"Whenever you open that door, I will be waiting for you in the Exorcism Department."
mild smut (wet dream)
Editor(s): juurensha, namio
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One shichen later, in the village, Hongjun pushed open the door to a residence.
This was a village that had been trampled over by the corpse ghosts that fell in battle, and every home had long since fallen into disrepair, completely uninhabited. After Li Jinglong settled his horse for the night, he and Hongjun sat in one of the houses and started a fire, the two of them leaning against each other.
Hongjun placed the phoenix tail feather in front of Li Jinglong’s inner robe, yet Li Jinglong replied quietly, “I’m not cold.”
Hongjun moved to press his hand against Li Jinglong’s forehead, only for Li Jinglong to catch it, holding it between his own hands. The two of them watched the fire in the stove quietly, lost in their thoughts.
“You’re missing home, is that it?”
“No,” Hongjun replied dejectedly.
Li Jinglong comforted him. “I believe that that night, Chong Ming didn’t mean it. A father will not refuse to let his child come home.”
Hongjun replied, “Going back this time is only because I want to figure out the truth.”
Li Jinglong’s eyebrows furrowed as Hongjun murmured, “Yaojin Palace was once my home, but after I learned of the past, all that changed.”
After that, he told Li Jinglong what the ghost king had said. Li Jinglong had never expected that things were actually like this. In the end, Hongjun said bleakly, “Treating Yaojin Palace as my home was perhaps nothing more than wishful thinking on my part.”
“Go back ba,” Li Jinglong suddenly said.
Hongjun raised his head to look at Li Jinglong, but Li Jinglong said, “Return to the Exorcism Department, the Exorcism Department is your new home. I promise you…”
The hand that Li Jinglong had slung on his shoulders came down, and he pressed it against Hongjun’s chest instead as he picked up Hongjun’s right hand, pressing that palm against his own chest.
“As long as my heart still beats,” Li Jinglong said earnestly, “Hongjun, you will never become Mara, nor will you become a monster. You will always stay by my side, and for every day that the Exorcism Department exists, you will never have no place to return to; as long as I am alive, whenever you open that door, I will be waiting for you in the Exorcism Department.”
Hongjun’s heart began to beat violently, as if there was an icy river at the bottom of his heart slowly cracking, letting out light sounds.
“I… I…” When Hongjun heard these words, he was a little at a loss for what to do. As soon as his gaze met Li Jinglong’s, he couldn’t resist wanting to duck away from his gaze.
“I won’t,” Hongjun said in the end.
“Then I’ll go with you,” Li Jinglong said. “Wherever you go, I will go with you.”
Hongjun’s breathing quickened. He didn’t know what had come over him today, but ever since Li Jinglong had discovered that he had run off and came chasing after him, his heart had kept seizing again and again. He hated him a little, but with that hate came something he couldn’t describe clearly, something he wasn’t sure of, some other kind of emotion.
Especially when Li Jinglong had grabbed him and shouted, “ The way I treated you”, that had made him nearly unable to breathe.
“What’s wrong now?” Li Jinglong asked, not understanding.
“Nothing,” Hongjun immediately said. “I’m tired. I want to sleep for a bit.”
So Li Jinglong hugged him, saying, “Sleep ba.”
The weather was icy cold, and though Li Jinglong’s hug was extremely warm, just like it had always been, there was a different feeling than usual. His body gave off a light scent of sweat from those several days of racing after him, and that warm light in his chest caused Hongjun to feel both infatuated and at peace.
Ever since he had that dream, this was the night that he slept the most soundly, as if the snow filling the world outside this little house was glowing with the warm, white light of the Heart Lamp. He had a dream, and in his dream he actually returned to the hot springs on Mt. Li. The two of them were both fully naked, standing in the water, and Li Jinglong was applying medicine to his ear. Because their naked bodies were pressed together, Hongjun’s face was bright red, and he tried to duck away, but Li Jinglong pulled him back...
“Just… like this.”
“Like this, like this.”
“Hey, hey! Let go of me!”
In Pingkang Li shining brightly with the gaudy lights of revelry, that night when they were hunting down the fox yao among the alleys, Li Jinglong had, with a serious expression, explained the entire process to him. That description had been extremely detailed and vigorous, and as Hongjun listened, his handsome face had gone bright red, and he had started to have a reaction.
“Stripped bare and embraced…”
Outside of Pingkang Li, Li Jinglong had described it to him in apparent seriousness, and that seemed to meld strangely with the scene of the two of them standing in the hot springs, pressed close together. Right after that, he put a hand to the side of Hongjun’s face, lowered his head, and kissed him. Hongjun’s heartbeats immediately sped up, just like how it had when Li Jinglong had held his hands that night, stared into his eyes, and made his promise.
Li Jinglong spread Hongjun’s fingers apart, and the two of them laced all ten of their fingers together. The tremors from those movements reached directly to his heart.
