me, Binghe... but I can't tell you this. I'm sorry you have to take this on you.

„Don't worry. It doesn't hurt“, Shen Qingqiu tried to reassure the other one. „And it will go away soon.“

Luo Binghe growled quietly, not intending to let go. His Shizun seemed so small and fragile in his arms now, and he was scared if he made a wrong move, he would hurt him again. But he needed him here right now, so he just didn't move.

Shen Qingqiu was at a loss what to do. He felt the strong heartbeat of his disciple, the warmth of his body and the coolness of the scales in contrast to each other, the faint scent of manliness mixed with something like forest ground after a rain. It was a innocent fragrance, way too innocent for a demonic appearance like this, but very calming. Shen Qingqiu had to admit, that he liked it very much.

„It's not good to be so clingy, Binghe“, he tried to convince the one in front of him to let go. But wasn't he hugging the other one, too? „And we should sleep soon. I'm tired, and you must be exhausted, too.“

Hearing the needs of his Shizun let Luo Binghe lift his head. Carefully, he lifted him up in his arms and carried him deeper into the cave.

Shen Qingqiu didn't say a word. There was nothing to gain from resisting, and he really felt tired. And so he let his disciple do what he wanted to do.

A moment later he was placed on a straw mat on the ground. It was too small to lay down on, but it was better than sitting on the cold hard ground. Luo Binghe placed himself beside him and pulled him into an embrace again, with no intention to let go. Shen Qingqiu sighed and leaned against the broad chest. It was warmer this way, and he knew, he had to accept his fate, at least for now.

He felt a wing carefully laid around the two of them, shielding him from the cold. „Shizun...“, the demon growled. „I will keep you warm.“

Yes, it really was warm inside of this embrace, and Shen Qingqiu felt drowsy all of a sudden. He closed his eyes in defeat.

„Tomorrow we will work on transforming you back“, he murmured. And they needed to maintain their relationship. This wasn't even close to teacher and disciple anymore. Thinking this, he drifted off to sleep.

Luo Binghe was watching the small person in his arms, still faintly glowing. He kissed the hair as gentle as possible. The sweet scent was tickling his nose, and he couldn't resist and sticked out his tongue, tipping it on the small flowers. He could taste the honeyed spiritual energy seeping out of them, and he licked a bit more, feeling the spiritual energy entering his body. It wasn't as effective as kissing him, but a warm feeling was spreading inside of the demon.

He wanted his Shizun so badly. With this demon blood active he was able to control his body functions – at least most of the time -, and if his Shizun wanted it, he would be ready anytime. But he knew, that there was no way this would happen. So he accepted the situation as it was, and to hold his Shizun in his arms like this was more than he ever could have wished for.

He fended off his greatest competitor for now, and he was happy about the success. Liu Qingge had seen, that there was no space for him!

His gaze fell on the black scales on his Shizun's hand, and his heart began aching again. He lifted it up and again, brought it to his lips. Closing his eyes he concentrated, but there was no way he could reverse the effect of his blood right now. Positively seen, they were connected like this. But there was no way he wanted his Shizun becoming a demon, too. Being a flower fairy was way more suitable!

Shen Qingqiu mumbled something in his sleep, and Luo Binghe stopped in his tracks and listened.

„Binghe...“, his Shizun said, and Luo Binghe's heart began beating wildly. His Shizun dreamt of him?!

He held the blackened hand and kissed the soft hair again. „Shizun“, he growled quietly. „My Shizun...“

He made his Shizun worry so much, let him suffer every so often.

This had to end.

From now on, he wanted to protect him even more. So he could live the happy life he deserved.

Together with him.

Chapter Text

Morning came again, and Shen Qingqiu woke up still laying in the arms of the demon. He didn't move at first, listening to the steady heartbeat of his disciple and the deep breaths. The wing was still covering him, and it was cozy and warm, so he wanted to stay here for a while longer.

But after a while, he noticed that he became 'hungry'; his body needed sunlight, and so he tried to slip out of the hug.

There was no way this would go unnoticed.

The big demon stretched his wings, and just when Shen Qingqiu thought he could stand up-

A big hand was tugging on his robe.

Puzzled, he turned around, just to look into some big puppy demon eyes. „Don't go“, the demon growled.

Okay. This would be harder than expected.

„Binghe, I just want to replenish my stamina“, he began explaining. „I won't go away.“

For a moment he was pulled in even closer. He then felt something touching his hair, and suddenly he was free. Irritatedly, he looked at the demon after standing up. That was too easy?

The demon smiled slightly. With this face, it seemed more sarcastic, but Shen Qingqiu knew that this wasn't the case. „I trust Shizun“, he said.

Well...thank you? Good to know? But oh well, the fear of being left behind, especially looking like this... it was way too strong. And so he patted the big demon puppy – puppy was puppy, after all.

„If anything bothers you or hurts, call me“, Shen Qingqiu said and went to the exit of the cave, sitting down there to bask in the sunlight. He knew the other one would follow him anyway, so there was no need for concern. But... just in case, he wanted his disciple to know he could count on him.

Luo Binghe's gaze followed his Shizun the whole time. The only thing that bothered him right now was the urge to never let go. But he had to, he knew this too well.

After a while he reluctantly followed and sat down next to his Shizun. He held his head lowered and was shielding himself a bit with his wings, as if he didn't want his Shizun to take a closer look.

But oh how Shen Qingqiu was looking! In the broad daylight, the demon was even more impressive. Darkness? Depth of hell? Pah! Only in the sunlight this appearance showed his true might!

The scales were shimmering in different colors, while the horns were pitch black in contrast. The skin was more pale than before, giving him a noble aura despite the muscles and the power displayed.

Luo Binghe blushed and looked away. „No staring...“, he grumbled.

„But I want to“, Shen Qingqiu stated and pulled out his fan. The tassel was still intact and caught Luo Binghe's attention. Shen Qingqiu followed his gaze and looked at the decoration. „Of course I still have it. It was a present from you, after all.“

Luo Binghe lowered his head again out of embarrassement, then gripping his Shizun's hand and laying it on his cheek. The presents his Shizun gave him were stored away in the bamboo hut, they were his treasures after all. But he didn't know, that his Shizun valued this simple present so much...

Shen Qingqiu let the young man do this. After a while, he retreated his hand. „Binghe, I want you to try something out.“

He thought about this for a while, but maybe it would work. If kissing was a remedy for Luo Binghe, then this was worth a try.

And with resolve he plucked one of the flowers growing in his hair.

Luo Binghe's eyes went wide.

Fuck! Fuckfuckfuck! That hurt more than he thought! It was like pulling out a strand of hair at once! These blossoms really were a part of him!

A drop of greenish blood appeared where the flower had been, but it dried up almost instantly. Shen Qingqiu took in a deep breath, before handing the little flower over. „Here. Swallow it.“

The white flower looked so tiny in the demon's hand. Concerned, he looked from the blossom to his Shizun, but he just smiled. „Go on. I hope it will do you good.“

Carefully, Luo Binghe put it in his mouth. It was as if honey was melting on his tongue, so sweet and delicious. Warm energy was floating into his veins, and the demon closed his eyes for a moment to savour the feeling.

„Shizun shouldn't do this“, he then said.

Ah... it really worked. At least a bit. Luo Binghe's voice was more stable and smooth now, the struggle to form words had gone away.

„Don't worry, Binghe“, Shen Qingqiu said. „This is just for now. We need to find more effective methods to turn you back.“ He curiously eyed his disciple. „Are you feeling unwell somehow? What about he demonic energy, is it still growing?“

Luo Binghe shook his head. „It conquered my body, but my mind is free for now.“ he looked to the ground. „Though I don't know if this will last.“

„Then you have to make it last.“

The demon lifted his head again.

„You need to cultivate more and stabilize your energies. Your human side isn't weak; you only let this happen because you were uncertain of various things. This shouldn't be the problem anymore, no?“

The demon thought for a moment. „Shizun is right“, he said. Most of his concerns were gone. There still were things which were unsettling, but he would work on them. They wouldn't hinder him in the future.

-

In the afternoon Liu Qingge came back. Luo Binghe was almost growling out of jealousy again, but he held himself back. He wanted to work on this issue, right? It would be inconvenient for his Shizun otherwise.

The other Peak Lord was staring openly at Shen Qingqiu. Last night he could only take a glimpse, but seeing the beautiful and androgynous figure, his heart began to beat wildly. He had to avert his gaze for a moment to calm down.

Irritated, Shen Qingqiu was watching him. He already had forgotten what impact this look had on others. But then he inspected what the other peak Lord had brought over.

Since Luo Binghe was only dressed in some scraps of fabric, barely covering his manhood, Liu Qingge brought over some new trousers. It was a miracle that they fit, regarding the huge body of he demon. The tail was hanging over the waistband, but it couldn't be helped. There were no clothes fitting a demon laying around.

Even if Liu Qingge was his rival, he still was grateful. And so he bowed in front of the Peak Lord, which seemed quite comical for Shen Qingqiu, seeing the huge demon bowing in front of the other man with the delicate face.

Other than the clothes, he brought some sheets and different rations with him. And there was a 'present' from Mu Qingfang, too.

Curiously, Shen Qingqiu spreaded out the contents of the small package.

There were oh-so-familiar pills, and Shen Qingqiu smiled wryly, thinking about the effect one of them already had on him. But there were other pills, too, and with interest, Shen Qingqiu read the letter which Liu Qingge had brought with them.

'If you turn back before your disciple is cured, take another pill. The other ones are for your disciple. I hope they will work. Let him take one every day.'

Okay, simple instructions, no leaflet about side effects or anything like this. Should be easy and hopefully effective.

With a smile, he turned to the other Peak Lord. „Many thanks, Liu-Shidi, for bringing this over.“

The other one blushed. „Don't thank me. It was nothing.“ He then turned to the demon. „Mind to spar with me for a bit, now that you are in peak condition?“

Chapter Text

Sparring...

Shen Qingqiu sat again on a rock in some distance. He still had no understanding of why men had to clash to settle things. But this time, Liu Qingge only seemed interested in how strong that demon was.

Well, that he could understand. And he had to admit, he was curious, too.

Luo Binghe was the protagonist, after all. His father was the most powerful demon in this novel, and combined with the protagonist's halo, there was much to be expected. At least, it would end in a huge outburst of energy.

Since they were at Bai Zhan Peak, no one would be surprised that something like this happened here. So they were safe from being discovered.

Still... there was this bad feeling rumbling in his stomach. Both of them were so powerful, so he just hoped, they stayed in one piece.

Liu Qingge had unsheathed his sword, and it was glowing in a faint light. It showed, that he was taking this seriously. Luo Binghe on the other side had prepared himself, too, collecting spiritual energy in his hands.

Without warning, Liu Qingge dashed forward, only to miss the other one by a hairbreadth. Luo Binghe was soaring into the air, firing two blazing balls of energy before shielding himself right on time. It took the Peak Lord no time to catch up while dodging the energy, his sword clashing with the shield.

They landed, and Liu Qingge attacked again.

The red eyes were glowing in excitement, and Luo Binghe evaded the strike, grabbing the other one's arm and throwing the Peak Lord away. Liu Qingge barely managed to avoid crashing into the wall of the cave, staring at the demon in some kind of admiration – at least, Shen Qingqiu thought he saw something like this flashing over the face of the other one.

„No way to compare it to before“, Shen Qingqiu murmured, and it seemed, Liu Qingge was thinking the same.

Luo Binghe was strong. And knowing that he didn't train in any way, how powerful would he be with polished skills...? This was frightening!

It didn't take long, and this time Liu Qingge was pressured and had to give up. Luo Binghe seemed mostly satisfied and returned to his Shizun's side, sat down there and looked up like he wanted to be praised. Shen Qingqiu sighed inwardly before he patted the big demon puppy. „You possess a huge amount of power, Binghe.“

„We can be glad he's on our side“, Liu Qingge said dryly and sheathed his sword. „Otherwise I don't know what would happen to Cang Qiong Mountain.“

It would be even more severe if Luo Binghe would lay his hands on the Xin Mo sword, Shen Qingqiu thought. But if he was able to collect enough points and Luo Binghe wouldn't fall into the abyss...

The demon still was enjoying to be patted and had his eyes closed like a cat. Liu Qingge was watching this with mixed feelings. „He really is attached to you“, he stated.

Shen Qingqiu looked irritated, while Luo Binghe opened his eyes again, fixating the other Peak Lord. „Well, we are Master and disciple after all. And we went through a lot together“, Shen Qingqiu explained, but Liu Qingge knew, that the demon thought otherwise about their relationship.

Mine.

A shiver ran down Liu Qingge's spine, and he sighed. „If you say so.“ Pulling out some talismans, he gave them to Shen Qingqiu. „Call me if you need anything.“

Shen Qingqiu received them with a warm look in his eyes. „I will. Many thanks, Liu-Shidi.“

-

As soon as they were alone, Luo Binghe placed his head on his Shizun's knee.

„Are you tired, Binghe?“

„Mn.“ The other one didn't look up. He just wanted to enjoy being close, nothing more. He felt satisfied, being able to beat Liu Qingge and making clear, to whom his Shizun belonged to. He knew the other one had understood.

Automatically, Shen Qingqiu began stroking the big puppy. It already became a habit of his, and Luo Binghe felt bliss being pampered like that.

„You really need to polish your skills. But this was very impressive“, Shen Qingqiu went on. „With some training, you will be unbeatable.“

„Will Shizun help me with this?“ Luo Binghe turned his head so he could look at his Shizun. The red eyes were clear and deep, and Shen Qingqiu had a hard time resisting being sucked in.

„Of course I will help you, but I think you can gain more combat experience with Liu-Shidi.“

That moment these words left his lips, Shen Qingqiu felt already sad. But it was true. Even if he had some fighting ability, Liu Qingge was more suited teaching such things.

Suddenly he felt his legs hugged. „Shizun's teachings will be more than enough“, he heard the deep and magnetic voice. „No one can teach this disciple more than Shizun.“

Young man, don't flatter this old man so much. You have to think bigger than this!

But he said nothing. He felt reassured, that Luo Binghe wanted to stay by his side, so he didn't dare to give this young man any more ideas.

-

It was beginning to get dark when Shen Qingqiu finally decided to feed Luo Binghe one of the pills. He still was a bit hesistant, but they had to try. He couldn't pluck that many blossoms from his hair, and kissing was out of the question right now. He was no maochist after all.

Luo Binghe obediently swallowed the pill but then sticked out his tongue. „Bitter...“, he exclaimed and washed his mouth with some water.

„Please endure it, Binghe.“

Shen Qingqiu was watching intensely, but since there was no change to be seen, he asked. „How do you feel?“

„It's burning inside of my stomach“, the other one said. „But I don't feel different.“

Shen Qingqiu sighed. „Maybe they need more time to take effect. We should wait for a bit longer.“

Luo Binghe nodded, a bit dejected. „What about Shizun? Is Shizun feeling alright?“

Shen Qingqiu was a bit irritated by the question, but he nodded. „Yes. I replenished my energy with sunlight and water, so I should be fine.“

„But Shizun isn't glowing tonight.“

Huh?

Shen Qingqiu couldn't see this himself, so he didn't knew this. „Well, but I don't feel any different“, he said and looked down at himself. „Maybe the pill's effect is wearing off?“

This should be a good thing, but to be honest, Shen Qingqiu was scared of taking another pill. He feared the effects would be more severe, and he didn't want to grow roots or anything like that.

Luo Binghe came closer and sniffed at his Shizun's hair. „The scent isn't as strong as before“, he confirmed the thoughts.

„...“

Shen Qingqiu was deep in thoughts. „Well, I think I'll wait until tomorrow. Maybe then we'll see what happens to us. For the time being we should meditate and stabilize our energies.“

Luo Binghe nodded and stood up. A moment later, Shen Qingqiu was picked up in the strong demon arms.

„Binghe! I said meditating!“

„This disciple will do, but he can meditate with Shizun in his arms.“ He went into the cave to bring Shen Qingqiu to the bamboo mat.

„Take this seriously!“ He hit the demon with the fan on the head, but the other one just laughed. „I never was more serious in my life.“

With this, he sat his Shizun down, only to embrace him and put his wings around them. „This maybe isn't the proper position, but with Shizun so close, this disciple can concentrate and meditate even better.“

I doubt that, young man. I really do. But how should I convince you now?

There was no way. The demon was even more stubborn than the human Luo Binghe. And so he sighed and closed his eyes for meditation.

„Then concentrate and train properly.“

Chapter Text

Shen Qingqiu was concerned, and so he let his spiritual energy circulate.

At least, he tried.

But it didn't work.

Something was blocking his spiritual veins, and he knew exactly what it was.

Since Luo Binghe's demon blood went on a rampage, it wasn't suppressing the 'Without A Cure'-Poison inside of him any longer. And so it crept up in his body, unnoticed because of the special circumstances, and instead of destroying his spiritual veins, it simply cut off the circulation of his energy which he needed to live in a body which was similar to a magical plant.

In the end, it didn't matter what it did. This was just another way of dying.

He was literally beginning to wither from the inside.

Panic rose up in his heart. Was there a way to stop this? He could take another pill, but that wouldn't stop the withering. It would only replenish his energy for a little longer.

He opened his eyes again, staring at the ceiling. He thought of what to do, when he heard a groaning sound behind him. „Binghe?“

„Shizun... I don't feel well“, he said, and suddenly he began to cough. A moment later he spat out some greenish liquid, reeking like the sap he was bathed in.

Shen Qingqiu tried to soothe the young man by stroking his back. „Are you alright?“

„It feels like it's ripping me apart“, he said with weak voice before washing his mouth with some water and leaning against his Shizun.

„Maybe the remedy forcefully separates the sap from your demonic energy“, Shen Qingqiu said. „This must be really hard.“

Luo Binghe shook his head. „It's alright. More importantly, Shizun doesn't seem to feel well, too.“

So... he noticed? When? How?!

Shen Qingqiu smiled wryly. „You're more important right now. We-

„No!“ The demon growled. „Nothing is more important!“

Still trembling, he took his Shizun's hand and intertwined their fingers. Shen Qingqiu's hand seemed so small there...

„You're right. I'm sorry.“ Shen Qingqiu lowered his gaze. „To be honest... the 'Without A Cure'-poison is acting up again and harming me right now.“

Luo Binghe was silent and deep in thought. The color came back to his face, and Shen Qingqiu felt relieved. At least, his disciple was going to get better! So he tried to stay positive when speaking up. „It's no problem. I'll ask Mu Qingfang tomorrow for-“

Again, he was interrupted, this time because of a kiss.

Shen Qingqiu froze in place. He didn't expect his disciple to kiss him again!

His lips were parted by the split tongue, and he was so baffled he didn't think of resisting. A moment later a metallic taste was spreading in his mouth. But it was stronger than ever before, mixed with a bittersweet aftertaste. He swallowed it, and another energy was bursting inside of him!

This was pure demon blood!

Luo Binghe ended the kiss and smiled slightly. „It's demon blood that was cleaned from the sap. I give it to you.“

Shen Qingqiu could only stare in disbelief, while a war was breaking out inside of his body. He felt the forces clashing, and he closed his eyes, trying to endure it.

Feeling his whole body being in turmoil, it affected his appearance, and the blossoms began to wither. Petals were falling down, and concerned, Luo Binghe pulled his Shizun in a tight embrace. „We will restore your body afterwards. I'll get the poison under control in no time.“

He closed his eyes and concentrated. Moving the blood and suppressing the poison was nothing new for him, but this time his power was different, and so he had to be careful. It took him quite some time, but finally he managed it. He couldn't avoid the scales spreading on his Shizun's forearm due to the sheer force of his blood, but he would take care of this later on.

Helplessly, Shen Qingqiu hugged the demon back. The pain was almost driving him crazy, but he felt, that his disciple did the right thing and was winning this fight. So he placed his head on the crook of Luo Binghe's neck, breathing heavily and holding on.

It felt like forever, but finally the poison was under control. Both of them were sighing in relief.

„Many thanks, Binghe“, Shen Qingqiu said, still resting in the demon's arms.

His body was damaged and he needed to take a pill to restore himself. But he was able to recover now.

It was now Luo Binghe who was stroking his Shizun's back soothingly.

„You need to tell me when something is happening to you“, he whispered.

„Mn“, Shen Qingqiu only replied. He felt weak, and when he looked around, everything was covered in little white petals looking like fresh snow had fallen. „Does it look bad?“

„No.“ Luo Binghe kissed his Shizun's hair again. „Only the flowers lost their petals. Otherwise your body is fine.“

That was reassuring to know.

After a while he sat up straight again. „What about you? Are you alright?“

Luo Binghe smiled again. „No worries, I'm fine. I feel like the pills will cleanse my blood, but I still have to receive Shizun's spiritual energy.“

Sounded logical. And doable.

„Is it endurable?“

The demon nodded. „It's not as bad as it seemed to be. It's not really painful, it's more like getting sick from spoiled food.“

As long as you're not going to die from it like other people... Shen Qingqiu suddenly felt guilty.

„Then I will take another pill to restore my body“, Shen Qingqiu said and tried to stood up, but the demon was faster. „I'll go get one.“

Well, he sure seemed to be energetic again. So this really wasn't that bad? Hopefully this wasn't just for the moment.

He waited patiently for his disciple to return while piling up the petals and inspecting the strand of flowers in his long hair. The small blossoms really have withered, and only brown stems remained. It was a sad sight, and even if he wanted to turn back into a human soon, seeing them bloom was better than the withered remains.

Talking about turning back into a human...

Since his arm felt weird, he had to look at it. And seeing half of his forearm now covered in black scales, he smiled mockingly.

Half plant, some part demon... the human part in him was growing smaller and smaller.

Chapter Text

Luo Binghe returned with a pill and some water. Seeing that his Shizun had swept up the tiny petals while looking miserable at them, he had the urge to hug him again. But he restrained himself and instead just kneeled down and gave the medicine to him.

Shen Qingiu looked at the pill for a moment. He began to feel scared, but before the feeling took over, he swallowed it and drank some water afterwards. It couln't be helped, he needed to restore his body, and there was no other way to do so.

A fresh energy was flooding his veins, healing his damaged body. But he felt, that this wasn't the only thing that happened. His body was overflowing with energy, and it searched for a way out.

Luo Binghe was watching intensely, and he grabbed his Shizun's hand, when he saw that more changes began to happen.

The flowers began blooming again, but they multiplied while his hair was growing again. They now looked like a veil covering the hair. His face became a bit more androgynous and stunning, looking even more like he wasn't belonging to any gender. And if it wasn't enough, wooden horns began sprouting from his temples with little flowers covering them, too.

Shen Qingqiu felt, that something wasn't right and lifted the free hand to touch the new features, but Luo Binghe caught this hand, too. „Don't.“

Irritated, Shen Qingqiu asked. „Why?“

„Because Shizun looks as if he is about to cry.“

Shen Qingqiu said nothing. It must have been obvious how he felt, and so he didn't resist. „Binghe, I...“

„This disciple knows how Shizun feels.“ Luo Binghe tried to sound reassuring. „But Shizun is Shizun, no matter what. It's the inside that matters.“

For the first time he was glad to hear the same things he said to Luo Binghe now spoken to him. He then tried to smile. „You are right. Thank you for reminding me.“

A familiar voice suddenly rang out.

[Reaching mutual understanding: adding 50 points.]

Wow. Just... wow.

You were denying me the 500 points of the other quest and even punished me even if he still would finish it, and now you are giving me some points out of the blue. Are you freaking kidding me, system?!

This situation was way too bizarre, he didn't kow whether to laugh or cry. He still was thinking about this, when he was pulled into an embrace. „Shizun has his scent back“, he heard the demon beside his ear. „And is glowing again. That means, Shizun's body has healed.“

Well... you could call it like that? It was true, that he felt better, even if he changed more. He was full of energy and vitality, ready to give something of this to his disciple.

And as if the young man had read his thoughts, he stole another kiss from his Shizun.

Shen Qingqiu should have gotten used to it, but wasn't. Again he was irritated, but then he closed his eyes and answered the kiss, giving in to the urge to share his energy and the needs of his disciple.

He was waiting for some sharp pain because of Luo Binghe's teeth, but it didn't came. Instead, it felt... good. Familiar.

After a while, they parted, and Luo Binghe smiled. „Shizun tastes even sweeter than before.“

Shen Qingqiu blushed. Shameless disciple! But then he laid his finger on Luo Binghe's lips. „Show me your teeth!“

Obediently, Luo Binghe opened his mouth, and really, he could see normal teeth. Only the fangs were still larger than normal. „They changed back!“

„It happened when I gave Shizun my blood.“ Luo Binghe seemed happy, and that made Shen Qingqiu feel some relief, too. It worked, so there still was hope.

„Then hopefully, you will turn back even more“, he said. It was worth everything when Luo Binghe transformed back in the end.

-

They rested for the night. Shen Qingqiu was too energetic to sleep, but he took the chance and began meditating. His energies were circulating freely in his body, more than ever before. He felt so strong, it was amazing!

The original novel was full of strange plants who had onimous powers. To be similar to such a plant at the moment – he never dreamt of something like this happening! He read about a flower that could grow into a human body, so maybe this plant was used for creating this medicine? Well, it didn't matter, he only had to stay like this until his disciple had turned back, and hopefully he could return to being humanafter this, too.

Luo Binghe was leaning at the wall, his eyes closed. He was breathing steadily, and Shen Qingqiu was watching the sleeping demon.

For the first time since this began, Luo Binghe seemed somehow relaxed. The sharp features had softened up a bit, giving way to the handsomeness. The scales were reflecting Shen Qingqiu's glow, and tinted in warm green light, they looked appealing, too.

Truly a sight worthy of a protagonist. Shen Qingqiu understood why people were so attracted to demons in fantasy novels. Powerful and handsome... a most dangerous combination!

He sighed and wanted to meditate again, when he felt eyes resting at him.

„Does Shizun like what he sees?“

Urgh... he got caught in the act. Nervously, he looked away.

„I was just inspecting if there were any changes“, he tried to explain, but Luo Binghe only smiled. „This disciple likes looking at Shizun, too. But right now, he is like a celestial being, so this disciple almost doesn't dare to.“

He sat up and stroked his Shizun's cheek. „I like this appearance, but I like the normal Shizun, too. Shizun is the most beautiful when he is feeling good in his body, no matter how he looks.“

Again with the cheesy lines. You waste your talent of flirting on this old man!

But he had to admit, that it felt good to hear this words. „I will be myself again in the future, so please bear with me and my uncertainty for now.“

„I will. If I can stay with Shizun, nothing else matters.“

Shen Qingqiu felt the wings wich were laid around his body and the warmth they were emitting. It was a nice feeling, like being in a cocoon. „Binghe...“, he said but then stopped.

The hand on his cheek was trailing down to his lips.

„Won't Shizun tell this disciple what he's thinking?“

There were so many things in Shen Qingqiu's mind right now, but his thoughts were so confused, he didn't know how to sort them out. The upcoming conference, the abyss plot, Luo Binghe's blackening. Time went by so fast, and now they were stuck like this, wasting even more of this precious time.

He swallowed, and after a while, he said:

„Whatever happens in the future, please remember, that this Master never want to harm you in any way.“

Chapter Text

„This disciple knows already, but why is Shizun saying this?“

The intense gaze that was laying on him made Shen Qingiu look away.

„Because I don't know what happens in the future.“

I don't want to die. But I don't want you to fall into the abyss, either.

With things as they were right now, Shen Qingqiu began to doubt, that it was possible for him to reach the points needed. He was thinking that maybe it would be better if he died, so Luo Binghe could go on without him and without blackening, even if this was 'just' a novel and the young man just a fictional character. But right now, he felt, that this wasn't what he really wanted.

He learned how to live in this world and he began liking it. At first, he just wanted to survive, but now, he knew, that he didn't want to go on alone here. Without the protagonist by his side it really would be lonely.

He considered going down the abyss with Luo Binghe when the time comes. They endured so much until now, how bad could it be? But would the young man forgive him taking him down there?

Luo Binghe didn't say anything for a while, leaving his Shizun thinking and watching the mixed feelings displaying on his face. Recently, his Shizun became bad at hiding things, expecially since Luo Binghe learned how to read his face. And he learned, that he had to give his Shizun time. So he waited patiently, and after a while he said. „No one knows the future. But as long as we try our best, it can only be glorious.“

Shen Qingqiu listened to his disciple, but then smiled a bit. „Since when is the disciple teaching his Master in such a way?“

Luo Binghe chuckled. „Well, sometimes it's necessary to listen to a humble disciple to go on?“

-

They rested again, and finally Shen Qingqiu was able to get some sleep, too. But now it was Luo Binghe who was awake.

The sweet scent coming from his Shizun began to grow stronger, enticing him and let him shudder in excitement.

He had insisted on holding his Shizun in his arms, and now he somehow regretted it.

The past days were too stressful to think of any unnecessary things, and his demon blood let him control his body functions, but right now they were getting out of control. The heat which was building up in his lower half was dangerous!

He tried to shift his position a bit, but the result was, that his Shizun mumbled something and then hugged him unconciously, bringing more of the fragrance to his nose.

He bit his lip in frustration. If this went on, he wouldn't be able to hold himself back!

Another wave of heat washed through his body, and with a muffled moan he bent forward, nibbling at the little flowers again. He just couldn't resist, and receiving some of the nectar, the heat lessened for a moment. Relieved, he closed his eyes, only to feel a thirst even stronger than before.

He had to do something!

Thinking that there was a waterfall nearby, he wanted to cool himself down. But he would wake his Shizun up if he moved!

Well... if he didn't do anything, his Shizun would wake up anyway because of-

Carefully, he tried to unwrap the arms around his body, but it seemed his Shizun didn't intend to let go.

As much as he would enjoy this under normal circumstances, this was not a good time for cuddling right now!

„Shizun...“, he gently said and shook his Shizun slightly. „I...I need to go out for a moment, are you willing to let go?“

Only slowly, his Shizun woke up. „Binghe, what's wrong?“, he mumbled and sat up. „Do you need help?“

„No... I just became thirsty. I will go and fetch fresh water.“ Luo Binghe hoped, his Shizun wouldn't notice his... not so little problem down there.

And he was lucky.

„Would you mind bringing me some, too?“, he asked, and Luo Binghe inhaled deeply. „Of course, this disciple will be right back!“

With this, he jumped to his feet and almost fled the cave.

-

It wasn't working!

Luo Binghe stood under the cold water of the waterfall and tried to calm himself down. But it was no use! His sky pillar stood upright very tall and very proud and didn't intend to lay low anytime soon. And even if the water was almost freezing him, waves of heat were rolling through his veins, making him weak in the knees.

When he touched the hard thing, pleasure was erupting, and he barely hold himself back from crying out loud.

This body was so needy!

The flame was lit up now, so there was no turning back. He needed to give this... thing some attention.

Being only sixteen but having the body of an adult, his heart was in turmoil. He didn't have any experience in dealing with an erection, and the times he had one before he had been able to ignore it somehow.

So what to do?

He sat on the embankment and looked down at himself. This thing was huge! Even he knew by now, that this wasn't a normal-sized sword down there. The demon blood had made it even larger, and now it was pulsating and asking o be taken care of.

He did the only logical thing – he touched himself again.

Burning pleasure was welling up, and for the second time this night he bit his lip, just to taste blood soon after. This was way too intense!

He stroked the hard flesh, and he felt, it wouldn't take him long to reach enlightenment. He hold back for so long in front of his Shizun, so his body became a greedy mess.

Shizun...

He closed his eyes.

Seeing his Shizun's face in front of his inner eye let him shiver again. Shizun as a flower fairy... Shizun as his teacher... the slight smile, the grace when he moved...

He moaned loudly.

No matter which appearance, he wanted his Shizun so badly. At least he could dream about him...

The strokes became fiercer, his breath ragged. He was close, so close...

„Binghe?“

A familiar voice resounded behind him.

That moment he came with a loud cry.

Chapter Text

Luo Binghe stared at the milky white liquid on his hand in disbelief. He then realized, that his Shizun was standing behind him.

„Binghe? Are you alright?“

With a loud splash the demon jumped into the water. „Y-yes! I'm alright!“

Slowly Shen Qingqiu stepped closer. „Really? You didn't came back, so I was worried something had happened...and then this cry...“

„No, I... this disciple just felt hot somehow, so I decided to take a quick bath.“

Luo Binghe was blushing so hard, he felt his face burning up. He didn't dare to turn around right now, so he decided to shield himself with his wings.

This behaviour was highly suspicious, and Shen Qingqiu looked from the embankment over to his disciple. When Luo Binghe showed no sign of turning around, he sighed. „Mind if I join you, then?“

With a mix of shock and confusion, Luo Binghe turned around. „What?!“

Ah, that worked.

With a hint of a smile, Shen Qingqiu inspected his disciple. Ignoring the red face, everything seemed to be normal. Good. „Finally you look at me.“

Luo Binghe lowered his gaze. „Shizun tricked me.“

Shen Qingqiu laid his way too long hair on the ground. „No. I'm really thinking about joining you, but most of all, I am glad, that you aren't harmed in any way.“ He squatted down and rested his chin in his hand. „Would you mind telling this Master what happened?“

„...“

The blush deepened even more, and the young man shook his head. „I can't. This... it's too embarrassing...“

Now that made Shen Qingqiu even more curious. What could be that embarrassing, after all that happened?

„Well, then we talk about it later.“ He stood up and began undressing.

Flustered, Luo Binghe looked away. „Shizun, wh-what are you doing?!“

„Joining you, of course.“ Shen Qingqiu folded his outer robe and placed it on a rock. „This body needs some water, after all.“

Luo Binghe's tail began swishing nervously under the surface. This was no good timing, Shizun! He felt his body reacting again. Especially when he heard, that his Shizun entered the water behind him. His wings trembled slightly, and when a cold and gentle hand touched them, he jolted to the side.

„Binghe?“

The young man felt his sky pillar standing up again, and he sank into the water as deep as possible. „Sh-Shizun, don't...“

Shen Qingqiu lifted an eyebrow. „Seriously, Binghe, what's wrong? You're acting really strange.“

Luo Binghe didn't know where to look or to flee at. His Shizun was right there, within his reach, and his lower half knew this too well. His sky pillar began throbbing again, resisting the cold water and the panicked thoughts of his owner.

He had no choice.

His Shizun wouldn't go away if he didn't answer. And so he slowly turned around, his face still beet red. „Shizun, I don't feel so good... down there...“ He pointed under the surface and looked away.

Shen Qingqiu followed the pointing with his eyes, then looked up again. A moment later he was blushing deeply, too. „O-oh...“, he stammered.

So what he heard when he came here... was... was it really?

Well, this was a stallion novel protagonist after all. Bewitching people since forever, wasn't it normal to have such a reaction...? But still...

Luo Binghe, this was way too embarrassing!

He pondered over what to do, when his disciple spoke up again. „Is... is Shizun disgusted?“

What?

„No. No, i'm not. It's just... I didn't think I have to handle something like this...“ He was at a loss what to do. As a shut-in he had a folder on his computer with special pictures when he wanted to... help himself. But what should he say to this young man? What to do? Maybe he should just leave and give him time on his own? That would be for the best, wouldn't it?

But if he went away now, this young man sure would think he was disgusted. Luo Binghe was the type of character thinking like this.

„You need... to take care of this“, he said a bit weakly. „It won't go away with cold water only. Especially with the demonic energies being active.“

Luo Binghe lowered his head. „I know“, he whispered. „But...“

Shen Qingqiu sighed. He didn't intend to 'help' this young man in any way. This was a private thing after all! But how to explain?
He was pondering again, when he felt a hand on his cheek. And suddenly, Luo Binghe was kissing him.

What the fuck?!

He felt the hot breath mingling with his, the need in his gestures. And a huge sword down there touching his-

He stumbled backwards, staring into the water. How huge was this thing right now?! There was only a small distance between them, but this should have been enough to not feel it. Normally. This thing was scary!

Luo Binghe smiled somehow pained. „I'm sorry, I couldn't resist...“ He tried to inhale deeply, but it was clear, that he was too aroused to control himself. Shen Qingqiu could only imagine how bad this must feel to hold back right now.

He then had an idea. There was a way he could help the young man a bit.

„You need to finish it by yourself, but...“, he began while going around the demon. He then reached out and touched where the tail was attached to Luo Binghe's back.

Instantly, Luo Binghe cried out. „Shizun! What~“

His voice became a moan when Shen Qingqiu began massaging this spot. So he really was that sensitive there. „I'll help you a bit. There's nothing more I can do right now.“

The huge body in front of him was trembling, and Luo Binghe closed his eyes. The touch of his Shizun was so gentle, and this spot, ahhhh...His fingers automatically began stroking his sky pillar, and before Shen Qingqiu could retreat, his disciple already came a second time.

Weakly, he tried to hold himself up, but his knees were too weak, and he began to stumble. Shen Qingqiu barely caught him but had trouble holding the huge body up, so both of them landed in the water.

Shen Qingqiu was the first to emerge. He coughed out some water before glancing at the demon right beside him. „Binghe! You need to take care of this yourself!“

Luo Binghe looked guilty, but still feeling the waves of pleasure, he pulled his Shizun in his arms. Shen Qingqiu felt the trembling, and he sighed. „Really, Binghe... that isn't something this Master should take care of.“

„Sorry“, the demon mumbled. „And... thank you.“

Shen Qingqiu was at a loss for what to do. And so he patted the big puppy in his arms until Luo Binghe was able to move again. Without a word he scooped his Shizun up in his arms and carried him out of the water and into the cave.

The clothes could wait. Everything else could wait. He now needed some cuddles and a Shizun in his arms.

Chapter Text

Shen Qingqiu didn't resist when he was lifted up. He already was used to be princess carried by the demon, and he could imagine, how confused the young man was right now. So he let him do as he pleased. Luo Binghe didn't want to harm him anyway.

Maybe it was because of the state his body was in, but being naked wasn't that irritating right now. And Luo Binghe had seen him countless times until now.

The arms holding him were so warm, his body had the chance to absorb enough water, and so he felt comfortable to the point he closed his eyes and leaned at the broad chest.

Just like before he was gently put down and instantly hugged when the demon sat down, too. He shouldn't get used to this position, it was inappropriate. But wasn't he already used to it?

„Shizun is too good to this disciple“, the demon whispered and stroked his Shizun's bare upper arm. „He gives me too much hope.“

Hope? For what?

He wanted to ask, when the happy voice of the system rang up.

[Sexual education of the protagonist: Step one successful, + 50 points.]

Wow. So it was like this? Not that he minded the points, it was just ridiculous! He didn't intend to take the part of teaching him such things!

But he needed to make up for the failed mission, so he didn't complain. Instead, he concentrated on the stroking. It was soothing and nice. Luo Binghe knew how to move this big hand...

He suddenly felt a head resting on his shoulder from behind. So this big puppy was the type who needed cuddles after... 'sex'? This was kind of cute.

This made Shen Qingqiu thinking. Since when did he allowed the protagonist to be this close to him? It would be problematic to return to their normal relationship after this adventure had ended, and he shouldn't give in, but oh well... something inside of him enjoyed this closeness way too much.

He laid his hand on top of the other one's. „Are you feeling better now?“

„Mn.“

Luo Binghe felt drowsy. Having this experience and even being able to hold his Shizun in his arms afterwards – there wasn't a way this could get better. His emotions got the better of him, and he kissed his Shizun on the ear. „Thank you...“, he whispered. But then he closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep.

Shen Qingqiu felt, that the hand on his arm became limp, and he leaned back and gently pushed Luo Binghe against the wall with this, so he had a better sleeping position. He then closed his eyes, too.

To live from day to day like this wasn't that bad. If only the abyss plot wouldn't come closer, too.

-

When Shen Qingqiu woke up, the first thing he saw was Luo Binge's face in front of his. Startled, he tried to push him away, but the demon was way to strong. He only laughed happily. „Good morning, Shizun!“ He seemed totally refreshed and at his peak condition.

Young man, what were you doing right now?!

His expression gave away his thoughts, and Luo Binghe laughed again. „This disciple was watching Shizun's sleeping face.“

...you have some strange hobbies there...

Shen Qingqiu squirmed out of the embrace. „I need to get my clothes back. And I want to check if anything changed on your body.“

The big puppy nodded obediently. Since his trousers were at the embankment of the waterfall, he followed his Shizun in a strange parade. A naked flower fairy and a naked demon in a row... quite the sight.

But no one saw them except some birds flying around, and with some relief, Shen Qingqiu dressed himself. It would have been bad if Liu Qingge had visited them that moment... he didn't even want to think about this!

But they were lucky. Only when they returned, a guest was waiting for them. This time it was the Sect Master.

The sight of Shen Qingqiu made him speechless. He always had a warm demeanor around his Shidi, but now he didn't know how to react. Even he couldn't help but blush for a moment.

„...Qingqiu-Shidi, is that really you?“

Inwardly, Shen Qingqiu sighed. Luckily, he had his fan with him, and so he opened it and fanned himself. „Of course. Who else could it be?“

Yue Qingyuan relaxed a bit. Then he inspected the demon behind his Shidi. „Both of you have changed a lot recently.“

You're not the first one saying this, Shen Qingqiu thought. But he knew he didn't have to explain anything, since Liu Qingge surely had informed the Sect Master thoroughly.

„Blame Mu Qingfang for it. His pills are way too effective.“

Seeing the two of them, Luo Binghe's tail began swishing again. He felt jealousy rising up in his heart, and he swallowed hard to suppress it. There was no need for this. His Shizun was with him, and the Sect Master only meant well with both of them.

„Mu-Shidi is just way too devoted to his work“, Yue Qingyuan said with a smile. „And somehow it works every time, doesn't it?“

„That is true.“ Shen Qingqiu confirmed this. „But what brings you here? Is there a special reason?“

Yue Qingyuan shook his head. „I just wanted to see if the both of you are alright. You are dearly missed by your disciples.“

A sigh escaped Shen Qingqiu's lips. „I can't return for quite some time, I suppose.“ He turned around to look at his disciple. „Not before Luo Binghe had changed back.“

The Sect Master nodded. „I thought as much. I already told them you are on a mission and it will take more time.“

He knew he could count on his Shixiong! „Many thanks.“ He bowed slighty.

Yue Qingyuan blushed slightly again. „No need for this. More importantly, are you fine here? Do you need anything?“

It warmed Shen Qingqiu's heart that there were so many people caring for him. He shook his head. „Rright now, everything is fine.. well, as much as you can say this. Liu-Shidi visited us and gave me talismans so i can contact you anytime.“

„Then that's fine.“ Yue Qingyuan seemed relieved. „Don't hesitate to do so.“

-

They talked for a bit, and the Sect Master asked some things about their condition while Shen Qingqiu explained things.

After a while, Yue Qingyuan seemed satisfied and left. He was barely out of sight when Shen Qingqiu was hugged from behind. „Shizun sure is loved.“

„What are you saying, Binghe. He cares about you, too.“ He tried to turn around, but Luo Binghe didn't let him. „Shizun is the most important person for me. This disciple hopes, to be important for Shizun, too.“

Young man, your jealousy is showing!

„Don't worry. I wouldn't stay with you if I didn't care.“ He patted the arm around his shoulders. „So don't worry too much, okay? Your demonic power will go on a rampage again if you do.“

Only reluctantly Luo Binghe let go. „Shizun is right“, he said dejectedly, „This disciple is sorry.“

Finally Shen Qingqiu turned around. „Don't. You behaved well this time, so you made progress, didn't you?“

That made Luo Binghe smile again. „Shizun thinks so?“ He happily grabbed his Shizun's hand. „Many thanks!“

Ah, this young man was so easily delighted sometimes. But he thought this was a good thing. And it made Shen Qingqiu happy himself. Luo Binghe's smile was contagious, it let oneself feel a lot better instantly.

„That's right. And now I need to inspect you. I hope we made progress with your body, too!“

Chapter Text

„Binghe, do you feel this?“

„Mn. Shizun's hand is so soft.“

Shen Qingqiu stood behind the demon and had laid his hand on a part of the young man's back. Slowly he pulled it back to look at the pure white skin underneath.

„You lost some scales there. We make progress.“

Luo Binghe turned around with the happiest smile. „That's good news!“

Shen Qingqiu nodded. „Indeed.“ He looked up. „And it seems the second pair of horns has shrunken, too. But this I have to inspect when you sit down later.“

He was crying tears of joy inwardly. Progress! Finally they took a step forward! So hope wasn't lost!

It was still a long way to go, but the first step was taken.

Suddenly he was hugged and lifted up in the air. „...Binghe?!“

„Sorry, Shizun, but I'm just happy.“

Shen Qingqiu couldn't see his face, but the trembling in Luo Binghe's voice made clear how happy he really was. He knew the feeling of being afraid to not turn back; it was the same with him. But seeing the change made him feel relieved.

It was possible. They would turn back.

He let the big puppy hold him for a moment, but then he began wiggling. „Enough, Binghe. Put me down!“

Luo Binghe only reluctantly did what he was told, looking wronged. Shen Qingqiu sighed inwardly. „We can't stop right now. Even if it's hard for you, but you need to take the medicine. And you need to meditate more to bring the demonic energy under control.“

The huge puppy nodded. „This disciple will do this.“

-

The next days they were training intensely. The medicine made Luo Binghe sick for a short period of time every day, but it helped him getting rid of the sap, and Shen Qingqiu helped him turning back by giving him his energy. Kissing was still embarrassing somehow, but it became a habit to kiss once a day. It was the most effective way to transfer the needed remedy, after all.

At first, the changes were small, but on the third day, the second pair of horns were gone, and more of the scales were disappearing. On the seventh day Luo Binghe's back was free of them. His face began to soften up a bit, too, losing the evil and cruel expression.

Shen Qingqiu was highly satisfied. It would take even more time, but this was fine.

If only...if only he would show some signs of turning back, too.

On the eighth day he sat on a rock in the sunlight, when Luo Binghe kneeled in front of him. „Shizun, this disciple want to test something out. Is he allowed to?“

Shen Qingqiu was irritated, but he nodded.

Luo Binghe lifted the hand of his Shizun up which was still covered in black scales and brought it to his forehead. He closed his eyes and concentrated, and the demon mark began to glow slightly. „Please bear with it, Shizun.“

Suddenly, his fingertips began to itch like thousand ants were crawling over the skin! He wanted to retract his hand, but his disciple was grabbing it firmly. „Only a moment more“, he mumbled.

Suddenly the feeling faded.

Luo Binghe let go, and Shen Qingqiu lifted his hand before his eyes.

The front part of the fingers were now free of scales. And his fingernails... they were normal! Normal human fingernails! No hint of green was left.

Shen Qingqiu was speechless. He looked at his disciple, the mouth open. He closed it, knowing that this must have looked rather dumb.

But his disciple was smiling warmly. „When I meditated I found out how to control the demonic energies more. I can't guarantee if it works where the demonic energy wasn't changing Shizun, but this disciple will try. Shizun is curing me, so this disciple will try to cure Shizun in return.“

This time it was Shen Qingqiu who was hugging his disciple.

Luo Binghe knew. He knew him so well, that even if he didn't voice out his fear anymore, this young man still knew how he felt. Shen Qingqiu swallowed the tears welling up in his eyes. „Many thanks, Binghe“, he whispered, receiving a hug in return.

-

The next day Liu Qingge visited again. He stood frozen in place when he saw the 'upgraded' Shen Qingqiu and instantly turned beet red. With a huff he turned around. „Lend me your disciple, I wan to spar“, he only said, and left without another word. Luo Binghe looked at his Shizun, and Shen Qingqiu nodded approvingly, so his disciple followed after the other Peak Lord.

