After the guards had been sent out of the underground ice fortress, it was empty of all demons. Mobei-Jun definitely thought he had obediently “gotten out” already and wouldn’t expect him to turn back, so by the time Shang Qinghua had returned to the hall in front of those sleeping chambers, he still had not been discovered. He stopped here and shimmied up that giant pillar which could be circled by three people into the ceiling beams, finding somewhere he definitely would not be seen by anyone to sit down.
But, though he definitely couldn’t be seen by other people in this place, he also couldn’t see them!
Mobei-Jun’s cold and placid voice sounded like he was forcibly stifling anger.
He said, “What are you doing here.”
An unfamiliar young man’s voice smiled, “My nephew is ascending to the throne, I came to ask for a cup of celebratory wine to drink. Is there something unacceptable about that?”
Mobei-Jun didn’t respond. Humming once, he spoke after a long while. “What celebratory wine is there to drink.”
Another voice said, “After these seven days, you will be the real Mobei-Jun. Isn’t this something worth celebration?”
Shang Qinghua knew who this was. This was that storyline that had been delayed until now after the original was thrown into disorder.
He’s going to die. Everything’s going wrong for Mobei-Jun.
This uninvited guest was Mobei-Jun’s uncle, LinGuang-Jun!
And lying in the sleeping chambers, was definitely the father Mobei-Jun probably had only seen a few times since his birth——his body, that is.
As he had planned, after the monarch of each generation of the Mobei Clan had died, they would pass their accomplished martial body down to their successor in the next generation. This was an extremely crucial juncture. But, in the storyline of his original work, LinGuang-Jun latched on to precisely this crucial juncture and launched a sneak attack the most critical last day Mobei-Jun was digesting this martial body. Because Mobei-Jun had been determined as the lawful first in the line of succession, LinGuang-Jun had no claim to the martial body, and stealing it outright would be useless. Illegal was illegal, the lines of ancestors would not acknowledge him. But, if Mobei-Jun died after he officially ascended to the throne, he would be the only descendant of the Mobei bloodline. When the time came, the recipient of the accomplished martial body could never be too happy.
In the original work, there should have been a Bing-ge by his side playing the pig to eat the tiger, easily escorting him through, and, only to be expected, ripping off the Mobei Clan after Mobei-Jun ascended the throne. But, the original Bing-ge had now gone off to shamelessly torment his Shizun—say, how could he have time to bother with this? The one Mobei-Jun had brought back was his ass-useless self!
Shang Qinghua madly grabbed at his hair. My king, you, you, you, you, what did you bring me here for?! I can’t lift a hand, can’t carry your burden, how am I qualified to protect you? For this sort of life and death situation, you should definitely find a trusted confidant, your most impressive ally! So what if you had no way to tear Bing-ge off his Shizun like tearing cowhide candy? At least you could find him to borrow a few thousand black-armored generals? No matter how desperate, you can’t call on me, other than making tea, carrying water, washing clothes, folding blankets, which of my other skills aren’t at the amateur level!!!
Without the inextinguishable halo and undying golden body he had personally bestowed upon the male protagonist, at that fatal moment in seven days, Mobei-Jun…
LinGuang-Jun said, “This important of a day, and you didn’t bring a single person?”
“…” Mobei-Jun replied coolly, “I didn’t.”
LinGuang-Jun tittered in laughter. “So you did bring someone? I saw. Just then, I just happened to run into someone walking out, that was that… the An Ding Peak Lord who is said to follow you? How did he provoke you? Beat up to that state. And I’ve been hearing rumors, I thought your temper had changed for the better.”
For a long time, no one replied.
LinGuang-Jun smiled again. “Your uncle was only asking, why are you looking at me with this antagonistic an expression?”
Mobei-Jun said bluntly, “I want you to leave.”
“You’re hurting this demon’s feelings. Unfortunately, my clan is not yet set. Are others not allowed to witness the succession ceremony? What’s more, I am your father’s younger brother. If not for you, the one standing here today waiting for their inheritance would definitely be me.”
It looked like Mobei-Jun knew we wouldn’t be able to drive him away, and didn’t say any more on the topic. LinGuang-Jun, however, was immensely pleased with himself, not curbing his mirth in the slightest. “Ay, you’ve grown up, you’re an overlord now; you really are no longer the same. You were much cuter when you were young.”
Hearing these familiar lines, Shang Qinghua wiped his forehead of sweat, feeling a bit of shame that he had written this shameless a character. This uncle even had the face to bring up his youth.
Mobei-Jun never had a mother since childhood, and the person he had stuck the closest to in his youth was precisely this younger uncle not much older than him. However, because of some petty trifles and emotional disputes between the older generation of brothers, LinGuang-Jun couldn’t quite begin to like this nephew of his. One time, when the other demons weren’t paying attention, he coaxed this obedient little nephew out the gate and threw him into the human world, letting a pile of cultivator thugs chase this little demon who didn’t understand anything, lost his head out of fear, and fell every few steps, frantically surrounding him for numerous days.
At that time, Mobei-Jun’s age was only roughly equivalent to a human four-year-old child. If his dad didn’t suddenly realize after ten or so days that, hmm, it looked like his son hadn’t been following behind his younger brother these days and casually made a few inquiries, Mobei-Jun might have been shut up in the Huan Hua Palace Water Prison until he was terrified to death. To a demon of that age, a crowd of people circling and shouting him was like a crowd of flesh-eating, blood-drinking monsters. Imagine a human four-year-old child captured and shut into a nest of demons—the reaction would be about the same.
The former Mobei-Jun had a heart as large as a basin, the basin of the Sichuan basin. Either way, his son was stolen back in the end, more scared than hurt, not completely head, so he didn’t really pay much mind. He said a few words to his brother, then told him to continue “getting along well” in the future.
After he was fetched back, messy-haired and dirty-faced, Mobei-Jun never again spoke to this formerly favorite uncle of his. As his age increased, it got more and more severe, until he was finally unwilling to speak with anyone, and held a deep abhorrence [and painful association] with any kind of betrayal.
