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Idiots, The Both Of Us

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"The reports only say that people have gone missing recently and that only the occasional limb or torn clothing has been found... " Not really much to go off, Shen Qinqqiu thought miserably to himself, because what creature doesn't fucking do that?? (Actually that list would be shorter...)

Shen Qingqiu let out a sigh, snapping his fan open to fan at his face in annoyance while glaring staring at the scenery they were strolling through. Liu Qingge beside him only grunted in acknowledgement.

Some smaller sects had pleaded Cang Qiong to look into the matter, and after a few missing disciples (more than most likely dead, Shen QingQiu threw a small feeling of sorrow towards those poor, poor unnamed background characters...), it was agreed that Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge should go investigate.

And that was all they had to go off of?

Fantastic.

It's NOT like Shen Qinqqiu had any idea what the hell's been going on for the last couple of months. Someone had decided that paying attention to the Scum Villain and the merry band of Cang Qiong Idiots occasionally during the Blackening Arc would be too tedious. (He needed a moment to cry for his poor boy and the hell his future's going to be when that kid is done baking into a badass...). No, because that would have been 'boring and unnecessarily time consuming for lame pay offs--Who has time for that! I had bills to pay, Cucumber-bro!' 

So he was roughing it just as much as everyone else was. How miserable...

The victims were too varied and numerous to find a solid pattern--however, clearly some disciples were not an issue (once again, sorry poor background characters!! eaten merely for badassness factor.) and it did leave some 'leftovers' in a certain area. (Information brought by some wilderness enthusiasts who had screeched their way back to town with their gruesome findings.)

 

Which was where they were now standing.

 

Shen Qinqqiu looked up at the jagged stone grey cliffs. They were dotted with numerous dark caves with several waterfalls of various sizes cascading down the gray layered stone. Liu Qingge was staring at one of the larger pools that fed into the river that they had just followed.

"Sword." the other nodded towards the pool, drawing Shen Qingqiu over. The Qing Jing Peak Lord peered into the misty depths to see the said sword--and then noticed the half chewed-on bones and viscera being nibbled on by fish. Shen Qingqiu scowled in disgust behind his fan. (Liu-shidi, you could have maybe said something about that gross-ass sight!)

"Well, it's clearly around here or we've found something else we need to worry about." 

Liu Qingge raised a brow at him, "Any ideas?"

"What it is? No. There are plenty of creatures that live in areas like this. And plenty more that..." Shen Qingqiu flicked his sleeve in disgust to gesture at the scene. "It honestly could be anything. We might have to start investigating the caves or just wait till it comes out itself." The War Lord only hummed and narrowed his eyes at the lake.

The creature would have to come out, though. This wasn't a case of something luring people to this location with some magical singing or some other trick. The town, while not extremely close, wasn't too far away either and the locals said it was uncommon for people to venture here. Save for the few forgers, curious teens, and hiking enthusiasts that came by during the day--none of which have gone missing yet. Unless they were were out late as dusk fell and the night started... Plus reclusive rich-folks and many of the elderly wouldn't have ventured this far--according to the bereaved. In other words, it was probably traveling from its home here in the caves to the town to abduct victims. It was just odd how lacking the witnesses were--no one has actually seen or heard anythingof the creature. Or at least lived to tell the tale...

(Very frustrating!!)

[Hello User!!!]

GAH WHAT NO--NOT NOW DAMMIT.

[There is a secret mission available!]

..................................

[Do you--]

NO

[ :,C You didn't even let me finish, User! (so mean...) There's a secret mission available! No other information is available!! So please do not ask! Fulfilling it will reward 50 B points, failure will result in a 500 B point deduction!!] Shen Qinqqiu’s eyes bulged at the number.

WHAT. HOW--YOU HAVEN'T EVEN TOLD ME WHAT THE FUCKING MISSION IS--ARE YOU FUCKING--

[Do you want to enable easy mode? :3c]

Shen Qingqiu seethed at the emoji--that piece of shit!!--but he had to weigh his options. First off, he’s been given a SHITTY AND UNFAIR "secret mission" that apparently doesn't even have a name besides "secret mission." More likely than not something embarrassing and lewd given the subject material... Or terrifyingly deadly in which maiming and death will most likely occur--probably having something to do with the mystery creature they're trying to deal with.