Soon in the distance there was the clashing of enormous energies heard. Shen Qingqiu didn't bother following this time. Instead he began meditating again and trying to focus on how the demonic blood in his body was reacting right now.

He closed his eyes and let his spiritual energy circulate, when another voice was heard. „You look beautiful. Were the pills too strong?“

Without opening his eyes, Shen Qingqiu replied. „If it wasn't you who made them, I would think this was on purpose, Mu-Shidi.“

A chuckle was heard, and finally he opened his eyes. „I would never do that. But I think it's fascinating.“

The other Peak Lord was sqatting down in front of him, inspecting the long hair and the little flowers in it. „But it seems it didn't do you any harm. I can feel the spiritual energy flowing without any problem.“

„Despite being even more inhuman – no.“ Shen Qingqiu opened his fan. „I kind of like my normal body. It would be nice to get it back.“

„You will. If the effect won't wear off on its own, I have some things in store. But such a bewitching Peak Lord would be good for recruiting more talented people.“

Shen Qingqiu humphed. „I don't want to stay a plant forever. And I don't think, a being like me would be trustworthy for the people out there.“

„Maybe you're right.“ The other Peak Lord laughed, then handed Shen Qingqiu a cream jar. „Use this for your disciple. I refined the recipe. It should work as good as the pills and don't make him sick again.“

So Mu Qingfang knew about the side effects and tried to avoid them. „Many thanks“, Shen Qingqiu said and received it gratefully.

„Rub it on a part of the body on daily base until it transformed back. Then go to the next part. The bigger changes like gaining his normal body size back will take some time, but you can make him look human after all. At least on the outside. Use only the pills for the final changes, but I think he will be able to take control over the changes until then.“

Shen Qingqiu nodded. If this didn't make Luo Binghe sick, it was way better than the pills.

-

They talked for a while until Liu Qingge came back. His clothes were tattered a bit, and he was tired but satisfied. Following him was a happy demon.

„He may be turning back, but his skills are improving“, the Peak Lord said impressed. This was the highest praise Luo Binghe could hear.

„Many thanks for sparring with him“, Shen Qingqiu said, and Liu Qingge was blushing again. „Don't mind it.“ With this, he got ready to leave, and Mu Qingfang followed.

„Take care“, he said to Shen Qingqiu before leaving.

Luo Binghe sat down next to his Shizun, waiting for praise. Ah, still the big puppy!

He got patted on the head and closed his eyes in satisfaction. „This disciple became stronger, Shizun“, he said. „This disciple is very happy.“

Becoming stronger was a good thing, but if this went on, Luo Binghe would become an unbeatable being. This was good as long as he didn't blacken.

He had to prevent this from happening. He needed to find out how to gain more points as soon as possible.

Chapter Text

'System... is there any way to gain some points right now through quests?'

[This system is glad to be of service. Right now there are no quests available. Do you want to sign up for the newsletter about available quests?]

Really.

He would have liked to strangle the system right now, so he only pressed the 'yes'-button with his thoughts.

[Thank you for signing up. This system will provide you with news as soon as possible.]

Somehow he felt like making a bad deal and hoped to not receive any spam mails.

Luo Binghe looked curiously at his Shizun. „Is everything alright?“

„Well... yes.“ Shen Qingqiu avoided looking at his disciple directly. „Just some random thoughts popping up.“

How much he wanted to rant about this shitty system right now! But there was no way he could do this, and so he decided to change the topic. „Mu-Shidi brought over some cream for turning you back, so you don't have to take the pills for a while. It should have less side effects.“

Luo Binghe's eyes widened a bit. „The Peak Lord did this? For me?“

Shen Qingqiu nodded. „You are a disciple here. Of course he cares for you, too. This is your home, after all.“

Home. This word had a strange taste to it, but it wasn't bad. Luo Binghe knew, that the Peak Lords were acting like one big family, but he never thought of himself to be a part of it. But Liu Qingge, too, cared in his own way, the Sect Master didn't dislike him, and Mu Qingfang even brought new medicine.

He lowered his head. „So am I really allowed to see this place as... home?“

Shen Qingqiu sighed. „Of course. You are welcome here. When we both turn back, Shixiong will give you the final approval, I'm sure.“

„...“

A moment later, the demon hugged Shen Qingqiu's legs and buried his head on his knees.

„Binghe?“

„This... this is too much“, it mumbled from below. „I don't know how to react right now.“

With a gentle touch, Shen Qingqiu began stroking his disciple. He knew, that this young man always felt left alone and like an outsider. Only Ning Yingying had been somehow close to him. So this was something entirely new for him.

„Take your time. Think about it. But this Master would be happy, if you could accept this as your home.“

Screw the storyline! Screw the protagonist's hate and the destruction he brought over Cang Qiong Mountain in the original novel! If this weird situation showed him, that he had a place he could return to, maybe this wasn't that bad at all!

-

Later in the evening Shen Qingqiu brought out the new medicine. He was told to treat only a part at once, and so he decided to begin with Luo Binghe's hands. The claws were good for fighting, but he knew, that they hindered him in daily life.

Luo Binghe let his Shizun do the treatment and waited until he finished. He inspected the green cream on his hands, which disappeared quite soon.

„Now we have to wait“, Shen Qingqiu said and closed the lid. The medicine had a familiar scent, and when Luo Binghe was blushing, he knew what it was. It was the scent he was emitting himself.

„Shizun...“, his disciple said with a red face. „This disciple thinks it is time for more medicine...“

Shen Qingqiu blushed slightly, too. He then closed his eyes, waiting for the kiss to come.

But Luo Binghe took his time today. Instead of going for the target directly, he placed a soft kiss on his Shizun's hair and forehead before searching his lips.

Shen Qingqiu was about to question his disciple's actions, when he was silenced by the soft lips. The kiss was even more gentle than usual; it felt as if the realizations from today had made Luo Binghe soft inside and he wanted to express it like this.

It made Shen Qingqiu's knees weak.

The kisses normally were more like... practice? Somehow interesting, but still a bit clumsy, even after some time. It still felt strange, even after they kissed reguarily, though.

This time it was how lovers would kiss.

The thought alone let his heart race, and he felt, that his body was willing to give more energy to the young man through the kiss. His body liked it this way.

His heart... was in turmoil.

That wasn't good.

But he couldn't end it, he wasn't able to...

When they finally parted, he was panting heavily. Luo Binghe had a loving look on his face when he traced his Shizun's lips with his thumb. „Many thanks, Shizun“, he said with a soft voice, and Shen Qingqiu had to close his eyes for a moment to calm himself down. „What are you saying, Binghe“, he tried to relativize the impact the kiss had on him. „I only gave you my energy like always.“

Luo Binghe just smiled, letting Shen Qingqiu's heart beat faster again. This kind of smile with this matured face was a killer move on every lady!

-

The next morning Shen Qingqiu inspected Luo Binghe's hands. At night he had smelled the fragrance of the sap, but this time the young man was fast asleep and didn't get sick like before. So he assumed, it had left the body through the skin.

And really, the scales were gone, and the fingernails were still black, but they had human shape. Excited, Shen Qingqiu touched the fingers. „It works! Mu-Shidi is amazing!“

Suddenly the other one caught his Shizun's hand and entwined their fingers with a swift move. „Only because Shizun is giving this disciple his energy“, he said. „The medicine alone wouldn't work.“

Well, that may be true, but still...

Shen Qingqiu looked at the intertwined fingers and had to think of the kiss again. He barely managed to keep his cool. „You became quite touchy, Binghe“, he said a bit absentmindedly.

„If Shizun doesn't like it, he can always push this disciple away.“

Young man, I would. Really. Ths is way too close! But looking in your eyes, I can see how you need the closeness. The lonely child in an unfamiliar body is showing himself way too often!

Who could abandon such a person?

Shen Qingqiu couldn't.

And so he stayed quiet, letting the young man hold his hand a bit longer.

Chapter Text

They made good progress in turning Luo Binge back into a human. It didn't take long until his upper body was free of scales, and even the ears got their human shape back. But the bigger changes had yet to come.

Shen Qingqiu was scolding his disciple. They had so many problems to reach this point, but the young man already thought of trying to turn the human body parts at will into that of a demon. It wasn't time for this!

„But Shizun! Wouldn't it be better if this disciple could control that better?“

„You need to control the basics first! It doesn't help if you just throw away our efforts!“

They were sqabbling for a while now. Shen Qingqiu didn't understand why his disciple was so fixated on this topic.

They were still discussing things, when an unexpected guest appeared.

„Look at these two!“

They both looked up when they saw-

„Shang Qinghua! And Mobei Jun?!“

Shen Qingqiu wasn't fast enough to hide his surprised expression, and Luo Binghe was examining the guests with scepticism. „What are you two doing here?!“

Shang Qinghua was waving happily, while the ice demon followed in some distance, scanning the surroundings. „I heard through the grapevine, that you both are in special circumstances right now, so I wanted to take a look!“

Shen Qingqiu rolled with his eyes inwardly. „We are getting better already. You missed my disciple in his peak condition.“

„Oh really?“ The other one seemed to be disappointed. „That's a pity. But good to know, I was hoping to receive good news.“

Oh? How come? He thought, that the other Peak Lord would be more indifferent. But oh well, it was his novel after all.

Shen Qingqiu looked over to the other demon. He gestured to the other Peak Lord to come closer. When he did, Shen Qingqiu whispered: „Why did you bring him with you? And how did you convince him?“

„Well...“, Shang Qinghua looked nervously around. „I wanted to come here when he suddenly appeared. Your disciple aroused his interest after he tasted some of the demonic energy, and so he insisted on coming with me.“

Meanwhile the ice demon was kneeling beside Luo Binghe and watching him intensely. It was a sight to behold to see the two demons so close to each other. „Does he want more demonic energy?“, Shen Qingqiu asked. „He doesn't have horns anymore.“

Shang Qinghua blushed. „Well, he... used up all of the energy he got from the protagonist, so maybe? It's a very powerful force after all.“

Airplane Bro...you wrote this young man to be so powerful, so you should know iff another demon wants to steal this!

He sighed and changed the topic. „Say... does your system told you anything new about the abyss plot?“

Shang Qinghua shook his head. „It's awfully quiet since some time. But I don't dare to wake it up. For me it's fine the way it is.“

That was understandable. To hear a death threat from a system inside of your own novel wasn't something anyone wanted to experience. He himself was scared to ask the system about more details, so he corresponded with it as less as possible.

He was deep in thoughts, when he felt a pluck on one of the flowers. Angrily he turned to Shang Qinghua again. „What are you doing?!“

„You became so beautiful. Is there a way to become like this, too?“

Both demons looked up when they heard the fan hitting Shang Qinghua's head. „Stop squabbling nonsense!“

As if this was just for show! And you should know best how to become like this and what consequences this had. Stupid author! Stupid!

-

Mobei Jun really took some of the demonic energy from Luo Binghe. Again his horns were showing, and this time even some light blue scales appeared. „Your demonic energy became more pure lately“, he commented before vanishing, and Shang Qinghua followed in a hurry.

When they were alone again, Luo Binghe sat himself very close to his Shizun and began playing witht he long strands of hair.

„He touched Shizun“, the young man pouted and stroked the small flowers. Shen Qingqiu felt a tingling sensation coming from them while the young man did so.

„He regretted it instantly, so no need for worry.“ He fanned himself while watching the demon down there.

Luo Binghe nodded but still was playing with the hair. He then lifted a strand of it up and placed a kiss on it.

Shen Qingqiu could only watch this. He felt his heart beating a tad faster. This young man was maturing in his behaviour way too much right now!

„I'm not jealous“, the young man promised. „This disciple knows Shizun shares some secrets with the other Peak Lord, but this disciple doesn't dare to interefere. He trusts Shizun to tell him if it concerns him.“

...young man, you are pressuring me indirectly.

„If its something urgent, you are the first to know.“ This was a promise he could make, and Luo Binghe accepted it with a smile.

-

More days went by. Since Mobei Jun took more of the demonic energy, Luo Binghe transformed back even faster. But he became more attached to kissing his Shizun and demanded it now two times a day, since he had to fill up the energy missing in his body. Shen Qingqiu resisted at first, but seeing the transformation going so smoothly, he finally accepted it. His body was overflowing with energy anyway.

Luo Binghe began shrinking a bit, turning from the demon to the most handsome adult right now. He still was way taller than his Shizun, but his body was almost human again. Only the tail, the wings and the demonic eyes were left.

Well, and that left Shen Qingqiu at a loss. Luo Binghe seemed to grew quite fond of the wings, using them as a blanket every night and stretching them in the morning and flying around a bit. He even took him for a flight! He once said it was a wonderful feeling to fly freely without a sword.

And the tail... well... Shen Qingqiu didn't dare to put cream on it, since he knew how sensitive the young man was there. He spared the part until now, but there was no way he could avoid treating this spot forever.

But today was not the day.

Luo Binghe had dedicated this day to him. At first Shen Qingqiu didn't know what this meant, but the young man had thought this through thoroughly.

„Shizun, please trust this disciple. I will make this day unforgettable for you.“

Oh well. Luo Binghe was so eager to be in charge of what was happening today, Shen Qingqiu had no choice but to follow his lead.

Well, follow was the wrong term.

Again, he was scooped up in the strong arms, and soon after they flew up in the sky. Shen Qingqiu didnt know what was awaiting him, but somehow he became excited.

Now he was curious where the young man would take him to!

Chapter Text

„Where are you taking me to?“

Shen Qingqiu was holding on Luo Binghe's neck, looking down to the world. They already left the territory of Bai Zhan Peak, but the young man didn't land.

„Shizun will see soon enough. This disciple hopes, it will be to Shizun's liking.“

They flew a while longer, until they reached a small creek. It was flowing through a valley with some trees and bushes growing nearby. It sprang up from a hill where a hut was standing. There they landed, and Luo Binghe let down his Shizun gently.

„This is...?“ Shen Qingqiu was looking around the beautiful scenery. It was different from his bamboo grove, but quite nice.

„It is a place where Peak Lord Mu is researching, too. But today it is empty, so we can borrow it.“

The place was emitting a strong and clear aura. Everything seemed to be full of energy, and Shen Qingqiu felt connected to the surrounding nature. It was as if tiny voices where whispering to him, telling stories of their lives here.

„Mu-Shidi sure knows how to choose a place“, he said and kneeled down, laying his hand on the grass. The stalks were leaning in to him, caressing him.

Luo Binghe watched this with interest. His jealousy wanted to break out, but he swallowed it. There was no need to. Even if his Shizun could 'feel' the plants here, he was laying in his arms at night, giving him his energy. He was the only one his Shizun would do this for!

He waited a moment until his Shizun got accustomed to the surrounding. Then he hold out his hand. „Please come with me. I want to show you something.“

Shen Qingqiu laid his hand in the other one's and let him help him stand up. Something was strange, when he suddenly realized. „Your wings! They are gone!“

Luo Binghe smiled happily. „Does Shizun miss them?“ A moment later they folded up again in full span.

Shen Qingqiu was baffled. „How? I mean, I thought...“

„Shizun treated my back so well with the medicine, that the wings were affected, too. When I woke up before Shizun that one morning, I felt that they were gone. And so I tested if I can use them at will, and it worked!“

He hid the wings again, and Shen Qingqiu was at a loss for words. He knew, that his disciple had the protagonist's halo, and he knew he was some kind of genius. But this was way too much! In such a short amount of time he managed to get control over this so easily!

He walked around the young man, inspecting the bare back. Gently, he touched the places where the wings were growing out before. „Show them to me“, he asked softly.

Luo Binghe did as he was told. Shen Qingqiu could watch how they grew out of the back in front of him, spreading out again. „Amazing...“, he whispered, but then he became concerned. „Does it hurt?“

The other one shook his head. „No. It tickles a bit, but nothing more.“

His tail was swishing to the side. „Only this feature left. I'm sure I will gain control over it soon, too!“

To see his disciple so energetic and motivated warmed his heart. „You really are something else“, he said half laughing. „I never expected this.“

Luo Binghe turned around and gently took Shen Qingqiu's hand. „Without Shizun I wouldn't be able to achieve this.“ He smiled, and instantly Shen Qingqiu's heart beated faster. Don't make such killer moves with your handsome face, young man! There's no one who can resist your looks right now!

„And that's the reason why I took Shizun to this place. I wanted to thank Shizun for enduring everything.“ he lifted the hand and kissed the back of it, letting Shen Qingqiu's heart beat even faster. „So please follow this disciple.“

Only when they began to move, Shen Qingqiu felt, that the scales on his hand had disappeared. The young man had distracted him so much with the kiss, that he didn't notice this! Now only his forearm was covered in scales.

And... Luo Binghe was still holding his hand!

He opened his fan to hide his face. Was he some maiden who was taken out for a date?! At least he felt like this!

But the young man only led him on and showed no signs of improper behavior, and so Shen Qingqiu didn't say anything. Instead he let Luo Binghe do as he pleases and just followed.

And what he saw let his eyes go wide.

Behind the hut, hidden between some rocks, was a whole bed of the little white flowers which were growing in Shen Qingqiu's hair. When he came near them, they began glowing in warm green light, too.

„How-“, he began, and Luo Binghe's smile widened. „This disciple is sorry, but he stole some talismans and communicated with Peak Lord Mu. Shizun must have been bored, so I thought it would be a good idea bringing Shizun here. Peak Lord Mu thought, too, that this was a good idea and that could have a positive effect on Shizun.“

What a sneaky person! But indeed, it was a good feeling to be here. To be with the flowers felt like being together with his family.

He squatted down again, bringing his hand over the small flowers. He then closed his eyes for a moment.

After a while he stood up with a relieved expression on his face. „I could make contact with them. Even if I wouldn't be able to turn back, I now know how to use their powers more effectively.“

Luo Binghe nodded. „That's good then.“ He smiled again. „I prepared something inside of the hut, too. Does Shizun like to see this?“

What? There was more to come?

Shen Qingqiu could only nod and follow his disciple into the hut.

There were small pots with plants and flowers everywhere, arranged in a very elegant way. The table was decorated with bamboo and some pretty tablecloth. On it were different tablewares that seemed like there were preparations made for a dinner. Even a candle was standing there.

Shen Qingqiu stared for a moment. „What... I mean when...“

„Peak Lord Mu helped me a bit. He brought some things here.“ Luo Binghe blushed slightly. „In the cave I couldn't arrange much, but I wanted Shizun to have a wonderful day to remember beside all the hardships.“

There was a fireplace in the corner of the hut, and after Shen Qingqiu was seated, the young man began to prepare something there.

„Binghe? What are you doing?“ Shen Qingqiu didn't know what to say or how to react. Everything was prepared with so much care for details, it was overwhelming. So he tried to focus on the young man.

„Cooking“, Luo Binghe said plainly and cut down some leaves.

„But I can't eat anything right now...“ It would be wasted, so don't do this, young man!

But the other one smiled. „Don't worry. I found a way for you to enjoy some food!“

Now Shen Qingqiu was interested. And so he waited patiently what the young man had in mind.

Soon a delicious scent was wafting through the air. Shen Qingqiu could feel his stomach react. So maybe he really was able to eat...?

It took a bit more time, but then Luo Binghe brought two bowls with a steaming hot soup over. It had a greenish look, but it was clear with only some herbs floating on the surface. And it smelled so good!

„Please try it, Shizun“, he said with a warm smile.

Shen Qingqiu hesitated for a moment, but then he lifted the spoon to his lips and tasted it.

The warm and delicious fragrance seeped right into his heart. And his body didn't reject it, no. It wanted more of this!

He ate another spoonful of the soup. „Is it good?“ Luo Binghe asked.

Young man, I'd like to shed tears of joy right now if only I could!

„More than good“, he said. „I missed your cooking so much.“

Luo Binghe blushed deeply. „I thought, that a soup made out of herbs would be easy to digest for Shizun. I'm glad, that I was right.“

They enjoyed the rest of the soup in silence, and Shen Qingqiu felt relaxed like never before. Satiated, he felt a bit drowsy, so he asked. „Would you mind if I take a nap in the sunshine?“ It still was early, and he didn't want to return to the cave so soon.

Luo Binghe shook his head. „No. I will watch over Shizun, so relax. At night I want to show you another thing here.“

Shen Qingqiu nodded. „Alright.“

The wonderful day wasn't over. They still had time to enjoy it here.

Chapter Text

When Shen Qingqiu woke up, the sun was going down slowly, and a bed of flowers had grown around him. His head was resting on Luo Binghe's knee, just like how he fell asleep. His disciple was stroking his hair gently, and he felt that his disciple was doing this for a long time now. He felt a bit guilty using him like this, but didn't he say that this should be a day just for him? So maybe this was fine...

He was about to close his eyes again when he heard a soft chuckle. „Shizun is enjoying this?“

Uh-oh, he got caught.

„I think everyone would enjoy being pampered like this“, he said, hiding his embarrassement.

„But I would only do this for Shizun“, was the answer, and that didn't make it better. So he decided to sit up. „Binghe, you wanted to show me something?“

Luo Binghe nodded and smiled. „Yes, but we have to wait until it's dark.“

Shen Qingqiu tilted his head, but his disciple didn't want to reveal anything, so he had to wait. He didn't mind. Everything was so peaceful here, and to relax like this was so good. After all they went through, he needed this break.

They sat there in silence for a while. The wind was blowing gently, ruffling up their hair a bit. Suddenly he felt something plugged in his hair. Irritated, he lifted his hand and felt a silky texture. It seemed to be a flower.

„Shizun's hair is full of flowers, but this disciple still wanted to give Shizun one“, Luo Binghe said. „It suits Shizun well.“

A blush spread over Shen Qingqiu's face. „I'm not a maiden“, he said and looked away. But he didn't had the heart to remove the flower either. Luo Binghe just chuckled. „No. And it's good, that Shizun is the way he is.“

This young man was way too flirtative today! His heart began racing again, and he bit his lip. How should he react? The feeling of being wooed was stronger than ever!

„We are Master and disciple“, he said weakly.

„That's fine. As long as Shizun is with me, this disciple is happy.“

A bit helpless, Shen Qingqiu looked at the young man. The warm and gentle smile was something he only had seen when Luo Binghe was looking at him.

„Binghe, I-“ he tried to explain, but he felt a finger on his lips. „Please don't say anything, Shizun“, he whispered. „It's fine.“

No, there wasn't anything fine right now. The whole situation was a mess! He... he was a mess, too. But there was nothing that felt right to say, so he really stayed quiet.

They stared each other in the eyes, when Luo Binghe finlly spoke up.

„But may I... kiss Shizun? I still need my medicine today.“ Luo Binghe was blushing deeply, but even if this was just an excuse, he was right. Shen Qingqiu didn't give him energy today, and it would be a waste to stop right now and let all of their efforts go to waste.

But...but!

Argh!!

His mind was going in circles, while his body already was leaning in. He still was a plant, ready to lure the young man in his sweet honey trap, and since Shen Qingqiu wasn't able to decide, it did it on its own. Connecting with the flowers before, his body was overflowing with energy and it wanted to hand this over.

And so they kissed before Shen Qingqiu had made up his mind.

It was...intense! There was no other word for it. Shen Qingqiu got goosebumps all over his body, and he instinctively closed his eyes. A small moan escaped his lips, and he felt how the amount of energy he was giving his disciple still grew...

Suddenly he heard a yelping sound, and Luo Binghe ended the kiss abruptly. Irritated Shen Qingqiu opened his eyes...

Just to see his disciple shrink!

Luo Binghe was emitting the same warm light as his Shizun for a moment, and as long as it lasted he shrank back, until he was his sixteen year old self again.

Well, except of the tail. And his eyes.

Shocked, the both of them looked at the young and tender body. Luo Binghe was touching his bare chest and belly, seeming to not believe what had happened.

A moment later, Shen Qingqiu chuckled.

„Shizun!“ Luo Binghe said poutingly, his voice higher than before and full of youth. „Why are you laughing?!“

„I'm just glad to see your old self again“, he said with a smile and pinched the soft cheek. „This is my disciple after all.“

Luo Binghe didn't seem happy. „But...“, he started, but then sighed. „Shizun's energy was way too much this time. It transformed me back instantly.“

Shen Qingqiu hid his face behind his fan. „Isn't this a good thing? We wanted to make progress anyway.“ He patted his disciple on the head. Aaaah, how he missed this familiar feeling!

„I had the feeling, Shizun was fond of my adult self“, the young man said shyly. „So wouldn't it be better to stay this way?“

„You will grow into an adult soon enough. Let this Master enjoy seeing you like this a little while longer.“

Yes, this appearance was much more calming. His heart stopped racing, and his mind was clear again. Like this, it was much easier to establish their normal relationship and retunr to being Master and disciple.

The young man still wasn't satisfied, but seeing the warm look on his Shizun's face he accepted his fate in silence. He then pointed at something. „Look, Shizun, it begins!“

Irritated, Shen Qingqiu looked where Luo Binghe was pointing, and there was a small flickering light in the air. It was now dark enough to see it clearly.

While the stars began to shine, there were more and more lights floating through the air.

„Fireflies“, Shen Qingqiu said in amazement, and Luo Binghe nodded. „Here are a lot of them. I thought you might like watching them together.“

Shen Qingqiu looked around him. The light emitting from his body seemed to please the small creatures. Some were flying around him as if they were playing tag before they returned to their kin. He then turned his head back to his disciple. „It is beautiful. Many thanks, Binghe.“

The young man was shyly watching his Shizun. Being his old self, he seemed to behave a bit more like a sixteen year old. „I'm glad“, he said and gently took Shen Qingqiu's hand in his. Now his fingers were slightly smaller than his Shizun's. „Will you remember this day as a good day in the future?“

„Of course.“ Shen Qingqiu squeezed the other one's hand gently. „I will often think of this day and the joy I felt here with you.“

„That makes this disciple happy.“ He hesitated for a moment before leaning on his Shizun. „I want to make a lot more memories like this with Shizun.“

Shen Qingqiu felt a warm feeling rising up in his heart. „We will, Binghe. Don't worry.“

He was the one worrying the most. But there was no need for his disciple to know this.

Chapter Text

They decided to stay over night after it became quite late. Since Mu Qingfang seemed to stay here for longer when researching, there was a bed and clothes they could use.

Even if he still had the tail, the trousers he got from Liu Qingge were now way too big for Luo Binghe, and so it was good that he was able to dress in something new. Better than being naked anyway.

And it was nice laying down once in a while! In the cave they were sleeping while sitting upright, because Luo Binghe couldn't lay down with the huge wings. Insisting on holding his Shizun in his arms, Shen Qingqiu took the same sleeping position. Well, holding each other didn't change, but at least they were laying down like normal people.

Normal...

Now that Luo Binghe was almost back to being human, he could think of asking Mu-shidi about how to turn back himself, didn't he?

He felt a bit excited thinking about it, and the young man lifted his head which was resting on his chest. „Shizun's heart is beating faster... is there a reason for it?“

Shen Qingqqiu nodded slightly. „I thought, that we can soon return to our normal life.“

„That makes Shizun happy?“

The expression of the young man's face was unreadable. Shouldn't they be happy? For him it was a good thing, and so he nodded again. „Yes. I miss the normal life. Training with you, going on missions, residing in my bamboo hut. I like it like this.“

„Mhm.“ Luo Binghe didn't say more and just laid down again. Irritated, Shen Qingqiu watched the black hair from above, but since there was no further reaction, he only stroked his disciple a bit before closing his eyes.

-

When he woke up, his disciple was already awake. He sat in the hut, his eyes closed, and seemed to meditate. Shen Qingqiu didn't make a sound and only laid here, watching what his disciple was doing.

His face showed how concentrated he was. His eyelids fluttered, and the next moment his body began growing a bit – only to return to his normal state soon. He tried again and again, but to no avail. After some time he gave up with a huge sigh and opened his eyes.

Their gazes met.

Instantly Luo Binghe's face turned red. „Sh-Shizun!“, the young man stammered. „When did you...? I-I mean...“

Shen Qingqiu sat up and arranged the oh-so-long hair. „Just recently. But when you meditate in front of me, of course I would watch you. I'm your Master after all.“

The other one lowered his gaze. „Shizun saw... what this disciple was trying to...?“, he mumbled.

„If you are so fond of your grown-up state, then take your time to grow into it. You are still sixteen, so don't push yourself too hard.“

Luo Binghe looked like he was scolded by his Shizun, and he stood up and hastily moved to the fireplace. „This disciple will make breakfast!“

Shen Qingqiu sighed inwardly. He sat down on the table and pondered over something. Then he looked up to watch his disciple's back.

He didn't understand why the young man wanted to look all grown up so badly. There was no reason to, time would do its magic and he would grow up as handsome as he could be. So why rushing things?

He sighed, when another thing popped up in his mind.

Since Luo Binghe couldn't transform – how would they return to the cave?

-

„This was thoughtless of you“, Liu Qingge commented dryly while handing the Zheng Yang sword to Luo Binghe. He didn't dare to look at Shen Qingqiu directly, still blushing only by seeing him.

„But Liu-Shidi told me I should call for him in times of need“, Shen Qingqiu commented and fanned himself. „Thank you for bringing the sword over. Hopefully he can fly on it again. I am still not able to use my Xiu Ya sword right now, so I have to depend on being carried by you.“

Gladly, Shen Qingqiu remembered stuffing some talismans into his clothes, and so he was able to call Liu Qingge over. And the other one came as fast as lightning, and it gave Shen Qingqiu a feeling, his Shidi had waited for this opportunity.

Luo Binghe wasn't happy about this, especially being 'small' again while facing the Peak Lord, but Liu Qingge still treated him with respect. He was the type of character who wouldn't forget anything, and Luo Binghe showed what he was capable of when being in peak condition. This Liu Qingge would always remember.

„So, will you return to your peak, now that your disciple is almost back to his old self?“

Shen Qingqiu shook his head. „It would be better to hide a bit longer. Looking like this, I can't show myself either. And his tail still is very conspicuous.“

Liu Qingge nodded. He then readied his sword. „You will fly with me.“

Luo Binghe wanted to protest, but Shen Qingqiu nodded. „Binghe, we don't know how stable your energy is right now. If anything feels wrong, please say so.“

„I will be able to carry Shizun“, he said poutingly, but he knew there was no space for negotiations. So he hopped onto the sword and began flying, not leaving them out of sight even once.

Shen Qingqiu was standing behind Liu Qingge, and he knew his Shidi was blushing. He could see the red ears, after all. Finding it funny, he teased Liu Qingge a bit by leaning on the dependable back. He felt the other one trembled slightly.

„What's wrong, Liu-Shidi?“, he asked in an innocent tone, and Liu Qingge tensed up. „You smell like a bed of flowers“, the other one said. „It's not manly.“

„That's true, but most people seem to like it. Shidi doesn't?“

His voice was sweet like honey, and his hand was laying on Liu Qingge's side. The other one clenched his fists and began raging while his sword quivered for a short moment. „Stop it, or I'll throw you down myself!“

Shen Qingqiu hid his face behind his fan. „How cruel Liu-Shidi is!“ But he really maintained some distance and stopped teasing his Shidi, not seeing, that Luo Binghe was watching this from the side with an ugly face.

-

Liu Qingge left as soon as they reached the cave. Shen Qingqiu watched his Shidi leaving, when suddenly he was grabbed and turned around.

Luo Binghe was standing behind him, his eyes glowing in a deep red shade. But more irritating was, that he had grown a bit again. Tiny horns were showing themselves, and his ears began to become pointy again.

„...Binghe?“

„You seemed to have a lot of fun with the Peak Lord.“ His voice was strained, his hand holding his Shizun trembled slightly. „What did you talk about?“

...what? What is your problem, young man?!

Shen Qingqiu swallowed and then laid a hand on the other one's cheek.

„You really need to work on your jealousy problem, Binghe.“

Chapter Text

„...“

Luo Binghe was staring at his Shizun, seeming to not understand what he was talking about.

„Your demon form is showing.“

Shen Qingqiu talked slowly, trying not to offend the young man even more. „I already told you, that there is no need for this. I am here.“

„But... what were you doing with the Peak Lord then?“ His eyes still were glowing, but at least he listened.

„I was just teasing him. He is sensitive and is embarrassed very easily. I was just having a bit of fun with him.“

They were still looking into each other's eyes. To not break eye contact was one of the things to calm the young man down. Just like dealing with a dog and determine who is the leader of the pack.

And really, after some time it was Luo Binghe who turned his gaze away. „Sorry, Shizun, I... I just...“

He reverted back and closed his eyes, looking quite miserable. Shen Qingqiu patted him on the head. „You are unsure of some things, and that's fine. But there really is no need to be jealous. I am your Master and I won't leave your side.“

The young man inhaled deeply. „You are right, Shizun. This disciple is sorry.“

-

Since Luo Binghe got his sword back, he began training with it again. It was good to see, that he didn't unlearn anything. Instead, he moved a lot smoother than before, as if he gained more control over his body. It reassured Shen Qingqiu that all the training didn't go to waste and awakened the wish in him to be able to train with his own sword again, too.

He was the type to idle the day away, but he wanted to have the choice to do so. Right now he was bound to 'sit everything out', and that made him nervous over time. But seeing his disciple like this, it gave him hope. Soon, all would be over, and then he could do as he pleases again.

Shen Qingqiu closed his eyes and began meditating. Since his disciple was his top priority until now, he only meditated to hold up his energy level. Now he wanted to know how deep the spiritual energies from the pills and his own were intertwined. If they were merged too much, he would need a treatment like Luo Binghe. And that would be very painful and would take a lot of time.

He hoped, that wasn't the case.

Sinking deep into his conciousness, he tried to find the root of the other spiritual energy. Root was the right word, because it felt like a plant had spread its roots around and into his spiritual veins, taking his energy and giving it back while having it transformed. Just like a plant taking Carbon dioxide out of the air and transforming it into oxygen. It wasn't that his own spiritual energy was 'bad quality', the roots just made it even better.

So he needed to find the core of this.

But before he could go further, the roots began closing in, trying to capture him and prevent him from going deeper. He struggled and tried to break free, but the roots were too hard and he wasn't able to free himself. The roots were wrapping themselves tighter and tighter around him, began to strangle him...

A burst of black demonic energy suddenly freed him, and he opened his eyes and inhaled like a fish being on land. Panicking he looked around only to find himself laying in the arms of his disciple, grabbing his collar tightly. „Shizun! Shizun!!“

He heard the scared voice of his disciple, but he needed some time to recover. Only then he looked at Luo Binghe, who still was watching his Shizun with round teary eyes.

„...what happened?“

Shen Qingqiu's throat was hoarse, and he felt weak. Luo Binghe helped him sitting up, and only then did he discover the cold sweat covering his forehead.

„Shizun suddenly began to shake and then he stopped breathing and fell. I barely caught Shizun and sent him some spiritual energy...“

The arms around him tightened a bit, and he felt Luo Binghe tremble. „I was scared Shizun might die...“

Well, he thought this for a moment, too.

„You saved me... again.“

He began stroking the young man soothingly. „How did you know what to do?“

„Shizun suddenly felt cold, and when I touched your pulse, your spiritual energy was in turmoil. I thought it would help you sending some of mine.“

Lu Binghe wasn't wrong. The demonic energy was very strong, and it was like a train on high speed rushing through a body, destroying everything that tried to resist.

„Your demonic part really is useful“, Shen Qingqiu said and closed his eyes for a moment.

So his spiritual veins were merged with the plant residing insde of him. It was clear now, that he needed help to get this under control.

Suddenly he felt something soft on his lips. It was only a short time, but he felt warmth coming from it. When he opened his eyes, he saw Luo Binghe's face right in front of him.

„Binghe, did you...“

Luo Binghe blushed a bit. „I needed to be sure, that Shizun is alive and warm.“ His eyes were still wet, and it was clear, that the young man meant what he said. So Shen Qingqiu swallowed any scolding and only sighed quietly. They had a similar situation some time ago, didn't they?

„Silly child, of course I am alive. I won't leave you like this.“ He tried to reassure the puppy holding him, that there was no need for concern anymore. At least for now.

The young man sniffed a bit, before he collected himself. „Is Shizun feeling unwell? Does he want to rest?“

How considerate of you, little flower!

Shen Qingqiu shook his head. „No, I'm fine. It's the best for me to stay outside right now. But would you mind fetching me some fresh water?“

Only reluctantly the young man let go. But then he nodded. „Of course. This disciple will soon be back.“ With this he stood up and left.

Shen Qingqiu massaged his forehead. This situation got out of hand again! Mu-Shidi, what did you mix into these pills?! They were more dangerous than a young man turning into a demon!

He inspected his hand which were cured by his disciple. Was this the only way? Did he need Luo Binghe's powers to change back in the end? The demon blood residing in his arm prevented the roots from spreading there, but there still were scales left on his forearm.

Changing into a demon to leave the flower status he was in right now? He felt sick only by thinking about this! He remembered the punishment the System gave him, the pain he felt back then. He didn't want to go through this again! Not with his entire body!

He needed to talk to Mu Qingfang in person. Didn't he say something about a cure?

Shen Qingqiu was deep in thoughts when Luo Binghe returned. For a moment the young man only stood there, the water container in hand, watching his Shizun.

He couldn't protect him.

He was right beside him, and still something like this happened.

Clenching his fist, he told himself that he needed to find a way to protect his Shizun for real this time.

Chapter Text

„No problem.“

What?

The disbelief must have been obvious on Shen Qingqiu's face, because Mu Qingfang sighed. „I'm working on a medicine right now. It only has to be refined a few times, then you can take it. It will let the roots sleep inside of you, so you can destroy them at will anytime.“

So... this was it? It would be so easy?

Watching the tail of his disciple swishing, he knew, Luo Binghe was as nervous as he was. Mu Qingfang followed the gaze, and smiled. „You still need some time, so it's fine, isn't it? I will bring this over as soon as the medicine is ready. You should have fixed your disciple until then I assume.“

Shen Qingqiu nodded. „Many thanks, Mu-Shidi.“ He still was suspicious if this really would work, but everything the other Peak Lord had said until now came true. So he could trust him, couldn't he?

Luo Binghe was sitting there in silence. Only when the other Peak Lord had left, he spoke up. „This disciple will help Shizun as much as he can.“

Something seemed to bother the young man, and Shen Qingqqiu watched him for a moment before he asked. „Tell me, what's going on in your head, Binghe.“

The other one lowered his head. „Even when I'm right beside you this disciple isn't able to protect Shizun. Again, this disciple failed...“

The sound was loud and clear, when Shen Qingqiu's fan hit the head of the young man. „You saved me countless times, yet you still think nonsense like this?“

Luo Binghe seemed wronged. „But Shizun-“

„Why are you doubting yourself so much?!“ The behaviour of his disciple enraged him somehow. „Why making yourself smaller than you are? You are destined to be a leading figure, standing tall in front of many, so stop-“

Oops. He was saying too much. He coughed slightly.

„Anyway. You are strong and reliable. And you will grow even stronger when you are able to control your demonic side, so I know you can protect me from any harm possible. Some things just can't be controlled, this is part of our lives, too.“

He fanned himself, trying to act like a scholar again. „Take this as a lesson, that life isn't a predictable thing. If something happens, you have to act. That's all.“

Luo Binghe was listening quietly. His Shizun was right. There was no way to tell what would happen in the future. Only... again his Shizun seemed to know more and wouldn't tell him.

That bothered him.

„What is Shizun saying, I'm not a leading figure...“ He tried to pursue this topic, hoping, that his Shizun would take the bait. „I'm just a humble disciple who wants to stay by his Shizun's side.“

Shen Qingqiu's behaviour softened a bit. „You are an extraordinary person, one of a kind. You should know that already.“

He patted Luo Binghe's head. „I'm glad to have you here with me.“

Luo Binghe blushed slightly. It wasn't the answer he hoped for, but it still made him very happy.

-

The tail.

The.freaking.tail.

Shen Qingqiu had hidden his face behind his fan, while watching the feature moving in front of him. There was no choice. They needed to treat it, too.

But he knew, if he touched a certain spot... this would be embarrassing for both of them.

At first, he thought of Luo Binghe treating himself, but he had to make sure that the medicine was spread with care and covered the whole place where the tail was growing. And the young man was no snake, he couldn't wind round himself and see if he was doing it right.

So it was on Shen Qingqiu to spread the cream over it.

But...but!

Nervously the young man looked over his shoulder. „Is something wrong?“

Everything was wrong!

They talked beforehand about what could happen, and Luo Binghe knew how he reacted the last time. And so they decided to go to the waterfall. Should Luo Binghe became aroused by the treatment, Shen Qingqiu would leave him alone, so he could... take care of himself. That was the reason the young boy was sitting naked in front of him, waiting for Shen Qingqiu to begin.

It was prefectly planned out.

Still, it was way too embarrassing!

But there was no use, only the tail and his eyes were separating Luo Binghe from being human again.

Slowly, Shen Qingqiu took some of the cream and began rubbing it on the scales. Instantly, Luo Binghe tensed up.

Way too sensitive! Even this shitty cliché was fulfilled here! Shen Qingqiu read about this in some fantasy stallion novels. He should have known, that Airplane Bro would use this, too!

He tried to work fast, but this didn't seem to matter. His disciple was already breathing heavily, clenching his fists and trying to focus. „Shizun~“, he whimpered, and it sounded pitiful and aroused at the same time.

„Only a little bit more. I'm almost finished.“

Shen Qingqiu tried to speed up, but this had the opposite effect. The breathing became more ragged, the body under his hand began squirming, and the moment he finished the treatment, a loud moan escaped Luo Binghe, and he bent forward, trying to hide the mess he had made.

Good, that Shen Qingqiu still had his fan to hide the blush on his cheeks. The young man was trying to catch his breath, his head beet red. „Dont look, Shizun! Please don't!“

Young man, it's not that I take pride in this so I have to watch what happened. I won't look! You're just too sensitive and this is way too awkward!

He patted Luo Binghe's back. „Take your time. Wait a bit longer until the cream soaked in and then clean yourself. I'll wait in front of the cave.“

The young man twitched a bit when touched, but then nodded. He would love to kiss and embrace his Shizun right now, but there was no way he could do this! So he could only watch his Shizun almost flee the scene.

Chapter Text

Fuck. Fuckfuckfuck.

Shen Qingqiu hid his face behind his hands.

The first time his disiple had an orgasm, he was already aroused, and so it wasn't that bad. He could pretend not to be responsible and that he was just helping.

But this time... yes, he touched the most sensitive spot, but it was as if he had touched the manhood itself! This was so weird, so awkward... Airplane Bro, curse you! How could you bring this into such a story, too!

He was embarrassed to the bone, his heart beating wildly in his chest. He needed to calm down, Luo Binghe wouldn't be away for too long.

He took in some deep breaths of fresh air and fanned himself. This was just treatment, nothing more, he tried to convince himself. It was necessary. He needed to do this for the sake of turning his disciple back.

But it still felt so wrong!

Aaaargh!

Gladly, his inner monologue wasn't showing on the outside, so Luo Binghe only saw his Shizun like he used to be when he arrived back at the cave: calm and aloof.

The face of the young man was still beet red after what happened, but seing his Shizun like this, let him feel less embarrassed. It was okay, he wasn't despised.

Slowly, he came closer and wrapped his arms around his Shizun from behind and buried his head on his Shizun's shoulder. Being suddenly embraced and feeling wet hair on his cheek, Shen Qingqiu yelped in surprise.

„Binghe?!“

Luo Binghe didn't let go, no. He hugged his Shizun even tighter. „Just a moment.. please, Shizun...let me stay like this a little longer...“

There was the big cuddly puppy again. Shen Qingqiu sighed slightly. „What should I do with you“, he said with a hint of amusement and patted the head. It seemed this young man was very confused after having such a sexual experience again, so Shen Qingqiu let himself be hugged. This helped solving his own confusion. Luo Binghe was still just a young man after all who needed to deal with problems any other youth had, too. „I hope we will finish treating you soon.“

„Mn.“ That was the only reply.

If Shen Qingqiu only knew he was the only one who could do such a thing to his disciple... The thought of being touched by his Shizun made Luo Binghe even more sensitive. How badly he wanted to be even closer!

He was only sixteen, but was it wrong thinking, that he wanted to be his Shizun's cultivation partner? Since his sexual instinct awakened, he began to understand what that meant. And now that the demon inside of him was influencing him, too, he became more aware of his position and more thirsty for being close.

Clinging to his Shizun, he wished to be seen as a man, not as a disciple. If only he could win his Shizun over...

-

Another few days passed, and the tail gradually became smaller until it finally disappeared. Shen Qingqiu was relieved, because he didnt need to treat his disciple any further and touch the special sensitive spot. Even if the tail vanished, the spot stayed sensible, so they had to deal with the intense reactions every day and beyond. It made Shen Qingqiu uncomfortable every time, and it let him feel guilty when his disciple came cuddling afterwards. It was like letting Luo Binghe down in times of need and trying to comfort him after everything was over, but he couldn't bring himself to stay there when his disciple...well.

Luo Binghe didn't complain even once. He seemed reassured everytime he could cuddle with his Shizun, and so Shen Qingqiu let himself be hugged and cuddled with.

Today was the day when they finally treated his eyes.

Luo Binghe sat in front of him, his eyes closed. Carefully, Shen Qingqiu put cream on the eyelids and on the skin surrounding them. Obediently, Luo Binghe let his Shizun treat him, and the sight of him stirred up the urge to kiss him. His body was demanding this once a day anyway, and now this was a special situation.

A blinded young man... how would he react? He didn't await a kiss right now, so it was really tempting.

And Shen Qingqiu had to admit, that since he learned how to intensify the energy transfer, the kisses felt even better an he grew quite fond of them.

Slightly blushing he leaned in, and the moment, his disciple opened his mouth to say something, he took the chance.

He felt his disciple tense up in surprise, but it didn't take him long to recover and began kissing back. Their tongues intertwined, their breathing became faster and heated up. Shen Qingqiu felt being pulled closer, and his own hands rested on Luo Binghe's chest.

No, they were not resting. They began stroking!

Irritated, Shen Qingqiu tried to pull back but was held in place by his disciple. Luo Binghe didn't intend to end the kiss, even if Shen Qingqiu began wiggling. He even deepened the kiss, and his Shizun barely managed to avoid moaning.

His body reacted in a very wrong way!

Goosebumps began spreading all over Shen Qingqiu's skin, and something hidden began collecting in his lower part of the body...

Not good!

Finally, they pulled apart, breathing heavily. With his eyes still closed, Luo Binghe leaned in to the deeply blushing Shen Qingqiu, and whispered in a deep magnetic voice, giving Shen Qingqiu gossebumps again. „Shizun... don't give me too much hope.“

Only then he sat straight up again and opened his eyes. They were back to normal, looking soft and clear. But Shen Qingqiu needed a moment before realizing this. His head was muddled, and he felt like needing more air.

„...Hope?“, he asked with a weak voice, and Luo Binghe smiled innocently. „Never mind.“ The young man's voice was back to normal, too, and he stroked his Shizun's cheek for a moment, before grabbing his hand. Instantly, all demonic scales on the forearm vanished at once.

„Seems like I'm back to normal“, he said. „I can finally control my blood at will again.“

Still in a daze, Shen Qingqiu watched the change. „You really are something else“, he mumbled, earning another smile. „I'm just a humble disciple. It is Sizun who is something else.“

Don't talk nonsense, young boy. Only you are able to let me feel so confused like this.

But his was something he wouldn't say out loud. At least for now.

Chapter Text

„So you know what to do, Binghe?“

The young man kneeled in front of the bed where his Shizun was sitting and nodded. „This disciple will watch over Shizun and sends spiritual energy if needed.“

They returned to the bamboo hut after Mu Qingfang had brought the medicine over. He recommended this strongly, because it was possible that Shen Qingqiu would feel very drowsy or even fall asleep for quite some time. And being in the cave wouldn't do him good in this situation.

