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Mamazun

Chapter Text

Shen Yuan knew he should not be feeling like this.

“You know, it’s a little weird. I started out with just the aim to survive in this weird world. Now I found out that I'm actually an omega, that my ideal man loves me, then pregnancy… it feels so fast and so surreal."

Shang Qinghua was talking to him very animatedly. He never looked this excited.

Shen Yuan nodded and sipped his tea. "Are you happy?"

"It's weird, but I'm happy. Sure, maybe a longer honeymoon period would have been nicer, but the baby saved my life, I'm not going to complain. My parents were divorced and my childhood was a little messy. I've never had like, a real family, I'm just excited thinking that I get to have one now."

Shang Qinghua was happy. Shen Yuan felt guilty for thinking about how Airplane Bro would be busy with his own family from now and no longer could be his rant buddy. Shang Qinghua had his own life to live. If he was happy, then that was all that important.

The world didn't revolve around him, he wasn't the protagonist. He had been spoiled and pampered so much ever since he came to this world, he forgot that he was not supposed to be everyone's priorities. The fact that Shang Qinghua considered him to be the most important friend, that he came to Shen Yuan first to relay the good news should have made him grateful enough.

"Where were you going to by the way, Cucumber Bro?" Shang Qinghua asked.

"Oh," Shen Yuan muttered. "I was going to Mo Shou Peak to ask Yu Shishu to show me how to turn Bingpup big like Mobei Jun did last time."

Shang Qinghua nodded. "You're already near the age where you can start learning the very basics. Something that doesn't evolve dangerous stuff. Give it two to three years more, maybe you can start with the first stage."

Shen Yuan's ears perked up. "Really? Are you going to teach me?"

Shang Qinghua laughed. "Me? Come on, bro. You've got Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge at home, you don't need me to teach you."

Shen Yuan sank a little.

"Oh, speaking of that, Shen Qingqiu is allowing you to go to Mo Shou Peak?"

Shen Yuan shrugged. "He's so busy, he probably won't notice if I'm gone for a while."

Shang Qinghua frowned. "He couldn't be so busy to not notice his child missing. Go back and tell him at least, bro."

"... Fine."

Shen Yuan ended up just wandering from peak to peak and did not come back to Qing Jing Peak until dinnertime. By the time he returned to the bamboo house, the sky was already dark. Usually whenever he arrived late, Shen Qingqiu would be waiting at the doorstep ready to lecture him. This time, there was nobody around, only Luo Binghe sweeping the front lawn with Ning Yingying.

Ning Yingying noticed Shen Yuan from afar and waved her hand. "A Yuan! A Yuan, have you eaten yet?"

Shen Yuan shook his head. Ning Yingying grinned while Luo Binghe only looked a little surprised.

"A Yuan, Ning Jiejie made some soup with A Luo, let's eat some!"

They sat together at the deck of the disciples' quarter. Ning Yingying brought out a pot of soup with plenty of vegetables and some meat. Luo Binghe ladled out bowls for each of them while Ning Yingying placed a couple of leftover meat and bones in a small bowl for Bingpup.

"A Yuan, you must be missing Shizun's cooking now," Ning Yingying said.

Shen Yuan pouted. "I'm a big boy, Jiejie. As long as it's food, I don't mind."

He had gotten used to the overly sweet red bean soup and slightly overcooked eggs, but it wasn't like he couldn't live without them. In his previous life Mother Shen rarely cooked anyway, they had their family chefs doing everything. Shen Qingqiu too, didn't actually make every single meal. He had Luo Binghe's cooking, then sometimes food from the dining hall when Shen Qingqiu didn't have the time or energy. He never went through a whole week without Shen Qingqiu cooking or feeding him, though. When he was still getting breastfed even during his heats Shen Qingqiu would still sneak in some time to feed him.

“A Yuan was such a quiet little baby. Back then Shizun could easily let pretty much anyone babysit him, remember that A Luo?” Ning Yingying laughed. “He only didn’t like other people to bathe him.”

Luo Binghe nodded. “A Song is a bit loud. She doesn’t want to be held by anyone other than Shizun and she’s very sensitive to noises too.”