Hongjun shifted at that and woke, only to suddenly feel that as he dreamed, he had accidentally come. Li Jinglong, however, was still sleeping soundly, his fingers still twined with Hongjun’s own.
Outside, the snow had stopped. Hongjun lifted a knee, only to feel that a large area around his crotch was wet. His expression was one of complete wretchedness, and he carefully pulled out his fingers from Li Jinglong’s. Last night, they had fallen asleep upright, leaning against each other, and Hongjun had pillowed himself on half of Li Jinglong’s body, which had gone numb. Thankfully, Li Jinglong had yet to realize anything.
What to do, what to do! His pants were wet! And there was nowhere to wash it!
Hongjun looked towards the outer robes that had been draped off to one side, and he pulled over a corner of one. He tugged it in between his thighs to wipe. Li Jinglong had also woken, but he didn’t make a sound, instead opening his eyes and watching Hongjun’s actions oddly.
Hongjun hadn’t sensed his gaze yet. His face was bright red as he sat there cross-legged, pulling open his pants as he ducked his head, reaching in to wipe.
Li Jinglong scooted over and took a look, before he suddenly burst out with laughter. Hongjun immediately let out a loud shout and gave Li Jinglong a punch, almost breaking his bones.
Half a shichen later, the two of them rode over the snowy plains, taking the closest main road towards Liangzhou City.
It was the second day of the new year, and the ground in front of the entrances to every household was covered in the red confetti of the firecrackers, like red flowers blooming in the snow. Li Jinglong raged, “You almost broke my ribs!”
Hongjun turned his head back, gritting his teeth as he eked out, “Stop talking about it!”
“Hey,” Li Jinglong said. “What did you dream of this time? Did you dream of Gege?”
When Hongjun heard this, he exploded, and he couldn’t help but want to beat him up.
But Li Jinglong kept asking. “That wasn’t your first time, was it?”
“It wasn’t!” Hongjun roared angrily. “If you bring it up anymore, I’m going to ignore you!”
Li Jinglong followed behind him at an unhurried pace. After the two of them entered Liangzhou City, Li Jinglong first took the reins of the horses, making Hongjun wait outside as he bought him a new inner shirt and shorts, and after that, they went to the bathhouse. They hadn’t bathed for a good half a month by now, and finally Hongjun could wash up properly and change his clothes.
“After you finish bathing, wait for me outside,” Li Jinglong said.
“Where are you going?” Hongjun asked, confused.
“To deliver a letter,” Li Jinglong replied. “To tell the brothers of the Exorcism Department that I’ve found you.”
Hongjun sank into the bathtub and let out a long exhale.
This was not the first time that he had had a wet dream. Several years ago, he had some in Yaojin Palace as well. At that time, he thought that he had wet the bed, and he was terrified of Chong Ming finding out and scolding him, so he hid his pants away. Only later did he understand what had happened.
At that time, when he had dreamt, what had he dreamed of? It was as if someone was calling him, and he had also fought with a youth who was about the same age as him. As they fought, his opponent had kissed him… Hongjun shook his head, tossing that confused jumble of thoughts out of his mind. Why had he dreamt of Li Jinglong last night? Dreaming about him was one thing, but dreaming about him in the hot springs...
As Hongjun continued thinking about it, he couldn’t resist getting hard again, and he shrank into the water, his head spinning and his vision blurry as he soaked there. Only after pouring a ladleful of cold water over his head did he feel somewhat better.
After he finished washing and walked out, Li Jinglong still hadn’t come back. In a side room outside the bathing chambers, an attendant had set out a food box, saying that this was according to Zhangshi’s commands, so that he could eat first. With that, Hongjun began to eat.
It was after noon now, and as he kept waiting, Li Jinglong didn’t return. Hongjun suddenly felt as if he had been left behind -- on the second day of the new year, Liangzhou City was filled with joyous festivity. Only he himself sat in this foreign city, not recognizing a single person here. Even the carp yao hadn’t come with him.
Footsteps sounded, and Hongjun thought that Li Jinglong had returned. He peeked out, only to find that it was a bathhouse attendant.
What if he left now? Hongjun thought over it again and again, but after thinking about how he had caused Li Jinglong to chase after him for a whole day and night, he really couldn’t bear to do such a thing again.
“Aaaahhh -- when exactly is he coming back!” Hongjun felt as if he was starting to lose his mind.
But just at this instant, Li Jinglong appeared from around the corner of the screen, watching him curiously.
Li Jinglong had just finished bathing, and his hair was still half wet as he sat down. “Things are finally taken care of.”
Hongjun said, “Since you got back already, why didn’t you say anything?”
Li Jinglong observed his gaze, saying, “You’re angry again?” He then understood, and he chuckled. “You’ve waited a long time, right? Why didn’t you even make some tea to drink?” And saying this, he put the copper kettle on the small stove, pulling a food box towards him as he began to eat.
“I won’t go back to Chang’an,” Hongjun said sulkily.
