The first time Shen Jiu meets Liu Qingge, it was, perhaps what some might call hate at first sight. The Bai Zhan Peak disciple was everything he could never be. Strong and righteous, respected and loved oh-so-dearly by a warm family. Liu Qingge moves with the gracefulness and beauty of everything an immortal should be, a shining picture of an alluring young master.
Oh, how he would have killed to hold that man’s power in his hands.
Shen Jiu was Shen Qingqiu now, older and with that righteous-immortal-cultivator aura he had so desired. There is power coursing through his veins, the kind of power that would destroy the Qiu ten times over. He should be content.
But contentment was stagnation and Shen Qingqiu runs on an upward slope.
This hatred was returned through the sharp looks Liu Qingge points at him, decorated in loud jagged words. Their first meeting was an exchange of glares and the crossing of swords. The two most promising disciples aside from that bastard .
Despite the fact that Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge should have been on equal footing, everyone knew who would have won. It shouldn’t have been Bai Zhan’s Head Disciple laying on the dirt floor with Xiu Ya looking down at him.
“Satisfied?” Shen Qingqiu sneers.
“How dare you call this a real fight!” Liu Qingge jumps to his feet, “Fight me for real this time, you bastard!”
An uppercut, dirt to the eyes and a quick pull to some young master’s fancy boots, how this formula never fails him.
“Hmph. I'll be sure to kill you one day.”
Shen Qingqiu turns, walking away from the speechless crowd. His fan covers the lower half of his face, hiding a grimace. Why does it have to be Liu Qingge who elicits a reaction out of him? That no good, muscle for brains, and Shen Qingqiu could choke on the envy. He'll like to see that sheltered young master live a day without that satchel gold on him.
"With what abilities, shixiong?"
The boy buries himself in Qing Jing's libraries the next week, under the excuse of his master's punishment for fighting Liu Qingge. It's this place that brings him to some sort of peace, Shen Qingqiu supposes. The musty smell of old scrolls and ancient wood, the quiet of it all.
When Shen Qingqiu meets the Bai Zhan had disciple again, it was a still morning on Cang Qiong. Their respective Peak Lords had each gathered the younger disciples on an excursion to a nearby town. They were in the waiting hall of An Ding, at opposite ends.
"What are you doing, huh?" Liu Qingge's eyebrows furrows.
"Shizun had asked for me to retrieve the new disciples' guqins," Shen Qingqiu forces a smile and motions towards the passersby, "They are rather frightened, Liu-shidi."
Around them, An Ding's disciples walk with their heads facing away as Liu Qingge scowl deepens. The disciples avoid Shen Qingqiu too, but that was rather commonplace compared to how people would flock towards his shidi.
You can’t quite always escape your reputation, can’t you?
Even with his unpleasant attitude, there’s something that draws people to Bai Zhan’s Head Disciple. Perhaps it was the way Liu Qingge clenches his fist or the distracted gaze that would always wander the room. There’s an otherworldly look about him, the one that screams ‘Heavenly Immortal’. From the way his hair was adorned with a silver headpiece and intricate grey-white robes that hang loosely off his body.
Shen Qingqiu fans himself spitefully and ah, Liu-shidi looks rather handsome like this.
When they meet again, it was another clash. This time a showcase for the younger disciples, in preparation for a far off tournament.
Their fourth? Or was it fifth meeting? They were newly minted Peak Lords then, in flowing robes high up in the mountains. Finally, he reaches this seat, second to only that man . Oh, how Shen Qingqiu bled, bled the bloody path to this seat and Liu Qingge knows only half. After all, a pampered, pretty-boy young master in the peaceful scholar's peak ascends to Peak Lord with underhanded dealings.
Like all things though, nothing comes out well for scum like Shen Qingqiu and he laughs when those accusations come hurling his way. Of course, of course.
"Ah, what do you mean, dear shixiongs?" Shen Qingqiu sneers.
"Y-you know shizun wouldn't have died like that!" the nameless face yells, "Shen Qingqiu! You were the last one to see him."
"Oh my, those are indeed quite heavy accusations," he lays his fan downs, "I am sure Qian Cao's investigation is quite spotless. Or are you doubting their capabilities."
"This obsession with Bai Zhan has gone too far!"
"Enough," that man says, "You are dismissed Zhang-shidi."
The ceremony goes quite smoothly after that. His Liu-shidi was quite adamant on staring though.
Their last meeting was a typhoon in midsummer's drizzle.
The caves glowed a faint blue around them like ocean torrents. He opens his eyes from meditation when the crashing waves of violent spiritual energy ripples through the caves. Dread claws Shen Qingqiu, and there's no one here but him and the Liu Qingge slashing wildly through the rocks.
Shen Qingqiu lunges towards him, knocking Liu Qingge's sword away. Blasts of qi erupts from Liu Qingge’s palms but without the sharpness and precision of before.
The thick layers of spiritual energy clogs his breathing, blackness slowly creeping into his vision. Blood splatters on the cold floors with a swipe of Xiu Ya and the face of a man at the foot of death is all he remembers.
"It seems like you did have some abilities after all…" the violent qi slowly calms down.
"I will call Mu-shidi," Shen Qingqiu picks up the man, turning towards the exit, "Try not to die."
The cave system was a maze, taking far too long to exit. A dead man's hand reaches for Shen Qingqiu's face, and bloodstained lips pressed against his. There’s a limp body in his arms, cold and.
And Shen Qingqiu laughs.