[20 - The damned 'drawback']
The summer daylight paints the mountains with beautiful orange glitters. White rabbits hop round and round, busying themselves on searching and collecting pieces of information, important or not, to their dear master, Shen Qingqiu.
"Shen." Liu Qingge enters the bamboo hut without any invitation whatsoever.
"This shixiong doesn't remember allowing shidi to enter." Shen Qingqiu doesn't spare the younger a glance, after all, his and Shang Qinghua's plan
[game] of guilt-tripping Liu Qingge is starting.
Guilt-tripping Yue Qingyuan won't be fun. The older would do anything for the younger, and it's not like Shen Qingqiu hadn't guilt-tripped the man.
Actually, Shen Qingqiu and Shang Qinghua had planned on guilt-tripping Liu Qingge days earlier by using the evil Yue Qingyuan as a medium. But who would've thought that Yue Qingyuan would chain him up?
How Yue Qingyuan has a chain that matches Shen Qingqiu's neck measurement in his storage ring, how he has that mind, and put it into action, Shen Qingqiu doesn't want to know
[well, maybe a little].
Liu Qingge scoffs before throwing Shen Qingqiu a fan, the fan that he had lost during the kidnapping.
"Don't lose it, stupid." and with that, the War God of Bai Zhan walks away before flying on Cheng Luan to the soaring skies of Heavens.
"..." Shen Qingqiu doesn't know whether to spit venom or pity the young man for his lack of communication skills.
Birds chirp so warmly in the deception of sickening gossips. Disciples busy themself with scrolls, music, and chores. While the white rabbits hop here and there looking innocently to eavesdrop to gather information.
In this Qing Jing peak, what lies on the surface is but a cover to hide the peak's secrets that only the loyal ones know.
Qing Jing peak teaches only those who are skilled at tricks, understanding a situation with ease, and able to use a circumstance for their benefit.
Shen Qingqiu looks at the fan, and a sly smirk paints his fine, rosy, lips, "Oh~?"
One of the best products of Qing Jing is Shen Qingqiu.
Shen Qingqiu scoffs lightly, his ice frost necklace twinkles in blue, and his smile is nothing near warm, "Hypocrite."
"Qingqiu-shidi," the good Yue Qingyuan smiles oh-so-ever-brightly, "Please don't mind the other me, he is just a little stubborn."
The evil Yue Qingyuan chuckles, "I remember Xiao Jiu complaining about a certain sticky dog that keeps pestering on him like glue, I wonder who."
Summer is near to end, Autumn would soon follow.
Shen Qingqiu rubs his temples, 'Yeah, right, I wonder who. And correction, two sticky, large, dogs. One whines all day long, asking for just a glance or a word from me while the other bites, as if marking me his.'
It's been weeks since Yue Qingyuan split into three, and it was just days ago when Shang Qinghua, with his
[dark and shady] knowledge and connections, finally found the remedy. But instead of telling the problem solver, the young man said that it's best to know it on the D-day.
"This shidi is worried of the dark Yue-shixiong," said Shang Qinghua in the peak lord's previous meeting, "The dark Yue-shixiong... well, he is... unpredictable
Thus, here he is, days after the meeting, walking to Qing Ding while getting stuck between evil and good. Shen Qingqiu thanks the Heavens for letting the normal Yue Qingyuan confined in his peak, to fulfill his sect duties was what the younger
[Shang Qinghua and Shen Qingqiu] reasoned.
"Qingqiu-shidi, Autumn is near, Qingqiu-shidi should take care of himself more," the good Yue Qingyuan peels his outer robe off and proceeds to wrap the younger in black without permission what-so-ever, "This shixiong is worried of Qingqiu-shidi."
"Useless," the evil Yue Qingyuan scoffs and averts his gaze to the younger, "Is Xiao Jiu cold?"
"..." no, Shen Qingqiu rather not answer. Who knows if the older would burn the rainbow bridge just to warm him?
"... I'll take that as a yes." and before Shen Qingqiu could mutter any empty, Heavenly, prayer, the evil Yue Qingyuan focuses his qi on the rainbow bridge just behind them, and burn it does. The evil Yue Qingyuan then looks at Shen Qingqiu with doggy eyes, as if asking its master to say 'Good boy! Well done!', and holds Shen Qingqiu's hand in his, "Is it warmer now, Xiao Jiu?"
