The sky was… blood red .
The yells and battling sound of the earlier battle lingered in his ears . Lu Qingan broke free of his Shizun’s shackles and charged like mad to the battlefield strewn with corpses . He rummaged around in vain .
“Qingan, don’t let me down . ” With a hand behind him, the Sect Master of Tian Yuan Sect sighed, then covered his mouth and coughed . He had been ambushed earlier, and his injuries had yet to heal . He had Lu Qingan locked up in the back mountain, but he had never expected Lu Qingan to rush out the moment he heard about the siege of Jing Hua Sect .
Lu Qingan pursed his lips and remained silent . There was another layer of anguish on his initially frosty expression . He was obsessed with cleanliness by nature, but now, he was flipping over corpses unreservedly . His mind was in a whirl .
… What if I found him?
His soul has already scattered…
What if I didn’t find him?
Would that mean that there’s not a single trace of him left in this world…
Each thought was like a sharp sword brutally stabbing his already battered heart . It hurt so much he was almost numb . The voice continued behind him, sighing .
“I know he saved you before, and since then he often sneaked into the sect to accompany you . You’re close to each other, but you mustn’t get yourself involved in the demonic cultivators’ affairs…”
Lu Qingan’s paused in his tracks . The chaos in his mind reached its peak, and his mind went blank . He gasped . Then, his body swayed and he suddenly fell to his knees . The black blood-stained soil was icy . A figure gradually materialized before Lu Qingan’s eyes .
“… Shen Nian . ”
He finally opened his mouth . Pain laced his eyes . His voice was hoarse and trembling .
“Shen Nian… Shen Nian…”
“I’m here . ”
Lu Qingan was jolted awake .
He turned his head with an expressionless face and narrowed his eyes to see a smiling man leaning against him . The moonlight shone through the window and coldly pierced through his illusory body, giving him a clear, delicate appearance .
The smile at the corners of Shen Nian’s lips deepened when he saw that Lu Qingan had woken up . He reclined with one hand propping up his chin and the other stroking Lu Qingan’s face rascally . There were icy crystal tears on his slender fingers .
“Uh? An-an, why were you crying while calling out my name until you wake up? Do you miss me that much?”
Lu Qingan looked at him silently .
His soul was more or less nourished enough to return to his body after a few more days . But his soul had been wandering without consciousness for a hundred years, and those damaged memories were likely lost for good… Would a Shen Nian without his past memories still be Shen Nian?
But then, it was probably a relief to him to forget about the past…
“Shen Nian . ”
“Take your hand away . ”
Shen Nian smiled and expressed his surprise . He looked down at Lu Qingan’s chest that was peeking through his slightly opened inner garment and raised his eyebrows . He suddenly leaned over and put a hand around Lu Qingan’s neck . His lips nudging against the corner of the latter’s lips . “An-an, it seems that I’ve forgotten a lot of stuff . But it feels familiar whenever I see your body . How about we get between the sheets? Maybe I’ll remember if we do it a few times…”
Lu Qingan remained unmoved and pushed away his face . Turning over, he said in a light tone . “If you don’t want to return to your body, just say it . ”
Shen Nian wisely shut his mouth up . He sighed and lowered his head to look at Lu Qingan’s exposed shoulder, then raised the quilt and tilted his head to look at him for a moment . Somehow, he found this scene familiar .
After thinking for a while, Shen Nian’s eyes lit up .
Although he could not remember it all, he could still remember the frowning person in his embrace every morning when he woke up a long time ago . He could not bear to wake him up, so he simply stared quietly at his sleeping face until his eyelids twitched . Just as the person was about to wake up, he would immediately close his eyes and pretended that he was still asleep . Then he would hear the rustle of clothes being worn . After a while, the person would come to wake him up for sword training . If he failed to wake him up, he would reach a hand out to push him . Then he would seize the chance to pull the person onto the bed and pin him down beneath him to kiss him deeply . He would laugh happily when he looked at his expressionless yet blushing face .