Mentally reviewing the history of the melodramatic, aloof young lord he had fabricated, Shang Qinghua reflected. He mainly reflected on whether the Demon Race’s apathetic and cold nature had been too inhumane. Second, he reflected on why he hadn’t just added in a line of setup at first, something like “the succession ceremony does not allow idle witnesses to wait nearby, even the next of kin is not allowed”. But, now Mobei-Jun had to keep watch beside the body and wait for the time of inheritance, not allowed to leave at will, but not permitted to drive out LinGuang-Jun.
Reflecting on one hand while trembling with fear on the other, Shang Qinghua passed the full seven days until the last day finally arrived.
After the seven days of observance, at the time for Mobei-Jun to officially inherit the martial body, he very wisely had not made a move until very late. However, he needed to make a move sooner or later.
LinGuang-Jun said, “What is it? Why are you hesitating?”
Because you’re standing right there!!!
LinGuang-Jun said, “Could it be… you’re afraid I’ll make a sneak attack? How could I? I am your uncle, ah. Mobei, you have to hurry. If you don’t start now you’ll miss the opportunity. There won’t be a chance to salvage it—you don’t need me to remind you?”
If he didn’t begin immediately, the martial body would naturally dissipate. It was equivalent to an inheritance of a lump sum of money drifting away in the wind; if he began immediately, LinGuang-Jun was standing by like a tiger watching its prey, definitely harboring ill intentions. Mobei-Jun’s current situation could be called no room to advance or retreat.
Everything played out like in the original, it’s just that they were down an invincible Bing-ge and up an ass-useless Hua-di.
In the end, Mobei-Jun let out a cold laugh.
Shang Qinghua gritted his teeth, and, braving the possibility of being discovered by a demon and getting a knife to the head as a present, stuck out his head. Nearly in the same instant a ball of blue light flew out into the sleeping chambers and covered Mobei-Jun, LinGuang-Jun suddenly played his hand!
Mobei-Jun had long been on his guard, saving a hand to catch this treacherous strike. But, he was too busy for distractions, and let a wisp of demonic energy slide into his palm. This wisp of foreign demonic energy darted about inside Mobei-Jun’s body. He didn’t dare to get careless, and could only divide out another piece of attention to handle it. LinGuang-Jun sensed his success at the first attempt, wild with joy, but before he had the time to advance one step further, a person suddenly leapt out, dropping from the sky!
LinGuang-Jun said coldly, “How could there have been any guards which were not sent away when I arrived. Aren’t you the one who left seven days ago? What? You’re back to protect your master? I couldn’t tell you were this devoted.”
It was fortunate that Shang Qinghua couldn’t see him at first, as soon as he did his legs softened even more. Though LinGuang-Jun was quite good-looking, it was a type of soft but treacherous good-looking. That pair of peach-blossom eyes really was filled with frosty light like poisonous needles. When he smiled, he showed grim and pale teeth, especially suited to biting raw meat! 1
Shang Qinghua braced himself and stood in front of Mobei-Jun. “First, who said I came back to protect my master? Second, who told you he was my master?”
LinGuang-Jun: “Then you’re blocking me right now, what does that count for?”
Shang Qinghua said forcefully, “Throwing stones down a well!”
While he was talking random nonsense, his hands were shaking, shiveringly pointing at his own face. “You take a look, he beat me up into this state. This nephew of yours really has some good temper!”
Behind him, Mobei-Jun spit out a mouthful of blood. It was definitely out of pure anger at him.
Shang Qinghua lamented, “In these years, the ribs I’ve broken could build another Maigu ridge, and I could drown myself in the blood I’ve spat. Devoted? Towards this type of person… this type of demon, who the fuck could be devoted. With how he’s treated me, if Shang Qinghua could suffer in silence and swallow his anger without retaliation, he’s been the An Ding Peak Lord for nothing!”
While saying this, Shang Qinghua absolutely did not dare to turn back and look at Mobei-Jun’s expression. His back was about to frost over!
LinGuang-Jun laughed out loud. “Mobei, do you hear? I really sympathize with you, you’ll always have the fate of being sold out and betrayed. How can you command the Mobei Clan like this? If we really let you succeed, with your disposition, wouldn’t our clan be constantly on the edge of collapse? You should listen to your uncle. You can relax and hand the important matters over to me. You should go.”
On the verge of achieving his cherished dream of many years, LinGuang-Jun was in a magnanimous mood. He said to him generously, “How do you want to throw stones down a well?”
With a mischievous laugh, Shang Qinghua activated a fire spell and flung it out behind him.
LinGuang-Jun felt a burst of sizzling heat hit him directly in the face, red light dancing madly before his eyes. The Mobei Ice Clan loathed flame the most, especially this fire which appeared not to be mundane fire, but the fire Shang Qinghua had shamelessly asked Shen Qingqiu to make for him from a few grains of Xuanyang tinder. A few parts of fear were mixed in LinGuang-Jun’s loathing. He immediately retreated and covered his face, feeling some astonishment. 2
He thought to himself, “I couldn’t tell, the stupid and cowardly An Ding Peak Lord of the rumors was actually this ruthless a character. I heard that Mobei-Jun was quite good to him—who could have thought this servant was silently enduring for many years. He’s this vicious as soon as he plays his hand, using immortal flame to burn Mobei-Jun alive. It’s not even as easy as dying, this fire will probably burn him straight to ashes! If he had used this spell on me just then, I would also be in quite a sorry state. Who knows if he still had a few grains of this fearsome tinder. No matter if he had them or not, this person can’t be left around.”
But, after he finished calculating and stood firmly to look, he flew into a rage on the spot.
Mobei-Jun hadn’t been devoured by a raging inferno but was shaded in the middle of clusters of flame. Just then, Shang Qinghua had not thrown his handful of tinder onto his body, but had drawn a large circle a zhang around his body. The leaping and dancing Xuanyang immortal fire encircled the two within.
Though Mobei-Jun couldn’t exit the circle, LinGuang-Jun also could not enter. If he attempted a long-distance attack, his ice spells would be melted by the Xuanyang immortal fire. Looking at it, it didn’t look like an attack spell, but rather——a protective circle!
Realizing that he had been tricked, LinGuang-Jun’s face darkened.
