Actions

Work Header

Mamazun

Chapter Text

Liu Qingge was born an alpha from a prestigious, wealthy alpha family. He had experienced rut before, naturally. His ruts were normally always manageable. He had trained himself to find release in other ways - mainly through fighting against demons whenever he was in a rut. The adrenaline rush certainly helped in battles and sometimes made him even more bloodthirsty than the demons themselves.

He had also experienced qi deviation, once. It was a very minor one, back when he was still learning and was a bit too eager to break through. His Shizun had warned him about the risk of going berserk and potentially harming not only himself but also the people around him. Since then Liu Qingge had always been careful whenever he was close to breaking through.

It just so happened that on this fateful day the qi deviation occurred at the same time as his rut. He was alone in the Spiritual Cave, with no opponent to release the heat inside him.

He sensed another presence. An opponent. His hand unconsciously gripped his sword.

Then he began to smell something sweet.

An omega.

A mate.

His mind changed its trajectory and he dropped the sword.

He didn't know who the hell the omega was at the time but he felt the connection. Of course, it could have been just the rut messing his mind. Liu Qingge used the last piece of his rationality left to bite his own arm in the effort to not lose control.

Then he felt the omega's breaths in his ears and the hand pulling him, begging him to feel the warmth.

"Take me."

He lost to his rut, for the first time.

He pulled the omega close, kissing their lips hungrily, licking, devouring every inch of their body that he could savour. The smell of arousal permeated and Liu Qingge’s member hardened even more. He ripped off the layers that stopped them from feeling each other’s bare skin. He growled like a beast, precum dripping from the sensation of his partner’s tongue running across his neck and chest.

He grabbed the other’s arms and pressed their bodies together, thoroughly enjoying the sensation of their private parts rubbing against each other. Liu Qingge’s hands roamed across his partner’s body, feeling every inch of warm smooth skin that contrasted the cave’s cold air. His right hand stopped in between the two round mounds and his fingers searched for entrance. He needed to be inside this person, right now.

The place was already wet and dripping and Liu Qingge spared no thought to bend down and lick it. It earned a long lewd moan from the person and he inserted his fingers, stretching the entrance impatiently. He pressed the person down, and pushed himself in with one smooth movement that was sure to send jolts and possibly pain to the person beneath him but Liu Qingge’s mind was too hazy to even care.

Especially when the person kept breathily muttering things that drove him crazy. “More,” the person gasped. “Fill me up - more - give me your seeds… more!” 

He rolled his hips, lifted the person’s legs over his shoulders and pushed in deeper. More arousing pheromones emanated and permeated the air and Liu Qingge was drowned in ecstasy. It was so hot, so tight, so wet inside. He rutted, spilling his seeds inside the person numerous times. He flipped the person around, penetrated them once more, and bit the person’s nape. Mine , he thought. Mine, mine, mine!

When Liu Qingge came to, he was horrified to discover himself trembling, with his pants down and his robes mostly torn up, as well as a mess of hot sticky fluid flowing down from his manhood, all over his thighs.

Underneath him was another trembling figure. His legs were opened, with semen in the space between his legs, and a bite mark on the exposed nape.

Oh no. Oh shit.

What had he done?

Adding to his horror, he discovered that the person underneath him turned out to be Shen Qingqiu, his own senior martial brother, the Qing Jing Peak Lord, his sort of nemesis. Impossible. Wasn't Shen Qingqiu also an alpha...no, was he a beta? But an alpha can only mark an omega, meaning…

Shen Qingqiu was an omega. And they had just mated. Shit.

Liu Qingge hurriedly pulled up his pants and wrapped whatever left of his own robes around his senior martial brother and carried him to Qian Cao Peak, leaving the Spirit Caves earlier than he planned to. Cultivating be damned, he had to take responsibility. He took pride in never losing control of his rut, how could this happen?

Mu Qingfang certainly looked displeased when Liu Qingge explained the events that had occurred. Yue Qingyuan more so. In fact, he looked like he was tempted to unsheathe Xuan Su to be used on Liu Qingge. 

"Shen Shixiong is indeed an omega, though he wishes that his status is not to be disclosed to others," Mu Qingfang explained. It was a secret only known to him, Yue Qingyuan, and Shen Qingqiu himself. Shen Qingqiu, throughout his years in Cang Qiong Mountain had been relying on inhibitors supplied by Qian Cao Peak and never disclosed his status to anyone else.

Liu Qingge bit his lip. "I will take responsibility. I will also accept punishment."

Mu Qingfang and Yue Qingyuan alike looked conflicted. "I'm not sure if Qingqiu Shidi will want that," Yue Qingyuan said. "Marriage is not going to fix this."

"At least punish me. I forced myself on him-"

"You did not."

Shen Qingqiu's voice came out from the treatment room. His complexion looked better now and he was able to walk. He was back to the cold, aloof scholarly immortal.

He sat in front of Liu Qingge, next to Yue Qingyuan. Liu Qingge noticed even though he was facing him, he was not looking at him in the eyes.

"It was partly my fault as well. I was in heat and when I was trying to not get myself killed from your berserk state, I experienced qi deviation myself and lost control of my own mind," Shen Qingqiu admitted. "I have vague recollection but I may have tempted you to take me back then."

Mu Qingfang sighed. "So both of you were experiencing heat and rut at the same time. Both of you were also experiencing qi deviation."

It was almost like a situation in which two very drunk people happened to be very horny and decided to do it. It was unclear who was to be blamed in this situation.

"However, you do realize that while one is in heat and the other is in rut, the possibility of conceiving is very high, don't you?" Mu Qingfang reminded them.

Liu Qingge flinched. He remembered the sticky mess he had left on Shen Qingqiu. Inside Shen Qingqiu.

"Can't you give Qingqiu Shidi the morning after pill?" Yue Qingyuan asked.

Mu Qingfang shook his head. "Unfortunately the morning after pill can disturb his qi circulation. If I were to give one to him right after he experienced a qi deviation, that was solved by dual cultivation… there's a risk of him getting a worse, possibly fatal one next time."

Shen Qingqiu drummed his fingers lightly as he thought deeply about it. He glanced at Liu Qingge who looked very much deep in guilt. Shen Qingqiu was frankly stunned that he decided to pounce at him rather than stabbing him with his sword back in the cave. He even marked him. It was very likely that he and Liu Qingge were fated mates, though he wasn't going to acknowledge that.

"We only did it once and most of the semen leaked out. I doubt there will be pregnancy in the first try," Shen Qingqiu said, though he knew he was hoping too much. An omega in heat and an alpha in rut mating was the perfect formula to conceive a child.

"Let's just hope for that then," Mu Qingfang said.

Yue Qingyuan did not punish either of them since neither parties intended to blame each other but he warned Liu Qingge to isolate himself - preferably in his own space - until his rut was over. Liu Qingge went to see Shen Qingqiu.

"Shen Qingqiu... regardless of whether there's a baby or not, I can't just act like nothing happened," Liu Qingge said. "I bit you. We are mated."

Shen Qingqiu raised an eyebrow at him. "So?"

"Marry me."

"No."

Liu Qingge choked. "Why?"

"Why don't you reflect back on yourself when you asked me? I doubt anyone with a sane mind would agree."

Liu Qingge tried. For the whole week during his rut he tried to reflect on it but failed to get an answer. He came from a good family. He had a good social standing. His cultivation and strength were excellent. His looks were not bad. He was an alpha and physically compatible with Shen Qingqiu. So why did he get rejected?

He went to see his sister at Xian Shu Peak. The matter regarding his and Shen Qingqiu's 'accident' was kept a secret but Liu Qingge had no choice. He told his sister about what had happened.

She looked split in between delighted and mortified.

"Of course you can't just ask him to marry you! You haven't developed feelings yet, how can you ask him to do that!"

Liu Qingge frowned. "Feelings?"

"All this time you and Shen Shibo have been at odds with each other. You have to start looking at him in a different light and make him do the same."

"You mean…"

"Court him."

Liu Qingge wondered what kind of material was being taught at Xian Shu Peak, as his sister waved him goodbye with a pouch full of 'Guide on Capturing A Man's Heart for Men'.


 

Shen Qingqiu took a deep breath as he wrapped himself in his blankets. His heat had not yet ended and unfortunately due to the qi deviation Mu Qingfang did not allow him to take any suppressants, for the same reason he wasn’t allowed to take a morning after pill. He had been in self isolation for three whole days now. The effect of dual cultivation from Liu Qingge had dissipated and now his pheromone was leaking out again. The younger disciples had been entrusted to the oldest disciples to take care of.

"Take me."

Yup. Shen Qingqiu remembered pretty well that in the midst of his qi deviation added with his state of drunken heat, he had told Liu Qingge to take him, rubbed against him, pretty much seducing him. 

It was partly his own carelessness, forgetting to stock up on suppressants. Taking the suppressants constantly for decades had made him more resistant to it, hence reducing the drug's effectiveness. Increasing his cultivation would enable him to control his heat better but rushing it when he was already this unstable had backfired.

That being said…

Of all people, why did it have to be that brute?!

He might not feel as disgusted if the accident occurred with a stranger. At least there'd be no string attached. He could pretend it was a one night stand that would be forgotten soon. For his mate to be Liu Qingge of all people… Shen Qingqiu prayed he wouldn't get pregnant from that brute's seeds. It was hard to tell, a lot of the semen leaked out but some did get in and might have gotten inseminated, especially considering they were compatible mates.

He heard a knock on his door and got up. Luo Binghe came in, his face as dirty and his clothes as messy as usual. "Shizun, I've finished the task," Luo Binghe murmured weakly.

Shen Qingqiu eyed the child. An alpha child, he knew it as soon as he saw him. An alpha child, so talented with a high potential, just at the right age for cultivating, and loved by his mother. Just like Liu Qingge. So talented and so loved. He envied them, hated them so much.

Shen Qingqiu suddenly noticed something. Luo Binghe was not reacting to his strong omega pheromone despite being an alpha. He then realized that out of all the disciples he currently had right now, Luo Binghe was the youngest and weakest. He likely had not reached puberty yet and his cultivation was still awfully low. No wonder he wasn't reacting to Shen Qingqiu's omega pheromone. Even a beta like Ming Fan had looked at Shen Qingqiu strangely when Shen Qingqiu called him in temporarily earlier to give out instructions.

Shen Qingqiu thought about it. He needed an alpha's touch to stabilise his spiritual energy during his heat and this meek-looking boy looked like he could be trusted to not open his mouth.

"Little beast, go get a tub and fill it with water," he ordered.

Luo Binghe blinked. "Shizun?"

"Right now." There shouldn't be a problem if he gets this boy trained early to not defy him. Shen Qingqiu could try making this boy his adoptive cub, who could help him in his future heat.

Luo Binghe went to fill the bathtub, thinking his Shizun wanted to bathe. However, to his surprise, after the water was warmed Shen Qingqiu ordered him to strip. Luo Binghe's face turned red.

"You stink. Clean yourself," Shen Qingqiu said and picked up a clean cloth. He dumped Luo Binghe into the tub, tugged his hair roughly to pull him up, and began scrubbing his body. 

Luo Binghe yelped. "Shizun?!"

"Stop flailing, little beast. How are you no different than an animal, when you can't even clean yourself properly?"

"... Disciple apologizes…" Luo Binghe murmured.

After he finished scrubbing all the dirt off Luo Binghe (the boy's face was crimson from the embarrassment upon seeing the dirty water) he threw some fresh robes to Luo Binghe and a cloth to dry off. Shen Qingqiu went back to his makeshift 'nest' and called Binghe to come.

Binghe was scared. He had heard rumours that his Shizun used to frequent brothels before he became a peak lord. What if Shizun wanted to use Binghe to satisfy his lust?

In spite of his fear, Luo Binghe braced himself and sat down in front of Shen Qingqiu. Shen Qingqiu combed and braided his hair. He then told Binghe to lay down in bed. Luo Binghe nervously laid down, his mind thinking of possible ways to knock his master out if he ever tried to do something to Binghe.

Then Shen Qingqiu also laid down, piled up more blankets around them, held Binghe's hand, and went to sleep.

Luo Binghe froze. He waited the whole night for Shen Qingqiu to do something indecent but the man just kept holding his hand while sleeping. Binghe did notice his Shizun's temperature was quite high, almost like feverish.

He got very little sleep that night, trying to think of why Shizun wanted to hold his hand to sleep, even going to the extent of bathing him.

The next morning, with his chastity still fully intact, Luo Binghe got up early and made some rice gruel and ginger tea. He served them to Shen Qingqiu, praying to the heavens above that this time he won't get hot rice gruel and tea over his head.

Shen Qingqiu narrowed his eyes at the steaming bowl of food suspiciously. Luo Binghe gulped. To his surprise, Shen Qingqiu ate them. He cleaned the bowl and sent out Binghe, ordering him to come again after finishing his errands.

When Luo Binghe came back to the hut, Shen Qingqiu was sitting in front of a table with a paper. He gestured at him to sit facing him. Luo Binghe obliged.

"How much can you read?" Shen Qingqiu questioned.

Luo Binghe looked down. "This disciple is dim-witted and can only read simple characters…"

"That means you haven't read much."

 "... I have not."

"Good."

Good? Luo Binghe was puzzled.

"I'm going to teach you how to read. However, remember this - in the future you may only read what I approve. Do not accept any unknown reading materials from your senior brothers - especially indecent ones."

Luo Binghe's eyes widened from shock. The teacher who had previously scorned and beat him up suddenly was giving him private lessons.

"Also, after the lesson move your things to the side room. From now on you'll be serving me. Understand?" Shen Qingqiu said and tapped his disciple's head with his fan. 

"Yes, Shizun!"

That night Shen Qingqiu made him take a bath and slept holding Binghe's hand, yet again. Luo Binghe was completely puzzled. Shen Qingqiu was isolating himself from other disciples, yet here he was, suddenly having the disciple he hated the most to hold his hand to sleep.


 

Luo Binghe was overjoyed. He had no idea what caused his teacher to suddenly have a change in heart but he welcomed it very much. Shizun began teaching him to read and write. After a week, he stopped letting Binghe into his bed but let him sleep in the side room, so Binghe didn't have to sleep in the woodshed anymore. He was also now in charge of Shizun's meals.

Liu Shishu came to visit a week after Binghe moved in. Weird, because as far as Binghe knew the Bai Zhan Peak and Qing Jing Peak were always at odds due to their Peak Lords' rivalry. Shizun didn't seem to welcome Liu Shishu but Liu Shishu brought a dead beast to the bamboo hut and told him it was a present for Shizun.

"Discard it," Shizun ordered.

Luo Binghe dragged the beast to the river and was about to bury the body somewhere when he came across Ning Yingying and his other senior sisters.

"You're throwing it away? What a waste," Ning Yingying said. "I've heard from Ming Fan that the meat is quite delicious."

Luo Binghe wouldn't want to get involved with Ming Fan but Ning Yingying didn't seem to get a clue and went ahead to call his Shixiong. Ming Fan wasn't happy to see Binghe either but he seemed thrilled to see the beast.

"It's a delicacy in my hometown," Ming Fan said. "You can roast the meat and make a nice broth from the bones."

The senior brothers skinned and carved out the beast. Luo Binghe started a fire. When Ming Fan noticed him trying to start the fire manually instead of using a talisman, he sneered. "You can't even make a small fireball? How lame."

Ning Yingying and the other girls were not pleased. "If A Luo doesn't know it shouldn't it be your fault for not mentoring him well?"

Ming Fan scowled. "Fine."

He showed Binghe how to use a fire talisman to light a fire. A weird kind of friendship began there, as the disciples began roasting the boar and making soup. Near dawn they were caught by Shen Qingqiu and were ordered to run laps around the mountain.

Liu Shishu kept sending dead beasts as gifts every week and each time Shizun still refused them. Luo Binghe obtained new ingredients every week. As time passed Shizun seemed to tolerate his presence more and was eating more of his food. Sometimes he even asked Binghe to make something.

Two months later, he noticed Shizun started throwing up whenever he was cooking. Binghe, fearing for his life, began cooking outdoor, but weirdly enough Shizun didn't seem to blame him for the smell, and told him to continue cooking in the kitchen. Still, his Shizun threw up every morning and looked paler and more lethargic each day. He kept asking Binghe to make ginger tea, sometimes citrus tea, sometimes herb tea. Shizun was never picky about what he ate but lately he began demanding for certain ingredients to be included or taken out from his meals.

Liu Shishu came again bringing yet another catch this morning. He asked for Shizun as usual.

"Shizun is unwell, he doesn't want to see anyone," Luo Binghe answered. It was true. For the past week their lessons had been cut short and Shizun had delegated the smaller, simpler tasks to Binghe or Ming Fan.

Liu Shishu paled. "What do you mean unwell?"

"... He is lethargic and he throws up sometimes -" Binghe didn't even finish his sentence when Liu Shishu pushed him away and barged into the bamboo hut.

"Shen Qingqiu, are you pregnant?!"

Luo Binghe dropped the wooden spoon in his hand.


 

"..." Mu Qingfang frowned after he finished examining Shen Qingqiu. "It is no doubt pregnancy. Already around two months, which means...it is from that time. It's Liu Shixiong's."

Shen Qingqiu wanted to hide his face in his palms right now. Why? Why did he have such rotten luck?!

And why the hell did Liu Qingge look happy? Did he want to have babies so much? Why didn't the bastard just get married to someone acknowledged by the Liu family then? He just had to have an accident with Shen Qingqiu.

"... Do you want this baby, Shen Shixiong?" Mu Qingfang asked. "You're the mother and it is your body. You have the right to decide."

"I'll keep the baby," Shen Qingqiu answered, surprising both Bai Zhan and Qian Cao Peak Lords. He scowled at them. "What?"

Mu Qingfang shook his head. "I was surprised. Considering this baby isn't planned and your relationship with the father isn't the best, I was not expecting you to want it."

Shen Qingqiu's eyes twitched when he saw the pleased expression on Liu Qingge's face. "I'm not keeping it because of you. The baby is mine."

Liu Qingge flinched. "But it's mine too!"

"You're not the one giving birth to the baby!"

"Yes, but I'm your mate and you didn't get pregnant on your own!"

"Just because we fucked once and you bit me doesn't make me your mate!"

"Well, I want to make you my mate!" Liu Qingge argued. "I've sent you gifts several times already, didn't you get them?"

Shen Qingqiu scowled. "Those were gifts? Try harder, Liu Shidi."

Mu Qingfang sighed. At least this time Shen Shixiong said 'try harder' instead of a flat 'no', so he supposed he could count it as a progress?


 

"Shen Shixiong is pregnant?!" Shang Qinghua shrieked.

Shen Qingqiu shot a murderous look at him.

"I thought you were an alpha or beta," Qi Qingqi said.

"An alpha or beta can still get pregnant, though the chances are very low," Mu Qingfang said, without ever clearing up Shen Qingqiu's real identity as an omega.

"So who's the father?" Wei Qingwei asked.

Shen Qingqiu wanted to remain silent but freaking Liu Qingge straight up raised his hand and admitted. "Me."

The Peak Lords who just heard it for the first time in the meeting - minus Yue Qingyuan and Mu Qingfang - were shocked to the core. They had long known that the two viewed each other as nemesis and couldn't imagine how it even happened.

"How did Liu Shidi go from trying to stab you with his sword to stabbing you with his...cough," Shang Qinghua stopped himself before he got stabbed by Shen Qingqiu.

"It was an accident," Shen Qingqiu answered.

"That's what everyone says, hic," the drunk Zui Xian Peak Lord hiccupped.

"So what are your plans?" Qi Qingqi asked.

"Keeping the baby," Shen Qingqiu simply replied, glancing at Yue Qingyuan. "I can, right?"

Yue Qingyuan nodded. "Of course you can. How can I force you to take an innocent life, if you desire to have it?"

"Do you two plan to get married?" Wei Qingwei asked.

"No." "Yes."

Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge exchanged looks.

"My answer remains," Shen Qingqiu persisted.

"I'm not going to stop," Liu Qingge said.

"If you want a baby go look for someone else!"

"I don't want just the baby."

"If you're thinking of marrying just because I'm pregnant, you're in for a big mistake."

"You and I are mated, why can't you just give me a chance? I've told you I want to marry you even without a baby, haven't I?"

"Too bad, even with a hundred babies I'm not marrying a brute!"

Yue Qingyuan already sensed the incoming headaches. The rest of the Peak Lords were still wondering how they two got knocked up.


 

Luo Binghe knew what pregnancy was. It was when a parent would carry a baby inside for nine months. He heard from his late mother that it only happened to mated people though, so he was stunned when Shizun finally (and very reluctantly) disclosed to his disciples that he was with a child.

As far as Binghe knew Shizun wasn't mated to anyone. However, Ming Fan told him that people can still get pregnant even without having a mate.

"If you kiss someone long enough you can get pregnant," Ming Fan said. "That's why it's impossible for the father to be Liu Shishu."

"That's not true. My mother and I kiss each other a lot. My mother said you need to share a pillow and a blanket together to get pregnant," Ning Yingying argued.

"That's because you and your mother kiss on the cheeks. I heard it has to be done on the lips," another shijie said.

"Hmph, you are all fools. Let me, as the oldest here tell you. To get pregnant, you need to use the calendar to count your heat cycle. It needs to be aligned with your mate's rut or heat cycle. That's why pregnancy is a big deal, it's a super complicated process," a different shixiong proudly said.

"What do you do after counting the cycle?"

"... My mother said it's an adult business. You only find out after you form a core," the shixiong coughed.

By that logic only high level cultivators could get pregnant so Luo Binghe decided to not take the words of his seniors. Cultivators in school-based sects like Cang Qiong Mountain were known to not stress on child-bearing that much, since they were aiming for immortality rather than continuing a lineage, especially since successors were chosen among the disciples and not among the masters' kins.

"Do not waste your time thinking about unnecessary stuff, Luo Binghe," Shen Qingqiu warned him. "Come here."

Luo Binghe came and obediently sat in front of the mirror, his back facing his teacher. Shen Qingqiu took the comb and started braiding his hair. Luo Binghe felt weird. By now he could guess that his master's sudden change of heart may have been caused by the pregnancy. Maybe it developed his maternal instinct? Whatever, Binghe would take what he could. He would thank the baby for being conceived in the future.

Shen Qingqiu sighed as he put the comb down. Yue Qingyuan had descended the mountain for a meeting with other sects. With Yue Qingyuan absent, as the second in seniority he was supposed to be in charge of the sect but he didn't feel like dragging his nearly five-month pregnant body there. "Luo Binghe, go to Qiong Ding Peak. Pick up any documents that your Shibo left for me."

Luo Binghe nodded and smiled. "Yes, Shizun!" Lately Shizun had stopped calling him 'little beast' and began calling him by his name.

Luo Binghe didn't return until late evening, and when he came back he was injured. Also, Liu Qingge was with Binghe.

Shen Qingqiu was enraged. His mind was now partially affected by the pregnancy hormones, making him more emotional, and all he could think of was that his cub had been hurt. He stood up and slapped Liu Qingge. "What did you do to him?”

Liu Qingge glared at him. "Would it kill you to be patient and not assume things?"

Shen Qingqiu scowled. He took a step back. It wasn't the first time Bai Zhan Peak disciples had gone wild and beat up his disciples and so he had misunderstood.

Luo Binghe hurriedly explained that there were demons invading Qiong Ding Peak while they were there. The rainbow bridge was destroyed so the disciples couldn't go to ask for help. Luckily Liu Qingge was coincidentally there and helped get rid of the demons.

"Your disciple fought well," Liu Qingge complimented.

Luo Binghe blushed.

Shen Qingqiu bit his lip lightly, hiding his expression behind his fan. "I see. Luo Binghe, go to your room."

Liu Qingge suddenly looked uneasy. "That boy stays in your house?"

"So? He's helping me with things."

"He's an alpha."

"He's underaged, just recently reached puberty. He hasn't developed as an alpha yet."

"Why didn't you get another omega to help you?"

"All the omegas in my peak are females. Thanks to a certain someone making a big deal about me going to brothels there are rumours about me being a lecherous alpha male. Should I still get an omega female here?" Never mind that he purposely picked Luo Binghe because he needed an alpha's presence to help balance his unstable qi (aside from his cooking, which made Shen Qingqiu continued keeping him here, of course). If Liu Qingge knew that he would berate Shen Qingqiu for not calling him and would invade his home straight away.

Liu Qingge's face reddened. "I didn't know… if you needed help with daily activities I would have done it! I could have helped you!"

Shen Qingqiu scoffed. "How? Can you, Liu Shidi, help take away my morning sickness? Can you make my meals three times a day? Can you stand being ordered around by an omega? I don't think so."

"... Can that alpha stand being ordered around?" 

"Alpha or not he's still an immature brat. By the time he's matured, the baby will be born and grown up, I won't need him around anymore."

Liu Qingge clenched his fist. "... Fine. I'm leaving for tonight. I'll come again tomorrow."

He turned around and was about to leave when he suddenly heard Shen Qingqiu call his name. "Liu Shidi."

Liu Qingge halted his steps.

"... Thank you. For saving my disciples."

The dim light made Shen Qingqiu's expression almost melancholic. However by now Liu Qingge could almost read him. He chuckled. "You're welcome."

Chapter Text

By the end of Shen Qingqiu's second trimester, everyone who didn't know before was now convinced that the Qing Jing Peak Lord was carrying the child of the Bai Zhan Peak Lord.

Liu Qingge's weekly visits had turned into daily visits. He used to come bringing gifts. Now he came not only with gifts but he also suddenly started helping around with the house chores - chopping woods, mainly, because Liu Qingge couldn't cook all that well.

Shen Qingqiu previously refused every visitation and every gift but recently he no longer rejected any gift and he started letting Liu Qingge into his bamboo hut as well. The girls at Xian Shu Peak had already produced so many written and illustrated fictions of what may have happened between them that caused the pregnancy. Mostly depicted an 'angry sex' that took place after a heated battle that caused the two nemesis to go into their heat or rut.

The materials had been circulated even to other peaks, nearly reaching the outside world, if not because Shen Qingqiu caught Ning Yingying and her senior sisters reading them. The day remained ingrained in everyone's memory as the first time the boys were not punished but the girls were horribly reprimanded, each receiving five strikes on their palms.

It was brought to the Peak Lords meeting.

Nothing could hide Shen Qingqiu's terrible mood as he entered the hall with his seven-month bulge. Yue Qingyuan cleared his throat. "Perhaps next time we can have the meeting at Qing Jing Peak instead of troubling Qingqiu Shidi to come here."

"I'm pregnant, not a cripple."

"It must be hard having to walk quite a distance with the rainbow bridge," Wei Qingwei pointed.

Shen Qingqiu remained silent. Liu Qingge suddenly gasped. "Hold on - did you use your sword?!"

"..."

"What were you thinking, you idiot?! What if something happened to you?!" Liu Qingge yelled.

"Like I said, I'm not a cripple," Shen Qingqiu replied.

"I'm afraid Liu Shixiong has a point, Shen Shixiong. You shouldn't travel on swords anymore at this stage," Mu Qingfang said. "I can send over my disciple to stand by at Qing Jing Peak, Shixiong."

"No need," Shen Qingqiu declined. "I have my own disciples, they can alert you."

"Your senior disciples who have received their spiritual swords are currently in seclusion, aren't they? They won't come out in time for the birth," Liu Qingge said. "I'll stay by your side."

Shen Qingqiu choked. "Are you crazy?!"

"You're a madman if you insist on going through this alone," Liu Qingge retorted.

"I don't need your help!"

"You might not but I want to anyway!"

Shang Qinghua whispered to Qi Qingqi at his side. "I say, Liu Shidi is going to start camping at Qing Jing Peak after this."

Qi Qingqi grinned. "He already let him into his bamboo hut now. I'd say he's going to let Liu Shidi slip into his heart soon."

"Wanna bet?"

"Three months."

"Four months."


 

Luo Binghe was not liking this. At first it was weekly. Then daily. Then Liu Qingge was slowly taking over his job. Back then it would be only Binghe and Shizun every morning and every night. Now the time had been monopolized by Liu Shishu completely and there was nothing Binghe could do, because Liu Shimei from Xian Shu Peak confirmed that the child in Shizun's belly was her future niece or nephew.

Liu Shishu had started camping out at Qing Jing Peak, as Shang Qinghua and Qi Qingqi had predicted and nothing could stop him, not even Shen Qingqiu himself.

Luo Binghe felt the dread when one day Shen Qingqiu suddenly ordered Binghe to bring a spare bed into the bamboo hut, because apparently seeing a camp at his backyard was an eyesore and knowing how stubborn Liu Qingge was, Shizun might as well just let him sleep inside.

If it was the old Shizun he would have set the tent on fire just to chase the Bai Zhan War God away.

Liu Shishu seemed to have wormed his way into Shizun's heart. At least that was what Luo Binghe believed. Shizun, who used to refuse any gift from Liu Shishu, was slowly allowing him to invade his space. It took months, but Liu Shishu's persistence paid off. Luo Binghe felt like a child whose mother had just gotten a new boyfriend. A boyfriend whom he didn't like.

Two months passed after that.

One night Binghe was rudely awakened by Liu Qingge, who demanded him to stay by Shizun's side while he went to get Mu Shishu.

Luo Binghe was horrified the moment he went to check up on Shizun. His water had broken and there was a pool of unrecognisable fluid wetting the mattress and pooling on the floor. Despite the immense pain Shizun remained calm, hiding it behind his aloof expression.

As soon as Mu Shishu and his head disciple arrived Luo Binghe was shooed out of the bamboo hut. He sighed and waited patiently outside.


 

It was painful. It was so goddamn painful Shen Qingqiu didn’t know how people who were not cultivators were able to bear this pain. His entrance was slowly tearing up and the contraction was so painful he felt no better than the time he had twenty bones broken at once back when he faced a demon in his early discipleship. Tears were beginning to pool in his eyes and he gripped Liu Qingge’s arms for support.

It was fortunate that the one he was holding was Liu Qingge. A normal human would have their arms broken just by the sheer force of Shen Qingqiu death-gripping them. Liu Qingge acted like it was nothing, never once complaining, only whispering words of support.

“I can almost see the head, Shen Shixiong. Just a bit more, push,” Mu Qingfang encouraged him.

Liu Qingge pressed his lips against his sweaty temples and Shen Qingqiu found the energy to push. He bit on the cloth that Mu Qingfang had given him and squeezed his eyes shut as he exerted more effort.

“The baby’s head is out, Shen Shixiong!” Mu Qingfang exclaimed. “The shoulder’s going to be a bit harder but you can do it, push!”

Shen Qingqiu threw away his lofty scholarly image. He was already spreading his legs, looking all messy and stank of sweat anyway. He screamed.

“It’s out, Shen Shixiong! The baby’s fully out!” Mu Qingfang cheered.

But there was no sound. Shen Qingqiu was expecting a loud cry. For a moment his heart sank at the thought that there might be something wrong with his baby. No, not his baby. Not the child he had been carrying for nine months, please no-

Mu Qingfang patted the baby’s bottom and there was a loud cry. Shen Qingqiu could finally feel relieved. Liu Qingge was already crying, cradling his head and kissing him hard and Shen Qingqiu let him, because he couldn’t be bothered to think about his image anymore. He just wanted to see his baby, to hold his baby.

Mu Qingfang handed the newborn to his head disciple to be cleaned off the blood and fluid while he worked on closing the wound. The Qian Cao Peak head disciple smiled as she handed the baby to Shen Qingqiu. “He’s a lovely baby, Shen Shibo.”

Shen Qingqiu held his breath as his fingers touched the baby for the first time. He held the baby carefully in his arms. The baby was small, red, and wrinkly - not at all what people would consider typically beautiful - but to him, the precious little one was the most gorgeous thing in the world. He pressed the baby against his chest and kissed his forehead.

“Do you have a name, Shen Shixiong?” Mu Qingfang asked. 

Shen Qingqiu nodded. “... Yuan. Shen Yuan.”

Traditionally a child would be taking the alpha’s, or in beta couples - the beta male’s surname, but seeing that Liu Qingge seemed to have no problem at all and was just happy to see both mother and child safe, Mu Qingfang decided it was not a big deal. Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge’s relationship had developed way better now compared to that day, when Liu Qingge had brought in the unconscious Shen Qingqiu. Mu Qingfang was sure the two could work together in raising the child without worrying about issues like surnames and such. He smiled.

“It’s a beautiful name,” Liu Qingge said.

“Shen Shixiong chose well,” Mu Qingfang agreed. “I have closed the wound but you will need plenty of rest and some medications to recover from the blood loss. I will leave the prescriptions here.”

Shen Qingqiu nodded. Mu Qingfang left shortly after to give privacy to the couple and their newborn. Cultivators of Shen Qingqiu’s level did not need much care compared to normal people, a day or two would be enough for his body to completely recover, especially with the medications. Mu Qingfang had also seen the way Liu Qingge cared for Shen Qingqiu throughout his pregnancy and during the labour, he had confidence leaving the rest to Liu Qingge.

“Liu Shidi… help, clean me and carry me to bed.”

Liu Qingge nodded. Mu Qingfang’s disciple had already prepared a small tub of hot water for Shen Qingqiu to clean up. He helped Shen Qingqiu to take off the rest of his clothes, then while the latter sat down Liu Qingge changed the sheets and used a cleaning talisman to clean the blood off. He worked fast, proceeding to wipe Shen Qingqiu clean while the other was still holding the baby, then gently carrying him to bed.

Liu Qingge sat down, head leaning against the pillow while Shen Qingqiu dressed fresh clean robes leaned against Liu Qingge’s chest, positioned the baby, and let their small bundle of joy latched on to his nipple. His eyes twitched from the slight pain of his first time breastfeeding but it was nothing compared the joy he was experiencing.

Liu Qingge gathered his hair, combed it and began braiding it. “Do you want something to eat? Maybe to replenish your energy?”

Shen Qingqiu shook his head. “I’m so tired, I just want to sleep, as soon as this little one also falls asleep.”

Liu Qingge nodded. He let Shen Qingqiu rest his body against him and wrapped his arms around the slimmer man to give him warmth. He chuckled. He couldn’t believe it. He was a father now. A father, and to Qingqiu’s child. He pressed another soft kiss on Shen Qingqiu’s hair.

Soon Shen Qingqiu had fallen asleep. Liu Qingge gently placed the child in bed right next to him, then called Luo Binghe in (poor boy had been stubbornly waiting outside) and decided to let the boy have a peek.

Needless to say, Luo Binghe brightened up like a sunshine on a spring day. He cupped his mouth to stop himself from making a squealing noise, then obediently went back to his side room to not disturb his Shizun’s rest. Satisfied with making Shen Qingqiu’s cub also happy, Liu Qingge climbed into the bed, sandwiching Shen Yuan between himself and his fated omega, then stared at the calmly breathing mother and child with a delighted smile until he too, was lulled to sleep.


 

Shen Yuan was sure that at some point, he was dead after a case of food poisoning. He was now back to being a baby and this was now his new life, though for some reason it appeared that Old Lady Meng forgot to give him the soup, considering all twenty years of his life including his last words of cursing Airplane Shooting Towards the Sky were still fresh in his memories.

And Meng Po wasn’t the only deity who messed up, apparently, because being reborn into ancient China wasn't something he had foreseen. He was sure people weren’t supposed to reincarnate into the past, because reincarnation wasn’t supposed to work backwards, right?

So why the hell were the voices surrounding him all sounded like dialogues from a xianxia drama? Based on the dialogues and voices he could conclude that there were at least ten people in the room, two of his parents’ and the others were visiting to see him, the newborn. What he could not understand was the way they addressed each other.

"What is his name, Shen Shixiong?" Someone asked.

"Shen Yuan," replied the person holding him.

Oh, look, he still had his real name here. But really, what was going on? The more frustrating thing here was that even when Shen Yuan opened his mouth to try to speak, all that came out was some sort of incomprehensible gurgly baby noise and when he tried to move his arms, it only manifested as a weak, uncomfortable squirm.

"The disciples are all waiting outside to have a look at him, Qingqiu Shidi."

"I don't think A Yuan is ready to be seen by so many people.”

Was the one holding him his father, perhaps? But Shen Yuan could tell from the smell and the feel that this was the same person who had been breastfeeding him, so it must be his mother. His mother seemed to be slightly on the muscular side, though. She wasn’t as soft as he would have imagined, but then again Shen Yuan had died a virgin so how would he know what being held by a woman feels like? Maybe she was more on the masculine side, her voice was also deep like a man’s. Shen Yuan could feel her silky long hair brushing against him sometimes, so she was probably his mother who happened to have masculine voice and a body tougher than most men he knew. Eh, but what if it's a man with long hair...?

He opened his eyes but it was all blurry. He could roughly see the outline of his mother’s face but the rest was just too blurry.

“Oh, look, Shen Shixiong, he’s opening his eyes!”

“Can he see us, Mu Shidi?”

“He can, but not very clearly. Newborns can only see a short distance, so it’s best to get your faces close and bond more though hearing and touches.

Hm?

Shen Yuan did think at one point that perhaps because his hearing wasn’t fully developed yet, he had mixed up dialogues from a TV being turned on nearby, with actual people talking. However, now it was clear that everything he heard came out from the people surrounding him. He really did reincarnate into the past.

“Shizun, I brought the medicine for you.”

“Let me see, Luo Shizhi. Hm, you prepared it well. I thought Shen Shixiong would have asked Liu Shixiong to brew it.”

“He can’t even make a decent meal, I’d trust my disciples more in the kitchen.”

“I’ll learn!”

“Of course, as long as you don’t attempt it in this house. Binghe, bring it here.”

“Yes, Shizun.”

Shen Yuan flinched a little. Binghe? Luo Shizhi? Luo Binghe? That sounded like… was that not the name of the protagonist of the one novel he had been cursing in his death? Luo Binghe, the stallion protagonist with the golden finger, master of the harem, OP in every aspect?

…. Nah, that can’t be possible. Luo Binghe’s Shizun was Shen Qingqiu, the scum villain who abused the protagonist at every chance he had. It was probably just a coincidence. If this Luo Binghe was that Luo Binghe, it would mean that Shen Yuan was born to…

His surname was Shen here. Shit.

 


 

Roughly three months after his birth, Shen Yuan could finally confirm that yes, he was indeed reincarnated into a xianxia world, specifically the fictional world of Proud Immortal Demon Way. He was finally able to see clearly and properly, and was finally able to make sense of all the words and dialogues around him to make a definite conclusion.

This world was an even weirder version of Proud Immortal Demon Way. It was an omegaverse of the already shitty stallion novel! Moreover, why the fuck was he reborn as Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge’s son?! What was this, some trashy fanfiction written by someone with too much time? Shen Yuan demanded justice, this was OOC, everyone was OOC!

Yet, here he was, nestling in Shen Qingqiu’s arms as the man gently rocked him and hummed a soft lullaby. He was far from the image of the child abuser as portrayed in the novel, even to the protagonist he was nice!

“Shizun, I’m back from the mission,” Luo Binghe greeted at the door.

Shen Qingqiu nodded, too occupied with the baby to look at Luo Binghe. “Clean yourself and report it to me at dinner.”

“Yes, Shizun,” Luo Binghe said and went to his room.

What kind of scenario was this? This reminded Shen Yuan of a child coming home from school, then told by his parents to take a bath, do his homework - so domestic! This kind of domestic scene did not exist in the stallion novel, and especially not from the villain interacting with the protagonist! Yet, that was exactly what happened - Luo Binghe prepared dinner, then reported the mission to Shen Qingqiu, and was dismissed and ordered to go to bed. It was no different than Shen Yuan reporting to his parents that he had done all his homework, then sent to bed.

“Are you hungry, A Yuan? It’s your meal time,” Shen Qingqiu asked and began loosening his robes. 

No wonder his mother was tough. His breasts had swelled up a little but Shen Qingqiu still had that lean muscular body and knowing it made it harder for Shen Yuan to latch his mouth there. Not that it would be any less awkward if it was an unknown woman… but heavens, why couldn’t Old Lady Meng give him that soup?!

Liu Qingge came home not long after Shen Yuan gave in to hunger and was quick to sit by Shen Qingqiu’s side to support his back while he was feeding Shen Yuan. It seemed to have become a habit for Liu Qingge to try and cradle Shen Qingqiu from behind while he was breastfeeding. Shen Yuan had heard somewhere that it was a good way for the father to also bond with the baby, aside from providing emotional support for the mother as well. Anyone could see that the Bai Zhan War God was a hard worker, albeit a little awkward.

If Shen Yuan had someone pursuing him with this much earnest dedication, he would probably fall in love too. He still had no idea how Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge ended up a couple and even having him though, the only thing he knew was that they were not yet married but were already mated. Liu Qingge must have courted Shen Qingqiu for quite a long time.

Shen Yuan stopped sucking as soon as he was full. He began to feel sleepy. Liu Qingge gently carried him and placed him in the crib, not forgetting to place a kiss on his chubby cheeks before tucking him in. It took Shen Yuan only a few seconds to fall into a slumber.

Yet, at midnight, one of his worst nightmares occurred.

He frowned as he was awakened to the sound of loud gasps and lewd moans. 

“Aaah, aaah…”

The sound of flesh-slapping resonated and it dawned on Shen Yuan. He paled. Shit! Oh, dear lord… these two… they were… shit, they were doing it!

Shen Yuan shut his eyes. Nope. Go back to sleep, Shen Yuan. Humans have needs, just ignore it. It’s human nature. Even if this cradle happens to have slits and you would be able to see through and witness it, it is a breach of privacy and you are not into voyeurism.

… Maybe just a bit.

He rolled his plump body just a bit and turned his head to take a little peek.

Sure enough, Shen Qingqiu was lying in bed underneath Liu Qingge, their lower half connected. They were both naked and Liu Qingge was thrusting so fast, his hips moving like an engine, while Shen Qingqiu wrapped his legs around his back and his arms around his neck. They looked like they were eating each other’s faces and Shen Yuan thoroughly regretted giving in to his curiosity. It wasn’t as if he had never seen porn before, what was he expecting?!

He rolled back to the other side and shut his eyes.

“Aah, ah, ah, more...mm…”

“Shit, you feel so hot and wet…”

“Yes, faster-”

“So tight-”

AAAHHH!!!! He did not want to hear those words from two fictional characters who were now his parents! He did not, never want to hear those again!!!!

Should I cry?

“Just… a bit more…”

“Mm… I’m coming… ah…”

… Maybe no. It would be over soon, and Shen Yuan was sure those two did not have much opportunity to smash after having him. Shen Qingqiu was always so tired looking after a baby and his own disciples, even with Liu Qingge by his side and Luo Binghe assisting him. He should not stop his fellow men enjoying themselves, they were a couple anyway, couples ought to do what they needed to do to keep the romance alive.

Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge came - or well, that was what Shen Yuan guessed from the loud moan and groans. Finally, it was over and he could sleep.

“... One more?” Liu Qingge asked.

Fucking hell!!! Shen Yuan cursed.

 


 

The following day when Liu Mingyan came to visit, Liu Qingge proudly announced to her that he and Shen Qingqiu were finally getting married. Liu Mingyan clapped her hands happily. “I’m so happy for you, brother, brother-in-law!”

Liu Qingge nodded. “We haven’t discussed the details yet, but…” he paused and looked at Shen Qingqiu.

“If your family wants a celebration, I am fine with it,” Shen Qingqiu said, then added, “As long as it’s not too grand. A Yuan will be tired.”

Liu Mingyan smiled, though it was only visible from the crease in her eyes. “Of course. I will write to mother and father about this, don’t worry. Brother and brother-in-law, just leave the planning to us.”

Shen Yuan meanwhile was spewing curses at his father non-stop - only in his head, of course. No wonder these two had papapa’d to their heart’s content, going at it so loud… Liu Qingge had proposed and Shen Qingqiu finally accepted! Curse these two, why did he have to listen to that?! Couldn’t they have put on a silencing talisman? What about poor Luo Binghe? The walls weren’t that thick!

Liu Mingyan left shortly after and Shen Qingqiu finally noticed something. “Where is Luo Binghe? He hasn’t come out today, he’s not on any mission.”

“I’ll go check on him,” said Liu Qingge. Liu Qingge returned three minutes later, shaking his head. “I think he’s about to experience his first rut. He’s feverish and is starting to emit his pheromones.”

Shen Qingqiu frowned. “Should we send him to the isolation room?” While Shen Qingqiu was already a mated omega and thus should not be too terribly affected by the pheromones of another alpha - moreover, having his actual partner close to him - it still wasn’t appropriate for an alpha in rut to be close to an omega who was not their mate.

“We should,” Liu Qingge agreed. There was an isolation room for both alphas and omegas in the disciple’s quarter, guarded by special talismans to numb any pheromones effect.

Shen Yuan secretly sneered. See what you two did? I bet it was thanks to you two that Luo Binghe’s first rut was triggered, you two horny asses!

Shen Qingqiu walked over to pick up Shen Yuan from his crib. He frowned. “Do you think… maybe… he heard us last night?”

Liu Qingge blushed a little. “That... can’t be. The side room is not that close to the bedroom and we weren’t that loud.

You were loud, you motherfuckers! Shen Yuan wanted to scream but it only came out as a cry.

Shen Qingqiu caressed his hair. “Are you hungry, A Yuan?” He asked, loosened his robes and brought Shen Yuan to his chest.

Shen Yuan saw the bite mark left on Shen Qingqiu’s chest and knew that wasn’t him, because he didn’t even have teeth yet. Memories of previous night’s event replayed in his head and he cried even louder.

Shen Qingqiu frowned. “He’s not hungry. He didn’t pee or poop either.”

“Should we ask for Mu Shidi?” Liu Qingge quickly asked.

“Yes, please,” Shen Qingqiu said, then added, “It would definitely be a good idea to hold the wedding sooner so your mother can also come here. Perhaps I can learn from her how to raise children to be like your sister.”

“Don’t you mean to be like me?”

“...”

“Hey!”

Seeing the two literally just flirting with their eyes and subtle words, Shen Yuan decided to spare no mercy and wailed even louder, rousing their panic.

He later learned the hard way that it was not a good idea to fake sickness as a baby, when Mu Qingfang stuck a pill into his butthole. 

Chapter Text

In his past life, weddings had been something Shen Yuan did not particularly enjoy but he was not averse to it either. His father was a businessman and had a lot of associates. Most weddings he had gone to were usually large scale, lavish, western-style weddings, held in prolific hotels where guests would be seated comfortably for dinner or lunch party while listening to the bride and groom’s sappy love stories or the in-laws’ long speeches. None of his siblings were married yet so he never had the experience of being involved in the preparation of a wedding too.

 

When Liu Mingyan brought back letters from her parents and promised a modest wedding, Shen Yuan thought it would not be such a great deal. Qiong Ding Peak had a large hall for banquets and ceremonies and it was already decorated with more grandiosity than any five-star hotels Shen Yuan had ever been to. The robes that the Peak Lords wore on their daily basis were already more complicated than any tuxedos or wedding gowns that Shen Yuan ever saw.

 

Yet, here he was sitting in Liu Mingyan’s lap while being fitted with what was probably the fifteenth set of robes already. It seemed like Madam Liu had over twenty robes tailored for him just for the special occasion. What a waste of money, grandma! The robes were made from silk and embroidered specially, how did she even get twenty of these done in one week? Shen Yuan thought the bride and groom were supposed to be the highlight of the wedding, yet why was he here still being ‘abused’ when the couple had already chosen their outfits?

 

“I think this is better, brother-in-law,” said Liu Mingyan, showing the seventh set.

 

“Won’t that be too stuffy for A Yuan?” Liu Qingge asked.

 

Shen Qingqiu picked up the tenth set. “This one looks better on him, I think.”

 

Do I have to pick one myself for all of you to stop? Shen Yuan thought. He scanned the laid out robes one by one. He flailed his arms trying to point at one set of robes - but alas, with his short baby arms, it did look like any form of signaling, it just looked like a baby being a baby.

 

Let me down, Shen Yuan wanted to say but it only came out as, “Uu… aa….”

 

It was so frustrating, being unable to talk. So frustrating that Shen Yuan could not help and eventually broke out in tears, crying. As a baby it was the only way for him to communicate to show his distress. 

 

At least it appeared that the adults understood his distress. Liu Mingyan lifted him from her lap and snuggled him. For a second Shen Yuan was almost tempted to stop crying when his face was mushed against her chest. Damn Airplane Bro… why did he have to describe all the females in the novel as having big, bouncy, supple bosoms? It was hard to breathe here! Shen Yuan did not stop crying even when Liu Mingyan patted his back and rocked him around.

 

When Shen Qingqiu finally took him from Liu Mingyan, Shen Yuan could finally breathe. Phew! Liu Mingyan looked disappointed and he felt kind of bad for her, but he couldn’t help it. It might be something to do with Shen Qingqiu’s omega pheromones or just the simple fact that the Qing Jing Peak Lord was his mother but Shen Yuan felt an unmistakable attachment and a sense of security the most when in Shen Qingqiu’s arms.

 

“He must be tired,” Shen Qingqiu said. “I’ll feed him and let him sleep.”

 

“Right. We’ll just go over his outfit tomorrow,” Liu Qingge said.

 

So he would have to suffer again tomorrow? No! “Uuu… uu… aa…”

 

“Yes, A Yuan? What is it?” Shen Qingqiu asked and gently rocked his baby. “Do you want milk?”

 

No! “Uuu…. buuhh…”

 

And just in time, Luo Binghe came in. “Shizun, would you like to have dinner now?”

 

“You can start preparing, Binghe. I’m going to feed A Yuan first,” said Shen Qingqiu.

 

Luo Binghe, noticing that Liu Mingyan was tidying up the living area and folding all the clothes, bent down to help her. What a gentleman, Shen Yuan thought. Then he noticed that Luo Binghe was picking up the set that he found likeable. 

 

“Uh! Buu wuuh!”

 

Luo Binghe blinked and looked at him. He smiled. “What is it, A Yuan? Do you like the clothes? It’s colourful, isn’t it?” He said and showed the robes to Shen Yuan.

 

Yes, that’s it! Shen Yuan cheered. He extended his arms and grabbed the clothes from Luo Binghe’s hands. He cheerfully laughed and swung the clothes in his hands, completely melting Luo Binghe’s heart.

 

“Oh, do you like that one, A Yuan?” Shen Qingqiu asked, quite amazed.

 

“I think he likes that one. Why not just pick that one? It doesn’t look bad,” Liu Qingge commented.

 

At the side, Liu Mingyan’s face darkened a bit. This Luo Binghe… she ought to be wary of him. How could she, the biological aunt of Baby Yuan be defeated by this man? Her alpha nature strongly refused to be overwhelmed by this boy who just happened to be the favoured disciple of her brother-in-law!

 


 

Shen Qingqiu sighed with relief after tucking Shen Yuan in. He smiled at the chubby little baby who was in a deep sleep. The outfits were ready, Shen Yuan’s robes were ready, the dowry and betrothal gifts had been exchanged. Everything was going on smoothly despite the short planning. Shen Qingqiu never thought there would come a day when he would actually be married. Not after he escaped from the Qiu house.

 

Yet, here he was, with his own little bundle of joy and a mate who truly loved him.

 

“What’s in your mind?” Liu Qingge asked, coming into the room and hugging him from behind.

 

“... Are you really sure about this?” He asked nervously.

 

“What, the robes?”

 

“... The wedding, silly.”

 

“We’re getting married tomorrow and you’re getting cold feet?” Liu Qingge chuckled. “I should be asking that to you. You sure you’re not inviting your family?”

 

When Shen Yuan was born, Liu Qingge’s parents had come to visit. Shen Qingqiu however, did not even send a letter informing the child’s birth to anyone. Liu Qingge had long wondered if Shen Qingqiu was perhaps estranged from his family, or perhaps an illegitimate child. Didn’t make sense, any family would be honoured to claim a Cang Qiong Peak Lord as their relative.

 

Shen Qingqiu shook his head. “I… I haven’t told you something important.”

 

Liu Qingge looked at him. “What is it?”

 

Shen Qingqiu sighed. “You’ve probably noticed. I don’t have any family.”

 

Liu Qingge froze. “By that, you mean…”

 

“I was abandoned as a child. I grew up in the street.”

 

Hearing it, Liu Qingge’s heart dropped.

 

Shen Qingqiu could not help letting out a bitter laugh upon seeing Liu Qingge’s expression. Really, what was he doing, revealing his dirty past, the night before his wedding? He could just bottle everything inside and remain the pristine, elegant scholarly spouse in Liu Qingge’s eyes, but no - he just had to come clean and possibly ruin his chance for a happy marriage. Shen Qingqiu never cared about his conscience before, what was he doing? “Contrary to what everyone thinks about me, I have not tasted a drop of luxury until I came here. I was a street rat, sold as a slave to a rich family. I attacked my own master and escaped to learn cultivation. My first teacher… he was a scum. He taught me all those dirty tricks. I lived like that and learned to be a scum. I killed my own teacher. If Yue Qi - if Zhangmen Shixiong didn’t find me, I would have-”

 

Liu Qingge pulled him into a tight embrace. “I’m sorry,” his voice was shaking. “I was… such a jerk.”

 

Shen Qingqiu blinked. He was the one confessing, why was Liu Qingge apologising?

 

“All this time I thought you were some spoiled, privileged brat. I had no idea… I’m sorry I made you talk about this.”

 

Shen Qingqiu shut his eyes to withhold tears from dripping. Seriously, this man was such a fool. Why was he doing this? Shen Qingqiu just literally admitted to his low birth status and his past crimes, yet why was Liu Qingge the one feeling bad here? “Are you not disgusted? Your mate was just a dirty slave, not a son from a noble family.”

 

Liu Qingge chuckled. “I already know you’re not the best person out there. You played tricks and called it tactics, you look down on people, you have bad tempers. But I also know you’re learning to be kind and that’s all that matters now.”

 

“... You’re such a fool, aren’t you?” 

 

Liu Qingge kissed him hard, and Shen Qingqiu parted his lips and kissed back. Liu Qingge brushed away the tears that were threatening to fall and smiled. “I think… I’m too deeply in love to care.”

 

Shen Qingqiu smirked and cupped his face. “Our Liu Shidi has come a long way. He knows how to be poetic now.”

 

“Thanks to you,” Liu Qingge said and pressed more gentle kisses on his face. “Should I thank Zhangmen Shixiong for bringing you here?”

 

“... Don’t bother.”

 

“Why?”

 

“I don’t want to talk about it.” He was not yet ready to tell Liu Qingge about the treatment he received in Qiu mansion or how exactly he escaped. Those were memories he wished to be buried forever. He did not want to tell Liu Qingge about his childhood spent with Yue Qi and how the man had left him. He was no longer Shen Jiu and Yue Qingyuan was no longer Yue Qi, there was no need for their sect to suffer from an old discord.

 

Liu Qingge hugged him. “When you’re ready, I’ll be here. Always.”




 

The day of the wedding ceremony finally came. Several omega disciples came in early in the morning to help prepare Shen Qingqiu. Liu Mingyan, Qi Qingqi and several other disciples of Xian Shu Peak also came in to help Shen Yuan get dressed. Liu Qingge had long been dragged over to Bai Zhan Peak to get ready as well.

 

Qi Qingqi pretended to cry and held a handkerchief to her face. “I can’t believe this day will come when I have to send you away.”

 

Shen Qingqiu rolled his eyes. “Don’t be silly.” How could he be sent away, when he was marrying a fellow Peak Lord and would be staying at the same place anyway? “I know you made money betting with Shang Shidi.”

 

Qi Qingqi smirked. “Poor Shang Shidi has never had good luck when it comes to betting anyway.”

 

“I did not get to see the hall. What does it look like?”

 

“As expected of the one favoured by Zhangmen Shixiong. It’s more lavish than our annual banquets, more splendorous than any wedding I ever attended,” Qi Qingqi said.

 

Shen Qingqiu was stunned. “I thought it was supposed to be a modest wedding?”

 

“You think Zhangmen Shixiong and the prestigious Liu family would arrange something only modest for the Peak Lords of Cang Qiong, the favoured shidi, the pride of the family?” Qi Qingqi laughed. “Don’t worry, the guest list is limited - Zhangmen Shixiong knows your tantrums. He didn’t spare any budget with the decorations though, I heard from Shang Shixiong that the money came out of his own pocket.”

 

Shen Qingqiu cursed under his breath. Really, Yue Qingyuan was just doing something unnecessary again. When he and Liu Qingge brought up the wedding, he was of course excited and offered to prepare the dowry - which Shen Qingqiu rejected, until Yue Qingyuan reluctantly said that it would be on behalf of Cang Qiong Mountain to Liu family. Shen Qingqiu had no family though, so as the Sect Leader Yue Qingyuan would still be a substitute of his family. Shen Qingqiu had no choice but to accept that even if it felt icky to him. He didn’t want to be reminded that he had once called the man Qi Ge. 

 

Shen Qingqiu sighed. Ning Yingying happily dabbed more powder on him but when she opened the blush powder container, he decided that was his limit. “Enough, Yingying. This master does not need excessive makeup.”

 

Ning Yingying pouted. “But Shizun, without the blush and only the powder, you will look pale.”

 

“Well, wipe off the powder then.”

 

“No! Shizun should look the best on his wedding day! Right, Qi Shigu?”

 

“Of course. Make him up to your best ability, Ning Shizhi,” Qi Qingqi grinned.

 

While Ning Yingying continued to do the makeup, Shen Yuan finally woke up. He was surprised to be greeted by a group of big sisters from Xian Shu Peak, who were all enjoying watching his sleeping face. Liu Mingyan washed his face and when Shen Yuan threw tantrums the moment she tried to dress him, Luo Binghe was called in.

 

“Good morning, A Yuan,” Luo Binghe greeted with a smile, secretly feeling triumphant upon noticing Liu Mingyan’s frustrated face. He knew that Shen Yuan was quite a shy baby for some reason and did not like anyone else other than his parents and Binghe himself to change his nappies or bathe him. Luo Binghe wiped Shen Yuan’s body, put on fresh clean nappies for him and got him dressed.

 

He did not know how to do Shen Yuan’s hair, so Liu Mingyan happily took over putting on Shen Yuan’s headdress instead.

 

Shen Qingqiu noticed Luo Binghe’s appearance and frowned. “Why are you only dressed in your usual robes, Binghe?”

 

“Shizun,” Luo Binghe blushed. “This disciple does not have anything for special occasions, this is my best one.”

 

“A Luo looks good in anything,” Ning Yingying complimented.

 

“Don’t be ridiculous Binghe, do something about it,” Shen Qingqiu said. He picked up a silver crown and cuffs from his own collections, as well as a jade tassel and handed them to Luo Binghe. “Wear these at least. Yingying, do something about his hair too after this.”

 

Tears formed in Luo Binghe’s eyes as he accepted the accessories. “Shizun…”

 

Ning Yingying laughed. “A Luo, why are you crying? Shizun is not going anywhere, he’s still staying here. Right?”

 

I don’t think that’s why he’s crying… Shen Yuan thought, watching from the side.

 

“Shizun, I prepared breakfast. Won’t you have some before you put on lipcolour?” Luo Binghe asked.

 

Shen Qingqiu’s fingers were fidgeting. “I don’t have the appetite.”

 

Qi Qingqi giggled. “My, Shen Shixiong, are you feeling nervous?”

 

“Why would I?” Shen Qingqiu snapped. He then paled. “Oh no - A Yuan. What if A Yuan suddenly wants milk? These robes are too tight-”

 

“Calm down, Shizun. Yingying and A Luo will be here with you all the time, we can help Shizun get redressed if A Yuan needs milk,” Ning Yingying assured him.

 

“... Let me feed him first,” Shen Qingqiu decided, picking up Shen Yuan and heading to his canopied bed for privacy before Ning Yingying could put on the red veil over him.

 

The palanquin to carry the bride arrived by the time Shen Qingqiu was done fussing over Shen Yuan. Ming Fan and Luo Binghe along with two other senior disciples carried the palanquin while the other disciples merrily sang along throughout the bridal procession to Qiong Ding Peak. Shen Yuan was amused seeing how nervous Shen Qingqiu actually looked like in the privacy of the palanquin.

 

They arrived, and Liu Qingge was already waiting at the entrance, no effort to hide his excitement at all. Shen Yuan was handed over to a delighted Liu Mingyan, who stood together with Master and Madam Liu. This was the first time Shen Yuan was able to see his grandparents’ faces clearly. The two had visited Cang Qiong Mountain once after Shen Qingqiu gave birth to take a look at their grandchild but back then Shen Yuan was still just a pink, wrinkly newborn with puffy eyes that could barely see anything beyond ten inches from his face. They were a good looking pair, as he predicted.

 

The guest list outside of Cang Qiong members only included the Liu family relatives. Shen Yuan was a little puzzled and had always wondered why Shen Qingqiu’s family never appeared - not when he was born and not in this wedding either. Then again, the novel never mentioned anything about Shen Qingqiu’s origin or family. Would NPCs who were never written would just be counted as never existing in Airplane’s half-assed universe? Shen Yuan did not know.

 

Thankfully in this ancient era the actual ceremony itself did not take long. Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge bowed to Liu Qingge’s parents as well as Yue Qingyuan who represented Shen Qingqiu’s family, bowed to the heavens, then bowed to each other. There was no cutting a six-tier cake or long speeches from the in-laws, just a banquet where several disciples showcased their talent for the entertainment of the guests.

 

Shen Yuan could only enviously look at the varieties of dishes and desserts on the table while he sat in Shen Qingqiu’s lap. He grabbed one mooncake from the plate, just wanting to nibble on one, just for a taste - but Shen Qingqiu quickly took it from his hands and shook his head. “A Yuan, you can’t eat this yet. You don’t have any teeth.”

 

Shen Yuan angrily pouted and babbled. “Aaah! Uuuh! Uuwaah! Buuuhhh!!!” I just want to lick them! I’m not going to choke on them, I’m not stupid!

 

Liu Qingge laughed. “He’s angry. Be patient, A Yuan, you’ll be able to join the dinner table soon.”

 

Shen Yuan looked away. “Buuh! Mmuu…”

 

“Alright, maybe it’s time we leave the banquet,” Shen Qingqiu said. “He keeps trying to reach for the food, he must be hungry.”

 

“You’re coming back, right? Let us take care of A Yuan, you two can go ahead to the bridal chamber,” Madam Liu said. "Let Qingqiu have some rest too, motherhood can be very tiring."

 

Liu Qingge’s face flushed. “Mother, the bridal chamber can wait… it’s not like we haven’t…”

 

“Oh my, but this is different, even if it’s not your first night it’s still your wedding night,” Madam Liu said teasingly.

 

“Mother!”

 

So you know how to feel shame now? Shen Yuan wryly thought. He then noticed one of the jade hairpins from Shen Qingqiu’s hair had fallen off and nobody seemed to notice. “Mwaah. Buuh,” he called.

 

However, Shen Qingqiu was listening to Madam Liu talking and did not hear him. Shen Yuan tugged on his robes. “Mwaa. Maa.”

 

Shen Qingqiu finally looked at him. “What is it, A Yuan? Did you call for your mama?”

 

“Mwaa. Mwama.”

 

Shen Qingqiu froze. Liu Qingge and Madam Liu also were looking at Shen Yuan’s direction, wide-eyed.

 

Why hasn’t he noticed it? Shen Yuan wondered. “Mwama. Maa...ma. Maama,” Shen Yuan repeated, frustrated that they weren’t looking at the hairpin he was pointing at.

 

Liu Mingyan at the side gasped. “He’s saying his first word!”

 

… Did I? Shen Yuan wondered. In his head he had been ranting nonstop every single day, trying to say out words that usually came out only as gurgles and babbles. Was he finally able to produce a sound coherent to someone?

 

He grinned. Finally. “Maama! Maama!”

 

And holy cow, for the first time ever he could see tears pooling in Shen Qingqiu’s eyes underneath the thin red veil. He didn’t think the villain could have this kind of emotion. Was he that touched just by a single word?

 

Liu Qingge’s face had blossomed with happiness, just as how Madam Liu too looked as excited as Liu Mingyan. “He just said his first word! Ah, today is truly an auspicious day!” Madam Liu exclaimed. "Heavens have blessed my son and his bride."

 

“Did Yuan Shizhi say his first word?” All the other Peak Lords too began to crowd around them upon hearing the excitement. “What did he say?”

 

Liu Qingge sniffed. “He said ‘mama’.”

 

Ning Yingying sobbed and looked for her handkerchief. She couldn’t find any and resorted to pulling a dazed Luo Binghe’s sleeve and wiped her tears on it. “A Yuan is such a blessing to us. Don’t you think so, A Luo?”

 

Luo Binghe nodded. “A Yuan is the most wonderful being to have come into existence.” The moment he existed in Shizun's womb, that was when Luo Binghe's abuse stopped. Luo Binghe could never be thankful enough to the baby.

 

Shen Qingqiu smiled to his heart’s content underneath his veil. “A Yuan, can you say that one more time?”

 

“Maa-ma?”

 

“Oh gosh!” The other Peak Lords cooed. “He really did say that!”

 

Shang Qinghua sipped his tea and nodded. “It’s so amazing. It’s almost like he can even understand your question.”

 

What an insightful observation you have, traitor, Shen Yuan thought, listening to Shang Qinghua.

 


 

Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge did not end up rolling between their sheets that night. They were too overjoyed by yet another growth step they were witnessing from their child. Shen Qingqiu couldn’t help pressing kisses all over Shen Yuan lovingly. This would perhaps be the happiest, most memorable day of his life. Just hearing that one word made him feel so blissful.

 

“I can’t believe it. Say it again, A Yuan,” Shen Qingqiu said, placing Shen Yuan in between himself and Liu Qingge on the red wedding bed.

 

“... Maama,” Shen Yuan said dryly for perhaps the twentieth time that day.

 

“You’re doing so well, my baby. Can you try ‘papa’ next?” Shen Qingqiu asked.

 

“Bwaa...ba. Baa buhh,” Shen Yuan tried. “Baabaa.”

 

“Close enough,” Liu Qingge chuckled and proceeded to also shower their child with kisses.

 

The couple smiled and exchanged a long, heated smooch.

 

Shen Yuan was regretting everything.

 

He should have just kept quiet. His face was covered with lipcolour marks and saliva now! Disgusting! Why were these two so excited over some babbles? And why did they drag him to join them in bed, on their wedding night too? He wasn’t ready for part two of ‘seeing-your-parents-papapa’ nightmare!

 

“Aaaooo! Buuhh!! Aaao! Buuhhh! Mwaamwaa! Bwaah buhh!”

 

Shen Qingqiu smirked and parted away from Liu Qingge. “I think A Yuan is jealous that we’re not paying attention to him.”

 

Liu Qingge laughed and rolled over close to Shen Yuan. “Don’t worry, A Yuan. Your papa will kiss you as much as you want."

 

You’re wrong, you two fools!!! Shen Yuan screamed as he was once again rained with kisses all over his body.

Chapter Text

Once upon a time, there was a princess. ..oops, a kuudere peak lord in a bamboo hut. The peak lord hid his real identity as an omega, but thanks to the BL deities, he had one day conveniently forgotten to restock his heat suppressants while going on a self isolation to cultivate. Coincidentally, while he was in a heat, he encountered a prince. ..a different peak lord in the Spirit Caves who was an alpha in rut.

Both experienced qi deviation, as well as a rut and a heat that changed them into what would be the equivalent of intoxicated, very horny people. What do very horny people in their right minds do? Think and judge before they papapa. What do very horny people not in the right minds do? They don't think, they just jump straight into it.

And poof, a baby boy was born! When baby Yuan was born Shen Qingqiu had yet to accept Liu Qingge's proposal even though his cold heart had been warmed by his nonstop effort to seriously court him, so the baby became Shen Yuan. Liu Qingge didn't care whatever surname the baby had, as long as he was healthy.

Baby Shen Yuan became the first baby born in Cang Qiong Mountain. He was the product of the two Peak Lords and thus received so much love not only from the other Peak Lords but also the disciples. What amazed the cultivators the most was that baby Yuan appeared to be very intelligent. He almost seemed to understand whatever they were saying to him.

Also, the baby very much adored his babysitter, Luo Binghe. He tried to hug Luo Binghe's thighs a lot of times. Many attributed it to the fact that Luo Binghe was Shen Qingqiu’s favoured disciple who had been taking care of him throughout his pregnancy. It fueled the jealousy of many, however there was nothing they could do, for the baby decided that Luo Binghe was the chosen one.

On the day of Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge’s wedding, Baby Yuan shocked them by speaking his first word. Nobody but Baby Yuan would know how the normally aloof Qing Jing Peak Lord had secretly teared up behind his veil when he first heard the small bundle of joy call him ‘mama’. Ever since then, Shen Qingqiu had been working extra hard to get his baby to learn more words, as he could not wait to talk to his baby even more.

A few weeks passed and it was near the time when Cang Qiong Mountain was reorganizing its archives and reviewing all their documents, from the learning materials to their financial accounts. It was the time when the entirety of Qiong Ding Peak, Qing Jing Peak, and An Ding Peak would be so busy that they barely had any time to even take up missions. As such, Shen Qingqiu had entrusted Liu Qingge to care for Shen Yuan completely during the day, only coming in to feed him every few hours.

“Do you still have work to do?” Liu Qingge asked Shen Qingqiu that morning, combing and braiding his spouse’s long hair while Shen Qingqiu sat down and fed Shen Yuan.

“I told you, one month. We are a sect with a history spanning centuries after all,” Shen Qingqiu said, holding Shen Yuan closer when he felt the baby’s mouth almost unlatched from his nipples. “I think A Yuan is growing some teeth. I feel it when he’s drinking. He might be able to start on thin rice gruel soon.”

“Is it painful?”

“It’s not, just a little uncomfortable,” Shen Qingqiu said and Shen Yuan suddenly stopped suckling. Shen Qingqiu blinked. “I think he understands us. We shouldn’t talk about this, last time I groaned a little he stops suckling too.”

Liu Qingge smiled and gently pinched Shen Yuan’s round cheeks. “You’re such a kind, considerate boy. Your mama is tougher than he looks. He has fought demons and wild beasts, your little baby teeth won’t hurt him, A Yuan.”

As if reassured by Liu Qingge’s words, Shen Yuan finally latched on back to his mother’s breast and continued suckling. Liu Qingge could only feel amazed. Shen Qingqiu too, found it quite unbelievable. However, the day after the wedding, Madam Liu had stayed over for a few days to give him several tips on raising a child. She told him that even if their baby may not understand their words, he may still sense their emotions, especially if he felt distressed.

Shen Yuan stopped suckling and Shen Qingqiu deemed his baby already full. He snuggled him, then patted his back to burp him (that was taught by Madam Liu the first time she came to visit). “I’m going to the library. Come and find me when it’s A Yuan’s feeding time.”

“Okay,” said Liu Qingge. He did not forget to leave a kiss on Shen Qingqiu’s forehead before his spouse left.

While Shen Qingqiu was out, Liu Qingge proceeded to bathe his child with warm water and dressed him up. Unsure of what to do (he wasn’t like Shen Qingqiu who could sit still for hours just reading scrolls), he carried Shen Yuan in his arms and flew to Bai Zhan to check out his own disciples, whom he had left to train on their own as usual.

"Shizun!" All of them greeted as soon as they saw him appear. Their eyes however were quick to spot the small figure in Liu Qingge's arms.

"Alright, line up, all of you," Liu Qingge ordered.

The disciples all lined up obediently and Liu Qingge walked past them while also inspecting their condition one by one. He didn't notice how their eyes were all glued to Shen Yuan, who was looking at them with big curious eyes.

"I'm holding of A Yuan, so I can't spar with you today. All of you are going to form pairs and spar with each other, and we'll see if there's anyone ready to get their spiritual swords soon," Liu Qingge announced.

"Yes, Shizun!"

Liu Qingge sat down crossing his legs while letting Shen Yuan sit down on his lap. Shen Yuan had already learned to sit down on his own around the time of their wedding, something Shen Qingqiu had noted when he saw Shen Yuan sitting up in his crib during one particular morning in which their baby woke up earlier than they did. Liu Qingge was a little regretful that he missed seeing it but Shen Qingqiu assured him there would be more to come.

Liu Qingge hummed, observing the disciples fight with keen eyes. None of the newer, junior disciples were able to fight yet. The more senior disciples he chose a couple years ago should be able to try their luck soon. 

Luo Binghe is amazing, Liu Qingge thought, thinking back of the time last week when Shen Qingqiu stated his intention to bring Luo Binghe to Wan Jian Peak after the reorganization of the archive was done. Despite being a disciple of Qing Jing Peak (not that he was looking down at his spouse, but the peak certainly spent more time learning poetry and music than martial arts compared to his own) Luo Binghe had shown more skills and potential than his own Bai Zhan disciples. He was definitely ready to get his own spiritual sword soon.

Ah well, but Liu Qingge had gotten his around the same time, perhaps earlier than Luo Binghe too, and his own Shizun wasn't even half as attentive as Shen Qingqiu was with Luo Binghe. Shen Qingqiu fussed over Luo Binghe a lot, then again he also fussed over Shen Yuan all the time. He paid extra attention to those he cared and ignored the rest - the same way he always ignored anyone who didn't pique his interest.

Remembering how Shen Qingqiu was always bothered with him since their discipleship days, Liu Qingge's cheeks heated up a bit. Back then he had looked at Liu Qingge with animosity but he was still paying attention to him, so Liu Qingge could count that as Shen Qingqiu still looking at him, right?

Realising his attention was straying Liu Qingge shook his head and focused back on the spar before him. He blinked as he realized his lap had felt lighter now. Shen Yuan had crawled away from him. Luckily his baby didn't get that far, only several meters away.

Liu Qingge found Shen Yuan staring intently at what appeared to be a small silkworm wiggling on the ground. "That's a Blue Moon Golden Silkworm, A Yuan. They produce one of the finest silks in the continent, though I don't think they're supposed to be here. It must have fallen off the clothes from any disciples in charge of bringing the clothes," he said, crouching down next to his son.

"Da!" Shen Yuan looked excited. He looked at Liu Qingge with a big smile and tugged at his own clothes. "Da buhh! Bwa baa!"

"The clothes you're wearing today are not made from this silkworm, A Yuan. It's used exclusively to make our uniforms because it holds better," Liu Qingge explained.

"Oh? Uhh," Shen Yuan uttered and Liu Qingge couldn't help feeling amused when Shen Yuan looked almost skeptical. Whenever he made that expression, he resembled his mother even more.

"I'll show you," Liu Qingge said and stood up. He looked at his disciples, who had stopped sparring to watch the father-and-son interaction. He frowned. "Brats, who told you to stop?"

"Bwabaa!" Shen Yuan tugged his pants and hugged his thighs.

"Wait, A Yuan," Liu Qingge said, then realized something was odd. His thighs. A Yuan was wrapping his arms around his thighs - a place he shouldn't be able to reach sitting down. He looked back at his son and his eyes widened.

"Baba?" Shen Yuan asked.

A Yuan was calling him. Clearly, this time. 

"Baba," Shen Yuan said and tugged his pants, his own chubby legs wobbling.

Liu Qingge gasped. "A Yuan - you're standing!"

Shen Yuan blinked. "Buh?" Then, as if he had just come to that realization as well, he grinned widely. "Babaa!"

All of the Bai Zhan Peak disciples who heard it felt immensely proud. They just witnessed their Shizun's beloved child standing for the first time! Take that, Qing Jing Peak! Baby Yuan spoke his first word during the wedding attended by everyone and now stood for the first time in Bai Zhan Peak. The Bai Zhan Peak disciples could finally have something to brag about against the Qing Jing Peak disciples!

Liu Qingge scooped up Shen Yuan into his hold. "I have to show this to your mama. All of you, keep practicing, I'm going first!"

 


 

Shen Qingqiu was occupied with reviewing old scrolls when Liu Qingge arrived with Shen Yuan at the library. He was a little confused as it was not yet supposed to be their baby’s mealtime, yet Liu Qingge looked very impatient as he came in, not minding the stacks or scrolls surrounding Shen Qingqiu and all the Qing Jing disciples. He also looked weirdly excited.

“What’s the matter?” Shen Qingqiu asked.

“A Yuan was standing!” Liu Qingge announced excitedly. “He called me, this time more clearly, and he stood up while holding on to my legs for the first time!”

Shen Qingqiu stared at Liu Qingge for a few seconds before blinking his eyes several times, looking surprised. “Really?”

Liu Qingge nodded. He placed Shen Yuan on the floor and made him sit down. “Come on A Yuan, show your mama what you did before.”

The other Qing Jing disciples had also left their desks for the moment and circled around the father and son. Luo Binghe crouched down to meet Shen Yuan’s eyes. “A Yuan, can also you show your Gege and Jiejie?”

Shen Yuan grabbed onto Liu Qingge’s pants to anchor himself. He slowly managed to pull himself up, then stood up proudly with his chubby, wobbly legs. The disciples all cheered while Shen Qingqiu nodded. “You did very well, A Yuan.”

“A Yuan is very good,” Liu Qingge praised, pinching their son’s cheeks lightly then lifted him up. “Too bad you weren’t there to witness it the first time. The brats at Bai Zhan were all so thrilled.”

“What, Bai Zhan already saw it?” Ming Fan uttered, looking horrified.

“I can’t believe they saw it before us!” Ning Yingying complained. “Shizun, let’s just have A Yuan here, what if we miss more of A Yuan’s first moments? He might start walking before we can even finish all of these.”

“Silence, all of you,” Shen Qingqiu warned. “With A Yuan here, none of you will be able to concentrate and we will be here forever. Go and resume your work.”

“Yes, Shizun…” all the disciples weakly answered and returned to their desks.

Shen Qingqiu looked back to his spouse and child. “Since you’re already here with A Yuan, we might as well go home for a while and feed him.”

Liu Qingge nodded, happily carrying Shen Yuan as he walked beside his spouse, who watched them with warm eyes.

Shen Qingqiu took out his favourite fan and fanned himself, then hid his face behind it. A smile curved up on his lips.

He already saw Shen Yuan stand up while holding on to the rails of his crib earlier this morning.

Shen Yuan’s first word was mama and the first time he sat up Liu Qingge was still asleep. Shen Qingqiu decided that he would let Liu Qingge have this one. The man looked so happy and even came to show it to Shen Qingqiu right away, how could he spoil it?

 


 

"Hello, Yuan Shizhi," Qi Qingqi came with Liu Mingyan one day to the bamboo hut to visit. "Your Shigu and your Mingyan A Yi are here to see you. How are you, little one?" She grinned and lifted his six-month-old body.

"Gu gu. Yi yi," Shen Yuan babbled.

Liu Mingyan smiled and pinched his round cheeks very lightly. "Your grandmother sent some gifts, A Yuan. They used to be your father's toys, now they're yours. Do you want to see?"

"Ohh! Ohh!!"

Qi Qingqi giggled and put the baby down onto the playmat (specially sewn by disciples of Xian Shu Peak). Liu Mingyan shook the rattle and was thrilled to see Shen Yuan's laugh. Luo Binghe let the two doting aunties play with Shen Yuan while he went to prepare dinner.

Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge returned from their errands. Liu Qingge immediately went to snuggle his son. "Have you been behaving well, A Yuan?"

"Babaa!"

"Luo Binghe, have you prepared hot water?" Shen Qingqiu asked.

"Yes, Shizun."

"Hot water?" Qi Qingqi asked.

"It's his bath time," Shen Qingqiu explained.

Liu Mingyan's eyes widened with excitement. "Brother-in-law, can I try bathing him please?"

Liu Qingge handed the baby to Liu Mingyan. "Sure, why not."

However, as soon as Liu Mingyan tried to undress the baby, Shen Yuan suddenly wailed out loud, crying. Liu Mingyan was startled. Good thing she had placed Shen Yuan on the mat. Shen Yuan immediately crawled to his mother. Shen Qingqiu sighed.

"He's okay with playing but he's still scared with other people sometimes. Last time when Ning Yingying wanted to bathe him and Mu Shidi wanted to put a suppository during his fever, he cried too."

Liu Qingge scratched the back of his head. "I remember in the first three months he often cried whenever we changed his nappies. I thought we were too rough because otherwise he was very well-behaved, guess he just needs more time to get used to touches."

Liu Mingyan’s face darkened as she watched her nephew taken away by Luo Binghe from Shen Qingqiu’s lap. Her brain inadvertently replayed the rejection she experienced back when she was preparing Shen Yuan for her brother’s wedding. Her mind began to formulate 101 ways to secretly kill her biggest rival in his sleep.

 


 

Like hell he was ever going to get used to it. Shen Yuan just didn't have a choice. He didn't have control of his own sphincter or his bladder. He had not developed the dexterity to clean his own butt. Otherwise would he let these famed cultivators of a fictional series wash his butt and his peepee?

However his current body was made and came out from Shen Qingqiu's body, so he resigned to fate and let the scum villain (now not so scum anymore) change his nappies. Shen Qingqiu still had classes to teach and other things to do so eventually Shen Yuan relented and let his father, as well as the protagonist (who was now his babysitter and unofficial adoptive brother?) to clean him as well.

He set his limit there. He won't let any more people than necessary to touch his bare ass. Especially when he was this vulnerable. Also, who the hell would like to have something inserted into your butt?

… Speaking of inserting something into your butt…

Shen Yuan begrudgingly remembered the night he was awoken by the sound of moaning and flesh slapping. Unlike the modern era, the baby monitoring system did not exist here so his crib was placed in the same room where Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge slept. On the night when Shen Qingqiu finally accepted Liu Qingge's proposal, like in true Airplane Bro's style of writing, the proposal was followed by a heated papapa session, which he unfortunately had to witness.

He had half a mind to cry and interrupt them to stop the torture, but at the same time as a fellow 'bro' Shen Yuan felt bad if Liu Qingge and Shen Qingqiu had to get blueballed because of him so he tried his darndest to pretend that he was asleep.

Good thing Liu Qingge was not the stallion protagonist, so the papapa session only lasted for a couple of rounds before the two went to sleep. Shen Yuan couldn't imagine the torture if he had to go through that for a whole night.

The fact that he had to suckle on Shen Qingqiu's tits for milk was traumatizing enough, seeing Liu Qingge lick and bite those same nipples made him even more scarred. Luckily that was the first and the last time he was woken up by that. Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge probably thought to use a talisman or barrier after that to prevent him from getting awakened or Luo Binghe from hearing the sounds.

Anyway, a girl as beautiful as Liu Mingyan bathing him, caressing him with warm water sounded like a dream come true situation but Shen Yuan wasn't a pervert not did he intend to be a hentai protagonist, so he decided to stick to either his mother, father, or babysitter.

 


 

Life as a baby was tiring, when you're actually secretly an adult inside.

Shen Yuan had to figure out when would be the right time to start talking, crawling, and walking. Standing and walking would occur naturally with his physical development but his brain and speech ability belonged to a twenty-year-old man. In the first few months most of the things he said came out as incomprehensible babbles due to his baby tongue and lack of teeth but now he had started growing teeth.

Shen Yuan relied on his memory of his older cousin's babies. He already made the mistake of saying ‘mama’ and ‘baba’ out loud much earlier than most babies usually do and oh dear lord… he never knew the aloof immortal and the war god could be this emotional and sappy inside. The torture he had to go undergo on their wedding night when he was smothered by their kisses… he did not want a repetition of that.

Shen Yuan tried to not ‘learn’ any more words other than mama and papa (he already said, it would be weird to suddenly ‘unlearn’ it) until he reached six months old. He began making one syllable sounds. Nearing one year old he started saying complete words, though not yet complete sentences, and he tried to limit it to only words that Shen Qingqiu or the others had taught him.

Shen Yuan frankly was disturbed by the fact that Shen Qingqiu was very gentle. He taught him patiently, never complained when Shen Yuan accidentally knocked the cup down or dirtied freshly changed nappies. Shen Yuan  thought that Shen Qingqiu in the novel was pretty cold and ruthless, especially towards the protagonist, so why was he pretty nice now? He even let the protagonist stay in the side room and nurse him.

Shen Yuan learned later that for a baby, he was acting way too well-behaved. 

It happened one day when Shen Qingqiu brought him to a meeting. Luo Binghe and the other senior disciples were out on a mission, and Shen Qingqiu did not trust the younger disciples enough to babysit his son. Bai Zhan Peak disciples? Not even in consideration. He simply put Shen Yuan on his lap while the Peak Lords discussed the running of the sect.

It just so happened that Madam Fu, a senior sister of Yue Qingyuan who had branched out and started her own sect was there to visit and join the meeting. She observed how Shen Yuan was sitting quietly in Shen Qingqiu's lap, occasionally playing with the undipped brush, then crawled to Liu Qingge's lap when he felt bored.

"Your son is very well mannered," she complimented. "Mine could never sit still for more than five minutes."

Shen Yuan blinked. Really? He only thought his cousin's babies were loud and restless but…perhaps a lot of babies were actually like that?

Shen Qingqiu nodded. "He never bothers me when I'm doing my work, he barely makes any mess either. Even when he does…"

Liu Qingge chuckled. "He makes that weirdly cute apologetic face."

Shen Yuan froze. What? What face? What kind of expressions had he been making? He looked around him. All the Peak Lords were looking at him very warmly, except for Zui Xian Peak Lord who was still drunk and An Ding Peak Lord, who for some reason looked uneasy. Could it be that he had been way too mature for a baby? He just didn't want to disturb Shen Qingqiu's work, since grading all those essays seemed like a lot of work…

Now he realized that a normal baby wouldn't have such consideration. A normal baby would just reach out for everything and put it in their mouth.

Shen Yuan wondered if he should try acting spoiled or naughty. Doing that while being aware of his real mentality as an adult man was embarrassing but he had to play a baby. He tried to stand up, then dared himself to pull Liu Qingge's cheeks with his short baby fingers.

However, instead of getting angry, Liu Qingge only smiled and pretended to bite his chubby little fingers. 

"Oh, how cute!" Qi Qingqi and Madam Fu suddenly squealed.

"..." Didn't work. Should he try eating stuff… nope, not going to do that. Should he try to embarrass them instead? Maybe doodle on their faces…

Then Shen Yuan noticed that while there were papers and brushes prepared, none of the Peak Lords were actually taking notes. The ink block was not grinded.

He could try saying a bad word maybe but Shen Qingqiu was very careful in making sure no curse words or bad words would reach his child's ears so he couldn't explain from whom he learned the bad words from. Poop or pee? There was a high risk of Liu Qingge changing his nappy right in front of everyone so that was a big no as well.

He settled by rolling his body over to Shen Qingqiu again and pretended to try crawling into his robes. However instead of getting mad Shen Qingqiu actually became alarmed and picked him up, wrapping him in his outer robes. "Oh no, are you cold?"

Liu Qingge rubbed his fingers. "They are a little cold."

"It's nearing winter, perhaps we should get new clothes for Shen Yuan," Yue Qingyuan suggested.

"Babies should be kept warm. As cultivators we are able to regulate our own body temperature, but you shouldn't forget that babies aren't able to do that," Mu Qingfang reminded.

"I'm sure Mingyan and the girls will be more than happy to sew more blankets and robes for A Yuan," Qi Qingqi said.

"In the meantime I can also send over my children's old clothes if you don't mind, they're still as good as new," Madam Fu offered. 

"...." Being a man trapped in a baby's body is hard, Shen Yuan decided.

 


 

Shang Qinghua cursed. After that last meeting Madam Fu, Madam Liu, madams from all over the continent who knew about Shen Yuan's existence had been sending rolls of clothes to Cang Qiong Mountain and now An Ding Peak had to sort through all the piles that came in. Madam Fu claimed she was giving her children's old clothes to Shen Yuan but Shang Qinghua could spot several brand new robes, tailored and woven from a rare Silk Spider's strings. Fuck, what a luxurious life this fictional baby that was never supposed to exist was living!

He begrudgingly cursed as he carried the pile to Qing Jing Peak - all of his disciples were still sorting the other new presents. He thought Shen Qingqiu was keeping his child a secret, how come there were still this many gifts? Did all of Liu Qingge's family send gifts? Would Shen Yuan be wearing a new silk robes every single day? While Shang Qinghua sucked on his thumb and played with sticks during his childhood, was this child gnawing on expensive jade toys?

"The world is so unfair~" he sang quietly as he knocked on the door of the bamboo hut. "Shen Shixiong?"

Ah, there was this wonder too. Luo Binghe. Shen Qingqiu getting knocked up by the supposed-to-be-dead Liu Qingge aside, Luo Binghe suddenly getting inserted into the family was also a mystery. Shang Qinghua always felt amused whenever he found Luo Binghe in the bamboo hut.

"Shang Shishu," the protagonist greeted. "Shizun and Liu Shishu are currently out."

"Ah, I'm just here to deliver Yuan Shizhi's presents," Shang Qinghua said.

"Thank you - ah, the soup is boiling!" Luo Binghe panicked and hurriedly went back inside, leaving Shang Qinghua no choice but to come in himself to put down the gifts. He found Shen Yuan on his playmat, seemingly ranting alone in his baby-talk at his puppy plushie handsewn by some sisters at Xian Shu Peak.

"Hello, Yuan Shizhi," Shang Qinghua greeted lazily. "Living a great life, aren't you, you lucky little bastard?"

Shen Yuan blinked, staring at him with wide eyes. Then, his mouth suddenly uttered, "Bas-tawd?"

It was at that moment when Shang Qinghua realized he fucked up. His hand immediately flew to slap his own mouth. "Fuck," he inadvertently cursed.

Shen Yuan fluttered his eyelids. "... Fuck?" he repeated.

"No!" Shang Qinghua panicked and quickly said. "Forget what I said ah, Yuan Shizhi! Really, I was speaking nonsense!"

But Shen Yuan was grinning widely and to Shang Qinghua's horror, loudly yelled out, "Fuck~~~!!!"

Right at that time, Luo Binghe returned to the living room with an aghast face. "A Yuan, where did you hear that?"

Before Shen Yuan could point at him, Shang Qinghua decided to make his escape first. He pretended to take up a mission somewhere else and escaped to Mobei Jun's palace for a week. Wise move, as when he returned he found his disciples rebuilding his house - a result of two very angry Peak Lords.

Chapter Text

It was soon Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge’s one year wedding anniversary. Liu Mingyan came to visit the bamboo hut with a letter in her hand. Her eyes creased as she smiled. She knocked on the door and her smile instantly disappeared.

 

Luo Binghe, this wretched boy. Her archenemy.

 

Luo Binghe raised an eyebrow but nevertheless greeted her politely. “Liu Shimei. What brings you here?”

 

“Do I need a reason to see my family?” Liu Mingyan replied.

 

Luo Binghe wasn’t sure whether to feel offended by her rude tone or to feel amused by the fact that Liu Mingyan’s hostility stemmed from jealousy after being rejected by her own nephew several times. Nevertheless he let her in and went back to tidying up the bookshelves. Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge weren’t around but it wouldn’t be long before they returned and Liu Mingyan was Liu Qingge’s sister after all, there wouldn’t be any issue letting her in.

 

Liu Mingyan sat down and accompanied Shen Yuan, who was playing with one of the blocks gifted by her and Liu Qingge’s uncles. The boy was a very smart one, even if left alone, they had never once seen him grab anything non-food into his mouth. Shen Yuan smiled as soon as he saw her. “A Yi,” he said. By now he could already say most simple words and his pronunciation was also a lot more comprehensible.

 

“A Yuan, your parents’ wedding anniversary is coming soon. What do you think about letting them go on a trip?” Liu Mingyan asked.

 

“Uhh? Twip?” Shen Yuan asked.

 

Liu Mingyan nodded. “You can stay with your aunt, your Mingyan A Yi will take good care of you.”

 

Shen Yuan did not look particularly excited about that. “Mm… uh.”

 

Luo Binghe came to join the conversation. “What do you mean by that, Liu Shimei?”

 

“Exactly what I mean. There is a hot spring inn recently opening and my parents have reserved it for my brother and brother-in-law. They can spend some time relaxing there. A Yuan doesn’t depend fully on breast milk anymore, I can take care of him,” Liu Mingyan said.

 

“He still needs to eat proper food suitable for him,” Luo Binghe pointed. “He also needs to be bathed, cleaned, and taken care of.”

 

Liu Mingyan narrowed her eyes. “Are you implying that I cannot take care of my own baby nephew, Luo Shixiong?”

 

“No such thing, Liu Shimei. This Shixiong has just yet to see Shimei display her ability in house chores or child rearing and thus is concerned about A Yuan, that’s all,” Luo Binghe spoke in the most diplomatic tone, yet there was no hiding the smugness in his expression.

 

Liu Mingyan picked up her sword. “Outside, now.”

 

The way her temper resembled her brother amused the protagonist very much. “I’m afraid I can’t do that, I have been entrusted to watch over A Yuan, you see.”

 

“Liu Mingyan’s eyes twitched. “How dare you. I’m his aunt.”

 

“I’ve been with A Yuan since Shizun’s pregnancy,” Luo Binghe defended his right.

 

Shen Yuan silently watched the heated confrontation before him, wondering if this was the beginning of a romance drama or a shounen manga battle. It looked like it could go either way. Or maybe he was just biased because Liu Mingyan was supposed to be one of the harem members. Here she was a fierce alpha woman with a weird grudge against Luo Binghe, Shen Yuan wasn’t sure if the harem route would extend to Liu Mingyan this time. 

 

Fortunately the fight did not escalate because Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge had returned. Shen Yuan was relieved and immediately ran to his parents. “Mama! Babaa!”

 

“We’re home, A Yuan,” Shen Qingqiu said and quickly picked up his son, lifting him up into the air and kissing him. “Have you been good today?”

 

Shen Yuan nodded. He then pointed at Luo Binghe and Liu Mingyan. “Mama, Baba…” Shen Yuan paused, trying to think if Shen Qingqiu had ever taught him words like ‘fight’ or ‘argue’. Probably not. “A Yi, Gege, pow pow!” He said and showed his tiny baby fist.

 

“Pow pow?” Liu Qingge repeated.

 

Both Liu Mingyan and Luo Binghe looked admittedly ashamed of being pointed for their childish argument by a baby. “We had a little disagreement.”

 

While the couple sat down with their baby, Liu Mingyan explained about the letter that came from Master and Madam Liu, as well as her intention to babysit Shen Yuan while the couple could go on a trip.

 

“If you’re going to fight pointlessly like this we might as well just not go,” Liu Qingge said. 

 

“But it is a gift from your parents, it would not be good to refuse it,” said Shen Qingqiu.

 

Shen Yuan tugged at Shen Qingqiu’s robes. “Mama!” Bring me too! I also want to go to the hot spring! “Mama, Baba, me.”

 

“What is it, A Yuan?” Shen Qingqiu asked.

 

“Me, okay?” Shen Yuan said. “Me, Mama, Baba.”

 

“Are you saying you’ll be okay?” Liu Qingge asked this time.

 

I’ll be good, bring me too, I want to go out! You two horny people are already in your honeymoon period most of the time anyway. Shen Yuan struggled trying to think of a vocabulary that had been taught to him and pronounceable with his baby teeth. “Mm… me good.”