“And she kicks a lot! Do you think she is going to be like Liu Shishu when she grows up?” Ning Yingying wondered.

Shen Yuan drank the soup silently. For some reason even the protagonist’s unbeatable soup felt bitter today. 

Luo Binghe and Ning Yingying exchanged looks as they noticed Shen Yuan’s gloomy expression. Shen Yuan was not a particularly talkative child, but he normally wasn’t this quiet either.

Ning Yingying smiled. "A Yuan, I'm going to sleep over at Mingyan's room tonight. Do you want to join us?"

Thinking of Liu Mingyan's secret hobby, Shen Yuan shuddered. "No. I'm tired, I'm sleeping in my own room."

He finished the soup. Ning Yingying offered to read him some stories and Luo Binghe too asked if he wanted to play, but Shen Yuan declined. Ning Yingying had chores to do in the morning and Luo Binghe must be tired from cleaning and fixing his new room. Luo Binghe helped draw a bath for him and he went to bed early, right after the bath.

It was only when he woke up the next morning, again at sunrise, that Shen Yuan realized he didn't speak to his parents at all the entire yesterday. 

Well fuck, he was feeling a little hurt now. Shen Qingqiu used to restrict his movements, never allowing him to stray far from his sight. Now that they had a new baby, they couldn't even be bothered to ask how he was doing? It wasn’t like they were living in different places. They stayed under the same roof, only separated by walls. Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge could leave him to Luo Binghe or Liu Mingyan for missions or meetings, even for a trip outside. Yet, they couldn’t even leave A Song for a second to see him? Was he also not their child?

Oh, right. He was Shen Yuan and she was Liu Song.

Shen Yuan bit his lower lip and punched the pillow as tears unknowingly spilled from his eyes. Of course they didn’t have to fucking care anymore. His previous parents let him live freely without any expectations because they already had his two overachieving older brothers to inherit the family business. Liu Qingge and Shen Qingqiu now had another child they could proudly call their heir. Unlike his sister he was someone born from an accident, born before their marriage, a taint to their seemingly perfect image as the righteous cultivators. 

This was not the modern world. This was an ABO world with ancient settings, where all children traditionally would be named after the alpha or the father. The only exception was if the mother came from a more prestigious family or if the child was an illegitimate child unacknowledged or had no father. Compared to Liu Qingge with his good family and plenty of relatives, Shen Qingqiu had no parents and elders to honor, his surname was probably given by whoever found him. So why was he still Shen Yuan but his sister Liu Song? Why was he being left out like this?

Well then, he was just going to do whatever the fuck he wanted. Shen Yuan dug out some coins from his piggy bank and stored them in his small pouch. He had quite a lot of saving since his grandparents had spoiled him a lot… back when he was the only child. He looked at Bingpup, who wagged his fluffy round tail, probably excited that they were going out on a walk.

Oh, they were going on a long walk for sure. How long and until when, Shen Yuan didn’t know. He would just wait until Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge come for him just to spit in their faces. If they won’t come, then he just won’t return. Call him petty or childish, he didn’t care. Even adults need to cool down, okay? “Come, Bingpup.”

“Arff!!”

The base of the mountain was guarded by two disciples, who looked surprised to see him alone. "Yuan Shizhi, are you alone?"

Shen Yuan smiled sweetly at them. "Bingpup is with me. Mama can track me through Bingpup. I'm going out to buy books."

The disciples looked hesitant but knowing about the black moon pup's ability, they felt like it might be safe. One disciple pulled his friend over. "You wait there, Yuan Shizhi. The two of us need to talk first."

While the two disciples were discussing, Shen Yuan slipped away.

Ah, finally, freedom!

He went to the market and he could see children around his age playing freely. There were housewives bargaining. There were traders promoting their goods. There were farmers bringing fresh produce on their carts. The market was a lovely place and Shen Yuan never quite had the experience to go out alone like this, in this kind of place. In his past life he had gone to the shopping mall alone once or twice, but later on he relied almost completely on online shopping.

The thrill was kind of fun. Would this be counted as his first experience of running away from home?

"Bingpup, there's a street performer there, let's take a look!" He grinned at the pup.

