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Sanye-jun

Chapter Text

Shen Yuan died in his first life.

It kinda sucked. He missed his family, he felt kind of like a loser for dying to food poisoning, and there was still a ton of web novels on his to-read list.

But, you know, after several centuries, you get used to some things.

For example, living in a small grove that enjoyed just drifting around the realm.

Or being considered a threat by everyone and their mother and being attacked almost constantly for the first couple of centuries, and then just occasionally afterwards.

Or maybe the whole ‘being a demon’ thing. Yeah, that took a while to get used to.

Shen Yuan’s not really sure where he transmigrated to, but there are demons. And cultivators.

As a newly transmigrated demon who used to be a human, he’d had a rough time of it, dropped in the middle of the demon realm and expected to fend for himself all on his own.

Some things happened, he got into a lot of trouble, got himself out of a lot of trouble, ran around exploring the demon realm as he pleased, got bound to a magical forest, and now he’s known as Sanye-jun, Lord of the Drifting Grove.

As for what kind of demon he was, in his normal form he was mostly human-shaped, but he had antlers like a stag, a pair of white wings like a bird, a tail like a white tiger’s, and fierce claws that retracted like a cat’s from his finger tips.

When he felt strong emotions, his eyes would glow an eerie silver, and black stripes like a tiger’s would appear on his face, his back, his legs, his shoulders … the places where tiger stripes would normally appear.

He’s some weirdo furry fetish? - was what Shen Yuan thought at first, but when he inadvertently transformed into some hoofed centaur with the body of a horse but the pattern of a tiger, and those large white wings protruding from his back, he realized he was some sort of yingzhao-type demon.

He had wind powers. So cool-!

Shen Yuan had a grand time galloping about in his centaur form, but unfortunately, news of the rare wind demon made the rounds throughout the demon realm, and soon Shen Yuan was finding himself being attacked here, there, and everywhere.

Whoa whoa whoa, it’s not like he’s trying to hone in on anyone’s territory, he’ll gtfo if asked nicely! Why are demons so aggressive?! And why are they always trying to using binding cables on him? Do they want to capture him first and kill him in public?

Well Shen Yuan isn’t complaining; it makes it a fucking hell of a lot easier for him to escape when they’re not just straight up trying to kill him!

There was even one demon lord who chased Shen Yuan all across the realm, no matter whose territory Shen Yuan fled through.

Shen Yuan has no idea what he’s done to piss the guy off that bad, but whenever the demon lord tracked him down, the guy would turn bright red and start yelling things at him.

Yelling what? Shen Yuan’s not too sure; he’d always run off as fast as possible, so he’s never really heard.

Anyway, he’s experienced a LOT in his many hundreds of years living, including huge demon territorial upheavals, disguising himself as a wandering cultivator and taking trips into the human realm, and trying his hand at a vegetable garden in his own territory.

But he’s never had a human cultivator come barreling through the roof of his storage shed, completely ruining three whole casks of his fruit wine.

In the first place, the Drifting Grove wasn’t some place that was easy for anyone to enter, let alone falling in with a completely out of control sword.

Second, he did situate the Drifting Grove on the border between the human realm and demon realm for the time being, but it’s still very much on the demon side of the border.

Squatting down next to the guy, Shen Yuan poked him in the cheek.

Fucking hell, he’s never seen a man this pretty in his life, and Shen Yuan’s seen enough hot men in his four-to-five hundred years of life to have had his sexual identity crisis and come out dyed in rainbows.

… Oh, there was that one guy, but that man’s mouth always got in the way of his good looks.

Unlike him, though, this human cultivator is like an ‘untouchable’ kind of pretty, with his sharp and noble features, the birthmark under his left eye, and his long ponytail.

Before he knew it, Shen Yuan had a bandaged up, gorgeous cultivator in his bed.

Ahh… this probably wasn’t the best idea he’s had. He’s got no idea what he’s going to do if the cultivator wakes up and freaks out over being in a demon’s house, but leaving a beauty unconscious on the side of the road would make Shen Yuan feel bad.

Besides, he’s lived this long without too much trouble, so it’ll be fine – just when Shen Yuan thought that so carelessly, the sharp edge of a sword rested against the side of his throat.

Ah… eh? When did the sleeping beauty wake up?

Shen Yuan was certain that if the cultivator wasn’t so badly wounded, the man would have tried to cut his head off without question.

As a demon with more aggressive tendencies than he’d had as a human, Shen Yuan found that kind of hot.

“Who are you? Where is this?” the cultivator asked, his voice low and guarded.

The man was trembling in pain from his rather grievous wounds, but the arm hold the sword was steady. Good lord, those biceps…

“My my, is that any way to treat the man who picked you up and bandaged you up?” Shen Yuan said with a chuckle. “Not to mention, you destroyed quite a few casks of wine that were still fermenting in my shed. Such a shame.”

The cultivator frowned. “You’re a demon,” he said, practically growling.

Mm, maybe Shen Yuan should have hidden his antlers and wings. They’re really not subtle.

“Yes I am,” he admitted.

The man hesitated for a moment before deciding to attack, but Shen Yuan was ready for him.

Startled by the sudden flap of Shen Yuan’s wings, the cultivator was caught off guard as Shen Yuan whirled around, launching himself at the man and pinning him back down on the bed.

“Guh! You-!” The cultivator snarled and struggled fiercely, but between his wounds and the fact that Shen Yuan is actually quite strong, all he could do was twist his body futilely, his arms captured by Shen Yuan and his body caged underneath Shen Yuan’s body.

“Now now, calm down,” Shen Yuan said, smiling down at the man trapped below him. “You’re going to open your wounds, and after I went through all that trouble to treat them. Don’t make me bring out the immortal binding cable; those are pretty counterproductive to helping you heal.”

Even as he spoke, though, Shen Yuan already knew the cultivator wouldn’t listen, and with a low whistle, vines grew out of his bed posts, binding the cultivator to the bed.

… Erm, that kind of looks kinky. With a cough and another whistle, Shen Yuan directed the vines to wrap the cultivator up until he was practically a dumpling.

“You-! Let me go this instant!”

Shen Yuan ignored the struggling cultivator and turned to his front door, narrowing his eyes warily.

“Hm, we’ll talk about that later,” he told the man carelessly. “Let me deal with these unwanted guests first.”

“Sanye-jun! Hand over the human!” Demon voices thundered from outside the house.

“No, fuck off!” Shen Yuan shouted back.

“We know he’s in there, don’t try to trick us!”

“I never said he wasn’t, I told you to fuck off!” Shen Yuan rolled his eyes. “Gods, I swear some of these demons have the intelligence of a dead frog,” he muttered as he stomped towards the door.

“Sanye-jun! D-don’t think we’re afraid of you-!”

Shen Yuan yanked his door open and glowered at the demons standing in front of his house, all of them looking worse for wear, clearly having had a hard time slogging through the shifting trees and bloodthirsty plant life that lived in his forest.

They were probably strong-ish demons, if they could make it this far, but they’re idiots if they’ve forgotten that the owner is the most dangerous part of the Drifting Grove.

“You’re the incompetents that chased him into my territory,” Shen Yuan sneered. “So shut up and GET OFF MY LAWN!!”

That last part he bellowed out, and a whirlwind erupted from his shout, launching towards the hapless demons and sending them careening out of his forest.

Hmm. Team Rocket’s blasting off again~ Shen Yuan shielded his eyes and watched them go, giving a somewhat happy hum as they went.

Chirrup?

Shen Yuan’s cat-faced owl chirped, tilting its head upside down as it scooted closer for pets.

“Fufu, they really did fly pretty well, huh?” Shen Yuan chuckled, stroking the back of its head before shooing it off to go hunt for its own breakfast as he headed back inside.

“Oh? You seemed to have calmed down.” Shen Yuan whistled, and a lot of the vines unbound the cultivator lying on his bed.

The cultivator glared at him, clearly exhausted from his struggling. “… Why are you protecting me?” he finally asked, somewhat sullenly.

“Hm? No real reason. Just felt like it,” Shen Yuan responded. “Ah… tsk tsk. You’ve reopened some of your wounds.” Shen Yuan ignored the man’s suspicious stare as he undid the bloodied bandages to rewrap then.

“How did you end up in such a state anyway? Those guys that were chasing you didn’t seem like weaklings, but they also weren’t really that strong…” Shen Yuan trailed off as he watched the man’s skin flush, trembling under his touch.

Shen Yuan whipped his head up to see the man’s face, flushed red, his pupils dilated and glassy.

Uh… maybe that trembling earlier wasn’t entirely due to pain.

“H-hey, just asking, but … did you get poisoned with something?” Shen Yuan asked, a stiff smile on his face as he fervently hoped he was wrong.

The cultivator was quiet for a moment before he reluctantly admitted, “There was a field of flowers…”

Oh fucking hell. Shen Yuan paled.

“Hey! What kind of flower was it!? One that just makes you horny, or a fuck-or-die one?!” Shen Yuan almost seized the poor man by the shoulders to shake him, but he remembered the man was pretty injured just in time.

“I-I don’t … know…!” The cultivator spat out, but it came out almost as a whine, and Shen Yuan nearly banged his head against the wall.

Okay, see, Shen Yuan might have lived for almost five hundred years, but his sexual experiences can be counted on … no fingers. He was trying real hard not to die for the first couple of centuries, okay?! He didn’t have time for that! Also! He only just figured out he was gay in the last century! Leave him alone!

And this gorgeous immortal with the broad shoulders and thin waist writhing in his bed was DOING things to him!

Shen Yuan took a deep breath and slapped his cheeks with both hands, hard.

Get a hold of yourself. The man’s injured, there’s no way he can just, ah, sex him up.

“Daozhang,” he said hesitantly, “If you don’t know what kind of pollen you are poisoned with, it would be best if… if you were alleviated.”

The man stared at him, eyes wide. He fell back onto the bed with a dark complexion, as if prepared to meet his death.

“I-if…Daozhang would like, this one could … assist.” Shen Yuan coughed, averting his eyes slightly from the mortified cultivator.

“… Is it impossible to wait it out?” the man asked stiffly.

“… … Since we don’t know what it is you’re poisoned with, I wouldn’t recommend it,” Shen Yuan said, but secretly he was thinking, Dude, you could just rub one out, too, you know?Ah, but if it was one that required dual cultivation… But those usually put their victims way more under the influence, making them pretty much incoherent except for the desire for sex.

The cultivator laid on the bed motionlessly for a second before he finally blushed and said, “Do it.”

D-do it? Just like that? Oh gods… Nope, he can totally do this. This isn’t for sex, it’s a medical procedure. He just has to make this beautiful man come. He can do this…

Shen Yuan had never been so happy for his impeccable memory and his past life’s browsing history.

---

Liu Qingge had heard of Sanye-jun before.

The wind demon who swore no allegiance to any master, and the ruler of the Drifting Grove. He rarely appeared before humans, and there were stories of his beauty and power bewitching other demon lords, who chased him across the realms in order to make him theirs.

None ever succeeded.

But while Sanye-jun appeared to be famous in the demon realm, there wasn’t much information about him in the human realm, other than that he was strong and beautiful, and was probably the closest thing to a human-loving demon that ever existed.

Liu Qingge didn’t believe the rumors of Sanye-jun being human-loving, but he was very interested in the ‘strong’ part.

He was quite eager to try to face a powerful demon who fought other powerful demons regularly and never came out the worst off, but Sanye-jun and his Drifting Grove were elusive. It was possible he’d never come across them.

Which is why, when he crashed through the deadly forest, poisoned by some flowers and chased by the demons he’d been hunting, he never thought it could be the Drifting Grove.

All he knew was that he killed three of the demons before the effects of the pollen began to fully set in, and unable to control Cheng Luan properly, he couldn’t dodge a thick tree branch that came swinging his way and was launched through the sky.

When he came to he was in a comfortable bed that smelled of fresh pine. Although there was also a slight fruit scent. His deep wounds were also bandaged up, and Cheng Luan was leaned up against the side of the bed.

A figure moved near him, and Liu Qingge tensed, grabbed his sword, and made to cut the demon’s head off.

His arms felt heavy and his qi was unsteady, so he stopped himself before he could start a fight he probably didn’t have any hopes of winning. In the end, though, he cursed his hesitation. Demons weren’t kind to humans for no reason; he shouldn’t have even entertained the thought -

Liu Qingge wasn’t sure what happened then, but suddenly he was back on the bed, completely and thoroughly restrained. A beautiful face hovered close above him, smiling gently.

No matter how hard he struggled, the demon above him didn’t seem to be all that troubled, and Liu Qingge couldn’t help but feel himself getting hard. Even as he cursed the effects of the pollen, he couldn’t tear his eyes away from those silver, peach blossom eyes and those full lips set in a face that was far too delicate for the strength the demon showed.

And right now, those rosy lips were wrapped around his cock.

Slender fingers were pressed inside him, rubbing gently but insistently at a spot that made him cry out and tense.

Liu Qingge flung an arm over his face, trying hard to control himself, but he couldn’t. His hips bucked upwards, involuntarily, as the demon – Sanye-jun those other demons had called him – took him deep into his throat, swallowing a little as those persistent fingers curled once more.

His vision went white as a he came with a cry. He felt the demon pull off of his cock with a wet sound, and as he drifted off into sleep, Liu Qingge felt gentle hands stroking his hair back from his face.

When Liu Qingge next awoke, he found Sanye-jun, every bit as powerful and beautiful as the rumors made him out to be … prostrated on the ground in front of him.

---

Shen Yuan was sweating bullets.

So… like… okay. He’d just sucked off and fingered a handsome man, who had been compromised by some sort of aphrodisiac pollen.

This was… this wasn’t okay, was it?! He’d gotten permission, but was it really permission? What if the cultivator had only sounded like he was in his right mind, but wasn’t really?!

When the man moved, clearly giving off signs of waking up, Shen Yuan did the only thing he could think of and flopped onto the ground, prostrating deeply in front of the bed.

“I’m terribly sorry,” he said, voice slightly strained with anxiety, “For taking advantage of your situation.”

“… What are you talking about?”

The man’s voice was so confused that Shen Yuan looked up to see the cultivator, his brows furrowed and head tilted.

“Th-that’s… you were compromised by pollen, and I, well, I didn’t mean to, but I took advantage of it to, er, touch you. Even though it was probably possible for you to … ah… take care of it yourself.”

The cultivator stared at him for a moment before he sighed and held his head.

“I was in my right mind,” he said, although he sounded a little stiff from embarrassment, “And I knew what I was consenting to.”

Shen Yuan was fascinated by the blush that crossed the man’s face before he silently kicked himself in his mind and refocused on the situation at hand.

“Even so, I … ah… I apologize,” he said, then scratched the base of one antler sheepishly. “And, ah, I should probably introduce myself.”

“You’re Sanye-jun,” the cultivator said, without a hint of doubt. Well, those demons were just shouting his name for all to hear…

“Ahaha… yes, I suppose that’s what they call me,” Shen Yuan said.

“You wouldn’t call yourself that?” the man asked.

“No, I suppose it’s fine,” Shen Yuan responded with a shrug, “I’m just not sure when people started calling me that. It was news to me that I was a demon lord. You’d think I’d get used to it after a few centuries, though.”

“… You really don’t seem like a demon lord.”

Hey, even if it’s true, you don’t have to point it out. But, well, Shen Yuan never asked to be a demon lord either, so he brushed off the comment.

“So, ah, who might I be talking to?” Shen Yuan asked.

The cultivator frowned, obviously debating whether he should give his name or not, before he finally gave in.

“I am Liu Qingge.”

“I see, nice to meet you… Liu Qingge?! As in, Bai Zhan Peak?! From Cang Qiong?!” Shen Yuan had a mini heart attack when the cultivator finally introduced himself.

The man, Liu Qingge, quirked an eyebrow.

“You… are aware of me?” he asked, somewhat hesitantly.

“Ahaha… yes… somewhat...”

Shen Yuan swore inside his head.

This… is PIDW?!

Fucking hell! No wonder there were so many sex pollen flowers around here!!!

And that was how Shen Yuan, or Sanye-jun as he was more widely known, met Liu Qingge, the War God of Bai Zhan.

Chapter Text

Liu Qingge wasn’t sure what to make of the Lord of the Drifting Grove, Sanye-jun.

The demon lord was certainly very strong. Even without the powerful aura the demon was releasing just casually, as if he was breathing, Liu Qingge could tell he was powerful from how demon moved and held himself.

The demon lord was certainly very beautiful. Even with the moderate-sized antlers that almost looked like a crown above his inky black hair, spilling freely down his back, those white wings, and the white tiger tail – even with all these non-human parts, Liu Qingge had to admit the demon was objectively a stunning, ethereal being.

However …

“Hm? How am I able to use qi? Fufufu, I disguise myself as a human cultivator all the time, so of course I looked into something like that! It would be very suspicious if I didn’t have any qi, right? Ah, I suppose it’s not correct to say I have qi… this is a device I altered to convert demonic energy to qi. It’s very inefficient. I probably get 1 part qi to 10 parts demonic energy I put it? But it’s enough to be convincing,” Sanye-jun said with pride.

How is this demon so … flippant? Liu Qingge wrinkled his brows. Is it okay to call a demon lord an airhead? The demon just spilled out an important secret about his disguise like it was nothing! Even if he’s powerful, is he going to be okay like this?

… Ah, no, what he should be more worried about is that Sanye-jun, this powerful demon lord, apparently visits the human realm all the time?

“Why do you go to the human realm?” Liu Qingge asked. Even if this demon saved him, if he’s doing something nefarious in the human realm… Liu Qingge was momentarily startled. When did he, who preferred to cut down a demon first and ask questions later, begin to think of this Sanye-jun as something different?

The image of Sanye-jun guiltily prostrating himself flashed through Liu Qingge’s mind.

Liu Qingge held his temple. This demon lord was probably the least demon-like person he’s ever met, even compared to some humans he knew. It’s inevitable that he feels at a loss when dealing with him.

“Sorry, but have you eaten demon food?” Sanye-jun said, wrinkling his nose. “I really wouldn’t recommend it. And demons wouldn’t know about sweets even if you threw five taels of sugar in their face.”

… So the great Sanye-jun goes to the human realm for groceries.

Liu Qingge felt his headache growing.

He didn’t realize Sanye-jun had released his wrist until a few seconds after the fact.

“Hm...” Sanye-jun said, his brows furrowed. “I think your meridians are a bit misaligned. It doesn’t seem to be a big deal, but that’s probably why you were having trouble controlling your sword. Hang on a second.”

Pulling out a botanical, Sanye-jun flipped through it.

“Was this the flower you were poisoned by?” he asked, stopping on a page and placing one slender finger on the page.

“Yes, that’s it,” Liu Qingge said. Although he doesn’t know what the flower was, he was good at remembering the details of plants and monsters he came across. It would be difficult to make his reports at Cang Qiong otherwise.

Sanye-jun gave a low, troubled hum, and Liu Qingge watched as the wood furniture around him seemed to tremble with power.

“… Well, it’s a good thing we took care of it fast!” Sanye-jun said, like he was prepared to gloss over it, but Liu Qingge quickly placed a hand out, stopping him from reshelving the book.

“Explain.”

Sanye-jun flinched from the bluntness of Liu Qingge’s demand.

“Ah…” he sighed, scratching behind an antler, “It’s a Disordering Desire Blossom. It causes an imbalance in a person’s cultivation. It doesn’t mess with your mental state or awareness at least, but it does give you an increased libido as a side effect of the wrecking of your meridians. The quicker you, ah, release, the less damage it does, though. It’s not so dangerous for demons, but it can be very dangerous for cultivators.”

Liu Qingge frowned. “But we … it was … taken care of quickly,” he said carefully.

Sanye-jun nodded. “Yes, so the damage was minimal, but it’s still there. It probably would have been possible for you to tough it out without, ah, releasing, but I’m not sure what kind of damage your meridians would have taken in that case. Furthermore, even if you weren’t pushed into a qi deviation right then and there, it’s likely that the next time you cultivated seriously, like meditating in a qi-rich environment or trying to reach a breakthrough, you could go into a deadly qi deviation then.”

“Will the damage I’ve taken be a problem?” Liu Qingge asked. This isn’t good. He was planning on trying for a breakthrough in the near future.

“Well, as anything to do with cultivation, small issues will only grow into big problems if you don’t tend to them immediately...” Sanye-jun said.

Liu Qingge frowned. He’d have to go to Qian Cao, then. He’d been hoping to avoid it, since Mu Qingfang can get so overbearing when it comes to injuries, and he wanted to get permission to meditate in the Lingxi Caves when he returned to Cang Qiong, but trying for a breakthrough wasn’t as important as repairing his current cultivation.

“And just so you know, I’m not an expert or anything, but I don’t think normal methods will work to smooth out your meridians,” Sanye-jun continued. “Since the Disordering Desire pollen caused arousal as it damaged your meridians, I suspect a, ah … similar method … might be needed to heal them…”

“… Similar method?” Liu Qingge asked, feeling a bit of dread.