 

“I think A Yuan’s trying to tell us that he’ll be good, so we can go,” Liu Qingge said.

 

Shen Yuan grimaced. You’re interpreting it wrong, you fools! Or are you so eager to papapa to your hearts’ content, huh?

 

“See, even A Yuan is saying it’ll be fine. Have some time to enjoy, brother, brother-in-law,” Liu Mingyan said. “I’ll take care of A Yuan.”

 

Liu Qingge pinched his son’s chubby cheeks. “Do you want to stay with your Mingyan A Yi?”

 

“Buuh,” Shen Yuan pouted.

 

“A Yuan is more familiar with this place, I don’t think he’d feel comfortable if he suddenly has to sleep in Xian Shu,” Luo Binghe said and Liu Mingyan had to resist glaring at him.

 

“A Yuan needs food in the right consistency. How are your culinary skills, Mingyan?” Shen Qingqiu asked.

 

Liu Qingge snorted. “No better than me.”

 

Liu Mingyan gasped. To think that her own brother would be the one to betray her! “Brother!”

 

“What? I haven’t seen you ever performing any house chores. Are you going to trouble others to cook and clean in your stead?” Liu Qingge asked his sister. “Just come and watch over Shen Yuan with Luo Binghe as usual, no need to bring him to Xian Shu and trouble your martial sisters. Luo Binghe’s cultivation has already surpassed yours too, he won’t have a problem sparing one whole day to watch over A Yuan.”

 

Luo Binghe nodded. “This disciple would be honoured, Shizun, Shishu.”

 

Liu Mingyan hid her trembling hands underneath her long sleeves. Damn it, this Luo Binghe! She would definitely reclaim her rightful position one day!

 


 

The morning Liu Qingge and Shen Qingqiu set out, they made sure to smother Shen Yuan with enough kisses and hugs to last a lifetime before actually departing. Luo Binghe promised to take good care of Shen Yuan of course and Liu Mingyan had already excused herself from any missions or classes for the sake of not letting Luo Binghe alone enjoy the privilege.

 

The day went as uneventful as usual. Luo Binghe prepared his breakfast and Liu Mingyan sat by his side reading a storybook for him. However, Shen Yuan already felt something was off.

 

When Luo Binghe brought the bowl of mashed pumpkin to him, he finally realized it. He had not been breastfed today.

 

At one and a half years old, Shen Yuan was already getting plenty of his nutrients from food but he was not yet completely weaned off from breast milk. Formula milk did not exist in this era after all so most babies did get weaned off a lot later than most modern day babies. Shit. Shen Yuan could not believe he had allowed himself to get too comfortable with suckling the villain’s tits, that he was now missing it.

 

“A Yuan, let me pull out the spoon,” he suddenly heard Luo Binghe say and opened his mouth quickly, feeling horrified by his own action. Did he just latch on the spoon like he would on a nipple? Shit! Shen Yuan let Luo Binghe continue to feed him, even accepting a second bowl from Liu Mingyan in hopes that chasing the hunger away will also take his mind off his desire to suckle.

 

Noon came and it became apparent to Shen Yuan that weaning off was not an easy process. He had been drooling nonstop and for the first time he could not help sucking his own fingers in order to relieve the desire. Damn it, he felt like a drug addict trying to overcome the urges!

 

“A Yuan, no, don’t do that,” Liu Mingyan said and pulled his fingers out of his mouth, gently wiping his drool.

 

Shen Yuan crawled around and found an opened jar of pickled sour plums - probably in the process of being stored away by a distracted Luo Binghe. He reached his hand inside and popped a sour plum into his mouth. Bad move, the taste was too strong for his baby tongue that was used to bland food and he spat it out. Luo Binghe hurriedly picked him up and closed the jar tightly. “No A Yuan, that’s not for you.”

 

Shen Yuan was frustrated. He needed something in his mouth! He was drooling nonstop! Great lord Airplane-juju, is there not a xianxia pacifier in this world?

 

Seeing that he was restless despite having just eaten, Luo Binghe and Liu Mingyan resorted to doing all sorts of tricks to distract him. When reading stories did not work, they tried to play with him. When the toys failed to grab his attention, Luo Binghe resorted to bringing Shen Yuan outside while Liu Mingyan performed a sword dance. It finally managed to distract Shen Yuan, finally.

 

Luo Binghe and Liu Mingyan were about to feel relieved.

 

Until a small, stray pebble on the ground flew - kicked by Liu Mingyan while she performed a move - and hit Shen Yuan’s forehead.

 

Both teens gawked. It wasn’t a strong hit, really, it barely left a mark on his forehead, but it certainly shocked the baby. 

 

Shen Yuan blinked. The pebble that hit his forehead was not that painful but it was enough to break the dam that had been building up from his odd frustration of not being able to suckle on anything that day. And so, he burst out crying, perhaps the loudest Luo Binghe and Liu Mingyan had ever heard.

 

“Mwaamaaa!!!!!”

 

It instantly sent the two teenagers into a panicked frenzy.

 

“What should we do? Brother-in-law is not here!” Liu Mingyan gasped as she ran towards her nephew and touched his forehead. “Oh no, oh no, A Yuan… I’m so sorry, I didn't mean to hurt you…”

 

“For now, let’s just get him to Mu Shishu,” Luo Binghe said.

 

They both hopped on their respective spiritual swords and flew as fast as they could to Qian Cao Peak.

 

Mu Qingfang came out of his clinic before Luo Binghe even landed, alarmed by the loud crying sound of a baby. He rushed to the two teenagers. “What happened?”

 

Liu Mingyan guiltily explained what had occurred. Mu Qingfang calmly took the baby from Luo Binghe’s hold and brought him into the clinic. He examined the injury on Shen Yuan’s forehead, then checked his whole body for any other injury as well.

 

“It’s nothing serious, just a little scratch that won’t even leave a scar,” Mu Qingfang said as he cleaned the wound, dabbing it with a little healing salve and plastered some herb paste on top. “He might have cried because of the shock. Give it a little time and he should stop crying soon.”

 

Or so Mu Qingfang had thought.

 

Eventually the Qian Cao Peak Lord himself began to feel anxious when Shen Yuan was still sobbing loudly.

 

“Are you sure he’s really fine, Mu Shishu?” Luo Binghe asked.

 

Mu Qingfang sweatdropped. According to Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge their baby was never really the type to cry this much. He could see it himself all this time, Shen Yuan was very calm, calm enough that Shen Qingqiu could bring him to their meetings! Why was he suddenly like this, moreover when his parents were not around…

 

… Oh.

 

Mu Qingfang wiped his sweat. “It is likely that he is distressed because of Shen Shixiong and Liu Shixiong’s absence. He is not used to not having them around.”

 

Luo Binghe and Liu Mingyan exchanged worried looks. “What should we do?”

 

… Mu Qingfang had no idea, honestly. His patients were usually injured cultivators, not distressed babies. “Comfort him or distract him for now, I will look up the solution.”

 


 

In reality, barely five minutes had passed. However, confronted with a loudly crying baby, the teens and the adults panicked. Nearly all of Qian Cao's disciples had been summoned to help comfort Shen Yuan but none had succeeded and Mu Qingfang was about to pull his hair out.

 

Shen Yuan originally indeed was crying from the distress. However, now he was just feeling amused at their panicked expressions. He felt a little bad, but teasing them was also a little fun. It took the stress from not having anything to suckle on for a while.

 

Just when Shen Yuan was wondering if he should stop, Yue Qingyuan suddenly appeared. It seemed like he was there to send his head disciple who just returned injured after a mission, and did not expect to see Shen Yuan there, sobbing, with his babysitter and his aunt panicking behind.

 

“Yuan Shizhi, what happened?” Yue Qingyuan approached him gently and rubbed his head.

 

Shen Yuan continued to sniff and sob. “Hic, Mamaa…”

 

Mu Qingfang emerged from his room. “Zhangmen Shixiong. Do you need something?”

 

“My disciples just came back from a mission, poor Li Xuan encountered a resentful deity too strong to handle,” Yue Qingyuan explained. “What about Yuan Shizhi?”

 

Mu Qingfang informed him of what had happened earlier. Yue Qingyuan fell silent and seemed to be in deep thought. He then took out something from his qiankun pouch and showed it to Shen Yuan.

 

Shen Yuan blinked. It was a small jade pendant, with a rusty old bell attached to it. Yue Qingyuan rang it, then handed it to Shen Yuan, who held it and curiously examined it.

 

Both Luo Binghe and Liu Mingyan were stunned. Mu Qingfang was surprised as well. “He… stopped crying.”

 

Yue Qingyuan smiled gently. “His mother used to like that too, so I’m not surprised Yuan Shizhi would like it.”

 

Shen Yuan gawked. How the hell would Yue Qingyuan know what toy Shen Qingqiu liked as a child? Just how long did they know each other? How close were they, that Yue Qingyuan even remembered details like this?

 

“Should Yuan Shizhi stay over at your place tonight, Zhangmen Shixiong? You seem to be able to calm him down,” Mu Qingfang asked.

 

Yue Qingyuan’s face changed. “I’m afraid Qingqiu Shidi won’t like that.”

 

Why? Yue Qingyuan seemed to treasure Shen Qingqiu a lot, so blatantly favouring him but Shen Qingqiu was not even treating him half as nicely as he did with other Peak Lords like Mu Qingfang and Qi Qingqi (forget Shang Qinghua, of course, that man was on Shen Qingqiu’s blacklist now). There was some history between them and Shen Yuan wanted to know that so badly. 

 

He tugged at Yue Qingyuan’s sleeve. Yue Qingyuan looked back at his eyes.

 

“I think he wants to follow you back, Zhangmen Shixiong,” Mu Qingfang suggested.

 

Yue Qingyuan looked at Shen Yuan gently. “Do you, Yuan Shizhi?”

 

Shen Yuan nodded.

 

Yue Qingyuan looked conflicted. Liu Mingyan hesitantly suggested, “I know it may be an inconvenience to you, but how about we bring A Yuan to Qiong Ding Peak, at least until he falls asleep?”

 

“... It’s not an inconvenience. Just…” Yue Qingyuan paused.

 

“We won’t tell my brother and brother-in-law,” Liu Mingyan added. "Please, Zhangmen Shibo?"

 

Yue Qingyuan sighed. “Very well. You two may come and bring Yuan Shizhi to Qiong Ding Peak.”

 


 

The last time Shen Yuan had been in Qiong Ding Peak aside from the meetings, it was during his parents’ wedding. This was the first time he was brought over to Yue Qingyuan’s private residence. It was more lavish compared to the humble bamboo hut in Qing Jing Peak or the simple quarters in Bai Zhan, but nothing overly pretentious. Yue Qingyuan let Luo Binghe use his kitchen to prepare dinner for Shen Yuan. Liu Mingyan went to Qing Jing Peak to fetch Shen Yuan’s clothes, leaving only the Cang Qiong Sect Leader with Shen Yuan in his room.

 

Shen Yuan occupied himself looking at all the rare items in Yue Qingyuan’s room. There were all sorts of trinkets, some gifts from other sects and some gifts from his martial brothers or disciples. While he stood in front of the bookshelves looking at the various book collections, he heard Yue Qingyuan’s chuckle.

 

“Looking at you, you really resemble Xiao Jiu a lot when he was a young child himself.”

 

Xiao Jiu?

 

… Could that be Shen Qingqiu’s old name? Shen Yuan knew for a fact that all the Peak Lords’ current names were generational names given when they ascended to their positions. Their birth names however were never disclosed in the novel, nor was their personal background or history.

 

“Mama?” Shen Yuan asked, crawling to get closer to Yue Qingyuan.

 

Yue Qingyuan nodded. “Your mama, Qingqiu. You look a lot like him when he was young.”

 

So Yue Qingyuan apparently knew Shen Qingqiu long enough to even know how he looked as a toddler. “Ji-uu?”

 

Yue Qingyuan’s face turned gloomy again. He smiled weakly. “You should not say that your mother. He won’t like that.”

 

Why? Shen Yuan was dying to know! Why was mentioning Shen Qingqiu’s old name a taboo? Was there a reason why Yue Qingyuan seemed to favour Shen Qingqiu, yet the latter showed extreme dislike to him? Did something happen in their childhood? A huge argument, maybe?

 

“Mama, baby?” Shen Yuan asked.

 

“... Are you wondering how your mama was as a baby? You’re a very curious one, aren’t you?” Yue Qingyuan chuckled. He again took out the jade pendant and rang it, diverting Shen Yuan’s gaze to it. “Back then, whenever we were… when he was distressed and I had to calm him down, I just let him hold this pendant and he would stay silent. It is the only thing my parents left me and I cried myself, when I had to take off the bell so it wouldn’t make a sound, but it was worth it. My Shizun got it fixed back for me, so it’s all good now.”

 

The more Yue Qingyuan spoke the more Shen Yuan became curious. The bell was an heirloom left by Yue Qingyuan’s parents and for some reason Yue Qingyuan was implying that he used it to keep a presumably very, very young Shen Qingqiu silent, almost as if they would be in big trouble if their voices were heard. Shen Yuan did not have a good feeling about that.

 

He climbed up to Yue Qingyuan’s lap. “More?”

 

Yue Qingyuan held his breath. He eventually shook his head. “Our storytime of the past will end here, Yuan Shizhi.”

 

What? I want to hear more!

 

“One day, if Xiao Jiu… if Qingqiu decides to share his past with you, surely you won’t be looking at me the same way anymore,” there was grief and remorse in Yue Qingyuan’s eyes as he said that. “As for now, I have no right to do that. Not anymore.”

 

Around the same time, Luo Binghe came in to feed him and Shen Yuan could no longer cling to the Sect Leader. Luo Binghe bathed him and changed him into the sleeping robes Liu Mingyan had brought over. When Shen Yuan threw tantrums as he wanted to listen more to Yue Qingyuan (maybe snoop around for more trinkets?), Yue Qingyuan eventually said, “Let him sleep in my room. Carry him back to Qing Jing after he’s asleep.”

 

He let Shen Yuan lay down in his bed. Yue Qingyuan handed him the jade pendant and Shen Yuan kept holding on to it, examining it just to see if it had something carved on it. He had been crying and acting up the whole evening, that he eventually became exhausted and fell asleep while holding the pendant, not realizing when Liu Mingyan carried him back to his crib Qing Jing Peak.

 


 

Shen Yuan woke up the following morning to a warm kiss on his forehead. He opened his eyes and was surprised to see Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge watching over him.

 

“Mama? Baba?”

 

Liu Qingge smiled. “Surprise, A Yuan. We missed you too much and came back early.”

 

Wasn’t this way too early? The sun had just risen! Either the couple had left the hot spring inn at two or three in the morning, or they flew on their swords at high speed right after waking up just to see him.

 

Shen Qingqiu snorted. “I knew it, those kids are not ready to be left with A Yuan overnight.”

 

“Well, he looks fine, don’t you think they did a good enough job?”

 

“... A Yuan looks well, but Binghe and Mingyan certainly do not.”

 

Luo Binghe and Liu Mingyan had taken turns watching over Shen Yuan that night in case Shen Yuan ever woke up crying and thus looked absolutely wrecked. They looked even worse than the time they had gone on missions and spending sleepless nights out in the forests. Shen Qingqiu could only smirk behind his fan looking at Luo Binghe’s nest of hair. At least his face was still handsome enough to salvage his image.

 

“Anyway, since you’ve woken up, let’s get you clean and fed,” Shen Qingqiu said and lifted Shen Yuan. Something suddenly dropped from Shen Yuan’s robes. 

 

Liu Qingge picked it up and frowned. “What is this?”

 

It took Shen Qingqiu a few seconds to recognize it. He paled. He placed Shen Yuan back into the crib and grabbed the jade pendant from Liu Qingge’s hands. He called for Luo Binghe and Liu Mingyan. “... Did Zhangmen Shixiong come to visit yesterday?”

 

“He did not, Shizun,” Luo Binghe answered.

 

“Don’t lie to me!!” Shen Qingqiu suddenly snapped angrily, causing Luo Binghe to flinch.

 

Luo Binghe trembled and tears pooled in his eyes. Even Liu Qingge was shocked, smelling the strong scent of anger and distress from his mate.

 

Shen Yuan at the back, sitting in his crib, was terrified. This was the first time he had seen Shen Qingqiu yelling angrily at Luo Binghe. All his life he had only seen the calm, gentle side of Shen Qingqiu.

 

Luo Binghe quickly knelt and bowed his head down. “Shizun, this disciple did not lie to you! This disciple would not dare to do that!”

 

Liu Mingyan who sensed that her brother-in-law was genuinely furious quickly added, “He did not lie. I… it was my fault. I accidentally hurt A Yuan while playing and we met Yue Shibo at Qian Cao Peak. A Yuan did not stop crying until Yue Shibo gave him that pendant, so…”

 

Shen Qingqiu gripped the pendant tightly. “... I’m going to see Zhangmen Shixiong. Look after A Yuan.”

 

As soon as Shen Qingqiu was gone, Liu Qingge rushed to stop Luo Binghe from kneeling. The poor boy was all snot-nosed, still terrified by the omega’s sudden temper. It might have reminded him of Shen Qingqiu’s old, less-than-friendly days.

 

“Get up, you’re an alpha and his top disciple but still cries like a baby,” Liu Qingge sighed.

 

“But… Shizun is angry…” Luo Binghe sniffed.

 

“It was my fault,” Liu Mingyan bit her lower lip regretfully. “Yue Shibo already said brother-in-law won’t like it…”

 

“None of you are to be blamed. Go back to your peak Mingyan and return to your room, Luo Binghe. I’ll talk to him later,” Liu Qingge said. He was definitely going to dig it out of his spouse later. To even lash out at his own cub, there must be something about that pendant or Yue Qingyuan himself that made his mate furious.

 

He went back to the crib and picked up Shen Yuan. He blinked and brought Shen Yuan closer to him, sniffing him. “Did you just pee?”

 

Who wouldn’t, after that? Shen Yuan grimaced, feeling disgusted. Now hurry up and clean me before you have to deal with another irate Shen. I’m dying to know the drama here.

Chapter Text

Furious light steps could be heard even from the inside of Yue Qingyuan’s room. Yue Qingyuan put down his brush upon seeing Shen Qingqiu barging into his room, no greeting whatsoever. A couple of his disciples tried to stop Shen Qingqiu and pointed out his rudeness but Yue Qingyuan quickly dismissed them with a wave of his hand, recognising the expression on Shen Qingqiu’s face. It would do no good for the disciples to witness the argument that was about to erupt soon.

 

Shen Qingqiu tossed something at him and Yue Qingyuan deftly caught it. His eyes widened as he realized Shen Qingqiu had found the jade pendant, which he had forgotten to retrieve from the sleeping Shen Yuan. He took a deep breath. “You’re back early.”

 

Shen Qingqiu snarled, “Why, disappointed to see me so soon?”

 

“That’s not-”

 

“How dare you," Shen Qingqiu stopped him before he could continue to speak. He did not bother masking his ire. "How dare you - using that thing on A Yuan. Approaching my son like that when I wasn’t around."

 

Yue Qingyuan gripped the jade pendant. “... You still remember, Xiao Jiu.”

 

“Don’t call me that!” Shen Qingqiu shouted. “What were you thinking when you gave him that? Were you seeing myself in my son? Trying to redeem yourself by treating him nice? Too late, Yue Qingyuan!”

 

“No, Xiao - Qingqiu, that’s not my intention at all,” Yue Qingyuan immediately denied.

 

“A Yuan is my son, but he will never be me. He mustn’t… he must never be me. I raise him with full care… pour my heart and love into him…” Shen Qingqiu trembled, half choked up from his effort to restrain his emotions. “He will be loved, he will be cared for, and he will never be hurt.”

 

Yue Qingyuan remorsefully looked down at the item in his hand. “Qingqiu…”

 

“Don’t you dare come close to him anymore,” Shen Qingqiu hissed before he finally left.

 


 

Shen Yuan was just done eating his breakfast congee (made by a weeping Luo Binghe) when Shen Qingqiu finally returned, a lot calmer than when he left but still a volcano waiting to erupt anytime. He sat down, looking as if he was still trying to gain some peace in his heart.

 

Liu Qingge, carrying Shen Yuan in his arms, sat down next to Shen Qingqiu. “Are you okay?”

 

Shen Qingqiu shut his eyes and sighed. “I’m not in the mood to talk.”

 

Liu Qingge gently kissed his left cheek. “At least look at your husband and child. Mingyan said A Yuan didn’t stop crying yesterday because he missed you.”

 

That’s right, for a whole day I was suffering from my suckling addiction, Shen Yuan thought and crawled to Shen Qingqiu’s lap, tugging his robes. “Mama.”

 

Shen Qingqiu was finally looking at his son. His eyes looked solemn for a moment, before his expression finally returned to the familiar gentleness that Shen Yuan was used too. He snuggled Shen Yuan, hugging him tightly and kissing him. “Your mama also misses you so much, A Yuan. I don’t think I’ll be able to go on a vacation without worrying about you after all.”

 

“Mm,” Shen Yuan murmured. He then blurted out. “Mama, milk.”

 

Shen Qingqiu stared at him, amused. A chuckle finally escaped from his mouth. “You greedy little one, is your mama’s milk the only thing you’re thinking about?”

 

Shen Yuan was a little embarrassed. It wasn’t his fault this body was demanding for milk! If only there was some sort of xianxia pacifier or xianxia magical milk, he wouldn’t have to feel this humiliated. When Shen Qingqiu began loosening his robes, Shen Yuan’s eyes and mouth both opened wide, before he quickly shut them close again. He could not believe he was now getting excited over some tits, and for a different reason. He might be a baby now but his mind was an adult, the only boobies he should be excited about should be the boobies of his favourite actresses, not the villain of a stallion novel!

 

But hey, Shen Qingqiu offered, why not take it? He was a baby anyway, nothing wrong with being a baby. Tossing shame and pride away with the mindset that he was just acting like what a normal baby would, Shen Yuan quickly latched on. 

 

The rest of the day went uneventfully, with Shen Qingqiu refusing to do anything other than caring for his baby. Liu Qingge sent out the Qing Jing disciples to spar with Bai Zhan disciples. Shen Yuan thought whatever conflict that happened would probably be forgotten. 

 

Evening came and he fell asleep after receiving a visit from Mu Qingfang, who came to check if he was doing fine.

 

Shen Yuan heard faint noises in the middle of his slumber that sounded like his parents arguing.

 

"What's the deal with you? Arguing with Zhangmen Shixiong over a little trinket? Did you even hear yourself when you yelled at your own cub?!"

 

"Whatever happened between us is none of your business."

 

"It is my damn business, you're my mate, my husband! I need to know what pissed you off! He favours you, treats you well despite your terrible attitude and your blatant disrespect of him."

 

"So what?!"

 

"He took you into this sect, how ungrateful can you be?!"

 

"He also fucking left me so shut up!"

 

Shen Yuan flinched a little. He scrunched his face and slowly opened his eyes. The voices had gone a lot quieter this time and he could hear very faint sobs.

 

Shen Yuan peered through the slits of his crib. He was astonished to see Shen Qingqiu on his knees, his shoulders shaking and his two hands covering his face. He was saying something to Liu Qingge but his voice was too low for Shen Yuan to catch his words.

 

All he could see was Liu Qingge's expression, that morphed from horror to anger.

 

"If he won't give his excuses I'll make him speak," Liu Qingge growled angrily and picked up Cheng Luan.

 

Shen Qingqiu only looked panicked. "Wait, Qingge - no!"

 

"No? What do you mean no? He should fucking confess, after all these years! You guys are not kids anymore!" Liu Qingge shouted and stormed out.

 

Shen Yuan blinked. What just happened? Why were they fighting? Moreover, what did he hear just now?

 

Shen Qingqiu seemed to have noticed that he had woken up and quickly picked him up. He frantically looked for Luo Binghe, calling his name like a mad man, before he saw the group of Qing Jing disciples who just returned from Bai Zhan. "Luo Binghe!"

 

Luo Binghe flinched but Shen Qingqiu ignored his reaction. He handed Shen Yuan to Luo Binghe. "Take care of him."

 

"Shizun?" Luo Binghe was confused. "Are you not angry-"

 

Luo Binghe didn't get to finish his question as Shen Qingqiu had hastily mounted on Xiu Ya and sped off. All the other Qing Jing disciples were also puzzled.

 

"What just happened? Why does Shizun look like in a hurry?" Ming Fan asked.

 

"I… I don't know," Luo Binghe said. "Where is Liu Shishu? A Yuan, do you know what happened?"

 

"... Pow pow?"

 


 

It was the second time that day, that Yue Qingyuan's room was rudely barged in. This time, it was Liu Qingge and he was angrily pointing his sword at Yue Qingyuan. Yue Qingyuan raised an eyebrow.

 

"Speak. Now."

 

Yue Qingyuan put his brush down. "What is the matter, Liu Shidi?"

 

"Back then… why did you abandon Shen Qingqiu?" Liu Qingge questioned.

 

Yue Qingyuan froze. He then looked away. "Did Qingqiu say anything?"

 

"I don't need much clues to figure out you have something to do with his sudden temper. Mu Shidi told me the pendant you gave A Yuan was the same thing you gave Qingqiu when he saw a child. And Qingqiu got angry as soon as he saw it."

 

Yue Qingyuan remained silent.

 

"He already told me he used to be a slave before we were married. What he didn't tell me at that time was that you made a promise to retrieve him yet you never came. You only brought him back after you were already head disciple and he already escaped on his own. Fucking give a proper explanation!" Liu Qingge shouted.

 

Yue Qingyuan remained undeterred. He stood up and only looked back at Liu Qingge pointedly. "Qingqiu Shidi refused my apology. What is the point of explanation?"

 

Liu Qingge could not believe it. He let out a disdained laugh. "What's the point of an explanation? How do you expect to have your apology accepted when you won't offer a damn explanation?"

 

Shen Qingqiu finally appeared. He must have flown as fast as he could to catch up with Cheng Luan, he was panting. "Liu Qingge, enough. Let's go back."

 

"We are not going back until you get an explanation," Liu Qingge gritted his teeth.

 

"I haven't gotten any for almost twenty years, what makes you think I can get it now?!"

 

Liu Qingge lunged at Yue Qingyuan, who expertly avoided the attack. He swung his sword ferociously and with full power but Yue Qingyuan was not an easy opponent either. Without even using his sword, simply with his spiritual energy, he deflected every single one of Liu Qingge's attacks.

 

"Take out your sword! You call yourself a cultivator?" Liu Qingge angrily yelled.

 

Yue Qingyuan narrowed his eyes. "I do not wish to use my sacred blade against my own martial brother."

 

"Well, act like a proper senior brother then, you coward!"

 

"Shit," Shen Qingqiu cursed under his breath. The battle force of the Bai Zhan War God and the famed Xuan Su Sword was too strong. Even the spectating disciples were all shocked and terrified for their lives. Shen Qingqiu was not strong enough to counter the two exceptionally strong Peak Lords on his own. "Call Wei Shidi and Qi Shimei here, quick!" He barked.

 

The Qiong Ding disciples all hurriedly flew on their swords to call for the other two most senior Peak Lords (a certain fourth-ranked hamster sneezed, forgotten for his martial art stats was practically zero) to help derail the fight. 

 

The door had already been destroyed and the fight had now escalated outside in the air - Liu Qingge with Cheng Luan and Yue Qingyuan who only used a spare sword against him. That he only used a spare sword was almost insulting to Liu Qingge, so he became more aggressive towards Yue Qingyuan.

 

Shen Qingqiu knew at this rate Liu Qingge might lose control and no spare sword could stand against the quality of Cheng Luan or the strength of its wielder. His eyes spotted Xuan Su lying next to Yue Qingyuan's half broken desk. He ran towards it and picked it up, ready to unsheathe it and to toss it to Yue Qingyuan.

 

Yue Qingyuan however noticed his action. His eyes widened. "Qingqiu no!!"

 

In a speed of light he flew back inside and lunged at Shen Qingqiu, grabbing his wrists to stop him from unsheathing the sword.

 

But it was too late.

 

Shen Qingqiu's face had morphed into an expression that told Yue Qingyuan enough, that he had detected the abnormality. When Liu Qingge drove in to launch another attack, Shen Qingqiu took it to block the attack himself with Xiu Ya.

 

Around the same time Qi Qingqi and Wei Qingwei finally arrived and restrained Liu Qingge from further rampaging.

 

Shen Qingqiu glared at Yue Qingyuan. "Explain."

 

Yue Qingyuan bit his lower lip. 

 

"Why? Why do I sense your life force in Xuan Su, Zhangmen Shixiong?" Shen Qingqiu's voice was trembling.

 

Their three junior martial siblings who heard it were also stunned.

 

"About time you explain. Just… say it. I can't bear it anymore, please," Shen Qingqiu pleaded.

 

Yue Qingyuan shut his eyes. "My life force is tied to it."

 

Shen Qingqiu dropped his sword. He looked at Yue Qingyuan incredulously. "How… how can that happen?"

 

Yue Qingyuan took a deep breath. "Back then… I was too impatient. I wanted to obtain the power quickly and as a result, went through a near fatal qi deviation. To save me, my Shizun had no choice but to seal my life force to Xuan Su. I then had to spend more than a year in the Spirit Caves."

 

Shen Qingqiu trembled. "Then…"

 

"When I came out… it was too late. You were gone."

 

Shen Qingqiu shut his eyes to stop the tears from flowing down. "You're a fool. You foolish man. Why? You should have known better. Why did you rush it?"

 

"... I wanted to come earlier."

 

Liu Qingge looked at Yue Qingyuan in disbelief. "Fucking hell… why didn't you say so in the first place?"

 

Shen Qingqiu looked down at the sword. "If I had pulled this blade out… what would happen?"

 

Yue Qingyuan opened his mouth but nothing came out.

 

"Wei Shidi, if a blade tied to the wielder's life force is unsheathed, what happens?" Shen Qingqiu asked through gritted teeth.

 

Wei Qingwei exhaled. "In that case… it usually consumes part of the wielder's lifespan."

 

Shen Qingqiu shut his eyes. Tears rolled down his cheeks. "... You kept this from me."

 

"... I thought if you knew about it… you would…" Yue Qingyuan was unable to utter the rest. "You're better off not knowing."

 

"What makes you think I'd be happy? What makes you think I'm better off hating you? What makes you think it's better to assume that I have been abandoned by a family?" 

 

Yue Qingyuan bit his lower lip. "... I'm sorry."

 

"Sorry. That's all you know. You never are. You almost let me become a monster that I despise myself. You're pathetic, Yue Qingyuan. Don't ever think I'm ever going to forgive you for hiding it," Shen Qingqiu spat.

 

"... I know."

 

Shen Qingqiu took a deep breath to calm himself. Once his mind was finally clearer he picked up Xiu Ya. "You have so much money and you still gave A Yuan that old rusty thing. Next time you want to come and play with him, bring him something new. You're a disgrace of an uncle."

 

Yue Qingyuan's eyes widened. "Xiao Jiu…"

 

"Shut up!" Shen Qingqiu yelled but his ears were red. "Stupid. Foolish. No brain. Useless Qi Ge."

 

Tears dripped down from Yue Qingyuan's eyes like a broken dam. "Yes. Forgive this foolish old me. Your Gege has been stupid."

 

"Not forgiven," Shen Qingqiu uttered and grabbed Liu Qingge by the scruff. "Let's go home, husband."

 

Liu Qingge choked up. He gawked. "Hold on, what did you just call me?"

 

"I said hurry up, Liu Qingge. Nothing more to do here."

 

The couple flew back to their home. Qi Qingqi and Wei Qingwei exchanged puzzled looks. Just what had happened here?

 

Yue Qingyuan wiped his face and smiled at them. "Pardon me, I've shown a shameful side of me. Thank you for helping to derail the little scuffle, Wei Shidi, Qi Shimei."

 

Little scuffle? This was no little scuffle! Liu Qingge went all out and half of Yue Qingyuan's residence was destroyed now! Most importantly, they just discovered their Sect Leader's biggest secret!

 

"I hope you will keep the matters today only between us," Yue Qingyuan said.

 

"Yes, Zhangmen Shixiong," they both answered.

 

After Qi Qingqi and Wei Qingwei left, Yue Qingyuan called for his disciples to clean up the mess and to inform An Ding Peak to fix his residence the next day. He collected the remainder of his documents and went to a different room to retire for the night.

 

Back in his temporary room, Yue Qingyuan took out the jade pendant in his qiankun pouch and stared at the rusty old bell.

 

Back then, he had to take off the bell to avoid the slave traders from hearing any noises. Any noise and they would get beaten up. He cried silently at night thinking about his parents' heirloom that he had broken for the sake of comforting Xiao Jiu.

 

When he escaped the slave traders, he left the old bell with Xiao Jiu. 

 

They were reunited. He brought Xiao Jiu to Cang Qiong Mountain and Xiao Jiu demanded an answer as to why he was abandoned, again. Yue Qingyuan remained silent, again.

 

In his fit of fury, Xiao Jiu threw something at him and never asked him the question anymore.

 

It was the bell. Xiao Jiu had kept it with him all this time, because he thought Yue Qi had died, because he had faith that there was no way Yue Qi would leave him unless he never survived.

 

Yue Qingyuan shut his eyes and pressed the jade pendant close to his heart.

 

In the end, all it took was a moment of carelessness and a crying baby to mend a broken relationship of two decades.

 


 

Shen Yuan was sure something had definitely happened between Shen Qingqiu and Yue Qingyuan and it was definitely a huge deal, considering the way Liu Qingge stormed out earlier. Now they were back and Shen Qingqiu was lecturing Liu Qingge.

 

“What were you thinking, drawing your blade against Zhangmen Shixiong like that? He’s not our Sect Leader for nothing, do you think the fame he has is for no good reason?”

 

Holy shit, so Liu Qingge actually even fought against Yue Qingyuan? What kind of drama was unveiled while Shen Yuan was here in his crib? He couldn’t believe he missed it! He wanted to see a fight between the Sect Leader and the Bai Zhan War God too! Watching Qing Jing Peak and Bai Zhan Peak disciples sparring had gotten old and boring now.

 

“It ended up well.”

 

“You… is there not a single person with a brain around here?” Shen Qingqiu huffed.

 

“Ba buhh,” Shen Yuan agreed. Everyone in this novel, except for the protagonist and the villain has an IQ of 40, even lower when the plot needs them to be stupider than a donkey.

 

Shen Qingqiu went and picked up his son, hugging him tight. “A Yuan, you must grow up well, don’t take after your father.”

 

“Hey!” Liu Qingge protested.

 

Shen Yuan wondered if maybe, just maybe… perhaps Yue Qingyuan was an old flame? Shen Qingqiu did mention something about Yue Qingyuan leaving him. That would explain why Liu Qingge even went as far as attacking his own Sect Leader, alphas were very possessive of their mates after all. But that did not make sense. The way Yue Qingyuan spoke seemed like he was reminiscing of a very much younger Shen Qingqiu - as in, toddlers and young children, the age where everyone was still eating dirt and get fascinated by ants.

 

“Alright, go and bathe him,” said Shen Qingqiu as he took off his outer robes and tied up his sleeves.

 

“Where are you going?”

 

“Shush.” Shen Qingqiu shooed him away and headed outside.

 

Liu Qingge went ahead and bathed his child. As he wiped up Shen Yuan’s body to dry him, he heard the sound of the pots and ladles from the kitchen. Must be Luo Binghe. They weren’t around during dinner so Luo Binghe had probably gone to eat at the dining hall with his martial siblings but sometimes he would prepare some desserts or snacks around this time.

 

And so when Liu Qingge entered the kitchen carrying Shen Yuan, he was surprised to see Shen Qingqiu in front of the stove, stirring a pot of what appeared to be sweet red bean soup. He even added some leftover rice cakes into the sweet dessert soup, before finally pouring them into three bowls.

 

“... You’re cooking?” Liu Qingge asked.

 

Shen Qingqiu raised an eyebrow. “What?”

 

“... Nothing.”

 

“Where is Luo Binghe?” Shen Qingqiu asked.

 

Liu Qingge blanked out for a few seconds before he finally realized it. A small smile curved up. He was preparing the sweet soup for Luo Binghe. Shen Qingqiu had too much pride and a face too thin, so he decided to apologize to Luo Binghe for yelling at him this morning by making something for him.

 

He put down Shen Yuan onto his playmat. “I’ll go and call him.”

 

Luo Binghe came in not long after, still looking timid. Shen Qingqiu glanced at him and cleared his throat. “Sit down.”

 

He sat down, a few feet away from the table.

 

Shen Qingqiu huffed. “Come and take a seat closer. How are you going to eat if you sit that far away?”

 

Luo Binghe blinked. “But, Shizun… there are only three bowls…”

 

“Obviously the third one is for you. Do you think A Yuan can eat those rice cakes?”

 

Luo Binghe’s eyes grew wide and soon began to water. “Shizun…”

 

“Hurry up and eat.”

 

“Yes, Shizun!” Luo Binghe grinned and quickly took the seat next to Shen Qingqiu. “Thank you, Shizun.”

 

Shen Qingqiu’s eyes softened and he went back to cuddling Shen Yuan in his lap. He took a small spoonful of the sweet broth, cooled it and fed it to Shen Yuan, who wasted no time drinking it.

 

Liu Qingge tasted the soup. The red bean was a little undercooked and the broth was too sweet, but it was nowhere near as sweet and warm as the moment.

 


 

"Okay, I know I did tell you to come with new toys, but I never asked you to bring a mountain of them."

 

Yue Qingyuan frowned. "I didn't know what to bring for Yuan Shizhi so I bought everything."

 

Shen Yuan stared blankly at the cart full of toys behind Yue Qingyuan. People like this really exist, huh. He thought people who bought everything in the whole shop (maybe the whole street) only existed in dramas. How could he forget that he was living in a fictional world where the protagonist would papapa with anyone who needed some saving?

 

Luo Binghe looked at the mountain of toys. "Where are we going to put all of these, Shizun?"

 

"... I have no idea and I don't want to think about it. Even better, return them, Zhangmen Shixiong."

 

"Qingqiu..." Yue Qingyuan looked like a kicked puppy.

 

"Don't forget to retrieve your intelligence back when you ask for refund."

Chapter Text

Shang Qinghua was doomed. Well, transmigrating into his own novel was already a death flag considering he was neither the protagonist nor a harem member, but he just had to be this shitty, cannon fodder side character with one of the most dangerous missions.

[System: Kindly ensure the progress of the plot and host will be able to return to his original world.]

When he first came here, Shang Qinghua tried to comfort himself by thinking that at least he wasn’t the only one fated to die here. At least he would die in one piece, hopefully still beautiful after getting choked by Mobei Jun. Shen Qingqiu would suffer a lot more, dying as a human stick.

Yet, the whole plot went to shambles thanks to the existence of alpha, beta, and omega here. Shang Qinghua had no idea why the hell the deities up there punished him by inserting him into this ABO version of his novel. Shang Qinghua did think about making PIDW an ABO world at some point just to get that heat and rut papapa plot in but he scraped it off. The omegaverse was mainly popular in BL world because it gave the chance for male characters to get pregnant or legally marry. Luo Binghe in his novel was a straight man so including ABO at that time seemed useless.

Now not only he was transmigrated into this shitty ABO world, he became a cannon fodder, and moreover an average beta. Shang Qinghua would much prefer to be an alpha so he could at least intimidate people with his pheromones, or even an omega and use his pheromones to maybe allure someone with a golden thigh to marry and protect him, live away from a sect fated to be burned down by the protagonist. But nope, he was a beta - hardly interesting enough for a romance plot point. The only thing that made him different from other betas was that - well, he was a Peak Lord, albeit for the logistic peak - and that he could smell rut and heat pheromones, oddly enough. As if the ability to know when someone wanted to papapa would help him through life.

Anyway, it turned out that Shen Qingqiu was an omega now and because of that the whole plot was ruined and he was now doomed to fail. Why?

The Immortal Alliance Conference was coming in one month. All the Peak Lords had submitted their list of participating disciples. Yet…

"I'm not attending," Shen Qingqiu stated at the meeting. "Liu Shidi is going. Luo Binghe is participating. I have to stay since nobody else can take care of A Yuan."

Even if he were to write an omegaverse, Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge getting together definitely wasn't in his plan. Liu Qingge was supposed to die in the cave, not make a baby with his nemesis. Now the baby was getting in the way of the plot. If Shen Qingqiu wasn't going, who was supposed to push Luo Binghe into the Endless Abyss?

"You're staying instead of Liu Shidi?" Shang Qinghua dared himself to ask. "Aren't your students participating?"

Shen Qingqiu looked at him weirdly. "His students are also participating, he has more students joining than me."

"But you've left your son here a few times going on missions," he tried again.

"Never for too long and during those times Luo Binghe babysits A Yuan. Both him and my sister are joining the conference. There really is nobody else around," Liu Qingge said.

"Bringing A Yuan is not an option," Shen Qingqiu firmly decided. "I refuse to let my two-year-old child be seen by the whole cultivation world, moreover near a place full of demons." 

After all, not everyone in the cultivation world was righteous. Cang Qiong Mountain was an influential sect and a Peak Lord's child would make a very nice hostage.

“And don’t think I’ve forgotten what you did to my child last year, Shang Shidi. Do you think I would leave my child with just anyone after that?” Shen Qingqiu glared at him.

Shang Qinghua flinched and cowered a little. It wasn’t his fault that the kid picked up swear words of all things from him! This Shen Yuan really was the bane of his existence, literally ruining the whole plot! Thanks to the baby,  now Shang Qinghua had to figure out a way to either get Shen Qingqiu to come or to find someone else to take the role of the villain.

 


 

In the end after the meeting was over he decided to sneak out to seek for Mobei Jun.

Back in his disciple days, he encountered Mobei Jun who just escaped from Huan Hua Palace and treated the ice demon, caring for him for days, until his sect eventually came to retrieve him. Shang Qinghua still remembered the day he narrowly escaped Shen Qingqiu’s suspicion of being a traitor - that very same day, he had allowed Mobei Jun to stay in his room and sleep in his bed.

After that, Mobei Jun had also allowed him into his palace. Now whenever Shang Qinghua needed some time away from Cang Qiong Mountain, he would just run off to the Ice Palace. Mobei Jun did not trust him at first and Shang Qinghua couldn’t blame him - he just escaped imprisonment by humans, but eventually he had warmed up to him - particularly the day after he made Shang Qinghua’s bed his resting place. Mobei Jun would be able to help him.

Shang Qinghua told Mobei Jun about the existence of Luo Binghe, the long lost son of Tianlang Jun, an Ancient Heavenly Demon. Mobei Jun seemed fairly interested when Shang Qinghua insisted that Luo Binghe would be a very important figure to ensure his ascension as the true lord of the northern demons, inheriting his father's position and eliminating his uncle from the competition. Shang Qinghua suggested for Mobei Jun to bring Luo Binghe to the Endless Abyss and test his potential there.

"Why are you so invested in ensuring my position?" Mobei Jun questioned.

Shang Qinghua thought about his own fate as a cannon fodder. "I'm entrusting my life and my future completely to you, My King."

Mobei Jun looked surprised. "You're entrusting… your life and your future. To me."

Shang Qinghua nodded enthusiastically.

Mobei Jun remained silent for a moment. "Why?"

Why, indeed. Well, he didn't want to die. He also much preferred if Mobei Jun inherits the throne rather than his uncle. "I think my King is the best man for the role."

Mobei Jun stared at him for a long time. “Are you certain?”

“Of course, my King. Who else but you?” Shang Qinghua quickly said.

Mobei Jun nodded. He patted Shang Qinghua’s head, much to the latter’s surprise. "I will consider your proposal."

“Great!” Shang Qinghua cheered and Mobei Jun appeared delighted.

Shang Qinghua returned to his office to resume his work. The only downside (well, not the only) to coming to Mobei Jun’s place was that the ice demon had started making him do office work. As if doing it in An Ding Peak was not enough. Why the hell would demons need documents?!

“Damn it, everything is your fault, stupid baby,” Shang Qinghua muttered under his breath. “Why do you suddenly have to bang the villain, Liu Qingge? Thanks to you two making a baby out of nowhere everything is in shambles.”

“You’re cursing a baby now?”

Shang Qinghua almost jumped. He turned around and saw the demon behind him who was sending more documents to his desk. What was this guy’s name again… right, Eight Balls, one of Mobei Jun’s new subordinates.

“Don’t you know how to knock?” Shang Qinghua berated.

The demon ignored it. “Are you talking about Liu Qingge, the Bai Zhan War God of Cang Qiong Mountain? He has a baby now?”

Shang Qinghua frowned. “Why?”

The demon had a sinister smile. “Oh, nothing.”

Something told Shang Qinghua that this was not a good sign.

… Oh well, it wasn’t like Shen Qingqiu or Liu Qingge could not handle a small fry like this. He resumed his job.

 


 

"Bing Gege, food."

Luo Binghe smiled as he stirred the rice congee in the pot. "Please wait, A Yuan. It's not ready yet."

As soon as the congee was ready Luo Binghe scooped it into a small bowl, cooled it a little, then sat down next to Shen Yuan. The two-year-old attempted to eat on his own but Binghe didn't want the toddler to spill hot congee onto his lap and brought the spoon to Shen Yuan's mouth.

Shen Yuan pouted and Binghe thought it was the cutest thing ever. "I can eat!"

Binghe chuckled as he spooned more. "I will give you a bun later, A Yuan can eat that one. Let Gege feed you, okay?"

"... Bun?" Shen Yuan repeated. “Red bean?”

Luo Binghe nodded. He continued to feed Shen Yuan, occasionally scooping some minced meat and vegetables as well. Shen Yuan was such an adorable child and so easy to care for. To Luo Binghe, receiving the task of babysitting and making Shen Yuan's meal was perhaps the highest honour and privilege he could ever have, considering he had to fight against Ning Yingying and Liu Mingyan for it. 

At seventeen, by right he shouldn't be allowed to stay in the hut anymore, since he had gone through puberty and developed fully as an alpha. However, Shen Qingqiu needed a babysitter and Luo Binghe appeared to be the only person who could cook and change Shen Yuan's nappies.

He would miss this. Soon Shen Yuan would grow up, no longer needing nappies and able to eat at the hall and Luo Binghe would no longer serve a purpose to his Shizun too. Even if Shen Qingqiu treated him a hundred times better than he used to, Liu Qingge would not like having another grown up alpha around his mate. He secretly prayed Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge would have a second child. Binghe was fine staying as a babysitter forever as long as he could continue taking care of Shen Yuan.

By the time Shen Yuan was done with the congee and began gnawing on his red bean bun, Shen Qingqiu had returned. "You may leave and continue practicing, Binghe. I have nothing else to do for the day."

Luo Binghe paled a little as he caught a glimpse of Liu Qingge and Bai Zhan Peak disciples outside through the window. Liu Qingge had brought his disciples for sparring exercise again and Binghe knew instead of facing the disciples, as one of Shen Qingqiu's strongest disciples he would have to be the Bai Zhan Peak Lord's punching bag.

"Wanna see!" Shen Yuan chirped and tried to run to Binghe - 'tried'.

Shen Qingqiu picked him up before he could. "Can't. Your father's disciples are rough and careless, you can get hurt."

Luo Binghe smiled. "I'll be back soon to make dinner, A Yuan. Right now Bing Gege needs to practice for the conference, and bring honour to our peak."

Shen Yuan blinked. "Confe…"

"Conference. The Immortal Alliance Conference. Binghe is going to compete," Shen Qingqiu explained. 

Shen Yuan however suddenly began wailing. "Noooo!!!! Don't wanna!!!!!!"

 


 

"Don't wanna!!!!!"

Even if he had to sacrifice his dignity as a mentally 22-year-old adult, he didn't care.

Luo Binghe can't go to the conference, he would become the blackened protagonist and eventually kill Shen Yuan's parents, uncles, aunt… everyone. Shen Qingqiu may have stopped beating the shit out of Binghe but now the poor boy had been made into a free babysitter and servant.

Surely Luo Binghe won't like the fact that he was forced to clean a baby's poop, only to be pushed into a hellhole as a payback. What if he decided to turn Shen Qingqiu into a human toilet instead of a human stick? Or maybe send him into an Iron Maiden, or maybe some other weird torture devices that Airplane Shooting Towards the Sky had created out of his porn-infested imagination…

Shen Yuan tried playing the most pitiful baby ever, putting on a kicked puppy expression. "Bing Gege, don't go. Stay. No alone."

Shen Qingqiu ruffled his child's hair. "Silly one, Binghe is only going away for a few days. Your mama will be here with you, okay?"

Shen Yuan blinked. Shen Qingqiu won't be attending the conference? Sweet! As long as the perpetrator was absent the event won't happen, right? He clung to Shen Qingqiu tight as if to show his desperation. "Mama stay with me?"

Shen Qingqiu chuckled. "Yes, I will stay with you. I'm not as good a cook as Binghe, but my food is definitely a lot better than your father's."

Shen Yuan was satisfied with that. He contentedly let Shen Qingqiu lull him to sleep.

 


 

Seeing that Shen Yuan was asleep, Shen Qingqiu laid his son in his crib. "Go and join the practice, Binghe."

"Yes, Shizun," said Luo Binghe before he headed out.

Shen Qingqiu went to sit in his favourite chaise right next to Shen Yuan and started knitting. His mother-in-law had sent bundles of good quality wool and he wanted to knit something for his husband and child before winter comes. Perhaps he could make some mittens for Binghe too, he was always out in the cold roasting corn and sweet potatoes for their snacks.

What size is Binghe's hands? Shen Qingqiu wondered. Same as mine? That boy grows up so fast.

Occasionally he glanced at his baby, and a smile curved up whenever he looked at Shen Yuan's peacefully sleeping face.

Shen Qingqiu shook his head when he suddenly began to feel drowsy. Shoot, must have been the many sleepless nights spent on preparing for the conference. Because he couldn't go, he had to make extra preparations and delegated most of the tasks to Ming Fan and Luo Binghe. Maybe he could just take a short nap…

There was a weird smell. Shen Qingqiu’s eyes immediately popped open as soon as he realized there was something definitely wrong, but it was too late. He tried to circulate his qi to clear whatever substance that he had accidentally inhaled but it was too late. Strong, painful heat surged up his body and he collapsed. Every breath felt agonizing.

A heat-inducing drug, he realized. Moreover it was released in such high concentration. Thankfully Shen Yuan was still a baby and would not be affected. However, anyone who released this drug clearly had ill intentions. Shen Qingqiu could hear footsteps approaching. He groaned and tried to get up but it was too painful.

He heard a cackle. “So you are the Bai Zhan War God’s mate. I can’t believe a Cang Qiong Mountain Peak Lord is actually this weak. The one in this crib must be your child.”

Shen Qingqiu gritted his teeth. “Don’t touch him.”

“You and your child will pay for it. I will avenge my brother, Six Balls, who was mercilessly killed by your mate!”

Shen Qingqiu could only gasp when the demon violently grabbed his baby from the crib. He managed to gather enough strength to grab the demon’s leg. “Don’t you dare!”

“Release me! Do you want your child to die now?!”

He heard Shen Yuan’s loud cry and began to panic. No. “Let go of my child or I will break your leg.”

“Hah! Try me, and I will snap his neck off before you can even-”

Shen Qingqiu concentrated all of his qi in his fingers and blasted it out to cleanly slice off the demon’s leg that he held. The demon screamed and fell down.

“You dare think you can threaten me. Anyone who tries to lay a single finger on my child… will not get away,” Shen Qingqiu managed to utter between gritted teeth. He dragged himself to grab his son back.

The demon angrily slapped him. “How dare you!”

Shen Qingqiu coughed. It was getting harder to stand because of the heat-inducing drug, but he would not give up, for the sake of his baby. Even if he had to fight while in this terrible state of extreme heat…

Shen Qingqiu blinked. Heat?

… It would be a risky move but it was worth trying. Anything was worth trying for A Yuan.

Eight Balls scowled when he smelled the omega pheromones in the air getting stronger. He was a beta so pheromones did not really affect him unless it was very strong but this one smelled so intense, as if the person was purposely releasing it for the sake of seducing the whole town. He gawked. “You… are you forcing your own pheromones out? You must be mad!”

An omega releasing this much pheromone was pretty much asking to be ravaged mercilessly. No alpha could stay rational if they were to smell this.

Shen Qingqiu smirked. “I’m not worried. I have a very reliable alpha mate. I have my alpha cub, my alpha martial siblings. Not one will not smell this.”

And true enough, within a split second the door to the bamboo hut was kicked open. Liu Qingge and Luo Binghe marched in. As soon as they saw Shen Qingqiu on the floor and the demon holding a crying Shen Yuan in his hands, they saw red.

Cheng Luan flew from Liu Qingge’s hand straight to the demon’s head, pinning him right onto the wall like a dart to the board. He quickly picked up Shen Yuan and then rushed back to his mate to envelope him with his own pheromones, suppressing the omega pheromones, and stabilized him.

Luo Binghe walked towards the demon, his expression sinister. The demon was still alive - being a demon, he was more resilient. Luo Binghe unsheathed Zheng Yang. “Liu Shishu, should we keep him alive for questioning?”

The demon sweatdropped. Why did he feel like if he was going to be kept alive it would be for a different reason?

Not even one minute after Liu Qingge and Luo Binghe arrived all the other Peak Lords, starting from Yue Qingyuan all barged into the bamboo hut, for they too had sensed the strong omega pheromone being released from Qing Jing Peak. Mu Qingfang was about to lecture Shen Qingqiu for sending all the alphas of the mountain into a frenzy, until he saw the demon being pinned against the wall. “What’s happening here?”

Shen Yuan picked the right moment to wail out loud and point at the demon. “Bad man! Hurt mama! Hurt A Yuan!”

The distressed omega pheromone that was spread throughout the mountain was soon replaced by murderous, oppressive alpha pheromones.

 


 

“Too bad we didn’t get to interrogate that demon. Luo Shizhi lost his temper and turned his head into mush when he said he wanted to hurt Yuan Shizhi,” Qi Qingqi commented during their meeting.

Shang Qinghua fluttered his eyes. “Did I miss something? What happened?”

“Ah, you weren’t there, Shang Shidi. A demon infiltrated into Qing Jing Peak and tried to kidnap Yuan Shizhi,” Wei Qingwei said.

Yue Qingyuan smiled calmly but everyone in the room knew it was not a pleased smile. “Well, I personally don’t want to see that demon’s face any longer either. I had my disciples blast his corpse to oblivion already. Now, let’s discuss our agenda - reinforcing the wards, especially the one in Qing Jing Peak.”

Shang Qinghua began to feel cold sweat running down his whole body. He scooted over closer to Qi Qingqi. “That demon… did anyone identify it, at least?”

Qi Qingqi frowned. “He looks humanoid but has eight balls. That’s all I can remember.”

“....”

Fuck. Shang Qinghua secretly thanked all the deities up there (well, Luo Binghe actually) for killing off the demon before it could be interrogated. Otherwise, he could have been the one turned into mincemeat if they ever found out he was the one accidentally revealing Shen Yuan’s existence. Not to mention the fact that he was a mole to Mobei Jun, of course. Airplane-juju lives another day!

“Oh, right, where is Liu Shidi and Shen Shixiong by the way?” Shang Qinghua asked, looking at the two empty seats. Liu Qingge's absence or lateness wasn’t too unusual but Shen Qingqiu always attended all the meetings on time.

Qi Qingqi snickered. “Shen Shixiong got hit with a high dose of heat-inducing drug. Shen Yuan is with Mingyan and all of Qing Jing disciples have to stay in Bai Zhan for the week.”

“...”

“What do you think?” She smirked.

“....” I’ll light up a candle for your ass, Shen Qingqiu, Shang Qinghua thought.

Chapter Text

As a result of the heat-inducing drug, Shen Qingqiu had to spend one whole week copulating with his mate. Ming Fan and Luo Binghe took the lead in training all the Qing Jing disciples, who were now forced to share the training ground with Bai Zhan disciples. Normally these two peaks would never get along, their rivalry still going strong even after their Peak Lords’ marriage, but considering said two Peak Lords were currently entangled together, both sides decided to tolerate each other’s presence.

After all, it wasn’t like they could tell Qing Jing Peak to return to their peak now… though some of the older disciples were quite tempted to sneak a peek. It also helped that Luo Binghe, Liu Mingyan, and the other disciples were taking turns watching over Shen Yuan, hence all of the disciples tried their best to behave themselves as much as possible to make sure the beloved baby of Cang Qiong Mountain would be comfortable.

Once a day, a beta disciple of Qian Cao Peak would take Shen Yuan to Qing Jing Peak to see Shen Qingqiu. They thought it would not be good for the distressed baby who was almost kidnapped and watched his mother get hurt, to be separated from Shen Qingqiu for too long. Shen Qingqiu used the opportunity to feed Shen Yuan while the Qian Cao disciple also examined his condition each time he came there.

Honestly, Shen Yuan would rather just stay at Bai Zhan or Xian Shu Peak. Even Qiong Ding Peak would be nice.

No matter how he looked at it, even if he didn’t know about the omega’s heat, it was clear that the two were papapa-ing almost nonstop, only pausing when he came! Shen Qingqiu was a high level cultivator, yet the love bites on his body - covered with only a loose single layer of robe as if he couldn’t be bothered to get dressed anymore - were visible every single day! Moreover, Shen Yuan knew they were not old marks that did not heal because the locations varied slightly each time, meaning new ones kept being made every single damn day. He fed him while sitting in bed, never carrying him to bathe him or change his clothes, like he could barely stand.

And damn Liu Qingge looked so satisfied. Shen Yuan could not tell if there was a difference in the scent since he was a baby but he was sure by now Liu Qingge’s scent had probably enveloped the entirety of the bamboo hut now. Good thing that as soon as this papapa confinement was over, the disciples were heading out for the Immortal Alliance Conference. Shen Yuan doubted Luo Binghe could sleep in a place strongly reeking of another alpha’s scent.

That said, as soon as his parents were done going at it like rabbits, Shen Yuan decided he should get something like a good luck charm for Luo Binghe to prepare him for the upcoming conference. Shen Yuan had read through every single chapter with the full diligence of a VIP user, posted essay-worthy comments on each chapter, and was pretty much able to remember all the details of Luo Binghe’s adventure in Proud Immortal Demon Way. He could probably even help guide his way even in the Endless Abyss to obtain Xin Mo more easily, avoiding all traps and dangerous demons as well as leading him to all the recovery spots and rare medicinal herbs.

Unfortunately, he was a baby now, just a two-year-old toddler, so he could not become Luo Binghe’s guardian fairy. He could not write a gameplay guide for Endless Abyss with his short baby fingers and even if he could, how was he supposed to explain how he was able to know everything, or even give the guide to Luo Binghe?

However, at the same time because he was a helpless, adorable little baby, he could instead persuade his mother - the original perpetrator who was supposed to push the protagonist into the hellhole - to not go to the Immortal Alliance Conference. Perhaps clinging to Shen Qingqiu was a good thing after all. Shen Yuan did worry Shen Qingqiu might change his mind and attend the conference in the end so each time he came to see Shen Qingqiu during the Peak Lord’s temporary ‘confinement’, he acted very clingy as if he could not bear to be separated from his mother.

Shen Qingqiu seemed to have sensed his desperation as even on the last day of his confinement, he stuck with his decision to not attend the conference in favour of watching over his baby on his own. After the Qian Cao disciple decided that Shen Qingqiu was all cleared up and Yue Qingyuan had determined the air in Qing Jing Peak was safe from any artificial heat inducer, Shen Qingqiu exited his confinement.

The first thing he did was making a trip to Qian Cao Peak, carrying the sticky Shen Yuan in his arms. Shen Yuan wondered if Shen Qingqiu was perhaps still feeling unwell. Liu Qingge looked like he could rival the future protagonist's prowess, could it be that not even the famed Xiu Ya Sword could handle it?

“Shen Shixiong, are you doing fine now?” Mu Qingfang asked, immediately preparing honey tea for both parent and child.

Shen Qingqiu gratefully accepted the tea, not forgetting to let his child have a sip first. “I’m fine. Thanks to your disciple as well.”

“That’s good. Are you here for anything? Is your body okay?” Mu Qingfang asked.

 Shen Qingqiu nodded. “Can you give me contraceptive pills?”

Good thing Shen Yuan wasn’t holding the tea cup himself, otherwise he would have dropped it from the surprise of hearing the request.

Mu Qingfang raised an eyebrow. “You want contraceptives?”

Shen Qingqiu nodded. “With how much we had to do it to clear the drug, it’s highly possible to get pregnant. I don’t want another child for now.”

“Ah… I see. Does Liu Shixiong know about this?” Mu Qingfang asked.

“He does. We both agreed. A Yuan is so clingy, I want to give my full attention to him,” Shen Qingqiu said, hiding a chuckle.

Shen Yuan nearly grimaced when Mu Qingfang laughed a little. Great, now the healer was going to think he was a mama’s boy greedy for Shen Qingqiu’s attention.

“If you’re still breastfeeding him, that can also be a method of birth control,” said Mu Qingfang. “Is he still breastfed?”

“He is. He doesn’t seem to want to stop, even yesterday it almost felt like he didn't want to let go. I wonder when he’ll be weaned off completely,” Shen Qingqiu said.

Since when did Shen Qingqiu become one of those gossipy mothers who told embarrassing stories of their children to others? If Shen Yuan wasn’t a baby now he would have no face left!

“I’ll give you some contraceptive pills, just to be safe. You can gradually reduce the frequency and duration of breastfeeding while increasing his meal portions. He may be completely weaned off by three to four years old,” said Mu Qingfang.

While Mu Qingfang went to get the pills, Shen Yuan wandered around the clinic. He noticed a rack filled with vials of liquids, labelled ‘Qi Rejuvenating’. Great, maybe he could steal one and give it to Luo Binghe? He climbed a small wooden stool and tried to reach for one while Shen Qingqiu was not looking.

Unfortunately right when he was able to grab one, Shen Qingqiu had finally seen him and quickly took it back from his hand. “A Yuan, don’t play around with your Shishu’s things. These are medicines and most of these items can be unsuitable for you.”

Damn it! He tried his best to give Shen Qingqiu the puppy eyes. “But… Bing Gege will hurt. Bing Gege needs medicine.”

Shen Qingqiu blinked. “You want to give the medicine to your Bing Gege?”

Shen Yuan quickly nodded.

Shen Qingqiu paused for a moment. “Mu Shidi, do you have healing balms?”

They returned to Qing Jing Peak with a small bottle of morning after pills for Shen Qingqiu and ten small jars of healing balms, all stored safely in his storage pouch.

 


 

The morning before they set off to the Immortal Alliance Conference, Shen Qingqiu gathered all of his participating disciples to give them one last lecture about being cautious and to bring honour to Cang Qiong Mountain. He assigned Ming Fan to lead the peak in his stead and handed him the pouch with healing balms.

“Make sure to distribute them to your martial siblings, Ming Fan,” said Shen Qingqiu.

All of the disciples looked touched, almost to the point of getting teared up. Shen Qingqiu was usually cold and aloof, that when he did things like this, they could not help feeling warm. “Yes, Shizun!”

“Bing Gege, good luck,” said Shen Yuan.

Luo Binghe smiled. “Thank you, A Yuan. Bing Gege will get the first place for you.”

Shen Yuan took out a small pouch and handed it to Luo Binghe. Since Shen Qingqiu had given the healing balms, Shen Yuan had chosen to copy the safety charms in the bamboo hut (plastered after the very short invasion of Eight Balls) to give to Luo Binghe. Shen Qingqiu had caught him doing it and had kindly helped his unsteady baby fingers to draw a working spell, then even provided an embroidered pouch to keep it in.

Luo Binghe opened it and was surprised to see a piece of charm and some candies inside. “A Yuan…”

Even if he wouldn’t get pushed into the Endless Abyss, there was still going to be dangerous demons around and Luo Binghe might need some sugar boost for energy. “For Bing Gege. Come back safe, Bing Gege.”

Luo Binghe’s eyes were watery. “I’ll be back as soon as I can, A Yuan.”

All the disciples mounted their horses and were ready to set off. Liu Qingge did not forget to kiss Shen Qingqiu goodbye. He hummed. “That pouch was the one you embroidered, wasn’t it? Am I seeing favouritism here?”

Shen Qingqiu looked away. “That wasn’t favouritism. The balms are for my disciples. The charm is for my cub.”

“What about your husband?”

“As if there is any demon that can kill my husband,” Shen Qingqiu snorted.

“Hm.” Liu Qingge smirked. He kissed his mate one more time and then their baby. “Wait for your papa to come back, okay A Yuan?”

“Bye bye, papa,” said Shen Yuan and he waved his hand.

Hopefully with the plot deviating, Luo Binghe’s fate can also be avoided.

 


 

Luo Binghe glared back at Liu Mingyan, who was staring at him as if he was the most despicable man to ever walk on Cang Qiong Mountain. He might as well be, in her eyes. She was glaring at him with more intensity, completely ignoring that they were martial siblings of the same sect who ideally should band together in the competition.

After all, he had defeated her in every single thing before, giving him the privilege to be Shen Yuan's official babysitter. Liu Mingyan clenched her fist. She always thought it was unfair that Shen Yuan was more attached to Luo Binghe even though she was Shen Yuan's real aunt, related by blood. Unfortunately being the young lady from the rich Liu family she could never be as good as Luo Binghe when it came to cleaning nappies, making food, or other chores.

She silently cursed her older brother, who only managed to woo Shen Qingqiu way too late. By the time the two were married Shen Yuan was already very attached to Luo Binghe. He refused to let her bathe him, didn't want her to change his clothes or nappies. It came to the point where Liu Mingyan had a slight suspicion that Luo Binghe was a devil in human skin whispering poisonous lies about her to her own nephew. He was peerlessly handsome and his skills were way beyond any other disciples, she wouldn't be surprised if he wasn't a human.

She approached Luo Binghe. "Luo Shixiong."

Luo Binghe nodded. "Liu Shimei."

"Let's make a bet. If I take the first place in this conference, you will have to yield and give the position of official babysitter to me," Liu Mingyan demanded. "Either way you are a mature alpha male, you're not supposed to stay in a house of a married couple anymore."

Luo Binghe raised an eyebrow. "Sure. But if I win, do not try to take away my position again. Liu Shimei, aren't you a mature alpha female too?"

"Unlike you, I am directly related to them," Liu Mingyan proudly flaunted her connection.

"Unlike you, I was raised and stayed by Shizun's side ever since his pregnancy."

"If you like babies so much, make your own, Luo Shixiong!"

"I can say the same thing to you, Liu Shimei."

The Peak Lords began placing their bets. Qi Qingqi placed a bet of 500 spirit stones for her favourite disciple while others placed some more for Luo Binghe or their own favourites.

The competition began. Gongyi Xiao from Huan Hua Palace led the ranking, followed by Liu Mingyan who was working extra hard while keeping her ultimate goals in mind. Luo Binghe was initially stuck at a lower place as he had to help out a bunch of whiny Huan Hua Palace disciples. Liu Qingge shook his head seeing it. If Shen Qingqiu saw this surely he would not like it.

Just when Luo Binghe was finally catching up, that was when Nu Yuan Chan showed up.

 


 

It was a little frustrating having to be saved by another but Luo Binghe decided to ignore the ingrained alpha pride in favour of human lives. He could survive on his own but the Huan Hua Palace disciples were certainly slowing him down and were not helping to defeat the demons. One of them ignored his warning and as a result was already devoured. Luckily just when they encountered a deadly Black Moon Python Rhinoceros, Liu Qingge appeared and hacked it to pieces.

Luo Binghe urged the Huan Hua Palace disciples to escape first, following a couple of Bai Zhan disciples who offered to escort them out, while he determinedly followed Liu Qingge and the rest of his disciples to also look for other participants who may need rescuing.

Liu Qingge muttered a curse under his breath when they bumped into a panicked Shang Qinghua.

A rift had opened and Liu Qingge recognized it as the portal that revealed the Endless Abyss. Some of the high level monsters that were not supposed to be in Jue Di Gorge may have been brought in deliberately by an individual who had tore open a rift there. Indeed, a demon lord soon appeared and identified himself as a high ranking demon, Mobei Jun. The ruler of the northern demons, he exuded an enormous alpha aura that sent cold shivers to Shang Qinghua, who as usual immediately played possum again.

Mobei Jun observed Luo Binghe with sharp eyes. "So you are Luo Binghe. Indeed, I sense it inside you."

Luo Binghe narrowed his eyes and prepared himself for an attack. Liu Qingge also stepped up protectively. He knew a demon lord of this level was not something the disciples could take on. “Luo Binghe, go and escape with everyone.”

“I’m staying with you, Liu Shishu.”

“Don’t be foolish, the demon lord is way above your level. What do you think Qingqiu will feel if I let you get hurt?”

“Liu Shishu too, Shizun won’t be happy if you get hurt. Please let me help you,” Luo Binghe stubbornly said. “Either way it seems like the demon is after me for some reason. I can’t just easily get away.”

Mobei Jun nodded. "Looks very fine, indeed. Luo Binghe, I shall bring you back with me to the Demon Realm."

Luo Binghe was stunned by the declaration. Bring him back? For what?

Liu Qingge was also astonished by his words. So Mobei Jun did not intend to kill him, but to take Luo Binghe with him? He furiously pointed his sword at Mobei Jun. "Don't think you can take away our disciples easily."

He lunged at Mobei Jun with Cheng Luan in hand, followed by Luo Binghe with his Zheng Yang. Mobei Jun deflected off both attacks and retaliated with even stronger ones, suppressing everyone by unleashing an overwhelming amount of demonic qi. The disciples all cowered at the pressure of the demonic qi but Luo Binghe stubbornly tried to pounce at Mobei Jun again, only to be thrown onto the ground mercilessly with just one powerful hit. Zheng Yang shattered from the force, the pieces strewn all over the ground.

Liu Qingge sent his own strong waves of spiritual energy to counter the demonic qi. He once again charged at Mobei Jun. They continued to fight, but the power and stamina of a high ranking demon could not be compared. Mobei Jun seemed awfully determined to bring back Luo Binghe. Moreover Liu Qingge had just spent a large portion of his energy earlier to fight other beasts and could not fight at full strength as he had to protect the horde of young disciples behind him. 

In a moment of carelessness Mobei Jun managed to send an array of ice spears towards the Bai Zhan Peak Lord which successfully pierced through Liu Qingge’s right shoulder and both legs. Liu Qingge growled and held on to Cheng Luan to keep standing but found himself unable to move from the injuries. Ignoring the pain, he pulled out the spears and circulated his qi to focus on healing the injuries, so he could continue the battle.

However, it was too late. Mobei Jun had formed ice crystallines around Luo Binghe's limbs to freeze them and dragged him to his side. "With this, I've secured a future bride," he announced, briefly glancing at Shang Qinghua before taking Luo Binghe with him and jumped into the Endless Abyss. Liu Qingge froze. Even Luo Binghe turned stiff.

"... What?" Liu Qingge gawked.

 


 

38 bodies of Cang Qiong Mountain disciples were retrieved. Liu Qingge came back and remorsefully informed Shen Qingqiu of what had happened. Shen Qingqiu fell silent as he watched the broken shards of Zheng Yang that Liu Qingge retrieved.

"Is there a chance that he will come back?" Shen Qingqiu asked.

Liu Qingge shook his head. "Once taken… it’s hard to say. Nobody has yet to return from that place."

Shen Yuan, who pretended to be asleep in his crib, heard everything. He heard his mother’s silent tears and his father’s soothing words of comfort.

Apparently Luo Binghe falling into the Abyss was an unavoidable event even with Shen Qingqiu's absence.

What he could not understand was…

Why the hell was the protagonist dragged to the Abyss as a bride for Mobei Jun?! 

 


 

🌹🌹🌹

 

Mobei Jun tossed the body onto his bed. Luo Binghe gasped and struggled to steady himself. He glared back at the demon’s cold, icy blue eyes. He gritted his teeth. “Why did you bring me here?”

His teeth began to chatter from the chill of the frosty cold temperature. The weather in the northern region of the Demon Realm was not designed for any normal human, barely tolerable for cultivators. Someone like Luo Binghe who just started cultivating for several years needed to use his cultivation to just survive, to breathe, to not die instantly from the climate.

Seeing the shivering, slim body, Mobei Jun took off his fur coat and tossed it to the younger male. Luo Binghe narrowed his eyes and kicked it off to the floor. He was not willing to have the scent of the alpha demon on his body.

“You’re going to die from the cold,” said Mobei Jun.

“Release me, then,” Luo Binghe demanded.

“No.” Mobei Jun picked up the coat, walked towards the bed and draped the heavy fur coat over Luo Binghe’s body. He secretly drank in the sight of the beautiful, flawless porcelain-like skin that was now as white as the snow blanketing the ground. “Have I not told you? You will stay here - as my bride.”

Luo Binghe seethed. “Don’t be ridiculous. How can a demon and a human be together? Moreover, you and I are both alphas.”

Mobei Jun humphed. “So what?”

Luo Binghe was stunned. “So what, you’re asking? How can a demon be together with a human? Moreover, an alpha belongs to an omega! That’s how it has always been!”

Mobei Jun climbed onto the bed and straddled him to prevent him from running away. He pinched the younger male’s chin and gazed into his eyes. “I do not care. The moment I laid my eyes on you, I knew you were the one for me.”

“But…”

Mobei Jun raised an eyebrow. “You certainly speak too much. Well, it seems like I just have to silence you.”

Before Luo Binghe could utter his protest, Mobei Jun closed their distance and their lips met.

 

 

 

Excerpt from The Tale of Ice King and Winter Bride, Chapter 1

By Liu Su Mian Hua.

Chapter Text

🌹🌹🌹

 

Even in the Demon Realm, the moonlight still shone brightly. Luo Binghe closed his eyes as he laid on the chaise, right next to the veranda. Basking in the moonlight was the sole consolation he had ever since he was brought to this strange realm to be the bride of the demon king.

He missed his home. However, this was going to be his new home and as much as Luo Binghe was determined to not get used to it, he found himself slowly getting used to waking up in Mobei Jun’s bed, to his face gazing into his eyes. The northern palace might be cold but Mobei Jun’s passion was enough to set his insides on fire. Each touch felt almost burning to him and Luo Binghe was so conflicted by his own feelings.

He should be detesting these. He should resent Mobei Jun for taking him away from his home. He should hate the demon lord, there was nothing good about demons. However, with each passing day Luo Binghe was yearning for the ice demon’s touch even more. Mobei Jun’s embrace gave him the chills and brought heat to his groin at the same time.

Thinking about the demon’s handsome face and cool fingers, Luo Binghe could not help running his fingers all along his abdomen, down to his lower half. He shut his eyes as his mind wildly brought itself back to that spring night when Luo Binghe was forced to drink the nuptial wine. The memories were so vivid it felt like yesterday when his cool hands were roaming all over his body. He slipped his hand underneath his clothes.

“Aah, mnn…” Luo Binghe moaned and his fingers circled around his pink, reddish chrysanthemum that had been ravaged several days before. His manhood was begging to be released from the confinement of his pants and Luo Binghe pulled down the fabric to reveal the completely hardened length. The tip of the pillar was already moist from his excitement.

He smeared the liquid around his chrysanthemum and was finally able to push in one finger inside. Luo Binghe still found himself unsatisfied. It was just not the same as Mobei Jun’s. He wanted the demon inside him, he wanted him now.

Slim, cold fingers suddenly landed on his forehead and Luo Binghe opened his eyes. He gasped. “Mobei Jun.”

Mobei Jun raised an eyebrow. “My consort has been missing me, I see.”

“Don’t be ridiculous!” Luo Binghe said and tried to push his hand away but Mobei Jun had already moved to straddle him.

“Your body is more honest than you are, my bride,” Mobei Jun smirked and lifted Luo Binghe’s chin. “Shall I prove it to you?”

Luo Binghe shut his eyes tightly again. This must be a lie!

 


 

Indeed, what a fucking piece of bullshit , Shen Yuan thought, grimacing at the long passage of very explicit smut scene between Luo Binghe and Mobei Jun. It was only the seventh chapter of The Tale of Ice King and Winter Bride but there were already three very smutty scenes that would put Airplane Shooting Towards the Sky to shame. He thought after reading through more than a thousand chapters of Proud Immortal Demon Way, there was nothing that could make him blush but he was wrong. Liu Su Mian Hua was definitely spicier, and while Shen Yuan wasn’t exactly the connoisseur of cut-sleeve papapa, he was sure whatever depicted in the novel was just as unrealistic.

“Ah, A Yuan!” Ning Yingying shrieked, horrified by the sight of the three-year-old toddler holding the book. “It’s not for you!”

Shen Yuan only fluttered his eyelids, watching with a hidden amusement as Ning Yingying frantically grabbed the book from his hands and looked for a space to hide it. Ning Yingying ah, your future husband has been kidnapped by Mobei Jun for who knows what reason and you have the heart to buy and read an erotic RPF about him? It’s only been a year, has your feeling already faded in favour of supporting your CP?

“Did you read it?” Ning Yingying asked, her face paler than sheets.

Shen Yuan feigned innocence. “I didn’t understand,” he said. Shen Qingqiu had only taught him basic, simple characters for now and it was safe to assume that a normal three-year-old would not be able to read enough to understand the content.

Ning Yingying looked a little relieved, but then asked, “Did you see the pictures?”

“Are there pictures? I wanna see!”

“They’re a little too much for you, A Yuan. Jiejie will read you a different book, okay?” Ning Yingying quickly said.

There were indeed illustrations in the book - depicting a wedding, as well as the spring night that occurred following the wedding. The pictures were definitely not appropriate for children, which made Shen Yuan cringe even more. Who the hell wrote the book, who the hell made the illustrations and how many more people were reading it?! Did the Peak Lords know about this? Definitely not, Shen Yuan imagined not even Ning Yingying could escape Shen Qingqiu’s wrath if he ever found out.

Shen Yuan noticed another book hidden underneath Ning Yingying’s bed. He blinked and pulled it out. “What is this?” He asked then opened it.

It was right at the page of an illustration depicting Liu Qingge humping Shen Qingqiu. Shen Yuan dropped the book while Ning Yingying shrieked.

She gave up babysitting her Shizun’s child and handed him to Ming Fan instead, muttering something about needing to clean up her room. Shen Yuan wished she would clean her mind first. He had no idea there was an R-rated RPF about his own parents and that illustration just reawakened the traumatizing memories in his head of watching the scene in real time.

 


 

"A Yuan, come back in here, it's cold out there!"

Shen Yuan ran back inside. Shen Qingqiu was already waiting at the doorstep, picking him up and wrapping him with his outer robe to keep him warm. Liu Qingge came back inside after storing all the woods in the shed.

Shen Qingqiu heated up some tea in the pot and warmed a bowl of soy milk for Shen Yuan. He rubbed the young three-year-old's hair gently. "How many times have I told you to not play in the snow? It's cold and you can get sick."

Shen Yuan pouted. "But I'm bored."

Shen Qingqiu sighed. "I will get more books for you, okay?"

A little over a year had passed since Luo Binghe fell into the Endless Abyss. Or rather, kidnapped into the Demon Realm. At first, Shen Yuan had to pretend that he was clueless and asked for Bing Gege for the first couple of days.

Then he saw the slight hint of pain in Shen Qingqiu's face as the Qing Jing Peak Lord had to make up an excuse to explain Luo Binghe's absence - like Binghe being away for a mission, or Binghe too busy to come back . He stopped asking since then. Unexpectedly, even the villain had softened up and was missing his disciples. He should probably stop thinking Shen Qingqiu as the villain because clearly he was no longer reading a book but living in a real world with real living people. Shen Qingqiu was not just a character anymore, he was now his mother, whom Shen Yuan could tell truly loved him and actually cared for Luo Binghe.

Luo Binghe wasn't the only one though. 38 other disciples, with three of them being from Qing Jing Peak, were also gone. Ning Yingying and the other young disciples all cried when they were informed about the deaths of their Shixiong and Shijie who joined the Immortal Alliance Conference. Shen Qingqiu must have felt a bit guilty for being unable to come and save them. Then again, it wasn't really his fault. Nobody expected the disaster at the Immortal Alliance Conference, and Cang Qiong Mountain in fact had suffered the least amount of casualties.

Luo Binghe’s case was a little unique, though. Some were convinced he was already dead. Others however...

Well, they took Mobei Jun’s statement quite seriously. Both Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge too, believed that Mobei Jun had in fact kidnapped Luo Binghe to be his bride. It wouldn’t be the first time a human was taken away to be a demon’s bride. It did not matter to some, who thought being taken to Demon Realm was as good as being dead, since they could no longer return to the Human Realm anyway.

Shen Yuan knew Luo Binghe must be alive - the protagonist couldn’t have died so easily. Still, he also found the bride theory quite hard to believe at first. Why the hell was Mobei Jun suddenly interested in Luo Binghe?! Shen Yuan was sure there was no mention that Mobei Jun had ever been romantically  attracted to Luo Binghe in the original novel.

Yet, that was the news spread throughout the cultivation world. That Qing Jing Peak's most talented disciple attracted the demon lord Mobei Jun with his beauty and ended up getting kidnapped to be his bride. It didn't help that Luo Binghe indeed was an eye-catching beauty, the most handsome man (canon, stated so firmly by Airplane Shooting Towards the Sky) in the PIDW universe.

Five months after his disappearance, the Tale of the Ice King and Winter Bride was published and circulated. It starred the demon lord Mobei Jun as the male lead and of course Cang Qiong Mountain’s unparalleled beauty Luo Binghe as the main character. It told the story of how the ice demon king couldn't resist falling for the peerless beauty and resorted to kidnapping him to be taken as his bride. The first volume was a twenty-chaptered erotica filled with writings that could make even a smut enthusiast blush. 

As strange as it sounded, Shen Yuan figured since this was an omegaverse world where the impossible (Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge getting married) had already occurred, Mobei Jun falling for Luo Binghe was probably not something completely unbelievable either. It wasn't like he had never seen a fanfiction with Mobei Jun and Luo Binghe pairing, even in his original world.

At least once Luo Binghe returned, his grudge would be on Mobei Jun for dragging him and not against Shen Qingqiu for making him wash Shen Yuan’s nappies. If he planned to return, of course. If the stories were true… well. Goodbye, harem protagonist, because Luo Binghe would apparently be spending the rest of his life papapa-ing in the Demon Realm.

"I've heated the bath," said Liu Qingge as he sat down together for hot drinks. 

"You can bring A Yuan together with you while I go prepare dinner," Shen Qingqiu said.

Liu Qingge playfully held his hand. "Not coming in together?"

Shen Qingqiu's face reddened slightly. "Don't be ridiculous."

"Hm. Your heat is coming up soon, isn't it?"

"Not here, Qingge."

Yeah, not here, Liu Qingge , Shen Yuan thought as he watched the couple with deadpan eyes. Your son is here, listening to your plans to papapa, okay? Proud Immortal Demon Way is now a slice of life manga featuring the domestic life of two married Peak Lords with their son.

Liu Qingge had completely moved into the bamboo hut ever since Shen Yuan's birth, only going outside during the day to either train (by train, it meant beating to pulp) his disciples, go on missions, or hunt for beasts. Shen Qingqiu was still teaching, but now he would bring Shen Yuan to his classes and in the evening he would return and prepare dinner for the family, himself.

For what reason, Shen Yuan had no idea. Ever since Luo Binghe was gone Shen Qingqiu had taken to making meals for his baby and since then, cooked for the whole family as well. The dining hall prepared food for the disciples and Peak Lords anyway, Shen Yuan honestly saw no reason why he had to cook himself. Shen Yuan had a slight suspicion that Shen Qingqiu actually enjoyed the domestic life of a housewife.

Thinking back about it, he knew little about his mother.

Master and Madam Liu had visited Cang Qiong Mountain several times, including during their son’s wedding and when Shen Yuan was born. Shen Qingqiu showed no sign of having any family or old friends, aside from his hinted past with Yue Qingyuan. Airplane Shooting Towards the Sky never elaborated on Shen Qingqiu's background. Everything was based on accusations and suspicions.

The only biggest clue Shen Yuan had was that day when Yue Qingyuan showed him an old toy that a very young Shen Qingqiu liked, as well as Liu Qingge’s sudden fight with the sect leader. They seemed to have made up after that and Shen Qingqiu had visibly warmed up to Yue Qingyuan after the fight, which added more to the mystery. Whatever conversation they had, it unfortunately took place after his bedtime, hence he missed his chance to hear about his mother’s past.

Heavens are not on my side, Shen Yuan the pampered baby lamented while Liu Qingge brought him to the bath.

 


 

Meanwhile, a certain hamster in An Ding Peak was panicking.

He just happened to come across the abomination that was The Tale of Ice King and Winter Bride while looking for his disciples, only to find them sneakily reading the erotic novel. Needless to say, Shang Qinghua was horrified.

This was not part of his plan ah! Sure, he did tell Mobei Jun that raising Luo Binghe would be a good way to secure his position but he did not tell him to raise the protagonist as his bride! Shang Qinghua designed Luo Binghe as the stallion protagonist who would be surrounded by a harem of beautiful sisters, while he made Mobei Jun, his actual ideal man without any designated partner just so he could ‘enjoy’ Mobei Jun for himself. The male lead is for the female lead and the second male lead is for the audience, okay?

So where the hell did this RPF originate from? What should he do if this fiction turned into reality? Now that Shang Qinghua thought about it, blatantly revealing Luo Binghe’s existence and suggesting Mobei Jun to drag him to the Endless Abyss was such a stupid, suicidal idea. Sure, he was safe from the system’s punishment for now but what about the future? What should he do if this CP turned out to be canon ah… Mobei Jun might tell Luo Binghe what Shang Qinghua did and the protagonist would hunt him even to the other side of the earth. Forget human stick, he might be the next Eight Balls.

Unable to find ease of mind, Shang Qinghua decided he should go and see Mobei Jun later. That in mind, he packed for as many escape talismans and healing potions as possible in his pouch, preparing himself in case Luo Binghe was there in the palace, waiting for the opportunity to turn him into mincemeat. He paused in the middle of packing. If the RPF was true and Luo Binghe was living happily as Mobei Jun’s consort, shouldn’t the protagonist be grateful to him? They would be the most powerful couple in the Demon Realm - scratch that, in all three realms! Shang Qinghua would be elated if he could live a nice, comfortable life as Mobei Jun’s bride, just laying around lazily and enjoying tons of good papapa with his ideal man. But nope, the ice demon made him a servant running all his errands and doing all his paperwork.

Shang Qinghua sighed. “Even Shen Qingqiu got married… when can I escape the curse of the virgins…”

“You’ve been cursed?”

Shang Qinghua yelped and jumped. He turned around and was surprised to see Mobei Jun standing behind him. “My King?”

Mobei Jun looked at him curiously. “Did you say you were cursed?”

Shang Qinghua rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. “That was just a figure of speech, my King… I just wish I could get married and live a nice life too…”

Mobei Jun looked amused. He placed a hand on top of Shang Qinghua’s soon. “It will come true soon. Wait.”

Is he comforting me? I didn’t know he could be this nice, Shang Qinghua thought and let Mobei Jun continue patting his head.

Mobei Jun then noticed the book on his desk and picked it up. “The Tale of Ice King and Winter Bride? What is this?”

Shang Qinghua panicked. “Ah, my King! That is just something I confiscated from my disciples! It is a very terrible book, you should not read it!”

But Mobei Jun had already opened it. He immediately scowled upon seeing the illustrations and grimaced even more upon reading the accompanying text, which happened to be a very explicit description of the ice king and winter bride’s wedding night. “What is this nonsense? Who dares to write slanders about me?”

“It’s just a novel, my King. It is fictional, purely imaginative!” Shang Qinghua said. He then furrowed his eyebrows. “Unless… is it real?”

Mobei Jun looked at him incredulously and Shang Qinghua had a feeling the demon was going to hit him. “How could you even think this is real?”

He cowered. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, this humble one is an idiot, my King!”

“Hmph.”

“So… where is Luo Binghe now?” Shang Qinghua dared himself to ask.

Mobei Jun went ahead to lay down in Shang Qinghua’s bed while continuing to flip through the pages of the novel. “Who knows. If he can’t make it out of the Endless Abyss, that just shows he is unworthy.”

So Mobei Jun did leave the protagonist in the Endless Abyss. At least so far the plot had been going just as in the original book - although whoever would be the target of Luo Binghe’s vengeance remained a mystery. Most likely not Shen Qingqiu, he wasn’t even there, in fact the original villain had now become somewhat of the protagonist’s new adoptive parent. 

Which left Shang Qinghua as the only target. Shit. He better looked for some ways to save his ass… wasn’t there something in his book that could save him? Something like a magical plant?

While Shang Qinghua was busy rummaging through his mountains of books, Mobei Jun fondly looked at the An Ding Peak Lord from behind the book. His mind began to replay their first meeting.

 


 

Mobei Jun had just escaped the Huan Hua Palace Water Prison when he encountered the group of young cultivators from An Ding Peak of Cang Qiong Mountain, who were transporting some supplies for their sect. There were nine or ten of them, but all of them fled at his sight, leaving one terrified disciple. The young man quite literally threw himself over Mobei Jun to hug his thighs, begging for mercy and even promising his loyalty in exchange.

He could smell fear - as expected, though mixed in the scent of fear was oddly a scent of admiration.

Mobei Jun passed out after that from his injuries. When he woke up, he was in bed in an unknown resthouse. His injuries were patched up and the disciple was sleeping next to him, even using his arm as a pillow. Mobei Jun freaked out and kicked him off the bed. How could this human be so brazen to do this? He was a demon, moreover an alpha!

The human rambled about following him for the rest of his life again. Mobei Jun gazed at him coldly. “Why were you holding me?”

“Ah, my King, your body was so cold, I was afraid you would not make it, so I was trying to warm you…”

A moron, this person was. Mobei Jun was a demon, moreover an ice, northern demon. His constitution was not the same as a human. His body temperature was always naturally cold. “You’re an omega, you still should not act so close to an alpha.”

The human looked puzzled. “I’m a beta, my King, you don’t have to worry.”

A beta? Mobei Jun was stunned. There was no way this human was a beta. Betas are mostly insensitive to scents unless very strongly triggered and they hardly even have any - they have no need for it, since they do not experience heat or rut. Mobei Jun could smell the fear coming out of this human before but he had attributed it to extreme emotion. Yet, even now he could smell a faint mixture of fear, relief, and again admiration. It wasn't strong enough to be discerned by normal humans but it was strong enough for Mobei Jun to be able to recognize it, that he instantly assumed the human was an omega.

Either this human was just a very sensitive, emotional beta or an idiot who was unaware that he was an omega. It could be either, the human kept trying to butter him up in hopes of surviving, even though Mobei Jun wasn’t really planning to do anything to the human. He was distrustful of humans of course - he had just narrowly escaped death from humans, but this small human had saved his life. He could have just left Mobei Jun to die on the street or kill him in his moment of weakness, but he instead chose to save him.

Mobei Jun also could not get over the light hint of admiration coming out from the human. Why would this human have fondness for him, a demon and a stranger? He laid back in bed and the smell of fear dissipated, replaced with a stronger scent of admiration.

Few days passed and the human continued taking care of him. He cleaned his wound, applied medicine, and in the evening he sat down cleaning and sewing Mobei Jun’s torn robes. When Mobei Jun undressed to change his robes, he noticed the scent of envy, admiration - and most importantly - the slightest hint of lust and desire.

Ah. That would explain a lot.

What Mobei Jun could not explain was why his heart was fluttering from the thought of this small human being attracted to him. He was not particularly remarkable. Mobei Jun had met plenty of way more beautiful and powerful demons. Yet, this was the first time he was feeling something strange that he had never experienced with anyone before. 

At night, he let the human snuggled in bed with him. Watching the human’s peacefully sleeping face, sensing the fear dissipating and the admiration increasing as days passed made Mobei Jun’s heart race even more.

Then the human suddenly disappeared one day. Mobei Jun was angered. How could the human trample with his heart after railing him like that?

He searched for the human. He traced the human by his scent - already very familiar to Mobei Jun by now and waited for him in his small room in An Ding Peak. Sure enough, the human appeared looking shaken, albeit he had yet to notice Mobei Jun. When he did, he was quick to give out his excuses.

“Following me for the rest of your life, huh?” Mobei Jun remarked dryly.

The human continued explaining about how his martial brothers had appeared and it would be suspicious if he did not come back but Mobei Jun was already halfway to sulking. “They told you to return and you just followed them back.”

There was a smell of distress as the human continued explaining that he was going to be Mobei Jun’s spy so the logical move would be to come back to Cang Qiong Mountain. Mobei Jun noticed that the smell of admiration lingered and wasn’t gone at all. In fact, it had only gone stronger.

He laid on the human’s bed and wrapped himself with the human’s blanket. The human did not care, did not mind that an alpha was overtaking his safe space, his nest. He was fully trusting Mobei Jun.

If it’s Shang Qinghua, then Mobei Jun could probably keep him by his side.

 


 

Years passed, and Shang Qinghua finally brought up marriage. Mobei Jun was wondering when Shang Qinghua would deem him as someone powerful enough to be his one and only mate. He had been by Mobei Jun’s side for years but even though his admiration grew, never once did he act upon his feelings and start courting him. Mobei Jun was beginning to worry that perhaps he was mistaken about Shang Qinghua’s intention, but Shang Qinghua finally told him that he was entrusting his future to Mobei Jun.

He dragged the half-demon to the Endless Abyss and left him there. If what Shang Qinghua said was right, then the half-demon one day would grow into someone whom he could use as an ally against Linguang Jun.

Once Mobei Jun officially inherited his father’s power and position, he could kick out his annoying uncle and marry Shang Qinghua. 

He did not think the humans would be writing something as stupid as a love story between him and the half demon. This book, albeit very raunchy, was quite useful. He did not know there were so many ways to make love to someone. Imagining Shang Qinghua in Luo Binghe’s position made him excited. Once they were married, he could do this and that to Qinghua...

“My King, are you about to experience your rut? I can smell your pheromones leaking! You should go into isolation!” Shang Qinghua urged him.

Shang Qinghua probably would want to wait until their wedding night to mate and Mobei Jun would respect that. Still, he could use this as educational material for his future bride soon.

Chapter Text

Monthly Peak Lord meetings were so boring. Barely anyone gave attention to what Yue Qingyuan was talking, except for the people who actually had to do the job - Shen Qingqiu who had to prepare the documents and take charge in Yue Qingyuan's absence, Shang Qinghua who was in charge of logistics, as well as Mu Qingfang who had to make sure there were enough medical supplies for everyone, who just ran wild freely half of the time.

Shen Yuan yawned. As comforting his mother’s scent was; his lean, muscular thighs weren’t the most comfortable place to lie down for a nap. Liu Qingge even less so, his face might look like it could appear on top one hundred most beautiful faces in the world but his body was even more built and sturdy. Three incense sticks passed before he decided to look for a nicer place to lie down in the hall.