So they followed Mu Qingfang's advice, and now the only thing to do was drinking the liquid the other Peak Lord had made. He took a deep breath and swallowed it.

Instantly, he felt tired and heavy. „That... that was fast“, he said with difficulties before falling forward.

Luo Binghe was prepared and caught his Shizun, helping him to lay down. „Shizun should rest for a while“, he said with some concern, stroking his head.

Shen Qingqiu mumbled something without sense and closed his eyes. It only took a moment before his breath became steady and he was deep asleep.

The roots inside of him were moving sluggishly. They knew danger was approaching, but they couldn't stop it anymore. Slowly, Shen Qingqiu moved forward, but he felt sluggish, too. He lost more and more speed until he stopped.

In front of him was a nest of roots shielding the core. He was there! But he had no energy left to fight it.

He sat there for a while, not knowing what to do, when a black energy began to envelope him. But he had no fear. The black energy was warm and gentle to him while the world around him began burning. 'Binghe', he thought. 'Only a protagonist like him is able to do this.'

The roots were falling apart, the core glowed for a moment, but then he heard something like a scream before it became ashes, too.

A moment later he woke up.

Luo Binghe was holding his hand. His face was illuminated by moonlight, but he was watching his Shizun intensely. Some time had passed, and when he saw his Shizun move, his face lit up. „Shizun is awake!“

„How long did I sleep?“

Shen Qingqiu tried to sit up, but his body won't move. He felt like rocks were piled up on his chest, weighting him down.

„Please rest for a while longer, Shizun. It was only half a day.“ Again he stroked his Shizun's head. „It worked. Shizun is back to normal, and now he should restore his powers.“

This young man was right, and so he closed his eyes to sleep for another few hours.

-

Luo Binghe stayed in front of the bed, still holding his Shizun's hand. When his spiritual energy entered the other one's body, he heard him mumble something he didn't understand.

'Protagonist'.

What was a 'protagonist'? Was it a good thing?

Just like the ominous 'points', this was something his Shizun hid before him. But he felt, finding out what that meant would bring him closer to understanding what was the big secret behind the change inside of his Shizun. He needed to find out!

-

The night went by, until Shen Qingqiu woke up again. Luo Binghe was laying beside him, sleeping peacefully, his arm wrapped around his waist.

He sighed.

Slowly he sat up, ensuring not to wake the young man up. Then he lifted his hands, watching the human skin before he touched the place where the horns had been.

Gone.

Lifting a strand of hair, he saw, that the flowers were gone, too.

So it was over.

A smile full of relief appeared on his lips, and hie rubbed his face just to be sure he was awake. But everything stayed the way it was. He was back to normal, laying in his bamboo hut, his normal looking disciple by his side.

Luo Binghe moved a bit, hugging him more tightly. Now that they survived this freaky episode, they were able to return to their daily routine. This would mean to sleep alone again and sending Luo Binghe to his own room. Seeing the young man laying there so close to him, Shen Qingqiu assumed, that it would be very difficult to convince him to do so.

While thinking about what to do, a voice rang out in his head.

[Achievment gained: retuning back to being human. +50 points]

Well, he didn't get the quest reward, but at least some kind of consolation prize. Better than being deducted points for no reason.

So, starting from tomorrow on, he would be back in business gaining points. Time was running out so soon, only three-fourths of the year left.

'System, how many points did I gain until now?'

[This system is glad to be of service. Right now you collected. 7.025 points.]

Okay, the next crucial point was to gain the 2.000 points from the mission to convince the Sect Master of approving this disciple. Without these points, it would be almost impossible to reach the goal.

But there still was hope. He had a good feeling, Yue Qingyuan appreciated what Luo Binghe had done until now. So maybe some talking would do the trick.

A movement beside himgot his attention. Luo Binghe opened his eyes and looked up to his Shizun. „Good morning“, he said with a smile and pressed a kiss on Shen Qingqiu's thigh.

„...!!!“

Young man, what are you doing?! What happened when I was sleeping?!

Shen Qingqiu was so confused, he didn't react in time and received another kiss. Only then he smacked the head of his disciple with his bare hand.

„What do you think you are doing?!“

Luo Binghe looked up like he was wronged. „I'm just happy to have Shizun back“, he exclaimed, refusing to let go.

„But that isn't a reason to kiss me out of the blue!“ He tried to free himself from his grip, but his disciple won't budge.

„No, that's exactly the reason for it“, Luo Binghe said and rested his head on Shen Qingqiu's lap.

The other one sighed. He knew, this would be a very hard task to return to their daily routine and their normal relationship. But right now it almost seemed impossible.

Chapter Text

„Shizun!“

A crying Ning Yingying was sitting in front of him. She had run into him when he left his bamboo hut, and now she was crying for a while in joy. It was somehow embarrassing, but on the other side it was good to know that she really had missed him. „Ning Yingying was worried, Shizun would never come back!“

„Ah... well... there were difficult missions I had to take care of“, he tried to justify his absence. Since it was the lie the Sect Master had told his disciples, he was sticking to it. There wasn't any other logical explanation anyway.

„But still... taking A-Luo with you, but not Ning Yingying!“ She sniffed, and a bit helpless he gave her a handkerchief. „That's because-“

„This disciple can protect Shizun!“ Luo Binghe was stepping out of the bamboo hut. The girl on the ground looked up, and her face lit up instantly. „A-Luo! You are back, too!“

How simple-minded. Just seeing Luo Binghe let her forget her tears. Ah, the youth...

Slowly Ning Yingying stood up and patted the dust from her robe. She then looked up to Luo Binghe again. „A-Luo, did you grow again?“

Glancing sidewards Shen Qingqiu had to admit that this was true. It was no aftereffect of the transformation, the young man just matured again. Now knowing what awaits him when his disciple would be fully grown up, Shen Qingqiu didn't pay too much attention, but the girl didn't see him for quite some time, and so she noticed.

Luo Binghe puffed out his chest proudly. It was his goal to mature fast, and so this remark was like tasting honey for him. „I want to grow even taller and become strong to protect Shizun!“

Ning Yingying nodded eagerly. „A-Luo can do this! Ning Yingying will work hard, too!“

...wait. Since when did the topic shift to something like this?! It was good to see his disciples acting all friendly with each other, but shouldn't they getting more closer because of themselves and not because of him? But oh well, there was still plenty of room for this. If they would train together, he believed they find even more joy in each other's company...

Badump.

For a moment, his heart made a strange noise. But it didn't repeat itself, and so he shoved it to the back of his mind.

Instead, Shen Qingqiu coughed slightly. „If you both are so eager to become stronger, then you should train diligently. Why are you still standing around here? Hurry up and go meditating!“

Ning Yingying pouted. „Shizun is cruel! When Ning Yingying finally was able to see Shizun again, he sends her away...“ But she still turned around to enter the training grounds.

Luo Binghe was watching his Shizun for a moment. „This disciple will be back later!“ With this he came closer for a moment, but stopped himself. No. He couldn't kiss his Shizun out in the open! And so he bowed respectfully and followed the girl.

Shen Qingqiu fanned himself. This went better than expected! Satisfied he looked after his disciples before turning around and leaving Qing Jing Peak. He needed to visit the Sect Master.

-

„It's good to see that you're back.“

Yue Qingyuan was sipping tea and looking over some documents. When Shen Qingqiu entered, he laid a manuscript down.

Shen Qingqiu had opened his fan and sat across the Sect Master. „Took me long enough.“

A smile spread across the Sect Master's face. „Was it that bad?“

Sighing, Shen Qingqiu lowered his head. „No. But it wasn't me after all. Being myself in this body still is the most comfortable option.“

He didn't want to call it 'his body' for it wasn't true. But it didn't seem to bother the Sect Master.

„And now you want to talk about your disciple?“

„...“

The other man knew him too well! And he didn't need to say anything more, because Yue Qingyuan went on talking. „Not yet.“

Shen Qingqiu looked dejected.

„You are just back to normal. Just give some more time, only a little bit.“ The Sect Master looked like he was sorry. „Just let me see that everything is alright. Then your disciple will get the approval to stay here.“

Shen Qingqiu nodded. „I understand.“

-

Almost there! Almost!!

With mixed feelings, Shen Qingqiu returned to his bamboo hut. As soon as he opened the door, a delicious scent wafted over, and when he entered, he saw, that the whole table was filled with different dishes, all freshly made and ready to be eaten. His stomach growled loudly seeing this.

„Shizun!“

With another tray of food Luo Binghe came in after him. He looked awfully happy, and he took his Shizun's hand and led him over while juggling the tray with the other hand. „You're right on time!“

„...what did you do, Binghe?“ Shen Qingqiu eyed all the food with interest but then focused on his disciple. „Shouldn't you be outside training?“

„Well, I was“, the young man said with a smile. „But then I thought we might celebrate a bit?“ He sat down the tray and with a bashful look he squeezed his Shizun's hand a bit before letting go. „Maybe I went overboard a little...?“

With a sigh, Shen Qingqiu sat down. „A little?“ Still trying to find out how many different dishes his disciple had cooked, he gestured to Luo Binghe, that he should sit down, too. „You have to help me. It would be a shame if too much food would go to waste.“

The bright smile was dazzling. „Many thanks, Shizun!“

It was unusual for Master and disciple to eat together. But Shen Qingqiu had to admit, that eating alone felt very lonely. Back in his original world he ate alone most of the time, too, and the rare occasions when he and his family ate together were precious to him. And after all that happened, he didn't see the need for formalities like this.

Shen Qingqiu tasted some fried vegetables, and instantly his heart sang. The soup this young man made in Mu Qingfangs hut had been overly delicious, too. But eating this tasty dishes – it was on a whole different level!

Watching his Shizun, Luo Binghe only smiled. It didn't need words to see how his Shizun was enjoying this. And so he gathered all of his courage and lifted a piece of crispy meat covered with some sauce up with his chopsticks and held it in front of Shen Qingqiu's mouth.

„Shizun, please taste this, too.“

Shen Qingqiu looked at the bite, then to his disciple. „Binghe, I can eat-“

„Please, Shizun!“ The miserable look in the eyes of the young man let him sigh. Slowly he opened his mouth and let himself be fed.

„...“

„...“

Both of them began blushing. It was Shen Qingqiu who looked away first.

„...delicious“, he mumbled, earning another dazzling smile from his disciple.

„Many thanks!!“

They ate in silence, Shen Qingqiu deep in thoughts, Luo Binghe as happy as he could be. Thinking about this situation let Shen Qingqiu feel, that returning to how they were before really seemed impossible...

Chapter Text

Another day began. Shen Qingqiu wasn't able to convince his disciple to sleep in his own room, and so they spent the night sleeping together again. But when Luo Binghe woke up, his Shizun was already gone.

Irrritated, he stood up. „Shizun?“

No answer.

„Shizun?!“

He searched the whole area, but Shen Qingqiu was nowhere to be found.

Panicstricken, he didn't even think about tracking his Shizun with the demon blood residing within him. He just thought where to look for him, when one special Peak Lord crossed his way.

Maybe he knew something?

Luo Binghe bowed deeply. „Peak Lord Liu, did you see Shizun today?“

With a humphing sound, Liu Qingge examined the younger one. „He had left early because of a request of the Sect Master. He should have left a note for you.“

„...“

Taken aback, Luo Binghe looked at the Peak Lord. The other one lifted an eyebrow. „Let me guess: You couldn't find him and stormed out without thinking twice?“

Luo Binghe lowered his gaze. That was exactly what happened.

Another humph. „You're way too impulsive regarding Shen Qingqiu. You should cool down. You are Master and disciple, after all. Don't bring shame over him.“

Being lectured by the other one wasn't something Luo Binghe liked. Especially knowing, that Liu Qingge had a bad temper and would react the same way! When it came down to his Shizun, they were rivals, and being told what his position was, hurt him. Still, he was sure, that Liu Qingge had no chance against him in winning his Shizun over-“

„Oi!“ Liu Qingge growled. „Don't stare at me like that. Just because I respect you and your powers doesn't mean you can do anything!“

Finally realizing what he had done, Luo Binghe lowered his gaze again. „This diciple is sorry for being disrespectful.“ He hid the feelings of jealousy and rivalry in his heart, and Liu Qingge only nodded before leaving.

-

Returning to the bamboo hut, there really was a note laying on the table. Ashamed, Luo Binghe grabbed and read it.

'Binghe,

I have to leave for today. I hope to return in the evening, but I can't predict how long this will take. Train properly and make your Master proud when I return.'

His face turned ugly in despair and sadness. „Why did you leave without me, Shizun“, he whimpered like a dog left behind. „I could have accompanied you!“

Grieving, he felt his body react in showing demonic features like fangs and little horns. Slightly shocked he touched the two black bumps on his head. No, this wasn't good! He had to trust his Shizun!

Clenching his fists, he tried to concentrate. Remembering that he had oe way to find out where his Shizun was, he tried to locate him. Feeling his demon blood in a nearby town, he knew, his Shizun wasn't that far away. If the Sect Master sent him, there was nothing that could be done. He didn't leave him on purpose, and he let him sleep even longer. That must have been because he cared for his disciple!

He began controlling his breath and calming down. Good. This was good. He didn't want to disappoint his Shizun in losing his temper over this and turning into a demon again!

After some time, the demonic features vanished, and he breathed a sigh of relief. Good. He was able to calm down. If he wanted to become a good man for his Shizun, he needed to learn how to control himself!

But it was hard, so hard... he missed his Shizun so much, it felt like his heart was bursting into small pieces. Even if he only left for a day, it was almost unbearable for Luo Binghe!

„Shizun~“, he cried out, feeling tears welling up. „Come back soon!“

-

It was late at night when the door of the bamboo hut opened. Shen Qingqiu tried to come in as noiseless as possible, but seeing a curled-up puppy on the ground he couldn't hold back. An „Oh“ escaped his lips, and instantly the young man opened his eyes.

„Shizun~“

The next moment he was hugged around his waist by the young man kneeling in front of him. „Shizun is finally back!“, his disciple whimpered and buried his head on his Shizun.

„Oi, I was only gone for a day! Behave, Binghe!“ Shen Qingqiu had trouble standing upright when being hugged like this, but he tried his best. Since the big puppy didn't want to let go, he sighed and patted the silky hair. „Im already back, so its fine, isn't it?“

Only reluctantly the young man let go, just to look up to his Shizun with teary eyes. „Why didn't Shizun take me with him? Or at least wake me up?“

Shen Qingqiu squatted down in front of his disciple. „Would you have let me go just like this when I woke you up?“

Luo Binghe couldn't say anything against it, and so he fell silent. „See? That's why I didn't wake you up. It was necessary to go alone, so I did what I did.“ He stood up again. „Come over here, I have something to give you.“

Anxiously the young man crawled over to sit down next to his Shizun. „So you didn't leave me to punish me? You don't hate me?“

Irritated, Shen Qingqiu looked at his disciple. „Of course not. Binghe, don't tell me you wasted your time thinking such nonsense instead of training?“

Luo Binghe looked miserably, and Shen Qingqiu sighed again. „Then I hope, this will cheer you up.“

He took out a package which was neatly wrapped in fine cloth. Surprised, Luo Binghe looked up. „For me?“

Shen Qingqiu nodded. „Open up.“

Slowly, Luo Binghe unwrapped the package. Inside was a wooden box which contained some exquisite sweets shaped like littke stars, and a smaller box, delicately crafted with some carvings. With trembling hands he lifted up the lid.

Inside was a golden bracelet with a jade. It was finely made and had bamboo engraved on it.

„...for me?“, he whispered before staring at his Shizun in disbelief.

„I'll only give this to you when you promise me to wear it. It was especially made for you, that's why it took me so much time today.“ Shen Qingqiu had opened his fan and was hiding his face. „I don't know when, but your birthday should be around the corner, no? So I thought of a fitting gift, and the only-“

He couldn't speak on for he was finding himself laying on the ground the big puppy laying on top of him and hugging him tightly.

„Shizun“, the puppy said with muffled voice. „Shizun!!“

Aw man. He wanted to surprise the young man, but receiving a reaction like this... „Do you like it?“

The boy nodded, his head buried on his Shizun's chest. „Thank you Shizun, thank you so much! I'll treasure it forever!“

Shen Qingqiu hit the head of the young man softly. „Don't treasure it. Wear it. I hope it will bring you luck.“

Knowing, that he would lay here for a while until the other one calmed down, he stroked the other one's head gently. „Happy birthday, Binghe.“

Chapter Text

Finally peace came over Qing Jing Peak, at least for now. Shen Qingqiu's disciples were glad to have their Shizun back, and they trained even harder from now on. Ming Fan still was jealous of Luo Binghe being close to him, but since Ning Yingying seemed to have established a better relationship with him over time, he calmed down quite a bit.

Shen Qingqiu tried to establish the old relationship between him and Luo Binghe, knowing, that this was impossible. Even if he sent this big puppy into his own room for sleeping, Luo Binghe sneaked back at night to lay beside his Shizun. They repeated this several times until Shen Qingqiu finally gave up. If this young man had something in mind, he was so stubborn! But to tell the truth, he got used to sleeping together, so he didn't really mind.

Luo Binghe really was wearing the bracelet, even if it was hidden most of the time from the other students. It was a good move, since they would ask too much about where he got it from. But he wore it. The other presents were stored away neatly, and somethimes Shen Qingqiu asked him, why he didn't wear them. But Luo Binghe refused, saying, that they were his most prescious treasures. It was kind of cute, and so Shen Qingqiu didn't press the matter any further.

It was a good time. Wouldn't there be the upcoming abyss plot casting its shadows already over everything...

„You can't trick he system, Cucumber Bro.“

Shang Qinghua was visiting Shen Qingqiu. Lately he came by more often, and Shen Qingqiu didn't know if he was here for the show or if he was just bored. Everything was going smoothly in his department, too, and his ice demon seemed to have established quite the good relationship with him. Well, if you could say it that way. It was still some kind of master-slave-relationship with Shang Qinghua as the slave, trying to please his Lord, but Mobei Jun seemed to getting used to it. He even showed up with Shang Qinghua from time to time. It was a strange feeling seeing the pureblood sitting there and sipping tea without a care in the world, but Shen Qingqiu didn't argue about that. Since Luo Binghe possibly had to claim his place as the demon king soon, it was good to be on good terms with his future underling.

„I know, but what can I do? I only go one mission recently, I don't have much time left!“

Shen Qingqiu was resting his head in his hand. He was distressed. The system didn't send him a mission update until now, and he was cursing the 'newsletter' he subscribed for as useless. Shang Qinghua sighed.

„Well, maybe you can create more opportunities for gaining points by yourself? Like giving your disciple some pills in secret-“

„No more pills!“ Shocked, Shen Qingqiu looked up. „They did enough to me, it isn't predictable what they would do to him!“

„But you gained some points through this.“ Shang Qinghua crossed his arms. „Most of the time you gain points when solving an unpredicted situation. He is the protagonist, what could go wrong? His halo is almighty, he won't be harmed.“

„So you say I have to exploit his halo?“

Shen Qingqiu did this once when they were out on a mission and he tried to unfreeze the OOC function. He regretted it afterwards and swore to never use this again until there was no choice.

„I'm just thinking about options. Nothing more. You asked for help, after all.“ Shang Qinghua emptied his cup. „Maybe you can ask Mu Qingfang if he needs assist in some of his experiments. I bet your disciple would be willing to help, seeing how sticky and eager he is to be of use. And if you officially announce that you help your Shidi, you don't have to hide again.“

„...“

Shen Qingqiu considered this for a moment, then shook his head. „I don't want to create more trouble, I want to solve it. Even with his protagonist's halo, he would suffer. I don't want that.“

While saying this, he was watched by Shang Qinghua. „Maybe it's just me, but you are really attached to him, too, aren't you?“

Shen Qingqiu looked irritated, but he didn't deny it. He just couldn't.

-

He didn't know if it was just bad timing, but Luo Binghe stood again in front of the bamboo hut, hearing things he wasn't supposed to hear.

Protagonist's halo? What was that?

He was pondering about this term, when he heard the last remark of the other Peak Lord.

His Shizun... was attached to him...?

His heart began beating wildly, and he even forget to serve the tea he freshly made for a moment. After he stood there for a moment without moving, he suddenly noticed what he was doing and hurried away to brew new tea.

-

When they sat together in the evening, Luo Binghe was all smiles. He made an especially delicious meal and was radiating an overly positive aura.

„Did something good happen today?“, Shen Qingqiu asked, almost blinded by the happy face.

„No, I'm just feeling good“, the young man said while playing with the bracelet he wore. „Shizun noticed?“

How could I not notice this? Look at you, only being next to you was burning away any negativity!

Shen Qingqiu sighed and closed his eyes for a moment. When he opened them again, Luo Binghe's face was right in front of him. He yelped in surprise and almost fell backwards. „What are you doing, scaring me like that!“

„This disciple was just thinking, that Shizun looks beautiful today!“, the young man said without a hint of shame.

What?

What was going on here?!

„Well... um... thanks?“, Shen Qingqiu answered after a moment. What to do in such a situation? He was still pondering about this, when Luo Binghe sat back up straight again. „Say Shizun... are there things this disciple can help Shizun with at the moment?“

That remark let the discussion with Shang Qinghua flash through Shen Qingqiu's mind, but he shook his head. „It's peaceful right now, so we should enjoy this while it lasts.“

„Mhm.“ Luo Binghe seemed to think about this, when he finally decided to ask.

„But I have a... protagonist's halo? Even if I don't know what this is, I should make use of it, no?“ He looked to his Shizun who instantly turned pale. „Maybe Shizun can explain to this disciple, what a protagonist and this halo might be?“

Suddenly Shen Qingqiu felt sick. The whole world felt like it was beginning to spin, pressing him down into a deep black hole.

„Young man... just how much do you know...?“

Chapter Text

Luo Binghe looked a bit guilty. „It wasn't my intention, but I overheard a bit of your conversation with Peak Lord Shang.“ He kneeled in front of his Shizun, looking at him with big puppy eyes. „Please tell me, Shizun!“

Shen Qingqiu was at a loss for what to do. In his ears the system began ringing.

[Warning! Warning! Warning! Telling the protagonist the truth will result in severe punishment!]

He closed his eyes.

He was careless to think, talking about such matters would slip by unnoticed. He should have learned his lesson when Luo Binghe learned something about the 'points', but he still went on. He simply had forgotten this, and now it came back and haunted him.

„I... can't tell you, Binghe“, he said with a grave expression. „I'm sorry.“

The young man came closer. „But it's important. Shizun promised to tell me when there is something important regarding me!“ His begging tone was seeping right into Shen Qingqiu's heart. He knew, this wouldn't let the young man rest anymore. Still, he tried to avoid telling Luo Binghe the truth.

„Binghe, please... you're not supposed to know.“

„But why? Why shouldn't I? Isn't it about me?“ His face was now close again, the clear eyes showing sadness and concern.

„It's because it's about you that I can't tell.“

Young hands grabbed his collar, a hint of madness and despair was mixing in the expression on Luo Binghe's face. „Shizun!“

He felt he was losing the trust of his disciple. He felt the mind of the other one was breaking. „Tell me! What am I?!“

He closed his eyes again, breathing in before opening his mouth. It didn't matter. Losing his trust was like blackening him with his own two hands!. The system rang out in his mind again, warning him, but he ignored it. The worst punishment was dying, so screw it!

„Sit down, Binghe. I will tell you.“

Slowly the grip on his clothes loosened, and Luo Binghe sat down again. Shen Qingqiu's mind worked at high speed. How should he tell him so he understood? How was it possible to hurt him as little as possible?

Luo Binghe looked at him expectantly when Shen Qingqiu fond a solution for himself. He didn't know if this was a good way. He had to try.

„A protagonist... is the main character of a story“, he began slowly. „Like the characters in legends and fairy tales.“

Luo Binghe listened. He knew, it was necessary to hear everything to understand.

„And a protagonist's halo is like a protective barrier, preventing some bad things to happen to the main character.“

He stopped for a moment, collecting his breath. „You are such a main character.“

Luo Binghe widened his eyes. „What... does this mean?“

Shen Qingqiu looked away. „You are the main character of a written tale. All of this happening here is because of you.“

This time it was Luo Binghe's turn to turn pale. „So...I am... not real?“ He whispered.

Shen Qingqiu stayed quiet.

„But... but I am here! I talk, I breath, I bleed! How can I not be real?!“ Again, there was the look of despair on his face. Trying to keep his composure, he fixated his eyes on his Shizun. „...Shizun knew? Shizun knew all along?“

Shen Qingqiu couldn't look him in the eyes. „Yes.“

Luo Binghe grabbed his head. „So all I had to suffer until now... was made up? Everything was just a story someone wrote?!“

Shen Qingqiu wanted to hug the miserable person in front of him. But he didn't dare. „I read your story. You are right, I'm not the original Shen Qingqiu. I came to this world, because I didn't like the outcome. The suffering. I am here because I wanted to change your fate.“

It was not the real reason why he came here. But it became his reason after meeting this pure and innocent child. He wanted to protect him. He wanted to protect him from blackening and going the wrong path. He-

The shrilling sound of the system in his ears, telling him, that punishment would follow, the devastated young man in front of him, his own heart in shambles.

„So it doesn't matter what I do, everything is already written?“ Luo Binghe's voice sounded hollow, as if he was about to give up everything. „I'm not a real living being?“

„No!“ Shen Qingqiu cried out. „You are here! With me!“ He tried to reach out, but he didn't bring himself to touch the trembling body. „It is you who decides what is happening. Only you. We changed everything already so much beyond recognition, so don't give yourself up!“

When he finally tried to touch Luo Binghe, the other one stood up. „I... need to be alone“, he mumbled, and stormed out of the bamboo hut, leaving a desperate Shen Qingqiu behind.

[Punishment complete], the system announced, before everything went quiet.

What exactly was the punishment?

Shattering Luo Binghe's trust in him or shattering his own heart? Maybe both? Well, yes, that would count as severe punishment. It was the first time after coming here, that Shen Qingqiu felt like crying, but he knew, it wouldn't change a thing.

He failed.

Everything he achieved, everything both of them went through together – it was meaningless. Now he knew, that there was something worse than dying. It was this situation right now.

He betrayed the young man for such a long time. He couldn't think of how miserable Luo Binghe must have felt right now!

He buried his head in his hands. „I'm sorry... I'm so sorry, Binghe...“, he mumbled, knowing, no one would ever hear this.

But there was nothing that could be done. He was thinking about going after Luo Binghe, but he had the feeling, he was the last person the young boy wanted to see right now. And so he stayed in his hut, praying silently for a safe return of his disciple.

Chapter Text

It was almost dawn when Luo Binghe came back. He still was pale as a sheet when he entered the hut. His hair was disshelved, his ears pointy and the two pair of horns were showing. Even the tail was back, and this showed, how his mental state was in disarray. His eyes were reddened as if he had cried for quite some time, making his appearance even more miserable.

Shen Qingqiu was ashen faced, too. He didn't move from the spot the whole night, and when the young man entered, he slowly stood up. Sorrow and grief were written on his face, and he clenched his fist, ready to accept whatever Luo Binghe would throw at him.

Both of them stood there for quite a while, until Luo Binghe began speaking.

„Shizun lied.“

It was a matter of fact, nothing that could be denied. And so Shen Qingqiu only answered: „Yes.“

Of course he had his reasons, but they didn't change the fact that he lied. So there was no need to explain any more.

Another moment of silence came over the two of them. And then Luo Binghe slowly walked over to Shen Qingqiu.

The other one thought the protagonist would hit him now, so he closed his eyes. Instead, he felt two arms around him, pulling him closer.

„But even if Shizun lied...since he changed I felt happy like never before“, Luo Binghe whispered, and Shen Qingqiu opened his eyes wide, trying to look at his disciple but was held in a firm embrace. „Even if I am not real, I can think, I can feel. I am here.“

Slowly, Shen Qingqiu hugged his disciple back. „For me you are real. I am here with you, there is nothing that can change this.“

It was true. He felt the body in his arms, the warmth it was emitting. For him it was reality, and when everything was real, then it was possible to change the future.

Something wet touched his cheek, and he felt, that Luo Binghe was crying. „Take responsibility, Shizun! Now that I know...!“ The young man in his arms trembled like a scared pup, and the embrace tightened. „Don't leave me behind, never ever!“

„I won't, Binghe. I won't.“ Shen Qingqiu closed his eyes. The young man was so frail right now, ready to break any minute. He needed to comfort the poor soul as much as possible. „We will make many good memories in the future!“

How hard this must be for this young man! It was breaking his heart. Gently, he stroked the back of his disciple, trying to soothe him. And slowly the trembling faded.

„So... Shizun knew from the start that I'm a half-breed?“, Luo Binghe suddenly asked in a hoarse voice.

Shen Qingqiu nodded slightly, still stroking his disciple. „I knew.“

„And what else does Shizun know?“

„A lot of things. But not enough. We changed the story so much already, I can't predict what will happen anymore.“

Only the abyss plot was still remaining. But that was something his disciple didn't need to know right now. The shock of the truth was still reverberating in Luo Binghe's mind, so he didn't want to throw more on the poor young man.

Slowly, Luo Binghe let go, watching his Shizun with wet cheeks. „May... may I kiss Shizun...?“ His voice sounded weak and pitiful. Shen Qingqiu wasn't in a position to refuse now. There was a glass heart in front of him with so many cracks. He didn't want to destroy it. And so he nodded. „Yes.“

Just this once. They didn't kiss anymore after Shen Qingqiu turned back. So just this once was fine.

It was a shy kiss. As if Luo Binghe was testing if his Shizun was real or not. Shen Qingqiu felt the insecurity, the slightly clumsy movements, but also the longing inside of it. He took Luo Binghe's hand in his own an squeezed it gently.

The longer the kiss lasted, the more secure it became and it felt again like the kisses before. More grown-up and passionate.

When they parted, Luo Binghe's body had returned to normal, and his cheeks were red. „This isn't a dream or anything. This is real“, he whispered. „Many thanks, Shizun.“

A slight smile appeared on Shen Qingqiu's face. Yes, this was better. This was more like his sweet disciple. „I have to thank you for forgiving me.“

Luo Binghe shook his head. „It wasn't Shizun's choice. I know that.“ He leaned in and buried his head on Shen Qingqiu's shoulder. „I think I will need time to understand this fully. But I'm grateful, Shizun told me the truth.“

Shen Qingqiu stroked the soft hair. „You should rest now.“ He gently pushed his disciple away in the direction of the bed. „You must be tired.“ He himself feeled like his body was made out of lead, but he could endure it. His disciple on the other side seemed so worn out, Shen Qingqiu was afraid he would faint on the spot.

Obediently, Luo Binghe stepped over and sat on the edge of the bed. He then looked up and offered Shen Qingqiu a hand. „Will Shizun stay with me?“

„Of course. If you wish so, Binghe.“ He too came over to the bed. Maybe it was better this way. When they woke up again, they could begin anew. And so he laid himself down beside his disciple. He felt an arm around his body, but before he could react he heard a steady breathing next to him.

Oh well... the young man really was tired. Not that he didnt understand where this was coming from.

And so he closed his eyes, and soon after he was fast asleep, too.

-

They slept in for quite some time. When Shen Qingqiu woke up, Luo Binghe was already awake and watching him. Startled, he tried to sit up, but was hold down by the other one.

„Let's stay like this a little longer“, Luo Binghe said with a soft smile. „It's late anyway, so no need to hurry up.“

Shen Qingqiu sighed. „I wanted to talk to the Sect Master again today.“ Good, that he didn't make an appointment. „I should get up and get myself ready.“

But his disciple didn't move an inch. „Shizun...“, he began. „Did you pity me so much that you came here? Was my fate that bad?“

The question came out of the blue for him. Did the young man think of such things, too? He thought for a moment how to phrase it, before he answered. „It was unnecessary“, he then said. „Most of the things that happened weren't without reason. It wasn't out of pity. It was because I felt that this was just wrong. You didn't deserve this, I thought. You deserve a happy life.“

Hoping that this would answer the question, he looked at his disciple, only to receive a small peck on the lips. „Shizun is way too good natured“, Luo Binghe said with tears of joy in his eyes. „Many thanks for saving me!“

Chapter Text

A few days went by, and everything seemed to return to normal. Well, except Luo Bingghe being even more sticky and spending his time all day long with his Shizun. But it was fine. The young man was happy, that was the most important thing.

It was then that Shen Qingqiu sometimes began to feel sluggish.

At first he thought, that the events of the last time finally took their toll. But it didn't go away. Every now and then he felt a wave of fatigue, and sometimes his bones began to ache for a short time.

Since cultivators didn't catch colds, he decided to visit Mu Qingfang.

The other Peak Lord checked every detail, his expression more and more concerned. When he finished, his forehead was all wrinkles.

„Is it that bad?“, Shen Qingqiu asked, his heart beating loudly in his chest.

„I don't really know. I need to look into some things before I can give a correct answer. But you shouldn't overexert your spiritual energy right now.“

Shen Qingqiu nodded dejectedly. „I will. Many thanks, Mu-Shidi.“

-

When Shen Qingqiu returned, Luo Binghe happily ran over. But seeing the pale face of his Shizun, he stopped. „Shizun, what is wrong?“

Shen Qingqiu shook his head. „I don't know. Mu-Shidi isn't sure what it is, he'll contact me later.“

Another wave of fatigue washed over him, and he staggered for a moment. Luo Binghe laid his arms around him. „Shizun should rest for now. This disciple will make something to eat.“

„Many thanks“, Shen Qingqiu said and went back into his bamboo hut. He had a bad feeling about this. Was this his punishment? What did the system do to him?

He fell more than he sat down and buried his head in his hand. He had the feeling to have a fever, even if this was impossible. Did the system made him sick? He tried to feel inside of himself, but it was as if a fog was laying over his spiritual energy, preventing him from going further.

He groaned.

'System, what did you do to me? What was the punishment?'

But this time, the system didnt answer.

..what the fuck! What was that about 'glad to be of service' and stuff?! Are you a young maiden who was pouting right now?

It was no use, the system stayed quiet.

Unnerved, Shen Qingqiu gave up. Fine, then pout! I don't need you anyway!

At the same time Luo Binghe came in, carrying a tray with tea and congee. He placed it in front of his Shizun. „This disciple made something light today. Hopefully Shizun gets better soon.“ He clearly showed his concern, which made Shen Qingqiu smile gently. „Don't worry. This Master will resist any sickness.“ He then tasted the congee, which was light but still aromatic and pleasing to the stomach. It made Shen Qingqiu all warm inside.

„The first dish you served me was also a congee“, Shen Qingqiu said, and Luo Binghe smiled. „Shizun remembers?“

Shen Qingqiu nodded. „The food here is so plain. I wasn't used to it. I missed my food from before so much, but then you cooked for me the first time. It was so good, I never thought to eat anything like this again.“

A faint blush appeared on Luo Binghe's cheeks. „This disciple just wanted to repay Shizun's good deeds back then when he saved this dicsiple. I'm glad it was so much to your liking.“

He watched Shen Qingqiu eat more, then he asked: „Shizun, will you tell me about your original world someday?“

Irritated, Shen Qingqiu looked up. „You are interested in such a thing?“

Luo Binghe nodded eagerly. „Of course. This disciple is interested in Shizun's past. But this disciple won't force Shizun. If Shizun is willing to tell, this disciple will gladly listen.“

A slight smile appeared on Shen Qingqiu's lips. „Then I will tell you about it someday.“

He wanted to finish eating, when dizzines overcame him. He needed to support himself to not fall backwards.

„Shizun!“ The young man cried out and laid his hands around Shen Qingqiu's shoulders to catch him.

„I'm fine, Binghe“, Shen Qingqiu said with a weak voice. „It was just a moment.“

„This can't go on. Shizun, I'm worried!“ The young man cried out in frustration and concern. „There must be something we can do!“

Shen Qingqiu laid his hand on the arm around his shoulders. „Mu Qingfang will find a solution. We just have to wait.“ He himself was overly concerned, knowing, that the system was especially wicked when it came to punishments. Maybe it really made him sick? Or it would rob him of his spiritual energy to make him a normal mortal person? Everything was possible.

He would endure it. Telling the truth strengthened the bond between Luo Binghe and himself, and it was worth the pain. System, be prepared! You will never break me!

Shen Qingqiu steeled his resolve to never let the system get its will like this.

-

After another two days Mu Qingfang visited Shen Qingqiu.

Shen Qingqiu's situation didn't get any better. He was resting again in his bamboo hut and Luo Binghe was serving tea, when the other Peak Lord arrived. He wore a grave expression, and seeing this, both of them tensed up.

„You...found something?“, Shen Qingqiu asked, and Mu Qingfang nodded. He looked at Luo Binghe as if asking if he should better leave, but Shen Qingqiu shook his head. „He can stay.“ He would learn about it anyway, so it was easier if he heard the truth from Mu Qingfang directly.

„Fine.“ The other Peak Lord sat down, and Luo Binghe served him tea, too.

„It's not good, isn't it.“ It wasn't a question. Shen Qingqiu already knew, he had to prepare for the worst.

„I wish I had good news, but I haven't.“ Mu Qingfang lowered his gaze for a moment. „I still need to find out more, but fact is, that something is blocking your spiritual veins. It only began, but it will grew worse. Your body reacts to this with the dizziness and pain.“

Shen Qingqiu nodded. „I understand. Do you know what it is? And is there a way to stop it?“ It seemed like his assumption was right. He would turn into a normal human being.

Mu Qingfang sighed. „I thought of different ways to stop it. But the usual things won't work. Normally, when the spiritual veins are blocked or destroyed, a cultivator turns into a simple human. But this is not the case with you.“

Goosebumps began spreading over Shen Qingqiu's body. So he was no normal case? His throat was dry, and he swallowed hardly.

„So... what is happening with me?“

The other Peak Lord played with his cup for a moment. „I'm not entirely sure. There is still the 'Without A Cure'-poison inside of your body. This seems to be the main reason.“

„But isn't it suppressed by my blood?“ It was Luo Binghe who was asking this time. He had his fists clenched and was looking grimly ath the other Peak Lord. „Is my blood useless?“

Mu Qingfang fixated his gaze on the young man. „Your blood isn't useless. It is dangerous. Right now it seemed to have merged with the poison and is attacking your Shizun's spiritual veins.“

Chapter Text

Instantly, Luo Binghe's face turned ashen. „...what?“

Shen Qingqiu laid one hand on Luo Binghe's shoulder to calm him down. „Mu-Shidi, you said, that I won't simply turn into a normal man. What does this mean. Will I die?“

„...that I can't say.“ Mu Qingfang looked at the teacup. „I never saw something like this before, and I didn't find a hint in the scripts. But if it would simply kill you, I think it would already have.“

Shen Qingqiu nodded. „I think you are right.“ If the system wanted him dead, it just would make the demonic blood inside of him useless. This had to have a diffferent meaning. „So we will wait and see?“

„I'm afraid there isn't much that I can do.“ Mu Qingfang brought out a bag of pills. „I don't know if any of these would help. There are some who turned you into a plant-like being and some to strengthen your spiritual veins. I don't think it will cure this, but it can slow down the process. You have to decide if you want to take them or not.“

More pills. More fights with side effects. „Many thanks, Mu-Shidi. I will think about it.“

-

Luo Binghe was devastated. „It's because of my blood...“, he said, with a grave expression.

„Then shouldn't we try to extract it from my body?“ Shen Qingqiu knew, it wouldn't be that easy. It was a punishment after all. And he was right. Luo Binghe tried his best, but to no avail.

„It doesn't react to any of my commands! I can feel it, but it's... different. And it feels like it is spreading through Shizun's whole body, even if I don't want it to.“

Being able to gain such a power up like awakening his demon blood were such boosts for the ego, but Luo Binghe felt quite the opposite right now. Powerless and small. He wanted to curse himself, but he felt a gelntle hand stroking his head.

„It's not your fault. Besides, if you hadn't given me your blood, I would already be dead. So please don't blame yourself.“

Even if his life was in danger, Shen Qingqiu was strangely calm. Maybe because he anticipated somehing like this, maybe because they went through so many things. He didn't know, but it helped him right now. „It's my punishment for telling you everything. So I won't die.“

„Punishment?“ At first Luo Binghe didn't understand, but then he became angry. „Who dares to try and punish Shizun for this?!“ His eyes turned into demonic ones, and he lokked like he was ready to kill.

„Calm down. It's okay. Every world has its rules, and I violated them. So I need to find out what will happen and what I can do.“ He took Luo Binghe's hand in his. „Please, I need your strength to solve this.“

Instantly, the young man calmed down and his eyes became watery. „If there is anything this disciple can do – Shizun, please tell me!“

„I will“, Shen Qingqiu promised.

-

Since Mobei Jun seemed to have a deeper understanding of demonic energy and how it works, Shen Qingqiu decided to consult the other demon. It wouldn't be easy to get hold of him, so he waited until Shang Qinghua visited again. And really, the demon was with him. Luo Binghe was outside, running an errand for him, so it was the perfect opportunity. Talking to Shang Qinghua was a different case than Mu Qingfang, and he still didn't intend to give the author of this setting away. He didn't want to make the young man worry even more, too.

They chatted for a moment, until Shen Qingqiu told them the truth about his condition. Shang Qinghua was staring with his mouth wide open, and the demon was looking as stoic as ever.

„What did you do that this happened?“, the other Peak Lord asked in disbelief, and Shen Qingqiu fanned himself. „Well.. this and that...?“

Mobei Jun didn't say a word. He just took Shen Qingqiu's hand and seemed a bit curious, and a cold energy suddenly floated into him, only to be retracted immediately. „Demon“, Mobei Jun said, earning two gazes full of irritation.

„Dawang...“, Shang Qinghua said. „May you say clearly what you mean?“

„He's turning into a demon“, Mobei Jun said, still looking curiously at the other one. „The spiritual veins are changing.“

Shen Qingqiu almost dropped his fan.

Shang Qinghua on the other side looked halfway shocked, halfway excited. „How can this be?“

Airplane Bro, you don't even know your own novel regarding to such important matters? Shen Qingqiu would laugh out loud if this wasn't so severe.

Mobei Jun just shrugged his shoulders slightly. Shen Qingqiu had the feeling, that this was very amusing for the demon. He knew, Mobei Jun began visiting out of curiosity for Luo Binghe, but now his interest shifted to him. „Do you know how long this will take?“, Shen Qingqiu asked weakly.

„Half a year. Maybe a bit longer. Depends on how close you and the halfbreed stay together.“

Until the Immortal Alliance Conference. Shen Qingqiu understood.

The system tried to separate them. If they didn't part, he would turn into a demon until then. He would lose everything, his status, being human and Luo Binghe, if he didn't gain enough points. There was no way Cang Qiong Mountain could justify a demon as a Peak Lord, even if Yue Qingyuan would allow it.

A thin smile appeared on his lips. He destroyed the plot and violated the rules willingly. And now he reaped what he sowed.

„A demon, huh“, he mumbled. „So will I look like my disciple someday since it is his blood inside of me...?“

Could be worse if this was the case.

Shang Qinghua looked at him in concern. „You are willing to risk this? Wouldn't it be better to distance yourself from him?“

„Now that everything turned out so well? For what purpose did I do all the things until now?“ Shen Qingqiu took a deep breath. „Maybe you have an idea when time passes on. I still have time. I won't leave the path I have chosen.“

A sigh escaped the other Peak Lord's lips. „You are unbelievable...“, he said and then nodded. „I will look into it! We will find a solution!“ He seemed to be in high spirits, and even the demon beside him was a bit irritated. „There must be a way to prevent this!“

Without a word the demon stood up and disappeared. Shen Qingqiu wanted to ask, but since this was the way Mobei Jun acted all the time, he said nothing. Shang Qinghua on the other side became even more talkative. „So tell me, what exactly happened that you are cursed like this? It must be quite severe!“

„... I told him“, Shen Qingqiu said. „What he is.“

„...“

„...“

„WHAT?!?“

Shang Qinghua blurted out. „Did you tell him, that this is my novel?“

Shen Qingqiu shook his head. „I would never do this. But it would be good if there was a way to come out of this unharmed. It hurt him so much already, knowing what's going on will make things worse.“

Resting his chin in his hand, Shang Qinghua began thinking. „I wrote so many scenarios about transformations, curses and cures, but I can't remember writing about a change like this. But don't worry, I'll look into it!“ He puffed out his chest. „This is my novel! I had brought in several loopholes, so we only need to find the right one!“

Shen Qingqiu smiled. „Many thanks. I really appreciate your help.“

Chapter Text

Some more days went by, and Shen Qingqiu began to feel the punishment more and more. Especially when Luo Binghe was close, his body felt feverish and weak. He didn't tell the young man what he learned, but Luo Binghe was smart enough to discover this on his own.

Shen Qingqiu took somme of the strenghtening pills Mu Qingfang had brought, but they had no effect. When he was punished before, Shen Qingqiu was able to reverse the effect due to Luo Binghe's power. But this time he really pissed the system off, and so he was convinced, that this punishment was final. So he just wanted to protect the young man somehow.

If only he wouldn't have been too smart for his own good...

„Shizun...feels worse when I'm around, right?“

Today it was so bad that Shen Qingiu had to lie down. Feeling the rising temperature of the body, Luo Binghe understood what was happening. „It's because my blood is in Shizun's body that my presence makes it worse.“

Shen Qingqiu grabbed the hand of the young man. „No. Don't mind it.“

„But Shizun, how can I not mind? It is I who makes Shizun feel sick!“ He tried to free his hand, but Shen Qingqiu's grip was surprisingly firm. „Don't go. I need you here.“

Hearing this, Luo Binghe stopped struggling. He still felt miserable. „I want Shizun to feel good and healthy when with me. I don't want to cause suffering...“

„I'm suffering more when I don't know where you are.“ Shen Qingqiu tried to sit up, but his body was too heavy. „It will be over soon, then we can live on like nothing happened.“

„What will be over soon?“ The young man began panicking. „What in the world is happening?!“

Shen Qingqiu bit his lip, struggling to decide what to do. Should he tell the young man? Soon, the first sign of the transformation would be visible, he was sure of it. Then there was no way to hide this any longer anyway.

„I'm... turning into a demon.“

Luo Binghe's face became ashen. A loud noise at the door let both of them look up. They didn't notice, that Yue Qingyuan had come in, and hearing the last sentence, he dropped the box full of tea leaves he brought over as a gift, which was now rolling over the floor.

„...is that true?“, he said in disbelief, stepping closer.

Shen Qingqiu closed his eyes for a moment. „Binghe, please let me talk to the Sect Master for a moment.“

Luo Binghe wanted to protest, since he heard the news this moment, too, but seeing the stern face, he knew, his Shizun needed some time to talk things out. And so he only nodded. „I'm waiting outside“, he said with a weak voice before leaving.

With difficulties, Shen Qingqiu sat up. „I'm sorry to let you see me in this sorry state“, he said with a sad smile.

Yue Qingyuan shook his head and kneeled down by the bedside. „Is that true what you said? You're turning...into a demon?“

„It's true.“ Shen Qingqiu's voice was calm, even if his heart was in turmoil. „My spiritual veins are changing this moment to be able to contain demonic energy. Soon my appearance will change, too.“

The Sect Master was shocked. „But...how? I never heard of something like this!“

You are not the first one to say this, Shixiong. But it is the truth.

„I know I can't stay when this happens.But please...can you give me the approval to let my disciple stay here?“ Shen Qingqiu's gaze was begging, and a moment later Yue Qingyuan was hugging him.