“That’s… dual cultivation. Probably.” Sanye-jun flushed a faint red as he said it.

An awkward silence fell over the small wooden house.

“A-anyway, for now you should rest until your wounds heal. I’ll escort you to the human realm then, and you can return to your sect and find someone you can trust to … ah … to help you with healing your meridians,” Sanye-jun said, quickly rising from where he had been seated next to the bed as he had checked Liu Qingge’s condition.

Once Sanye-jun left the one-room house, Liu Qingge lowered his head into his hands with a groan.

D-dual – find someone to –

Who the HELL was he supposed to turn to for THAT?! There’s no way he could go to any of his martial siblings and ask for … for …

Liu Qingge knew that dual cultivation for medical purposes was … well, it was a thing. But Liu Qingge himself much preferred the idea of have an official cultivation partner to do that sort of thing with. Not that… not that he’s bothered looking for one or even considered getting married any time soon.

He’d just assumed that he’d be able to deal with whatever comes his way by himself, until the day he eventually has a partner.

But right now, he was so close to a breakthrough, and he was going to be… to be set back by this?

… For now, he should just focus on healing his wounds, like Sanye-jun said.

Liu Qingge tried to meditate, but his mind kept trailing back to his discussion with Sanye-jun and the dread of having to find someone to dual cultivate with.

And interspersed with that was the images of Sanye-jun between his thighs, looking up at him from under his long lashes as he... …

Liu Qingge flushed bright red as an idea popped into his head.

… No. No, he shouldn’t. This has to be the worst idea he’s ever had.

But it doesn’t leave his mind.

Not when Sanye-jun prepares him dinner, assuring him of its non-demonic origins despite it’s … less than normal appearance. It still tasted alright.

Nor when Sanye-jun quietly grinds more medicinal ointment for him, or when Sanye-jun carefully helps him wipe down his body and redresses his wounds.

Or when Sanye-jun hums from the vegetable garden out back, behind the house, and he can see the demon’s muscles flexing and his wings fluttering as Sanye-jun tills the earth, preparing it for the next planting.

And when he sees Sanye-jun, rosy-faced and fresh from the small hotspring in the backyard with just an inner robe on, Liu Qingge’s resolve crumbles.

A few days after Liu Qingge first crashed through Sanye-jun’s shed, Sanye-jun checks his wounds and finally pronounces him mostly healed.

Liu Qingge remains silent, sitting upright in the bed as Sanye-jun turns to begin to get dinner ready.

Asking anyone at Cang Qiong to help him with his meridians was too humiliating. The discomfort from having to see any of his martial siblings again after… after that was too much for him.

But he didn’t know anyone but family outside of Cang Qiong, and even if he asked to be introduced to somebody, well, Liu Qingge was unfortunately no stranger to people who tried to force an official relationship for the dumbest reasons.

He was the Bai Zhan Peak Lord, after all. It’s no wonder that there were people who would try to make connections with him, and someone demanding him take responsibility for a purely medical transaction wasn’t something that would surprise him.

So, really, when he thought about it, this Sanye-jun wasn’t… wasn’t such a bad option.

The man was a demon, and seemed fairly uninterested in cultivator politics. And demon politics. Or any politics. Basically, Sanye-jun just wants to be left alone to do as he pleases.

And demons were fairly wanton in their relationships, right? Since that’s the case, Liu Qingge probably wouldn’t be imposing on Sanye-jun anyway.

Plus, it was unlikely Liu Qingge would see him again after this, so even if it was awkward, it would be fine.

Although the righteous cultivator inside Liu Qingge was horrified at what he was thinking, the righteous cultivator inside Liu Qingge had also mellowed out after being gently cared for by Sanye-jun for these past several days.

“Sanye-jun,” he said, then hesitated as the demon turned towards him, tilting his head.

“Yes?” Sanye-jun asked, smiling pleasantly, with a little concern in his eyes, and Liu Qingge faltered.

“Th-that… my meridians really can’t be healed with any other method?” he finally asked.

“I… can’t say for sure, since I’m not really an expert in cultivation ...” Sanye-jun responded, and Liu Qingge gritted his teeth in a bit of frustration.

Okay, yes, perhaps asking a demon about repairing his cultivation seems a little short-sighted, but he wanted to know. Right now.

“What do you believe, though?” Liu Qingge pressed.

“I-I think… well, wouldn’t it be better for you to return to your sect and get a second opinion?” Sanye-jun asked. “I’ve heard that Qian Cao Peak is quite famous for its medical abilities.”

“… I’d prefer if you helped me, so I want to know before I leave,” Liu Qingge said, then almost bit his tongue off at his slip up.

“… Huh?” Sanye-jun said, a blank look on his face.

He’d already let it slip, so Liu Qingge gave up trying to preserve his face as he said, ears flaming red, “If dual cultivation is the only way to heal my meridians, then I’d rather you be -”

“W-wait!” Sanye-jun held out a hand, trying and failing to cover his red face with the other. “A-are you… propositioning me?” he managed to choke out, and Liu Qingge also flushed.

“I am,” he said, somehow confidently.

“Surely there are better options among the people you trust?” Sanye-jun said, peering at him worriedly.

Liu Qingge hesitated a moment before saying, “You would be the best choice for avoiding both problems with internal sect relations as well as external politics.”

Sanye-jun nibbled on his lower lip for a second, eyebrows slightly furrowed, before he timidly asked, “Is it… is it really that bad?”

Not really, Liu Qingge was just too embarrassed to ask his martial siblings for help, but he still nodded.

---

Shen Yuan wasn’t sure how this happened.

Okay, he’ll admit it, after being an almost 500 year old virgin who FINALLY figured out what he was actually into, yeah, he kind of wanted to fuck the hot cultivator who was currently taking up residence in his bed, but he wasn’t a monster who’d prey on injured people, okay?

The whole dual-cultivation to heal Peak Lord Liu’s meridians was actually legit!

Just based on the flower’s features, he’d make the same guess even before he knew this was the world of PIDW. But now that he knew this was PIDW?

What the fuck else COULD it be other than papapa?

The only thing that he was confused about was how it ended up with HIM papapa’ing the cannon fodder second male lead?!

Running his hands down Liu Qingge’s smooth sides, lightly digging in to increase the sensation as he dragged his fingers down the wings of Liu Qingge’s hips, Shen Yuan watched, mesmerized, as Liu Qingge flushed, face barely contorting as he stifled a moan.

… Shen Yuan kind of wanted to see that pretty face lose control, see it become completely messed up with pleasure as he screamed through an orgasm. When Liu Qingge had come previously, he’d thrown his head back, denying Shen Yuan the view.

Ah, was this his demon side coming out? Shen Yuan should be careful. He didn’t want to hurt the man.

Especially given the size of demon dicks.

Slowly, slowly Shen Yuan eased his cock in, relishing in the way Liu Qingge’s warmth enveloped him, even as he watched his partner’s face carefully for any signs that it was too much.

When he finally bottomed out, Shen Yuan was afraid to move. Liu Qingge was panting as if it was suddenly hard for him to breathe, his jaw clenched and perspiration beading on his forehead.

After a moment, Liu Qingge suddenly looked at him with a glare.

“Move,” he said breathlessly, his brows furrowed as he adjusted to Shen Yuan’s girth inside his ass.

“Are you sure?” Shen Yuan asked. “I can. -”

He was cut off as Liu Qingge suddenly grabbed an antler, tugging his head down until their lips met in a fierce kiss.

Then there was a sting as Liu Qingge broke skin, and the coppery taste of blood invaded their kiss.

“I’m fine,” Liu Qingge said with a smirk as he pulled away, the light smear of blood painting his lower lip like lipstick.

With the taste of blood on his lips and the sight of a willing beauty in his arms, Shen Yuan growled and a flame was lit deep within his core.

---

Liu Qingge’s eyes widened as he caught a glimpse of Sanye-jun’s glowing silver eyes and the black stripes that appeared in slight zigzags at the corner of the demon’s eyes and in a ‘王’shape on his forehead.

It was only for a second, before Sanye-jun smashed their lips together, the demon’s tongue plundering his mouth ruthlessly.

When he was finally released, gasping for breath, it was all Liu Qingge could do to cling to the demon as Sanye-jun ground into him.

At first Liu Qingge worried he’d accidentally caused Sanye-jun to … he didn’t know, go feral? … but he soon realized he was mistaken.

“So beautiful,” Sanye-jun half growled as he mouthed along Liu Qingge’s neck. Liu Qingge could feel Sanye-jun’s sharp teeth, but Sanye-jun didn’t bite down hard, merely biting with enough pressure so that Liu Qingge could feel the pricks without drawing blood.

Sanye-jun nibbled and sucked all along his neck, and Liu Qingge couldn’t help the moan as Sanye-jun’s fingers tightened around his waist, tight enough that they’d leave bruises, the demon’s powerful waist snapping forward relentlessly, making him see stars.

He couldn’t help the moans, the fucked out gasps that erupted from his throat as the demon practically manhandled him, a pace just on the right side of brutal that caused the budding pressure inside him to increase and increase and increase…

Liu Qingge’s composure was completely gone as he came with a cry, hips grinding upwards, arms flailing, trying to cling to something, anything, his body shuddering as he felt Sanye-jun’s eyes on him, greedily drinking in the sight of his face.

The demon fucked him through his tremors, and then the demon’s hips snapped forward one last time, grinding deep into Liu Qingge as Sanye-jun, too, came, painting Liu Qingge’s insides with his cum, his wings suddenly flapping open wide, fluttering, outstretched as the demon clung to Liu Qingge in a fierce hug.

Both of them were still for a moment, Liu Qingge lifted just barely off the bed, hanging limply in Sanye-jun’s arms, before Sanye-jun gently pulled away, staring down at Liu Qingge with a soft gaze that was still tinged with lust.

Looking up, Liu Qingge couldn’t help but wonder how many other people saw this sight, of ink-black hair spilling down porcelain white skin painted with wild stripes, of glowing silver eyes and white wings spread out above them, and he involuntarily dug his fingers into Sanye-jun’s shoulders in irritation.

Panicking slightly, Liu Qingge used all of his strength to drag himself up, kissing Sanye-jun desperately, unable to keep himself from realizing some unpleasant things.

Like, maybe he was enjoying this a lot more than he’d expected. Like maybe he didn’t like the idea of other people being in his place before him.

Like maybe he had other reasons aside from just convenience for climbing into this demon’s bed.

As they kissed, Sanye-jun lowered him back until Liu Qingge was once again being pressed into the bed, their lips tangling together as Sanye-jun’s fingers carded through his hair.

Slowly, the stripes faded from Sanye-jun’s skin and the glow in his eyes softened to its normal state as both of them came off their high.

“A-are you alright?” Sanye-jun asked, hovering over Liu Qingge with a worried expression, a gentle hand caressing Liu Qingge’s forehead.

Liu Qingge was honestly too tired to deal with words or emotions right now so he just nodded, placing a hand reassuringly over Sanye-jun’s.

Sanye-jun breathed a sigh of relief.

“I’m glad. I didn’t think I’d lose control over myself like that, since I’ve never … before… I mean…” Sanye-jun suddenly became flustered, cutting off his words as he looked awkwardly away.

That got Liu Qingge’s attention.

Despite his exhaustion, he quickly propped himself up on a shaky elbow. A white wing dipped down quickly to help support him from behind, even without Sanye-jun looking at him.

“… Was that… your first…” Liu Qingge asked breathlessly, surrounded by soft white wings and not really sure what he wanted the answer to be.

Sanye-jun flushed bright red, unable to quite meet his eyes, and Liu Qingge’s heart did something odd.

Oh.

Well, shit.

Chapter Text

Despite being exhausted last night, Liu Qingge found himself waking up early the next morning, full of energy.

… A little too full of energy.

Opening his eyes, he saw a cloud of white in front of him, and he realized that Sanye-jun had rolled over in the night, snuggling close and covering them both with his white wings.

“Nn...” Disturbed by his movements, Sanye-jun opened an eye grumpily. “Go back to sleep,” he slurred, and his wing closed in around Liu Qingge, dragging Liu Qingge closer until they were pressed up against each other.

Then, Sanye-jun promptly fell back asleep.

The tips of Liu Qingge’s ears flushed as he looked down at the demon pressed up against his chest, the demon’s tail winding around his legs.

Luckily Sanye-jun’s antlers weren’t very large or protruding, or else this would be quite uncomfortable. They mostly extended towards the back of his head, with only a little bit extending past the sides of his cranium.

Sanye-jun’s delicate features seemed to glow in the morning light coming in through the windows, and a creamy white shoulder peeked out from underneath his wings.

Liu Qingge forcefully diverted his attention as a part of him began to wake up a little too much, and he closed his eyes, focusing inwards on the overflowing spiritual energy held in his dantian.

This was … Liu Qingge took a sharp breath.

He thought he’d have to do a month or so of meditation in the Lingxi Caves to even get close to building up enough spiritual energy to attempt binding another ring around his golden core, but now he was so full of spiritual energy that if it was actually a physical phenomenon, he might be worried his dantian would burst.

He had so much spiritual energy, he might even be able to try breaking through twice.

What even happened for this to … Liu Qingge suddenly became hyper aware of the lingering sensations of Sanye-jun’s fingers pressing into his obliques and those teeth teasing all over his neck.

… No, he knows there are certainly benefits to dual cultivation, but this sort of increase is like he just took a panacea made of thousand year old herbs refined by ascended alchemists!

“… What’s wrong?” Sanye-jun asked as Liu Qingge’s tenseness re-awoke him. He was a little more lucid than before and he blinked, his brows furrowing in concern.

“No, its… “ Liu Qingge trailed off as his eyes rested on the sleepily confused demon. He knew that Sanye-jun was rumored to be powerful. He also heard rumors that the title has never been inherited, being a title developed for the current Sanye-jun, the only demon who ever conquered the Drifting Grove.

He hadn’t thought much of that last rumor, thinking it to be exaggerated or straight up false, but if it was true…

“How old are you?” he asked.

Sanye-jun blinked slowly, then rolled over with a sulk.

“I don’t want to say. I’ll feel like I’ve taken advantage of a child if I do.”

… So Sanye-jun is definitely an old demon. A powerful old demon. Who had been a virgin, maintaining his prenatal jing for… possibly hundreds of years, allowing it to be nourished in his power and demonic cultivation until it became a potent tonic.

And Liu Qingge had been the recipient of that tonic last night.

Liu Qingge swallowed, his throat making an audible click, and Sanye-jun looked back over his shoulder.

“Seriously, are you okay?” he asked, tossing aside his pout as he sat up, looking at Liu Qingge in worry.

“… I’m capable of breaking through after we… dual cultivated,” Liu Qingge said, unable to meet Sanye-jun’s eyes.

Rather than an old demon taking advantage of a young cultivator, it was definitely the young cultivator taking advantage of the old demon!

“… What? Although you were close, dual cultivating shouldn’t have pushed you over.” Sanye-jun took Liu Qingge’s wrist to check his cultivation.

He dropped Liu Qingge’s wrist in shock.

“What happened?! How did your spiritual energy increase so much?” he cried.

Although Liu Qingge felt too ashamed to want to say anything, he reluctantly decided to tell the truth. “Demons who maintained their prenatal jing for over a hundred years or more -”

“… OH.” Sanye-jun’s eyes grew wide.

It seems he did know about the phenomenon, but just hadn’t realize how it related to him.

Liu Qingge felt ill at ease. “I didn’t know…” he started, hesitated, then tried again. “I didn’t ask to dual cultivate because I thought...” Liu Qingge wrinkled his brows again.

He hated that he didn’t know how to say what he meant. But he had to tell him, to tell Sanye-jun that he didn’t intend to take advantage of something like this.

Sanye-jun watched him quietly for a moment, and Liu Qingge felt miserable.

Then Sanye-jun laughed, his tail twining around Liu Qingge’s waist as he leaned in and kissed him on the nose.

“Don’t be silly. Who would have thought an old man like me was still… er… hasn’t had a partner yet? Anyway, I’d long forgotten about that myself. If you can benefit from having to be bedded by this unwanted old man…”

“You’re not unwanted.” Liu Qingge suddenly shot out a hand, intertwining his fingers with Sanye-jun’s. “I...”

I want you.

Liu Qingge didn’t quite have the guts to say that just yet.

Sanye-jun blinked in surprise, but smiled.

“You’re very kind,” he said with a laugh.

“...”

Liu Qingge thought he might have a good understanding on how all the other demon lords felt as they chased this elusive wind demon.

He had mixed feelings as he prepared to leave Sanye-jun’s comfortable little one-room house.

On one hand, he was excited to be able to attempt a breakthrough far earlier, and with far greater chances of success, than he had anticipated. On the other…

Sanye-jun and his Drifting Grove were very difficult to track down.

As a righteous cultivator who was a Peak Lord of Cang Qiong, Liu Qingge knew his opportunities to go looking for them, let alone the chances of finding them again, were closer to zero than he’d like to admit.

As Sanye-jun led him through the Drifting Grove, shooing bloodthirsty trees away like they were errant sparrows, Liu Qingge remained silent, staring at him as if trying to commit Sanye-jun’s form to memory.

At the boundary between the Drifting Grove and the human realm, Sanye-jun stopped.

A white wing fluttered forward and the demon lord hesitated a moment before stroking a hand through his feathers.

“It’s only been a decade or two since I’ve been secluding myself, but I quite enjoyed your company, and I wouldn’t mind if you visited again,” he said, a faint flush dusting his cheeks. “If … if you’re ever looking for me, this would help you find me.”

Liu Qingge took the downy white feather from Sanye-jun and carefully tucked it into his robes.

“I’ll return,” he said, looking Sanye-jun in the eye. “I’d like to try sparring with you.”

Sanye-jun grinned, showing his sharp teeth. “After your breakthrough? Alright, if you think I’ll do.”

“I can’t think of anyone else I could test my strength against,” Liu Qingge said.

Technically there was Zhangmen-shixiong, but to be able to go all out and still feel like he hadn’t reached the bottom of his opponent’s strength? Liu Qingge could only think of Sanye-jun.

His mind couldn’t help but wander towards the night before, where he’d been restrained against Sanye-jun’s body, lifted up off the bed and unable to find anything to anchor himself with but Sanye-jun as he was fucked hard and deep.

Liu Qingge abruptly tore his mind from that train of thought, or else he wouldn’t be able to stand straight as he flew back to Cang Qiong.

Suddenly, Sanye-jun furrowed his brows, standing alert as he looked behind them, towards the other side of the forest.

“What fucking idiots have the guts to ice up my forest?” he muttered angrily, then turned back to Liu Qingge with a sigh. “Unfortunately, I have more guests. Quite unwanted, this time. I’ll have to say goodbye here.”

Liu Qingge nodded, then was startled to see Sanye-jun change shape, obtaining a white horses’ body striped like a tiger as his lower half, the wings migrating from between his human shoulder blades to the horse body’s.

Liu Qingge had known that demons could change shape, but he had assumed that the Lord of the Drifting Grove would take a more feline shape, not equine. Although the tail was still that of a tiger’s.

As Sanye-jun galloped off, powerful and elegant even in this form, Liu Qingge watched him go in a bit of a daze before he finally pulled out Cheng Luan and headed back to Cang Qiong.

Although Sanye-jun had determined that his meridians had been healed, Liu Qingge headed towards Qian Cao directly after making his report.

It wasn’t because he couldn’t trust the demon’s assessment, but because Sanye-jun himself had told him to check in with someone actually trained in caring for cultivators before trying anything too risky.

It would be too late to regret it if something goes wrong while he tries to draw a ring around his golden core.

Mu Qingfang’s brows furrowed a little as he took Liu Qingge’s pulse.

“You seem to have met both great misfortune as well as great fortune this time, Shixiong,” Mu Qingfang finally sighed, leaning back. “You say you were poisoned by the Disordering Desire Blossom? It’s a wonder that you didn’t take more damage before you sorted yourself out.”

Liu Qingge frowned. “Are my meridians still damaged?” he asked, finding it hard to believe.

“No, they’ve been properly healed, but it was quite recent so there are still traces that a healer is capable of spotting. Given a few days, even that will be gone, though. Still, although I’m certain you want to attempt a breakthrough almost immediately, I’d advise you to please wait those few days in order to ensure your breakthrough will go smoothly.”

Liu Qingge didn’t have anything to say to that. Even he, impatient and reluctant to be put under orders for rest as he was, understood that breaking through at a Peak Lord’s cultivation stage isn’t something one could take lightly.

“However, for your meridians to be damaged in this way, the cure should be… ” Mu Qingfang trailed off, then eyed the fading, but still quite present bruises that peeked out of Liu Qingge’s high collar. “… You had a very fortuitous encounter, to meet someone capable of discerning the problem and administering the cure,” he finally said, deciding to spare his shixiong’s face.