That vicious demonic energy LinGuang-Jun had slapped into Mobei-Jun was still darting about in his limbs and bones and causing trouble. He had fallen to one knee, face alternating between green and white, unable to spare the effort to give an extra glance at the others. Shang Qinghua circled him flusteredly, but couldn’t assist. LinGuang-Jun distantly circled the Xuanyang fire circle, sneering as he walked.
He said, “I misspoke earlier; you are far more than devoted. You’re practically faithful enough to offer your life in sacrifice. You’re willing to come back and throw away your life for this disappointing nephew of mine! But I don’t know, this circle of yours, how long can it last?”
These words poked right in Shang Qinghua’s sore spot.
He had thrown out all of the tinders Shen Qingqiu had given him in one go, not leaving a single spare. He squatted by Mobei-Jun’s side, making prayers that were about as useful as injecting chicken blood. “God, my king, did you hear, he wants to kill me, your uncle wants to kill me! You have to digest faster, I really don’t know how long this circle can last!3“
Suddenly, with a giant crack of splitting stone, the icy dust and frosted ash above their heads began to rustle down.
Shang Qinghua hadn’t been squatting steadily, and wavered a couple of times with the leaping flames.
Only to see LinGuang-Jun remove a hand from one of the pillars in the corridor. “You thought that if you don’t come out, I’d have no way to get to you?”
He wanted to collapse the ice fortress and smash Mobei-Jun to death or bury him alive!
Seeing the dense web of cracks crawl up the ice pillar and LinGuang-Jun’s second strike about to hit, Shang Qinghua said hurriedly, “Coming, coming, I’m coming right now!”
So, like a long-suffering frog jumping into a deep fryer, he slowly jumped out of the circle.
Once he’s out, don’t think of getting back in. LinGuang-Jun, looming like a monster, grabbed him with one hand. “What’s the use of you coming out alone? Withdraw the fire!”
In fact, he was also a bit flustered. He didn’t know how soon Mobei-Jun would be able to suppress that bit of demonic energy. If he was able to do it before the Xuanyang fire burned out he would finish digesting that accomplished martial body. And wouldn’t today’s rebellion become a giant farce?
Shang Qinghua said, “I only know how to set fires, not put them out, ah.”
LinGuang-Jun: “Then make him come out!”
Shang Qinghua: “This… my lord, look at the state of him right now, he couldn’t move even if he wanted to come out.”
LinGuang-Jun sneered, putting his hand on Shang Qinghua’s solar plexus.
He said amicably, “Then say, if your heart were to start freezing over, would he have a sudden impulse and come out?”
Shang Qinghua: “If this type of thing—fuck “a sudden impulse” could break through, I recommend that you, my lord, try having “a sudden impulse” and see if you can break in…”
And then he couldn’t get any words out anymore.
LinGuang-Jun quietly hummed an ice spell, humming it into a cheerful yet malicious tune. “Mobei, ah, your uncle really didn’t expect that you would have a running dog who refuses to betray you, even in these circumstances. A good dog like this, wouldn’t it be a pity if it were gone?”
Near his heart, a field of ice and snow.
Shang Qinghua, lips turning purple, raised his hand and said, “J-j-junshang.”
Shang Qinghua: “If you’re going to… f-f-freeze my heart like this, I-I-I can’t scream aloud, it doesn’t s-s-sound miserable enough, can’t a-a-achieve the “sudden impulse” you want. I advise… advise you hit me instead. I promise I’ll do my best to scream, scream very miserably.”
LinGuang-Jun: “Oh. But, I’m very heavy-handed, if I can’t control myself and beat you to death, what then?”
Shang Qinghua: “I-i-it’s no problem, I can bear it. I’m used to it, always s-s-suffer your nephew’s…”
Before he had finished speaking, Shang Qinghua personally experienced how “heavy” LinGuang-Jun’s hands were.
He didn’t use demonic energy, relying entirely on physical strength to attack. But, Shang Qinghua could clearly hear the sound of every bone in his body breaking, the sound of his throat hissing like it was leaking air after spitting up too much blood.
As his back teeth faintly started to loosen, Shang Qinghua thought, compared to his uncle and other demons, Mobei-Jun was really too fucking gentle, too amiable, practically a little angel.
The longer he delayed, the more LinGuang-Jun’s impatience pressed close to fury. Firmly stepping on his back and hauling up one of his arms, he grinned fiercely. “Didn’t you promise you would try your best to scream, scream very miserably? Why is your mouth so secure you still haven’t let out a single sound?”
This motion had some extremely bad associations for Shang Qinghua, and he hurriedly spat out the bubble of warm blood held in his mouth, screaming with great sincerity.
LinGuang-Jun said, “En, not bad. It’s a pity, it’s still not miserable enough. I’ll help you out.”
From his shoulder, came the terrible pain of tendons, flesh, skin, and bone ripping. Shang Qinghua opened his mouth, letting fear drown him, but he found he couldn’t make a single sound.
But, this pain hadn’t developed into an unsalvageable state. Suddenly, the arm that had been dragged behind him softly drooped down.
A corner of a deep blue robe flapped in front of him, collar full of wind and snow.
Mobei-Jun had caught them off guard, plunging out of the fire circle to land a palm squarely on LinGuang-Jun’s solar plexus!
After being caught off guard by this strike to the chest, half of LinGuang-Jun’s chest collapsed, demonic energy streaming out a thousand li like a giant hole had been punched through his whole body. His heart chilled. Compared to before, the power of this youngster’s strike could not be spoken of in the same breath. In the end, it had been dragged over by him, he had absorbed all of the Mobei Clan’s martial body passed down between generations!
And, he didn’t even fear Xuanyang immortal fire anymore, passing straight through!
Though he was full of resentment and dissatisfaction, by now he was likely no match for Mobei-Jun at all, and could only hurriedly use ice to seal his own wounds, transforming into a stream of black wind and stealing out of the ice fortress.
Shang Qinghua, lying face pressed to the ground, didn’t see any movement for a long while, and no one came to help him up. He mourned internally: is he still mad? No matter how you look at it, he had gotten beat into this state for him, not even helping him up, this is too inexcusable!
But, he then heard a heavy slam.
Grimacing in pain, with incomparable difficulty, Shang Qinghua turned over.
