[01 - Going back to the past]
Shen Qingqiu's name was sullied.
Shen Jiu was abandoned.
Shen Jiu was forgotten.
Shen Jiu has died.
And so is Qi-ge. And so is Yue Qi.
Liu Qingge's death is a misfortune, Yue Qi's guilt is never-ending, Shen Qingqiu's life is a tragedy.
Shen Jiu died.
And Shen Qingqiu finally died.
Or so he
The cool dawn showers his delicate face, Shen Qingqiu slowly opens his eyes.
'Alive' was what he thought as he slowly sits straight on his soft bed.
The bed he has always loved, the bed in his dear bamboo house.
'Beast, playing with my dreams now? Good, good.' Shen Qingqiu bites his bottom lip.
The familiar metallic taste of blood, dripping from his rosy lips to his white blanket. He couldn't feel the pain. He has gone through worse.
Shen Qingqiu closes his eyes, tries to trace any demonic energy. Hoping that it's just another torture method of that filthy beast. But he couldn't. He knew too much of how the old dream demon's ways work.
It's not a dream.
He has come back. Shen Qingqiu has come back.
Warm tears flow from his eyes, so much, so wet, so pathetic.
Qi-Ge and Yue Qingyuan are foolish. Never good at communication, but they are one person, so it is natural isn't it?
Liu Qingge is a prideful barbarian, reckless in decisions.
Qiu Haitang was once an innocent flower.
Shen Jiu is a slave.
Shen Qingqiu was a slave.
Shen Qingqiu is Shen Jiu, and Shen Jiu is Shen Qingqiu.
Just like Yue Qi who will forever be Yue Qingyuan.
He cries quietly, wipes his tears, but the tears keep flowing fluidly.
Ah, has he always suffered this much?
It hurts. His heart hurts.
Shen Qingqiu cries silently.
"Why can't I just die?"
Days passed like flowing water.
And it was just a few days ago
[a week] when Shen Qingqiu came back.
Grumbling, Shen Qingqiu finally leaves his bed.
Shen Qingqiu is a teacher, a peak lord. Naturally, work never leaves him.
"Good morning Shizun!" Ming Fan and Ning Ying Ying bows.
"Mn." Shen Qingqiu responses.
Ming Fan, his favored disciple.
Excellent in thinking, prideful but respects the elders, loyal, and good in leadership.
If only his envious heart could lessen.
He followed his teacher's path and died.
He died because of Shen Qingqiu. Because Shen Jiu is Shen Qingqiu and the other way round.
Ning Ying Ying.
Kind, friendly, value others, is bright but can be serious when needed to.
A sinless flower.
She became one with the beast.
No longer bright and pure. All because of him.
Shen Qingqiu taps his fan, "Ming Fan."
"Yes, Shizun?" Ming Fan answers with a brave smile.
"You are the head disciple, someone this master trusts in judgment and leadership..." Shen Qingqiu ties a blue Hanfu waist bell with a black line in his waist belt, "Remember, envy leads to doom, keep your emotion still. Use your mind, not heart."
"Shizun?" Ming Fan stiffens, and within the count of seconds, his eyes redden.
"This master has always favored you the most." was left unsaid, but was written very clearly.
Ming Fan has always been by his Shizun's side.
Cruelty, punishments, fights, lessons. Everywhere and anytime his Shizun calls him, he comes.
He knows, Ming Fan knows very well that Ning Ying Ying is Shizun's apple in the eye, so he keeps his envious heart low. After all, boys are never in Shizun's mercy.
So when he heard Shizun's words, his heart could only cry.
Shen Qingqiu adverts his eyes to the girl, "Ning Ying Ying."
"Shizun?" the girl's heart trembles.
"This master has someone like Ning Ying Ying," Shen Qingqiu covers half of his face behind his fan, "
[So please,] understand others' mind before acting. Strengthen that simple mind of yours."
"Don't get hurt."
"How dare you! Because of you, Haitang is hurt!" Qiu Jianluo whips the fragile boy.
'She fucking tripped and fell! How's that my fault?!' Shen Jiu curses inwardly, 'Why is it my fault?!'
"Don't cause others pain."
"A-Jiu, I told my brother to be softer to you!"
"Lady Qiu... there's no need for such thing," Shen Jiu smiles as he wipes his bleeding, trembling fingers, "He was very kind to this lowly one."
"Yes, Shizun..." the girl's heart dims as she notices a cloudy shade in her Shizun's eyes.
As she finally notices that it is not her that the man cares for, it is someone else that resembles her. Someone dear to the man. Not her.
"Ming Fan, inform all disciples, today's lesson will be Guqin," Shen Qingqiu snaps his fan, "Now go."
"Yes, Shizun!" the youngsters chirps.
As the little ducklings run, Shen Qingqiu lets out an exhale.
'Some things need to be changed.' Shen Qingqiu closes his eyes.
'Ning Yingying is too innocent,' his mind runs and runs, 'Mingfan has to be improved in cultivation, social, and leading skills.'
'I have to gain trust from others
[martial brothers and sister],' Shen Qingqiu brushes his hair to his back, 'Liu Qingge's death...'
The early birds sing their nameless song.
'Yue Qingyuan's unrevealed truths,' Shen Qingqiu's smile is breathtaking
[just like a deity and demon lord], 'And Luo Binghe...'