Shen Qingqiu cries inwardly, 'Just a demon brat is enough to drive me crazy, two overprotective bears are on another level
[though I don't mind...]!'
"Shen-shixiong," Shen Qingqiu nods and enters the meeting room with two Yue Qingyuan.
After putting the fire off, making sure that the Rainbow Bridge is safe and sound, and scolded the evil Yue Qingyuan, Shen Qingqiu decided to fly to Qiong Ding. No, he does not want another heart-warming intention to be a disaster.
Shen Qingqiu asked, "Will Shang-shidi explain the treatment from the artifact?"
Nodding, Shang Qinghua puts the artifact on a large, round table, "The procedure is easy, but there might be a drawback to one of us present here."
Shen Qingqiu snaps his fan open, and a curious and calculative look paints his phoenix eyes, but before he could mutter a word, Shang Qinghua said, "It's not life-threatening or disadvantageous at all, but the fact that the drawback is unknown is concerning."
"Then what are you waiting for?" Liu Qingge, being a reckless barbarian he is, said impatiently, "Well?"
"..." Shang Qinghua and Shen Qingqiu share a thought, 'You did nothing, I
[Shang-shidi] did it all. Show some respect!'
The normal Yue Qingyuan coughs awkwardly to warm the atmosphere, "Thank you Shang-shidi, this shixiong will have to trouble shidi."
"It's no problem at all," Shang Qinghua nods and pours wine to the artifact, "Then, let us begin."
Suddenly, white light paints the room, and in an instant, the three Yue Qingyuan were pulled together and a barrier surrounds them, locking them inside the white light.
"This...?" the good Yue Qingyuan looks at Shang Qinghua in confusion.
"Yue-shixiong, please put your hands on the artifact," Shang Qinghua ordered the three men, "Now insert your qi to the artifact."
The three Yue Qingyuan does what the younger said, and suddenly, black light explodes from the artifact and after a moment, white smoke fades away, revealing one, living, Yue Qingyuan.
"Alright," Shang Qinghua clasp his hands, "It is done."
Slowly, but firmly, Yue Qingyuan walks out of the white, fading, smoke, and with his ever-warming smile, he said, "Thank you Shang-shidi."
Shang Qinghua nods and smiles thinly, "It's no problem at all."
"?!" instantly, all the peak lords shoot their heads upwards.
The very noticeable voice rings in the eleven peak lords' heads again. Yue Qingyuan looks at Shen Qingqiu with a questionable look.
'Wait, why are they looking at me?' Shen Qingqiu thinks inwardly, a memory flashes into his head, 'Drawback? Me?'
Shang Qinghua did say that one of the present would get a drawback. Shen Qingqiu looks to his back only to find no one, so it's him?
Shen Qingqiu is a tactician. And just like any tactician, he could read the atmosphere and a person's facial expression easily
[though, he is very, very, blind towards pure love].
Shen Qingqiu was about to ask Shang Qinghua what drawback he received but the younger voiced first, "Now that everything is settled and nothing life-threatening situation has happened, this shidi will retreat."
The other peak lords soon follow and leave the room, even Yue Qingyuan left hurriedly after speaking a few words to Shen Qingqiu.
"..." Shen Qingqiu steps out from the room and flies to Qing Jing, 'Suspicious...'
meanwhile, in the Qiong Ding meeting room...
Shang Qinghua looks at the artifact with curiosity. After pretending to leave the meeting, he had sent an individual message to other peak lords [exception to Shen Qingqiu] to come back in secret.
"You heard that, didn't you?" Qi Qingqi ask her martial brothers, "I heard, no, Shen's voice is in my head."
Yue Qingyuan nods, "That seems to be it..."
"Shen-shixiong received the drawback," Shang Qinghua, carefully but certainly, said, "His thoughts will be said into our heads, and we can't shut it down-"
'I want tanghulu.' Shen Qingqiu in his bamboo hut, unaware of the detailed situation, thought to himself as he imagines a tray of sticky and sweet hulu, 'Yum yum, now I'm craving it...'
"..." the eleven peak lords becomes as stiff as board and the atmosphere turns awkward.
"Uh," Shang Qinghua finally breaks the silence, "Let's not tell him about this..."
The rest of the peak lords nods in agreement.