"Arrff!!" Bingpup barked.

They joined the crowd circling around a street performer. The man was smashing bricks against his chest, then playing music and even reciting poems. The poems were a little strange and sounded outdated, like musings of an old man but nevertheless everyone was enjoying it. Shen Yuan joined the audience tossing some coins into the street performer's straw hat, which he placed in front.

He continued exploring the market, buying some snacks to munch on while walking and checking out strange items - unfortunately most of them seemed to be fake.

Shen Yuan was just about to enter a bookstore, when he noticed the crowd at the market suddenly parted to make ways. He groaned a little when several old men pushed him into a corner and he was buried in the sea of people.

"Are those disciples of Cang Qiong Mountain?"

"I think so. They seem to be in a hurry, I wonder if it's an emergency?"

"A demon attack, maybe? Those are from Bai Zhan Peak, I believe."

Demon attack? That had Shen Yuan curious. He poked his head out just a little and noticed a group of Qiong Ding Peak disciples now rushing forward. Shen Yuan gawked. Holy, what kind of demons had shown up that both Yue Qingyuan and Liu Qingge were mobilising their disciples? Also, was it his imagination or did he just spot a few Qing Jing, Xian Shu, and An Ding disciples as well?

Anyway, since they were roaming around the market, it probably wasn't safe for him to be out here. He slipped through the packed crowd and found his way in the back of a dark street. It was probably not a safe place for him to be around, but at least he had Bingpup, so if there was anyone or anything dangerous, Bingpup was here to…

… Where is Bingpup? “Bingpup?” He called.

Silence.

Cold sweat ran down his neck. Shit. Bingpup must have gotten separated from him when the crowd had pushed them!

Why did karmic retribution have to come to him this early ah? He had only left for half a day! Should he go and search for Bingpup or should he wait here?

…. He should wait here. Bingpup was a smart pup, he should be able to look for Shen Yuan.

Half an hour passed and Bingpup’s shadow had yet to be seen. Shen Yuan was starting to worry that maybe someone saw how cute Bingpup was and took him home. He decided to move and maybe look for Bingpup. He wandered along the street, feeling more scared as it only got darker and narrower.

“What is a young boy like you doing here?”

Shen Yuan nearly jumped. He turned around and blinked, as a beautiful woman looked at him. She was dressed in a beautiful dress, her hair pinned up with dangling ornaments and flowers and her lips painted red.

“I… I’m looking for my puppy,” Shen Yuan said.

The young woman smiled. “This place is not suitable for someone like you. You should go home.”

Shen Yuan looked up and finally noticed that the street he was walking on was right behind a building that was likely a brothel. Shit. Only now did he notice that the lady was carrying a pipa tied on her back with a sash. She must be one of the brothel ladies.

“Be careful, beautiful young ones like you sometimes are taken in and groomed. If you’re an omega, they’d make you do things you don’t like. If you’re not an omega… well, they turn you into one,” she said.

Shen Yuan shuddered.

The woman smiled. “If you’re scared of walking alone, this jiejie is just going to the artisan’s store to get my pipa fixed. Shall I walk with you?”

Shen Yuan nodded. They walked together, the woman letting Shen Yuan hold the end of her sleeve so that he would not get lost. The street she chose was quite secluded, away from the marketplace, perhaps away from people who would judge her profession.

“You look familiar, like someone I know,” she said.

“Really?” Shen Yuan asked.

She nodded. “An old client, who was my favourite. He used to come just to listen to music, never asking for a night together. It was quite funny. He would pay us generously just to let him sleep.”

What an odd person, Shen Yuan thought. Why come to a brothel just to sleep?

“He told me that he couldn't be at ease at home. But how can a home be called a home if it doesn’t make you feel safe?” The woman said. “I do understand his feelings, of course. The world is a scary place. You cannot trust anyone. My own parents sold me when I was eight years old.”

“.... Do you resent them?” Shen Yuan asked.

The woman laughed. “I barely remember them anymore. Ah, well, a little, maybe. Though, if I had stayed our family would have starved. In the end, none of it matters.”

Shen Yuan pursed his lips. “How can you say that?”