… That seemed to be a beautiful memory, deeply etched into his soul . All he needed was to think about it carefully to remember it . Even though the face of the person in his memory was fuzzy, he was sure it was Lu Qingan .
Shen Nian smiled as he called out to him, but he said nothing further .
Really! Lu Qingan just had to speak more of the past, and perhaps Shen Nian would recall them, but he just had to hide it . Even if something major had happened before his death, it was all in the past, wasn’t it?
Lu Qingan took Shen Nian and wandered around the world . Three years after the end of the Great Righteous and Demonic War, he finally restored Shen Nian’s soul .
He had carefully preserved the body he had found in the Jing Hua Secret Realm . The moment Shen Nian’s soul returned to the body, the first thing he did was to jump up and hug Lu Qingan, who had been observing him with a lowered head . He gave three exaggerated laughs and gave Lu Qingan a smack on his face .
Lu Qingan’s face darkened . The intelligent Yan Han on his waist immediately whipped out of its scabbard, emitting a frosty golden sword aura .
Although Shen Nian’s cultivation had fallen to the Core Formation Stage, he showed no fear and deftly dodged it . He kicked out Bu Heng on Lu Qingan’s waist with his toe and drew it to make a stab towards Lu Qingan .
“Let’s fight! You can’t use spiritual energy . If I win, you have to sleep with me tonight!”
Lu Qingan was not that bothered previously because he was still in soul form . But now that he was back in his body, given his temperament, Lu Qingan would definitely kick him away .
A trace of surprise flashed through Lu Qingan’s eyes . It was obvious he did not understand why Shen Nian was doing this . He calmly raised his sword and stepped back, intending to leap out of the window . They were now staying in an inn . If they fought in the room, they would destroy the entire inn if they were not careful .
Shen Nian instantly understood his intent . His sword quivered and glowed as he twirled it, even if he did not use any spiritual energy . The light and physical sword body overlapped . Lu Qingan had no choice but to turn and ward off his attacks . After a few exchanges, Shen Nian forced him away from the window .
Shen Nian could slash away with his sword without a single care . But Lu Qingan had too many to consider and so his hands were somewhat tied . From time to time, he still had to block Bu Heng from smashing the wares in the room . Furthermore, his swordplay technique was an imposing and efficient killing stance . In this narrow space, faced with a dauntless Shen Nian, he could only retreat repeatedly . In the end, Yan Han was warded off and he was forced into a corner . With his back to the wall, he looked helplessly at Shen Nian, who was mischievously laughing before him .
… He had not been backed into the corner for many years .
Shen Nian was satisfied to have forced Lu Qingan into the corner . He cast Bu Heng aside and looked at Lu Qingan while crackling . He rubbed his palms . “Aye, little beauty, you’ve lost . ”
A warm smile spread over his face as he spoke . Propping himself against the wall with one hand beside Lu Qingan’s head, he lowered his head and leaned in to the latter’s face . “An-an, why don’t you say something?”
Lu Qingan looked at him expressionlessly . “Get out of the way . ”
On hearing it, Shen Nian raised his eyebrows and leaned in closer . The tip of his nose was almost touching Lu Qingan . Their eyes met, and their warm breath merged into one . It was as if he could smell a light fragrance .
“… An-an . ”
Shen Nian’s heart skipped a beat . He retracted his flippant expression and made up his mind . Raising Lu Qingan’s chin, he kissed him .
… Even if Lu Qingan kicked him away right after, it was still not bad to earn himself some benefits .
To his surprise, he was not booted away .
Lu Qingan’s cold facade cracked when his lips were suddenly taken . He was so dazed and stunned he forgot to resist . He closed his eyes slightly and furrowed his brows, whether it was out of agony or something else .