He glanced around and noticed Qi Qingqi and Yue Qingyuan secretly giving him hopeful glances. His eyes suddenly caught a bunny plushie hidden underneath Qi Qingqi's long sleeve. What… what was she doing with a bunny plushie in the middle of a meeting? Feeling curious, he quietly made his way around the hall, not realising that the Peak Lords had now stopped talking about the sect and were now looking at him. He stopped right next to Qi Qingqi and quietly tugged her sleeve and lifted it a bit to take a peek.

"Qi Shimei, how sly!" Yue Qingyuan suddenly exclaimed.

When Shen Yuan saw the smirk in Qi Qingqi's face he finally realized he had actually been foolishly lured by a toy, like a real child. How embarrassing! Ah, but I'm supposed to be a child anyway, so it doesn't matter , Shen Yuan decided. "Shigu, can I have a look?"

Qi Qingqi grinned as she revealed the bunny plushie she had hidden. "Feigning innocence when you're hiding sweets behind you as well, Zhangmen Shixiong?"

Yue Qingyuan acted like he was wronged. Still he pulled out the assortment of sweet pastries he had been hiding behind his back. "I just wanted to share them with Yuan Shizhi. Nothing wrong with that." Whatever trinkets he brought over before, none seemed to impress Shen Yuan as much as foreign snacks. He remembered the last time he brought over cocoa that just came from a foreign ship, Shen Yuan’s eyes were so bright and happy that he regretted not buying the entire box.

Snacks? Shen Yuan's head now turned to look at Yue Qingyuan. As the Sect Leader, Yue Qingyuan would sometimes meet up with government officials or even royals, who would present him with rare gifts - usually foreign items that recently came in from the traders’ ships. Shen Yuan could tell Airplane Shooting Towards the Sky probably learned history from a PE teacher, because most of the historical details weren't really accurate. He’d forgive the author on that though, because thanks to the historical inaccuracy Yue Qingyuan sometimes brought back rare items like chocolates or caramel candies, which no way had been invented (at least not in the modern form that he knew) or would have reached the land in their current era.

Qi Qingqi clicked her tongue. Luring a child with rare candies, she did not expect the Sect Leader to employ such tactics. She had to however restrain her laughter a little when she saw how Shen Qingqiu’s eyes also fell on the plate. Even the mother was getting baited, tsk. She lifted her bunny and talked to Shen Yuan through the bunny, trying her best to sound like a cutesy child. "Yuan Yuan, do you want to play with me?"

"Uh, he's going to have a nightmare tonight," Shang Qinghua next to Qi Qingqi carelessly commented, earning him a menacing glare.

Shen Qingqiu sighed. "If all of you like children so much, why don't you just have your own children?"

"I don't like men and alpha," said Qi Qingqi.

"I don't like poop," said Shang Qinghua.

"I'm drunk," said Zui Xian Peak Lord.

"I'm too busy," said Wei Qingwei.

"I'm a monk," said Ku Xing Peak Lord.

"Stop trying to gain a toddler's favour, it's pathetic. A Yuan is such an easy kid to please, it's not like he won't play with any of you if you ask," Liu Qingge said.

"Well, he won't," Qi Qingqi complained. "One hour in Xian Shu Peak and he always asks for Shen Shixiong back."

How could Shen Yuan not want to go home when he was surrounded by cougar-like women who treated him like a dress up doll? The last time he let the sisters did as they please, he had changed into perhaps forty sets of outfits!

"He doesn't like staying in other peaks, I think. He hates mine too," Mu Qingfang added.

Mu Qingfang's peak was literally the hospital or medical school of Cang Qiong Mountain and Shen Yuan had enough of smelling medicinal herbs and nasty potions. 

"Bai Zhan Peak disciples are too rowdy and Wan Jian Peak has sharp blades everywhere, not to mention the loud noises of blacksmithing. Qiong Ding Peak has all our important documents and the hall... in short, he really can't stay anywhere other than Qing Jing Peak for so long," Shang Qinghua concluded.

"But surely Yuan Shizhi would want to spend some time elsewhere, occasionally, right?" Yue Qingyuan tried to bait him. Even though Shen Qingqiu had finally warmed up to him, after that last Immortal Alliance Conference he had not been in a good mood and Yue Qingyuan himself was swamped with work, he never could get to clearing his room or his schedule to play with A Yuan.

To be frank, Shen Yuan really did want to spend time somewhere else. The problem was that Shen Qingqiu was overly protective of him. Ever since he was born he had never once gone outside the mountain. In fact, he had not even been to all twelve peaks. Shen Yuan wanted to explore the world, to see all the magical beasts and plants that Airplane Shooting Towards the Sky had written about in the novel. Despite the horrendous storyline and plot holes, Airplane in fact did a nice job in creating and describing various magical beasts as well as plants - albeit half of them were used for the sake of the wife plot device.

Shen Yuan suddenly had an idea. "Grandma!" He exclaimed.

Shen Qingqiu blinked. Shen Yuan quickly returned to his parents' side and climbed onto Liu Qingge's lap. "I want to see grandma!"

 


 

It would be the first time in roughly a decade since Liu Qingge was coming to his family home. It was always his parents who came to visit at the sect. Oh well, if not because of marriage he barely even stayed at his own peak, so Shen Yuan could understand why he wasn’t the type to visit home either. What was a decade to a cultivator anyway? The novel never specified the age of the Peak Lords, other than the fact that they were fairly new when Luo Binghe entered. That would make sense, since the current Head Disciple of Qing Jing Peak was Ming Fan and he was only several years older than Luo Binghe. 

Both Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge had achieved a cultivation level high enough to maintain their youth and they had been looking like youths in early twenties ever since Shen Yuan could remember, even though they were definitely older than they appeared to be. Perhaps not too old, since Liu Mingyan was a late teen, but then again Master and Madam Liu were also both cultivators not restricted by age. They were not as youthful-looking as their son though, perhaps either their cultivation was not as advanced or they just chose to appear older - perhaps to look more formidable or just their own preference.

Ming Fan got a carriage ready for them - it may take more time but it was a lot safer and more convenient for a family with a small child to travel. Shen Qingqiu loaded some baby necessities as well as presents for the Liu matriarch in the carriage, along with more important things in his qiankun pouch. Liu Mingyan tearfully waved her hand as she wished for their safe journey, promising to stop by after her mission.

Liu Qingge drove the carriage - as he was the only person who supposedly knew the direction, despite being directionally challenged. Shen Qingqiu peeked through the window and teased, "I've seen so many forgetful people, but very few forget their own way back home."

Liu Qingge's ears turned red for a second before he replied, "My home is with you and A Yuan."

Shen Yuan busied himself with the bunny plushie gifted by Qi Qingqi so that he wouldn't have to look at Shen Qingqiu's flustered face. He was too young...nope, too old for this. Watching the lovey-dovey couple scattering dog food all the time did nothing to soothe his painful single heart, his poor soul who died a virgin. Thankfully Shen Qingqiu had started playing the flute during their travel and reading stories to Shen Yuan to pass time.

An hour and a half passed before both parent and child realized their carriage had been ascending a mountainous area. The temperature had dropped and it had suddenly gotten dark, signaling that they had also entered a forest. That was when Shen Yuan knew for sure that Liu Qingge must have gotten them lost because he was sure the Liu Family did not live anywhere near the mountains.

"Qingge, are you sure we're on the right path?" Shen Qingqiu asked, lifting the shutter.

Liu Qingge frowned. "I'm sure this is the shortcut."

"Shortcut?! Liu Qingge, Mingyan already said the Liu family house is only four hours away, if this was a shortcut shouldn't we have already reached the city?"

"Well, I can see signs of a horse trail in front, so this road definitely leads to somewhere," Liu Qingge argued.

They stopped the carriage. Shen Qingqiu headed outside to take a look at the map. Shen Yuan sneakily went out just to take a look.

His eyes widened with amazement.

The trees! The rocks! The butterflies! Finally!

They seemed to have reached Bailu Mountain, near the jurisdiction of Huan Hua Palace - hence, Liu Qingge definitely did get them lost. However, Shen Yuan was glad, for the mountain was supposedly full of plenty of magical creatures and rare plants. Just stepping outside, he could already see from afar the oddly arranged rocks, which were actually purposely placed as part of the protective arrays by Huan Hua Palace. Looking to his left, he could see the Six Leaf Clover and looking to his right, there were Gold-Winged Butterflies fluttering.

Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge were still fighting over the directions. Shen Yuan decided that he could explore the surroundings, just a bit, while waiting for them to finish arguing. He walked farther, following the Gold-Winged Butterflies. According to the novel, the protagonist who was  fascinated by the beautiful winged creature had followed it, only to come across a fairy who granted him a chest full of treasures (and a new wife of course, not to mention the fairy herself also fell for Luo Binghe’s charms). Perhaps if Shen Yuan was lucky he could also see the astoundingly beautiful fairy.

He continued to walk and saw a large boulder, with what appeared to be shiny looking scales on it. He blinked. Was there ever anything like this in the novel? He slowly approached it. It was silent, with no noise or smell so it probably wasn’t anything dangerous. Shen Yuan climbed up the boulder to examine it closer.

Hmm. There was something soft but also sticky underneath the piles of dried leaves. Shen Yuan patted the dried leaves away.

A pale face stared back at him.

"..."

The ground rumbled a little and the boulder suddenly moved, carrying him away.

"Aahhhhh!!!!" Shen Yuan screamed.

"A Yuan!" "A Yuan!" The two Peak Lords finally realized their son had been carried away by some weird creature and unsheathed their swords, chasing after him.

"Mamaaaa!!! Papaaaa!!!!"

The poor serpent that was buried underneath the pile of leaves earlier meanwhile was confused as to why the human child kept holding on to him even when he was trying to get away. The serpent moved even faster but the child only clung to him tighter. 

Seeing that he was being chased by two cultivators emitting murderous intent, Zhuzhi Lang slithered away as fast as he could.

 


 

Shang Qinghua finally found the grotto where Lushui Lake was located. It took a lot of time to go through the whole library as well as his own poor memory to look for the location of the Sun and Moon Dew Flower seeds. It did not help that Mobei Jun had been lounging in his bed for days, leaving his smell there instead of dealing with his rut properly like every alpha should. Shang Qinghua was halfway tempted to offer himself to his King - curse his nose that could smell the rut and give him the hots for the demon - but decided to curb his own desire in favour of preserving his own life. Since Mobei Jun preferred to roll himself in Shang Qinghua’s bed sheets and grunting alone instead of finding a nice beautiful demon to papapa with, he probably chose to be celibate. If so, it would be stupid for Shang Qinghua to offer himself, lest he wanted to also offer his head. 

It took him even longer to reach this place on his own. If only he had the same weirdly strong memory like one of his black powder fans, Peerless Cucumber, maybe he could have saved half the time needed to search for the seeds. Of all his fans and anti-fans, Peerless Cucumber Bro was truly legendary. He paid VIP access to Shang Qinghua’s novel, only to leave a thesis-worthy comment every time, with a detailed explanation of why this part was not good and that part was so terrible. Shang Qinghua didn’t know if Peerless Cucumber Bro was just a dude with a really good memory or an obsessed fan who jotted down every single detail but if only Cucumber Bro was here with him, surely his life would be more smooth-sailing. Nope, instead the unnecessary addition came in the form of Shen Yuan, a baby that was never supposed to exist - the reason why Shang Qinghua was here, trying to save his ass after being forced to kinda take over Shen Qingqiu’s role instead.

Halfway in, Shang Qinghua heard weird noises coming in from inside the grotto. It sounded like a child's voice.

“....” Fuck, whenever there was a child’s voice in a haunted place it was never a good sign. There’s not going to be T*shio suddenly crawling out, right? He gulped. Get your shit together, Shang Qinghua! He told himself.

He took a step closer, one by one. Shang Qinghua would very much like to just leave and go home to the comfort of his own bed, but thinking about the protagonist coming to mutilate his body gave him somewhat the courage. Surely T*shio won’t be half as scary as a blackened Bing-Ge. Maybe it won’t even be T*shio, maybe it’d be just a weakass little goblin that Shang Qinghua could stomp. He might be the weakest among his martial brothers but he was still a Peak Lord, okay!

Although Shang Qinghua had braced himself for thousands of other possibilities, he certainly did not expect to see the beloved child of Cang Qiong Mountain, Shen Yuan, of all people, to be there, sitting alone near the lake.

Shen Yuan blinked, staring at Shang Qinghua wide-eyed. "Shang Shishu?"

"... What the fuck," Shang Qinghua couldn't help cursing. He slapped himself for repeating his previous mistake - Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge’s wrath was just as scary as the blackened protagonist. "Yuan Shizhi? What are you doing here?!"

Shen Yuan pointed at the creature that was poking his head out from inside the lake. "It brought me here."

"... How?!" Shang Qinghua was almost rendered speechless. Shen Qingqiu wouldn't let a single bug near his child, let alone a demonic mutant snake that looked like it should be in Professor X*vier’s care! How the hell did this precious, spoiled, overprotected little toddler ended up here with a mutant demon snake?

"My mama, papa, and I were going to grandma's house. I think Papa got us lost," he answered. "I was climbing a rock when mama wasn't looking. Then the rock moved and brought me here. The snake must have been buried underneath the dirt."

Ah, right, Shang Qinghua finally remembered during the last meeting Shen Yuan had whined about wanting to see his grandparents. It always amazed Shang Qinghua how eloquent the child was, considering he was only three. It probably came with being a scholarly Peak Lord's child. At three all Shang Qinghua could do was go 'blah buh boop' like a snot-eating child he was. Still, no matter how smart, a normal child would have cried at the sight of the deformed half man half snake creature. This child was pretty calm - then again his parents were no less scarier than demons.

"What are you doing, Shang Shishu?" Shen Yuan asked.

"Oh...just looking for some ingredients," Shang Qinghua nervously said.

Shen Yuan's eyes darted up - coincidentally, they landed on the very same plants Shang Qinghua wanted.

Shang Qinghua tiptoed, trying to get the seeds but he couldn't reach them. Shen Yuan looked at him. "Do you want me to help you?"

Shang Qinghua blinked. "Can you?"

Shen Yuan nodded. "If you carry me, I'll pick the seeds for you."

Sweet! Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge would definitely murder him for making their child do the job but they weren't around, so Shang Qinghua happily picked up the child and lifted him towards where the seeds were. Shen Yuan plucked several pods, leaving a few there.

Shang Qinghua put him down again and grinned. "Now, be good and give them to your Shishu…" 

"No."

Shang Qinghua choked. "Why?!"

"Tell me what these are and what you're planning to do with them," Shen Yuan said.

Shang Qinghua almost gawked. "Uh...they're just some normal medicinal herbs!"

"Then why are you here alone, instead of sending some disciples or coming with someone else?"

Shang Qinghua choked again. Is this really a three year old kid?! Has Shen Qingqiu's intelligence and cunningness been rubbing off on him too much? "Yuan Shizhi, your Shishu really need them. Give them to me, please?"

At the same time the snakeman slithered closer towards them. Shen Yuan's eyelids fluttered and he took a step closer to a place where the sunlight shone. "Looks like even the snake demon wants the seed and is even feeding from the dew of the flower that dropped into the lake. This must be a special seed."

"You're right, it's for cultivation, so give them to me, okay?" Shang Qinghua asked again.

"I'll give them after I show them to my mama. My mama will know when he sees them."

Shang Qinghua paled. Shit. What was he supposed to do? "Yuan Shizhi... please. I will pay you ah, I'll buy you all the sweets and toys that you want, okay? Just give the seeds to me and don't tell your mama or papa about this."

"... I think not."

Shang Qinghua wondered if it would be disgraceful for him to kneel in front of a toddler. How could he, a cultivator of mid core formation stage, get bullied by a toddler? This child must have inherited Shen Qingqiu's sadistic tendencies. It would be a disaster if this child grew up to be an alpha like his father - he would have the brains and the power to decimate Shang Qinghua. He was already taking after his mother’s terrible personality so much. Even as a toddler, he was giving Shang Qinghua a hard time!

The child then suddenly laughed. "Shang Shishu, are you an idiot?"

Shang Qinghua froze. This brat… did this three-year-old just call him, a man several decades older, an idiot?

"I'm a weak little child and my parents just saw me taken away by a serpent-like demon. Nobody would suspect it if you just kill me and throw my body into the lake. You could have blamed it on the demon. You could have also threatened to hurt me. Why are you begging me like this?"

"... Shizhi, your Shishu is not an evil man, okay? How can I do that to my Shizhi, or any child?" Shang Qinghua lamented. He might not be the purest, sin-free man alive but there was still a line he would not cross.

There was a slight hint of doubt in Shen Yuan's eyes. Nevertheless he gave half the seeds to Shang Qinghua.

"Shizhi, what about the other half…?" Shang Qinghua slowly asked.

Shen Yuan placed them on the ground in front of the serpent-like demon. "I'm giving them to this guy."

Shang Qinghua was surprised for the umpteenth time again. "Why?!"

"He must have wanted these seeds too but couldn't get near because of the sunlight. I've noticed that he keeps avoiding sunlight," Shen Yuan said.

"He's a demon, you know," Shang Qinghua said. "You don't mind?"

Shang Qinghua swore he saw a slight amusement in the child's eyes. "He wasn't mean to me. We were here for a good incense stick worth of time but he didn't try to eat me. Demons aren't necessarily evil, are they?"

Shang Qinghua fell silent. He was absolutely stunned. Was this really a child? Should he bring this child near Hong Jing Sword next time to get checked for possession? There was no way a child could be this smart.

"Let's leave and look for my mama and papa," said Shen Yuan.

Shang Qinghua nodded. Since Shen Yuan’s steps were tiny and slow, he carried the little boy in his arms, heading outside.

"You're too well-spoken for a three-year-old, you know. What has Shen Shixiong been teaching you?" Shang Qinghua sighed.

"My mama is very smart," Shen Yuan chirped happily.

By smart, do you mean devious? Because that’s what you are, you little brat. "Smart is an understatement here," Shang Qinghua uttered. "I can't believe I'm talking to a three-year-old. What did he feed you, D*raemon’s memory bread?"

Shen Yuan blinked. "Huh?"

Shang Qinghua lightly pinched his cheeks. "Just saying you're too fluent for your own good. Nothing wrong with staying like a child a bit longer, Yuan Shizhi."

"..."

"Now let's get our story right, shall we? I don't want to get skinned alive by your parents. Let's just say I found you here in the middle of the forest while looking for stuff, shall we?"

"You're suspicious. Why are you hiding things from my mama and papa?"

Shang Qinghua laughed nervously. "Ah, you'll learn when you're an adult, Yuan Shizhi!"

"... Hm."

Shang Qinghua sighed. "I just want to live...is that too much to ask ah… FML."

"..." Shen Yuan frowned. He looked at Shang Qinghua strangely. "What did you say?"

Shang Qinghua laughed nervously. "Ah, nothing, Yuan Shizhi."

Shen Yuan did not question him further. Instead, he started humming a song.

Shang Qinghua froze as he recognized the song.

He was humming to the song 'Despacito'. 

How could anyone know that song?

Shang Qinghua looked at him, his eyes were about to pop out from the shock. "Yuan Shizhi, you…”

Before he could say anything further, they had nearly reached the end of the grotto and heard voices calling for Shen Yuan's name.

"Mama! Papa!" Shen Yuan happily called.

Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge were surprised to see Shang Qinghua, but they were more relieved to see their son safe. Shang Qinghua put Shen Yuan back and the toddler happily ran to his mother’s arms. Shen Qingqiu immediately hugged his son tight. "Are you okay?"

Shen Yuan nodded. "Shang Shishu found me."

Liu Qingge asked, "What were you doing here?"

"Oh, I was just looking for some rare items when I heard a child's voice," Shang Qinghua answered. "He was left alone in the grotto, but he's fine."

"The demon?" Shen Qingqiu asked, still checking his son for injury anyway.

"It was a big earthworm, it got scared when I touched it and ran away," Shen Yuan said and Shang Qinghua was amazed by how this child could easily lie through his teeth.

Liu Qingge nodded. "We owe you, Shang Qinghua."

If you owe me, have some respect and call me Shixiong, Shang Qinghua gloomily thought. Well, Liu Qingge and Shen Qingqiu held quite a grudge on him for teaching their child a swear word before so he supposed having them look at him neutrally was already being in their good book.

Anyway, that wasn't important. The more important thing here was... how the hell did a little boy in this world know about something like a song that only existed in Shang Qinghua's world?

Could he also be from his world?

If so... what rotten luck he had, to have this devilish little child as a possible comrade instead of someone useful like Peerless Cucumber Bro, Shang Qinghua sighed.

Chapter Text

They parted ways with Shang Qinghua, returning to the carriage. This time Shen Qingqiu chose to drive the carriage, no longer trusting Liu Qingge and his terrible sense of direction. Shen Yuan sat inside with his father for the rest of the trip. Liu Qingge was a horrible story-teller but at least he was not the type to nag, so Shen Yuan was let off with a short warning to never wander around without his parents anymore.

As expected from the capable Qing Jing Peak Lord, he was able to figure out the way and they reached the Liu Family residence within two hours. Master and Madam Liu were already waiting at the gate. Some of Liu Qingge’s uncles, aunts, and cousins were also there, as they were all excited to not only see the two esteemed Peak Lords of Cang Qiong Mountain but most importantly, the adorable little baby. Ever since their grandson was born, Master and Madam Liu would not stop boasting about their grandbaby, who was according to them the brightest, the prettiest, and the loveliest little one ever.

“Finally, we’ve been waiting!” Master Liu exclaimed as soon as the family of three got down from the carriage.

Liu Qingge bowed respectfully. “It’s been a while, father, mother-”

“Where is A Yuan?”

“...” Liu Qingge’s greeting was cut off short by his father who impatiently took Shen Yuan from his arms and began cooing at the toddler.

Madam Liu went to Shen Qingqiu immediately. “You must be tired from the journey, Qingqiu. Come in and have some tea,” she offered, then glared at her son. “You are the alpha, Qingge, how could you let your omega spouse drive the carriage? And you claim to be the warrior peak lord? Tskk, I’m ashamed to call you my son!”

“...” Barely a minute passed and he was already scolded by his own parents. Liu Qingge lamented and unloaded the luggage.

“Husband drove the first half, but had some trouble with the directions. Mother-in-law, we brought some gifts for the family,” said Shen Qingqiu.

“Hmph, only Qingqiu has the sense. Next time, you don't have to drive the carriage, ah, leave that to Qingge and make him useful. Oh, how is my grandbaby doing?” Madam Liu switched her attention to Shen Yuan.

“...” Liu Qingge felt so wronged, Shen Qingqiu definitely said that knowing he would get chewed up by his mother again! However, he would forgive him, since he had called Liu Qingge ‘husband’ just now.

While Liu Qingge unloaded the boxes of gifts and Shen Qingqiu was talking to Madam Liu, Master Liu was already dancing around with Shen Yuan in his arms. He lifted him up in the air and swung him gently, overjoyed each time the toddler fake giggled. 

They went to the courtyard for some refreshments after Madam Liu told her husband off for not letting the child get some snacks. Master Liu still stubbornly refused to let go of Shen Yuan and made him sit on his lap. Eventually half an hour passed and Shen Yuan was starting to feel uncomfortable. His older paternal relatives had also began gathering around, all excitedly pinching his cheeks and giggling and touching him.

"A Yuan, look at Grandpa! Look at Grandpa!"

"Grandpa," Shen Yuan repeated, pretending to be enthusiastic.

"Oh, my cute, adorable, precious little grandbaby!" He exclaimed, literally making the (≧▽≦) face.

“...” Really, how could one be this excited? Shen Yuan did not dislike babies but he was never this jovial with his cousins’ babies. Master Liu was a hardened warrior but now he had been reduced to just a silly, over-excited grandfather.

Shen Qingqiu let the elder coddle his child while Liu Qingge was talking to his cousins. Earlier he was proudly updating them about how much Shen Yuan had grown. Shen Qingqiu knew sooner or later they would begin fighting again. Or sparring - it didn’t matter when both involved his husband beating up people to pulps again.The thirst for battle ran in the family, apparently.

He drank some more tea and smiling politely at his mother-in-law, said, “The teacakes are very delicious. Where do they come from?”

When he saw the glint in his mother-in-law’s eyes, he realized he had just made a careless remark. “I’m glad you ask, Qingqiu. It is a family recipe passed down for generations. As Qingge’s mate, it would be nice for you to also learn it.”

“... I see. It must be quite difficult to make?” Shen Qingqiu said.

“My two children are unfortunately not gifted in cooking, but someone full of talent like you should be able to make it! Come and follow me to the kitchen, I’ll show you!”

“...” Reluctantly he left for the kitchen, following the strong-headed Madam Liu.

Meanwhile, Shen Yuan was still being bombarded with Liu Qingge’s relatives trying to get his attention. One by one they kept showing toys and snacks, all to gain his favour. Eventually Shen Yuan lost his patience and decided to resort to his favourite tactic.

"Mamaaa~!" He cried as loud and pitifully as possible.

As expected Master Liu panicked. He angrily shooed away all the younger relatives. "Scram, A Yuan is crying because of all of you!"

"Ah?! You're the one hogging him since the beginning!"

"We want to play with A Yuan too!"

"We ran all the way from the other side of the town when we heard A Yuan was coming!"

"All of you are so loud!" Madam Liu emerged back from the kitchen and casually took Shen Yuan away from her husband, burying his face in her ample chest. Ah, the perks of being Airplane Shooting Towards the Sky’s female character - whether you were destined to be in Luo Binghe’s harem or not, if you were a beautiful female character, you would always have fair and supple skin, silky smooth hair and big bouncy bosom. "It's not often that Qingge and Qingqiu can come yet you're making this ruckus."

Good job, Grandma! Though….can you stop stuffing my face between your boobs? It's suffocating. Airplane, why is it that even Liu Qingge's mother has to be a voluptuous woman, huh? You can't have a single normal-looking person in your book?

Master Liu whimpered a little as his grandson was taken away from him. 

At the dinner table, Shen Yuan clung tightly to Shen Qingqiu like a baby koala to prevent his poor self getting passed around from one relative to another.

“So clingy to your mama, aren’t you, you little one?” Madam Liu teased.

Shen Yuan withstood the teasing and humiliation for the sake of his own sanity. There were twenty to thirty people here, he would rather look like a clingy little child than having to withstand all thirty people trying to ‘baby talk’ to him.

Luckily the extended relatives all had to say their goodbyes after dinner, albeit some of them promised to visit again. Madam Liu had gotten Liu Qingge’s old bedroom cleaned up and fitted with new beddings again for her son and his spouse to stay for the following few days.

While getting ready for bed, Shen Yuan found that the crib that Madam Liu prepared had been put aside. He blinked. "Mama, where is my bed?"

Shen Qingqiu patted the space between himself and Liu Qingge on the large bed. "Here. You're sleeping with us, A Yuan."

"..." Why?!

"You wandered outside for just five minutes and was taken away by a demon. This is not Cang Qiong Mountain, the security is not as strong, so you'll be sleeping with us, okay?" Liu Qingge said and tucked their son in.

"..." How paranoid can you be?! The crib is still in the same room! Moreover, do I have to sleep in between these two lovebirds for the next three days we're spending here?!

Liu Qingge casually pecked his mate's lips, then kissed their son goodnight before blowing the candle. Shen Yuan, an adult man in a baby's body, was stuck between the two older adults.

Yup. Proud Immortal Demon Way is now a slice of life anime.

 


 

The following day, for the first time ever Shen Yuan was finally able to explore the town. Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge were no longer wearing their Peak Lord outfits but had switched to normal robes. They still did not hide their regal aura, especially with their good looks. Men and women alike were swooning at them as they walked along the street.

Only the presence of the toddler in Shen Qingqiu's arms and Liu Qingge's arm wrapped around his mate's shoulders deterred people from talking to them, as it was an obvious sign that the two were a couple on an outing with their beloved child.

After three years of living in Qing Jing Peak without ever going to see the outside world, Shen Yuan was too excited by everything, he asked to stop by almost every stall. Shen Qingqiu allowed him to have a taste of some snacks while Liu Qingge bought whatever trinkets that caught his son's eyes.

They visited the house of Liu Qingge's uncle, who was also an esteemed cultivator of his own. Fourth Uncle Liu had a lot of rare books collections so while Shen Qingqiu was immersed in the library, his sons and daughter all doted on the little toddler.

"Da Ge, can we bring A Yuan out to play?" Uncle Four's son asked.

"Not too far and not too long," Liu Qingge warned.

The three young teens cheerfully took turns carrying Shen Yuan on their backs. They showed him around the large house and brought him to the backyard to play.

"What should we play with A Yuan? Hide and seek?"

"A Yuan is too young for that, how about fishing?"

"We can't go too far. Hide and seek should be fine, let's go and play only in this area, that way A Yuan won't get lost."

You foolish youngsters look down on me too much, Shen Yuan thought. At the eldest cousin's suggestion, they agreed to play hide and seek in Uncle Four's backyard. Uncle Four's house was just as big as the main manor, so there wasn't really a problem with finding good hiding spots. At first the teens decided to let Shen Yuan be the seeker and purposely chose easier places to be spotted.

Needless to say, they were surprised when the toddler was able to find them in less than five minutes. Little did the teens know, an average three-year-old might not notice but an adult in a toddler's body would be able to see and deduce their locations from the footprints left on the ground.

The second round, second cousin became the seeker. Shen Yuan hurriedly looked for a good hiding spot, refusing the eldest cousin's offer to hide with him. Excuse him, because mentally he was the oldest here.

He snuck into Uncle Four's storage, hiding behind large sacks of rice. He waited.

And waited.

Just what the hell was taking those kids so long?! It took him less than five minutes - why couldn't a teenager find him? Just because he erased his own footprints? Tsk, these kids need more lessons ah. Who would hide outdoors in this season, there's only one building here unlocked, use your brains!

That was when he noticed a large stack of sugarcane also arranged neatly behind. Feeling bored, Shen Yuan picked up one broken piece of sugar cane and began gnawing on it, sucking the sweet juice.

Hm. Tastes weird but I haven't eaten one for a long time either. Or maybe this is a different type?

Wait, no. That wasn't it. It tastes...wrong.

He dropped the sugar cane piece and collapsed. Oh no. This sensation.

It had been three years that he had almost forgotten it. The taste of mold, the taste of something spoiled.

The last thing he felt before he died.

Shen Yuan heard the door being opened. Oldest cousin rushed in upon seeing him on the ground. "A Yuan!"

He felt his body being lifted and brought back indoor. His vision was blurry but he could somehow see Liu Qingge lunging towards him and heard Shen Qingqiu's shouts.

Shen Qingqiu placed a palm against his chest and Shen Yuan felt a strange energy trying to force something inside him out. He abruptly hurled, vomiting the whole content of his stomach. He blacked out for a moment.

He woke up again to something being spooned into his mouth. He could smell his mother's scent.

"Shh… it's okay, A Yuan. You're alright now."

Oh. I'm still alive. I didn't die again.

How foolish of me, to nearly send myself to death, for the same thing that killed me in the past. Damn spoiled food.

I'm alive now, thanks to Shen Qingqiu saving me. I'm alive, because Shen Qingqiu is my mother.

What if he weren't here?

Shen Qingqiu flinched slightly when Shen Yuan suddenly burst out crying. He hugged his child tight. "Shh, it's alright, A Yuan. Does it hurt?"

"Uhh..." Shen Yuan sobbed - not because it hurt, but because he could feel the genuine warmth and concern. He unconsciously clutched to Shen Qingqiu more tightly.

Fourth Uncle came in bringing more medicine. "Here, give this to A Yuan and it should soothe his stomach."

Shen Qingqiu nodded. "Thank you, Fourth Uncle. Your medicine is really helping save A Yuan."

"Aiya, don't mention it. I feel guilty that your child is in this predicament while in my house," Fourth Uncle said. "I'll get the children to apologize."

"The children aren't at fault. What was the cause?" Liu Qingge asked.

"Some of the sugar canes in the shed were stored for too long, they have grown molds. That type of molds contain high level of toxins. I'll be sure to throw out all the moldy ones right after this!" Fourth Uncle promised.

"A Yuan probably didn't notice it since the storage room is quite dark. We should have taught him better as well," Liu Qingge said.

"He's a small child, how could he have known?" Fourth Uncle sighed.

"Still, because of Fourth Uncle's vast knowledge, we were able to save him on time. Thank you, Uncle," Shen Qingqiu thanked him.

"No need ah. In fact, if the books are useful, you can copy any of them and bring them back to Cang Qiong Mountain. Consider it a way for me to apologize," Fourth Uncle offered.

Liu Qingge insisted the teens weren't to be blamed but the three teens themselves were crying, dripping snots and tears as they apologized in front of him, so he had no choice but to let Fourth Uncle reprimand them as a way for them to stop feeling guilty. Fourth Uncle punished them by making them copy the books for Shen Qingqiu.

The three-days stay at the Lius’ residence was almost extended, if not because Shen Yuan returned to his normal vigour by the third day and wanted to return to Cang Qiong Mountain. Throughout the whole way back he clung to Shen Qingqiu and stayed on his lap.

"Mama," he said.

"Mm?"

He buried his face in Shen Qingqiu's chest. "I'm so happy you're my mama."

Shen Qingqiu was stunned. Still, a smile curved on his face and he wrapped his arms tightly around Shen Yuan. "I'm so happy that A Yuan is my child too."

 


 

Whatever happened to Luo Binghe, Shen Yuan needed to know. Regardless of whatever happened in the book, Shen Qingqiu was his mother now and he had to protect his mother. Shen Qingqiu might not have been there when Luo Binghe went missing but there was no telling if Luo Binghe really did get kidnapped by Mobei Jun as a bride.

There was no telling if he still might have some resentment for Qing Jing Peak and Cang Qiong Mountain. He needed to figure out if the protagonist might come for them.

For that, he needed to see one person. 

"Mama, can I go play with Shang Shishu?" Shen Yuan asked.

Shen Qingqiu ruffled his son's hair. "Your Shishu is busy, A Yuan. Don't disturb him."

"Why not let him go? A Yuan really has taken a liking at him after he saved him," Liu Qingge suggested. "He probably won't be so careless anymore."

Shen Yuan needed to make sure that whatever he heard that day wasn't wrong. If it was possible that he wasn't the only one transmigrated into this weird world, then he wanted to connect with the other person from his world. Shang Qinghua might know why the world had deviated from its original path. He was also the other witness to Luo Binghe's fall into the Endless Abyss and most importantly - he was the traitor colluding with Mobei Jun. He would know the truth.

Surely, even a hermit should know a song as famous as 'Despacito', it was one of the most viewed songs on the internet and Shang Qinghua had not only uttered an internet slang but also made so many modern world references, so he thickened his face and hummed to the song. Shang Qinghua looked like he had reacted to it.

The only problem was that mama bear Shen Qingqiu wouldn't let him go anywhere without supervision (an understandable decision considering his age as well as the incidents that occured barely a couple days ago). 

"You can see your Shang Shishu next week, okay?" Shen Qingqiu promised. The following week would be the next Peak Lords meeting and Shang Qinghua, being in his position, was required to attend every meeting.

As promised, the following week, Shen Qingqiu brought his son along to Qiong Ding Peak for the meeting. Upon seeing Shang Qinghua, Shen Yuan immediately ran towards him and hugged his legs, causing the An Ding Peak Lord to squeak.

"Shang Shishu!!" He beamed.

The man cowered, as he felt the burning jealousy of nine other Peak Lords. The beloved baby of Cang Qiong Mountain had never once acted this excited to the point of hugging the thighs of anyone other than his own parents.

"Shishu, can I come play at your house?" Shen Yuan fluttered his eyelids cutely, while his tiny feet were discreetly stepping on Shang Qinghua's foot.

"... Of, of course," Shang Qinghua coughed. He was about to get murdered here, so he quickly returned Shen Yuan to the Qing Jing Peak Lord.

The meeting ended up being half a discussion of the running of the sect and half interrogation of the An Ding Peak Lord, asking him how he was able to get close to Shen Yuan. By the end of the meeting Shen Yuan stubbornly latched onto Shang Qinghua's thighs, earning the poor man yet again furious, envious glares from his martial siblings.

"We'll come and pick you up in half an hour, okay?" Shen Qingqiu said as he reluctantly let Shen Yuan follow Shang Qinghua to An Ding Peak.

Half an hour was too short of a time for children to play but more than enough for a second interrogation.

The moment the door of Shang Qinghua's personal quarter was closed, Shen Yuan shed off his baby mask. The sweet, innocent expression morphed into a scrutinizing glare akin to the Qing Jing Peak Lord.

Shang Qinghua shuddered. He already prepared himself for this confrontation...but as expected, he really wasn't ready after all!

"Airplane?" Shen Yuan hinted.

Shang Qinghua gasped. "You… you even know who I am?"

Shen Yuan went still. He was only mentioning the author's name to know if the person had read the novel, he didn't expect him to be the stinky author himself! "You're the shitty author, huh?"

Shang Qinghua choked. "You...how old are you to be talking to me like that, ah?"

"23 counting my time here, and do you know suffocating it is to be an adult in a baby's body?" Shen Yuan groaned. "Not to mention the sudden existence of ABO in this world."

"It wasn't my fault you were sent here! Also, I never wrote this book as an omegaverse!"

"Even without the omegaverse this book is trashy enough. Only you would put in 613 wives, with eighty percent smut content in a supposedly fantasy novel," Shen Yuan criticized. "Thanks to you even my grandma is a woman with big bouncy chest and unparalleled beauty, like every other women who would be jumping into Luo Binghe's cockpit."

Shang Qinghua gawked. His heart was pounding. He recognised that manner of speech, the long rant, the consistent complaint. "That way of speaking… don't tell me, you're Peerless Cucumber?"

Shen Yuan blinked. "I'm surprised you're aware and remember me."

Shang Qinghua almost wanted to laugh at his own fate. What a joke, his most passionate anti-fan was the bane of his existence. He felt so stupid thinking Peerless Cucumber Bro would be able to help him survive, it turned out Cucumber Bro was the reason why he lived everyday fearing the protagonist was coming for his life. "How can I not, you're my most passionate black powder fan. You keep criticising me but purchased early access to every chapter. I bet you have the merchandise too."

"Smut aside, the initial plot was not bad and the magical creatures and plants are fascinating," Shen Yuan admitted.

"Hah! So you do like my book," Shang Qinghua pointed his finger at him. He recalled something. "No wonder you refused to give me the Sun and Moon Dew Flower seeds."

Shen Yuan nodded. "I remember your character was a traitor. Of course I couldn't give something like that to a traitor. But you didn't try to kill me, so I took a bet that you might actually be a good guy."

"Bro, this world is no longer the same as my original novel," Shang Qinghua said. "The biggest proof being your existence."

"No shit, Sherlock. How the hell did Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge become like that?"

Shang Qinghua shrugged. "Nobody knows except Mu Qingfang and Yue Qingyuan. Somebody theorised that it was along the lines of a passionate, angry sex…"

"Never mind, don't tell me." He didn't need to hear about how he was created, he already had a glimpse of what might have happened, not to mention the existence of that RPF. "What about the protagonist now? What's going to happen to us? What about mama... Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge?"

"Shen Qingqiu had definitely started treating Luo Binghe differently ever since his pregnancy, I'm sure about that," Shang Qinghua reassured him. "So you don't have to worry about yourself and him, I think."

"What about the rumours of him kidnapped to be Mobei Jun's bride then? Is Mobei Jun really planning that?"

Shang Qinghua hesitated. "About that…"

Five minutes later, the An Ding Peak Lord was kowtowing to Shen Yuan, begging him to not leave their newfound alliance.

"I'm out. Figure yourself how to escape bro, because if Luo Binghe finds out you're the one who told Mobei Jun to drag him to the Endless Abyss, he is so going to come for your neck."

"Bro, please don't leave me bro! With the power of cuteness, you can save me… I mean, save the world!" 

What power of cuteness? Shen Yuan wanted out of this mess!

Chapter Text

“Alright, so spill it,” Shen Yuan said, sitting cross-legged in front of the An Ding Peak Lord after he managed to convince the toddler to stay a bit longer.

 

“Spill, what spill, I already told you what happened,” Shang Qinghua begrudgingly answered. “I wrote the novel, but this world is not my creation. Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge banging and giving birth was never in any of my drafts. In fact, thanks to your existence hindering Shen Qingqiu from attending the Immortal Alliance Conference, I had to be the one rescuing the plot ah!”

 

“What plot? Your plot is eighty percent for the purpose of inserting smut anyway, how is dragging Luo Binghe to the abyss and making everyone think he’s Mobei Jun’s bride saving the plot?!” Shen Yuan snapped. 

 

“The turning point of my novel is the protagonist’s blackening, of course it has to be done!” Shang Qinghua argued. “I didn’t say anything about a bride, it’s not my fault.”

 

“But… this whole world is… not the same anymore,” Shen Yuan uttered. “Shen Qingqiu is not a villain. He’s my mother. Liu Qingge is not a dead background character. He’s my father. They’re not enemies, they’re in love - so deeply in love, it makes me cringe. Everything has been different from the start.”

 

Shang Qinghua rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. “Well… not too different. I mean, it is different, but it’s not like Shen Qingqiu is hundred percent evil. He never hated Liu Qingge that much either, just… more like pissed off at him?”

 

Shen Yuan blinked. “What do you mean?”

 

Shang Qinghua scratched his neck. “Shen Qingqiu is originally a villain character I created with a complex personality. He’s not a pure-hearted, good person but he isn’t someone inherently evil. He even saved Liu Qingge’s life once, but Liu Qingge never knew that and thought Shen Qingqiu wanted to backstab him instead. You know Liu Qingge… he doesn’t hide it when he dislikes something. And Shen Qingqiu is just too tsundere to admit he was helping Liu Qingge.”

 

Shen Yuan dropped his jaw. Shen Qingqiu actually saved Liu Qingge’s life once? Hold on, how much more did he do, or not do, that Shen Yuan did not know? “Wait, none of that was ever in your book!”

 

“Umm… people wanted the smut anyway, not the background story of the villain,” Shang Qinghua said. Even Shang Qinghua himself wasn’t aware of it because the scene was never in his draft. He just witnessed it during a mission the three of them did as disciples.

 

In the first place, he never intended to make Proud Immortal Demon Way a stallion novel with more smut than adventures. He was just in need for more clicks and money, and more papapa brought him more clicks. It was how a novel originally written with so much foreshadowing and intricate plotlines turned into cheap porn with plot holes everywhere. A complicated villain who actually had the potential to be the protagonist’s ally turned into a one-dimensional bad guy, while supporting female characters were casted aside in favor of popping out new wives every damn arc. 

 

Shen Yuan wished he had a fan like Shen Qingqiu so he could whack the quack of an author on the head. He opted for the book on the table instead and hit Shang Qinghua repeatedly with it. “You might as well label the novel as porno! Why did I waste my time and money on that? Why didn’t you write your characters better? Now what should I do? Shen Qingqiu not being the one to push him didn’t erase the fact that he used to abuse Luo Binghe. He made Luo Binghe clean my poop, what do I do now?!”

 

“Oww, oww, have mercy bro!” Shang Qinghua yelped. “I needed to pay my bills, I did what I had to!”

 

“Doesn’t excuse your shitty writings!”

 

“You paid for them!”

 

“You’re damn right, I was stupid then, and we’re doomed now!”

 

“Chill bro, I already told you, you and your new family are going to be safe!” Shang Qinghua shrieked. “Shen Qingqiu - I think he already made Luo Binghe his cub back when you were still in his tummy! He’s technically Luo Binghe’s adoptive mom and the protagonist wouldn’t harm his own mom! Trust me!”

 

Shen Yuan narrowed his eyes and looked at Shang Qinghua. “Really?”

 

“Really, really! Otherwise think about it, would Shen Qingqiu let someone he hates be at his wedding, let alone babysit his precious son? You and your parents are safe, bro!” Shang Qinghua assured him.

 

“... What about ma… Shen Qingqiu’s other accusations?” Shen Yuan questioned.

 

Aside from the child abuse, Shen Qingqiu also had other terrible things he would soon have to answer for. Shen Yuan frowned as he tried to recall everything Shen Qingqiu had been accused of, like... killing Liu Qingge, which never happened and definitely never going to happen. The only people he was killing were people spectating their sweetness. If scattering dog food was a crime, then those two sure as hell should be charged daily.

 

His promiscuity and the alleged lecherous acts towards female disciples? That was likely a misunderstanding due to Shen Qingqiu’s preference of favouring female disciples. Shen Yuan was unsure why he acted like that in the original novel, but in this ABO world it made sense since Shen Qingqiu was an omega and the female disciples of Qing Jing Peak also happened to be omegas. Being close to his mother almost all the time, Shen Yuan was certain he had never seen Shen Qingqiu looking at his female disciples with leering eyes. Even with his own spouse, most of the intimate gestures were initiated by Liu Qingge.

 

Shen Yuan grabbed Shang Qinghua by the collar. His baby fists did not really pack much power but his glare was menacing enough. “Alright, tell me everything about Shen Qingqiu that can possibly get him arrested. Does it have something to do with his past? Something related to Yue Qingyuan?” Whatever that could break the family he had now, he needed to prevent it.

 

Shang Qinghua pried his tiny baby fingers away and grabbed Shen Yuan’s shoulders instead. “If I tell you, you have to help me, bro. Only you can shield me from the blackened protagonist.”

 

“You want me to cover up for you and your crimes?” Shen Yuan angrily uttered and shoved him onto the ground.

 

“Come on, aren’t we fellow comrades here?” Shang Qinghua begged.

 

“Who is your comrade ah? Do you think I’ve forgotten you called me a lucky little bastard?”

 

“Have mercy, Shen dada! Remember Bing-ge wiped out the entire mountain because of one Shen Qingqiu? If you don’t cover up for me the whole mountain’s still going to be in danger!!” When begging failed, Shang Qinghua finally resorted to threats.

 

Unfortunately threats worked neither for the mother or child. Shen Yuan pounced onto Shang Qinghua and hit him with his baby punches. “Not if I decimate you first, you trash!”

 

“I was forced by the system, don’t blame me, bro!” Shang Qinghua wailed. “Stop hitting me!”

 

“Blame your stupid brain that made up the story! I ought to-”

 

The door suddenly swung open and the two transmigrators froze. Shen Qingqiu stared at the sight of his toddler stepping on Shang Qinghua’s back.

 

Shen Yuan immediately curved out the widest grin on his face. The hands that were originally pounding against Shang Qinghua’s back now grabbed his clothes. “Mama, I’m playing horsey horse with Shang Shishu!”

 

Shang Qinghua choked. This… this black-bellied, two-faced anti-fan! Bullying him behind the door and now pretending to be an innocent, cute little baby in front of his mother! Now that Shen Qingqiu stopped being a villain, are you taking over his role, huh? Because you’re certainly doing a good job, you evil cucumber!

 

Shen Qingqiu exhaled. “A Yuan, your Shishu may be like that but stop disrespecting him.”

 

Shen Shixiong, aren’t you also disrespecting me? Also, take back your little devil spawn here! Shang Qinghua lamented.

 

“Let’s go back, A Yuan,” said Shen Qingqiu.

 

Shen Yuan pouted. “I wanna play with Shang Shishu more!”

 

“Your Shishu has a lot of work to do. You can play with Ming Gege or Ning Jiejie at home,” said Shen Qingqiu.

 

Shang Qinghua let out a breath of relief as Shen Yuan tiptoed back to Shen Qingqiu. Shen Qingqiu picked up his son. Just when Shang Qinghua was about to thank him, the Qing Jing Peak Lord suddenly tossed several scrolls at him. Shang Qinghua blinked. “What are these?”

 

“The reports your An Ding Peak sent have so many spelling mistakes and the letters are barely readable. Redo them all,” said Shen Qingqiu before he left.

 

Shang Qinghua’s hands were shaking as he picked up the scrolls. These… these evil mother and son!

 


 

Shen Yuan did not get to go and see Shang Qinghua after that. Shang Qinghua was apparently busy running his own peak (and probably working for Mobei Jun too). Qing Jing Peak kept receiving guests every other day - usually either Yue Qingyuan or Qi Qingqi trying to reclaim the spot of the favourite uncle or aunt (which never existed, by the way). 

 

Shen Yuan originally wanted to question Shang Qinghua about Shen Qingqiu's past. However, at this rate he might never get his answer. He couldn't send Shang Qinghua a secret letter either, since everything he wrote would surely be checked by Shen Qingqiu or the disciple who would deliver it.

 

When Yue Qingyuan came to visit Shen Qingqiu as usual, Shen Yuan was reminded of the day Liu Qingge and Yue Qingyuan fought. He debated asking his mother directly. Surely it won't be weird to ask his own mother about his family and childhood, right? Though, what if Shen Qingqiu's past turned out to not be good? Would he want to reveal it? What if bringing it up only caused him pain?

 

"A Yuan, how are you doing?" Yue Qingyuan greeted him with a smile and joined him at his playmat.

 

Shen Yuan returned the smile with an innocent grin.

 

Yue Qingyuan brought him a custom-made rattle lined with gold and high quality jade that could probably feed an entire small village. Unfortunately Shen Yuan was no longer at the 'age' to be interested in rattles so he only gave it a glance and a brief shake before going back to the snacks.

 

"Your taste is impeccable as always, Zhangmen Shixiong, though you should have known better than to bring more toys like this, since the last time you brought a cartful of them," Shen Qingqiu sneered behind his fan. "It is unfortunate that no level of cultivation is able to preserve your brain. If it was there in the first place."

 

Yue Qingyuan looked like a kicked puppy. "Qingqiu…"

 

Poor Yue Qingyuan , thought Shen Yuan. He scooted over at Yue Qingyuan with the rattle in his grip. "Don't worry, Yue Shibo. A Yuan thinks it's beautiful, will be a good decoration."

 

Shen Qingqiu snorted. He muttered something under his breath but Shen Yuan could hear that it was something along the lines of 'his head is also just a decoration now.'

 

"..." Too harsh, Shen Mama! Even if most characters in this world have an IQ of a hummingbird, you still shouldn't say that!

 

"Is this the only reason for your visit, Zhangmen Shixiong?" Shen Qingqiu asked.

 

Yue Qingyuan wiped his invisible tears. "Ah, there is something I need your help with. Shang Shidi sent me some reports that need urgent attention, but some of them have been encoded. I'm not sure what he means and I can't ask him since he is out. Are you familiar with this, perhaps?"

 

Shen Qingqiu scowled as he took the scrolls. "It looks like just some gibberish. Are you sure it's not him doodling and sending the wrong report to you?"

 

Shen Yuan peeked at the paper and almost wanted to facepalm.

 

This stupid author, he wrote his research in some garbled mix of Chinese and English, and accidentally sent his notes instead of the report! Airplane-juju, how are you able to survive until now? Good thing you didn't accidentally send your diary, otherwise you'd have the whole mountain out for your blood once they discover your betrayal!

 

"But why would he write about Bailu Mountain and special seeds here, if it's just some gibberish?" Yue Qingyuan asked.

 

Shen Qingqiu hummed. "Well, we did encounter him at Bailu Mountain that day and he did say he was looking for some herbs."

 

It seemed like Shang Qinghua had written details about the seeds based on his vague memories. There were some details that were accurate and some that were wrong. Shen Yuan noticed that while Shang Qinghua had obviously figured out where to find the seeds, from the notes he still wasn't able to find the correct location to plant it.

 

Oh well. Time to make use of his baby persona. Shen Yuan grabbed the brush dipped with ink from the desk and began writing a letter. He could tell Shang Qinghua the right way to plant the seeds in exchange for information on Shen Qingqiu. His mother already taught him some very basic characters, he could just replace the ones he hadn't been taught yet with either English words or paintings. 

 

Shen Qingqiu noticed his son doodling on the paper and asked, "What are you doing, A Yuan?"

 

"Writing a letter to Shang Shishu!" Shen Yuan answered.

 

Shen Qingqiu peered at the content and saw a mix of some characters, doodles of a sun, a moon, and a flower, then some unidentifiable letters. He blinked as he realized something. "Are you imitating your Shishu's notes?"

 

"Shishu writes like this, I should do it like him too," Shen Yuan said.

 

Shen Qingqiu shook his head. "Do not copy your Shishu's notes, A Yuan. They are terrible and incomprehensible."

 

"But…"

 

"Discard that."

 

"..." Shen Yuan looked back at his letter. When else would he have the chance, if not now? Also, it would be a waste if Airplane planted the seeds obtained with difficulty wrong, right? 

 

When Shen Qingqiu saw the way his son's lips tremble, he had a foreboding feeling. Then Shen Yuan abruptly burst out in loud tears. Shen Qingqiu sighed.

 

"But I wanna write to Shang Shishu!!!" Shen Yuan wailed. "Mama won't let me play with him. I wanna write letters!"

 

"... Haven't I told you he's busy, A Yuan?" Shen Qingqiu reminded him.

 

Hell, are my tears not enough? What do I have to do to get you to agree? Shen Yuan despaired. Remembering the way his cousins' young children act, he braced himself and threw away his pride. He lied down on his back and began to kick around, imitating the way a normal young children throwing tantrums would. He continued wailing. "No, I wanna play, I wanna write letters!!!"

 

Hurry up and say yes! If you don't say yes, I'm going to have to jump into the Quiet Pond and hide myself forever!

 

"Qingqiu, why not just let him?" Yue Qingyuan said.

 

Yes, that's right Yue Qingyuan! Shen Yuan silently cheered.

 

However Shen Qingqiu wasn't known as the cold and aloof Peak Lord for nothing. He was strict and he would never allow tears to sway him to the point of letting his son learn what he deemed as bad behavior. A Yuan was the son he raised with full care, he refused to compromise for the sake of one Shang Qinghua, whom to him was still a bad influence. He glared at Yue Qingyuan. "No. I will not let my precious child be infected with his terrible writings and terrible language."

 

"..." Yue Qingyuan surrendered without a word.

 

Zhangmen Shibo, how can you lose an argument that fast ah? No wonder in the novel the protagonist got bullied by the villain so easily, you back away so quickly!

 

Shen Qingqiu picked up Shen Yuan and buried his face into his chest, rubbing his back gently. "I made you upset, A Yuan. However, it is for your own good. If you wish to write a letter, mama will teach you how to write a proper one, okay?"

 

"..." If his mama bear was saying this, what else could he do? Shen Yuan sulkily clutched onto Shen Qingqiu's robes as his mother rocked him and whispered more coaxing words.

 

Yue Qingyuan watched with a soft expression. Looking at Shen Qingqiu holding his child in a warm embrace brought back memories of him holding the younger man in a similar manner back when they were very young. That was decades ago but he could still remember it vividly. Shen Jiu had been a brash kid. Shen Qingqiu learned to put the cold immortal air on. Yue Qingyuan never thought he would one day see Xiao Jiu as a warm and gentle parent. He was not excessively spoiling his child yet he was always patient when dealing with him.

 

A Yuan is such a good child too, Yue Qingyuan thought with a smile. It was the first time he had seen the young boy throwing tantrums like that and he was so easily coaxed.

 

… He suddenly acted like this after interacting with Shang Qinghua. Yue Qingyuan quickly called for his inner zen to suppress a murderous intent from seeping out. "I apologize for my suggestion earlier, Qingqiu. You have been raising A Yuan all this while, you know better about teaching him than me."

 

"Zhangmen Shixiong, you're just too soft," Shen Qingqiu commented. "It's fine. Perhaps I'm the only one being unnecessarily strict with him. Liu Qingge wouldn't have cared too much about it."

 

"Liu Shidi doesn't place as much importance in literary education as you but he treasures A Yuan just as much as you do," Yue Qingyuan chuckled.

 

"I know that. Which is why I'm doing the part of educating him," Shen Qingqiu said.

 

Yue Qingyuan nodded. "You two make a good pair. I would've never guessed it back then."

 

Shen Qingqiu smirked. "I heard from Mu Shidi that you almost unsheathed your sword when you heard what he did, Zhangmen Shixiong."

 

Yue Qingyuan coughed. "I assumed it wasn't consensual at first. He brought you back unconscious after all."

 

"Well, it was quite rough."

 

Shen Yuan's ears perked up. Hm? Was he about to learn the secret of his birth now? The true story behind the 'angry sex'? What did Yue Qingyuan mean by he almost thought it was non-consensual? "Mama, what are you talking about?"

 

"Nothing you should know about, A Yuan," Shen Qingqiu said.

 

But he wanted to know! "Are you talking about Papa? How did you meet him? How did you marry?"

 

Shen Qingqiu lightly bopped the tip of Shen Yuan's nose with his finger. "Your papa proposed and I agreed. A Yuan probably doesn't remember it but we got married on the day you said your first word. It was very memorable."

 

He remembered, though of course normal babies shouldn't remember so he pretended to be surprised. Shen Yuan tilted his head to the right and blinked innocently. "Mama and papa married when A Yuan said first word?"

 

Shen Qingqiu must have realized he had misspoken - or rather blurted out the truth too early, but he maintained an indifferent expression. "We were mated before you were born. The wedding ceremony was just a formality. Your papa is the firstborn of a good family, your grandparents wanted a proper celebration."

 

Mated before he was born and not before he was conceived. Shen Yuan could already have a gist of it. Knowing Airplane and the added ABO mechanisms of this world, there might be some papapa or die situation involved. Anyway, no matter how curious there was no way he could get Shen Qingqiu to spill it so he decided to switch his direction. "What about mama?"

 

"What?"

 

Shen Yuan decided to risk it. "Papa has his own papa and mama. Where are mama's papa and mama?"

 

Shen Qingqiu's face darkened a little and Shen Yuan realized he made the wrong decision. However in a split second Shen Qingqiu quickly fixed his expression and caressed Shen Yuan's face. "Mama's parents have been gone for a long time. But that's okay, I have A Yuan, I have your papa, I have everyone I need."

 

He held Shen Yuan close to him again and Shen Yuan felt bad. He should have known. What kind of family wouldn't want to claim an esteemed Peak Lord, married to a fellow Peak Lord who was also the first son of the rich and prestigious Liu Family? Shen Qingqiu had no family to begin with. He was either abandoned or orphaned.

 

What about Yue Qingyuan then? He had witnessed many hints of a shared past between Shen Qingqiu and Yue Qingyuan. In the novel, the Sect Leader even died trying to retrieve Shen Qingqiu. He let Shen Qingqiu do as he pleased and favored him, even letting him away with the abuse. However, both Yue Qingyuan and Shen Qingqiu did not seem to have the slightest desire to talk about their past. Yue Qingyuan excused himself first, completely forgetting about the notes from Shang Qinghua that he brought over. Shen Qingqiu cleaned up the mess and brought over a new piece of paper.

 

He placed Shen Yuan on his lap and helped him hold the brush steadily. "Remember, the strokes should not be too harsh, so you must not dip too much. Do not press against the paper, and do not drag the brush, let it touch the surface lightly," he said and guided his hand patiently.

 

Shen Yuan nodded and was amazed by how beautiful the letter formed. Even back in high school his calligraphy was never this good. Then again, a scholarly immortal master was guiding his hand now, so…

 

"What would you like to write?" Shen Qingqiu asked.

 

Shen Yuan pondered for a moment. He could no longer explicitly explain about how to plant the seeds, and how he wanted to exchange information. An idea suddenly popped in his head. "A Yuan wants to write a story. With pictures," he said.

 

Shen Qingqiu chuckled. "Alright. What is the story?"

 

"Once upon a time, there is an immortal master. The immortal master wants to plant a magic tree to increase his cultivation, but he planted wrong and a zombie comes out!" Shen Yuan chirped.

 

"..." Must be the disciples reading weird stories to his son, Shen Qingqiu decided, but helped his child to write it anyway.

 

"The immortal master prayed to a great god, the god of cucumbers," Shen Yuan continued.

 

Shen Qingqiu paused. "Why cucumbers?"

 

"Cucumbers are good."

 

Shen Qingqiu chuckled. So cute, he thought and ruffled his child's hair. "Alright. So what does the god of cucumbers tell him?"

 

"That he must plant the seeds in a place with good spiritual energy, directly facing the sun. He must also cultivate at the highest place hit by the sunlight," Shen Yuan said.

 

Shen Qingqiu continued guiding the small hand with the brush, occasionally dipping a little more ink. "Does he succeed?

 

Shen Yuan shook his head. "The immortal master received help but did not thank the cucumber deity. As a punishment, he gets cursed and turns into a hamster, then gets eaten by a fierce demon."

 

Alright, whoever taught that story to his child would be having a talk with Shen Qingqiu.

 


 

When Liu Qingge returned home he was slightly disappointed to see Shen Yuan already in his crib. He tiptoed to his child and lightly brushed his fingers against Shen Yuan's hair. "He's asleep?"

 

"You're late," Shen Qingqiu said from his desk.

 

"The demon wasn't hard to kill but it was dirty and stinky. I took a bath before coming inside, since I know you won't like me coming in with dirty clothes," answered Liu Qingge. He walked towards his spouse and sat next to him. "What did you do today?"

 

"Just the usual things. Zhangmen Shixiong came over bringing useless things again. Ah… and A Yuan threw a tantrum today," Shen Qingqiu recounted.

 

Liu Qingge let out an amused chuckle. "A Yuan, tantrum? That's rare. He's usually very well behaved."

 

"Must be Shang Shidi's influence. I should give him a warning. He is suspicious."

 

"What do you mean?"

 

"Remember back when we were still disciples and a group of An Ding Peak disciples were found dead except for Shang Qinghua? Why is it that he's the only one who returned unharmed, yet he didn't bring back any message whatsoever?"

 

"... I don't remember."

 

Shen Qingqiu rolled his eyes. "Of course you don't. I was the only one who found it odd. Zhangmen Shixiong told me to leave it alone, so I left him alone. Yet, this time he was at the location where Mobei Jun appeared."

 

"It could be a coincidence."

 

"It could be. And while I'm grateful that he helped A Yuan, for him to suddenly be at Bailu Mountain, again where a demon appeared… not to mention that place is where he is sealed…"

 

"Huh?" Liu Qingge looked puzzled.

 

Shen Qingqiu shook his head. The mission was something confidential and not supposed to be disclosed. Even Shen Qingqiu himself discovered it by accident long time ago. "Nevermind. I may be thinking too much."

 

Liu Qingge snorted. "Shang Qinghua is a bit… it'd be very hard for him to lie, considering he doesn't even know to cover his own scent."

 

"He is almost always nervous around me, whether or not he's lying he's still going to smell the same, so I can't exactly tell," Shen Qingqiu snorted. "Even when I was just glancing his way he looked like I was about to maim him."

 

To be fair, his spouse did intimidate a lot of people, Liu Qingge thought. Shen Qingqiu was really different from most omegas. He didn't even need pheromones to scare off people, his aura alone was enough to do that. Because of this he was often mistaken as an alpha. Liu Qingge was sure his dominant presence must have attracted even fellow omegas before.

 

And now thinking of his spouse, dominatingly on top of him, was making his lower region very energetic.

 

"... Liu Qingge, husband, what are you thinking?" Shen Qingqiu raised an eyebrow. "I can smell you."

 

Liu Qingge wrapped an arm around his waist while the other hand slowly pulled away the sash tying the inner robes. His face inched closer and he pressed a long, sensual kiss on the very inviting lips. He looked at his mate hungrily. "Thinking of you, of course. Wondering how interesting it'd be if you were my alpha instead."

 

Shen Qingqiu smirked. He welcomed the invitation with a second kiss, long and deep and inciting more pheromones out of his spouse. "I doubt you'd have the patience to sit still during pregnancy, but if you want a bite mark, sure."

 

He pushed Liu Qingge onto the floor and straddled him. Shen Qingqiu lowered his head to meet Liu Qingge's lips again and his mate eagerly parted his lips to welcome the hot searing tongue. Shen Qingqiu's long black hair fell down in a cascade and Liu Qingge combed his fingers through the silky strands. He felt the slight tug on his lower lip and lightly bit back. While Shen Qingqiu started taking off his belt, he pulled apart the robes wrapping his spouse, desperate to feel the warm skin. Shen Qingqiu paused to shake the robes off his body before he continued with his ministrations to divest Liu Qingge off his clothes.

 

"Hmm," Liu Qingge hummed, very satisfied at the sight of his spouse on top of him. "You're in a good mood, considering we just talked about Shang Qinghua," he said as his hands reached to cup the two smooth round mounds.

 

Shen Qingqiu bent down and lightly pressed small kisses along the jaw and neck of his mate, down to his chest. "A Yuan and I wrote a short story for his letter to Shang Qinghua. It was quite an interesting one."

 

"He has his good looks and brains from you," Liu Qingge said. He searched for the entrance and lightly massaged around it, feeling excited by the wetness seeping out. His mate was already this eager to have him inside.

 

"Is it good that he takes after me so much, though?"

 

Liu Qingge's movement halted. "Why? Didn't you say you're going to raise him to not be like me? I thought you'd want him to be a scholar like you."

 

"His future path is for him to decide. As long as it's good. I…" Shen Qingqiu paused. He laid his head against Liu Qingge's chest. "You know me and my past. I do not want any reminder of my old self on A Yuan. A Yuan… he said he's happy that I'm his mama, but he only knows me as who I am now. He doesn't know that I was a nobody before."

 

Liu Qingge kissed his mate again. "Your status nor your past doesn't matter to me, and definitely not A Yuan. To A Yuan, you're not Qing Jing Peak Lord, the Xiu Ya Sword, the second-in-command of Cang Qiong Mountain. You're just 'mama' and he loves you because you're his mother. Even if you used to be a slave, he'd still love you."

 

Shen Qingqiu hummed. He looked at Liu Qingge. "A Yuan asked me why he doesn't have maternal grandparents today, you know."

 

"Tell him it's because his mother is a fairy," Liu Qingge teased.

 

An amused smile appeared on Shen Qingqiu. "He might call me cucumber fairy, so maybe not."

 

"Cucumber fairy… why cucumber?"

 

"Hmm… that's a story for later. For now… let me have you," Shen Qingqiu said and passionately kissed his husband, before teasingly rubbing his entrance against the hardened member.

 

Liu Qingge groaned a little. Shen Qingqiu slowly lifted his bottom and lined his entrance right at his mate's manhood. He lowered his hips and buried the hard member inch by inch. The secreted fluid eased the entrance and within a few seconds he was fully sheathed around his mate. Liu Qingge could not resist another lewd groan and bucked up his hips. Shen Qingqiu could feel him growing larger inside him and took a deep breath before he began moving and riding his husband.

 

The sound of flesh slapping filled the room. In this position Shen Qingqiu could feel Liu Qingge hitting the deepest part inside him. He cupped his mouth to stop any loud moan from escaping and waking up his child, as he now just remembered they were on the floor right at his desk, away from their bed which had the silencing charm plastered to keep A Yuan from hearing their nightly activities. "Qingge… the bed…"

 

Liu Qingge's eyes darted on the crib. "A Yuan is asleep."

 

"He might wake up…"

 

"I'll keep your mouth busy," Liu Qingge said with a smirk and pulled Shen Qingqiu down to capture his lips.

 

His moans were contained but the kiss did nothing to stop the sensation inside his body from escalating. Liu Qingge pounded inside him relentlessly and Shen Qingqiu buried his face in the nook of his mate's neck. He came at the same time hot fluid filled his insides. He muffled his scream with Liu Qingge's chest, then bit the side of his neck near the nape until it bruised. An omega could not leave a mark on their alpha, but if his husband desired to be marked he would make a new one everyday.

 

Liu Qingge exhaled. "Should we… maybe switch, this time on bed?"

 

"An alpha can't naturally lubricate and we don't have any lubricants now, so let's save that for next time. Let's move to bed," Shen Qingqiu said.

 

They enjoyed their second and third round in bed, unaware that a certain millennial who wasn't actually asleep was now cursing them in his mind.

Chapter Text

Shen Qingqiu woke up the following morning feeling a little sore but also feeling good. His nightly activities with Liu Qingge was always limited to their bed since it was the only place they had plastered on some silencing charms. They never got to try doing it in more adventurous places for obvious reasons, so while riding his husband on the floor was not quite as comfortable as in bed, it was a little thrilling - just doing it right then and there.

 

Liu Qingge was still asleep beside him. He removed Liu Qingge's arm that had been resting on his waist gently. As usual the first thing Shen Qingqiu did in the morning was to check on Shen Yuan. He found Shen Yuan in his crib, looking a little cranky. It was rare that his son woke up this early.

 

"Good morning, A Yuan," Shen Qingqiu greeted and picked up his child from the crib. "Did you have a good night's sleep?"

 

Shen Yuan did not answer. He only laid his head against Shen Qingqiu's chest silently. Shen Qingqiu placed a palm against Shen Yuan's forehead, then also checked his pulse. Hm. No fever and nothing seemed to be wrong with him. Maybe he was just in a bad mood?

 

"Are you still upset with mama, A Yuan?" Shen Qingqiu asked. "Ming Fan already delivered the letter."

 

Shen Yuan shook his head. "A Yuan is not upset," he said but there was gloom in his face.

 

Why was this child restraining himself? Shen Qingqiu thought children were supposed to be more expressive. Did his habit rub off on his child? But Shen Qingqiu always tried to be more honest with his feelings now, as he didn't want his child to also be affected by his emotional constipation. "There's a meeting tomorrow. I'll bring you to meet your uncles and aunt. You can see Shang Shishu again, okay?"

 

Shen Yuan nodded.

 

Shen Qingqiu washed up and helped his child to wash up as well. He sat down in front of the mirror to get ready. Shen Yuan came tiptoeing and suddenly picked up the comb. "Mama, can I comb your hair?"

 

Shen Qingqiu looked at his child with a little amusement in his eyes. "Of course."

 

To Shen Qingqiu's surprise, Shen Yuan was not bad at all. He was very good for a young child of his age. He didn't have the strength nor the skill to put up Shen Qingqiu's hair to his usual hairdo and crown but he did not miss a strand while combing and he didn't pull out his hair either. Shen Qingqiu wore his hair ornament on his own, then helped braid Shen Yuan's hair. He fell silent for a while as he looked at the brush in his hand.

 

He wondered how Luo Binghe was doing. Did he survive? Was he still being kept by Mobei Jun? Or did the demon have enough of playing around and maybe toss him away to his death? It pained his heart thinking about it. 

 

Shen Qingqiu swallowed a bitter taste down his throat as he recalled treating the boy poorly. He was so consumed by anger, jealousy, and hatred. His trauma was so deep that he ended up repeating the abuse Qiu Jianluo did on him to Luo Binghe. Now Luo Binghe was gone. Before making Luo Binghe his cub, there was probably not a moment when he showed any kindness to the boy.

 

Except for that one time, when he was so annoyed by the boy's messy hair that he took it upon himself to braid Luo Binghe's hair. It was just that one time, but Luo Binghe wouldn't take off the braid even when Shen Qingqiu went back to beating him up for small mistakes.

 

The braid eventually was disentangled when Shen Qingqiu manhandled Luo Binghe into bathing but he made a new braid after that and his cub loved it. The day before Luo Binghe left for the conference, Shen Qingqiu had braided his hair too. He wondered if the braid was still there.

 

His train of thought was halted by Shen Yuan handing him his favourite fan. He chuckled. "Why is A Yuan being so good today?"

 

"Umm… A Yuan decided that today is a special day," Shen Yuan said.

 

"What?"

 

"Shang Shishu told me that where he came from, they have something called Mother's Day," Shen Yuan said. "It's the day when you have to be good to your mama."

 

Shen Qingqiu was sure if there was such a weird tradition from Shang Qinghua's hometown he would have heard about it. It wasn't like Shang Qinghua came from an unknown land. "Hm, shouldn't you honour your parents everyday?"

 

"You should, but on that day you do it more! That's why today A Yuan is going to help mama a lot!" Shen Yuan exclaimed.

 

Shen Qingqiu hummed and a small smile appeared. "Alright. Mama will look forward to being pampered by A Yuan then."

 


 

Truthfully, there wasn't really much he could do as a child to ease Shen Qingqiu's workload - at least not without arousing anyone's suspicion. He couldn't just suddenly offer to help grade the essays or teach the disciples, nor could he do any chores properly in his small body. However, he tried to at least maybe make Shen Qingqiu feel special. Combing his hair, showing more affections, praising him.

 

Last night was really a mistake. Sure, he was able to find out something really shocking about his mother's past - it turned out that his mama wasn't an estranged son of a pompous rich lord, an assumption some readers made as to why he looked down on the poor, homeless protagonist. Nope, he was a former slave who somehow managed to escape and became a member of Cang Qiong Sect. 

 

However, eavesdropping came with the heavy price of listening in to other stuff that made him relive an old nightmare, added with the new information that Liu Qingge apparently wanted to be dominated. Nope, he didn't need to know that!

 

Now that he did learn more about his mother, he kind of wished he didn't know because it made him feel really bad for cussing at Shen Qingqiu in the past. But hey, that wasn't his bad! The novel Shen Qingqiu was a genuine asshole who abused the protagonist anyway. His action was inexcusable, though Shen Yuan definitely blamed Airplane for leaving out his past, which explained why he grew up to be such a bitter, jealous, and abrasive person. He could have given Shen Qingqiu a good redemption arc. Even Obito had some character development, okay? Didn't the author remember Piccolo was originally an enemy?

 

Anyway, whatever his past was, even if the starting point was the same, the Shen Qingqiu he knew was no longer the same Shen Qingqiu as in the novel. As Liu Qingge said, he wasn't Shen Jiu the former slave, nor was he Shen Qingqiu the Qing Jing Peak Lord. He was just Shen Yuan's mama.

 

If Shen Qingqiu didn't get to have a good life in his past, Shen Yuan would give him a good present and a better future. Just like how his mama took good care of him, he would return the kindness and care for Shen Qingqiu just as much.

 

"Your mama will prepare breakfast, so help wake your papa," Shen Qingqiu said and rubbed his child's head.

 

Shen Yuan nodded. While Shen Qingqiu headed to the kitchen he climbed the bed.

 

He stared at Liu Qingge, the motherfucker who got horny out of nowhere and caused his suffering by deciding to bang his mate right there and then instead of in the privacy of their bed with silencing charms. He must be tired from exerting too much strength last night, Shen Yuan could hear from the noises that they were very enthusiastic.

 

Surely the famed Bai Zhan War God could take some force. Shen Yuan jumped right onto Liu Qingge's torso and yelled out loud, "Papa, WAKE UP!!!"

 

Liu Qingge woke up letting out a choked up sound. If it wasn't because he could hear his son's voice and knew it was Shen Yuan whoever did that would have been sent flying to Zui Xian Peak. Liu Qingge opened his eyes and pulled his son into a tight hug. "A Yuan, you're so good to your mama but not to your papa. Isn't this unfair?"

 

"It's mama's special day."

 

"And when is papa's special day?" Liu Qingge asked.

 

"I don't know."

 

"So cold, A Yuan. You really are taking after your mama too much," Liu Qingge complained but the smile on his face was enough for anyone to tell he wasn't really bothered by it.

 

Am I, really? Shen Yuan wondered. He liked to think that aside from his face, they barely shared anything in common. Shen Qingqiu always appeared regal and elegant outside but was capable of uttering venomous words and giving sharp glares to people. Shen Yuan… well, his reviews might be scathing to some people but those were his honest thoughts. He was generally raised to be prim and proper, coming from a new money family in his previous life.

 

Yeah, we are so different. I don't just throw shades at people while still acting classy, he thought as he climbed down the bed. 

 

Hm, I can't wait to see Airplane Bro again. I wonder if he's seen my letter? Hope he gets the message. I'd be disappointed if he doesn't but then again, when has that idiot ever used his brains?

 


 

Shang Qinghua did in fact get the letter and the meaning behind it.

 

He was halfway through figuring out the proper way to plant the seeds. The plant wasn't sprouting though so he almost thought about using a special chemical fertilizer but luckily the letter came right in time so Shang Qinghua didn't get to ruin the seed and grow it wrongly. Ah, Cucumber Bro, you prove to be useful after all! 

 

Too bad the hint also came with a death threat so now Shang Qinghua had to look for something to return the favour to the dangerous fake child. This devious black powder fan of his was able to fool even the famed Xiu Ya Sword, the strategist of Cang Qiong Mountain, the sole person who had doubts about Shang Qinghua back when he first came back from meeting Mobei Jun. The power of cuteness was truly too amazing ah! Shang Qinghua wondered why he couldn't be born with that talent too.

 

Mobei Jun showed up while Shang Qinghua was changing from his sleeping robes to his everyday An Ding robes. He almost let out an undignified squeak. Mobei Jun took one glance at his bare body before he suddenly turned around and spoke in a very low voice. "Finish dressing."

 

Too bad a cannon fodder wasn't gifted with the power of cuteness, huh. For Mobei Jun to even think his body was too ugly for him to taint his eyes with… so disappointing. Even if he wasn't as handsome as Yue Qingyuan or Liu Qingge or Mobei Jun himself, he was still considered good looking compared to the other unnamed characters or the numerous demon servants at Mobei Jun's place. Shang Qinghua dressed himself as fast as he could to not keep the demon waiting. They were both men anyway, why did Mobei Jun look so shocked and… embarrassed, even?

 

"My King, what brings you here today?" Shang Qinghua asked.

 

"..." Mobei Jun did not answer. Was it Shang Qinghua's imagination or were Mobei Jun's ears pink? Huh.

 

"My King?" He repeated.

 

"... I forgot," Mobei Jun uttered.

 

He forgot?! Then again Mobei Jun sometimes did come to see him for no reason. While most of the time he usually was there to hand over some paperwork to Shang Qinghua, there were plenty of times he popped in just to watch him working. Perhaps the Demon Realm was just too boring for him. Though Shang Qinghua failed to see how watching him struggling with the workload and complaining all day could be more entertaining for the demon.

 

"If you have nothing urgent yet, will you wait in this room then? I have a meeting to attend for now, but I'll be with you as soon as it ends, my King!" Shang Qinghua promised.

 

Mobei Jun responded with a nod. He climbed into Shang Qinghua's bed and wrapped himself into a cocoon in his blanket and bedsheets.

 

Shang Qinghua frowned with confusion as he once again could smell Mobei Jun's pheromones beginning to waft in the air. Was it Mobei Jun's rut coming again? He was expecting some amount of protest as Mobei Jun was always adamant on making sure he was Shang Qinghua's top priority. However this strange ice demon often became more agreeable at certain times and Shang Qinghua noticed they were mostly times when he would be leaking out pheromones.

 

He wondered why Mobei Jun kept coming over to spend his rut by rolling in his bedsheets while Shang Qinghua was away. The smell of a beta shouldn't have any calming effect. In fact, a beta shouldn't even have any strong lingering odour.

 

Oh well, he could talk about it with Cucumber Bro more. Which reminded him, he should bring some presents for the formidable Cucumber deity. Ah, his poor luck… to have a pig teammate who either threatened his life or ask for a tribute in exchange of help.

 

Shang Qinghua packed some books he could use as a pretense to talk to Cucumber Bro (and maybe as offerings) - he didn't have any rare snacks or expensive toys like Yue Qingyuan to bring - and went to Qiong Ding Peak for the monthly meeting. With how much Liu Qingge and Shen Qingqiu were indulging him, Shang Qinghua doubted Shen Yuan would have any difficulty getting expensive food or items anyway. Shang Qinghua had an inkling Cucumber Bro might want something specific from him anyway. Namely, his mother's past.

 

Shen Yuan was there sitting in Shen Qingqiu's lap as usual, gaining more favourability points from the other Peak Lords, who for some reason were looking at him with more adoration than usual. As if Yue Qingyuan and Qi Qingqi weren't besotted with the little devil already.

 

"Shang Shishu!" Shen Yuan cheered with the fake enthusiasm that only Shang Qinghua could see. "Did you read my letter?"

 

Shang Qinghua paled as he remembered the content of the letter. "Ah, of course, Yuan Shizhi. It was a very lovely letter."

 

"... Shang Shixiong received a letter?" Qi Qingqi and Mu Qingfang asked, both looked disappointed.

 

"A Yuan wrote a story for Shang Shishu," Shen Yuan told them.

 

"Really? What kind of story?" Yue Qingyuan asked.

 

"A story about gratefulness," Shen Yuan replied.

 

"Our Yuan Shizhi is very smart. Liu Shidi and Qingqiu Shidi taught him very well," Yue Qingyuan praised.

 

Gratefulness? What gratefulness? That letter was a death threat! He literally threatened to feed Shang Qinghua to demons! Shang Qinghua shuddered as he joined the circle.

 

The meeting started. Yue Qingyuan brought over a bag of candies he obtained from a foreign trader and gave it to Shen Yuan. Shen Yuan thanked him, then walked around passing one candy to each of the Peak Lord to share them.

 

"Oh, you're sharing today, Yuan Shizhi?" Qi Qingqi asked.

 

Shen Yuan nodded. He then smiled sweetly at Qi Qingqi. "I'm going to start collecting good karma from now on."

 

"So early? Why?" Wei Qingwei asked.

 

"Mama doesn't have his own mama and papa. A Yuan will start collecting good karma so mama will have his own mama and papa too in the next life," Shen Yuan said.

 

All of them looked surprised. Shang Qinghua gawked. What was this child scheming now?! Even Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge were stunned. "Why?"

 

"A Yuan is happiest with mama and papa. That means mama will be happiest in the next life too," explained Shen Yuan.

 

There was a moment of silence. It wasn't long though, before Yue Qingyuan cleared his throat and covered his face with the document in hand. "I apologize. My face is sweating right now."

 

Qi Qingqi sniffed and wiped her face with her handkerchief. "It's okay, Zhangmen Shixiong. Qingqi is also sweating from her eyes."

 

Apparently almost all the peak lords, save for Shang Qinghua, were so touched by the show of filial piety that they were unable to hold their tears. Or maybe it was because only Shang Qinghua knew that there was no way this little child was actually sincere in doing that. He had to have a hidden intention, right?! But if Shang Qinghua were to point that he would be committing a crime graver than treason, because right now this was no longer Cang Qiong Sect, but the Temple of Baby Yuan! 

 

Even the normally aloof Shen Qingqiu who always maintained his calm and cold behaviour in public failed to hide his emotions this time. He couldn't help smiling happily as he pulled Shen Yuan into a tight hug and pressed a warm kiss on the top of his head. "I think I've used ten thousand years of good luck to have A Yuan."

 

Shang Qinghua felt like he had accumulated ten thousand years of bad luck to receive this bad karma.

 

The meeting was almost extended for a good half an hour if not because Shen Yuan yawned in the middle of the meeting and everyone decided they could no longer listen to Yue Qingyuan's long speech about the same thing over and over again. Several peak lords invited Shen Yuan over to their peaks but the young child politely declined.

 

"A Yuan wants to go back and help mama make lunch," Shen Yuan said.

 

Qi Qingqi wiped her tears again. "I'm going to stand by this, Liu Shidi and Shen Shixiong getting together is the best thing that ever happened to our Cang Qiong Mountain. Thank goodness for Liu Shidi's magical di-"

 

"Qi Shimei," Shen Qingqiu warned her.

 

"Of course, thanks to Shen Shixiong's miraculous e-"

 

"Yuan Shizhi, I have some books for you to thank for the letter. Do you want to have a look?" Shang Qinghua cut her off.

 

Shen Yuan looked at him with excited big, bright eyes that could almost fool him into thinking the young boy was innocent. "Really? Can I come to your place?"

 

Shang Qinghua was about to nod when he remembered that Mobei Jun was there lounging in his bed. Bringing anyone would be a very terrible idea. "How about I come to your place instead?" Shang Qinghua suggested.

 

"For once you're being sensible. I will be inspecting all the reading materials so that would be better," Shen Qingqiu said.

 

Shang Qinghua sweatdropped. "Aii, of course, Shen Shixiong."

 

Shen Qingqiu nodded. His gaze and tone then instantly turned warm as he picked up his child. "Alright, let's go back, A Yuan. We can invite other Shishu and Shigu next time, okay?"

 

"Okay!" Shen Yuan smiled.

 

Shang Qinghua shuddered from how overly sweet saccharine his voice was compared to the vicious baby who stepped and hit him the other day.

 


 

The books Shang Qinghua brought over, much to Shen Yuan's surprise, were actually decent books about the rare plants and mythical beasts in Proud Immortal Demon Way. It was written by the first lord of the beast peak, the founder beast taming cultivation. It wasn't something so rare - it was part of the curriculum in Cang Qiong Mountain, but Shen Qingqiu had never read it to Shen Yuan since it was way too advanced for a little child. 

 

Satisfied that the books would not likely corrupt his child, Shen Qingqiu left Shen Yuan out of his sight for a while to hand over some documents to Ming Fan. Shang Qinghua used the opportunity to pull his fellow transmigrator for a short interrogation. "Psst, Cucumber Bro! What are you scheming now?"

 

Shen Yuan fluttered his eyelids, feigning innocence. "What scheme? Don't speak like I'm a villain."

 

"What good karma? How could you send me a death threat one day and play an innocent angel the next day?" Shang Qinghua asked.

 

Shen Yuan hummed. "Currying favour, obviously."

 

"For what?"

 

"In the novel, when he was accused of all the crimes, none of the other peak lords stood up for him. Only Yue Qingyuan came to retrieve him. I can't protect him myself, so I'll make sure everyone will do it instead."

 

Shang Qinghua gawked. "Him… Shen Qingqiu? All those acts, just for…"

 

Shen Yuan cleared his throat and looked to the side. He was also just as thin-faced as his mother. "I have no idea what this power of cuteness you were saying before. But if I do hold the peak lords' affections, then surely they won't have the heart to let me be motherless. When the time comes, he's going to have not just Yue Qingyuan, but everyone's support."

 

"... Bro, even as you are now, they definitely won't let any harm come his way," Shang Qinghua said. 

 

The current Shen Qingqiu had already deviated a lot from the original villain he had written. He was no longer as cold nor devious. He was no longer the peak lord accused of killing his own martial brother, no longer one who frequented brothels, no longer one who was so hostile and distrustful.

 

The current Shen Qingqiu was a parent, whom everyone could see had tried, and was still trying very hard to change his ways in order to raise his child lovingly. He had developed as a person and there was just no way for anyone to not see the amount of tenderness he was actually capable of displaying. The entire sect was hell-bent on protecting the family. Now, if only that protection could extend to Shang Qinghua as well…

 

Shang Qinghua glanced to the side to see if Shen Qingqiu was coming. He looked back at Shen Yuan. "So you wanted to learn about Shen Qingqiu's past, didn't you?"

 

Shen Yuan paused. He swallowed hard. Did he?

 

"Do you want me to tell you?"

 

Shen Yuan thought about it hard.

 

He took a deep breath.

 

"No."

 

Shang Qinghua was surprised. "No?"

 

"... I will wait for him to share it with me myself. In the end, learning about his past is never important other than for me to protect him in the future. Whatever happened before and whatever will happen soon, won't change anything."

 

He wasn't Shen Jiu. He wasn't Shen Qingqiu. He was just 'mama'.

 

Shang Qinghua however only turned pale. He grabbed Shen Yuan's shoulders. "You really don't want anything? Not even a tiny bit of info?!"

 

Shen Yuan frowned. "What? Why do you suddenly want to speak so much?"

 

"Aiyah, Cucumber Bro, of course favours have to be returned… right?" Shang Qinghua hinted.

 

Shen Yuan looked at the man, feeling confused at first. He raised an eyebrow when he finally caught the hint. Classic Airplane was just here trying to look for ways to save his own ass as usual. "Hm, maybe if you can give me something good…"

 

"What? Just tell me ah!"

 

"... How about a bigger house with a separate room for a child?"

 

"..."

 

Preferably big enough, with soundproof walls so he didn't have to relive his nightmares again in the future.

 

Chapter Text

It turned out that rebuilding an entire house was not possible even with the power of cultivation - at least not in the nearest time. The bamboo that made up most of the building materials of Shen Qingqiu’s house wasn’t just any bamboo, but a special kind of bamboo that took twice as time compared to a normal bamboo to grow. Shang Qinghua however could add some extensions to the house - provided he had Shen Qingqiu’s permission. So nope, adding an extra room would be an impossible task at the moment.

For now, all Shang Qinghua could do was to offer Shen Yuan a trip to wherever the young child desired to go. Being the An Ding Peak Lord (as well as a mole and creator of the world), Shang Qinghua had been to many different places and was familiar with the roads. Not to mention at least with a fellow transmigrator who knew his past identity, Shen Yuan could at least take a breather and not worry about playing a child for a while.

The only problem was that he was still physically a child and had to get permissions from perhaps the strictest peak lord in Cang Qiong Mountain, even to just go and play outside.

"No."

"But mama!"

"No, you can't go and play outside alone, A Yuan," Shen Qingqiu strictly stated. "You're especially not allowed to go outside of Cang Qiong Mountain without our supervision."

Shen Yuan pouted. "But I'm not going outside alone! Shang Shishu will be with me!"

Shen Qingqiu clicked his tongue. "I don't trust him to be alone with you for that long." Who knew if Shang Qinghua would be careless, or if he would corrupt Shen Yuan with some bad words again?

Shen Yuan secretly felt sorry for Shang Qinghua a little. How harsh, Shen Mama! Shang Qinghua was also a cultivator roughly the same level of cultivation as him, albeit maybe not as smart and not as brave and not as strong and not as good in fighting... fine, maybe his opinion was kind of justified, considering Shen Yuan didn't have that much of a high opinion on that quack of an author either. In fact the original Shang Qinghua was a traitor who sold his sect to the demons, Shen Qingqiu had every right to distrust him - though this one was forced to do so.

"If you're bored staying at home or class, Ming Fan and Ning Yingying are more than happy to play with you," Shen Qingqiu said. "Your Aunt Mingyan would welcome you as well."

"Ming Gege and Ning Jiejie are no fun, I see them everyday anyway," Shen Yuan complained. "Aunt Mingyan is okay but Qi Shigu is scary."

"Your Shigu is not scary…" Shen Qingqiu paused, recalling the time he retrieved a teary-eyed Shen Yuan, who had been made into a dress-up doll by the sisters at Xian Shu Peak. Alright, maybe Qi Qingqi wasn't exactly the nicest person to be around either.

"Shang Shishu is so much fun! He knows a lot of fun stories and a lot of fun things at his Peak," Shen Yuan added.

Liu Qingge placed a reassuring hand on Shen Qingqiu's shoulder. "A Yuan is already four years old, turning five soon, and is growing up well. Let him have some fun. Maybe we can test if he's actually ready to go outside."

He knew Shen Qingqiu was worried, but the thing was, Shen Qingqiu would never stop worrying about Shen Yuan. Liu Qingge was of course protective of Shen Yuan as well, but rather than sheltering the child, he would rather let Shen Yuan explore the world and grow strong enough to protect himself. Naturally he wouldn't let Shen Yuan go out unsupervised at such a young age either, but at one point they still should let their child take the first step. As an adventurous person himself, he understood his son would eventually get tired of being stuck in the same place all the time. 

Papa Liu, good job! Shen Yuan cheered in his head. He made the most pitiful face and hugged Shen Qingqiu's thigh. "Please, mama?"

Shen Qingqiu was conflicted. He didn't want to. He really didn't want to. If possible he wanted to wait until Shen Yuan was at least nine or ten - big enough to understand what was acceptable and not acceptable, big enough to not get deceived by strangers, big enough to run fast in case he ever encountered trouble. Before this even when Shen Yuan went to other peaks like Xian Shu, it was always either one of his parents who would send him there. 

But with his husband persuading him on one side and his son making that pleading face on another side…

Shen Qingqiu sighed. "I will give you an errand to run. If you complete it safely and successfully I will consider letting you go outside with your Shang Shishu."

 Shen Yuan had the biggest smile on his face. "Thank you mama!"

 


 

“You’re late,” Mobei Jun remarked from under the sheets as soon as Shang Qinghua returned.

Shang Qinghua almost tripped on air. Good thing his private residence was away from his disciples’ quarter, his entire room stank of the ice demon’s pheromones! What happened to Mobei Jun? Did he use Shang Qinghua’s room as a place to jerk off? How was Shang Qinghua supposed to sleep tonight knowing that there were probably some traces of Mobei Ice Cream on his bedsheet? This amount of smell and pheromones could only come out from someone who just beat his meat!

Shang Qinghua glanced around his room. There was no trace or smell of other people in the space, so he could at least feel relieved that Mobei Jun did not use his room as a love hotel. No, wait, it still did not make sense that he would relieve his urges here alone! His ice palace was way bigger and more luxurious than Shang Qinghua’s room, so why…? What was so special about his room? 

Mobei Jun finally sat up and pushed away the sheets covering his body, revealing chiseled abdominal muscles as his loose robes fell off his shoulders like a sexy demigod. “What are you thinking about, Shang Qinghua?”

Shang Qinghua choked. “No… nothing, my King!” Thinking about the great male god in front of me ah, what else? What sane person can withstand this much temptation? 

“Hm,” Mobei Jun shrugged, unintentionally flexing his pecs and causing Shang Qinghua to almost drool. Maybe it was intentional, it looked almost like there was a smug smile on Mobei Jun’s face.

Whatever his intention was, it certainly did send some thoughts to Shang Qinghua’s brain. He quickly shook his head and poured himself a cup of lukewarm tea, downing it immediately in hopes to cool down. “Um… so what do you need from me, my King? Have you remembered?”

Mobei Jun put on his outer robes and re-tied his belt. He walked to Shang Qinghua and stood right in front of him, close enough that Shang Qinghua feared the demon lord might hear his rapid palpitations. He held his breath as he felt the cool air emanating from Mobei Jun’s body. The demon took his hand and placed something on it.

Shang Qinghua blinked. It was a jade token, with the Mobei Clan insignia on it. Mobei Jun pressed it against his palm and wrapped his own cold hands around Shang Qinghua’s warm fingers. “Keep this.”

“... Why?”

“You can come in anytime you want,” said Mobei Jun. “Come over more often.”

… Why? So he could do more paperwork? Oh well, at least he had direct access to the ice palace now. Still, was it okay? To give him something that held the insignia of his clan? Shang Qinghua thought this was something usually exclusive to only family members. “Can I really have this?”

Mobei Jun nodded. “Qinghua is special.”

Special. Special. Mobei Jun had acknowledged him as someone important! Shang Qinghua’s cheeks blushed red and he smiled with delight and happiness. “Thank you very much, my King!”

“Hm,” Mobei Jun nodded and patted Shang Qinghua’s head. “I’m going.”

“Of course. Please have a safe journey back.”

Time to check on that halfling, and finish the third volume of that novel, Mobei Jun thought.  

 


 

On the rare occasions, instead of Yue Qingyuan, the ones sitting and leading the sect meeting that day were Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge. Now, Shen Qingqiu presiding a meeting wasn't a rare occurrence, as the second-in-command of the sect. Having Liu Qingge next to him however was a new sight. The topic of discussion that day was the real rarity there.

"Tomorrow…" Shen Qingqiu paused. "We are sending A Yuan on his first errand ever."