Liu Qingge flushed, quite aware of how fortuitous the encounter was.

---

Shen Yuan puffed out his cheeks angrily, squatting amidst the corpses of lower ice demons after he’d returned to his normal form.

“You think it’s fun to come and poke at the Drifting Grove, ah? What are you after, the phoenix flame grass? The ice lotus drops? The soul-clearing spring’s waters? Fuckers, if you turn the forest into a tundra, you think those things will grow back, ah?! Peh!”

After having tossed the corpses out of his forest, he rummaged through their pockets.

“Who sent such low-grade trash to my territory, who doesn’t know the fear of crossing this Sanye-jun?”

He didn’t mind foragers or visitors, after all the truly precious plants and animals in his forest had their own way of defending themselves, but idiots like these, who destroyed, or attempted to destroy, the forest without any provocation whatsoever deserved whatever they had coming to them.

After finding a token on the belt of a demon who certainly looked more like the leader than the others, Shen Yuan stood up and gently patted the blood-heart whipping willow that had one of its branches frozen, thawing its branch and healing its hurts.

… Well, the willow had gotten the best of these ice brutes in the end. It had almost wiped out the entirety of the ice demons by the time Shen Yuan had arrived.

Shen Yuan narrowed his eyes as he gazed thoughtfully at the token.

“It seems I’ll have to head to the northern ice desert,” he said, lips curling into an unamused smile.

Chapter Text

It doesn’t take Shen Yuan long to reach the icy, inhospitable plains of the frozen north.

He’s a wind demon with wings, and sometimes hooves. He can move fast.

It just took him a week to get here because he kept putting it off.

The north is cold, okay?

Shen Yuan grumbled to himself as he neared the imposing castle, swept with snow and ice.

The little small-fry demons that try to stop him from entering the castle didn’t know what hit them.

As Shen Yuan stomped his way through the main entrance, leaving dizzy, wind-blown demons collapsed in his wake, walls of wind swirled about him to keep the hostiles away and disoriented.

“Mobei-jun! Get out here!” he bellowed, his wings half unfurled in a bid to make himself look more intimidating.

The icy king of the north appeared, with his entourage bristling with weaponry, ready, but perhaps not willing, to fight.

… Uh. Huh. That’s not the Mobei-jun he remembered. Hm.

Oooh, right. If Liu Qingge is the Bai Zhan Peak Lord, then it’s not unlikely that the Mobei-jun from PIDW would have taken the throne already. Well, crap. Who’s he going to complain to now?

Shen Yuan tapped his finger lightly on his chin as he realized his mistake.

“… What does Sanye-jun want with the Northern Kingdom?” Mobei-jun’s quiet and icy voice reverberated throughout the hall.

Perks of being an old af demon lord? People have to show him respect, and he doesn’t have to follow the damn courtesy rules. Even the King of the North has to play nice despite Shen Yuan entering like a typhoon, unannounced.

“Ah…” Shen Yuan scratched behind an antler sheepishly. “I came about a broken agreement, but, ah… was that agreement made with your father? Your grandfather? When did this new generation take over?”

Mobei-jun bowed his head very slightly. “This Lord inherited twenty-five years ago. As for the agreement …” The King of the North looked over at the side, and Shen Yuan suddenly realized there was a human in the room.

Well, he’d smelled the scent of a human, but his embarrassing gaff at not knowing that the Throne of the North had changed hands had been a little distracting so he didn’t really think about it until now.

Was that… Shang Qinghua?

He never liked the traitor in the story, and now, having had a more, ah, intimate relationship with the Bai Zhan War God, he was even more distasteful of the human.

“Y-yes! My King! That’s….!” the human squeaked – squeaked? - and ducked his head down, searching through a bound record. “My King, this agreement was made with the Lord of the Drifting Grove over not attacking his forest in exchange for…”

Shen Yuan watched as the human reported to Mobei-jun, a bit mystified.

According to his memory, and his memory was pretty good, Shang Qinghua and Mobei-jun should have a more … maybe not equal relationship, but each was trying to use and avoid being used by the other.

This kind of mousy, twitchy human, who willingly called Mobei-jun ‘My King’, and hurried to do his bidding…

OOC. Way too OOC for Shang Qinghua.

As Shen Yuan narrowed his eyes a little in suspicion, the new 25-year reigning Mobei-jun seemed to take offense and moved slightly in front of the babbling human, glaring at him a little.

Oh? Oh oh oh?

So either this human isn’t Shang Qinghua, or Mobei-jun and Shang Qinghua have a very different relationship than in the novel.

As he and Mobei-jun renewed the previous’ Mobei-jun’s agreement with the Lord of the Drifting Grove, Shen Yuan secretly watched as the human snuck off, clearly on the verge of having a panic attack.

Curious, Shen Yuan didn’t take off immediately after his business was conducted and walked in the direction the cultivator had disappeared in, despite Mobei-jun’s obvious discomfort that he hadn’t left.

“What even is my life right now? Where did this guy come from?!”

Shen Yuan perked up his ears as he heard rambling coming from a distant balcony.

The man was sitting on the ground, knees tucked up to his chest while he pulled roughly at his hair.

Hiding his presence, he snuck up and squatted down right behind the man.

The human clearly thought he was being quiet enough to not be heard as he raved to himself, but Shen Yuan was a powerful old demon, and also a wind demon, so it was simple for him to pick it up even if he was halfway across the castle, let alone right behind him.

“Who the hell is Sanye-jun!? I never wrote this guy! A demon lord this powerful shouldn’t exist if I didn’t write him, right? Oh my god, why is everything just going to shit!? What happened to my plot?!” the human whisper-shrieked to himself.

… Ah, yeah, Shen Yuan heard enough.

“Hm… so you’re Airplane, huh?” he asked, making his presence known as he stayed squatted right behind the man.

The human, who was 100% Airplane-Shooting-Towards-the-Sky, shrieked, throwing up his hands and falling flat on his face.

“Ohmygod, ohmygod, don’t kill me! Please don’t kill me!” The pathetic human wailed as he tucked his head and curled up into a ball.

Shen Yuan couldn’t help but laugh.

“You WOULD think I’d want to kill you, wouldn’t you? Landing me in this shitty novel, you fucking hack author!” Shen Yuan said with a grin as he flicked the cultivator on the top of the head.

He watched, practically seeing the gears churning, as the words registered in the human’s head.

The man scrambled upright.

“Wait, you’re-!” he said.

“Shang Qinghua.”

Oh? Shen Yuan was wondering when Mobei-jun would get antsy and come see what was going on.

Although he hadn’t explicitly indicated he was coming to look for the human, who was Shang Qinghua as expected, Shen Yuan had assumed that Mobei-jun wouldn’t take any risks. And he was right.

“My King!” Shang Qinghua struggled to his feet. “Th-this is, uh...”

“I thought I recognized your little human aide,” Shen Yuan said cheerfully. “You don’t mind if I borrow him for a bit?”

Mobei-jun’s face turned a bit dark as he clenched his fist, and Shen Yuan could practically smell the vinegar.

As he passed Mobei-jun, Shen Yuan patted his shoulder leaned in to whisper, “Don’t worry. I’m far more interested in one of his martial siblings.”

Then with a laugh and another pat on the ice demon’s shoulder, he left Mobei-jun behind, the ice demon making complicated expressions.

Hm, this habit of making fun of the younger generations is pretty dangerous. Maybe he should tone it down a little.

Shang Qinghua hesitated a bit. “M-my King, uh...”

Behind him, Shen Yuan could hear Mobei-jun roughly say, “If he tries anything...” Aiyah, he shouldn’t eavesdrop on these two lovebirds. Or was it only one-sided? He didn’t know Shang Qinghua, or Airplane, well enough to say.

A little while later, Shen Yuan was comfortably seated on a stool in Shang Qinghua’s quarters. The An Ding Peak Lord’s own personal quarters. In a demon lord’s castle.

“You, you’re a transmigrator too?” Shang Qinghua said eagerly, once they had been left alone. “And you know I’m Airplane? Would I know who you are?”

“Hm, does the name ‘Peerless Cucumber’ mean anything to you?” Shen Yuan asked, then watched in amusement as Shang Qinghua’s face turned interesting colors as he recognized the name, was delighted he knew it, then realized it was his biggest anti-fan, and then realized his biggest anti-fan was also a demon lord now.

“… Please don’t kill me, Cucumber Bro,” Shang Qinghua said, a lot more seriously this time. “I swear I didn’t intend for you to get trapped in this novel.”

Shen Yuan waved his hand lazily.

“I didn’t figure out it was PIDW until recently, so at this point, I don’t really care,” he said. “Although I still think your writing is trash.”

If this was back when he’d first transmigrated, yeah, Shen Yuan would probably be pretty pissed, but he’s had 500 years of getting used to things and doing as he pleases, so he didn’t have any real reason to be furious with Airplane so far. Except for being a hack author.

“So I’m guessing you don’t have a System then,” Shang Qinghua said with a groan.

“Why would I? I’m a rando demon lord who popped out of nowhere.” Then Shen Yuan frowned. “Wait, you do?”

Shang Qinghua slumped against his chair, looking like a deflated balloon. “Yeah. It SUCKS. The damn thing wants me to follow the plot, but how the fuck am I supposed to do that?! Shen Qingqiu is so OOC, and I can’t do anything about it!”

“OOC? The scum villain? That seems like it would be tough to correct. How is he OOC?” Shen Yuan might be super curious and a little excited about extra PIDW content as a fan. Anti-fan, he means.

“He’s all rational and stable! He’s not arrogant or underhanded, and he’s actually interacting with his martial siblings and properly teaching his disciples!”

“Isn’t that… better?” Shen Yuan asked. “To be honest, I never really understood a lot of Shen Qingqiu’s motivations for all the shit he does. He just has a shitty personality and does shitty things for no reason other than the hack author says so.”

“There were reasons!” Shang Qinghua protested, but he didn’t protest being a hack author, to Shen Yuan’s amusement. “Shen Qingqiu had a shitty life as a kid, being a slave and then being a more or less unwilling disciple of his own scum teacher, who was a rogue cultivator criminal! And the biggest thing is that his childhood friend, Qi-ge, never came back to save him, and even after they met up again, refuses to admit why he never did even though he apologizes! Shen-shixiong is supposed to become a bitter, angry person because he can’t get over it and can’t forgive Qi-ge until Qi-ge gives in and actually explains things, but Qi-ge never does!”

“… That sounds pretty shitty. Also, a lot more interesting than about half of the content that actually made it into the novel,” Shen Yuan said.

Actually, some of that sounded kind of familiar. Especially that thing about a kid called Qi-ge…

“Look, I had to make rent, okay? People wanted papapa, not backstories,” Shang Qinghua grumbled, pulling Shen Yuan’s attention back towards him.

I helped pay your rent, and I wanted backstories!” Shen Yuan snapped.

“… … Thanks for your patronage,” the An Ding Peak Lord quipped. “But regardless, right now, that backstory doesn’t seem to matter. Because! Even though Yue Qingyuan – that’s Qi-ge – didn’t explain anything, Shen Qingqiu’s just kind of… okay with it? I mean, not okay okay, but he’s not letting it ruin his life like he’s supposed to? I mean, I guess that’s fine, or like, it’s better if I’m coming at it from a more humanitarian standpoint, but-!”

Shen Yuan watched Shang Qinghua pulling at his hair in frustration before saying, “So I guess the novel’s timeline has already started, and it’s not going to plan, huh?”

“You better believe it,” Shang Qinghua said glumly. “Shen Qingqiu still took Luo Binghe in to Qing Jing, but … he’s not abusing him. At all. But … it’s weird. It’s not like he LIKES the kid, either. He kind of … avoids him? Ignores him?”

Shen Yuan stroked his chin. “… Neglect is still abuse, though?”

“It’s not like he’s completely neglecting him. He’s just really… wham, bam, thank you ma’am, when he deals with him. Like, makes it brief, to the point, and only if he has to. Also, although he’s still kind of bitter, it’s more of … a glum feeling, not an angsty I-want-to-destroy everything feeling. And since he’s more of a decent human being, a lot of the misunderstandings that are supposed to happen won’t! Like, no one assumes he’s a lecher just because he drops by the brothel once or twice, and there’s NO WAY they’re going to assume he’s the one who killed Liu Qingge when Liu-shidi has his qi deviation!”

Shen Yuan suddenly sat upright, startling Shang Qinghua.

“You mean, it’s all a misunderstanding? Shen Qingqiu didn’t actually kill Liu Qingge?” he asked carefully.

“Yeah!” Shang Qinghua said, and Shen Yuan swore at the hack author inside his head as the An Ding Peak Lord continued on, saying, “Actually, Liu Qingge has a deadly qi deviation, and Shen Qingqiu tries to help him but fails almost dies while doing it. But! About that! I don’t even know if the qi deviation is going to happen! See, Liu Qingge’s supposed to come back from a mission with really damaged meridians, and although he thinks something might be wrong, he doesn’t bother getting it checked and tries for a breakthrough while meditating in Lingxi Caves for, like, a month or something, and then, bang! Qi deviation!”

Shen Yuan blinked. Wait a second…

“But instead, he comes back and has a breakthrough almost immediately? What the hell! I overheard Mu Qingfang saying that he really did get pollen poisoned, but he’s fine somehow? How?! I don’t really remember it all that well, but my notes were pretty definite that it was some sex pollen that damages your meridians the longer you go without cumming, and like, he was supposed to be fighting demons or something, then fighting demonic plants, the kill-y kind not the sexy kind, and then, since he’s freaking Liu Qingge, he’d try to tough it out, so it would be AGES before he … uh, jerked off or something. Anyway, his meridians were supposed to be really badly damaged!”

There was silence for a moment as Airplane panted after his rant.

Finally, “I, ah, might have had something to do with that,” Shen Yuan admitted.

“… Eh?” Shang Qinghua said, tilting his head.

“Those demons chased him into my forest,” Shen Yuan said. “I suppose thanks to the ‘kill-y plant’ part of your notes. Which didn’t make it at all into the story. But still.”

Shang Qinghua stared blankly at him before saying, “Oh.”

“Yeah.”

“Then, you chased the demons off and told him he had to cum to get rid of the pollen?” Shang Qinghua asked.

“… Yes,” Shen Yuan said.

It was technically true.

Shang Qinghua furrowed his brows, thinking, before he said, “But even if you helped him figure it out, there should still be some damage to his meridians! It should still take him a while to achieve a breakthrough, and, although things have gone off the rails with the characters, the basic plotpoints seem to still happen, so instead of a breakthrough, he should still have had a qi deviation! I mean, this is Liu Qingge, who wouldn’t let anyone touch him with a ten foot stick let alone dual cultivate, and I might not remember exactly what flower it was, but I do know that the only cure was…”

Shang Qinghua trailed off as Shen Yuan coughed, looking awkwardly off to one side.

“Cucumber Bro. You didn’t.” Shang Qinghua sounded absolutely horrified.

Shen Yuan hummed, twisting a lock of hair with his fingers before he cleared his throat.

“In my defense,” he said, “Your cannon fodder second male lead is hot.”

Shang Qinghua buried his face in his hands. “Cucumber Bro, what the hell are you doing…”

Shen Yuan shrugged. “It’s not my fault. He’s the one who asked me to help him.” … Ah. The sudden breakthrough might be his fault, though.

Shang Qinghua looked up at him, with a mixture of shock and awe written across his face.

“The Bai Zhan War God asked a demon lord to… … you know, what? Okay. Fine. Whatever! It’s not like anything’s been going according to the plot anyway!”

“But I’m relieved that it was all a misunderstanding,” Shen Yuan said with a sigh. “I mean, the Shen Qingqiu killing Liu Qingge thing. I would have been really upset if the boy I picked up killed the guy I ...” lost my virginity to – Shen Yuan barely resisted saying that and ended lamely, “… guy I would like to see more of.”

“Cucumber Bro, are you crushing on Liu Qingge?” Shang Qinghua said, with a small smirk, but then froze. “Wait. What did you just say?”

“Hm? I would have been upset.”

“Not that!” Shang Qinghua’s eyes widened in a panic and he almost grabbed Shen Yuan by the shoulders before he remembered that his biggest anti-fan was now a scary demon lord. “What do you mean, boy you picked up!? Shen Qingqiu!? You ‘picked him up’?! Don’t tell me you raised him or something?!”

Shen Yuan wrinkled his nose.

“Of course not? But when I was in the human realm, some idiot mistook me for an easy mark and really came at me. I think his name was Wei Yanzu? Wu Yanzu? Wu Yanzi? I dunno. Anyway, I killed him, but there was this boy named Shen Jiu with him.” Shen Yuan ignored the strangled sound Shang Qinghua made. “He was also obsessing over a Qi-ge, so if Shen Qingqiu’s previous name was Shen Jiu, then...”

“Yes. Shen Qingqiu’s name was Shen Jiu previously,” Shang Qinghua said, but it almost came out like a sob as he buried his face in his hands again.

“Okay, so yeah, I did pick the boy up then,” Shen Yuan said. “But it’s not like I took him in or anything.”

Although he did vaguely remembering giving the brat a lot of ‘if he isn’t gonna be honest with you then he isn’t worth your time’ and ‘there are a lot more people you’ll meet in your life, so don’t waste it all on one person’ speeches. As well as some ‘the best thing you can do is just ignore him and treat him normally, hating him is just wasting your capacity for finding joy in other things’ speeches.

… Hm. That might have effected Shen Qingqiu’s character a little bit, maybe. Now that he thinks about it.

A-anyway, “I’m a demon lord who’s also kind of a hermit, so of course I didn’t feel like taking in a human kid going through puberty. I took him to a friend of mine. Su Xiyan? Although, she’s with Huan Hua Palace, so I wonder how he still ended up at Cang Qiong...”

“You WHAT!? You were friends with… SU XIYAN!?” Shang Qinghua leapt forward, frantic.

Shen Yuan flinched. “… Kind of? If anything, I was just dragged along for an idiot’s awful attempts at wooing the poor woman.”

“You were friends with TIANLANG-JUN!?!?”

Whoa there, Airplane. Calm down before you burst a blood vessel. Shen Yuan felt like he was missing something.

“What is wrong with you?” he asked.

Shang Qinghua stared at him, a bit wild-eyed.

“What is wrong with ME?! What is wrong with you!? Those are Luo Binghe’s biological parents! How do you not know this!?”

“What?” Shen Yuan blinked, trying to parse the information he was given, then narrowed his eyes in irritation. “Of course I don’t know that! You didn’t write it in! Tianlang-jun, Su Xiyan? Those weren’t names even mentioned in your novel!”

“Tianlang-jun is a heavenly demon! Who was wooing a human cultivator!”

“They’re not a big demographic in the demon realm, but there ARE other heavenly demons! And they’re all a little screwy in their choice of partners, so it’s not impossible there are others who would want human lovers!” Hell, Tianlang-jun’s sister banged a snake! And Tianlang-jun gives way too much information about that and other things, part of the reason way Shen Yuan hasn’t been actively looking around for him!

“There haven’t been any other full-blooded heavenly demons in over a hundred years! It was just Tianlang-jun and his sister!”

Shen Yuan blinked. “Wait, really?” he said, then frowned. “Nono, there were, like, thirty of them last I checked…”

“Most of them perished on that war they waged against the upper realm. You know, when that Gaoshi-jun sundered the boundaries with Xin Mo before it devoured him and he was cast into the Endless Abyss.”

Really. Now that he mentions it, Shen Yuan vaguely remembers something like that happening. He’d noped the hell outta there when he heard what those idiots were planning, relocating the Drifting Grove on a remote mountain in the human realm for a while.

Even though he usually avoids placing his forest in the human realm since, you know, demonic trees and unwitting idiot humans who wander into places they shouldn’t, but that was a special case. Even if they’re heavenly demons, fighting against ascended immortals? Of course it could only be a disaster ending in their defeat.

But to think all of them died then and there ...

“… Cucumber Bro, just asking, but… how old are you?”

“So Luo Binghe is Su Xiyan’s son?” Shen Yuan said, completely ignoring Shang Qinghua’s question. “Well of course Jiu-er wouldn’t be abusing him then. He can’t do that to his Yan-jiejie’s son. But to think Jiu-er’s ignoring him… Jiu-er always thought Tianlang-jun wasn’t good enough for her, so did Tianlang-jun do something stupid that caused Su Xiyan to dump him, then?” That wouldn’t surprise him, honestly.

It was Shang Qinghua’s turn to blink blankly at him.

“You… don’t know?” he asked hesitantly.

Shen Yuan furrowed his brows. “Know what?”

“Su Xiyan was spying on Tianlang-jun, who forced her and impregnated her. She came back to Huan Hua Palace and had them throw the entire cultivation world into a war against the demon realm.”

Shen Yuan sat there, mouth open, as he processed what he was just told.