Unexpectedly, Mobei-Jun had also fallen over.4 Two silhouettes, fallen in different postures next to a raging fire circle, quietly, quietly, collapsed on the street.
He finally realized, Mobei-Jun most likely had not finished absorbing the accomplished martial body at all, and also had not suppressed LinGuang-Jun’s demonic energy. Just then, he really did have “a sudden impulse”, fighting with all his strength to scare away LinGuang-Jun at the last moment. Now, Mobei-Jun had exhausted his last burst of energy and had been roasted crisp by the terrifying Xuanyang immortal fire, so he… collapsed on the street.
Though Mobei-Jun was lying straight and stiff on the ground, unable to move even a finger, he was still forcefully staring at him with his eyes.
Under that stare, Shang Qinghua was unable to continue peacefully lying down, and could only open his mouth to say, “That, my king you ah, don’t struggle, just lie down, and slowly digest.”
That gaze didn’t subside in the least. Like he was bathed in a rain of needles, Shang Qinghua’s heart was alarmed and his body twitching. He finally managed to catch his breath and sit up, already trembling like a Parkinson’s victim.
Now, Mobei-Jun could finally properly listen to him talk. He took a deep breath, then said, “Uh, my king, ah. In fact, I didn’t want to leave at this sort of time in the first place. I didn’t know it just happened to be the crucial juncture when you were going to succeed to the throne, really. This important an event, why didn’t you tell me a bit earlier.”
Mobei-Jun used his expression to tell him, “Kneel down, cry and admit you were wrong, then I’ll pardon you”.
The corner of Shang Qinghua’s mouth twitched, and he continued, “To tell the truth, you shouldn’t have brought me. I can’t do anything at all, only make do for you to beat up from time to time. You saw me just then, I was beaten into this state, and I could only buy you a bit of time. Your uncle was seriously injured by you and probably won’t dare come back again. You’re almost done digesting, right. Then I’ll just… leave.”
Mobei-Jun’s expression had eased a bit, but hearing his last sentence, immediately shot cold light from his eyes. “Still leaving?! You dare!”
Suddenly being bellowed at, and still hurting from head to toe, Shang Qinghua suddenly burst into burning anger, slapping the ground and yelling, “What don’t I dare!”
Of course, this strike couldn’t scare Mobei-Jun, and only made his shoulder and arm burst into pain, stars bursting in his eyes. Either way, Mobei-Jun couldn’t move a limb, and Shang Qinghua grew bold in his fury, pointing at him and saying, “I’ll tell you the truth then! I’ve endured you for very long, you pampered and spoiled young master, vile-tempered second-generation demon!”
This could be said to be monstrous audacity. Mobei-Jun completely had a face full of disbelief. But, Shang Qinghua’s many years of accumulated grievance spewed out at this moment, as powerful as a rainbow:
“You saw my temperament was not bad, easy to deal with, cultivation also lacking, easy and satisfying to torment, right? You thought laozi5 was really this… this… ah?!”
“What are you looking at, you have objections?! Laozi is your dad! Call me dad! I’m the only one who’s so permissive to you! You try it with someone else? Bing-ge would beat you to death, the original goods Shen Qingqiu would shade you to death!”
“No one likes getting beat up every day, and no one would really run around giddily all day after getting beat up every day! I’m not actually a dog! Even with a dog, if you give it two kicks every day, with time it’ll also learn not to bother you anymore!”
Mobei-Jun said, “Do you want to die?”
In these sorts of circumstances, the intimidation factor of these words had suffered a large discount. Shang Qinghua said, “No. I not only dare leave, but I also dare do other things, you believe it? This Peak Lord will right here, today, beat you back for every time you beat me before!”
Mobei-Jun said in anger, “You——!!!”
Shang Qinghua: “You, what you? Still ‘you dare’? I’ll tell you, right now, I really do dare. Come!”
With this, he pulled back his sleeves, eagerly moving a fist in front of Mobei-Jun’s ashen face. Cold knives rustled from Mobei-Jun’s gaze, but Shang Qinghua was not frightened a bit, a fist waving out, a strike rushing towards his face.
Mobei-Jun averted his face on instinct, only to feel the skin of his face tighten.
A very unfamiliar feeling. A bit itchy, a little bit painful, but entirely not the expected strike.
Two of Shang Qinghua’s fingers pinched his cheek on one side, forcefully pulling out. “How is that, does it hurt?!”
While pulling, he thought, this is fucking not what laozi was thinking of doing! Beat him, ah, beat him while he can’t move. Even if he’s tugging on his face, no matter how you look at it he’s missing out himself!
But there was nothing to be done. Truly… he still couldn’t make a move to beat this face!
Being pulled, Mobei-Jun’s words were unclear, persisting to say, “You’re done!”
Shang Qinghua cackled. “You have backbone, you can still threaten me in this state, dad admires you.”
His other hand also joined in, pinching the other side of Mobei-Jun’s face, sometimes pulling in opposite directions, sometimes pressing together. Mobei-Jun’s formerly noble and aloof image was wrecked into utter extermination by his pair of lowly hands. Shang Qinghua was still repeating, “It still doesn’t hurt? Does it hurt?”
Mobei-Jun did not yield his lofty character. To no avail, things like physical tears could not be obstructed by lofty character, and in the end, he was pulled until tears emerged at the corners of his eyes.
“… It hurts? That’s right!” Shang Qinghua released his claws. “When you beat me all the time, it’s at least ten times as painful as that! How does it feel? Spoiled!”
Mobei-Jun was angered by this condescending “Spoiled!” of his until his face was bone-white, and his cheeks held a large mass of green and red fingerprints, it really was a sight that shocked the eye and astonished the heart.
When it comes to it, Shang Qinghua really was frightened, just then he had offended in a fervor and was satisfied for the time, but only began to fear being sent to the crematorium after the fact. Especially, after Mobei-Jun’s face had recovered its normal shape, that expression really was… really was… his heart felt timid just seeing it. He hurriedly patted his hem, preparing to break into a run and leave. He slid a few large steps away at meteor speed, when Mobei-Jun shouted behind him, “If you want to keep your legs, stay there and don’t move!”