„You both can stay here! I will make this possible!“

Shen Qingqiu patted the Sect Master on the back. „Shixiong, don't abuse your power. How would you explain this to the other sects and people out there? That the most powerful sect has made a pact with the demons they were fighting before?“

„I'll make it possible! Somehow, I'll manage it! Maybe I can't let you stay as a Peak Lord, but this is your home! For you and your disciple!“

For the first time Shen Qingqiu saw the Sect Master acting so emotional like this. Yue Qingyuan kneeled down straight again. „So don't you dare thinking of running away or other stupid things!“

This made Shen Qingqiu smile. He felt loved by the Sect Master, the most dependable man he knew. „I would never do something like this“, he said, but the Sect Master shook his head. „That's exactly what you and your disciple would do. Stupid and rash things.“

Well, that he couldn't deny. „You know us too well, Shixiong.“

„That's right, so stay here! I'll find a way! Trust in your Shixiong this one time!“

-

When Yue Qingyuan left, the system spoke up.

[Congratulations! Mission complete! Achieving the approval of the Sect Master complete! +2.000 points!]

...System, nice to hear you again. Would you mind talking to me about the punishment?

[The host violated the rules of this world severely. This punishment is not negotiable.]

With this, the system became quiet again.

Shen Qingqiu sighed. So there was nothing that could be done?

Luo Binghe returned, still as white as a sheet. When he saw Shen Qingqiu sitting upright, he hurried to his bedside. „Shizun, how are you feeling?“

„Well, according to the circumstances“, he said. „Could you calm down a bit in the meantime?“

The young man shook his head. „I can't believe what is happening!“

„Can't be helped.“ Shen Qingqiu made a gesture, and the young man sat down. „I got the approval of the Sect Master. You can stay here.“

„What use would it have to stay here without Shizun?!“ Clenching his fists, Luo Binghe tried to control his emotions. „It is I who should leave, so Shizun can go on living here in peace!“

„Binghe!“ Shen Qingqiu's tone was sharp, and startled, the young man stopped talking. „Don't let our efforts go to waste! Beside, the Sect Master tries to find a way so that I can stay here, too, even when I really become a demon.“

He laid a hand on Luo Binghe's. „I was a plant, in the future I will be a demon. Could be worse. As long as you will stay by my side, everything will be fine.“

Luo Binghe looked as if he was about to cry. „Of course! This disciple would never leave Shizun!“

„Then that's nothing to be afraid of.“ Shen Qingqiu lifted his hand and looked at it. „I hope I will become as beautiful as you, Binghe, since your blood is influencing the change.“

A smile appeared on Luo Binghe's lips. It was a bit sad, but most of all warm. „There is no one more good looking than Shizun. No matter what race, Shizun will always be beautiful.“

Chapter Text

Shen Qingqiu was too fatigued to blush, but the honeyed words made him feel embarrassed. „What are you saying, Binghe...“, he tried to argue, but the young man shook his head. „It's true! Shizun is the most beautiful person!“ The young man was so eager to let his Shizun know this, that Shen Qingqiu didn't say any more.

It was good to know that Luo Binghe would stay by his side. To be honest, he was afraid. Afraid of losing everything and being alone. Even if Yue Qingyuan said he would find a way that he could stay, it still seemed impossible. And just because he would be a demon in the future didn't mean he had a home in the demon realm. A demon suddenly appearing out of nowhere would only cause distrust mong them, and Shen Qingqiu didn't trust them either.

And in this situation he learned how much he loved this place. Even if he never asked for this whole transmigration thing and was irritated at first, this was now his home, the people here like his own family. And the protagonist... he just wanted to hug his thigh at first, but now he became the most important person in his life.

The system really hit him where it hurt the most.

„Shizun?“

The young man looked concerned at his Shizun who became quiet. But he earned a slight smile. „It is nothing. I want to repeat myself: Even if the transformation speeds up when you're with me, you are not allowed to leave my side. You hear? If I transform anyway, we don't need to part.“

Luo Binghe bit his lip but then nodded. „I understand. This disciple will stay with Shizun no matter what.“

-

Even if the system refused to talk otherwise with Shen Qingqiu, the newsletter he signed up for did its thing. Soon after Yue Qingyuan had visited him, he heard a voice inside his head.

[Newsletter update. Available mission: destroying a minor demon going rampage in town. Possible reward: +50 points]

Wow. So at least he got the option to collect the points needed? Well, if this was helping Luo Binghe, he would do anything, but right now he was barely able to move. Nonetheless he accepted the mission and called his disciple over.

He didn't tell Luo Binghe how this world worked, but he told him some rules. For example, that the 'points' he could gain were options to improve their lives. It wasn't exactly what these points meant, but it was easy to understand, and so the young man was ready to fulfill missions for these 'points'. And this time, too, he was eager to help.

„This diciple will carry Shizun. No problem“, he said while smiling. He knew, that Shen Qingqiu was in no shape to fly on his own, and so Luo Binghe held him tight when they departed. Since the missions were given to him, he was convinced that he had to be there when the demon was defeated.

They soon found the culprit. It was one of the demons who wasn't able to speak human language. It was a mixture of a lizard and a human, going on all fours and screaching with his muzzle full of sharp teeth. When they arrived, it tried to attack, but the moment he saw Shen Qingqiu, it stopped. It scratched the earth and moved left and right, but it didn't seem to know what to do. It sniffed as if smelling a familiar scent and slowly came closer.

With one strike of his sword, Luo Binghe decapitated it.

„Shizun“, he said. „Don't waste your time with something like this.“

But it was too late. Shen Qingqiu was in a daze. „It... it knew I am one of its kind“, he said in a weak voice, while the fifty points were added by the system.

„You are not!“ Luo Binghe took Shen Qingqiu's hands in his. „Shizun isn't such a lowlife! And even if Shizun transforms into a demon, Shizun will stand on top of them! So please... don't give up!“

The young man's eyes teared up, and Shen Qingqiu lowered his gaze. „Sorry for being such a bother right now“, he said. Suddenly he found himself in an embrace. „Shizun never is a bother! Don't even think something like this.“

Shen Qingqiu closed his eyes for a moment, enjoying the embrace. The warmth of the young man was soothing, and he finally calmed down. „I let myself go, I'm sorry. I'm feeling better now.“

Slowly, Luo Binghe loosened the embrace to look his Shizun in the eyes. „Shizun is not invincible. Of course this hurts. This disciple understands. But no matter what, Shizun isn't alone! Rely on me more, Shizun!“

Shen Qingqiu stared at the other one for a moment. Then he smiled. „You really became strong, Binghe“, he said while ruffling up the soft hair.

„Only because of Shizun.“ The young man smiled, too. „For Shizun, I will become the strongest man!“

-

On their way back Luo Binghe had to carry his Shizun. The young man became quite strong physically, too, so this was no problem, but Shen Qingqiu suddeny became so weak that he wasn't able to stand. The dizziness came more frequently, so this was predictable. Nonetheless it concerned the young man, and so he was taking the utmost care of his Shizun, trying to be as gentle as possible.

When they returned, Shang Qinghua was already waiting for them.

„I didn't found a cure, but maybe this will help covering things up!“

Shen Qingqiu was leaning against his disciple to sit upright, while the other Peak Lord spread out a scroll in front of them. It was a recipe with a lot of strange ingredients needed.

„What is this?“, Shen Qingqiu asked.

„It's the recipe to forge something that suppresses a demonic aura.“ Shang Qinghua pointed at the scroll. „No one would be able to tell if you are a demon when you wear this. And even if you weren' able to transform into human appearance, the other ones around aren't able to see the demonic form.“

„So whoever wears this can hide himself among normal people?“

„Not only normal people. Cultivators as well! It's very powerful, and it's a one-in-a-lifetime thing. But the ingredients aren't easy to find.“ Shang Qinghua looked excited. „Are you willing to take the risk?“

Shen Qingqiu mustered up all strength to sit upright on his own. „Binghe, would you mind bringing me some tea? I'm very thirsty.“

The young man was a bit reluctant, but then he left the room. Shen Qingqiu looked at the other Peak Lord with doubt in his eyes. „For what purpose did you invent such a thing?“

Shng Qinghua laughed embarrassed. „Well, since I wasn't sure where the story was going, I invented this so Luo Binghe or Mobei Jun could sneak into some cultivator's home if needed. Or in some harem.“

„...“

Shen Qingqiu sighed. „I doubt your motives, but right now I think this could be really helpful.“ He leaned in to look at the recipe. „But will I be able to gather all the things needed?“

„The only thing that isn't available here is some earth from a special place in the demon realm.“ Shang Qinghua puffed out his chest. „And that is no problem, since this place belongs to Mobei Jun's territory.“

„So you thought of everything, didn't you“, Shen Qingqiu remarked, and the other one nodded. „Of course. If I'm not forced to write things just to earn money I can be pretty reliable!“

Maybe, this wasn't wrong.

Suddenly the system rang out.

[A side quest appeared: forging the 'Unbreakable Human Disguise Accessory'. Possible reward: +350 Points. Are you willing to accept?]

...system, you are giving me the opportunity to ease the punishment?

[This system offers only quests which can fill the plot holes and improve the storyline. Are you willing to accept?]

Of course. Of course I will try to achieve this!

In his mind he tapped the 'yes'-button and looked up to the other Peak Lord again.

„The only thing that isn't reliable and will never be is your sense of naming things. But I'm very grateful you invented this. I will take the risk and try to forge this accessory!“

Chapter Text

„No. Absolutely no!“

Yue Qingyuan shook his head vigorously. „You are in no condition to go on such a mission! Let other people handle the gathering!“

Shen Qingqiu was visiting the Sect Master to inform him about his journey. He anticipated such a reaction, and so he just sighed.

„Shixiong, I'm not asking for permission. I will go, no matter what.“

„Why?!“ The Sect Master laid his hands on Shen Qingqiu's shoulders. „This is an unnecessary risk!“

„But it is necessary.“ Shen Qingqiu laid his hand on the other one's arm. „I know this will make you suffer, but I need to go on my own. The ingredients need to be bound to me as soon as they are gathered, so I have to do this.“ His gaze was stern. „With this item I will be able to stay here, no matter what happens. So please let me do this! I will take my disciple with me, he will take care that nothing happens.“

Yue Qingyuan lowered his gaze for a moment. „Then take care“, he said with a low voice. „I would like to send Liu Qingge with you or would go myself. But we are occupied with the Immortal Alliance Conference.“

„I know. Everything will be fine.“ Shen Qingqiu smiled slightly. „Believe in me and my disciple.“

A sigh escaped Yue Qingyuan's lips. „Who would I believe in if it's not you?“

-

Again, Shen Qingqiu and Luo Binghe went on a journey. And again the young man had planned everything. The only difference was, that even if Shen Qingqiu took his sword with him, they flew together on Zheng Yang, Shen Qingqiu in front of his disciple, and an arm around his waist most of the time. It was embarrassing, but like this they could ensure that Shen Qingqiu wasn't falling down.

Their first destination was a mine in the northeast not far away from Cang Qiong Mountain. They needed a special magical ore which was hidden deep in the mountain. The tricky thing was, that it was highly guarded by cultivators from another sect. They needed the power hidden within other ores which they obtained from the mine to strengthen their spiritual energies, and they never sold or gifted anything of the ore in the whole history of the sect. It was a small sect, but Shen Qingqiu didn't want to ruin the reputation of Cang Qiong Mountain by begging to be let in or by being discovered while stealing, so they had to be careful.

If the other sect knew there was a way more powerful ore inside of the mountain, the whole thing would be full of holes already.

So they needed to sneak into the mine and find the ore on their own.

Since it was Shang Qinghua who wrote this recipe, Shen Qingqiu was convinced, that this was manageable. Every NPC had an intellect near freezing point, and this shouldn't be different with the cultivators here.

And really, when night fell, the norrmal workers and most of the cultivators retreated, only a few guards remained. It was as if they thought no one would steal here anything at night.

What was even better was the fact, that the guards gathered around a campfire to talk about 'good old times'. Shen Qingqiu heard them laugh and tease each other while he and his disciple were sitting in the bushes observing the entry. When they were sure no one was looking, they sneaked into the mine.

Shen Qingqiu held himself up the whole time. He felt the fatigue coming over him, but since he got another set of strengthening pills from Mu Qingfang, he was able to move on. They still didn't have the best effect, but this time they really gave him some energy.

Luo Binghe was watching over him. When he was about to trip, he catched him. „Careful, Shizun“, he whispered in his ear, and this gave Shen Qingqiu some goosebumps. The touches felt more intimate recently, and Shen Qingqiu had a feeling, that this was related to the demonic energy. It responded to its owner.

Still, they needed to go on, and so he hid the blush on his face. „We're getting closer“, he said. „I can feel the power the ore emits.“

Luo Binghe nodded. „I can feel it, too.“ Since both of them were able to feel it, it showed how weak the other cultivators were; not being able to find it even if they were this close was not really a display of might.

They went deeper into the mine, the corridor lit up by a torcht they borrowed at the entry. They tried to avoid using spiritual energy for it would be recognized sooner than a normal fire. Inside the walls were different kinds of magic ore, giving away a faint aura of spiritual energy. But that wasn't what they were looking for.

After a while they came to a dead end. Shen Qingqiu laid his hand on the cold stone. „Behind this wall is a cave, I can feel it.“ He then tried to gather some sipritual energy to break through – but nothing happened.

„...“

„I'll do it, Shizun“, Luo Binghe said and gently pushed him away. With one stroke of his hand the wall crumbled down and gave way to a small chamber. They didn't even need the torch, because in the middle of it was an golden ore in the size of a fist glowing strongly like a pulsating heart. Slowly they approached it, and every step they came closer, the pulsating grew stronger. When Shen Qingqiu lifted it up, a burst of energy ran through his body, robbing him of his breath and almost of his conciousness. He fell backwards, barely caught by his disciple.

„Shizun!“

Grabbing the ore tightly in his hand, Shen Qingqiu needed a moment to recover. He then looked at the golden stone. „Powerful“, he mumbled, before he took out a needle and pricked his own finger with it. He then let the drop of blood fall down on the ore, where it instantly vanished.

„Finished marking“, Shen Qingqiu said before tucking away the material. „Now we only need to get out.“

They went back the way they came in. Suddenly Shen Qingqiu felt something tucking at his hair, and pain was spreading there.

„Ouch! Binghe, what-“, he began, when the other one held something before his eyes.

It was a long feather, colored in deep green.

„...Sorry, but I...I saw this in Shizun's hair“, he said. „I thought it was loose, so I pulled at it.“

Shen Qingqiu stared at the feather before taking it. „Everytime it's something new, isn't it?“, he said in resignation.

So it began. The first signs of transformation. It seemed, that the power of the golden ore sped up the transformation.

„But it's beautiful“, he heard a whisper, and he saw the young man staring at the feather. „I love the color.“

With a swift move Shen Qingqiu placed the feather in Luo Binghe's crown. „Then keep it. There will be more where this is coming from, I suppose.“

Chapter Text

When they came closer tot the exit, they heard footsteps and diffferent voices shouting in the distance. Of course the burst of energy didn't stay unnoticed. It was way too strong, so even these weak cultivators were alerted.

They sneaked as close as possible and hid behind a stone. In front of them was the exit where the guards had positioned themselves.

„Don't go in!“, the leader commanded in a rough voice. „Sooner or later the thief has to come out! There is no other exit beside of this!“

...great. Instead of doing what these NPCs should have done -going into the mine just to lose track inside of the many corridors - they became quite intelligent and did the only logical thing. Why now of all times?

Shen Qingqiu was pondering over what to do, when he felt a warm hand on his back. „Is Shizun able to run for a short distance?“, Luo Binghe whispered. Unsure if he wanted to know what the young man was planning, Shen Qingqiu nodded. „I will manage to do. But Binghe, what-“

He couldn't finish the sentence, when he suddenly felt some clothes draped over his head. „Hide your face“, he heard a deep voice, and when he turned around, he saw a half naked disciple growing into a demon behind him.

Before he could protest, Luo Binghe already transformed and stepped out, roaring loudly.

The other cultivators froze in shock, and then chaos was breaking out. They tried to gather their spiritual energy, but trembling in fear they weren't able to. They never saw a real demon in their whole life, so they weren't able to coordinate themselves, feeling the fear crawling up their spines.

Only the leader unsheathed his sword, ready to attack.

Shen Qingqiu wanted to shout, but his disciple seemed to have everything under control, and so he did what he was told and made a run for it.

One of the other cultivators who was cowering on the ground saw him and wanted to shout, but was knocked over by Shen Qingqiu and fell unconcious. The other guards were occupied by defending against the demon, that they didn't even notice him. And so Shen Qingqiu escaped into the night and hid in some bushes some distance away.

Luo Binghe had no problem defending himself. When he knocked the sword out of the leader's hand, the other one tried to attack with spiritual energy, but it didn't give him even a scratch. Seeing that they had no chance, the whole bunch flew, cursing and screaming while running.

Satisfied, Luo Binghe humphed before turning back. He approached his Shizun with a smile. „Mission accomplished“, he said while dressing again.

„So reckless“, Shen Qingqiu scolded him, and Luo Binghe looked wronged. „But it worked, didn't it?“

„Since when are you able to transform freely like this? And what were you thinking? If they had hurt you...!“

Suddenly, he felt hugged. „Shizun was worried about this disciple?“, he said with a beaming smile, and Shen Qingqiu could see the wagging tail again. „This makes this disciple happy. But they were small fry, so no need for concern!“

Well, Shen Qingqiu knew, that the news about a demon going on a rampage here would spread sooner than later, but he also knew that this wouldn't fall back on Cang Qiong Mountain. But calling the other cultivators small fry...

„Don't be so arrogant. Just because you have more powers doesn't mean you have to behave like a superior.“ He hit the head of his disciple, but it was more gentle than it seemed. „Learn to respect other people, they are still doing their best.“

Luo Binghe pouted for a moment, but then he looked up and down, inspecting his Shizun from head to toe. „How is Shizun feeling? Did Shizun change more?“

Instinctively, Shen Qingqiu stroked his own hair. And really, he found two more feathers growing there. „Well... not much“, he said. „At least I don't feel more changes.“

Luo Binghe nodded. „The feathers look like decorations, so no one will suspect a thing.“

„That's good to know.“ The thought of still looking human let Shen Qingqiu sigh in relief. It would be a huge hindrance if he would change too much into a demon before they were able to gather the ingredients.

Seeing his feather still sticking onto the crown, Shen Qingqiu frowned. „I can't remember any demon who has feathers beside some lower vultures. Hopefully I won't degenerate.“

„Shizun won't become a lower demon like these vultures.“ Luo Binghe grabbed his Shizun's hand. „I can feel it. Your spiritual veins will contain a huge amount of energy, so there is no way Shizun will degenerate.“

A bit helpless, Shen Qingqiu smiled. „That's reassuring to know.“

-

They traveled a short distance away before they rested. The effect of the pills wore off, and suddenly, Shen Qingqiu was barely able to sit upright. Luo Binghe prepared a camp for the night, and Shen Qingqiu laid down as soon as possible. The young man sat beside him and stroked his head gently. „Shizun did well today“, he said.

„To hear this from my disciple somehow seems wrong“, Shen Qingqiu mumbled and closed his eyes. The gesture was helping him relax, and he felt how thense he was the whole time.

„Sometimes the teacher has the right to be praised by the disciple“, Luo Binghe said with a warm smile. „So Shizun should accept this.“

„Mhm“, Shen Qingqiu mumbled. „You became quite mature recently. I'm sorry to force you into this role.“ Every child deserved a good and carefree childhood, and since Luo Binghe didn't have the opportunity to experience this, he wanted to protect him while he was in puberty. But he failed doing so, and the circumstances forced Luo Binghe to mature sooner.

But this didn't bother Luo Binghe at all. „This disciple would rather be an adult sooner than later to be useful.“

„Don't say sad things like this.“ Shen Qingqiu opened his eyes again. „You're a precious person. You don't need to proof how 'useful' you are. Just...be yourself.“

He closed his eyes again, almost drifting off to sleep.“But I have to admit, having you here... is... nice...“

And then he fell asleep.

Luo Binghe stroked his Shizun a while longer. „I am happy to be here with you, Shizun“, the young man whispered before leaning in and kissing his Shizun. It was soft and gentle, like kissing a sleeping princess. „I hope we can finish this mission so you won't lose your own happiness. Shizun is the most beautiful when he is where he belongs.“

He watched the sleeping face a while longer and played with one of the feathers for a moment.

„Shizun will be so alluring and beautiful, I will have to keep watch over you“, he then said and his eyes became flaming red for a moment, showing his jealousy. But then he shook his head and tried to shove these thoughts away.

No need to be jealous. Shizun would stay with him!

Thinking this he laid down beside his Shizun, one arm around his waist, and closed his eyes, too.

Chapter Text

That night, Shen Qingqiu had a dream.

He was floating inside of some kind of stream. It was soothing and warm, glowing in a light green light. While giving him a feeling of security, he followed the stream further, enjoying the peace this scenario gave him.

But the longer he floated there, something begin to mingle into the stream. At first it was faint, but then the stream became darker, while the feeling became more sensual. Shen Qingqiu thought of turning around, but the mingled energy was alluring and pleasing, dangerous and harmless at the same time. He couldn't resist and followed it deeper and deeper into the darkness, not noticing, that the energy was winding around his body, not intending to let got.

It was calling him. And he responded.

He felt his body trembling in excitement, wanting to get more of the energy. Sweet, delicious, irresistable. It was like it was nourishing something inside of him that was dried out for such a long time and now needed more to grow.

A dark shadow was waiting at the end of the stream, the source of the dark energy. Shen Qingqiu was already captured. The shadow held out his hand, and Shen Qingqiu accepted it. The moment they touched, a flame was exploding inside of him, and he took a deep breath not to moan.

He needed this! He needed more!

He felt the touch of the shadow, pulling him into an embrace.

„Devour me“, a voice whispered. „I know you want this power. You want me.“

Yes. He longed for it. He had a taste, and now he wanted more.

Slowly he opened his lips, ready to bite...

A painful cry woke him up. He needed a moment to realize what happened.

He was clinging onto the young man, pressing his whole body against him. His lips were resting on Luo Binghe's shoulder, and a metallic taste filled his mouth. Slowly he retreated, seeing that he really had bitten the other one, while a small amount of blood was glistening on the white skin.

„...Shizun?“, Luo Binghe asked, and Shen Qingqiu looked up in shock. „What did I-“

The next moment pain was filling up his whole word.

Did his body fight the 'Without A Cure'-poison before to stop it from changing his spiritual veins, he now felt completely robbed of every energy. No, that wasnt it. It was like his spiritual veins dried up this instant, and heat was seeping into his core like lava, finding something like a seed resting there and blackening it entirely. Only then the seed cracked up, and a tiny black plant began growing, spreading out one black leaf.

He then fell unconcious.

-

Something warm and soft was touching his forehead, when he came to his senses. He held his eyes closed for a bit longer while he was feeling inside of him.

His spiritual veins were still there, but his fingertips felt numb, as if they wouldn't belong to him any longer. And there was the seed residing in his core. He could feel it. It would grow again, but this time it would be a demonical plant. So he didn't get rid of the plant entirely the last time and would accompany him even now.

He groaned when he tried to move. His whole body was a mess, and every move hurt. A weak voice was heard, and so he finally opened his eyes.

„Shizun!“

It was daytime already. Shen Qingqiu's head was resting on Luo Binghe's lap, and the young man was looking at him with worry. „Shizun, are you alright?!“

No way he could sit up. So Shen Qingqiu decided to stay where he was. „No. But I'm still alive, I think.“

He lifted his hand to look at it. They seemed normal, but some kind of shadow was darkening the veins, barely visible, but it was there. So he lost his hands to his new demonic side? Thinking about this, he remembered what happened at night.

„...I drank your blood“, he stated and layed the hand back down. „I hurt you.“

Luo Binghe shook his head. „This disciple is fine, but why did Shizun do this?“ He gently stroked Shen Qingqiu's forehead.

„I don't really know.“ He tried to sort out his memories. „I was dreaming, and then there was something irresistible...“ With a sigh, he closed his eyes again. „Your power is intense... maybe the blood inside of me wanted to multiply so it can change me even faster?“ Shen Qingqiu looked up again. „It wasn't on purpose, that much I can tell.“

Luo Binghe nodded. After a pause he began to speak „I can hear it“, he said weakly. „At first I thought I misheard, but it calls out to me, demands to give you more energy.“ His head fell forward, and his hair covered his face. „This demonic energy is a curse!“

Shen Qingqiu grabbed Luo Binghe's neck and pulled him closer. Sharp pain was shooting into his arm, but he ignored it. „Never blame yourself for what you are. It is a good thing that we are resonating; like this, no other demon can interfere. No matter what happens, we will be one kind, and no matter how I will look like, I will partly be like you!“

Surprised, Luo Binghe looked deep into Shen Qingqiu's eyes.

„We are Master and disciple. In the future, we will be like family?“ Shen Qingqiu tried to smile, but his body still ached so much, it was more a grimace. „If this is my destiny, then I am glad to receive your energy. I just... don't want to bite you out of the blue.“

Luo Binghe listened quietly. When Shen Qingqiu finished he leaned in and kissed his Shizun on the forehead. „For me, Shizun is already family. But this disciple is happy to share an even closer bond.“

-

Shen Qingiqu needed quite some time before he was able to move again. With utmost care and patience Luo Binghe fed him some water and a light meal, since he had some trouble holding things in his hand. It was embarrassing, but Shen Qingqiu endured this. It was only the two of them, after all, and he needed the energy.

He felt, that the young man still was blaming himself for his demonic powers, but there was nothing he could do about it. Instead, he tried to change the subject by asking about the next destination. Luo Binghe was prepared and explained everything in detail.

The next target was an old tree. Legends about it said it would grow there since the beginning of time and was guarded by sacred beasts. It shouldn't be difficult to scare the beasts away, and since they only needed some bark, it was the most easy task on this journey. If only Shen Qingqiu's constitution would improve until then.

Checking his body he found no new changes, but he knew he was now a huge step closer to being a demon. And it let him think, that maybe it was good to get over with this as soon as possible and force the transformation. It would spare him a lot of pain and weakness, and he would be sooner than later able to learn about his new existence and possible abilities.

He should keep this in mind. Being weak all the time wouldn't do him good while hunting for more points to prevent the abyss plot.

But it wasn't time for this right now. He needed to stay human until he forged the accessory.

When the pain finally subsided, Shen Qingqiu stood up. „Time to go, Binghe. We have a mission to fulfill!“

Chapter Text

A storm was forcing them to stop while traveling, and so they decided to rest inside of a cave behind a waterfall. It was sheer luck that they found it, but since it was reaching deeper into the mountain, they were safe from wind and water.

Since the night Shen Qingqiu drank Luo Binghe's blood, he was shivering from time to time, and so the young man had laid a blanket around his Shizun while making a campfire. He then came closer and pulled his Shizun into an embrace.

As soon as he felt the touch, Shen Qingqiu shivered again. It was not because of the cold, but he didn't say it out loud. Having received more demonic energy from this young man made him even more sensitive to his touch. It was unpleasant thinking about this, but he also began longing for it, and that made it even more unpleasant for him. But Shen Qingqiu needed the warmth, and so he leaned into the embrace and let Luo Binghe hug him.

„You still are so clingy“, he said, but it wasn't a scolding, and both of them knew it.

„If Shizun doesn't like it, he just has to say the word“, Luo Binghe said with a smile and buried his head on Shen Qingqiu's neck. He inhaled deeply, tickling Shen Qingqiu with his breath. „Shizun still smells the same, like clear water and nature. But it seems to become sweeter again.“

„You didn't kill off the plant last time“, Shen Qingqiu said while trying to escape the tickling. „There is still a seed inside of me, and now it's growing again.“

„So feathers and a plant?“ Luo Binghe looked up. „Shizun will be stunningly beautiful!“

While Shen Qingqiu wasn't sure if he liked this kind of compliment, Luo Binghe blushed slightly. „Not that Shizun isn't beautiful right now...“

„Oh stop it!“ Shen Qingqiu tried to hit Luo Binghe with his fan, but since he still was a bit clumsy with his hands, the young man easily dodged and laughed. „I will say ths even more often!“

Seeing his Shizun all flustered made him incredibly happy. But then he laid his hand on the one holding the fan. „Shizun doesn't use it that often anymore.“

„You're right.“ Lost in thoughts he looked at the item and the tassel still attached to it. „I didn't have that much opportunities recently.“

„But you still are bringing itt with you“, the young man stated, touching the tassel with his fingertips. The tassel he made.

„It's a good luck charm?“ Shen Qingqiu said while being a bit at a loss. „And it's a habit to have it with me?“

The fingers traveled back to the hand, caressing the soft skin. „It's good to have a habit like this. Shizun should keep this up.“

-

The storm dragged on for some time longer, and so they decided to stay for the night. Shen Qingqiu's constitution got worse, and so he slept for a while. In the meantime Luo Binghe began preparing a meal for the two of them while watching over his Shizun.

He would like to do more for him. Sitting there not being able to help was torturing him.

When Shen Qingqiu began to turn around restlessly, he kneeled down beside him and wiped away the cold sweat with a towel. He then saw how some more feathers began to poke out of the hair. „It's speeding up“, he mumbled. „We need to hurry.“

-

Later that evening Shen Qingqiu woke up again. The scent of a stew was wafting over, and instantly his stomach began rumbling. Luo Binghe turned around when he heard a rustling sound, and with a smile he came over. „Shizun is awake! How are you feeling?“

„...better“, he mumbled while sitting up. And really, for the time being he felt normal. It was a good feeling compared to the pain and exhaustion which were torturing him recently.

„That's good to hear.“ The young man filled a bowl with stew and gave it to his Shizun. Shen Qingqiu's fingers still felt numb, but he was able to move them properly again, and so he started eating without delay. Luo Binghe was glad to see this, and so he placed himself next to his Shizun and started eating, too.

It was quiet, but when Shen Qingqiu finished, he watched his disciple for a moment. „You never told me that you could shift between your appearances freely now, Binghe.“

The young man finished his meal, too, then smiled. „Shizun wants to know?“

„Of course.“ Shen Qingqiu rested his chin in his hand. „Maybe this could be useful for me.“ He intended to learn how to shift appearances as soon as possible, so maybe he could learn this from his disciple.

Luo Binghe blushed a bit. „Well... I noticed that I transform when I'm overly excited... or jealous.“ He looked away in embarrassement for a moment. „So when I want to transform, I imagine these feelings, and then I can control it. Shizun needs something like this, too. Something to concentrate on.“

Ah. Sounds reasonable. This disciple was a good teacher, too.

„When the time comes I will remember this.“ Lost in thoughts he was looking at his disciple, when the other one suddenly smiled. „Shizun wants to see the transformation?“

Irritated, Shen Qingqiu tilted his head a bit. „What do you mean?“

With a slight blush, the young man answered. „Shizun seemed to like my adult form. So maybe this disciple should change appearance?“

Shocked, Shen Qingqiu declined. „No no. Your appearance right now is fine! You will mature soon enough!“

It was true, that the adult Luo Binghe was overly handsome, even he could tell. And not having this sense of attraction under control his body developed recently would make things worse. He didn't want to send wrong signals and scare the young man away – although he wasn't sure that Luo Binghe really would be bothered by it. Somehow he seemed to enjoy the skin contact way more than it was good for a stallion protagonist.

Strangely enough, Shen Qingqiu never told the young man about his fate regarding this. He never thought much about this, but in this situation it was somehow inevitable that he remembered.

Should he tell him?

Something inside of him whispered, that it wasn't the right time and place, and another thing was, that he didn't want to tell him this. It was a strange feeling, being so unwilling about this topic, but right now he didn't want to look into it further. There were enough problems which needed to be solved first.

„You really are outstanding, Binghe“, Shen Qingqiu said. „No one could have mastered something like a whole transformation in such a short amount of time.“

The young man looked at his hands. „It's just appearance. I still can't control the demonic power.“ This seemed to bother him quite a lot.

„You will learn this soon. One step after another.“ Shen Qingqiu looked at the feather sticking at Luo Binghe's crown.

Yes, one step after another. That was the same for him. He would learn to deal with the changes, one step after another.

Chapter Text

The night this time went by without incident, and the next morning they traveled on.

Getting the bark really was a piece of cake. The demonic aura Luo Binghe was emitting seemed to work, because no sacred beast was showing itself. And so they reached the legendary tree in no time.

With few cuts, Shen Qingqiu shedded a piece of the bark and marked it with his blood before storing it away. The tree itself was so broad, that the cut couldn't even be seen.

„Impressive“, Shen Qingqiu said and laid his hand on the trunk. Suddenly, he felt something like an electric shock, and instantly he pulled his hand away and held it with the other one.

„Shizun, what is it?“ Luo Binghe was watching the violet flowers and the light green leaves of the tree swaying in the wind when he noticed his Shizun's reaction.

„I...felt something“, Shen Qingqiu said. „As if the tree was rejecting me.“

He tried again to touch the trunk, but again he felt the same electric shock and retreated his hand.

„Maybe it's because you cut him?“, Luo Binghe said, and Shen Qingqiu sighed. „I hope so.“

But they both knew that this was wrong, when Luo Binghe suddenly saw a small little flower growing right above Shen Qingqiu's right ear.

It was the same as back then, but this time the petals were looking like black velvet with a light yellow core.

Shen Qingqiu sighed.

„I told you, this isn't over yet.“ He looked up and inspected the tree. „It is a sacred tree, after all. It doesn't like demonic flowers.“

Luo Binghe came over and looked at the small flower. He then gave it a small peck. „I like Shizun's flowers, whether if they are demonic or not.“

The tingling sensation made Shen Qingqiu shudder. „Binghe, stop it“, he said weakly. „This is not the time for something like this.“

„Of course this is the right time.“ The young man smiled right in front of Shen Qingqiu's face. „Shizun seemed to become depressed, so this disciple wanted to proof, that there is no need to.“

With a slight blush, Shen Qingqiu pushed the young man away and opened his fan. „As if I would become depressed over something like this“, he said, and Luo Binghe laughed merrily. He then turned to leave the place. „Let's go, Binghe, we still have to visit more places.“

-

Since the next destination was nearby, they didn't have to travel far. The problem was, that they needed some water from a spring – a wandering spring. This meant, that it appeared on different spots at different times, and it was hard to predict, where it would appear. But the spring harboured strong spiritual energy with healing ability, so Shen Qingqiu decided he would like to take a bath when they discovered it. He hoped it would strengthen his spiritual energies.

The area where the spring could appear was quite big, and so they settled down where the middle of it supposed to be. After the growing of the flower Shen Qingqiu's condition was stable, but the traveling still tired him out, and so he was glad to rest. He felt bad for letting his disciple do all the work, but Luo Binghe was motivated and all smiles when he was able to do something for his Shizun, and so he didn't say anything.

„We need to visit a town soon“, Shen Qingqiu said while inspecting their stocks. „We're running out of food.“

„No problem, this disciple saw some hare running around. I will catch one!“

Well, being able to provide themselves with food like this surely made things easier. Shen Qingqiu wasn't eager to visit a town in his condition. And so he waited for his disciple to return from the hunt.

It wasn't long, when Shen Qingqiu suddenly felt a strong aura rising in a short distance. He was thinking to look after this, when Luo Binghe came back, in his hands a hare and some fruits. „Shizun, it's the spring!“

What a coincidence! Was Lady Luck on their side this time? After all that happened they deserved some blessings from her!

And really, when they went through some bushes, they found it. The spring looked like a pond with sparkling water in the middle. The water was crystal clear, glowing in a dim green light. Around it were lots of different flowers, blooming and sending out a pleasant scent.

Shen Qingqiu took a deep breath before he filled a jar with the water and marked it with his blood. He then scooped up a bit and drank it.

Instantly, he felt refreshed, and for the first time his complexion became more healthy again. It didn't cure him, that much he knew. But it gave him back some of the energy. Excited, he looked up. „Binghe, let's take a bath!“

The young man was irritated at first, but when he saw how good this water his Shizun does, he nodded in approval.

They undressed quickly and dived into the water. Instantly, Shen Qingqiu felt relaxed and drank another mouthful of water.

„Does it help Shizun?“ Luo Binghe slowly came over, and Shen Qingqiu watched the young man. „Did you change your appearance again?“

Irritated, Luo Binghe tilted his head. „No, why should I?“ He looked down at his body. „Is something unusual?“

No. It wasn't that he could call it unusual. It was maturing.

Seeing the naked chest and belly, Shen Qingqiu saw the muscles growing recently. The eigth-pack he had when he was in his demon form began showing itself more clearly. The soft white flower was growing out of his shell so fast, it was almost a pity.

But it also was a rare and pleasing sight.

„I just missed the small child you were back then right now“, Shen Qingqiu said teasingly. „You were so soft and tender, so innocent and cute.“

Luo Binghe pouted. „There's no turning back, Shizun. This disciple will become a man soon, so wait for me!“

Yes, the young man already said this. Becoming a man was very important for Luo Binghe, and so Shen Qingqiu just smiled slightly. „I will, Binghe, don't worry.“

He dipped himself fully into the water for a moment and closed his eyes.

Waiting for him. This young man was already ahead of him, so the one who needed to wait was him.

A whispering sound was heard, and Shen Qingqiu opened his eyes. But there was nothing but the clear water around him. He looked around, but when he saw nothing, he tried to emerge from the water. But something seemed to hold him down, and he began struggling.

„Don't struggle“, a voice whispered. „Just let go.“

The next moment he felt an energy entering his body. It was like the clear water around him, cool and relaxing at the same time. It seeped deep into his heart and washed away all doubts and fears.

When Shen Qingqiu finally emerged, he felt clean inside and outside. Luo Binghe who was waiting for him looked relieved. „Shizun, I was worried. You were down there for so long, and I-“

The last words weren't spoken. Luo Binghe wasn't able to, when he found his Shizun suddenly hugging him!

Chapter Text

„Sh-Shizun?!“

Feeling his most precious personnaked in his arms made the young man all flustered. But since his Shizun didnt seem to let go any moment, he laid his arms around him, blushinglike never before. „Wh-what's wrong, Shizun?“

„I just feel so happy right now, I can't describe it.“

Only slowly Shen Qingqiu was letting go. He smiled softly and pressed the hands of the young man gently. „I dont know why, but for the first time in forever I really feel... good. At ease. Being with you is a gift for me.“

Luo Binghe was watching his Shizun intensely. „So does this disciple hope to be a reason for Shizun to be happy?“

Shen Qingqiu nodded. „Without you, I would miss something.“

It was strange to talk about his feelings like this. But right now it was necessary. He wanted to talk about it so badly, there was no way to keep quiet. And Luo Binghe seemed happy, too, so this was the best thing Shen Qingqiu could do. Again he hugged the other one, this time more gentle and with utmost care.

„Stay with me. I don't want to be separated from you.“

Luo Binghe was blushing hardly again, but this time he let go. „Shizun... I would never leave you. But right now Shizun behaves strangely, and maybe Shizun should rest.“

He stroked his Shizun's hair. For him, it seemed like his Shizun was acting under some kind of strange spell. And saying honeyed things like this - who knew if what he was saying was the truth or not? It seemed too good to be true! As if his Shizun was returning his feelings... Luo Binghe didn't want to hold his hopes up too much!

Shen Qingqiu seemed to understand, and so he only smiled. „We will talk about this later.“
The last thing he wanted was a young man being utterly confused or distrusting him. Luo Binghe was too precious for this!

It wasn't that he was bewitched. The energy of the spring just let him see clear and awakened the urge to stay true to his feelings and share them with his disciple. Just like Luo Binghe regarding him, he wanted to be close to his disciple. No more denial, right now Luo Binghe was the most important person in his life, the one who gave him the strength to go on.

And just like the water surrounding him, his mind was crystal clear. He was able to see the future right now without worry, and the water helped him easing his worries.

He would transform into a demon, and it seemed like he would be a powerful one. But if they accomplished the mission, he would be able to stay at his home. And if not – there was no way he would become homeless. He would find some place he could call home again. Together with Luo Binghe. He needed to work hard to prevent the abyss plot, but it was possible. And for the first time he didn't feel helpless and at a disadvantage, it was more like he knew that they could make it. Together they were unbeatable.

Luo Binghe was still beet red after this, but he didnt't complain. Something about his Shizun was different right now, and it wasn't bad. He just... didn't know what to do right now, getting that much attention. He always wooed his Shizun, but getting such a reaction back...

He was pondering over what to do when he saw his Shizun going to leave the water. Instantly he reached out and hugged Shen Qingqiu from behind. Somehow fear was washing over him to never have such a chance again. „Shizun...this disciple is sorry, but I never imagined...“

The arms around his body were warm and strong, and Shen Qingqiu stroked them with his fingertips. „There is nothing to feel sorry about. We have time for everything.“

His voice was firm and warm, and Luo Binghe got the feeling that he was back to being the mature teacher he used to be. But... warmer, almost like a father figure. Closer to him than ever before. The ideal kind of man Luo Binghe was trying to become when he finally grew up.

He knew he could depend on his Shizun. And after what happened here he knew, his Shizun had some kind of feelings for him. If they stayed close together, he was sure his Shizun's feeling would deepen even more. He just had to be patient and didn't overdo things. But just this once...

He kissed the nape of his Shizun's neck and felt the other one shiver in his arms. „Binghe“, Shen Qingqiu said. „You're all touchy right now?“

„Isn't Shizun the same?“ Luo Binghe kissed the neck again. „Shizun was the one who hugged me first.“

„That is true.“ Shen Qingqiu leaned in a bit. „But now we should go out of the water. It's cold, and I'm already refreshed. And it feels like the spring will wander again soon, so we shouldn't stay in it for too long.“ Still, he didn't move away for the moment, and Luo Binghe saw his chance to press his body against his Shizun. His skin was so smooth and warm... his scent became a bit sweeter due to the flower again, and Luo Binghe loved this.

„Shizun, I...I...“

I want more.

He couldn't bring himself to say it, and so he only went on holding his Shizun in his arms.

The other one just smiled. „I'm here, Binghe. Whatever happens, I won't leave you. So please stay with me, too.“

„Of course, Shizun!“ Luo Binghe felt like crying out of happiness and longing. They would stay together. And some day his Shizun would be entirely his.

-

As soon as they left the spring it vanished in an instant. They returned to the camp and Luo Binghe finally prepared the food. They ate in silence, and when they finished it was time to rest. This time Shen Qingqiu was searching Luo Binghe's embrace.

„If I ever try to bite you again, just push me away, but... please let me stay here tonight.“

Luo Binghe was blushing again, but he gladly accepted his Shizun in his arms. „I never want it any other way“, he whispered shyly. „Shizun can rest in my arms whenever he wants to.“

Shen Qingqiu sighed. „You're too nice for your own good“, he said and snuggled close. „This master will take advantage of this.“

Please do, Luo Binghe cried out inwardly. If it was Shizun, he could demand anything from him!

But he kept this for himself. He was sure, that the effect of the water wouldn't last forever, and so he savored the moment as much as possible. But even if his Shizun grew distant again for the time being, now he knew that there was more to his behavior than Luo Binghe could ever imagine.

While his Shizun already was asleep, he played with a strand of hair, watching the man in his arms. His heart was bursting with emotions, and his face grew warm again.

„I love you, Shizun“, he whispered into the night. „I love you so much. I hope that one day you will return this feeling.“

Chapter Text

It was warm and cozy when Shen Qingqiu woke up. He still was laying in Luo Binghe's arms, their legs intertwined. A feeling of embarrassement was washing over him, but the wish to be held and be close was stronger, and so he stayed where he was, glad, the young man was still fast asleep.

Shen Qingqiu remembered clearly what happened the day before and again he felt embarrassed. But it was fine. Even if the effect of the spring began to wear off, his mind still was clear and calm. He did the right thing, and he wanted to stay true to his feelings. No more doubts, no more fear and panic. Whatever was about to happen, he would face it. And he knew he wasn't alone.

As if he had spoken out his thoughts, he felt a soft touch, and fingers began caressing his back. „Shizun should rest more“, the warm voice of the young man was heard. „We still have time.“

„Since when are you awake?“ Shen Qingqiu wasn't startled, but the touch made him somehow nervous. „I thought you were fast asleep.“

„This disciple only woke up.“ A smile spread over Luo Binghe's face. „But holding Shizun like this, it's like I'm still dreaming. I don't want to wake up.“

„What are you saying, Binghe.“ Shen Qingqiu wanted to back away, but couldn't. Still being caressed he began to feel funny. „Being awake is the better option, so you can experience everything firsthand.“

„Shizun is right.“ the fingers were now trailing along Shen Qingqiu's side. „Having the real Shizun right in front of me is the best!“

When the young man touched a sensitive spot, Shen Qingqiu began to wiggle and finally caught Luo Binghe's hand. He didn't say anything, but the young man seemed to understand and obediently stopped his actions. He still seemed unbelievably happy, and it warmed Shen Qingqiu's heart. For a moment, he thought about closing his eyes again and staying like this for a while longer, but then he decided not to. Instead, he patted Luo Binghe's shoulder. „Since we both are awake, we should move on.“ Even if his condition was stable right now, who knew when this would change?

Luo Binghe seemed to understand, but before he let go, he gave the small black flower another peck. Only then he sat up, while Shen Qingqiu touched it with his fingertips.

„You seem to be quite fond of the flowers“, he said, and the young man smiled. „They suit Shizun so well. And this disciple likes the scent.“

Thinking about how they kissed and how Luo Binghe was almost addicted to the taste, Shen Qingqiu sighed. „Someday you will have enough of it.“

„No, this will never happen“, Luo Binghe said fully convinced. „I will never have enough of anything regarding Shizun.“

-

They were sitting together while looking at the recipe. There were still three things they had to obtain beside the soil from Mobei Jun's territory, and the next one was quite tricky. They needed to pick a flower at midnight when it was covered in moonlit dew and then extract the sap and the dew while mixing it with Shen Qingqiu's blood. It had to be practiced with utmost care, so the dew didn't dry up or fell down from the blossom.

But that wasn't the only obstacle. The flower was growing in a hidden cave with lots of traps surrounding it. Shen Qingqiu was cursing Shang Qinghua inwardly for writing something so impractical, but since this accessory was a key item maybe it had to be like this. Still, he wasn't very happy about this target and hoped to get over this soon. It was too complicated and would take too much time, so he needed to stay concentrated to solve this.

Luo Binghe on the other side didn't seem to mind at all. „We have made it so far, this won't stop us“, he said. „And if Shizun's condition worsens while we're at it, this disciple is still there to help.“

That was true, and so Shen Qingqiu nodded. „I just want to get this over with“, he admitted. „The rest seems to be much more easy. And then we can finally return home.“

Home. Even if he was able to find another home as long as the young man was with him, he had to admit that he missed his bamboo hut. Over the years he grew quite fond of the place and the people there. And he was glad that Luo Binghe had a home there, too.

He wanted to stand up, when suddenly all of his strength left his body and he fell backwards right into Luo Binghe's arms. The spring water wasn't strong enough; it only delayed the transformation for a day, and now Shen Qingqiu felt the seed growing and the first small part of his spiritual veins merging with it. The pain let him almost faint, and he was grabbing Luo Binghe's arm tightly, digging his nails into the flesh until there was blood.

Luo Binghe didn't flinch but held Shen Qingqiu gently in his arms. „I'm here, Shizun. Please endure it, it will be over soon!“ He tried to not show his concern and just stroked his Shizun soothingly. He knew that there was nothing he could do right now but being there for him.

The pain lasted for quite some time, and when it finally subsided, Shen Qingqiu lost conciousness. With utmost care Luo Binghe lifted him up in his arms. Strangely enough Shen Qingqiu seemed lighter than some days before, and this concerned the young man even more.