She chuckled. “Though… it would have been nice to know if they regret it. What they were thinking. If the sack of rice they got was worth it. Things I never got to know, because we never met each other again.”

Their conversation stopped there, for they had reached the shop. The woman handed the artisan her pipa. The old man examined the pipa, then his eyes suddenly stopped at Shen Yuan. He frowned. “Aren’t you the lost child?”

Shen Yuan gawked. “What?”

“There have been a group of Cang Qiong Mountain people running around today looking for… oh, there they are!”

Shen Yuan turned around and immediately dropped his jaw. A group of Qing Jing disciples were running - no, quite literally flying towards him. Luo Binghe, Ning Yingying, and Ming Fan looked like they had just ran fifty laps across Tian Gong Mountains. Shen Yuan had never seen Ning Yingying, especially, with her face red and sweating, plus hair sticking on her face in disarray.

“A… A Yuan!” Luo Binghe exclaimed and scooped him up in a tight hug as soon as he landed into the artisan’s shop. “A Yuan, are you okay? Were you hurt anywhere? Where have you been all day?”

Shen Yuan was dumbfounded. “... Were you looking for me?”

“Of course, A Yuan! Shizun made Yue Shibo deploy the entire sect to look for you when he found out you went missing this morning!” Ning Yingying cried.

Oh. Oh. 

So all the disciples sent out, running like headless chickens were actually dispatched to look for him! Shen Yuan felt a little stupid and embarrassed now for failing to figure that out. Though to be fair, he really did not think Cang Qiong Mountain would send out that many people to look for a person who had only been gone for several hours. Still, to send out even nearly the entire mountain to look for one person, wasn’t that too excessive?

Ming Fan sighed. “We were going to cast a divination spell if you weren’t found any sooner. Imagine those Bai Zhan guys’ panic when they only found Bingpup, but not A Yuan.”

Damn it, so the Bai Zhan disciples were the ones who took Bingpup! Ah well, at least Bingpup was safe.

“Let’s go home now, A Yuan. Shizun and Liu Shishu, everyone is so worried about you,” Luo Binghe said.

Shen Yuan was about to nod, when he suddenly recalled the reason he had left home. His expression darkened and he pushed Luo Binghe away. “No, put me down. I don’t want to go home.”

The three poor youths who had been running all day were shocked. “Why?” Ming Fan asked. “A Yuan, Shizun has been looking for-”

“Why isn’t he here?” Shen Yuan said. “You said he’s looking for me, but he’s not here.”

The trio looked at each other. Luo Binghe smiled awkwardly at Shen Yuan. “A Yuan, Shizun is really worried about you. You have no idea. But he couldn’t leave A Song alone, so we volunteered to look for-”

“Noo!!” Shen Yuan screamed, astonishing everyone. “I don’t want excuses! I don’t want to hear about her anymore, I hate it!”

His outburst was followed by a painful silence. Even the old artisan was now unsure if he should close the shop for the day and tell the cultivators to bring their soap opera out from his business.

“He can’t be bothered to come and get me himself? The Qing Jing Peak Lord is too good for that? He can fuck off then,” Shen Yuan spat, ignoring the shocked look from their faces, who obviously did not expect not only rejection but also the crass language.

“A… A Yuan…” Ning Yingying whimpered.

The pipa lady approached them. “Young cultivators, perhaps you can leave him here with us first while you go and get your master. Clearly this little one has a turmoil in his heart that needs to be solved first to reconcile.”

Luo Binghe ended up staying there, while Ning Yingying and Ming Fan flew back to Cang Qiong Mountain at full speed.

 


 

Shen Qingqiu was losing his mind.

Just last night, after putting his baby girl to sleep, he had gone to Shen Yuan’s room to check on him as usual, but Shen Yuan was already asleep. Luo Binghe told him that Shen Yuan had been eating all three meals just fine. Other disciples like Ning Yingying and Luo Binghe himself would even give him some snacks to munch on.

Shen Qingqiu had been troubled trying to figure out A Song’s routine and sleeping schedule. She was too aware of her surroundings that a little noise would wake her up. She cried a lot and would even wake up at night. She was difficult to care for, completely different from Shen Yuan, who was so easy to nurse. Even with Liu Qingge by his side, Shen Qingqiu was barely getting enough rest.

