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Part of you is always with me

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Qiandeng temple, the opening of Mount Tong’lu

Xie Lian’s breath hitches as Hua Cheng finally loses control attacking his sensitive neck in a more than pleasurable way. Strength gradually leaves his legs, breathing becomes ragged and uneven, his fingers try to grab onto the muscular torso pressing against him, and push away the whole, feverish body just to fail in attempt. The ghost king is out of his right mind and Xie Lian is crushed beneath his own surprize of the situation, newly found interest, desire to continue with the course of actions, and a slight shame blooming of the thought of the requirments of his cultivation path. A whole whirpool of emotions try to fill his mind and he’s definitely not capable of paying any attention to them at some point. More like when Hua Cheng traps him in a long, wet kiss, robbing him of the last shards of his clear consciousness, he just stops attempting the impossible, trying to form comprehensible strings of logic.

Their tongues engage again and again in a mindblowing dance of wetness, fire, exploring each others taste. Hua Cheng’s fingers crisscross over his body discovering and rediscovering new and old sensitive spots like his hips, stomach, or the inner thights as the adventurous hands wonder beneath the layers of clothing. Hungry lips caress his earlobes, jaw and neck slowly wondering lower on his body. Hua Cheng -although his consciousness was long thrown out of the window- spares time to suck and nibble on the tender skin of his throat, leaving unmistakable marks on it, like little butterflies fluttering on Xie Lian’s gorgeous milky skin.

The layers of white robes become more and more loose, and finally, one by one fall to the ground thanks to Hua Cheng’s fast and precise fingers. Xie Lian doesn’t oppose, his mind is foggy, layered with a thick stratum of need. His face is as scarlet as Hua Cheng’s robes – which by the way are also lessening in number even if Xie Lian is a bit less skilled in peeling layers than his dear San Lang.

”Ah!” Those adventurous fingers seemingly found what they were looking for: the untouched, pristine member trembles under the carressing hand, precum leaking, then the first, embarrasingly fast ejaculation... Xie Lian’ knees falter, his whole naked body trembles as his weight is now supported by Hua Cheng’s iron grasp, otherwise the ground would support his body. Hua Cheng scoops him up and places him on the altar sweeping aside with one agressive motion everything else, papers, inkstones, brushes. The stone table feels especially cold against the flushed, feverish skin, his breath hitches at the contact, but neither of them is able to think straight at the moment. Their mouths close up on each other again for long seconds, saliva twirling between their hungry tongues. Xie Lian tries to breath a bit more evenly – no success.

His stomach churns slightly because of the panic of unknown, but his mind is too much in a daze, and massive want to pay more attention to it. Hua Cheng grabs his legs almost like a prayer, and starts kissing the flushed skin with utmost devotion starting from the ankles, working his way up to the knees. When arriving, he slowly parts them to place his body between them. His one eye bears an animalistic, hungry gaze looking at Xie Lian like a wolf haunts its prey before gulping them down in one go.

Those daring fingers caress every inch of his body making him moan and gasp shamlessly, until they arrive at his entrance. A low yelp escapes his lips as he realises, what is Hua Cheng doing between his legs, but no time remains to feel any kind of indignation of sorts: the prying fingers work in unison with a hungry mouth suddenly taking in his member, distracting him of the foreign sensation in his backside. Those moans become louder, much more hitched and desperate for relief. In a short while, he comes again letting out indistinctive shreds of words and yelps while his fingers dig into Hua Cheng’s raven locks. His body arches, muscles contract under the weight of the intense orgasm, then falls back on the altar limp, flushed, relaxed and still extremely sensitive. His hole is now able to swallow up even three fingers, but his brain is not receptioning this information, as it’s mushy of the fiery pleasure waves.

With a gentle, warm kiss, Hua Cheng finally sinks in. It’s a big fucking miracle in itself he manages to hold himself back from just yanking his member inside- his subconscious still prioritizes His Highness before everything else. Although the patience lasts only for a couple of thrusts- after the third or fourth one, his hips start to speed up as his starved animal self takes over. He wants to devour Xie Lian’s everything, every nook and cranny of this blessed body, and Xie Lian doesn’t stop him at all. Those powerful arms circle around Hua Cheng’s neck dragging him closer to himself, like he wants to melt into the body of the ghost king. First, his hips don’t really find the rhythm, but then the harmony slowly forms between them making the whole act even more pleasurable for both. As soon as Hua Cheng hits by chance his pleasure spot, Xie Lian tries instinctively to buckle up his hips and arrange his body for Hua Cheng to hit again and again that magical place he didn’t even know could exist in his body.