Oh no--what if it's some sort of mission to "fix" the plot line and get Liu Qingge "properly" killed off?! Shen Qingqiu paled at the idea. Could--would--the system try to "right" the changes that he has made??  Would enabling easy mode just be requesting help to kill Liu Qingge?? He grew sick at the idea.

But 500 points? Sure, he would survive the loss, but anymore deductions--even the tiniest of amounts--could result in deactivation!! Was trying to save Liu Qingge worth that?

Shen Qingqiu regarded the other man over his fan. Said peak lord had crossed over to the other side of the pool, standing over by the gently roaring bottom of one of the bigger falls. He was looking up at some of the caves further up on the jutting grey stone cliff side--his pale neck stark against the grays and whites of the scenery. While the other man's head was craned up, his hair gently swayed in the breeze blowing off from the falls--the black strands floating gently and serenely in the misty air like ink leaves in a breeze.

Shen Qingqiu closed his eyes and let out a sigh. Yes… Liu Qingge was worth it. If they survived he would very much need the War Lord as his beefy ally to help ward off Binghe (don’t cry about him dammit!). And Liu-shidi was a good friend! Shen Qingqiu would honestly grow depressed if he lost the other man--No! He doesn’t want to think about such harsh hypotheticals and wallow in such painful feelings right now! He made up his mind--he’ll do anything to save Liu Qingge again!

Besides, the mission could be anything! It could be something like succubi! Sex pollen! Not deadly--embarrassing as all hell--but not deadly! The bones could just be for effect!

[Do you want to enable easy--]

NO.

The creature pulled the “ropes” tighter—clearly threatening that they either quickly spill their “secrets” or it was going to spill their guts.

Okay, so it turns out it was an Anguish-Eater. A rare creature and an ugly one at that. It's a bug-like beast that looks like a two person long centipede with tentacles reaching out of its underside that are lined with barbs--kind of like an octopus’s tentacles. Just instead of soft, plushy suction cups it's lined with extremely sharp, painfully pointy, digging-into-and-shredding-your-flesh barbs!

Speaking of the tentacles--one could spend hours hacking away at the wiggling masses groping at your body with no effect--as Liu Qingge found out. They grow nearly as fast as they’re chopped off and it’s just like cutting hair to the thing--no pain at all!

It’s also only called the Anguish-Eater because it relishes the taste of the energy produced by one giving voice to their most painful and tightly held secrets. It even has a sense for those with deeply anguish filled ones!  However, that was merely like eating sweets. It still can and will eat its victims. Something about the taste of despair sweetens the meat...

Shen Qingqiu took a deep breath to steel himself--panicking wouldn't do. He should review the situation: Without A Cure flared up rendering him useless (of course), Liu Qingge--magically, for plot reasons--lost his connection to Chen Luan as his qi depleted in his vain attempts to slash the tentacles away (of course), and the thing was clearly out for Shen Qinqqiu to spill his woes (o f   c o u r s e).

They needed a distraction.

He knew it but it didn’t stop his body from tightening in emotion. He could feel his eyes threatening to wet and his throat painfully constricting in distress. Shen Qingqiu wasn’t even sure if he could say what he’s done to his poor, dear white lotus. He was betting his voice would whimper out and clamp up in emotion--that he’d just sputter out tears (in front of Liu-shidi no less!)

But they needed something to at least distract the demon to press an advantage. Sometimes, if the grief was enough, the Anguish-Eater could get “drunk”. It could even fall asleep! He needed to eek out something that would be enough to do just that. Enough for one of them to wiggle free--to fetch the swords at the cave entrance and come back and lop its stupid, ugly, smelly head off.

It… the plan wasn’t feasible, not his best piece of work--but it was something.

Shen Qingqiu peeked a look to see how the other man was doing. The War Lord's face looked… well, constipated.

His eyes were narrowed in such rage, they were nothing more than mere slits of concentrated vitriol. It was clear he was clenching his teeth along with his entire body. Shen Qingqiu may not be able to see the other man’s hands, but he could bet they were repeatedly being clenched to red and white--and that quiet popping sound was from just that.

He was clearly pissed as shit.

Understandable.

The demon yanked again on the ropes; the barbs dug further into his side as he hissed in pain. They finally made eye contact when Liu Qingge’s eyes snapped to his face at the noise. But Shen Qingqiu could tell from that look that they were both on board with giving into the creature’s demands.

 

One… Two…

 

“I pushed Luo Bin—”

“I love you Shen Qingqiu.”  