There were collective surprised gasps from all the Peak Lords (save for Shang Qinghua, who figured Cucumber Bro must have done something again). Everyone knew how attached to and protective the Qing Jing Peak Lord was of his son. Liu Qingge in comparison was not as strict but still let Shen Qingqiu hold most of the decisions, knowing how worrywart his spouse can be, only butting in when he felt the other was going too far. It worked well for both of them.

"I'm going to give him letters to be delivered to each Peak Lord. The content is not that important, it's just a memo for the next meeting. The important thing is to see if he has the capability to go to the right destination, as well as to head back home in time," Shen Qingqiu explained. 

"So don't try to hog him too long at your peaks," Liu Qingge added, much to the disappointment of several of their martial siblings. "If you see any injuries or abnormalities in him as well, immediately report to us."

"I will provide him with a map and have Liu Mingyan secretly follow him, so none of you should try to follow him as well," Shen Qingqiu warned them.

He knew if he didn't give out this warning, at the end of his errand Shen Yuan would be returning to Qing Jing Peak bringing several stalking Peak Lords with him.

 


 

On the day of his first task, Shen Qingqiu handed Shen Yuan a bag filled with ten letters (for each Peak Lord minus himself and Liu Qingge), a map of Tian Gong Mountains with the directions to each peak, a canister of water, and a small pouch of rock candies, if he ever gets tired. With Shen Yuan's small body delivering those letters would likely take quite some time and a lot of walking. He even requested the Peak Lords in their secret meeting to let Shen Yuan have some snacks if he looked tired, and they were more than happy to agree to the request.

"Remember, come back before the sun sets," Shen Qingqiu reminded him.

Shen Yuan grinned and nodded. Finally, some independence! He was tired of being a coddled little baby! 

Shen Yuan set off, not noticing Liu Mingyan, who had started to secretly follow him. He opened the map and scanned it, memorizing the locations before skipping his way to Qiong Ding Peak. He was a bit unsure from where to start with, but he figured visiting the eldest and most senior of his martial uncles and aunt would be the right thing to do.

"Yue Shibo!" He called cheerfully. It seemed almost like the Qiong Ding disciples were aware of his arrival, as the moment they saw him they immediately directed him to the Sect Leader's room.

Yue Qingyuan smiled warmly at him. "Hello, Yuan Shizhi," he said. 

Shen Yuan noticed the spread of food on the table, similar to a welcoming feast. There were plenty of cakes in various colours, some foreign snacks, and even rare candies he had never seen before. He blinked. "Is there a guest coming today, Yue Shibo?"

Yue Qingyuan panicked a little, though he did not show it in his face. Had he gone overboard, maybe? But Xiao Jiu did ask everyone to prepare some snacks just in case… and Yue Qingyuan’s heart was always warmed whenever Shen Yuan was excited by the new snacks he brought over.

"Ah, I have those to snack on when I feel tired," Yue Qingyuan made up an excuse. It wouldn't do if Shen Yuan suspected that he knew the boy was coming. Shen Qingqiu did tell them to pretend like it was just a normal day. Never mind that he already failed that part.

That much, for snacking? How extravagant! Even mukbang YouTubers won't eat that much! Shen Yuan thought.

"You can have some, A Yuan," Yue Qingyuan offered.

"I just had breakfast," Shen Yuan said.

Yue Qingyuan wilted and by now Shen Yuan had a slight suspicion that the reason why Shen Qingqiu never really treated him with the respect of a junior martial brother was because he was tired of dealing with Yue Qingyuan’s gloomy face. Shen Yuan hurriedly added, "But I suppose some sweets won't hurt!"

The Sect Leader's face brightened up and he even ordered his disciple to bring in some sweetened soy milk, which Shen Yuan hurriedly refused. He ate a piece of honey cake and almost spat it out. It was sickeningly sweet, only someone like Shen Qingqiu would be able to tolerate this! He put down the cake and popped several pieces of other mildly tasting snacks into his mouth. All of them were still quite sweet, just not as sweet as the previous cake. He wondered if Yue Qingyuan was secretly trying to make his teeth rot, because the man certainly looked happy when Shen Yuan was eating more.

He took out the letter addressed to Yue Qingyuan and handed it to him. “Mama sent this letter to you, Yue Shibo.”

“Thank you, Yuan Shizhi,” Yue Qingyuan smiled. He then hesitantly asked. “I heard last time you sent a letter to Shang Shidi. Do you plan to send letters to others as well?”

Shen Yuan wiggled his shoulders in a poor attempt to look cute while shrugging. It worked for the Sect Leader at least, he looked like his heart had just been struck by a cupid’s arrow. “Not really? A Yuan hasn’t learned that many letters, A Yuan doesn’t know what to write. Last time mama helped me write it.”

“Shibo would be happy to receive any letter from A Yuan,” Yue Qingyuan hinted.

… Fine, if you want it so much. Shen Yuan forced a cheerful grin. “A Yuan will write a letter to Yue Shibo tomorrow!”

The promise was enough to make Yue Qingyuan happy. The Sect Leader tried to persuade him to eat a little more but Shen Yuan wasn’t a big fan of too much sweets. He excused himself as he had nine more letters to deliver, and headed to Wan Jian Peak next.

Wan Jian Peak was mysteriously not as loud as it usually was today. Last time Shen Yuan had been here (Shen Qingqiu was bringing a disciple to get his spirit sword and he insisted on tagging along just to take a look), everyone was so occupied with either blacksmithing or practicing with their swords and rarely paid attention to any visitors. Today, it seemed like all the disciples had instantly noticed his arrival and were quick to usher him to their Peak Lord. Perhaps they were more concerned, seeing him without his mother today?

“Is everyone not busy today?” Shen Yuan asked, glancing at all the disciples who were lurking around the gazebo where Wei Qingwei was seated with him. The swordmaster didn't have a feast ready but he did offer some high quality rice crackers and tea to Shen Yuan, which he happily ate for a change of palate after the overly sweet snacks.

“Everyone has been looking forward to your visit… ehem, I mean, they always welcome you, but Shen Shixiong is not as approachable as most people, so they don’t always dare to look at you,” Wei Qingwei said.

Shen Yuan could not quite catch what he meant other than that Shen Qingqiu was just too cold and scary for them to openly approach him. That was fine, it wasn’t like he didn’t know that, but he had to put on good words for his mother. “Mama is nice.”

“Of course your mama is nice. He is also protective of you, but our disciples are always around dangerous tools,” Wei Qingwei quickly added. There was a sudden glint in his eyes. “Which reminds me, would you like to see some of our collections?”

Shen Yuan’s eyes brightened. “Can I?”

Big mistake.

Hearing Wei Qingwei talking and showing off his private collection of swords and other blades was not that different to hearing an obsessive anime fan showing off their favourite collection of figurines and anime merchandise. A sword otaku, he was! He never talked this much in a meeting before, did a dam just break as soon as Shen Yuan came?

In the end Shen Yuan decided to end it by handing the letter to Wei Qingwei and informing him that he would have to deliver the rest of the letters. The man was visibly upset and Shen Yuan felt as if he had just told a fellow anime fan who just found a kindred spirit that he needed to move on to real life.

“If mama allows me to go out, A Yuan will definitely come and visit Wei Shishu again,” he made a promise to coax Wei Qingwei.

It worked, as Wei Qingwei finally let him off - albeit a little reluctantly. Shen Yuan felt some sort of relief when he arrived at An Ding Peak. He greeted Shang Qinghua, who was buried underneath stacks of paperworks.

"Bro," Shang Qinghua moaned. "Kill me, bro. I can't live buried underneath these shitloads of work anymore."

"Don't worry, I'm sure Luo Binghe will do the job soon," Shen Yuan said.

Shang Qinghua grimaced. That wasn't funny, the protagonist might actually do that! "Do you need tea? I doubt it." Since Shen Qingqiu had specifically requested for the Peak Lords to prepare snacks for his son, there was no doubt some of them (coughYueQingyuancough) would go all the way and bring out a feast fit for a king to serve the child.

Shen Yuan blinked. "How do you know? Yue Qingyuan and Wei Qingwei looked like they wanted to stuff me with more food but I left."

Ha, he knew it. Shang Qinghua shook his head. He didn't want to spoil it since he was sure Cucumber Bro would figure it out soon, with how obvious the other Peak Lords were acting.

"Do you think Shen Qingqiu would actually let me go out if I accomplish this?" Shen Yuan asked.

Shang Qinghua shrugged. "Who knows. At the very least, he won't be as paranoid. I know you're tired of being fussed over since you're mentally an adult, but in your parents' eyes you're still a small child they can't let their eyes off. Let them pamper you a bit more ah."

Shen Yuan was admittedly a little surprised to hear that coming from Shang Qinghua. "What's up with you? Why are you suddenly saying this?"

"Well, being pampered is nice, that's all I'm saying. Enjoy it while you can, when you're all grown up you might miss it," Shang Qinghua said.

“... Alright, did something happen? Did you lose someone’s favour?” Shen Yuan questioned.

A grin formed on Shang Qinghua’s face. “Losing favour? Heh. Look what I got, Cucumber Bro!” He excitedly said and showed the jade token he received from Mobei Jun.

Shen Yuan gasped. He recognized the emblem, it was on Proud Immortal Demon Way’s official illustration book! “Mobei Jun gave you his clan’s token?!”

“Well, he probably just wants me to do more work for him, but at least I can enjoy the privilege of being his favourite servant now,” Shang Qinghua exclaimed. “Kinda like getting promoted from an errand boy to personal assistant, don’t you think?”

“What do you mean?”

“He called me ‘special’ and came all the way here to give me the token,” Shang Qinghua answered cheerfully. “Nobody else among his servants but me has this. What else, if not because he recognized my hard work ah?”

“....” Shen Yuan suddenly sensed something. “Wait, he came here? And gave you the token? You didn’t ask for it?”

Shang Qinghua shook his head. “Do I look like I want an early death? Mobei Jun comes here regularly - ah, don’t tell anyone, okay - to hand me some work, or sometimes just to kill time.”

“... And what does he do to kill time?”

“Nothing? Mostly he just lies in my bed and spends his rut here, I think. Every time he comes over and sleeps in my bed I always smell his pheromones leaking out. I’m not sure why he does that instead of looking for a nice, beautiful demon to spend time with, but oh well, sometimes he also just sits down and stares while I do my work…” Shang Qinghua continued rambling.

Shen Yuan stared at the An Ding Peak Lord in disbelief. Dear lord…

“Airplane Bro, what exactly did you say to Mobei Jun when you told him to drag Luo Binghe to the Endless Abyss?”

Shang Qinghua blinked. “Ah? I already told you - that Luo Binghe would be helpful to secure his ascension as the next lord.”

“He didn’t question how you know or your motive?”

Shang Qinghua scratched his head. “He trusts my information since I’ve been his spy for years. He did question my intent, I just told him it’s to secure our future together.”

Good thing Shen Yuan wasn’t drinking anything because he would have sprayed it on Shang Qinghua’s document. “Secure future… did you say that?!”

“I’m entrusting my life and future to him. Not something unusual, I’ve been telling him I’d follow him all my life many times,” Shang Qinghua said.

Shen Yuan could not believe it.

This… idiot author! Did he make those same goo goo eyes when he said those things to Mobei Jun? If so, Shen Yuan wouldn’t be surprised if Mobei Jun had misunderstood his intent. Shang Qinghua must have forgotten that the jade token of the Mobei Clan was reserved exclusively for family members. A servant, no matter how special, had no way of acquiring it. The only other way for an outsider to receive it was if they were married into the family.

This quack of an author had forgotten the detail he oh-so-meticulously added in the novel. Then again, this was the same person who almost grew an undead monster instead of a plant body. Shen Yuan looked forward to the day the author would soon realize that he was actually already engaged to Mobei Jun. He just hoped Shang Qinghua would at least be aware of it before the actual wedding day.

Chapter Text

Shang Qinghua was a certified dumbass, Shen Yuan already knew about that. He just did not expect the author to be at this level of stupidity, to not realize he had entered into a serious relationship with Mobei Jun. Somebody literally nutted in his bed and he was still this oblivious! Shen Yuan attributed it to Shang Qinghua probably being a lonely virgin like him in his past life. That would explain all the unrealistic papapa scenes in Proud Immortal Demon Way. Whoever wrote that clearly only learned from watching porn. 

He looked forward to the day Airplane Bro would come screaming at him in panic, that he was married to a demon lord. He’d be sure to kick the author’s dumb butt once he realized how foolish he was.

They chatted a bit more before Shen Yuan handed the letter and left, heading towards Xian Shu Peak next.

Compared to other peaks, he was a lot more familiar with the sisters at Xian Shu Peak, considering his aunt was living there. Especially ever since Luo Binghe’s disappearance, Liu Mingyan had taken up more babysitting duties so Shen Yuan did not have much trouble finding his way there.

Well, even if he could not remember the way, he still probably wouldn’t have any trouble, because the sisters of Xian Shu Peak were already waiting for him there. By now Shen Yuan already had a slight suspicion that Shen Qingqiu had informed all the Peak Lords in advance about his arrival. Would Qi Qingqi and her disciples be this welcoming if it had been someone like Ming Fan coming to deliver the letters? He doubted that. That would explain why Shang Qinghua knew he would be stuffed by the time he came to An Ding Peak.

Shen Yuan smiled at the welcoming sisters and they immediately cooed. “Mama has a letter for Qi Shigu.”

“Oh, you can come here even without a letter, Yuan-bao,” Qi Qingqi said and carried him inside. A flurry of sisters dressed like fairies immediately followed, escorting him like how small animals would escort a D*sney princess.

Shen Yuan was cringing so bad inside. Yuan-bao?! He let Yue Qingyuan slip with A Yuan earlier, but Yuan-bao?! What happened to Yuan Shizhi? As soon as Shen Qingqiu was out of view, now these Peak Lords were just doing as they pleased!

Xian Shu Peak was always overflowing with snacks since Shen Yuan was a frequent visitor to the peak but today everything had been arranged like a big tea party. There were colourful sweet cakes, fragrant flower tea, and big sisters laughing and giggling as they were discussing their favourite books around the table. Qi Qingqi placed Shen Yuan on her lap. His eyes caught the title of the books they were holding.

‘The Tale of Ice King and Winter Bride: Volume 10’ .

Fuck, the abomination already had at least ten volumes?! Moreover, seeing that the disciples were shamelessly holding the book meant Qi Qingqi had approved the reading materials! 

Shen Yuan dared himself to ask, “Big sisters, what are you reading? Can A Yuan also see?”

The sisters all giggled. “Oh, A Yuan, this reading material may be too hard and unsuitable for you.”

Shen Yuan hid a disdained scowl. You mean age-inappropriate and overall way too explicit . “A Yuan likes books. Mama taught me lots of words.”

“Oh, I can already sense from the way you speak that Shen Shixiong is raising you to be an excellent scholar. But for Yuan-bao’s sake today, we shall not discuss the usual materials,” Qi Qingqi announced. 

Usual?! This shit is the kind of thing you ladies usually consume?! Shen Yuan screamed in his head.

Qi Qingqi and her disciples brought out collections of children's stories to read to Shen Yuan. They even had knitted plushies and other new toys to pamper the child with. Some older disciples brought out trays of dried flowers and herbs to make scented pouches together for Shen Yuan to bring home. Shen Yuan however could not help noticing that something was off. “Where is Aunt Mingyan?”

One young disciple laughed and said, “Oh, Liu Shijie is right beh-”

The older disciples next to her suddenly kicked the younger disciple flying, then buried her in a mountain of dried flower petals. “Oh my, look at the time, it is time to spar!”

Shen Yuan, “....”

“She is on a mission, she will be back by sunset,” Qi Qingqi answered.

“... I should get going,” Shen Yuan announced. Judging from the pattern and how they were trying to keep him here by making him do all sorts of activities, any longer and he would be made to try out twenty dresses again.

The sisters were reluctant to let him go of course. They even persuaded him to stay by luring him with several different candies. 

“But it’s almost lunchtime,” Qi Qingqi tried.

“Aunt Mingyan isn’t here anyway. I have to go to the next peak. I’ll have lunch there,” Shen Yuan said, pretending to be upset that Liu Mingyan wasn’t there.

Qi Qingqi reluctantly sent him off as he departed for the next peak.

By the time he reached Ku Xing Peak, it was right during lunchtime. Ku Xing Peak Lord, Huang Qingxin greeted him with a serene smile. The Ku Xing Peak, similar to Qing Jing, had a calm and quiet air, with modest architecture. The difference was of course in their cultivation method, as they practiced an ascetic lifestyle for their cultivation. It was a lot stricter and progress may be slower, but the advantage was that their foundation was a lot stronger and the possibility of qi deviation was also lower. It required extreme patience but those who could endure would have their effort paid off.

“It is your first time visiting, isn’t it? All the disciples have been looking forward to seeing you, Yuan Shizhi,” Huang Qingxin said. He sat on the wooden floor - no cushion or mat, with his disciples lined up behind him in an orderly manner - though guests like Shen Yuan were of course given a cushion to sit on.

Shen Yuan nodded and took a sip of the tea. It tasted bland, like drinking warm water. “Shishu and all the big brothers want to see A Yuan?” He asked.

“Ah, Yuan Shizhi’s birth is like a miracle, a gift from the heavens above. Your presence bestows us blessings from the upper realm,” the Ku Xing Peak Lord announced. “Let us thank the deities above, for bringing you into this world.”

“Amitabha,” all the disciples chorused behind.

Shen Yuan, “....”

It might be his imagination but it almost felt as if he was being worshipped here. Nah, probably just overthinking it.

“Mama sent you a letter,” Shen Yuan said and handed Huang Qingxin the letter.

“Thank you, Yuan Shizhi. Such a young child and so filial to your parents. May the heavens bless you,” the Peak Lord uttered gratefully as he received the letter. “Now, we do not have much to show, nor do we have much to offer, but would you like to join us for lunch?”

“Thank you, Huang Shishu,” Shen Yuan said.

The disciples escorted him to the dining hall. Shen Yuan almost choked as his eyes scanned all the rules and regulations carved on the walls of the building. There must be at least a thousand rules here! Shen Yuan noticed there was even one rule forbidding disciples from eating more than three bowls of rice.

While in other peaks, the masters usually had their meals in their own quarters, Ku Xing Peak Lord would eat in the same hall, having the same meal as all of his disciples. They weren’t actually forbidden from consuming animal products but they were not allowed to kill any living being, hence resulting in their diet consisting of only grains, fruits, legumes, and vegetables. The only occasions where they would have meat would be when they were having meals outside of Ku Xing Peak, prepared by others.

Shen Yuan however had never been to Ku Xing Peak before this. He had only met Huang Qingxin while the man was in Qiong Ding Peak for a banquet or a meeting - hence, he had only seen the man partaking in the same meals as everyone else.

He had completely forgotten that the meals cooked in Ku Xing Peak were designed to be bland and vegetarian, as to follow their principles of abstaining from worldly pleasures and prohibiting the killing of animals. Now Shen Yuan regretted not staying longer at Xian Shu, at least they had better food! The soup tasted like it barely had any salt in it. Where is the MSG, ah?

“Is the food not to your liking, Yuan Shizhi?” Huang Qingxin suddenly asked.

Did he notice Shen Yuan wasn’t eating much? Now he felt a little bad. However, as nice as the Peak Lord was, Shen Yuan has had enough of bland-tasting food in his past life. He forced a smile. “It is good, Shishu. But A Yuan always eats with mama and papa. A Yuan just likes the lunch mama makes.” Namely, food that was adequately seasoned. Man, he wished he could have had Luo Binghe’s proper cooking. Too bad Luo Binghe was gone when he was still eating porridge and minced food.

Huang Qingxin looked away. Shen Yuan paled a little as he worried he might have offended the Ku Xing Peak Lord. However the man suddenly started sniffing a little and wiped the corner of his eyes with his sleeves.

“Ah yes, of course Yuan Shizhi would miss his mother and father. The bond between the three of you is stronger than any steel forged in Wan Jian. May the heavens bless your family, amitabha,” Huang Qingxin said.

Shen Yuan promptly forced himself a small bowl of rice and the side dishes. Thankfully unlike the previous peaks the Ku Xing Peak Lord did not try to hold him for too long. Shen Yuan was almost worried that they were going to make him join their scripture reading or meditation session had he stayed long enough. They did, however, gave him a small protective charm that they put in his small bag. 

The next peak following Ku Xing was Bai Zhan, but he did not need to send any letter to his own father so Shen Yuan skipped Bai Zhan and went straight to the eighth peak, Mo Shou Peak. It was the peak specialized in beast taming cultivation and Shen Yuan had longed wanted to pay a visit to this peak. Airplane’s plotline might be full of holes like a block of cheese, but his worldbuilding in terms of the creations of flora and fauna were interesting. Shen Yuan did not have that much opportunity to go out so he had always wanted to see the rare beasts tamed at Mo Shou Peak.

He could already hear the animal noises even as he was crossing the Rainbow Bridge heading towards Mo Shou. Shen Yuan grinned and hastened his steps.

He did not realize he had stepped onto wet grass. He let out a small squeak as he almost slipped and fell. Shen Yuan shut his eyes, preparing to feel the painful impact. He slowly squinted his eyes open when he realized he wasn’t feeling anything.

“Are you okay?”

Holding him and hoisting him up to the air to prevent his fall was the Mo Shou Peak Lord, Yu Qingxuan. He was youthfully handsome, with a face that resembled a young shounen manga protagonist and slightly androgynous features. His long hair was tied up in a high ponytail with his favourite red ribbon. His clothes, unlike the other Peak Lords, was simpler and more body-fitting - no long flowy sleeves like Shen Qingqiu, no high quality silk, no particular design other than an emblem of Cang Qiong Sect and Mo Shou Peak.

“Our Little YuanYuan is so excited, huh?” Yu Qingxuan laughed and lightly slapped Shen Yuan’s tiny back. “Should Yu Shishu give you a short tour of our peak?”

“Yes please!” Shen Yuan cheered.

“Alright, stay up here little guy, some of the kids aren’t very welcoming to strangers,” Yu Qingxuan grinned and let Shen Yuan sit over his shoulders. “Off we go!” He exclaimed, with a tone awfully resembling a protagonist’s battle cry as he hopped onto his sword.

The sword morphed into a giant phoenix carrying them. Shen Yuan gasped. “A phoenix?”

“Feng Huang, my sword, has the same ability as me,” Yu Qingxuan winked. “We can shapeshift. Want to see?”

“Yes!”

They landed on the ground and Yu Qingxuan changed into a large silver wolf. The phoenix shrunk into a smaller bird and perched on top of Yu Qingxuan’s head. “How was the flight?”

Shen Yuan clapped his hands happily. “I love it, Shishu!”

Yu Qingxuan blushed a little. He grinned. “Alright, hop on my back, I’ll show you around!”

It was perhaps one of the best days in Shen Yuan's life. He would give Mo Shou Peak a ten out of ten for experience, a five star rating! Yu Qingxuan first showed him the tamer, more domesticated animals like the snow rabbits, desert goats, and tropical birds. He then proceeded to show Shen Yuan the rarer but tamed beasts, like the gold-maned lions, blue-eyed white serpents, three-headed tapirs, and silver winged unicorns. They have a unicorn here! The inner nerd in Shen Yuan's brain screamed.

"We are currently taming a Cerberus in the dungeon, but I think you're too young to see it," said Yu Qingxuan.

"I want to see it!" Shen Yuan insisted. He made a pitiful face at the Mo Shou Peak Lord.

Yu Qingxuan hummed and scratched his head. Being more of a laid-back kind of person, he shrugged and decided it probably won't be such a bad thing. This child was born and raised by the scariest strictest and strongest Peak Lords of Cang Qiong Mountain. A demon dog from hell wasn't any fiercer than Shen Qingqiu's wrath. "Alright then!"

He carried Shen Yuan to the dungeon. Shen Yuan could only marvel at the rows of untamed beasts living inside. There several senior disciples down there trying to feed the beasts while also training to tame them at the same time. All of them bowed at Yu Qingxuan, whom by now had changed back into his original human form.

The Cerberus was chained in a large caged room, furthest from other beasts with numerous protective talismans plastered all over the walls and cage. Shen Yuan gawked. It was huge! One head was snoring peacefully, one was growling, while one was glaring ferociously at Yu Qingxuan.

"He's still a baby, so you can see all three heads aren't at sync yet," Yu Qingxuan said.

"This size is a baby?!" Shen Yuan was shocked.

Yu Qingxuan laughed and patted Shen Yuan's head. "I suppose all the beasts look big to you, huh, little guy? But I assure you, this baby here is a little fat, but he still just a pup-"

The Cerberus spat at its visitors angrily.

"...."

Yu Qingxuan laughed awkwardly and wiped the saliva with a handkerchief. "He doesn't like being called fat, sorry about that. Are you okay, YuanYuan-"

Shen Yuan wiped his own face, grimacing at the stinky, disgusting saliva that was almost stinging his skin. "I'm okay. It hit me a little, but…" he paused when he saw the horrified looks in Yu Qingxuan's face.

"Shit. Shit shit shit!" Yu Qingxuan cursed. He hurriedly picked up Shen Yuan and carried him out from the dungeon.

He hopped onto his sword flying straight towards Qian Cao Peak and Shen Yuan began to have a bad feeling. "Yu Shishu?"

"The saliva of a Cerberus pup is a protective mechanism."

Uh oh.

"Core formation stage cultivators can develop immunity against it but it is venomous to normal people," Yu Qingxuan explained.

Shen Yuan promptly fainted.

 


 

He woke up smelling the scent of herbs and incense of Qian Cao Peak. Mu Qingfang smiled gently at him and patted his face with a cool wet towel. "Are you feeling okay, Yuan Shizhi?"

Shen Yuan nodded and sat up. He could see Yu Qingxuan with a teary-eyed expression sitting besidehim. "What happened?" Shen Yuan asked.

"The Cerberus's saliva got on your face. You fainted from the shock. It was quite a close call. Good thing Yu Shixiong got you here quick, but… he should have known better than to bring you to the Cerberus," Mu Qingfang sighed and gave a warning glare to Yu Qingxuan.

The Mo Shou Peak Lord shuddered. He rubbed his two hands together and begged Mu Qingfang, "Please, Mu Shidi, don't tell Shen Shixiong and Liu Shixiong. They're gonna turn me into mincemeat and toss me to the Cerberus's mom!"

Mu Qingfang clicked his tongue. "I think Shen Shixiong and Liu Shixiong should know that their son nearly had his nerve system permanently damaged because of your carelessness. This isn't the first time you've been too laid-back with your security. Take care of your pets better or Zhangmen Shixiong himself might turn you into their feeds."

Yu Qingxuan whimpered. "Can you at least not report it today?" He would have time to maybe run for his own life, at the very least…

"Nerve damage?" Shen Yuan was horrified.

Mu Qingfang, thinking Shen Yuan did not understand it, explained, "It means your body will be sick and cannot move. It barely affects those of core-formation stage or higher, and young cultivators can still flush it out…"

"Flush it out?" Shen Yuan blinked.

"Through a certain type of cultivation, but Yuan Shizhi can't possibly perform that at your age," Mu Qingfang said.

It's dual cultivation isn't it? I knew it, whenever a certain specific poison or venom is mentioned in this world, there is always a wife plot involved!

"But luckily since we got you treated early, the venom hasn't seeped into your system," said Mu Qingfang. "You may still experience minor symptoms later, so whether you like it or not, Shen Shixiong and Liu Shixiong will be informed, Yu Shixiong."

Yu Qingxuan looked as if he had lost twenty years of his life, completely different from his energetic self earlier. Shen Yuan awkwardly patted his shoulders. "It's okay, Yu Shishu. A Yuan is fine, will tell mama and papa not to get mad at you, okay?"

Yu Qingxuan cried. "A Yuan, you truly are an angel ah…"

Well, since he was already here, he might as well deliver the letter. He handed the letters to both Yu Qingxuan and Mu Qingfang. The healer offered him to stay longer but Shen Yuan refused after a sip of the herb honey tea that smelled more like medicine than honey.

Since his aim was to show his independence, he declined Yu Qingxuan's offer to fly him to the next peak and opted to walk. The Peak Lord however sent a small black moon puppy to accompany Shen Yuan to the next peak. Looking at the fluffy little puppy, Shen Yuan was reminded of Luo Binghe so he did not refuse.

His last destination, Zui Xian Peak arguably had the best food and the best drinks in all of the sect. Next to Mo Shou, it was the peak that Shen Yuan had been looking forward to visiting the most. The Zui Xian Peak Lord, Hong Qingwan was usually drunk - like 95 percent of the time but he was said to be an expert of drunk martial arts, aside from his specialty of producing good alcohol of course. Shen Yuan wondered, would his disciples all learn to cultivate while being drunk as well?

He arrived at Zui Xian Peak and was immediately struck by the smell of fruits, spices, and alcohol - all wafting in the air.

The disciples of Zui Xian were thankfully all sober. They were also all much older than disciples of other peaks, for obvious reasons being that they had to be old enough to consume alcohol. They directed Shen Yuan to the brewery, where their master was inspecting every jar of fermented grains.

Shen Yuan flinched a little when he heard the sound of a broken jar and shattering glasses. Hong Qingwan frowned and yelled, "Told you brats to watch the wine carefully! Did you let it ferment for too long?"

"Sorry, Shizun!"

"Alright, whoever did that will have to carry all the jars next week!" Hong Qingwan grunted. He finally noticed Shen Yuan's presence and laughed. "Oh, you're here! Been waiting!"

"Waiting?" Shen Yuan repeated.

Hong Qingwan coughed. "Alright, where are the good stuff? Bring out the good stuff for our A Yuan, you brats!"

The head disciple, An Lili came to them and replied in a monotone voice, "There is nothing we can serve him, Shizun."

"Ah?! What do you mean there's nothing to serve him?!"

"Everything here contains alcohol. Moreover they are spiritual alcohol, in case you can't remember," An Lili replied in a deadpan voice.

The contrast between the teacher and disciple was too amusing but Shen Yuan thought they truly worked well.

"We have to wait for dinnertime until the dining hall can also prepare some food for Yuan Shizhi," An Lili added.

Shen Yuan had spent some time touring Mo Shou Peak, fainting at Qian Cao Peak, and delivering letters to the two other peaks earlier. He could not wait for dinner since it would be sunset already by that time. Seemed like he wouldn't get the chance to savour anything from Zui Xian Peak. He handed the letter to An Lili, seeing that she appeared to be more trustworthy than Hong Qingwan. "Letter from my mama, An Jiejie."

A small smile finally appeared on An Lili's face. "I'll be sure to read and remind Shizun. Thank you, A Yuan," she said and rubbed his head.

Hm, she looked quite nice when she smiled. Maybe she was one of Luo Binghe's wife candidates. It was said that when Cang Qiong Mountain was razed to the ground, Luo Binghe did spare some other sisters to get into his harem, other than Ning Yingying and Liu Mingyan.

Now that he had safely delivered all letters, it was time to head back. It had been a long tiring day and he couldn't wait to go home, hop into a nice hot bath, and go to sleep. He was sure Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge must also be waiting for him with dinner at home. Shen Yuan popped one rock candy into his mouth and walked back home. He stopped by Mo Shou Peak to drop off the little pup, promising to come over and play again.

Aside from the little incident at Mo Shou Peak, everything went quite well and Shen Yuan was happy with his short adventure. He skipped back home feeling good about himself. Ah, it wasn’t everyday that he got to visit every peak in Cang Qiong Mountain, though he did feel like he had missed one…

“Wait!”

Shen Yuan stopped. He blinked in confusion as a group of Bai Zhan Peak disciples blocked his way. They all looked upset.

Unknown to Shen Yuan, the Bai Zhan disciples were indeed very unhappy that their peak alone was not visited. It was already unfair that Qing Jing got to see Shen Yuan everyday, even though he was also their master's son!

"We heard you went to visit every peak!"

"Aren't you going to stop by ours?"

"It's unfair that even Ku Xing and Zui Xian disciples get to play with Shizun's child but we don't!"

You people are too rowdy! Inner Shen Yuan yelled back. Not only Liu Qingge only came once in a while to 'teach' them, he also never appointed any head disciple so the disciples were all undisciplined. Shen Yuan wouldn't mind stopping by if only Liu Qingge was also there. It wasn’t like he had never stepped on Bai Zhan’s training grounds before, he had been there on several occasions so he could not understand why the disciples were screaming injustice - why was having him around so important anyway?!

Annyway, today he wasn't really visiting, he was just delivering letters, and Liu Qingge did not need any letter since he lived together with Shen Qingqiu. Moreover it was close to sunset and he still had another bridge to cross to get to Qing Jing Peak. If he stopped by Bai Zhan he wouldn't make it back on time.

"Maybe next time," he declined politely.

 The Bai Zhan disciples were disappointed. They did not want to give up. "We've got snacks!"

"I brought back a Black Python Boar to roast for you!"

"I brought back a rare Moon Bear as a gift!"

One of the disciples had grabbed Shen Yuan's arm, intending to carry him. Before he could even lift Shen Yuan, a blast of spiritual energy shot out towards the group and they immediately jumped away to evade them.

 Shen Yuan was surprised to see Liu Mingyan appear. "Aunt Mingyan!"

 Liu Mingyan smiled at Shen Yuan and scooped him up. "A Yuan, let me take you back home," she said before giving a warning glare at the disciples.

The Bai Zhan disciples all shuddered, knowing they would be turned into mincemeat by their Shizun once his sister reported everything. They all scurried away and Shen Yuan returned home with Liu Mingyan.

Shen Qingqiu had already been waiting at the doorsteps. Needless to say, even a stranger could see he had been worried. The moment he saw Shen Yuan relief replaced the anxiety in his face.

Shen Yuan came running to his mother in full enthusiasm. “Mama!” He said as he went to cling to Shen Qingqiu’s thighs. “I delivered all the letters!”

Shen Qingqiu rubbed his head. “Good job, A Yuan. Did you run into trouble?”

“No?” Shen Yuan said.

Liu Mingyan cleared her throat. “I’ll talk to you later, brother-in-law. Anyway, A Yuan did an excellent job.”

Shen Qingqiu hummed. He pinched his son’s cheek lightly. “I’m going to ask your aunt later. Not a full mark, but you’ll get a passing mark. Your papa and I will talk, and we’ll consider letting you go out to town with your martial uncles or aunt.”

“Yayy!” Shen Yuan cheered and once again clung to his mother. So Liu Mingyan had been following him all day long? Oh well, he supposed he should not be too surprised. He already had the suspicion that Liu Qingge and Shen Qingqiu had planned everything. No wonder Yue Qingyuan had all that feast prepared, and all the other Peak Lords acted like they had been expecting his visit.

They did a terrible job of acting, but that was fine. Shen Yuan had his fun, and now he was just content to be back with his family.

 


 

"A Yuan was excellent. He only looked at the map once and memorized the routes," Liu Mingyan reported after Shen Yuan was asleep.

"I've already noticed that he has a very good memory. He memorizes everything I taught him only once," Shen Qingqiu admitted. "So which peak did he go to first?"

"He started from Qiong Ding Peak, then Wan Jian Peak, then An Ding Peak…" Liu Mingyan said, recalling everything Shen Yuan did that day.

Shen Qingqiu frowned. He looked back at the map he gave to Shen Yuan. Liu Qingge noticed the odd expression he had. "Is there anything wrong?"

 "... The orders. He went to each peak according to the orders of seniority," Shen Qingqiu said.

Liu Qingge blinked. "So?"

"Qingge, I would expect the child to start from the nearest peak or perhaps ones he is more familiar with," Shen Qingqiu said. "Our peaks are scattered and not positioned according to our ranks. I never taught him about the orders of the peak or the seniority. How did he know to start from Qiong Ding and to end at Zui Xian?"

After all, the seniority of each peak was determined by their predecessors while the location of the peaks was allocated according to geographical suitability. Qian Cao Peak required a place with the right soil and temperature to grow medicinal herbs, Wan Jian Peak was located right where the swords were forged, and Mo Shou Peak was built in a location where spiritual beasts would be able to live and be trained.

Liu Qingge froze. He did not think about that before.

"Coincidence?" Liu Mingyan suggested.

"We always refer to Zhangmen Shixiong with his title. A Yuan is smart, perhaps he caught on to that and thus went to Qiong Ding Peak first," Liu Qingge suggested.

Too smart , Shen Qingqiu thought. A child of Shen Yuan's age, no matter how good at memorization, should not understand things like seniority, let alone following such rules. 

"Zhangmen Shixiong could have been telling him which peak to go to next. We can ask them later. For now, aren't you glad that he's able to perform his task wonderfully?" Liu Qingge said.

Shen Qingqiu hummed. He decided to put the matters to rest for now. He was indeed proud of his A Yuan.

“I have something more important to report, brother, brother-in-law,” Liu Mingyan did not forget to add. “Earlier at Mo Shou Peak, A Yuan was hit by the venom of one of the beasts when Yu Shishu showed him around. Thankfully he was brought over to Qian Cao Peak for immediate treatment, but according to Mu Shishu it could have resulted in permanent nerve damage.”

“...”

Liu Qingge grabbed Cheng Luan while Shen Qingqiu picked up Xiu Ya. “Look after A Yuan for a while, Mingyan.”

That night, a terrifying scream could be heard from Mo Shou Peak.

Chapter Text

It was a living hell.

Luo Binghe opened his eyes. He gritted his teeth and struggled to sit up after what felt like a lifelong repetition of his nightmares. The voices inside his head called to him, taunting him with all the mockery, humiliation, and suffering he went through in his childhood. He was brought back to the days when he fruitlessly crawled and begged for food for his sick mother. He was reminded of the days when he was beaten up, the day when he had tea poured over his head.

Amidst the nightmare, however, he could see Shen Yuan's happy smile whenever he brought over food. He could hear his sweet, innocent laughter. He remembered his Shizun's warm hands scrubbing his dirty body, holding his own while sleeping, then carefully braiding his hair and combing it.

It was almost as if all of the hardships he went through before that didn't matter anymore, just as long as he could see Shizun and A Yuan again. Luo Binghe pulled out the blade from the heart of the demon's corpse. If it won't obey, he would make it obey.

Xin Mo in hand, he finally escaped the Endless Abyss. 

Awaiting him would be the Demon Realm. His journey had yet to end, but Luo Binghe would do anything just to go home, back to A Yuan and Shizun, back to everyone.

As he searched for a spring to wash himself and his clothes, he pondered to himself. According to the demons in the abyss and the elder Dream Demon, surviving the abyss could be said to be one of the rites of passage for young demons into adulthood.

…. It couldn't be that Mobei Jun dragged him there as part of a bridal training, right? If so, would exiting the abyss and coming after him be like accepting his marriage proposal? Luo Binghe didn't want to get married, especially not to a demon and not to Mobei Jun! He desired to have a lovely marriage life like his Shizun! If Mobei Jun thought dumping someone into a hellhole was a way to propose to someone, then Luo Binghe did not want to imagine what he would do to his spouse after marriage.

He went to search for Mobei Jun to pay him back for all the suffering he went through.

 


 

Shen Qingqiu did not expect to receive a visit from Shang Qinghua. As much as Shen Yuan seemed to be fond of Shang Qinghua, the An Ding Peak Lord, unlike Yue Qingyuan or Qi Qingqi did not make it a habit to regularly visit Qing Jing Peak just to see his son. If he was there, it was usually for business.

"Shang Shishu!" Shen Yuan already ran over to the door and greeted Shang Qinghua cheerfully. "Are you here to play with A Yuan?"

Oh well, since Shen Yuan was already this excited, Shen Qingqiu couldn't really decline his visit without upsetting his child. He let Shang Qinghua in and intended to go back to his work but Shang Qinghua suddenly began a conversation with him.

"I heard Yuan Shizhi did well on his errand the other day, though there was a little mishap?" Shang Qinghua asked.

Shen Qingqiu poured a cup of tea for him, since he was concerned enough to ask about his child. "Where did you hear that?"

"Yu Shidi came to look for a hiding place at my peak," Shang Qinghua said dryly. "It seems like the story has already reached Zhangmen Shixiong. He told me to cut the fund for Mo Shou Peak, until Yu Shidi learns to take care of his pets better."

"A warning long overdue," Shen Qingqiu clicked his tongue. Shang Qinghua probably felt a little insulted that Yu Qingxuan came to hide at An Ding Peak, since that showed how much he disregarded his senior brother and thought Shang Qinghua would be too cowardly to beat him up.

Shang Qinghua coughed. "Anyway, I'm sure you must be proud of your son. He's all grown up now, isn't he?"

Shen Qingqiu nodded. "He is a very bright young child."

"... Say, Shen Shixiong, if you need my disciples to do some house extension, you might want to start early," Shang Qinghua hinted.

Shen Qingqiu frowned. "House extension?"

"I mean, this place is going to be a little too cramped for when Yuan Shizhi grows, right? It's going to be his fifth birthday soon, aren't you going to let him have his own room?"

"Why should I?" Shen Qingqiu suddenly snapped. A Yuan clung to him all the time. He carried his baby for nine months, fed him milk from his own body, never parted with him for more than a couple of days. A Yuan always wanted to stay with him, wouldn't it be ridiculous to part with his child? What if some demons were to come and try to kidnap his child again?

Shang Qinghua paled a little. "Uh… he… but you know he can't stay in that small bed inside your room forever. He's a growing boy, he needs more space, and well… don't you and Liu Shidi also need your own private time?"

Shen Qingqiu angrily snapped his fan shut. "Get out," he hissed.

Shang Qinghua squeaked and scrambled away. He mouthed something to Shen Yuan before hastily leaving.

Shen Qingqiu huffed. How dare an outsider make comments about his married life and his family? Martial brother or not, Shang Qinghua had no right to tell him what to do.

He went back to his work, not noticing the tiny eye roll from the tiny version of himself.

 


 

Shang Qinghua returned to his peak feeling like ten years had just been taken away from his life. Dealing with Shen Qingqiu was just too scary ah! The man had softened up because of his son for the past years but he didn't exactly lose his edge with other people. Sorry Cucumber Bro, but I can't help you with this one. You're going to have to figure out how to deal with your overly attached mother. Who asks you to act like a clingy little baby anyway, you fraud black powder fan?

Two days of continuous torment and near heart attack all because of you, Cucumber Bro, Shang Qinghua thought as he entered his room and sat by his bed. A cold hand grabbed his wrist and Shang Qinghua tumbled into the bed.

Despite his injuries, Mobei Jun was still ten times stronger than Shang Qinghua was. Though, it didn't matter even if he was weakened to the brink of death because Shang Qinghua wouldn't try to do something to an injured man, especially not Mobei Jun.

He wasn't sure how Mobei Jun got injured. The ice demon just suddenly stumbled into his room two days ago a bloodied mess. Around the same time the Mo Shou Peak Lord came to hide at his place after nearly being torn to shreds by Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge. Shang Qinghua nearly had a heart attack, fearing that the man might find the demon buried underneath his blanket. He managed to shoo Yu Qingxuan away by threatening to reveal the little incident to all of their martial siblings. Qi Qingqi would definitely grill him on an open fire and feed him to the dogs after Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge were done turning him into mincemeat.

Now Mobei Jun seemed to be recovering well, though not fast enough for him to return to the Demon Realm. Shang Qinghua wanted to get up and change his bandages but the demon clung to him, refusing to let him go.

"My… my King…" Shang Qinghua's voice was half muffled as his lips were smushed against Mobei Jun's bare chest. His face was completely red. "You have to let me go, I need to tend to your wounds."

Mobei Jun only tightened his hold. His eyebrows furrowed a little from pain but aside from a small grunt, there was no other indication of pain. Unsure what to do, Shang Qinghua dared himself to pat and rub soothing circles on Mobei Jun's back. It seemed to work well as his body relaxed a little.

Then Shang Qinghua heard a small purr and smelled Mobei Jun's arousal in the air. He became more worried. He wondered if Mobei Jun was losing control of his scents and pheromones because of the injury. Shang Qinghua had heard cases of omegas who had to be confined to their homes because of a certain abnormality in their glands that caused them to release pheromones all the time.

"My King, should I get some medicine - oomph!" His attempt to get up was once again stopped by a pair of toned arms. Shang Qinghua tried wiggling his body and turning around but Mobei Jun refused to let go. Shang Qinghua shuddered as his back was now plastered against Mobei Jun's chest. The demon buried his face against the nape of his neck and Shang Qinghua thought his skin must look like a cooked octopus now, with how close the demon was hugging him.

He ought to get a bolster soon. Mobei Jun looked like he could use one.

Shang Qinghua resigned to fate and lied there like a salted fish. He almost jumped, however, when he felt something poking his ass.

Fuck, what was this hard pole? Shang Qinghua stretched his arm to reach for it and was a little stunned when his fingers came in contact with a cold damp fabric. Did someone sneak a popsicle into his bedsheet-

Mobei Jun abruptly let out a short grunt and squeezed Shang Qinghua even tighter, causing the hard pole to poke into the cleft of his butt and slipped between his legs.

Shang Qinghua froze as he realized that the pole was in fact, Mobei Jun's clothed arousal. Shit, he really was losing control, to even have a boner! 

Shang Qinghua pulled his hand away back but it was too late. For some reason unknown to the An Ding Peak Lord, it seemed like he had triggered the beginning of Mobei Jun's rut. The demon lord began moving his hips and Shang Qinghua had never felt so scandalised. Even through layers of clothes, he could feel the hardness slipping in and out between his legs, awakening his own arousal.

He muffled his moans with his sleeves. However, Mobei Jun grabbed his wrists and Shang Qinghua gasped. "My King! I can't…"

"Let me hear your voice, Shang Qinghua," Mobei Jun breathed in his ear and Shang Qinghua's mini airplane was flying up.

Mobei Jun’s tongue was licking his nape and the sensation sent a jolt of electricity through his body. He let out another breathless pant and unconsciously arched his body. Mobei Jun’s fingers lingered around his pelvic area, almost as if seeking permission to touch. His teeth grazed against Shang Qinghua’s exposed neck.

As much as he'd like to restrain himself, Shang Qinghua could not help the gasps that escaped him as precum began leaking out of his manhood. The author rarely had the chance to relieve himself due to his schedule and he had been spending the past two days taking care of Mobei Jun. His hand automatically went inside his pants and cupped on his own arousal.

With one final growl, Mobei Jun finally relieved himself. His arms around Shang Qinghua loosened. Shang Qinghua trembled with shame as his own pants were soiled with his bodily fluid. While his mind was momentarily blanked out, thinking of ‘ what the fuck did I just do ’, Mobei Jun’s teeth suddenly sank into his nape and Shang Qinghua screeched ingloriously before leaping out of bed like a terrified hamster.

Mobei Jun was immediately alarmed. "Qinghua?"

"But… my King… just…" Shang Qinghua began to sob. You were trying to eat me ah! You were the one enticing me, you can’t punish me for getting aroused! I didn’t complain (maybe a little) when you made me your unpaid secretary, I also kept quiet (maybe not really) when you used my bed to jerk off . “You… you can’t do this to me…”

Mobei Jun looked puzzled, before he finally pushed away the blanket and fixed his messy robes. “This Mobei went too far. I will reflect. I should have better control. Qinghua is not ready.”

Who the hell would be ready to get their flesh torn apart alive ah? You’re right that you should reflect, I essentially helped you to relieve yourself, and you tried to chomp on me! Shang Qinghua blinked when Mobei Jun staggered away from bed. “My King, where are you going?”

“Back to the palace.”

“You’re still injured!” Shang Qinghua exclaimed. “Also, you... uhm, moved, so the wounds might have reopened…”

“I made Qinghua angry,” Mobei Jun uttered.

Since when have you been this considerate? My King, I already adore you so much - you’re my favourite character, do you want to make me fall hard for you? “Not angry, not angry! How could I be angry at you? Lie down my King, this humble servant is just going to clean up a little and come back with more medicine, okay?”

Mobei Jun stared at him. “You’re not angry?”

“No, not angry! Now stay still there, okay?” Shang Qinghua said and slowly pushed Mobei Jun back to bed.

He scurried away as quickly and as discreetly as possible. As soon as he had locked himself in the bathroom, Shang Qinghua took off his garments and grimaced. He did not realize it earlier until he had gotten up, but he must have shat himself, since his rear was also wet. That was so humiliating! Good thing there wasn’t any smell yet.

He took off his pants and looked for traces of his shame. The unspeakable sticky fluid was there but Shang Qinghua could not find signs of accidental defecation. He frowned. He reached for his butthole with his fingers and felt something wet and slick. Looking back at his fingers, whatever came out of his ass did not look like shit.

Then what the hell was this thing? Or did he ejaculate so much that the fluid dripped down to his ass crack?

… Eh, maybe.

Shang Qinghua cleaned himself and changed into fresh clean robes before going back to fetch some medicine.

 


 

Liu Qingge tiptoed into the bamboo house quietly while wiping his hair. He initially did not have any plan to go out, but after his first errand, Shen Yuan kept talking about the black moon puppy that Mo Shou Peak had, saying how cute it was and how much it reminded him of his Bing Gege. Ning Yingying, upon hearing that, suggested that they should get a puppy for A Yuan and surprise him with it. His disciples from Bai Zhan offered to help build a doghouse to also please Shen Yuan. 

And so, Liu Qingge set out to look for a black moon puppy. He found an orphaned black moon pup, whose mother was killed by a demon fanged gorilla. After wrestling the gorilla, he retrieved the injured puppy and sent it to Qian Cao Peak before returning home. He took a long bath, scrubbing himself from all the dirt and smell of the gorilla. Shen Qingqiu was a very clean person and absolutely hated having dirt in their home, let alone bed.

He found Shen Qingqiu asleep on his favourite chaise. It was quite late at night, he must have been tired, yet still waited for him to come home. Liu Qingge’s heart warmed. He watched Shen Qingqiu’s chest rising up and down with every breath. Even in his sleep, his husband was the perfect image of a lofty immortal - so breathtakingly beautiful, elegant, and alluring. He carefully lifted Shen Qingqiu and carried him to bed. Shen Qingqiu however woke up while Liu Qingge was in the middle of taking off his outer robes.

“You’re finally home,” Shen Qingqiu grumbled.

“I got the puppy,” Liu Qingge said and pecked his forehead.

Shen Qingqiu hummed and wrapped his arms around Liu Qingge’s neck, pulling him in for a kiss. “Good job.”

Liu Qingge deepened the kiss. “Do I get a reward?”

Things escalated after that.

When Liu Qingge woke up the following morning, the sun was just about to rise. Shen Qingqiu, on the rare occasion, was still asleep. He pulled his husband into a tight embrace sleepily, before realizing that Shen Qingqiu was devoid of any clothes. He was too tired after rolling around the sheets several times that he went to sleep without putting clothes back on. His spouse let out a sleepy hum before turning and Liu Qingge’s gaze fell on the smooth, naked round mounds. Remembering last night’s ‘workout’ made a heat pool in his groin. Liu Qingge looked back at his now hard member, then looked again at the inviting curves.

Shen Qingqiu woke up to feeling wet sloppy kisses all over his back, hands pinching his nipples and fondling his manhood, as well as what was unmistakably his husband’s pillar rubbing against his butt. Not the way he expected to wake up, but not a bad way. It was still the first time he was awakened to this, though and while Shen Qingqiu was flattered that his husband thought he was still so alluring even in his sleep, he was a little taken aback since they had just done it the night before. “Qingge, what are you doing?”

Liu Qingge stopped moving. “You’re awake?”

“You can’t expect me to stay asleep when you’re like this. How are you not wrung out dry yet?”

“... Do you want me to stop?”

After doing a thorough foreplay like this and arousing Shen Qingqiu back? “Just one time, and don’t be loud.”

Liu Qingge licked his lips and flipped Shen Qingqiu to make him lay on his back. He kissed his lips hungrily, swirling the inside of his mouth with his tongue and sucking his lower lip. “We have a silencing talisman anyway, why are you worried about noise?”

He slipped his hard pillar into the still soft chrysanthemum smoothly in one go. Shen Qingqiu wrapped his legs around his waist and gasped a little when he felt his husband hitting the deepest part inside him. He pulled Liu Qingge closer and bit on his shoulder to muffle the screams of pleasure with each powerful thrust into his body. Liu Qingge devoured him like a starved man, Shen Qingqiu almost could not believe it.

“H… husband…” he moaned.

“Husband,” Liu Qingge called back and bit his jaw lightly, tracing his lips all over from his jawline to his neck and chest. His hips did not stop moving and he kept pounding into Shen Qingqiu nonstop without losing any of his eagerness. 

When Shen Qingqiu felt like his legs had been turned into jelly, Liu Qingge flipped his body again. He lied on his tummy and the pillar that only briefly left him pushed into his reddened chrysanthemum again. It went in smoothly with all the fluid being secreted lubricating the movements. The strong smell of his alpha’s pheromones aroused Shen Qingqiu despite his fatigue. Liu Qingge slipped in and out of him in gentle movements at first, then thrusted with full vigor, causing him to release uncontrollable loud moans.

An insatiable beast, he thought, wondering how Liu Qingge could have this much stamina this early in the morning, right after waking up from their long rounds the night before. Hopefully it would be over soon, he had to get up and prepare breakfast for Shen Yuan. Shen Yuan should be waking up soon-

“Mama?”

The couple froze. 

Shen Yuan stood in front of their bed, only several feet away, rubbing his eyes. “Mama, I’m hungry…” He paused and blinked. He looked at his parents with wide eyes.

For a whole five seconds nobody moved. Shen Qingqiu was too shocked to even breathe. His A Yuan overslept more often than not, why did he choose today of all days to wake up early? Why did Liu Qingge choose today of all days to get extra horny and have a morning sex? Why did he choose to indulge his husband?

Shang Qinghua’s words rang in his head.

“What are you doing, mama, papa?” Shen Yuan asked, looking at them with wide, innocent eyes. “Why aren’t you wearing any clothes?”

“We…” Liu Qingge stuttered. His face was completely red from the embarrassment and shock of being caught by his own child.

“M… m-massaging. Your papa is massaging me. That’s why we’re not wearing clothes, the massage oil will get everywhere,” Shen Qingqiu hurriedly uttered in panic.

“Right… right,” Liu Qingge added while pulling the blanket over to cover the lower part of their bodies that were connected.

Fortunately Shen Yuan seemed to accept the explanation. “Oh… okay. If mama is feeling sick, I’ll go with Ning Jiejie to get breakfast,” he said and walked away.

The two married men exhaled with relief.

“... Liu Qingge.”

“...”

“I think it’s time to get A Yuan his own room.”

 


 

“Surprise, A Yuan!”

Shen Yuan beamed happily as Liu Qingge handed him the fluffy black puppy. It had a little red crescent mark on its forehead, pink plump paw pads, and bright round eyes that very much reminded him of a white lotus Luo Binghe. He might have underhandedly hinted about how much he liked the puppy from Mo Shou Peak but he did not expect Liu Qingge to actually get him a puppy.

All the peak lords and several disciples from Bai Zhan and Qing Jing were gathered to celebrate his birthday. The Bai Zhan disciples even brought over the little dog house they had been secretly building. They left the nameplate empty for him to write the puppy’s name on.

“It’s so cute!” Shen Yuan exclaimed and rubbed the puppy’s head. “Thank you, papa!”

“What are you going to name it?” Liu Qingge asked.

Shen Yuan giggled. “It looks like Bing Gege, so I’m going to name it Bingpup!”

“Just make sure you are careful with it, A Yuan. Bingpup was injured and just got treated. Don’t hesitate to ask your parents, or any of your martial uncles and aunt if you need help with it,” Mu Qingfang smiled.

Shen Yuan nodded.

Shen Qingqiu cleared his throat a little. “We also have another surprise for you, A Yuan. Since you’re going to have more stuff, your Shang Shishu is going to build a room and a bigger bed for you. Isn’t that great?”

Shen Yuan’s eyes brightened even more. “I get a bigger bed and a room?”

“Of course. A Yuan, you’re a growing boy after all.”

Shen Yuan smiled.

What a way to hide that you screwed up, you two horny people. Papapa at night wasn’t enough, you had to continue in the morning too?!

Hearing it was another thing. Seeing his parents entangled like that was an image he wished he could burn from his memories. Shen Yuan remembered wishing he could poke his own eyes when he first caught Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge in the act. Massage, what massage? Does a massage include sticking your dick inside someone’s ass, ah? 

At least now he got his own room and a puppy too, so Shen Yuan would forgive his parents for unintentionally traumatizing him again.

“Geez, making me build a room after chasing me out the day before…” Shang Qinghua whined while standing away from the crowd at a corner.

Shen Yuan noticed something when he saw the An Ding Peak Lord scratching his neck. He gasped and tiptoed to Shang Qinghua, then whispered to him, “Airplane Bro, since when did you get bonded?”

Shang Qinghua blinked and looked at him, puzzled. “Bonded?”

Shen Yuan pointed at his neck. “You got a bite mark.”

Shang Qinghua’s face turned pale a little and he raised his robes a little to cover his neck more. “I offended my King the other day when he was… err, injured. His hands were occupied, so he bit me in retaliation.”

“... Retaliation?”

“Ah, no worries, Cucumber Bro. He was very injured and wasn’t stable, to the point of leaking out pheromones. He’s in a better mood now.”

“...”

“Is it still not gone? I can’t see it... I swear he must have wanted to tear my flesh off, the bite was so strong,” Shang Qinghua muttered.

Someone bit you on the nape while leaking pheromones and you don’t realize what it means. Seemed like despite being a side character, Airplane Bro’s IQ was not that different than the protagonist’s harem.

 


 

AN: I couldn't put this in the end note, but here's SQH:

Shang Qinghua

Chapter Text

“Bingpup, sit!”

The puppy wagged his tail excitedly but continued circling around Shen Yuan without heeding his instruction.

“Bingpup, sit!”

The fluffy black puppy looked at Shen Yuan pitifully and tugged the hem of his robes with his mouth. Shen Yuan sighed. It had only been a week since he received Bingpup from his parents. He had no idea training a dog would be this difficult. Because of his poor health in his past life, his previous family never had any pets, and Shen Yuan was never allowed to go and visit any of his friends who were living with pets at home. The only pets he was ever allowed to get close to was his cousin’s fishes, and carps in ponds didn’t really do anything other than swimming and eating.

Now that he was no longer allergic to fur and had a better immune system, he was finally able to raise a cute little puppy. Unfortunately, he had no idea how to start training this puppy, and there were no YouTube videos or websites to teach him. Bingpup was very good - he was very sweet and so far aside from that one time where he pooped on Shen Yuan’s favourite pillow, he had not caused any trouble. The problem was that he would not sit, stay, or do anything as instructed. He kept following Shen Yuan and clinging to him all the time.

The best thing to do would be to utilize the expertise of Cang Qiong Mountain Sect’s Mo Shou Peak, which specialized in taming and training various kinds of beasts or spiritual animals, including the black moon dogs. Unfortunately the Peak Lord of said peak had been blacklisted by Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge, and the man himself would not dare to step a foot into Qing Jing Peak or anywhere near Shen Yuan, knowing the Xiu Ya Sword and Bai Zhan War God were out for his blood.

He decided to look for Shang Qinghua to ask if the man had any advice. He did not want to disturb other Peak Lords - Yue Qingyuan as the Sect Leader would definitely be busy with his work, Qi Qingqi would never let him leave Xian Shu Peak once he arrived, and he could never go and disturb Mu Qingfang when the man was one of the busiest Peak Lords in Cang Qiong Mountain, with all the roughened up disciples to treat and more medical research to complete.

Conveniently, since there were An Ding disciples over at Qing Jing Peak for the house extension, he did not have to get Ming Fan or Ning Yingying to come with him to An Ding Peak. Shen Qingqiu gave him the permission to follow one of the An Ding disciples back. Shen Yuan carried Bingpup in his arms all the way to meet his fellow transmigrator. The An Ding disciple excused himself to run other errands after accompanying Shen Yuan to Shang Qinghua’s home.

He knocked on the door. “Shang Shishu? Are you around?”

There was no answer. Shen Yuan knocked again. “Shang Shishu?”

He figured the author might either be napping or too busy doing something else. Shen Yuan pushed the door open, unsurprised to find it unlocked. The inside was messy, though not as messy as usual. Seemed like Shang Qinghua had tidied the place a little. Shen Yuan put down Bingpup and climbed up the desk to see what Shang Qinghua had been doing. There were only sect-related documents stacked up on the desk, with a dried up brush and a block of ink. He must have left his work halfway to attend to something else and probably forgot about it.

For all the obliviousness and idiocy he had displayed, it turned out Shang Qinghua wasn’t entirely brainless. Shen Yuan examined the accounts and found all the calculations correct and detailed. He worked hard and was good in his job, to say the least. This was probably one of the reasons why Shang Qinghua was able to attain the position of An Ding Peak Lord despite his cowardice and lower cultivation. That, and the one checking all the documents every year was Shen Qingqiu, so Shang Qinghua would rather not listen to Shen Qingqiu spitting out criticisms like Eminem spitting out his verses.

A creaking sound nearly got him startled. Shen Yuan glanced at the door to Shang Qinghua's bedroom, where the sound came from. "... Airplane Bro?"

He jumped down and slowly walked towards the door, Bingpup trotting behind him. Shen Yuan carefully pushed the door open.

An Adonis-like figure with a handsome face that reminded Shen Yuan of popular Hong Kong movie stars looked back at him. The man was lounging in Shang Qinghua's messy bed casually dressed in loose robes. He was holding a copy of the infamous Tale of Ice King and Winter Bride: Volume Nine in his hands.

Shen Yuan blinked. 

Fuck. 

There were no other men who could have lied in Shang Qinghua's bed leisurely other than the ruler of the Northern region of the Demon Realm, Mobei Jun. Also known as Luo Binghe's future subordinate and currently Airplane Bro's mate (albeit the latter had no idea about that yet).

Airplane Bro, I thought you were a coward, just how much bravery do you have to even keep your man - who happens to be a demon, moreover one of the demons involved in the Immortal Alliance Conference - here, in your bed, without any security and while you were gone?! What if it had been Yue Qingyuan or Shen Qingqiu coming over to your place instead of me?! Do you want to seek an early death ah?

Attempting to be sweet likely won't work with the ice king Mobei Jun but Shen Yuan figured feigning innocence was more likely to save his own ass rather than confronting the demon. Mobei Jun was described as someone cold, but he wasn't a bloodthirsty demon who would attack any random person at sight. He tilted his head and pretended to be confused. "You're not Shang Shishu. Where is Shang Shishu?"

Mobei Jun put down the book he had been reading and sat up. His icy cold eyes looked at Shen Yuan with indifference. "You're looking for Shang Qinghua," he stated.

"I want to show Shang Shishu my puppy. Shang Shishu is smart, A Yuan wants him to teach me how to raise a puppy," said Shen Yuan. Maybe flattering the alpha's mate would get him to feel more relaxed.

Mobei Jun's eyes fell on the little black moon puppy, that was growling at him fiercely. The puppy already seemed protective of his master. Unfortunately due to its size it was not at all intimidating, especially against a demon lord like Mobei Jun.

Mobei Jun sneered at the puppy.

Bingpup, who could sense that he was being looked down at, felt upset and even angrier. He puffed up his fluffy fur to make himself look bigger and scarier. He stood in front of Shen Yuan protectively and barked. "Arff!"

Shen Yuan, fearing that the demon lord might react negatively, quickly snatched Bingpup into his arms. "Silly Bingpup, why are you barking?"

"Grrr….." Bingpup refused to back down.

Mobei Jun remained unperturbed. “Black moon dogs cannot be tamed by normal means. They are docile, but they will not follow specific orders unless you form a pact with them,” he stated.

“Ah?” Shen Yuan was stunned. Was Mobei Jun giving him advice? Shen Yuan never thought the demon would be this… sociable. Maybe flattering Airplane Bro really did work. He smiled. “You’re very knowledgeable, you must be Shang Shishu’s mate!”

Mobei Jun looked pointedly at him. His lips parted but he remained silent for a moment, before finally asking, “Did Qinghua speak about me?”

It was logical that Mobei Jun would never expect Shang Qinghua to talk about him. He was a demon and Shang Qinghua was essentially betraying his sect by harboring a demon in his room. 

“My mama and papa say only mates can lie in each other’s bed,” Shen Yuan said.

Mobei Jun nodded approvingly and Shen Yuan knew he was doing something right. “Did Qinghua say anything else? Does he speak of what he likes?”

Shen Yuan ponders about it. Blatant lies would be discovered by Mobei Jun immediately. Nah, he could just let nature run its course and Shang Qinghua would eventually screw himself even if Shen Yuan didn’t do anything. “Big house, expensive things, and good food.”

Mobei Jun looked proud of himself. “This Mobei Jun can give him all of that.” He paused, then showed the book he was holding earlier to Shen Yuan. “Does Qinghua like things like this?”

Do you not have any common sense? What makes you think showing that book to a child is okay ah? Shen Yuan forced an innocent smile. “A Yuan can’t read that book, but Shang Shishu wouldn’t keep things he doesn’t like.”

Mobei Jun again looked satisfied enough with his answer. Shen Yuan now was even more confused why the demon was reading that book. He could see that Mobei Jun was genuinely attracted to Shang Qinghua and it did not look like he was planning to start a big harem like the protagonist - especially not one that has the protagonist as the harem member. Yet, why was he reading a fictional smut about himself and Luo Binghe?!

Maybe he was just intrigued , Shen Yuan decided. He asked, “How can I make Bingpup listen to me?”

“Tame with spiritual powers,” Mobei Jun answered.

That meant he needed to learn how to use spiritual energy before he could actually learn to tame Bingpup. When would that be? Shen Yuan’s eyes suddenly brightened up. But hey, wouldn’t that mean he would have an excuse to ask his parents to teach him how to cultivate much earlier?

“You like the puppy,” Mobei Jun suddenly said.

Unsure how to respond, Shen Yuan simply nodded. “I like puppies. They’re cute.”

“Would Qinghua also like a puppy?”

Does he intend to give him a puppy? You’re only courting disaster, Mobei Jun! That quack of an author can’t even grow some seeds to save his life, he’s definitely the type to kill even a cactus! “... He can’t even take care of himself,” Shen Yuan accidentally blurted out.

“....”

Shen Yuan’s heart dropped when he realized he may have just voiced his thought out loud for Mobei Jun to hear. Shit, all the buttering up he had done would be to waste if he couldn’t salvage this!

Fortunately, Shang Qinghua came at the right time to his rescue. He entered the room, and dropped the scrolls in his hand the moment he saw the situation right in front of his eyes.

“Aa - aaa - ahhh!!! M - my - my King! Has this child offended you? I apologize, he’s just a clueless little child!” Shang Qinghua wailed and quickly picked up Shen Yuan.

Bingpup, who sensed the change in his master’s expression and did not like to be lifted so suddenly by a stranger growled angrily and bit Shang Qinghua’s hand. Shang Qinghua yelped and Shen Yuan gasped. “Bingpup, no!” How could you bite the imperial consort when the ice emperor is watching?!

“Grrrr….” Bingpup continued displaying his hostility to Shang Qinghua. Mobei Jun, seeing blood dripping from his partner’s hand immediately sent a death glare towards the puppy. The temperature in the room dropped down.

Mobei Jun raised his hand with the intention to obliterate the little demon that dared harm his beloved. Shen Yuan sensing the danger however quickly exclaimed, “Oh no, Shang Shishu, you hurt your hand! You have to kiss it better!”

Shang Qinghua spluttered. “What kiss it better-”

“Mama says any wound will get better if you kiss it. When mama gets injured, papa will kiss it and it gets better,” Shen Yuan said.

As if someone like Shen Qingqiu would say something like that. Shang Qinghua was wondering what game Shen Yuan was playing, when Mobei Jun suddenly grabbed his wrist, and licked the wound.

The An Ding Peak Lord stood there, frozen as Mobei Jun pressed his cold lips against the bite mark and ran his tongue across it. The tingly cold sensation numbed the pain, but more than that, it completely drained Shang Qinghua’s brain of any capability to think. For a moment he stood there unblinking, unable to breathe, unable to process whatever the demon lord was doing to him. Mobei Jun lapped on the wound until the bleeding had stopped and licked his lips.

“Does it still hurt, Qinghua?”

“... It… doesn’t…” Shang Qinghua mumbled, half-dazed.

While Shang Qinghua stood there like the oblivious idiot in love that he was, Shen Yuan escaped the scene, sneakily carrying Bingpup in his arms.

Mobei Jun stole one last glance of the mysterious child. What a smart, yet odd child. 

 


 

So, he couldn't exactly tell Shen Qingqiu that he discovered the secret to taming a black moon pup from a demon lord. Shen Yuan however managed to find a chapter on black moon dogs from one of the books Shang Qinghua had given to him as a present before. With the vocabularies and characters Shen Qingqiu had taught him he shouldn't be able to read them yet, but he could have someone read it to him.

Knowing Shen Qingqiu and how strict he was, Shen Yuan decided to ask his father instead. Luckily it was the day Liu Qingge would be at Bai Zhan Peak teaching (beating up) his disciples, so he didn't have to worry about Shen Qingqiu fussing over what he read or what he was learning.

He came to Bai Zhan Peak, right in time when Liu Qingge was just done turning the last of the disciples into pancakes. Bingpup followed behind him as Shen Yuan ran towards his father. "Papa!"

Liu Qingge was pleasantly surprised by his son. He scooped up his child, who came to hug his thighs. "A Yuan. What are you doing here? Does your mama know you're here?"

Shen Yuan nodded. He showed the book to Liu Qingge. "Papa, I want to learn about Bingpup. Can you read this part for me?" He asked.

Liu Qingge's already warmed heart fluttered. Shen Yuan rarely asked him to read him stories, since Liu Qingge wasn't the best story teller, nor did he know as much literature as his mate. He dismissed the Bai Zhan disciples while he sat down on the grassy field to read the pages pointed by Shen Yuan. Bingpup sat loyally by the side, wagging his short fluffy tail.

It was short and near the end of the page but luckily there was indeed a passage indicating that a spiritual pact needed to be formed between the owner and the dog. It was very vague, though - the book stated that the owner needed to bestow a name and infuse part of their spiritual energy into the black moon dog.

"Papa, can you teach me how to do that?" Shen Yuan asked with bright eyes. "Please?"

Liu Qingge pondered. Shen Yuan was just five years old. Liu Qingge came from a family of cultivators with good aptitude, so he had already begun learning basic martial arts when he was at Shen Yuan's age. However, Shen Yuan was not him. Starting cultivation at an old age would result in the inability to reach one's full potential. Shen Qingqiu's base was not as strong because he started cultivating late.

However, starting too early could also be just as dangerous. Shen Yuan's body was not yet ready to withstand the pressure and strain. Ideally starting in his early teens would be better and safer for him.

Infusing a little bit of spiritual energy wouldn't take that much effort though , Liu Qingge thought. He had heard cases of people who started on earlier, but he could not make that decision since he knew he was different from others. He nodded. "Alright. Let's go ask your mama first."

Shen Yuan's expression turned stiff. "... Eh?"

"You're too young to learn this. I have to discuss with your mama about this," said Liu Qingge as he stood up.

But...but… this is exactly the reason why I came to you! Papa Liu, I didn't expect you to be the 'ask your mother' type ah! Shen Yuan tugged at his father's clothes. "A Yuan wants to learn first and surprise mama later!"

Liu Qingge pinched his little nose lightly. "That's sweet of you, but this is a huge thing. Cultivating too early can be risky. Your mama and I both care about you, and we make important decisions together."

Why do you have to be this picture perfect husband, Papa Liu? Can't you be like other people out there, who buy things secretly without their partners' knowledge, once in a while? I mean, of course I'm grateful that you're a good father and a good husband, but… why can’t this be the secret between just the two of us, father and son? 

Liu Qingge explained to Shen Qingqiu about the whole ordeal after dinnertime. Shen Yuan was quite sure Shen Qingqiu had given him a suspicious glance for a split second. He wondered if Shen Qingqiu had caught on to his scheme to get Liu Qingge to secretly teach him.

As expected, his answer was a straight up "No."

Shen Yuan protested, "But Bingpup…"

"- is an obedient puppy. I wouldn't have let you get a puppy that can't be tamed by normal means," Shen Qingqiu said.

"But the book-"

"The pact exists for tamers to train their spiritual animals for combat or missions. Mo Shou Peak doesn't raise animals for fun, sometimes they are utilized for special missions, espionage, even battles," Shen Qingqiu explained. "Moon black dogs are a special breed that grows by increasing their spiritual energy level. Teaching the puppy to do basic things like waiting and sitting doesn't actually need you to form a spiritual pact. You can see Bingpup is already this docile even without much training. Do not rush it."

So you're saying that this puppy is just a P*kemon waiting to evolve? That only makes me want to do it more! 

Liu Qingge rubbed his son's head. "Be patient. Bingpup isn't going to grow so soon, you have plenty of time to train him."

Shen Yuan pouted. Once Shen Qingqiu decided on something, there was nothing that could change his mind. Except for that one time where he had to take the drastic measure of traumatizing himself just to get his own room, but Shen Yuan wasn't willing to have a repeat of that.

Oh well, if Shen Qingqiu won't teach him, Shen Yuan would teach himself. The original protagonist supposedly managed to survive even with a faulty cultivation manual, surely he could at least learn something as basic as channeling spiritual energy, right? What good timing, he finally had his own room and privacy now!

At night, while his parents were sleeping, Shen Yuan snuck into Luo Binghe's old room.

All of his possessions, save for the things he had brought with him during the Immortal Alliance Conference, were still there. Ning Yingying would regularly clean and dust the room but she kept everything the same way as the day Luo Binghe left. Shen Yuan rummaged through the storage box where Luo Binghe kept his items, and found the cultivation manual. He snuck it into his room and opened the window a little to let the moonlight in so he could read it.

For several nights Shen Yuan would secretly read the manual before going to bed. When the moonlight was too dim for him to read, he would take some of the illuminating magic stones (present from Yue Qingyuan) to substitute for the moonlight. He couldn't light a candle on his own, so those were his only alternatives, but they worked.

When Shen Yuan was done digesting the content of the first chapter, he began his first attempt of meditating. Being the child of two Peak Lords, he should have the spiritual vein and potential to be a cultivator. It was a little hard to concentrate since he also had to be wary of his parents possibly coming in to check on him, but Shen Yuan managed to do it. During the day he pretended to play with Bingpup and walk him around, when in reality he was also looking for an isolated place to meditate. 

Shen Yuan thought he was doing pretty good.

He forgot that he was lacking several things that Luo Binghe had - the right built, an actual talent, and the protagonist halo.

Sitting underneath an old tree one day, Shen Yuan rejoiced when he discovered he could finally feel something warm circulating inside him. He glanced at Bingpup with wide bright eyes. “Look, Bingpup! I think I got it!”

Bingpup wagged his tail and barked. “Arff!”

Shen Yuan giggled. “Imagine how shocked they’re going to be later! Oh, but maybe we should keep this a secret, mm? What do you think?”

“Arrff!”

Shen Yuan picked up one of the fallen leaves and grinned. “You know what, let me try infusing the spiritual energy into this leaf first,” he said and made his first attempt to channel his energy. 

The smile on his face disappeared as he could feel the heat inside him surging up way too quickly.

Shit, thought Shen Yuan - a mere second before he could feel his body flung away by the abrupt, uncontrollable force of energy. His body skidded against the ground and landed into a thick bush. Shen Yuan coughed violently as he accidentally inhaled a good amount of sand and dust.

Fuck. His whole body was in pain and he could not move. Bingpup whimpered and quickly ran towards the bamboo house, barking loudly. Shen Yuan laid there like a dead fish, unable to do anything. He was not only in pain from all the collision and probably abrasions on his skin, it felt as if his entire stamina was depleted in just one second. He must have made a mistake and instead of channeling his energy in small trickles of water, he went and poured a whole bucket of it out. Shen Yuan cursed his own naivete. You’re not Luo Binghe, what were you thinking?

“Arff, arff!” Bingpup’s distant bark began to sound closer, followed by rapid footsteps. Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge rushed towards their child and cradled him.

“A Yuan?” Shen Qingqiu panted. “What happened?”

Shen Yuan was too ashamed to admit that it was his own mistake. Not only did he go against his parents’ warning and did something so dangerous, he screwed up so bad.

“Let’s bring him to Mu Shidi first,” Liu Qingge said and Shen Qingqiu nodded. The two Peak Lords carried their child (and the puppy) to Qian Cao Peak.

Mu Qingfang set aside all of his other business as soon as he found out Shen Yuan was there because of an injury. The couple were not happy to see red abrasive marks and bruises all over their son’s body. By the end of Mu Qingfang’s treatment, Shen Yuan was wrapped with bandages all over his body, with a couple of herb patches on his face, and a bandaged ankle from a fracture. The healer was stunned to learn that the child did not cry, considering the amount of injury.

Shen Qingqiu scowled. “Alright, what happened?”

Shen Yuan fell silent.

Liu Qingge, on the rare occasion, actually put on a stern expression before his son. “A Yuan, you have to tell the truth.”

Shen Yuan shakily bit his lower lip. “I… I took the cultivation manual from Bing Gege’s room and tried to learn from it…” He finally confessed. There was no use hiding it anyway, who was he going to blame? The boogeyman?

Shen Qingqiu shut his eyes. His hand slammed against the table, shocking the young child. “... After I have warned you?” He said between clenched teeth and stormed out of the room.

Liu Qingge glanced at the door, then back at his son. “A Yuan, do you have any idea how dangerous your attempt was?”

“But… but…” Shen Yuan’s eyes were beginning to water. “Papa wouldn’t teach me…”

“Well, there’s obviously a good reason why, isn’t it?” Liu Qingge pointed angrily. “Stay here and reflect first,” he said and went out following his spouse.

Being the pampered young master he was in his previous life and in this life, Shen Yuan had forgotten what it was like to actually get scolded. Both Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge were always so gentle to him. As strict as Shen Qingqiu was, he never actually displayed any anger towards Shen Yuan. Today was the first time he had spoken so coldly and stormed out like that, because of his child.

Tears dripped down from Shen Yuan’s eyes and he trembled. Bingpup whimpered sadly and rubbed his head against Shen Yuan’s legs.

Meanwhile a shocked and panicked Mu Qingfang only watched from the sideline, clueless of what to do. To be left with a crying child again… should he call for Yue Qingyuan to solve this?

 


 

Shen Qingqiu stood outside Mu Qingfang’s clinic in despair. He could not believe it.

He got mad at A Yuan. His cute, adorable A Yuan, who was now in pain, yet he got mad and lost his temper. What was he supposed to do now?!

He turned and saw Liu Qingge coming to join him. Shen Qingqiu slowly parted his lips. For some reason it felt way harder to get words out of his mouth. “A Yuan…?”

A faint cry could be heard from inside the clinic. The couple looked at each other.

“Go and coax him, husband,” Shen Qingqiu said weakly.

“... You’re the better talker,” Liu Qingge hesitantly responded. “I might lose my temper.”

“You and I, who’s the one with the better temper here?” 

“...” 

Shen Qingqiu sighed. “Five years as parents and we’re still terrible at this.”

Liu Qingge scratched the back of his head. “I should have known A Yuan wouldn’t give up that easily. We should have watched him when he’s gone for too long. He’s like you. Always eager to impress people.”

“I’m not.”

“You are. Back when we were disciples and I… well, looked down on you,” Liu Qingge sheepishly said. “You did whatever you could to make yourself worthy.”

“I had goals. Becoming a Peak Lord isn’t just for show.”

“So does A Yuan. He said he wanted to surprise you. I’m sure he has other things he wants to do, but he also just wants to make us proud,” Liu Qingge said. “We have to teach him that his own safety and happiness are more important. He’s still a child now, but wouldn’t he feel some burden to prove himself in the future, being the son of two Peak Lords?”

Shen Qingqiu pursed his lips. “You’re right.”

 


 

Shen Yuan had cried himself to sleep. He was injured and so exhausted that he didn’t even notice when Liu Qingge and Shen Qingqiu had carried him back to Qing Jing Peak. When he woke up he was already in the couple’s bed.

“Are you awake, A Yuan?” Shen Qingqiu asked, sitting down by the bed. His tone was a lot gentler now though the worry in his face had not gone away.

“Mama…” Shen Yuan croaked. “I’m sorry…”

Shen Qingqiu rubbed his child’s head, ruffling the soft hair. “I apologize for losing my temper as well. You made us worry, do you know that?”

Shen Yuan nodded. Liu Qingge came to join them in bed. “A Yuan, do you know what you did wrong?”

Shen Yuan nodded again.

“Good. Right now your body isn’t suited for cultivation yet. We can’t let you do things that can harm yourself. Your safety and happiness is the most important to us. A Yuan, didn’t you say you want mama to be happy?” Shen Qingqiu asked. “Right now you are our happiness. If something happens to you, we won’t be happy. Whatever you do… think about your safety first, okay?”

Shen Yuan's small fingers gripped back on Shen Qingqiu’s long, slender ones. “Okay, mama, papa.”

Liu Qingge sighed. “Alright, it’s late at night, but do you want to eat something before you sleep? You haven’t eaten dinner.”

Shen Yuan shook his head. “I’ll just go to bed.” He wasn’t in the mood to eat.

“Alright. Lie down then.”

“... Here?” Shen Yuan uttered.

“Of course. You’re injured now, we have to watch over you.”

Well damn, how many times in a row must he screw himself? Sleeping between these two lovebirds, this must be his ultimate punishment!

Liu Qingge blew off the candle and laid down, sandwiching his child between himself and his mate. “Bingpup is really a smart and good pup, though. He alerted us to find you.”

“Mm. Bingpup is good,” Shen Yuan smiled.

“How long have you studied that manual in secret?” Shen Qingqiu suddenly asked.

“... Several weeks?” 

Liu Qingge laughed and teasingly flicked his son a little. “If you had the patience to study a cultivation manual for that long, you should have just trained Bingpup normally. Look, he has learned to sit and stay now, right?”

Now that you said it, I feel stupid , Shen Yuan thought. Though, his original intention wasn’t to get Bingpup to sit, but to become a P*kemon master…

While the father and son were dozing off to sleep, Shen Qingqiu could not help feeling extremely confused.

Because his five-year-old child, whom he had only taught simple characters, could read Luo Binghe’s cultivation manual. A cultivation manual, which Luo Binghe himself could barely understand because he knew limited characters due to his upbringing. Not only he was able to read it, he was also able to somehow understand it. 

It was possible that Liu Mingyan and Ning Yingying had taught Shen Yuan more words and characters when Shen Qingqiu was not around. But how was his five-year-old able to understand something as complicated as a cultivation manual? Neither he nor Liu Qingge had ever taught their child basics of cultivation.

Shen Qingqiu could not compare it to his own experience, back when he was five he was still a slave with no access to educational materials. He only started learning when he had to wait for Qiu Jianluo and Qiu Haitang while they were having lessons. He learned fast - because he was gifted with superb memories and Qiu Jianluo wasn’t forgiving if Shen Jiu screwed up copying notes for him. The only comparison Shen Qingqiu had was his own disciples.

Shen Yuan, though…

There were only two possibilities. Either Shen Yuan was a genius, too smart for his age - or everyone else was too dumb.

Chapter Text

Shen Yuan’s wounds were healing nicely, thanks to Mu Qingfang’s medicine. Unfortunately news of his embarrassing failure somehow made it to the other Peak Lords. It might have been spread by some of the disciples who were there at Mu Qingfang’s clinic, witnessing the two Peak Lords carrying their injured son. Starting from Yue Qingyuan, one by one the Peak Lords all showed up bringing sweet treats and flowers - even Yu Qingxuan, who was hiding behind Mu Qingfang as he joined in.

Liu Mingyan, who had just returned from a mission came flying at high speed upon hearing that her beloved nephew had gotten injured. She uncharacteristically sobbed when she saw the bandages underneath Shen Yuan’s robes. “A Yuan… how could you get hurt like this?”

Shen Yuan, who wanted to hide in a hole already; “....”

This is so embarrassing. I feel like the guy who gets injured after attempting a stupid stunt. Someone should put that wall or rules from Ku Xing Peak here so that no gossiping is allowed! How did the rumor travel so fast?! 

Shen Qingqiu seemed distraught. He barely spoke and just let his martial siblings in, while Ming Fan and Ning Yingying served the tea. He sat on the chaise silently, simply nodding back to the greetings without uttering a word.

“I heard it was a cultivating incident? Did you give lessons to Yuan Shizhi already?” Wei Qingwei asked.

“We didn’t. He took the cultivation manual from Luo Binghe’s room and practiced secretly,” Liu Qingge explained.

“That’s dangerous, why did he do that?” Yue Qingyuan did not look pleased.

“He learned about the spiritual pacts used to tame black moon dogs and wanted to use it on Bingpup,” replied Liu Qingge.

Qi Qingqi glared at Yu Qingxuan. “So it’s your fault. You must have influenced him.”

The Mo Shou Peak Lord flinched. “Hey, I didn’t tell the little guy anything! I only showed him around a little…”

Mu Qingfang cleared his throat as a warning and the beast tamer zipped his mouth. “Are your wounds healing okay, Yuan Shizhi? Do you feel any pain?”

Shen Yuan shook his head. “A Yuan is feeling okay. Mama and papa clean the wound well.”

“Good. Don’t try to do anything dangerous anymore, okay?” Qi Qingqi said and ruffled his head. “Cultivating without supervision is dangerous, especially when you’re this young. Worse things could have happened.”

Shen Yuan put on his best pitiful expression. “A Yuan just wanted to surprise mama and papa…”

Qi Qingqi cooed. Oh, if only he wasn’t injured, she would have pulled him into a tight hug! “You sweet little boy! You don’t need to do anything, you’re already this impressive!”

Shang Qinghua, sitting at one corner munching some rice crackers, hid a snort. So nobody was going to question how a little child could actually comprehend the cultivation manual, enough to be able to somehow use his spiritual energy? A mistake he made, but he still generated something. An untrained child wouldn’t have been able to produce anything, they wouldn’t even be able to sit still long enough to meditate.

In many xianxia and wuxia fantasy novels, there were of course prodigies born with the blessing of the heavens. There were stories of people cultivating before they could learn to walk, or parents who performed rituals so their child could immediately become a powerful immortal. However, Shang Qinghua purposely created the world where people only commonly began learning in their early teens, so that Luo Binghe wouldn’t be too young by the time his blackening began and the smut scenes could be inserted without having to wait too long for him to grow up. He didn’t exactly specify the minimum age when people could start cultivating, but...

Even Luo Binghe started learning in his early teens, what makes you think you can overshadow the protagonist, ah? You really screwed up, Cucumber Bro. Good thing you have that power of cuteness, how else would you be able to manipulate all these Peak Lords into thinking you’re just a normal child? Sipping his tea, Shang Qinghua however noticed how Shen Qingqiu had been silent the whole time. The Qing Jing Peak Lord then suddenly pulled Yue Qingyuan to a different room with the excuse of needing to talk to him in private. The rice cracker in his hand dropped.

Uh oh. Did the only possessor of brain cells in his novel realize something? Back when Shang Qinghua first encountered Mobei Jun, nobody suspected that he had returned alive because he had switched his loyalty - not even Yue Qingyuan or Wei Qingwei. Nobody, except for Shen Qingqiu, the only other character whose IQ rivaled the protagonist. Shang Qinghua gulped. Would it be bad if Shen Qingqiu realized his child was different from others? What if he called for Wei Qingwei next to test for possession?

Shang Qinghua needed to warn Cucumber Bro to be more careful next time. He was a five year old, he should play around like other five year olds.

… There were no other five-year-olds here.

An idea popped in Shang Qinghua’s head. “Oh, I see!”

“What, Shang Shidi?” Wei Qingwei asked, hearing his loud voice.

“Cu - ehem, Yuan Shizhi is doing these reckless things because he doesn’t have friends around his age. We should let him play with other children around his age,” Shang Qinghua suggested.

Qi Qingqi hummed. “You have a point.”

Shen Yuan’s eyes twitched. What was Airplane Bro trying to do? Was this a revenge for letting Bingpup bite him? That was an accident! Shen Yuan was already having a hard time having to act like a child, he didn’t need to have stupid playdates with children! His body might be small but he was a fully grown man!

“A Yuan played with my younger cousins before,” Liu Qingge thought out loud. He looked at Shen Yuan. “Do you prefer playing with your cousins, A Yuan?”

Shen Yuan smiled. “It’s no different with Ming Gege and Ning Jiejie.”

Ming Fan and Ning Yingying, who had just been compared to little kids, wanted to cry.

Shen Qingqiu and Yue Qingyuan finally emerged from the room, done with whatever they were talking about. For once, Yue Qingyuan actually excused himself early, which was a rarity. He was often the last to leave. Shang Qinghua wondered why he was the first to leave this time, especially when they were visiting an injured Shen Yuan.

Evening came and one by one the Peak Lords were leaving to give the family some privacy so Shen Yuan could take his bath and have dinner. Liu Qingge was about to help his son bathe, when Shang Qinghua suddenly offered himself to help. Liu Qingge looked confused. “Why?”

Shang Qinghua rubbed his head. “Ah, well, I feel bad, you see… I was the one who gave him that book about spiritual beasts and animals. Maybe he wouldn’t have gotten injured if he didn’t see that passage?”

“It’s not really your fault, nobody knew A Yuan was going to try something. He asked me to read the book for him, it was our fault as parents for not watching over him,” said Liu Qingge.

“Still, let me help you, Shidi,” Shang Qinghua insisted. “Have you checked if any of those manuals or books are lying around the house? Shouldn’t you keep them all in places he can’t reach?”

Liu Qingge pondered. “You’re right. I should lock Luo Binghe’s room too.”

Ming Fan had already prepared the small tub with warm water for Shen Yuan’s bath. The wounds on his body were healing but the skin was still pink. Even with Mu Qingfang’s expertise, he still could not immediately heal Shen Yuan since Shen Yuan was still considered a normal person without an immortal’s accelerated recovery. 

“What are you doing?” Shen Yuan hissed at him as he stepped into the bathtub.

“Helping you ah, what else.”

“I’m not talking about the bath, I’m talking about-”

“Cucumber Bro, haven’t you noticed that Shen Qingqiu is suspicious of you?”

Shen Yuan blinked. “Why?”

“Bro, you’re five. Five-year-olds normally can’t read or understand our Cang Qiong Mountain cultivation manual. They’re not made to be comprehensible to children.”

They exchanged silent stares for a while before horror struck upon Shen Yuan as he finally realized his blunder. He was panicked at that time, and he knew he couldn’t just lie. He didn’t think about how ‘unrealistic’ the truth was. “You’re right,” he gasped.

“He even went to talk with Yue Qingyuan in private. He’s definitely figured out that there’s something wrong with you,” Shang Qinghua said.

“But…” Shen Yuan wondered. It wasn’t as if he was an impostor or a spirit possessing someone else. He was still Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge’s son, who happened to still have his memories of his past life as a modern man. How bad would it be if he confessed to his parents that he was in fact a 25-year-old man in his mind?

Shen Yuan suddenly thought back to the times his parents changed his nappies and bathed him, to the times he was sucking on Shen Qingqiu’s titties for milk, to the times he cried just because he was a baby, to the times when he purposely acted cute or threw tantrums, to the time he caught his parents being intimate. 

…. Yup, it would be terrible. His face was too thin for this. “Shit. I have to do something.”

“Act more like a five-year-old, Cucumber Bro.”

“I already am.”

“You don’t, you’re too smart for a kid your age.”

“Just because you were stupid doesn’t mean all the other kids are too.”

“Hey! I was normal, and normal kids do stupid things,” Shang Qinghua insisted. “I don’t know, make something nasty, play pranks, or ask your parents stupid questions. Disturb them, make trouble. Spill some ink onto their essays.”

Shen Yuan winced. “That’s mean.”

“You know that’s mean because you’re an adult. Most kids don’t understand that, they just want attention,” Shang Qinghua reminded him.

“I have more than enough attention.”

“Again, Cucumber Bro. Just act spoiled. How were you as a kid, in your previous life? Didn’t you do anything weird?”

Shen Yuan tried recalling his childhood in his previous life. He was sickly as a child and rarely had the chance to do anything much. He had his two older brothers’ attention, and his little sister often played with him. His parents also cared for him more because of his illness. They were fairly wealthy so he never had to demand for anything, they had pretty much everything. “I don’t know, they gave me everything, I never had to throw tantrums.”

Shang Qinghua rolled his eyes. “Oh, you spoiled rich brat, I hate you-”

“The only thing I complained about was having to go to the hospital so many times-”

“Way to make me feel bad now-”

“- so they got the doctor to come to our house instead.”

“Alright, you really are spoiled,” Shang Qinghua huffed. Once Shen Yuan was done bathing and the water was turning cold, he helped the small child to get out and wipe his body. 

Shang Qinghua left after helping him dress. Shen Yuan wondered what he could do to curb Shen Qingqiu's suspicion. Shang Qinghua had a point, a five-year-old should be more… hm, playful? In a modern world Shen Yuan would be going to kindergarten, doing art projects, and playing with friends around his age. Here in Cang Qiong Mountain there were no other children other than him.

Bingpup came wagging his tail at him during dinner. Shen Yuan handed a piece of meat, which the puppy wolfed down happily. Hm, maybe he could send Bingpup to chew on someone's shoes. But wait, that would be just Bingpup's mischief, not his.

Ask stupid questions? What kind of questions would be stupid to ask? Shen Yuan pondered, thinking about anything random that he could ask. He looked at Bingpup, then back at Liu Qingge and Shen Qingqiu. "Mama, papa, why does Bingpup walk on four legs, but A Yuan walks on two legs?"

The couple stopped eating, a little surprised by his sudden question. Liu Qingge frowned, then answered. "Bingpup is a dog and you're a human."

Shen Qingqiu actually gave his husband the stink eyes hearing the answer. He looked at Shen Yuan and explained, "Bingpup's body is designed to walk that way. Humans and other creatures who walk in bipedalism have different spines, bone structures, even different muscles, that allow us to walk on two legs. Our bodies determine the type of locomotion most effective for us."

"..." Are you a biology teacher? I thought you only teach art subjects here in Qing Jing Peak!

"Do you understand, A Yuan?" Shen Qingqiu asked.

"So Bingpup walks like that because it's easier for him?"

"You're right," Shen Qingqiu said and seemed satisfied, rubbing his child's head. "A Yuan is very smart."

Shen Yuan could only grin. "A Yuan wants to be like mama." Maybe if he established early on that he had some decent brain cells like Shen Qingqiu unlike the other characters, he could get away with it.

Shen Qingqiu smiled. "A Yuan doesn't need to be like mama. You can be yourself."

 


 

It seemed like Liu Qingge and Shen Qingqiu had somehow taken Shang Qinghua’s suggestion quite seriously. Not long after that, Liu Qingge’s three cousins - Fourth Uncle Liu’s children - came to visit Cang Qiong Mountain. As if the three of them weren’t enough, Madam Fu - Yue Qingyuan’s senior martial sister and former member of Cang Qiong Mountain, who had visited them before - also sent her two boys over to play with Shen Yuan.