On reflex, Shang Qinghua obeyed the order.
He didn’t dare turn around. “My king, I really am leaving.”
Mobei-Jun: “Shut up! Come back!”
Shang Qinghua, minding himself, said, “Even if you are angry, don’t come looking for me. After I return, you absolutely will not be able to find me again, so don’t make a useless effort. So, my king, goodbye then.”
Mobei-Jun was nearly roaring. “If you have the guts to leave then don’t let me see you again!”
Shang Qinghua turned a deaf ear.
Walking two steps, he added another line. “Seeing you, I was very happy. Really——you’re even more handsome than I had imagined!”
At this moment, he was in high spirits, radiant with delight, precisely the same as the expression he had had the split second he first set pen to paper to write this character’s first appearance.
His true emotions and honest feelings towards the character under his pen. Reflecting after the fact, this really was embarrassing.
But, with parting near at hand, embarrassment was only a fleeting thing.
It’s just, Shang Qinghua didn’t understand, where was the agreed upon “parting near at hand”?
Why was it that it had already been a month since the System had released the return home function, and yet he was still idling his time away in the world of Proud Immortal Demon Way!
Every time he poked open the System and faced the red and green 【Yes】and【Next time】, he would always end up in a daze, and then choose the button on the right, closing the interface.
Next time on top of next time, there really were many next times.
Shang Qinghua blamed this on procrastination disease. All that is evil, this procrastination disease!
He didn’t dare return to Cang Qiong Mountain for the time being. He didn’t know if Mobei-Jun would ascend An Ding Peak to block him in anger. But, half of his savings was in some cave in An Ding Peak, and the other half was in Mobei-Jun’s official residence on the Northern border. So, in this last month, though Shang Qinghua looked at ease, in fact, he couldn’t be said not to be living frugally, dining on the wind and lodging in the open. If not for that bit of spiritual energy he still had to depend on, there wasn’t much difference between him and common vagrant wanderers.
After wandering for nearly a month, he unexpectedly ran into a certain master-disciple pair, leisurely going on a scenic tour across the world.
After realizing who following who this was, Shang Qinghua couldn’t resist rubbing his eyes. After half a minute, he finally confirmed that the youth in plain cotton clothes, still dignified of deportment while carrying a fishing rod, lifting a basket of fish, was Luo Binghe; and after another half a minute, he confirmed that the one who persisted to the end in putting on refined immortal airs while carrying boxes of food, delivering food to him, was Master Shen, Peak Lord Shen, Shen Qingqiu.
You’re here acting out this cheerful romantic PLAY of living in seclusion in the mountains, tossing Mobei-Jun into the Demon Realm, and making me go force my way out of a predicament with him, how awful!
Shang Qinghua heaped silent curse upon silent curse, but how should he say it, seeing these two, he was still very happy. Especially because he already hadn’t eaten a full meal for this many days.
Don’t roast about why an immortal cultivator like him would still care about things like eating a full meal, the review sections roasted him enough. He wasn’t from Ku Xing peak, he didn’t play around with tricks like inedia6!
Their rural life having been disturbed by someone for no reason, Luo Binghe naturally had no good looks to give him, but seeing Shen Qingqiu’s look, he wouldn’t show it on his face. But, when Shen Qingqiu told him to “go sit down in the house” after exchanging a few greetings, Binghe’s face still darkened.
These two had, quite sentimentally, built a small bamboo house in a place between jade waters and green mountains. The longer Shang Qinghua, the more he felt these two really were quite well off. Sitting on a rattan chair, he said, “The house is not bad.”
Shen Qingqiu waved his fan and said, “Why don’t you consider who built it. Could it be bad?”
Shang Qinghua thickened his face and said, “Your days have really been much more comfortable than mine. I don’t know if I could catch a bit of Cucumber bro’s light, and let me enjoy a carefree life for a while?”
Shen Qingqiu: “Very unfortunate, you’ve come at a bad time, we were just about to eat.”
Shang Qinghua: “You’re too kind. Arriving early can’t beat arriving on time; I see I came at just the right time. I’ll see how your food is.” After speaking, he rose and walked to the door of what he suspected was the kitchen, lifting up the curtain.
Luo Binghe, wearing a light black robe, sleeves pulled high up, expression severe, was currently silently… kneading dough.
His expression was severe and concentrated, two patches of white on his face, a bit of flour on his eyelashes, like what he was pinching and pulling under his hands wasn’t a ball of dough, but a grand scroll covering everything under the sky!
Shang Qinghua felt like his guts were splitting open, his heart about to burst.
That stallion leaking tyrannical airs, subduing multitudes he had created, the protagonist Bing-ge.
He was kneading dough!
Noodles noodles noodles (endlessly on repeat) …
This really was a horror difficult to describe!
Shang Qinghua silently retreated in defeat. He sat at the table, reaching out to find a cup of tea to drink and suppress his fright, but it was fished back by Shen Qingqiu. “Mine.”
Shang Qinghua’s heart was still palpitating. “Do you have a second cup in this place of yours? What’s wrong with letting me use it.”
Shen Qingqiu pointed at the kitchen. “You also know there isn’t a second cup, so, it’s also his.”
“You dare use it? If you dare, I’ll give it to you.”
Shang Qinghua’s claws changed from pulling to pushing. “You elder can use it yourself, unfortunately, I cannot partake.”
Bing-ge continued to cook. The two chatted about this and that for a while. After listening to him relay the tale about the emergency at the Mobei Clan’s ice fortress, Shen Qingqiu expressed his doubts. “Really? Just like that?”
Shang Qinghua said, “Is there any advantage to me tricking you about this sort of thing? What do you mean by ‘just like that’? Concerning my dignity, I definitely couldn’t stay any longer.”
“That’s not wrong per se.” Shen Qingqiu thought, then said, “But you don’t seem like that sort of person.”
“What sort of person?”
Shen Qingqiu said amiably, “The kind that would care about dignity that much.”
Considering the strength of Airplane Shooting Towards the Sky’s resolution, the thickness of his face, the tenacity of his vitality, he really didn’t seem the type to run after getting a single beating from Mobei-Jun. After all, he had endured all these years, how could he have suddenly become weak and sensitive, consumed by overwhelming sorrow.