The lips in his were soft as petals . As the kiss lingered, a vague image flashed through Shen Nian’s mind . Just as he was about to pry open Lu Qingan’s mouth to deepen the kiss, he heard a “ding” from beyond the window .
There was a barrier in the room . A voice transmitting talisman had come crashing into it .
Lu Qingan’s rare display of vulnerability was instantly gone as if he had returned to his senses . His face sank as he pushed Shen Nian away and walked up to the window to pick up the talisman .
Shen Nian remained where he was with a complicated expression .
Oh geez, which idiot got in his way?!
Shen Nian begrudgingly followed after Lu Qingan and was just in time to hear the clear, cool voice of a youth from the voice transmitting talisman . “… Father has woken up . He wants to thank Shizun personally and so would like to invite Shizun back to Fallen Maple Leaf Valley . ”
Shen Nian sighed . He tried to put his arms around Lu Qingan’s neck, but Lu Qingan easily stepped back to dodge his hands . He watched the talisman between his fingertips turn to ashes . Only then did his expression softened . “Well done . ”
Even though Shen Nian missed the first time, he did not give up . He leaned over to put his arms around Lu Qingan’s waist . Before Lu Qingan could strike him away, he hurriedly said, “Who was that? That eldest disciple of yours? Was his father revived? Really? The legendary Xuan Jing? You did? Eh, Xuan Jing really exists . An-an, all those years I was dead, did you ever think of searching for Xuan Jing to revive me? “
Lu Qingan could not help but frown as a barrage of questions hit him . He even forgot to push Shen Nian away . He turned his head and threw him a light look . “No . ”
Shen Nian was heartbroken . “An-an…”
Lu Qingan sighed . “I hadn’t heard of Xuan Jing back then . ”
Shen Nian raised his eyebrows and smiled . He felt sweet all over .
He could hear the underlying connotation in Lu Qingan’s words .
At least, he could tell that Lu Qingan had once thought of ways to revive him, or that he had searched for his soul or his body… Anyway, it meant Lu Qingan had been thinking about him . He was truly the man Shen Nian had been thinking of for over a hundred years .
Since Chu Yu had specially sent over the voice-transmitting talisman, Lu Qingan did not intend to procrastinate . He put the money on the table and rode his sword . Before he could fly, there was a heaviness behind him . Lu Qingan looked back with a frosty face and saw Shen Nian standing behind him smiling . “Don’t look at me like this . I’ve been floating for a hundred years . Now that I have suddenly gotten a body, I’m not used to it . Give me a ride, will you?”
Lu Qingan looked at him with an indifferent expression .
Shen Nian began to play the miserable card . “Oh, An-an . You have no idea . When I woke up, I found myself adrift in the Mausoleum Ruins . It was all a mess in the mausoleum ruins . Right at the start, I was almost devoured by some rotten things . I had a narrow escape several times, and my soul nearly scattered for good . It took me a long time to find the array . But without a body, I couldn’t leave even if I managed to activate the array . I’ve been lonely for a hundred years…”
A vein throbbed at Lu Qingan’s temple . “Shut up . ”
With that, he rode towards Jiao Xia .
The corners of Shen Nian’s lips curved into a smile . He pushed his luck and wrapped his arms around Lu Qingan’s waist, almost embracing him in his bosom . The deeply etched sense of familiarity made his eyes hot . It was so familiar he wanted to knead the person in his embrace into his own flesh and blood, never to separate again .
“An-an . ” Shen Nian whispered . “It has been hard on you… you must have been lonely waiting for me for a hundred years . ”
Lu Qingan’s body trembled slightly . He closed his eyes . He was initially going to shake off Shen Nian’s hands, but now, he could not bring himself to do it .
Shen Nian laughed soundlessly and lowered his head to plant a kiss on the top of Lu Qingan’s head . He looked into the distance .
This guy . Even though he was as cold as frost, his body was honest…
They had years ahead of them . One of these days, he would get him to talk about their past .