And that was how Shen Yuan ended up with four rowdy boys and a girl - all in their early teens - as his playmates for the day. Fucking fantastic. He stood there in silence as the five argued about what they should play with him. He wondered if another tour to Mo Shou Peak would be possible.

Bingpup barked and pushed his favourite toy ball towards Shen Yuan. Shen Yuan raised his hand. “Can Bingpup play too?”

They ended playing catch with Bingpup. The little pup was ecstatic to finally have someone who could actually throw the ball at a decent distance. He only kept bringing the ball back to Shen Yuan even if someone else threw the ball though, so Shen Yuan began to worry that the other children might be bored or feel like they were forced to entertain him. “Let’s play football!”

The children looked at him. “Football?”

“Cuju,” he corrected himself.

They formed a team of two - Shen Yuan with Madam Fu’s children and Bingpup, then the three Liu siblings. They moved to a bigger field and made up the goal posts by drawing lines with a stick and piling up some leaves on the spots.

“Bingpup, go!” Shen Yuan cheered. Bingpup jumped and hit the ball with his head, sending it to the air.

The children chased after the ball, passing it around to their teammates. Liu Jiejie expertly dribbled with the ball and kicked it straight into the opposing team’s goal. The Liu siblings team cheered while the Fu team groaned. Luckily Bingpup was quick to steal the ball back. His legs were short but he had absolutely perfect control even as the ball bounced against his nose. He shot the ball with his head towards Shen Yuan, who passed it to the older Fu brother. The older Fu kicked the ball with all his might - right into their own goal.

“You fool, that’s our goal!” Shen Yuan yelled. He gasped and covered his own mouth as he realized how rude he had sounded. 

Luckily none of the children seemed to notice, as the Fu brother was too embarrassed of himself to notice while the Liu siblings were clapping in joy. They resumed the game, Bingpup again to the rescue as he dribbled the ball, passing it to Shen Yuan without any difficulty at all. This time Shen Yuan aimed the ball towards the younger Fu brother but Liu Er Ge intercepted the pass and stole the ball, shooting it right into their goal again.

The game eventually ended after half an hour with the Liu siblings’ victory. It seemed like the entire Liu Family was just more physically gifted - not to mention they worked very well together. The Fu team only managed to score three goals against the Liu siblings, and two of them were actually made by Bingpup, who had surprised everyone with his skills.

Shen Yuan’s eyes twitched as he stared at the Fu siblings sourly. The two brothers did not even dare to look back at him.

“How is a dog more useful than you two?”

“...”

Not only they did not win, they ended up all muddied and dirty. Shen Yuan was never someone who was too sporty in the first place, he only chose cuju because he did not want the children to feel bored, but… he would rather go to the library and read some books.

When the two brothers looked like they were about to cry, Shen Yuan finally felt bad. He was a pig teammate himself, he could not really blame them. “A Yuan is sorry, Gege. A Yuan did not mean that,” he apologized.

The children assured him that they were okay, and that they were sorry that they lost. Shen Yuan only felt worse. 

The siblings went home and Shen Yuan too headed back to the bamboo house, straight to the bath, knowing Shen Qingqiu won't appreciate seeing the floor dirtied with mud. There was already a tub of water prepared there so he cleaned up Bingpup before washing himself and dipping into the tub.

Just when Shen Yuan was about to get up and dry himself, he remembered that he normally never took a bath on his own. He was always with someone. He remained inside the bathtub, thinking of what to do, when Liu Qingge suddenly emerged from the backdoor and was surprised to find him there. "I've been looking for you. Did you get into the bath yourself?"

"I got mud everywhere. Mama doesn't like dirt," Shen Yuan said.

Liu Qingge crouched down and took his son's wrist. "Your fingers are already shriveled up like dried plums, A Yuan. The water is turning cold, why didn't you come out?"

"Because… papa and mama aren't here. A Yuan waited," Shen Yuan said.

Liu Qingge laughed. "You should've waited before getting into the tub, not after you get inside. What if the water is too hot or too cold? What if you slip when you climb into the tub?" He said and fished out Shen Yuan from the tub to dry him.

Shen Qingqiu was already done setting up dinner by the time Shen Yuan got dressed. Shen Yuan noticed the sound of the door being closed. "Did someone just leave, mama?" He asked.

"It's your aunt sending some things," Shen Qingqiu answered calmly. "Let's eat."

Shen Yuan was a little worried. Liu Mingyan left without coming to see him? That was weird. His aunt would never miss a chance to see him. "Aunt Mingyan came? Why didn't Aunt Mingyan come to meet A Yuan?" He asked.

Shen Qingqiu paused. "You were bathing."

That never stopped her before. Liu Mingyan tried bathing him many times when he was a baby, why wouldn't she come to see him just because he was in the bath? Why wouldn't she stay for dinner? Was that really Liu Mingyan, or did Shen Qingqiu lie to him? Did he possibly invite someone to see if his baby was possessed?

"A Yuan, you look upset," Liu Qingge said.

Shen Yuan pouted. "Aunt Mingyan would never come here without seeing A Yuan."

For a second Shen Qingqiu looked surprised. However he then appeared relieved somehow, and smiled. "Your aunt had important things to do. I'll tell her to stop by longer next time."

"..."

Suspicious. Very suspicious. Shen Yuan blamed Airplane Bro for making him doubt everything at this point. His injuries were healed completely but out of curiosity he asked to sleep with his parents that night with hopes that maybe he could hear what Shen Qingqiu was actually thinking about him.

Shen Qingqiu tucked him in and Shen Yuan pretended to doze off after a while. He heard the rustling of papers as Shen Qingqiu was tidying up his workspace, then felt Liu Qingge's hands lifting up his clothes and placing a palm against his tummy.

"He's healing nicely," said Liu Qingge. "His spiritual vein hasn't been damaged either. It's starting to develop, though."

There was more sound of papers being stacked. Then came Shen Qingqiu's voice, "How old were you when you started cultivating?"

"... Ten, maybe? I spent several years prior learning martial arts already, though."

"How old were you when you started reading? What was your first book?"

"How can I remember that?"

Shit, so Shen Qingqiu really was suspecting him! Why else would he suddenly ask Liu Qingge about things like that?

"Why are you asking me these?" Liu Qingge questioned.

"... You disappoint me, Liu Qingge. You and all our martial siblings."

"What? What did I do?"

Shen Qingqiu sighed. Shen Yuan heard the sound of a long smooch, then Shen Qingqiu saying, "I suppose it's fine. You're still my husband."

Uh oh. He had a bad feeling.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Liu Qingge asked, almost whispering, followed by the sound of another long smooch.

Shen Qingqiu gasped and a small moan escaped. Shen Yuan knew he had to stop this, otherwise he would be traumatized again! "Mm…" he pretended to murmur in his sleep to remind the two that they had an 'audience'.

"A Yuan is here," Shen Qingqiu hushed. "Tomorrow."

"Hmm."

Thank goodness!

 


 

Shang Qinghua woke up feeling groggy and lethargic. He curled in bed and burrowed himself in his bedsheets. The air felt too cold against his skin.

Too bad there was a meeting that he could not skip. It was near the end of the year again, when An Ding Peak and Qing Jing Peak would be busy checking all their accounts, logbooks, archives… yet here he was, stuck with a fever. Shang Qinghua wondered if he could use it as an excuse to enter seclusion and level up his cultivation. That way he wouldn't have to deal with all the tedious work.

He lazily removed himself from the comfort of his bed to wash up and get ready. Mobei Jun appeared in the middle of him changing his clothes. He stood there still, looking at Shang Qinghua with wide eyes as if he was looking at an alien.

The cold breeze lured Shang Qinghua, who was feeling uncomfortable with his elevated body temperature, to come closer to Mobei Jun. "My King…"

"Stay away!" Mobei Jun suddenly jerked.

Shang Qinghua froze.

The ice demon's face had turned red as he muttered something about 'control' and 'waiting for ceremony', but Shang Qinghua could barely catch what he was saying. He tried to get closer to Mobei Jun again but the latter actually pushed him away, before tossing his coat to Shang Qinghua and fleeing at the speed of light.

Shang Qinghua was bewildered.

Why did he even come here? To toss his old clothes to Shang Qinghua? He acted like someone who forgot to turn his stove off.

Ah, but the smell of Mobei Jun's coat was really calming, for some reason. The dizziness and erratic feeling had dissipated and Shang Qinghua was feeling better just by holding it. Maybe it was the leftover cold frost that was making him feel better, like turning on the air conditioner on a hot summer day.

He wrapped the coat around him a little longer before heading to Qiong Ding Peak. Yue Qingyuan's head disciple, whom he stumbled upon before entering the hall gave him a strange, almost scandalised look. Shang Qinghua checked back his attire and realized he had worn his robes a little too loose. He fixed his robes and went in.

For some reason all of his martial siblings were staring at him. Shen Qingqiu especially was looking at him as if he had come to the meeting in pajamas.

Yue Qingyuan cleared his throat. "Are you feeling fine, Shidi? You should have told us or sent your head disciple instead," he said.

Shang Qinghua was a little touched that Yue Qingyuan paid enough attention to him to even notice his fever. "This Shidi is just feeling a little feverish, Zhangmen Shixiong. A little rest and it'll be fine!" 

"Fever?" Shen Qingqiu repeated, looking in disbelief. "Fever."

"How long have you had this, Shang Shixiong?" Mu Qingfang asked.

"Three… no, two days?" Shang Qinghua tried to recall.

"... I'll send my disciple over with some prescription later," Mu Qingfang sighed.

"Much appreciated, Mu Shidi," Shang Qinghua said.

"You should go home now, Shang Shidi," Yue Qingyuan said.

Shang Qinghua blinked. "But-"

"Go home and don't go out at least for the next three days. It might be infectious," Shen Qingqiu said and sipped his tea. "Wouldn't want to catch that."

Shang Qinghua rolled his eyes. "... Fine. Then this Shidi will excuse himself first." He got to skip a meeting, yay!

Shang Qinghua left the room, not noticing the exasperated looks his martial siblings were giving him.

 


 

Mu Qingfang looked at Shen Qingqiu. "Why did you say that, Shen Shixiong?"

Shen Qingqiu put down his teacup. "Why else, if not because I don't want his stupidity to infect all of you? Looking at what has happened lately, I fear the reputation of our sect."

At first Shen Qingqiu was worried that he might have raised his son abnormally. He even went to consult with Yue Qingyuan, asking him to send a letter to Madam Fu just so he could make comparisons, to know if his A Yuan's behaviour might be unusual after all.

He asked Liu Mingyan to observe Shen Yuan secretly while he played with the children. He took extra attention to A Yuan's every action and expression, noting every detail.

He had finally made the conclusion last night.

His A Yuan was indeed a brilliant child. He was gifted with a good memory. He learned fast. He was observant, he was curious, and he had a thirst for knowledge - proven by how he insisted on learning things he didn't know and was quick to understand it. He was very considerate, but there were times when he would lose his temper as well. He wanted to be independent, but at the same time he was very clingy to his parents - like how he was happy to have his room and eager to start cultivating even on his own, but took any chances to be pampered by them, even sulking if he wasn't given the attention he usually received.

His A Yuan was very smart, but he was in no way strange. He was still a normal child.

Everyone else was just too dumb. From his husband who was all brawls and no brains, to Shang Qinghua, to all his martial siblings, even down to the other kids…

"Zhangmen Shixiong, I plan to improve the content of our cultivation manuals and lessons," Shen Qingqiu stated.

Yue Qingyuan was surprised. "What?"

Even the other Peak Lords were stunned. Cang Qiong Mountain was already one of the most prestigious sects, with comprehensive learning materials developed over their thousand years of history, and Shen Qingqiu wanted to make them even more difficult?

"If my five-year-old son is able to understand a cultivation manual without much trouble, clearly our lessons are too easy. We shall not be left behind," Shen Qingqiu said.

Yu Qingxuan spluttered, "Shen Shixiong, it took us years to completely digest our cultivation manual!"

And look where it has brought you. A child was able to read it and none of you thought to question it? Shen Qingqiu snapped his fan shut. "Until A Yuan comes to me and tells me 'I can't understand this', I will keep raising the difficulty."

The Peak Lords all groaned.

Shen Qingqiu went home feeling satisfied. He had softened up a little with motherhood, he ought to be stricter. 

Though… he needed to be more careful with his words. Clearly A Yuan telling people that 'a dog can do better' was Shen Qingqiu's influence.

Chapter Text

Luo Binghe could not remember when was the last time he had inhaled the air of the human realm. It felt almost like a dream, yet it was real. He was finally back in the human realm. Luo Binghe opened his eyes and sat up. He wasted no time putting his clothes back on. He had no time to waste.

The Little Palace Mistress who just came into the guest room quickly tried to stop him when she saw him already tying up his hair. "Senior Luo, where are you going?"

"Back to my own sect. Thank you very much for your hospitality, but I must return," he said. He had troubled them enough by staying the night. It just so happened that when he finally emerged from the Demon Realm battered and injured after a long fight with multiple demons, Huan Hua Palace was the closest place and the Old Palace Master insisted on helping him to get treated.

"The people of your sect all thought you were dead. Why not just stay here? Huan Hua Palace has the best protection against demons," Palace Mistress tried to persuade him again.

"I must not cause any further trouble," Luo Binghe stated, and with one final bow left the room, ignoring Palace Mistress's pleas.

He walked by the garden, where several Huan Hua Palace female disciples passing by giggled as they saw him. Luo Binghe wondered why. They were all holding a book in hand and for some reason kept pointing at something inside the book, while stealing glances at him and whispering to each other.

Luo Binghe wasn't sure what those hushed voices were about, but he had a feeling it wasn't anything good. He set out after thanking the Old Palace Master, who for some reason seemed reluctant to let go, even insisting that Cang Qiong Mountain had probably forgotten about him by now.

Luo Binghe didn't really care even if Cang Qiong Mountain had long forgotten about him. He was just a lowly disciple after all. However, he still wanted to see his Shizun. His Shizun, who had wished him luck but didn't even get to see him perform, only hearing news of his disappearance, possibly death. He wanted to see A Yuan. Back then, when he left A Yuan was still just a tiny little toddler. A Yuan likely won't even remember him, but… he still missed A Yuan.

Thinking about Shizun and A Yuan was the only thing that kept him going when he was in that living hell.

"Is your Shizun going to accept you, though?" The Dream Demon in his head suddenly questioned.

Luo Binghe paused. What do you mean?

"You're a demon. You can't possibly hide your heritage forever. Will you be allowed anywhere near your Shizun, anywhere near his family?"

Luo Binghe's steps were beginning to feel heavy. He faltered.

He remembered the demon who once tried to kidnap Shen Yuan. Would Shizun be able to forgive those who tried to harm him and his baby? Never. Yet, Luo Binghe was now part of them. He was part of the creatures who tried to harm A Yuan.

"Now, don't be so down… ah, why are young people these days so sensitive?" The Dream Demon grumbled.

Maybe just a peek for now , Luo Binghe thought. He stopped by the market to look for a present he could bring for Shen Yuan. A Yuan had always loved all the little trinkets that Luo Binghe brought back for him whenever he went out for a mission.

He noticed many young ladies gathered around a peddler, who was selling books, and brightened up. A Yuan loved reading books. By now, maybe he could already read on his own. He used to like listening to Shizun or Binghe reading. Luo Binghe went to the peddler and noticed many of the ladies purchasing the same book.

The Tale of Ice King and Winter Bride.

Luo Binghe picked it up and asked the peddler, "Uncle, is this book popular?"

The bookseller uncle laughed. "Young man, did you come from a faraway land? This series has been the talk of the town for years! Ladies, even some gentlemen out there all love it!"

Luo Binghe was surprised. "Really? What kind of story is this?"

"Oh, it's a beautiful story, young man!" The sisters next to him exclaimed. "Truly a magnificent romance, a journey of magic and fantasy!"

“I can’t get enough of it!”

“Every time there is a new release, I have to fight to get this…”

“My daughter and I bonded over this. We both love the Ice King and the main character so much…”

A fairytale like The Cowherd and Weaver Girl, perhaps?  That sounded nice. If the ladies all unanimously agreed that it was such a masterpiece, then it couldn’t be anything but a wonderful story. Luo Binghe purchased the book and had it wrapped nicely. He continued his journey to the Tian Gong Mountains, but the closer he was the more he felt scared. What if Shizun really won’t accept him?

Just a minute, he told himself again. Just a glance.

He snuck into the sect ground secretly without alerting anyone. Luo Binghe soon found himself finally reaching Qing Jing Peak and walked quietly in the bamboo forest behind his Shizun’s house. Nothing seemed to have changed in the years of his absence. He used a talisman to hide his presence temporarily.

Waiting by the river, he could then see several disciples heading over to the trees to chop some wood. How nostalgic. That used to be his task.

“Did you listen to Shizun and his son playing yesterday, Shidi?” One disciple asked.

The other disciple gasped. “I was doing my punishment, I didn’t see! Shizun is teaching him to play the guqin already?”

“You know our Shizun’s child is like a prodigy who appears only once in ten thousand years. I heard from Ning Shijie that during his first lesson, he can already play a few notes.”

“Does Shizun intend to teach him musical cultivation?”

“Perhaps. You know how paranoid our Shizun can be, he wouldn’t let his precious child near anything dangerous. Though, I’m sure Liu Shishu will be teaching him martial arts anyway once he’s much older.”

Guqin. A Yuan was old enough to pluck the guqin strings. Luo Binghe cupped his mouth to hold the tears from falling. How much had he missed? How much could A Yuan read now? What else could he do? What else did Luo Binghe miss from his growth? What about Shizun? Was his Shizun healthy? Did Shizun also wonder what happened to Binghe and how much he grew? Did he even think of Binghe during his absence? With Binghe gone, wouldn’t Shizun be busier, since he no longer had Luo Binghe to help him with the chores, the babysitting, the tasks?

“If you hurry up maybe you can watch them playing at the gazebo later,” the disciple said.

Luo Binghe wiped the tears that were nearly spilling and rushed to the gazebo. He held his breath, the moment he saw the familiar figure dressed in Qing Jing’s green. Only his back was visible, but he would always recognize the slim figure, silky ink-like hair, and the crown. Shen Qingqiu sat on the floor in front of a guqin. Luo Binghe could see a pair of smaller hands plucking the strings, the body hidden by his Shizun’s larger one.

"Can you show me what you remember from yesterday, A Yuan?" Shen Qingqiu asked.

Shen Yuan's fingers plucked the string to produce a note. The guqin was a lot smaller than the normal one, custom-made for Shen Yuan's size so he wouldn't have to extend his arms too much. "Like this?"

"Good. Be gentler," Shen Qingqiu said, gently guiding his child's hand to the right position. "You're doing very well, A Yuan."

"Mama taught me well."

"Really? Mama thinks A Yuan is the best student mama ever had."

A small laughter came out and Luo Binghe was feeling choked up. A Yuan. Little A Yuan was no longer a small baby now. He was old enough to learn instruments. His words were clear, his sentences full. He had grown up. Luo Binghe wanted to see him so bad. He wanted to greet Shizun so badly. He wanted to hug Shizun and A Yuan, to feel the warmth he once felt, the warmth that kept him going during his hardest times.

Shen Qingqiu continued guiding Shen Yuan as he learned more notes. Ning Yingying suddenly came, and Shen Qingqiu left Shen Yuan to continue practicing on his own while he followed Ning Yingying to attend to whatever problem she needed help with.

Luo Binghe noticed a small, fluffy black pup coming to sit beside Shen Yuan as the small child continued to practice. The black pup then settled himself on Shen Yuan's lap comfortably and Luo Binghe had never been more jealous of a dog before this. He wanted to listen to A Yuan's playing, while sitting beside him too. When did Qing Jing Peak start having a pet anyway...?

Shen Yuan stopped playing and picked up the rice crackers prepared for his snack. He took a bite, then suddenly flinched.

"Uuuuhhh…" Shen Yuan let out a sound akin to a child trying not to cry. 

Luo Binghe nearly came out of his hiding place, if not because the puppy had barked loudly and Shen Qingqiu came back rushing. He cupped his son's face and rubbed his cheeks, while Shen Yuan's shoulders were shaking.

"Open your mouth, A Yuan… ah, the loose milk tooth just fell off. No worries, it's going to get better, okay?" Shen Qingqiu coaxed his child and hugged him.

Luo Binghe was reminded of his own childhood, of his own washerwoman mama comforting him the same way. He watched Shen Qingqiu cradling Shen Yuan against his chest, his mind brought back to memories of seeing his Shizun cradling and rocking his child on his favourite chaise while feeding baby A Yuan.

Shen Qingqiu carried Shen Yuan in and called for Ming Fan. Luo Binghe sat behind the tree to calm himself. Emotions overwhelmed him. He craved for the affection. He missed his family so much.

Soon night time came. Luo Binghe tiptoed into the house quietly and stood in front of Shen Yuan's room. Shen Yuan had his own room now. Oh, how he had grown. 

He took out the present he had bought. He was going to just place the present here and leave the room, but maybe he should at least read the content a little. He had never heard of this particular fairytale before.

 

🌹🌹🌹

 

Luo Binghe gasped. The icy cold fingers ran across his chest and flicked his pert nipples. Cool wet tongue lapped on his chest and he shuddered as Mobei Jun left more love marks on his torso. He tried pushing the demon away, but the other alpha's pheromones overwhelmed him. It was almost as if he was drunk with lust and love.

"No...no…" Luo Binghe moaned.

A glint of amusement shone in Mobei Jun's eyes. "No? How funny. Your lips are saying lies, but your body is honest. Look at how you're responding to my touches, my bride," he purred. His hand drifted sensually from his chest down to his nether region, brushing against the thin curls and stopped right to cup his awakened arousal. The pillar trembled with each teasing caress. The tip was already moist just from Mobei Jun's touch.

Luo Binghe shut his eyes and shook his head. His chrysanthemum is clenched shut as he tries to resist the urge, the desire to have it filled with Mobei Jun's manly essence. However, averting his gaze and turning his head away only gave Mobei Jun more access to plant his lips onto the alluring white neck. He mouthed against the warm skin, "Submit to me, my bride."

His fingers lingered around Luo Binghe's tight hole, and the first thrust of the cold digits sent jolts across Luo Binghe's body. Luo Binghe screamed moans of pleasure as he rode on Mobei Jun's fingers.

 

🌹🌹🌹

 

Luo Binghe dropped the book.

Right beside the accursed text, was the image depicting the very scene he had just read - of Mobei Jun fingering his chrysanthemum. Luo Binghe felt like he was just out of a hellhole just to be dumped into a pool of dungs.

This thing was popular?! The talk of the town for several years??! Who wrote this and most importantly, who else had read this?! How could Luo Binghe show his face to Shizun again like this?!

How could he… he almost committed a grave sin. He almost gave this thing to innocent, pure A Yuan!

"Hey, surely nobody would believe this, right? And your Shizun would never allow this kind of material in his place," Dream Demon tried to reassure him.

Luo Binghe however could not think straight anymore. By now he was so embarrassed and so appalled that someone would think he and Mobei Jun were together, that he zapped out of the house and left the mountain.

Coming back to A Yuan and Shizun would have to wait. Luo Binghe needed to clear his mind… and maybe erase part of his own memories so he could burn those images from earlier away.

Little did he know the following day, Shen Qingqiu had found the book laying on the floor and nearly had a qi deviation. A thorough search was conducted all across Qing Jing Peak, with all disciples punished with copying scriptures and hard labor for a month.

It was known as the month of hell in the entirety of Qing Jing Peak, in which the Xiu Ya Sword turned into a being even scarier than a demon.

 




It had been quite a while since both Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge were out on the same mission. After all, the last time they left together, leaving their son for more than one night did not exactly end up too well. However A Yuan was all grown up now, he had completely stopped breastfeeding. That didn't mean Shen Qingqiu would stop worrying, though. Just several months ago a pervert had left an erotic book at his son's door while they were sleeping, and a bigger pervert dared to write a trashy smut about his cub. They had increased the security even more, one would think the bamboo house was guarding Cang Qiong Mountain's most valuable treasure.

"Do you really think it's safe leaving A Yuan for several days?" Shen Qingqiu questioned for the tenth time that day as they walked across the rocky grounds.

"He's fine, he is a smart boy and haven't we already seen him growing more independent and reliable? Anyway Mingyan is also there to watch over him," Liu Qingge reassured him again, for the tenth time. "Trust our son a bit more."

Shen Qingqiu clicked his tongue as he secretly continued to curse Yue Qingyuan for sending him and Liu Qingge for a long joint mission. Not that he minded going with his spouse but he never liked leaving A Yuan. Whenever both he and Liu Qingge weren't around, Shen Yuan would often make excuses to go to Mo Shou Peak or spend his time around Shang Qinghua. For some reason their son seemed to be fond of the An Ding Peak Lord. It was just Shen Qingqiu's assumptions, but…

His son looked like he enjoyed 'trampling over' Shang Qinghua. He had overheard the An Ding Peak Lord calling his son Shen Dada sometimes. There were even several times when he went to pick up Shen Yuan, that he heard Shang Qinghua yelling out things like, 'have mercy!' or 'stop hitting me bro!'.

Ridiculous, he knew. How could a Peak Lord, even one as pathetic as Shang Qinghua, get bullied by a little child? That was probably a joke, he decided.

"Qingqiu, we're here," Liu Qingge said as they arrived at the entrance of the succubus cave.

Shen Qingqiu normally despised missions involving looking for people, since it usually meant going out and possibly going to a crowded place, as well as leaving his son for several days. However the lord who made the request was an influential lord, whose family had partly helped finance Cang Qiong Mountain in the past. Thankfully it was easy to determine who the perpetrator was, since the missing people were all young men with vigor.

Shen Qingqiu managed to stop his husband from destroying the whole place and negotiated with the succubi to return the unfortunate men who fell prey to them. Madam Meiyin, leader of the succubi pack offered to read his fortune to thank him but Shen Qingqiu refused. 

"I'm married, and my husband is my fated mate," he said. He didn't need anymore outside reassurances, he was perfectly content with his current marriage. Liu Qingge may have his flaws and he was not the perfect man, but he was Shen Qingqiu's man.

The day Liu Qingge went as far as going against the Sect Leader just for his sake, was the day Shen Qingqiu knew he could never fall in love with any other. Liu Qingge would say it to his face if he was wrong but would fight for him if he deserved it. He couldn't ask for anyone better.

Madam Meiyin smiled. "Well then, how about fortune for your family?"

It seemed like she insisted on repaying him. "Make it quick."

Madam Meiyin hummed as she focused to perform her divination. "The biggest fortune to your life… he came to you, six years ago."

That was A Yuan. Six years ago was when they had A Yuan. Even without divination Shen Qingqiu already knew that. He was being truthful when he told A Yuan that to him A Yuan was a ten-thousand years of blessings.

"This person has completely changed the trajectory of your life," said Madam Meiyin.

Of course. Would Shen Qingqiu be living with his happy family, if not because A Yuan came to life in the first place?

"This person saves you and your fated mate from your deaths. If not because of his existence, your mate would have met his end during his prime, and you would have died as a human stick."

To that extent?! That was a little extreme. Now Shen Qingqiu wasn't sure if the succubus was even speaking the truth.

"You shall face yet more challenges as he grows up. Once he grows… you will find yourself constantly in need of protecting him," said Madam Meiyin.

Shen Qingqiu scowled. "Will he be in danger?"

"... Depends on how you define danger? It wouldn't exactly be a danger to him, but you may find it vexing," Madam Meiyin said.

Oh well, that sure wasn't helping much. As promised Madam Meiyin freed all the young men who had been bewitched and affected by the succubi poison.

Frankly, he thought the whole mission was stupid. Succubi were generally harmless, with the exception of vicious ones who liked to literally suck their victims to death. Most usually tried to keep their prey alive for as long as possible, even returning them after they were satisfied. They literally feed on sex. All these lustful men were just exchanging some spiritual energy for some sexual favours. Who asked them to get tempted anyway?

… Or maybe Shen Qingqiu was just immune to the charm, he thought as he noticed his husband red-faced after they left the cave. Amazing that he was still able to stand and walk, though. Shen Qingqiu's eyes leered at the visible tent in his pants.

"Are you going to return to the sect in that state?" Shen Qingqiu asked.

Liu Qingge huffed. "I just need to clear my meridians and expel the poison."

"Silly, succubus poison can't be removed just by clearing your meridians," Shen Qingqiu said. He thought to himself. The nearest inn was in the middle of the city and Liu Qingge would rather be caught dead than walking into the city in this state.

He looked around him and dragged Liu Qingge to a secluded spot behind a tree. They were in the middle of a forest, with nobody around their path. Shen Qingqiu normally would never do this in public, but he wouldn't want his husband to suffer for the remainder of their journey home.

Liu Qingge held his breath when Shen Qingqiu suddenly began undoing his belt. "What are you doing?"

"Helping you with your problem," he answered and pulled down his husband's pants. His erection sprang free and Shen Qingqiu was absolutely amazed by his endurance. There were already signs of precum about to drip out from the tip. No way they were going to the city without doing something about this, Liu Qingge might actually bust a nut in the middle of walking.

"We're outside."

"And nobody is around," said Shen Qingqiu as he knelt down and took the length into his mouth.

Liu Qingge felt himself getting even more aroused than when he was hit by the succubus poison. Shen Qingqiu was usually very thin-skinned, so to see him doing this only made him even more excited. Shen Qingqiu licked the darkened, veiny skin and cupped the two large marbles. He sucked the tip and ran his tongue down the length, causing the erected pillar to grow harder and longer. 

"You… why are you getting bigger…" Shen Qingqiu murmured through his muffled voice.

Liu Qingge bit his lip. He pushed a confused Shen Qingqiu away, only to turn him around and undo his belt as well. Shen Qingqiu was stunned. "What are you doing?!"

"Solving this problem of mine."

"We're outside!"

"Like you said, nobody's around."

"Liu Qingge, you - ah... mm…." Shen Qingqiu moaned and sucked on the fingers pushed into his mouth. Liu Qingge's other hand meanwhile snuck into his robes to pinch his nipple. His erection, wet with the omega's saliva, rubbed against the cleft of his butt and their pheromones blended together in the air.

Liu Qingge mouthed the nape of his neck, sucking on the skin where the bond mark was visible. Shen Qingqiu gasped, the fingers in his mouth left to prod around his entrance and stretching it open. Slowly the entrance began to leak out slicks from his own aroused state and Liu Qingge pushed his hardened member in.

Shen Qingqiu braced himself against the tree, using it as a support to stand while Liu Qingge pounded into him relentlessly. He was normally already very energetic, yet the succubus poison made his state of arousal even more heightened. The tree trunk was beginning to crack and Shen Qingqiu realized it could not stand the pressure of his grip as Liu Qingge thrusted into him. He turned his head.

"Aahh… husband, let's move… mnngh," the remainder of his words were devoured by Liu Qingge, who used the opportunity to capture his lips for a heated kiss instead. Their tongues entangled and fought for dominance.

"The tree...it's going to…" Shen Qingqiu panted.

Liu Qingge barely took a glance at the tree. He slipped out of his mate, turned him around so they could face each other, lifted Shen Qingqiu's right leg to his waist, and entered him once more. Shen Qingqiu wrapped his arms around Liu Qingge's neck and pulled him close for a kiss. He rested his arms around his husband's shoulders and nearly yelped with surprise when Liu Qingge then lifted both of his legs, carrying him on the air while they were still connected down there.

He took a few steps and with each step, Shen Qingqiu was raised until only the tip of his husband's manhood was left inside. When Liu Qingge took the next step, he was impaled with the entire length that he cried from the abrupt pleasure. Liu Qingge laid him down onto the grass and continued to move his hips, hitting every points that caused a lewd moan to escape his mate's lips. 

The poison is finally flushed out of his system when Liu Qingge spilled his seeds in several shots inside his mate. He pressed his hips against his mate's hot skin hard, growling as he rutted inside. Shen Qingqiu mumbled incoherently as he felt the load being leaked inside him, filling him to the brim. He was done so hard that he could barely even move his legs anymore. Once Liu Qingge recovered, he hastily fixed his mate's appearance and carried him to the nearest inn.

They only later found out that there was a cold pond nearby where Liu Qingge could have jerked off.

Chapter Text

The sunlight hurt. Shen Qingqiu's eyes slowly twitched open. His entire body felt sore and sticky and he was absolutely drained. He tried to move, and felt his husband's half-hard pillar slowly slipping out. He winced.

If Liu Qingge wasn't such a good husband he would have given the man an earful for sleeping with his manhood still inside him. Admittedly, last night was also so good - so much better than usual - that Shen Qingqiu couldn't complain much, since he also didn't stop his mate. Getting intimate with his husband always felt nice - he was considerate, his body felt so warm against his own, his stamina was good - but last night Liu Qingge was rougher and even more enthusiastic, and Shen Qingqiu found himself quite liking it.

It had been several weeks since their last mission together with the succubus. Ever since that passionate session under the tree, Liu Qingge had been a little uncontrollable. Dual cultivating only once was never enough for him, regardless of how intense the alpha would be during their love-making sessions. Shen Qingqiu too found himself often desiring his husband and very unwilling to part from him, even more than usual.

It might have been the residual succubus poison messing up with their pheromones. This time Liu Qingge's rut had came a bit too early and caused him to be a bit too vigorous, hence the reason why Shen Qingqiu was in his current predicament. He was a little concerned with the fact that they were doing it more often than usual. After all…

… Shen Qingqiu may have forgotten to take his birth control medications. Several times, since that succubus mission.

To be fair, he did not think he would need it, hence had forgotten to bring it with him. He was supposed to, and was expecting to do only the mission, not spending spring nights with his husband. After they had left the cave and got to the inn, they had continued their nightly activities several times. As a result, Shen Qingqiu went on several days without his birth control.

Well, what is done is done , Shen Qingqiu thought and headed to the Clear Pond. He cleaned himself thoroughly, thinking back to the time when he was first brought back from the Spirit Caves. Back then he had also tried scraping out all the seeds inside him desperately so as to not get pregnant. Who knew that the baby born out of the incident would now be the biggest joy in his life?

Liu Qingge had woken up after he was done bathing, and the shame in his face for losing control was absolutely priceless. Shen Qingqiu hid his smirk behind his fan as he sat in front of the mirror to comb his hair. Liu Qingge, seeing him hold the comb immediately rushed to his side and sat there offering his hand. “Let me do it.”

He let Liu Qingge take the comb but the man’s hands were just as good as A Yuan when it came to styling - his hair had only ever been in a simple ponytail with a single ornament, nothing too elaborate. Shen Qingqiu's hair wasn't too difficult to style, but apparently too difficult for Liu Qingge to get it right. Shen Qingqiu sighed. "Forget it, I'll do it."

"I'll help you dress," Liu Qingge insisted.

Could this man be any more transparent? Liu Qingge was very honest with his thoughts. He was straightforward and earnest, and so devoted that Shen Qingqiu barely had anything to get mad about, other than the occasional small things. Once in a while teasing his husband shouldn't be too bad. It had been a long time since they had bickered. He snapped his fan open. "Do you know what you did wrong?"

Liu Qingge sat on his knees, face slightly flushed and looking guilty. Shen Qingqiu had to restrain himself from snickering at that face. He cleared his throat. "Our Liu Shidi has always been talented, he doesn't seem to understand other people are not as physically gifted as he is."

Liu Qingge looked horrified, and it was hilarious because he had not put on that expression ever since the day he came out from that cave and found out he had banged Shen Qingqiu the first time. "Liu… Shidi…?" He croaked.

Ah, that much damage just by referring to him formally? His mind must have truly been muddled by the rut last night if he thought Shen Qingqiu was genuinely angry at him, since he failed to remember how much Shen Qingqiu was pleased by his performance. Should he use this chance to get his husband to do things for him? "Well, aren't you going to make it up for me?"

Liu Qingge nodded. “Of course.”

Nothing better than clearing away all the small resentments he had before they were married. Shen Qingqiu fanned himself. “Call me Shixiong.”

Funny how making Liu Qingge do something he should have done long ago resulted in his husband looking like he had just committed a crime. “What?”

“Call me Shixiong - as you should, Liu Shidi.”

Liu Qingge looked like he had just swallowed a very bitter pill. “...Shi… Shixiong.”

Oh, that felt so good. Liu Qingge was a pretty face but he was never looked down or teased because of it due to his insane strength and good background. “Hm. Now be a good shidi and bring breakfast here. Clean yourself first.”

Liu Qingge did as he was told. Seeing him so obedient was so unusual and Shen Qingqiu was enjoying every moment of it. He should have done this sooner, a docile Liu Qingge was pretty cute. In the meantime Shen Qingqiu went ahead to wake their child and got him to wash up before breakfast.

Liu Qingge on his own was pretty helpless in the kitchen, so he brought breakfast from the dining hall to their room and placed it on the table. Shen Qingqiu hummed. “This Shixiong’s hands are tired, you have to feed me.”

For a split second he caught a hint of amusement in Liu Qingge’s expression but the man quickly hid it. He sat beside Shen Qingqiu and brought the spoon of congee to his mouth.

“It’s hot, Liu Shidi. Cool it down for me,” Shen Qingqiu demanded.

Hearing his father being addressed so formally had Shen Yuan turning his head to them, looking bewildered.

Liu Qingge lightly blew the congee. His breath hit the side of Shen Qingqiu’s face and gave him a tingly sensation. “Here,” he said.

It wouldn’t be a punishment if his husband was enjoying this. "I changed my mind. I want something else."

Liu Qingge did not voice his complaint but Shen Qingqiu caught the slightest annoyance in his eyes. Oh, his husband never did like being ordered around for no reason. 

To his husband’s credit, he did bring a different meal from the dining hall, even though smelling it made Shen Qingqiu feel sick. Shen Yuan stared at them and funnily enough almost looked like he would rather be somewhere else when Liu Qingge began feeding Shen Qingqiu. He eventually stopped staring and started feeding Bingpup instead.

Shen Qingqiu summoned Ming Fan to the bamboo house and instructed him to take over the lessons for the day. His body was so worn out he wasn’t in the mood to work. He would just spend time with A Yuan. "Liu Shidi, get a book for A Yuan and bring it here."

Liu Qingge raised an eyebrow. "That's all?"

"Do you need to be told twice?"

Liu Qingge's eyebrows twitched and he walked away without a word. Shen Qingqiu hid his smirk behind his fan.

Liu Qingge brought back a small storybook and Shen Qingqiu instantly scowled. He was not pleased. "Liu Shidi, don't you know that A Yuan has already read that? Bring a new book."

"He has?" Liu Qingge blinked. The book was supposed to be a reading material suitable for children twice his son's age, hence why he thought Shen Yuan had not read it yet.

"You don't care enough to know our son's progress? Am I the only one paying attention to his reading materials?"

"How am I supposed to remember each and every book he has read?"

"A Yuan is only six years old, he hasn't read that many books yet, how can you not remember them?"

"Not many? He has read a whole bookshelf worth, what do you mean he hasn't read many books yet? Don't put him to the same standard as you! Weren't you the one who said he doesn't need to be a scholar?" Liu Qingge pointed.

"If raising him to a standard means not letting him grow to be an idiot, I would gladly raise him to a standard. Unfortunately not all of us are born with the natural talent and chance," Shen Qingqiu retorted.

"Stop being so bitter about old stuff again and again, aren't you tired?"

It originally started just with the intention to tease his husband. Yet Shen Qingqiu suddenly felt as if his old wound was being prodded and it unexpectedly formed a new blister. Shen Qingqiu clenched his fists. "Tired? Am I tiring?"

"I didn't say that-"

"You're tired of me. Now I'm just a mother to your child, someone for you to fuck when you need."

"What nonsense are you saying?" Liu Qingge scowled. This was unlike Shen Qingqiu. He was always careful with his words ever since the birth of their child, had he forgotten that A Yuan was still in the room?

"Nonsense? You don't even care anymore. You used to bring me presents every week, every other day - even the most useless, stinky demon corpses. Now you don't even care to do anything more," Shen Qingqiu accused him.

Liu Qingge narrowed his eyes and slammed his hand against the wall, nearly losing his temper at this point. "What the hell is wrong with you? Since when have I not cared?"

“My body hurts. All I want is some good breakfast and you can’t even do that!” Shen Qingqiu yelled, his eyes were getting teary and he threw his fan at Liu Qingge. It snapped in two as it clattered to the floor. “Fuck you, get lost! A Yuan, we’re leaving!”

He scooped up Shen Yuan into his arms and flew to Qiong Ding Peak, ignoring the loud and angry protest from Liu Qingge.

 


 

His parents were fighting.

Shen Yuan was shaken. He was sure his parents had been very clingy and lovey-dovey, scattering dog food as usual the day before. Liu Qingge was even feeding Shen Qingqiu this morning - though for some reason they were addressing each other formally. He had not seen them fight, ever since the incident with Yue Qingyuan and even then, Shen Qingqiu didn’t seem like he was actually angry at Liu Qingge. It brought back old memories of his past life, when his mother had thrown plates and cutleries at his father, screaming curses as she caught him getting too close with a particularly young and attractive woman at his company.

Father Shen had almost been tempted a little back then as his wealth attracted many, but he and Mother Shen reconciled after a whole lot of kneeling and begging for her forgiveness (also some new jewelries and limited-edition items, probably). They fought several times more after that and Shen Yuan later found out that it was rather normal for married couples to fight, and his parents were quite the harmonious couple compared to some others. Liu Qingge and Shen Qingqiu were definitely ten times more tooth-rotting sweet with how affectionate they were, that Shen Yuan never thought he would witness an actual fight - started from a small reason.

Shen Qingqiu was normally calm and not one to throw tantrums over small things. Now here he was, demanding for Yue Qingyuan’s attention as he poured his heart out, complaining nonstop about what a brutish man Liu Qingge was - which was very unlike him. Shen Qingqiu was a quiet man in nature, he would never intentionally search for someone to confide, he was the type to think by himself. Fortunately Yue Qingyuan, being the devoted older brother figure he was, patiently listened to his complaints.

“Are you feeling better, Xiao Jiu?” Yue Qingyuan asked and handed Shen Qingqiu a cup of tea.

Shen Qingqiu had seemingly calmed down and had stopped talking. He looked almost embarrassed that he had lost his temper and slowly sipped the hot tea.

“Your pheromones are flaring up in distress. You’re clearly not in a good condition. Perhaps it is best to meditate on your own until you’ve completely cooled down,” Yue Qingyuan suggested. “It isn’t good to… voice your complaints in front of the young ones.”

Shen Qingqiu startled. He looked at his child, who had been listening, and swallowed hard. He pulled Shen Yuan into a tight hug. “I’m sorry you had to hear that A Yuan. Your father is a good man. He’s just… not smart enough sometimes.”

You just called him stupid, that’s what you did . “Why were you angry, mama? A Yuan doesn’t like to see mama and papa fighting.”

Shen Qingqiu pursed his lips. He didn’t know why he was so angry either. He was just acting cold with Liu Qingge to tease him. He didn’t think it would actually make his husband upset, or in return made him this emotional either. “Zhangmen Shixiong, I would like to enter seclusion for a while.”

Yue Qingyuan looked worried. “The cave?”

“Give me a room in your peak and that will be enough. I won’t be leaving A Yuan for too long. Please look after him for a while,” said Shen Qingqiu, before planting a kiss on Shen Yuan’s forehead and leaving the room.

Shen Yuan was left in the room, awkwardly staring at Yue Qingyuan. The Sect Leader sighed and stood up, extending his hand to Shen Yuan. “Come Yuan Shizhi, Shibo will show you around the library while your mother meditates.”

The library in Qiong Ding Peak was way bigger than Qing Jing since it was where all materials were kept. Shen Yuan coincidentally found Shang Qinghua at the library, who was there to deliver some new materials. He quickly clung to Shang Qinghua, much to Yue Qingyuan’s disappointment, who could not protest since he too had other pressing matters to attend to. If it wasn’t Shen Qingqiu coming to seek him, he might have not put his work aside.

Shen Yuan told Shang Qinghua about the fight. Shang Qinghua only looked at him with sympathy and patted his shoulder. “Tough luck, Cucumber Bro. It doesn’t seem too big but that was how my parents got divorced.”

“Divorced?!” Shen Yuan choked.

Shang Qinghua shrugged. “They acted pretty normal in front of me, I never thought something was going on. Then my mother eventually lost it and left the house. She came back with divorce papers. It happened just like that.”

Shen Yuan’s jaw dropped. He had never once considered the possibility of the two splitting.

“Don’t worry bro, they’re not going to leave their positions so at least whatever happens you’re still going to have both around-”

Shang Qinghua did not get to finish his sentence because Shen Yuan had tackled him to the ground and started beating him up. “Don’t you dare say any more words, you asshat!”

“Oww, oww, have mercy bro, I was just giving you a heads up!”

“If they’re fighting, I’m going to make it stop. It was over something stupid anyway,” Shen Yuan said. “Lend me your kitchen.”

Shang Qinghua frowned. “Why?”

“The man needs a goddamn good breakfast, so I’ll just give him some goddamn good food.”

 


 

Shen Yuan did not think about how much the existence of omegaverse elements would affect the world he was living in, other than the fact that males can give birth and that somehow resulted in the plot-device side character and original villain getting together. He was a child, hence unaffected by the smell of pheromones. He had not presented yet, hence never knew what a rut or a heat would feel like.

He also never thought about how frightening an alpha’s jealousy could be.

Not until he came back to Qiong Ding Peak with Shang Qinghua and saw the fight between Liu Qingge and Yue Qingyuan. The hallway leading to the office was in shambles and Shang Qinghua was already wailing thinking of all the repair they had to do.

Yue Qingyuan had always seemed like a very passive, meek man that it did not occur to Shen Yuan that he was in fact an insanely talented cultivator, wielder of the infamous Xuan Su Sword. Liu Qingge was aggressive but Yue Qingyuan was fending off his attack without even unsheathing his blade.

The older man did not look pleased. “Have you not learned that Xiao Jiu doesn’t like raw force?”

Liu Qingge’s eyes twitched and the fire in his eyes only burned fiercer with anger and jealousy. “ Xiao Jiu ? You address my mate so intimately. You - an alpha, hide a mated omega in your peak, do you not feel ashamed of yourself?”

“He is family to me, as I am to you. Why shouldn’t he be allowed to seek a family for help?” Yue Qingyuan pointed. 

Liu Qingge clenched his fists. He raised his sword and sent another wave of attack towards Yue Qingyuan. “Why must he come to you, even until now…? When he has me? Am I that lacking?” 

Yue Qingyuan’s face softened and he effortlessly blocked the attack. “Liu Shidi, both of you should talk when you two are ready. When in anger, words you don’t mean to say may come out and hurt your partner.” And preferably have that talk somewhere else where they would not destroy anything.

Liu Qingge eventually calmed down. He still looked a little vexed but he sheathed Cheng Luan and bowed to apologize. He bit his lower lip, tossed something to Yue Qingyuan, and flew off. Yue Qingyuan looked at the object in his hands. It was a new fan.

Shen Qingqiu came out from his brief meditation that evening - a mere ten minutes after Liu Qingge had left. Six hours of meditation was not short by normal people’s standards, but for cultivators who live for centuries and could stay in seclusion for months or years, six hours was nothing but a mere blink of an eye. He was extremely puzzled to see the door to Yue Qingyuan’s office broken. “What happened?”

“Liu Shidi came,” Yue Qingyuan answered.

“That… brute. I’m going to have a word with him later,” Shen Qingqiu huffed.

Yue Qingyuan chuckled. He handed the new fan to Shen Qingqiu. “I believe he was looking for you. About time the two of you speak.”

Shen Qingqiu looked at the fan thoughtfully and clutched in tight, holding it to his chest. He noticed his child, who had been standing next to a cowering Shang Qinghua (why was the older man hiding behind his six-year-old child?) and was holding a small clay pot in his hands.

He bent down to rub Shen Yuan’s head, his expression soft. “I made you wait, A Yuan. Are you okay?”

Shen Yuan nodded. He showed the pot to Shen Qingqiu. “For you, mama.”

Shen Qingqiu opened the lid and was surprised to see what appeared to be noodles swimming in some broth, with pieces of shredded boiled chicken and vegetables. There was even a perfectly made soft-boiled egg half submerged in the soup broth. “This…”

“I made noodles,” Shen Yuan said. His culinary skill wasn’t too good, but he was not a complete disaster in the kitchen. He may have had the cooks from An Ding to prepare the noodles and broth, but Shen Yuan could proudly admit that he had boiled the noodles himself, added extra seasonings to the broth, and prepared the toppings himself. Being the way he was - so used to junk food in his past life - Shang Qinghua had procured some extra seasonings in his collections, which Shen Yuan gratefully utilized to compensate for his subpar cooking.

“You made it yourself?” Shen Qingqiu was shocked.

“The kitchen aunties helped. Mama, you said you want a good breakfast,” Shen Yuan said, not forgetting to sound pitiful. Nothing like a child’s tears to gain pity. He could see Yue Qingyuan was already hiding his sobs behind some papers while Shang Qinghua looked like he was about to vomit. “A Yuan made good noodles, so won’t you come back home with papa?”

Shen Qingqiu put down the noodles and pulled his son into a tight embrace. “I apologize, A Yuan. I lost my temper and made you and your papa sad. Let’s go home and eat the noodles, okay?”

They returned home and found Liu Qingge waiting at the door. He looked a lot calmer than he was when he was facing Yue Qingyuan. He looked at Shen Qingqiu with an apologetic face, before slowly parting his lips and hesitantly uttered. “... Shi… Shixiong?”

Shen Qingqiu chuckled. “I’m back, husband.”

A surprised relief washed over the conflicted expression in Liu Qingge’s face. He took Shen Qingqiu’s hand and kissed the knuckle. “Am I forgiven?”

Shen Qingqiu shook his head. “I should be the one apologizing.”

“No, you were right. After A Yuan was born, we were both too busy looking after him, still leaning and… I haven’t treated you as well as I should have,” Liu Qingge admitted.

Shen Qingqiu bit his lower lip sheepishly. “That… I wasn’t angry at you. I was never angry. I only wanted to tease you at first but I went too far.”

Liu Qingge choked. “That was teasing?!” It took him a while to hear Shen Qingqiu call him ‘husband’, being demoted to ‘Liu Shidi’ wasn’t something that would make him laugh at all!

“It wasn’t funny, I know.”

“... Let’s talk about that later.”

Shen Yuan grinned. The fight terrified him a little, but it was all good now.

 


 

“So why ‘Liu Shidi’?” Liu Qingge asked that night while laying in bed after tucking Shen Yuan back to sleep. They decided to save whatever conversation they needed to have after Shen Yuan was in bed - arguing in front of their child was bad enough, they didn’t need to have that talk in front of him, in case voices were accidentally raised too high again.

“I should be asking you. Do you really not remember what happened last night?” Shen Qingqiu questioned. He did not immediately join his husband in bed, instead remaining in front of his dresser, albeit now facing Liu Qingge instead of the mirror.

“... I thought I wronged you. Isn’t that why you were upset? You said your body hurts and I…” Liu Qingge paused. “I really felt bad. I rarely brought you presents anymore compared to before we were married.”

Shen Qingqiu shook his head. “I’d rather have you stay here with me, than going out for presents. Also… my body did hurt, but in a good way. You must have been so muddled by your rut that you didn’t remember well, but last night was one of your best performances.”

Liu Qingge blushed. He fiddled with his fingers a little, then took out an item wrapped in a cloth from his pouch. “Well… I originally thought I was hurting you, so I bought this along with the fan.”

Shen Qingqiu raised an eyebrow as Liu Qingge unwrapped it. It was a small porcelain jar. “... Medicated oil? Are you going to give me a massage?”

Liu Qingge rubbed the back of his head shyly. “If you want that, too.”

“....” Hmm?

His husband’s ears were now completely red. “Well… if I was hurting you… maybe you can use it on me?

…. Oh.

 


 

Shen Qingqiu retched into the small wooden pail.

Dinner was Shen Yuan’s noodles - one pot shared between the family of three. It was a little too salty for Shen Qingqiu’s taste but he finished everything to make Shen Yuan happy. He probably should have let Liu Qingge finish it, if he knew he was going to get sick like this.

Liu Qingge woke up upon hearing the noise and hurried towards him, ignoring the cold early morning air against his bare skin. “Are you okay?”

“... Probably the noodles. Don’t tell A Yuan,” Shen Qingqiu said and wiped his mouth.

Liu Qingge frowned. The noodles tasted pretty fine to him. Maybe Shen Qingqiu was just feeling unwell, or…

… he was pretty energetic when they had their reconciliation rounds the night before. Why would he suddenly experience an upset stomach now?

“Should I call for Mu Shidi?” He asked.

Shen Qingqiu shook his head. “Won’t A Yuan be worried then? No need, a little rest should be fine,” he said and plopped back into bed.

Yet the following day and the days after that, the same nauseating feeling came to him again in the morning.

Chapter Text

When Shen Qingqiu woke up feeling nauseated again - three days in a row, he knew it definitely wasn’t an upset tummy or an illness. He had experienced this before, years ago. He tumbled out of the bed and reached for a container to puke out whatever in his stomach.

An appointment with Mu Qingfang would be needed after this.

It was still early in the morning but Liu Qingge was also awakened by the noise and quickly came to him. “Again?” He asked.

Shen Qingqiu wiped his mouth. “It’s not a stomachache,” he said.

“It’s not,” Liu Qingge repeated. He did not say anything more, though the way his eyes were looking at Shen Qingqiu told him enough that the man was thinking the same thing as he was, and was waiting for Shen Qingqiu to tell him.

“... Let’s go and see Mu Shidi after this,” Shen Qingqiu said.

Liu Qingge’s face instantly brightened up. “I’ll bring him here, you can just stay and rest!”

Shen Qingqiu snorted a little, amused by his husband’s reaction. “It’s fine, I can just -”

He did not get to finish his sentence as another wave of nausea hit him. Liu Qingge rubbed soothing circles on his back. Small footsteps soon tiptoed into the room. Shen Yuan came in rubbing his eyes, Bingpup also following behind him while yawning.

“Mama?” He called.

“It’s still early, you can go back to bed, A Yuan,” said Liu Qingge.

“What’s wrong with mama?” Shen Yuan sleepily asked.

“Last night’s dinner didn’t settle well with him,” Liu Qingge made an excuse for now. Shocking his child early in the morning with the news of a coming younger sibling might not be ideal. “He’ll be fine, I’ll take care of him.”

“Oh,” Shen Yuan mumbled and walked back to his room.

As soon as their child was out of their sight, Shen Qingqiu turned to look at Liu Qingge. “All I can think of is… it happened that time.”

Liu Qingge tried to recall it. Their sex life had been pretty active even before, more active now, but Shen Qingqiu regularly took birth control pills provided by Qian Cao Peak up until their recent trip to the succubus cave. After that Liu Qingge did not remember if his mate had resumed taking them. “The succubus mission? It does line up perfectly.”

“That one, yes. The one where we did it behind the tree.”

Liu Qingge’s face flushed a little as he remembered the day.

“How dare you do that outside, Liu Qingge,” Shen Qingqiu uttered, his voice cold but on his lips was a teasing little smile.

Liu Qingge returned the remark with a smirk. “Hmm? Who’s the one who tried to suck me off first?”

“I was merely trying to dispel the poison.”

“I was eliminating the poison too.”

“You didn’t need to come inside me multiple times.”

Liu Qingge brushed his fingers against Shen Qingqiu’s face. “You were way more intoxicating than any poison.”

The corner of Shen Qingqiu’s lips raised. “Our Liu Shidi has his way with words now. I almost fell for you.”

He pressed a kiss against Shen Qingqiu’s forehead. “I’m falling for you every single day.”

 


 

Shen Yuan had not learned to cultivate yet (except for that one embarrassing incident) but he had enough knowledge about cultivators from his years of reading xianxia novels as well as his six years of living in this world. He knew that cultivators have trained their bodies to heal at a faster rate and to not get sick so easily. Hence, there was just no way for a cultivator of Shen Qingqiu’s level to get an upset stomach over food, that by the way, was either prepared by the cooks of Cang Qiong Mountain or by himself.

There was only one explanation. He was pregnant again. Honestly, with how much his parents had been going at it day and night, he was not surprised by it at all. He was just more stunned by 'how' it happened. Under a tree, really?! After the succubus poison? That sounded more like something that would happen to the protagonist.

Shen Yuan headed to An Ding Peak with Bingpup to bother Shang Qinghua again. Whenever he felt the need to rant, as usual the poor author was his only choice. It wasn’t like there was anyone else whom he could talk freely with, or to whine about whatever was bugging him.

“They did it outdoors! Can you believe it?” Shen Yuan complained. “I can’t believe of all people who would succumb to your ridiculous smut scenes, it would be my own parents.”

Shang Qinghua clicked his tongue. “What do you mean ridiculous? The outdoor-sex enthusiasts are not happy, Cucumber Bro!”

Shen Yuan rolled his eyes. “... Do you honestly want to hear about your parents’ sex life, bro? I’ve had enough of reading about how Luo Binghe banged all the sixty succubi in the cave, I don’t need to hear an episode about my own parents.” He had even seen it with his own eyes, dear lord. Oh, the price he had to pay for independence.

Shang Qinghua grimaced. “No. But isn’t knowing their romance is still alive and kicking better than having them fight?”

Shen Yuan suddenly remembered Shang Qinghua’s words before. He was angry at the time, he almost forgot that Airplane Bro himself had experienced seeing his parents splitting. He may have spoken the wrong things but Shang Qinghua likely didn’t mean anything bad. “Um, sorry if I’m hurting you, Airplane Bro. I know I shouldn’t complain about my parents living a happy married life, when yours have split up…”

Shang Qinghua feigned a horrified look. “Are you… apologizing? Who are you and what have you done to Cucumber Bro?” He gasped, then laughed. “It’s fine. It’s been a long time, I’m over it. Hearing about a good couple is way better anyway, I wouldn’t be happy if I see another child like me. Growing up with barely any attention is pretty shitty.”

Shen Yuan now felt kind of bad. He had been a pretty lucky child in his past life, his only misfortune was dying too young to enjoy his life. Even now he was still born and raised in a loving family with no financial troubles. The only trouble he had was… demons. Possible confrontation with his parents’ enemies. The world possibly deciding that the plot had to be followed and his parents had to die. Alright, his life was far from being terrible, but it wasn't all glitters either. Until Luo Binghe returned and Shen Yuan could be certain of his parents' survival, he could not be completely at peace.

“Don’t look so down, Cucumber Bro. At least aside from the outdoor sex, I bet they’ve been pretty vanilla, right? Now that you have your own room, you don’t have to worry about having to poke your own eyes too. Let them be as kinky as they want,” Shang Qinghua said.

“Except that the heavens above decide that I need to catch them in the act or hear what they're doing. Do you know that Liu Qingge wants Shen Qingqiu to top him?”

“Oh, that’s pretty hot. Reminds me of the chapter where I made Luo Binghe succumb to a paralyzing poison,” Shang Qinghua said.

“And his wives had to take turns making him hard and riding him to dispel the poison? I remember that well. You basically made the protagonist a living dildo,” Shen Yuan uttered and glared at Shang Qinghua. “Let’s also not forget the time you made him obtain that special vines that can extend with his control so he can pleasure eight wives at a time. You mixed up three wives in one chapter!”

Shang Qinghua’s eyes brightened. “Oh, you even remember that? As expected of my loyal fan, Cucumber Bro-”

“Loyal fan? I paid to see the protagonist’s growth as a person, not the growth of his harem!”

“Ah, then, would you like to join me for a mission?” Shang Qinghua suddenly asked.

Shen Yuan paused. His eyes widened. “Mission?”

Shang Qinghua nodded and poured some more tea for Shen Yuan. “There’s going to be three of us - me, Yu Shidi, and Mu Shidi, looking for the Blue Moon Elderflowers. The mission itself is not going to be dangerous, but looking for the flowers is going to be a little difficult, since it’s so rare. I’m sure with your good memory, we can find it faster-”

“I’ll go! I’ll go!” Shen Yuan exclaimed. When else would he have this chance? 

“Nice. Go and ask your parents for their permission, I’ll go talk to Yu Shidi and Mu Shidi if they allow you.”

 


 

Shen Qingqiu was already certain that he was carrying another life inside him. He could feel it. Added with all the signs - his sudden mood swings, his morning sickness - he felt a little silly for not realizing it. He was already well aware that he could be pregnant when he had stopped taking birth control before. Still, it did not take away the nervousness and excitement as Mu Qingfang examined him, albeit his expression remained composed as usual.

Mu Qingfang nodded and smiled after he made his assessment. “Congratulations, Shen Shixiong, Liu Shixiong. You are indeed expecting.”

Knowing it earlier also did not take away the sparks of joy that the couple had when the healer announced it. Shen Qingqiu placed his hand gently on his tummy, feeling the same fascination he once had. There was another life growing inside him and this time, his husband was going to be with him all the time. It was a little sad that his cub was no longer around, though... 

“Were you planning for this? You have been taking birth control regularly since you stopped breastfeeding, what made you change your mind?” Mu Qingfang asked.

Shen Qingqiu coughed. He could not just say that the first time was due to his forgetfulness and the following times were just him thinking ‘oh, might as well since I already missed a dose’. Missing a single dose normally wouldn't have gotten him pregnant this fast, but he and Liu Qingge had been doing it pretty much every other day and it felt embarrassing for him to admit that. “It’s not like we never wanted more. We just wanted to focus on A Yuan, but he’s all grown up now.”

It wasn’t a lie. He and Liu Qingge had a conversation about it before, ever since Shen Yuan had been weaned off. Even Madam Liu had once asked if they were planning to have more, for she would welcome more additions to the family. The couple weren’t averse to it. Shen Qingqiu had just been hesitant because he was worried that Shen Yuan might not like having their attention divided, hence decided to focus entirely on his first child.

Mu Qingfang nodded. "It's true. Yuan Shizhi has grown a lot. I imagine he would love to have some company as well."

Liu Qingge coughed, remembering the last time he brought over his younger cousins and Yue Qingyuan invited Madam Fu’s children to come. Shen Yuan was unhappy, Madam Fu’s children cried, and Shen Qingqiu concluded that nobody was good enough for their little boy. “The playdate didn’t end up well. It might have been better if he had friends his age growing up here, but…”

"Unfortunately the rest of you don't have a love life," Shen Qingqiu casually remarked.

Mu Qingfang's face flushed a little. He cleared his throat. “I’m quite busy, I don’t have much time for courting. Surely some of our other martial siblings will get to it sooner or later, if they want to. Have you not noticed Shang Shixiong?”

Shen Qingqiu scoffed. Of course he had noticed it. Shang Qinghua looked like he had been having some ‘fun’ outside, though he was keeping it a secret. Shen Qingqiu had seen the glimpse of a bite mark on the nape of his neck sometimes. He wasn't sure why the An Ding Peak Lord chose to stay silent on it. Either his mate was someone inappropriate or he did not intend to marry and live together with them. However, if the Sect Leader Yue Qingyuan himself decided to not intrude into Shang Qinghua’s private life, then he had nothing to say either.

Well, it was possible that the idiot got himself into a relationship unknowingly. The fool came into a meeting claiming he had a 'fever'. It wouldn't surprise Shen Qingqiu if Shang Qinghua would suddenly one day come to Mu Qingfang complaining that he had gotten 'abnormally fat'.

"I will prescribe some supplements and tea to help with your morning sickness. I will also visit you monthly," Mu Qingfang said.

Shen Qingqiu nodded. "Many thanks, Mu Shidi."

"Please don't be reckless as you did in your first pregnancy, Shen Shixiong," Mu Qingfang reminded him.

"Don't worry, I'm keeping an eye on him," Liu Qingge said. “I’m not going to let him fly on his sword while being seven month pregnant again.”

“That was one time,” Shen Qingqiu defended himself.

“One time too many,” Liu Qingge grumbled.

“When are you going to announce this?” Mu Qingfang asked.

The couple considered. “The next Peak Lord meeting, perhaps?”

Mu Qingfang nodded. “If you need anything else, just ask for my head disciple. I will be going out in two days, but I will be back in time for the meeting.”

“Collecting herbs?” Shen Qingqiu asked. Whenever the healer had to personally go out himself, it was either due to a serious unknown ailment or to search for a very rare herb that required careful handling. Since he had yet to hear of any disease outbreak, it was likely the latter.

“Yes. The journey won’t be dangerous, but it will be a hard one. The Blue Moon Elderflowers only grow once in every two hundred years and are very scarce in numbers. We might not even be able to obtain any,” Mu Qingfang sighed. “Yu Shixiong and Shang Shixiong are coming with me to help, though.”

“I’d offer to help, but Qingqiu…” Liu Qingge paused.

When his husband gave him a worried look, Shen Qingqiu shook his head. “Don’t make that face. I’m not so fragile.”

“But your morning sickness-”

“Mu Shidi has given me some tea to counter that,” Shen Qingqiu said.

Mu Qingfang chuckled. "It's fine, I'm sure Yu Shixiong and Shang Shixiong will be enough of a help. I'm afraid the plant will only bloom during the limited period, so we can't make a second trip either. Liu Shixiong, you should just stay and accompany Shen Shixiong."

They thanked the healer and returned to the bamboo house.

They did not expect to hear about the flower once again, moreover this time from their son, who apparently wanted to join the expedition. Inside Shen Qingqiu was cursing Shang Qinghua, stabbing him with his Xiu Ya a thousand times in his head. He already knew Shen Yuan was an adventurous, curious little boy, now he was asking him to join him on a mission? Of course his son would so desperately want to follow!

“Please, mama?” Shen Yuan begged, his eyes large and innocent and looking at them pitifully.

When Shen Qingqiu wasn’t answering, he turned his puppy eyes to Liu Qingge, knowing his father was more likely to allow him.

“... Shang Qinghua. And Yu Qingxuan. Again,” the Bai Zhan Peak Lord almost hissed.

“Shang Shishu and Yu Shishu are nice!” Shen Yuan insisted.

“But also reckless,” Shen Qingqiu pointed.

“He said the mission won’t be dangerous,” Shen Yuan insisted.

Frankly even if the mission itself wasn’t dangerous, Shen Qingqiu did not trust Shang Qinghua or Yu Qingxuan to not make it dangerous. Back in his disciple days Shang Qinghua went out with several other disciples to transport some items, only to come back alone while the rest of the An Ding disciples were killed by a demon. The Mo Shou Peak disciples were frequent visitors of Qian Cao Peak, only second to Bai Zhan Peak, due to Yu Qingxuan’s careless handling of his beasts.

However, since Shen Yuan was going to get a baby sibling soon, perhaps it was a good idea to let him have even more independence. Soon Shen Qingqiu would have less time to concentrate on him and Shen Yuan surely would want to go outside to learn. "Fine. I don't trust Shang Qinghua or Yu Qingxuan, but I do trust Mu Shidi."

Shen Yuan's jaw dropped. He was expecting a little more objection. "You'd let me?"

Mu Qingfang had already mentioned that whether or not the mission succeeded, they would be back before the next Peak Lord meeting, which meant Shen Yuan was not going to be away for more than a week. He should not be too concerned about them possibly extending the mission for too long.

A week.

Seven days without A Yuan.

Shen Qingqiu suddenly felt reluctant.

Liu Qingge saw the looks on his mate's face and knew Shen Qingqiu was about to change his mind. Pregnancy was giving him some mood swings - sometimes he could be very agreeable and very sticky to Liu Qingge, and sometimes he would just lose his temper over small things. "You can go. Just bring Bingpup with you and don't stay away from your Mu Shishu," he quickly said.

"Thank you, mama, papa!" Shen Yuan beamed.

 


 

I knew I could count on you, Papa Liu! Shen Yuan giddily thought as he began packing his stuff for the trip. Shen Qingqiu was in his sulky mood after he realized he won't be able to see Shen Yuan for a week and Liu Qingge had gone to coax him. Shen Yuan went back to An Ding Peak to ask Shang Qinghua about what he should bring over for the trip.

They were going to take a carriage to a small village in the northwest, then hike up the mountains where the flowers should bloom. The Blue Moon Elderflowers grew on mountainous areas where the air was cool and the sunlight shone across the land, but other than that, there were no other hints. Luo Binghe being the protagonist of course was able to find the herb easily, while securing a new wife on the way - a flower maiden who stayed in a small shrine, where Luo Binghe took shelter from on a stormy night.

Mu Qingfang was admittedly still surprised that Shen Qingqiu had allowed his son to go out on a long trip away from home. Shang Qinghua was just happy to have his buddy, whose memory on the novel was even better than his own and could be relied on for the search. Yu Qingxuan crouched down and grinned as soon as he saw Shen Yuan. He patted his head, and scratched Bingpup’s ears. “How are you doing, big guy? Is it going well with Bingpup?”

So I’m a big guy now, not the little guy anymore? Shen Yuan smiled. “Bingpup is the cutest and smartest pup ever!”

“Arrf!” Bingpup barked and wagged his tail happily.

Yu Qingxuan placed two fingers against the red mark on Bingpup’s forehead and looked a little surprised. “Ah, I see Shen Shixiong has marked him already for you.”

“Marked?” Shen Yuan repeated.

“He channeled some of his spiritual energy into Bingpup. That way if Bingpup ever gets too distressed, he can sense it. As expected from Shen Shixiong, he’s well prepared,” said Yu Qingxuan.

Of course Shen Qingqiu wouldn’t let him go without adding extra safety measures. Aside from sending Bingpup with him (to think that his mother thought three Peak Lords were not capable enough to watch over a child), he also packed some extra talismans in Shen Yuan’s storage pouch, along with more emergency rations. 

The three Peak Lords and a child stayed inside the carriage, while a Qian Cao disciple took the reins for the carriage. Shang Qinghua started taking out his bag of melon seeds to pass time. There was a weiqi board inside so Shen Yuan proposed a game between himself and one of the Peak Lords. He learned how to play a little during his past life and Shen Qingqiu had taught him in this life as well. Both Shang Qinghua and Yu Qingxuan were not fans of weiqi, so Mu Qingfang kindly became his opponent while Shang Qinghua and Yu Qingxuan provided useless commentary at the sides.

So far their journey had been fairly uneventful. After three hours inside the carriage, Shen Yuan began experiencing a little motion sickness. They were going uphill in a bumpy area and trying to play weiqi on a bumpy road was not a good idea either. Mu Qingfang took out a cushion and placed it on his side. “Come Yuan Shizhi, lay down if you’re unwell.”

Yu Qingxuan pouted. “Ah, my thighs can be just as comfy, YuanYuan!”

“How can your thighs be any more comfortable than actual cushions?” Shang Qinghua sneered.

Yu Qingxuan grinned. “I can change into a wolf and it’ll be super warm and fluffy, YuanYuan.”

“Warm and fluffy?” Shen Yuan’s eyes lightened up.

Yu Qingxuan shapeshifted into his wolf form, which earned a little yelp from Shang Qinghua, who was still not used to seeing the Peak Lord’s animal form. Mu Qingfang relented and let Shen Yuan lay down against Yu Qingxuan’s warm body. Bingpup trotted over to also curl around at Shen Yuan’s legs. Surrounded with two warm animals, Shen Yuan soon dozed off.

The carriage kept moving. Yu Qingxuan suddenly looked uneasy.

“What’s wrong, Yu Shixiong?” Mu Qingfang asked.

Yu Qingxuan scrunched his nose. “I smell something.”

“Something?”

“... It feels… like a demon.”

Chapter Text

“D-demons?” Shang Qinghua gasped. Oh, his poor luck!

Yu Qingxuan nodded. In his animal form, his senses were even more heightened and thus he was able to smell something strange in the air. Just now, he managed to catch the whiff of something rotten and the stench of either demons or spiritual beasts. However, spiritual beasts would usually not be this quiet, since they normally weren’t as intelligent as demons. This was the smell of a low-level demon.

He summoned his sword and morphed it into a bird to survey the area around them. If it was just a group of harmless little demons scouring for dead animal corpses, it wouldn’t be such a big deal, but if they were looking for humans as meals to grow into higher level demons, they needed to stop them. 

Mu Qingfang frowned. “Shang Shixiong, can you also take a look outside?”

Shang Qinghua squeaked, “Me?”

If Yu Qingxuan were to move he would stir up Shen Yuan from sleep. Still, that did not mean Shang Qinghua couldn’t weep inside as he reluctantly peeked outside. If Yu Qingxuan could smell demons, what else would it be but demons ah? Shang Qinghua happened to love his life, he even grew a plant body just in case his son came back to mutilate him after making Mobei Jun drag him to the Endless Abyss.

The road was empty save for their carriage and they were surrounded by nothing but trees and rocks. The sky was getting dark and it was gradually getting colder too. Shang Qinghua gulped. Now would ideally be the time to stop, since the horses need to rest too, but how could they stop when there were demons around? The only option would be to either speed up until they reach a safer place or to eradicate the threat.

There was a sound of something cracking. Shang Qinghua looked down and saw a couple pieces of what seemed like a large animal’s scale. His eyes then trailed to torn up pieces of something that looked almost like clear plastic, which was weird, because this was a world where plastics don’t exist. The patterns on the plastic almost look like a snake’s shedding, that Shang Qinghua had seen on the internet…

… it was a snake’s shedding. And a snake’s scales.

“Oh shit,” he cursed under his breath. “It’s a large snake!”

Mu Qingfang looked alarmed. “Large snake?”

“I saw the scales and sheddings. There’s definitely a giant snake here!” Shang Qinghua exclaimed.

“Alright, stay here and be his lap cushion, Shang Shixiong,” Yu Qingxuan said. “Let’s stop the carriage for a sec. I’ll take over the reins. We’ll have to speed up until we find a safer place to stop.”

Shen Yuan was stirred awake by the noises when Yu Qingxuan left the carriage to switch with Mu Qingfang’s disciple. Shang Qinghua explained to him that Yu Qingxuan had sensed the presence of a demon, and he had just discovered the remains of a large snake outside. If this was their original world, a snake wouldn’t be a concern with all these cultivators around, but this was Proud Immortal Demon Way, where only the protagonist was immune from any deadly poisons and any large snake could be bad news.

It was dangerous, of course.

But honestly all Shen Yuan could think about right now was if he could somehow enter Mo Shou Peak as a disciple. Not only they spent the whole day mingling with rare animals, they even learned to shapeshift into them, and now had those extra sets of abilities? He would sign up to be the next McG*nagall, heck yeah!

“Are we going to be fine? Can’t we set up a barrier and rest first? What if the horses get tired during a crucial time?” Shang Qinghua suggested.

“Yu Shixiong is looking for a path clear from any demons,” Mu Qingfang said. “If we can’t find it, then we’d have to set up a protection array as the alternative.”

Shen Yuan blinked. “Can he detect the demons even in his human form?” He asked.

“He can’t.”

But he is driving the carriage, isn’t he? “But how can Yu Shishu hold the reins?”

“He has very strong paws. Also Yu Shixiong can communicate with the animals directly in that form so you don’t have to worry, Yuan Shizhi,” Mu Qingfang assured him.

You can even talk to animals?! Shen Yuan was drooling inside. He glanced at Bingpup, wondering how convenient and amazing it would be if he could actually understand the puppy. Bingpup wagged his tail and scooted over to Shen Yuan’s lap. Shen Yuan patted the little pup’s head and played with the pink toe beans. “Are you okay, Bingpup?”

“Arff!” Bingpup barked.

“Since Bingpup hasn’t sent any distress signals to my mama and papa yet, that means we’re not really in danger, right?” Shen Yuan said. He knew for sure that if he were to be in danger, Liu Qingge and Shen Qingqiu would be flying full speed in no time to get him.

“Hopefully. We are not under any attack, but there is no such thing as being too careful,” Mu Qingfang said and poured some tea for Shen Yuan.

“Shang Shixiong, Mu Shidi, I found a river, shall we rest here first?” They heard Yu Qingxuan’s voice from outside.

They stopped the carriage to allow the horses to rest. The Qian Cao disciple went to fetch some water to refill their canisters and for the horses to drink. Mu Qingfang started a fire to boil some tea. Shen Yuan walked Bingpup over to the bushes for the pup to relieve himself. 

Perhaps he shouldn’t have said anything too early, he should have known from his experience of reading many novels that saying those words was just raising flags.

Shen Yuan froze as he noticed something laying near the tree.

It was a pile of bones, underneath some  clothes. Shen Yuan carefully stepped closer to them and lifted the fabric a little.

They were human bones. A skull rolled over to his foot. He yelped and jumped, startled by the discovery.

Immediately the four Peak Lords came running to get him. “What’s wrong, Cucum- Yuan Shizhi?” Shang Qinghua asked.

Shen Yuan pointed at the pile of human bones. “Th- that!”

Mu Qingfang crouched down and carefully examined the bones. He frowned, as he then picked up the fabric. “... Strange.”

“What’s so strange?” Yu Qingxuan asked.

“For a body to have decomposed completely to the point of leaving only the skeleton, it should take months or even years, given the cold weather here. Yet, the clothes remain intact without falling apart even though it’s a cheap fabric, meaning they're still quite new. There’s no hair, no maggots, yet the bones are dry,” said Mu Qingfang.

“Maybe some wild animals ate this guy?” Shang Qinghua said.

“Then his bones would be scattered all over instead of being in one place. It looks like this man died here and his bones haven’t even been moved. It’s very likely that it’s still recent, though I can’t quite fathom why it has decomposed to this stage,” Mu Qingfang said.

“It could be caused by a disease or curse. Some beast’s and demon’s poison can cause your body to rot fast,” Yu Qingxuan said. “Whatever it is, we shouldn’t settle here."

“Where should we go?” Mu Qingfang asked. “Zhao Hua Temple and Huan Hua Palace would be the closest from here.”

Shang Qinghua shuddered and looked uneasy. “Let’s go to Zhao Hua Temple, I don’t feel good about our relationship with Huan Hua Palace after our last Immortal Alliance Conference,” he said.

They returned to their carriage and this time Shang Qinghua together with Mu Qingfang took care of the reins, driving them to Zhao Hua Temple. Shen Yuan recalled it as one of the four major sects, though their role in Proud Immortal Demon Way wasn’t expanded much. After all it was a temple and they only had monks, so no little sisters for Luo Binghe to claim as his wives there.

They stayed in the carriage for three more hours, switching their directions towards the Central Plains instead of the mountains. It was already dark and by the time they reached the Central Plains, the horses were too tired to pull the carriage.

“Are you okay, Yuan Shizhi? I’m sorry but the horses can’t pull the carriage anymore,” Mu Qingfang said.

Shen Yuan nodded. He was already sleepy and fatigued but he did not want to trouble them, when he was technically an unnecessary addition to the mission. “I’m okay, Mu Shishu. A Yuan is very strong!”

Mu Qingfang rubbed his head. “I’m going with my disciple to look for a place we can leave our horses and carriage safely for them to rest,” he said and walked around, while Yu Qingxuan busied himself looking after the horses.

Shen Yuan crouched down to pick up Bingpup, who was whimpering and pressed the pup to his chest. It was cold and with no carriage to provide some insulation or to stop the cold wind from hitting them, it was a little unbearable, though not deathly freezing. He was almost startled when Shang Qinghua suddenly draped his outer robes over him. He looked at the An Ding Peak Lord in disbelief. Since when was Shang Qinghua such a gentleman?

Shang Qinghua rubbed his nose sheepishly. “Don’t look at me like that, bro. I can withstand the cold better.”

Shen Yuan chuckled. Airplane Bro trying to act cool was so not him. “... Did you spill beef broth on this?”

Shang Qinghua rolled his eyes. “You little - give it back to me then!”

“Bingpup might need it.”

“Your dog doesn’t need shit, look at how thick his fur is!”

“It’s just curly and puffed up!”

Yu Qingxuan came, hearing the banter. He grinned, switched into his wolf form and pounced at Shen Yuan to tease him. “What’s a naughty kid doing out at night, ah? I’m going to eat you!!!” He exclaimed and displayed his impressive set of sharp canines.

Shen Yuan giggled and was about to respond, when a strong gust of wind suddenly blasted towards them, sending the Mo Shou Peak Lord flying and crashing against a building, several feet away. Shang Qinghua squeaked, terrified by the sudden attack while Shen Yuan sat there, frozen stiff from the shock.

What the hell?

Mu Qingfang and his disciple who heard the noise quickly rushed towards them. “What happened?”

His eyes grew wide and frantic at the sight of Yu Qingxuan digging his way out from the crumbling wall. They would have to compensate the owner of the building later, the front wall was completely destroyed. Yu Qingxuan had returned to his human form and spat out the debris from his mouth. He jumped out, quickly re-tied his long black hair and cursed, “Damn, whatever that was, it almost got me!”

Bingpup jumped out from Shen Yuan's hold and barked at the dark alleys behind Shang Qinghua and Shen Yuan. “Arff, arrff!”

Shen Yuan grabbed Bingpup. “Did you see something, Bingpup?”

Bingpup only whimpered.

“Didn’t you smell anything, Yu Shidi?” Shang Qinghua whined.

Yu Qingxuan rubbed his nose. “I was too tired, my senses aren’t as sensitive. Besides, it smells like a human.”

“... Like a human? It was a human?” Shang Qinghua gawked.

“Either it was truly a human attacking us, or the demon is wearing human skin and is just good at blending in, like the Skinner demon that Shen Shixiong handled a few years ago,” Yu Qingxuan said. “I could go and trace it back to smell it better.”

“Let’s not. It’s late at night, we’re all exhausted, and it’s disadvantageous for us. Shape-shifting takes up some of your spiritual energy, don’t waste your energy for fun anymore,” Mu Qingfang said.

They hastened their pace and headed towards Zhao Hua Temple. It was already bedtime and visiting at this hour would normally be very impolite but as soon as Mu Qingfang explained to the young monks on night patrol about their situation, the monks kindly invited them in. An older monk called Wu Chen welcomed and ushered them to the guest bedroom. 

Mu Qingfang greeted the monk. “We are very sorry to trouble Zhao Hua Temple this late at night. Cang Qiong Sect will remember this favour surely.”

Wu Chen smiled gently. “It is no trouble at all, Peak Lord Mu. I’ve heard that you’ve encountered something troublesome outside.”

Mu Qingfang nodded. “We were just on our way to look for some Blue Moon Elderflowers, when we encountered the remains of a human, in a strange condition. His clothes do not look old, yet his body has completely decomposed, leaving only bones. Not only that, when we arrived at the city earlier, my martial brother was attacked by an unknown entity.”

“That does sound unusual,” Wu Chen agreed. He crouched down then smiled at Shen Yuan. “Young child, it must have been scary.”

Shen Yuan blinked sleepily but quickly shook his head to chase away the sleepiness. “A Yuan was only a little surprised. Yu Shishu was the one who got injured, please have a look at him, Abbot Wu.”

“Of course. Our Zhao Hua Temple will investigate this matter as soon as we can, Immortal Masters should get some rest. The child looks tired,” Wu Chen said and nodded. He eyed Shen Yuan curiously once again. “This child looks familiar. Is he a relative or a member of your sect?”

“He is a member of our sect,” Mu Qingfang answered.

Wu Chen decided to not divulge further, though he glanced at Shen Yuan’s face once again and remarked, “He almost reminds me of the Qing Jing Peak Lord. This old monk has not seen him for a while, but I remember him well. The face and temperament are almost similar.”

 


 

They looked so similar. Luo Binghe didn't know why he was surprised. It’s Shizun’s child after all, of course he would resemble him. Shizun raised A Yuan very lovingly and even though Luo Binghe wasn’t there for the last few years, he was certain that A Yuan must have grown up well.

When he saw the carriage that belonged to Cang Qiong Mountain on the road that day, Luo Binghe just thought that… maybe, perhaps maybe, his Shizun was in there. Shen Qingqiu had always preferred taking the carriage, where he could have his own privacy. Luo Binghe knew the chances were low, his Shizun had not gone out to supervise the disciples as much ever since he had A Yuan, but just in case… he just wanted to have a glance.

Who knew it was actually A Yuan in that carriage? When Luo Binghe followed the carriage to the Central Plains, he didn’t think he would see A Yuan emerge from that carriage. Last time he was only able to see A Yuan from the back, this time he was finally able to see his face, albeit it was a little too dark to see clearly. Nevertheless, he could tell his A Yuan had lost some of the baby fat and of course gained a lot of height, and was resembling his Shizun even more.

He was also particularly close with that mysterious black pup that he even brought the pup all the way from Qing Jing Peak to travel with him. Luo Binghe was fuming with envy but at the same time also felt that he was too pathetic like this, being jealous of a little puppy (even slightly wishing he was the pup). A Yuan had no young friends, the pup would be fun to play with.

He averted his gaze for only a second to lament at himself, and was horrified to see a big silver wolf suddenly pouncing at the child and even threatened to eat him. This must be a demon wolf since it could speak! Luo Binghe sent a wave of spiritual energy to chase it away. Who knew that instead of a demon wolf, a human actually emerged from the rubble. Moreover, Shang Shishu had called him Yu Shidi, meaning that person was actually Yu Qingxuan from Mo Shou Peak! Luo Binghe had never seen him in his animal form before though he had heard that the Peak Lord was a shape-shifter.

Luo Binghe silently apologized to his martial uncle. Good thing he didn’t use full force and his martial uncle was very resilient. Otherwise he could not imagine the wrongdoings he would be accumulating after murdering his martial uncle.

“What wrongdoings? The only wrong thing you’re doing here is being a chicken! How long are you going to remain a rogue?” Meng Mo berated him. “Just how fragile is your mind that some porno book got you scared to return-”

Mobei. Fucking. Me,” was all Luo Binghe sternly supplied to the demon in his head to shut him up.

Luo Binghe had never really intended to rule over the Demon Realm, he just wanted to return to the peaceful days with his Shizun and A Yuan. However after reading that book, he made sure to find and beat up Mobei Jun again and got the ice demon to submit to him. To make matters worse, when Luo Binghe raided his palace to show him who was the boss, he found several more volumes of the series. Mobei Jun claimed he was studying it.

To use it on whom?! Luo Binghe didn’t even want to know.  

He decided that until he could gain the courage to face his Shizun, he would just go around night hunting and grow even stronger. For now, he decided to follow the group of Cang Qiong cultivators to Zhao Hua Temple secretly. There was an array blocking any outsider's entrance so Luo Binghe could not continue tailing them inside, but he managed to gather enough information from listening in to Mu Qingfang explaining their situation to the junior monks at the front gate.

It turned out that they were looking for the Blue Moon Elderflowers. Luo Binghe had read about it once, it was in one of the many assignments Shen Qingqiu gave to his disciples. The flower should grow right near the mountains, not too far from the Central Plains. Maybe if he could get the flowers for them, A Yuan could return to Qing Jing Peak faster and not be exposed to the danger outside. Then maybe Luo Binghe could also start investigating the body they had mentioned earlier.

He left the temple and headed for the mountains.

 


 

It was still quite early in the morning and he had just been sent out to retrieve back the horses they left. Fortunately it seemed like the array was undisturbed and the horses were fine. The Qian Cao disciple bent down to fix the reins that he had untied from the carriage the night before. He heard light footsteps approaching and something heavy being dragged.

“Are these horses yours?”

The Qian Cao disciple turned around to look at the person talking to him. He was a young man with fair skin, a slender bearing, and a very handsome face. He was pushing another man in a poorly made wheelchair. The man in the wheelchair looked fairly young and even more handsome too, but he had no legs. The disciple finished up fixing the reins on the horses. “They belong to my sect.”

“Sect… which sect are you from?” The young man asked.

“This humble one is from Qian Cao Peak of Cang Qiong Mountain,” the disciple politely replied.

“What is a disciple of Cang Qiong Mountain doing here? It is not close to your sect,” the man in the wheelchair asked.

“We are out looking for the Blue Moon Elderflowers. Young masters, do you happen to know where we can find them?”

“We do not, but we will be sure to inform you if we do,” the man in the wheelchair answered.

The disciple doubted they would ever meet each other again, but he thanked the two and even offered some herb pouch for the pair. The man lost his legs at such a young age, he must have been a warrior who survived a terrible battle, thought the disciple. He hopped on and drove the horse carriage all the way to Zhao Hua Temple, where his group was waiting. It was daytime, hopefully they would not encounter anything strange anymore.

Zhuzhi Lang watched the carriage as it disappeared from his view.

“Are you thinking of going there to help them, nephew?”

Zhuzhi Lang pursed his lips. “I would like to, but Junshang’s recovery takes priority,” he said.

“Do not concern yourself too much over me, nephew. I will be fine recovering on my own, do what you want in the meantime. We have already sent out the first little ones here, our task is accomplished,” the man said, then paused. He smiled. “Ah, but tell them not to be too greedy. It would be terrible if the cultivators caught wind of it too fast.”

“... Should we send them to a different place, Junshang?”

“Good idea. Jinlan City… isn’t a bad place to start, is it?”

Zhuzhi Lang nodded and resumed pushing the wheelchair.

“Nephew, my left arm fell off, pick it up.”

 


 

Shen Yuan was beaming. After a long, two-days more worth of journey - a whole day and a half of travelling to the mountains and another half day of hiking up, they finally found the place! They already had to waste a day changing their route to stop by Zhao Hua Temple because of the body and the surprise attack, Shen Yuan could barely wait to see the flowers.

Mu Qingfang was right, the journey itself was not dangerous at all. There weren’t any robbers, smugglers, or anything else interrupting their travel after they left Zhao Hua Temple. Shen Yuan kept his mouth shut from uttering anything that could raise the flags and it seemed to have worked. They reached the summit and Shen Yuan spotted the small shrine where the maiden (Wife #272) was staying. He quickly pointed the shrine to Shang Qinghua, knowing that the maiden who was living there would be able to tell the location of all the plants growing there.

She was truly beautiful, with of course porcelain white skin, red lips, silky black hair, and an ample chest that bounced as she walked - just like how Airplane Bro described nearly all of Luo Binghe’s harem members.

“Oh my, just yesterday a handsome gentleman came and also asked to pick the flowers,” the maiden exclaimed.

“What?” Mu Qingfang was surprised.

The maiden smiled. “I believe he left out some, so there should still be something for the Immortal Masters.”

Thank goodness, Shen Yuan would lose his shit if they were to come here only to go back with nothing after spending so much time. They followed the maiden to look for the tree.

Only to find the tree completely barren of any flowers.

Even the flower maiden dropped her basket. She gawked. “Impossible, I was here when the gentleman picked the flowers! Who took all the flowers?!”

“... Seems like it’s just not our luck,” Mu Qingfang heaved with disappointment.

“... We can try again sometime, Mu Shidi,” Shang Qinghua said just to soothe him.

Mu Qingfang only looked more down. Shen Yuan silently stepped on Shang Qinghua's foot for foolishly rubbing salt on the healer’s wounds. The author must have forgotten that the flowers would only bloom once in every two hundred years! 

They returned to Cang Qiong Mountain with nothing but disappointment.

 


 

Shen Yuan was smothered with hugs and kisses as soon as he returned. Shen Qingqiu had been restless the whole time he was away and was very relieved to see him come back safely.

“Was everything fine? Did you encounter some trouble?” Shen Qingqiu asked after he was done planting kisses all over his son’s face. Goodness, he missed Shen Yuan so much! Liu Qingge had to stop him from flying to his son several times throughout the few days that Shen Yuan wasn’t around.

If Shen Qingqiu were to hear about the strange piles of bones and the attack on Yu Qingxuan, he would likely prohibit Shen Yuan from ever going out again, at least not in the nearest time, so Shen Yuan chose to omit it for now. He only told Shen Qingqiu of how long of a journey it took and how disappointed he was that they failed to collect any flowers even though they found the tree.

"Well, our sect isn't the only one with healers, other cultivators who know about the plant might have taken them first," Shen Qingqiu said.

"Does that mean Mu Shishu really can't do anything but wait for two hundred years?" Shen Yuan asked.

Shen Qingqiu shook his head. "The ones who obtained the flowers will likely sell them to other sects, including us. Mu Shidi will still be able to get it, but he would have to pay a hefty amount for it, especially if there will be huge biddings," he explained.

While Cang Qiong Mountain definitely did not lack money, it would not be ideal to pay for something they could technically collect themselves. Some sects or rogues could get greedy and would even sell the rare herbs at an absurd price. Mu Qingfang was a pragmatic man, he wouldn't waste too much money and would rather find other substitutes. However, it still didn't change that it must be quite frustrating for him.

"Qingqiu," Liu Qingge came into the room with two wooden boxes wrapped tightly in hand. "Someone sent these two packages. Anonymously."

Shen Qingqiu frowned. "Packages?"

Liu Qingge set the two boxes onto the floor. "I don't sense anything dangerous inside. Though…"

Shen Qingqiu carefully brought the boxes closer to him and took a whiff. He frowned. "It smells like flowers."

They opened the box.

Blue Moon Elderflowers filled the two boxes. The family of three went stiff.

Shen Qingqiu found a note in the first box and picked it up. He frowned as he read it. "'Dear Young Master Shen, I will always remember you'."

Liu Qingge took the second note. "... 'I will continue to watch and protect you from afar'...."

There was a moment of silence as the three began to process what had just happened.

The Bai Zhan Peak Lord crumpled the note. He angrily stomped out of the bamboo house and yelled for Ming Fan to come, questioning the poor confused boy about who the hell sent the boxes containing questionable content to Qing Jing Peak.

Shen Qingqiu stared at the notes and the boxes with puzzled eyes. Who would send these precious flowers to him? Or was it for his son...no, the public didn't know about A Yuan, only family and friends knew and they wouldn't play this kind of prank.

Well, it was suspicious but they should not waste it. He would just ask Ming Fan to send these to Mu Qingfang later, and investigate the senders later.

Meanwhile Shen Yuan could only stare at the surprise gifts in shock and disbelief. Somebody plucked out all the flowers from the only elderflower tree - that they spent days looking for - only to send them to Qing Jing Peak.

Directed towards his mother.

What was their intention? Whoever these people were, they sure had some guts sending love letters and gifts to a married Peak Lord.

 

(At that moment Shen Yuan had forgotten that he was in fact Young Master Shen).

Chapter Text

Back when he was still a baby, Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge would often just bring him along to Peak Lord meetings and let him sit on their laps. He was a very well-behaved baby, never causing much trouble and rarely cried. The habit continued even when Shen Yuan had grown up. 

Today especially, Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge had a special reason why they were bringing him along. Shen Yuan had already figured out that they were going to announce about the buns in the oven, when Shen Qingqiu told him that there was something important he needed to tell Shen Yuan and their martial siblings. He mentioned an addition to the family but of course Shen Yuan had to pretend to be clueless and only asked if Bingpup was getting a new friend. Shen Qingqiu ony chuckled and told him that no, he was pregnant.

The meeting went as usual for the first part, though Shen Yuan noticed both Liu Qingge and Shen Qingqiu would occasionally exchange glances, perhaps trying to figure out the right timing to bring it up. Mu Qingfang, who was aware of it, was deeply amused but chose to hide it by stroking his moustache. Shang Qinghua looked a little nervous but it was probably for a different reason. If Shen Yuan could guess it was likely because of the report they had to submit to Yue Qingyuan, in which they would have to mention their encounter with the mysterious attacker and the unknown death.