Shang Qinghua said, embarrassed, “Cucumber Bro, I only didn’t hesitate to sell out my moral principles all the time to get monthly tickets and tips, and only became an An Ding Peak Lord on the way, but you discriminate against me for this—that’s you in the wrong.”
Shen Qingqiu said, “The two reasons you gave, aren’t they quite compatible with the conduct I’m discriminating against?”
Shang Qinghua: “Aiyah, be a bit better to me, a bit softer, okay? Cucumber Bro, tell me, when is it best for me to return to the present world?”
Shen Qingqiu: “You really want to return to the present world? Your vision really does decline if you shoot your airplane too much. Wake up, you’re just waiting for him to apologize, then take you back and continue to lightly beat you up three times a day.”
Before they had finished chatting, the meal was served. Luo Binghe carried over two bowls of noodles.
White noodles and red broth, fresh and oily chopped green onion, completed by a pile of tender slices of meat, presentation extremely fine.
But Shang Qinghua wouldn’t stretch out his claws. Without needing Bing-ge to open his mouth and say it, only needing a seemingly careless glance, Shang Qinghua knew, there wasn’t a portion for him.
Shen Qingqiu sighed, “So, I told you it was a bad time.”
After all, it was the food Bing-ge had made with his own hands, not everyone had the right to eat. Shang Qinghua didn’t have anything to say, shrinking to the corner of the table, helplessly watching the two across from him split their chopsticks.
Later, Shen Qingqiu finally couldn’t watch anymore, putting a piece of meat in Luo Binghe’s bowl while holding back a smile, finally giving him some mercy. “Forget it, stop teasing him. Your Shishu has been pitiful enough these days, you don’t need to bully him anymore.”
Luo Binghe put that piece of meat in his mouth and said without lifting his head, “There’s more in the pot.”
Shang Qinghua giddily went, shovel in hand.
Holding the noodles, he slurped until his eyes were brimming with hot tears. This time, he deeply experienced, in this world, the most reliable thing was indeed being Peerless Cucumber’s friend from the same hometown.
After he had mooched a meal of incomparably tasty noodles, Shang Qinghua was already pleased beyond his expectations, entirely not thinking to ask for lodgings.
To make a joke, he did not want to eavesdrop through Bing-ge’s wall. Whether or not he could get enough sleep was one thing, whether Bing-ge would cut off his ears and boil them with the noodles the next day was another.
Look at what sort of godly days Shen Qingqiu was living, then look at what sort of days he was living. Constantly comparing yourself to others will anger you to death. Really, this was preposterous. Clearly, he was the author, he was this world’s creator deity kamisama7, can’t you all be a bit better to him! Care for your creator! Protect your creator!
Shang Qinghua, savoring the lingering taste of the only bowl of noodles his son had ever given him while using a piece of grass to pick his teeth, walked on the minor road between the mountains.
He walked and walked when his foot suddenly slid out from beneath him.
There was a ravine right next to the minor road, and Shang Qinghua didn’t bring a sword. If he fell down there, was no way to fly back up. He started to curse himself, “How can you slip when you’re just walking on the road? Laozi isn’t some manga female protagonist with the supreme skill of tripping over flat ground!”
Sitting down to look, there wasn’t any suddenly appearing banana peel or small tree root, only a small puddle.
But, that puddle was frozen over. The short weeds all around were also being covered by a faint layer of frost.
Shang Qinghua frantically rolled and crawled over to the closest rock face, back towards it looking for a bit of security.
He had thought that dilly-dallying along, tempting death by not returning until Mobei-Jun suddenly showed up knocking at his door would be the most disastrous possibility. But, when a certain person walked out from behind the craggy rocks and drooping vines, he finally discovered, things could be even worse.
LinGuang-Jun said, “Yo, look, who is this?”
Shang Qinghua laughed drily. “Right! Who is this?”
LinGuang-Jun patted the top of his head and said, “Mobei-Jun, he nearly overturned the whole Northern Border looking for you, but you know how to hide, ah?”
“Junshang is joking; when was I hiding…”
“Right? I was also wondering, what was there to hide from? Last time at the ice fortress, you performed such a meritorious service, but Mobei didn’t even have the chance to reward you. I can’t figure it out. Why did you run to this poor place in the middle of nowhere?”
“Oh, it’s nothing, nothing!” Shang Qinghua repeatedly waved his hands. “It’s nothing to do with me. Last time, it was all Mobei-Jun relying on his own skill…”
He had originally declined, fearing LinGuang-Jun would also remember his part in his defeat at the ice fortress last time. But, unexpectedly, hearing this, LinGuang-Jun suddenly changed his face, his tone turning harsh. “Your meaning is that without you, this lowly shameless treacherous Cang Qiong Mountain dog, to jump out and wreck my good work halfway, that damned youngster could have defeated me alone?!”
Yes is wrong, no is also wrong, Shang Qinghua bemoaned the injustice to the skies. “How is that possible! Mobei-Jun defeated you, Junshang, only because he relied on a sneak attack!”
LinGuang-Jun: “Are you ridiculing me?”
Shang Qinghua: “…”
Thinking of it, oh right, the one who did a sneak attack first was clearly LinGuang-Jun himself. The horseshit slapped back on the horse’s leg, no matter what he said it was wrong. After hugging people’s thighs with a subservient smile for decades, this was the first time Shang Qinghua had encountered a character this hard to deal with!
He shut his mouth, a mournful look on his face.
LinGuang-Jun sneered, “Mobei, that youngster, definitely never could have thought, I would just casually run into the person he expended all his energy on but couldn’t find. So, I must use you well…”
Shang Qinghua said hurriedly, “Junshang! If you want to catch me and use me to threaten Mobei-Jun, it’s completely useless! I’ll tell you the truth about why I want to run away. In fact, last time, while he couldn’t move, I couldn’t resist beating him up…you know that damn temper of his! With that sort of opportunity, it’s hard not to hit him, right? But after, there was nothing I could do, I was afraid he would retaliate so I just… ran. He looked all over for me; he probably just wants to beat me back. I don’t have a half bit of value in his eyes, at most I’m just a convenient sandbag and attendant.”
