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Crown Prince's Curse

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Beijing. One of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China. Home of the High Lord Linguang Jun. Birthright of Mobei Jun, the High Lord’s nephew, heir to the emperor’s throne.

Station of Shang Qinghua, the High Lord’s servant. Favored by the lord as his top spy, no other man was allowed to touch him.

But for love, Mobei Jun and Shang Qinghua were willing to risk their very lives.

“My prince,” whispered the smaller man. His eyes fluttered shut at the cold tongue sucking an enthusiastic dark mark just under his ear.

Silk sheets flowed soothingly under his naked back as he arched against the bed.

Mobei Jun pulled back in silent question.

Goosebumps raised on his skin at the cooling saliva on his neck. Spiced incense smelled tantalizing from where it burned in the corner of the prince’s private bedroom.

The servant responded with a weak punch to the well-defined pectorals hovering above him. “I didn’t mean to stop! But you know that it’s impossible for me to keep quiet when you do that.” His whining was effective and that mouth instantly settled on his delicate neck once more.

Despite working in service as a spy of sorts, Shang Qinghua was loud and talkative a majority of the time.

It was what made him good at his job: no one ever suspected him.

It was also what exposed their clandestine relationship that night.

There was no time to react. One moment they were wrapped together in passion and in the next, an armed squadron splintered the sealed door open. Blades were pointed mere centimeters from their faces and the intruders circled the bed.

A heavy dose of realization that they had been caught set in. Shang Qinghua trembled, mouth babbling the inanest nonsense in an attempt to save themselves, or at least the prince's—his own life wasn’t worth much as a servant.

Mobei Jun’s face froze over in fury. Despite being naked, he was as regal as ever when he stood up and covered up his lover’s body from unworthy eyes.

“What’s the meaning of this?” he demanded, looking down his nose at them.

“You’ve done it now, my nephew.” A smiling demon entered and the squadron stood down with a wave of his hand. He was positively gleeful at having caught them at last. “Who has touched you?” he asked Shang Qinghua in a sing-song voice.

The man opened his mouth to speak but the High Lord clicked his tongue. “Don’t lie to me. There are bruises all up your neck, and if I were to take a peak under the sheets, I suspect I would find your hole fluttering and smeared with oils.”

Shang Qinghua gripped the silk in his hand tightly.

Not willing to cow before his serpent of an uncle, Mobei Jun brandished one of his weapons. “Don’t talk to him like that.”

“He’s my servant. I can do with him whatever I want.” Several guards rushed to restrain the crown prince before he could throw another punch.

Normally, soldiers would not have touched him for fear of death. When he succeeded to the throne, he would take on the powers of a god and while they would remain mortal. None wanted to face possible future retribution and lived to serve in the upmost way possible. Putting hands on him was one sure way to invoke his rage.

But these weren’t men loyal to the crown. They were loyal only to the High Lord.

“Take him to the interrogation chamber—” a group moved to take Shang Qinghua into custody “—Take my nephew into custody as well. I’m sure the king will be very disappointed to know that he’s been slacking off from duties to chase after a servant.”

While the king wasn’t likely to kill his only heir, that didn’t mean he would be above some other harsh punishment. But the interrogation chamber was equivalent to a death sentence, and they both knew it.

Enraged, and scared for his lover, Mobei Jun managed to drive through the guards, landing a blow on his uncle. The man in question clutched his abdomen in pain. When he drew his hand back it was stained with blood.

But before Mobei Jun could take full advantage of the opening and finish the job, he was tackled from behind by several men. Thrashing and growling, he was unable to break free.

Still trapped on the bed with only a sheet to cover him, a sense of calm settled over Shang Qinghua. His fate was all but sealed. However, there was a chance for Mobei Jun to make it out alive.

There was a flash of light and then the room was filled with thick, oppressive smoke. The only one who caught on was Mobei Jun who stayed low to the ground and crawled to Shang Qinghua. 

He grabbed the man’s hand and pulled. But Shang Qinghua didn’t follow him. He glanced back with a confused expression and the smaller man smiled sadly. “You’ll travel faster if it’s just you.”

“Nonsense.” He tried pulling again only for the hand to be removed completely.

The smoke bomb attack started to lose the element of surprise and Shang Qinghua all but shoved him toward the escape hatch hidden under the floor boards. He gave one last hurried kiss to the crown prince and pleaded, “Go!”