While holding him up, he traveled on. Since even the spring water didn't help that much, he knew there was no saying how much time was left until Shen Qingqiu maybe became bedridden for quite some time.

He didn't fear his Shizun's transformation either; but he didn't knew what this would do to his Shizun's body. And when he already fainted in this early stage because of the pain...

„If only I could give you all of my power“, he whispered. „If only I could do anything for Shizun!“

The wind was ruffling up their hair while Luo Binghe sped up the flight. They traveled for a while when Shen Qingqiu finally opened his eyes again. „Binghe? Where are we?“

„Shhh Shizun, please stay still.“ Luo Binghe tightened his grip to prevent his Shizun from falling. „We are on our way. Trust this disciple, I will bring us safely to the next location.“

Shen Qingqiu nodded and rested his head on Luo Binghe's shoulder. „You're so strong, Binghe. I'm so glad I can rely on you.“

The young man blushed. To be praised like this felt so good! „Shizun can rely on me even more!“

Shen Qingqiu smiled a bit weakly. „I will, Binghe. Many thanks to you.“

-

It was late at night when Luo Binghe finally landed. Shen Qingqiu had recovered slowly and was able to stand upright again. He looked around the area for a bit before returning to his disciple.

„Shizun, don't overdo it“, the young man said with concern, but Shen Qingqiu shook his head. „Don't worry, I won't. It just felt good to move around on my own.“

He then lifted his fan and pointed at a mountain not far away. „This could be the place we are looking for. There is a strong energy hidden within.“

Luo Binghe nodded. „I thought so, too. Tomorrow morning this disciple will scout the area.“

While saying so, he suddenly was hugged by his Shizun. Irritated, he stroked the other one's back. „Is Shizun feeling unwell again?“

Shen Qingqiu shook his head. „I just... be careful, okay? You aren't invincible.“

Luo Binghe smiled warmly. „When Shizun is concerned like this, this disciple has no choice but to be careful.“

Shen Qingqiu laughed dryly. „You shouldn't do this because of me. You are precious, treat yourself like this.“

Again Luo Binghe was blushing, and he firmly hugged his Shizun back. „Shizun shouldn't say such cute things. This disciple just don't know what to do then.“

Just staying safe would be enough, young man. So that we both can return unharmed.

With this thought, Shen Qingqiu closed his eyes to savor this moment in peace.

Chapter Text

While Luo Binghe left the next morning to scout the area, Shen Qingqiu was left behind. He didn't feel good staying there, but his condition wasn't stable enough to follow his disciple, and so he had no choice. What's more, over night he lost the ability to sense spiritual energy due to the change inside of him, and so he was reduced to being a normal man for the time being. And that meant being in the way and a hindrance for the mission.

He never thought that this could be so frustrating!

To gain power while transmigrating wasn't that noticeable, and he got used to the powers quite fast. But to lose them again was hitting him hard. Especially when he was bound to stay where he was.

With a sigh he sat down.and looked at his hands. The fingertips still felt numb and the shade laying over his hands became a bit darker. It was just a matter of time until the spiritual veins there would change. The seed inside of him made them able to contain even more demonic energy, so he should be grateful that it still was there and began sprouting.

But he also knew that this would be even more painful. And he wasn't very fond of pain.

Sighing again he rested his head in his hand, when someone appeared in front of him he never thought of seeing out here.

„Mobei Jun?“

The demon was leaning at a tree and watching Shen Qingqiu with his deep dark blue eyes. He showed a mixture of interest and disdain before slowly coming closer.

Alerted, Shen Qingqiu tried to stood up, but the demon was faster and squatted down right in front of him while grabbing his chin and inspecting him closely.

„...“

Shen Qingqiu was at a loss. What did this mean? He didn't dare to say anything. Even if the demon became a regular guest in his hut, he still was a demon and Shen Qingqiu was – at least for now – a human. What's more, he never met the demon without Shang Qinghua, so this was the first time he was approached by him alone. But since he had no chance of escaping, he decided to wait until Mobei Jun finished his inspection.

He didn't expect the tickling ruhing through his body, when some ice-cold demonic energy suddenly was poured into him.

With a groan he fell forward against the ice demon, clinging to his clothes. It didn't hurt, but it felt like ants crawling over his skin. „What... are you...doing...“, he pressed through clenched teeth.“

„Your body is hungry“, Mobei Jun said in a neutral tone. „It wants demonic energy.“

„Thanks for the info.“ Shen Qingqiu was sweating profoundly. „That much I do know.“

„No you don't.“ Mobei Jun let the other one cling to him. „Or else you wouldn't try to starve yourself like this.“

„...“

Starving? So this was what the feeling was called?

Shen Qingqiu laughed bitterly before sitting up again. „I can't risk to change appearance too much. Not until I have all the ingredients.“

„But like this you aren't able to gather them either. You will become weaker every day.“ Blue eyes were piercing through his soul, and Shen Qingqiu swallowed. „So what should I do in your opinion?“

With a swift move Mobei Jun pulled out a small bottle and held it in front of Shen Qingqiu. „Drink from it every day. It is my spiritual energy and will help your spiritual veins to change while easing the pain.“

Shen Qingiu had never heard the demon talk so much. He didn't know what to think about this, but he had to admit, that Mobei Jun never harmed him in any way, and right now, the tickling had gone away already. Reluctantly he grabbed the bottle. „Why are you helping me?“

„You will be powerful. It is good to ally with you and have you return a favor.“ After saying this, the demon vanished again, leaving a totally confused Shen Qingqiu.

Turning the bottle in his hand, Shen Qingqiu was deep in thoughts. Maybe the demon was right and he should try to change his spiritual veins first. If the demonic energy could flow freely, maybe it wouldn't be so painful? At least he hoped for it.

He knew his body wanted more of the power, and if this prevented him from biting Luo Binghe again or behave unresonable, this was a good option. The changes would come sooner or later after all.

He felt the demonic power Mobei Jun had transferred into his body really made him more stable. Luo Binghe's power was an unbridled force which still needed to be tamed, while the power of the ice demon was cool and controlled; it was no wonder that it helped Shen Qingqiu more right now. Being strengthened like this he should be able to go through with the mission tonight.

But to get help from Mobei Jun still was... special. And for the first time he felt grateful for the sense of honor and morale of demons.

-

It took Luo Binghe quite some time to return. But when he arrived, he saw his Shizun kneeling by a campfire and trying to make something. He rushed over to his Shizun's side. „Shizun, are you feeling well?“

Shen Qingqiu looked up, a fruit in his hand. „I'm fine. I just got bored, so I thought of making some tea.“

It was true. A pot with fruits and herbs were hanging over the flames, giving off a rich scent. Luo Binghe's eyes widened. „Shizun never cooked something before.“

„Just because I didn't do it doesn't mean I couldn't.“ He cut the fruit in rings and put them into the hot water, too. „At least tea is something I often made in my old world.“

Luo Binghe sat down next to his Shizun and watched him intensely. „Did something happen while this disciple was away?“ He was happy to see his Shizun feeling so well, but the sudden change bothered him.

Shen Qingqiu nodded. „I had a visitor while waiting for you.“

Surprised, Luo Binghe tilted his head. „Who was it?“

„Mobei Jun.“

Instantly, the eyes of the young man turned red. „Did he do something to you?“ It seemed like he wasn't very fond of the other one.

„Calm down, Binghe.“ Shen Qingqiu gently laid his hand on the young man's shoulder. „He won't harm me. Everything is fine.“

Slowly, the red vanished, but Luo Binghe still didn't look satified. „What did he want?“

Shen Qingqiu grabbed a ladle and filled a cup with steaming hot tea. „Here, have a taste.“ He then filled another cup. „He helped me. And no, don't think the wrong things. He did it so I have to return a favor someday. It seems he knows that I will be useful in the future.“

The young man pouted. „I don't like this. Shizun is better off not having debts to pay off...“

„It can't be helped. You see how well I am doing right now, it wouldn't be possible without his help.“

Knowing, that it was no use to discuss this further, Luo Binghe took a sip of the tea with a sigh, and instantly his eyes began to sparkle. „Shizun, this tea is so good! I love it!“

Shen Qingqiu smiled slightly. „It's not as good as yours, but I think it's drinkable.“

„No really, this disciple likes it a lot!“ Luo Binghe seemed like a puppy who just got a nice treat. „It is so refreshing and gives me a lot of energy. Please, Shizun, brew this again some time soon!“

Being praised by the best cook on earth made Shen Qingqiu proud. „If you like it that much, then I will, Binghe“, he promised.

Chapter Text

Sipping his tea happily, Luo Binhge looked at his Shizun. „Even if it is a waste, but it is a good thing Shizun brewed this tea. We will need it to enter the cave.“

Irritated, Shen Qingqiu tilted his head a bit. „What do you mean?“

Since his moment to shine has come, Luo Binghe puffed out his chest. „I found the entry and I found some traps around it. They were easy to deactivate them. But right in front of the cave is a nest of insects. They love blood – or sweet things. I saw them attackng a bird and eating it alive, and after that they ate some fruit which fell down from a tree, too.“

„So you mean we can lure them away?“

Luo Binghe nodded. „Fresh fruits would attract them to soon. But the tea will lure them away, so we can enter.“ He smiled innocently. „I would have burned them to ashes, but I was afraid to harm anything else which could be useful.“

Young man, I am glad you are happy about your powers, but please don't look so innocent while thinking about wrecking havoc! This makes you really scary!

In this situation Shen Qingqiu had to think about the original story. Did the blackened Luo Binghe smile like this while cutting the original Shen Qingqiu into a human stick?

A shiver ran down his spine, and once again he was glad to have changed the story so much. Only one step left... if only the abyss plot wouldn't happen, then he was satisfied. He could work on any other thing together with this young man.

Seeing how Luo Binghe was sitting there waiting to be praised, he heaved a sigh.

„You never should burn down anything without reason“, Shen Qingqiu said and emptied his cup. „If something is destroyed, there is no way to restore it.“

Luo Binghe seemed to listen intensely. After a while he shrugged with the shoulders. „As long as Shizun is fine, this disciple doesn't mind if something is destroyed.“

Shen Qingqiu lifted an eyebrow. „It's just like you said. If you had burned down the wrong things, maybe you would have harmed me or yourself in the end.“

Luo Binghe laughed and leaned against his Shizun. „Shizun is always right. This disciple will remember!“

Shen Qingqiu wasn't sure that the young man really was taking this to heart, but right now there was no need to discuss this further.

-

They filled two containers with tea and went over to the entrance of the cave. Just like the young man said there was a mass of insects crawling over the floor and the walls. Disgusted, Shen Qingqiu looked away.

„Shizun doesn't like these creatures?“

With a swift move he hid his face behind the fan. „I was never good with insects to begin with“, he mumbled. „So no, I don't like them.“

Luo Binghe just smiled. „Then Shizun should stay here and leave this to me.“ He grabbed one of the containers and began dripping some tea on the ground in some distance. Laying out a trail he moved away only to return while making a huge detour.

Then they waited.

It took some time, but suddenly some of the insects seemed to smell the sweetness of the tea. A moment later the swarm began moving and left the entry, following the trail.

„Now's the time!“

Both hurried to enter the cave and move deeper into it to avoid being caught when the insects return. Only when the entry was out of sight they stopped.

„I suppose you don't know what's waiting for us from here on?“

As expected, the young man shook his head. „I couldn't go in, so I don't know. Maybe Shizun should stay behind me so I can protect him.“

Shen Qingqiu shook his head. „Binghe, I'm fine right now. And we're in this together, so there is no need for this.“

He could see Luo Binghe's puppy ears drooping. This hit him right into the heart. „I will need your strength later, so just let me look out for myself, okay? If anything happens, I trust that you will save me.“

This lifted the spirit of the young man in an instant. „I will!“ The invisible ears perked up again, and Shen Qingqiu could see the wagging tail. The young man was so simple-minded regarding this, it was cute. Not that Shen Qingqiu was the one to talk.

They went deeper into the cave. For the time being there were no more traps, but the path became extremely narrow. They could only set one feet after another while to the left and right only darkness was spreading. Feeling more stable didn't mean that Shen Qingqiu felt ready to go forward while a bottomless pit was right beside him.

Luo Binghe was kneeling down and inspecting the path for a moment. He then stood up and opened his arms. „Shizun, come here.“

...what?

Shen Qingqiu coughed slightly. „Binghe, what do you-“

„This disciple will carry Shizun!“

The young man seemed happy and motivated to do so. And because his Shizun hesitated, he explained further. „The path is stable and Shizun is light. It is no problem for this disciple to carry Shizun over.“

Shen Qingqiu looked at the path, then at the opened arms and at the path again. It really would be more safe to be carried in Luo Binghe's arms. But this...this!

They did so many embarrassing things already, and this should be nothing, but right now he felt so self-concious, he wanted to hide in a hole deep underground. But there was no helping it. They needed to move forward.

„Are you sure this is fine?“ Blushing heavily he avoided Luo Binghe's gaze when he stepped closer. A moment later he found himself in the arms of the young man again.

„Shizun is as light as a feather“, Luo Binghe said with a smile, and Shen Qingqiu blushed even harder. „I don't know if I want to take this as a compliment...“

With steady steps Luo Binghe went on and carried his Shizun safely over the narrow path. After a while the walls closed in, but at the same time the path became wider until it reached the walls. It was now so wide, that at least three grown man could walk beside each other. Shen Qingqiu waited to be let down on his feet again, but Luo Binghe moved forward as if nothing had happened.

„Binghe?“, Shen Qingqiu asked carefully.

„This disciple would carry Shizun to the end of the world if needed to.“ The young man was not even a little bit exhausted. Instead, it seemed like he got a most precious present to carry around and show the world.

„But there is no need for this.“ Shen Qingqiu tried to let go, but the grip around him tightened a bit. „Really? Maybe this isn't safe here, and-“

Shen Qingqiu laid his hand on Luo Binghe's cheek. „No. There is no need. I'm very grateful for what you are doing for me. But I don't want to be carried. I want to walk beside you. Side by side, that's what I wish for.“

The young man stopped in his tracks. A moment of silence followed, but then the young face became beet red.

„Y-yes!“ Luo Binghe stammered before letting his Shizun down. „That's what I wish for, too!“

Shen Qingqiu smiled before extending his hand. „Then let's try to achieve this goal.“

Chapter Text

They both walked for quite some time. Luo Binghe was holding the hand of his Shizun as if he was afraid to break it. It while being beet red was the first time his Shizun made this gesture out of his own free will, and so it felt entirely different than before. More like a date than a mission, and the young man tried everything not to spoil this.

Shen Qingqiu didn't say anything and just let the young man do whatever he wanted. It was fine like this, wasn't it? Being together was a good thing and let him feel relaxed. And so he let his mind wander, thinking about what to do after they forged the accessory.

It was because both of them were distracted, that they didn't saw the next trap coming.

A moment later, the floor crumbled.

Shen Qingqiu didn't know what happened, but suddenly he lost footing and with a yelp he fell downwards.

„Shizun!!“ Luo Binghe screamed, but his grip on Shen Qingqiu's hand was too light and so hia Shizun's hand slipped out of his before he could grap it properly. Helpless he saw him vanish right in front of him into the darkness.

Shen Qingqiu didn't have time to fully understand, when he crashed on the floor. The fall wasn't too deep, but it was enough to smash his bones on the sharp rocks down here. He screamed out of pain before he stayed laying down, unable to move.

„Shizun! SHIZUN!!“ He heard the panicked voice from above, and he tried to answer but wasn't able to. If he wasn't a cultivator, the fall would have killed him already, but with his blocked spiritual veins he wasn't able to heal himself either. So the only hope he had was that Luo Binghe would come down and rescue him somehow.

Blood was dripping down on several places and he began to feel weaker. He wasn't even able to feel pain anymore. Okay, maybe there was no way to rescue him after all... He was so dumb, knowing there were traps all over and not paying attention. The young man would blame himself for this, he was sure. But it wasn't his fault...

He closed his eyes.

A rustling sound was heard, like flapping wings. At first it was faint, but it grew louder and louder. Light began to flicker in the dark, but Shen Qingqiu wasn't able to open his eyes again.

„Shizun!!“

The voice was dark and deep, but the panic was still resounding in it. So Luo Binghe changed in his demon form? It would be logical, he changed every time he was upset.

He felt lifted up, and something hot and wet dripped down on his face. Tears? He wanted to move, wanted to say something, but he could only twitch a bit.

Binghe, don't cry... please...

„I'm sorry, Shizun“, the demonic voice whispered. „I didn't protect you.“ He felt a finger parting his lips. „This will hurt you even more, but I will heal you.“

Something soft covered his lips while a metallic taste spread in Shen Qingqiu's mouth.

Then everything became white out of pain.

-

When Shen Qingqiu came back to his senses, his whole body still was hurting and he wasn't able to move. A hand was stroking his head without pause, and he felt he was laying on something warm and familiar. Slowly he was able to open his eyes and look up, directly into the face of the overly handsome demon Luo Binghe.

„Shizun is awake“, he said with a soft voice, almost like a growling beast. „But please rest more.“

„...“

Shen Qingqiu opened his mouth to speak, but no voice came out. A finger was laid on his lips, and the demon smiled warmly. „Don't say anything. Shizun's body is still in turmoil.“

Ah, yes. He felt it. The bones were mostly restored, but some were still in the progress of being repaired. His spiritual veins didn't have changed, but he knew, receiving Luo Binghe's blood had its consequences. He would find out sooner or later, but not now. Now he needed more rest, just like the demon said.

With a lot of pain he lifted his hand. He felt that the demon wanted to protest, but he gripped Luo Binghe's hand. He didn't have the strength to really grip it, but the other one understood and was the one gripping it gently.

„Shizun should sleep“, Luo Binghe said, and as if it was some kind of spell, a moment later Shen Qingqiu really was fast asleep.

-

The warmth of the hand holding his own was the first thing Shen Qingqiu recognized when he woke up again. He still was laying where he was before, and he still was stroked gently.

„Binghe“, he said with a hoarse voice, and the other one twitched. „I am here, Shizun.“

„Are you alright?“

The hand around his was gripping tighter. „Shizun shouldn't worry about me. This disciple is alright.“ The deep voice sounded tired, and it hurt Shen Qingqiu to hear this. With utmost care he moved his head and opened his eyes to look at his disciple.

The demonic eyes were red and swollen, but Luo Binghe still smiled. „Welcome back, Shizun.“

Shen Qingqiu tried to smile, too, but it still was hard. „I'm back...“, he mubled.

Luo Binghe let his fingertips wander over Shen Qingqiu's lips. „I'm sorry, I had to give Shizun a lot of my blood. Without it, Shizun wouldn't have survived.“

„It's alright.“ Shen Qingqiu inhaled as deep as possible without groaning out of pain. „I'm glad I can live on a bit longer. Many thanks, Binghe.“ He returned the gentle touch on his hand. „And... I'm sorry.“

I didn't want you to suffer. I didn't want to make you cry.

„Then Shizun should take responsibility and look out for himself more.“ His tone was warm, but Shen Qingqiu knew, that the young man still was scared to the bone.

„I will“, he said weakly. This had taken up all of his energy, and so he grew quiet again.

„That's good then.“ The young man leaned his head back at the wall he was leaning on. „This disciple will rest a bit, too.“

It became quiet in the cave once again, and Shen Qingqiu was listening to the steady breathing of his disciple while staring into the darkness. The fire which were lit by Luo Binghe's spiritual energy died down some time ago, and so it was pitch black down here. But Shen Qingqiu wasn't afraid.

He didn't know what happened to his body. He soon had to find out. But being able to restore such a mess of broken bones and ripped flesh – the healing abilities of this young man were amazing.

Listening to his own body he felt Luo Binghe's spiritual energy still pulsating inside of him. It was a wild but warm energy, and it felt good and reassuring while his body felt somehow like that of a stranger. He knew there had to be severe changes, but oh well.

He was alive.

Everything else was marginal.

And when they both got some of their energy back, they could go on.

Chapter Text

'System, do I have bad karma, or why are so many things happening to me?'

Shen Qingqiu laid in the darkness, thinking. He never expected to get an answer, when suddenly a familiar voice rang out.

[This system is glad to be of service. This incident right now was because of the hosts negligence and could have been avoided. But since the plot was changed that much and the personal happiness is still rising, the personal luck parameter has decreased significantly.]

...you serious? But why?

[The parameters of the world have to be in balance. Otherwise this would lead to more plotholes and unsatisfied readers.]

You freaking kidding me?! What a shitty explanation!

Shen Qingqiu sighed inwardly. He didn't believe one word the system had said, but he couldn't change the situation. Of course there was no way the system would let him be overly happy AND lucky. He must have been dreaming to think something like this would be possible...

His train of thoughts were interrupted, when the other person began to move. Shen Qingqiu had found out, that his head was resting on Luo Binghe's lap and a huge wing was covering him like a blanket. Even if he couldn't see, he knew the familiar feeling so well until now.

„Binghe? You awake?“

His voice still was hoarse, but it sounded a bit strange, too. A tad deeper, he would say, but still recognizable. Well, could be worse.

„Shizun is awake, too?“ The deep demonic voice was full of concern. A moment later a spirtual flame lit up the cave, and Shen Qingqiu was able to see the face of the young man again. He seemed to be a bit pale, but he smiled warmly.

„Yes. And I'm feeling better.“ Slowly, he sat up. Luo Binghe wanted to protest, but Shen Qingqiu held him back. „It's fine, really. I don't feel any pain anymore.“

He tried to move his stiff limbs, and it took him a moment to feel comfortable again. He then began inspecting himself.

Beside the tattered and blood-stained clothes the first thing he saw was, that his fingernails had turned black. Around his wrists some tiny feathers began to sprout along with a few black scales which were shimmering in dark green. This was manageable; he could hide the features with his sleeves. What he needed to find out was, if there were more changes. But that could wait until they left the cave.

He felt Luo Binghe staring at him, and reluctantly he asked. „Is it... that bad?“

Luo Binghe shook his head and began blushing. „That's not it. It's just... Shizun is almost naked right now...“

„...“

It was true. A huge tear was splitting his robe almost in half, revealing delicate white skin. Helpless, he tried to cover himself up. „You are naked yourself, Binghe. You ripped your clothes when you transformed.“

Luo Binghe laughed nervously. „Shizun is right. This disciple hadn't time to think, it all happened too fast.“

Shen Qingqiu sighed. They didn't have any spare clothes with them, only fresh undergarments, and so there was no choice. „We should wear what we have. After this we will get some new clothes.“

Luo Binghe nodded. „This disciple will change clothes when we are back on the path. Our belongings are there, too.“ He pointed to the ceiling. „At least there is enough space to fly upwards.“

Shen Qingqiu looked round. They were in some kind of cage where the only option to leave was going up. Where he fell down, there were lots of sharp rocks. Blood and pieces of fabric told their story, and he had to look away.

„Then we should go, if you're feeling fine“, he mumbled. He felt sick seeing the scene, and the sooner they could leave the better. Luo Binghe stood up himself and nodded. He then scooped up his Shizun in his arms.

The strong scent of the young man suddenly filled Shen Qingqiu's nose, stirring something up inside of him. He felt the urge to taste the white skin with his tongue, and irritated, he looked away.

This wasn't good. He felt like a hungry beast, and Luo Binghe was the prey. He knew something like this would come, since the demonic power inside of him was calling out for more. But this was way too intense! Somehow it felt as if mating season had begun.

The young man didn't notice this. With steady speed he lifted both of them up, and it took only a moment until they arrived safely at the path.

When Shen Qingqiu felt ground under his feet, he took one step away and inhaled out of relief. While he tried to calm down, Luo Binghe was sorting out the undergarment before turning back into the youthful appearance.

„Please wear this, Shizun“, he said and gave Shen Qingqiu his set of clothing without looking at him. He was still blushing, and Shen Qingqiu hurried to cover himself up. It was only a thin layer of fabric, but better than being naked.

The boy, too, dressed himself, and finally they were able to move on. With utmost care they walked along the path, and it was good that their senses were sharpened, because they had to evade another trap soon after. They weren't man made; it seemed nature itself here tried to kill everyone who wanted to enter. Falling traps were following, then a lake full of acid was waiting for them, too.

After another path crumbled down, Shen Qingqiu became impatient. „This seems endless!“

He sat down in frustration and buried his head in his hands. Luo Binghe sat beside him and laid a hand on his Shizun's shoulder. „Shizun, don't give up. We're close. I can feel it.“

Shen Qingqiu looked up again. „You're right, I'm sorry. I behaved inappropriate.“ He tried to sense their target, but he still wasn't able to use spiritual energy. „How far away do you think the flower is?“

Luo Binghe stood up again. „With a shortcut, only around the corner.“

Before Shen Qingqiu could ask what that meant, the young man unsheathed his sword and cut through the air. A moment later the wall crumbled, and a wide cave appeared.

„Careful Binghe!“ Shen Qingqiu had jumped up and was now looking at the crumbled wall in front of him. „...“

„This disciple also became impatient“, Luo Binghe said with an innocent smile. „So I thought this would be the best option.“

„Binghe, you...“ With a sigh, Shen Qingqiu stopped. This really made things easier, and it seemed like on the other side nothing was harmed. Still... it was a quite unconventional way of dealing with things, and they could be glad nothing more happened.

They stepped through the hole in the wall and looked around.

Grass was spreading all over the floor, and in the middle was a small hill with strange flowers. Moss was gorwin at the walls and was glowing in a dim light. Only a small ray of light was falling into the cave, and Shen Qingqiu saw, that it was broad daylight outside.

„We have to wait until midnight.“

Luo Binghe spreaded out the blanket and sat down. „Then we should rest a bit more.“

Shen Qingqiu nodded. They both stil weren't at their peak condition, and this place was safe, so he sat down in front of his disciple.

A bit nervous he looked around, before he asked the thing that was bothering him.

„Binghe, tell me... how much did I change?“

Chapter Text

Luo Binghe saw how nervous his Shizun was. And so he smiled warmly. „Shzun shouldn't worry. It isn't that much.“

He tucked a strand of hair behind Shen Qingqiu's ear. „Shizun's hair is now pitch black while the ears became pointy. And...“ With his thumb, he traced the outline of his Shizun's lower lip. „Shizun's lips seem more sensual.“

Shen Qingqiu watched his disciple intensely and let him touch him. When he stopped talking, he sighed slightly against the thumb on his lips. „That's all?“

„That's all.“

Luo Binghe's hand still rested where it was, and it was Shen Qingqiu who moved away a bit just to touch his own ears and inspect his hair.

His disciple was right.

In the dim light he didn't notice it at first, but having a brown shimmer before, his hair lost its warm color and turned pitch black. And his ears felt strange; they weren't long and pointy like Luo Binghe's in his demon form, they just had a tip, like elven ears. With one grip, Shen Qiingqiu loosened his loops a bit and covered his ears with his own hair.

„Still manageable“, he said, and the young man nodded. „Shizun still looks human.“

As long as he could hold out until they forged the accessory, everything would be fine.

He caught his disciple staring, and so he tilted his head a bit. „Binghe?“

The other one shook his head. „It's nothing. Just...“ He swallowed thw words he was about to say and decided to say something different. „It suits Shizun. Black hair lets Shizun's skin look more fair and delicate.“

Your lips. They're so soft.

I want to kiss you.

Shen Qingqiu smiled wryly. „Many thanks, Luo Binghe.“ He then coughed and tried to get rid of the hoarse sound of his voice, but to no avail. Oh well, this would fade sooner or later, he was sure of it. „While we're waiting... should I tell you something about my old world?“

Instantly Luo Binghe sat up straight. „Shizun will?“

„If you're interested“, he said, and the young man nodded eagerly. „Of course! This disciple wants to know more about Shizun!“

And so Shen Qingqiu began telling about his world. About the normal people living there, without powers and only relying on their inventions. He told about skyscrapers and the school system, about grocery stores and various other things. He tried to hold it as simple as possible so the young man could understand.

„So Shizun didn't have spiritual powers?“, Luo Binghe asked, and Shen Qingqiu shook his head. „No one has. Some think they can see ghosts or other spirtual beings, some even say they can use magic – spiritual powers, but it's all fake. We are all normal humans there.“

„And how about demons? Do demons exists?“

„No, they don't exist, either.“ Shen Qingqiu stopped when he saw that Luo Binghe was hardly thinking about the things he told him. He was like a sponge, sucking up all informations, but even for the young man at some point it was enough. Still, his eyes were shining brightly in excitement. „I'd love to see where Shizun lived!“

Shen Qingqiu laughed a bit. „I fear that's not possible. Our worlds are separated, and...“ He swallowed. For the first time he voiced things out. „My body there is already dead.“

This shook the young man, and Shen Qingqiu laid one hand on his shoulder. „Don't worry. I'm here now. Everything is fine.“

But it still bothered the young man. „If Shizun... if it was possible... would Shizun return...?“

Shen Qingqiu tried to look the other one in the eyes, but Luo Binghe had casted his gaze downwards. He looked like a puppy on the verge of being abandonded, and it hurt him so much.

„At first I really wanted to go back“, he said, choosing his words carefully. „Being in a strange world, missing the things that were normal to me... it was hard. But I got used to living here quite soon, and now I belong here.“

Slowly, the young man looked up. „Even if Shizun has to endure so many things...?“

„I am not alone anymore. I have the people of Cang Qiong Mountain. And I have you. So why should I return? Enduring things... I will never give up, even if more things are to happen. I would never leave this world anymore.“

He suddenly felt hugged, and the young man was clinging to him, rubbing his face all over. „Shizun! Shizun!!“

Shen Qingqiu already had a good idea of how lonely this young man was. He never socialized with others, even if Shen Qingqiu tried to motivate him to do so. But the mistrust in humankind rooted too deep. And having him cling to him like this confirmed the feeling he had. This young man really was scared to be left alone.

He stroked the soft hair gently. „There there, Binghe. I already told you I won't leave you.“

It was the same old theme, and it wouldn't be the last time they talked about it. Too scared was the young man, too lonely in his heart.

After a while of comforting, Luo Binghe sat up again. „This disciple is sorry“, he said with a hint of regret. „I let myself get carried away.“

Shen Qingqiu shook his head. „Don't be. It is good to talk about this, so don't hold back if something bothers you.“

The young man nodded. „I will. Many thanks, Shizun!“ He leaned in and gave Shen Qingqiu small kiss on the forehead before standing up and hiding his beet red face. Irritated, Shen Qingqiu feeled the place where he was kissed and looked up to his disciple.

„It's time to look after the flower“, Luo Binghe mumbled, feeling shy all of a sudden.

Shen Qingqiu found this kind of cute, but he stayed quiet. Instead, he looked at the ray of light breaking through the ceiling. „You are right. It's already nighttime.“ He stood up, too, and slowly went over to where the flower was growing. It was a deep purple flower with dew glittering in the moonlight.

„Right on time“, Shen Qingqiu said and bent down to pick the flower.

He then heard a rumble from underground.

„...“

„...“

Both of them were looking at each other, both having the same thought. 'Really?'

Luo Binghe unsheathed his sword. „Shizun should grind the flower as the recipe tells us to. This disciple will protect Shizun!“

He barely spoke this sentence when the floor crumbled and large roots began waving in front of them. With one move Shen Qingqiu plucked the flower and grinded it with some of his blood. He knew he could trust his disciple, but he still tried to hurry up.

The roots were lashing out, but it seemed without control, and so Luo Binghe was able to dodge easily and defend them in one go. Only when Shen Qingqiu finished his doing he scooped his Shizun up and flew upwards, breaking through the ceiling with his demonic powers.

They did it. Finally they gathered the ingredient.

Shen Qingqiu was clinging to his disciple. Thinking, that they were totally in sync now when it came to such maneuvers, he still cursed Airplane Bro inwardly for creating such an unnecessary obstacle. Even if he helped Shen Qingqiu, this was way too much! He should have a heart to heart talk with him soon!

Chapter Text

Luo Binghe flew with his Shizun in his arms far away from the cave. There was nothing what could follow them, so it wasn't necessary to flee like this, but the young man didn't intend to stop. Shen Qingqiu wanted to say something, but seeing the anxious face above him let him stay quiet, and so he just held on tight and let the young man do his thing. It's not like he wanted to run away anyway.

Only hours later when a town came in sight, he landed and Shen Qingqiu felt earth under his feet, but he still was embraced by the young man. Gently, Shen Qingqiu stroked the other one's back. „We're out, Binghe, everything is fine now.“

It still took a while longer, until Luo Binghe let go. With a hint of red on his cheeks, he didn't dare to look at his Shizun. „This disciple will arrange for new clothes... will Shizun stay here and hide?“

Huh? Where did this coming from?

„Why should I? I thought I still look human?“ Shen Qingqiu tilted his head and tipped the fan at his lips. Luckily, the fan still was intact, and it gave him some kind of security. Meanwhile Luo Binghe blushed harder. „Shizun is too pretty, especially in his undergarments. This... this disciple doesn't want anyone to see!“

Oh. Okay? So this was bothering him? Shen Qingqiu shook his head inwardly.

„You're the right one to say this, Binghe. You aren't aware of your own charm!“

Luo Binghe stared for a moment but then looked away again in embarrassement. „Shizun, please?“

Shen Qingqiu sighed.

„Then tell the people you were robbed. Luckily, the thieves didn't find your hidden treasure so you can pay.“ He gave the other one a small purse. „The less you talk, the better it will be.“

The other one nodded. „Wait for me, Shizun. This disciple will hurry to come back.“

When the young man left, Shen Qingqiu sat down in the shade of a tree, hidden from the small path leading to the city. Being all alone and the sun already up in the sky he now had time to inspect the new features in daylight.

The few feathers around his wrists were small, but it didn't look like they were the only ones growing. They felt soft like down feathers, and when he plucked at them it stinged a bit. They really were attached. Just like the scales who were beginning to grow on his forearms.

It was a weird combination, but Shen Qingqiu was aware, that Lu Binghe's essence would influence his appearance. And so it seemed, that he would become some kind of dragon bird?

Beautiful, huh.

And Mobei Jun said he would be powerful.

Would the system create such a demon? The influence he could have like this...would the system really risk changing the story in such a direction?

He felt a craving, and Shen Qingqiu knew exactly what this was. And so he pulled out the small bottle Mobei Jun had gifted him. He opened the lid and hesitated for a moment, but then he took a sip.

Instantly the feeling of ants crawling all over him was back, and he closed his eyes waiting for it to subside. The changing of his spiritual veins took its time, but with the help of the other demon it was progressing more smoothly. He still was reluctant giving up his humanity like this, but he knew it wasn't avoidable, so it was better to be the one in control than waiting for the final results.

He opened and closed his hand a few times. The numbness he was feeling slowly began to fade. If he went on like this, maybe it wouldn't take too much time until he was able to use spiritual energy again. This, on the other side, was something he was waiting for excitedly. The thought of being able to learn new skills had its own charm, and he was dying to know what this included.

He didn't realize that he drifted off to sleep untli he felt something soft covering his lips. When he opened his eyes, Luo Binghe was sitting beside him, smiling innocently. „Shizun is awake?“

„Yes. I'm sorry, I didn't know I'm tired.“ He sat up straight again, banning the soft sensation he felt to the bck of his head and realized, that Luo Binghe was staring at him. „Shizun, your voice...“

Shen Qingqiu was irritated at first, but then he tried to clear his throat. It was true, that the hoarse sound was gone and he now could speak clearly. He knew it was a tad deeper than before, but being stared at like this, there must be more to it. „What's wrong with it?“

„It's... alluring.“ As if Luo Binghe never had stopped blushing, the faint red on his cheeks was back. „It sounds so soft and charming right now...“

Becoming more pretty, sounding charming... „Well, I'm glad it doesn't seem like I'm becoming a succubus“, he said dryly, and Luo Binghe shook his head in exasperation. „I wouldn't be able to bear this!“

„Then it's good, that you don't need to.“ Shen Qingqiu massaged his temples a moment to get his mind clear. „Did you get what we need?“

The other one nodded. „Yes! This disciple got some clothes and even some food!“

He placed the garment in front of Shen Qingqiu. It was white with dark green embroidery and seemed good quality regarding the size of the town. It revealed his body shape more than the scholar clothes Shen Qingqiu normally wore, but he kind of liked it. Luo Binghe already wore another set of clothes; it was matching his garments and showed how manly his shape had become. Shen Qingqiu caught himself staring for a moment before he finally dressed himself.

When he finished, Luo Binghe handed him a steamed bun. It still was warm and smelled delicious, and so Shen Qingqiu bit into it with delight. „A washerwoman gifted me some after I helped her carrying the laundry.“ The smile on Luo Binghe's lips was a bit sad and his gaze distant. „She reminded me of my mother.“

Shen Qingqiu watched the young man from the side before patting him. „She would be proud seeing what a fine young man her cute litte son had become.“

„...“ Luo Binghe looked back at his Shizun for a moment. Then his mind seemed to clear up again. „Shizun knows best what to say to cheer this disciple up.“

Before he could react, Shen Qingqiu was scooped up again. „Binghe, what-“, he tried to say, but he heard the boy laugh heartily. „Let's move on, Shizun! There are still two ingredients left!“

Without delay they rose up into the air, and Shen Qingqiu could only grab his disciple tight. „Binghe, I can stand on my own!“

But the other one refused to let go. „This disciple can carry Shizun, no worries!“ He nuzzled his nose against Shen Qingqiu's cheek for a moment. A „thank you“ was whispered, only faint, but Shen Qingqiu knew what the other one meant with it.

When he lost his mother, Luo Binghe lost his most important person. The only one who really cared. But now he wasn't alone anymore. Shen Qingqiu had accepted him as he was and was there for him, no matter what.

This took away Shen Qingqiu's will to fight, and he only stroked the young man's head with a soft smile while being held in his arms.

Chapter Text

The next ingredient had a cryptic description: „The flaming heart of a mountain“. Luo Binghe didn't know what that meant, but Shen Qingqiu knew exactly what this was about. It was some lava he had to gather, and being in this fantasy setting it was clear, that first they were able to gather it without protective suits, and second that it wouldn't die out until they returned to Cang Qiong Mountain.

Luo Binghe was impressed over his Shizun's knowledge and was admiring him the whole way to the point that Shen Qingqiu was that embarrassed, that he hit the young man with his fan and began struggling again. Luo Binghe just laughed it away and held him even tighter.

It was nice to see, that the young man was in such a good mood again. Sometimes Shen Qingqiu it was amazing how fast Luo Binghe could change his mood, but seeing him smile was way better than having him suffer.

Still, staying in Luo Binghe's arms was getting on his nerves somehow. He wanted to fly on his own again, using his own abilities! He was tired of being the princess all the time. In his opinion the younger one should be in his position, not the other way around!

He humphed, and the young man looked puzzled. To shorten the time and to tell more about his old world, Shen Qingqiu began telling fairy tales. Luo Binghe listened intensely; these tales were so different from what he knew!

„So... a knight is someone who protects the important persons?“, Luo Binghe asked, and Shen Qingqiu nodded. „Being royalty doesn't mean to be powerful like using spiritual energy or fighting with swords. As a royal you have to lead the people and command them. And knights are the one who protect the royalty. But there are no more knights nowadays. Many things changed.“

Luo Binghe seemed deep in thoughts. „But then Shizun is a royal, and this disciple is the knight who protects Shizun!“ The young man came to this conclusion, and he seemed very happy with it. „So rely on me, Shizun!“

Shen Qingqiu sighed. „I rely on you the whole time, Binghe. But I want to be reliable, too. It would suit us better to be both knights.“

With a smile, Luo Binghe shook his head. „Shizun is the most reliable person. So Shizun is a royal with power?“ He furrowed his brows. „Is this possible?“

A small laugh escaped Shen Qingqiu's lips. Sometimes the young man was just too cute! „Many thanks for the compliment, Binghe“, he said while petting the young man's head.

-

To reach the mountain was no problem. To gather the lava was another thing.

They reached the hottest spot inside of the mountain. Shen Qingqiu almost feeled like grilled chicken on a barbecue plate. At first he was fanning himself, but the heat rose even more, and so the fanning had the opposite effect and only helped him cook even faster.

Luo Binghe, on the other side, didn't seem fazed. Maybe because he inherited the power of dragons he moved forward like he was walking on grass in spring. Shen Qingqiu admired him for this and was a little bit envious. If he himself turned into some kind of dragon, he should be able to endure this, too!

Seeing his Shizun with a red face and puffing out his cheeks a bit, Luo Binghe had to smile. „When Shizun looks like this, it's adorable.“

Good, that his face already had changed color. „Don't say something like this“, he mumbled and looked around. Then he pointed in another direction. „I think the hottest spot is there.“

It was true. The whole volcano was at cooking temperature inside, but there was a boiling hot spot. Without delay the young man went over and – gripped into the lava!

Shen Qingqiu yelped, but Luo Binghe retracted his hands without any problems. Then Shen Qingqiu saw, that the demonic energy was shielding him while he held some lava in his cupped hands.

Shen Qingqiu massaged his temples for a moment. „Don't do this without warning me“, he scolded, and the young man looked wronged. „But Shizun, everything is fine, isn't it?“

„That's true, but still...I thought you would burn yourself!“

With a smile the young man filled the lava into a special jar and handed it over to his Shizun to mark it with his blood. „This disciple is very happy that Shizun is worried about him.“

After dripping some blood into the jar which evaporated with a sizzling sound, Shen Qingqiu sighed. „You should know this already.“ He stored the jar away. „We're done here, so let's get out.“

A moment later he was already scooped up. Shen Qingqiu didn't say anything anymore; he wouldn't be able to convince the young man otherwise than carrying him.

As soon as they left the volcano, Shen Qingqiu inhaled the fresh and clear air. „Binghe, what do you think of taking a nice and cooling bath?“

For a moment the young man looked like he was deep in thoughts, then he began blushing. „That would be nice“, he mumbled, and Shen Qingqiu lifted one eyebrow, wondering why the other one was flustered all of a sudden. But it was good, that they agreed on the bath. He himself felt dirty and cooked and needed something to relax.

There was a lake nearby with the water warmed by the volcano, so it was like the sea in summer. Not too hot like a hot spring, but not ice-cold, either.

To sum it up, it was perfect.

The water near the shore was shallow, and so Shen Qingqiu walked in some steps before sitting down. It felt so refreshing, he had to sigh in delight.

Luo Binghe took a bit more time before follwing his Shizun. He was watching him intensely, memorizing every move his Shizun made.

It wasn't the first time he saw his Shizun take a bath, but what he saw now confirmed what he already told his Shizun.

Every move was more alluring, more sensual.

It wasn't his imagination, Shen Qingqiu really moved different. For others there was no change, but for him... for him, who was watching his Shizun all the time, it was obvious.

It concerned him.

And it triggered him. The urge to touch his Shizun grew more and more, and he needed all of his inner strength to resist.

Shen Qingqiu looked up when Luo Binghe finally entered the water. „Binghe, what took you so long?“, he asked while washing the length of his hair.

„Nothing. Does Shizung need help?“

The young man was already combing through some strands, and Shen Qingqiu nodded. Why not...

He loosened his crown, and the pitch black hair fell down over his shoulders, covering his back. Luo Binghe inhaled sharply, biting his lip.

Too beautiful!

He scooped up some water and let it rinse over his Shizun's head. The drops sparkled in the sunlight which slowly turned orange, dripping off of the small feathers.

Again, the young man stopped. Irritated, Shen Qingqiu looked over his shoulder while tucking a strand of hair behind his pointed ear. „Binghe?“

It was no use. He couldn't resist.

A moment later he gave his Shizun a kiss on the cheek.

Chapter Text

The kiss sent a shiver down Shen Qingqiu's spine, resounding with the longing circulating in his veins. And so he wasn't able to resist; he just sat there, dumbfounded.

Luo Binghe smiled a bit self-mockingly. „Shizun, I...“

The young man didn't find the right words, instead his hand wandered over the bare back, only parted by the long hair.

Another shiver.

„Binghe... what are you doing...?“ Shen Qingqiu's voice was weak. He knew exactly what the young man was doing, he just wasn't able to understand it fully.

Since his Shizun didn't resist, Luo Binghe gave in and finally captured the soft and full lips. It was only for a short time, but for the young man the kiss seemed endless. He then rested his forehead on his Shizun's. „Shizun should push me away“, he whispered.

Shen Qingqiu's thoughts were in turmoil. They kissed before countless times. But he could justify all of these somehow with being necessary to transform the young man back and such. But this time it was different. Luo Binghe kissed him out of free will. And Shen Qingqiu liked it.

Yes, he really liked it.

„We shouldn't do this“, he heard himself say, and he knew he didn't sound convincing enough. „It's just your powers inside of me calling.“

Luo Binghe closed his eyes. „If Shizun says so“, he mumbled and backed away. Instantly, Shen Qingqiu felt as if he had lost something irreplacable, and he bit his lip looking away.

„We have enough time. And maybe someday Shizun will...“

The young man didn't finish his sentence. It wasn't his place to go any further when his Shizun wasn't ready. Their relationship was so precious for him, he didn't want to ruin it. He would stay with his Shizun anyway, so what did it matter to wait for a bit longer?

Shen Qingqiu's mind on the other side was jumbled. His heart was beating so loudly in his chest, he feared the young man could hear it.

He got used to being touched by Luo Binghe. It was necessary, since the young man was touching him frequently. But was it really necessary to be touched that much?

What was Luo Binghe thinking by doing this?

The young man recently went through puberty, still was in the middle of it. Was he trying to practice how to seduce others? With his charm, he could have seduced so many people by now, it was wasted on an old man like him.

He was his teacher, a fatherly figure!

Instantly, several shitty cliche plots flooded his mind where the disciples were attracted to their teachers and tried to seduce them. Was he now trapped in something like this?! And most of all, he was a straight male, and Luo Binghe a straight stallion protagonist! It was impossible!

Fuck. Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck.

Shen Qingqiu was cursing inwardly, because a tiny voice inside of him reminded him, that this was the opposite of being impossible. It was the truth.

He began to feel attracted to Luo Binghe.

It wasn't the demon transformation, it wasn't the transformation into a plant-like state either. From the beginning until now his feelings deepened bit by bit.The hugging, the kissing... he didn't mind a thing because it felt good. Too good.

His body just began to become more honest, matching his feelings. That was all.

He stole a glance at the young man who was watching their surroundings. Maybe, if he would give in, they could become even more close. More... intimate. The thought alone let Shen Qingqiu blush.

It was no good. There was no way they could have such a future together. Luo Binghe right now was too young, too naive regarding relationships. The moment he understood how much fun building up a harem was, he would abandon this old man, Shen Qingqiu was sure. So he only had two choices: Trying to tie the young man to him forcefully or hiding his feelings for the sake of Luo Binghe's future.

He would never use force on Luo Binghe, so this was out of the question. Besides... he realized just now he was attracted to the young man, but was this more than just possessiveness or simple curiosity? He never had deeper feelings for anyone, so he wasn't sure himself. There was no way the young man had to sort out Shen Qingqiu'S confused mind only to find out that there wasn't more to it.

Shen Qingqiu sighed. If possible, he would have hidden himself in a deep hole and buried himself inside of it to never see sunlight again.

The sighing stirred the young man up. „Shizun, I'm sorry!“ He looked quite miserable. „I never intended to confuse Shizun or make him uncomfortable!“

With a pat on the head, Shen Qingqiu tried to soothe his disciple. „It's not your fault. Don't think too deeply about it.“ He then turned his back to the young man again. „Didn't you want to help me wash my hair?“

Luo Binghe was stunned for a moment. He was glad, that his Shizun couldn't see his sad smile. „Of course. This disciple is happy to be able to help.“

Act normal. Keep smiling. Go on as if nothing had ever happend. Then everything would be fine.