After a few days they had finally figured out how to time A Song’s feeding and sleeping time so that it would not interrupt their normal schedule. Shen Qingqiu was finally getting some proper rest. He was up and about to make breakfast for Shen Yuan again, after a long time. Yet, when he entered his son’s room, both Shen Yuan and Bingpup were nowhere to be found.

He found the piggy bank emptied and left under the bed, and his heart instantly dropped. Shen Qingqiu rushed out of the bamboo house with Xiu Ya in hand, just in time to see a couple of disciples running and heaving towards the house.

“Shen Shibo! Your child… he snuck out from the mountain while we weren’t looking…”

Panic filled Shen Qingqiu. He tried locating Shen Yuan using the spiritual energy he had imprinted in Bingpup, but to no avail. After a while, the print had significantly weakened, not to mention Mobei Jun injecting his powers into Bingpup had also driven out his own spiritual energy from the black moon pup. He could only faintly tell that Shen Yuan was still within the same town.

It wasn’t long before the entire sect was informed of it. Yue Qingyuan called for an emergency mission and ordered every peak to send their disciples to look for Shen Yuan. Liu Qingge did not waste a second flying on his sword as soon as he heard it. Shen Qingqiu was about to hop Xiu Ya himself, when he suddenly heard A Song crying. The loud noise from all the ruckus had woken her up.

Ning Yingying had picked her up and tried to lull her back to sleep but she kept crying. She looked at Shen Qingqiu with pleading eyes. “Shizun, A Song won’t stop crying.”

Shen Qingqiu pursed his lips. What should he do?

“Shizun, stay here for now. The rest of us will go and look for A Yuan,” Luo Binghe promised.

Few hours later the Bai Zhan disciples returned, but only with Bingpup. Shen Yuan was nowhere to be seen. The disciples claimed they had found Bingpup in the middle of the market, mixed with the crowd and yapping loudly, however they could not find Shen Yuan. Shen Qingqiu’s knees had weakened upon hearing that.

The marketplace was filled with many people of different characters and he knew that among those people, slave traders walked free looking for young healthy street children they could take and sell. He gritted his teeth and quickly got up.

Finding Wei Qingwei who stayed behind to protect the mountain, he handed him his baby. “Please look after her.”

Wei Qingwei’s eyes widened. “Are you going to leave her? What if she wakes up?”

“Just bear with it for a while. How can I stay here when A Yuan is out there, in danger?” He said.

He went out, flying all over the town, looking for places Shen Yuan could have possibly gone to. He even ran through the streets where he knew slave traders would often walk on. However, Shen Yuan was nowhere to be found. Shen Qingqiu could not breathe, could not think.

Shen Yuan had rarely ever caused any trouble. He had always asked for his parents’ permission whenever he wanted to leave the peak, let alone the mountain, he would never go out alone. Did something happen to Shen Yuan while Shen Qingqiu was not looking? Shen Qingqiu suddenly realized that for the past few days while still adjusting to their new addition to the family, they barely paid enough attention to Shen Yuan.

Even if he had asked Luo Binghe and other disciples to watch over Shen Yuan, how could it be possibly the same as Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge themselves looking after him? To him, he may have been checking on A Yuan every night, but obviously their son would not know that since he was asleep. 

“Shizun? Shizun!!” He suddenly heard Ning Yingying’s voice calling him from afar.

Both Ning Yingying and Ming Fan looked like they had just returned from fighting a beast with how messy they looked. “Shizun, we found A Yuan!” She exclaimed.

Shen Qingqiu’s eyes widened. “Where? Is he safe? Where is he?”

Ming Fan gulped in a few breaths of air before answering, “He’s unharmed, but… err… he doesn’t want to come home.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“A Yuan is with A Luo now, at the artisan’s shop and… he said he won’t return unless Shizun comes to him,” said Ning Yingying.

Shen Qingqiu was stunned. 

Of all things, he never expected his usually obedient and sticky A Yuan to be rebelling. He exhaled. “Show me the way.”