The night is long, filled with intense pleasure, moans, sweat, panting, and countless of heavenly orgasms for both of them. When morning comes, Xie Lian dresses them, and with the help of various talismans, cleans up the remains of the mess they made of Qiandeng temple’s main hall, and places the now unconscious Hua Cheng near the altar, head on his lap, fingers slowly caressing the raven locks. When the ghost king wakes up suspicious of what happened, he fabricates a lie about them sparring and fighting, and avoids eye contact. Hua Cheng doesn’t fully believe the story, but also can’t remember what happened.

Shortly after the happenings at Qiandeng temple, the Heavenly Court is thrown in chaos as Jun Wu turns out to be the fourth Calamity in fact, and Xie Lian is forced to step up against him in order to survive. The cost is huge: Hua Cheng pays with his life at the end with the promise of coming back to His Highness. Xie Lian is broken, devastated.

 

After defeating Jun Wu, before Hua Cheng’s return

 

Three months after moving to Mount Taicang, Xie Lian is preoccupied with a ton of adminstrative tasks.

”Your Highness, are you preparing for an eating competition?” The slightly annoyed question comes from a once again overworked Ling Wen. She was captured a few days ago trying to sneak in the temporary camp on Mount Taicang, and as for a first punishment, they made her do the accountings. She has heavy, dark bags under her eyes-again. Moodwise it seems like she sunk back to her old, cold and sometimes sarcastic ways- perfectly fitting for the neverending torture of administration.

”Me? Oh, no, I’m just hungry. Did I... eat too much?” Xie Lian shows his best sheepish smile while stuffing his face with more mantou. It’s his fifth one.

”No, I don’t know, I’m just amazed how your stomach is not exploding from eating so many mantous.” She furrows her brows, but pays no more attention to Xie Lian’s eating habits. She’s too tired and not really interested in the subject.

In the next couple of weeks Xie Lian receives various remarks regarding his increased food intake, and starts to wonder if maybe he’s too stressed and compensates with food? It starts to show even on his stomach in form of a small bump. As his thoughts fly here and there, just as wild as his mood swings as of recently, he swears to cut back on binge eating somehow. He doesn’t want to roll around like a spring roll when Hua Cheng comes back.

 

 

One day, five months after the defeat of Jun Wu, as finishing a general meeting Pei Ming drags him to the side with a concerned look on his face.

”Are you alright, Your Highness?” Pei Ming wrinkles his eyebrows concerned, looking up and down on Xie Lian repeatedly.

”I think I am, yes...” The crown prince is surprized by all means. True, recently his mood became more agitated, harder to predict when he will experience a slight mental breakdown, but he is convinced his longing for his San Lang is stronger than he thought and that’s the cause of his unpredicatble behaviour.

”Are you sure? Because your ... well, Ling Wen said she observed your power doesn’t fluctuate as it should. But she’s convinced you wouldn’t pay attention to it, so she asked me to check on you. And I have to say, your power really seem to be all over the place, Your Highness.” Xie Lian just looks at him with a blank expression on his face, not understanding, what’s going on. He feels fine aside from the mood swings and the constant need to eat something. Why wouldn’t he feel okay? But seeing the concern on Pei Ming’s face and thinking about how Hua Cheng would be upset if he let his health deteriorate, he gives up in a record short time.

”Fine, I will go and ask for a check-up. Please rest assured, General Pei, and tell Ling Wen the same. And... Thank you. For worrying about me.” He considers now General Pei as one of his friends, therefore it’s normal to thank them for their kind concern. It feels somehow good to have people paying attention to his health; strange, but good.
Pei Ming shakes his head with a smile on his face. He considers Xie Lian his friend just as much, and it’s normal to look out for friends, isn’t it?

As promised, he pays a visit to the healer, and shortly after the check-up, the poor man has to catch Xie Lian as upon receiving the results of the examination, he simply faints on spot.

 

Pregnant. With child.

Fortunately, the healer doesn’t go around to consult with anybody and everybody, but patiently waits for Xie Lian to wake up and try not to faint again from shock. And Xie Lian wakes up, but still cannot cope in one go with reality. His hands fall on his stomach, bewildered expression spreads on his face as he realizes what he felt for a month now were not cramps because of overeating, but most probably his child moving around inside him. It feels so distant and out of a fairy tale, but as he tries to think about it in a calm way, slowing down for once, he’s able to piece together the small details.

There’s no question about the identity of the father, likewise the time of conception. Even though his powers surely suffered at that time, it was not so obvious as he still wore the cursed shackles, therefore his own spiritual powers were entirely blocked. Also, Hua Cheng almost constantly supplied him with spiritual power, then with another enormous amount which cost his life in the end. He tears up instantly remembering the shattering butterfly cloud, fingers moving to wipe away the spilling tears from his eyes.