-

They returned soon after to Cang Qiong Mountain. They still missed the last ingredient, but they were sure, that they could gather it at home.

It was human hair.

This sounded weird at first, but logically speaking it was the anchor for looking human. They needed only small strands, but they needed it from four different people, two male and two female persons.

Luo Binghe and Shen Qingqiu couldn't use their hair because of the demonic part in their bodies, but Shen Qingqiu was sure, there was no problem to get strands from male persons. The female hair was more problematic.

Shen Qingqiu met with Yue Qingyuan after their return. The other one was watching him intensely, inspecting the changes with interest. He readily cut a strand of hair when he was asked, and he nodded understandingly, when Shen Qingqiu told him about what else he needed.

„Liu-Shidi told me, he will help in any way he can“, Yue Qingyuan said, and Shen Qingqiu widened his eyes a bit. „You know, he's not good with words, but I think he will give you what you need.“

„Yes, I know.“ Shen Qingqiu sipped the tea he was offered. „I will ask for his assistance.“

„Maybe he can ask his sister. She seemed to be very fond of you and your disciple.“

„That would be a great help. Many thanks for the idea.“

After he finished his tea, Shen Qingqiu stood up, ready to leave. Yue Qingyuan held him back. „You sure you're alright?“, he asked with concern.

„Depends on what alright means“, Shen Qingqiu said with a wry smile. „But I'll manage. Thanks to the help of Shixiong I am able to.“

Yue Qingyuan let go. He still seemed concerned, but he smiled warmly. „If you're ever in need of anything, tell me. Count on your Shixiong.“

„I will, many thanks.“ Shen Qingqiu bowed before leaving the hut. When he returned, Luo Binghe already had another strand of hair for him. „It's from Ning Yingying“, he said.

Shen Qingqiu felt a pang inside of his chest, knewing, the two youths were dstined to be together. But before he could say anything, he felt fingertips brushing over his arm in a gentle manner.

Ah, he did it again. The young man was touching him.

And without being able to control it, the pang faded into some kind of butterflies. Since Shen Qingqiu was aware of his feelings, he became more sensitive to the actions of his disciple. He swallowed.

„Many thanks, Binghe. You did me a great favor.“

Luo Binghe just smiled brightly. „This is nothing. For Shizun I would do anything.“

Anything, huh. Maybe, one day, I will remind you of what you said right now, young man.

Chapter Text

Liu Qingge was blushing hardly when he saw Shen Qingqiu. He then handed over two strands of hair with a humph.

„Many thanks, Liu-Shidi“, Shen Qingqiu said with a warm tone. „It's good to know that I can rely on you.“

„You relied on me many times. It's not that anything has changed“, the other one said and looked away.

„Well, I'm becoming a demon. It wouldn't be impossible, that Shidi had changed his mind.“

„It doesn't matter. Just make sure you disguise yourself as your own dumb self as soon as possible!“

Storming out of the bamboo hut, Liu Qingge was followed by two pairs of eyes. The first one was a bit puzzled, the second one was burning red with jealousy.

„It seems, he likes Shizun very much“, Luo Binghe said with a thin smile. Irritated, Shen Qingqiu looked at his disciple. „I wouldn't say that. We are fellow Peak Lords, nothing more. How come you think so?“

„He came over as soon as he received the talisman with the request from Shizun. He even convinced his sister to donate some hair.“ His voice was cold, and even for Shen Qingqiu it was obvious, that this was bothering the young man more than necessary.

Shen Qingqiu watched Luo Binghe intensely. After a moment he asked:

„Binghe, are you jealous?“

Instantly, the red vanished from the young man's eyes. Shocked, he tried to justify himself. „No, I... I'm just... this was just..!“ He didn't find the right words and began fidgeting.

Shen Qingqiu hid his face behind his fan. He had to smile, because somehow this made him happy. „It's fine, Binghe. Even if he... likes me more than a friend or fellow Peak Lord, I'm not interested. Since the original owner of this body hated him, I'm glad we have such a good relationship now. As I told you, it's good to have someone like Liu Qingge to rely on in times of need.“

Luo Binghe's shoulders slumped down in guilt. „This disciple is sorry...“

„Don't be.“ Shen Qingqiu patted the young man on the head. „As long as we can talk about it, everything is fine.“

He then marked the two strands of hair with his blood before laying them to the other items. „Only the earth from Mobei Jun's territory is left“, he said while inspecting the things they gathered. „I should look into how to forge things.“

„This disciple can forge something“, Luo Binghe said softly, and Shen Qingqiu lifted one eyebrow. „When did you learn something like this?“

„When we learned about what to do, this disciple looked into how to forge. I never tried it before, but I will practice. I am very good at working with my hands, so this should not be a problem.“

Luo Binghe was right. The recipe didn't say anything about who had to forge the accessory; and as the protagonist he had so many hidden talents, that it would only be logical to order him to do the work. And so Shen Qingqiu nodded. „Fine. I will make sure you have enough material to practice on.

To be honest, he was relieved not to be the one who had to forge the accessory. He was never a man of labor, not here, not in his old world. Brewing tea and clearing out the dishwasher were the only things he did in his life with his hands beside typing on a computer.

The young man seemed happy to be of use and smiled brightly. „This disciple won't disappoint Shizun!“

Young man... you never disappointed me. Not once. So there was no way you could do this now.

But he didn't say it out loud. Instead, he closed his eyes for a moment. „If... if there is nothing else to do... is it possible for you to give me some of your blood?

He accepted the changes. He accepted everything. It was still hard to ask. Especially, because this request could have a bad influence on he young man's health. But there was no better time than now to progress with the changes.

„If I'll be bedridden because of this, I'll have the time to recover. We are safe here, and-“

A finger was laid on his lips. „Shizun, don't worry. It's fine.“ The young man's gaze was intense, and Shen Qingqiu was mesmerized by his dark eyes which changed into the demonic ones, colored in crimson red. „I will give you the purest blood with the most power. And I'll stay with you and comfort you until you get better again.“

How reassuring! It really was! Having the reliable young man by his side made him feel better instantly, and so Shen Qingqiu nodded. „I'll leave everything to you then.“

With a smooth gesture Luo Binghe pulled his hand back. He then bit his middle finger.

Shen Qingqiu was tensing up when he saw the blod glistening on the young man's lips. He could smell it. It was alluring, it was calling him-

The next moment he lost control and was kissing Luo Binghe intensely, licking up all the blood on the lips and inside his mouth.

Then he broke down in agony.

-

Wind was rustling in the bamboo forest while the sun was giving off a warm and gentle light. Shen Qingqiu had his eyes closed and inhaled deeply.

„Shizun.“

He slowly opened his eyes to see an adult Luo Binghe in front of him. The young man was smiling before sitting down next to his Shizun.

„A dream realm?“

Luo Binghe nodded. „Shizun is finally asleep. So I took the chance to create a realm where Shizun can relax.“ He obviously tried to make everything as comfortable as possible. Even the stone wasn't as hard as it used to be. Shen Qingqiu himself wore his usual clothes and seemed to be his human self. It was a wonderful and peaceful dream realm.

With a pleasant sigh, Shen Qingqiu leaned onto his disciple. He felt the other one tense up for a moment, but then Luo Binghe laid an arm around him. „Shizun needs closeness?“

„Yes.“

The pain which was ripping him apart didn't let anyone or anything touch him. It was so bad, that he even ripped his clothes off of his body. Being here now let him finally feel at ease.

„It is too hard for Shizun.“ Luo Binghe sounded concerned. „Maybe we should search for other ways to-“

„It's fine.“ Shen Qingqiu tried to look at his disciple, but from his angle he only saw the soft hair. „I knew it wouldn't be easy. And I hope to get over it soon.“

The other one finally turned his head so Shen Qingqiu could look him in the eyes. „I don't want Shizun to suffer“, he said. „But I know, if Shizun made up his mind, there's no turning back.“

„You know me well“, Shen Qingqiu said and smiled softly. „But as long as you're with me it isn't that bad.“

Yes. He never felt so pampered in his whole life before. And he intended to enjoy it as long as it lasted.

Chapter Text

It was dark when Shen Qingqiu came to himself. He couldn't see a thing, but he felt, that his whole body was a mess. He was laying on his belly, a cold wet cloth covering his back. The young man was sitting beside his bed, the head laying next to him. He heard the steady breathing and felt it tickling his feverish skin. A hand was laying on his own, holding it firm.

He didn't dare to move. Even breathing felt like pure pain. The words of the system shot through his mind. Well, he felt personally happy, so this had to be the punishment. If he saw it that way, this huge amount of pain only meant that everything was perfect regarding personal matters.

Over time his eyes got used to the darkness, and he could see the young man more clearly. His features really were handsome in the dim light, the full and soft hair was framing his face in a beautiful manner. Even if Shen Qingqiu read about how handsome the protagonist of this novel was, it wasn't comparable to reality.

The young man moved slightly but didn't wake up. With the moving his facial expression changed a bit, and he somehow seemed to look a bit frail right now. Shen Qingqiu had the urge to hug him, but he knew that wasn't possible. He wasn't able to move. Only...

Shen Qingqiu gritted his teeth and robbed forward. It was only a little bit, and his back felt like it was on fire, but it was enough. His head rested now on the bed so close to the young man's that he could smell the scent of summer and nature on the young man. It was such a relaxing scent, that he instantly closed his eyes again to rest up a bit more.

This woke up Luo Binghe. Feeling his Shizun even closer than before he stayed where he was, not risking to lose this closeness. It made him so incredible happy, he had no words for this, and he needed to calm his heart down before it would burst out of his chest.

Recently his Shizun seemed to be closer to him. Luo Binghe didn't knew if this was because of the transformation, but he wasn't the one to complain. Every moment staying close was a gift from the heavens.

After a while he still decided to stand up. It was time to change the cloth to cool his Shizun's back more. When he moved, his Shizun moved a bit, too.

„Shhh, stay still, Shizun“, Luo Binghe whispered into the darkness. „Shizun needs to recover more.“

„Binghe, what happened to me?“ Shen Qingqiu still was holding his disciple's hand, not intending to let go.

„...“

Luo Binghe was quiet for a while. „Shizun's back...“, he then said. „It seems like Shizun has growing wings there, but... it only began...“

Ah, now he understood. This body wasn't made for growing wings. They must have hurt him badly, maybe ripped the skin open.

„It will heal“, he said weakly. „Sooner or later.“

„Mn.“ Luo Binghe stroked his Shizun's head before retreating both hands. „This disciple will soon be back.“

Shen Qingqiu stayed where he was – he couldn't stand up anyway. Feeling helpless, he shifted his position just a bit to lay more comfortable. It hurt like hell for a moment, but then the pain faded and he sighed.

„I didn't thought to be bedridden like this“, he mumbled. Was this the only change? If so, this would be a really hard journey.

-

It took Shen Qingqiu two more days until he was able to sit up again on his own. His back still hurt when touched by anything, so he was naked from the waist up.

Luo Binghe was staying by his side, providing him with medicine and cared for him. It helped Shen Qingqiu a lot to recover faster.

On his forearms were a few more scales now, but nothing more changed. The wings seemed to be such a great change, it took a lot of energy and time.

Time he didn't have.

To gather all the ingredients, to recover now... it took almost another month. When his heart began to sink, something good happened.

Mobei Jun and Shang Qinghua appeared. They had the last ingredient with them. And they had good news, too. Forging the magical accessoire wasn't like normal forging. Luo Binghe needed to condense the ingredients with his demonic power. With a clear picture of how the accessoire should look like he would be able to forge it in one go.

Knowing his disciple, Shen Qingqiu was sure he would succeed.

Shang Qinghua was highly interested in the changes Shen Qingqiu was going through, and he inspected his fellow transmigrator intensely. Shen Qingqiu felt like a guinea pig or some animal in the zoo, and only when Luo Binghe was friendly but coldly complimenting him out, Shang Qinghua understood, how inappropriate he behaved.

Shen Qingqiu just smiled. „Just come back tomorrow“, he said with a tired voice. This all was too much for him to bear at the moment, and he was happy when it finally became quiet again.

For the last time he checked the ingredients before handing them over to Luo Binghe.

„We can finally complete the mission“, the young man said. „And with this accessory Shizun can leave the bamboo hut again.“

Shen Qingqiu nodded. „I will give me a lot more freedom. Just...“ He casted his gaze down. „I hope I will be able to move freely again soon.“

Luo Binghe smiled. „Shizun is doing great. Only a bit more.“

Shen Qingqiu sighed deeply. „I hope you're right, Binghe.“

-

The next day Luo Binghe disappeared. Shen Qingqiu felt lonely when his disciple wasn't there, but he didn't complain. After all, his disciple went away because he wanted to forge the accessory for him.

It was Shang Qinghua who interrupted and distracted him.

„Bro, you look bad“, he commented.

„Many thanks for the honesty“, the other one said with a wry smile.

Shen Qingqiu couldn't act as a good host, but Shang Qinghua didn't mind. „For real, I don't want to change place with you. But you're strong, holding on like this.“

„I have to“, Shen Qingqiu answered. „Every effort would go to waste if I just give up now.“

Shang Qinghua snorted. „Still...the system is mobbing the hell out of you and you just pull the middle finger. Respect!“

„If I could, I would show the system more than just a middle finger. We hate each other; it's mutual.“

„Well, that may be true.“ Shang Qinghua crossed his arms before his chest. „I never intended to write something like a 'system' into this novel anyway. So why doesn't it just disappear?“

„It has its purpose. Maybe we aren't able to see it right now, but there has to be something like this.“ Shen Qingqiu played with the fan a bit before fanning himself. „At least, that's what I want to believe.“

Chapter Text

Luo Binghe didn't appear again.

On the first day Shen Qingqiu wasn't worried. This was something new for the young man, and Shen Qingqiu didn't thought he would master this in one go.

On the second day he began to grow impatenty. There still was no sign of his disciple, and no one was visiting to distract him. So he had even more time to concentrate on how lonely he was and how he missed Luo Binghe.

On the third day he grew worried. Was there something bad happening? Why didn't he come back? But Luo Binghe had the protagonist's halo, so shouldn't he be alright?

Another wave of pain let Shen Qingqiu lay down again, and he felt the wings growing again. This time he was helpless and without someone who cared. He drank Mobei Jun's energy diligently since he was gifted with it, and it felt like he made progress in transforming his spiritual veins. But his body had its own pace. The little bumps on his backe grew a bit larger, straining the flesh and skin even more. Luckily, the flesh didn't rip apart again, but it still hurt like hell.

„Binghe...“, Shen Qingqiu mumbled while the fever got the better of him, blurring his mind. „Where are you...? I need you...“

-

Something cold was touching him, and only with lots of effort he was able to open his eyes. His mind was still clouded, and he tried to look around, but couldn't see clearly. „Binghe?“, he whispered with dry lips. „Is that you?“

He heard a mumbling sound, but he wasn't able to understand the words. And so he was the one to go on. It felt like a fever dream, and so he wasn't sure what he was talking about. But there were so many words he wanted to say...

„I missed you Binghe, you were gone for so long. Don't leave me, don't....“

His words faded into the quietness of the room when he fell unconcious again.

-

Luo Binghe was sitting on the bedside, holding his Shizun's hand firm. „I'm sorry it took me so long“, he whispered with tears in his eyes „From now on I will never leave Shizun! I will care for you as much as possible!“

-

It was later on the fourth day when Shen Qingqiu woke up again. The pain had gone away for the time being, and his body was cooled down. With a groan he sat up and looked around. „Binghe?“

But again, the bamboo hut was empty.

Did he only dream that the young man had returned? His face twisted in loneliness, but then he finally noticed something on his right arm.

It was a golden bracelet. It was as wide as his fingers long, but the material was thin and finely engraved with bamboo pattern. It looked a bit familiar, like the bracelet he once gifted his disciple. It just seemed even more finely crafted than his gift, and it gave off a strange yet familiar aura. IT was a powerful item, that was clear.

With a gentle touch he let his finger wander over the pattern. So the young man had succeeded and had returned.

As if he had sensed something, the door of the bamboo hut opened, and Luo Binghe entered with a bowl of water and some ointments. When he saw his Shizun sitting upright, he rushed over. „Shizun! How are you feeling?!“

„Fine, regarding the circumstances.“ He was watching the other one for a moment. „You're finally back.“

„This disciple is sorry.“ Luo Binghe casted his gaze down, looking miserably. „It took this disciple more time than expected. But look!“ A bit reluctantly he touched his Shizun's right hand. „It's finished.“

The young man in front of him seemed like he was awaiting any kind of punishment for being away for too long, but Shen Qingqiu only stroked him with his free hand. „I'm glad you're here.“

The young man looked up again. „I'm... home?“

A smile was greeting him. „Welcome home.“

Luo Binghe's eyes became watery again. „I-is Shizun feeling better?“, he asked with a shaking voice, and Shen Qingqiu nodded. „Yes, thanks for your concern.“ He then finally looked at the bracelet. „It is so beautiful, Binghe. Did you want to give it this form?“

The young man blushed. „I... I wanted it to match with the one Shizun gave me. So I had this image in my mind, and-“ He stopped talking when he saw how his Shizun lifted the bracelet to his lips and kissed it. He felt like he could faint any moment. This was an overly sensual picture, and he couldn't help but blush even harder.

„It is beautiful. Many thanks, Binghe.“

Since he didn't dare to hug his Shizun, he just laid his head on his shoulder. „Sorry, but... just let me stay like this for a moment...“

Shen Qingqiu didn't say anything. He just stroked the young man's head, enjoying the closeness quietly. It didn't take long until the system rang out in his ears.

[Congratulations for accomplishing the mission. 350 points were added to the host's account.]

They did it. They gained the points. Now they only had to collect around 500 more to reach the goal of 10.000 points. They were so close, Shen Qingqiu felt, that nothing could stop them anymore.

-

The next day Shen Qingqiu was visited by the Sect Master. He saw the amazed look and knew the bracelet was working.

„How do you look like without it right now?“, Yue Qingyuan asked, and Shen Qingqiu shrugged his shoulders only sligthly to not hurt himself. „Not really different. My back is unsightly, so it's better this way.“

The Sect Master nodded understandingly. „I have to admit, I am curious, but I will wait before I ask you to show your true self again. I hope you will be willing then.“

Shen Qingqiu hid his face behind his fan. „There's no way I can refuse Shixiong's wish. I just need a bit more time.“

Yue Qingyuan lifted his hands. „No no, please don't feel stressed! Take all the time you need!“ He then looked concerned. „Can I do anything for you? The transformation... it is painful, isn't it?“

Shen Qingqiu closed his eyes for a moment before he answered as cheerful as possible. „I will survive it. Could be worse.“

It was obviously a lie, but he didn't want the Sect Master to worry more than he already did. The other one sighed. „I won't ask again. You know you can count on me every time.“

-

When the Sect Master left, Luo Binghe sat beside his Shizun. „You really want to do this?“

They talked beforehand about how to go on, and Shen Qingqiu nodded. „I want to get over this as fast as possible. Now that you forged the accessory, there's no need to hold back. The Immortal Alliance Conference is drawing closer, and I want you to participate as much as I want to attend, too. So please, give me your blood again.“

Chapter Text

The next two weeks were like hell for Shen Qingqiu. He was drowning in a sea of pain over and over again.

Most of the time he was unconcious, and that were the best times for him. It let him feel peace for a short time.

Luo Binghe created several dream realms to help him calm down. But that wasn't the only thing the young man did for his Shizun. When awake, he cared for him, cleaned the wounds inflicted b the growing wings and made dinner for him. Sometimes, when Shen Qingqiu could think straight for a moment, he thought, that Luo Binghe was like a nurse – or a doting husband.

He would have laughed at the thought when he would have been fine, but right now it was more like a fact. And a comforting one, he had to admit.

He knew he was straining Luo Binghe's nerves so much since he often screamed and cried out of pain, and one day Luo Binghe refused to give him blood. Only after a lot of begging and talking Shen Qingqiu got what he wanted.

It would have been even more painful if they stopped now and dragged on the tranformation for even longer. And that was the reason Luo Binghe gave in. He was cursing himself for helping his Shizun torturing himself, blaming himself for not being able to take away the pain. He could only stay close and watch over his Shizun. And he did that with full dedication.

After the two weeks, Shen Qingqiu was finally able to spread a huge pair of wings. Large black feathers with a shimmer of green were covering them, and they looked overly elegant and strong at the same time.

It was the only change that happened the whole time. They both knew that the transformation wasn't over with this. Especially when two more small bumps appeared on his back.

Shen Qingqiu was sinking into depression. He needed a break.

Luo Binghe was cleaning the wings with utmost care, washing every single feather and straightening them out. They trembled under his touch and felt warm, showing him, that they were alive and belonged to his Shizun. He admired the fine structure in silence for a moment.

Shen Qingqiu was sitting there with his head lowered and the wings weakly hanging down. His hair was a mess, his lips dry and his skin pale. He had lost weight, and it wasn't because of changes of his body. He was exhausted. For a moment he thought, that dying wasn't a bad option. But it was that moment, that Luo Binghe placed some small kisses on the feathers.

„What are you doing?“, Shen Qingqiu asked with a hoarse voice.

„This disciple is trying to comfort Shizun“, the other one said soothingly. „These wings are so beautiful, I can barely hold back the urge to touch them all over again.“

„Beautiful?“ Shen Qingqiu closed his eyes. „What is so beautiful about them?“

„They are Shizun's wings. They are a part of him. That's why I think they are beautiful.“

Shen Qingqiu felt tears welling up. With some difficulties he turned around, trying to fold the wings up but failed. A teacup fell down and was smashed to smithereens. He didn't care. He only was satisfied when he finally was able to lay his arms around Luo Binghe's neck and bury his head on the shoulder of the young man.

„Binghe, I'm tired“, he whispered. „I don't think I can go on like this anymore. I feel I lose my sanity because of this!“

As gentle as possible Luo Binghe stroked his Shizun's sides. „I know. I wish I could do more for Shizun. But I can just be here for him and hope, he knows how precious he is to me.“

Shen Qingqiu was trembling in his arms. If his Shizun didn't thought about this as a real punishment at first, he now knew that he was wrong. Both of them knew. This transformation was a trip through hell and back, bringing not only Shen Qingqiu to his limits.

He himself should go down the abyss, Shen Qingqiu thought; it would be a piece of cake.

Even the longing inside of him for his disciple had died down; right now he wasn't able to feel anything other than pain.

„Shizun really should take a rest“, Luo Binghe said in a soft voice. „Maybe we should go outside for a bit? Shizun hasn't seen the sunlight for so long now, I'm sure this would help him recover.“

Shen Qingqiu nodded. Today the pain was bearable, since the pair of wings had finished growing. He just wasn't able to control them by now, so he needed help to leave the bamboo hut without turning it into a complete mess.

Luo Binghe folded up the wings and wrapped some soft cloth around them so they didn't open up without control. He tried to not hurt his Shizun and so it took some time until they finally stepped out in front of the hut. Shen Qingqiu was so weak, he had to lean on his disciple, and Luo Binghe gently laid an arm around his Shizun's waist to support him. They both squinted their eyes in the sunlight before Luo Binghe led his Shizun over to a bench to sit down.

„Many thanks, Binghe“, Shen Qingqiu said with a slight smile. He instantly leaned his head on the other one's shoulder when his disciple sat beside him.

„I never wanted you to see me like this“, he then went on, looking into the distance. „But if one had to see me in that sorry state, there is no one beside you whom I would show myself to.“

Luo Binghe's fingers trailed softly over Shen Qingqiu's hand. „This disciple is very happy to hear that, although he hopes, that Shizun gets better soon.“

Shen Qingqiu said nothing. This time he wasn't able to be optimistic. Still, he needed to say something. He didn't know why, maybe because he wanted the other one to know, maybe because he wanted to rebel against the system. It didn't matter. Now was the time for these words.

„Binghe... even if my body falls apart... I am happy.“

Happy to be here with you. To have you care for me.

He closed his eyes, feeling drowsy again. He almost felt like drifting off to sleep again, when he heard a whisper. „I am happy, too...that Shizun was brought here to me.“

The bracelet made a clinking sound when Shen Qingqiu slowly reached out to touch Luo Binghe's face. „You deserve a better life“, he mumbled. „A life worthy of your charm and good nature.“

The hand was going limp and was almost falling down when it was caught by the young man. Shen Qingqiu was already asleep again, and Luo Binghe took the chance and lifted it up to his lips to place a kiss on the palm of his Shizun's hand.

„There is no better life than this one with Shizun“, he spoke against the soft skin. „Without Shizun I would be nothing. I hope, some day Shizun will understand this.“

Chapter Text

They were still out in the sunlight, when Shen Qingqiu woke up again. The sun was high up in the sky, and Luo Binghe was shielding them both with his coat while Shen Qingqiu was laying with his head on the young man's lap on the ground. He felt a bit better, even if the wings were weighing heavy on his back. It felt uncomfortable, but at least Luo Binghe had freed them from the cloth and spreaded them out so they could move freely.

Well, as much as Shen Qingqiu wanted them to move, he wasn't able to. They only trembled a bit, even if he tried. Maybe it was just too soon.

He decided to stay where he was a little longer. This was fine, wasn't it?

„How long have I been asleep?“, he asked without looking up, and the young man moved slighty. „Not long. Welcome back, Shizun.“

Ah, it was good to be welcomed like this. He sighed and buried his face against the other one's leg. The young man twitched. „Sh-Shizun is alright?“

„You're comfortable“, Shen Qingqiu mumbled, refusing to move any further. „This Master likes this.“

For a moment the young man froze on the spot. But then he lowered a hand on the raven black hair of his Shizun. „Then Shizun should stay“, he said with a soft voice.

They became quiet for some time until Luo Binghe spoke up again. „While Shizun was asleep, we had a visitor.

That startled She Qingqiu, and finally he looked up. „Who...?“ Who saw him like this, so weak, resting on his disciple's lap?

Luo Binghe gave his Shizun a package with some small bottles and pills.

„Mu-Shidi...“

Slowly, Shen Qingqiu sat up, trying not to strain his back too much.

„The bracelet works, he didn't see the wings, but he saw how weak Shizun is, and so he left this for Shizun. They should help him recover.“

Shen Qingqiu smiled wryly. „It's nice to know that he's concerned, but I don't think I'm in the mood to swallow more medicine than I already have. I tested enough of his medicine.“

Luo Binghe nodded. „Of course. Shizun should do what he thinks is right.“

With a sigh, he stored the pills away. „Maybe later“, he then said. „Right now I am feeling fine for the time being.“

He closed his eyes and concentrated on the wings on his back. He felt their weight and their attachement to his body. They were real and they belonged to him. So he should be able to move them somehow!

He tried to lift them up, but to no avail. They still didn't listen to his commands.

„Shizun wants to move his wings?“

Of course, Luo Binghe watchted him and knew what he intended to do. So he only needed to nod. „They are now a part of me, so of course I want to know how to use them.“

„Maybe Shizun needs to get a feeling for them?“

The young man moved behind his Shizun. With utmost care he began to massage the part of the back where the wings were growing out.

Shen Qingqiu didn't stop him. And when he felt the skilled fingers there, it was almost like he was melting away. This was too good! The young man really made his homework! He closed his eyes in bliss and couldn't hold back a pleasant sigh. This only motivated Luo Binghe to double his efforts.

Damn you, shitty plot with your shitty cliches! Why did he have to be so sensitive there! He felt like a cat being scratched behind the ears.

But there was no resisting, and he didn't want to anyway. After these dark days with all the pain it was a wonderful change of pace.

The fingers of the young man trailed over the first wing, massaging the joints lovingly. These touches let Shen Qingqiu become almost addicted to them, and for the first time he got an idea of how big the wings were – and how sensitive.

After the massage Luo Binghe folded the wing up slowly before he unfolded it again. He repeated this several time before he began massaging the second one.

It was a whole new feeling. Shen Qingqiu felt the blood flowing through his new features, giving them energy. He was sure he wasn't able to fly. But they finally really felt like they were his.

Luo Binghe moved away a bit. „Shizun should try again to move them“, he said, and Shen Qingqiu did this.

And they moved!

It still was a strange feeling, but they listened to his command and spreaded open the full span. It surprised even himself how huge they really were when he saw them unfolding left and right of his body. It was a magic moment for him, and for the first time he felt – proud? Something like that. Worth the pain.

„...they are so beautiful...“, he heard a whisper behind him. „They fit Shizun the best!“

Slowly he folded them up, still a bit clumsy in the movements before turning around. Luo Binghe was kneeling there, his eyes big and round in admiration.

„Binghe?“

The young man smiled slightly. „This disciple feared Shizun would get such ugly wings like mine when they began to show themselves, but seeing them like this... they are so elegant and-“

Shen Qingqiu laid a finger on Luo Binghe's lips. „Your wings are strong and match your handsome appearance. Don't talk about them like this.“

It was strange to talk about such a theme like wings. This shouldn't be something a cultivator hat to think about. But they both were now equipped with them, so they became an important topic.

„Shizun gives this disciple too much credit“, the young man began, but Shen Qingqiu shook his head. „Never talk about yourself as ugly. You aren't. Really.“

This made the young man smile brightly again. „If Shizun says so, this has to be true.“

„Of course. I would never lie about that!“ Shen Qingqiu pulled back his hand, or he tried. But Luo Binghe catched it and pressed it gently.

„This disciple is so happy that Shizun seems to be better.“

He heard the slight tremble in the other one's voice, and so he casted his eyes down in guilt. „This Master is sorry. I know it's hard for you, too. And it won't get better for a while.“

„But it will end some day. And then everything will return to normal.“ Luo Binghe looked deep into his Shizun's eyes. „And when te time comes, this disciple makes sure, that Shizun will have the most wonderful time of his life!“

Shen Qingqiu wanted to cry. He rellay did. This young man in front of him was so good-natured and precious. He wanted to do something for him, anything that would make him happy! All that the young man endured because of him...!

'System... is there anything I can do for the protagonist?'

[This system is glad to be of service. But this system has not the admisitrative rights to interfere with the storyline.]

'…you are interfering the whole time through missions and punishments!'

[This system doesn't interferes directly. It only gives out advices and obeys the rules. The one taking influence on the story is the host.]

'…'

Shen Qingqiu cursed inwardly.

'With punishing me you did the protagonist harm! Is this what you call obeying the rules?! Look at him! He deserves a reward! I don't ask for myself, and I don't ask for points or the abyss plot to be prevented! I just want to reward the young man somehow and give him hope! Isn't this something you should do, too?!'

The system became quiet. Shen Qinqiu cursed it another time inwardly but shook his head when Luo Binghe looked concerned. „It is nothing. I was just thinking.“

Still, the young man wasn't convinced, and to distract him, Shen Qingiu asked for some water to drink. Obediently, the young man left.

That moment, the system spoke up again.

[This system decided to give a small scenario pusher for free. And this system will assign the host with a new mission which can gain him 150 additional points. Are you willing to accept?]

...wow. So talking with the system helped after all? Gladly, he nodded. 'Yes, yes of course!'

[Then the mission 'Finding the perfect painkilling medicine' is now active. In the archives of Cang Qinon Mountain is a hidden recipe for a medicine that will take the host's pain away. You have to find it and bring it over to Mu Qingfang. After receiving the medicine the small scenario pusher will become active.]

Somehow he felt like he made a bad deal when he thought the small scenario pushers he experienced until now, but at least having a painkiller like this would be a huge success. It would take away Luo Binghe's concern, too.

So he could only win, right?

Chapter Text

„Will Shizun be alright?“

A concerned young man was kneeling in front of Shen Qingqiu who was laying on the bed again. His wings were folded up while he was laying on his stomach.

„Of course. I'm stable right now, and if you find the recipe, everything will be a lot easier for me.“

Shen Qingqiu had told his disciple about the recipe, and naturally the young man was eager to find it. The system didn't say that Shen Qingqiu himself had to go, and so it was the best to send Luo Binghe. With the protagonist's halo he should be able to find it quite soon.

The young man was excited to hear about something that could help his Shizun, he glady accepted the task. His only concern was, that his Shizun had to stay alone, and no one was there to care for him when something happened.

„I will try to sleep a bit more. So I will be fine until you return.“

Luo Binghe sighed. „If anything happens, Shizun should send me a talisman.“ He placed some by the bedside. „I will come immediately.“

„I will. Many thanks, Binghe.“

Still not fully convinced, the young man left and Shen Qingqiu sighed. It was kind of cute, how devoted the young man was to take care of him, but it made him feel somehow guilty and embarrassed, too. He occupied Luo Binghe completely and took advantage of the kind heart. He really hoped, that the scenario pusher would do Luo Binghe good.

To lie more comfortable, he had grabbed both of their pillows. Burying his face in them, he smelled the faint scent of his disciple.

He closed his eyes.

A wave of heat suddenly rushed through his body. Since the pain subsided for now, the longing was back and was boiling up in him again. Longing and... some kind of lust.

He inhaled deeply.

His body tensed up a bit, and a tickling sensation followed the heat. It was... strange. Not uncomfortable, but unfamiliar. Well, that wasn't entirely true. It seemed faintly familiar, as if he felt something like this long time ago.

When the tickling began to concentrate in the lower half of his body, he understood what that meant. He felt sexual aroused!

„Fuck!“

It wasn't that he didn't have touched himself before. But this was while watching pictures of naked women hidden in a secret folder on his computer. He was a man after all! And a straight one at that! But feeling like this just because he inhaled the scent of his disciple?

Yes, he admitted, that he felt attracted to him even though he was a straight man, but this was going too far!

But his body ignored his inner ranting, and unwittingly he grabbed the pillow tighter and pressed it to his chest. His wings trembled when he tried to shift his position and his lower half grazed the sheet. There was something beginning to harden that shouldn't do this.

He bit his lip to suppress the moan that was forming in his throat. This... this was too sudden! He wasn't prepared for this!

Shen Qingqiu felt how his hip began to move on its own and rubbed itself at the sheet. This time he wasn't able to hold in the erotic sounds he made.

What a relief, that the young man wasn't here! To be caught in such a compromitting state... he wouldn't be able to ever look the young man into the eyes again!

But right now he was alone. Alone with his thoughts and a body that wasn't feverish because of the transformation this time.

His fingers dug deep into the pillow, his wings, which again were fixated with soft cloth trembled underneath the fabric, his body moved in a obscene manner. His backside lifted itself up in the air, and he was now almost kneeling while his hip still was moving forward uncontrollably.

„Fuckfuckfuck!“

Shen Qingqiu's lips were parted, his breathing was ragged, his back bent. Gladly, he wore some skirts down there so he wasn't naked, otherweise he would have felt, that anyone who would have seen him like this would think he was ready to be... fucked.

He blushed hardly by the thought only, especially when he realized that this didn't seem too bad of an option. He buried his face in the pillow. But this only made it worse, since the scent of his disciple that was filling his nose let the lust run even wilder.

It was no use. He had to do something against it.

How long has it been since he pleasured himself? Shen Qingqiu couldn't remember, but he knew it was some time ago. And so much had changed since then... he himself had changed.

But did it matter?

His mind was a bit blurry, and he felt his hand already beginning to wander. He needed relief, no he wanted it! Before he could get a grip on a clear thought, his hand had already slipped inside the skirts.

He bit into the pillow with a loud moan.

His hand had found its prey, beginning to massage the hard flesh. Embarrassement was washing over him, but there just was no place for this. He now got an idea of how the young man must have felt when his hormones went on a rampage.

Pictures of the young man flashed through his mind, letting him bend his back even more. Young... adult... demon... it didn't matter. Every picture was like aphrodisiac, and he imagined how he was touched, how the young man called him.

'Shizun...'

With a loud groan he came, and he fell to the side, breathing heavily. His gaze was unfocused, his lips opened and moist.

Fuckfuckfuck!

He pulled his hand out of his skirts which was glistening with cum. This wasn't good. This wasn't good at all!

While his mind was running in circles, his body felt strangely refreshed and pleasantly exhausted at the same time. It made him feel even more guilty and embarrassed. The young man must never know this! Never!

He sat up with some difficulties. He needed to clean himself... to wipe away the traces of his shame.

Was this an effect of the changes? Did this happen because the demon part inside of him grew stronger? Or was there something else which influenced him? Something had to be there, because this reaction was way too intense!

Slowly he went to the bathtub. The water was cold, but Luo Binghe filled in fresh water before he left, so Shen Qingqiu didn't need to leave the bamboo hut when he wanted to wash himself. At first he thought the young man was too concerned and caring, but now he was glad, and he took his time to clean himself from the mess he made.

When he had finished, he looked into the reflection of the water. For a moment the surface was full of ripples, but after a while it calmed down.

He saw the wings on his back, folded up and wrapped with cloth. There was the black velvet flower, the pointy ears. But he took his time to look at the reflection of his face.

As Luo Binghe said, his lips grew fuller and softer, but the whole appearance was again beginning to become more androgynous. But it was different than before. When he took the pills, he had a 'beautiful' and 'unearthly' appearance. Now even for him his own face seemed more sensual, alluring in an erotical way. A bit like a succubus. It was only the beginning, but Shen Qingqiu could sense where this was going to.

He buried his face in his hands. This was the last thing he wished for. Somehow he had a foreboding feeling for quite some time now, but seeing it for himself made him feel worse.

If only he didn't turn into a beast thirsting for sex, this would be enough.

Chapter Text

After the... incident, Shen Qingqiu wasn't able to lay down quietly again. He felt too disturbed, and so he began reading. He had collected some books about demons when he found out what he will become. It was better to read stories and myths than being unprepared. But soon he became bored. And a little scared.

In most of the tales the demons were described as cold, arrogant and heartless. Shen Qingqiu never thought that he was such a character. So would he become like this?

On the other hand, Mobei Jun seemed to be... quite fond of Shang Qinghua, so maybe this wasn't really true? Or were there exceptions of the 'rules'? Maybe demons could become attached to single beings? But what about the other people on Cang Qiong Mountain?

It confused him! It confused him way too much!

Other facts he read made him blush. Like demons could hold out very long while doing papapa... who would even research something like this?! Or who was brave enough to ask any demon?! Since it was mentioned so often, this seemed to be some kind of hot topic...

With a thud he shut the book when he saw an article mentioning the size of the manhood of demons, and the memory of Luo Binghe's demonic sky pillar flashed through his mind.

It was time to get some fresh air!

Since he wore the bracelet, he didn't have to fear that someone could see what he looked like right now. Only the missing clothes could irritate others, but that was fine. He would find some excuse if needed. But sitting outside felt good, and so he no longer hesitated and used the chance given.

The sun was going down, and the sky began to turn red. Still it was refreshing, and Shen Qingqiu barely held back from stretching himself, knowing, that this would hurt like hell. It was so good to feel no pain right now when moving normally, he didn't want to strain his luck. The two small bumps on his back were still there, waiting to grow more. This would hurt enough in the future.

He sat on the bench in front of his bamboo hut, watching the clouds wander over the sky. It seemed like Luo Binghe didn't found the recipe today, so he should return soon for the night. Well, that was the thing someone would do out of logic. But his disciple wasn't doing logical things; Shen Qingqiu was sure, that the young man would search on, not even taking a break. He sighed.

„Come back, Binghe“, Shen Qingqiu mumbled. „You should take care of yourself, too.“

It was only half a day since Luo Binghe was gone, and it already was too quiet around him. He really became attached to his disciple, and thinking about how he could lose the fight and Luo Binghe would fall into the abyss, only coming back after five years – the thought alone almost tore him apart.

But if the abyss plot wasn't avoidable, he would go with him. That was what Shen Qingqiu decided. If there was a way to stay together, he would choose this no matter what.

His wings trembled slightly as if they wanted to spread out, and Shen Qingqiu thought of taking off the cloth. But if he did so, he was doomed to sit outside until the other one returned, because he wasn't able to control them and hold them close to his body.

Ah screw it! He had to learn how to use them anyway!

And so he pulled off the cloth with one move. Gladly, Luo Binghe had wrapped it around his wings in a way so Shen Qingqiu could free them anytime.

He felt the wind blowing against them, rustling up the feathers. It already felt good, but it wasn't enough. With utmost care he unfolded them. It still was a strange feeling and it still was difficult, but since Luo Binghe helped him, he was able to move them a little bit, and slowly he spreaded them wide open. Now it was even better to feel the wind playing with the feathers, and he felt a little sad not to be able to fly.

Having wings wasn't that bad!

He folded them up, just to unfold them again. He needed to train them so they would carry him some day. He wasn't sure if he was able to use his sword ever again for traveling, so he needed to use what he got.

When his wings were spread wide open, he touched the feathers carefully. They were so soft, he understood why the young man liked touching them. With a faint blush he remembered, that Luo Binghe still was sticking the feather he had plucked out of Shen Qingqiu's hair at his crown, just like an accessory. It really seemed precious to him, and this made Shen Qingqiu blush more. It was a part of him after all, that the young man was carrying around all day.

As if the thought had summoned him, Luo Binghe landed before Shen Qingqiu right this moment. He seemed dejected. „This disciple is sorry, he wasn't able to find the recipe today. I thought of searching on, but I was worried how Shizun's condition is.“

Such a worrywart! But that really was cute.

„This Master is fine right now. I decided to train my wings a bit, so maybe I will be able to use them someday.“ As if to proof what he was doing, he moved the wings a bit. Luo Binghe's eyes brightened. „To see Shizun moving the wings makes this disciple happy. I like Shizun's wings very much.“

Gladly, the fading sunlight tinted Shen Qingqiu's face in red light, otherwise the other one would have seen the blush on his cheeks! „Don't say such things with a straight face“, he muttered and looked away in embarrassement.

Luo Binghe laughed heartily, enjoying the sight of a flustered Shizun before he sat down in front of him. Gently, he took his Shizun's hand in his. „Shizun is alright? Does anything hurt?“

Shen Qingqiu shook his head. „Right now I'm fine. I have a feeling, that this won't last long, but I don't complain.“

Luo Binghe nodded. „I will go searching for the recipe early in the morning. But this disciple was worried, that something could have happened to Shizun, so I came back...“

Ah, how sweet the young man was. It warmed his heart, and Shen Qingqiu had to admit, that it was a wonderful feeling to have him by his side, being concerned about him. It wasn't the first time he acknowledged this, but today the feeling was somehow more intense. Unconciously he began to smile.

Luo Binghe's eyes widened, and he stared at his Shizun for a while. This irritated Shen Qingqiu and made him insecure. „Binghe, what is it?“

„Shizun's smile...“ The young man gripped Shen Qingqiu's hand tighter. „Could... Shizun smile like this again?“

Since he didn't realize what he was doing, Shen Qingqiu tilted his head slightly. „I smiled?“

Excited, Luo Binghe nodded. „Yes!“ He went on his knees and like this he came closer to his Shizun's face. „Is it alright if thid disciples assumes Shizun is smiling... because of me?“

Shen Qingqiu opened his mouth but wasn't able to say something. After a moment he just nodded. „O-of course. Or is there someone else beside you?“ He felt his face heating up while he saw invisible puppy ears popping up on his disciple's head. With his free hand he patted him, earning a dazzling smile himself.

[Small scenario pusher activated.]

...huh? What was this about? Didn't the system say that it would only activate when he found the recipe?

Hearing the voice of the system came out of the blue. But before he could ask the system about it, a sharp pain was rushing through him, manifesting in his throat and his temples.

„Ungh...“

He toppled over and was caught by his disciple. „Shizun!“ Luo Binghe cried out and hugged him tightly. They were so happy a moment before, why was this happening right now?! He clenched his teeth, trying to suppress his anger and his concern.

Shen Qingqiu buried his face on Luo Binghe's shoulder. His whole body was shaking uncontrollably. Soothingly, Luo Binghe stroked his back, trying to comfort his Shizun as much as possible. „Stay strong, Shizun! I'm here with you!“

„Binghe“, Shen Qingqiu said through clenched teeth, and he realized something was wrong with his voice. But the pain was too intense, and so he didn't have time to think about it. And he didn't noticed the shudder running through Luo Binghe's body when he heard his Shizun saying his name.

Only slowly the pain faded, and it was then when he himself smelled the faint sweet scent wafting through the air. The oh-so-familiar sweet scent. Shen Qingqiu swallowed. Suddenly his throat felt dry.

Again the young man was shuddering.

„Shizun, I have a problem.“ Luo Binghe was a mere whisper, and he stopped stroking. Instead, is fingers trailed over the back where the wings were attached. It made Shen Qingqiu wiggle slightly, a wave of... pleasure rushing through his body instead of pain. The young man knew how sensitive he was there!

„Binghe...stop...“

When Shen Qingqiu heard his own voice, he instantly shut up. It was his voice, but... it was filled with lust and seduction!

Oh no... did the system turn him into a man eating plant?! What kind of scenario pusher was this?!

He tried to free himself from the hug of his disciple. Luo Binghe didn't want to let go at first, but then he pulled back a little. Shen Qingqiu then lifted his hands to his temples, trying to find out if his fear came true. And he was right. He could feel the tiny flowers growing there, a few on he left, a few on the right, just above the ears. They were obviously in full bloom and spreaded the alluring scent surrounding them. Paired with his voice he became the perfect honey trap.

Looking at Luo Binghe he saw, that the young man already was caught. His gaze was a bit blurry, and he began transforming, becoming more and more mature. „Shizun, I... I really have a problem here...“

Luo Binghe's voice grew deeper, giving Shen Qingqiu goosebumps. But he wasn't scared, he felt... excited. He wanted to hear this deep voice more. Wanted to... touch the man in front of him.

Fuck.

And while he welcomed the tongue of his disciple in his mouth and felt it growing into the overly interesting split tongue of the demon, his arms laid himself around Luo Binghe's neck, pulling him closer to himself.

This was wrong. He had to do something.

But... why did this feel so good?

He felt fingers exploring his skin and massaging his back, returning to the sensitive wings and letting him give off sweet little noises into the kiss.

His mind was screaming no, his body was screaming yes, overpowering his mind and let his thoughts become a mere background noise.

Did Luo Binghe always tasted so sweet?

For a moment Shen Qingqiu's mind got the upper hand, and he ended the kiss, breathing heavily. „Binghe... no, we...“, he started to talk, but suddenly he was pulled forward and found himself on the lap of a full-fledged demon who was panting heavily himself. Luo Binghe laid his forehead against his Shizun's and stared deep into his Shizun's eyes. „Shizun, I... this problem I talked about...“

Luo Binghe's voice was hoarse, and finally Shen Qingqiu realized the hard member pressing against him in his full demonic size from below.

Now he really understood the problem.

His wings opened automatically, just like Luo Binghe's, and they embraced each other with them, forming a cocoon, shutting out the rest of the world. Their own private space, just made for the both of them, two heated bodies, two people longing for each other.

Yes, he understood it. Because he shared the same prolem down there.

Chapter Text

Shen Qingqiu's face was beet red, his heart was racing and his lips were moist and swollen from the kiss. He was the embodiment of lust and sexappeal, and Luo Binghe groaned. „Shizun, I... I can't hold back like this!“

He captured the lips of his Shizun and kissed him forcefully. He held back for so long! And now his Shizun was ready, waiting for him, inviting him...

They both tried to part at the same time, and both were looking at each other with guilt in their eyes. „We need to stop“, Shen Qingqiu whispered, and Luo Binghe nodded. But a moment later they were kissing again, while Shen Qingqiu was pressing himself against the demon, rubbing himself slightly at the demonic sky pillar.

The loud moan coming from the demon brought Shen Qingqiu to his senses. This was wrong, so wrong! He couldn't begin to count in how many ways this was wrong!