… Seeing that Yue Qingyuan didn't bring up the issue with the mysterious attacker and strange corpse, either Shang Qinghua had 'edited' the report or did not submit it yet. Mu Qingfang was probably too occupied thinking about either the flowers gifted by the mysterious admirer sender or the baby announcement. Shen Yuan was secretly relieved because if Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge were to find out he would definitely get an earful and be banned from going out for the next few months, even years.

Shen Qingqiu almost thought of forbidding him from going out after they received the packages with flowers from the mysterious senders, as he was worried that there might possibly be a pervert stalking his child. Liu Qingge however was more convinced somehow that those boxes were for his spouse, so Shen Qingqiu ended up having to coax his husband who was about to head out hunting for the ‘death-seeking men who dared to woo someone else’s mate’. Frankly Shen Yuan thought those flowers were likely for his mother anyway, because... who would send flowers to him?

Right before the end of the meeting, Liu Qingge finally cleared his throat and said, "We have something to add."

The Peak Lords turned their attention to the couple.

Liu Qingge looked at his spouse but Shen Qingqiu only nudged his elbow and hid his face with a fan. Shen Yuan rolled his eyes. Why are you suddenly acting shy now, ah? You two were shamelessly scattering dog food for everyone before, now you're too embarrassed to tell everyone that you two fucked? Aren't you a married couple for years already?

"We're expecting a second child," Liu Qingge proudly announced.

Yue Qingyuan's eyes widened but it was a delightful surprise. "Is it true?"

Shen Qingqiu nodded.

Qi Qingqi clapped her hands. "Oh congratulations, Shen Shixiong and Liu Shidi!"

"Took you long enough," Hong Qingwan commented and hiccupped.

"May the baby be healthy, Amitabha," Huang Qingxin also congratulated them.

The other Peak Lords also said their congratulations. Yue Qingyuan even suggested a celebration but Shen Qingqiu declined. His mother-in-law was sure to either come visit or send some gifts later, he didn't need more gifts filling his home. Moreover… he felt a little nervous seeing how Shen Yuan had not reacted much.

"You're going to get a baby brother or sister, A Yuan," Shen Qingqiu said and rubbed his son's back.

There was a hint of worry in Shen Qingqiu's face. Shen Yuan then realized that he should also act surprised by the announcement. "Oh, is that what pregnant means?"

Shen Qingqiu nodded. "It means your mama is carrying a baby inside now, and you will have a baby sibling in roughly six to seven months from now.

"Ah, A Yuan understands now!" Shen Yuan cheered. However Shen Qingqiu still looked a little uneasy, like he was anticipating more reaction. "Why do you look worried, Mama? I thought babies are good?" Didn't all these Peak Lords go crazy over him before?

Hearing his question, Shen Qingqiu finally seemed to relax a bit. He lightly ruffled Shen Yuan's hair. "I was worried because A Yuan is very pampered and attached to us. What if you get jealous of your baby sibling?"

It took all of Shen Yuan's effort to not gawk and scream back at Shen Qingqiu, reminding him of how much of an overly attached mama bear he was. He could already hear Shang Qinghua trying to stifle his laughter. He was just playing his part as a baby, okay? It wasn't like he was super attached or liked to be coddled that much! Shen Qingqiu was the one who liked to hug him, Shen Yuan was just being super cool and mature here!

"A Yuan is a big boy, mama. I'm grown up, I can even help mama later!" He exclaimed.

"Awww…." Qi Qingqi had melted.

"Yuan Yuan is all grown up now, he's like an adult!" Yu Qingxuan laughed.

"Oh, you're not wrong, Yu Shidi…" Shang Qinghua murmured wryly.

"I'm certain Yuan Shizhi will be an excellent big brother," Yue Qingyuan praised.

Shen Qingqiu seemed very satisfied now. He rubbed Shen Yuan's head again. "My A Yuan really has grown up a lot. You're definitely going to be a good big brother."

He already had an experience being a big brother before. Though, back then he also had two older brothers who pampered both him and his little sister. Shen Yuan quite enjoyed having a little sister, she was nice and an avid anime fan, so she had been the only one to understand his obsession with Proud Immortal Demon Way. She even bought him a Luo Binghe body pillow and a Sha Hualing cushioned mouse pad one time.

Anyway, deciding to take his revenge for all the dog food he had to suffer before, Shen Yuan asked, "But mama, if the baby is inside you, where will my little sibling come from?"

"From my womb," Shen Qingqiu answered, pointing at his tummy. "It won't show up yet, but in a few months the baby will grow bigger and you will see a bulge here."

"How did the baby get in there?" Shen Yuan asked.

Shen Qingqiu froze. His eyes darted at Liu Qingge, who had also remained still. The other Peak Lords all pretended like they did not hear his question. Shang Qinghua rolled his eyes, as if to say, 'really bro?'

In the end, Shen Qingqiu decided to go the scholar way and answered, "Through a special cultivation method. You have not learned basic cultivation yet, so I will not explain further until you've reached at least the core formation stage."

Damn it! Shen Yuan begrudgingly thought. What special cultivation method, it's just dual cultivation isn't it?

A sly thought popped into his mind.

"Ah!" He said. "Is it the thing you do when you give massages to people?"

"... Massages?" The Peak Lords repeated, confused.

However, both Liu Qingge and Shen Qingqiu had turned completely red from embarrassment. They both recalled the time when they were caught and had given that excuse to their son!

"Like that time when mama and papa-"

"Alright A Yuan, didn't you mention you want to make clothes for Bingpup? Why don't we go and get some fabric for Bingpup?" Shen Qingqiu quickly stopped him.

Later Airplane Bro might call him petty, but Shen Yuan would say they got what they deserved for unintentionally giving him nightmares.

 


 

It had been a while since Shang Qinghua had gone to the demon realm to visit Mobei Jun, since the latter usually came to dump his workload or just watch Shang Qinghua working at An Ding Peak. However, Mobei Jun had not come over as of recently and Shang Qinghua was beginning to worry.

Lucky for him he had the special pass Mobei Jun gave him, so all he had to do was allow himself into the ice palace. He was shocked to see a large part of the building crumbled as if a meteor had just struck it and rushed to see the ice demon. 

He found Mobei Jun laying in bed, his body roughly bandaged. He was clearly recuperating from an injury. Shang Qinghua dropped his jaw. "My… my King!"

The ice demon slowly opened his eyes. He scrunched his nose slightly. "... Qinghua…?"

"My King!" Shang Qinghua cried as he quickly knelt by Mobei Jun's bed. "You were injured? Why didn't you tell me? Why didn't you come to my place?"

The last time Mobei Jun was injured, he came to Shang Qinghua for help, staying at An Ding Peak for days. This time for some reason he would rather stay silently in his own bed. Sure, maybe this place was a lot more comfortable for an ice demon like him, but… at least with Shang Qinghua there was someone looking after him attentively.

Mobei Jun looked away. "Go back."

"Aiyah, my King, don't be like this. Look at how poorly your wounds are bandaged, let me help," Shang Qinghua said.

"... This Mobei doesn't want you to see him like this," Mobei Jun murmured.

"My King, there is no person in this world who hasn't got hurt or lost a battle ah. This servant has seen you in a worse state, but I know my King is strong! By the way, who….?" Shang Qinghua asked as he rummaged through the drawers looking for the medical kit.

Mobei Jun did not answer. Instead he just pursed his lips and looked even more frustrated. "The new palace I built…it's been ruined."

Shang Qinghua blinked. "You're building a new palace?"

"Qinghua likes big houses," Mobei Jun said.

"Ah? Sure, I guess I do like big houses but not too big, then I wouldn't know that to do with the space...hm? My King, could it be that you were building it for me?" Shang Qinghua asked, surprised. Did he ever complain about not having enough space, maybe? Surely Mobei Jun didn't need to go to the extent of building a whole new palace for him!

Ah, but then again, these demons often went overboard sometimes. It wasn't like the palace was exclusively going to be his anyway. Maybe Mobei Jun had acquired new treasures and needed more space anyway.

Mobei Jun frowned. "Does Qinghua not like big houses?"

Shang Qinghua set down the medicine box and began looking for bandages. "This servant likes big houses of course, but not too grand. Whatever my King provides, I will be happy."

Hearing that, Mobei Jun's face softened a little. Shang Qinghua helped him to sit up from the bed. He wondered who in the world had inflicted such injury on Mobei Jun. Could it be Luo Binghe again? Or was it his uncle?

"My King, can you show me the wounds so I can redress it?"

Mobei Jun shrugged off his clothes completely and Shang Qinghua swallowed nervously before dabbing a wet cloth against the wound, trying not to think about how he was touching a half-naked Mobei Jun. It was already halfway healed so he didn't really need to do much but judging from the way Mobei Jun was laying in bed for a long while, it must have been quite severe. It had closed up but the skin was still soft and pinkish. Shang Qinghua carefully applied some healing salve and wrapped it up with a roll of bandages to keep the salve from soaking into Mobei Jun's clothes.

"My King, next time you're injured don't hesitate to call for me ah. Maybe coming to my room is a bit dangerous, but I can stop by here to help dress your wounds," Shang Qinghua offered.

Mobei Jun looked away. "Can't… control."

"Ah?"

Mobei Jun coughed. "Can't restrain myself."

Restrain from what? Shang Qinghua hesitantly added, "Then… don't restrain yourself?"

Mobei Jun looked at him, his eyes wide with shock. "Don't restrain?"

Uh oh. Was he about to poke a hornets' nest? "Too much restriction isn't good for your health, my King. Letting loose just a little is okay," he said.

Mobei Jun seemed as if he could not move for a moment. “It’s… okay?”

“... Just a little?”

Cold hands suddenly pulled the An Ding Peak Lord into the bed. Shang Qinghua squeaked as the ice demon pulled him into his embrace, wrapping him snugly with his cold arms. Shang Qinghua gulped, feeling the ice cold chest against his warm back. 

“Stay,” Mobei Jun murmured.

“S… stay?” Shang Qinghua repeated.

“Mmm,” Mobei Jun’s voice was slightly muffled as he rubbed his face against the nape of Shang Qinghua’s neck, then burying his nose in his hair.

Shang Qinghua remained frozen stiff in the alpha’s hold. As Mobei Jun dozed off, Shang Qinghua’s mind began to stir.

This… isn’t this… cuddling? Spooning?

Or maybe Mobei Jun wanted Shang Qinghua to warm his body… oh wait, he was an ice demon, his body was naturally cold. Then why was he hugging Shang Qinghua like this? Maybe he was lonely and wanted some company? But why Shang Qinghua, of all people? Mobei Jun could have anyone he wanted.

Maybe… is it possible that… he likes me?

Nah, that’s impossible. We’re both men. Wait, no, this is an omegaverse, so it doesn’t matter. Well, even if this isn’t, it’s not like cut-sleeves don’t exist… but I didn’t create Mobei Jun to be attracted to men! But I didn’t create Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge to be attracted to each other either… ah, but I’m a beta! But Mu Shidi said beta-alpha or beta-omega couples aren’t unusual too… no, more importantly, I’m… me!

There was no way Mobei Jun would like him, he thought. He had always treated Shang Qinghua like a servant, he ordered him around and hit him. Though, Mobei Jun had stopped hitting him for the past few months...no, years? He still dumped his workload to Shang Qinghua, and came over to see him…

He came over to see him…

Shang Qinghua pondered.

Oh, what was the use of overthinking? He should not even consider the possibility, wouldn’t he just hurt himself for holding on to a false hope?

 


 

In his previous life when his little sister was born, Shen Yuan himself was still a little toddler. He had no memories of actually seeing his mother’s pregnancy and his sister’s birth. He did have a general idea of how it worked, he graduated high school properly and even went to university for a short while before his death.

Seeing it in front of his own eyes was a different story, of course.

Shen Qingqiu’s mood swings had become better, but his morning sickness was still as terrible. He would wake up feeling nauseated and would just vomit after almost every meal. Mu Qingfang’s tea helped a little but even then he would eat in very small amounts, often just taking small snacks in between his meals. He still looked pale and even though Shen Qingqiu neither complained nor showed that he was tired, Shen Yuan knew he was definitely not in the best state.

When the morning sickness had yet to subside four months into Shen Qingqiu’s pregnancy, Shen Yuan finally decided that maybe he should do something to help his mother. He grabbed the bestiary given by Shang Qinghua and began his research again. He was pretty sure there should be something nutritious that could also help alleviate the morning sickness. 

When he came to find Shang Qinghua at An Ding Peak, the other was staring into the empty space, seemingly in a daze.

“Airplane Bro?”

“He likes me, he likes me not… no that’s impossible, but nothing’s impossible…” Shang Qinghua mumbled.

“....” Shen Yuan kicked the chair causing Shang Qinghua to yelp. “Airplane Bro!”

“Shit! You surprised me, Cucumber Bro!” The author huffed. “What’s wrong with you?”

“That’s my line. What are you daydreaming about?”

Shang Qinghua seemed hesitant. He kept glancing left and right as if he was afraid that someone would overhear them. He chewed his lower lip nervously, then coughed a little before finally fumbling with his words. “Do you think… um… Mobei Jun… likes… do you maybe…”

“Just say it, bro.”

“Do you think he likes me?!”

There was a moment of silence before Shen Yuan looked at him half in disbelief and half amused. Took you pretty long to realize, Shen Yuan thought. “What makes you think that way?”

Shang Qinghua scratched the back of his head sheepishly. “I knew it, I sound stupid thinking that, huh.”

“I didn’t say anything. I’m just asking why you would suddenly think that.”

“... He laid down with me in bed before.”

Shen Yuan dropped his jaw. “You slept together?”

“Well… yeah, but just that. Just sleeping, we didn’t do anything, and they were when he was sick,” Shang Qinghua explained.

Oh. “But shouldn’t that be a telltale sign already? He’s a demon, he wouldn’t want to show his weakness in front of strangers,” Shen Yuan reasoned.

“I’m not a stranger, I’m his lackey and I’ve seen him in worse states. Wouldn’t you want to look cool in front of your crush anyway? Shang Qinghua argued.

“Alright, let’s change the topic then. Do you like him?” Shen Yuan questioned him.

“Of course I do, he’s my precious creation! I even created him based on my ideal man!”

“... Let me rephrase it. Do you like him romantically? Do you want to date him, marry him?”

Shang Qinghua hummed and sighed. “Bro, who wouldn’t fall for him? He’s hot. Well, he’s an ice demon, but you get what I mean. He’s on the top list of the most bangable characters in this universe.  Anyway, why is it important whether I like him or not?” Shang Qinghua grumbled.

“If you like him, just confess to him. If he accepts that means he likes you.”

Shang Qinghua spluttered. “Do I look like I want to lose my head ah? What am I to do if he doesn’t like me? Just - shit, just thinking about this makes me feel so stupid. There’s no way he would like me, why am I even asking… why are you here, anyway?”

I offered you advice and you’re still in denial. You did this to yourself, don’t come complaining to me later once you realize what a fool you were, Shen Yuan thought. “Have you got any free time? Let’s go fishing, maybe that will help clear up your mind too.”

Shang Qinghua blinked. “Fishing?”

Shen Yuan showed him the bestiary. “Have you heard of the Golden Blood Carp? It lives in the lake near Zhao Hua Temple. It’s very nutritious and it helps with morning sickness. Come and help me catch it.”

Shang Qinghua frowned. “Bro, have you forgotten about the weird ass corpse that we found the other day? That lake you mentioned is in the Central Plains. Not only the corpse, we still haven’t found the mysterious attacker who nearly obliterated Yu Shidi. Ah, remember the snake shedding too?”

“Hasn’t our sect done anything to investigate it?”

“Zhao Hua Temple is taking charge, it’s closer to their territory. Anyway there’s no way you’d be allowed there and there is no way in hell I’m bringing you there too,” Shang Qinghua said.

Shen Yuan looked down. “But…”

“Well, aren’t you a filial son,” Shang Qinghua teased. “No worries Cucumber Bro, I remember there’s another place where you can find the fish.”

Shen Yuan’s eyes brightened up. “Really?”

Shang Qinghua nodded. “It’s not too far from our Cang Qiong Mountain and it’s not a place isolated from the common residential area too, so it shouldn’t be a problem for you and I to go there just to fish.”

“For once you’re actually being useful Airplane Bro!”

“... Do you want to go out or not?”

“Alright, alright, don’t be mad great Airplane Dada.”

 


 

Sometimes Shen Yuan wondered why he trusted Shang Qinghua too easily, knowing how forgetful and unreliable the author was when it came to his own work. According to the bestiary the fish was supposed to only live in large lakes with plenty of spiritual energy. Yet, the place Shang Qinghua had brought him over to was a river not far from the Tian Gong Mountains.

He even worked so hard to obtain permission to go out this time. Shen Qingqiu wasn’t going to allow him to go out with just Shang Qinghua and even offered to accompany Shen Yuan if he wanted to go outside. Shen Yuan had to spill his plan to surprise Shen Qingqiu to Liu Qingge, so that his father would be able to convince his mother to let him out. After much deliberation he was finally given the permission, with the condition of bringing Bingpup as usual.

"Is there really a rare fish here?" Shen Yuan questioned Shang Qinghua again. "This doesn’t seem like the right place."

"Your memories are too good ah. But I swear, I really saw them once here!" Shang Qinghua insisted.

"... You didn't mistake it for Golden Silk Fin Carp, right?"

"... Is there such a thing?"

"How can you not know?!" Shen Yuan grumbled. Shang Qinghua wrote a whole plot device around it. It would be terrible if he gave an aphrodisiac fish to his parents instead.

They found a nice spot to sit down while fishing. Shen Yuan laid down the mat while Shang Qinghua unloaded the fishing equipment. They brought a couple of fishing rods, a box with a cooling talisman on, as well as some food to snack on while they waited.

"Does it really work for morning sickness, anyway?" Shang Qinghua asked. 

"Of course it does. The bestiary that I read said so too," Shen Yuan insisted.

Shang Qinghua opened the box and frowned as he rummaged for something. His face turned pale and he began to search through his pouch instead. "Shit, I forgot the bait!"

Shen Yuan facepalmed. "What are you doing? I thought you said you have everything!"

"I'll just run over to the market and get some meat. Wait here, don't go anywhere, okay?!" Shang Qinghua said and ran off.

“Wait - are you seriously just going…” Shen Yuan’s voice trailed off as Shang Qinghua disappeared from his view. He sighed and picked up Bingpup, placing the fluffy little pup in his lap. He opened the packed lunch box and began peeling some mandarins for himself while waiting for Shang Qinghua. It should not take too long, this place was not too far from the market.

Bingpup’s ears suddenly perked up and he barked. Shen Yuan flinched as he heard the slightest sound from behind him. He turned around and saw a figure hiding behind the trees. 

A stalker?

Wait, no.

The figure moved as if trying to escape.

Shen Yuan’s eyes however had already caught it. How could he not recognize it, he had seen it multiple times before he was reborn into this world. He had the figurines, the merchandise, even a body pillow.

“Luo Binghe… Bing Gege?”

Chapter Text

Luo Binghe splashed some water onto his face. The water from the river was fairly clean and cool, it felt refreshing against his skin.

He wondered if A Yuan was happy to receive the flowers. He left a message there, but now that he thought about it perhaps leaving such a cryptic message there wasn’t a good idea. What if Shizun thought he was just some suspicious person and declined the gift? Then again, it wasn’t like Luo Binghe could just write his name on there. Everyone thought that he was either dead or… kept as Mobei Jun’s little bride.

It had been months since he had left the Demon Realm, and nearly five years since he was dragged into the living hellhole of the Endless Abyss. Ever since he left the place and obtained Xin Mo, he had been living as a wandering cultivator, too afraid to return to his own sect. The Huan Hua Palace Master, who had helped him out when he first returned, was weirdly fond of him and even insisted that Luo Binghe should stay at Huan Hua Palace. However, Luo Binghe refused. In his life he only had one master, and would only acknowledge the one master who had kindly taken him in, even made him into his adoptive cub - even though said master initially disliked him.

“And I keep telling you to either cut your ties completely or return! It’s such a headache seeing you like this!” Meng Mo ranted in his head. “So what if they think Mobei Jun railed you? Just tell them that you’re still a virgin! Sheesh, this child...”

And how would he answer how he was able to escape that place, or Mobei Jun’s clench? Palace Master oddly enough did not question it, but with Shizun’s inquisitive nature, he was sure to doubt Luo Binghe. Currently there was neither news nor rumour talking about his true identity as a demon yet, but Luo Binghe was afraid. With his power awakened, would he still be welcomed? Would Shizun still treat him like a disciple? Would he be allowed to come close to Shen Yuan? What if Shizun and Shen Yuan were disgusted by him?

He had learned to hide his mark. He had learned to suppress his demonic aura. Yet, there was always a doubt left inside. All sorts of negative thoughts still haunted him and he didn't dare to come and see his Shizun. 

Luo Binghe refilled his water canister, then paused for a while as he heard noises of people coming near the river. He moved to hide behind a tree.

His eyes widened as he saw the familiar face of Shang Qinghua, walking alongside a young boy.

No matter how many years passed, even when the boy had grown up, Luo Binghe could never mistake him for someone else. He had seen him once when he first emerged, but that was only from afar and the backside. He then saw him again the second time, albeit not too clear due to the darkness of the night.

Shen Yuan. A Yuan. What was A Yuan doing here with Shang Qinghua?

"Is there really a rare fish here?" He heard Shen Yuan asking Shang Qinghua.  

"Your memories are too good ah. But I swear, I really saw them once here!" Shang Qinghua insisted.

"... You didn't mistake it for Golden Silk Fin Carp, right?"

"... Is there such a thing?"

"How can you not know?!"

Luo Binghe cupped his mouth to stop himself from sobbing. Finally, he was able to have a good look at A Yuan under the clear daylight. He could see the eyes A Yuan inherited from Shizun, could see how active and energetic he was. A Yuan really was doing well. Shizun would not even bring him out before, but now he was allowed to join his martial uncles on their little trips.

He silently kept watching Shang Qinghua unloading the fishing equipment while Shen Yuan laid down a mat. Luo Binghe’s eyes twitched a little when he saw the little black pup that kept rubbing against Shen Yuan’s legs to ask for his attention. Why was that puppy always everywhere?!

"Does it really work for morning sickness, anyway?" Shang Qinghua asked.

"Of course it does. The bestiary that I read said so too," Shen Yuan insisted.

Morning sickness.

His Shizun must be pregnant with another child, why else would Shen Yuan be out here looking for a fish that could cure morning sickness? Luo Binghe bit his lips. Shizun was with a child again and yet, Binghe was not around. Luo Binghe still remembered brewing various kinds of tea to help his Shizun with his morning sickness during his first pregnancy. He remembered cooking fish porridge for the postpartum diet. He remembered burning sugar for sweet pastries when his Shizun had cravings late at night.

"Shit, I forgot the bait!" Shang Qinghua exclaimed.

"What are you doing?!" Shen Yuan complained. "I thought you said you have everything!"

"I'll just run over to the market and get some meat. Wait here, don't go anywhere, okay?!" Shang Qinghua said and ran off.

Luo Binghe swallowed nervously. He dared to take a step further, closer to the young boy, who was now humming while opening the picnic basket, looking a tad disappointed by the plain buns without side dishes and decided to peel some mandarins instead. If Binghe had been the one making it, he would have made extra soft red bean buns, some fluffy mild spiced buns, crispy battered vegetable chips, fresh cut fruits, plus some soup…

Then the puppy suddenly barked as if detecting the presence of a stranger and Shen Yuan turned around. Their eyes met and Luo Binghe froze. 

"Luo Binghe.."

Luo Binghe almost bolted away, but halfway his brain caught Shen Yuan's voice uttering his name.

"Bing Gege?"

No. It can't be.

His legs weakened. Luo Binghe slowly turned around. Shen Yuan had left the picnic mat, ran after him, and hugged his thighs.

Just like he used to, back when he still could barely walk without staggering. Luo Binghe still remembered those moments well, the time when A Yuan just learned to walk and would often try to chase him around, hanging by his thighs for support. Those were the memories that had helped him survive everything.

"Bing Gege!"

Tears rolled down Luo Binghe's cheeks as he failed to restrain his emotions, like a dam broken. He knelt down and cupped Shen Yuan's face with his large hands. He held his breath as his eyes took upon Shen Yuan's beautiful smile. His cheeks were no longer as plump and his face was no longer as chubby but his smile never changed, even after years.

"A Yuan," he exhaled.

"Bing Gege," Shen Yuan happily repeated.

"A Yuan. You remember me."

Shen Yuan nodded.

Luo Binghe laughed. The tears would not stop coming out of his eyes. How could this be? The last time he had seen Shen Yuan, the boy was only a two-year-old who just learned to run. He was still learning to speak. Luo Binghe had been absent for nearly five years. He had been gone for longer than half of Shen Yuan’s life. Luo Binghe himself had grown and changed.

Yet, A Yuan still remembered him. He recognised him, just as Binghe recognised A Yuan. Luo Binghe would have never imagined it. He hugged the young boy tightly. "A Yuan."

Shen Yuan returned his hug. "Bing Gege, where were you?"

"I was...wandering around."

"Are you coming back?"

Luo Binghe gently rubbed his smooth cheek. "Does A Yuan want Bing Gege back?"

Shen Yuan stared at him, his eyes wide. They looked like they were about to be filled with tears. "Bing Gege doesn't want to? Does Bing Gege hate us?"

An arrow struck through his heart.

He pulled Shen Yuan into a hug again, even lifting him up to the air. "How could I? Gege would never hate you or Shizun!"

"Then why did Bing Gege not come home? Mama missed you. Mama was sad when Bing Gege wasn't around," Shen Yuan sniffed.

Luo Binghe bit his lips to stop more tears from falling. "Shizun missed me?"

Shen Yuan nodded eagerly. He spread his arm wide, flailing them, "Like this, this muuuchh!!!" 

Luo Binghe chuckled. Shizun mourned for him. A slight relief settled in his heart, knowing that Shizun did not stop thinking about him. The fact that Shen Yuan still remembered him meant Shizun must have often talked about him, perhaps even constantly reminded Shen Yuan about him. How else could a two-year-old baby still remember someone whom he had not seen for nearly five years?

He pulled Shen Yuan into a warm hug again, almost unwilling to let go. The thought of returning to A Yuan, seeing Shizun, taking care of A Yuan, serving them again...all this time, they were the only things that kept him going while he was trapped in the Endless Abyss. They were the only things that kept him sane even after obtaining the demonic sword.

Shen Yuan cupped his face. "Bing Gege, do you forgive Shang Shishu then?"

Luo Binghe blinked. "What about Shang Shishu?"

"... Nothing," Shen Yuan said. 

 


 

Since he was a generous person, he decided to spare Shang Qinghua.

Shen Yuan really did not expect to be reunited with Luo Binghe like this. He was expecting to maybe see the grown up Luo Binghe appearing at Cang Qiong Mountain, demanding payback for those who bullied him, maybe also for Shang Qinghua's head for suggesting Mobei Jun to drag him to the Endless Abyss. 

He didn't think Luo Binghe could be this easily appeased with some tears. All those years acting as an innocent baby really paid off. He should thank Shen Qingqiu for having a change of heart and making Luo Binghe his nanny, somehow it seemed like the protagonist had developed an attachment for him. The protagonist also likely still wasn't aware of what Shang Qinghua had done, otherwise his transmigrator buddy would have been fed to the hellhounds of the Demon Realm already.

In fact, aside from his appearance Luo Binghe didn’t look too different from what Shen Yuan remembered. Wasn’t the protagonist supposed to have been blackened from all the horrendous things he suffered while in the Endless Abyss? Even if he wasn’t holding any grudges against him or Shen Qingqiu, wouldn’t he… well, not cry this easily?

Luo Binghe sat down on the picnic map, still holding Shen Yuan while the much smaller child sat on his lap. Shen Yuan marveled at how handsome Luo Binghe had grown. He was always good looking but now he had grown to be even more handsome and his appearance more masculine, with a sharper look and well-defined muscles. The red demon mark on his forehead was gone, meaning he was now able to control his demonic power and hide it when needed.

Bingpup barked, unhappy that he was being ignored in favour of this new stranger. Luo Binghe raised an eyebrow looking at the black pup. Shen Yuan hid an amused smile as he looked at the side by side comparison. There's no difference , he thought.

"... What is this puppy, A Yuan?"

"That's Bingpup. Papa got him for me!"

Luo Binghe looked like he had just choked on a sour plum. "Bing...pup?"

"He looks like you, Bing Gege," Shen Yuan said. He then quickly corrected it to, "He reminds me of Bing Gege because he's so fluffy and cute, and he makes me happy."

Luo Binghe’s cheeks flushed pink. He glanced back and forth at the puppy and then at Shen Yuan with slightly troubled eyes, as if he was unsure how to feel. “Has A Yuan always thought about me?”

“Of course, Bing Gege! A Yuan always missed you. Why didn't you come back? Mama and Papa said you went to a far, far place," Shen Yuan asked. He already knew where and what Luo Binghe was doing, he just wanted to hear what the man would tell him.

Luo Binghe patted his head. "Bing Gege was training to become stronger. Until I become strong enough, I can't come back."

"Aren't you already strong?"

"... Not enough," Luo Binghe said. He still didn't have the courage to face his Shizun, he definitely wasn't strong enough. "A Yuan, what about you? What are you doing here?"

"Fishing. Mama is having a baby, Bing Gege. The baby makes mama sick, so I'm here to look for a special fish that can help with morning sickness," Shen Yuan said.

Luo Binghe chuckled. "A Yuan is such a nice boy. You didn't need to come here yourself, the adults or your father can catch one for you."

Shen Yuan pouted. "There's no meaning if I can't catch it myself!" 

"Shizun liked citrus and herb tea back then. You can get them from Qian Cao Peak. You don't have to…" Luo Binghe paused as he realized that there was something wrong. "Why is Shang Shishu leaving you here alone?" 

Shang Qinghua knew Shen Yuan was not really a child and that the area was generally safe. He also knew that Shen Qingqiu had trained Bingpup enough to protect him and alert his guardians if something were to happen. Added that the author was just careless sometimes, he had forgotten that Shen Yuan was physically still a child and shouldn’t be left alone for too long in the middle of the forest right next to a river where giant fishes would sometimes jump out to grab any unsuspecting prey.

Shen Yuan glanced around to look for the quack author. Ah, there he was hiding behind the trees, shaking like a drenched cat, seeing the grown up protagonist. It seemed like actually did Shang Qinghua remember to come back for Shen Yuan as fast as he could, but he was now just too scared to show up. Shang Qinghua of course would be aware of how powerful current Luo Binghe was. He had already overpowered Mobei Jun, except that unlike the original version he hadn't gone claiming every territory along with every maidens to his liking.

Which was weird, considering this was an ABO world and a protagonist like Luo Binghe could only be an alpha. Hadn't he ever experienced rut? Oh, was that why he kept wandering without returning to Cang Qiong Mountain? Was it because he was going around getting a lot of actions? What about Ning Yingying? Ning Yingying, the female omega, was there at Qing Jing Peak! Shouldn't Luo Binghe marry his first love upon returning? He was already out of the abyss, why had he not done anything?

"I think Shang Shishu is scared of you, Bing Gege."

Luo Binghe turned around and glared at Shang Qinghua the second he noticed him. "A Yuan… your Shang Shishu can't exactly be trusted."

"Why?"

"He left you here on your own, how can he be trusted with your safety? A Yuan, hold on to me. I will bring you back to Cang Qiong Mountain."

Luo Binghe carried Shen Yuan in his arms with the intention to return him, and that was the moment when Shang Qinghua somehow found his courage and popped out from his hiding place. "Wait!"

Luo Binghe raised an eyebrow.

"Where are you going?!" Shang Qinghua questioned.

"What does it matter to you?"

"Put Cucum - Yuan Shizhi down!" Shang Qinghua shrieked. "I'm the one taking care of him! Where are you bringing him?"

"Taking care?" Luo Binghe glared at him. "Shang Shishu, you left A Yuan alone here for so long, you're clearly incapable of watching over him. You may have forgotten that A Yuan was almost kidnapped by a demon once, how can I trust someone so careless? A Yuan is this small and pure and innocent, what if he encounters a stranger and gets tricked?" 

Shang Qinghua gawked. "Pure and innocent?! That little devil?!" He accidentally blurted out.

Luo Binghe was enraged. "How dare you say that about A Yuan!"

Shang Qinghua's immediate reaction was of course to step back and cowered a little. "Aii, I mean… I didn't leave him that long! Also, I… ah, I didn't know it was actually you, Luo Shizhi, I thought it was a stalker! Now I finally recognize you, ahaha..."

Airplane Bro surprisingly turned out to have more guts than Shen Yuan thought. He even dared to go against the protagonist. It was a bad move though. Instead of pretending as if he didn't recognize Luo Binghe to appear like he was trying to heroically rescue Shen Yuan, he should have just come out earlier. Shang Qinghua was a terrible actor, Shen Yuan was frankly amazed how this man was able to survive being a mole and a transmigrator.

Gotta spare Airplane Bro's life, though. A dumbass he was but he was still Shen Yuan's buddy. He clung to Luo Binghe. "Bing Gege, Shang Shishu, don't fight! A Yuan doesn't like fights!"

It worked effectively to calm Luo Binghe. Shang Qinghua on the other hand grimaced. This two-faced black powder fan of his! Using his cuteness to manipulate the protagonist! Shang Qinghua nearly wet his pants, how could Shen Yuan calmly cling to the blackened protagonist like that?!

"Bing Gege," Shen Yuan said, holding on to Luo Binghe's arm. "Is Bing Gege coming home with us?"

Luo Binghe looked hesitant. He panicked when it looked like tears were threatening to spill from Shen Yuan's round eyes and had no choice but to agree.

They caught the fish, and packed up.

 


 

With Shen Yuan's persuasion (and plenty of crocodile tears) Luo Binghe reluctantly followed the two back to Cang Qiong Mountain. Shang Qinghua timidly followed behind, though instead of going to Qing Jing he ran back straight away to An Ding Peak. 

The last time he visited Qing Jing Peak was to catch a glimpse of his Shizun and A Yuan. He came again but just to the base of the mountain to deliver the elderflowers. Back then Shizun's tummy was still flat and he had no idea that his teacher was carrying another life inside. This time Shen Qingqiu's baby bump was still not visible yet as his body was covered with layers of his green robes.

Luo Binghe felt fear yet longing filling him the moment he saw his Shizun sitting inside. How long had it been since he was able to step into the bamboo house (through the front door)? How long had it been since he had spoken to his Shizun?

Shizun's eyes widened with surprise at the arrival of the unexpected visitor. He looked confused at first, before his expression changed as he finally recognized the figure clad in black robes.

Luo Binghe immediately prostrated before his Shizun. "Shizun."

Shen Yuan sat in between them, just in case an argument were to break out. Bingpup curled up on his lap as usual, looking content with his position now.

Shen Qingqiu could not hide his surprise. "Is that… are you Luo Binghe?"

Luo Binghe sobbed but managed a nod.

Shen Qingqiu's hands were slightly trembling but as usual he fixed his posture and expression. "Where were you all this time? Qingge told me you were gone in that conference. Did Mobei Jun really..."

"I… I was brought to the Endless Abyss by him. I survived and came out," he said. He then hastily added, "Shizun, this disciple is not involved with Mobei Jun! He has not been… plucked by him!"

Shen Yuan almost tripped on air upon hearing Luo Binghe's words. Luo Binghe, is there not a better way to say that?

"You weren't… then why did you not return until now?" Shen Qingqiu asked, a frown on his face.

Luo Binghe bit his lower lip. "I was scared."

"Scared? You…" Shen Qingqiu paused, as if trying to put scattered puzzle pieces together. His expression changed. "You're a demon, aren't you?"

According to Liu Qingge, Mobei Jun had taken Luo Binghe, wording it as bringing him home to where he belonged (though he also mentioned bride). Luo Binghe had not only survived the demon lord, he was able to escape from a place that was deadly to any human. There was no other explanation other than him not being a normal human.

"Half a demon. At least that is what Mobei Jun told me," Luo Binghe admitted. "However, Shizun, this disciple swears - I had no inkling about my blood until I came to the Endless Abyss! This disciple had no intention to fool you or anyone!"

Shen Qingqiu took a deep breath. He glanced at Shen Yuan, who had been silent since the beginning. "Did he tell you about this already?"

Shen Yuan blinked. He then realized he was acting too calm. He should act surprised, Luo Binghe never told him about his true heritage! Pretending to be surprised now wouldn't be good so he simply said, "I don't understand. Why does it matter if Bing Gege is a half demon?"

"I've taught you about demons, A Yuan," Shen Qingqiu said.

"But there are bad men and good men! That means there are bad demons and good demons too. Bing Gege is a good demon!" Shen Yuan argued.

Both Shen Qingqiu and Luo Binghe looked taken aback. Shen Qingqiu especially had a conflicted expression while Luo Binghe only looked ready to cry again.

"Bing Gege is nice. He's not an evil demon. Why does it matter if one of his parents is a demon?" Shen Yuan added. "Bing Gege still remembers what mama likes. He helped me catch fish. He said he was scared but he still came to make sure I returned home safe."

Shen Qingqiu did not speak a word. The silence felt excruciatingly long. Shen Qingqiu's expression was unreadable. Shen Yuan wished he could smell pheromones now because Luo Binghe's expression did not look too good. He looked terrified.

Shen Qingqiu finally exhaled. He slowly looked back at Luo Binghe. "Luo Binghe, what do you want to do?"

Luo Binghe raised his head. "What I want to do…?"

Shen Qingqiu gripped his fan hard. "No matter what the case is, in the end I still can't allow a demon to be here. You can't go back to becoming a disciple of Qing Jing Peak anymore. Having you here is a risk to our sect."

Luo Binghe's shoulders sank. Shen Yuan parted his lips to argue but Shen Qingqiu gave him a look that basically told him that he was not done speaking yet.

"However… I'm not one to be so ungrateful," Shen Qingqiu said. "I can't take you back as my disciple, but you will always be my cub. You're welcomed to visit and play with A Yuan anytime you want… and the new baby too."

Tears pooled in Luo Binghe's eyes while his jaws dropped from the shock. He quickly wiped his tears and bowed down once again. "I cannot possibly ask for more. This disciple can't express how grateful he is for Shizun's benevolence."

Shen Qingqiu looked away. "... You understand I cannot do anything more than that?"

Luo Binghe sobbed. "This disciple thanks Shizun! For Shizun to not push me away is enough for Binghe!"

Shen Qingqiu nodded. He patted Shen Yuan's head. "A Yuan, you are not to tell anyone about Bing Gege's secret, alright?"

Shen Yuan nodded. Honestly he was quite shocked as well. So it seemed like Shen Qingqiu was not willing to compromise the safety of the sect and their home. Yet, he was also not heartless enough to abandon Luo Binghe. Shen Yuan could take that. It certainly was a thousand times better than the ending in the book! Like this, at least nobody was getting turned into a human stick.

"So… tell me how you two met again. A Yuan, didn't you say Bing Gege came to make sure you were safe?" Shen Qingqiu asked.

Luo Binghe and Shen Yuan exchanged glances. 

Two minutes later the disciples of Qing Jing Peak witnessed their Shizun angrily marching outside with Xiu Ya in hand, yelling out the An Ding Peak Lord's name combined with some creative curses, while his son and a man in black robes tried to stop him.

The resilient Airplane Shooting Towards the Sky who had already predicted the Qing Jing Peak Lord's reaction had already taken a precautionary step and took off to seek refuge from his ice king.

 


 

That night, Shen Qingqiu stared into the empty space in a daze.

If only he could drink. He was nurturing another life inside him right now, so unfortunately anything that could harm his baby would not be tolerated.

And yet, he had to tolerate the one thing that could harm the entire world. Luo Binghe.

Shen Qingqiu had always had a good instinct. Ever since he was young. The kids he disliked had sold him and Qi Ge out. The disciple he used to hate now turned out to be a heavenly demon. Shen Qingqiu didn't even know what to feel now. His feelings for Luo Binghe had changed for sure ever since A Yuan came into existence, just like how his feelings for Liu Qingge had also changed.

He no longer hated the boy - no, a young man now - but Shen Qingqiu wished he still did. It would've been easier to cast the young man out, no demon should be accepted in any righteous sect. Yet, he let emotions took over him and failed to do it.

Shen Qingqiu shut his eyes and tried to rationalize his actions in his head. If he were to push Luo Binghe away, the young man might retaliate (he would not) and that would only bring more risk to their sect. Accepting him was the right thing to do, he told himself.

"Qingqiu?"

Liu Qingge just came back. He frowned, seeing his spouse sitting at the deck alone, a cold pot of tea by his side. He took off his outer robe and draped it over Shen Qingqiu. "It's not good for your body and the baby to stay up this late at night."

"So you know you're late."

"... It was a long trip. My bad," Liu Qingge coughed.

Shen Qingqiu pulled the fabric wrapping him tighter. When Liu Qingge sat down, Shen Qingqiu leaned against his side and rested his head on the alpha's shoulder. "Qingge."

"What?"

"Luo Binghe is back and he's a demon."

Liu Qingge's jaw dropped.

Chapter Text

“Hold on, a demon?!”

Shen Qingqiu nodded.

“What the - you can’t just tell me that so casually!" Liu Qingge gawked. "First of all - Luo Binghe is back? That disciple of yours? I saw him dragged into the rift with my own eyes!"

"And that was exactly what happened. He escaped," Shen Qingqiu answered.

"How? No human could have escaped that place," Liu Qingge argued.

"He's not human. That's all there is," Shen Qingqiu heaved. His fingers clutched on the white fabric on his husband's chest. "He showed me his demon mark. It is the mark of an ancient heavenly demon. The new sword he carries is also strange."

Liu Qingge took a deep breath to calm himself. He had just come back after a day of fighting monsters. He was expecting to return home to his spouse and child, lie down in bed with his spouse after a warm bath, maybe a little casual chat about what they did during the day. He didn’t expect to see Shen Qingqiu sitting alone outside late at night seemingly in a daze, only to then break the news - a very huge and serious news - to him without any prelude.

“Luo Binghe… he’s back. He survived the Endless Abyss,” Liu Qingge began, trying to recollect himself.

“He did.”

“How do you know this? Did he come here?”

“He did.”

“And what does he want?” Liu Qingge questioned.

“Nothing,” Shen Qingqiu said, brushing a stray strand of hair that escaped from his loose braid. “He asked for nothing, he just explained his whereabouts.”

“And you…”

“I didn’t accept him back. There is no way our Cang Qiong Sect can tolerate someone with a heavenly demon blood as a member,” said Shen Qingqiu. “But… I didn’t push him away either.”

“A heavenly demon,” Liu Qingge repeated. His palm fell on the hilt of Cheng Luan.

There was no way their sect could accept someone with the blood of a heavenly demon, known to be one of the strongest, most dangerous demons out there. Luo Binghe’s existence was already a danger, if word were to get out that their sect was harboring a demon, Cang Qiong’s reputation would be besmirched. Not to mention during the last Immortal Alliance Conference where Luo Binghe disappeared, that was also when the demon invasion that caused so many deaths occurred.

All the participating sects had suffered losses from the incident, but Cang Qiong Mountain had the least number of casualties. If people were to find out that Luo Binghe was a demon, their sect would be suspected to be colluding with demons.

Liu Qingge gritted his teeth. “He can’t be around.”

Shen Qingqiu glared at him. “You’re not planning to do something to him, are you?”

“Qingqiu, he’s-”

“A heavenly demon descent. It took all four major sects and Zhangmen Shixiong unsheathing Xuan Su to subdue a heavenly demon in the past. Don’t try to seek your own death,” Shen Qingqiu warned him.

Liu Qingge’s eyebrows furrowed. “Hold on… has Zhangmen Shixiong gone against a heavenly demon in the past?”

Shen Qingqiu sighed. “I suppose you don’t know. It was over twenty years ago. Back then, the Huan Hua Palace Master gathered all the sects and revealed that his head disciple at the time discovered that there was an Ancient Heavenly Demon walking in the human realm. All the previous Peak Lords participated in the mission to subdue the demon, Tianlang Jun. Zhangmen Shixiong was also chosen to join because of his impeccable talent - which is how I found out.”

It wasn’t odd for Liu Qingge to not know. The mission was kept covert, though a lot of the disciples back then already had a sneaking suspicion that something big was happening when all their masters descended the mountain at the same time. Liu Qingge however was always out fighting demons and rarely stayed at his peak, so he likely didn’t catch the gossip going around. 

Shen Qingqiu just happened to find out because Yue Qingyuan came back to Cang Qiong Mountain injured and exhausted, and the Qiong Ding Peak Lord had requested the Qing Jing Peak Lord to allow his head disciple to use the Quiet Pond for healing and meditating. Shen Qingqiu managed to dig out enough information from Yue Qingyuan, to then inquire about the mission from his own Shizun. Not long after the mission, Yue Qingyuan recovered completely from his injury and the previous Peak Lords all retired, handing their positions to their disciples. The subjugation mission was never spoken about again.

“So, that means….”

“The timing fits perfectly. Tianlang Jun was the only Ancient Heavenly Demon around at the time. There is no doubt that Luo Binghe is his son,” said Shen Qingqiu.

“... You know his parents. What about his mother?” Liu Qingge asked.

“Most likely the head disciple of Huan Hua Palace at the time, Su Xiyan. Now that I think about it, their resemblance is uncanny, but it has been too long since I saw her and I wasn’t too familiar with Senior Su, so I didn’t immediately make the connection,” Shen Qingqiu said. “I wouldn’t dare to speculate how Luo Binghe was conceived, though. Senior Su was a cold alpha woman. She took pride in the skills she honed, I can’t imagine her willingly seducing a heavenly demon just to gather information.”

“Do you think she genuinely fell in love then?”

“Who knows, she is long gone now. She was never seen ever since the Old Palace Master called for the meeting. It is very likely that she has passed away, and if Luo Binghe himself is not interested in knowing, I see no reason to let it occupy my mind either,” said Shen Qingqiu.

Liu Qingge pursed his lips. “But still…”

“No means no, Qingge. If Luo Binghe isn’t going to do anything, it is best for us to pretend like nothing happened,” said Shen Qingqiu.

Luo Binghe might be a threat, a demon, a risk… but this time Shen Qingqiu was willing to take the risk. He brought the boy into his peak, made him a part of his pack, and raised him, he would not reject him simply because of the demon blood inside him. It was the least he could do, after treating him poorly in the beginning and failing to do anything when he was taken by Mobei Jun. Keeping his heritage a secret was the only thing Shen Qingqiu could think of now.

And just like his A Yuan had said, it shouldn't matter. There were terrible humans out there. Luo Binghe may be a demon, but he had done nothing to show that he was a malicious being.

“I still don’t like it,” Liu Qingge was firm in his decision.

“... I’m sleepy. Let’s talk about this later,” Shen Qingqiu ended the conversation.




 

For an average person, Shang Qinghua considered himself to be extremely unlucky. He had wanted to write an adventure story with a cool blackened protagonist, yet it turned into a stallion novel with so many plot holes, added with pointless papapa and numerous wives because he couldn’t remember all of them - all for the sake of paying his bills. He then died early, only to be transmigrated as a cannon fodder character of his own novel. Worse, it was a fanfiction world of his novel.

If Shang Qinghua had known his fate, he would have just stuck to his original plan. Then again, he considered himself to be in a not-too-bad position now. Thanks to Cucumber Bro’s top-notch acting skill somehow, the protagonist wasn’t as blackened as he was supposed to be. Shang Qinghua’s life was still in danger thanks to Cucumber Bro though, but he had Mobei Jun’s place to hide whenever he was in trouble.

Mobei Jun was not around when he came over, so he made himself comfortable by lounging in his office. Shang Qinghua didn’t know when it began but Mobei Jun’s scent was somehow able to calm him whenever he was feeling restless. He spotted the coat his king had tossed on the chaise and wrapped himself in it, inhaling the cool, soothing smell. It smelt like the fresh morning dew or the air after a cool rain. 

He lied down and before he knew it, Shang Qinghua dozed off in the comfort of Mobei Jun’s scent.

When he woke up, Mobei Jun’s frost-like blue eyes were staring back at him. Shang Qinghua remained stiff, before he yelped and scrambled away. He almost rolled off the bed if not for Mobei Jun quickly catching him and tucking him back. 

Shang Qinghua wished there was a burrow where he could hide himself. How long had he been asleep and why was he suddenly in bed? Did he sleepwalk here or did Mobei Jun carry him? How embarrassing and… ah, why was Mobei Jun still staring at him? Shang Qinghua was expecting him to be mad, but he did not look unhappy at all.

“My… my King,” Shang Qinghua said, pulling the blanket over to hide his flushed face. “This servant didn’t mean to-”

Mobei Jun placed his hand on top of Shang Qinghua’s head. “You’re starting to smell,” he said.

Smell? Shang Qinghua sniffed at himself, horrified. Did he stink? He took baths regularly, but maybe the smell of fish and river was sticking on him?

“It’s not safe, if Qinghua wishes to wait. This Mobei may not be able to control himself.”

Wait… wait for what? And what was Mobei Jun controlling himself from? 

Shang Qinghua’s eyes widened when he saw Mobei Jun’s eyes narrowing, looking at him like a tiger eyeing its prey. Shang Qinghua gulped. He better take a bath now! “I’ll go and have a bath, my King! I won’t sully you or your bed anymore than this!”

“Stay,” Mobei Jun ordered. “The servants will bring the tub here. This Mobei won’t allow anyone else to see you now.”

Just how horrible did he look like now for Mobei Jun to not want even the likes of Nine Balls or Ten Balls to be sullied by the sight of a stinky, half-asleep Shang Qinghua? Shang Qinghua pouted and curled into a ball.

Then Mobei Jun suddenly pulled him into an embrace. “Do you want my help?”

“...Help?” Shang Qinghua squeaked.

“This Mobei knows you want to wait, but I can help a little,” Mobei Jun offered.

Shang Qinghua blinked. Help? With what? “I… this servant wouldn’t dare to ask for more…”

Mobei Jun looked at him intently. “I want to help.”

There was something strange. Shang Qinghua could smell… lust and desire from Mobei Jun, even though Mobei Jun shouldn’t be in his rut now. Shang Qinghua gulped when he realized he was getting hard himself. Strange, this did not make sense at all. 

“My King, by help, do you mean… umm…” he paused. 

Could it be that? But no, that didn’t make sense! Why would Mobei Jun be attracted to him? He wasn’t an unparalleled beauty like Luo Binghe or a protagonist-level hunk like Liu Qingge or a graceful immortal like Shen Qingqiu. There was someone like Sha Hualing and other sexy demonesses out there, why would Mobei Jun be looking at him? “... I think I’ll return to my peak.”

Mobei Jun frowned. “You’re about to enter your heat. It’s risky, stay here.”

Shang Qinghua stared at him. His entire body turned stiff. Heat? What was Mobei Jun talking about? He wasn’t an omega, he couldn’t have heats. He never had heats or ruts before. Yet, Shang Qinghua’s brain suddenly brought back memories of a fever that lasted a bit too long, and the weird fluid that came out when he was lying in bed together with Mobei Jun before.

His face instantly turned red as soon as he realized there was in fact something wrong with him that he should have noticed much earlier. He immediately got up. “I’m sick! I need to go see Mu Shidi!”

Mobei Jun frowned. “Qinghua, you’re in a heat, you’re not sick-”

“Please excuse this servant first, my King!” He yelped before fumbling his way out of Mobei Jun’s bed.

Shit, shit, shit!

 


 

Mu Qingfang was obviously not too happy to see him rushing into his place without any notice while emitting the sweet smell. The healer was busy grinding some herb paste for whatever medications he was preparing. He left the rest of the work to his head disciple to attend to Shang Qinghua, who looked like he was about to experience a panic attack.

“Mu Shidi, what does it mean when something comes out from your ass and it’s not shit?” Shang Qinghua blurted.

Mu Qingfang sat facing him, unblinking for a moment. “Pardon me, what?”

Shang Qinghua took a deep breath. His hands were trembling. “Mu Shidi… I’m a beta, right?”

Ten seconds passed without Mu Qingfang uttering a word. He looked at Shang Qinghua in disbelief. “... Shang Shixiong… I believe you’re an omega.”

An omega.

For decades Shang Qinghua had lived believing he was a beta. Was he supposed to suddenly be aware that he was an omega? “How can that be? I’ve never had any heat!”

“You had one before during our meeting, and you smell like you’re about to have another,” Mu Qingfang reminded him.

“That’s impossible. We all got tested as soon as we entered the sect. Your own Shizun told me I am a beta!” Shang Qinghua protested.

Mu Qingfang sighed. “You were probably a late bloomer. Some people experience their heats or ruts earlier, some much later. In those cases, it’s not unusual to mistake them as betas. I was a beta up until fifteen years ago.”

“What… how is that possible?!” Shang Qinghua questioned with wide eyes.

“Like I said, late bloomers. Qian Cao Peak only accepts those who are betas upon admission, you know that right?” Mu Qingfang asked. “We are healers, we can’t be affected by our patients’ scents. When I first came here, I was still a beta. My rut came much later, but by that time I already acquired my position and cultivated enough to be able to control my reaction better.”

“Then… then, what about me?” 

“You were probably still a beta when you first came here. Something must have happened that finally triggers your heat. Still… you should have known if you could potentially be an omega or alpha. A few months before my first rut came, I was able to recognize scents, though they don’t affect me,” Mu Qingfang said. “Do you really not know?”

Shang Qinghua; “.....”

Well, shit. He had been able to recognize scents decades ago, before he even became An Ding’s head disciple. He just thought that he was… an unusual beta. How was he supposed to know that it was his body telling him that nope, he wasn’t a beta like his parents and siblings? 

“Whatever… ehem, came out from that part of your body, is just the thing to make sexual intercourse smoother for you and your partner,” Mu Qingfang coughed.

“... Mu Shidi, this trigger you’re talking about…”

“Shang Shidi, haven’t you been intimate with an alpha these days? That might be cause for the change,” Mu Qingfang asked.

Shang Qinghua’s mind traced back to the time when he and Mobei Jun had found their release together. That was the first time something came out from that place, and after that he experienced his first ‘fever’. No wonder Mobei Jun mentioned his heat, didn’t he assume Shang Qinghua was an omega when they first met? It turned out Mobei Jun wasn’t mistaken, he was the one who actually made a fool of himself!

Now that he thought about it, what was he doing with Mobei Jun? An alpha and an omega sharing a bed together, ‘helping out’ each other? That wasn’t something you’d do between master and servant, or even bros! Shang Qinghua buried his face in his palms.

“Shang Shixiong? Are you okay?”

“I… how am I supposed to… all this time I thought…” Shang Qinghua murmured.

Mu Qingfang held out a cup of tea for him in an attempt to calm him down. “Nothing is going to change for us, Shang Shixiong. Some people out there may have their prejudice, but just like Shen Shixiong, you obtained your position rightfully. If you have any other concerns…”

Shang Qinghua shook his head. “I just need a little time to process this.”

“Of course. Talk to us when you need to…” Mu Qingfang said, then paused. He eyed Shang Qinghua suspiciously. “Have you felt nauseous, lethargy, or - ”

“I’m not pregnant,” Shang Qinghua cut him off. He might be stupid, but he wasn’t that stupid. He knew where babies come from, and Shang Qinghua could say with certainty that he was still a virgin. His intimacy with Mobei Jun did not go any further beyond having their airplanes shooting to the sky together.

Which was another shocking thing to him, but there was just no way he could tell Mu Qingfang about that. Oh lord, dear heavens, Mobei Jun was the trigger to his heat! Shang Qinghua sure had designed the demon lord according to his idea of a perfect man, but he would never dream to have such experience with his ideal man.

What the hell was he supposed to do now? He shouldn’t just casually run off to Mobei Jun anymore, he shouldn’t let the other lie down in his bed, wouldn’t that be improper? No, but they had already done some things together, ah…

“... I need to find Cucumber Bro,” he murmured.

“Hm?”

“Ah, I mean, I’d like to go and see Yuan Shizhi,” Shang Qinghua said.

Mu Qingfang nodded. “I understand what you mean, Shang Shixiong. Whenever I see Yuan Shizhi, my heart is relieved from any stress and burden. Playing with a sweet child like Yuan Shizhi is truly therapeutic.”

“....” Sweet child? What sweet child, inside that two-faced pseudo-child was just a grumpy cucumber! Shang Qinghua just wanted someone to pour his feelings out to, and he couldn’t think of anyone else but Cucumber Bro. The only problem was if he came to see Cucumber Bro now, Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge might be waiting for him with Xiu Ya and Cheng Luan in their hands.

He returned to An Ding Peak with a pack of heat suppressants from Mu Qingfang, and summoned his head disciple to send a letter to Shen Yuan.

 


 

Surprisingly Liu Qingge, the Bai Zhan War God of Cang Qiong Mountain, the fight-first-talk-later Peak Lord, did not immediately go after Luo Binghe even after hearing about his heritage. Also, Shen Qingqiu, the supposed villain of the story had been the one stopping his husband. For now they agreed to keep the secret to themselves, but according to Shen Yuan the air was still a little tense. That explained why Cucumber Bro dropped over for a visit first thing in the morning, as soon as Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge were both out doing their duties, he had his own worries to talk about as well.

Luo Binghe had yet to come for a second visit after his first return. Perhaps he too realized that even if Shen Qingqiu was not pushing him, Liu Qingge might not be too accepting. Shen Yuan was a little frustrated but at least the situation wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Well, Shang Qinghua still had his head and limbs attached to his body so he considered everything to be fine and dandy for now. He was sure the sweet saccharine couple would soon be back to their sweet saccharine mood anyway. 

Shang Qinghua poured a cup of tea for Shen Yuan, being careful to make sure he didn’t serve his heat suppressant tea to the child. Ah, this was another reason why venting out to Cucumber Bro was more convenient, Cucumber Bro wasn’t a tad affected by his scent at all, since he was a child.

“Bro, I just had the biggest shock in my life yesterday,” Shang Qinghua said while munching some melon seeds. “I’m not a beta.”

Shen Yuan stared at him. His hand, that was petting Bingpup on his lap, stopped.

“Can you believe that? I didn’t realize it before, but, uh, well, I got my first… no, second heat? Maybe second heat? Yeah, it turned out that I was actually a late bloomer, and I’m actually an omega. You probably can’t tell it since you can’t recognize scents yet, but can you believe it?!” Shang Qinghua rambled.

“... And how did you come to this realization?” Shen Yuan asked.

Shang Qinghua rubbed the nape of his neck sheepishly. “Well, long story short I was in Mobei Jun’s bed and I suddenly remembered when… eheh, stuff happened.”

“... You were in his bed.”

“Yeah, but nothing happened! Well, he did offer to help… which I didn’t get to ask, but I’m seriously confused now, Cucumber Bro. Do you think Mobei Jun actually maybe likes me that way? I swear I could smell his lust when he was in bed with me, but that just doesn’t make sense! By the way, you don’t look surprised at all, Cucumber Bro.”

 


 

The only thing that surprised Shen Yuan was that it took this long for Shang Qinghua to realize it. 

How could he not know? Sure, sex education might be a little lacking in this world, but how could he not know?! Shen Yuan’s eyes twitched as he looked at Shang Qinghua, who was rubbing the nape of his neck while his face was flushed and his hand was tightly holding on to the Mobei family token for comfort. Mobei Jun’s robe that was left on his previous visit was on Shang Qinghua’s bed, used in place of a blanket.

Yes, that place you’re rubbing now, the bonding bite mark is still there, how do you not notice?! You’ve been in bed with him, he gave you a token exclusive for clan members, and you still question yourself? You created him, you should know him the best, yet you think Mobei Jun would just share a bed with anyone unimportant? He’s in love with you, you’re in love with him, you two are mated already!

“Cucumber Bro, are you listening to me?” Shang Qinghua asked.

“I’m listening,” Shen Yuan muttered. I wish I didn’t have to. The more he listened to Shang Qinghua’s ramble the more his brain hurt.

Shang Qinghua frowned. “You don’t look surprised at all. Don’t tell me you’ve known?”

“I can’t recognize the scents, to me you just look a little feverish. It didn’t surprise me that you’re an omega, though,” Shen Yuan said, sipping the tea.

“Wait, why? How can you tell?” Shang Qinghua asked, surprised.

From the bonding mark on your nape, Shen Yuan thought. Should I tell him?

“As expected of Cucumber Bro! Oh, but you should be just as clueless as me, so how? Ah, Shen Qingqiu must have taught you some tricks huh. I should have known it my villain son would do that,” Shang Qinghua hummed. “He’s so mean, I walked into the meeting in a heat and he told me not to spread it to people? Peii! Making fun of me!”

Shen Yuan’s eyes twitched.

Nope, call him petty but he won’t tell the idiot.

If Shang Qinghua could figure it out now, he’d figure out the rest on his own sooner or later. 

Chapter Text

Before they got married, any clash between Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge would not pass without either of them throwing some scathing remarks to the other, or just straight up fighting. After they were married, the couple rarely argued, except from the occasional disagreements or the rare fights that they have. This time they were having another disagreement, but unlike the other times they were still avoiding the issue.

Shen Qingqiu hated it. At least even when they were screaming or shouting at each other, they were still communicating (though it was evidently a terrible idea to do that in front of their child). This time the air was already this tense, yet they were not talking. Liu Qingge tried, he didn’t outright ignore Shen Qingqiu, knowing how stressed he could be during pregnancy, but he also looked like he was restraining himself.

They still dined together, he still greeted him good morning, and he never forgot to check if Shen Qingqiu was eating and taking his supplements properly. However, those were all done like a routine, and for the sake of their babies - for A Yuan and the baby in his womb. There were no late night chats, no lingering kisses, no hugs that lasted longer than they should.

They had not been intimate for a week, even though they were both staying under the same roof. Normally they would do it every two or three days (everyday back when the succubus poison was still left in their system, even). Liu Qingge had reduced the frequency of their intimacy to every four or five days since Shen Qingqiu had gotten pregnant, as he was worried of hurting his spouse and the baby.

How silly, weren’t they going at it like rabbits when the baby had just been conceived?

On the third day of their silent argument, Shen Qingqiu decided he had enough. Since their last intercourse was a few days before Luo Binghe came, this would mark the sixth day since his husband had last touched him. The pregnancy hormones were making him extra horny and he was craving for it. This wasn’t like his first pregnancy when even if he was feeling it, there was nothing he could do but meditate.

This time he had an insanely handsome alpha husband walking in his room, half naked right after a bath and what was Shen Qingqiu supposed to do? Not touch him? The meat was right in front of his eyes, why should he deny himself from the scrumptious meal?

Oh well, if Liu Qingge was being hesitant, Shen Qingqiu would just have to make the first move. There was no shame in an omega spouse luring their alpha, and didn’t Liu Qingge used to criticize him for employing dirty tactics? He would show his husband those dirty tactics. He would make sure his husband would not be able to refuse anything.

That in mind, Shen Qingqiu dug out the storage room to look for the gift his mother-in-law had given him while Liu Qingge was away.

“Mama, what are you looking for?” Shen Yuan came in, perhaps after hearing the noises. He ran towards his mother. “You can’t lift heavy things, papa said mama has to rest!”

Shen Qingqiu rubbed his child’s head. “I’m fine, there is nothing too heavy for me here. Were you out playing earlier?”

Shen Yuan nodded.

“I’m looking for a gift from your grandmother. Can you help me look for it? It’s in a medium-sized box wrapped with green silk cloth,” said Shen Qingqiu. Browsing the high shelf was not a problem with his height but bending down was a little troubling.

“Mm!” Shen Yuan chirped and joined his search, going straight to the lowest level of the shelf.

Within a few moments, his son found two boxes wrapped in green silk and pulled them out. Shen Qingqiu sat down and opened the first one. It looked like gifts from Fourth Uncle - it was an assortment of dried fruits, nuts, and candied ginseng, all stored nicely. Shen Yuan picked up one piece of the dried fruit and popped it into his mouth. “Mama, can I have these?”

Shen Qingqiu playfully flicked his son a little. “After you already ate them? Naughty A Yuan.”

“Ehehe,” Shen Yuan giggled.

“Of course you can have them,” said Shen Qingqiu. He pondered for a moment. “But just set aside half.”

“Why? Do you also want them, mama?”

Shen Qingqiu shook his head. “The next time your Bing Gege comes, I’ll give some to him.”

Luo Binghe had been wandering without a real home for months. He was likely without much money too, as rogue cultivators normally would not make as much money unless they were extremely well-known. Considering he had no idea about his parents, he sure as hell wouldn’t be living off Tianlang Jun’s bountiful inheritance. Shen Qingqiu had offered to give him some spirit stones last time but Luo Binghe refused.

He shouldn’t refuse food, though. Dried fruits and candied ginseng would give him plenty of energy and last long so that could ease Shen Qingqiu’s mind a little.

Shen Yuan opened the other box. “What is inside this one?”

He pulled out a thin long fabric, so thin that it could barely hide anything. 

For a moment the child froze.

Perhaps he was confused, seeing something he had never come across before. Shen Qingqiu took the fabric from him and examined it. Hm, it was a high quality silk and still in a very good condition, as expected from Madam Liu. There was not a single mistake in the neat embroidery and Shen Qingqiu had no idea how but just from a glimpse he could tell it was tailored to perfectly fit his body. Fortunately the baby bump wasn’t so big that he wouldn’t be able to fit in this.

“... What is this, mama?” Shen Yuan asked.

Shen Qingqiu smirked. “Ah, it’s a present for your papa.”

“....” Shen Yuan did not utter a word. Perhaps he was shocked, thinking that his brute of a father would be wearing something so gaudy.

Shen Qingqiu packed up the sweet treats in a jar and left it on his desk, before returning the boxes to the storage room again. Shen Yuan followed behind him, tiptoeing silently as if he was contemplating something. He tugged the hem of Shen Qingqiu’s robes softly. “Mama, can I sleep over at Aunt Mingyan’s place tonight? I miss Aunt Mingyan.”

Shen Qingqiu blinked. It wasn’t rare for Shen Yuan to ask for his aunt, but it was very rare for him to ask to spend the night with her. It was usually Liu Mingyan who came with sweet treats to coax Shen Yuan into spending more time with her at Xian Shu Peak. Oh well, that worked perfectly for his plan tonight, this way he didn’t have to wait until Shen Yuan was asleep. “Of course.”

Liu Mingyan came over that evening from a short mission outside to see her nephew, and was overjoyed when she learned that Shen Yuan had been asking for her. With Bingpup in hand, the pair of aunt and nephew made their way to Xian Shu Peak, leaving Shen Qingqiu with ample time to get ready for his plan.




 

Liu Qingge stared at the selection of fans in front of him. He was sure Shen Qingqiu had already owned fans with similar designs to these. There were some that he had never seen in his spouse's collection but those were likely not to his husband's taste. After spending so much time with Shen Qingqiu, Liu Qingge already sort of developed a sense for things that the Qing Jing Peak Lord would like and dislike.

Shen Qingqiu tolerating a demon honestly was not something he expected. Liu Qingge wasn't ready to accept it but now he decided that if Shen Qingqiu trusted the boy, he just had to trust his mate. If the boy ever tried to do something, he just needed to protect his family, simple enough. Overthinking things was not his style and fighting when his mate was with a baby wasn't good.

For now he would make amends. They hadn't been intimate for a while but surely Shen Qingqiu won't appreciate it if he just came in demanding reconciliation without any peace offering.

Unable to find any fan to his liking, Liu Qingge then spotted a shop selling ribbons.

He returned to Qing Jing Peak with a light green ribbon in his pouch.

Shen Qingqiu was at his desk, seemingly occupied with the disciples' assignment. He noticed Liu Qingge's return and set aside the papers. "Welcome home."

"I'm home," he replied, still feeling a little awkward. “Where is A Yuan?”

“Staying with Mingyan tonight. He wants to play with her.”

“Oh,” he muttered. Unsure of what to do, he began, "Listen, about that disciple of yours…"

Shen Qingqiu crossed his arms. "Luo Binghe?"

"I still think he's a threat."

"In what way is he a threat other than his heritage? Luo Binghe has made it clear that he has no intention to harm us.”

Liu Qingge frowned. Shen Qingqiu seemed a little agitated today. Perhaps he had really pissed the omega off by refusing to accept that his mate’s disciple was harmless. Or maybe because they had been cold for the past few days? “Aren’t you being a little careless? You’re usually the more wary one,” he said.

Shen Qingqiu narrowed his eyes. “You mean I’m the more reasonable one.”

“You’re not being reasonable this time.”

“You’re the one thinking you can do something against a heavenly demon. Even if you have defeated me in a battle before, have you defeated Zhangmen Shixiong before? Then don’t talk big.”

Liu Qingge’s eyes twitched. His face did not betray his emotions as he felt like he had just been dumped with a barrel of vinegar. “Why do you have to mention Zhangmen Shixiong? You run to him whenever you have problems. You bring him up even when it’s unnecessary. Am I not your mate?”

Shen Qingqiu frowned. His lips curled up a little in amusement. “You’re not jealous of Zhangmen Shixiong, are you?”

Liu Qingge rolled his eyes. “Am I not supposed to feel anything?”

“.... Fine. We can talk about this later,” Shen Qingqiu said.

Liu Qingge scowled. “No, we are not going to hold this off any longer. Listen, I still don’t believe he’s completely harmless, but I can tole-.....” 

He froze.

Shen Qingqiu turned around and raised an eyebrow. “Hmm? Are you saying something?”

The omega had undressed himself, stripping down to his innerwear to get ready for bed. That was normal, after years of marriage they both had no qualms of changing in front of each other, they had already explored every inch of each other’s body after all. What was unusual was the garment he was wearing.

It was a green silk dudou, with the fabric made of a very thin layer that left little to his imagination. Shen Qingqiu’s smooth, bare back was impressively displayed as he sat down to comb his hair. Liu Qingge’s eyes were wide open as they hungrily took in every inch of pale fair skin exposed. Something inside him stirred up as his eyes fell on the plump round butt, barely concealed either.

Shen Qingqiu put down his comb and turned to look at his husband. “Why are you not talking, husband?”

“You… where did you…”

“Ah, this? A Yuan and I were going through some items in the storage room earlier and I found this. It was a gift from your mother, wouldn’t it be a waste if I don’t wear it?”

How had he not seen this before?! Oh right, because Shen Qingqiu would never wear something like this! This was definitely a ploy to seduce him, which Liu Qingge did not understand because he was already very much physically and romantically attracted to his mate. He would pounce at Shen Qingqiu even if his mate was dressed in nothing but scraps.

…. Which was not too far from what he was wearing now, for the fabric provided near zero coverage. Liu Qingge could see the pert nipples through the thin layer that were almost inviting him to come and lap on them. Before he knew it he had already taken a few steps forward towards his mate and with each step he could feel his pants tightening at the crotch area.

Shen Qingqiu smirked. “Not in the mood to talk anymore, hm?”

Shen Qingqiu looped his arms around Liu Qingge and the alpha lost whatever reason stopping him from pouncing at his mate. Their lips were locked together in a fierce fight for dominance and they tumbled to bed, with Liu Qingge cushioning the fall. His hands roamed on the smooth back and he deeply enjoyed the sensation of cool skin against his warm fingers. Shen Qingqiu let out a small whine when he left his lips to graze against his jaw and neck.

He could smell the omega’s pheromones being released. Pregnant omegas do not go into heats, the pheromone was a clear sign of pure desire for him and Liu Qingge could not contain his excitement anymore. One hand cupped on the perky round mound while his other hand impatiently worked to take off his pants and release his desires. He kicked off the fabric obstructing his desire and freed his erection, completely hard and bulging with need.

Once the layer was gone, Liu Qingge slipped his hand into the fabric and hummed with satisfaction as he felt the entrance already wet and slick. His fingers circled the pink little entrance teasingly, before pushing in one digit inside. His head moved to cup one clothed nipple into his mouth, sucking and flicking it with his tongue to force out more delicious moans from his mate.

Soon Shen Qingqiu was ready for him to take. The omega sat on top of his partner, eyes full of lust with a little hint of mischief. He lined his entrance right above the tip of his manhood, rubbing himself against him sensually. Liu Qingge was already feeling extremely impatient. He bucked his hips up in an attempt to enter his mate but Shen Qingqiu suddenly pressed him down.

Shen Qingqiu fluttered his eyelids. “I remember we have something we need to discuss, don’t we, husband?” He purred, fingers deftly moving and running across his chest as if to tempt him.

Liu Qingge groaned.

“Now don’t be like that. What were you talking about? Luo Binghe? What about him?” He asked, this time teasing the alpha by lowering his hips enough for the tip to poke into the chrysanthemum slightly.

Liu Qingge exhaled and it came out like a strangled noise. This was clearly a ploy to lure him to agree to whatever Shen Qingqiu wanted! “You’d really risk your life for that brat?!”

“I thought my strong, handsome, capable alpha was going to protect me?” Shen Qingqiu whispered, his hand moving to stroke the agitated manhood. “Or have you lost your edge? This thing doesn’t seem to have lost any strength, though. In fact, it looks so big and hard, I bet it’d feel so good inside me.”

Precum leaked out just from the tantalizing voice luring him. Liu Qingge swore not even a thousand succubi could be as desirable as his mate. Again, driven by lust he tried moving his hips up but Shen Qingqiu pushed him down once more.

“... What do you want?” LiuQingge groaned. He was at his limit.

“You know what I want. What do you want?”

His hand suddenly gripped on Liu Qingge’s trembling erection and the Bai Zhan War God choked out, “Want...you!”

“I can’t hear you. Ask properly.”

“Want you, please…” His voice was strained from the uncontrollable lust mixed with frustration as Shen Qingqiu kept teasing him, rubbing himself against the pillar that was threatening to leak out, yet denying entrance.

“You can’t just ask me without giving me something in return, husband. What do I get?”

Liu Qingge could not stand it anymore. He had been lured, tempted, teased, then denied, yet lured again. He felt like a man with a parched throat and Shen Qingqiu was now offering water, but was giving it drop by drop to him. He needed his husband so bad. “I’ll listen to you, I’ll do what you want, just please-”

He failed to finish his sentence, as Shen Qingqiu lowered his hips and engulfed his manhood into his body completely, eliciting a long loud moan from him instead.

It felt like his parched throat was now drenched with cold water. Shen Qingqiu’s inside however was warm and served to make him thirst for him even more. He bounced on top with full energy and Liu Qingge reciprocated with even more vigor, moving his hips at high speed. Everything else was forgotten as they made love all night.

Liu Qingge carefully flipped their position, letting Shen Qingqiu lay on his back while he continued pounding into the wet entrance. Shen Qingqiu was splayed on the white sheet, his ink-like hair fanned out, the thin fabric clung to his body and one of his nipples poked out from the dudou, that had been messed up now. He looked absolutely alluring like this and Liu Qingge found himself unable to get enough.

Liu Qingge leaned down to devour his husband’s lips again, that was now already swollen from their too much enthusiasm. He was about to rip off the garment completely to gain more access to the hot flushed skin, when he noticed something on the side table.

“... Why is that oil there?”

“In case you can’t get it up, I was going to do it, of course.”

“....”

“You remember your promise, right? No fighting Binghe if he ever comes here.”

“... Of course,” said Liu Qingge as he pressed a kiss again. Oh well, he supposed he didn’t have to let Shen Qingqiu know that he was planning to agree anyway, he might not want to pull this stunt again.

 


 

Shen Yuan wasn’t looking forward to knowing whatever was in Shen Qingqiu’s mind.

Whatever it was, it couldn’t possibly be good for his sanity. What other reason would someone be pulling out a skimpy article of clothing and stating that it was a gift for their spouse, if not because they were planning to spend the night to just papapa?! He decided to save himself from the torture early on and find himself a different place to spend the night while his mother was doing whatever he was going to do to spice up his bedroom activities.

It would be good for them to reconcile, hopefully. Shen Yuan knew they were trying to patch up - very awkwardly. He would give them some space to work out whatever middle ground they could reach. 

That said, that didn’t mean he could not secretly regret his own decision to come to Xian Shu Peak of all places. Well, Airplane Bro could not be his place of refuge anymore until Shen Qingqiu was ready to forgive him. He should have gone elsewhere, because now he was surrounded by all the big sisters ready to coddle him, passing him around from one lap to another.

“Liu Shijie, when are you going to release the next volume?” One of the little sisters suddenly asked.

Liu Mingyan’s eyes were smiling. “Soon. I got someone to add the illustrations and this time they are even better.”

The sisters all squealed. “Oh my gosh!”

“Can’t wait!”

“Shijie’s work is always the best!”

Shen Yuan blinked. He looked up to Liu Mngyan. “Aunt Mingyan, what are you all talking about?”

Liu Mingyan grinned. “Ah, nothing A Yuan. Just a little mission.”

“Mission?”

“A mission, to make the world a happier place.”

“....” Somehow he had a bad feeling about this.

Nighttime came and Liu Mingyan ushered Shen Yuan to her room. She had forgotten to prepare an extra pillow and blanket and so stepped out for a moment while she searched for additional blankets, as well as a small cot for Bingpup to sleep in.

Shen Yuan played with Bingpup while waiting.

He noticed a stack of papers and a brush on Liu Mingyan’s desk. Out of curiosity he walked over to take a look.

 

Mobei Jun licked his lips as he eyed the treat in front of him hungrily. The hole was already red and loose, filled with his spent from their earlier frolicking. Luo Binghe laid powerless on the floor, his legs parted and unable to close anymore from being spread out for too long. His chrysanthemum twitched a little and crystal-like tears fell from the corner of his eyes.

“Ah, please my lord, fill my hole again-

 

Shen Yuan jumped away and gawked in horror.

What was…

Fuck, isn’t that The Tale of Ice King and Winter Bride? It looks like it’s still in the draft, though, so why is it here? Don’t tell me the author is…

“A Yuan?” Liu Mingyan came in. “I got the blankets.”

He could not believe it. Liu Mingyan, one of the popular wife candidates, the strongest human wife in Luo Binghe’s harem, was the one who wrote the accursed RPF about the protagonist and his subordinate!

Can I go home now?

Shen Yuan then remembered that his parents were probably at home, doing things that he should not and did not want to see. Between staying with Liu Mingyan, who was probably going to continue writing a MoBing smut and going back to see his parents actually enacting the smut…

FML, Shen Yuan cursed inside.






Shang Qinghua had not been visiting Mobei Jun ever since he found out that he was in fact, an omega. The knowledge had been a shock to him and thinking back of all the times he had shamelessly shared a bed with Mobei Jun and did all kinds of things was making him burn with embarrassment. Had he enticed Mobei Jun with his omega pheromones before? What impression did Mobei Jun have about him? What did he think about him?

It kept occupying his mind, even as he entered the hall for the Peak Lord meeting.

Then Yue Qingyuan brought up the mysterious plague in Jinlan City and the odd corpse that was found originating from the city. He pointed out that the condition of the corpse was similar to the one reported by Mu Qingfang during their trip. Shang Qinghua immediately paled. He purposely sent the report late, and even kind of glossed over the corpse a little to avoid getting hunted by Shen Qingqiu. Of course Mu Qingfang would send a separate, thorough report, especially if there was a corpse involved! Shang Qinghua had completely forgotten about it.

Shen Qingqiu frowned. “Corpse? When was this?”

“Back when we were looking for the elderflowers,” Mu Qingfang said. “Yuan Shizhi didn’t say anything? He was the one who found it.”

“...”

Shen Qingqiu shot a look at Yue Qingyuan.

“Shang Shidi did not stress much on the corpse, only mentioning that Zhao Hua Temple was taking care of it. None of us expect it would be this serious, that a whole city would be affected,” Yue Qingyuan said.

Shang Qinghua could already feel Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge’s burning glare on him. He slowly scooted over so he could hide behind Qi Qingqi.

“A whole city has been affected, the plague has to be serious. And for it to be this deadly…” Shen Qingqiu paused. He looked at Mu Qingfang. “Have you done any research since then?”

Mu Qingfang nodded. “I was occupied by the elderflowers so I did not look it up too much, but I did go through several old records out of curiosity. So far there has not been any recorded cases of plague that would cause the same symptoms.”

“Have you any idea, Qingqiu Shidi?” Yue Qingyuan asked.

Shen Qingqiu hummed. “If Mu Shidi cannot find the cause of it, then I can only deduce that it is either a plague caused by a newly emerged disease; or a demonic attack.”

“What kind of demons would be able to inflict such damage?” Qi Qingqi frowned.

“... Sower demons,” Shen Qingqiu said. “They have not been seen for a long time though…”

Yue Qingyuan contemplated. “For this, I believe Mu Shidi’s assistance is crucial. I would like to send two more people to help, but…” he paused, eyes darting at Liu Qingge and Shen Qingqiu. “Qingqiu Shidi’s vast knowledge would be very useful at times like this, but it isn’t ideal for you to go there in your current condition.”

Even though the baby bump was not strikingly obvious due to the multiple layers the Qing Jing Peak Lord was wearing, by now it was already big enough that one could tell on one glimpse that he was carrying another life inside him. The morning sickness may have gone away but going on a risky mission like this would put a strain on Shen Qingqiu’s body. Not to mention, they had barely enough information on the plague and how it was even transmitted. If even Zhao Hua Temple was having trouble with it, then even high cultivation may not spare them from getting affected by it.

“I’ll go,” Liu Qingge volunteered. “Whatever demons are causing trouble there, we can just kill them.”

“This Shimei will also go,” said Qi Qingqi. She winked at Shen Qingqiu. “I’ll watch over your husband to make sure he doesn’t go feral.”

Shen Qingqiu nodded. “Much appreciated, Qi Shimei.”

The mission team decided, Shang Qinghua quickly made his escape from the meeting room before the couple could catch him. They should not blame him alone, okay? He wasn’t the only one chaperoning Shen Yuan there, even if he was the one inviting Shen Yuan to join them. Oh well, Liu Qingge and Shen Qingqiu would probably be making Yu Qingxuan their sandbag instead. Maybe they’d even forget about this later. Liu Qingge had to get ready to set off, while Shen Qingqiu couldn’t run after him while carrying a baby.

(Shang Qinghua may have forgotten that he had created Shen Qingqiu as a petty man who’d never forget.)

 


 

Shen Yuan was still lying on his favourite cushion, enjoying his afternoon nap, when he heard faint voices talking.

“Be careful.”

“You too. Don’t forget your supplements. I’m going to make Mingyan check on you.”

“Really, I’m not the one going on a dangerous mission.”

“Stop overthinking. Whatever there is, I’m just going to eliminate them.”

“Not everything can be solved with a sword, silly. Just… come home safe, husband.”

Shen Yuan opened his eyes to his parents exchanging a long lingering kiss. He silently muttered a curse in his head, before he was finally coherent enough to register their words earlier. He rubbed his eyes and sat up. “Papa, where are you going?”

Liu Qingge leaned down to rub his son’s head. “A mission.”

Shen Yuan blinked. So suddenly? Didn’t they just return from the monthly meeting this morning? Why was he going out straight away? Shen Yuan did not even hear anything about a mission. Shen Qingqiu mentioned it was dangerous and he had to be careful, just what kind of mission would it be? “Where are you going, Papa?”

“Not too far, but it may take some time,” said Liu Qingge.

“Where?”

“Jinlan City.”

“How long?”

“... I don’t know yet.”

Shen Yuan did not recall any event deemed dangerous enough for his father to be sent immediately ever happening in Jinlan City. Obviously not every single mission that took place was not described in the book, but judging from how Liu Qingge was leaving right after the meeting, moreover without knowing when he was returning, it was clear that there was an emergency out there. Shen Yuan had no idea if this incident would involve Luo Binghe or any of his harem, because that was when anything akin to a main event would occur.

Then again, he was in a different world. It was not the original Proud Immortal Demon Way.

Liu Qingge survived his predestined death in the cave. However, he did not have a protagonist halo like Luo Binghe. What if… what if the world was hellbent on keeping the plot the same? Shen Qingqiu and Luo Binghe’s relationship improved but Luo Binghe still ended up in the Endless Abyss, even without Shen Qingqiu pushing him. 

An irrational fear suddenly flashed through his mind and he grabbed Liu Qingge’s hands. “Papa, do you really have to go?”

A spouse who was normally unbothered by the missions suddenly telling their partner to be careful and said partner dismissing the advice? Was that not a red flag ah?! That was clearly the 'what could go wrong' scene, right before something terrible actually happened!

Liu Qingge pressed a brief warm kiss on his forehead. “It won’t be long. Your Mu Shishu is also a capable healer. We’ll finish up as quickly as we can, okay?”

“I want to follow you!”

“You can’t, A Yuan is still too young. Just stay here and be with your mama, okay?”

“But… but…” Shen Yuan tried to turn on his waterworks but unfortunately Liu Qingge had already picked up his sword and walked away. He hopped down from thechaise and chased after his father. “Papa! Papa wait!”

“A Yuan!” Shen Qingqiu rushed to stop his son as he nearly tripped and fell.

“Shizun, what happened?” Ning Yingying, who had been sweeping the outdoor deck came over when she heard the noise.

More disciples came over seeing the ruckus and Shen Yuan suddenly felt embarrassed.

A little child chasing after his father crying like this, wasn’t he also raising the flag himself? What was he doing, acting like an overly-attached child? Liu Qingge should be fine, he was strong. He would be fine, Shen Yuan tried to convince himself.

Shen Yuan was about to get up and maybe find a place to hide his thin face, when Shen Qingqiu suddenly pulled him into a tight hug, burying his face against his chest. “Don’t worry A Yuan, papa will be back soon, okay? Don’t cry.”

I’m not crying, why are you turning this into a melodrama?

“Aww, A Yuan doesn’t want Liu Shishu to go?” Ning Yingying said, and more disciples began to gather to watch the scene unfolding, whispering of how adorable but also touched they were, seeing the child feeling upset over his father leaving.

This got to be the ultimate embarrassment he ever had to suffer. Shen Yuan pouted angrily and wriggled out of Shen Qingqiu’s arms. “I’m not crying. I’m completely fine. I’m not sulking at all.”

Ming Fan gave him a look of sympathy and Ning Yingying started sniffing. His words now sounded completely like a sulking child!

“All of you go back to your chores, why do you have so much free time?” Shen Qingqiu angrily dismissed the crowd away and pulled Shen Yuan back into his arms, this time carrying him back to the bamboo house.

Unfortunately it was too late. By evening the story had spread throughout the entire sect of how he had thrown a tantrum and chased after his father while crying. His martial uncles all came one by one to coax him. Yue Qingyuan kept apologizing for sending his father away for a mission while Shang Qinghua sat at the corner spitting out his tea in his failed attempt to hide that he was laughing so hard at him.

Oh well, at least when he got the news that the mission was solved, he got the excuse to follow his mother along with Yue Qingyuan and the other Peak Lords to Jinlan City.

Too bad the flags he had been fearing about indeed became a reality there, except that it wasn’t for his father, but his mother.

Chapter Text

Shen Qingqiu woke up feeling confused as he tried to reach for the warmth beside him, only to feel cold empty spot. Then he remembered that his husband was away on a mission and won’t be back for the next few days, possibly weeks. He sighed. His body ached a little and he barely had enough rest. His other martial brothers offered to babysit Shen Yuan but Yue Qingyuan was busy and Shen Qingqiu could not trust the rest of them.

Even though Shen Yuan insisted that he was fine, Shen Qingqiu could clearly see that he was feeling upset. He wasn’t sure why, though. Liu Qingge had gone on missions outside many times before and Shen Yuan had always seemed fine with it. Perhaps it was because the request came in so suddenly and they never got to announce his departure, nor were they able to predict when he would come back.

Shen Qingqiu was suddenly reminded of the time Qi Ge left and he stayed locked in that room, not knowing when Yue Qi would return. The fear, the anxiety, the devastation, all overwhelmed him but Shen Jiu forced himself to stay strong. Whatever left inside him was completely broken when Yue Qi never came back, leaving him full of resentment. However things had taken a turn ever since his baby came to the world. Everything was gradually being mended and even if his scar remained, he had people who would care to not let the wound hurt or fester.

Nothing can hurt me anymore, he told himself. Qiu Jianluo was gone. He had a real family now, this time it was his turn to protect them. He would make sure his children would grow up well, with love and care, with food, with warmth.

A knock on the door nearly startled him and brought him back from his trance. Shen Qingqiu put on his clothes and fixed his appearance a little before he went to the door. Anyone here this early was probably Ming Fan coming to take whatever task or order he had for him.

To his surprise, the one standing before him was Luo Binghe.

“Shizun, forgive this disciple for coming unannounced,” Luo Binghe said, bowing his head.

Well, if Luo Binghe had announced his arrival Liu Qingge might have doubts leaving yesterday and the whole sect might be shocked. Shen Qingqiu had only told his husband about the half demon, he had yet to inform the rest of the sect. Yue Qingyuan might not allow Luo Binghe to even enter Cang Qiong Mountain for obvious reasons. Even if he were to hide Luo Binghe’s heritage and how he was able to survive the Endless Abyss, he likely would refuse to host a ‘runaway demon bride’, that would spark a war with the demon realm.

...Now that Shen Qingqiu thought about it, Shang Qinghua also knew about Luo Binghe, why had he not mentioned a word about it to him or to Yue Qingyuan? Why wasn’t he questioning anything about Luo Binghe’s sudden return? Strange.

“Come in,” Shen Qingqiu moved aside to let Luo Binghe in. It would be bad if someone else were to see him.

Shen Qingqiu looked for the pot to prepare tea but Luo Binghe went ahead and took the pot from his hands. “Please, Shizun, let this disciple make it for you.”

Shen Qingqiu let the youth prepare the tea. It had been a long time after all. In the meantime he went to check on his child. Shen Yuan was still deep asleep. He decided to let him sleep a little longer. Bingpup trotted behind him, perhaps already hungry and wanted food. He looked for pieces of dried meat to feed the pup.

“Shizun, would you also like…” Luo Binghe emerged from the kitchen, only to petrify at the sight of his teacher cradling the little puppy and feeding Bingpup with the meat from his hands.

Shen Qingqiu looked up. "What?'

"... Would Shizun also like to have some rice congee?"

"You don't have to trouble yourself. Ming Fan will bring something over when he comes here."

"It's not troubling at all."

"If you insist," said Shen Qingqiu.

Bingpup barked and rubbed his head against Shen Qingqiu's legs. Luo Binghe's eyes twitched, glaring at Bingpup's triumphant expression before returning to the kitchen.

He came back bringing a tray with two bowls of congee and looked around. "Shizun, where is A Yuan?"

"Still asleep. There's no need to disturb him, he must be tired," said Shen Qingqiu, sipping the tea slowly. It had been a while since he enjoyed a tea prepared by Luo Binghe. "Last night was stressful for him."

Luo Binghe looked concerned. "Why? What happened?"

"Your Liu Shishu left for a mission. It was an urgent one so we didn't get to tell him beforehand. A Yuan cried and tried to follow his father yesterday," said Shen Qingqiu, detailing more of the event from the previous day.

Yue Qingyuan and the other Peak Lords who heard about the matter came over after that but Shen Yuan must have been so upset, even though he insisted that he wasn't upset he was obviously sulking. He refused to talk or even look at any of the Peak Lords, he did not even want to come out from his room at first.

Luo Binghe looked down. "I see. The mission that Liu Shishu is joining, how dangerous is it? Why would he leave you to go on a risky mission when you are with a baby?" 

"An entire city has been struck with a plague of unknown cause. Who's to say it won't spread to a different city and harm more people? Someone has to put it to stop," said Shen Qingqiu. "Mu Shidi is a precious, irreplaceable member of our sect. It is just appropriate for us to send our strongest member to assist and protect him. If I weren't pregnant, perhaps I would've been sent out as well."

"But what about-"

"He will be fine. I trust him."

"... I see," Luo Binghe muttered. He pondered for a moment, before asking, "Where is it?"

Shen Qingqiu frowned. "Are you thinking of going?"

Luo Binghe nodded. "Shizun already knows about my demon blood. I am immune to most infections and poisons, whatever happens there should not affect me."

Shen Qingqiu hummed. "... You're right."

"I will go there and assist Liu Shishu, Shizun. All the knowledge that Shizun has imparted to me shall be of use," Luo Binghe said.

Shen Qingqiu took a deep breath, before finally nodding his head. "This master will rely on you then."

"Binghe is happy to be of use, Shizun. I will depart as soon as possible," said Luo Binghe and stood up.

Shen Qingqiu remembered something and got up as well. "Wait here," he instructed and went to his room for a moment. He emerged with an item wrapped nicely in a cloth and handed it to Luo Binghe. "If you won't accept any allowance, take this."

Luo Binghe unwrapped the bundle and was surprised to see a medium sized jar filled with dried fruits and candied ginseng. "Shizun, this…"

"Now off you go."

Tears pooled in his eyes and he nodded. "Thank you, Shizun. This disciple will be sure to watch over Liu Shishu and everyone. Shizun and A Yuan, please don't be worried."

"You too, do not be reckless, Binghe."

 


 

A few days after Liu Qingge’s departure, Yue Qingyuan came to Qing Jing Peak bringing in good news. The mission was successful and all three Peak Lords were safe. Shen Yuan could finally feel relieved. He was sure Shen Qingqiu himself was relieved too. Since Jinlan City was in a lockdown, they were prepared to wait for a couple of weeks for his return, but it seemed like they would be able to see him much sooner, as the gate was reopened this morning.

“So what happened?” Shen Qingqiu asked.

“As Shidi predicted, the plague was indeed caused by a sower demon infection. Liu Shidi and Qi Shimei caught all the sower demons and Mu Shidi successfully developed the cure overnight,” Yue Qingyuan said. “Now that we know the source of infection and handled it, would you like to join us for a short trip to Jinlan City?”

Shen Yuan’s eyes lit up. “Can we?”

Yue Qingyuan smiled. “Of course. It’s the least we can do, after sending your father away. Poor A Yuan, you must have been dismayed.”

“... I was not sulking,” Shen Yuan pouted. “It’s not like I was sad when papa went out.”

Shen Qingqiu hid his little chuckle behind his fan. Just earlier he was so excited when he heard the news, now he was denying it? Shen Qingqiu ruffled his hair. “Go and get ready, A Yuan.”

“Mm!” Shen Yuan beamed, then ran off to his room. He poked outside a second later to ask, “Can I bring Bingpup with me?”

“No need. Your mama and martial uncles will also be with you. Let your Ning Jiejie look after Bingpup,” said Shen Qingqiu.

Yue Qingyuan had already prepared the carriage for himself and Shen Yuan, so Shen Qingqiu only had to leave some orders for Ming Fan to watch over his juniors and for Ning Yingying to help care for Bingpup. Ming Fan was already used to the work and Ning Yingying was more than happy to have Bingpup around.