“Bullshit,” he finally blurted out. “Tianlang-jun, force Su Xiyan? That masochistic idiot would rather her step all over him with stilettos, if they existed! He kisses the ground she walks on, there’s no way he would … and there’s no way that headstrong woman would run crying back to her sect if he did something like that to her. She’d chase him over all the realms to stab him herself!”

Shang Qinghua smiled stiffly. “Well, you’re right on both accounts. The Old Palace Master set them up. He led Tianlang-jun into a trap with a fake note from Su Xiyan, and he’s trapped in some pretty powerful arrays under a mountain right now, believing Su Xiyan betrayed him. Then he lied to Su Xiyan, forcing her to drink a poison to abort her child before letting her go, and she went to the wrong place while trying to warn Tianlang-jun. She died absorbing the poison in order to save Luo Binghe.”

Shen Yuan sat there, head in his hands.

That playboy idiot, trapped believing the love of his life betrayed him, and that strong-willed tomboy tricked while trying to save him. Shen Yuan had too many emotions to know what to do about them.

Finally he sighed and looked up.

“And the other cultivation sects didn’t object to being thrown into the war?” he asked.

“They didn’t really have a choice. The Old Palace Master kind of just sprung it on them,” Shang Qinghua responded.

“… I suppose it makes sense why Jiu-er is acting like that, then,” Shen Yuan muttered. “I guess he’s not still dating Zuzhi-lang after all of that.”

“WHAT?!” Shang Qinghua yelped, looking like he was about to have a heart attack.

Shen Yuan wrinkled his brow. “But seriously, does that little idiot really believe those rumors about Tianlang-jun and his Yan-jiejie? I know he doesn’t know Tianlang-jun all that well, but he should know his Yan-jiejie would never be a part of that kind of farce. In the first place, how did he know it was Su Xiyan’s son? Now I’m really curious. Airplane, go ask Jiu-er about it.”

“Fucking hell, no! Shen Qingqiu’s terrifying!”

What a shame that this spy in Cang Qiong is such a coward. If Mobei-jun didn’t like him, there would be no way the King of the North would keep him by his side.

… Well, it’s not really Shen Yuan’s problem, he guesses.

Chapter Text

A figure slipped into the warded cave entrance under Bailu Mountain.

“Hm, they really did a number on this place,” it mused, surveying the enchanted chains and wards that lined the collapsed rocks that sealed off the rest of the cavern.

A large green snake lurked in the shadows, preparing to strike at a moment’s notice.

The moment came when the figure slid a bit on the loose rock – the snake struck the moment it looked down at its feet.

Whump!

“Oops, pretty unstable footing here. Hi, Zhuzhi-lang. I didn’t expect to find you here, but it makes things more convenient for me.”

Flung backwards by a powerful burst of wind, Zhuzhi-lang shook the dizziness from his head and blinked dumbly before taking another look at the figure in front of him.

Now that he had a better look, the figure did seem familiar… …

… !

Hisss! Hss!

“Yes, yes, it’s me, your Sanye-jun. It’s good to see you too. Sorry I’m pretty late.”

Sssss! Hissss, sss -

“Ah… what I heard was a little different, though.”

Hiss? Ssss-! Hsss hiss!

“I see. What I heard was that Su-xiaojie tried to leave her sect, and the sect master imprisoned her and plotted to kill Tianlang-jun.”

Hsss! Ssss!

“And you’re certain the letter came from her? In her handwriting?”

… … H...iss…?

“Haa… Let me guess, and the idiot just ran ahead without making sure of anything. Do you want to know what I heard about after her imprisonment? Su-xiaojie tried to convince the Palace Master to let her go, and she was forced to drink a poison to abort the child to show her allegiance to their sect. But she ran away to try to warn Tianlang-jun about the trap.”

Sss. Hissss ssss.

“Because the Palace Master suspected she’d do that and told her the wrong place. In the end, she absorbed the poison herself to save the child and died on the banks of the Luo River.”

The snake blinked blankly, forgetting to even flick its tongue out before it slithered away, looking back at Sanye-jun as it went.

“Follow you? Where to? Ah...”

There was a crack in the rocks where, if Zhuzhi-lang got himself down to his smallest size, he’d be able to enter.

Sanye-jun sent a wisp of wind through the crack and, faintly, he heard, “… Is that true?”

“… Tianlang-jun, ah. What a predicament you’ve gotten yourself into.” Sanye-jun sighed, sitting down next to the crack. “You heard what I said?”

There was a pause. “I can hear what’s going on outside the seals. But no one can hear me.”

“Unless they’re a wind demon, I suppose,” Sanye-jun quipped. Even using his wind to carry the sound, Tianlang-jun’s voice was still faint.

“Unless they’re Sanye-jun,” Tianlang-jun agreed. “Is it true? Xiyan is … dead? She died trying to come to me?”

“En. I don’t know if you’ll believe me, but the Old Palace Master set the two of you up. Either way, I searched for her in Huan Hua Palace, where she’s supposed to be in seclusion, but my winds couldn’t find even a single trace of her in the entire place. Unless she’s in the deepest depths of the Water Prison, she’s no longer in this world. And if they’re keeping her in the Water Prison...” Sanye-jun trailed off.

She’s either dead or in the Water Prison. It didn’t matter which, either situation proved that Su Xiyan and Huan Hua Palace had been at odds.

A half hysterical laughter sounded as Tianlang-jun digested what he was just told.

“What am I supposed to do with all this anger I have!? With all this hatred I have, mistakenly hating the one who loved me, for over ten years! What do I … what...”

Sanye-jun remained silent as Tianlang-jun howled and raved within, his rage coming across clearly no matter how faint the voice was.

When he’d expended his anger, falling silent with a sound that was suspiciously like a sob, Sanye-jun finally spoke.

“What will you do now?” he asked. “Or more accurately, what do you want to do now?”

“What can I do? I want revenge.”

As expected.

“Even against the other sects?” Sanye-jun pressed. “Will you destroy the humans you liked so much?”

“… …” There was a sullen silence for a moment before Tianlang-jun snapped, “What are you getting at, Old Man?”

“Brat,” Sanye-jun returned, “Attacking the sects will just make Huan Hua’s claims about you seem valid.”

“Then what should I do?!”

“Well, I have it from a very reliable source that none of the other sects were willing to participate in the war. That Huan Hua Palace made up quite a few things and tricked them into participating in that first raid, and that quite a few sects were suspicious, but unable to produce any real evidence to back up their suspicions. It would be quite satisfying to watch them turn on Huan Hua, don’t you think?”

“… You’ve been planning this.”

Sanye-jun hummed. “Well, I’ll admit that I’m also very displeased with what occurred. This sort of thing they’ve done crosses quite a few of my lines as well.”

“… Fine. But I also want the life of the one who cut off my arms.”

“Ah...” Sanye-jun hesitated, “Is it necessary?”

“What now?” Tianlang-jun’s voice held a bit of amusement in it, and he was finally beginning to sound a little bit like his old self.

“That one is… well, he’s Jiu-er’s Qi-ge. The something-like-a-brother, but it’s complicated, one. If you get revenge on him, you’d be denying Jiu-er of his own revenge, should he take it.” Sanye-jun glanced over and saw a sulking snake, upset since he mentioned the name Qi-ge. Goodness, there’s a little vinegar pot here too.

“I see. Well, I suppose that wouldn’t be fair to Jiu-er.”

“It really wouldn’t, considering he’s the one who’s safe-guarding your son, currently.”

There was silence.

“… My son? That brat is?”

“Hm. Ah, I can’t say much about that. I haven’t gone to Cang Qiong to take a look yet. I’m not sure what Jiu-er is thinking, nor what he thought when all of this fuss went down.”

“Did you hear that, Nephew? Your little lover might not have betrayed us.”

! H-hiss…

Zhuzhi-lang wound and unwound himself uneasily, then drooped in disappointment.

“Well, something like not having a human form can be dealt with,” Sanye-jun said. “The question is, are you willing to face him, no matter what the result would be?”

Hiss. Sss.

“Haha, the great Sanye-jun giving love advice, when he hasn’t captured a lover himself!” Tianlang-jun guffawed, and Sanye-jun puffed out his cheeks in a pout.

This brat, always making fun of this old man’s lack of experience!

But before he could defend himself,

Ssss hsss, sss.

“Y-you! Quiet!” Sanye-jun flushed deeply and scrambled to try to keep Zhuzhi-lang silent.

“WHAT?! Your prenatal jing has been dispersed!? When did this happen?!”

“No, I -! That’s-!” Sanye-jun’s face was so red, it was like a flame.

“What happened? How many hundreds of years was it? That much power going into one person – ah, or were you the one being gone into? I wonder who the lucky recipient was...”

Sanye-jun groaned into his hands. “I will give you five taels of gold to spend on whatever spring books you desire if you never mention this topic. Again. Ever!”

“Deal.”

“By the way, what were you planning for getting out of here?”

“At this point, we’re considering planting a Sun and Moon Dew seed and migrating me over.”

“… That’s a terrible idea. You’re going to kill off your heavenly demon body to move into a plant? That can’t support demonic energy?”

“… … It can’t support demonic energy?”

---

Shen Yuan sighed as he let his wings, antlers, and tail out the moment he crossed the border from the human realm into his forest.

He’s gone for much longer disguised as a human before, but it’s been a while, and it was beginning to feel stuffy. And being so close to Huan Hua territory, he wasn’t willing to risk just hiding his presence alone while still in demon form.

There was a lot to do in order to help break Tianlang-jun out from Bailu Mountain. Or he could just blow a hole in the mountain, but that’s not really on the subtle side, and could potentially bring a lot more trouble than it was worth.

Not to mention, it sounded like Tianlang-jun’s body was in terrible shape, so Shen Yuan will have to prepare some medicinal baths that will actually work on a heavenly demon’s constitution. Luckily he’s the Lord of the Drifting Grove, so he had a lot of options when it came to precious ingredients to choose from.

But first…

“It will only be temporary, but I can make some pills to help you get back your human form. Ah, of course, I’ll also help prepare some tonics to help you breakthrough faster, but you’ve always known it was going to be more difficult for you than the other snake demons.”

Hisss.

Zhuzhi-lang trailed behind him, about the size of a boa constrictor at the moment.

After he’d heard that Shen Yuan was thinking about dropping in to see Jiu-er, he had insisted on tagging along. With the excuse that he just wanted to see Luo Binghe for Tianlang-jun, of course.

Suddenly, Zhuzhi-lang turned, coiling himself and glaring at the trees.

Hm? Shen Yuan didn’t feel that there was anything wrong in his forest. What is Zhuzhi-lang upset about.

His question was answered as Liu Qingge appeared.

Ah, well of course Shen Yuan wasn’t alerted then. He wasn’t a threat -

Zhuzhi-lang hissed, placing himself between the cultivator and Shen Yuan. Ah. Right. Liu Qingge would look like a threat to demons normally.

The cultivator was startled, and Liu Qingge looked down, frowning at Zhuzhi-lang who was poised, as if ready to strike, and he gripped the hilt of his sword.

“Ah…! Ah, this is, haha, Zhu – zhu! Zhuzhu, everything’s fine, this is this Lord’s guest, so, er, run along to the house first!” Shen Yuan nearly bit his tongue as he barely stopped himself from spilling Zhuzhi-lang’s name out. Yeah, he should… definitely not introduce this snake as Tianlang-jun’s second in command. At least, not now.

Zhuzhi-lang looked back and forth between the cultivator and Shen Yuan before he seemed to realize something, gave a little bow towards Liu Qingge, and slithered away.

As Liu Qingge watched the snake suspiciously, Shen Yuan approached him.

“You’re back,” he said, smiling.

“I’m back.” Liu Qingge dropped his wariness and reached out somewhat hesitantly before he placed his hand on the side of Shen Yuan’s face, softly brushing his loose hair back.

After taking Liu Qingge’s wrist to observe the man’s cultivation, Shen Yuan smiled happily.

“You really did have a breakthrough, and no abnormalities.” He was beaming, almost as if he was the one who had broken through, making the corners of Liu Qingge’s mouth twitch upwards.

“Yes. Everything’s going well,” Liu Qingge said. “So I’ve come for that spar.”

---

Liu Qingge had been eager, wanting to leave Cang Qiong immediately after his breakthrough, but he kept being delayed by one thing or another.

Mu Qingfang wanted to know who it was that helped him, and what sort of tonic he’d been given.

Zhangmen-shixiong wanted a more detailed record of his report.

Qi Qingqi was harassing him about this and that, and how did she know about him needing to dual cultivate with someone anyway?

Finally… when he finally escaped, Liu Qingfang had been nervous he wouldn’t be able to find the Drifting Grove, but the feather he had tucked in his robes, over his heart, seemed to act like a beacon, growing warm as he headed in a certain direction, until he found himself in front of the Drifting Grove.

And when he saw Sanye-jun again… well, he wouldn’t deny he was excited for a spar with the powerful demon lord, but he was also just thrilled to see him again.

That is, until they truly began to spar. Then, there was nothing in the world as delightful as sparring with Sanye-jun.

His blood sang in his ears as Liu Qingge let loose his entire might, and he was delighted to Sanye-jun fight back, equally with him at first, then … it was only a matter of time, but Liu Qingge was slowly over powered.

Thirty minutes later and Liu Qingge had been pinned to the ground, a smug-looking Sanye-jun fluttering his wings and lashing his tail above him.

Liu Qingge was startled, but maybe not too surprised, to find he was hard.

Watching Sanye-jun fight was… it was very arousing. Maybe it was only arousing to him, but what that meant was that he was hard, and Sanye-jun was right above him. If he just shifted the angle, the demon would realize it… Liu Qingge didn’t know if he wanted him to or not.

“Th-the forest,” Liu Qingge said, trying futilely to divert his own attention by focusing on the scorched earth the two had made during their fight.

“It’s fine,” Sanye-jun said, chuckling. “All of the smart ones moved out of the way. If anything, the problem is that they’re too excited by the fight. I’ll probably have to bring them somewhere they can let loose in...” The demon lord shifted as he spoke, and his knee nudged the barest amount against Liu Qingge’s groin.

But it was enough.

Sanye-jun looked surprised at first, then a slow smile crossed his face and he undulated, sending his hips downwards in a dirty grind against Liu Qingge’s erection.

Oh. He was hard too.

Upon realizing that, Liu Qingge locked eyes with Sanye-jun, drawing his lips together tightly and setting his feet against the ground as he struggled to reciprocate, rolling his hips up as Sanye-jun rolled his down, the two of them seeking the delicious friction that sent sparks up their spines.

“How do you want this?” Sanye-jun said after a moment, voice deep with lust and eyes already beginning to glow. “Me in you? Or you in me?”

Liu Qingge swallowed. He hadn’t realized there was an option with this demon lord, but then, he already knew Sanye-jun wasn’t anything like a normal demon, who only knew how to take and plunder. The mere thought of taking this seductive, irresistible demon made his already smoldering lust flare up, but right now… Liu Qingge licked his lips, and he watched as Sanye-jun’s eyes tracked the movement of his tongue.

“You,” Liu Qingge said hoarsely, “In me.”

Right now, he just wanted Sanye-jun to take him. Roughly.

Sanye-jun smiled, his teeth flashing as his eyes glowed brightly, and Liu Qingge watched as the stripes appeared all over the demon’s skin. His blood boiled in anticipation.

After a fierce struggle, which both of them enjoyed very much, Liu Qingge ended up with one arm pinned to his back, on his knees with his ass in the air, Sanye-jun fiercely holding him in place and ploughing him hard and fast.

With one hand pressing down on Liu Qingge’s pinned back arm and the other pressing down on Liu Qingge’s neck, Sanye-jun had very effectively immobilized the cultivator so that Liu Qingge could barely brace himself with his free arm to keep his face from sinking into the dirt.

Even as he twitched and flexed, attempting to break free, all Sanye-jun did was chuckle low, his firm grip kept Liu Qingge from moving, unable to resist as the demon had his way with him.

“You look so good, being made to just sit there and take it,” Sanye-jun muttered, almost as if to himself, but it sent a jolt of pleasure up Liu Qingge’s spine.

“Oh? Do you like that?” Sanye-jun’s voice was tinged with amusement as the demon leaned in, whispering into Liu Qingge’s ear. “The Bai Zhan Peak Lord, being forced to take this Lord’s cock however this Lord likes?”

Liu Qingge couldn’t help the shudder that went through his body, but still, he attempted to turn his head towards Sanye-jun, barely able to turn it in the demon’s grip.

“You- ah! Nn!” he managed to say before a particularly vicious thrust interrupted him, and all he could do was moan. He was barely able to register that Sanye-jun’s hand had moved from the back of his neck before it coiled around his cock, pumping it as the pace increased even more and Sanye-jun’s large cock kept hitting that sweet spot making him see stars.

Then, suddenly, Sanye-jun pulled out completely, and Liu Qingge blinked in confusion.

“What-” he started to say, when the demon seized him around the torso with one arm, pulling him upwards so that he came off his knees, and that cock was resheathed into him in one stroke, forcing his breath from him and drawing his nerves tight, so tight, he was going to…

“Mm, you look so beautiful like this,” Sanye-jun’s breath tickled his ear as the demon ground that huge dick into his prostate. “Like you were made for my cock.”

Liu Qingge came, shuddering hard, and Sanye-jun growled before he suddenly lowered his head and bit Liu Qingge’s shoulder, hard enough to draw blood this time, forcing Liu Qingge even higher into ecstasy.

The world went deliciously white for a moment, and when Liu Qingge came back into himself, he found Sanye-jun licking his shoulder apologetically.

“Was that too far?” the demon asked, then pulled out, and Liu Qingge realized.

“… You haven’t come.”

“Hm...” Sanye-jun hums, a bit awkwardly like he’s trying to avoid the topic, and he pulls Liu Qingge down gently into a kiss.

Although he likes the kiss, Liu Qingge frowns and squirms until he manages to turn around to face Sanye-jun.

Spreading his legs, he straddled the demon lord’s hips and reached down, pressing Sanye-jun’s dick to his entrance again.

“Wait- you don’t have to -” Sanye-jun said, watching Liu Qingge’s trembling limbs with worry.

Liu Qingge leveled a glare at the demon. “I want to make you come,” he said, but even after he got the cock in him, his legs were still trembling from his orgasm and he could only rock himself clumsily on the demon lord’s cock.

A low growl sounded in Sanye-jun’s throat as he placed his hands firmly around Liu Qingge’s hips, stilling them for the moment.

“You’re going to make me lose control,” he said, voice tense.

“That’s fine,” Liu Qingge said, then swallowed nervously as he allowed himself to admit, “Since it’s you.”

Sanye-jun’s eyes flared up and his stripes, that were already just beginning to fade, darkened deeply once again.

“You’re really-!” was all the demon lord could growl out before he began to lift Liu Qingge up and down on his cock like he weighed nothing, pistoning his hips upwards to meet Liu Qingge’s ass, harsh slapping sounds echoing around them.

Maybe it was too much after he’d just come. Liu Qingge felt far too sensitive, and when Sanye-jun dipped his head to nibble and suck on his chest, those sharp teeth grazing his nipples, it was too overwhelming that he couldn’t help but squirm from all the sensations, unable to do anything but hang on, one arm looped around Sanye-jun’s head and the other gripping onto an antler for dear life.

But it also felt … Liu Qingge felt himself getting hard again, the overstimulation sending sparks up his spine and soon, all he could do was ride another wave of pleasure as Sanye-jun used him as he pleased.

Soon he began to roll his hips forward, rutting his dick against Sanye-jun’s abdomen, which made Sanye-jun growl before the demon attacked Liu Qingge’s neck.

Unlike before, where he’d only laved attention on the side, this time he tugged Liu Qingge’s head back and licked and bit the front of the exposed neck. Liu Qingge shuddered as he felt Sanye-juns jaws positioned as if to tear out his windpipe, but being held so vulnerable in front of this demon he trusted just seemed to spike his arousal even more.

And when he felt the stutter of Sanye-jun’s hips and the pulsing of his cock before he was filled with cum, Liu Qingge pulled the demon lord into a deep kiss as he trembled through another orgasm, splashing cum onto Sanye-jun’s stomach.

---

Shen Yuan hummed as he went to retrieve some spare clothing.

He’d placed Liu Qingge in the hotspring out back, after carefully cleaning him up, despite the man’s protests.

Really, the Bai Zhan War God is just too cute, being embarrassed about being carried back when he could barely walk. If Shen Yuan hadn’t coaxed him with a, “Please, let me? I want to do this,” it’s possible the man would have tried to walk unassisted the entire way back to the house.

Fluttering his wings in contentment, Shen Yuan almost jumped as Zhuzhi-lang slithered out from under the chair.

Ah… he’d forgotten Zhuzhi-lang was here…

S-ssss…

“Eh? What are you apologizing for?” Shen Yuan asked, tilting his head.

Hssss… hisss.

Shen Yuan went pale and dropped the robes he’d picked up.

“W-what do you mean, you saw?”