Mobei Jun wasn’t a crier but he cried then. There was logic to the smaller man’s plan: Mobei Jun was the more likely to survive. That didn’t make it any easier on his heart.

But he wouldn’t let the sacrifice be in vain.

Right then and there, he vowed to bring Shang Qinghua back no matter the cost. Even if he had to raze the rest of the world to the ground, he would. It was a small price to pay for his love.

He escaped that night, alone despite his preferences, and fled to the fearsome Black Temple, located deep within the Northern territory. The spiritual aura around it was such that the only ones who could withstand to enter were direct members of the crown family—not even Linguang Jun could without being driven mad. 

With nothing to loose, he dared to take the black book of the dead from its sacred resting place.

Pouring through ancient texts and rituals, he delved deep, deep into the art of soul reanimation. The art was generally shunned for being too taboo, too outside of the natural cycle of the world. Not that Mobei Jun was concerned. He just wanted Shang Qinghua returned to him.

Weeks later, when he finally found its location, Mobei Jun dug up the unmarked grave and reclaimed his corpse.

Although, it had been several weeks, the body was fairly well preserved. He cupped the face gently. If not for the lack of a heartbeat and the off texture of the skin, he could almost pretend that Shang Qinghua was merely asleep.

But Shang Qinghua’s soul had been sent to the dark pits of the underworld; dark magic was the only way to reunite him with his body at that point.

Mobei Jun made his way back to the temple with Shang Qinghua in tow. Once inside, he placed the body on a stone alter. Taking a deep breath, and sending a small prayer to the gods, he started reading from the book.

Half way down the first page, the very air began to pulse and shimmer. Excited that it was working, he read on. By the second page, a bubbling black mass formed midair right over the corpse.

Gradually, so gradually, it lowered so as to coat the body and Shang Qinghua let out a supernatural wail as life was breathed back into him. Mobei Jun’s heart soared in relief—Shang Qinghua had come back from the dead.

But before the ritual could be completed, Mobei Jun was stabbed from behind unexpectedly. The blade cut through him piercing several organs. 

Startled by the interruption, he stopped reading. The soul immediately leaked out of the body with oily tendrils. Mobei Jun gave a loud cry at seeing his love leave him for a second time.  

The sword was pulled out and he slumped forward onto the alter, blood dripping on Shang Qinghua’s blank face.

Black boots walked around to stand in front of him. “Well, well. A pleasure to see you again, nephew.”

“What—how are—”

“Normally, the temple wouldn’t let me pass but I had help from your father.” Mobei Jun turned his head around to look, which made the High Lord sigh assumedly. “He’s not here physically but he did send me with a token, you see. With it, I can come and go as I please from this place.”

He closed his eyes. Close. He had been that close. Had literally heard Shang Qinghua’s voice for a spilt second. But now that the king had gotten involved, it was clear that the High Lord had won over his favor and that the crown prince had lost his.

Weakened by everything, the disappointment, the grave injury, the knowledge that his uncle was to kill him, he was unable to gather the strength to fight him off.

Shang Qinghua’s corpse was irrespectively kicked from the alter. It landed with a loud thud, nothing stopping it from hitting the ground hard.

As for Mobei Jun, he was condemned to endure the worst of all ancient curses. One so horrible, it had never before been performed.

The crown prince was forcibly nailed down as cursed needles were inserted into his body. He wasn’t sure when his uncle started practicing dark arts but it seemed to come natural to him. The needles glowed for a brief moment before disappearing into the flesh.

Instantly, he screamed as his flesh and organs evaporated into nothingness leaving only a skeleton behind. Despite being physically transformed, he retained his consciousness. The pain was excruciating. It felt like being constantly crushed by the heaviest pressure imaginable.

And the torment would eternal, the gnawing ceaseless.

The curse was designed to last until the end of time.

Linguang Jun gave one last satisfied wave as he left him there to rot. “It was nice knowing you, dear nephew.”

Mobei Jun was to remain sealed inside the temple, undead for all of eternity. It was forbidden to allow him to ever be released, for he would arise a walking disease; a plague upon mankind; an unholy flesh-eater with the strength of ages, power over the sands, and the glory of invincibility. 

And so there he remained for thousands of years.