Luo BingHe had never truly spared a thought about Shen QingQiu’s childhood.
To him, it was as if his Shizun had always been an elegant existence on QingJing Peak. His Shizun had apparated on QingJing Peak as a lofty immortal as he should be, living a clean, dignified life as he so deserved.
Never once, would Luo BingHe have ever thought that his Shizun used to be an orphan, just like Luo BingHe.
But worse than Luo BingHe, he did not even have the tender care from an adoptive mother. Shen QingQiu had Yue QingYuan, but the young Yue QingYuan could barely provide for Shen QingQiu, much less protect him.
The two highest-ranking Peak Lords of CangQiong Sect used to be pitiable parentless beggars. The fact that his Shizun had somehow managed to climb his way to his status as QingJing Peak Lord just made Luo BingHe respect his Shizun even more.
His Shizun must have truly been outstanding to be able to achieve this position. The admiration he had felt for his Shizun blossomed even further, as a strange sense of pride suffused him.
This was quickly tamped down by the sudden thought that Shen QingQiu had never wanted to show Luo BingHe this. It was an accident.
Oh god, his Shizun would hate him even more. His Shizun had already detested him, found his presence despicable and wanted to throw Luo BingHe away. Luo BingHe’s already broken heart cracked even further, but even then, he could not help but to cherish the rest of the time he had to spend with his Shizun in his memories.
Luo BingHe would probably fall more deeply in love with Shen QingQiu as he got to know him more. But he could not resent it, nor would he not regret it.
Luo BingHe would use this opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of his Shizun. He would leave as Shizun commanded, but then he would return and court with him such passion and ferocity that not even his Shizun could deny him.
Luo BingHe had already sworn himself to Shen QingQiu. He would have no one other than his Shizun.
A common saying went “Ignorance is not a crime.”
Luo BingHe begged to disagree.
Fucking hell! Where was Qiu HaiTang? He would hang her up by her entrails for her crime of ignorance once he was back in the real world!
(It was a bit odd though; how the slavers did not keep his Shizun to later sell him as an Omega prostitute. Omegas, while not rare, were uncommon still. And even in his youth, his Shizun already had the makings of a beautiful Omega.
Or had the Qius truly offered so much money that the slavers are willing to forego the eventual payoff if his Shizun was—
Nevermind, it was better that his Shizun did not become a prostitute. Shizun was Luo BingHe’s.)
Luo BingHe brooded moodily as he watched his beloved Shizun dirty his hands yet again for that damned Yue QingYuan.
He had watched the two grow up together, separate, and reunite.
Luo BingHe had a prime seat to see how tightly entangled Shen QingQiu and Yue QingYuan’s fates were. He had no choice but to resign himself to the fact that a corner of Shen QingQiu’s heart would always belong to Yue QingYuan.
But it was alright, so long as his Shizun gave him the other part of his heart. Luo BingHe could share. He had weeks to get used to this idea already.
Why was the Remembrance Pearl showing Luo BingHe such a cruel parody of what happened in the real world?
His Shizun did not pour a cup of hot tea over his head! His Shizun went into a qi deviation, but even then, he protected the young Luo BingHe.
Was the Remembrance Pearl broken? But it had functioned perfectly fine when in TianLang-Jun’s hands.
His Shizun had never encouraged the rest of the QingJing Peak’s disciples to bully him. His Shizun was the one who rescued him from the shed and gave him a spot in the warm disciples’ quarters. His Shizun gave Luo BingHe his own personal cultivation manual for his studies.
His Shizun was aloof, but gentle. His Shizun was detached, but affectionate. His Shizun said that he didn’t care, but he cared.
This was not his Shizun. The pearl must be defective.
Luo BingHe wanted to leave these memories, as he could not bear to watch himself be abused by the man whom he loved. This cruel caricature of his Shizun was his worst fears come to life. It was unbearable, and Luo BingHe felt his soul breaking.
But he could do nothing but to float around the fake Shen QingQiu in this false world, tied as he was to the holder of the pearl. If the memories did not play out fully, then Luo BingHe could not leave. Luo BingHe was just a helpless bystander in this world.