Ss, hiss, hissssss, hssss.

Shen Yuan dropped down into a squat, clutching his antlers as his face turned bright red in mortification.

“I-I see…” he said faintly. “I suppose the spar was too showy… Th-thank you for being worried, but … … is there any chance you won’t tell Tianlang-jun about this?”

Hiss.

“… Your loyalty to your uncle is really admirable,” Shen Yuan muttered, but his tone of voice and expression revealed that he really meant the opposite of what he said.

Chapter Text

… This hotspring water was something equivalent to a priceless elixir, wasn’t it?

Although he was still basking in the afterglow of their, er, bout, Liu Qingge felt his energy had already returned. It probably wasn’t a healing spring, or else Sanye-jun would have brought him here when he’d had that huge hole in his side from the demons last time, but then, it wasn’t like he was injured earlier either.

He really would have been fine to walk if Sanye-jun had given him a moment. Or two. He’d just been overwhelmed with the sensations, that was all.

But using a spring full of energy as a simple bath … it was very much like Sanye-jun, Liu Qingge decided.

Speaking of the demon lord, Sanye-jun came walking briskly out to the hotspring, carrying spare robes and towels. His face was somewhat … flushed?

… ? Liu Qingge furrowed his eyebrows together a bit, but Sanye-jun just coughed and said, “Ah, it’s nothing. Just remembered some things I had to get done,” and waved his hand, so Liu Qingge decided not to pry.

Sanye-jun placed the robes and towels he’d brought on a rock near the spring, then began disrobing.

… Sanye-jun was going to bathe with him? Liu Qingge startled and made to get out, red-faced and averting his eyes as he went, but a wing buffeted him in the face, knocking him lightly back into the water.

“What are you so embarrassed about?” Sanye-jun asked teasingly, “We’ve already done so much together, what is sharing bath water?”

Liu Qingge covered his nose from where the wing hit him and opened his mouth to protest, but found himself unable to refute it. Not to mention, with Sanye-jun standing naked in front of him, it was a little difficult for him to muster up much anger.

In the end he could only sigh and say, “Please be aware of the effect you have on others.”

“Others? Or the effect I have on Qingge?”

“You-!” Liu Qingge flushed bright red, but he couldn’t refute this either.

Sanye-jun laughed, submerging himself up to his shoulders.

“Alright, I’ll stop teasing you. I had been away and only returned to the Drifting Grove shortly before you arrived. You won’t begrudge this one a bath, would you?” The demon lord sighed in contentment, fluttering his wings in the water as a duck would, clearly enjoying the warm waters of the hotspring.

Liu Qingge furrowed his brows.

“… You just returned? Have I inconvenienced you?” he asked.

“Hm? Of course not,” Sanye-jun said with a hum. “Rather, it was good to see you after all the bad news I’ve been receiving.”

Liu Qingge frowned again, asking, “Is there anything I can do?”

Sanye-jun just submerged himself deeper until only his head remained above the water. “It’s nothing. Just a little bad news, but with a little work, bad news can turn into good opportunities,” he said sleepily. “And you’ve already helped me quite a bit.”

He did? Liu Qingge wrinkled his brows. In his opinion, he just came and harassed Sanye-jun for a spar.

“Mm. After traveling, to return home and be greeted by a willing beauty, it’s put me in a much better mood.”

“You… forget it.” Liu Qingge sighed. Why did he believe this demon when he said he wouldn’t tease him anymore? “I shouldn’t worry about you,” he said and stood up, preparing to retreat behind the modesty screen before his lower half began getting interested in another round.

Sanye-jun’s laid back, flippant attitude was already bad enough, but here, contentedly soaking in the hotspring with a satisfied expression and flushed from the hot waters, teasing him lazily …

Perhaps it had been too long for Liu Qingge to have gone without finding a dual cultivation partner, if he now only had to have a naked demon lord near him to suddenly be thinking these sorts of thoughts.

He’ll only be troubling Sanye-jun if he remains and… well… as Liu Qingge brushed past Sanye-jun to clamber onto the wooden walkway, his hand was gently seized.

“I’m sorry,” Sanye-jun said with a smile, his eyes half-lidded. “I really won’t tease anymore, so won’t you lend me your company for a little while longer?”

That wasn’t why he was leaving, but Liu Qingge paused.

Although Sanye-jun was smiling, it seemed a bit weary.

With a small huff, Liu Qingge sat back down into the water, placing a hand around Sanye-jun’s head and pulling it to his shoulder.

“I don’t know what happened, but you’re tired, aren’t you?” he said, not daring to look at the demon.

“Hm… not really physically. But there are matters that weigh the mind down and causes one to feel exhausted in their bones,” Sanye-jun said, sighing as he turned to nuzzle into Liu Qingge’s shoulder. Liu Qingge repressed a shiver from the warm breath caressing his collarbone.

The two sat in silence for a few moments.

“… Liu Qingge,” Sanye-jun suddenly said, “If a righteous sect used dishonorable means to entrap someone with false claims, what would the members of other righteous sects think?”

He was startled at first, but Liu Qingge pondered the question seriously. “Such an act would probably cause the other sects to denounce them,” he responded after a while.

“And if the victim was a demon? What then?”

At that, Liu Qingge found himself unable to respond right away. As he struggled to think of what he would truly think in such a situation, Sanye-jun just sighed again and buried his face in Liu Qingge’s shoulder.

“… Sorry, just let me stay like this a little while.”

Liu Qingge wordlessly allowed Sanye-jun to remain where he was, plastered against the cultivator’s side, before extending a hand to cradle the demon’s shoulders, gently holding Sanye-jun to his side.

It was at least another fifteen minutes before the two of them left the hotsprings.

“Goodness, I’m not usually so bothered by such trivial things,” Sanye-jun said, toweling his hair dry, a somewhat wry smile on his lips.

“It didn’t sound like something trivial,” Liu Qingge responded with a frown.

“Hm...” Sanye-jun continued drying his hair. “I suppose it was difficult to keep from projecting a friend’s situation onto my own. Even though I told him things would work out fine, when I thought of us – I mean, when I thought of being in his situation, I lost some confidence.”

Unfortunately for Sanye-jun, Liu Qingge had very good hearing and didn’t miss that slip of his tongue.

“Us?” he said, suddenly alert.

“No, that’s – I...” Sanye-jun flushed, and Liu Qingge thought he caught the tail end of the problem that was causing Sanye-jun’s strange mood.

The demon lord struggled to find something to say, avoiding Liu Qingge’s eyes, but the Peak Lord wasn’t going to let him avoid it.

“What do you mean by us?” Liu Qingge said, eyes narrowing.

Sanye-jun’s shoulders drooped helplessly before he finally said, “… I’m afraid of making you an enemy of your sect because of … because of this.” The demon lord made a feeble gesture between the two of them. “Even if I’m not so infamous in the human realm, I am still a demon, after all.”

“You won’t,” Liu Qingge said stubbornly. Sanye-jun wasn’t likely to be involved in anything that Cang Qiong would object to, and he was certain that he could keep his martial siblings from realizing that the one he had relations with was a demon. No matter how much Qi Qingqi might pry.

“… Even if I said I want to free Tianlang-jun?”

There was shocked silence as Liu Qingge stared at Sanye-jun, the demon lord refusing to look at him.

It would be impossible for Liu Qingge to say he didn’t feel a knee-jerk reaction to immediate put down that suggestion, to tell Sanye-jun that he would be wrong to do that, and under no circumstances should the heavenly demon be freed. But …

… Sanye-jun was trembling. It was very minute, but Liu Qingge watched as the most powerful person he’d ever known trembled from fear. He was afraid of Liu Qingge. No, more accurately, he was afraid of Liu Qingge’s reaction.

But why… Liu Qingge’s mind raced through the conversation up until now. False charges, being afraid of being put in a friend’s situation… Liu Qingge had only been a disciple at the time, but he had also been on the battlefield during the war with the demon realm, just in the mid-ranks, not at the front like Yue Qingyuan. He naturally knew of the rumors about why the war with Tianlang-jun had started, especially the rumors about Huan Hua Palace’s head disciple.

He hadn’t thought much of them at the time – when had he ever needed proof that demons would do such unsavory things – but … it was different now.

“… Explain,” Liu Qingge heard himself say.

Sanye-jun looked up, blinking a bit in confusion.

“You asked me earlier about what if a righteous sect entrapped a demon with false charges,” Liu Qingge said, looking Sanye-jun in the eye. “And I’ve decided that I’ll hear what happened first before deciding. So, explain.” Then, after thinking for a moment, he took Sanye-jun’s hand. “Please,” he said.

Yes, he was a Peak Lord of Cang Qiong who had his own duties and morals that he had to uphold, but he was also the man Liu Qingge, and Liu Qingge didn’t want to let go of this… whatever this was he had with Sanye-jun before hearing the reason.

“…”

“Sanye-jun?” Liu Qingge frowned as the demon lord sat there, motionlessly, but as he bent to get a better look at Sanye-jun’s face, the demon suddenly tackled him to the ground.

“Wha-!” Liu Qingge grimaced and tried to move, but Sanye-jun was immovable, clasping him around his midriff.

Before Liu Qingge could say anything else, either berating Sanye-jun for tackling him or asking him what he thought he was doing, Sanye-jun spoke up.

“… I’m so glad...”

Liu Qingge paused, then sighed and placed a hand on Sanye-jun’s head, between the antlers. “What’s there to be glad about?” he asked gruffly.

“I don’t know what I would have done if you just left, refusing to listen,” Sanye-jun said, practically whispered, and that made Liu Qingge feel a bit stunned.

I wouldn’t, he wanted to say, but he knew that if it was a few weeks earlier, he might have done just that. Or even threatened to kill Sanye-jun on the spot.

“… I haven’t said I would be alright with… whatever it is you’re planning,” Liu Qingge warned. Now that things had gone this far, it was too obvious that Sanye-jun was obviously planning something.

“That’s alright,” Sanye-jun said, finally looking up at him with a smile. “As long as we’re willing to talk, I’m certain we can come to an understanding.”

“Then we’ll talk,” Liu Qingge said. “But first, finish drying off.”

“Ah…” Sanye-jun blushed as he stood quickly, and took up the towel again.

As he contorted his arms to towel off the base of his wings, Liu Qingge approached and took it out of his hands.

“Let me,” he said.

“Ah… nn.” Sanye-jun blushed as he allowed Liu Qingge to gently dry his wings. As Liu Qingge got closer to Sanye-jun’s shoulders, the demon lord suddenly made a strange noise and a shiver ran down his spine.

Liu Qingge paused, startled. Had he hurt him?

“Ah… no, it just somehow feels different when I’m not doing it myself,” Sanye-jun said, back still facing Liu Qingge so he couldn’t see his face, but the pale flush that appeared on his neck, fading onto this shoulders told him enough and Liu Qingge quietly tucked the information in the back of his mind for another time.

“… About Tianlang-jun…” Sanye-jun began, and Liu Qingge’s hands paused for a moment before he continued to carefully dry Sanye-jun’s wings, quietly listening as the demon lord in front of him began to spin a tale about another demon lord and his human lover.

It surprised Liu Qingge. Not the story, about how all of it was fabricated by the Old Palace Master, nor how easily he believed Sanye-jun.

What surprised him was how he also began to feel the pit of unease, stemming from how his relationship with Sanye-jun mirrored that of the Demon Ruler and his lover. If it was Cang Qiong, what would they do?

… But Zhangmen-shixiong wouldn’t do such a thing, surely. Frame a demon in order to… what? What is even the reason behind offending such a powerful demon for a girl?

If it was Cang Qiong, they would just expel him, surely. Expel him, or execute him if he had committed any major crimes while pursuing Sanye-jun. They wouldn’t go after the demon lord for the Peak Lord’s own decisions, nor drag the other sects into their matters, let alone into a war.

The more he thought about it, the more the reasons he had been given for the war, back then on the battlefield, seemed to become foggy. What were the reasons for Tianlang-jun’s invasion? Why had there only been Tianlang-jun and his second in command at the beginning? Why hadn’t they been able to track down the demons that attacked Tian Yi Overlook’s territory?

… Were there even demons in the attack on Tian Yi, or was it … and when he thought back on it, were all the demons truly with Tianlang-jun?

What about the odd movement of the demon army’s ranks, initially ignored as the chaotic nature of the barbaric demons? Or how easily some demons penetrated the frontlines and decimated the inexperienced disciples of Zhao Hua and Cang Qiong in the midline, during which Liu Qingge earned the name the ‘War God of Bai Zhan’ as he stalwartly defended their retreat?

Was it truly just luck that Huan Hua’s locations had been hit the least?

There had always been many things odd about the war, but as a fighter, he wasn’t on the battlefield to think. He hadn’t had time to think, back then.

But now, he was thinking.

“Sanye-jun,” he said, trying to figure out what the best of way of asking his questions would be, only to realize that Sanye-jun had fallen silent, his weight resting on Liu Qingge’s hands.

The Peak Lord paused to look over Sanye-jun’s shoulder.

The demon lord was asleep.

Liu Qingge sighed, bracing Sanye-jun up better as he watched the demon’s sleeping face. Had Sanye-jun been so worried about how he’d react, that he had fallen asleep as soon as he managed to get all of this off his chest? Had he been that scared that he and Liu Qingge would suffer the same fate? That they would suffer the misunderstandings that plagued Tianlang-jun and Su Xiyan?

Had he really been that worried that Liu Qingge might be driven to be at odds with Cang Qiong?

Liu Qingge’s heart clenched.

Has there ever been such a soft-hearted demon?

Lifting Sanye-jun up in his arms, Liu Qingge carefully carried the demon across the wooden walkways and back to the one-room house. It was a bit awkward, but he managed by tucking one arm underneath Sanye-jun’s bottom and draping the sleeping demon lord’s upper body against so Sanye-jun’s head was lying on his shoulder, Liu Qingge’s other arm gently holding his shoulders in place above the wings.

When he opened the back door to the house, there was that snake from earlier, who eyed the two of them warily before it slithered towards them, peering up as if to make sure Sanye-jun was only sleeping, then politely exited the house.

… That was a demon, wasn’t it?

For a split second a sour feeling came over him, but Liu Qingge frowned and shook his head slightly.

Even if that demon and Sanye-jun held some sort of familiar affection with each other, Sanye-jun had just showed how much he cared to continue the relationship he had with Liu Qingge. It was Liu Qingge who was sharing Sanye-jun’s bed.

He laid Sanye-jun down and crawled into said bed next to him, arranging them so that Sanye-jun’s head was still resting on his shoulder, Liu Qingge’s arm embracing Sanye-jun’s waist.

The sleeping demon lord made a small noise and his wings fluttered before extending, tugging Liu Qingge closer once again.

To be honest, Liu Qingge wasn’t sure what he felt about Tianlang-jun, nor Huan Hua Palace.

There were still a lot of questions he needed to be answered before he could truly make up his mind.

But …

As he watched Sanye-jun slumbering peacefully against him, Liu Qingge felt that he wanted to always be able to stay on this demon’s side.

Chapter Text

Blinking sleepily as he slowly came into wakefulness, Shen Yuan found himself tucked into Liu Qingge’s side, the Peak Lord’s large, calloused hand rubbing small circles about his waist.

The last thing he remembered was being out in the small one-room hut that served as his changing room near the hotspring last night.

Last night … a little thrill ran through Shen Yuan.

That’s right, last night, after being thoroughly embarrassed by Zhuzhi-lang’s presence, he had begun to think. About what it meant for him and a Peak Lord to be … be in relations.

He hadn’t been thinking about it much, but for a demon and a cultivator to be in any sort of friendly relationship was already strange enough. But now, after the war, not to mention with a cultivator who had lived through the war… …

It would be unacceptable for a cultivator and a demon to be cavorting together. Both the righteous sects and the Demon Lords wouldn’t stand for it. They wouldn’t let them be.

For Shen Yuan, he was essentially a hermit. It didn’t really matter what happened to him, he’s more than capable of just taking off and going wherever he pleased, but Liu Qingge had family. Disciples. Responsibilities and a high-ranking position in a sect.

If he ever had to choose between Shen Yuan and Cang Qiong, his whatever-this-was with a Demon Lord and his life as a cultivator… …

Who was he kidding? It was obvious that between a this sort of relationship a Demon Lord and his very identity as a cultivator, the Peak Lord wouldn’t throw away his identity.

Shen Yuan hadn’t noticed when he’d begun clutching the robes so tightly that they had wrinkles. His hands were cold.

… If this was all going to end anyway, there’s no point in dragging it on. It would only hurt more the longer this continued.

And yet, Shen Yuan was reluctant. He was reluctant to bring it up. To say they shouldn’t see each other ever again. And he was scared. Scared to see the disgust in Liu Qingge’s eyes, or worse, hatred.

If Liu Qingge drew his sword on him… …

“… Even if I said I want to free Tianlang-jun?” Shen Yuan had heard himself say.

He couldn’t bring himself to say they should go their separate ways, but he also couldn’t bear the uncertainty, the waiting for Liu Qingge to realize that this was all a mistake. This was really… something like self-destruction.

And he, Liu Qingge, had been silent.

Ah, he finally realized it. Well it’s only natural, after only knowing each other for so little time, for being on opposing sides, that this would be it, Shen Yuan had thought. Of course, it’s obvious. He had seen it coming, so this shouldn’t bother him. Liu Qingge lea-

Liu Qingge leaving.

Shen Yuan had gripped the towel tightly, so tight he could have torn it by a slight movement of his wrists, as he waited for Liu Qingge to say it. That he was leaving.

But the Peak Lord hadn’t said it. He didn’t say it.

Liu Qingge stayed.

A little laugh ran through Shen Yuan, and Liu Qingge looked over at him with a confused quirk of an eyebrow.

Liu Qingge had stayed. He was right here, cradled in Shen Yuan’s wings with the morning sun casting a warm glow on his noble features while in Shen Yuan’s bed, by Shen Yuan’s side.

Shen Yuan half rose from his position and pounced onto Liu Qingge, his lips sealing the other man’s in a gentle but firm kiss.

“Nn…!” Taken by surprise, Liu Qingge made a small noise, his lips parting slightly and his head tilting back from the impact, allowing Shen Yuan to deepen the kiss easily.

When Shen Yuan had satisfied himself, he pulled back and lifted an eyebrow.

“Are you expecting something?” he teased, pressing his thigh into Liu Qingge’s erection. … Not that Shen Yuan was doing much better.

Liu Qingge frowned, reaching up to tug lightly on Shen Yuan’s cheek. “You’re asking me this when you’re the one who started it?” he snorted, trying to look disapproving, but not quite able to manage it.

“Oh my,” Shen Yuan said, and he felt Liu Qingge’s cock twitch a little at his mischievous smile. “I suppose I should take responsibility.”

He palmed Liu Qingge’s dick through the fabric, then deftly reached around and pulled it out of the Peak Lord’s pants, scooting backwards to settle in between his legs.

“Ah – hng!” Liu Qingge gasped and moaned as Shen Yuan licked his cock, just like that first time… But this time Liu Qingge wasn’t willing to just lie there and take it.

Shen Yuan made a small noise of surprise as he was suddenly seized around the waist, but curious, he allowed Liu Qingge to manhandle him, flipping him around so that Shen Yuan’s groin was in front of the cultivator’s face, the demon lord’s knees braced on either side of his head.

With Shen Yuan above and Liu Qingge below, this position was…

“Hah-!” Shen Yuan sucked in a sharp breath as Liu Qingge hesitantly licked the tip of his cock. “Nnn...” Shen Yuan moaned encouragingly, slightly wiggling his hips, and Liu Qingge grew bolder, latching onto the demon lord’s thighs with his hands as he took the head of Shen Yuan’s cock in his mouth.

Doing his best to lick and tease him, this War God was just too cute!

Allowing loud, wanton moans to escape his throat, Shen Yuan did his best to show his appreciation vocally … as well as physically.

He opened his mouth wide and sheathed Liu Qingge’s dick in his mouth in one go, ignoring the already practically nonexistent gag reflex he had as a demon in order to let it sink into his throat. He swallowed, hollowing his cheeks as he bobbed his head and using his tongue as best he could. He felt Liu Qingge writhe and buck underneath him, even while the cultivator tried to reciprocate.

Shen Yuan suddenly gave a wicked smile, sinking his fingers into the cheeks of Liu Qingge’s ass, and lifted.

“Nnngh-!” Liu Qingge made a muffled moan, Shen Yuan’s dick popping out of his mouth, but before he could recover and take it back in, Shen Yuan had lifted his hips, practically curling him in half so that his ass was in the air, nearly above his head. The Demon Lord knelt over him, tongue prodding at his entrance.

“What are you -!” Liu Qingge managed to choke out, but Shen Yuan just grinned and groped the round cheeks in his hands as he buried his head between them, licking and nipping at the Peak Lord’s rim.