Shen Qingqiu started getting ready as well, changing into warmer clothes. He redid his hair and was about to put on his usual ornaments, but paused. 

Several incense sticks later the Qing Jing Peak Lord emerged from the bamboo house, with a green silk ribbon neatly tied to his hair. Weird feeling settled inside him as if something bad was about to happen but nevertheless he still could not wait to see his husband.

 


 

They spotted a young teen jumping around happily, announcing the opening of the gate when they arrived. The boy recognized the emblem of Cang Qiong Mountain immediately and introduced himself as Yang Yixuan, son of a weapon shop owner as well as the one who had shown Liu Qingge, Mu Qingfang, and Qi Qingqi around when the trio first arrived. He led them into the centre of the town where everyone had also gathered.

“So you’re with that super strong guy?” He asked. “All of you must be super strong too! I’ve only heard of Cang Qiong Mountain, I didn’t expect you were this powerful! Nobody managed to do anything until your sect came to help!”

“You talk like you fought him. Did he beat you up?” Shang Qinghua jokingly asked.

Surprisingly, the boy nodded. Shen Yuan facepalmed and he could see Shen Qingqiu frowning from displeasure. Liu Qingge beating up his disciples was something normal, to beat up a civilian was a different thing.

“He was super strong! No matter how many times I got up to fight him again, he’d just hurled me like a piece of brick!” Yang Yixuan exclaimed.

Shen Qingqiu paused. He looked at the boy in disbelief. “You got up after fighting him?”

“Huh? Yeah, several times.”

“... Give me your wrist,” Shen Qingqiu asked.

Shen Yuan watched with deep interest as his mother pressed his fingers against the boy’s wrist, appearing to be in deep concentration. He nodded. “You have talent. If you managed to stand up after getting catapulted by Liu Qingge, you could definitely rise to the top in Bai Zhan Peak.”

What? So Shen Qingqiu was assessing his talent and spiritual vein? Shen Yuan wanted to be assessed too! Though, he would like to go to another peak, maybe…

Shen Yuan’s train of thought was halted however, when he noticed a familiar figure in white among the crowd who were queuing, standing next to Mu Qingfang who was distributing the cure to the townspeople. His eyes widened. “Papa!”

Everything else forgotten, Shen Yuan raced to his father, who seemed a little surprised to see him. “Papa, papa!”

Liu Qingge smiled as Shen Yuan bumped against him and hugged his thighs. He bent down to pick up his son before raising him high. “Did you miss me, A Yuan?”

“He missed you way too much,” Shen Qingqiu sighed as he walked over to them.

Liu Qingge frowned. “Why are you here? You’re not in a state to travel.”

“It wasn’t too long of a trip. Can’t I come to check if my husband is still alive or not?” Shen Qingqiu rolled his eyes.

“I wouldn’t die from a mission like this, I told you.”

“You talk big, Liu Qingge.”

Liu Qingge smirked and placed a light peck on his mate’s cheek. “Did you miss me too?”

“Hm.” Shen Qingqiu looked away but there was a small smile on his face.

Shen Yuan, who was still being carried in his father’s arms; “....”. Ah yes, scatter some dog food here too, will you?

He noticed that cultivators from other sects had also shown up. After hearing the news, other major sects had also sent out people to lend their hands. It just so happened that Cang Qiong Mountain was blessed with Mu Qingfang, who was perhaps the most talented healer in their current generation. The people sang praises for the Qian Cao Peak Lord as well as Cang Qiong Mountain. Amidst the sea of new people, Shen Yuan suddenly noticed Luo Binghe among them.

He was talking to an old man dressed in the gold robes of Huan Hua Palace Master. That must be the Huan Hua Palace Master. According to the original novel, after returning from the Endless Abyss Luo Binghe was supposed to have found a new place in Huan Hua Palace, taking the position as the Palace Master’s new favourite and even made his daughter part of his harem. This Luo Binghe however had only wandered as a rogue cultivator, but perhaps he was tired of the lifestyle and thinking of settling with Huan Hua Palace? Shen Yuan spotted a beautiful girl standing next to them, watching the protagonist with pink hearts in her eyes. She was obviously already very much besotted.

“He helped catch the sower demons. There were seven of them. I caught two and Qi Shijie caught one, but he caught all four on his own,” Liu Qingge whispered to Shen Qingqiu. “He really is not human. Qi Shijie is already suspicious. You haven’t told anyone else, have you?”

“... Not here, Qingge. We’ll talk about this later,” Shen Qingqiu whispered back.

Yue Qingyuan came to them. “Qingqiu Shidi, how should we deal with the demons?” He asked, gesturing to the group of sobbing and wailing sower demons in the cage.

Shen Qingqiu hummed. “If we want to eradicate them completely, we have to burn them.”

The demons cried even louder. One of them suddenly reached out their hands to try and grab Shen Qingqiu’s robes. “Master Shen, this is not what you promised us!”

There was a moment of silence. Shen Qingqiu stared at the demons in an outraged disbelief. Even Liu Qingge and Yue Qingyuan were absolutely bewildered. 

Shen Yuan gawked. Motherfucker what?

Huan Hua Palace Master raised an eyebrow. “Peak Lord Shen, what is the meaning of this?”

Shen Qingqiu scowled angrily and glared at the demons with disgust. “What meaning is there? These demons are clearly trying to frame me!”

“Why would creatures on the verge of death lie?”

“To bring someone with them, of course! Anyone with a brain can figure that out. I was the one who suggested burning them, why wouldn’t they try to drag me down?” He spat.

“He’s right. Suggesting that we are working with demons to harm the people, have you gone mad?” Liu Qingge angrily uttered.

“Peak Lord Shen, from what I’ve heard, does not have the best reputation. There are plenty of rumours that you are a frequent visitor of brothels, that you would harass your omega disciples, not to mention abusing them. It isn’t unthinkable for someone with a vile reputation to employ the likes of demons to cause destruction, and suggest burning them to shut their mouths.”

“The one who should be shutting their mouth is you!” Liu Qingge retorted. “Throwing slanders and gossip to accuse a Peak Lord, do you seek death?”

The Palace Master sneered. “Then tell me, why hasn’t your disciple returned to you? Is it not because you were such a despicable person that he refuses to come back, and would rather become a rogue?”

By now everyone had their eyes on Luo Binghe, who was appalled by the accusations. “Those are all untrue! Shizun has been nothing but nice to this disciple!”

“Then why did you not return to your sect?”

Luo Binghe was tongue-tied, unable to answer. “That… that…”

The spectating people began whispering among themselves.

“Isn’t that the disciple who was said to have been kidnapped by the demon lord?”

“Oh my, he truly is a peerless beauty…”

“But if he’s here, then doesn’t it mean the stories are all untrue?”

“If so, why isn’t he with his sect? He’s not even wearing his sect emblem.”

Luo Binghe could not reveal that he did not return due to his half-demon blood. Even if he did not care about himself or his reputation, Cang Qiong Mountain’s reputation may also be smeared if they were found to have accepted a demon as a disciple. Not only was he gone during the demon invasion that killed many disciples at the conference, he was now reappearing in a city that had just suffered a plague with countless deaths. Nothing good was awaiting him if he were to say the truth.

The Palace Master smirked. “There is no other explanation other than Peak Lord Shen has been mistreating his disciple. Or are you going to convince me with some nonsensical fairytale that your disciple has been living a merry life with a demon? That would mean that your disciple has been in good relations with a high-ranking demon.”

Shen Qingqiu huffed and glared at him. “Sending one’s disciple to frolic with a demon is not what I would do, unlike you.”

Hearing his words, the Old Palace Master’s face suddenly burned red with rage. “Such deviousness, I should expect nothing less from Peak Lord Shen!”

Before Shen Qingqiu could even retort, a woman suddenly pushed her way in through the crowd. Her eyes were wide open with shock and her hands were trembling as she pointed at Shen Qingqiu. “Shen Jiu? Is that you, Shen Jiu?”

Shen Qingqiu instantly petrified.

Shen Yuan blinked. Shen Jiu?

He suddenly recalled something. Shen Jiu. Xiao Jiu. Yue Qingyuan had mentioned the name before. That was his mother’s birth name. Shit, so this woman was from his mother’s past? Who was this? One of Shen Qingqiu’s old flings, maybe? That would be terrible!

“Who are you?” Liu Qingge scowled.

The woman seethed. “So it really is you, Shen Jiu. No wonder I have not been able to find you. It turns out that you’ve risen to the upper echelon now. Does it feel good, standing at the top at the price of my family’s lives?”

Shen Yuan turned to look at Shen Qingqiu and found that his mother had turned completely pale. Panic and fear filled his mind.

Shit. Don’t tell me - she’s here for revenge? Who is this woman?!

“Have you forgotten me, Shen Jiu? It’s me, Qiu Haitang," she said, then mockingly added, "Your former fiancée, A Jiu."

As if the situation wasn't already tense enough, Qiu Haitang's declaration only added more to the drama. Shen Qingqiu was still shaking, Liu Qingge's jaw had dropped and Yue Qingyuan's face had also changed.

Shen Yuan's expression had also soured as he finally remembered Qiu Haitang. She was one of the protagonist's wives! Shen Yuan now recalled that she was among those who chanted for his imprisonment, citing that Shen Qingqiu had terribly wronged her in the past. Shen Yuan never did find out what exactly happened and in what way the villain in the original novel had done that. He just originally assumed Shen Qingqiu had coveted for the protagonist's harem member, which was a huge red flag of course, aside from the many other crimes he was accused of.

However, now Shen Qingqiu was innocent for the crimes he had been accused of in the novel. He did not kill Liu Qingge. His relationship with Luo Binghe had vastly improved. He did not harass or hold lustful thoughts towards any of his disciples . Yet, Shen Yuan could not do anything about a crime Shen Qingqiu had possibly done in the past.

"He was a slave that my family bought. We treated him well and freed him from enslavement. Yet, this ungrateful mutt bit the hands that fed him. He was so greedy for power, he fought with my brother in order to leave us and went berserk! He killed my entire family and left only the women, burned the entire estate, leaving me weak and powerless!" Qiu Haitang cried.

Shen Yuan gawked. He looked at Shen Qingqiu and his heart sank when Shen Qingqiu simply stood there, denying none of the accusations, even though he had previously snapped back at the Huan Hua Palace Master.

"I can even name the man who took him in - vagrant demonic cultivator named Wu Yanzi, a wanted man who is just as scummy. I was left picking up the pieces, watching my home burned and my family killed. You must not let this man off!" She shrieked.

The crowd began whispering and talking to each other, most of them cursing at Shen Qingqiu and sympathising with Qiu Haitang. She was beautiful, her voice was coquettish, it was easy to sympathize with a lady who appeared to have been deeply wronged even if they never knew her.

"Arrest him!"

"What a scum!"

"No wonder, hiding behind the veil of a cultivator...how despicable!"

It was a mess. Shen Yuan was absolutely horrified. He never expected for his mother to be 'slaughtered' this horribly. Even though Liu Qingge was alive and Luo Binghe was not against them, it seemed like this world may still be hell-bent on bringing the supposed villain down.

What puzzled him the most was that Shen Qingqiu was remaining silent. He looked at his mother with tears threatening to spill from his eyes. "Mama, tell them it's not true." Even if they are, aren't you the conniving villain full of trickery? Qiu Haitang isn't even bringing any proof here, why aren't you disputing her claims?

Shen Qingqiu looked back at his son. His expression was unreadable but his eyes were filled with grief and bereavement. A small, helpless smile appeared on his face.

"I'm sorry, A Yuan… this mother of yours is a terrible person."

Chapter Text

“HOLD ON!”

Liu Qingge’s voice roared loud, silencing the crowd. 

Shen Qingqiu stilled. The Bai Zhan Peak Lord stared at Qiu Haitang sharply. “The things you say do not make sense. You can’t just accuse someone without any proof.”

Qiu Haitang gasped. “Proof? What proof do I need, I witnessed it with my own eyes! Do you think I would be making up my own family’s massacre?! This man has been fooling you, what do you know about him?!”

“I know him a lot more than you do,” Liu Qingge snapped. “Young lady, your family was rich enough to buy slaves and own an estate. Yet, they are making their precious daughter marry a slave? Does that even make sense?”

His words finally got part of the crowd to begin questioning Qiu Haitang’s words as well, though the majority of them were still leaning towards the belief that Shen Qingqiu should be condemned.

“His status as a slave was taken off!” Qiu Haitang exclaimed.

“It still doesn’t make any sense. He was a boy who had nothing. With a good family there is no reason for them to not be able to find you a spouse from a well established family. Yet, they’re betrothing you to a penniless orphan. Also, if he was a freed man and your family was so nice to him, why couldn’t he just leave normally?” Liu Qingge questioned.

“Why else if not because he is an ungrateful scum? He was indebted to us, he couldn’t just leave us without feeling guilty!” She insisted.

“So instead of simply leaving without permission or running away at night like most young people do, he burned your estate but left witnesses?” Qi Qingqi suddenly questioned. “The Shen Shixiong I know would never do something so stupid and risky.”

Her words were contradictory. Shen Yuan realized Qiu Haitang was really not making any sense. Shen Qingqiu was a cautious man. If the Qiu Family was really treating him well and he had the chance to inherit their wealth through marriage, why would he so desperately wish to leave? Moreover, why would he leave witnesses, knowing his crime could one day come out and tarnish his painstakingly-built reputation?

Yue Qingyuan stepped in. “Young lady, if I may ask, are you an alpha, beta, or omega?”

“Why is that important?” Qiu Haitang barked.

“Just answer us.”

“I’m an omega, so what?”

Realization struck Shen Yuan. He silently berated himself for constantly forgetting that this was an omegaverse. 

Qi Qingqi rolled her eyes. “This lady really is going to embarrass herself.”

Liu Qingge glanced at his spouse for a moment, who had been silent since the beginning, as if asking for permission. Shen Qingqiu showed no objection nor approval. Oh well, he may not like it but in this situation, defending his husband was more important.

“A rich, noble family marrying their precious daughter to a former slave is already unthinkable. Marrying their omega daughter to an omega former slave? Even more unthinkable,” Liu Qingge uttered. “Clearly there is something foul happening without your knowledge.”

Generally, an alpha-omega pair or two beta pair was more favourable in this world, especially since each alpha had their own fated omega. Of course, marriage between two alphas or two omegas also existed, but not among nobles - unless they were taking in more than one spouse. Alpha-only or omega-only couples generally were not as fertile, in fact most of them weren’t able to produce an offspring. Hence, an alpha-omega pair was more ideal for nobles, who valued offsprings and bloodline so much.

Qiu Haitang’s expression slowly turned from anger to confusion, then horror as she realized what Liu Qingge was implying. Even Huan Hua Palace Master and the other spectators were stunned. The belief that omegas were more inferior to alphas unfortunately was still embedded in the mind of many people, that they found it hard to believe that an omega was able to cultivate to this level and climb up to become a Peak Lord of an esteemed sect, all on his own.

Liu Qingge realized revealing it was not too favourable due to the unfair perception some people had on omegas. Discriminating jerks who thought of omegas as just tools to either satiate their lust or make babies were everywhere. Liu Qingge could just hope that this would give those kind of people a good slap to their face - that a person they thought was an alpha due to his charisma, intelligence, and power, was in fact an omega, who started out with nothing but determination and perseverance.

It certainly did well to slap Qiu Haitang in the face, for sure.

“But… impossible… I thought…” she croaked. “Shen Jiu… isn’t he a beta?”

Mu Qingfang decided to speak up this time, “As a healer, I can confirm that Shen Shixiong has always been an omega. You were still young back then, young miss, your sense of smell may not have developed yet at the time. Especially if he has been given suppressants since young age.”

The people, who earlier were siding with Qiu Haitang, changed their mind. Words condemning Shen Qingqiu now changed to murmurs doubting Qiu Haitang and her family.

An enslaved omega who was freed and promised to marry his own master, suddenly running away and killing everyone but leaving out certain people? People had a good guess of what may have transpired. Anyone, if pushed enough, would retaliate and bite back. It also didn’t help that she indeed came there with no proof but her own words. Oh, and what an impeccable timing she had, appearing out of nowhere when Peak Lord Shen was being accused of other things? Who was to know if these accusations had not been staged?

Qiu Haitang wanted to deny it. Yet, memories of her childhood began to resurface and all the warning signs that she ignored before came back to her. The way A Jiu was always limping. The way he always looked scared of her brother. The way he always came to her and her female omega servants to seek comfort. The way his brother would make excuses whenever she looked for him. The pills and tea he had given to A Jiu, as he lied through his teeth that those were medicines to help A Jiu.

A Jiu, who always looked weak and sporting bruises he desperately hid under his ragged clothes.

“No… no, you’re lying,” she said albeit her shaky voice. “You’re lying. You’re trying to protect him.”

“We aren’t lying. You’re right about one thing though - I am protecting him, because he is my omega, my fated pair, my husband,” Liu Qingge declared for the world to hear, eliciting shocked responses from outsiders who weren’t aware about the marriage between the two Peak Lords. “If you still demand for proof that he’s an omega, the bonding mark on his nape will show you.”

Standing behind Yue Qingyuan, Shang Qinghua touched his own neck, feeling like he had forgotten something incredibly important.

At this point Qiu Haitang failed to say anything further. Looking at Liu Qingge and Shen Qingqiu, she noticed she had missed something very important, something that should have set her off since the beginning.

Liu Qingge was holding a child who looked almost exactly like a young Shen Jiu.

There were several children out in the town who were also there to get their cure so Qiu Haitang never paid attention to it. Her mind was completely occupied with ousting Shen Qingqiu. She failed to register the fact that there was a young child in the Bai Zhan Peak Lord’s arms, who had to be related to Shen Qingqiu, with the amount of resemblance the two shared. Moreover, now that she was looking at him entirely, she finally saw the hint of a bulge on his tummy.

They were standing together, like the picture of a perfect family. How had she not noticed this? 

Unable to accept it, Qiu Haitang dropped everything and ran away, screaming.

The audience changed their mind easily. They went from criticizing Shen Qingqiu to spewing out insults to Qiu Haitang.

Liu Qingge pressed a kiss against Shen Qingqiu’s forehead. “I’m sorry. I know you don’t like getting that out to the public,” he apologized.

Shen Qingqiu shut his eyes.

When Qiu Haitang appeared and reminded him of what he had done to her family, Shen Qingqiu’s heart almost stopped. His mind was blank and he didn’t know what to do.

If that had been Qiu Jianluo or Old Master Qiu screaming hateful words to him, he would be more than glad to fight back. However, that was Qiu Haitang. The girl who had been his shelter, his temporary shield against Qiu Jianluo. To him, she was a saviour. Even if he felt no remorse for killing Qiu Jianluo and his father, he could not forget the guilt he had for her.

When Liu Qingge stood up for him, he was reminded that he was no longer alone. If his husband and martial siblings did not speak for him, no doubt the situation would have escalated in Qiu Haitang’s favour. If Shen Qingqiu had nobody to care for, perhaps he would have just given himself up to save his sect the trouble. However, he had a family now. He had his husband, his young child, and another one inside him.

He could not give up on his life no matter what because they all needed him. Seeing how A Yuan cried and chased after Liu Qingge, Shen Qingqiu now knew he could never let himself fall. He refused to let his child witness his mother taken away.

He gave Liu Qingge a small, yet soft smile that melted the alpha’s heart instantly. “I’m okay. I panicked a little, but I’m fine. Thank you for staying with me, husband.”

“... Mama, are you okay?” Shen Yuan asked.

Shen Qingqiu nodded. “As long as I have you and your papa, everything will be alright.”

Unfortunately, there was one person at least, who had yet to let the matters go. The Old Palace Master’s smug expression had been completely wiped off but it seemed like he refused to budge away. Shen Qingqiu wasn’t sure why this old man was so persistent in ousting him. What had he done to irk him this much?

“I suppose there is more to the lady’s story, but that doesn’t change the fact that you committed a mass murder, Peak Lord Shen,” he said.

Shen Qingqiu took a deep breath and regained his composure. He returned the old man’s glare with no less ferociousness. “You've heard what my martial siblings said. If Miss Qiu still demands for justice, I will explain everything to her. Outsiders have no place to discuss it.”

“But-”

“The lady just ran off. She’s obviously not in the mind to drag herself and her deceased family for now. Again, you are an outsider here, you’re neither the party involved nor the court of justice. You do not have the authority,” Liu Qingge snarled.

“... Very well. However, how are we supposed to know that you’re not conspiring with the demons? It’s clear to me now that Peak Lord Shen is capable of taking even the lives of common people,” the Palace Master still insisted.

“I thought we already made it clear that the demons are trying to take me with them to the grave?” Shen Qingqiu pointed out.

Ignoring his statement, the Palace Master announced, “I think a proper trial should be held if you want to prove your innocence, Peak Lord Shen. May I suggest for Peak Lord Shen to be detained in Huan Hua Palace?”

Liu Qingge’s face had turned red from rage. One of his hands moved to grip the hilt of Cheng Luan, ready to unsheathe it anytime. “How dare you!”

“You have nothing to fear if you’re innocent. A month is plenty of time to conduct a proper investigation,” the Palace Master said.

Several Huan Hua Palace disciples appeared holding Immortal Binding Cables. Shen Yuan gawked. Even Luo Binghe looked alarmed. He rushed to stand between them and stopped the disciples from moving.

“Palace Master, it seems like you’re accusing my Shizun based on old rumours and words of spiteful demons. My Shizun is a kind soul who has done nothing worth detaining,” he said.

The Palace Master sighed. “Young Master Luo, you are still young and naïve. Your teacher has been deceiving the entire cultivation world about his past and status, even trying to trick people into thinking that he is an alpha. Who knows what else he has been hiding?”

Shen Qingqiu’s eyes twitched. “I have never once purposely lied about it. My background is none of anyone’s business. People simply assumed that I am an alpha, because they are close-minded and think only alphas are capable of achieving success.”

He would never give in. He refused to be detained. Who knew what the old man was planning? Even the old man’s prized disciple, Su Xiyan mysteriously disappeared, there was no way Shen Qingqiu could feel safe being under his scrutiny. Moreover, he was carrying a baby inside him now. He could not afford risking his and his baby’s life.

“As you heard, Palace Master. My Shizun indeed has not lied. It just so happened that most sect leaders and masters are alphas, that nobody would expect a beta or an omega to be one,” said Luo Binghe.

The old man did not even bother to hide his displeasure. “Such loyalty, how impressive. Young Master Luo, how can you be certain that your teacher has not used his omega allure to charm you into complete submission?”

Rage filled Liu Qingge as he heard that. “Insolent! You dare to throw those slanderous words to my mate?”

Luo Binghe’s anxiousness was now replaced with pure anger upon hearing it. Shen Yuan noticed a hint of red glowing in his eyes. Uh oh. It would be bad if he were to accidentally unleash his power or reveal his heritage here. Not only Cang Qiong Mountain and his mother’s reputation would be at stake, the whole town might be in danger!

Luckily for Shen Yuan, he had had time to improve his waterworks. Wriggling out from Liu Qingge’s hold, he leaped down and stood in front of his parents. He spread his arms defensively before them. Using his seven years worth of acting skills as a baby, Shen Yuan began to sniff and sob, as pitifully as possible. “No, please don’t take my mama and papa away…”

In the background, Shang Qinghua nearly vomited from the overly dramatic pose and the sweet, sympathy-inducing voice. Cucumber Bro was really impressive, his acting really deserved an Oscar ah! He could stomp on Shang Qinghua mercilessly one day, but cry like a kicked puppy the next day.

However, Shang Qinghua would silently applaud him, as Cucumber Bro’s award-worthy performance was indeed winning the audience.

Shen Yuan’s shoulders trembled and tears dripped to stain his pink cheeks. “My mama is not a bad person. My mama is the best mama in the world. A Yuan wants to stay with mama and papa forever. A Yuan doesn’t want mama and papa to go… please don’t take them away…” 

Shen Qingqiu knelt down and hugged his child. “I’m not going anywhere, A Yuan. I’m never leaving you.”

Shang Qinghua marveled at the power of an ‘innocent child’s tears and the drama before his eyes. The spectators were so touched, many of them were already crying as well. The people who had cussed at Shen Qingqiu before were now yelling at the Old Palace Master.

“How dare you try to separate a child from his parents!”

“There’s no way anyone raising such a cute and lovable child could be evil!”

“These people are just living with their family in peace, why would you destroy that?!”

“Look at that pitiful child!”

“This old man is the real devil here!”

It managed to stop Luo Binghe from losing control as well.

Well, not completely. Sure, the half-demon was no longer on the verge of turning the city into a wasteland, but his eyes already exploded with tears. Luo Binghe, I’m just fake crying here but why are you ugly sobbing like that? Shen Yuan thought. You’re the handsome stallion protagonist ah, if you’re going to cry at least cry beautifully like a novel lead! Ah, this white lotus crybaby...

The Palace Master looked like he had just been strangled. He pointed his finger at Shen Yuan and fumingly exclaimed, “Do not be manipulated, everyone! He’s trying to escape the trial by using a child to gain sympathy!”

He got it half right, Shang Qinghua thought. Except that it was Cucumber Bro trying to sway people’s opinion with his tears. Unfortunately for the old man, the power of cuteness indeed worked and was winning the crowd’s heart. In fact his words only served to incite their wrath.

“Manipulation? Stop trying to fool us old man!”

“How can you be so heartless?”

“All I see is a child not wanting to part from his parents…”

“You’re an embarrassment to the adults!”

At this point, it was clear that the Huan Hua Palace Master’s attempt to detain Shen Qingqiu was doomed to be unsuccessful. The crowd was vehemently against it. To add more to it, Yue Qingyuan had held out Xuan Su, as if daring the Palace Master to challenge him to unsheathe it and everyone knew once the blade was unsheathed, Yue Qingyuan was not someone they could take on.

“Nobody is going to be detained in that place. Palace Master, slandering our member is an insult to our sect. We will not be humiliated like that. Qingqiu Shidi will remain in Cang Qiong Mountain,” Yue Qingyuan declared.

Hell yeah! Shen Yuan silently cheered inside while outside, he was still whimpering and playing the pitiful little child.

He did not notice a pair of eyes watching him.

The Old Palace Master was quivering with fury. Everyone was now cheering for Cang Qiong Mountain and cursing his names. Unable to restrain his emotions, he pointed his finger at Shen Yuan and his parents. “Curse you!”

Right at that moment, the ground shook like an earthquake. Without any sign or warning, the ground cracked and a giant serpent suddenly emerged right on the spot where Shen Yuan was standing. Shen Qingqiu gasped but could do nothing as he was hurled away from the impact. Liu Qingge instinctually jumped and flew off to cushion the fall.

Shen Yuan managed to blink for a split second before everything turned dark as he was swallowed whole. He could hear Luo Binghe’s scream before he was completely engulfed.

“A YUAAAAANNNNNN!!!!!!!!”

He lost his consciousness, his last words before it being, “Fuck that old man.”

 


 

Shen Qingqiu thought his biggest nightmare had come from Qiu Haitang reappearing. He was wrong. Seeing his child swallowed entirely right before his eyes felt like his world had just ended.

Everything was spinning and Shen Qingqiu wasn’t sure what was happening anymore. He screamed and cried and screamed more, to the point where everything was hurting. It wasn’t until he felt something jolting inside him and woke him up.

He gasped.

Mu Qingfang wiped his sweat. Yu Qingxuan was cradling him while the healer was holding his hand. Turning his head to the right, Shen Qingqiu could see Yue Qingyuan placing a palm against Liu Qingge’s chest, who was being held down by Qi Qingqi.

“Breathe, Shen Shixiong. You cannot die, you must not succumb to this,” Mu Qingfang said.

Shen Qingqiu shut his eyes and tried to calm his erratic breathing. “... What happened?”

“Qi deviation, fortunately we managed to stop it before it turned worse. You have to be careful Shixiong, you almost lost the baby,” Mu Qingfang warned him.

Right. Baby. His baby. “A Yuan,” he uttered, eyes wide.

“Luo Shizhi is chasing after the giant serpent. You must control yourself Shen Shixiong, you have to remain strong to save YuanYuan, okay?” Yu Qingxuan said.

Shen Qingqiu clenched his fists. “You’re right.”

He was going to kill the fucking demon. 

Also, he was going to kill the fucking old man.

Yue Qingyuan was done treating Liu Qingge. Standing up, he looked at Shen Qingqiu, his face grim. “... That giant serpent.”

“You recognize it?” Shen Qingqiu asked.

Yue Qingyuan nodded. “That was Zhuzhi Lang. Tianlang Jun’s subordinate.”

Shen Qingqiu narrowed his eyes. “Tianlang Jun. I thought he was sealed more than twenty years ago?”

“It is possible that the seal has weakened over time. He is a heavenly demon after all. But why…” Yue Qingyuan frowned.

“Why is he targeting A Yuan? That old man was the one who led the siege, A Yuan has nothing to do with it!” Shen Qingqiu fumed.

They glanced at the Palace Master, who was now surrounded by other lightly injured cultivators, all chanting for his detainment. After all Zhuzhi Lang had appeared right after the old man had cursed at Shen Yuan and his family. Now all of them were suspicious of the the old man.

Yu Qingxuan pondered. “... Does the snake demon hold a grudge against the Palace Master? Maybe he meant to take the old man but missed his mark?”

“....”

Whatever the explanation was, they would be more than happy to let the old man get mobbed to death. 

Liu Qingge who was now recovered picked up his sword. “I’m going to go and look for A Yuan before that snake goes too far!” He said and quickly flew off.

Qi Qingqi also mounted her sword. “Me too!”

Yue Qingyuan nodded. “A Yuan’s safety needs to be prioritized.”

Shen Qingqiu was about to summon Xiu Ya to also go after the snake, when someone suddenly called his name. “Peak Lord Shen!”

He turned around and was stunned to see Monk Wu Chen. He was walking with the assistance of Yang Yixuan, as he had lost the ability to walk due to the infection.

“Peak Lord Shen, there is something important I need to tell you. About that snake and about your disciple.”

 


 

When he recovered his consciousness, he found himself in an old, dilapidated building. A pair of beady snake eyes were staring at him.

“You’re awake, Young Master Shen. I apologize for scaring you.”

“....”

“Is this the child you’ve been talking about, nephew? Hm, he’s awfully small, but he is cute indeed.”

He turned his gaze to a man with barely stitched together body parts, sitting on a wheelchair. The man looked a lot like a certain novel protagonist and even had the same familiar red demon mark on his forehead.

“I was so moved by your determination to protect your family, child. How about becoming my son?”

“Fuck off.”

“So the sweet act was just a mask? You’re more interesting than I thought. Brilliant. How about becoming my son?”

“... Again, fuck off.”

Chapter Text

When Cucumber Bro was swallowed by the giant snake, Shang Qinghua went into full panic mode. Fear and cowardice tossed aside, Shang Qinghua ran after the giant serpent as well, hopping onto his sword and flying at a speed he never knew he could achieve before. However, when Zhuzhi Lang and Luo Binghe both disappeared from his view, he realized that there was little he could do alone.

Giant snake… giant snake… there was only one giant snake character in his novel that had a name - Zhuzhi Lang, the demon general who was Tianlang Jun’s nephew and subordinate. Like Luo Binghe, he was also part heavenly demon. Shang Qinghua stood no chance against him. Still, he could not leave things like this. Cucumber Bro might be an asshat to him, but he was still his good buddy ah!

In the midst of his panic, only Mobei Jun’s face appeared in his head. He ran off and activated the special talisman that would bring him straight to Mobei Jun’s residence. He ignored all the curious looks from other demon servants, who appeared to be busy lifting furniture and carrying stacks of expensive-looking ceramics. He moved at full speed towards Mobei Jun’s room.

The moment he saw Mobei Jun sitting at his desk, Shang Qinghua could not help but to burst out in tears as he lunged at the ice demon. “My King, my King! Please, you have to help-!”

Mobei Jun was taken aback by his sudden appearance and outburst. He gathered the weeping An Ding Peak Lord into his arms and pinched his chin to lift his face up. “Shang Qinghua, what happened?”

Cold fingers gently cupped his face and Shang Qinghua was finally able to breathe. “Zhu… Zhuzhi Lang appeared!”

“Zhuzhi Lang?” Mobei Jun frowned.

“The snake general! He took Cucum- my shizhi away! My King, please, you have to help! He is just a small child, even if he’s a little mean - he’s still my friend!”

"Calm down, Qinghua. Tell me the whole story,” Mobei Jun said and helped him to sit properly.

Shang Qinghua took a deep inhale and told Mobei Jun a very brief and quick explanation of the event that had happened in Jinlan City. He told him of how the cultivators were there to solve a mysterious plague caused by sower demons, of how the giant serpent suddenly emerged from the ground swallowing his martial nephew alive.

“How do you know it’s him?” Asked Mobei Jun.

Because he’s the only giant snake I know? Since he could not say that to Mobei Jun of course, he answered, “Yue Zhangmen recognized him. He was there during the siege against Tianlang Jun.”

“That means he can take on the snake general.” Mobei Jun also recalled the Bai Zhan War God from their brief encounter at the Immortal Alliance Conference. He was strong enough to fight against high level demons on his own.

“But my King, Luo Binghe is also there. Luo Binghe is very much attached to Shen Yuan. He might lose control and destroy all three realms if something happens to Shen Yuan!” Shang Qinghua insisted.

Mobei Jun hummed. He remembered now, the child must be the one his Qinghua was quite fond of. “Very well," he said.

Shang Qinghua could almost cry. “You’re so good to me, my King! I’m going to do whatever you say after this!”

A glint of anticipation appeared in Mobei Jun’s eyes. “Anything?”

“Mm!” Shang Qinghua answered very enthusiastically.

He was about to move, when his eyes suddenly spotted a sheet of what appeared to be a list of rare demon treasures on the desk as well as red fabric folded neatly on the side of the table. "... My King, what is that?"

Mobei Jun never wore red. His palace was mostly monotonous with barely any bright colours either. The striking red was a completely stark contrast to the other items in his room.

"It's your wedding dress. It was passed down through generations and was last worn by my mother but I had it retailored to be yours."

For a moment Shang Qinghua stared blankly at Mobei Jun as if he had just spoke in a foreign language to him.

… Wedding dress? His wedding dress? Passed down through generations of Mobei Clan? Hold on, what was happening here? Why would Mobei Jun prepare a wedding dress for him, moreover retailored from his mother's own, with his clan emblem on it? For him? Was he supposed to wear it? Why? Why would he wear a wedding dress?

"Are they still in the human realm?" Mobei Jun asked.

Oh right, Cucumber Bro! Whatever Mobei Jun was talking about could wait later, they needed to rescue Cucumber Bro first!

“Lead the way, Qinghua,” Mobei Jun said and Shang Qinghua realized he had no idea where Zhuzhi Lang could have brought Shen Yuan, since he had missed him. If only there was a GPS or something…

Shang Qinghua blinked. “Bingpup!” He exclaimed.

Good thing Mobei Jun kept a transportation array to An Ding Peak with him for his regular visits. From there they flew to Qing Jing Peak, ignoring the horrified looks of the Qing Jing disciples who were shocked to see an ice demon lord following behind Shang Qinghua as he marched into the bamboo hut. Ning Yingying shrieked the moment she saw the intruders, dropping the broom in her hands.

“Shang Shishu, what are you doing here? Who is that behind you?!” She gawked.

“Bingpup, I need Bingpup!” Shang Qinghua said while frantically looking for the pup.

A fluff ball appeared from behind her. Bingpup sensed the intruders and growled fiercely. Shang Qinghua tried to pick him up but the black pup only barked in retaliation.

“Bingpup, your little master has been captured ah! We need your help to track him!” Shang Qinghua tried, hoping the pup would understand. Black moon dogs were more intelligent than normal demon dogs and this pup had been trained by the Shen mother and son.

Fortunately it seemed like Bingpup was able to understand Shang Qinghua, as the pup then barked, this time with enthusiasm. “Arff!”

Bingpup was already trained to look for Shen Yuan and was with him almost all the time, so he could recognize Shen Yuan’s scent easily. However, since Shen Yuan had been swallowed by Zhuzhi Lang there may not be a trace of his scent. Ning Yingying had gotten a spare key for the bamboo house and she retrieved Luo Binghe’s old clothes. Since Luo Binghe had gone to chase after Zhuzhi Lang, they might be able to find Shen Yuan through Luo Binghe.

They went back to the last location where Shang Qinghua had lost Zhuzhi Lang and Luo Binghe, and set Bingpup down to work. The pup sniffed the ground, and began moving forward.

It seemed like his nose was working well and he understood the order, but…

The only problem was that Bingpup was too small! His tiny paws could only take small tiny steps even when he tried to move fast.

“Ah, if only he’s bigger…” Shang Qinghua lamented.

Mobei Jun flexed his fingers. “I can make him bigger temporarily by forcing some qi into him.”

“Really?”

Mobei Jun nodded. “It’s not going to be as effective since I’m not the owner, but it should be enough to last a few incense sticks,” he said and shot a blast of his demonic energy into the pup.

Bingpup let out a loud shrill at first and Shang Qinghua almost thought his life was going to be over (he killed Cucumber Bro’s pet!), until the noise quieted down. Bingpup’s body quivered with demonic energy, and the small, black Pomeranian-like pup grew into a majestic white Tibetan  Mastiff dog! Bingpup howled, then dashed forward in a godlike speed that made Shang Qinghua gawk.

Holy shit, you just changed this little Eevee into a large Glaceon ! I didn’t know you can do that, my King! If you inject your energy into me can I also become someone more powerful ah?

With the evolved Glaceon Bingpup leading them, the two continued their mission to rescue Shen Yuan.

 


 

Gongyi Xiao never had the chance to meet Peak Lord Shen, but he had read some of the literary works produced by Peak Lord Shen. He had also encountered Luo Binghe, who was said to be Peak Lord Shen’s favourite student. During the Immortal Alliance Conference, Luo Binghe had helped out his martial brothers and sisters before he disappeared, and Gongyi Xiao had nothing but good impression on Peak Lord Shen as well as Luo Binghe.

Even more when Luo Binghe had appeared in Jinlan City and managed to identify the demons causing the infection. His martial sisters sung praises for Luo Binghe but he declined the praises, attributing them all to his teacher’s excellent education.

When Peak Lord Shen was suddenly accused of colluding with demons, Gongyi Xiao found it hard to believe. Even more when Qiu Haitang suddenly appeared and threw a fit of rage. It all seemed like it was planned. 

He knew the Palace Master was strangely fond of Senior Luo. When Senior Luo was staying at Huan Hua Palace to recover, the Palace Master did not even question how he was able to come back after being dragged to the demon realm by a demon lord. He favoured Senior Luo a lot and many times suggested for Senior Luo to remain in Huan Hua Palace. Gongyi Xiao had a sneaking suspicion when his master was way too excited by the accusations thrown to Peak Lord Shen.

It was almost as if he wanted Peak Lord Shen out of the frame.

Now things had taken a turn. The sect masters all demanded Palace Master’s detainment until he could give proper explanation and proof that he did not just summon a giant snake to eat an innocent child that belonged to Peak Lord Shen, and also caused the Qing Jing Peak Lord to almost miscarry. The Palace Master screamed incoherently as they all worked together to restrain him in an Immortal Binding Cable.

Three nuns from Tian Yi Overlook worked together to burn the sower demons to ashes, while monks from Zhao Hua Temple and other smaller sect members escorted the Palace Master to an empty carriage to be brought over to prison - after mobbing him and leaving him in a ragged state.

The rest of Huan Hua Palace disciples solemnly followed behind the carriage, plastered with talismans. Gongyi Xiao noticed the Young Palace Mistress looking restless. She must be feeling anxious, in the end no matter how bad the old man could be he was still her father.

Then he noticed she had taken out a slip of paper from her sleeve and gasped. “Everyone cover-”

Young Palace Mistress activated the talisman, causing a small explosion that blinded everyone with the flying dusts. Gongyi Xiao shielded his face and nose as he lightly caught a small whiff of a special smoke used to cause delirium. He heard the sound of more talismans being ripped and men screaming with pain as the Young Palace Mistress whipped them. She kicked open the door and tried to get her father out.

Escaping would only make things worse. Gongyi Xiao fortunately had covered his eyes and nose in time to not breathe in the scent of the delirium smoke. He chased after her and quickly pinned her to the ground. He glanced to his left and was relieved to see that the Old Palace Master was still tied up with the cable, otherwise he could have escaped. It seemed like the old man had inhaled some of the gas as well.

He crouched by his master and helped him sit up. “I’m sorry Shizun, but please abide by their directions for now nicely…”

Old Palace Master stared at him with a half-lidded gaze. A creepy smile curled up on his face. “Hehe… Xiyan…”

Gongyi Xiao froze, feeling the old man’s hand desperately trying to move in an attempt to touch him.

“Xiyan… my Xiyan… you returned to me…” the Old Palace Master cackled. “Xiyan, my beautiful sunset… I won’t let you be with him… you are mine… come back to your teacher…”

Disgusted, he retracted his hands and leaped away. His heart nearly stopped from fear, looking at the weirdly intense gaze his master gave him.

A group of people came and approached him. Gongyi Xiao turned around and saw Peak Lord Shen, along with Peak Lord Mu, Abbot Wu Chen, as well as a youth of Jinlan City carrying Abbot Wu Chen. Behind them were several more cultivators from other sects.

“Did this old coot try to escape?” The youth carrying Wu Chen grimaced. "Disgusting, trying to arrest and harm a pregnant omega, now even attempting to escape punishment."

Gongyi Xiao’s expression turned grim. “His daughter tried to release him. I’ve stopped her but she released a gas that can cause delirium.”

“... The old man did something to you, didn’t he?” Shen Qingqiu questioned upon looking closely at him.

Gongyi Xiao nodded. “... He called me Xiyan, and said some strange things.”

“Tell us about it.”

 


 

Shen Yuan knew that Luo Binghe was actually the child born from the union of an Ancient Heavenly Demon and a human cultivator, of course. That fact was already established in the novel. However, the true story behind his birth was never elaborated properly in the novel. It was one of the plot holes Peerless Cucumber wrote a whole paragraph on about yet another wasted potential Airplane was guilty of. He theorized that Airplane purposely did that to give the protagonist a tragic backstory as well as a superpower ability that made him special than anyone else but apparently he would have to give the author some credits for potentially having an actual backstory, but also a beating for not publishing it.

The man who had ordered his kidnapping ('surprise invitation', the man worded it) was called Tianlang Jun. He was the former monarch of the demon realm. His eyes, which bore a striking resemblance to Luo Binghe, and the red demon mark on his forehead told Shen Yuan enough that this man was in fact Luo Binghe's father.

He, along with Zhuzhi Lang, were characters who were never supposed to appear. So why were they here? More importantly, why did they bring him here? He was someone who was not even supposed to exist in this world.

“You have your own son, why do you have to bring me here?” Shen Yuan questioned, crossing his arms.

Your son is the protagonist, he has way better looks than me! Are you into playing house? Well, Shen Yuan was not interested, not with a stranger and not with a pair of demons who just kidnapped him right in front of everyone.

Tianlang Jun nodded. “Ah, yes. That son of mine.”

The way he said it did not sound like he had much affection for Luo Binghe. Seeing the state he was in, something must have happened to him, preventing him from even seeing Luo Binghe. Perhaps he did not even get to see Luo Binghe as a baby, since in the novel it was stated that the protagonist was left floating in a boat as a newborn, meaning he was abandoned as soon as he came into the world.

“I think I like you better, Young Master Shen. You are way more adorable than that son of mine.”

“Bing Gege can be just as lovable if you get to know him,” Shen Yuan argued.

Tianlang Jun smiled sardonically. “Well, I wasn’t given the chance to do that, was I? Have you not heard of what your trusted adult cultivators did to me?”

“...” Well, there was no way his parents would tell him stories of Luo Binghe’s origin and Airplane, though he foreshadowed some convoluted plots behind it, favoured bad papapa scenes more than actual storyline.

“More than twenty years ago, Junshang encountered a female cultivator by the name of Su Xiyan and fell in love with her,” Zhuzhi Lang explained.

Tianlang Jun hummed, reminiscing the old memories. “Xiyan, she was… beautiful. She was also cold and ruthless. She was the most attractive creature I have ever encountered.”

“Did you know who she was?” Shen Yuan asked.

“That she was a cultivator? I knew and I didn’t care. Xiyan did not hide her intention. She confronted me, asking what my intention was. I answered her honestly, that I was here to enjoy the literature. And oh dear, human literature remains interesting even until now. Speaking of that, I ought to demand the Mobei Clan to send some gifts after deflowering my son,” Tianlang Jun laughed.

"...." Human literature? Mobei Clan? Deflowering? 

Shen Yuan grimaced as he realized Tianlang Jun was referring to The Tale of Ice King and Winter Bride. Just how popular was that book that it even reached the demon realm and even this demon, who was trapped in a mountain for twenty years? Also, y ou’re telling me that you read an erotica starring your own son and this is your only reaction? Why are you even reading that thing?!

“When we found out that Lady Su is carrying Junshang’s offspring, she resolved to leave her sect. Or… at least that was what she told us. She sent us a letter asking to meet up, only to lure us into a trap that sealed Junshang in Bailu Mountain since then,” Zhuzhi Lang said.

Uh oh. It seemed like Shen Yuan had stepped into a landmine, possibly. No doubt Tianlang Jun was not happy. He had not only been betrayed by the woman he loved but also suppressed for over twenty years, missing the life he could have had. Still, Shen Yuan had nothing to do with this. He did not even exist back then. “But why am I here?” Shen Yuan questioned.

Tianlang Jun shrugged. “Don’t be so mad, Young Master Shen. My nephew is just that type. Treat him bad and he will not hesitate to end you. However, treat him well and you will forever have his loyalty.”

“... What have I done to you?” Shen Yuan was genuinely puzzled.

“Have you forgotten, Young Master Shen? Few years ago you gave the seeds to my nephew. Thanks to that I was able to escape the entrapment and my nephew is able to get healed.”

Shen Yuan frowned as his mind tried to recall it. Seeds? He blinked, then looked at Zhuzhi Lang in surprise. “You were that weird snake? How did you become like that?”

“I was born like this,” Zhuzhi Lang corrected him. “It was thanks to Junshang that I was able to assume a different form. I am forever indebted to Junshang and now, I am indebted to you.”

Well shit. So it turned out Tianlang Jun and Zhuzhi Lang being released from confinement was in fact his own fault. Shen Yuan then suddenly recalled the trip to find the elderflowers, where Shang Qinghua claimed there were remnants of snake shedding, and at the same time that was the first time they had found the first victim of sower infection. His mind worked to put the clues together and he gasped. “The demons in Jinlan City. It was your doing.”

Tianlang Jun blinked. “Oh, you figured it out.”

“How could you do it? You infected a whole city and even framed my mother!” Shen Yuan angrily pointed. “Now you even took me away. What exactly do you want?”

“It wasn’t originally our intention to harm Peak Lord Shen. We were just trying to solve the food shortage problem in the southern demon realm and sent them out to feed on the corpses, but the little ones got greedy and decided to make their own food source."

"..."

"My nephew is just very fond of you and wanted to find a way to get you to leave the human realm. As soon as you and your family are isolated from the humans, we would take you away,” said Tianlang Jun. 

“But why?” Shen Yuan still could not understand.

“You’ve seen how humans are. Cruel and vicious, willing to bring misfortune to others to fulfill their own desires. Refusing to accept demons nor learn to live together. But you, child, are different.”

“That’s not true. Of course, there are terrible humans out there, but there are also nice humans. My mama and papa are kind. My martial uncles and aunts are kind,” Shen Yuan said. “We are not perfect, we can be mean, but we are always constantly trying to learn to be kind.”

Tianlang Jun responded with only an amused smile. It almost felt soft and when he looked at Shen Yuan like that, he really resembled Luo Binghe a lot (or rather, Luo Binghe took after him). He reached out his hand slowly, before gently patting Shen Yuan’s head.

“You really are an odd child, aren’t you?”

Shen Yuan blinked.

The ground shook and loud voices could be heard from outside. Tianlang Jun chuckled as he picked up Shen Yuan and carried him in his arms. “Seems like he has arrived.”

Indeed, Luo Binghe had arrived and needless to say, he was extremely furious. 

Chapter Text

The place that Tianlang Jun had brought him over to was an old abandoned temple, used by the uncle-nephew duo as a temporary shelter and protected with a ward created by the heavenly demon himself. An average cultivator would not be able to even touch it and even Peak Lords or sect masters might have difficulty. For the OP protagonist who was also a heavenly demon, it only took him several attacks and Xinmo to break the barrier.

“Hm, looks like his mother,” Tianlang Jun commented.

“His eyes look like yours, Junshang,” Zhuzhi Lang added.

Luo Binghe glared at Tianlang Jun, who was still holding Shen Yuan, with the ferocity of an angered beast. “Release him.”

Anyone sane would have been greatly intimidated by the demonic aura Luo Binghe was releasing. However Tianlang Jun was only laughing. The threat of being demolished did not deter him at all. “So you’re finally here.”

You’re finally here? Had Tianlang Jun actually been waiting for Luo Binghe to come and was just using Shen Yuan as a bait? That would make sense since he was the easiest person to kidnap, but for what reason? It probably wasn’t for some good family bonding time because this might be the worst way to initiate a good familial relationship. Angering the protagonist when his body was still in tatters, wasn’t he seeking death?

Dread suddenly crept into Shen Yuan’s mind. The plant body was in no way sufficient to contain Tianlang Jun, nor was it suitable for his demon blood. Could it be that he wanted to get a more suitable body for himself? “Did you take me just to bait him here? Don’t tell me… you’re planning to take Bing Gege’s body?”

Tianlang Jun laughed. “Take over his body? Why should I? My original self is way more handsome, why should I take his face?”

Shen Yuan wanted to gawk inside.

Way more handsome? Excuse me, but Luo Binghe is the most handsome, the most beautiful creature to ever walk in this universe and that is canon, how could you say that with so much confidence?! Airplane Shooting Towards the Sky made it very clear that all the sisters in this world would agree that Luo Binghe is the most precious specimen, okay?

“Then what do you want from Bing Gege?”

Tianlang Jun casually pointed at Luo Binghe - or rather, the sword on his back. “Hand me the sword and I’ll return the child.”

Luo Binghe’s eyes twitched a little. Shen Yuan gawked. That was his aim? Was he crazy?!

As if Luo Binghe would hand over Xin Mo, the golden finger of the protagonist! In the novel it was thanks to Xinmo that Luo Binghe was able to escape the hellhole, defeated numerous demon generals, and conquered all three realms. That was the sword that he obtained with great difficulty while suffering in the Endless Abyss, how could he just hand over the sword that gave him the power to be unbeatable -

Luo Binghe tossed the sword over to Tianlang Jun. “Here. Now give A Yuan back.”

Shen Yuan; “....”

Tianlang Jun blinked and caught the sword. “Oh, that was easy.”

How could you just give it away?! Shen Yuan screamed inside. I won’t even let my bratty younger cousins touch my PlayStation controller and you just toss the legendary sword like it’s a one dollar toy knife?! “Bing Gege, that’s your sword!”

“A Yuan is more important. Now, hurry up and give A Yuan back!” Luo Binghe growled.

Are you stupid? You could have just used the sword to fight him! He like a badly put together G*ndam figurine now, you have the advantage and you just threw it away! Shen Yuan wanted to cry so bad. Luo Binghe, why did your IQ plummet down like one of your wives during a wife plot?

Anyway, Tianlang Jun got what he wanted. Shen Yuan could figure out how to get Xinmo back together with Luo Binghe later. He tried to move away from the demon but Tianlang Jun only cackled and tightened his hold of Shen Yuan. “You really believed it? Oh my gosh!”

Shen Yuan gawked. “You… how could you trick him?!” He even laughed and made fun of Binghe, like elementary school kids making fun of someone! Looking at Luo Binghe’s infuriated expression, Shen Yuan even felt sorry for the protagonist. It would have looked like a prank a dad played on his child, if only the father-and-son weren’t a pair of bloodthirsty demons about to turn this land into Planet V*geta!

“Why are you surprised by a demon fooling another? Even humans do lip-service all the time,” Tianlang Jun said, hopping on Zhuzhi Lang’s body and letting the snake carry them away.

“Scum! Release A Yuan!” Luo Binghe yelled and chased them. 

He leapt over and was about to grab Tianlang Jun’s neck, yet it took no more than a split second for Tianlang Jun to brush away the playful expression on his face and swung his fist against Luo Binghe.

The protagonist was hurled away and dropped into the ground like a ragged doll. Shen Yuan turned pale.

This was Luo Binghe, the protagonist of Proud Immortal Demon Way, the undefeatable stallion, the son of this world. Sure, he was beaten up a lot in his youth, but ever since Luo Binghe emerged from the Endless Abyss he was never defeated, not in any battle of wits or physical prowess. Not only he got fooled by Tianlang Jun, he got pummeled to the ground like a third-rate character. Did he lose his protagonist halo? Or was it because his opponent was Tianlang Jun, the unexpected big boss, the hidden character?

“Bing Gege!” Shen Yuan cried.

Luo Binghe gritted his teeth as he pushed himself to get up. “A… Yuan…”

“Tsk tsk, too weak,” Tianlang Jun commented nonchalantly. “Let’s get moving, nephew.”

If Zhuzhi Lang were to move now there was no way for Luo Binghe to catch up, especially while being injured and without a sword. Shen Yuan struggled to move and began to cry as loudly as he could. Maybe if he yelled the protagonist’s name loud enough, like in every story ever the protagonist halo would do its job and Luo Binghe would regain his strength. “Bing Gege!!!!”

Luckily help came in the form of Yue Qingyuan, Qi Qingqi, and Liu Qingge, who had finally appeared right on time at the scene. Liu Qingge grabbed the back of Luo Binghe’s robes and pulled him up.

Meanwhile in the opposite direction, Mobei Jun and Shang Qinghua had shown up, along with a large white dog Shen Yuan had never seen before. The dog barked and Shang Qinghua grinned. “Good job, Bingpup!”

The large Tibetan Mastiff barked again, before it suddenly puffed up, then transformed back into the familiar small black pup with a ‘poof’!

Shen Yuan choked. That was Bingpup?! What happened to his pup, he had no idea his pup could do that!

With Mobei Jun and Shang Qinghua on one side and the Peak Lords on the other side, Zhuzhi Lang could no longer move without initiating a fight. Tianlang Jun clicked his tongue. They were surrounded on both sides now, though Tianlang Jun held the upper hand with Xin Mo and a hostage in hand.

Cold sweats rolled down Shen Yuan’s neck. He could not imagine what kind of disaster was awaiting if all three parties decided to fight. Why the hell did Shang Qinghua bring Mobei Jun here anyway, even standing next to him holding hands?! Did he not realize that once this matter was over and everyone noticed it, he would have a lot of explanation to do? His days were already numbered ever since he made Mobei Jun drag Luo Binghe to the Abyss, but Shen Yuan did not think Shang Qinghua was willing to dig his own grave like this.

Liu Qingge pointed Cheng Luan at the two demons. Seeing his child forcefully taken, with tears in his eyes, enraged him. “Return my child before I lop your head off.”

Something told Shen Yuan that even if he was handed nicely Liu Qingge might still try to lop Tianlang Jun’s head off. However, he could not let his father act so reckless. Even the protagonist was beaten up so easily, what about his father who did not have the halo? Tianlang Jun spared no compassion even to his own kin.

To his relief it looked like Yue Qingyuan was aware of who Tianlang Jun was and decided to take the lead before either side decided to initiate an attack. “Tianlang Jun, what is your point of taking an innocent child hostage?” Yue Qingyuan questioned.

Tianlang Jun stared at Yue Qingyuan and hummed, as if remembering something. “Ah, it’s you. I remember you. You were there, weren’t you? You didn’t unsheathe your sword until the very end.”

It seemed like not only Yue Qingyuan recognized Tianlang Jun, they had even encountered each other. In fact judging from the demon’s words, he was even involved in the siege that led to Tianlang Jun’s suppression. Shen Yuan was sweating. He thought that since the event happened years ago and the current Peak Lords were still quite new, they wouldn't be involved but if Yue Qingyuan was there and Tianlang Jun remembered his face, didn’t this mean he had a deep grudge against them? And what about Luo Binghe? His biological father was screwed up by the sect!

Yue Qingyuan rested his hand on the hilt of Xuan Su. “I might unsheathe it today if you refuse to give my shizhi back.”

“Now, don’t be so hasty. I merely found the child very adorable and wanted to protect him. It would be a pity if he were to die, wouldn’t it?”

Liu Qingge narrowed his eyes. “What do you mean by that?”

Tianlang Jun shrugged. “I thought this would be the perfect time to give humans a special gift - by uniting the two realms.”

His intention was finally made clear and cold blood rushed through Shen Yuan’s veins as he finally realized why Tianlang Jun wanted Xinmo. He wanted to use Xinmo’s ability to break the walls that separated the two realms, merging them together. If that were to happen, deadly demons from the other realm would be able to roam free in the human realm and the defenseless mortals would all fall prey to them, turning the entire world into a chaos.

Qi Qingqi shouted, “You must be insane!”

Tianlang Jun cackled. “How else would humans and demons learn to get along? If they are forced to live together, wouldn’t they eventually learn to tolerate each other?”

“That will never happen. Today’s incident proved it. A mere flock of seven sower demons was enough to cause an entire city to shut down, what madness are you suggesting?!” Liu Qingge growled.

Yue Qingyuan stepped forward and narrowed his eyes. “Are you still bitter about Lady Su? Even so, the younger generations are innocent and have nothing to do with it.”

Tianlang Jun did not reply. He stood still but Shen Yuan could feel the hands holding his body were trembling.

“What do you mean by that, Zhangmen Shixiong?” Qi Qingqi asked.

“It was a long story, but over twenty years ago, Huan Hua Palace called all four major sects for a meeting. He informed us about the presence of an Ancient Heavenly Demon, who had come to the Human Realm to cause chaos and steal all treasures of the cultivation world,” Yue Qingyuan began. “The information allegedly came from his head disciple at the time, Su Xiyan, whom he said had approached the demon in order to lure him to the trap prepared at Bailu Mountain.”

Shen Yuan’s eyes widened. A heavenly demon and a human romantically involved… they must be none other than Luo Binghe’s parents. Judging from Luo Binghe’s shocked expression, he must have thought the same as well.

Qi Qingqi frowned. “So… Lady Su set the trap for him. What happened to her?”

Yue Qingyuan shook his head. “Nobody knows. She disappeared before the siege even took place. The Old Palace Master claimed she ran away from the shame of being involved with a demon.”

Tianlang Jun looked a little disturbed hearing that. “... Before the siege?” He suddenly spoke with a curious tone.

Luo Binghe was trembling. “Yue Zhangmen… did this… did this case happen in the winter of 22 years ago?”

Yue Qingyuan was surprised. “It did. How did you know?”

Luo Binghe looked as pale as a ghost. Shen Yuan knew why - he just realized that the man taking Shen Yuan hostage was his own father, and that the lady from Huan Hua Palace who had allegedly betrayed Tianlang Jun was his biological mother. Poor Luo Binghe, he probably was feeling so much hatred for himself now. He already knew one of his parents was a heavenly demon, he probably did not expect that he was born out of a plot to betray the other, and now his father had just caused destruction to an entire city, an enemy to the human realm now.

However, the story did not sound right. Why would a heavenly demon like Tianlang Jun covet human treasures? If Su Xiyan was doing an espionage mission, why would she be ashamed and ran away? Such a powerful cultivator, talented enough to be a head disciple, isn’t it weird for her to just disappear? There must be another story behind this, just like there was a hidden story behind his mother’s past. Perhaps if they could solve this, there was no need for a fight.

“But Shibo, that’s weird! This...umm, demon uncle is very strong, why would he want to steal our treasures?” Shen Yuan pointed out.

Tianlang Jun looked at Shen Yuan, a little stunned. “You’re smart, aren’t you, little one? Your brain is even more developed than all the cultivators.”

Probably because Shen Yuan came from outside this universe, where everyone had an IQ of 40 in order to let the protagonist shine, not to mention he had the advantage of already reading the novel.

“You are unlike the people around you. You’re aware of mine and my nephew’s demon blood but you aren’t disgusted by us,” Tianlang Jun smiled. One arm still holding Shen Yuan, he unsheathed Xin Mo with the other. “The world would be better off with more people like you and what better way than to force them to accept it?”

NO!!

“STOP!”

Their attention was shifted to the new people joining the confrontation. Shen Qingqiu appeared along with Mu Qingfang, Wu Chen who was carried on Yang Yixuan’s back, as well as Gongyi Xiao. Shen Qingqiu looked very pale, that both Mu Qingfang and Gongyi Xiao were assisting him. Shen Qingqiu’s eyes were looking at Shen Yuan weakly. “My baby.”

He was in a terribly distressed state, his scent was reeking all over the place. Liu Qingge ran off to hold him. “What are you doing? You just recovered!”

“Release me,” Shen Qingqiu growled. “I’m not going to sit still when my child is taken away from me.” He then looked at Tianlang Jun. “No mother would give up. That includes Su Xiyan. I could not understand this before, I never understood why people can get so blinded by love… but now I do.”

Wu Chen patted Yang Yixuan’s back and the boy let him down. Liu Qingge flashed an interested look when he noticed the boy wasn’t even tired even after carrying an adult like Wu Chen all the way to this place. “Tianlang Jun. This old monk has a confession to make, that he was with Lady Su not long before her last moments.”

Tianlang Jun looked stunned. Everyone, save from those who came with Wu Chen, were also surprised by the revelation.

“Lady Su was once the favoured disciple of Huan Hua Palace Master. Palace Master however claimed she had strayed and left the cultivation world out of shame. That was not the truth. Lady Su was with a child and had passed away after giving birth to the child,” Wu Chen explained. “This old monk encountered Lady Su, who was heavily pregnant and was running away from Huan Hua Palace. She was imprisoned, and had taken a poison to abort her baby in exchange of her freedom, so she could see you.”

Tianlang Jun’s jaw dropped. 

True to what Shen Yuan had suspected, there was indeed a story behind it. While Su Xiyan did initially approach Tianlang Jun due to suspicion of his intention roaming the human realm, she later on did genuinely fall in love with him. When she found out that she was pregnant with Luo Binghe, she decided to confess her relationship with him to her master and leave the sect.

The Palace Master, however, was not willing to accept that. Either he was ashamed that his prized disciple was carrying a demon’s seed, or he harbored other intentions. The latter part was something Shen Qingqiu suspected when Gongyi Xiao recalled what the Palace Master said to him in his delirious state, while Gongyi Xiao was trying to stop the old man’s daughter from releasing him.

Looking at Gongyi Xiao’s face, Shen Yuan realized the youth resembled Luo Binghe a lot. And if Luo Binghe inherited his mother’s face, there was a chance that the Huan Hua Palace current top disciple also resembled his predecessor. That did not sit right with Shen Yuan.

Wu Chen continued to explain how the cultivators were tricked into thinking that Tianlang Jun was a danger, and how Su Xiyan was tricked into going to a different meeting place. While Tianlang Jun was lured to Bailu Mountain using a fake letter signed with Su Xiyan’s name, she was released from the prison after drinking the poison, with the old man giving her a different location. Su Xiyan trusted her master and went to said location, only to find out he never intended to actually let her go and only promised freedom so she would abort the baby.

He sent out several men after her to recapture her. It was only by Su Xiyan’s luck that she encountered Wu Chen, who helped to hide her from her pursuers.

“Lady Su never intended to betray you. The whole cultivation world was fooled by the Old Palace Master, and you were hurt because of it. The younger generation should not bear the consequences of our foolishness. This old monk is willing to take responsibility as one of the many who agreed to the mission, only begging you to spare the young ones from the suffering,” Wu Chen said and bowed down.

Tianlang Jun swallowed. He finally dropped the sword. “I see. Well, that is one less bad thing.”

Yue Qingyuan stood there in disbelief. Liu Qingge was outraged. Qi Qingqi shook her head. “I can’t believe this. All this mess - all because of an old man’s trickery! He messed with everyone, even now he still messes with us!”

The Cang Qiong Sect Leader took a deep breath. All this conflict could have been avoided if only they knew the truth. He turned back to Tianlang Jun. “Won’t you please reconsider your plan now?”

Tianlang Jun shrugged and slowly released Shen Yuan, gently patting his back as he let him go. “I suppose.”

Shen Yuan quickly ran to his parents and Shen Qingqiu hugged him tight. It must have been scary for his mother, seeing him swallowed alive like that. Shen Qingqiu’s complexion was looking better, with his child finally back and safe in his arms and his husband by his side.

Yue Qingyuan exhaled from relief seeing the reunion. “Thank you. Though… it would be much better if you can do something about the sword. It is still emanating an ominous amount of demonic energy, as we’re speaking.”

Tianlang Jun laughed. “Ah, but it’s not me.”

Shen Yuan was initially puzzled, until he realized that the demonic energy actually came from Luo Binghe, the owner. Of course, how could he forget that Xinmo only answered to those it recognized as the master?

How could Luo Binghe not feel distressed after hearing everything about his parents and the story behind his birth? The first revelation was already hurtful, hearing that he was a product of a plot to entrap someone. Now even though it appeared that his parents were truly in love and that his mother never intended to turn her back against his father, it did reveal something more hurtful - that she tried to abort him. 

“Luo Binghe, calm down!” Shen Qingqiu ordered.

Tears dripped down Luo Binghe’s cheeks. “But Shizun, how could I? Someone like me… I was unwanted before I even came to this world. Why was I even born?” He laughed pitifully. “Why do I have to live begging for affections like this? And when I am shown affections by people, it only causes harm to them.”

An explosion of demonic energy sent everyone flying. Shen Qingqiu wrapped his son tight while Liu Qingge held his spouse to shield both mother and child from any impact. The cultivators blocked the burst of demonic aura with their swords and Qi Qingqi managed to catch Bingpup and shielded him. Zhuzhi Lang was forced to move away and lashed his tail against Shang Qinghua and Mobei Jun to create a path. Shang Qinghua shrieked but Mobei Jun managed to block the attack. Unfortunately the impact of demonic energy released still catapulted them away. Due to Zhuzhi Lang’s weight he was only thrown several meters away but Mobei Jun was sent flying to the river nearby.

“No, my King!” Shang Qinghua screamed.

“Shang Shidi, what are you doing?!” Shen Qingqiu yelled.

“He can’t swim!!” Shang Qinghua wailed back a reply before jumping into the rushing water to save the ice demon.

No you idiot hamster, he’s asking why you’re with the demon dude! Shen Yuan was tempted to yell back.

Luo Binghe was about to lose control. At this rate even without Tianlang Jun initiating it Xinmo might go feral and cause a dimension tear, merging the two realms. If Luo Binghe were to fail to regain control, the entire world would be doomed.

Shen Yuan wriggled away from his mother’s hold and ran towards Luo Binghe, hugging his thigh. “Bing Gege!”

Luo Binghe had finally stopped shaking, though dark demonic energy was still leaking out from his entire being. “A Yuan?”

“Bing Gege doesn’t have to beg for affections!” You’re the awesome protagonist with the golden halo, loved by so many readers including me. I’ve always liked you, even before I met you. “A Yuan loves Bing Gege no matter what!”

Luo Binghe sobbed. “A Yuan…”

Shen Qingqiu gathered his strength to walk towards Luo Binghe then pulled him into a hug. Luo Binghe gasped, because throughout all these years this was the first time Shen Qingqiu had actually hugged him this tight. He felt the calming pheromones enveloping him.

“Luo Binghe, I cannot speak for your mother, I am not Su Xiyan. However, did you not remember how you told me you were found wrapped in robes, floated down the river on a cold winter day?” Shen Qingqiu reminded him.

Luo Binghe shakily nodded.

“If I were Su Xiyan and I didn’t want you, I could have just lowered you into the river, drowned you, or let you die from the cold. I wouldn’t need to take off my own robes, use the last of my energy to find a boat and push it just to ensure your survival.” 

Luo Binghe looked at Shen Qingqiu, eyes wide and tears dripping.

“If my husband was caught and my only way to freedom is to drink a poison to abort my baby, I would take it and absorb it into my own body, with the hope to save them both. There is no way you could have been born perfectly if not because she did not stop the poison from reaching you. Look at yourself. How could you have grown this big and healthy, if not because Lady Su did all she could to ensure you’d live?”

Hearing the words, Luo Binghe trembled again. “Shizun…”

“You are not unwanted. You are never unwanted. You don’t need to find a reason why you were born, many people don’t. Some were even born from accidents,” Shen Qingqiu said, secretly referring to Shen Yuan’s own birth. “However, you can always find new reasons to live and to be happy. I’ve found mine, after having A Yuan.”

“Shizun…” Luo Binghe broke down, sobbing and shaking as he fell into his master’s welcoming arms. “This disciple made a mistake. This disciple…”

“Shush, Binghe. It’s alright now,” said Shen Qingqiu and he gently patted Luo Binghe’s head. “Think about it, aren’t you very much loved? You have three mothers.”

Luo Binghe gasped. He looked at Shen Qingqiu and burst out crying, hugging him tight. “Shizun!!!”

Shen Yuan sighed. Ah, at least everything ended up well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The End…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JK. There's still some chapters left.

Chapter Text

Things were looking like they were going to be normal again. Tianlang Jun somehow had taken a liking to Gongyi Xiao and had left with the youth to interrogate the Old Palace Master. Shen Yuan suspected the old man might be the one to get turned into a human stick and used by the heavenly demon to play catch with his nephew.

Cang Qiong Mountain members returned and gathered at the bamboo house after the whole fiasco. Shen Qingqiu was put into bedrest - it had been a terribly stressful day to him - though he still refused to part from Shen Yuan. Shen Yuan laid by his mother's side, plastering himself like a sticky rice cake. Hm, his mama was in distress, he supposed he could pamper his mama a little. Not that he wanted to stay like this, he was just being considerate, okay?

Liu Qingge also sat by his spouse's side on the bed, holding his hand warmly. "Do you need anything? Should I get something for you?"

Shen Qingqiu shook his head. "I'm too tired to even eat right now. Some tea would be nice."

"P...please let this disciple prepare it for you, Shizun!" A snot-nosed, still teary-eyed Luo Binghe offered and quickly made his way to the small kitchen.

"That was a… hectic day, to say the least. Are you feeling better now, Shen Shixiong?" Mu Qingfang asked, sitting by Shen Qingqiu's bedside and examining his wrist.

"I'm fine. A Yuan?"

"I'm not hurt, mama. Uncle demon was a little weird but he didn't hurt me," Shen Yuan said.

Shen Qingqiu scowled. "I should have given enough beatings to that damn Tianlang Jun for kidnapping my son!”

“I agree we should, but you should not move around too much right now, let alone fighting demons,” Liu Qingge warned him.

“You’ll risk premature birthing and you just nearly had a miscarriage, please don’t,” Mu Qingfang also added.

“By the way, I didn’t know Luo Binghe is a demon, in fact Tianlang Jun’s son. Isn’t our sect going to be questioned?” Qi Qingqi asked.

For a moment the entire room went silent. Luo Binghe, who was carrying the tray of tea stopped right behind the screen, not daring to enter the room now.

Shen Qingqiu clicked his tongue. “It doesn’t matter, does it? He might be half a demon but he’s also half human. He’s my cub and I’m going to stab anyone who dares to question it.”

Luo Binghe teared up. “Shizun…”

Liu Qingge sighed and snuggled Shen Yuan. “I suppose a crybaby like this can’t possibly be dangerous. Right, A Yuan?”

“Bing Gege saved A Yuan, he’s a hero, he’s not a bad guy!” Shen Yuan chirped. Better make use of this baby act for as long as he could.

Qi Qingqi scratched her head. Looking at Shen Yuan’s pouty face and puffed up cheeks, she decided to relent. "Hm, debatable, but with the ruckus Huan Hua Palace made now I doubt they will remember it. Oh, it's not like anyone other than us or Abbot Wu Chen saw it, and he's not going to say anything right?"

"What about the boy from Jinlan City?" Mu Qingfang asked.

"That boy has potential. Qingge, you should take him in," Shen Qingqiu suggested.

“More importantly, has anyone seen Shang Shidi?” Yue Qingyuan asked.

“... Ah,” all of them uttered.

Right on time, Ming Fan and Ning Yingying barged into the room. “Shizun! Shizun! Is A Yuan alright?!”

“Manners, Yingying,” Shen Qingqiu reminded him.

Ning Yingying blinked. She noticed Luo Binghe standing there with a tray and gasped. “A Luo…. you're back! So it’s true? Mobei Jun dumped you for Shang Shishu so now you had to return to Shizun?”

The entire room turned silent.

Luo Binghe nearly had a heart attack. “What?!”

 


 

Shang Qinghua dragged Mobei Jun back to the room. He had activated yet another one of his talismans to transport them back to the palace in hopes of finding anyone who could help Mobei Jun but to no avail. Of course none of these useless underlings, named after their weights and weighed with balls would know how to perform CPR!

Shang Qinghua had only learned to do it years ago, decades in fact, back when he was in high school. He still remembered it roughly, he had done it several times during training camps. He sat on top of Mobei Jun and pushed his palms against Mobei Jun’s hard chest. Mobei Jun’s body was still cold and he was not waking up.

Nothing was happening. Shang Qinghua took a deep breath and kneeled by Mobei Jun’s side. He held the handsome face, pinched the jaw and parted the lips to make way for air to come in, before pressing his lips against Mobei Jun’s cold ones.

Shang Qinghua did not know how long he stayed that way, trying to breathe life back into Mobei Jun. All he knew was that in one moment, cold hands suddenly moved to wrap around his body. Shang Qinghua gasped and left Mobei Jun’s lips. Tears ran down his cheeks. “My King, you’re awake.”

Mobei Jun nodded. “Qinghua.”

"My King, I was...so worried when you wouldn't wake up I-" Shang Qinghua failed to speak more as he was choked up with tears.

Mobei cupped his face. 

Then pulled him down for a kiss.

Shang Qinghua fluttered his eyes.

The ice demon rolled and flipped their bodies so Shang Qinghua was laid underneath him on the floor. Their clothes were still wet and clung to their bodies and their hair were still a mess sticking to their faces and necks. Mobei Jun deepened the kiss, pushing his tongue through to pry the lips open and savour the omega's taste completely.

The scent of their pheromones mixed together, strongly reeking of lust and desire. Shang Qinghua thought he must have given too much oxygen earlier, for now he was out of breath and panting, his heart racing like he had just run a marathon.

That was a kiss. That was a kiss, wasn't it? Shang Qinghua slowly pressed his wet palms against Mobei Jun's cheeks. "My King...was that a kiss?"

Mobei Jun raised an eyebrow. "What else could it be? Do you not know?"

Shang Qinghua's jaws opened and closed several times, before he shook his head. "I don't know. You have to do it again!"

A small smirk appeared on Mobei Jun's face and heavens, was there anything sexier than that? Shang Qinghua dared to bet his entire fortune that nothing could top that. Mobei Jun leaned down and whispered his name to his ears, before taking his lips again.

"Naughty, Qinghua."

Shang Qinghua would have exploded like a firework just from hearing that, but Mobei Jun then bit and nibbled on his lips and Shang Qinghua lost any ounce of rationality he had left. Mobei Jun's lips were cold due to the nature of his physique but his touch was burning. The demon sucked on his lower lip, then licked his own lip after he was done. "Was that understandable to you?"

No. "No," Shang Qinghua whined and Mobei Jun dipped down to kiss the corner of his mouth and his cheeks.

He chuckled. "What about that?"

"No… no. I still can't understand," Shang Qinghua uttered.

Mobei Jun peppered more light kisses on his cheeks, his temples, his forehead, the tip of his nose. A strange voice came out from Shang Qinghua and the demon began kissing his jaw, his neck, and his collarbone. His hands pushed away the damp clothes plastered on Shang Qinghua's body. Mobei Jun's eyes lingered at the pale white chest, the two red pebbles sticking out, stiff and pert from the cold air.

"My… my King. I…" Shang Qinghua found himself unable to speak, because he could not believe that Mobei Jun had just done that to him. He could not believe that they were kissing and that Mobei Jun had initiated it. He pinched his own cheeks. "I wonder if I'm dreaming. Perhaps was I the one drowning earlier?”

Mobei Jun looked back at him and took the hand that was pinching his cheeks, kissing the knuckles. “It’s not a dream.”

But if this wasn’t a dream, it didn’t make sense. Because why would Mobei Jun be holding him in his arms and kissing him so tenderly like this? Was Mobei Jun really in love with him? Had he just been stupidly unaware all this time or was his brain just fried after the whole stressful day?

Mobei Jun caressed his cheeks and whispered in his ears. “Qinghua… I really want you.”

Shang Qinghua looked at Mobei Jun, eyes wide and mouth gaping, lips still puffy from the kisses. Mobei Jun wants me? Like, he wants me? Me? In that way? The entire room reeked off their desire that Shang Qinghua could not even deny that they both were thinking of the same thing. Shang Qinghua knew it was not Mobei Jun’s rut either, because no alpha in a rut would be this gentle, especially not one like Mobei Jun.

Mobei Jun liked him. Shang Qinghua could not believe he had been this foolish. The demon had literally rutted in his bed and came to his place to bathe in his scent! Mobei Jun wasn’t the type to just beat his meat in front of anyone, why the hell had he not realized it since then?!

“I know you want to wait… and an auspicious day would have been better...”

“I want you now!” Shang Qinghua blurted out. He had been pining like an idiot for so long, drooling for the man who also liked him. Why the hell would he wait any longer, when they were both this hungry for each other? “I’ve waited enough. My King, please, take me now.”

Mobei Jun’s eyes widened. He narrowed his eyes. “Truly? But gifts…”

I don’t need any courting gifts! “I only need you.”

Mobei Jun smirked. Heavens, Shang Qinghua knew he was already wet, but that smirk made him wet .

Mobei Jun peeled off their robes. Shang Qinghua’s heart was racing. Finally he too, would end his virgin curse that had been following him since his past life. Shang Qinghua was about to take off his pants, when Mobei Jun suddenly draped a light red fabric over him.

“??”

Before Shang Qinghua could protest that drying their bodies would be pointless since they were going to get dirty anyway, Mobei Jun lifted his body and carried him bridal-style outside.

“...” Weren’t they going to do it?

The fabric blocked his view but Shang Qinghua could feel they were entering a colder room. 

“Your hand, Qinghua,” said Mobei Jun.

Shang Qinghua lifted his hand obediently and winced a little when he felt a small prick on it. A small cup was then placed in his hand. Mobei Jun’s arm linked around his, and he heard the ice demon’s order, “Drink.”

He downed whatever was inside the cup in one gulp and coughed a little when it burned his throat. Mobei Jun took the cup from him and once again carried him, this time back to the room and placed him on the large bed. He lifted the fabric off Shang Qinghua and the An Ding Peak Lord could see that Mobei Jun had ditched his usual clothes for another red fabric casually draped over his back, revealing his sculpted pecs and chiseled abs for him to see.

As if he wasn’t thirsty enough. 

Mobei Jun tossed away the red cloak before climbing into the bed and on top of Shang Qinghua, who welcomed his advances with much eagerness. He leaned down to kiss the top of Shang Qinghua’s head, then between his eyebrows and finally onto Shang Qinghua’s welcoming lips.

Their lips remained locked for a long time while their hands explored each other. Shang Qinghua found the courage to thread his fingers between Mobei Jun's hair as the demon's lips lingered on his neck and chest. Mobei Jun's fingers deftly removed the rest of their clothings as he moved southwards, kissing the chest, the midriff, the belly. He moved up again and Shang Qinghua gasped when he felt cold tongue flicking his right nipple, while long slender fingers removed his bottoms.

Shang Qinghua covered his face as he suddenly felt the embarrassment knowing that Mobei Jun was now looking at (and touching!) his naked body. Was his tummy too squishy? Or his legs too thin? He didn't have a scar, but he was nowhere near as perfect as Mobei Jun-

"Shh, Qinghua," Mobei Jun whispered and removed Shang Qinghua's hands from his face. "You're beautiful."

Ah, he must have rambled out loud without noticing it again. How embarrassing.

"There's nothing embarrassing about your body. This Mobei has only enjoyed every inch that he's seeing and touching," said Mobei Jun as he slowly parted Shang Qinghua's legs.

Shang Qinghua's jaw dropped as Mobei Jun impatiently ripped off the rest of his clothes, leaving himself bare. 

Shang Qinghua's manhood was just normally proportioned according to his body but lined against Mobei Jun's monstrous demon dick, it made him feel a little inadequate. Also, will that really fit inside him?

Mobei Jun began rubbing their manhoods together and any thoughts flew from Shang Qinghua's head. He could hear himself moaning shamefully and hurriedly cupped his mouth but Mobei Jun pinned his hands above his head.

"Let me hear your voice. Look at me, Qinghua."

Shang Qinghua did, and he gulped. Mobei Jun looked dangerously handsome. His body was perfect. His erection was grinding against him and Shang Qinghua could see the tip of his own smaller manhood leaking out precum. "My… my King, I can't last long like this…"

Mobei Jun shifted his body and raised Shang Qinghua's hips a little. The An Ding Peak Lord stiffened when he felt fingers trying to prod into his chrysanthemum. He was about to complain that it was too sudden, but at the same time the digits lightly massaging the entrance felt so good to relieve the itchiness he had been feeling there. He heard light squelches as the digits slowly entered and realized he was already so wet.

It felt weird, a foreign feeling that was uncomfortable but it did not hurt as much as he thought. Mobei Jun moved his two fingers, exploring the never-been-touched area and Shang Qinghua couldn't help bucking his hips. A smirk appeared on Mobei Jun's face and feeling a little ashamed Shang Qinghua automatically tried to retract himself but the demon held his waist.

"My King, please don't tease me," he whined.

"I need to make sure you're ready. The cold and the size will bring you discomfort."

Shang Qinghua whimpered. He was afraid of pain but he was also feeling desperate now. He wanted to feel the cold rod rubbing inside him, so his brain would never mistake the memory as anything but Mobei Jun making love with him.

The tip of Mobei Jun's erection poked into his pink, slick entrance. Feeling impatient, Shang Qinghua bucked his hips to get Mobei Jun sheathed inside him completely.

Bad decision.

Not only was the sudden cold shocking to him, Shang Qinghua was a virgin before this and Mobei Jun was bigger than average. He felt as if he had been ripped apart but he also couldn't move, like a bottle plugged with a bigger cork. Shang Qinghua opened his mouth but not even a scream could emerge. He was certain he must look very ugly now, with a distorted face and a sound akin to a choking hamster.

Mobei Jun frowned and held his waist in place. "Relax, Qinghua. You're clenching me too tight."

How can I relax ah?! There's an ice pole in my hole and I can't even blame anyone but my own stupidity!

Mobei Jun kissed his brows. "You're in pain and hurting me too. Relax."

"Ah...oh," Shang Qinghua exhaled and slowly took another deep careful breath to calm himself. Luckily it seemed to do the trick. The coolness actually numbed the pain a little and as Mobei Jun adjusted himself, it felt more bearable.

Mobei Jun started slow, pulling out a little, then pushing himself in deeper inch by inch, repeating the movement until he found his rhythm. At first Shang Qinghua could only lament inside as he could only feel as if there was a popsicle stuck in his ass. Then Mobei Jun pressed against a certain spot inside him and Shang Qinghua moaned. “Aahh!”

Mobei Jun paused. “Did it hurt?”

“N… no….” Not only did it not hurt, it even felt good! “That place… I don’t know… you have to try again.”

Mobei Jun licked his lower lip. He pulled out until only the head of his pillar remained inside, before slamming in right at the same spot that made Shang Qinghua forget all the pain. He mewled softly as he felt the hard rod pounding inside him, rubbing his insides and pushing hard into the spot that was drowning him in ecstasy. Mobei Jun gripped on his waist and thrusted hard, groaning as his hard member was fully sheathed to the hilt. This time, the sheer force had Shang Qinghua completely whited out and warm liquid splattered from his erection all over onto his chest as he screamed with pleasure.

Mobei Jun was not done yet. He had finally found the right spot that made the omega react as he wanted and he continued thrusting his hips. He lifted Shang Qinghua’s legs to gain better access and continued pounding into the warm wet hole. Shang Qinghua whined and moaned incoherently, the stimulation caused his half-limp manhood to 'salute' once more.

“Mo...bei- aah! Fu- I’m gonna… again - aahh!” Shang Qinghua screamed and writhed.

Mobei Jun pulled out and Shang Qinghua whined from the sudden emptiness inside him. The demon flipped him around, making him lay on his tummy, and raised his hips. Before Shang Qinghua could voice another complaint, the demon lightly slapped on the plump white globes, earning a little surprised yelp, and entered once more, this time with added ease from the fluids secreted.

Shang Qinghua’s cries were partially muffled from the sheets and pillow. Part of him was disgusted by the damp and dirtied fabric but a larger part of him couldn't care less as he was filled with joy and pleasure. He choked up when he felt the foreign object inside him growing bigger, to the point that neither of them could move without hurting each other. 

Mobei Jun leaned down and bit him. Shang Qinghua shuddered and came once more, the same time as Mobei Jun spilled his load inside. Cold, thick liquid pumped into him several times, before the demon finally slipped out.

Shang Qinghua closed his eyes, too tired and couldn’t be bothered to get up and clean himself. Next time he should get them in a better setting. Warm dry sheets, hot food to eat after…

“I want noodles…” He murmured before dozing off.

 


 

When Shang Qinghua woke up the following morning, Mobei Jun was not around. He was in a completely different room, decorated with expensive tapestries and various other treasures. The bedsheets were all red and he was dressed in warm, dry clothes. He was about to have a panic attack, when Mobei Jun suddenly entered the room, carrying a tray with a bowl of noodles.

Shang Qinghua blinked. “My King? Where are we? What is that?”

“You said you wanted noodles last night,” said Mobei Jun.

“O...oh,” Shang Qinghua blushed a thousand shades of red as he remembered the event from the previous day. “My King, you are too kind to me.”

Mobei Jun sat by his side. “It’s the least I can do since I didn’t get to give you the banquet. Do you like the room?”

“The room?” Shang Qinghua repeated.

The ice demon nodded. “It took some time to complete, but I had you moved here after you fell asleep." 

“It’s gorgeous,” Shang Qinghua commented, awed by the decorations. Wait, is this going to be our room? Are we going to be a cohabiting couple from now? Ah, my heart!

Mobei Jun chuckled and kissed his temple. “Good. This entire palace is yours. Only the best for my consort.”

Shang Qinghua grinned, then paused as his brain suddenly short-circuited.

Consort?

His mind suddenly recalled back Mobei Jun draping red fabric on both of them, pricking his fingers, then giving him a cup of wine to drink.

Marriage tradition was still the same in Proud Immortal Demon Way for humans, but Shang Qinghua made some changes for the demons, where instead of performing the three bows high-ranking demons would instead exchange blood, through nuptial wine. It was a sign of trust and loyalty between the couple. Which meant…

Were they married already?

Also, this place couldn’t have been built in a day. Mobei Jun must have planned this for a long time. What about the red clothes…

Oh dear lord. A wedding dress. His wedding dress. Mobei Jun had been preparing for their wedding for a long time! He was the idiot who only realized they were already married the morning after their consummation! Did Mobei Jun also propose at one point and Shang Qinghua just did not realize it? Why could he not recall anything like that? Since when did Mobei Jun even start liking him?! For how long were they engaged?

“Qinghua? Aren’t you eating?”

“... Husband?” He tried.

Mobei Jun’s face instantly lit up like a Christmas tree. “Yes?”

We really are married! “Husband!”

“Yes.”

Shang Qinghua had never felt this dumb. How could he not see it when there were obvious signs everywhere? Oh well, it ended up well, so he supposed he could just forget about how embarrassing he had been in front of Cucumber Bro and everyone…

… Right. He got Mobei Jun out in the open, the cat’s out of the bag. Now Shang Qinghua only had to think about how to tell his martial siblings that he was now married to a demon, moreover the same demon who attacked the Immortal Alliance Conference.

And fuck, he might have to answer to the protagonist too. How in the world was he supposed to explain to Luo Binghe that he was the reason he was dragged to the Endless Abyss and became the character of an erotic RPF?

“... Husband, can I stay here with you longer?”

“Of course, Qinghua. It’s your home too.”

He could always think about that later. Much much later, after he was done enjoying his honeymoon. “Husband, can we repeat what we did yesterday?”

Since Mobei Jun had gone through the trouble of preparing the wedding robes, Shang Qinghua wanted to put it on properly, with his hair done and adorned with accessories. He also wanted to see Mobei Jun in red once more.

A glint appeared in Mobei Jun’s eyes.

Perhaps Shang Qinghua should have specified that by a ‘repeat of yesterday’, he meant the wedding, not the ‘papapa’. 

And so, that was how Shang Qinghua was married to the same man twice and railed thrice within two days.

Chapter Text

What a letdown , Tianlang Jun thought as he observed from afar the scene of Shang Qinghua fishing out Mobei Jun from the river. He thought his son became a runaway bride but the Tale of the Ice King and Winter Bride turned out to be just a fiction. Tsk tsk, what a shame for his son to lose to a… mediocre-looking man.

Perhaps it was better this way, though, Tianlang Jun thought as he looked at Peak Lord Shen, who hugged Luo Binghe and calmed him with reassuring words. If Xiyan were still alive, would she also be comforting their son like that? If Xiyan were alive, would Luo Binghe even have to suffer? Unfortunately for Tianlang Jun, as much as he would like to provide the affections he should have long given his son, his heart was still too much in pain.

He picked up the sword that had been dropped on the ground and handed it to Luo Binghe. Luo Binghe only stared back at him. Tianlang Jun raised an eyebrow. “What, you don’t want it?”

“Do you really have nothing else to say, Tianlang Jun? This is your son,” Peak Lord Shen said. “One that your beloved risked her life for.”

His irrational mind told him that his beloved was forced to give up her life in exchange for said son but he immediately chased the thought away. If Su Xiyan were to hear that, how sad and angry would she be? In the end his beloved was gone and this young man was the only gift she had left for him, the only remaining connection he had with her, aside from memories of their short, precious times together.

“I will leave this son of mine in your care for now, Peak Lord Shen. Ah, he is already this big anyway, he should be taking a stroll in the Endless Abyss already!” Tianlang Jun jokingly exclaimed.

The small child, Shen Yuan coughed. His small hands clutched on to Peak Lord Shen’s clothes and Tianlang Jun cooed inside, thinking how adorable that looked. If only he had the chance to see a small Binghe doing that, plastering himself against Su Xiyan’s bosom. Ah, imagining all the ‘what if’s only made it harder to breathe.

Peak Lord Shen was disgruntled. If Su Xiyan were still around, maybe she would be beating up Tianlang Jun for that remark too. He laughed. “I must convey my gratitude to Peak Lord Shen, but I have a lot to think about now. Staying under that mountain for twenty years wasn’t fun, you see. You might want to take this sword back before I change my mind and decide to pay back anyone who was there.”

Peak Lord Shen’s eyes widened and he immediately grabbed the sword. Pursing his lips, his eyes glanced briefly at Sect Leader Yue before passing the sword to Luo Binghe. “We’ll find a way to seal this thing later. Hold this and do not lose control anymore, Luo Binghe.”

Luo Binghe nodded.

He truly looked so much like his mother. A reminder of how they could have been happy together, if not for the scheming of that old man. Speaking of that...

“So, I heard the Old Palace Master is still alive?” Tianlang Jun asked the youth standing close to him.

The youth nodded. What was his name again, Gongyi Xiao? He looked awfully like Su Xiyan as well, which gave Tianlang Jun the idea of the old man’s taste and the reason behind his scheming. How sickening. He was relieved that his son had gone to Cang Qiong Mountain and was under the care of Peak Lord Shen. Otherwise, who knew what the old man would do to his and Xiyan’s son?

Gongyi Xiao nodded. Tianlang Jun noted that while the young man shared an uncanny resemblance to his late lover, unlike Su Xiyan who usually had the cold, aloof expression like Peak Lord Shen, Gongyi Xiao appeared to be more calm and gentle, albeit not delicate. Whereas Su Xiyan had the air of maturity around her, Gongyi Xiao seemed to be more full of youthful energy, though by no means did he look childish.

“He’s still alive. We have him detained in the Water Prison, and his daughter in a different isolation room,” explained Gongyi Xiao.

“That means I can make him pay back for everything, right?”

Well, Tianlang Jun wasn’t planning to let him off, that was for certain. He would tear off the old man’s limbs one by one for daring to imprison his beloved, then dig out his eyes for looking at her indecently, also maybe pull out his tongue for uttering her name with his dirty mouth. Oh, and he would be careful to keep the old man alive in that state for as long as he could, maybe twenty years.

“We are still working to uncover more of his crimes, begging Your Excellency to be patient,” Gongyi Xiao asked.

“Ha, there’s more?” Tianlang Jun almost wanted to laugh. So much for a righteous sect, huh?

“Your Excellency, you may not be the first one he had done this too. You’re just the first one he had to resort to such tactics,” Gongyi Xiao coughed.

Su Xiyan was the most beautiful female cultivator of her time, it was understandable that she would catch the attention of many. Not to mention, she was a powerful alpha and had a good position as the top disciple.

He looked at Gongyi Xiao. “Talking from experience, maybe?”

Gongyi Xiao blinked. He immediately shook his head as he realized what Tianlang Jun meant. “Oh no, no such thing. I have no idea how popular Su Shijie would be, but I do not… I don’t have anyone pursuing me.”

He had somewhat of a relationship with the Young Palace Mistress before, but clearly she wasn’t that into him, since she quickly switched her attention to Luo Binghe as soon as he came. Gongyi Xiao knew himself - he was not as talented, nor did he think he was as good-looking as Luo Binghe.

“Don’t sell yourself short, Young Master. You have a pleasant face and an admirable temperament, if you weren’t standing beside me everyone would be flocking all over you just from your looks,” said Tianlang Jun.

Gongyi Xiao chuckled. “Your Excellency knows to flatter and joke.”

Tianlang Jun blinked. Hm. It felt as if he had seen a glimpse of light once more. “Young Master Gongyi. Are you interested in poetry?”

Gongyi Xiao looked a little confused for a moment, but nodded. “I am.”

Tianlang Jun grinned. “Perfect. What is your favourite poem?”

“It would be the Ballad of Juhua, I suppose. I have plenty of favourites.”

“Oh, what a coincidence! I happen to like that one too!”

 


 

A couple days after the incident, representatives from different sects were invited to witness the trial of Huan Hua Palace Master. Admittedly they were shocked to discover that Tianlang Jun had returned and were ready to march over for a fight, but Yue Qingyuan mediated the meeting plus trial and explained to them that there had been a huge misunderstanding caused by the Palace Master.

It wasn’t so hard to interrogate the old man. Tian Yi Overlook had produced a special truth serum, used in the very rare occasion to investigate cases of treason or to oust spies. It was a little hard to use but with the old man restrained and weakened with Immortal Binding Cables, it was possible. Tianlang Jun’s blood could have done the work easier but they still could not trust the demon to not immediately kill the Palace Master during the interrogation. The heavenly demon sulkily sat back during the trial and let the humans do the work. For now.