LinGuang-Jun paused, then said impatiently, “What are you saying so much to me for? Do I look like the type of demon who’d do this sort of shameless thing?”
It’s hard to say ah, it wasn’t very proper when you sneak attacked Mobei-Jun… Shang Qinghua said sincerely, “You don’t.”
LinGuang-Jun: “Then do I look like the type of demon to be that patient?”
Shang Qinghua: “That I don’t know. Then, Junshang, how do you want to ‘use’ me?”
“How to use?” LinGuang-Jun laughed, “Kill you to vent my anger. Is this way of using very hard to think of?”
“…” Shang Qinghua froze, then said, “That’s not necessary, wasting your resources this is! Junshang, you probably can use me to threaten Mobei-Jun or whatever, what a pity would it be to just kill me!”
LinGuang-Jun: “‘I don’t have a half bit of value in his eyes, at most I’m just a convenient sandbag and attendant.’ Who said these words again?”
Shang Qinghua: “Humans have a saying, modesty is a virtue…”
Before he had finished the word “virtue”, he suddenly tossed out his hand, yelling, “Watch this Xuanyang immortal fire!”
Numerous balls of roiling red flame shot through the air. Frightened, LinGuang-Jun hurriedly darted to the side to dodge. However, the flames extinguished immediately after they hit the ground. It clearly wasn’t the unencroachable by wind, unencroachable by water Xuanyang immortal fire, this servant Shang Qinghua was just tricking him!
LinGuang-Jun was enraged, new resentment fanning old hate. Casually brushing his hand over a not-quite-fallen drop of dew on a drooping leaf, he aimed right at Shang Qinghua and attacked. Shang Qinghua only felt his calf cool before his leg had already been shot through by an ice bullet solidified by demonic energy. He couldn’t run even if he wanted, crashing to the ground with a “pa-ta”.
LinGuang-Jun stole up, one foot lightly stepping on the kneecap of his other leg. You’re just like a cockroach, too good at running! I’ll first destroy your two legs, see how you’ll run then?”
Shang Qinghua didn’t have any of the integrity to stay unyielding in the face of destruction, his soul flying out in fright. “My king——!!”
Call the king, the king arrives!
An ink-blue silhouette suddenly appeared like a monster. With a “ka”, two balls of black energy collided. LinGuang-Jun, holding one of his legs broken at the knee, was crazed with anger. “You youngster, do you have to come this promptly?! Can’t you wait just a bit more?! Can’t you wait until I stomp down then arrive?!”
Mobei-Jun broke his other knee with a kick, then said coldly, “I can’t!”
LinGuang-Jun was quite strong-willed. Both his knees were broken into powder, but he didn’t scream, instead cursing him out more hysterically. “You really are the same type as your dead-faced father! You could have been like anyone, but you had to be like him. Turtle and tortoise born in the same nest, he steals and you also steal! He died early; why don’t you die early! Fuck…”
Mobei-Jun said, “If you curse any more, I’ll send you in to keep him company.”
Shang Qinghua stared, tongue-tied. Though he knew LinGuang-Jun always held a deep resentment towards his older brother, he never thought it would already be deep enough to completely lose his elegance to shout abuses in the street…
Amidst LinGuang-Jun’s crazed curses, Mobei-Jun casually flipped his hand, flipping him into the ravine. Falling down the ravine like this, a human might die, but a demon definitely could not. Shang Qinghua didn’t remind him to pull the grass up by its roots. It was his own uncle, and his father had definitely told him that whatever LinGuang-Jun did, to be a bit indulgent. In truth, Shang Qinghua didn’t want to remind him of anything at all, if he could let him forget his own existence, that would be even better…
Mobei-Jun withdrew his gaze from the bottom of the ravine. “Stop!”
Shang Qinghua, dragging a perforated calf, was about to furtively slip away. Not wanting to be broken by his single shout, he froze in place.
A pervert caught red-handed didn’t even have as guilty a conscience as him. Hearing the sound of Mobei-Jun’s footsteps treading frost and cracking ice as he walked over, he hurriedly covered his own face.
Mobei-Jun seemed to have an especially fierce temper today, not reserved at all. “What are you doing?!”
Shang Qinghua said shyly, “Didn’t you say ‘don’t let me see you again’. There’s no way for you not to see now, I’ll just cover my face.”
Mobei-Jun lifted his hand, and Shang Qinghua covered his head out of habit.
Mobei-Jun separated his two arms and stretched them straight, at the end of his patience. “If you let me see you do this sort of thing again… you won’t need to keep your hands!”
These words had some of that teeth-clenching hatred. Shang Qinghua reflexively wanted to cover his head again but managed to choke it down for the sake of this pair of hands that had done a heroic deed typing on the keyboard.
Panicking, he began to shake and shake, shake until Mobei-Jun said, “What do you have to fear from me?”
Shang Qinghua: “Uh, in fact, I don’t! It’s just that I always feel like you’re going to give me a few hits, my king. Before, ah, hitting or kicking, it’s whatever, but now you’re already officially succeeded to the throne, your cultivation cannot be compared to before. You can make raging waves beat the shore, flying stones pierce the clouds at once, I’m afraid I can’t endure your few hits…”
Mobei-Jun said, “Shut up! Follow me, go!”
Shang Qinghua threw caution to the wind, firmly throwing himself on the stone wall like a lizard. “I won’t go! No, I want to go! I want to return to my old home.”
Mobei-Jun said, “If I let you hit back, then will you not go.”
Shang Qinghua: “Especially staying to get beat up by you three times every day, might as well… what?!”
Let him hit back?
Mobei-Jun was willing to let him hit back?
So he wouldn’t go, Mobei-Jun was willing to let him hit back?
Overly shocked, countless waves of words cycled through Shang Qinghua’s brain like climbing stairs.
Mobei-Jun lifted his chin, stiff and unmoving, an upright aura of “hit however, I won’t retaliate”, but always stealthily watching him out of the corner of his eye.
Seeing him not move after a while, Mobei-Jun seemed to suddenly get happy. Although when he got happy, it only looked like the tip of his eyebrow raised a bit higher.