What he doesn’t understand, why didn’t he himself observ anything of this pregnancy? The healer mentions it’s possible not to have any of the typical pregnancy symptomps in the first three months, and it’s even a bigger miracle how the baby has survived the whole ordeal with Jun Wu. Xie Lian gulps, guilty. Indeed it’s a miracle, but he honestly didn’t know! Still feels slightly guilty.

He shares the news with his close friends and a couple officials whom he deems reliable and would be willing to help him out if he enters the harder phase of the pregnancy. Ban Yue and Pei Su are delighted, congratulating multiple times. The Rain Master promises supplies and any help Xie Lian needs during pregnancy and after giving birth to the baby. The same goes for Pei Ming, Feng Xin and Mu Qing, but those three are more astonished by the news than delighted (specially, because Xie Lian is finally visibly feeling happier than anytime the last couple months was after Hua Cheng’s disappearance). After all, Pei Ming was always the one to bless women with children and he is simply incapable of imagining a pregnant man. Yet, here is Xie Lian. He can’t hide is fascination and one time even asks if he can touch Xie Lian’s stomach to feel the baby.

Mu Qing and Feng Xin are simply horrified as they have a very strong hunch as well who is the father of His Highness’s child the moment Xie Lian breaks the news for them. They are terrified of the thought of Hua Cheng and Xie Lian.... Well, let’s just say Mu Qing learns to curse in a very short time and very efficiently. But even if they have their own opinions about the father, neither of them voice any concerns about the baby (mostly because if the child had any issue, the healer would have already very possibly discovered it). Mu Qing goes as far as starting to pester Xie Lian constantly with healthy diets, robbing him of his paperwork (and dumping it on Feng Xin not feeling any guilt for it), brewing calming tea for him every night and sometimes accompanying him on short walks to keep him in motion.

 

Seven months after starting to camp out on Mount Taicang, the Heavenly Court officially moves back to its newly built place. Feng Xin and Mu Qing tries their best to convince Xie Lian in moving back with them, but the crown prince remains set on the idea of waiting for his San Lang on Mount Taicang however much it takes. Feng Xin tries to argue stating it’s risky to live alone on a mountain, pregnant, without any help, so they manage to convince Ban Yue, Pei Su and Shi Qingxuan to stay with Xie Lian in his newly built cottage, and take care of him until Hua Cheng comes back.

Life with the pregnant Xie Lian is certainly not the easiest. Even though he has a kind, considerate nature, in the last couple of months of his pregnancy, he becomes much more sensible to the point of tearing up or even crying at least every other day. The stress of not having Hua Cheng around, not being able to sleep comfortably anymore, the cravings, mood swings and the increased constant weight but lack of exercise takes a toll on his mental health.

The three caretakers decide to split responsibilities: turns out shortly neither of them knows how to cook, but Pei Su proves to be the quickest to learn to create edible, nutricious dishes (with some tutorial help from the Rain Master and her ox). Ban Yue volunteers to clean the cottage and do the laundry on a daily basis, and Shi Qingxuan is blessed with the guarding of Xie Lian, which includes being also his constant emotional support (more like his anti-anxiety animal).

 

Nine months into his pregnancy, one morning finds him with a damp feeling between his thights just after waking and finally sitting up in his bed. Worried and feeling mild shame on the possibility of wetting himself, he quickly checks his robes, but neither any smell, nor colour indicates this scenario. Shi Qingxuan chooses this moment to come in and check on him.

”Oh, you’re already awake, Your Highness! What would you like to eat for breakfast?”

”Um... Shingxuan. Maybe breakfast is not a good idea right now.” Shi Qingxuan immediately rushes to his bed seeing his worried expression. Checking upon Xie Lian, he almost enters panic mode as he realizes, what’s happening, but the healer already warned them multiple times not to agitate Xie Lian when the time comes, and stay calm, collected, because one frantic person will be enough to handle at the time.

Qingxuan alerts Ban Yue and Pei Su, and in an hour, thanks to Ban Yue, the healer, Mu Qing and Feng Xin arrive at the cottage. By then, Xie Lian’s contractions start to manifest with decreasingly smaller timeframes.

It’s not an easy one. He was stabbed a hundred times with a sword, and that experience still tops on the „Most painful experiences in 800 years” list of his, but giving birth to his baby is up there in the top 10, definitely. His muscles feel like fire, and at some point, they might as well be knives tearing him apart from inside out. He doesn’t even know when he started to shout thanks to the intense pain in his abdomen. Throat feeling raw and his lower half almost totally numb already, he finally makes his last push.