Yue Qingyuan led the trial, careful to not reveal Luo Binghe’s heritage, per the half demon’s own request and for the safety of his own sect as well. The Palace Master, under the influence of the truth serum, was forced to admit to have discreetly removed anyone vying for Su Xiyan’s attention - either warning them to stay away from her, or eliminating them completely should they refuse. Not just Su Xiyan, he had done the same to Gongyi Xiao, citing that his precious disciples ‘must remain pure and untainted’.

His admission to staging the siege solely for the purpose of preventing Su Xiyan from leaving also shocked them. Monk Wu Wang and many others shouted angrily, for the siege had taken the lives of his peers as well, among many others. 

Although the old man insisted that he did not collude with the sower demons to infect an entire city, he had indeed called Qiu Haitang there to testify against Shen Qingqiu. He came across her by coincidence while trying to investigate Shen Qingqiu’s past and background with the intention to smear his reputation, so he could steal the Qing Jing Peak Lord’s favourite disciple, who had refused to defect to Huan Hua Palace.

It sparked an outrage among those present at the trial. Besmirching someone’s reputation out of jealousy was already terrible, but to do that to steal one’s disciple? Moreover, now that they realized Peak Lord Shen had such a young child, it only made things a thousand times worse! What would happen if the pitiful child was left motherless ah? Not to mention the Bai Zhan War God and the entire Cang Qiong Mountain would be declaring war against Huan Hua Palace. Two biggest sects against each other, what a disaster it would have been!

“Your verdict?” Yue Qingyuan asked all the representatives.

Abbot Wu Chen hummed. “The wronged party should be the one to decide in this case. I suggest leaving it to Peak Lord Shen and Tianlang Jun.”

The three nuns looked around. “By the way, why isn’t Peak Lord Shen attending this trial?”

“Qingqiu Shidi is still unwell,” Yue Qingyuan said. “He’s near his due date and the last incident has left him in an extremely vulnerable state.”

“.... Peak Lord Shen is with a baby?” One of the three nuns uttered.

The entire hall turned silent.

“You mean the Palace Master was about to detain an innocent man carrying another life inside him and was about to give birth?” The nun repeated.

Yue Qingyuan slowly nodded.

The hall turned silent again, before someone suddenly yelled out loud, “KILL HIM!”

Once again, everyone was chanting for the Palace Master’s death. The sect masters all unanimously agreed to let the victim of his machinations, Tianlang Jun, to have his way with Palace Master and tor… well, do whatever he wanted to do to the Palace Master. They did not feel like dirtying their hands for the old man and surely Tianlang Jun would be more than happy.

They agreed that in order to keep the long protected peace, both sides would not initiate any fight and just simply stay away from each other.

 


 

“What do you plan to do from now, Young Master Gongyi?” Tianlang Jun asked.

The youth, who was practicing his sword form, wiped his sweat and sheathed his sword. “The disciples are in favour of me as the next palace master, but I don’t really feel like it.”

The Young Palace Mistress had screamed like a madman when her father was dragged away. When she heard that he was to be stripped off his power and position, she quietened down, but threw a fit once more when the disciples were discussing appointing either Gongyi Xiao or Qin Wanyue as their next leader. She had assumed she would be the next Palace Master and would not stop making a ruckus.

Gongyi Xiao did not have the energy to even face Young Palace Mistress. He could not even stay in the master's room long enough before he would start remembering his master and shuddering at the vile thoughts the old man had. Qin Wanyue was more reasonable and diplomatic, she had qualities of a good leader. A few more years and she would be perfect as the next master.

Yue Qingyuan had offered him a place in Qiong Ding Peak if he ever felt like leaving. Gongyi Xiao was quite tempted but in the end Huan Hua Palace was still the place where he grew up in and he felt like he would disappoint his martial siblings by leaving to join another sect, especially Qin Wanyue who had high hopes that he would lead the sect together with her. “I plan to go on a journey to find myself, maybe for a year or so.”

Finding out that the master he had looked up to all these years was that kind of person made him feel conflicted and disappointed. He wanted to find some time for himself to discover his goal from now on.

Tianlang Jun’s eyes lit up. “Excellent! A journey to find yourself… how romantic is that?”

Gongyi Xiao laughed. “I wouldn’t describe it as romantic. I feel quite pathetic now.”

“Nonsense, you are a wonderful young man. Do you think I can join your trip?” Tianlang Jun asked.

The young man was surprised. “You want to come with me?”

Tianlang Jun nodded. Frankly Gongyi Xiao did not know how to feel about that. Bringing a heavenly demon with him? What was Tianlang Jun planning to do anyway? “Well, for now I plan to pay a visit to Peak Lord Shen first. Perhaps you’d like to join?”

Tianlang Jun beamed. “Absolutely!”

 


 

Of all people, they did not expect to see Qiu Haitang at the base of the mountain, pacing back and forth hesitantly in front of the gate, receiving weird looks from the disciples in charge of guarding the entrance.

“Lady Qiu,” Gongyi Xiao greeted her.

Qiu Haitang seemed to have changed a little since the last time they saw her. There was no longer an air of hostility around her. She only looked nervous. “I… I wanted to see A Jiu - um, Peak Lord Shen, but I don’t think they will let me in.”

Tianlang Jun laughed. “No shit lady.”

Qiu Haitang’s face turned red and Gongyi Xiao shook his head. “Your Excellency, you kidnapped his child, I don’t think you have the right to make fun of her,” he said, then walked over to the guarding disciples. “Can you please relay to Sect Leader Yue and Peak Lord Shen that Gongyi Xiao, Tianlang Jun, and Qiu Haitang are here to visit Peak Lord Shen?”

They waited down there while the disciple ran up to relay the message. Soon, they were given clearance to enter, albeit accompanied by several Bai Zhan disciples, who were staring at Tianlang Jun and Qiu Haitang with death glares. Gongyi Xiao couldn't blame them. One was a heavenly demon who tried to kidnap their precious martial nephew, while the other had thrown accusations to their martial uncle who was also married to their master.

They were escorted to the Qiong Ding Peak Hall. It seemed like there was an emergency meeting between the Peak Lords taking place. Gongyi Xiao was worried at first that perhaps Cang Qiong Mountain might view their presence as a sign of hostility. Even though he bore no ill thoughts against them, Huan Hua Palace Master had attempted to bring damage to one of the treasured Peak Lords and the two people with him were… well, not the most welcomed guests here, to say the least.

However, it appeared that the meeting had already taken place before their arrival and it was centered on the An Ding Peak Lord. Shang Qinghua was sweating bullets as he sat in the middle of the hall, while Mobei Jun stood behind him. Luo Binghe sat behind Shen Qingqiu, with Shen Yuan on his lap. The half-demon only briefly glanced at Tianlang Jun before averting his eyes.

Tianlang Jun blinked. “Ah, it’s you, the fuckboy demon who dumped my son.”

Luo Binghe spluttered. “There was nothing happening between us!!”

“That’s what everyone who gets dumped says,” Tianlang Jun cackled. “Pretending like there are no feelings left. There is no shame in heartbreak, take this from your father.”

“I will never call you father,” Luo Binghe glared.

Tianlang Jun shrugged. Baby steps, baby steps. He had been absent from his son’s life for over twenty years (even if it wasn’t by his choice) and he had caused some trouble, it was just natural that Luo Binghe would dislike him. Heavenly demons were never the type to flock together anyway, Tianlang Jun and his sister were dumped into the Endless Abyss as soon as they reached their teenage years ‘to grow up’. He survived the abyss and later on left to explore the human realm, while his sister eloped with a giant snake. The rest was history.

“I see the Mobei heir has come here to ask for permission to court your member, hm?” Tianlang Jun said. “If you need advice on interspecies relationships, I have experience.”

“They’re already married,” Shen Qingqiu retorted. “This traitor here has no choice but to report his marriage because he’s paraded his husband for all to see.”

Tianlang Jun laughed and clapped his hands. "Wonderful. I say, ask no permission and just apologize later is definitely up my alley. You have my approval, Peak Lord… what was your name?"

Yue Qingyuan massages his temples. "Your Excellency, please sit down and have some tea. Shang Shidi, we will discuss your matters later. You may return to your position."

Shang Qinghua blinked. "You're forgiving me, Zhangmen Shixiong?"

"You are also my responsibility and it is our negligence that caused you to turn like this. I should have kept an eye on you earlier, I honestly did not think…” Yue Qingyuan sighed.

“You did not think of all people he would be the traitor, especially someone this clueless,” Shen Qingqiu rolled his eyes. “Shang Shidi is so talented, he managed to seduce a demon and bonded with an alpha while thinking he was a beta.”

Shang Qinghua’s eyes twitched. “All of you were so mean! Nobody told me I was in heat.”

“It was something you should know,” Shen Qingqiu snapped.

“How the hell am I supposed to know when I’m not from… cough cough!” Shang Qinghua suddenly pretended to cough. Tianlang Jun caught Shen Yuan looking unimpressed at the An Ding Peak Lord and he chuckled.

“You’re not what?”

Yue Qingyuan decided to stop them. Mobei Jun already looked disgruntled that his spouse was being questioned. “Let’s have this conversation later. Qingqiu Shidi, a lot has happened and we have guests now.”

Shang Qinghua seemed to be content enough to be left off for now and he scurried back to his seat, pulling his now husband with him. "Right, right, we mustn't keep them waiting!"

Yue Qingyuan nodded and looked at the newly arrived guests. "A rare combination. What brings all of you here?" He asked.

Tianlang Jun grinned. "I've missed Little Yuan."

Liu Qingge glared at him and gripped his sword. "You are not coming anywhere near my son."

Gongyi Xiao quickly said, "Pardon us. After all that happened, I just wished to visit Peak Lord Shen and His Excellency is just tagging along."

Shen Qingqiu sneered. "Have you found a new human to fancy now? Your son is here, you know."

Tianlang Jun shrugged. "He is welcomed to visit anytime."

“I’m not-” Luo Binghe protested.

“Binghe,” Shen Qingqiu warned him. “Tianlang Jun, even if my son was not harmed, I still disliked what you did. Do not expect me to let you be anywhere near him.”

“Peak Lord Shen is so distrustful. If I really wanted to take him away, I could have done so easily. However, this lord has taken a little time to reflect. I’ve had my son forcefully taken away from me, I must not do the same to other people,” Tianlang Jun said.

Gongyi Xiao exhaled with relief.

Yue Qingyuan asked, “What happened after the trial, if I may ask?”

Tianlang Jun grinned. “Are you curious if the old man is still alive?”

“I will admit I am,” replied Yue Qingyuan.

“He’s still alive. I thought it is just proper for me to repay what he did to me, so I cut off his limbs, dug out his eyes, and kept him in my special prison in the demon realm, with my nephew watching over him. I’ll make sure he stays there for the next twenty years,” Tianlang Jun said nonchalantly.

Across him, Shen Yuan gawked and suddenly hopped over from Luo Binghe’s lap to hug his mother’s back. Shen Qingqiu who thought his child was scared by the description frowned and looked distastefully at Tianlang Jun. “Please mind your words. My young child doesn’t need to hear such gruesome details.”

“Oh, Peak Lord Shen, you shouldn’t underestimate your son. He is brilliant beyond his peers, I’d even say he’s like an adult in a child’s body!”

Shang Qinghua laughed nervously while Shen Yuan buried his face in his mother’s back. “Your Excellency, you sure say funny things! Cucum- ehem, Yuan Shizhi is the most innocent, childlike child I’ve ever seen!”

“... I think it’s better if you stop talking, Shang Shidi,” Shen Qingqiu said.

“Then… Miss Qiu, what intention do you have today?” Yue Qingyuan asked, addressing the bigger elephant in the room.

All eyes now focused on her. Shen Qingqiu looked conflicted while Liu Qingge only looked uneasy. Shen Yuan continued clutching to his mother tightly.

Qiu Haitang fidgeted. "I… I'd like to speak to Peak Lord Shen. About what really happened back then."

 


 

Yue Qingyuan had given them a private room to talk not far from the meeting hall. Liu Qingge had wanted to come with him and Shen Yuan looked like he didn’t want to let him go, but Shen Qingqiu knew Qiu Haitang deserved the privacy. After all, whatever she was about to hear concerned herself and her family’s reputation. The family he took away from her, regardless of the reasons. Even if he felt no remorse for killing them, he still felt bad for making her suffer.

Shen Qingqiu wasn't sure how to even begin. There was so much that happened and he wasn't sure if Qiu Haitang would even accept it.

"My brother...he wronged you, didn't he?" Qiu Haitang suddenly spoke.

Shen Qingqiu remained silent, but slowly nodded.

"Was it only you or were there other servants as well?" She asked.

Shen Qingqiu shook his head. "It was only me."

"... Why?"

Why did Qiu Jianluo do that? Why was he being singled out? Shen Qingqiu had many questions and many answers as well, things that he wasn’t even sure should be revealed or should be kept forever to his grave. However, he knew Qiu Haitang came here bracing herself for the sake of getting the answers. She was no longer the same naive, young girl she was before.

"Why did he do that? Why did he betroth us? Why was he singling you out? Why didn't you say anything to me?" Qiu Haitang cried. "We could elope. I wouldn't mind even if you were an omega, A Jiu."

"... We could never be together," Shen Jiu uttered.

Qiu Haitang bit her lips. "Do you not love me, not even a bit? Not even back then? Was it all just a misunderstanding on my part?"

Back then she had always thought that Shen Jiu truly loved her. He ran to hide in her room every other night, he looked calmer with her around. Now that she thought about it, she could not believe how blinded she was back then. A Jiu came to her not because he was attracted to her. He came to her to escape from her brother. Qiu Haitang could not even imagine the extent of abuse done by her brother to him, that he snapped like that.

Shen Qingqiu shook his head. "Not in that kind of way. Even if I was an alpha or a beta, we can never be together. Qiu Jianluo never intended to let us be together. He just wanted to keep you in the estate forever, without sending you away elsewhere."

Qiu Haitang trembled. "So my brother… had that kind of intention for me?”

It finally made sense now. She thought he was willing to free A Jiu from his enslavement and get them engaged because he cherished her, for he had always coddled her. Never once did she think that it was because he was not willing to marry her off. He knew A Jiu was an omega, he knew A Jiu could not get aroused by her pheromones.

"Haitang, I still wronged you. I will never regret killing Qiu Jianluo, but I regret hurting you," said Shen Qingqiu. "I will compensate you in any way I can - I'll pay for the estate, I'll pay for everything, I will kneel to you and apologize. However, I cannot give up my life no matter what. I have a husband and a child, and another one coming. I refuse to let my children grow motherless.”

Qiu Haitang wiped her tears. "A Jiu, you really have grown."

"..."

"My family is gone, what use is compensation? The Old Palace Master is paying the price for his mistakes, and my brother paid the price of his own sins. If I ask for your life, in the future your children would demand for my blood to be spilled and the cycle will never end," Qiu Haitang shook her head.

"Then…"

"Whatever wrongs you did, I will let the heavens decide," Qiu Haitang said. "Maybe if you were reborn as a pig in the next life, I will find you and turn you into a soup, that will be my revenge."

Shen Qingqiu smiled. "I see. Well, that won't happen. A Yuan says he is collecting good karma for me. Though, if I were given the chance my only wish for the next life would be to meet A Yuan again."

Qiu Haitang chuckled. "He is adorable. If only I can be here to also watch your new baby…"

She paused, as she noticed Shen Qingqiu's face suddenly changing. The Qing Jing Peak Lord suddenly groaned and clutched on the table, while one hand held his swelling belly. Qiu Haitang paled. "A Jiu? A Jiu, what's wrong?"

Her eyes widened when she noticed the bottom part of his robes were wet. "A Jiu, are you…?"

"... Call Mu Shidi," Shen Qingqiu gasped.

Qiu Haitang dropped her jaws. She ran out of the room and barged into the meeting hall, yelling, "A Jiu is about to give birth!!!"

Inside the hall, where there seemed to be a three-way battle between Luo Binghe, Tianlang Jun, and Mobei Jun, the atmosphere instantly turned quiet. It shifted to panic however, the moment Qiu Haitang’s words registered into their brains.

“WHAT?!!”

Chapter Text

Shen Yuan barely remembered the birth of his little sister during his past life. He was only three years old back then and he did not have the mind of an adult, unlike now. His earliest memory of his sister was just seeing his mother holding the baby in her arms. His eldest brother however witnessed the birth (well, not the birth itself but he was there when their mother’s water broke and he saw the mess left in the labour room), and he only described it as ‘bloody’.

His brother would be right about that. When Shen Yuan ran into the room joining the other panicked Peak Lords he nearly fainted. Shen Qingqiu was lying on the floor, Liu Qingge had rushed to cradle him, Qiu Haitang stood at the side not knowing what to do while Mu Qingfang knelt in front of him. His mother’s legs were parted and the bottom of his robes were completely soaked. There was no time to get his medical equipment so Mu Qingfang would just have to make an incision using a short blade. 

“Shixiong, please bear it for a while,” said Mu Qingfang. “Everyone except Liu Shidi, please leave the room.”

“Just do it!” Shen Qingqiu yelled. He was in immense pain and he couldn’t care less anymore. The baby was demanding to get out.

Mu Qingfang sterilized the blade with his spiritual energy and when more blood began seeping out, Shen Yuan nearly blacked out.

Only for a few seconds, though. Luo Binghe held him from the back to stop him from falling down. “A Yuan, let’s wait outside, okay?”

Shen Yuan nodded his head. Truthfully a part of him wanted to stay inside, but he knew it wouldn’t be a good idea. He let Luo Binghe carry him outside.

Soon, disciples from Qian Cao Peak that had been summoned finally arrived with their kits. Around the same time, they all heard the cries of a baby.

Shen Yuan could finally exhale with relief. He was worried it might take too long, but his little sibling popped out without much difficulty. He had heard stories of women who suffered contractions for an entire day before they were finally able to give birth but luckily for Shen Qingqiu the baby came out just fine. It was a bit earlier than the predicted due date, but Mu Qingfang was pleased to report that the baby girl was born perfect and of healthy weight.

Shen Qingqiu was transferred to a spare room in Qiong Ding Peak for now. With his current cultivation, by the following day he would be fit enough to return to Qing Jing Peak, and would be healed completely within three to four days. Yue Qingyuan let Shen Yuan into the room, while the rest of the Peak Lords and their surprise guests waited outside to give the entire family some time to have a look at the new baby first.

Shen Qingqiu still looked pale - he had lost a huge amount of blood - but his complexion did not look bad, he only looked tired. He was already sitting up, and Liu Qingge held the baby in his arms. He smiled, and showed the baby to Shen Yuan. “A Yuan, look, your little sister.”

Shen Yuan blinked, staring at the still pink newborn. He had seen photos of himself and his siblings when they were just born, yet it still felt surreal. “She’s so tiny and wrinkly.”

Shen Qingqiu chuckled. “You were like this when you were born too.”

He was sure he was not this pink and wrinkly. “What’s her name?” He knew Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge had likely already chosen a name for the baby.

“Liu Song. A Song, look, it’s your big brother, your Yuan Gege.”

Liu Song?

So they chose to use Liu Qingge's surname this time. He was a little surprised for a second, then he remembered that even in his previous world there were also siblings with different surnames. The Liu family had been very welcoming to Shen Qingqiu, why would they not have one child inheriting the Liu surname? In fact, according to tradition here Shen Yuan should have been named Liu Yuan, since in this world children usually took the surname of the alpha parent. Moreover, he was their firstborn son. The Bai Zhan Peak Lord however likely did not care that much about traditions and was just happy about having a child, hence even after their marriage Shen Yuan remained a Shen.

“A Yuan, do you want to try and hold her?” Liu Qingge suddenly asked.

“Oh? Oh, okay,” Shen Yuan smiled and accepted the baby into his arms. Goodness, she is light , he thought. It felt like he was holding a bundled up Bingpup.

“A Song looks like she takes more after you than me,” Shen Qingqiu commented, looking at his husband.

Really? Shen Yuan could not tell. She looked the same as his Shen meimei, in fact she looked pretty much like every newborn he had seen. Just a blob of pink, wrinkly little humans.

Shen Yuan returned the baby to his mother’s arms and soon other Peak Lords also began coming in to have a look at the baby. They all cooed over the newborn baby girl. Liu Mingyan who had been there with Qi Qingqi was already penning a letter to her parents to inform them about the birth of the new baby. Luo Binghe was already fussing around, trying to head to the kitchen to prepare soup for his Shizun but also trying to keep Tianlang Jun from poking his head to have a look.

Shen Yuan noticed Mobei Jun whispering something to Shang Qinghua that caused the An Ding Peak Lord to blush. The two then disappeared (probably to make their own babies, Shen Yuan thought and rolled his eyes), unnoticed by the other Peak Lords who were too busy arguing about who should get the right to hold the new bundle of joy. Mu Qingfang advised them to not pass the newborn baby around too much and in the end, Liu Qingge and Shen Qingqiu simply shooed all of them away.

 


 

What good timing for the baby to be born! Shang Qinghua was worried when a fight was about to erupt between Mobei Jun, Luo Binghe, and Tianlang Jun. The older heavenly demon had made a careless remark about how disappointed he was in Mobei Jun’s taste and Mobei Jun who lost his temper had gone to attack Tianlang Jun. Luo Binghe apparently was quite insulted as well and joined the fray, though Shang Qinghua had no idea whether he was upset at his own father or at Mobei Jun.

Shang Qinghua and Mobei Jun returned to the northern palace. They spent a few more days enjoying their honeymoon, until a servant unexpectedly informed them that Mobei Jun’s father was dying.

The power of the Mobei Clan was passed down through generations, in which after each leader died the heir would absorb the power from the martial body to complete the inheritance. It would take some time to do that and Mobei Jun must not be disturbed. Shang Qinghua pushed away all schedules and accompanied his spouse to his father’s chamber.

An unexpected guest appeared and Shang Qinghua nearly cursed inside. How could he forget that Mobei Jun had an uncle? Moreover, this uncle had a grievance against Mobei Jun and his father, as his partner was stolen from him by his father! In the novel, Linguang Jun would try to interrupt the inheritance ceremony but according to the original plot Luo Binghe would be there to rip his limbs off before he could do it.

Now instead of the protagonist with the golden finger Mobei Jun only had him. Shang Qinghua could only pray that Linguang Jun would forget his ambition to fulfill his revenge and ambition. However, judging from the way Linguang Jun was looking at him and Mobei Jun, it did not look too right. Linguang Jun scrunched his nose as if trying to catch a whiff of Shang Qinghua, only to raise an eyebrow when he noticed the omega was enveloped in Mobei Jun’s scent.

“Well, I’ve only heard the news, but it seems to be true. How can you not invite your own uncle to your wedding?” He sneered.

Mobei Jun did not answer. Linguang Jun shrugged.

“Hurry up and enter, nephew. Otherwise the martial body will dissipate before you can absorb it,” he said and gestured to Mobei Jun to enter the room.

Shang Qinghua wanted to follow but Linguang Jun suddenly stopped him. “Outsiders shouldn’t join.”

Mobei Jun glared at his uncle. “My mate will come with me.”

“Alright, alright, up to you…” Linguang Jun said, once more sneering at them as he watched the two of them enter the room. He waited until Mobei Jun already started the process before he raised his arm and flexed his fingers. “Just don’t regret… when I have to kill you too!”

Mobei Jun was already standing in the circle for the inheritance ceremony and was unable to move even as his eyes widened upon seeing the ball of demonic energy thrown to him. Shang Qinghua shrieked and immediately summoned his sword, deflecting the attack. The impact was enough to make him skid a few steps backward, Linguang Jun’s power really wasn’t something to look down at.

“Oh? This little omega of yours isn’t too bad. Still not my match!” Linguang Jun seethed and sent another wave of attack towards them. Shang Qinghua tried deflecting the attack once more but his own spiritual energy wasn’t enough. He casted a fire spell and created a circle of inferno surrounding himself and Mobei Jun to block Linguang Jun away from them. Fire was the ice demon tribe’s weakness, so even if he could only cast mid-level spells it should be enough to repel Linguang Jun for a while.

“You’re more cunning than I thought. However, do you think this thing can keep me away forever?”

Of course not! Shang Qinghua cried inside. He was hoping the fire would burn long enough for the inheritance process to be completed. However, the flames were slowly weakening and Linguang Jun lunged towards him, choking his neck.

“How would you like to die? Decapitation? A hole through your heart?” He cackled.

“Nn...no…” He croaked.

“Or how about I slowly freeze your insides, ah?” Linguang Jun smirked and began pouring his demonic energy into Shang Qinghua.

His entire body was feeling cold. He was freezing. It reminded him of the winter when his electricity was cut down after not forgetting to pay his bills and not even blankets could help. He writhed and struggled, kicking desperately to be released from Linguang Jun.

The ice demon only had a complicated expression. His jaw dropped. “How… why….why aren’t you dying?”

Before he could finish his sentence, a fist landed against the side of his face and Linguang Jun was thrown a good ten metres away, crashing into the wall.

Shang Qinghua gasped for air as Mobei Jun quickly pulled him into his embrace. He gently laid Shang Qinghua onto the floor once more, before pouncing at his uncle and beating him up to pulp. To gain that strength, he must have finished absorbing all the power…

Shang Qinghua wearily glanced to the side and was shocked to discover that Mobei Jun had yet to complete the inheritance. The strength he gained was only a momentary impulse, out of rage from seeing his mate in danger. He gawked. “King...my King! Husband! The inheritance!”

Mobei Jun rushed towards him and cradled him. “We’ll get you a healer.”

“No, the inheritance! Complete it!”

“But-”

“I’ll be fine! It’s going to dissipate if you don’t hurry!” Shang Qinghua panicked. It already looked like it was about to disappear. How could Mobei Jun abandon it in a heartbeat?

Reluctantly Mobei Jun returned to the circle and Shang Qinghua forced himself to sit up and keep watch. Something was wrong with him, Linguang Jun’s demonic power was probably still lingering inside him. His belly was freezing cold and he felt sick. He tried to dispel it but the power remained inside him and trying to circulate his own spiritual energy weirdly only made his body feel even colder.

The inheritance was finally over. Mobei Jun slumped down, looking exhausted. He crept towards Shang Qinghua and once again slipped his arms underneath his back and thighs to carry him. "Will get… a healer…"

"My King, my husband... I can... walk…" Shang Qinghua said but was surprised by how feeble his voice sounded himself.

Footsteps approached them.

Shang Qinghua weakly reached into his sleeve looking for the remaining highest grade fire talisman he had. If the asshole uncle ever tried to do something again…

"A showcase of true love! I have truly seen the light now! I shouldn't have judged too quickly."

Shang Qinghua blinked. His vision was beginning to blur. He could only see Mobei Jun shielding him with his arms. "Stay away….or…."

A familiar laugh echoed in the room. "Calm down, Little Mobei... oh, I suppose you're the new official leader now. Congratulations. I was here to watch the ceremony but who knew I'd see something more interesting."

"Your Excellency, how about we bring Peak Lord Shang to a healer first?"

"Oh, you're right. Well, you owe us one now, Mobei and Peak Lord Shang."

Shang Qinghua blacked out.

When he woke up he was in his and Mobei Jun's room in their own newly built palace. Mobei Jun had already recovered thanks to his amplified power now. He was sitting by Shang Qinghua’s side and his face was lit up like a Christmas tree. A small smile formed on Shang Qinghua’s face. Mobei Jun looked so happy, the inheritance must have been a success. He reached out to hold Mobei Jun’s hand. “My King... husband. Is everything fine?”

Mobei Jun nodded and cupped his face. “Qinghua. Thank goodness. It was so close… if it wasn’t for the baby…”

Baby? Is he talking about Cang Qiong Mountain? That was several days ago. Shang Qinghua laughed. “It came at a great time, didn’t it? But why are you still talking about it? The inheritance went well, right? What happened to your uncle?”

Mobei Jun blinked. “Qinghua, did you already know about the baby?”

“Ah? Well, Shen Shixiong’s tummy looked like it was going to pop the bun out anytime so I wasn’t too surprised.”

“I’m not...talking about their baby.”

Shang Qinghua suddenly had a premonition. “Hold on… then which baby are you talking about?”

The door opened after several knocks and Mu Qingfang appeared, bringing his medicine box with him. He raised an eyebrow. “You’re awake, Shang Shixiong.”

Shang Qinghua gawked. “Mu Shidi? Why are you here?”

Mu Qingfang sighed and sat down by the bed. He opened the box then laid out several small jars. He mixed up the contents in a small cup and handed it to Shang Qinghua. “Tianlang Jun brought me here.”

“Tianlang… Jun?” Shang Qinghua vaguely remembered hearing voices that sounded like the heavenly demon speaking, but he thought he was just hallucinating after blacking out.

“None of us know any human healer other than Peak Lord Mu,” Mobei Jun answered. “Your body was acting strange and I wasn’t sure what to do.”

Mu Qingfang nodded. He was a little taken aback when Tianlang Jun suddenly appeared in his peak, moreover not long after Shen Qingqiu had just given birth. He was just about to leave to check on Shen Qingqiu and Liu Song, when Tianlang Jun pretty much kidnapped him to the demon realm to treat Shang Qinghua, who had been struck by a powerful northern demon. An injured martial brother took more priority than a normal check up, so Mu Qingfang only sighed helplessly even though he was not a fan of Tianlang Jun’s oddity.

“Well, pregnancy does make your body change and none of you have experience, I understand why… err, your husband is a little clueless,” Mu Qingfang coughed.

“Hold on!!!” Shang Qinghua shrieked, eyes wide and jaws dropped. “Preg… pregananant… pregnant? Pregnancy? Me?!”

Mu Qingfang smiled. “Yes, Shang Shixiong. Congratulations, you're having a baby.”

Shang Qinghua touched his belly, unable to believe it. “Then, this…” He turned to Mobei Jun.

Mobei Jun nodded. “He tried using his demonic qi to kill you, but the baby growing inside saved you. The baby absorbed the demonic qi so you did not freeze.”

No wonder his tummy felt cold. No wonder he couldn’t dispel the energy out. He had a baby inside, a demon ice baby, and the baby had actually saved his life! “But why didn’t I feel anything? I didn’t have any symptoms, like morning sickness or whatever?”

“You’re still very early into the pregnancy. Some people don’t experience the symptoms until later on, in fact for some people they are very mild,” Mu Qingfang explained.

“So… I really do have a baby?” Shang Qinghua gawked. “Oh my… my King, my husband - we have a baby!” He cried and threw himself at Mobei Jun.

Mu Qingfang smiled and left the couple to celebrate the good news in the privacy of their room. He placed a pack of supplements and herbal tea on the table, along with a note to Shang Qinghua, welcoming him to drop by Qian Cao Peak whenever he needed help.

“Alright, can you return me home now? I need to go and see Shen Shixiong,” Mu Qingfang said to Tianlang Jun and Gongyi Xiao, who were waiting outside. “Still, Shang Shixiong really is lucky. To think that the two of you are here just in time.”

Tianlang Jun laughed and pointed at Gongyi Xiao. “Thank Xiao Xiao here.”

“Xiao Xiao…” Gongyi Xiao was not used to hearing that kind of nickname.

After offending Mobei Jun and Shang Qinghua last time, Gongyi Xiao suggested that before they set off for their long trip, they should go and apologize to Peak Lord Shang first. He was also curious about the demon realm, so Tianlang Jun brought him over after Zhuzhi Lang had shipped the Old Palace Master from the water prison to the dungeon in his southern palace.

When they arrived at the northern palace, they heard the news that Mobei Senior had just passed away and Mobei Junior was replacing him. Tianlang Jun thought they might as well intrude and watch the inheritance ceremony. Who knew a family drama would occur there. He was surprised to see Shang Qinghua defending his spouse with all his might despite being no match for Linguang Jun.

All in all, it was a happy ending that completely satisfied Tianlang Jun. Linguang Jun likely wouldn’t stop here but now that Mobei Jun had inherited the Mobei Clan’s power, his uncle shouldn’t be a match for him anymore. “Well, we can’t leave my nephew to watch over the old man for too long anymore, he’ll get bored. Let’s go and bring back Peak Lord Mu, then I’ll show you around my place next, Xiao Xiao.”

 


 

Shen Yuan yawned and stretched his body. The sun had already risen. He sighed. 

For the past week their home had been receiving guests non-stop. The Peak Lords kept finding excuses to see A Song, even the disciples were hovering around the bamboo house to the point where either Shen Qingqiu or Liu Qingge had to threaten them with severe punishment if they refused to go back to their lessons. 

His grandparents also came to visit and had stayed at the guests’ quarter for a couple of days. They brought some gifts for the couple and the baby, then went straight away to check out and hold his baby sister. After a few days the baby finally no longer looked like a lump of pink meat (at least in Shen Yuan’s eyes) and indeed was starting to show features heavily resembling their father. She even had a beauty mark at the same spot as Liu Qingge.

Madam Liu had not stopped talking about how adorable Little Song was. She was already urging Liu Qingge to come and visit their family home again once A Song was a little older so she could show her off to their other relatives. 

Shen Yuan washed up and headed to the dining hall with Bingpup straight away. His mother wasn’t preparing breakfast anymore since he was busy nursing the baby so he had to get breakfast for himself. The disciples had all gone to perform their chores, so he was the only one in the hall, eating congee while feeding some shredded meat for Bingpup. Liu Qingge must have forgotten to wake him up in time again, this was the third day in a row that he was eating breakfast alone. Shen Yuan should really learn to wake up on his own without an alarm clock now. He could not rely on his parents forever.

Airplane had gone back to his husband’s home so Shen Yuan had nobody else but Bingpup to play with. He went to the bamboo forest and began practicing his guqin instead with Bingpup nestled in his lap. These days he wasn’t allowed to play at the deck anymore, to not disturb his sleeping little sister or his tired mother. Shen Yuan snorted a little.

Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge now must be wondering why their new baby was so loud and cried so easily. Shen Yuan had been so easy to take care of since he was an adult in a child’s body. Now they had a real child, who would soon be spilling all kinds of shit, throwing up on important papers, drooling everywhere. Thank me later, you sticky couple .

“A Yuan, why are you here alone?”

Shen Yuan looked up and saw Luo Binghe carrying a bucket of water in hand and a dirty cloth in the other. “Bing Gege, you’re still being bullied at this age?”

Luo Binghe blinked. “Huh?”

Shen Yuan coughed. He hadn’t been alive yet at the time when Luo Binghe was being bullied by his martial brothers, he should not know that. “What are you doing with that cloth and bucket?”

“Ah… I’m cleaning up the empty room in the disciple quarter. They gave me a room for myself, but it’s too dusty,” said Luo Binghe.

“You’re not sleeping in your old room anymore?” Shen Yuan asked.

Luo Binghe shook his head. “I’m still going to serve Shizun, but I’m not staying there anymore. I’m an adult alpha now and even if Shizun treats me as part of his pack, I’m still not related to him. Staying under the same roof would not be appropriate. Liu Shishu is also an alpha, he won’t like that.”

“But…” Shen Yuan paused, thinking back. Well, Luo Binghe had a point. He was an adult alpha now and though Shen Yuan could not understand since he had not presented yet, fully grown alphas could not stand other alphas being too close to their omegas, unless they were blood-related.

“Well, I can’t stay there forever anyway. Soon An Ding Peak might renovate the whole bamboo house to give more space for both you and A Song,” Luo Binghe said.

Well, he wasn’t wrong. Shen Yuan imagined even with a second baby his parents likely wouldn’t stop being the sickeningly sweet and horny couple they were. His little sister too, would need her own space soon, the poor girl should be spared from walking into... ehem, the things he saw. Perhaps one day he would be the one moving to Luo Binghe’s old room, while his little sister would take over his room. Thinking about that somehow made Shen Yuan a little sad.

He loved his previous parents of course, but he was without a doubt closer to his current parents. The Shen couple were busy making money most of the time, he and his siblings were usually cared for by nannies and housekeepers, and were taught by teachers and tutors. Here, Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge took care of everything, only leaving him to their disciples when needed. He was breastfed for much longer, he was taught by his own mother, bathed and dressed by his father.

Having meals without them already felt lonely, even though he was used to eating alone in his previous life, after moving out from his family home. Shen Qingqiu’s eating schedule had changed to suit A Song’s waking and sleeping hours so Liu Qingge would tell him to eat with other disciples since he wanted to accompany his mate during mealtime. He understood they did not want him to also have irregular mealtimes since he was a growing child, but still... it had only been several days and he kind of missed family meals.

“Bing Gege is still going to be here, taking care of you and A Song,” Luo Binghe smiled and patted his head. “Is Shizun awake? What about A Song?”

Shen Yuan shrugged.

The smile disappeared from Luo Binghe’s face. He did notice Shen Yuan had been eating breakfast alone these days and that he had only been playing with Bingpup. “A Yuan, aren’t you happy to have a baby sister?”

“What?” Shen Yuan was a little surprised to hear that from Luo Binghe. “Of course I’m happy.”

“Why aren’t you spending more time with them?”

He just did not want to disturb Shen Qingqiu’s rest, what was so weird about that? His parents were the ones who told him to have his meals at the dining hall or play farther from home. “I don’t want to wake A Song or mama. A Song needs to sleep and mama needs rest.”

“Mm. A Yuan is very considerate. Still, you shouldn’t be playing alone here,” said Luo Binghe.

“We’re still in Qing Jing Peak, it’s safe. Everyone is busy, I don’t want to bother them,” Shen Yuan said. Shen Qingqiu had delegated more tasks to Ming Fan and the rest of his disciples so they were all occupied.

“... Still, haven’t you gone and seen Shizun today yet?” Luo Binghe said.

“We live in the same house, of course we will see each other. Bing Gege, why are you asking this?”

Luo Binghe looked a little hesitant before he finally said, “A Yuan, you look upset.”

Did he? Shen Yuan looked back at the small guqin. He had finally mastered a piece but Shen Qingqiu wasn’t here to listen. “I’m just bored.”

Luo Binghe placed the bucket down and sat on the ground facing him. “A Yuan, you should tell Shizun and Liu Shishu if you are upset.”

Shen Yuan shook his head. Why would he do that, he was already grown up. It was embarrassing, to still be asking for attention. “A Song is more important, she’s a baby and she’s so small.”

“But A Yuan is also important. No matter your age, you’re still Shizun’s precious child,” said Luo Binghe.

Why are you here preaching to me when you haven’t even reconciled with your own daddy? Shen Yuan thought. “Bing Gege, aren’t you going to find a girl - ehem, an omega, and have your own baby?”

Luo Binghe looked confused. “Huh? No, A Yuan, I don’t plan to do anything like that.”

Strange. “Why?”

Luo Binghe blushed a little. “I’m waiting for a fated encounter like Shizun.”

… What fated encounter? It seemed to Shen Yuan he was just born out of an accident! He was conceived and born before Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge were married, there was clearly an incident that the two of them were too embarrassed to disclose to a young child.

Luo Binghe went to do his chores and Shen Yuan decided perhaps he could pop over to Mo Shou Peak and ask Yu Qingxuan to help him train Bingpup. The Bingpup imbued with Mobei Jun’s power was too majestic, he was curious to see if the Mo Shou Peak Lord could do the same as well.

On his way, he encountered Shang Qinghua at the Rainbow Bridge and his eyes immediately lit up. “Airplane Bro, you’re back!”

Shang Qinghua too looked very excited to see him. “Cucumber Bro!”

He ran up to Shang Qinghua and grinned. “You’re finally here. Were you about to come and see me?”

“Of course bro, you’re the first person I’d tell this news to!” Shang Qinghua laughed.

“News?”

The An Ding Peak Lord’s face was bright and his eyes were starry. “Bro, I’m having a baby!”

Shen Yuan’s smile remained stiff on his face. A baby.

Shang Qinghua too, was having a baby.

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.”

Chapter Text

“A Yuan… did someone make you upset?” Luo Binghe asked.

Shen Yuan refused to answer and kept looking at the ground. He felt quite embarrassed for losing his temper but at the same time he did not want to just give in and return. Was he not allowed to show his temper once in a while? He had been pretty unproblematic compared to most children. Everyone said he was a genius (well, he was an adult inside after all). There was nothing less worthy about him than A Song, other than that he was born before marriage, but so what? It wasn't his fault.

"A Yuan, you were lonely because Shizun and Shishu didn't pay attention to you, weren't you?" Luo Binghe asked. "Gege will talk to Shizun, so why don't we go back?"

Shen Yuan remained silent, ignoring the protagonist's coaxing. Soon the door slid open and Shen Qingqiu finally appeared. He did not look like he had just escaped from a storm like Ning Yingying or Ming Fan did, but there were a few loose strands and the Qing Jing Peak Lord did look deathly pale.

He scanned the shop, and noticed a familiar face sitting beside Shen Yuan. His eyes widened. The pipa lady smiled knowingly and nodded her head. Shen Qingqiu gave her a nod of acknowledgement as well and mentally noted to pay a visit and send her plenty of gifts later.

"A Yuan," Shen Qingqiu called. "I'm here. Let's go home."

"..." 

Shen Qingqiu furrowed his brows. "A Yuan, I'll listen to you later. Let's go home now, shall we? It's late, you made everyone worry."

"...."

"A Yuan, aren't you listening? Everyone is waiting. Your sister has been left-"  

Shen Yuan looked away. "If Peak Lord Shen is so concerned about his child, then go back."

Shen Qingqiu froze. Luo Binghe stared at Shen Yuan in disbelief. 

Just right then, Liu Qingge and the other Peak Lords who had also been out searching for Shen Yuan finally arrived after being notified by Ning Yingying. Liu Qingge rushed in and was about to open his mouth, when he noticed the tense air. Yue Qingyuan's expression stiffened when he noticed Shen Yuan's tremor and tears threatening to spill.

"Why are you still here? Weren't you so eager to see your child?" Shen Yuan uttered, his tone reminded Yue Qingyuan very much of his own shidi. "Go back. Leave me alone."

Liu Qingge dropped his jaw. "A Yuan…"

"Enough. Stop pretending like you care," Shen Yuan snapped.

"A Yuan, what are you talking about-"

"You were fine not seeing me the whole day, yesterday. You haven't said good morning or goodnight to me for almost a week. You didn't ask if I ate well."

It was like a dam had been broken. For the past several days, Shen Yuan had been bottling up his feelings. As someone who had always been pampered, someone who was the centre of attention, to have the attention that used to belong to him completely suddenly taken away was like a huge unexpected slap to his face. He had never felt this lonely. He tried telling himself that he was a mature adult and should not be demanding attention anymore, not when he knew it was just reasonable that his parents would have to give more care to his sister, a literal, actual baby who needed full attention.

However, it was still frustrating. More than anything, Shen Yuan hated that he was feeling this way. He hated that even though he understood it, he didn’t like it and could not accept it. Warm tears flooded his eyes and he bit his lips to stop himself from crying, but he could not stop the quivering in his voice. “I’m not important to you anymore, stop acting like you care.”

Shen Qingqiu parted his lips but no words came out. Liu Qingge stared at their son, unable to move.

“You don’t even acknowledge me as your son. Are you that ashamed because I was born out of wedlock?”

Liu Qingge took a deep breath. He walked over to his son and reached out to touch his head. “A Yuan, why would you say that-”

Shen Yuan slapped the hand away. “You named my sister Liu. Why am I Shen Yuan?"

It finally dawned on the couple, as well as the other Peak Lords.

The thought escaped their minds before, since they knew how much Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge loved their child. Even though traditionally children were named after the father or alpha's surname, there were still some who chose to take the omega's surname, albeit it usually happened only when the omega was from a richer family. Shen Qingqiu might not hail from a prestigious family but he was the Qing Jing Peak Lord, second-in-command in Cang Qiong Mountain, making him a senior to Liu Qingge. Hence, they did not think that the surname would soon be an issue, moreover since they never expected the couple to have a second child with a different surname. However, with the recent revelation about Shen Qingqiu's background thanks to the Old Palace Master and Qiu Haitang, no doubt people would be looking at it differently.

(Also, they never thought that a child as young as Shen Yuan would understand the significance of a surname.)

Shen Qingqiu took a deep breath and crouched in front of his son. "A Yuan… are you ashamed of bearing my surname?"

"..." Shen Yuan did not answer. 

The pipa lady, who had been observing them since the beginning, decided to step in. "Forgive this presumptuous lowly one. This lowly one is uneducated and of low birth. However, if I may offer an opinion, I believe this is not just a matter of shame."

While the other Peak Lords were silently wondering who the lady was, Shen Qingqiu turned his gaze at her.

"From what I gather, the little one is more upset that he isn't given the fair treatment as his sibling. Indeed, Peak Lord Shen and Peak Lord Liu know best how much you love your son, but this child doesn't understand it. All he knows is that one day, everyone around him will be questioning his lineage. Wouldn't he feel degraded?" She questioned.

Liu Qingge was taken aback. He had never thought of the possibility. He had only now realized that all his life, Shen Yuan had only been living in the shelter of Cang Qiong Mountain. However, sooner or later he would indeed step out of his comfort place and enter the real world. No beatings could stop people from talking.

The pipa lady smiled. "You see, whenever a new one enters our establishment, we try our best to accommodate the young one. However, we make sure the older ones are still taken care of. Lowly people like us are easily replaceable, but it is never a nice feeling to bury your older sister, who has cared for you before."

"..." Isn't that too extreme of a comparison to speak in front of a child? Yue Qingyuan thought.

"This lowly one hopes she has not crossed the line. Perhaps Peak Lord Shen should speak out his feelings. A person's heart is something only that person understands," she added, before stepping back.

Shen Qingqiu took a deep breath. He sat in front of Shen Yuan, his eyes soft. "A Yuan, I've wronged you. I'm so sorry."

Shen Yuan's lips trembled.

"A Yuan… you may not believe this, but you truly changed my world, from the day you were conceived. Truthfully, when I first found out that I have a little one in my belly…" Shen Qingqiu paused, pressing a hand against his tummy. "I was conflicted. Your father was a tasteless brute back then, not someone I could ever imagine as a husband. In fact, I've never even thought of taking a husband before that."

Liu Qingge nearly choked hearing that. He knew Shen Qingqiu hated him back then of course, but to be reminded of it again after several years of happy marriage made him flinch a little.

"But there was a little voice inside me that told me to keep you. Your mama was a slave who never had a family, A Yuan. You are my first family. You are very special to me, more than anything, more than my own life, more than anyone in this world," Shen Qingqiu said. "Not one in this world can ever replace you. That's why back then I wanted you to carry my name, because you are someone so precious to me."

He paused to extend his hand and wiped small drops of tears that had spilled onto Shen Yuan's cheeks. "However, your mama was a fool. I didn't think it would be an issue one day. But… most importantly, I should know that no matter how intelligent my boy is, in the end you're still a child. In fact... even this old mama of yours can have a temper. You made me a meal with your own tiny hands, but I couldn't even wake up in time to make you a meal."

Liu Qingge bit his lips and also joined his spouse, facing his child. "A Yuan, if there is a bigger fool here, it would be me. Your mama was understandably tired but I have no excuse. I should have been the one to watch over you, but I was occupied by the new baby too. I'm so sorry. However, do not doubt our love for you. You are my son, my firstborn, and the Liu Family will never not acknowledge you."

Shen Qingqiu nodded. He cupped the soft cheeks. "A Yuan… I was planning to tell you when you were much older, but your courtesy name was already decided."

Shen Yuan's eyes widened with surprise.

Shen Qingqiu took out his qiankun pouch and dropped a small jade tassel onto his small palms. Shen Yuan stared at the tassel with shocked eyes. 

One one side of the jade was the Liu Family's crest, while the other side of the jade was carved with the characters spelling Weiyu. Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge had both consulted Master and Madam Liu, who suggested the name and had the jade tassel done. However, Shen Qingqiu had kept it with him, intending to give the tassel to his son once Shen Yuan was old enough.

"I thought I'd give this to you once you're at the right age. At that time, you can decide if you would like to take the name," Shen Qingqiu said.

Shen Yuan's mouth was wide open. Shen Qingqiu wasn't sure if Shen Yuan even understood what it meant to have a jade tassel given by the head of the Liu Family, or if he was just stunned by the exquisite quality of the jade. Sometimes Shen Qingqiu himself was surprised by the extent of Shen Yuan's understanding of how things worked.

Shen Yuan then switched his gaze back to his mother. "But mama... you said you want me to have your surname…"

Shen Qingqiu nodded. "I do… but more than anything, I want you to be happy. I'd rather not you get ridiculed or feel ostracized. That's why… until you receive the courtesy name officially... can't you stay as my Shen Yuan, just for a little longer? Will you grant this selfish request of mine, at least just within us?"

Shen Yuan trembled. Unable to restrain himself anymore, he burst out in tears and sobbed. "Mama...papa… I'm sorry for troubling you. I know my sister is a baby and I know you two are tired…"

Shen Qingqiu wrapped his child tightly in his arms. "Don't be. We're the ones who made the mistake here."

Liu Qingge nodded and pulled the mother and son into a tight hug as well. The spectating people all breathed out a sigh of relief. Ning Yingying was silently sobbing at the back. The pipa lady smiled gently and the old artisan was still wondering if he should tell these people to bring their family drama out from his shop. Why can't they go and have this talk at home ah?

Luo Binghe chuckled. At least for now, the matters seemed to have been settled. He blinked as he realized something. "But Shizun, what if one day A Yuan were to become the Peak Lord-"

"The generational name will all be 'Wei'," Yue Qingyuan quickly answered with a smile on his face. As the leader he had the biggest authority on deciding the shared character for the next generation's name.

Shen Yuan: "...."

This is an abuse of power ah! I'm not that shameless!

Shen Qingqiu scooped up Shen Yuan to carry him. He did not forget to turn to the pipa lady and bowed. "Thank you very much, Jie."

The pipa lady chuckled. "Peak Lord Shen and his child are like two peas in a pod. This lowly one is happy to be helpful to you."

"Are you familiar with this lady, Shizun?" Luo Binghe asked.

The pipa lady giggled, then whispered to Luo Binghe. Upon hearing it, the half-demon's face instantly morphed into the colour of a tomato and he stammered, "Shi… Shizun used to… from you…"

Shen Qingqiu rolled his eyes. "Oh, stop being so dramatic Binghe. One day I'm going to tell you about the pleasures of lying with an omega woman."

"Shizun!!" Luo Binghe protested, while Liu Qingge looked like his head had just been dunked into a jar of vinegar.

Shen Yuan pretended like he had not heard anything.

So that old customer was you?!

Shen Qingqiu rubbed his son's back as they walked out. "You must be tired and hungry, A Yuan. What do you want to eat?"

Shen Yuan buried his face in the crook of his mother's neck. Now that he had calmed down, he felt embarrassed for crying in front of everyone! Not to mention the entire sect had gone out looking for him. How humiliating… he hoped that in ten years nobody would bring this matter up, like in his previous life, where his parents would gather with his uncles and aunts during new year to talk about their children’s mortifying old stories that made them all wish they could forget everything.

"Anything mama makes is fine," he murmured. "Also… A Yuan will stay A Yuan for as long as mama wants. I'll be Shen Yuan, so I'm special to mama."

Shen Qingqiu chuckled. "Really?"

"Mm," Shen Yuan nodded. After all…

It might be spelled differently, but that name, Weiyu, sounded almost like another character from a different novel. Ah well, he would enjoy this name for longer. After all, it was something special just for the two of them, wasn't it? 

 


 

"Cucumber Broooo!!!!" Shang Qinghua cried as soon as he saw Shen Yuan, completely forgetting that Luo Binghe was still watching them with curious eyes. The An Ding Peak Lord noticed the protagonist standing not far from them and coughed. "Yuan Shizhi, my cute cucumber… you made us all worry."

Shen Yuan was glad he had washed his face. This morning when he woke up his eyes were still slightly puffy from all the crying. They had talked a bit more after returning home and having dinner together. To make up for their lack of care for the past few days, Shen Qingqiu even asked Shen Yuan to sleep with them, but Shen Yuan refused.

Sure, he missed his parents but he also knew that A Song was the type to wake up crying at midnight. Also, as much as he loved his parents, he knew what kind of activities had taken place in that bed, and he would like to avoid sleeping there as much as possible.

The two transmigrators moved from the living room to the deck outside so they could speak more freely. Luo Binghe headed to the kitchen to prepare some snacks for their guest.

"When I heard you went missing, I wanted to go out but Mobei Jun didn't let me, so I only sent my disciples out," Shang Qinghua sighed.

Shen Yuan snorted. "Good. With how clumsy you are, Mobei Jun won't be able to stay calm just thinking about his pregnant mate running around the town."

Shang Qinghua clicked his tongue. "I'm not that bad. Where are your parents?"

"In their room. Getting lectured by my grandparents," Shen Yuan shrugged.

After hearing about the incident, Master and Madam Liu had paid a visit to Qing Jing Peak first thing in the morning, bringing mountains of gifts for their grandson. Madam Liu had made sure to let Shen Yuan know how much he was treasured, by burying his face in her ample bosom until Shen Yuan nearly suffocated. They then had pulled the couple into a different room for a long, long lecture about childcare.

Shang Qinghua snickered. "I never thought a good kid like you would actually run away from home. So much for a mature adult, huh…"

"Shut up," he hissed, cheeks red.

Shang Qinghua laughed. "I heard from Zhangmen Shixiong that when you were mad, you even called your mother 'Peak Lord Shen'. Man, that must have really hit him hard huh?"

Shen Yuan pursed his lips and covered his face in his palms. He never realized this before, but within these few years of growing as Shen Qingqiu's child, he had really taken after some of his mother's habit way more than he thought.

"Well, you know Cucumber Bro… for a long time Shen Qingqiu himself thought he was abandoned by Yue Qingyuan before. Seems like they've already cleared that up at some point since they're getting along well now, but his own child thinking he was abandoned must be one of his biggest nightmares," Shang Qinghua commented.

Shen Yuan blinked. "Really? Wait, you never told me about this before! What do you mean by that?"

"I offered to tell you once but you didn't want to know back then, remember?" Shang Qinghua grinned. "Well, my own parents were divorced and pretty much forgot about me. I would never want the same thing to happen to my own child, and Shen Qingqiu is probably the same. Just remember that your parents are never going to be perfect, but they never mean to hurt you. That much, I can tell."

"... I can't believe I'm hearing this much words of wisdom from your mouth."

"Hey!"

"I know. Thanks, Airplane Bro."

Shang Qinghua grinned and rubbed his nose. "Sure, Cucumber Bro. Anytime."

Shen Yuan huffed. "You can't possibly give me that much time anymore, soon you're going to be busy with your own family."

"Aww...don't be like that, Cucumber Bro. Our good friendship, our brotherhood won't end that easily. Send me letters and drop by anytime you want," Shang Qinghua said.

"... Really?"

"Really! Here, I'll show you how to contact me-"

Their conversation was halted by a sudden crying sound. Luo Binghe appeared at the deck with A Song in his arms, seemingly trying to calm her down with no success. "Shang Shishu, nothing is working…"

Shang Qinghua fretted. "Why are you asking me? I know nothing!"

"Aren't you about to be a parent soon?" Shen Yuan pointed.

Luo Binghe tried handing A Song over to Shang Qinghua, but the baby only cried harder. Shang Qinghua panicked even more and shoved the wailing baby to Shen Yuan. "Cucum- Yuan Shizhi, you hold her!"

"Me?!" Shen Yuan gawked but received the baby anyway. The last time he had held a baby in his arms was when his oldest cousin gave birth. It felt a little awkward but Shen Yuan tried to fix his position, remembering the way his cousin had always held her baby.

A Song's cries gradually quieted down. She slowly blinked, and stared at Shen Yuan with her peach blossoms eyes.

"Oooh, now look at that! Aren't you good at this!" Shang Qinghua cheered and clapped his hands.

“Oh,” Shen Yuan uttered, blankly looking at A Song.

His little sister sure was a monster when she screamed her lungs out, but when she was quiet like this… surprisingly, she was pretty cute. Without realizing it, a small smile formed on his face.

Hiding and watching from behind the walls, Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge chuckled.

(Shen Qingqiu still wondered how Shen Yuan learned about surnames and all those complicated things, but decided to save it for another day.)

 


 

Shen Yuan sighed. He wondered when Luo Binghe would come back. There was a disturbance reported in the northern area of the demon realm. While normally Cang Qiong Mountain would ignore that, leaving matters of the demon realm to the demons, it just so happened that one of their Peak Lords, Shang Qinghua was currently there and with a bun in his oven. Tianlang Jun had travelled to the south bringing Gongyi Xiao with him and they had no way to contact them to ask for assistance.

As such, Shang Qinghua decided to rely on his good friend Cucumber Bro to persuade Cang Qiong Mountain to send help. Luo Binghe, being experienced with the demon realm, decided to go there and even promised to bring back souvenirs for Shen Yuan.

Shen Yuan wondered if he would bring back a wife too. Usually any incidents in PIDW meant a new wife was about to come. However, so far the plot had been deviating so much in this world, Shen Yuan was not even sure if things would ever follow the novel. The feud between Liu Mingyan and Luo Binghe continued. Ning Yingying did not seem romantically interested in Luo Binghe even though she already presented as an omega a few years ago. Qin Wanyue became the new Huan Hua Palace Master, one of the few beta sect leaders around, and she was doing a good job so far. As for Young Palace Mistress… well, she had not been heard or seen since then.

Bingpup suddenly sneezed. Shen Yuan blinked and cradled his puppy. “Are you sick, Bingpup?” He asked and scratched the black pup’s ears.

Bingpup whined and curled up in Shen Yuan’s lap, demanding more head scratch.

“You sound well. Too much dust? Wait here, I’ll go and wipe the floor-”

"A Yuan!" Shen Qingqiu's voice suddenly called him.

Things had gotten better since then, after a good amount of scolding advice from Madam Liu. Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge had learned a lot on how to care for their second child, while also looking after their first one and making sure he was included in raising their second one. Shen Yuan was grateful of course. The couple took turns and worked together caring for both children. They returned to their daily life of sharing meals together. Everything was looking good.

However, letting him stay in the same room while his mother was breastfeeding was too much ah! He did not want to be reminded of the times when he had to suckle on those same tits! It was only worse when Shen Qingqiu once teased him, asking if he wanted some milk as well!

Hence, whenever Shen Qingqiu was breastfeeding, Shen Yuan would usually go out and play, or pretend like he was feeding Bingpup just so he did not have to look at those tits out in the open. Ah, those old memories of needing someone to wipe his ass and clean his pee... he never wanted to relive that.

He was sure Shen Qingqiu was still feeding A Song now, but his mother's voice sounded pretty urgent so Shen Yuan emerged from his room. "Yes, mama?"

He was shocked to see someone shakily standing at the door. There were patches of dried blood on his clothes and his head, and he looked so shocked, as if he had just seen a ghost. Shen Yuan gasped. 

"Bing Gege!"

Shen Qingqiu fixed his clothes, covering up his exposed chest. "A Yuan, can you go and call your papa or Mu Shishu now?"

"Mm!"

As he ran out to get someone, he watched his mother put A Song back into her crib and urged Luo Binghe to sit down. He wondered just what kind of demons Luo Binghe had encountered, that caused him to be injured that terribly.

Also, was it his imagination, or... had Luo Binghe always looked that scary?

Chapter Text

Luo Binghe staggered as he slowly made his way to the bamboo house. The training field was void of people and there were barely anyone around, which made sneaking in easier. It was around the time when the junior disciples were all likely at the study hall while senior disciples would have their guqin or weiqi lessons. Luo Binghe was very familiar with the schedules, Qing Jing Peak had very strict schedules and rarely ever strayed from them.

He couldn't care less though. He was not here to attend lessons. He had long grown past that stage. As soon as he recovered from his injuries, he would wipe out this entire place, once again.

The demon emperor had been out to deal with a disturbance at the northern region, when he encountered an entity so strong, stronger than any foes he ever had. The moment he clashed blades with his opponent, the world suddenly turned dark and before he knew it, he was here in a completely different world. He knew that the Qing Jing Peak and the entire mountain that he was seeing was not the same as his own. After all this place was long gone, razed to the ground in his original world, along with the entirety of the sect with the exception of the women who joined his harem. It was probably Xin Mo's power that accidentally sent him to this different dimension when he was in that cave.

Shen Qingqiu was probably out overseeing the guqin lessons. Well, it didn't matter, even if his scum teacher was inside. Luo Binghe may be injured but he still had enough power to decapitate the man in one swift attack, as long as Shen Qingqiu was off-guard. Maybe chop his arms first, because Luo Binghe had a lot of enmity against those offending arms that -

"Is that you, Binghe?"

… that were now holding a baby?

What the fuck?

Luo Binghe blinked, then pinched his own hand to make sure he was neither dreaming nor hallucinating. In Luo Binghe's memories, the only times he had ever stepped into the bamboo house, his Shizun would only be there sitting at his desk with a disgruntled scowl as he criticised every single thing that his disciples had written as if they were filth. Nothing was ever good for Shen Qingqiu, especially if it was something Binghe had made. 

Yet, opening the door this time, he was instead greeted by the sight of his old Shizun sitting on his favourite chaise with a baby in arms. Moreover, it almost seemed like the baby's mouth was latched to his Shizun's nipple. Which was visible by the way, because Shen Qingqiu had loosened up his robes and Luo Binghe was sure the Shen Qingqiu he knew would never allow himself to be seen like this. The only time when he had ever seen Shen Qingqiu with his...nipples out, was when he had stripped his old teacher off his beautiful clothes and fineries in the prison.

Shizun. Baby. Nipples out. This had to be a dream, but why wasn't Luo Binghe waking up? He had mastered every single art of controlling dreams and hallucinations known, this did not make sense. That he failed to wake up meant this was real, but how could this be real?!

Shen Qingqiu frowned. "What happened to you? How did you get those injuries?"

Where did you get the baby?! Why are you acting like you're breastfeeding the baby?!! Luo Binghe wanted to yell out those questions but he was too shocked that his body remained stiff at the door.

"A Yuan!" Shen Qingqiu called out loud.

A young boy appeared, emerging from a different room (was that room always there?), and gasped. He ran towards Luo Binghe. "Bing Gege!!"

Luo Binghe's eyes fluttered as he eyed the young boy. He appeared to be around seven or eight years old, with the same shade of iris and striking resemblance as Shen Qingqiu. He was dressed modestly in green robes with no intricate embroidery, but the fabric was made of fine, high quality silk. His cheeks were slightly plump and smooth and just based on his overall features Luo Binghe could tell the child would grow up to be as aesthetically pleasing as Shen Qingqiu.

"A Yuan, tell your papa or anyone close to call your Mu Shishu here," said Shen Qingqiu.

The boy called A Yuan nodded. "Okay, mama."

Mama? Mama? Did Binghe just hear that right? Did this boy, who looked awfully similar to Shen Qingqiu so much that anyone could tell they were related, just called Shen Qingqiu mama?! Just what kind of fucked up parallel world was this, where the notorious abuser, the definition of evil in Luo Binghe's dictionary, suddenly became a mother?!

A Yuan did not forget to flash a smile at Luo Binghe before rushing out. "Bing Gege, wait here, okay?"

Luo Binghe slowly nodded. Bing Gege, huh. He never had anyone calling him with such a cutesy nickname. He would play along and observe this... situation for a while.

Shen Qingqiu rocked the baby gently and placed her inside the crib. He fixed his robes and walked over to check on Luo Binghe. Luo Binghe flinched and he shushed him. "Stay still, I'm going to take a look at your injuries now."

Luo Binghe swallowed hard, letting his former teacher inspect the injuries and send a gentle, soothing qi to help boost his healing ability. He almost flinched again when Shen Qingqiu gently pushed away stray strands of hair sticking on his face.

"Where did you go and what did you do to get such injuries?"

Luo Binghe did not answer. He was too busy staring at this man, who had the same face, same voice, yet was so different from the teacher he had known. Just what was the difference? That they weren't weirded out by his appearance meant Qing Jing Peak's existence wasn't because this world’s Luo Binghe was possibly dead or never came here. Rather, it was because the Luo Binghe of this world seemed to have a good relationship with Shen Qingqiu. He was even called something as affectionate as 'Bing Gege'.

Shen Qingqiu had changed. Why, Luo Binghe had no idea, but it must have something to do with him suddenly having a baby in his arms and that child calling him mama. What kind of world was this? Maybe Luo Binghe was crazy for thinking Shen Qingqiu gave birth, maybe the children were adopted... no, that was something even weirder, why would that scum adopt when he was already a failure of an adult and a human being? But he was breastfeeding, so... Luo Binghe really could not conjure any conclusion. 

The child, A Yuan, had returned. "Papa will bring Mu Shishu here!" He announced.

"Good, A Yuan. Please bring a bowl of water and a clean cloth here," Shen Qingqiu directed.

"Mm!"

Shen Qingqiu proceeded to warm up the water the child had brought over, before dabbing the wet cloth to clean the caked up mud and blood from Luo Binghe's face. His touch was gentle, not at all like the harsh and cold Shizun that Luo Binghe remembered. 

He wanted to slap himself. He should not let himself be swayed. There was no way the scum could be that different in any world.

Liu Qingge and Mu Qingfang came in not long after that. Luo Binghe almost choked seeing the supposed-to-be dead Peak Lord still well and alive, and apparently must be close enough to Shen Qingqiu to strut into the bamboo hut unannounced. Why was he alive? Fine, even if for some reason he wasn't killed in this world, Liu Qingge and Shen Qingqiu had a rocky relationship, so why was he even here?

Mu Qingfang went straight to treating Luo Binghe's injuries after greeting Shen Qingqiu. Luo Binghe noted that Liu Qingge did not even greet Shen Qingqiu which was normal he supposed, but then the man had walked over straight away to the Qing Jing Peak Lord after giving a brief glance at Luo Binghe.

"Is A Song asleep?" Liu Qingge asked and Luo Binghe's ears perked up hearing the Bai Zhan Peak Lord addressing the baby in the crib, Shen Qingqiu's baby, so familiarly.

Shen Qingqiu nodded. "How was your day?"

"Nothing in particular, I just got back from looking after those brats when A Yuan came to me. I was surprised to hear that Luo Binghe got injured. What happened?" Liu Qingge asked, then leaned down to get closer to Shen Qingqiu.

Luo Binghe's eyes widened the size of a saucer when Liu Qingge suddenly pressed his lips against Shen Qingqiu's cheeks. And the latter just let him. What. What.

"I don't know. He's not speaking."

No, Luo Binghe couldn't speak. His brain couldn't even process anything right now!

"Still in shock and a little confused, maybe. He has suffered from a slight concussion and blood loss. I've treated his wounds, with a good rest his constitution should allow him to recover well by tomorrow," said Mu Qingfang. "Call me again if you need me."

A Yuan hopped over to Mu Qingfang and smiled. "Thank you for treating Bing Gege, Mu Shishu."

Mu Qingfang smiled and patted A Yuan's head gently. "You're welcome, A Yuan. Make sure your Gege takes the medicine and eats well, okay?"

A Yuan grinned. "Okay!"

Shen Qingqiu got up. "I'll brew the medicine."

Liu Qingge wanted to stop him. "You're tired. Let me do it."

Shen Qingqiu shook his head. "I'm going to prepare a light meal for Binghe too. Husband, you're a fine man but a disaster in the kitchen."

Liu Qingge's ears turned slightly pink and he gave in. “Alright, I’ll watch over A Song then.”

Luo Binghe petrified. His eyes grew even wider. Husband? 'Husband'?! Fuck, you're the 'papa'?!! What kind of world is this?!

A Yuan pulled Liu Qingge's sleeve. "Papa, can I bring Bing Gege to my room?"

"Your room is too small for someone as big as your Bing Gege, with Bingpup's stuff there. Bring your Gege to his room."

A Yuan nodded and went to help Luo Binghe to walk to the side room. Luo Binghe was grateful for the help because he knew well he could barely stand up, let alone walk on his own, after hearing about all the mind-boggling things.

Liu Qingge was alive and was married to Shen Qingqiu. His dead brother-in-law was alive and his scum teacher was his husband. They even had these two children together. Liu Qingge fathered these two children, Shen Qingqiu was nursing the baby. What the fuck happened here.

Luo Binghe scanned the entire side room, noting that it was kept clean and tidy, and that there were some clothes neatly folded kept there. Shen Yuan helped pick out a set of sleeping robes and laid out fresh clean bed sheets while Luo Binghe changed behind the screen.

This Shen Qingqiu was definitely way far from the Shen Qingqiu he knew because why the hell would he treat Binghe so kindly, giving him a room in his house and now preparing a meal and brewing his medicine for him? What about all of Luo Binghe's suffering? Could all his grudges be solved if only Shen Qingqiu had gotten laid with Liu Qingge?! Impossible!

Then there was this child too. How could someone like Shen Qingqiu raise a child as lovely and gentle as this boy? Luo Binghe felt nothing but an inexplicable warmth when Shen Yuan patted the mattress and helped him sit down. 

“Bing Gege, does it still hurt? Do you want A Yuan to ask Ming Gege to get a bathtub?” 

Luo Binghe nearly choked. First Shen Qingqiu had cleaned his wounds, now this child was offering to make that jerk Ming Fan prepare the bath for Binghe? What kind of warped dimension was this, where he was being treated well by all his bullies? “... I’m fine, A Yuan.”

Shen Qingqiu came in after a knock, bringing a tray with a bowl of congee and medicine. He placed the tray down and pressed a cold hand against Luo Binghe’s forehead. “No fever. Can you talk about what happened?”

His Shizun’s normally cold hand, the hand that had pushed him into the Endless Abyss, felt so… different here. Luo Binghe licked his dry lips. “I got lost in a strange cave and came out like this,” he simply answered, not knowing what else to say. It was partly true after all.

Shen Qingqiu frowned. “I suppose we’ll have to ask Qingge or Qi Shimei to investigate the conflict in the northern demon realm as well. You’re still out of it. Eat and take the medicine first, Binghe.”

Ah, so it seemed like his counterpart was also investigating the same issue as him. The cave they entered, along with Xinmo, must have caused them to be tossed into each other's dimension.

 "... Did you make this yourself, Shizun?" Luo Binghe asked, staring at the bowl. His voice came out a little hoarse. Shizun’s cooking. He didn’t know Shizun even cooked. 

"Don't worry, I've added plenty of honey in the medicine," said Shen Qingqiu. “Let’s wait until you’re more coherent, I’ll come back to you later. A Yuan, do you mind staying here and looking after your Bing Gege?”

A Yuan nodded and Shen Qingqiu left the room. Luo Binghe was beginning to wonder just how close their relationship was to the extent of Shen Qingqiu trusting Luo Binghe with his child. Should he dig out some information from this child, maybe put him to sleep and enter his dream-

“Bing Gege!” A Yuan called and lifted the spoon with the congee after blowing it to cool it down. “Say aahh~”

His green eyes were bright, his smile was blinding, his expression exudes warmth.

Luo Binghe melted.

Finding information could wait later.

Maybe he could stay here a little longer?

 


 

Luo Binghe exhaled after gulping an entire bowl of cold water.

Shizun’s cooking… was edible and definitely not bad, but it wasn’t something Luo Binghe would describe as perfect. Also, just how much honey did Shen Qingqiu pour into the medicine? Luo Binghe felt like he could get sick from how sweet the medicine was.

Shen Qingqiu came again right before bedtime to transfer some spiritual energy to Luo Binghe. He pretended as if he was still confused by the event - which was not untrue, because he was in fact very perplexed by this world. Just what was different in this world, that the way Shen Qingqiu treated him was so far from his own old teacher? No, the fact that Shen Qingqiu was married to Liu Qingge and had two children with him was still the biggest mystery here! Perhaps by some miracle Shen Qingqiu was raised to not be an asshole here, but that still did not explain how and why he was able to have children!

He had no choice, he had to find the truth. The child was a safer bet to infiltrate, but Luo Binghe hesitated as he recalled the child’s innocent eyes. No, perhaps not a child. What could a child know anyway? He probably wouldn’t remember anything from before he was three or four years old anyway.

And so, that night Luo Binghe entered a meditative state and infiltrated Shen Qingqiu’s dreamscape. It was very difficult, Shen Qingqiu was very guarded and was already a cultivator of high level, but Luo Binghe was a demon lord with plenty of experience. Back in his original world he never did manage to ‘break’ Shen Qingqiu’s mind, until he had killed Yue Qingyuan, but this was different. This Shen Qingqiu was in a relaxed state and was not surrounded by enemies. Luo Binghe just had to tread carefully-

....

…. He should have been more careful.

Luo Binghe woke up the following morning, horrified to discover that he was sporting a hard-on. He slapped his forehead. Good thing the wounds were already healed.

Fuck. Fuck. How could he have an erection from watching Shen Qingqiu? Then again, how could he not have an erection, with the amount of intimate moments he had witnessed?! First he saw his Shizun getting pounded by Liu Qingge in the Spirit Caves, then in bed, then on the floor, behind a tree, in Liu Qingge’s residence in Bai Zhan Peak, in Liu Qingge’s family home, in an inn room… was there a place that they had not done it yet?!

How could he not feel something when he watched Shen Qingqiu literally wearing a translucent dudou to seduce his husband and rode him to orgasm?

Ehem, well, that aside, Luo Binghe had gotten important information that finally explained certain peculiarities in this world. There were some parts in the middle that were cut off since Shen Qingqiu had woken up at midnight, but Luo Binghe was able to form his own conclusion based on what he had seen. Shen Qingqiu was an omega, and from what Luo Binghe had gathered from the tidbits he had seen and heard, omega men were able to get pregnant from an alpha. The boy, A Yuan, was indeed a child born from Shen Qingqiu’s own womb, same as his sister too.

It seemed like in this world, the other him was treated well because Shen Qingqiu for some reason had not only made him his personal servant boy during his first pregnancy, he had also made him A Yuan’s nanny. While Shen Qingqiu originally only planned to keep Luo Binghe around until A Yuan was born, A Yuan became attached to him and thus, the Qing Jing Peak Lord himself eventually accepted Luo Binghe as part of his pack.

He was even willing to accept Luo Binghe despite his demon blood, thanks to A Yuan. Hence, Luo Binghe concluded that the boy, A Yuan, had to be the biggest key difference in this world and yes, if only Shen Qingqiu had gotten laid, a lot of things could have changed. Anyway, it seemed like Shen Qingqiu had softened up a lot from motherhood, perhaps because he had received genuine love himself.

Luo Binghe washed up and soaked himself in the cold river to calm his third leg. Heading to the kitchen to look for something to eat, he saw Shen Qingqiu in front of the stove stirring what appeared to be a pot of soup. A Yuan was tip-toeing next to him, diligently handing over the chopped vegetables.

“A Yuan, you cut the vegetables well,” Shen Qingqiu praised him.

A Yuan’s eyes lit up. “Really?”

Shen Qingqiu nodded. “A lot better than your papa.”

“... not that good then,” A Yuan murmured.

Shen Qingqiu chuckled and pinched his son’s cheek. “Don’t say that about your papa, he’s improving nowadays. A Yuan, can you check if the noodles are cooked well? Be careful with the lid and steam.”

A Yuan picked up the lid with a kitchen cloth, and stared at the content of the pot. “... Mama, I think you boiled the noodles for too long.”

“...” Shen Qingqiu coughed. “You know what to do.”

“Take some from the dining hall?”

“All noodles are the same anyway. Now go.”

Luo Binghe cleared his throat. “Shizun.”

Shen Qingqiu turned around and seemed surprised to see Luo Binghe already awake. Luo Binghe was more surprised to see his former teacher with a ladle in hand. “Binghe, you’re up already. Are you feeling better this morning?”

Luo Binghe nodded. “Thanks to Shizun. Please let this disciple make the noodles.”

“But-”

“This disciple would like to thank Shizun for his care,” Luo Binghe insisted.

“... If you insist,” said Shen Qingqiu. He let Luo Binghe start with the dough, while Shen Qingqiu went to look for a small bowl and filled it with some small pieces of bones and meat. He handed it to Shen Yuan. “Here, feed it Bingpup.”

Luo Binghe nearly spilled the flour. Bingpup? He must have missed that detail in between the countless papapa, but who or what was Bingpup?!

“Bingpup!” A Yuan called.

Luo Binghe’s question was answered when a small, fluffy black moon pup appeared. “Arrff!”

“A Yuan, don’t let Bingpup into the kitchen,” Shen Qingqiu said.

“Let’s go, Bingpup!” A Yuan left the kitchen carrying the bowl, the black pup trotting behind him loyally.

Shen Qingqiu put down the ladle and went out after hearing Ming Fan’s voice outside. Luo Binghe continued rolling the dough as he was lost in thought.

It was all real. This was all real. Shizun had done this and that, he was pregnant, his belly was swollen after he was filled with Liu Qingge’s seeds, and he had given birth to the children, raised such a sweet young boy, living a domestic happy life, a life that Luo Binghe could have had, except that he did not have this.

It was truly mind-boggling. Luo Binghe did not even know how to feel. His counterpart had such a nice Shizun. It was unfair. Instead of getting bullied his counterpart was given the chance to babysit such an adorable child and eat Shizun’s cooking. It was so unfair. All this just because in this world his Shizun was… was…

The image of Shen Qingqiu lying underneath Liu Qingge, skin bare and flushed and sweaty, hair spread out and sticky, reemerged into Luo Binghe’s brain and heat crept up his face.

“A Luo!” Ning Yingying’s voice broke his trance.

Ning Yingying was standing next to him, an empty tray in hand. She gasped. “A Luo, your nose is bleeding! Are you still unwell?”

He quickly covered his nose with a cloth. “It’s just the heat.”

“But you’re just making a dough, you’re not standing in front of the stove… are you still feverish? Should I call Shizun and Mu Shishu?”

“I’m fine, Yingying.”

She looked at him with a horrified expression. “Yingying? What is that? Call me Ning Shijie, A Luo! Why are you suddenly calling me that?!”

“....”

“You’re definitely still sick, A Luo! Shijie will finish up the rest, so go ahead and sit down first!”

Luo Binghe went inside, only to find Liu Qingge pinning Shen Qingqiu against the wall.

“You’ve had your fill this morning, hands off! I need to prepare the medicine!” Shen Qingqiu grunted but his complaints were swallowed by a deep kiss.

Luo Binghe: “....”

He turned back and went to the deck outside instead. A Yuan was playing with Bingpup while waiting for breakfast to be done. Luo Binghe’s heart warmed up upon seeing the innocent smiles and hearing the cheerful laughter. A Yuan noticed his presence and his face brightened up. “Bing Gege! Are the noodles done?”

“Ying- cough, Ning Shijie wanted to finish it up. Are you hungry, A Yuan?” Luo Binghe asked.

A Yuan beamed. “Bing Gege’s noodles are the best! I can’t wait to eat them!” He paused, then pressed a finger against his lips. “Ah, but keep this a secret from mama, okay?”

He would cook noodles for this little one for the rest of his life if he could. How could someone from Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge’s flesh and blood turned out to be this cute? With a child this lovable, no wonder even someone like Shen Qingqiu would soften up. Or was it because of Shen Qingqiu’s way of raising him that made this child so adorable?

He suddenly noticed from afar Liu Mingyan appearing with a bundle wrapped nicely in her hands. He smiled at her but instead of a greeting she only gave him a cold glare.

Luo Binghe: “....” Somehow being liked by his Shizun in turn made him less liked by his supposed wives.

“Aunt Mingyan!” A Yuan cheered and the sharp glare from Liu Mingyan’s face instantly morphed into a sweet eye smile.

“A Yuan, good morning,” she said and rubbed his head. “Is Ning Jiejie around?”

“Ning Jiejie is in the kitchen. Aunt Mingyan, do you have something for Ning Jiejie?” Shen Yuan asked.

Liu Mingyan nodded. “I’ve got some books for her. Don’t worry, I brought some gifts for A Yuan too. Several sisters also sent along some new clothes for A Song.”

“I can pass them over to Ning Jiejie,” Shen Yuan offered.

“Ah… these are… err, important books and I wanted to chat with her too. It’s okay, A Yuan!” Liu Mingyan quickly said. 

Liu Qingge came to the deck to call them for breakfast. “A Yuan, come in and eat, the meals are ready. Luo Binghe, you too, come and drink your medicine. And Mingyan-”

Liu Mingyan shook her head. “I’ve eaten, brother. A Yuan, go and have breakfast first.”

A Yuan grabbed Luo Binghe’s hand and pulled him along. “Let’s go, Bing Gege!”

Luo Binghe followed the young child inside. He could hear Ning Yingying’s loud shriek from outside.

“Oh my gosh, is that the new series with the threesome?!”

Luo Binghe nearly tripped at the doorsill. He sure was glad A Yuan was too young to understand that word, but… what in the world were Ning Yingying and Liu Mingyan reading?!

Chapter Text

Breakfast was usually shared by the family, though on some occasions Luo Binghe would join them. Such was today, as Shen Qingqiu wanted to make sure that Luo Binghe would take his medicine. Shen Yuan knew Luo Binghe was not the type to be fond of medicines, as most of the time his body did not really need it. However, back when he had just begun developing as an alpha and had yet to learn to control his rut, he had to take suppressants as well. Shen Qingqiu was strict when it came to making sure his alpha and omega disciples would take their suppressants as scheduled.

Luo Binghe stared blankly at the noodles and vegetable soup, before Shen Yuan tugged on his sleeve and handed him the bowl. “Bing Gege, your food.”

“Oh… thank you, A Yuan,” Luo Binghe smiled.

Shen Yuan blinked. Sometimes he thought Luo Binghe looked different, but at times he couldn’t really tell. He smiled back, and the way Luo Binghe looked at him adoringly was no different than the Luo Binghe he knew. He shrugged off the weird feeling.

“Why does the noodle taste better today?” Liu Qingge wondered as he ate.

Shen Qingqiu cleared his throat. “What do you know about food? Just eat.”

Liu Qingge, “.....”. He knew enough to recognize that the noodles were not prepared by his husband, but that was fine. Shen Qingqiu was his husband and made the soup with love, that was enough.

“Have you told Zhangmen Shixiong about this?” Shen Qingqiu asked.

Liu Qingge nodded. “Mu Shidi informed him yesterday after treating Luo Binghe. I’m heading out with Qi Shijie and Wei Shixiong right away after this.”

“Do you want me to come?” Shen Qingqiu asked.

“One of us should stay in case it takes too long,” said Liu Qingge. “It’s the demon realm after all.”

“We should get a second team to track Tianlang Jun. If it’s dangerous enough to harm Binghe, sending Peak Lords may be risky.”

“... Actually, why don’t you come with me to see Zhangmen Shixiong? You’re better at planning things,” said Liu Qingge.

Shen Qingqiu hummed. "I suppose I should."

Once they were done with the meal, Shen Qingqiu then placed A Song back into her crib. “A Yuan, can you look after your sister for a while? Mama won’t be long.”

Shen Yuan blinked. “But mama, what if A Song wakes up?”

“I just fed her this morning, she should still be asleep for a few hours. If I don’t return in time, just get Ming Fan to call me,” Shen Qingqiu said and patted his son’s head. He then turned to Luo Binghe. “Binghe, if you feel unwell go and get yourself checked at Qian Cao Peak…” his voice suddenly trailed off.

Shen Yuan observed his mother quietly. His eyes widened when Shen Qingqiu suddenly moved closer to Luo Binghe, too close in fact, that even Luo Binghe looked surprised. 

Then Shen Qingqiu frowned, pressed his palms on Luo Binghe’s shoulders, and suddenly took a whiff at his neck.

Shen Yuan dropped his jaw. Luo Binghe’s face instantly turned red and Liu Qingge looked horrified. “Shen Qingqiu!” The alpha raised his voice.

Shen Qingqiu frowned and looked like he was deep in thought but shook his head. “Sorry. Let’s go, Qingge.”

The couple left. Luo Binghe still looked stunned by the action. Shen Yuan supposed he shouldn’t blame him, an omega sniffing an alpha’s neck like that was considered as inappropriate as an alpha sniffing an omega’s neck. If he wasn’t mistaken, the nape of their neck was near where their glands were located, hence it was a very sensitive place. Shen Yuan wouldn’t know this since he was still a child and could not smell any pheromones but apparently that was where the scent of an alpha or omega in this world would be the strongest.

Shen Qingqiu had just done that, right in front of his husband. Tsk tsk. No doubt he would return home marked by Liu Qingge’s scent later. Shen Yuan shuddered thinking about the two possibly sneaking around Qiong Ding Peak to ‘mark’ each other. Especially since Liu Qingge was leaving on a mission after this. No doubt the possessive alpha would be leaving as much of his scent on his partner before he were to depart.

He began gathering the bowls. Luo Binghe, noticing he was cleaning up immediately stopped him. “Let me do it, A Yuan.”

Shen Yuan blinked. “But Bing Gege, you’re still unwell. You need to drink your medicine.”

“I feel better now,” said Luo Binghe.

Shen Yuan pouted. “No. Bing Gege, sit down. If you still want to clean up, let A Yuan feed you medicine first.”

Rose tint appeared on Luo Binghe’s cheeks and his eyes lit up. “Alright. I… Bing Gege will let A Yuan take care of me.”

Shen Yuan nodded. He still didn't understand Luo Binghe's insistence of doing everything, it wasn’t like he was going to actually wash the dishes. Shen Qingqiu didn’t allow him to go to the river alone or use the large wash bucket yet since Shen Yuan was still a child. He usually would just collect the dirty dishes and let the junior disciples clean them up, while they cleaned the kitchen. He went to prepare the medicine. Shen Qingqiu had already steeped the herb mix in a small teapot with hot water, he really only needed to pour it into a small bowl. 

Luo Binghe waited patiently. He looked a little surprised when the medicine did not taste as sickeningly sweet as before.

“A Yuan knows Bing Gege doesn’t like it too sweet, so I didn’t put honey in it,” Shen Yuan said, seeing his expression. “Mama just likes to add honey to all medicine. I got candied plum for you if it’s too bitter, Bing Gege!”

“A Yuan is so nice to me,” said Luo Binghe as he accepted the candy, popping it into his mouth. “Even though I was absent longer than I was around you.”

“Mama talked about Bing Gege a lot,” Shen Yuan lied. Well, it wasn’t like Shen Qingqiu never thought about his cub, he was afraid at first that Shen Yuan would miss Luo Binghe and even avoided talking about him. Actually, didn't they already have this conversation before, back when he was first reunited with Luo Binghe, when he tried to catch fish for his mama?

“Really? What did Shizun say about me?” Luo Binghe suddenly asked.

Why was he suddenly asking this? He was never curious about it before, he was content being able to return to Qing Jing Peak. “Mama said… Bing Gege took care of him when he was pregnant with A Yuan. A Yuan doesn’t know well, mama and papa said Bing Gege went on a long mission. Some people said Bing Gege got married, but A Yuan already knows Bing Gege didn’t elope back then.”

Luo Binghe looked a little confused. Hm. He usually got annoyed whenever anyone mentioned the ‘bride-napping’ rumor, the event that triggered the ‘Tale of Ice King and Winter Bride’. He was very adamant about making sure everyone knew he was still an untouched virgin, as if he was a little flower that nobody would desire once sullied. Luo Binghe, you’re the ultimate alpha stallion protagonist, how can you have such a maiden heart ah? This world is still old-fashioned and discriminating to the omegas, but you’re an alpha, you have nothing to worry about!

“I wonder how Shang Shishu is doing. I hope papa can help him,” he decided to change the topic.

“Shang Shishu?” Luo Binghe repeated.

Shen Yuan nodded. “The attack was directed to the northern region, do you think those demons are specifically targeting Shang Shishu since he’s pregnant with Mobei Jun’s babies?”

Luo Binghe suddenly choked. “Shang Shishu… pregnant? Mobei’s babies?!”

Why was he acting clueless? “Bing Gege, did you lose some of your memories? Should A Yuan get someone from Qian Cao Peak?”

Luo Binghe quickly shook his head. “No, it’s fine, A Yuan. Bing Gege will be fine… after tonight. It seems like… I did miss some things.”

He was not quite convinced that Luo Binghe was fine. Shen Yuan ran out to find Ning Yingying and Liu Mingyan, who were still chatting animatedly at the deck. “Ning Jiejie! Aunt Mingyan!”

Ning Yingying, who was so occupied talking to Liu Mingyan was startled and accidentally dropped her book. "Ah… A Yuan! What's wrong?"

"You dropped your book, Ning Jiejie," Shen Yuan said and picked up the book before Ning Yingying could stop him. He immediately turned stiff as he saw the content.

Shit, he already knew when he heard the word 'threesome' earlier that instead of 'correcting' the lore, Liu Mingyan the rotten author would just add Shang Qinghua to the mix instead! Of course in an erotica like this there would be a break-up papapa, revenge papapa, just more papapa…

"A Yuan, I'm really fine… what is that?" Luo Binghe, who had followed him behind, stilled.

It just so happened that the page Shen Yuan opened was an illustration of Mobei Jun and Shang Qinghua sandwiching Luo Binghe in the middle. The poor white lotus protagonist, so innocent that he insisted everyone knew he was still an unplucked flower, now had to watch a depiction of himself being double penetrated by the demon who had submitted to his power and a hack author who was happily married to said demon. No wonder his face turned completely blue. Why the hell did Liu Mingyan even think that Shang Qinghua could fuck Luo Binghe ah?

Shen Yuan luckily had his years of training to be the perfect baby, hence he put on an innocent blank face and handed the book back to Ning Yingying. "Here you go, Ning Jiejie. What a lot of complicated words, and the characters are so small! A Yuan likes storybooks, but I like more pictures."

"Did… did you see the picture, A Yuan?" Ning Yingying asked, her voice tiny.

Now you know to panic huh. What about the person standing here, he looks like he has just seen the grim reaper himself. "I don't understand what that picture is. It looks weird."

"They are just three characters playing around, wrestling, A Yuan!" Ning Yingying laughed awkwardly to hide her embarrassment. She glanced at Luo Binghe nervously. "A Luo, did you see the content?"

Luo Binghe swallowed hard. "I didn't get to see it. Why?"

Ning Yingying and Liu Mingyan both looked relieved. "Ah, nothing. The content inside usually only interests females and omegas, so A Luo shouldn't read it."

The one sending you the book is an alpha, what poor excuse! Many of the big sisters reading the tale are also alphas and betas, what nonsense are you talking! Shen Yuan ranted in his head.

"... Aunt Mingyan, I think Bing Gege is still sick," Shen Yuan said. "Can you bring him to Qian Cao Peak?"

Liu Mingyan crossed her arms. "He looks well enough. Someone like him ought to have healed already, right?"

How could he forget that his aunt had some sort of rivalry with Luo Binghe. Perhaps this was why Liu Qingge also wasn't too compatible with Luo Binghe, non-related alphas were just territorial and more often than not, unable to get along well. The only reason the alpha Peak Lords were able to stay together was due to obligation, as well as the sense of solidarity, being in the same sect. Unfortunately Liu Mingyan shared no such sentiment with Luo Binghe from the beginning.

"I can ask the head disciples to come here later," Ning Yingying offered. "Let's go Mingyan, we can invite other sisters and have tea with them."

They went back inside. Luo Binghe still looked a little lost. Shen Yuan found Bingpup waiting loyally by A Song's crib and grinned. "Bingpup, thank you! You keep guard while we were outside?"

"Arrff!" Bingpup barked and pounced at Shen Yuan, rubbing his head against Shen Yuan's feet. The pup then switched his attention to Luo Binghe and started growling.

Shen Yuan sighed. Bingpup and Luo Binghe never seemed to get along for some reason. "Alright, alright, sit down Bingpup."

Usually Bingpup would have been calmed down after an order, however this time the black moon pup refused to back down and barked angrily again. "Aarrrff! Arrfff!"

"No Bingpup, you're going to wake A Song like that," Shen Yuan said and picked up Bingpup. "No barking, that's just Bing Gege, okay? You see him everyday."

"Grrr….."

Luo Binghe's expression darkened. Shen Yuan wondered if there was truly something wrong. Luo Binghe never complained about it before, but maybe he actually didn't like the name Bingpup? He had never seen Binghe playing with Bingpup before.

"A Song is asleep so we can't be too loud. Bing Gege, do you want to play games or read a book?" Shen Yuan asked. Luo Binghe still looked weird, he shouldn't do anything strenuous yet. Maybe his head was still hurting.

"Gege will do whatever you want," Luo Binghe offered.

Of course. Shen Yuan hummed and looked at the selection of books in the room. He had already read most of them, the only ones left were cultivation manuals, which no way anyone would let him touch. "I'll go and pick some books, can Bing Gege stay here with A Song?"

"It's okay, A Yuan should stay here. Gege will look for a book," Luo Binghe quickly said and left before Shen Yuan could protest.

 


 

He had to look for that accursed thing. Just what in the world was that abomination?! What did he miss in the gaps that he couldn't see or too distracted to see?!

Luo Binghe went to the woodshed. There was a secret place underneath the floor where Ning Yingying often kept her favourite little treasures. He knew, because back then he had slept here and found the little trinkets she had kept whenever they got the chance to go to the market. They would share this secret compartment together, hiding each other's presents here.

He found the trinkets indeed, as well as a stack of books wrapped nicely in a thick cloth. Luo Binghe dusted the bundle a little before opening it.

….

….

The Tale of Ice King and Winter Bride, written by Liu Su Mian Hua... the first chapter was already eye-opening. Luo Binghe already knew some of his wives enjoyed erotic reading materials. He did not think both of his favourite wives would actually read a story starring himself and Mobei Jun. Mobei Jun, of all people! How the hell did this book come to existence, and more importantly, why was he the one being penetrated?! How the hell was he supposed to look at Mobei Jun in the eyes after this, after reading about how the ice demon was fucking him in sixty-nine different ways?!

Also, what the hell happened to Mobei Jun in this parallel world?! Why was he with Shang Qinghua? It didn't make sense that in one world he had strangled the An Ding Peak Lord to death, while in this world he would suddenly marry and soon build a family with him. He stored the books back in their places and left the woodshed feeling even more spooked out. He bumped into Ming Fan, who was just back from ordering around the younger disciples.

Ming Fan frowned. "You're walking around already? I heard you were injured so bad."

Each and every single time this world kept surprising him. He was now the main character of an erotica bottoming for his general. Ming Fan was not acting like an asshole upon seeing him. Truly, at this point Luo Binghe couldn't even anticipate if there was anything else about to shock him.

"Where is A Yuan? Shizun went to a meeting, right?" Ming Fan asked.

"Inside the house with A Song," Luo Binghe replied.

"Then why are you loitering here? Don't leave A Yuan and A Song for too long. A Yuan hates being left alone," Ming Fan said. "The only times we leave A Yuan alone, trouble happens."

Luo Binghe's eyes widened. "What do you mean by that?"

Ming Fan sighed. "Luo Binghe ah, Luo Binghe… even at this age you’re still clueless. When a child makes trouble, it’s usually because they want attention. A Yuan is so used to being coddled by everyone, he