His body didn't want to move like he wanted to, but he forced himself with all of his might to retreat, and slowly he pulled himself back. „Binghe...“ His eyes were pleading, but it wasn't because Shen Qingqiu wanted more.

Luo Binghe growled again. He wanted to ravish his Shizun, wanted to penetrate him, but seeing the gaze of him, he stopped. Now it was him who was burying his head on his Shizun's shoulder. „What... what should I do, Shizun?“

„Stop. Please. You are bewitched... this is not you acting here. And this is not me, either.“

Shen Qingqiu's voice was a mere whisper. He didn't trust himself to speak louder, for he didn't know what this would do to his disciple. But his words seemed to reach the other one, whose hot breath was tickling his chest. „Shizun...!“

Soothingly, Shen Qingqiu began stroking the demon's head. His own body was screaming for more attention, but he didn't give in. Even if it was hard, he had to stay strong! Small scenario pusher? Screw it! What kind of scenario should be pushed here anyway?!

While cursing inwardly, Shen Qingqiu suddenly heard some voices in the distance which slowly were coming closer. Ming Fan and Ning Yingying! Why were they here?!

No, it didn't matter. They were here, and if nothing happened, they would catch them in this compromitting pose! „Binghe! We have to hide!“

Luo Binghe didn't move. Panicking, Shen Qingqiu tried to shake his disciple, but suddenly he was scooped up and with some strong moves of the wings the demon lifted them both up into the air. Shen Qingqiu yelped in surprise and held on the other one tight. He felt the young man tremble, and Shen Qingqiu wasn't sure if this was out of anger, frustration, lust... maybe all of them. And so he tried not to move anymore to prevent provoking a wrong reaction.

-

They landed next to the waterfall in the Bai Zhan Peak territory where they hid before. With a splash they dove into the cold water.

Gasping, Shen Qingqiu emerged on the surface, and instantly he was hugged again. „Binghe...!“

„I'm sorry, Shizun.“

Large black wings were wrapping around them, and Shen Qingqiu could feel them trembling. Just like the young man.

He still felt overheated, but slowly it began to fade. Good. That was good.

He opened his mouth to speak, but he closed it again. Knowing his voice would do the situation no good, he just shook his head and patted the other one soothingly.

As if he could read his Shizun's thoughts, Luo Binghe spoke more. „Shizun is too forgiving. I almost did something ugly to Shizun...“

Slowly, the young man began to turn back. The water had washed away the scent for now, and the panic to be caught paired with the cold bath had woken him up fully. Only the wings remained unchanged, still shielding them from everything else.

Again, Shen Qingqiu shook his head. He gave the young man a small peck on the forehead before he smiled a bit.

For now it was over. Naked and wet they were standing there, but the lust crawled back to where it had emerged from and setting them free for now. Shen Qingqiu sighed in relief. He wouldn't be able to forgive himself if he did something to his disciple without consent.

Consent...

So he was willing to go that far?

Feeling the blood rushing to his face, he tried to hide it, but Luo Binghe cupped his face with his hands and stared him into the eyes.

Young man?! What are you doing?!

„Is Shizun alright?“

...what?

Shen Qingqiu stared at his disciple in disbelief. He still was worried about him?! He was the one who bewitched him, who almost made him go through something like this! So why was he still concerned?

He felt like crying.

The pain, the weakness... everything was bearable. But doing something to Luo Binghe...something that would harm him in any way... it would tear him apart.

Feeling, that his Shizun wasn't well, it was now Luo Binghe who was stroking him soothingly. „Everything is fine. As long as Shizun is alright.“

„Binghe...“, Shen Qingqiu whispered. His heart was full of emotions, and he wanted to say so much, when he heard a rustling sound. Startled, he tried to turn around but was caught by his disciple who was shielding him with his wings. „Who is there?!“

A moment later, Liu Qingge appeared at the lakeside. He crossed his arms when he saw the both of them in the water, while his ears turned red.

„I don't want to know what exactly you two are doing, but you are way too conspicuous.“

Luo Binghe's eyes were focused on the Peak Lord, and he didn't intend to let his Shizun go. Shen Qingqiu struggled for a moment in the young man's arms until the other one understood and let go. Slowly he showed himself in front of Liu Qingge.

Seeing Shen Qingqiu with a bare upper body and soaking wet, he blushed a bit harder. „As a Peak Lord, shouldn't you at least be fully dressed?“

Shen Qingqiu lowered his eyes a bit before looking up again. His fingers trailed to the bracelet which hid his true form.

„...won't you speak to me?“ Liu Qingge lifted an eyebrow, his gaze sharp and piercing, but it was Luo Binghe who answered. „He can't.“

„He can't? Why-“, Liu Qingge began talking, but he abruptly stopped when Shen Qingqiu took off the bracelet. His eyes went wide.

„My voice...“ Softly, he only said these two words, but it already had its effect. Was the other Peak Lord staring at first, now he was beet red and took a step back. „You...!“

Luo Binghe wanted to lay his wings around Shen Qingqiu again, but the other one shook his head. Now that the effect of the small scenario pusher wore off, he had difficulties again to move his wings. But finally he was able to show them to the other Peak Lord before folding them up again.

The other Peak Lord should see what was happening, maybe he would understand then.

Gasping for air, Liu Qingge sat down on the ground.

So maybe this wasn't a good idea? It pained Shen Qingqiu a bit, and lowering his gaze again, he put on the bracelet. He wanted to turn away, when he suddenly heard a voice.

„Can... can I touch them?“

Chapter Text

Silence fell over the three of them.

Did he hear this right?

He turned back around and saw the Peak Lord staring at him. There was some kind of excitement in his eyes, something Shen Qingqiu never had seen on Liu Qingge. He reached out and touched his bracelet, when he felt a strong grip at his arm.

„Don't.“

Luo Binghe's expression was ugly, and his eyes were flaming red. „No one should ever touch Shizun's wings beside me.“

Young man, what are you saying? Jealousy is getting the better of you again!

Shen Qingqiu's gaze seemed to say everything because instantly Luo Binghe's face became beet red and he lowered his gaze. „I'm sorry, It's just...I...“

Gently, Shen Qingqiu stroked the cheek of the young man. He understood him somehow. Luo Binghe cared for him the whole time, saw the wings growing, saw how his Shizun became more and more a demon. He was the only one that close, and being a halfbreed himself made the bond between them even stronger.

But still... if Shen Qingqiu had to give the relationship between him and Liu Qingge a name, it was friendship. And a good one at that. He already did so much for him, if this was a way to repay him, it was nothing.

He leaned in. „Bear with it“, he whispered, before he finally faced Liu Qingge and removed the bracelet.

Again, Liu Qingge's eyes went wide when the wings were spread out in front of him, and slowly he stood up. „I knew the transformation would be... interesting, but this is...“ Since he was not the man of words, he needed some time to think. „Beautiful“, he finished his sentence, while Shen Qingqiu slowly stepped closer and out of the water.

The lower parts of the wings were wet, and so they were shimmering even more, looking more greenish like this. It was Shen Qingqiu's color after all, and it suited him so much!

When Shen Qingqiu was standing in front of the other Peak Lord, Liu Qingge reached out and let his fingers wander over the feathers so gently, as if he was afraid to break them. This, too, was something, the usual Liu Qingge wouldn't do. When the wings quivered under his touch, he hastily retreated his hand. „Many thanks“, he said in awe before stepping back.

The fierce looking disciple behind Shen Qingqiu didn't stay unnoticed. Liu Qingge chose to not say anything to him, even if he wanted to. It would cause unneccessary problems, and Shen Qingqiu looked like he had enough trouble at hand at the moment.

When Liu Qingge retreated, Luo Binghe stepped closer. „We will take our leave now“, he said with a growl and wanted to scoop up his Shizun again, when Liu Qingge spoke up. „You fled for a reason, so are you sure it is safe to return now?“

„...“

Luo Binghe bit his lip. He didn't want to admit, that the Peak Lord was right, but he had no choice. And since the transformation into a demon shredded his clothes, he wasn't able to approach the bamboo hut without raising suspicion. And so he looked away, saying nothing.

Shen Qingqiu sighed.

„Stay here for a while. I'll manage.“

Giving out this order, Liu Qingge unsheathed his sword and flew away, not waiting for an answer. Shen Qingqiu could see the red ears when the wind rustled up Liu Qingge's hair, and he admired him for being able to keep his composure until the end. He then turned around, only to find himself in a tight embrace.

„Shizun... don't do something like this!“

He heard the tembling in the young man's voice, and gently he returned the embrace.

„Don't be jealous“, he whispered. „He won't take your place.“

The young man nodded, but he still held his Shizun tight, refusing to let go. „Shizun shouldn't show himself to others carelessly. Who knows how they will react!“

Luo Binghe was right. Whispering lowered the effect of his voice, but Shen Qingqiu still began to look more and more alluring, and when the transformation went on like this he didn't need the voice anymore to bewitch others. When the transformation was over and he could finally use demonic powers, he needed to learn how to control this and how to hide his appearance even without the bracelet!

He felt the demonic wings of his disciple laying around him again. „I'm sorry, Shizun... this disciple just wants to protect...“

„I know... thank you.“

When he tried to part from his disciple, Shen Qingqiu felt a soft touch trailing along his bare arms. The young man only let go while stroking him gently, and Shen Qingqiu smiled slightly.

„Shizun should rest now“, Luo Binghe said warmly. „It's almost nighttime.“

Before he could say anything, Shen Qingqiu felt scooped up again and carried by the young man. It became a habit, and right now Shen Qingqiu felt the stress of the day washing over him, making him fatigued, so he didn't protest but let himself be carried into the cave they had stayed for a while. The setting seemed so familiar yet so much was different right now.

He was placed on the mat they had slept before, but this time he wasn't hugged from behind. It simply wasn't possible, and the two smaller bumps began aching again, so Shen Qingiu curled up, laying on the side. Luo Binghe placed his Shizun's head on his knee to give him a pillow, and Shen Qingqiu cursed inwardly the fact, that the other one was naked. He had a clear sight on the bare belly and chest from his angle, and if he stretched himself a bit, he could see other well-matured parts.

Why could his disciple not sit behind him?! How shameless!

But the fatigue soon took its toll, and the warm hand, that began stroking his hair, did its thing, too, and so he closed his eyes and fell asleep quite soon.

-

Unbearable pain was shooting through his body in the middle of the night, and he was waking up with a scream. His whole body was on fire, and he began kicking around himself out of desparation.

„Shizun!“ Luo Binghe tried to hold him, but it was no use. The pain was too much, and with enormous power he was pushed away.

Shen Qingqiu rolled on his knees just to topple over again, putting his arms around himself. His whole skin seemed to move in ripples as if something was underneath and tried to break out.

„Aaaaargh!“

He scratched himself, leaving bloody wounds on the white skin before he buried his face in his hands, digging the nails deep into the flesh. His wings moved uncontrollably, hitting the wall and scratching themselves until blood dripped down.

It hurts, it hurts it hurts!!! He would go crazy!!!

Helpless, Luo Binghe was doomed to watch his Shizun doing this to himself. Tears were welling up, but every time he tried to come closer, he was pushed away again. Every touch was pure agony for his Shizun, and he heard the screams that pierced his heart.

Black lines began moving under the skin, covering the veines bit by bit. Dim green light began emitting from Shen Qingqiu's body, faded into the air and disappeared.

It was his spiritual energy as cultivator. Every last bit was forcefully banned from Shen Qingqiu's body, causing him to writhe in pain. His veins felt like dark slick was poured into them, leaving no space for his own energy anymore. His heart was filled with it, too, while his sight turned bloody red.

And there was lots of energy. Shen Qingqiu wasn't the most powerful cultivator, but he wasn't that bad, either. It took the whole night and the whole morning where he hurt himself and screamed until his voice was hoarse until it finally was over and Shen Qingqiu gladly fell unconcious.

Luo Binghe caught his Shizun, tears flowing free. He couldn't do anything but watch the whole time, and with a sob he pressed his Shizun to his chest. „I'm sorry, Shizun, I should have found the recipe to ease the pain! I'm so sorry, please forgive me!“

Chapter Text

„Awake again?“

When Shen Qingqiu opened his eyes, it wasn't Luo Binghe who was waiting for him. Liu Qingge was beside him, applying ointment to the wounds he inflicted on himself at night. Needing some time to understand the situation he tried to look around, but his whole body felt so heavy he wasn't able to lift his head even a little bit.

„Your disciple went away.“ Liu Qingge went on with his work, and it stinged a little where the ointment covered the wounds. Shen Qingqiu opened his mouth, but no sound was heard, only something that was similar to a cawing. Due to his screams he had lost his voice temprarily, and so he closed his mouth again.

„Right now your energy level is that of a normal human“, the other one said. „You are no longer a cultivator.“

Oh. So that happened. That was the reason he felt so empty inside.

But why was Luo Binghe nowhere in sight?

He opened his mouth again, but he still wasn't able to speak properly. „B...in...?“, he coughed out in a hoarse voice.

„Your disciple was panicking when I arrived.“ The Peak Lord ended the treatment and sat back so Shen Qingqiu could see him. „He mumbled something about a recipe and disappeared as soon as he wore some clothes.“

That sounded like his disciple. But on the other hand, leaving him with Liu Qingge... the young man must be scared to the bone. It pained him that he was responsible for this, but there was nothing he could have done. He still remembered the pain, and even if it wasn't intense anymore, it was still there.

„Sleep.“ Liu Qingge's face was stern as always, but Shen Qingqiu thought to see a hint of concern. „It's the best way to recover.“

His lips formed a 'yes', and he obediently closed his eyes. To recover...what a nice thing that would be.

-

[Congratulations. Mission 'Retrieving the recipe' accomplished. 150 points were added.]

The voice of the system woke Shen Qingqiu up. So Luo Binghe succeeded? What a good thing!

He held his eyes closed for while longer, when he heard a whisper in the distance and then someone stepping closer. He heard the rustle of clothes and felt a hand gently stroking his head.

„Binghe...?“

His voice was still barely hearable, but at least he was able to speak.

The stroking stopped for a moment before it began again.

„I'm here, Shizun.“ The voice was full of warmth. „How is Shizun feeling?“

„Weak. Empty.“ He inhaled deeply. Yes, his whole body felt like an empty shell, even his heart felt somehow hollow. He clumsily reached out to touch his disciple and felt his hand grabbed gently. Ah, no, he wasn't entirely hollow. He still had his feelings for his disciple.

„I found the recipe“, Luo Binghe suddenly said. „I brought it over to Peak Lord Mu. He said he will have the medicine ready tomorow morning.“ Silence fell over the two of them, before the young man continued. „Im sorry, Shizun. If only I have found it earlier...“

This made Shen Qingqiu open his eyes. In front of him kneeled an utterly miserable looking disciple with swollen eyes, holding his hand. Seeing him like this pained him even more than the transformation before. „Don't...“

He tried to sit up, but his body was too weak, and so he fell back down again. Luo Binghe cried out and leaned forward, and that was the moment Shen Qingqiu was able to lay an arm around him and gave him something like a hug. „Don't...“, he repeated. „Not your fault...!“

Luo Binghe's eyes went wide, but then he pulled his Shizun up as gentle as possible to give him a proper hug. „Shizun is right. I won't say it again.“

The warmth of the other one's body, the familiar scent and the soft caressing moves of the young man's hands let Shen Qingqiu feel at ease for the moment. He knew the day had to come, but officially being no cultivator anymore made him sadder than he tought. He lived here for three years and got used to all that stuff, that this became an important part of his life for him. Now that he was robbed of it, he missed it dearly. And he felt even weaker than ever before.

He would have to depend on Luo Binghe a while longer.

-

As promised Mu Qingfang visited in the morning. They had decided to stay in the cave until they got the medicine in case another transformation attack occurred. But the night was peaceful, and even if Shen Qingqiu wasn't able to sleep, he still was able to rest. Luo Binghe was telling him stories of the past, from the time before he entered Cang Qiong Mountain. It was nice to listen to him talking about his mother, the washerwoman, so warmly.

„Shizun already knows all the stories, doesn't he?“ A little embarrassed Luo Binghe was rubbing his nose, but Shen Qingqiu shook his head. „Just basics...“

The novel never went deeper into Luo Binghe's past. So many words were wasted on how the protagonist did papapa, but almost none were left for how he lived with his mother. To hear it now made Shen Qingqiu sad and proud at the same time. Luo Binghe's past was hard, but it was full of love and affection, too. Well, until he met the original Shen Qingqiu.

When Mu Qingfang finally arrived, Luo Binghe was telling him about an incident, where he used the wrong detergent and the whole clothes turned blue. Mu Qingfang waited at the entry of the cave with a smile until the young man ended. He then stepped forward.

It was obvious that he didn't sleep last night, too. But he seemed satisfied when he handed Luo Binghe a bag full of pills. „I made it. They're ready.“

He then kneeled down in front of Shen Qingqiu and inspected him. With utmost care he poured some of his spiritual energy into the body, only to be repelled instantly.

„It's no use“, Luo Binghe said. „I already tried.“

Mu Qingfang nodded. „Your spiritual veins are not able to take in the energy right now“, he said to Shen Qingqiu. „We have to wait a bit more until they recover.“

He was rummaging through his bag he carried with him, and he pulled out the familiar pills that transformed Shen Qingqiu into a plant-like being. „You told me the plant is still rooting inside of you and is growing within your spiritual veins, transforming them into demonic ones. Maybe you can speed up the process with this.“

Shen Qingqiu nodded. It was a good idea. He was sick of being weak, sick of laying down all day!

„But take the painkillers first. You should take them two times a day to protect yourself from pain. It's possible that you feel numb from time to time, but that's normal. Just wait a bit and it should fade away.“

„Thank you“, Shen Qingqiu whispered, and Mu Qingfang shook his head. „Get over this soon, everyone is worried and want to see you in good health again.“

-

When Mu Qingfang left, Shen Qingqiu sat up and stared at the mass of pills piling up in front of him again. He sighed.

A hand was placed gently on his shoulder.„It's for the best. And it is only for a short time. Please bear with it, Shizun.“

Yes. It was now or never. He already had gone half of the way, the rest would be a piece of cake. And now was the time to end the punishment, so he could return to a somehow normal life.

He took one painkiller in one hand, a cup of water in the other one. „Then let's begin“, he whispered.

Chapter Text

„Is Shizun alright?“

Luo Binghe was sitting in front of Shen Qingqiu with a worried expression. His Shizun sat with closed eyes for a while now, not moving nor talking. He had taken a painkiller and one of the plant pills, and since then he was staying in this position. But when his disciple asked him, he nodded slowly and opened his eyes.

They now where tinted in a brilliant green color and seemed to glow. Fascinated, Luo Binghe couldn't resist and stared deeply into them. A bit embarrassed and not knowing why his disciple reacted like this Shen Qingqiu tried to look away, but he felt a hand on his chin and his head turned back.

„Everytime I think there is no way Shizun could become more beautiful, it happens“, Luo Binghe said, still staring. „Where should this lead to? How should this disciple protect Shizun from others who will come to snatch him away?“

„Stop talking nonsense.“

Shen Qingqiu was searching for his fan which gladly was brought over by Liu Qingge, too, so he could hide his reddening cheeks, but Luo Binghe didn't let him. He still held his Shzun's head in place. „It's no nonsense. I'm very glad, Shizun is wearing the bracelet to hide his appearance.“

He felt like a maiden being wooed, and he was asking himself again how and why this young man was able to drop such cheesy lines easily. He finally was able to free himself and grabbed his fan.

„To answer your question: I'm alright. The painkiller is working.“

Luo Binghe smiled in satisfaction. „Are Shizun's spiritual veins changing?“

This was only answered with a nod. Shen Qingqiu felt the plant growing rapidly inside of him, and it was a weird and uncomfortable feeling, but at least it didn't hurt anymore.

„Then Shizun will soon be able to use spiritual energy again.“

To use spiritual energy – even if it was demonic one, meant to be able to defend himself again. And to learn new skills like changing appearance by will. It was something Shen Qingqiu waited for since the whole thing started. And finally it was within reach.

He closed his eyes again. „I think we can return later to our home.“ He didn't see what his words were doing to his disciple, words, which were said careless but held a special meaning for Luo Binghe.

'Our home.'

The home of his Shizun and him.

„Yes.“ Luo Binghe's voice was a mere whisper, and Shen Qingqiu tilted his head slightly in bewilderment. He heard the other one stand up. „I-I'll make preparations then!“, he said before rushing away.

The face of the young man was beet red, his heart was pounding heavily in his chest. His Shizun told him once, that here on Cang Qiong Mountain was Luo Binghe's home, too, but to hear it said like this... it was almost like they were a real couple living together! Maybe this meant nothing for his Shizun, but for Luo Binghe it was being accepted by his Shizun's side on a more intimate base.

Deep inside his heart he knew, that his Shizun accepted him long time ago, but being such an insecure person, he needed to hear it time and time again.

His Shizun. Only his. He really needed to search for ways to hide him.

A hint of red flashed through his eyes before he began packing up the things Liu Qingge had brought them.

-

They returned unnoticed in the evening, and Shen Qingqiu breathed a sigh of relief. The last thing he needed were some nosy bratty disciples sniffing around.

When the thought crossed his mind, he swallowed. He was the one who was insisting on using the names of everyone out of respect. To think about them like this was... new. And it shocked him.

So the transformation was influencing his feelings, too? Was his heart growing cold for real?

This was something he would never accept!

He chose a different path than the original Shen Qingqiu who hated people so much or just saw them as pawns. And he wanted to continue to walk his chosen path.

His disciples. Wonderful human beings.

He sighed. This would be one of the hardest fights, that was for sure.

That moment Luo Binghe returned with some freshly made food. They both hadn't eaten since they fled, and the young man was right in saying both of them needed some nourishment to restore their energy.

As if his body had waited for this, his stomach rumbled in approvement. The young man smiled and sat beside his Shizun. „Hopefully, this will be to Shizun's liking.“

How could it not? The scent alone was mouth-watering!

Tasting some of the vegetables made Shen Qingqiu felt like he died and was reincarnated in heaven! Luo Binghe's food was always overly delicious, but this time he surpassed himself again. How could simple vegetables taste like this?!

When Luo Binghe saw his Shizun begin to smile, his heart began beating faster again. Yes, this must be the married life other people talked about. If only... if only this was real.

„Shizun, I...I...will always cook for you!“

He didn't had the courage to say the words he really wanted to say, but the reaction he got wasn't bad. It was a nod of approval and a warm hand on his cheek, stroking him gently.

Yes, his Shizun wanted him to do so! He would always have a place here!

When they finished eating, Shen Qingqiu turned to his disciple. „Please give me your blood.“

Luo Binghe instantly looked concerned. „Is Shizun sure? Shouldn't we wait a bit longer?“

With determination, Shen Qingqiu shook his head. „The faster the better. I can endure it now.“

Without the pain he didn't want to waste any more time. Maybe it was reckless, but if he had to break down because of a lack of energy or other reasons, then he should sum them up and shorten the time. It was for the best for both of them. He had to think about, that every day wasted on this was a day closer to the Immortal Alliance Conference. And he still didn't reach the 10.000 points needed. But he was close, so close! Giving up was no option!

Luo Binghe watched his Shizun intensely before he casted his gaze down. „If Shizun is sure of it, this disciple won't deny his request.“ He bit his finger and held it out to his Shizun.

Seeing the red drop on the fair skin, the urge to drink this blood was back. And he didn't hesitate to lay his lips around the tip of the finger, slightly sucking at it before licking up the tiniest bit left. He then closed his eyes.

Missing the pain, Shen Qingqiu still felt the heat rushing into every corner of his body. It was like touching hellfire itself, that burned everything instantly down into a crisp.

So this was Luo Binghe's energy in his purest form. The energy of the furtue demon king!

Feeling the heat concentrating on his back and ripping it open, Shen Qingqiu only could say thanks to this young man and Mu Qingfang for arranging the painkillers. Otherwise he wouldn't be able to endure it any longer.

Chapter Text

It took only two days until the changes proceeded significantly. The two bumps on the back turned into two smaller wings, while now his arms and legs were entirely covered in black scales, only leaving the hands and feet free of them. His fingernails and toenails, which were already black before, now grew sharp tips, and feathers were now growing fully around the ankles and wrists. He even discovered that his pubic hair down there turned into soft down feathers! It made him roll his eyes in annoyance.

Gladly, his spiritual veins seemed to be almost finished changing, because his disciple could pour some energy into him, helping him closing the wounds on his back.

It was exhausting for Luo Binghe, too, since he gave Shen Qingqiu only the purest essence of his bloodand some of his spiritual energy, and today was the day when the young man finally had to lay down and rest. To return at least a bit of the favor, Shen Qingqiu had offered his lap as a pillow, and the young man gladly accepted it.

They stayed quiet for a while, and Shen Qingqiu played with some strands of the soft hair, braiding it before loosening it up again. The young man sighed with his eyes closed.

„Shizun is so gentle today.“

Shen Qingqiu stopped for a moment before he began braiding the hair again. He tried to avoid using his voice as much as possible, since the effect on others intensified recently. Sometimes he whispered words, but he never spoke clearly since... then. But he didn't need to. In front of Luo Binghe, most words weren't necessary. As if the young man knew his thoughts, he often answered questions correctly by himself or just acted on his own. It was fascinating and gave Shen Qingqiu a feeling of a strong bond that could last forever.

How romantic, he thought with a slight blush.

„Shizun doesn't need to repay anything“, Luo Binghe went on with his eyes closed. „This disciple is just glad, that everything is moving forward now. This will do Shizun good.“

Fool. Don't think so much about me, you are the one who matters the most! You are the protagonist, and you are destined to have a bright and glorious future! At least, that is what I try to achieve for you.

But why am I so happy to bind you to me like this? It is the opposite of what I was fighting for all the time!

Shen Qingqiu let go of the hair and began stroking the head of his disciple instead. He admired the features of the beautiful face, the straight nose, the full lips. Every day that passed he became more and more handsome, and even if he knew how Luo Binghe would look like as an adult, seeing him grow into this man made him somehow proud. He thought Mobei Jun as handsome, too, and Airplane Bro once told him, that this was his ideal man. But for Shen Qingqiu, this young man was unrivaled, worthy of being the protagonist.

He suddenly had to smile. He was brought here because he had ranted over plotholes and a shitty writing style and was ordered to fix it. But did this mean this was still a novel read by others? Were there people sitting in front of their computers or smartphones, reading about his struggles and his feelings? Were they laughing or pulling out their hair in frustration? Maybe a lot of the readers already quitted reading because this had nothing to do with a stallion novel right now.

He would never know. But the thought alone was interesting, and it let him miss his home for a moment. Imagining the face of his mother when she saw him right now, barely recognizable... she would be shocked at first and then would begin to sort out the feathers. His sister, too. „A-Yuan, look at you! All messed up again!“

His heart hurt.

Luo Binghe seemed to notice something was wrong, and so he caught Shen Qingqiu's hand with his own and placed a kiss on the palm. „If only Shizun would be happy again.“

Ah, now he had worried the young man. Don't, Binghe, don't be sad!

„I am“, he whispered. „With you. And it will be even better soon.“

The young man smiled. „Shizun really is gentle today.“

The gestures of Luo Binghe reminded Shen Qingqiu, that he had a home here now, something like a family, and... someone dear to him. May it be a fictional world, for Shen Qingqiu, this became reality.

He suddenly felt the grip on his hand soften, and a steady breathing was heard. Looking down, he saw the sleeping face of the young man. Another smile spreaded over his face.

„Sleep well, my dear“, he whispered before he began stroking the other one's head gently again.

-

„...I don't like this.“

When Luo Binghe had rested properly, he was eager to give his Shizun more of his blood. Was he worrying over the consequences at first, he now was ready to give his all for his Shizun. And Shen Qingqiu accepted, since the transformation seemed to speed up in aa way he could bear with it, and he hoped to see the end of it. But now he was touching his upper body in disappointment.

This body wasn't overly muscular to begin with, but it was well-built, and Shen Qingqiu was proud that he was able to maintain the shape. But it was all in vain right now. The transformation had other plans with him.

He grew a few inches – it seemed the system liked its demons tall -, but when he grew, his body became slender and wiry and again more androgynous. He still was small compared to Luo Binghe's demon form, though, but he was taller than all the other peak lords now.

„Shizun shouldn't mind. It suits the elegant wings.“

Of course he did mind! Maybe it was fine for the young man, he was the one with muscles. Even now he had a more 'bulky' build with his muscles only beginning to show, and he was still growing! Shen Qingqiu came from another world and was transferred to a body he could only dream of otherwise. And now he lost it again.

He sighed.

If there ever would be more between him and Luo Binghe than their actual relationship, with this the system told him who would be the female part.

Wait.

He turned a bit away from the young man to hide his burning cheeks. Thinking about such a possibility, this was so embarrassing! Especially when he felt his heart say 'why not?'!

He turned his head back to the young man.

A familiar feeling began crawling up, and instantly he grabbed the young man's hand and pointed outside. Fresh air, he needed fresh air!

Obediently, Luo Binghe helped his Shizun maneuvering out of the bamboo hut. The wings were wrapped up again, but to navigate with four of them still was very inconvenient.

Stepping outside, he inhaled the fresh air deeply, and he felt himself calming down again. He forgot that the stronger his demonic side grew, the more attracted it became to his disciple. But he was able to control it, so it was fine as long as it didn't explode like this one time. If that would happen again, well...

He didn't think further because he was distracted by his disciple who unwrapped his wings and spreaded them out. „Shizun should move them every time he has the chance to“, he said, and Shen Qingqiu nodded. Luo Binghe was right. He needed to train them, and he didn't had the chance to spread the smaller ones until now.

But now was the time.

He closed his eyes for a moment and concentrated. Gladly, he got the hang of moving the bigger ones, so this time it was more easy for him to feel the smaller ones attached to him. And really, with some effort he was able to move them slowly but steady until they were spreaded out fully.

Luo Binghe was watching from behind, ready to help. But when he saw them opened majestically, he walked around his Shizun to watch them from every angle.

„I would never think of Shizun as a demon“, he said with admiration. „Shizun's wings, they're so majestic... I like them so much.“

Shen Qingqiu reached out and touched Luo Binghe's cheek softly. He now was taller than his disciple again, but it didn't matter to him.

'And I like you.'

It was a sin. He wasn't allowed to say these words. Not now. Maybe some day in the future. But they manifested themselves in his heart, and he knew they would never leave him again.

„Thank you“, he whispered instead. „For everything.“

Chapter Text

Since Shen Qingqiu was stable for now, Luo Binghe was running an errand for him. He knew, the young man was highly alert all the time if anything happened, and so he tried to give him a change of pace to...well, relax somehow?

And he sent him away because he wanted to talk to Shang Qinghua.

Nosy as the other Peak Lord was, he followed the invitiation instantly, and now they were sitting together, sipping some liquor Shang Qinghua had brought over.

„You made a mess of my whole story“, the other Peak Lord said in a lamenting tone. „Now I don't even know what is happening anymore!“

'I think you lost track a long time ago.'

Shen Qingqiu had prepared some paper and was writing his speech down. The last thing he wanted was to arouse the other Peak Lord in any way. It took more time to communicate like this, but both of them agreed, that this was for the best.

„Maybe you are right.“ Shang Qinghua nodded. „At this point, the protagonist should have attracted lots of women and made his first attempts to... you know, papapa. Now he's stuck with you as your nurse. A shame!“

Papapa... thinking of this alone let Shen Qingqiu blush. 'I tried to make him stay with women, but-“

„Ayayaya!“ With a wave of his hand, Shang Qinghua stopped Shen Qingqiu. „Cucumber Bro, I don't think you did this right, but anyway! It doesn't matter. It seems like he likes it here, and so I think 'why not'! As his father I am happy to see my child growing into a fine adult, and I don't mind if he won't be blackened. It was a trick to attract more readers, but now that I am here, screw it! I will never know if this version is read by anyone anymore.“

Funny...he was thinking about the 'real world' recently, too. It seemed like they shared the same thoughts. But Shang Qinghua was right. They would never know if there was anyone out there to whine about the changes.

„But really, why didn't you do it already with him? I mean... I don't think he would say no.“

Really?

Shen Qingqiu still was sure, that the moment would come some day where his disciple would begin to build his harem. And when that day came, he didn't want to be hurt and left behind. And...

'This Binghe still is so young and inexperienced. This wouldn't work. He still has to mature.'

Shang Qinghua sighed deeply before he leaned over. „You know... his fate was entirely different. He is a strong character, I wrote him strong! And thirsty! You are the one who pampered him so much, you still do!“ He pointed at the other one. „You have feelings for him! I can see it clear as a day! You're the one blocking your own path here!“

Being scolded like this hurt Shen Qingqiu somehow, especially when it came from someone who wasn't able to write two chapters straight without any plothole! But what hurt more was the fact, that Shang Qinghua was right. He had to think things through when the abyss plot was over.

Thinking about the abyss plot...

'I still need some points.'

He looked deeply into Shang Qinghua's eyes who was downing his liquor in one go. Shen Qingqiu, who wasn't used to alcoholics anymore already felt a bit tipsy, but he didn't want to let this topic slip. It was the reason he invited the other one over after all!

'The transformation still takes too much time. I'm in a bind.'

The other one laughed. „Cucumber Bro, don't worry. When you're a full demon, the points will come to you. Mobei Jun told me, rumors are spreading in the demon realm, that a new powerful demon is about to be born. Whether you like it or not, confrontations won't be avoidable. And when the time comes, you will drown in the mass of points!“

This wasn't the news he was hoping to hear. But he wasn't really shocked. Luo Binghe had his connections to the demon realm through the Dream Demon Elder and Sha Hualing who still was attracted to the young man. Of course what was happening here didn't stay unnoticed.

„But don't worry!“ While Shang Qinghua was pouring them another drink, he smiled proudly. „I'll already make preparations in secret. Never underestimate the logistics department!“

Well, that was true. Even if Shang Qinghua wasn't reliable as an author, he worked hard to reach the place he was in now. So it was reassuring to know he got this covered.

'Thank you', he wrote before taking another sip of the liquor.

-

When Luo Binghe came back, he found two drunken Peak Lords laying on the ground sleeping. Mobei Jun was kneeling next to Shang Qinghua and inspected him. Alerted, the young man stepped into the hut. „What happened?!“

„Drank too much“, the ice demon said before lifting the Peak Lord up and vanishing into thin air.

„...“

Luo Binghe sighed before he sat beside his Shizun and taking his head on his lap. „Shizun, what did you do?“

The other one mumbled something almost soundlessly and rubbed his face against the leg he was resting on. So warm, so familiar! In his muddled mind he felt comforted, and a smile spread over his face. „Binghe~“

The voice was clear, and it was seeping right into the young man's heart, setting his needs aflame. He groaned. „Shizun, don't...“

The hand who was beginning to stroke his Shizun's hair clenched into a fist for a moment, and with utmost care he changed Shen Qingqiu's position and pulled him up a bit.

The eyes of the other one fluttered. Luo Binghe's cheeks were red, and he inspected his Shizun's face intensely if the other would wake up. But the eyes stayed closed, and so he swallowed nervously. „Shizun~“, he whispered. „I... I will kiss you now.“

Shyly he laid his lips on Shen Qingqiu's, kissing him softly while closing his eyes. He felt the other one's lips parting, and so he let his tongue enter.

The soft sigh he received let him breath heavily into his Shizun's mouth. As if this was their first kiss, his tongue wandered over the teeth and the tongue, explored the warm cave and tasted the overly sweetness of his Shizun. Over all the time they were doing this now he became quite the kisser, and even if Shen Qingqiu was drunk, he recognized this good feeling, and clumsily he lifted his arm to lay it around the young man's neck.

Luo Binghe didn't expect this, and so he jolted a bit backwards, cutting his tongue on Shen Qingqius teeth. A drop of blood was falling into Shen Qingqiu's mouth, and the other one moaned but didn't let go. Luo Binghe felt tiny fangs grow in his Shizuns mouth while he became a split tongue just like himself in his demonic form. He tried to let go, but his body refused to obey, and the kiss became wilder for some time before both of them parted while breathing heavily.

Shen Qingqiu slumped down again, his arm still around Luo Binghe's neck. „Shizun...should lay down properly“, the young man said while trying to lift the other one up again. „It's not good to lay on the floor.“

With some effort, Shen Qingqiu opened his eyes, and another smile flashed over his beautiful features, when he recognized his disciple. He now threw the other arm around Luo Binghe's neck, hugging him tightly. „Binghe...“, he whispered into the young man's ear. „I'm so glad you're here!“

„Shizun is drunk and should rest.“ He gently stroked his Shizun's back, and the other one nodded and obediently let himself be helped standing up and going over to the bed. When he laid down and was tucked in properly he reached out and grabbed Luo Binghe's hand. „Stay... with me.“

The young man nodded. „Of course. This disciple will stay until Shizun is asleep.“

„No...forever.“ Shen Qingqiu's eyes were already closing out of drowsiness. „I need you. Please don't leave me...ever...again...“

The steady breathing wasn't able to drown out the loud beating of Luo Binghe's heart.

„I won't“, he whispered. „I will never leave Shizun's side!“

Chapter Text

Headache! Headache!!

This was the first thing Shen Qingqiu noticed when he woke up. But how could this be? He only drank a bit, and he took the painkillers as he was told. Maybe they didn't work while having a hangover...?

Talking about a hangover, he couldn't remember how he was able to reach the bed. And why was his tongue feeling strange?

He slowly sat up and took a look at the mirror hanging next to the bed. Sticking out his tongue he saw the changed teeth, too.

Did he drink Luo Binghe's blood tonight?

What exactly happened?!

He buried his head in his hands and groaned. He really had a blackout. How embarrassing!

When he lifted his head again he was able to take a glimpse outside of the window, and he noticed, that it was early dawn. So he slept the whole night long. Luo Binghe must have brought him to bed. To be found in such a drunken state, what an impression did he make? Would he be able to look his disciple into the eyes ever again?

His train of thought was stopped when he heard something outside. Curious he stood up and opened the window fully, just to see his disciple train with his sword.

It was a marvellous sight.

There was no clumsiness of a youth left. Every move was precise and effective, brimming with elegance and might. Beads of sweat were glistening on his forehead and dripping down his chin, giving his features an alluring shimmer.

Shen Qingqiu couldn't do anything but stand there and watch in awe. He really was in love with this young man.

When he felt stared at, Luo Binghe stopped and turned to the window. When he saw his Shizun standing there, he smiled brilliantly. „Shizun!“

He sheathed his sword and hurried over. „How is Shizun feeling? Does Shizun need anything?“

Oh, so nothing embarrassing happened? Otherwise the young man wouldn't react like this, would he?

„...headache“, Shen Qingqiu whispered. „Otherwise I'm fine.“

Luo Binghe nodded. „This disciple will prepare breakfast then. I will make something light and nourishing.“ He wanted to turn away, but grabbing a towel laying nearby, Shen Qingqiu reached out to wipe away the sweat. Leaning out of the window and coming closer, he suddenly felt self-concious and only held the fabric out to the youth. „Don't catch a cold.“

With a hint of surprise on his face, Luo Binghe accepted the towel. „Shizun cares so much, many thanks!“ He then wiped the sweat off of his face with a swift motion and folded the towel neatly before tucking it away. „This disciple will wash it and bring it back to Shizun!“

„Ah~“ Shen Qingqiu reached out and wanted to stop the young man, but Luo Binghe was already on his way to the kitchen. With a sigh he stepped back into the bamboo hut, waiting for his breakfast. There wasn't anything else to do, and so he looked over some scrolls the young man had brought with him. There was a letter from Qi Qingqi.

'Get well soon, I'm tired of doing your work!'

She didn't appear in person, but when everything began moving, she was the one lending a helping hand and managed most of the affairs of Qing Jing Peak. He needed to thank her properly as soon as possible.

It really was a miracle, that he wasn't discovered until now, it was only because the Peak Lords were like one big family, never letting down the ones in need. Even Shang Qinghua, who once had the position of a traitor, changed over time. He thought Airplane Bro would fulfill his role until the end, but he decided to act differently and be part of the Cang Qiong Family, too. They almost seemed invincible.

Hopefully, nothing would happen to anyone here because of him. But if he really would become powerful, he swore to himself, that he would do anything to protect this place. His home. No, Luo Binghe's and his home. He would never let his heart grow cold towards this place or the people living here!

While he was thinking about the situation, Luo Binghe entered. He saw his Shizun sitting there brooding over things, and he took a moment to admire him.

Yes, he liked very much where the transformation was going to. It made his beautiful Shizun even more beautiful in his eyes. But the most important thing was: Shizun was here. Within his reach. And even if it pained him to see his Shizun suffer, being the one to comfort him – he would never want to trade this for anything else.

He cleared his throat loudly to get his Shizun's attention, and when his Shizun looked at him, he smiled. „Breakfast is ready.“

Shen Qingqiu nodded in approval when he saw the delicious food. He somehow felt hungry, and mildly boiled vegetables, rice soup and some fish usually wouldn't let his mouth water so much. But since it was made by his disciple, well... the scent alone made him dying of wanting to eat it. And with bliss he ate every last bit of it.

After he finished, he felt refreshed and ready to go on.

Rummaging through the overly large arsenal of pills and medicine Mu Qingfang had brought over until now, he found what he was looking for.

„This should be the final pill“, he whispered and swallowed one of the plant pills.

Yes, he felt it. Today was the day his spiritual veins would be complete. Another step closer to the end.

He grabbed the hands of the young man in excitement. Being able to fill himself with spiritual energy again was within reach.

Luo Binghe smiled, then looked at his Shizun's hands. „I can feel it“, he said. „Shizun had only to hold out a bit longer.“

The excitement faded, when Shen Qingqiu suddenly felt dizzy and began trembling. More and more he lost control over his movements, and helpless he fell forward against his disciple.

Luo Binghe caught him like so many times before and began stroking his head. „It's almost done. If possible, Shizun should try and relax.“

He didn't even need to relax. His body refused to move anymore with his limbs numb, and so he was hanging there, barely able to close his eyes. He felt the turmoil inside of him, the raging blood and the roots moving wild.

Suddenly everything stopped.

„Shizun can rest here.“

It was the dream realm. Luo Binghe was sitting beside him, while he himself was laying on the floor as a human. Slowly he sat up.

„You became quite fast in arranging this.“

Aaaah, how good it was to be able to talk again! At least he could communicate properly here.

„It is nothing. If it helps Shizun, this disciple would become even faster.“

How sweet of the young man! It tugged on Shen Qingqiu's heartstrings. „It is a very powerful skill“, he praised the young man, and with an embarrassed smile, Luo Binghe rubbed his nose. „I don't think it's that powerful.“ He then looked at his Shizun intensely. „This disciple is so curious what Shizun's power will be.“

„Hopefully something useful.“ Shen Qingqiu looked at his hands and sighed. „I feel like I wasted so much time for nothing.“

A warm hand was laying on Shen Qingqiu's shoulder. When he looked up again, the face of his disciple was quite close.

„...!!“

He wanted to say something, but Luo Binghe was quicker. „For me it wasn't wasted time.“ His gaze was earnest, and Shen Qingqiu had a hard time not to look away. „Every moment with Shizun is precious, even more when he relies on this disciple.“

Okay. Okayokayokay. That was enough! With a slight blush Shen Qingqiu turned away. „O-of course. You're the most reliable one.“

Strong arms were laying themselves around his shoulders, and he saw, that the dream Luo Binghe had turned into a demon. „Then rely on me more, Shizun“, he said with a low growl. „I think Shizun's body is ready now. This disciple will transfer some of his demonic energy into him.“

Chapter Text

Shen Qingqiu didn't have to ask how Luo Binghe wanted to transfer the demonic energy. When the handsome face draw nearer, he instantly closed his eyes, waiting for a kiss. And he was right. He felt the soft warm lips on his, the tongue begging for entry, and of course he let the guest in. The instant their tongues met, he felt a jolt of energy shooting through him, and he opened his eyes wide, staring into red glowing eyes in reality. He was gripped tight, and even when he began struggling, Luo Binghe didn't let go of him, nor did he end the kiss.

More energy was poured into him. It felt like there was a fire ready to be started, and the energy was the catalyst. And it was a mighty one! After a few waves of energy were poured into him, something began erupting inside of Shen Qingqiu. It was dark and thick, a swamp spreading out and swallowing his innermost essence. But the instant this energy entered the spiritual veins which were fused with the roots, it became a clear flow, reaching out into every part of his body, filling him up more and more.

He felt the changes, inside and outside. Closing his eyes again, he tried to concentrate on what was happening, but his disciple made it very hard. Their split tongues intertwined over and over again, and Shen Qingqi didn't know anymore who was kissing who. The world was spinning, taking every clear thought with it until everything was a muddled mess.

A ripping sound told Shen Qingqiu, that something on his body had cleared itself a path out of the few clothes he wore, but he ignored it. He was more interested in pushing his disciple down, even intensifying the kiss.

Luo Binghe held his Shizun close the whole time. Was the other one trying to free himself in the beginning, it changed now to greed for more intimacy, and when Luo Binghe tried to end the kiss, he wasn't able to.

Feeling the demonic energy grow in his Shizun, he wanted to give him time to get accustomed, but the other one simply refused by not letting go and even crawling up on his lap just to push him backwards. „Shi-“, he tried to speak when his tongue was free for a moment, but his Shizun didn't waste time and kissed him again. No energy was transferred anymore, it was the pure longing for the kiss.

Only when Shen Qingqiu felt like he was about to suffocate, he stopped and ended their interaction. This was the moment he finally realized what he was doing, and he sat back up, still straddling his disciple.

This was the moment, when Luo Binghe had the chance to look at his Shizun. A smile spread on the lips of the huge demon.

Two pair of horns were now growing on Shen Qingqiu's head, two large curved ones and two smaller ones. Just like before he had some make up-ish color around his eyes and deep dark lips. His whole stature was now sweet, alluring and demonish, breaking the boundaries of gender while looking overly appealing with a hint of danger most of the demons were showing. Well, this was regarding his upper body. Down there under the remaining clothes something seemed to be... well-grown, even if it wasn't comparable to a certain heavenly sky pillar. Long feathers were growing in the length of his hair, and a tail, just like Luo Binghe's, was winding around the younger one's leg, teasing him with the feathers growing at its end.

Luo Binghe's gaze turned back to the eyes which were staring at him. The demonic pupils were contracting a bit while the white of the eyes slowly turned black until they didn't look human anymore.

That moment, a demon mark began to glow on Shen Qingqiu's forehead, green and flower-shaped, and it seemed to resonate with the burning red mark on Luo Binghe's forehead.

It was done. The demon Shen Qingqiu was complete and born into this world. A demon of lust and greed, Luo Binghe noticed. A good mixture, he thought, feeling the thirst to possess this person above him.

Both demons were staring at each other in silence for a long time. It was Shen Qingqiu who moved first and kissed Luo Binghe's demon mark. „Shizun...?“, Luo Binghe whispered, and Shen Qingqiu nodded.

„It's over. Finally, finally it's over!“

With these words, Shen Qingqiu hugged the other demon tight. Yes, it was over. He still felt muddle-headed and had to sort out his feelings and the new impressions which were flooding his mind, but this one thought was clear.

No more pills, no more being sick and bedridden!

He felt... good. Strong. It was a different kind of being 'strong' to the time when he first realized the powers this body had to offer when he transmigrated. It was more wholesome and felt ready to be used anytime.

The warm stroking hands on his back gave him some self-conciousness, and slowly he tried to retreat, but still was held close by the other demon.