The silence was immeasurable. Pregnant with a thousand words—filled with so many twisting emotions, furled thoughts, lost voices…

 

But it didn’t last long.

 

The demon whirled on Liu Qingge, “WHAT?! THAT’S NOT A DEEP, DARK, SOUL-WRENCHING CONFESSION. WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU THINK CONFESSING YOUR LOVE OF ALL FUCKING THINGS WOULD EVEN REMOTELY BE SOMETHING LIKE THAT? WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK.”

Interestingly, Anguish-Eaters are extremely stealthy and quiet. They use the darkness of the night to hunt and their matte exoskeleton doesn’t shine back the pale moonlight or the few street lanterns of the rural towns it makes its hunting grounds. Its numerous legs, heightened senses, and intelligence leads to it being able to glide through the night quickly--artfully ensnaring and whisking away its prey in total silence. Typically smothering mouths with its numerous tentacles to ensure no noises are made. One would think its barbs would shred its victims mouth apart--ripping out tongues and rendering them mute--but it manages to not. Not that it needed to worry about such a thing when it captured them--they literally were right next to its front door.

 

Anyways, it’s a creature of stealth-- but it has no fucking indoor voice.

 

Liu Qingge had been scowling at the ground since he opened his mouth--ignoring the ranting and raving creature. His face was barely visible save for his forehead, where one could clearly see his eyebrows bunched in fury. His entire body was even more rigid than before. If it weren’t for the deep blush growing from his only visible ears and neck—one would merely believe it was from just anger. He stole a look at Shen Qingqiu—the man had been very quiet for a while—probably with disgust.

 

Liu Qingge was shocked to see the other man was staring blankly with his mouth open and eyes glazed over like an idiot—looking nothing like the poised, elegant man that he usually was.

 

[CONGRATULATIONS!  CONGRATULATIONS! CONGRATULATIONS! Important things must be repeated three times! Secret Mission: {Liu Qingge’s Confession} has been successfully completed! 50 B Points have been added to your account!]

 

[]

[...]

...

[(;´∀`)ノHello user?????]

 

The System was getting worried. Usually this user wouldn’t be so… silent. They were prone to loud screaming--with multitudes of expletives being thrown this poor, dear System’s way. But now there was no response! Absolutely nothing. Did… Did the user…. die?

 

OH NO

 

The demon, who was growing tired and hungry, was entirely fed the fuck up . It let out a wail, smacking its now silent-as-the-dead captives with its multiple arms.

“NO! NO! NO!” it shrieked. It swung its eyeless head towards Shen Qingqiu with a hiss, mandibles chittering in anger, as it started to shake the man violently 

“WHAT WERE YOU SAYING?! WHAT WAS IT?! SPEAK!!”

 

Qing Jing’s Peak Lord said nothing. His green eyes were still glazed over, his mouth still silently agape. In fact, the man’s body was entirely limp—his hair and head were violently dancing around like he was merely a doll in the hands of a petulant, tantruming child.

The War lord was… a bit perplexed and growing anxious at the situation. He was mainly worried about Shen Qinqqiu who hadn’t said anything for a while. Nothing-no insults, no derisive comments-nothing. The other wan just had a blank, idiotic expression. Liu Qingge was also beginning to fear for the other man’s neck.

 

“I KNOW YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY!! I BARELY HEARD IT BUT I COULD HEAR YOU TALKING!! SPEAK!!!!”

 

Shen Qingqiu didn’t respond. He was instead having an immense moment.

 

Wait??

 

He… Liu Qingge said??

He said he loves him?? Shen Qingqiu??

 

Liu Qingge???

 

Liu Qingge loves him ?




W H A T




(The system would have let out a breath of relief if it could breathe! Oh good! The user wasn’t dead! Hooray! Hooray! Hooray~!)

 

Shen Qingqiu’s expression was still blank, but his lip twitched as his brain slowly started back up.

 

Wait. Liu Qingge loves him. But why? But when? No, no—this had to be a joke. Right???

 

Suddenly things started to click. Always retrieving his lost fans? Their increasingly common joint trips! Liu Qingge coming to his peak to visit often—staying to share tea and small talks?! Liu Qingge not only helping him seek exotic beasts but even listening to Shen Qingqiu rave about them?? Even kind of helping him put together a beast guide??!! Giving him gifts of horns and other “trophies'' of slays??!! Or shoving books, fans, and bags of teas into his chest with a grunted “Thought you might like this'' after coming back from solo trips?!