Liu QingGe died?
His Shizun did not throw Luo BingHe down the Endless Abyss! His Shizun even tried to jump down the abyss together with Luo BingHe!
How dared this useless piece of shit pervert his Shizun’s memories of this incident!
Luo BingHe did not care if the pearl was a supposed priceless treasure. He was going to destroy it once he was back in the real world.
Luo BingHe tried to punch his fake self in the face, but it just went through this Luo BingHe uselessly. Luo BingHe was just a spectre, and he knew that all these were just cruel fantasies from the Remembrance Pearl, but he could not stand by idly as he watched the demon wearing his face torture Shen QingQiu in the Water Prison.
The Remembrance Pearl was said to force the wielder to live through their ‘memories’ again. Even if these were false memories, was his Shizun forced to live through this torment? Was his Shizun forced to suffer all these cruel beatings and lashings that this fake Luo BingHe visited upon him?
What if Shizun confused the dream with the reality? What if Shizun hated him even more, after this?
Panicked, Luo BingHe tried to throw a bone-crushing blow to the fake Luo BingHe’s arms to no avail.
He needed to stop this. This was wrong! It did not happen like this!
Then this Luo BingHe suddenly began tearing out his Shizun’s graceful limbs. To see his Shizun reduced to such a bloody, pitiable state tore a hole in Luo BingHe’s own heart. He yelled at the fake Luo BingHe, he threatened the fake Luo BingHe and he thrashed wildly at the fake Luo BingHe, but it was all useless.
Luo BingHe could do nothing as he watched the demon tear apart his beloved Shizun before his eyes.
Luo BingHe did not understand why the Remembrance Pearl would choose to show him such a perverted version of the real world. If it was trying to confuse his Shizun or him that this was what happened, it should have chosen something closer to the truth.
There wasn’t a single world in the universe where Luo BingHe would ever harm Shen QingQiu. That was an immutable fact.
This was so obviously fake.
Luo BingHe ignored the echoing strains of delight and malice thrumming through his soul when Shen QingQiu finally broke down and screamed in pain, shards of XuanSu before the two.
When Shen QingQiu self-detonated, Luo BingHe thought that he would be returning to the real world. If the fake Shen QingQiu died, surely that meant that the pearl could no longer sustain the nightmare?
However, to his cold horror, Luo BingHe realised that he was somehow brought back into an old set of his Shizun’s memories again. Was the Remebrance Pearl going to force them to repeat the nightmare over and over again?
Then, something strange happened. This time round, the events played out like how Luo BingHe remembered.
Why did the Remembrance Pearl first play out a nightmare, before it decided to be faithful to the true events?
Was it trying to correct its mistakes? But Luo BingHe would rather the pearl just release the two into the real world; he had enough—
Concerned arms cradled Luo BingHe when he returned to consciousness. He blinked blearily at the face that was peering at him as a terrible pain pounded in his head. Luo BingHe’s throat felt hoarse and his mouth dry.
“BingHe, you’re back,” the image focused to reveal TianLang-Jun, “We were so concerned. You and that man suddenly started screaming and crying. Are you alright, my son?”
Luo BingHe turned his head around, immediately trying to locate where Shen QingQiu was. His pain was forgotten, because all it mattered now was to confirm that his Shizun remained unharmed after having been subjected to nightmares. Luo BingHe sat up, when he saw the familiar green and white robes in the corner of his eyes.
Shen QingQiu was held gently in Liu QingGe’s embrace, as Shen QingQiu alternated between caressing Liu QingGe’s and Yue QingYuan’s, looking at them with such palpable fear, joy, disbelief, and affection through his misted eyes that Luo BingHe could not help his instinctive twinge of jealously at the sight.
“Shizun…” Luo BingHe croaked, wanting his Shizun to pay attention to him, to shower him with some of the love that said man was so freely giving away now.
However, what he did not expect were the astringent notes of terror, disgust and guilt flooding his nostrils when Shen QingQiu turned to look at him. His Shizun’s face had morphed into one of loathing and anger, something that Luo BingHe had never seen before.