Mobei-Jun said, “You’re not going to do it? Time is up. Then I won’t let you hit. Go.”
Wait a minute, I didn’t say I wouldn’t do it? There’s a time limit?
Mobei-Jun, the corner of his brow hiding that extremely covert hint of pleasure, dragged Shang Qinghua and ran. Shang Qinghua immediately began to wail. “Mayah, it hurts it hurts it hurts my king you, look at me! Look at me look at me!”
Mobei-Jun indeed looked at him, and also saw his bloody dripping leg.
“…” After a moment of silence, he tried to carry Shang Qinghua on his shoulder.
Shang Qinghua hovered between life and death. “My king, spare me, my king, spare me! If you carry me like this the whole way, this leg of mine really will be crippled ah”
Mobei-Jun said, “Then what should I do?”
Shang Qinghua, both eyes filled with tears, attempted, “What about… first find me a doctor?”
With a click of the tongue, Mobei-Jun turned and left.
A gust of cold wind blew by, the abandoned Shang Qinghua dumbstruck like a wooden chicken.
This was… thought he was too much trouble?
After some time, Mobei-Jun returned, and he was dragging a handcart stolen from who knows where. The wooden chicken finally became a live chicken.
The grand and stately Demon Race second-in-command, noble and cool Mobei Ice Clan chief, dignified and precious, dragging a broken-down handcart extremely out of sorts with his style. This scene, impressive!
With a “pu!”, Shang Qinghua broke down again.
Seeing the blue veins faintly jumping on Mobei-Jun’s forehead, he hurriedly knit his brow and started calling out, aiyo aiyo. After calling a few times, Mobei-Jun grabbed him up, settling him on top of the cart.
Though he was sitting on a crooked and broken-down handcart, stolen from the old horse in who knows what farming family’s courtyard, probably only used in the past to carry things like some fodder, firewood, slop buckets, that sort of thing, Shang Qinghua still raised his eyebrows and blew off steam, an awe-inspiring presence. Those who didn’t know him might even think he was an esteemed zhuangyuan8 scholar after ten years of strenuous studies, received a marriage gifted from the gods, and gone out to welcome him, striking gongs and beating drums.
This really was the cycle of karma. The first time he had seen Mobei-Jun, he also used a handcart like this to pull the unconscious Mobei-Jun to rent a room!
A poem as proof: River flows east thirty years, river flows west thirty years. Handcart turns back and forth, arrives at my house next year. Haha!
Shang Qinghua declared, filled with a fluttering immortal air, “I want to eat noodles.”
That bowl of noodles from Bing-ge was really delicious, but it was too little. He didn’t save a few noodles for him; it wasn’t enough to satisfy.
Shang Qinghua emphasized, “Pulled noodles.”
Having won an inch, Shang Qinghua asked for a mile. “You make it.”
The handcart abruptly stopped, Mobei-Jun standing in place.
A faint cold of unknown origin drifted over. Shang Qinghua was immediately frightened, creasing his brow and moving his gaze, “I’ll make it, I’ll make it, of course, I’ll make it. I was speaking without thinking, xixixi.”
Ay. The ideal was so plump, but the reality was so skinny.
After a while, the handcart wheels slowly began to turn again. Mobei-Jun, in front, said without turning back, “I’ll make it.”
He said what? He said he’d make it? Make what? Pulled noodles?
This Mobei-Jun who was willing to let him hit, willing to make noodles——What day is it today? He’s striking it rich today!
Shang Qinghua decided!
He’s going to retake his old profession.
This penname Airplane Shooting Towards the Sky is going to boldly rush back into the fray!
What should he write? Shang Qinghua slapped his thigh. So he’s heard, Sleeping Willow Flower’s9 81% discounted Resentment of Chunshan sold like a raging fire. En, he’ll just go along with the flow and write then! Though he himself was upstanding without compare, if there are people to read then there is a market, if there is a market he dares to write. Airplane Shooting Towards the Sky was best at going with the flow—whatever is popular is what he’ll write, that’s right!”
The first step would be to figure out a good title that would be well-received by the masses. 《Secret Annals of Qing Jing Peak》《My Disciple Can’t Be That Cute》《Shizun is so Tender Like This》or something, he still hasn’t decided, mull it over first. His writing style isn’t as good as Sleeping Willow Flower’s, that’s nothing, Airplane Shooting Towards the Sky was never selling writing style. In addition, Sleeping Willow Flower, the three Daoist nuns, that whole circle of assistant writers included, Airplane-dada didn’t really like. Writing this and writing that, in the end it was only Shen Qingqiu and Luo Binghe those two people, their scope is way too narrow. In fact, how he sees it, it’s entirely possible to be more daring and unbridled. For example, if you’re calling it《Resentment of Chunshan》, why limit yourself to one CP? With characters like Liu Qingge, wouldn’t it be too much a pity if you didn’t write? Yue Qingyuan is also a beautiful man with a stately bearing, accomplished in business and with a very proper family. Mu-shidi and Wei-shixiong, those ones weren’t the male gods in the eyes of the world, writing is NP, you’re afraid no one will read if you mess around and let them stew?
In short, as long as he was blatant enough, shameless (crossed out) enough, didn’t care for his own face (crossed out) enough, sooner and later he’d once again become a hegemon of this land’s literary circles. He wouldn’t even need to sell homemade soap to become a prosperous and dazzling He Houhua!
Airplane Shooting Towards the Sky stuck up his legs, the handcart creaking and swaying along on the bumpy mountain road. The evening sun descended in the west, and Mobei-Jun pulled him along, going in who knows what direction.
Though the disasters were too many to repeat, chickens flying and dogs jumping about, everything in disorder, writing style like an elementary schooler, maybe the more serious readers couldn’t even resist throwing down the book and cursing “what dogshit plaything”. But, Airplane Shooting Towards the Sky-juju was used to looking for excuses for his own fraudulent behavior, he could toss out a thousand “it’s only”s to smooth things over. For example: it’s only reading a novel, it’s like being a person, just have a good time, why so serious; it’s just something I wrote for fun, be a bit generous to me everyone; it’s just a brainless satisfying read, what were you hoping to see; it’s only…
…It’s only he really, very much likes this story he wrote.