The earpiercing cry of the newborn child cuts through the room and settles itself in his eardrums. Exhausted, numb, and sweaty as he is, his heart swells from just hearing his baby breathing, crying, existing in this world, filling him up with a sudden rush of happiness. The small baby is cleaned and wrapped in soft blankets by Ban Yue, who assisted to the healer the whole time while the others were ordered to wait outside the birth room. Xie Lian finally receives the tiny bundle, his small, beautiful child.

”Congratulations, General Hua! It’s a wonderful baby girl!” Ban Yue’s eyes are filled with tears of joy.

But Xie Lian can’t hear, can’t see anything and anybody aside his perfect, beautiful baby girl. The small, angry red, wrinkled face is still slightly wet, and the loud crying sounds subside slowly only when Xie Lian places his daughter over his heart. As she hears the heartbeats, the sound calms her down bit by bit. Xie Lian murmurs sweet nothings while cradling her in his arms not looking away even when Ban Yue lets in the others inside. They all look like crying of joy and emotions, even the bickering Feng Xin and Mu Qing stop growling at each other for five whole minutes. Everybody is overcome with emotions at seeing that tiny, gorgeous being cradled in Xie Lian’s arms. It’s love at first sight - Xie Lian knows. The moment he locked eyes on his daughter, he knew his heart will be forever captured by her, the perfect blend of him and Hua Cheng. He couldn’t wish for more, ever.

 

Reunion

 

Three months after giving birth to their daughter, Xie Lian still waits for Hua Cheng with unshakable determination, but now he’s not alone anymore. Although Ban Yue, Pei Su and Shi Qingxuan wanted to remain, he insisted on being able to manage most of the tasks by himself. Nowadays he receives visitors almost every day: they bring small gifts, mostly freshly cooked food and supplies for his daughter, but there are other types of pleasant surprizes not failing to impress the crown prince. Mu Qing for example manages to make him tear up when he brings forth a dozen of elegant, fit-to-a-princess baby robes specially adjusted to his daughter. Feng Xin contributes with various toys and a crib exquisite enough to pass for a masterpiece. Everybody just adores the little miracle born from Xie Lian’s and Hua Cheng’s love.

 

Days are slowly turning from summer to autumn, but the weather is still warm. Xie Lian spends a lot of time outside of the cottage with his little bundle of joy, going on hundreds of walks and talking to her, telling stories of her father, of the visitors constantly keeping them company, the long-forgotten kingdom of Xianle, her grandparents. But often he just rocks his daughter in his arms slowly, peacefully, humming her songs muddled by his memory of 800 years.

 

One evening, the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival finds them walking uphills. Everybody understands why His Highness won’t participate this year on the festival- he still waits for Hua Cheng’s arrival and bringing his infant daughter up in the Heavenly Court is out of question – too much travelling for a three months old baby.

”Be patient, my dear. We almost arrived.” He plants a gentle kiss on the forehead of his wriggling little girl, who is on the verge of crying. She’s usually so docile and not fussy at all, but today she didn’t seem to sleep that well, that’s why he wanted to take a short walk before lulling her to sleep some more. Small, shiny eyes are glued on his face, almost like his daughter have understood what he said, her voice starts to become calm, close to sleepy.

They are close to the peak when he finally sees the reddish golden lights ascend one by one, like twinkling stars. The view is breathtaking, indescribably beautiful. Xie Lian stops for a moment and lets this piecturesque moment capture his eyes completely before realising they are not alone. Someone donned in red robes is already standing there, uphills, letting go of those reddish golden specks of light.

His heart starts to beat so fast he’s afraid those old man ribcages won’t resist. Slowly, the person in red robes turnes around. There’s a moment of total silence in the air, not even his daughter tries to share her angelic baby words with him; it’s like she sensed the tension in the air around her father. Then both of them start to walk towards each other with every step coming closer, walking faster, until both of them are practically running. When they meet, Xie Lian is almost enveloped in a bone crushing hug, before he yelps. Hua Cheng immediately lets go of him, but Xie Lian snuggles back in his arms almost immediately, and at the same time, turns his little angel to Hua Cheng to show her as clear as possible, as the cause of the yelp.

The ghost king is speechless, staring at the baby in the arms of his beloved. Xie Lian smiles at him, nodding once. There are few words able to pass through his throat right now, so narrow because of the emotions invading him head-on.

”She’s yours.” A slow whisper, faint, forehead gently pushed against Hua Cheng’s neck, nuzzling. A trembling hand wonders around the soft head of his little girl, then Hua Cheng very carefully touches the tiny head.

”How....” Xie Lian knows exactly, why is there confusion in the eye of his beloved. But there’s so much time now to tell him everything, detail by detail.

After all, they have all the eternity for themselves from now on.