It seems being practically suspended in the air by his hips was too much for Liu Qingge, as well as being fucked by Shen Yuan’s tongue, and the demon lord watched in fascination as it only took several minutes before Liu Qingge’s toes curled and his thighs shook hard as he moaned, quite loudly, through an orgasm.

Even though it was a shame he missed out on being able to watch the man’s face as he came, just watching the way Liu Qingge could only tremble, unable to do anything but spasm as over half his body was held up in the air, nearly drove Shen Yuan to the edge.

Just as he was thinking he should turn around and jerk off to come all over Liu Qingge’s abs, the heavens and earth swapped and Shen Yuan found himself sprawled on his back, Liu Qingge between his legs.

“What are you up to … … Ah!” Shen Yuan’s tease was cut off as Liu Qingge swallowed his cock.

Shen Yuan was barely able to resist bucking his hips upwards as the cultivator licked and sucked at his cock, unable to get the whole thing in his mouth.

Fucking demon cocks, too big for their own damn good… Shen Yuan gritted his teeth, trying to keep himself under control to avoid choking, or suffocating, Liu Qingge by shoving his dick too far.

But, um, wow. Watching Liu Qingge, still flushed with hazy eyes from his orgasm, doing his best to take in his cock is really … really doing it for Shen Yuan.

He didn’t take long to come with a deep, guttural groan.

Panting, he almost got immediately hard again as he heard Liu Qingge swallow.

Stupid demon stamina! Two times is too much in the morning! No matter how hot Liu Qingge is!

Shen Yuan forcibly emptied his mind to keep from getting hard, lest Liu Qingge take it as a challenge and try to go for another round even if the cultivator wasn’t really ready for it.

As the two panted on the bed, recovering from the sudden and quick toss, Shen Yuan propped himself up on his elbows to look at that sinfully hot man.

“Good morning,” he said, unable to hide a post-orgasmic smirk.

Liu Qingge huffed, and it was almost a laugh as he wiped his mouth. “… Good morning.”

Heart light, Shen Yuan moved about the house in only his inner robe as Liu Qingge freshened up out back, rinsing off the … er … result of their morning activities.

As he hummed while steeping tea, Liu Qingge returned, wrapping his arms gently around Shen Yuan’s waist.

“…” The cultivator was silent as he buried his face in the crook of Shen Yuan’s neck, pressing his front against Shen Yuan’s back.

“What is it?” Shen Yuan asked, gently stroking the back of Liu Qingge’s head.

“I still have questions.” Liu Qingge’s arms tightened slightly.

“I did say I would answer your questions,” Shen Yuan said with a nod.

“… What are you going to do now?” That was the main question Liu Qingge had, and the Peak Lord was very tense. Shen Yuan understood why.

“Well, I managed to convince Tianlang-jun that he shouldn’t just kill off everyone who wronged him in revenge,” Shen Yuan said, then his mouth twisted in a wry smile, “Well, among the sects anyway.”

Shen Yuan’s eyes grew gentle as he looked down at Liu Qingge, who was giving him a small frown of disbelief.

“And he accepted that?” Liu Qingge asked doubtfully.

“He agreed that it would be more interesting to watch Huan Hua getting torn apart by the other sects. Which means I have the unenviable job of figuring out how to reveal their deeds during the war,” Shen Yuan sighed. It all sounded good on paper, but when he really thought about it, it was going to be quite a headache.

Liu Qingge pulled away and gave Shen Yuan a look.

W-what? Shen Yuan thought that Liu Qingge staying meant they had already gotten past the worst of it, but …

“This was the plan you thought I would be troubled with?” Liu Qingge asked, his voice somewhat flat. The cultivator sighed and slumped against Shen Yuan’s back. “I thought you were planning on attacking the sects or something.”

… Huh?

Shen Yuan blinked and tilted his head. What? Geez, Tianlang-jun and Liu Qingge are the same, can’t think of anything but fighting to solve things. He couldn’t help but laugh.

“What kind of revenge is it when all the parties who were wronged aren’t even aware?” Shen Yuan asked, twisting a bit so he could wrap an arm around Liu Qingge’s shoulders. “Anyway, although Tianlang-jun and Su Xiyan were my friends, I am not interested in revenge. Rather, getting justice is more important to me.”

Liu Qingge frowned. “What’s the difference?” he asked.

“The difference… hm.” Shen Yuan poured the tea as he thought of how to explain it. “Revenge is only satisfied once the victim’s desire is satisfied. It is a very dangerous thing that has ended in mutual destruction of both parties many times, with many victims. Justice is the act of ascertaining the extent of the offender’s wrong doings and attempting to gain retribution equal to the wrongs done.”

Liu Qingge furrowed his brows, thinking for a while.

“… You mean that justice is more fair,” he finally said.

“… I suppose you could see it that way.” Even though that’s not necessarily the case… Shen Yuan decided not to push too hard. Liu Qingge and philosophy probably weren’t made to mix.

Anyway, when a demon takes revenge, they raze sects to the ground and kill to the last member of their enemy’s bloodline, so trying to screw over Huan Hua Palace instead of letting Tianlang-jun get his revenge would certainly appear more fair to humans.

---

Liu Qingge meditated in front of the small shed next to the one-room wooden house.

The Drifting Grove was true to its reputation, and there were plenty of strong monsters to fight, as well as lots of spiritual energy to take advantage of. For Liu Qingge, it was a very good place to train and increase his cultivation.

It was the third day after Sanye-jun had told him that he wanted to free Tianlang-jun, and after that, Sanye-jun had been in his workshop shed, making some sort of pill or elixir, only stopping to keep Liu Qingge company when eating and sleeping. And perhaps also stopping for the occasional toss in the bed.

“Aaah, finally done for now!”

Liu Qingge turned as Sanye-jun stretched, standing up from his motionless seat in front of the pill cauldron.

“My goodness, he isn’t even free yet, and that brat is working this old man so hard,” Sanye-jun grumbled.

Liu Qingge still wasn’t sure about Sanye-jun calling Tianlang-jun a brat, but … well, it’s not really something that involves him.

“So it’s true that the Lord of the Drifting Grove is a legendary apothecary rivaling ascended apothecaries,” Liu Qingge said, approaching the entrance of the workshop and resting his hand on the doorway.

“Don’t say such a thing. Getting the attention of ascended immortals is such a pain,” Sanye-jun grumbled, like he’d actually experienced it before. “Rather than any skills, it’s merely thanks to the legendary materials I can get my hands on by being the Lord of the Drifting Grove.”

But most apothecaries couldn’t properly harvest those materials let alone be able to refine them… well, it wasn’t like Liu Qingge knew all the details, so he didn’t bother refuting it.

Come to think of it, he was having a problem with another apothecary – er, healer.

“Is there an elixir that could increase my spiritual energy enough to achieve a breakthrough?” Liu Qingge asked.

“Even though you just achieved a breakthrough at your stage?” Sanye-jun teased, using a flick of his qi to bottle the elixir in the cauldron. “So greedy~.”

Liu Qingge’s lips quirked. “Do you really think I’d rely on something like that?” he asked, watching Sanye-jun approach him lazily.

“Hmm, probably not. So? Why are you asking?” Sanye-jun smiled up at him with that happy look in his eyes that made Liu Qingge’s heart soften.

“… Mu Qingfang … no, quite a few of my martial siblings have been asking about what master apothecary I’ve met to be able to achieve a breakthrough so quickly.”… Well, they were likely trying to figure out who dared to dual cultivate with the Bai Zhan War God, but Mu Qingfang was also quite interested in how Liu Qingge gained so much spiritual energy in such a short amount of time.

“That sort of thing?” Sanye-jun said with a laugh, drawing Liu Qingge’s attention back to him. “If you want, should I show him such an elixir?”

“… Huh?” Liu Qingge blinked, then furrowed his brows. “No, that’s not necessary. If I just had the name of such an elixir...”

Sanye-jun laughed again. “Nonsense. Such a powerful elixir, it would be impossible for him to believe it without seeing it.”

“That’s not something you need to worry about,” Liu Qingge said, but Sanye-jun shook his head.

“No, it’s nothing to me, anyway. Besides, I’ve always wanted to go to Cang Qiong!” the Demon Lord said with a huge grin.

Liu Qingge blinked, then Sanye-jun’s words registered in his head.

“You? Coming to Cang Qiong?” he repeated.

“Yes, I’ve always wanted to take a look at the deep sapphire flame moss in the grottos at Cang Qiong. It’s a shame that we don’t have a good environment for them, it’s a pain to go around the realms to collect it,” Sanye-jun sighed.

Liu Qingge thought of the many grottos of blue moss in the valleys between peaks in Cang Qiong. There’s so much of it in their territory, but he did hear it grew sparsely outside of the Cang Qiong mountains. “Is it because of the anti-demon barrier that you didn’t come to harvest it at Cang Qiong?” he asked.

“Haha! No, that barrier isn’t useful against me,” Sanye-jun laughed, “But in the human realm, it’s impolite to enter someone’s territory to gather materials uninvited, isn’t it?”

Liu Qingge didn’t know whether he should comment on the anti-demon barrier doing nothing against Sanye-jun, or the demon’s rather polite regard for human laws.

“Ah, there are also some people I’d like to meet,” Sanye-jun suddenly said, as if just remembering. “Qingge, what are Yue Qingyuan and Shen Qingqiu like? Are they reasonable people who might listen to a lowly one like me with a ridiculous story like mine?”

“Who are you calling lowly?” Liu Qingge grumbled.

For a Demon Lord to be able to call Tianlang-jun a brat, how could Sanye-jun, Lord of the Drifting Grove be considered lowly?

Chapter Text

“Where is Liu-shidi?” Wei Qingwei asked, looking around the meeting table.

“Returning to Cang Qiong today. He says he’s bringing a guest,” Qi Qingqi said, leaning over with a conspiratorial whisper.

“A guest… …”

Almost all the Peak Lords present exchanged glances.

Shen Qingqiu didn’t roll his eyes, but just barely. Ever since the news that the Bai Zhan Peak Lord had been healed of a condition that could only be cured by either some very delicate qi circulation technique over a long period of time, or else dual cultivation, his martial siblings have been gossiping.

After all, given the Bai Zhan Peak Lord’s impatience, coupled with the difficulty physical cultivators had with complex qi circulation techniques, it was unlikely that he was cured with the first method.

But this obsession of finding out exactly who the Peak Lord dual cultivated with was ridiculous.

Covering his face with his fan, Shen Qingqiu stared blankly into nothing as he waited for the Peak Lord meeting to begin, ignoring the sect leader’s worried looks at him.

For the past fourteen years, Shen Qingqiu had resigned himself to it. To the pointless looks from a man who still refuses to answer him, to the distance between him and his martial siblings, to the endless, dull days with no Yan-jiejie or -.

To these days alone.

Shen Qingqiu sighed quietly, waiting to endure another Peak Meeting before he could return to Qing Jing.

Suddenly, the door to the meeting room opened, and all eyes turned to it as Liu Qingge stepped inside.

He was unaccompanied.

Quiet murmurs rose among the Peak Lords until that irrepressible Qi Qingqi spoke up.

“… I thought you brought a guest?” she asked innocently, although she was also not-so-innocently craning her neck to see whether the Bai Zhan Peak Lord was truly alone.

Liu Qingge furrowed his brows.

“… I did?” he said, tone guarded.

“Well? Where is the person?” Qi Qingqi said, completely shameless.

At that, Liu Qingge scowled. “What, bringing an outsider to a Peak Lord Meeting?”

“What outsider?” Qi Qingqi purred, speaking for more than a few of the other Peak Lords. “Didn’t this person help our shidi out very much recently? Shouldn’t we be allowed to express our gratitude?”

Shen Qingqiu sighed and closed his eyes. The world was ending if the Bai Zhan Brute was the one who was the most sensible regarding a diplomatic matter.

As his martial siblings tried to convince both Zhangmen-shixiong and Liu Qingge to allow Liu Qingge’s ‘guest’ to attend the Peak Lord meeting just so they could get a glimpse of this mysterious person, Shen Qingqiu ignored the commotion, picking up the cooling tea in front of him to take a sip.

A sip that he abruptly spewed all over the table as the last person he expected to see at Cang Qiong, but the one person he wanted to see the most, walked into the room.

Silence fell over the meeting room as the Peak Lords’ curiosity about Liu Qingge’s ‘guest’ was very effectively diverted to the Qing Jing Peak Lord coughing violently after his impression of a fountain.

How did – why is – what?! Shen Qingqiu’s mind raced as he struggled to come up with a way to cover up this entire situation.

“Oh, if it isn’t Jiu-er,” the man said, smiling cheerfully and waving, and Shen Qingqiu wanted to bang his head on the table. Forget it…

“Sa – Shen Yuan-laoshi,” he said stiffly.

Shen Qingqiu felt the eyes of everyone in the room center on the two of them and wanted to curse under his breath.

“… Shen-shidi, do you know this person?” Yue Qingyuan asked with a somewhat strained tone, a sudden, slight frown crossing his face as he carefully looked at the newcomer.

That snapped Shen Qingqiu out of it.

He hated it so much when Zhangmen-shixiong acted like he was still Qi-ge, the protective older brother that Shen Qingqiu needed, even though he was never around for when Shen Qingqiu actually needed him.

Even though Shen Qingqiu was doing his best to put down his past and trying to move on, it always seems like Zhangmen-shixiong refuses to let him do so. Not that the fool even realizes it.

The pity he had for the sect leader after realizing that Qi-ge was just an old fool who couldn’t let go of the past was the only reason Shen Qingqiu wasn’t consumed with hatred for the man. But he also didn’t want much to do with Yue Qingyuan until the man tossed aside his pointless pride and explained himself properly.

Qi-ge lost his right to have any say in what Shen Qingqiu did with his life, and it was annoying Shen Qingqiu greatly that Yue Qingyuan was now scrutinizing the man Shen Qingqiu likely owed his life to.

“Shen-laoshi is my benefactor,” Shen Qingqiu said coolly, regaining his calm and fanning himself lightly. “An apothecary who helped me repair my meridians before I came to Cang Qiong.”

Although, he doesn’t know what that man’s current back story is, but Shen Qingqiu doesn’t really care. It would be better if it didn’t match, so that airheaded old fool could feel even a fraction of the panic he had just given Shen Qingqiu.

… Unfortunately not, it seems. The look on that man’s face didn’t change even a little bit, still smiling carefreely.

Shen Qingqiu didn’t know if he should be happy or upset that Sanye-jun doesn’t seem to have changed at all.

“Shen-laoshi? Are you related to our Shen-shixiong, then?” Qi Qingqi asked, her eyes gleaming with a greed for gossip.

“Oh, no,” Sanye-jun, or rather Sanye-jun pretending to be an apothecary named Shen Yuan, said. “It’s a mere coincidence, although quite an interesting one.”

Shen Qingqiu glanced at Liu Qingge. His shidi had furrowed brows, and was looking at Shen Qingqiu with some doubt.

So the he didn’t know about the relationship between Sanye-jun and Shen Qingqiu.

Shen Qingqiu couldn’t deny that it was reassuring to know that someone else was also being subjected to Sanye-jun’s capricious nature, even if it was the Bai Zhan Brute.

“When did you … leave seclusion?” Shen Qingqiu said, voice slightly strained.

“Not too long ago,” Sanye-jun said with a bit of a wry smile. “Three years ago. Or maybe five?”

… Yes, Sanye-jun hasn’t changed a single bit. Still terrible with figuring out the passing of time as always. But it doesn’t matter if it was three or five years ago; it was proof that Sanye-jun had completely missed out on the war.

After the sham of a Peak Lord meeting, where Shen Qingqiu’s martial siblings spent more time questioning Sanye-jun than they did anything actually useful, Shen Qingqiu seized Sanye-jun by the sleeve and dragged him off to Qing Jing Peak.

No one dared stop him.

“Sa – Yuan-laoshi, what are you doing here?” he said tensely, then turned and glared. “And why are you following us, Liu-shidi?”

“Shen Yuan is my guest,” Liu Qingge said, his face rather stormy as he followed along behind.

“Even if that’s true, can’t you let two acquaintances speak in private?” Shen Qingqiu snapped. There’s no way he can talk to Sanye-jun with this Bai Zhan Brute following along. It’s unlikely he knows about Sanye-jun. The War God only responds to demons in one way, and the fact that Liu Qingge willingly brought Sanye-jun to Cang Qiong…

“Sorry, Qingge, could you give us a moment?” Sanye-jun said, smiling tenderly at Liu Qingge and took his hand, patting it reassuringly. “I do need to talk to Jiu-er just a little bit.”

Shen Qingqiu froze.

Liu Qingge opened his mouth and hesitated before he finally said, “… I wasn’t aware you knew Shen Qingqiu,” a small frown on his face.

Sanye-jun tilted his head. “Didn’t I tell… …” His eyebrows furrowed as he thought back on it, then he opened his eyes wide. “I didn’t tell you?”

Liu Qingge’s eyebrows twitched, but he didn’t say anything, just lightly squeezed Sanye-jun’s hand back.

“I’m sorry,” Sanye-jun apologized. “I didn’t realize I hadn’t told you -”

“You call him Qingge?!” Shen Qingqiu interrupted, barely able to keep his voice from cracking.

“Yes?” Sanye-jun said, and Shen Qingqiu closed his eyes, taking a deep breath and willing himself to be calm.

“… May I ask what kind of relationship you have with Liu Qingge?” he finally asked after opening his eyes.

Sanye-jun and Liu Qingge looked at each other before Sanye-jun tilted his head.

“Weren’t you aware of the rumors? That I helped heal Qingge’s meridians?” he asked, and Shen Qingqiu blanked out for a moment.

You’re actually … … partners?!” he whisper-shrieked, not caring for his image at all, causing Liu Qingge to blink at him in mild surprise.

“That would be the conclusion to come to,” Sanye-jun laughed. “Right?”

“How is this … you… he’s younger than me-!” Shen Qingqiu yelped. “I thought you, I don’t know, made some sort of elixir or pill or something for him!”

Sanye-jun tsked, like Shen Qingqiu was the one being ridiculous in this instance.

“Medicine can’t solve everything, Jiu-er,” Sanye-jun said, shaking his head.

“That isn’t what you should be commenting on-!” Shen Qingqiu nearly bit his tongue as he remembered his shidi was still standing right there.

His shidi. Who was apparently cultivation partners with Sanye-jun laoshi-!?

Sanye-jun had been … untouched as long as he knew, but Shen Qingqiu always assumed he’d find another powerful and wise person as a partner, but … Liu Qingge?! The Bai Zhan Brute?! Someone in the same generation as him?!

… No, forget it. That’s not what’s important right now.

“… At any rate, you came because you had something to tell me, correct? Then come in.”

Shen Qingqiu entered the bamboo house, unaware of the exchange of looks between Liu Qingge and Sanye-jun at his sudden change in demeanor.

Sanye-jun patted Liu Qingge’s face gently before he followed the Qing Jing Peak Lord inside, leaving the Bai Zhan Peak Lord grumpily waiting outside.

Entering the bamboo house, Sanye-jun gave a low whistle. “So this is your residence? Mm, a wooden house is the most calming,” he said, then turned to look at Shen Qingqiu.

“It’s good to see you again, Jiu-er,” the Demon Lord said, smiling his usual way in his human disguise like he always used to do, and Shen Qingqiu’s flustered mind calmed down in an instant. He gripped his folding fan tightly, and swallowed the lump in his throat as he blinked back tears.

“It’s good to see you, Sanye-jun,” Shen Qingqiu managed to say. He brought out his fan, looking for something to distract him from crying. “What brought you to Cang Qiong?”

He thought it wasn’t necessary to ask how Sanye-jun got into Cang Qiong. The anti-demon barrier and the demon detecting array were unlikely to pose much of trouble to the old Demon Lord, given how he had ways to transform his demonic energy into qi.

“Hm, well, I heard there was one Luo Binghe here...”

Shen Qingqiu sighed quietly. Of course he knew. Of course Sanye-jun would know. Although Sanye-jun wouldn’t have known about the war while he had still been in … er… ‘seclusion’, it would be impossible for him not to find out once he left the forest.

It shouldn’t surprise him that Sanye-jun somehow found out about Yan-jiejie’s… about Luo Binghe.

“… But most importantly, how are you doing? Jiu-er?”

Shen Qingqiu looked up. The tears he’d managed to subdue threatened to well up again.

… Of course Sanye-jun knew.

“I’m fine,” Shen Qingqiu said roughly, but Sanye-jun just watched him quietly. “Why are you asking if I’m alright?” Shen Qingqiu said, a bit of aggression in his voice. “I’m not the one who was killed, or dismembered and imprisoned, or… or pierced with hundreds of swords until he could barely escape.”

“Hm. But you are the one in front of me that I’m asking,” Sanye-jun said.

“And I’m saying that I’m alright.”

Sanye-jun sighed lightly as he sat at the table. Shen Qingqiu knew he wasn’t convinced, but there was nothing the Qing Jing Peak Lord could do but stick to his answer firmly.