„Don't...don't ever take off the bracelet!“

Shen Qingqiu tried to look into Luo Binghe's eyes, but the other one buried his head on his chest. „Shizun is way too beautiful, I don't want anyone else to see!“

Not being able to see himself, Shen Qingqiu sighed. „I made a promise with the Sect Master“, he whispered, burying his nose in the soft black hair. Ah, the scent his disciple emitted was even stronger than before! He loved it so much, he inhaled it deeply before going on. „But I will avoid showing this form to others as much as possible.“

The younger one seemed satisfied. He then let go of the body just to grab the hands of his Shizun. „Shizun wants to look?“

Of course he wanted to look, he wanted to see his final form. But he was kind of scared, too. For a moment he closed his eyes, thinking. Then he shook his head.

No. It wasn't the right time now. This body still was new, and he wanted to get accustomed to it. He wanted to look into his own new face when he felt comfortable so there was no doubt left to grow in his heart.

„But I want to wash myself“, he whispered. Cleaning himself up was like washing away the past for him and beginning anew. He stood up with an elegant motion, and only then he realized, that something was attached to his lower half of the back that seemed strangely familiar.

A... a tail!

So he got one, too. How annoying! It was already hard for him to get the wings under control, but this had a will on its own! A bit helpless he had to feel it swishing back and forth. How did the young man endure this?

Looking at Luo Binghe still sitting on the ground made him frown. Because the young man was staring. Slowly he lowered his gaze, just to find... he was naked!

When he stood up, the ripped clothes had fallen down, and since it didnt feel.., wrong, he didn't realize. Now he turned away, feeling embarrassed. „Don't!“

The young man needed some time to collect himself, but then he stood up, too. „We need to cover up Shizun.“ He went to the dresser and searched through the chest until he found new skirts. „These have to do until Shizun can get new clothes.“

He helped his Shizun getting these on, and instantly Shen Qingqiu felt uncomfortable. So as a demon he liked to be naked? How shameless!

But it couldn't be helped. If this was part of his new nature as a demon, he needed to learn how to deal with this. Later. Now he had other urges to deal with. And that was taking a bath and clean himself.

A familiar voice suddenly rang out in his head.

[New plot unlocked: Living as a demon. New mission unlocked: Establishing life as demonic Peak Lord. Possible reward up to 2.500 points. Do you want to accept?]

2.500?! First you want to punish me, now you are luring me with so many points?! And what does 'up to' mean?

[Up to means, that there are different stages to reach which can be rewarded with different amounts of points. Do you want to accept?]

Of course he wanted to accept! So he didn't need to reach the goal to get points but had the option to gain some over time. Perfect!

Finally finishing the transformation and being offered such an opportunity – this really was a wonderful day!

Chapter Text

Stepping outside of the bamboo hut was like stepping into a new life. The warm rays of the sun were tingling on his skin, and Shen Qingqiu had to squint his eyes a litte. The birds sitting in the trees chirped, and it seemed to grow louder and full of joy, and the wind caressed his skin lovingly. This was how a D*sney princess must feel like. But wasn't he supposed to be a demon?

It seemed he needed to overthink his concept of demons!

There was nothing that felt 'evil' or different, at least at the moment. Even his negative thoughts about his disciples were gone for now. He had to look into this later again, but for now the relieve of leaving the pain and suffering behind was dominating his thoughts and his heart, and he enjoyed how the wind played with his feathers and his hair.

Luo Binghe stepped out after his Shizun. If anyone could see the two huge demons coming out of the small hut – he would never forget this sight.

Standing next to his disciple, Shen Qingqiu still had to look up. But he somehow loved his angle, and he enjoyed it for a moment before moving into the dircetion of the pond hidden inside the bamboo forest. His fingers trailed over some bamboo trunks on the way, savoring the feeling that was more intense than before. Every sense was sharpened, and so he stopped from time to time to just listen to the sounds surrounding him or to inhale the fragrances of nature.

Luo Binghe followed, his gaze steadily on his Shizun. He was so beautiful, so alluring now, it made his heart race. Behaving just like a newborn child, he gave Luo Binghe the feeling of wanting to protect him even more, to hug him, to explore this body in front of him from head to toe. He only barely restrained himself from doing so, instead following behind like a obedient puppy... well, demon.

And so they took their time to reach the pond, but they weren't in a hurry. The only thing that was left to do right now was to report to the Sect Master. And if he wasn't wrong, Luo Binghe was awaiting him visiting today. Yue Qingyuan came by regularily, even when his Shizun was unconcious.

A hint of jealousy was blooming within the young man whenever the Sect Master came by, but he learned to respect him even more, because Yue Qingyuan did everything to protect his Shizun – and him. Without discussion he included this halfbreed in everything after giving him permission to stay here, and even if Luo Binghe wasn't interested in deepening any social contacts, he wouldn't want to make this man angry or disappointed in him.

This was the only reason he accepted his Shizun's wish to show himself to the Sect Master.

When they finally arrived the pond, Shen Qingqiu had regained his composure he had for a long time as a scolar, and even if he was partly naked, he was radiating a refined and elegant aura, almost like an untouchable being. But when their gazes met, Luo Binghe saw the fire inside the demonic eyes that was only meant to be seen by him. It made him smile.

„Does Shizun need help?“

He came closer, and without waiting for an answer, he freed the wings which were wrapped in cloth again. Shen Qingqiu let his disciple help before he let the skirts fall to the ground. Stepping out of the pile of cloth he turned around and to his disciple. Standing on his tiptoes, he whispered into his hear. „Undress and then follow me.“ It made Lou Binghe shudder in excitement, and he hurried to get rid of his clothes, too. He didn't care that they were destroyed another time; they were mostly ripped apart because of the transformation anyway.

Meanwhile Shen Qingqiu entered the pond. He avoided looking at his reflection and instead dived deep into the water. When he emerged again, his disciple was standing behind him, waiting. He coulddn't resist and threw a coquettish gaze over his shoulder. He wanted to provoke him, to-

A strong hand wandered over his shoulder, wiping away the water and the strands of hair which were spreaded out. It felt so good and made him smile.

„Shizun is irresistable“, Luo Binghe growled with a deep voice.

Ah... tell me more! Irresistable? What a good description!

Shen Qingqiu turned around and caught the other one's hand. Bringing it to his lips he spreaded a few little pecks there before looking up through his long eyelashes again.

„Don't...provoke me.“

Ah, but I do want to provoke you, young man! I want to test how far I can go until-

Shen Qingqiu shook his head slightly to clear his thoughts. It wasn't like him to be so offensive, but now it felt like the right thing to do. Confused, he let go of the large demonic hand. „I'm sorry“, he whispered.

Luo Binghe wanted to say something when they heard someone clearing his throat loudly behind them. As predicted, Yue Qingyuan came by to look for Shen Qingqiu and cught them in such a compromitting pose!

„It seems you're doing well“, he said and sat down on a rock.

Shen Qingqiu slowly stepped back from his disciple, not looking ashamed at all like he usually did. He bowed respectfully – a comical sight for Luo Binghe, who was able to see the sensual demon bowing nakedly – before he slowly left the water and moved in front of the Sect Leader. 'I will show you', he moved his lips without a sound.

Yue Qingyuan nodded. It was unusual for him to see his Shidi naked, but when Shen Qingqiu removed the bracelet, he instantly knew why Shen Qingqiu stayed this way.

As if he was some kind of model, the newborn demon turned around in front of the Sect Master, showing him everything. Wings, tail, scales... and Yue Qingyuan was watching. His face didn't show any different emotions, but the whole time he didn't say a word.

When Shen Qingqiu was sure the Sect Master had seen the whole demonic body, he put on the bracelet again and dressed himself with the skirts. Yue Qingyuan was still watching him, his gaze only leaving him when Luo Binghe came out of the water and transformed back into his human form. Gladly, his trousers were intact, and so he was able to cover himself, too. Bowing in respect, he then kneeled down. „Shizun will need special clothes until he can hide his demonic features. This disciple humbly asks if it is possible for the Sect Master to take care of it.“

„Of course.“ Yue Qingyuan's gaze turned back to Shen Qingqiu, who smiled a bit embarrassed. This inspection finally made him feel very self-concious, and somehow he was glad to not have fully lost the feeling of shame and embarrassement. He noticed the faint hint of red on Yue Qingyuan's cheeks. So the big brother type was able to be flustered, too? Good to know! He didn't want to be the only one here feeling this way!

„I will talk to some seamstresses. Maybe I have to take measurements, but I will make it possible.“

Shen Qingqiu bowed again, and Yue Qingyuan sighed. „I felt, that your transformation has ended, when I came over, but are you alright? Are you feeling well?“ He reached out and laid his fingers on Shen Qingqiu's pulse. For a moment, he closed his eyes but retreated his hand quite soon. „The spiritual energy of a demon really is something different“, he said amazed. „But it seems to flow smoothly, so I don't need to be concerned.“

Again, Shen Qingqiu nodded. Yes, he could circulate the energy even better than before. It had been a good choice to trust Mu Qingfang's pills and the plant rooting inside of him. „Many thanks for your concern“, he whispered.

Yue Qingyuan smiled wryly. „I never thought something like this could happen. But looking at you, this has to be true. But maybe it isn't bad, having a demon on our side.“

He stood up and patted Shen Qingqiu on the shoulder. „I know I repeat myself, but if you are in need of anything, please count on your Shixiong!“

Yes, he knew this. He knew, that Yue Qingyuan was there, and without his support, Luo Binghe and himself would have never been able to withstood all this.

He would train hard to get his powers under control and go back to being the Peak Lord of Qing Jing Peak. And maybe he was then able to give something of the support he received back.

Chapter Text

After Yue Qingyuan had left, Shen Qingqiu wasn't interested in bathing anmore. He had his share of water and already felt refreshed. He stretched himself before he sat down on the rock the sect Master hat sat before and fixated his gaze at the young man.

They overcame another obstacle together. And now he reached the point, that enough was enough. Even if he liked what he became, he didn't want any more to happen.

He felt like he heard his mother's voice, saying: „There's always something wrong with you!“ And he couldn't deny it.

He was tired. He just wanted to gather the missing points and live on with Luo Binghe in peace. He just noticed it right now, when his disciple was looking at him with a warm gaze before squatting down in front of him.

„Shizun seems tired. Does he want to rest?“

Such a gentle young man, full of concern for him. Once again he asked himself how the original Shen Qingqiu was able to hate him so much and abuse him like he did. It just wasn't fair. He himself acted differently, instead of hating he exploited the kindness given to him. He didn't feel like this was any better, but there still was this person in front of him, smiling happily.

I like you.

I like you so much.

I can't pay you back for everything you did, but if my feelings for you would make you at least the tiniest bit happy, then...

He swallowed.

„I hope this is it“, he whispered. „That we now can live in peace.“

The young man nodded eagerly. „Shizun deserves a peaceful life.“

There it was again. Luo Binghe didn't put himself first, not for once. But how could Shen Qingqiu convince him to do otherwise?

„You too, Binghe. This concerns you, too.“

His movements were elegant when he leaned forward and began stroking Luo Binghe's head. The hair still was wet from the bath and was sticking to his forehead, and Shen Qingqiu gently wiped it away.

The young man was blushing slightly while looking up with his sincere gaze. This gaze didn't change over all the years, and this was something that had attracted Shen Qingqiu from the beginning. Whatever happened, Luo Binghe's gaze never faltered.

His hand was gripped by the other one and laid on the young man's cheek. „If it's possible, this disciple wants to train Shizun's voice first. This disciple misses to talk to him properly.“

Well, Luo Binghe was right. Shen Qingqiu thought of different things he needed to take care first, but not being able to talk was the greatest handicap here. He knew, that his voice right now could make others sexual aroused, but who knew what else could happen. He nodded.

„Tonight I will invite Shizun into another dream realm so we can make plans, if that's alright with Shizun.“

Again, he nodded. And he somehow felt excited to meet his disciple there. It was always a special place, created only for the both of them, and it always held a special meaning for him.

Luo Binghe smiled brightly, but then something caught his attention, and he began blushing deeply. „There... a feather has come loose on one of Shizun's wings. May this disciple have it...?“

Confused, Shen Qingqiu tried to look at his wings but wasn't able to detect something. And so he shrugged slightly with his shoulders before making an inviting gesture. The young man stood up, and one grip later he held the feather in his hand while gripping the other one still sticking at his crown. „Many thanks, Shizun!“ He gently stroked them, and it looked so soft and sensual, that Shen Qingqiu's heart began to beat faster.

„Why?“, he asked a bit hoarse, fearing if he said more his voice would provoke another reaction. But Luo Binghe understood. „Because they are beautiful. It would be a waste to throw them away.“

The first one was a bit ragged, but with few strokes Luo Binghe made it shine again. Shen Qingqiu had to look away, because he felt an urge rising up inside of him that would let him press the young man down just to get this gentle touch for himself.

Dangerous!

„I will meditate“, he whispered instead. He needed to find out how his new spiritual energy worked. A first circulation was successful, but he needed more time. And so he went into lotus position and closed his eyes.

Luo Binghe was watching him intensely. Seeing his Shizun in such a position with his wings around him, he really seemed like a celestial. He licked his lips and held himself back from trying out how this celestial would look like when he touched him in his most private places...

-

„So Shizun has some results?“

They were sitting together in the dream realm, both their adult human selves. Shen Qingqiu got used to the sight of Luo Binghe, since he always showed himself like this in front of him here.

„I need a bit more time, but I think I slowly understand it.“

The bamboo forest was surrounding them, the leaves rustling melodically while the water of the pond was showing slight ripples. They were at the same place as in the normal world, but here inside of Luo Binghe's mind, everything seemed more peaceful and relaxing. Without a reason, Luo Binghe had laid his arm around his Shizun's shoulders, but Shen Qingqiu didn't mind.

It was a place to calm down, so why not? If the young man wanted this, who was he to say no?

„So Shizun thinks he can get control over his voice?“

Shen Qingqiu nodded. „It is an ability I received with the transformation. My voice is directly connected to the spiritual energy. I have to suppress the flow, but I think it won't take me long.“ He frowned. „But this ability is way too powerful! If I can manage to get more control over it, I think I would be able not just to arouse people.“

Yes, it was powerful. And one side of him was afraid of it. But something inside of him was curious. Too curious. And he knew he wouldn't be able to resist learning more about it and trying it out.

Being a powerful demon, being able to control people at will. How appealing!

This was something that was added to his character through the transformation. He now was a demon after all, and he knew this would show itself sooner or later. But screw it! To learn new abilities and be able to use them wasn't something bad per se. So it was fine, right?

Right?

Chapter Text

Shen Qingqiu didn't need long to get the hang of this. He was a cultivator after all! And over the three years he was not only lazying around. Even if this was his initial plan when he transmigrated, when he decided to collect the 10.000 points to save his little flower, he began training more, too. With this knowledge he only needed two days to finally be able to speak normal again.

His voice still was a tad deeper than before and more soft and sensual, but it didn't had the alluring effect anymore.

It was a huge success for him. And for his disciple, too, who was celebrating this more than Shen Qingqiu himself! He prepared some kind of feast with lots of different dishes, and even if ten people would have been there, it was impossible to eat everything up. It really was cute to see Luo Binghe so excited, still it was a waste of food. A pity.

„You are exaggerating, Binghe“, he scolded the young man mildly, overwhelmed of all he delicious dishes. „I just learned something new, that's all.“

Luo Binghe shook his head. „Shizun finally talks to me again! I'm just so happy, I couldn't stop myself.“

…it wasn't on purpose that I stayed quiet, you know? Don't think I was ignoring you!

„Whatever. I hope, to control my appearance will go as smoothly as this. I want to take you out somewhere.“

This piqued the interest of the young man. „Take me out? Where to?“

„I don't know.“ Shen Qingqiu shrugged his shoulders. „Anywhere is fine, I want a change of pace for both of us.“

Luo Binghe's eyes sparkled. „Then... how about the town where we had our first mission together?“

Shen Qingqiu tilted his head slightly and tipped with his fan at his chin. Since the transformation ended, he used it regularily like before, with the tassel Luo Binghe made still attached to it. It now had a special meaning to him, and he carefully inspected it from time to time to see if it was alright or if he had to fix it.

„Is this place special to you?“

Luo Binghe's cheeks turned pink. „It was our first mission together after all. And...“ He stopped, than shook his head. „Never mind.“

It was the first time, Luo Binghe really felt attracted to his Shizun.

Curiously, Shen Qingqiu looked at his disciple, but Luo Binghe didn't say anymore, and so he sighed. „If this is your wish, then this Master will fulfill it as soon as possible.“

The hug he received almost threw him to the ground. „Stop, what do you think you are doing?!“

„This disciple is just so happy! Please let me... just for a while...“

Rolling his eyes he let Luo Binghe cling to him. Oh well... he learned to take a liking in these hugs, and so he savored this moment in silence.

-

More days went by, and Yue Qingyuan kept his promise and got some clothes tailored; they had an elegant high collar and long sleeves while they revealed his back. A slit for his tail was sewn into the skirts, too, so it was comfortable for him to wear them. Well, as comfortable as it could be for a demon who unconciously wanted to be naked. Even Luo Binghe got some new clothes fitting for his demon appearance. They were hanging loose on the young body, but when he transformed, they fit him perfectly. When the possibility occured he had to transform, he would wear them in advance.

„Cang Qiong Mountain has enough money, but it is a waste of ressources when you rip them apart every time.“ Yue Qingyuan gave them to the young man, and Luo Binghe bowed in respect. It made him happy, that he had matching clothes with his Shizun, something the other disciples would never have, while the Sect Master showed that he thought hard about what would be the best for them to wear.

Bit by bit Shen Qingqiu learned to hide his wings. This was really a hard part for him, and it took him a lot of concentration to control them. It was not unusual that they popped out again, and at night it was impossible to hide them.

Shen Qingqiu knew, that it would just take more time and training, but he became impatient. His disciple told him what he would like to do, and now he wanted to fulfill his wish. And every day that went by was another day closer to the Immortal Alliance Conference.

This made him even more impatient.

Luo Binghe didn't know why this was bothering his Shizun so much. „This disciple doesn't mind if Shizun can't attend. I won't bring shame over this sect.“

„That's not the point, Binghe. I need to attend!“

His wings had popped out another time, and he wanted to smash something out of frustration. Maybe he should try and train other things first, but hiding his wings would make him more mobile and let him sleep better at night.

„Why is this so important? This disciple doesn't understand.“

Luo Binghe was watching his Shizun in concern. He'd love to ease the tension, but he didn't know how. „Is it something that concerns me? Shizun promised to tell me everything if this is the case!“

He kneeled in front of his Shizun, his eyes begging for some answers. But Shen Qingqiu shook his head. „This is something I really can't talk about.“

No. No matter how much the young man begged, he couldn't tell him. He was punished for telling him the truth of the world in a drastic way. He couldn't even imagine what the system would think of to punish him when he now revealed the upcoming events.

Seeing the disappointment rising in Luo Binghe's gaze, he laid a hand on the cheek of the young man. „Please don't look at me like that. I can't bear it. If I could tell you everything, trust me, I would do this.“

Luo Binghe thought for a moment before nodding. „I trust Shizun.“ He sighed. „But knowing that this is weighing on Shizun's heart and I can't do anything against this, it pains me!“

The hand on his cheek began stroking the young man. „If you want to help, then help me returning to be the Peak Lord of Qing Jing Peak. If we can achieve this, everything will be fine.“

This surprised Luo Binghe. „How will this help?“

„Do you remember the 'points' I was collecting all of the time?“ The innocent puppy in front of him made him want to kiss him, but he resisted the urge. There were more important thigs they needed to talk about. „I still need some, but I am close to the end. Only a few more and I have accomplished what I wanted.“

„I still don't really understand what these 'points' are, but of course this disciple will help!“ It seemed to motivate Luo Binghe, and satisfied, Shen Qingqiu retreated his hand. „That's good, Binghe. So first things first. Do you have any ideas how I can get these wings under control?“

The young man nodded. „Shizun needs to get more accustomed to them, I think.“

Curious, Shen Qingqiu tilted his head slightly. „What do you mean with this?“

„Well...“ Luo Binghe rubbed his nose a bit. „Does Shizun remember when he spreaded out the wings for the first time? It was after this disciple massaged them. Shizun could feel them better and was able to move them. It's almost the same now. Shizun only moved them for a bit, but is more eager to hide them.“

„...“

Shen Qingqiu laid his hand on his chin, thinking. „So you mean I need to move them more before I can hide them?“

With a smile, Luo Binghe confirmed his thoughts. „Shizun accepted the transformation, but he still thinks as a human. For me, using my wings is a natural thing. I don't think about this anymore, I just do it.“

This made sense for Shen Qingqiu. „So I should train them like the disciples train their bodies when they are running laps?“

„I have a better idea.“ The young man leaned in. „Let's take flight lessons!“

Chapter Text

„No.“

Shen Qingqiu flatly refused. „I won't do that.“

„But why? It would help Shizun a lot!“ With teary eyes, Luo Binghe leaned forward. „Shizun doesn't trust me?“

Hnnnng... He knew that these tears were fake, and he knew his words were only to make him feel bad, but... how could this make Shen Qingqiu so weak every time?! He should have gotten used to this by now! But it still worked, and so his disciple exploited it time and time again.

Hiding his face behind the fan he tried to look away. „Don't look at me like that! No means no!“

„But Shizun!“

„...“

„...“

Argh! He couldn't stand it! These big round eyes, this face full of despair... This big puppy won again! He needed to finally build up some resistance against him, or else this would be the death of him someday!

Slowly he turned his head back, his face clearly showing the doubts he had.

„...how do you plan on teach me how to fly? Pushing me from a cliff and hoping for the best?“

Luo Binghe laughed heartily. „I would do that to anyone else, but I would never do that to Shizun! I think it's best to start with strenghtening Shizun's wings.“

...how reassuring to know that he would get special treatment...Binghe, you little devil in sheep's clothes!

But he couldn't deny that it pleased him to be special for his disciple.

„Then we should search for a place where I can spread them properly and where we still can hide.“ Shen Qingqiu stood up and looked around. In his territory there weren't many places to hide. Maybe they should change the place?

But Luo Binghe shook his head. „I doubt anyone will come. And no one can see the real Shizun beside me. So there should be no problem at all.“ With confidence he stood up, too. „So no more trying to delay, Shizun! Let's get started!“ With a smooth move he took the fan out of Shen Qingqiu's hand. „This I'll give Shizun back when we finish for the day.“

„How cocky!“ Shen Qingqiu lifted an eyebrow. „I'm still your Master after all, you know.“

„But Shizun seeked help from this disciple, so he has to listen to what this disciple will tell him to do.“ Growing into his demon form in front of Shen Qingqiu's eyes gave Luo Binghes words weight – literally.

„Wouldn't it have been enough just to show your wings?“

Shen Qingqiu had to admit, that the new clothes looked gorgeous on the young man in this form, adding more elegance up to the handsome and dangerous figure. Demon Binghe smiled. „Maybe this will help Shizun to accept guidance?“

Oh, I'd love to receive guidance in be- ah, forget it!

Shen Qingqiu tried to get his impure thoughts under control, but it was hard. How was he supposed to train like this?! It was difficulty level hardcore!

He turned away for a moment to calm himself down. But it didn't get better, since he felt large hands on his wings, massaging them somehow gently, somehow harsh. No, this even made him want to moan out of pleasure! Why, just why?!

His face hidden, he licked his lips.

„Shizun should feel this“, the huge demon growled behind him. Of course he felt it! Way too much!

„Binghe... you really think, this is the right way...?“

He felt how his knees grew weak and his heart began to race. This massage was entirely different to the first time the young man touched his wings. Even if it was gentle, there was power behind the strokes. And this large hands felt so damn hot...

„It works, doesn't it?“

Suddenly the hot breath was beneath his ear, giving him goosebumps. „Shizun is more aware than ever that these belong to him.“

Yes. Yes, that was true but... there were other things belonging to him, too, that he became painfully aware of. „Binghe~“, he said, his voice beginning to drip of honey.

He tried to escape, but was held in place. „If Shizun wants to get away he has to move his wings! Or else I won't let go.“

His wings? He wasn't even able to move anything else properly right now! But he had to try, otherwise this would lead to things he wouldn't be able to control...

With barely any concentration left he tried to move his wings, and really! After a few moments they finally began to move at his will! And as promised, Luo Binghe let go of him.

Shen Qingqiu sighed in relieve and some disappointment, but then he shot a fierce glance over his shoulder. „This isn't funny!“

„But it worked, no?“ The demon grinned out of complacency. „If we repeat it several times-“

„We won't!“ Shen Qingqiu felt, that his cheeks were tinted red, and so he turned away again. „I don't think it's effective enough!“

To be honest, he just thought, that his heart wouldn't make it this way. He wasn't quite sure, that Luo Binghe didn't notice how he reacted, and Shen Qingqiu found this move overly bold. Wasn't he the demon who was able to lure people in? Why was it working the opposite way?

What he didn't know was, that the young man was fighting himself to prevent more... intimate things from happening. He thought being in his demon form would make it easier to resist, but no! Being near his Shizun like this, to see and touch this beautiful wings, the tail wagging and inviting him to grab it - it made him want to push his Shizun down and rip those clothes off.

Behave, Binghe!

He hid his feelings behind that grin, while he was glad his Shizun had turned his back on him. So he didn't have to explain something growing down there which was way too huge in this form to hide it properly.

„When Shizun doesn't like it, maybe he wants to try and move his wings on his own again?“

That was the best idea Shen Qingqiu heard today, and so he nodded. „I can move them a bit, you know this“, he tried to explain himself while slowly folding them up.

„But it's not enough. They won't carry Shizun like this.“

„Yes, that's the problem.“ He sighed. A moment later he felt again hands on his wings, but this time they really were gentle and stroked them with utmost care. „Then maybe this helps. Shizun should imagine the worst thing that could happen where he needs to use them.“

The worst thing...

Instantly the picture of Luo Binghe falling came to mind. The abyss... wouldn't it be such a situation? When he wasn't able to collect the points needed, Luo Binghe would fall. And he would catch him and fall with him!

He only noticed, that his wings were moving when he heard an approving sound behind him. „That's it! Shizun, that's it!“

It still wasn't enough to carry him, but the wings began moving at his will with way more power. When he finally realized it, they stopped.

So it wasn't about the technique itself. It was about what he wanted to do. So if he wanted to fly, he shouldn't think of how he had to move them to be able to lift himself up, he needed to think of how high he wanted to fly and where to.

It was a way of thinking Shen Qingqiu wasn't used to. But it was logical and easy to understand.

Finally he turned around with a look of satisfaction on his face. „I think I understand now. I'm positive, now I will get the hang of it quite soon.“

Seeing his Shizun like this, a devilish smile appeared on Luo Binghe's lips. „So this disciple was able to teach Shizun something. What would Shizun give him as reward then?“

Chapter Text

„...“

Shen Qingqiu was staring at the demon in front of him. Reward? You freaking serious?!

„You touched me all over, isn't this enough?“

The demon shrank back a little. „But Shizun...“

So if he showed his dominant side, the other one would give in? Good to know! He needed to test how far he could go with this!

„You liked it, didn't you? Touching my wings...“ Unconciously he leaned forward and placed a finger on Luo Binghe's chest, moving it slowly over the clothes. „No one else is allowed to touch them like this.“

He was falling into his own trap. His voice was becoming more and more seductive, his gaze alluring and inviting. He didn't know what he was doing, since he was moving naturally just like his demonic nature wanted him to. And so he yelped in surprise when he found himself in an tight embrace and Luo Binghe's face right in front of his.

„Shizun... I'm just a man, you know“, the other one whispered before laying his lips on his Shizun's.

Shen Qingqiu froze on the spot. For a moment he wasn't able to move, but when he felt a tongue trying to part his lips, they automatically let the guest in, just to intertwine his own tongue with Luo Binghe's. Damn you, demonic instincts!

The kiss was highly intimate and pleasuring, and it went on like forever, since both of them didn't want to part. Only when they needed fresh air, a gap appeared between them. Both of their faces were tinted red, Shen Qingqiu's even more than Luo Binghe's.

Staring into each other's eyes, Luo Binghe smiled after some time. „I'll take this as reward. Many thanks, Shizun!“

„...“

Shen Qingqiu stared for a moment longer, before he hit his disciple's chest, still red as a ripe fruit. „I never allowed this! You're a demon!!“

„So is Shizun.“ Luo Binghe laughed, then placed a gentle kiss on his Shizun's forehead. „We are in this together.“

Oh how right this young man was! But still he somehow felt betrayed not being able to maintain the upper hand. „I hope you are satisfied“, he grumbled and tried to break free from the embrace. „If you excuse me now, I have to train!“

„Yes, this disciple is overly happy.“ It took Shen Qingqiu a bit more time, but finally, Luo Binghe let go. „It is a worthy reward.“

Another grumble was heard, and Shen Qingqiu turned away. He knew he teased the other one, but was kissing him really a reward for the young man? Being honest with himself, he wished for it to be true, but his heart was full of doubt. It was highly possible, that Luo Binghe just was teasing him back, and that would mean, it all was just a game for him.

He needed to find out, but... he was afraid.

Again he shoved the thoughts to the back of his mind. The Immortal Alliance Conference... when this was over he would clear everything up. No more misunderstandings, only true and honest feelings.

-

After the kiss attack Luo Binghe really held himself back and focused on training with his Shizun. He seemed eager to help his Shizun learn new abilities, and flying was just the beginning. They decided to practice flying in the morning and other skills in the evening so Shen Qingqiu wouldn't be exhausted and frustrated too much if anything failed.

And there were failures. Of course they were.

But the flight lessons were going smoothly. Every day began with Luo Binghe massaging and cleaning the wings. Shen Qingqiu let him do this without complaining, since this always felt so good. It gave Shen Qingqiu time to circulate his spiritual energy, too, and when Luo Binghe finished, he was ready to start. With every day passing by, Shen Qingqiu got more and more used to his new features.

What was bothering more was the fact, that his tail had decided to wind itself around Luo Binghe every time he was behind him. At first, Shen Qingqiu tried to pull it back, but it just won't listen, and so he gave up.

„This disciple doesn't mind“, Luo Binghe said with a laugh and stroked it from time to time. It gave Shen Qingqiu a tingling sensation, and he cursed this thing frequently.

„What's the use of it anyway?!“ Again, the tail was doing its thing, and frustrated and a bit aroused he was sitting there trying to get his breathing under control.

„It will help Shizun maintain a steady position while flying.“ Today Luo Binghe had decided to give the tail special attention, and this made the situation difficult for Shen Qingqiu. Why couldn't the young man just let it be? He should know how sensitive this thing was!

„Still... it's annoying!“ When Luo Binghe finally stopped stroking the tail, Shen Qingqiu inhaled deeply. „I need to fly to see that you are right.“

„Then today Shizun will get the chance.“ Luo Binghe stood up from his kneeling position. „This disciple thinks Shizun should try to fly today.“

Yes, Shen Qingqiu thought about this, too. He made a lot of progress until now. He was able to move his wings at will and was able to hide them for a longer time without problems. So it was right on time to use them for what they were here for.

He stood up and spreaded them widely. „I count on you to catch me when I fall.“ It was stated as a matter of fact, but in reality it was a pleading for support. The young man didn't show if he saw through it, he just nodded obediently and with a smile. „Of course. But this disciple is sure that Shizun won't fall.“

He helped Shen Qingqiu climbing on the rock he was sitting on a moment ago and held his hand. It was reassuring, and Shen Qingqiu felt the calming effect of this touch.

And he finally tried it.

At first, his wings moved but he didn't lift himself up. Just a bit... he just wanted to rise a few inches!

But then he felt it. The wind... his spiritual energy didn't show any characteristics of an element until now, and he thought there was no specific connection to any of it. He was wrong.

When he closed his eyes he heard a whisper-like sound and felt a touch as gentle as Luo Binghe's. Opening them again it was like he could see the path the wind chose. It was directing him how to move his wings to get the support needed.

How beautiful! He stared in awe for a moment, and instinctively his wings did what they needed to do. He didn't even notice when his feet left the ground. Only when Luo Binghe tucked at his hand he understood what was happening.

„This...I...“ For the first time in forever he stumbled over his words while the young man in front of him showed him a beaming smile. „I knew today is the day!“

Transforming into his demon form he began flying, too, only to take his Shizun higher. He didn't let go of the hand even once.

Shen Qingqiu was reluctant to fly too high, but being guided by his disciple and caressed by the wind he let go of his doubts. When they were finally high enough to see the whole Qing Jing Peak, they stopped.

„It feels like forever since I saw this. I never knew I would miss flying on my sword so much.“

„It's not a sword, but Shizun can fly again. This disciple thinks it's wonderful.“

Shen Qingqiu nodded. „Yes it is.“ For a moment he took in the sight before he turned back to his disciple. „Thank you for helping me achieving this.“

Seeing how the huge demon blushed made his heart all fuzzy. He looked away to hide his own embarrassement. „But flying like this sure is different. I think we should go down before I feel exhausted.“

Luo Binghe nodded and led him down to earth. They landed quite smoothly, and without delay Shen Qingqiu hid his wings.

„This sure is a huge progress“, the young man said with a happy smile. For a short while Shen Qingqiu was watching him, but then he leaned in and gave the other demon a kiss of the cheek.

He felt the skin burning under his touch, and when he retreated, he saw, that Luo binghe's face was beet red. „Sh-Shizun?!“

„Wasn't it you who demanded a reward like this?“

He liked it too much to be embarrassed himself, and again the urge to tease got the better of him. „Now acting all shy, it doesn't suit you!“

He should have known that when playing with fire he would lose. The next moment he was scooped up in the demon's arms. „I already told Shizun not to provoke me!“

The growl was deep, and that moment Shen Qingqiu knew he really should watch what he was saying and doing from now on!

Chapter Text

„Let go of me!“

Shen Qingqiu was wiggling inside of Luo Binghe's arms. The demon growled and didn't intend to let go. Instead, he pressed his Shizun even closer to him.

„You provoked me.“

Uh-oh. No honorifics, no respect. Shen Qingqiu really felt the danger emitting from his disciple. This time he was deady serious.

„It was just fun, can't you even take a joke?!“

Again he began to wiggle when his words didn't reach the other one, but to no avail. Slowly they were coming closer to the bamboo hut. What was the young man going to do? Shen Qingqiu felt somehow scared... and excited.

Fuck.

This was no good combination, especially when his mind was flooded by pictures how this demon was kneeling over him and... and...

Arrrgh!

Shen Qingqiu stopped moving and hid his face on the demon's shoulder. He felt like his cheeks were glowing red and he didn't want the other one to see. How embarrassing!

It was then when Luo Binghe stopped, too. For a moment he stood still, but then he suddenly let his Shizun down. Surprised Shen Qingqiu looked up, just to see the face of the demon distorted by many feelings.

„Shizun only does what his instincts tell him to do“, the demon finally said and turned back into the young man. „This disciple should learn to get used to it.“

Wait what?

Now Shen Qingqiu was totally dumbfounded. So this was what the young man was thinking?! This whole situation became more and more awkward! To ease the tension between both of them he pulled out his fan and covered his face with it. „This disciple is very generous to forgive this Master his misbehaviour.“

Even if the pictures still remained and he somehow was disappointed, he thought, that this was for the best. It was like forcing his disciple to do such things, and that just wasn't right.

Oh well, he could grieve over this at a later time. Right now there were more important things to do!

-

Since he found out, that the wind was at his service, Shen Qingqiu began training this ability too. Soon he was able to control the flow of it and to use it as a shield, and his flying ability became more refined, too.

What was bothering him was the power of his voice and the neglection of his sword. Before the transformation he was one unit with it and even carried the name on the original Shen Qingqiu had obtained. But right now the sword seemed dull, and when he tried to touch it, he was rejected.

Xiu Ya was a special sword with lots of character. Just like its original owner, and well, as the actual one, too.

Luo Binghe had unsheathed it and was cleaning it with utmost care. Since his Shizun wasn't able to, he accepted this task gladly. It pained him to see, that not being able to do this himself hurt his Shizun.

„Shizun shouldn't give up. Maybe someday this sword will accept Shizun again!“

Shen Qingqiu sighed. „I don't think so. It is a magnificent sword. It doesn't want to be stained by a demon like me.“

„But this disciple is also a demon!“ Emotions were welling up inside of Luo Binghe, and it made him react more intense.

Shen Qingqiu couldn't stand these sad eyes. „You are different, Binghe. You are the protagonist of this story, and your halo is even reaching down to being able to calm Xiu Ya. Beside, you are only a halfdemon, and Xiu Ya knows you from the beginning. It just doesn't know me anymore.“

The young man casted his gaze down. „It just isn't fair. Shizun would never do anything to stain it.“

„Can't be helped.“ Fanning himself, he tried to hide his own sadness. „If such a sword accepts to be used in any way, it has to succumb to the spiritual energy the user is pouring into it. And in my case that would mean to become a demonic sword.“

This seemed to enrage the young man. „Demon.. human... why is this such a problem?! Shizun is Shizun, and if this sword had accepted Shizun once, it should accept Shizun again! It's not that Shizun chose to be this way!“

„It's fine, really. I will just-“ Before Shen Qingqiu could say anymore, he felt his hand gripped and laid on the hilt of the sword. It itched so much, that he wanted to retreat his hand, but Luo Binghe just didn't let him.

„Xiu Ya, he is your Master, and he loves you!“ his voice was pleading, and it tucked on Shen Qingqiu's heartstrings. „His appearance and spiritual energy may have changed, but Shizun is still Shizun! He would never betray you, so give him a chance!“

How heartwarming this speech was! Still, there was nothing they could do to convince Xiu ya, and he wanted to free himself from the grip, when suddenly-

The itching subsided!

It wasn't like Xiu Ya was accepting him, but it really seemed to give him a chance to prove himself worthy.

„Thank you“, he whispered while stroking the blade gently. It was an overwhelming feeling he never thought to experience. Joy, happiness, relief... it was everything at once. „I will take good care of you.“

Luo Binghe was watching this with satisfaction and wet eyes. He was thinking how he felt when his Shizun accepted him as a demon, and this was similar to the situation back then.

„Congratulations, Shizun“, he whispered, and Shen Qingqiu looked up. He himself felt a bit like crying, and he swallowed hard before he answered. „It's just because you convinced it.“

„I think it was just unsure, and now it remembered the love Shizun has given to it. Just like Shizun did with me.“ Shen Qingqiu felt a warm hand on his cheek. „I'm glad I could give Shizun something back.“

No, young man. You already gave me so much more, stop sacrificing yourself!

But he still was so unbelievably happpy. Even more, when he heard a familiar voice ringing out.

[Gaining trust of Xiu Ya Sword: 50 points achieved.]

He even got a reward! How wonderful! This was going better than he ever had hoped for.

Carefully sheathing Xiu Ya again, he placed it next to the bed. Before this he had let Luo Binghe lay it on a shelf so he wouldn't accidentally touch it. He had a better rest at night since he was able to hide his wings, but tonight he would sleep like a baby, having his beloved sword by his side!

He coughed slightly and turned back to his disciple. „Going back to training...I think it's time to test out my voice.“

Luo Binghe nodded in approval. The first attempts were a complete failure. Either Luo Binghe fell unconcious or it pained him too much to hear his Shizun's voice. Or simply nothing happened.

Since he got a reaction sometimes, Shen Qingqiu was sure, that he had hidden powers in his voice beside the seducing one. He just needed to find the clue how to use it.

But today seemed to be a good day, and so he wanted to try again. He felt confident, that this time it would work.

Just... giving his disciple random commands to test if it worked was kind of embarrassing. But it was no use. He needed to do this.

„So Binghe“, he said while clearing his throat. „You know what to do.“

The young man smiled. „Don't worry, Shizun, I know. Whatever Shizun says this disciple won't do. And if this disciple feels the urge to do so, he tries to resist.“

So everything was clear. Very good.

He closed his eyes and began to focus. „Then let's get started.“

Chapter Text

The young man stood in front of his Shizun who was sitting on the floor as usual, his gaze full of expectation. Shen Qingqiu focused himself on his spiritual energy for a moment, before he finally said his order.

„Turn around.“

As expected, nothing happened. Shaking his head, Luo Binghe answered the question if he felt anything.

So this wasn't the right way to use this ability. Only concetrating on his power didn't work. He wanted to give this method a last shot, but now that id failed he was convinced he had to try something else.

Maybe if he tried to imagine what would happen, just like when he first tried to fly...? Was this the key to his abilities?

But imagining his disciple doing strange things... he didn't feel that good with it. And his first attempts doing so made Luo Binghe faint most of the time.

Said person seemed to notice the inner conflict of his Shizun, and he squatted down. „Shizun doesn't want to practice anymore?“

Shen Qingqiu closed his eyes for a short time. „It's not that I don't want to, I just don't get the hang of it.“ He then focused the young man. „But I will try something else.“ Good, that you were kneeling now, young man, so if anything happened, it wouldn't hurt.

So now to what to imagine. Since the young man was kneeling, maybe laying down was an option? This was easy to imagine, he saw that often already. And it wasn't something that would hurt.

Let's give it a try!

„Lay down“, he commanded with a deep voice. His throat was tingling a bit, but again nothing happened. Shen Qingqiu sighed and thought of what to do now, when suddenly his disciple began to move. Slowly, with a face full of resistance, he laid himself on the side in front of Shen Qingqiu.

„...“

So it worked?! He widened his eyes in surprise, and the lying Luo Binghe nodded. „I couldn't withstand for long. The urge to lay down was much stronger!“ After a short time the young man sat up again with a smile. „So Shizun gets better at this!“

„It was a lucky shot. I need to test it again.“

Seeing that the young man was ready, he tried to imagine the next thing to command. Some pictures flashed through his mind which definitely weren't appropriate, and he barely held himself back from blushing. But then he got another idea.

„Show me your demonic tongue.“

Luo Binghe tilted his head to the side and seemed to need a moment to understand, but then he opened his mouth and sticked out his split tongue he had in his demon form.

So it finally worked! At least with small and manageable things.

Luo Binghe closed his mouth again. When he opened it a second time the tongue returned to normal. „Shizun really becomes powerful with this.“

Oh yes, this was a overly dangerous and powerful ability! He needed to test out how far this would go! Would he be able to control the mind of others, too? Or was it only for letting others do things?

There were infinite options spreading out in front of him, and it scared him and made him excited at the same time!

And to be honest, he began to like being the one in control and to be able to command others. With this, he could be more powerful than even Luo Binghe-

He shook his head. No. He didn't want to be the most powerful person, stop being greedy! This didn't suit him at all! But with this it would be easy to defend his position in any way. Well, if he really was able to control more than what he was already able to.

„Binghe, tell me one thing you would never do to me.“ It was a simple question, but it was important to know. He would try out if he was able to go against the convictions and moral of a person.

It didn't take the young man long to answer. „This disciple would never hurt Shizun!“

Good. This was something he could work with. „Then... hit me.“

He closed his eyes, waiting for the pain to set in. He didn't like being hurt, but for the sake of finding out...well he could take one punch at least.

But when nothing happpened, he opened his eyes again.

The young man was holding his right hand which was ready to act with his left, trembling heavily. His face showed fear and disbelief.

„Shizun~“ he whimpered, and for a moment it seemed like he really would finish the command, but then he broke down and buried his head on Shen Qingqiu's knee. „Don't... please don't command me to do something like this ever again“, he whispered with a weak voice, still trembling.

It was heartbreaking.

„I'm sorry“, Shen Qingqiu said while stroking Luo Binghe's head. „I won't do this again. But it helped me a lot, so would you forgive me?“

„Of course this disciple will forgive Shizun.“ The young man lifted his head again, tears in his eyes. „But how can something like this help?“

Gently, Shen Qingqiu tucked a loose strand of hair behind the other one's ear. „Because I know now that I can't let you do things that you would never do out of your own free will.“

Maybe later, when Shen Qingqiu gained more control over this ability. But seeing his disciple like this, he didn't want to test this on him a second time.

There were enough people around for this... more people to train on. And especially people who weren't aware of the ability.

It made him scared of himself how much he enjoyed this. He realized he really became a greedy demon, greedy of controlling people. But this ability was given to him by the almighty system, so wouldn't it be a waste to not use it?

He really got used to the role of a demon!

While Shen Qingqiu was thinking about the situation, Luo Binghe enjoyed the gentle touches his Shizun was giving him. If he was rewarded like this, then the struggle was worth it!

Slowly he crawled closer until he almost sat on his Shizun's lap. „Shizun...“, he then whispered, bringing Shen Qingqiu back to his senses. „I want to train more with Shizun.“

„Train more?“

What was the young man up to? It was a strange wish to be commanded by another one!

Luo Binghe blushed slightly, which confused Shen Qingqiu. „This disciple wants to learn... what Shizun thinks about and what he is imagining to let this disciple do.“

With the look on his face and the still slighty teared-up eyes, this seemed more like a proposal for a pornographic scene than to train his ability! It made Shen Qingqiu blush, too, and he hid his face behind his fan.

„You're weird, Binghe.“

The young man smiled. „Maybe, but when it comes to Shizun, this disciple wants to know everything!“

...stupid disciple. Don't say anything so sweet without blinking an eye!

„Maybe later. I think it's enough for today.“ He stroked the young man's head again. „I'm hungry now. Let's go and grab something to eat.“

Chapter Text

„Shizun wants... to go out?“

Shen Qingqiu nodded. „You know there's an inn right at the foot of the mountain for the visitors of Cang Qiong Mountain. They're very discreet there, seeing all kinds of people coming here.“ He stood up and dusted his clothes off. „I can hide my wings now, the rest is covered by the bracelet. I think a change of pace would be good.“

Luo Binghe was listening intensely, but then he stood up, too. „If Shizun feels ready, then this disciple will gladly follow.“

Ready was the wrong word, but he needed to go out for a bit. He felt, that he became somehow impatient and wanted to see something different than this bamboo hut from time to time. And since the young man was with him, he felt safe to risk visiting places where other people were.

He couldn't hide forever anyway. The last months made him sick. Sick fo waiting to get better, sick of hiding and not showing himself to anyone. This wasn't lazying away the days at all, it was stressful and painful!

So, time to see the world! Well, at least the surroundings of Cang Qiong Mountain.

They took a carriage, and when they arrived, it was almost nighttime. Gladly, the Innkeeper had some spare rooms, and so they decided to stay. But first they ordered some food for dinner and sat down in a corner of the large dining room.

Many guests were staying here, too, and it was bustling and lively. Shen Qingqiu was watching the other ones eating, drinking and chatting happily, and Luo Binghe was watching him. If they only knew who was sitting with them...

A small group of female cultivators at the neighbouring table was obviously talking about them, because their gazes returned oh-so-often to their table while they whispered and giggled the whole time.

„Shizun sure is popular“, the young man said and rested his chin in his hand. He didn't look pleased, and Shen Qingqiu opened his fan gracefully. „You sure you're not the one whom they are looking at?“

It surprised the young man, and he raised his eyebrow. „Why should they? Obviously Shizun is the most pretty one in here.“

He said it as a matter of fact, and Shen Qingqiu was stunned for a moment. „You...“, he blurted out but became quiet for a moment when their dinner was served. When they were alone again, he went on. „You are the protagonist of this whole story. Of course you are the most handsome and popular one. You were destined to have a harem of countless women fter all!“

Ah, damn! He didn't intend to say this out loud! But now that the cat was out of the bag, there was no turning back. For a moment he turned his head away in embarrassement, but he couldn't stay like this for too long. And so he turned his head back, and a bit reluctantly Shen Qingqiu looked the young man into the eyes.

They were glowing red in their demonic light.

„A harem? Countless women?“

The voice was a deep growl.

„Why should I care about a bunch of useless women?!“

Shen Qingqiu felt his hand grabbed, and the intense gaze of the other one made it impossible t