 

It all clicked.

 

And Shen Qinqqiu finally spoke.

 

Oh.

 

He breathed it out lightly, but it had Liu Qingqe’s head snapping up at the sound.

 

“Shen QingQiu” the War Lord sternly bit out, trying hard to not show the relief he felt that the other was finally showing some cognition. Shen Qingqiu’s eyes were still foggy as they drifted over to the other’s face--his lips gently agape. The man’s soft, almost sleepy like expression completely caught Liu Qingge off guard, who jolted at the sight and promptly looked away as his face flushed.

Shen Qingqiu was also surprised seeing such a bashful Liu Qingge. Then remembered the situation and promptly schooled his face into his classic blank expression. He let out a cough as he looked everywhere but where the Bai Zhan Peak Lord was at--a light blush dusting his cheeks and ears as well.

 

What the fuck! When was Liu QingGe gay?! Was this some sort of fanfiction?! Wasn’t this a straight harem novel with pages upon pages dedicated to mind-numbing straight papapa?!

 

Then again, Liu Qingge had died extremely early in the original novel--maybe he always was and Airplane never disclosed it? Which on one hand was pretty cool--expanded lore. But on the other, he was going to fucking grill Airplane why him, Shen Fucking Qingqiu, would attract Liu Qingge’s attention of all people ! (Was this just some cheap, carelessly tossed in steamy rival-to-lovers side plot, you sellout?!)

 

But that required actually getting out of this situation. Which would mean…

 

Shen Qinqqiu looked up, biting his lip as he prepared to give his soliloquy.

“I-I-When Luo Binghe first joined, I poured tea all over him and had him clean it up. I… I had him sleep in the wood shed like a dog--no, no worse than a dog. And I’d beat him--I’d-I’d let my disciples bully him. Constantly ridiculing him--for no reason! And-and...”

 

Technically he hadn’t done it--the original goods had--but it still hurt to think about! The abuses his that poor boy had to suffer through! Not including the rest of the misery porn he wasn't technically supposed to know about! 

 

The Anguish-Eater chittered in delight as it focused on Shen Qingqiu, “Yesss, yesss! Very good, very good!”

“I-I didn’t even let him have a horse when we would go off the mountain. I’d force him to run the whole way--keeping up with the horses on just his legs! I purposefully gave him faulty cultivation manuals to sabotage his core growth. I even--I…” Shen Qingqiu's voice drastically dropped as he stared at the floor.

 

“I even once taunted a demon to smack in his head… I-I wasn’t really sure if it would work out--if he would be alright. I-it-I didn’t plan on the beam falling and killing it. It-it just happened . It was purely a coincidence . He could have been killed. He was just a little boy--he was supposed to be able to trust his Shizun and instead--” tears prickled at the corners of Shen Qingqiu's eyes as his voice grew hoarse, “instead I used him as bait --to save my own stupid life …”

Liu Qinnge watched in silence as Shen Qingqiu started quietly sobbing--watched as the other man tried to reign in his hiccups and squint his eyes clear of tears.

Shen Qingqiu wasn't even done with saying everything--not about how he... Not about the Immortal Alliance Conference.

“YES!! DELIGHTFUL! DELICIOUS! YESSS!” the creature belted out to the ceiling, “A GREAT MEAL! I SHOULD KEEP YOU! YOU DELIGHTFUL THING! THOUGH IT IS VERY TEMPTING TO JUST GOBBLE YOU UP NOW--SURELY YOUR FLESH IS EXQUISITELY SWEET BUT I CAN SENSE MORE ANGUISH TO PULL OUT OF YOU! YES!!” it giggled, or a least bug like approximate to it that is, as it swirled itself around.



Shen QingQiu let out a couple more hiccups and glared at the beast through his tears. Was it already getting drunk? He’d rather not get into his more… painful... memories because they could lead to some unfortunate consequences. Just imagine the chaos that would go down if it was revealed right now that Luo Binghe was not actually dead but a half-demon! That he, his Shizun, had actually pushed the poor boy into the Endless Abyss! He’d have to hightail his green, bamboo robe-clad ass out of there before Liu Qingge--loved him (???) or not--grabbed him and hauled him back to Cang Qiong to face punishment for his crimes. There was only so much Shixiong could let slide!!