“… You’ve really grown up, Jiu-er,” Sanye-jun said, changing the subject as he propped his head on his hand. “You’ve done well.”

“… Have I?” Shen Qingqiu asked. It’s true he rose from a slave child to the Qing Jing Peak Lord of Cang Qiong, but it had felt so empty. It was still so empty.

“I’ve heard that you do your duties diligently and tend to your disciples. You’ve made a name for yourself by being just and fair. Isn’t that doing well?”

Shen Qingqiu chuckled. “Of course that would be your definition of ‘doing well,’” he said. “The Lord of the Drifting Grove has no interest in the titles and positions given to cultivators.”

Sanye-jun laughed again. “What’s the use of titles or positions, or even power, if you do not temper your disposition? All those who coveted power and acclaim have ended up dead from grudges.”

“… Even good people can end up dying young,” Shen Qingqiu said bitterly. “You’re the only person who can survive by being kind, Sanye-jun. In everyone else’s reality, only cowards live long.”

He flinched as Sanye-jun’s silver eyes seemed to bore into his soul.

“… Jiu-er, are you blaming yourself for being unable to do anything to help Tianlang-jun and Su Xiyan?” Sanye-jun finally asked, bluntly.

“No. It wasn’t that I wasn’t able to do anything. I didn’t do anything,” Shen Qingqiu shouted, slamming his fist on the table. “I didn’t even try to stop the sects, to find out what happened, to save Yan-jiejie – I didn’t … do anything.”

Sanye-jun quietly watched as Shen Qingqiu’s clenched hand trembled on the table before he sighed, leaning forward and putting his hand on Shen Qingqiu’s head.

“Jiu-er, you still have such a persecution complex. What could a simple disciple do in the face of a war between realms? Do you really believe that you are at fault? For Su Xiyan’s death or Tianlang-jun’s imprisonment? If you said anything, it’s possible that you would have been executed for siding with demons. The political climate was far too chaotic for people to be thinking logically,” Sanye-jun sighed.

“It doesn’t matter if I’m at fault,” Shen Qingqiu said, burying his face in his other hand. “I didn’t do anything. I betrayed everyone. Just like … …” Shen Qingqiu quickly stopped that line of thought before he took a breath and said, “I won’t make the mistake of assuming I can face them now. If I was going to regret it so much, I should have done something and got myself executed-”

Sanye-jun rapped him lightly on the head.

“And who would be pleased with that?” the Demon Lord reprimanded him. “Do you think they would be happy if you died? Do you think they’ll be happy to find out that you’ve been punishing yourself this entire time?”

“What else should I do?!” Shen Qingqiu snapped. “I am not so shameless that I could appear before them and act as if I’ve done nothing wrong!”

“Who said you should do that?” Sanye-jun sighed. Even now, Shen Qingqiu was being overwhelmed by his feelings with that Qi-ge. At least he didn’t turn into a bitter scum villain like in PIDW, but it was still pitiful to see him like this. “Jiu-er, whether they want you to appear before them or whether they want you to stay away, don’t you think they should be allowed to make the decision? Forcing yourself on them when you’re unwanted is of course improper, but staying away when they want you nearby can be just as cruel.”

Shen Qingqiu’s face twisted in frustration, and Sanye-jun rapped him on the head again, a little harder.

“Don’t presume you know how other people will feel without asking them, Jiu-er,” Sanye-jun said with a sigh before he stroked the trembling Qing Jing Peak Lord on the head.

“… You came to see Yan-jiejie’s son, didn’t you? He’s out at the pavilion, with the other disciples,” Shen Qingqiu said, his voice thick with emotion, and Sanye-jun understood he was on the verge of crying.

“I understand,” he said, standing to leave and give the man some privacy. “Perhaps I’ll come back a tomorrow?”

At Shen Qingqiu’s nod, Sanye-jun opened the door, and the Bai Zhan Brute looked up, quickly coming over like an overeager guarddog, but before Sanye-jun stepped over the threshold, the Demon Lord paused, eyebrows furrowed.

“Why is my sleeve so wet … ah, I’d forgotten.”

Sanye-jun reached into his sleeve and pulled out a snake. A jade green snake. That looked somewhat familiar.

Shen Qingqiu froze once again, and his unshed tears also felt like they had frozen in his eyes.

“This little fool, crying so much…” Sanye-jun ignored Shen Qingqiu’s turmoil, pinching the snake behind the head and forcing it to open its jaws with a startled hiss, taking a pill out of his qiankun pouch with his other hand and forcing it down the snake’s throat.

“This only lasts for a shichen, so make the most of the time,” Sanye-jun said as he tossed the snake towards Shen Qingqiu.

In midair, the snake grew larger, gaining limbs until what landed on top of Shen Qingqiu was a black-haired young man with refined features, clad in jade green and black robes.

“Well then,” with a slight wave, Sanye-jun exited the bamboo house and shut the door, completely ignoring the chaotic mental states he’d left the house’s two remaining occupants in.

Chapter Text

The tears were still in Zhuzhi-lang’s eyes as he looked down at the stunned, petrified Jiu-er underneath him.

After Sanye-jun had tossed him over, he and Shen Jiu had fallen, the cultivator too shocked to put up any resistance as they crashed to the ground.

Jiu-er…

As Zhuzhi-lang stared down at him, he smelled a scent he’d never smelled on Shen Jiu before.

Fear. Panic. An impulse that meant Jiu-er wanted to run.

Ever since he’d met Shen Jiu, the hot-tempered boy that hung onto Su-furen and irritated Junshang, Zhuzhi-lang had never smelt this sort of fear on Shen Jiu. Even when the boy’s life was at risk, facing monsters or getting into perilous situations, what burned harsher than fear was anger. Determination. An overpowering will to live no matter what.

Even when Zhuzhi-lang was injured, unable to return to his human form, stuck in his hideous form that was abhorred by all, Shen Jiu had only approached apprehensively until he could ascertain that it was truly Zhuzhi-lang.

“You look terrifying like this,” Shen Jiu had said with a huff. “Hideous, even. No wonder Tianlang-jun said so many people would just run at the sight of you. Even though you’re actually pretty gentle.”

The boy had reached out, not scared at the slightest despite his harsh words, scolding Zhuzhi-lang for his recklessness while binding his wounds. Even with Zhuzhi-lang in his unsightly half-human, half-snake form, his face the absolute worst combination of human and snake features possible, Shen Jiu didn’t hesitate.

Gentle. Even though Shen Jiu knew who he was, and knew what he could do, he said Zhuzhi-lang was gentle.

As a demon, a demon general under Junshang especially, being gentle wasn’t something to be proud of. But when the boy didn’t shy away from him in horror, even resting his back on his scales, Zhuzhi-lang wanted to be gentle for Shen Jiu.

He didn’t mind it whenever Junshang told him to watch over Su-furen, shadowing her steps during especially dangerous missions, as that fiery boy often showed up, capable of spotting him at least once during and glaring provocatively at him.

Zhuzhi-lang had always liked those piercing eyes, how aggressive they could be and how … alluring they could be.

But right now, those eyes, slightly red-rimmed from tears, refused to meet his, and Jiu-er wanted to run. Away from Zhuzhi-lang.

Zhuzhi-lang’s heart hurt. Was this how Junshang felt when he heard Su-furen didn’t actually betray him?

When they had first been attacked, ambushed after being called out by that note, Zhuzhi-lang couldn’t help but think Shen Jiu had been in on it too. He’d been so angry, he hadn’t wanted to see Shen Jiu ever again.

But all this time, Jiu-er was actually …

Zhuzhi-lang began crying again, the tears dripping onto Shen Jiu’s face, causing the cultivator to finally, finally look up at him, hesitant as he was.

Zhuzhi-lang cradled Shen Jiu’s cheek and kissed his forehead, feeling Shen Jiu jolt under him.

“Jiu-er,” he whispered. “Jiu-er, this one has missed you.”

He felt Shen Jiu tense even more. “… Why?” Jiu-er asked. “I… I let you… you were…” Shen Jiu’s hands were trembling, held up as if he wasn’t sure if he wanted to push Zhuzhi-lang away or not. Not that Zhuzhi-lang would let him. “Don’t you … hate me?” Jiu-er’s voice was so weak.

Zhuzhi-lang shifted uncomfortably. He might be a snake, but he wasn’t very good with lying. The last fourteen years of hatred weren’t something he could just write off.

“… Only because this one was a fool,” he admitted. “But now, this one hates that he hated Jiu-er.”

“You should hate me!” Shen Jiu shouted. “I just stood there, watching, as they ran you through! Over and over...” Shen Jiu sobbed, his hands covering his face.

Zhuzhi-lang watched him quietly for a moment before pulling one of Shen Jiu’s hands away, kissing his tears away as he cradled the cultivator’s face.

“This one is alright. This one is capable of surviving something like that,” he murmured reassuringly.

“That’s not the point! I...” Shen Jiu’s face contorted into a more familiar annoyance, although it still held some despair in it. “I… betrayed you.”

“Jiu-er didn’t betray us. Jiu-er survived. Jiu-er stayed alive for me,” Zhuzhi-lang murmured, nuzzling into Shen Jiu’s neck, feeling the tremor run through the cultivator’s body. It wasn’t entirely due to fear or frustration.

“That’s not how that works,” Shen Jiu snapped, but he shivered again as Zhuzhi-lang began to kiss along his neck.

“It is. Because Jiu-er is alive, he’s keeping Junshang’s son secret, keeping him safe.”

“I-it’s because he’s Yan-jiejie’s son! Who cares about that playboy bastard- Zhuzhi-lang-!” Shen Jiu gritted his teeth to keep from moaning as the demon’s chaste kisses began to include tongue and a few nips from teeth.

“Jiu-er believed in us. He admitted to Sanye-jun that he should have done something to help us. He knew we weren’t taking advantage of Su-furen, he knew we weren’t at fault.”

“… Tsk!” Shen Jiu scowled and turned his face away as Zhuzhi-lang pulled back to give him a tender look.

“Why should this one blame him?” the demon asked, watching Shen Jiu’s resolve begin to fray. “Hasn’t Jiu-er been blaming himself enough?” He bent down to nuzzle Shen Jiu’s neck again, his hands sliding underneath the openings of Shen Jiu’s robes. “Of course, if Jiu-er thinks he deserves to be punished…”

Shen Jiu, his lovely, hot-tempered Shen Jiu, whipped his head around and glared at him with those beautiful, piercing green eyes as he grabbed Zhuzhi-lang’s wandering hands.

“I thought I told you that playboy bastard was a bad influence on you,” Jiu-er sneered and lunged upwards, pressing his lips against Zhuzhi-lang’s, preventing him from answering.

It had been fourteen years. Fourteen long, long years. He hadn’t tasted Jiu-er in so long.

A hiss escaped Zhuzhi-lang’s throat as he felt Shen Jiu’s legs part slightly, allowing him to fit their bodies more tightly together even as he tugged Shen Jiu’s clothing loose.

Moments later, Shen Jiu’s Peak Lord robes had been tugged completely open, his pants thrown aside, and Zhuzhi-lang paused, admiring the beauty underneath him. Jiu-er had certainly grown older in the past fourteen years, but he had already been an adult before the war, so as a cultivator, what aged was his aura.

Gone were the last remaining vestiges of the impetuousness of youth, and in their place was the untouchable elegance of an immortal. His Jiu-er, lying amidst his undone robes and with his hair splayed out underneath him, was absolutely captivating.

“That… oil...” Shen Jiu panted, parting their kiss to gasp for air. “I … can’t… you have to prepare me.”

Zhuzhi-lang paused, Shen Jiu’s gasps triggering a thought that ran through his head. “Jiu-er. Have you … not taken another partner in all these years?”

“Just because I mentioned – it’s not like I wouldn’t have to be prepared even if ...” Shen Jiu’s indignant snarl drifted off as Zhuzhi-lang stared at him seriously. This foolish snake … isn’t that playboy bastard, so he probably just honestly thought of it without any other meaning.The cultivator huffed, giving up.

“… You were capable of surviving something like that, after all,” he finally said, not quite looking Zhuzhi-lang in the eye.

Zhuzhi-lang’s heart jumped, and he leaned down to kiss his Jiu-er deeply, sensuously, hissing in pleasure as Shen Jiu’s arms and legs came up to wrap themselves around him.

Jiu-er really was tight, but all it took was some careful preparation, and soon Zhuzhi-lang had those beautiful white legs thrown over his shoulders as he ground deeply into Jiu-er, ravaging the immortal beauty as his Jiu-er’s sweet voice gasped and moaned, clinging tightly to him just like he used to.

And when Jiu-er came with a shriek, tears pooling in his eyes as his fingers dug into the demon’s back, Zhuzhi-lang couldn’t help but kiss him again and again.

It had been so long since he’d had his Jiu-er in his arms.

---

“… That ...” As Liu Qingge and Sanye-jun left the Qing Jing Peak Lord’s residence, Liu Qingge couldn’t help but look behind them with a confused frown.

He’d known the snake was a demon, but …

“Mm, well, those two have some things they need to work through,” Sanye-jun said with a somewhat melancholy smile.

“… Their relationship?” Liu Qingge asked.

“Can’t you guess it?” Sanye-jun said with a chuckle.

Then… that snake demon and Shen Qingqiu were really …? For how long?

Lost in his confusion, Liu Qingge didn’t realize they’d already reached Qing Jing’s pavilion, almost running into Sanye-jun, who had stopped just shy of the entrance.

“Hm… I see. No wonder,” Sanye-jun muttered, attracting Liu Qingge’s attention.

He furrowed his brows, looking at the pavilion, but he didn’t see anything but Qing Jing disciples practicing their recitations.

“Shall we return to Bai Zhan?” Sanye-jun asked, smiling back up at him, and Liu Qingge just quietly took Sanye-jun by the waist, stepping onto Cheng Luan and flying off, back to his peak.

When they stepped off Cheng Luan, however, Liu Qingge didn’t remove his arm from Sanye-jun’s waist.

“…?” Sanye-jun tilted his head in confusion, that gentle smile that he gave everyone on his face as usual. It made Liu Qingge…

“…! Qingge-!” Sanye-jun gasped as Liu Qingge suddenly tightened his grasp, pulling Sanye-jun possessively against him.

The Demon Lord, disguised as a human, peered up at Liu Qingge’s face.

“Such a fierce look,” the Demon Lord chuckled, raising a finger to press on the deep furrows between Liu Qingge’s eyebrows. “What is it? Have I done something to displease you?”

Liu Qingge stared at Sanye-jun. To be honest, he knew why he was upset. But when he thought about it, it didn’t feel like he had any right to be upset.

Although he and Sanye-jun had been sharing a bed together, they had never discussed being partners, let alone being mutually exclusive partners.

Thinking about it put a scowl on his face, but he couldn’t bring himself to say anything, only holding onto Sanye-jun even tighter.

“… Qingge?” Sanye-jun asked, patting the Peak Lord on the back.

“… … Sanye-jun,” Liu Qingge whispered hoarsely. “Can I take you?”

Sanye-jun blinked a bit in surprise, but smiled, drawing back a little so he could look Liu Qingge in the face.

“Of course,” he said, pressing a gentle kiss to the Peak Lord’s forehead, and laughed. “It will probably be much easier, as well, now that I don’t have wings to worry about -”

“No,” Liu Qingge said, interrupting him. “I want to take you in the form you feel most comfortable with.” As Sanye-jun seemed to pull back in shock, he realized he might have asked too much. “… But of course, you can’t, since we’re at Cang Qiong…”

Sanye-jun placed both hands on his cheeks and kissed him. “It’s fine. If that’s what Qingge wants,” he said softly, “It’s not impossible.”

The smell of the warding powder hung heavily about the Bai Zhan Peak Lord’s residence, while inside, Liu Qingge’s large hands divested a Demon Lord of his robes.

As the silk pooled around Sanye-jun’s ankles, the Demon Lord’s back arched temptingly as his wings burst back into being, his antlers and tail soon joining them.

Beautiful. He was so beautiful.

Liu Qingge placed a hand behind Sanye-jun’s head, kissing him deeply, hungrily, like he couldn’t get enough of the demon.

As they clung and pulled at each other, they fell on the bed, Liu Qingge’s hands exploring every inch of the demon’s body.

Being inside Sanye-jun almost took Liu Qingge’s breath away. The feeling of Sanye-jun’s insides, tight and warm around him, was obvious, but the view of Sanye-jun’s graceful back, the demon on all fours on his bed, wings fluttering lightly from the sensation as he moaned, with Liu Qingge’s hands firmly placed around that thin waist, above those hips and perfectly formed ass, the stripes that littered the demon’s back as he threw his head back in the throes of pleasure, was overwhelming.

“Qingge… ah! Please-!” Sanye-jun moaned, pleaded, and Liu Qingge increased his pace, pounding relentlessly into that beautiful, lithe body, making the Demon Lord moan and gasp, little “Ah-! Aah-!”s escaping his mouth.

With a soft groan, Liu Qingge suddenly embraced Sanye-jun closely, pressing tightly against the demon’s back and burying his face into those soft wings, lips tracing the feathers on the part of the wings closest to the base attaching them to Sanye-jun’s back.

“Hiyaaa-! Ah-! Aaaah-!” Sanye-jun went wide-eyed and gave a squeal as Liu Qingge continued to ravage his wings, the sounds he made going straight to Liu Qingge’s cock, causing the Peak Lord to redouble his efforts with a loud groan as the Demon Lord clenched from the sensation.

Liu Qingge beganfucking Sanye-jun so hard that his arms trembled, buckling under the onslaught, the Demon Lord’s face buried in the bedsheets.

“Qingge, Qingge,” Sanye-jun panted, a shaky hand clasping onto Liu Qingge’s arm. “I want to … I want to see your face...”

“Mnnm” Liu Qingge moaned, nipping along one of the stripes on Sanye-jun’s back, before leaning back onto his heels, lifting Sanye-jun smoothly off his cock and flipping him around.

Sanye-jun wrapped his arms around Liu Qingge as he sank roughly onto the Peak Lord’s cock, bouncing in his lap, rolling his hips as he rode Liu Qingge’s cock.

…! The sight of Sanye-jun wildly chasing after his pleasure in his lap nearly drove Liu Qingge mad, and he kissed and sucked at every expanse of skin he could reach, marking Sanye-jun’s chest thoroughly, causing the Demon Lord to throw his head back as he keened, clenching so, so tightly around him…

Although he wanted to last a little while longer, Liu Qingge couldn’t stand it anymore. When he came, Sanye-jun seemed to shudder at the feeling of Liu Qingge’s cum filling him, sending the Demon Lord over the edge as well, painting both of their stomachs with white.

The stripes faded from Sanye-jun’s skin as the two of them panted, clinging to each other as they calmed down.

Smiling down at him, Sanye-jun leaned in and kissed Liu Qingge with a firm but chaste kiss, smile pressed against Liu Qingge’s lips as he gave a small hum of contentment.

“Qingge seemed especially agitated today,” he said. “Although I quite enjoyed it, does Qingge want to talk about it?”

Liu Qingge flushed. He felt rather embarrassed for letting his emotions get the better of him. Actually, he only wanted to bring the feelings of wanting to enjoy and have Sanye-jun enjoy each other when having intimate relations, but today … …

“… Is it because I didn’t tell you about knowing Shen Qingqiu?” Sanye-jun asked softly, and Liu Qingge shook his head.

That wasn’t it. At least, that wasn’t all it was.

“Then what is it? I’d almost think you were jealous…” Sanye-jun trailed off as he felt Liu Qingge suddenly tense.

“… … I’m sorry,” Liu Qingge muttered, burying his face in the crook of Sanye-jun’s neck.

“Sorry? What are you sorry for?” the Demon Lord asked, clearly puzzled.

“It doesn’t matter if you had past relationships, or even if you have someone else. I don’t have the right to be jealous,” Liu Qingge said darkly, even though it caused a fire of irritation to flare up. “We’ve never… we’ve never agreed to … anything.”

“Hm… so we haven’t,” Sanye-jun hummed, then stroked Liu Qingge’s hair. “But I would also be quite jealous if you had someone else.”

Liu Qingge tightened his arms around Sanye-jun. “I have no intention of sharing a bed with anyone else,” he said, practically growling.

“What a coincidence. I also intend on only sharing my bed with you.” Sanye-jun pulled back to smile broadly at Liu Qingge. “Can this be considered as agreeing to something?” he asked cheekily, and Liu Qingge stared at him, eyes wide, before pulling the smirking Demon Lord into a passionate, deep kiss.

“Yes,” the Peak Lord murmured against Sanye-jun’s lips, kissing him again and again, his arms embracing Sanye-jun tightly.

A few moments later, the two finally pulled apart, cleaning up from their activities before entering the bathtub, Sanye-jun rehiding his more demonic traits. Even with the warding powder, it would be prudent to be careful while being a guest at Cang Qiong.

“I really am sorry for not telling you about knowing Shen Qingqiu,” Sanye-jun said. “I meant to. Jiu-er is a child I rescued from a rogue cultivator, and we have a teacher-student relationship, nothing more, nothing less. However, I introduced him to Su Xiyan in order to help him enter a righteous sect, and he became something like her sworn brother. I imagined he would be overwhelmed with emotions when we spoke...”

“… Which is why you asked me to remain outside,” Liu Qingge said.

“Yes,” Sanye-jun admitted. “This trip to Cang Qiong was to give Qian Cao an elixir that would explain your breakthrough, to see Yue Qingyuan for myself, to see how Shen Qingqiu is doing, and to see the son of Tianlang-jun and Su Xiyan.”

Liu Qingge froze. “Son…?”

“Did you not think it strange for Shen Qingqiu to fight with you over a disciple, despite the child being far more suited towards physical cultivation?” Sanye-jun said, and Liu Qingge’s eyes widened.

“That boy? How did Shen Qingqiu know?” the Bai Zhan Peak Lord asked, brows furrowed. There was no demonic energy on the boy whatsoever.

“With the hair and jawline of Tianlang-jun, and the face of Su Xiyan, a child like that, how couldn’t he have known?” Sanye-jun sighed. “That boy is the spitting image of Su-xiaojie.”

Then Sanye-jun sighed again, turning to nuzzle into Liu Qingge’s shoulder, still maintaining the distance he normally needed for his antlers despite not having them currently, to the Peak Lord’s amusement. “… I’m sorry. I should probably have told you all this as well. I just wasn’t sure what I’d find on Cang Qiong, whether Jiu-er would still see this one as a teacher, or what the boy would be like. I’m sure that made you anxious as well.”

Liu Qingge hesitated a moment before admitting, “Also, that snake demon.”

Sanye-jun looked up at him in surprise. “What about him?” he asked.

“He’s clearly protective of you,” Liu Qingge glowered, “and you allowed him to enter your clothes.”

Sanye-jun blinked at him, staring until Liu Qingge felt a little ashamed, before he finally laughed. “Ahaha-! Me and Zhuzhi-lang? Hahaha-! Ah, that child is just like that, protective of his superiors, but trust me, there is only one person he’s set his heart on!”

“… Shen Qingqiu?” Liu Qingge asked, his ears flushing a bit.

“Ah… yes,” Sanye-jun said. “Well, he hasn’t come slinking back yet, so I suppose we can say they’re working things out.”

Liu Qingge sighed, turning his head to nuzzle into Sanye-jun’s hair. “They just know so much of you that I don’t,” he finally said, admitting the jealous feelings that were in the pit of his stomach.

“… Everyone has a lot they don’t know about me,” Sanye-jun said, but his face was pinched, not trying to be mysterious. “I’ve lived too long, it’s just impossible. Still…”

Sanye-jun fell silent, and Liu Qingge turned to look down at him.

The Demon Lord’s face was thoughtful, but also a little troubled.

Finally, Sanye-jun shook himself out of his stupor. “I’ve told you to call me Shen Yuan when in the human realm,” he began slowly, “And it’s true that many people have called me by that name in this life. But the fact that name is the first name I’ve ever had, a name that is very precious to me,” Sanye-jun turned to look Liu Qingge in the eye, “That is something that no one else in this world has ever known.”

Liu Qingge’s breath caught in his throat as he realized what Sanye-jun, no, Shen Yuan, was implying.

“Shen… Yuan,” he said, testing the name on his tongue. It felt different, so very different from when he’d been calling the Demon Lord by this name earlier in the day.

“Yes,” Shen Yuan said, a small smile on his face.

“Shen Yuan.”

“Yes.”

“… A-Yuan,” Liu Qingge tested, and he was surprised when Shen Yuan suddenly flinched with a sharp intake of air. Was he overstepping …?

Shen Yuan shuddered as he buried his face in Liu Qingge’s shoulder.

“… … It has been a very, very long time since someone has called me that way,” Shen Yuan whispered, his voice thick with emotion.

Liu Qingge’s arm around Shen Yuan’s shoulders tightened.

“That will change,” he murmured, kissing the top of Shen Yuan’s head. “My A-Yuan.”

Liu Qingge delighted in the shiver that went down Shen Yuan’s spine as he called his name.

His heart felt so full.

Chapter Text

Liu Qingge woke up the next morning with a warm body pressed up next to him.

He really enjoyed being able to tuck A-Yuan under his chin like this and being able to wrap him up in his arms, but he also missed waking up to being enveloped with white wings and having small antlers to stroke, A-Yuan’s tail winding about his legs.

As he ran his hand up and down the small of A-Yuan’s back, he felt the Demon Lord shift a little before opening his eyes and blinking sleepily up at him.

A slow, sleepy smile that made Liu Qingge’s heart thump spread across A-Yuan’s face.

“Good morning,” A-Yuan said, voice deep from sleep as he snuggled closer into Liu Qingge’s side, hand beginning to… beginning to wander.

A-Yuan’s eyes glinted mischievously as he rolled his hips, sliding his cock against Liu Qingge’s as it slowly hardened, a hand caressing down Liu Qingge’s side, sliding down Liu Qingge’s hip until that beautiful, slender hand with those slim fingers clasped around both of their cocks.

Liu Qingge bit back a moan as A-Yuan began to move his hand, stroking their cocks and twisting around both of their heads, pressing their cocks flush against each other.

Giving A-Yuan a bit of a scowl, although it lacked quite a bit in intensity, Liu Qingge said, “… How did you survive before if you’re like this every morning?” If the Demon Lord was always this voracious, surely he suffered from not having a partner.

“Mm, well, I never had a willing beauty in bed with me before,” A-Yuan said with a cheeky smile, rubbing his thumb over Liu Qingge’s slit. A full body shudder tore through Liu Qingge, and heat flared up in the pit of his stomach.

With a little growl, he gave a twist and deftly flipped A-Yuan onto his back, settling in over him and straddling the demon’s hips.

One hand drifted over A-Yuan’s chest, brushing over a nipple, as the other reached behind.

A-Yuan’s eyes were opened wide, drinking in the sight as Liu Qingge worked himself open above him.

Then, a slick hand oiled up A-Yuan’s cock before Liu Qingge sank down with a quiet moan, relishing how A-Yuan’s dick twitched in him.

“Gods, Qingge, you’re so…” A-Yuan moaned, and Liu Qingge swallowed hard as he saw the desperate lust displayed in those silver eyes.

He grasped A-Yuan’s hands as they scrambled to clutch the Peak Lord’s waist, pinning them next to A-Yuan’s head as he shifted his weight to press the demon beneath him more firmly into his bed.

“A-Yuan,” he murmured, kissing his A-Yuan’s neck gently as he ground downwards, rolling his hips, softly at first, then more and more firmly until both he and A-Yuan were about to lose their minds from it being not quite enough.

“Ohmygod, Qingge, Qingge-” As he gasped breathlessly, A-Yuan shifted, his arms lifting slightly as he tried to sit up, wanting to grasp those seductive hips, wanting to move into a better position to lick and nip and thrust.

With a muffled grunt of dissatisfaction, Liu Qingge threw his weight into his arms, knocking A-Yuan back down, and a thrill ran up his spine as his A-Yuan’s body went soft, pliant, allowing him to do as he pleased even as the demon writhed in impatience under him.

Alternating between grinding, rolling his hips, and slamming back down, driving that cock against his prostate, Liu Qingge leaned down and sealed his mouth over A-Yuan’s, greedily devouring the loud moans and gasps A-Yuan was making.

As A-Yuan mewled and whimpered, bucking slightly and rolling his hips under the onslaught, Liu Qingge gritted his teeth, willing the pressure in his stomach to subside for just a little longer as he rode the demon fiercely, keeping the demon pinned to the bed under his weight until he felt all the muscles in A-Yuan’s body tense, that large cock pulsing before wet warmth exploded inside of him, A-Yuan climaxing with a loud cry, unable to keep from grinding his hips upwards, fucking as deep as he could into Liu Qingge as he came.

Liu Qingge gave a loud groan, falling forward as he finally let himself loose, coming violently from the after effects of self-repressing his own orgasm this entire time, robbing his entire body of its strength.

Panting, it took him a moment before he regained himself enough to lift himself up, gazing softly at A-Yuan, who was staring at him, somewhat dazed and basking in the afterglow, covered in Liu Qingge’s cum.

“… Gods, you’re so gorgeous,” A-Yuan muttered, lifting a hand to caress Liu Qingge’s face, rubbing his thumb gently against Liu Qingge’s beauty mark. “You’re going to kill me with how gorgeous you look when you…”

Liu Qingge flushed. As always, it felt like A-Yuan could come just from watching Liu Qingge enjoying himself. Why else would Liu Qingge have attempted this otherwise? (The fact that seeing A-Yuan overwhelmed at each sound and movement he made gave him a feeling of satisfaction is a secret he’d keep to himself.)

Instead of answering, he just brushed A-Yuan’s sweaty hair back from his forehead and pressed his lips to A-Yuan’s temple in a firm kiss.

The Demon Lord laughed gently, reaching a hand up to smooth Liu Qingge’s loose hair back.

“To be honest, I thought you wanted to take me again, throwing me onto my back like that,” he said, beginning to reciprocate kisses along Liu Qingge’s jawline and neck.

“I can do that another time,” Liu Qingge murmured against A-Yuan’s forehead. “But I wanted this right now.”

A-Yuan’s dick twitched a little before he clenched his jaw, willing himself to not become aroused again, and Liu Qingge watched the battle going on within the demon’s eyes, a little disappointed when A-Yuan’s sensible side won out over his horny side once again.

One of these days he was going to get his A-Yuan to fuck him to his heart’s content, no matter how many times the demon wanted to go at it, until Liu Qingge was an incoherent mess.

He thought he might like that.

But that day wasn’t today.

Unfortunately, Liu Qingge’s sensible side was also against another round.

If they were in A-Yuan’s house, surrounded by nothing but A-Yuan’s forest, he might have given it a try, but while in Cang Qiong, on Bai Zhan, where any of his disciples or martial siblings could (and often would) show up at his house unannounced, it was a pretty poor idea.

Both of them groaned as Liu Qingge got up, A-Yuan’s cock sliding out of him, before they reluctantly moved to clean themselves off and prepare to leave Liu Qingge’s personal residence.

As they left the house, stepping out into the crisp morning air on Bai Zhan… Liu Qingge wanted to groan in a very not sexy way.

Qi Qingqi was standing a little bit away, outside of the range of the warding powder and leaning against a tree with a shit-eating grin on her face, while Mu Qingfang was next to her, a light flush on his cheeks.

“And we were wondering why there was so much warding powder about your residence,” Qi Qingqi said with a grin. “Had a good morning, hm?”

It took him a moment, but when he realized what she was implying, Liu Qingge face contorted and he flushed bright red, whether from embarrassment or anger, he wasn’t sure.

Although his two martial siblings were quite a ways away from the residence, being cultivators, they were probably, no, they were definitely able to hear some of what had been going on within.

If he knew his martial siblings would come over so early, he should have asked A-Yuan to put warding powder over the entire damn peak!

As he stood there, in flustered shock, A-Yuan stepped forward with a light chuckle.

“A pleasant morning,” he replied. “I hope Qi-nushi and Mu-xiansheng are faring well?”

Liu Qingge was amazed that he could take this in stride – ah, no. The back of A-Yuan’s neck was bright red, he wasn’t unaffected at all.

With a ferocious scowl, Liu Qingge turned to who he knew was the main culprit.

“What are you doing here?” he growled at Qi Qingqi.

“What do you mean? Mu-shidi had some questions about that elixir, and Shen-xiansheng was at Bai Zhan Peak, of course,” she replied, but everyone there knew that she wasn’t addressing why SHE was there, or why they were there so early in the morning.

Clearly she had been hoping to find something, and unfortunately, it seemed like she’d found it, if her mutter of ‘Wei-shixiong is going to have to pay out BIG!’ meant anything.

At that, Liu Qingge drew his sword and launched himself towards Qi Qingqi, who had already anticipated it and whipped out her own sword, cackling as she flew off.

Sometimes, Liu Qingge hated his martial siblings.

---

---

After Sanye-jun had discussed the elixir in depth with Mu Qingfang, and Liu Qingge had chased Qi Qingqi back to Xian Shu Peak with murder in his eyes, he had Liu Qingge bring him back to Qing Jing Peak.

“Hm… you might need this, Jiu-er,” Sanye-jun said conversationally as he handed an ointment over. “Together with your cultivation, it should clear, ah… those bruises up in an instant.”

Shen Qingqiu almost dropped the ointment at the Demon Lord’s comment. He whipped his head up, mouth opening and closing soundlessly before he flushed red and gritted his teeth.

“Don’t you think you’re the one who needs it? Sanye-jun-laoshi,” he hissed, fanning himself furiously as he averted his eyes.

“Hm… but I’m the one who’s supposed to have a partner,” Sanye-jun replied, glancing down at the very satisfied jade green snake, currently small-sized, wound happily around Shen Qingqiu’s wrist.

The Qing Jing Peak Lord made a face, unable to decide whether to be embarrassed about his own love bites or disgusted at the signs of Sanye-jun and his shidi doing… that.

Still, he couldn’t deny that Sanye-jun had a point, and he reluctantly opened the shell, rubbing the ointment over the bruises Zhuzhi-lang had left all over his neck.

It was true that he wouldn’t have any good excuses about them, and he knew his nosy martial siblings wouldn’t let it rest if they caught him with them.

He determinedly ignored his shidi, sitting next to his laoshi in a somewhat intimate manner.

Just… just no. He didn’t want to think about it.

Although how his ultra-strict, ultra-militant, ultra-stoic shidi ended up knowingly sleeping with an ancient-as-hell Demon Lord, regularly … Shen Qingqiu scowled again, forcefully shutting down that line of thought.

Ssss. Hsss sss, ssss hsss.

“Oh? I see.”

Shen Qingqiu wished he could understand Zhuzhi-lang’s hisses as well as Sanye-jun did. He didn’t understand more often than he did, but it couldn’t be helped that demons understood each other better.

Sanye-jun leaned back with a sigh.

“So Zhuzhi-lang said you were with Su-xiaojie when she died.”

Shen Qingqiu couldn’t help but take a sharp breath. He was a little glad that Zhuzhi-lang had told Sanye-jun instead of him having to struggle to bring it up, but at the same time, he knew it would still be difficult for him to tell the story.

He had slipped out of Cang Qiong, desperately looking for Yan-jiejie to ask her what the hell was going on, only to find her on the banks of the Luo River, already near death.

It’s a shame. I should have waited a little longer. I’m sure you would have raised my child well.

Those words haunted him even after he’d buried his Yan-jiejie under a copse of trees. He searched and searched and searched, all up and down the banks of the Luo river, all through the slums of the towns along the river, but there was no sign of the child until, by sheer chance, the boy had appeared at the Cang Qiong disciple selection, after living a life full of hardship.

At least Luo Binghe was here now, safely guarded on Qing Jing Peak. But Shen Qingqiu hadn’t known what to do now that he was here. The boy was half demon. How long would he be able to keep it a secret?

… Well, with Sanye-jun waltzing into Cang Qiong as if he hadn’t an ounce of demonic blood in him, Shen Qingqiu was beginning to feel like it might not be as big of a deal as he thought.

“I buried her in a secluded area, heavily arrayed and warded,” Shen Qingqiu said stiffly. “I will take Tianlang-jun there later when he’s free, but for now I’ve been avoiding going, except to check the arrays. I don’t want to draw attention to her. Her last words were asking me to never let Huan Hua Palace find her. She… she had me seal her soul.”

Both Sanye-jun and Liu Qingge looked at him in surprise.

Of course, sealing a soul into a rotting body was a horrible thing to do. Shen Qingqiu agreed, he hadn’t wanted to do it either.

“She… she said the Old Palace Master had put a soul imprint on her, and she didn’t … she said she’d rather be sealed underground forever than…” Than what? To be honest, Shen Qingqiu wasn’t absolutely sure, but he couldn’t refuse her, seeing how desperately she had insisted. He sighed heavily. “I put a stasis array on her as well, but…”

Even if he had frozen her soul and body in time, to obstruct a soul from returning to reincarnation … Shen Qingqiu consistently grieved over what he had done. He didn’t dare look up, and could only be relieved that Liu Qingge didn’t say a word of judgment, or he was certain he’d lose it.

“I intend to release it once I find a way to sever the imprint without alerting the Old Palace Master,” Shen Qingqiu insisted, as if he was desperate to convince himself as well that what he had done was necessary. That it was forgivable.

“… You sealed her soul within her body?”

Shen Qingqiu blinked, a bit startled at the thoughtful tone in Sanye-jun’s voice. “… Yes. She … was worried that the Old Palace Master would use the imprint to call her soul to him and subjugate her somehow… Sanye-jun, what are you thinking?”

Shen Qingqiu, Liu Qingge, and Zhuzhi-lang looked over, watching as Sanye-jun drummed his fingers lightly on the table.

“Zhuzhi-lang, where did you say you saw those Sun and Moon Dew flowers?” he asked thoughtfully.

The snake blinked a couple times.

Hisss, ssss, ssst.

Shen Yuan looked at Zhuzhi-lang in surprise, and his somewhat pleased pensive look turned dark and stormy.

“That area? In Huan Hua’s territory? … That old weasel...” he sneered derisively, a glint of anger and disdain flashing through his eyes.

“… What is it?” Shen Qingqiu said, feeling anxious over the rare glimpse of Sanye-jun’s anger that wasn’t directed at people molesting his forest.

Sanye-jun sighed, scratching the back of his head.

“Well, that brat underneath the mountain had the terrible idea of making himself a body with the rare Sun and Moon Dew flower seeds and migrating into it, and Zhuzhi-lang actually found the flowers. It’s a terrible idea for demons and mortals, but for immortals who have formed a golden core, these bodies are rather convenient. If you’ve sealed and suspended Su-xiaojie, then it might be possible to bind her to one, was what I was thinking...” Shen Yuan then scowled.

“… Is there some trouble with it, then?” Shen Qingqiu’s heart was in his throat, unable to bring himself to hope, but also unable to stop himself from hoping.

“Hm… well, of course we should sever the soul imprint first,” Shen Yuan said, “But mostly, I’m just disgusted that I had the same idea as the Old Palace Master, I suppose. That pervert was probably planning the same thing, breeding the flowers in Huan Hua’s territory.”

… So it wasn’t a problem with the method of possibly reviving a decade’s dead woman, it was the thought of thinking the same thing as a psychopathic old man.

… Well, Shen Qingqiu thought he kind of understood. Still, if Yan-jiejie could be revived, then he didn’t care if they had to use the method the old Palace Master had planned for … but first they had to deal with that damn soul imprint.

A huge variety of emotions fluttered through Shen Qingqiu’s chest. Relief, joy, and now he had drifted back to a simmering anger.

Once again, it was that Old Palace Master standing in their way-!

Shen Qingqiu’s fists were clenched so tightly his fingernails drew blood.

“I want Huan Hua to pay,” he snarled. “I want that old fart to pay for what he’s done.”

“How convenient,” Sanye-jun said with a chuckle. “Tianlang-jun was thinking the same thing. It’s just a shame that it happened so long ago, so many of Huan Hua Palace’s misdeeds will be hard to track, since it’s likely that much of the evidence of their misdoings have been destroyed.”

“Then what are you planning?” Liu Qingge said, scowling a little in annoyance at how complicated things were getting.

Sanye-jun chuckled darkly, a smirk on his face. “Do you really think Huan Hua could scheme so well against the ruler of the demon realm without help? Colluding with demons to start a war … that is surely something the righteous sects wouldn’t tolerate, no?”

The suspicions inside both Shen Qingqiu and Liu Qingge’s head were voiced by Sanye-jun, and the look on the their faces grew dark.

Unfortunately, even if they believed it, it wouldn’t be easy for other cultivators to accept such an idea without irrefutable proof.

“If they’ve destroyed the evidence...” Shen Qingqiu said.

“I doubt that they would. At least not the agreements they had with the demons. Knowing the greed of Huan Hua’s Old Palace Master, it wouldn’t surprise me if there were more… long term clauses. He wouldn’t dare destroy things he could use to threaten those demons with,” Sanye-jun snorted.

If it were him, he’d do a one-and-done contract and run away to avoid any further potential problems, but the Old Palace Master wasn’t the type to be content with taking his victories and lying low.

“… Good,” Shen Qingqiu said, a satisfied sneer on his face. “I didn’t dare make a move before, but if Laoshi and that playboy bastard are going to move...”

“I think I can convince Mobei-jun to lend us a hand as well,” Sanye-jun said primly.

Over on An Ding Peak, Shang Qinghua felt a chill run down his spine.

Crap. What was Cucumber Bro planning now?!