“I know,” Li Jinglong replied easily. “In a bit, we’ll set out to the Taihang Mountains.”
Hongjun studied him, before asking, “You’re really going?”
“Of course,” Li Jinglong answered, as if that was expected.
Hongjun couldn’t resist looking at Li Jinglong. He hadn’t felt this before, but after the events of last night, he suddenly felt that from his body, there was an aura of extreme charisma. His features were the deep-set ones of the Han people, his eyebrows pointed like swords, his eyes bright like stars, and his body was also very well sculpted. But the center of his brows seemed to have an air to it that kept strangers away. Aside from when he smiled, he often had this kind of expression on his face. It left the hearts of those looking feeling itchy, so they could not resist wanting to make him angry, or lash out and strike at him.
After Li Jinglong finished eating, he moved to make the tea. He first poured out a cup for Hongjun, then thought deeply as he drank his own cup. Hongjun knew that Li Jinglong was cooking up some plan again, so he said, “Then we must first agree on three rules.”
Li Jinglong almost spat out his tea. He looked at Hongjun, saying, “Name them.”
“After we get to Yaojin Palace, you must listen to me,” Hongjun replied.
Li Jinglong said, “That’s expected. Going to your house means that a guest should act according to what the host sees fit. What else?”
Hongjun thought for a bit, before finally saying, “There’s nothing else.”
Li Jinglong: “...”
“You were gone for so long, weren’t you afraid of me leaving?” Hongjun asked.
“Since I caught up to you once, you won’t run anymore,” Li Jinglong said. Though he was steeping the tea, his eyes were watching Hongjun, and he chuckled. “You can’t bear losing me.”
At that sentence, Hongjun’s heart was once again tugged at, and it ached for a time.
After drinking the tea, Li Jinglong paid for their meal, before leading Hongjun away from Liangzhou. As they left the city, Hongjun had just mounted his horse when Li Jinglong vaulted on right behind, sitting behind him. He explained, “I had them go back to Chang’an first, so that they could pay close attention to the yao king’s movements at any time. Let’s go, jia!”
Hongjun protested, “I won’t ride the same horse as you --! Each of us has one steed, why are you squeezing with me!”
Li Jinglong shook the reins, his sturdy chest pressing against Hongjun’s back, saying, “You don’t need to take control of the reins, isn’t this good?”
Before, Hongjun had pretty much gotten completely used to it, and hadn’t even found coming into contact with Li Jinglong’s body something strange. Now, however, when Li Jinglong leaned forward even slightly as he directed the horse, that sense of oppression immediately caused him to grow very nervous. Thankfully, the distance they had to travel was not very far. When they arrived at the waystation, the sky was already dark and the villages had already long since gone to rest, as it was the new year. After running for less than a handful of shichen, Li Jinglong went to get them lodgings.
Hongjun held the reins to the horse, listening to Li Jinglong talking with the waiter. He had the waiter prepare some wine and food to celebrate, so they could have something good that night. Hongjun peeked in secretly from behind the door, and without knowing why, he grew nervous again.
After Li Jinglong had settled things, he turned to go find Hongjun, only to see him hiding behind the door. He couldn't help but find that funny, and he walked towards him.
"What are you peeking at?" Li Jinglong asked mirthfully. "What exactly are you thinking about all day long, you little brat?"
When the two of them were riding, Li Jinglong’s chest had been pressed against his back, separated only by a warm outer robe. That sturdy, powerful heart thumped, giving Hongjun a sense of incomparable ease, as if he had a place to return to.
He had already slowly come to accept his parents’ departure as he had grown up. But what he hated upon waking from that dream, the pain that he was hard-pressed to bear, came more from discovering that the person responsible for his parents’ death was actually Li Jinglong.
Hongjun turned his head, taking a look at Li Jinglong sleeping next to him. His sleeping face was handsome and composed, and his lips were smooth and slightly parted. His nose bridge rose tall from the side profile of his face, and his eyebrows and eyes were clear and distinct. As he looked, Hongjun once again began to feel a little hatred towards him. If that hadn't happened, then perhaps he'd still have someone to depend on...
He turned over, facing the wall, his tangled heart filled with pain.
The two of them set off again the next day. But just as Li Jinglong was about to take the lead, Hongjun climbed on his horse first and sped off. Li Jinglong said, “What are you running this fast for?” He could only go chasing after him.
Throughout this journey, Hongjun’s heart had been filled with uncertainty. During the day, he and Li Jinglong hurried along, and at night, they would rest in an inn. Li Jinglong thought that it was only because Hongjun was close to going home that his spirits were low, so he couldn’t help trying to think of things to lift his mood. At night, Li Jinglong would sit in front of the table, writing letters back to Chang’an, while Hongjun would sit in a corner of the bed, holding a book, shooting him a glance every now and then.
Out of the corner of his eye, Li Jinglong could see this. Naturally he knew that Hongjun was staring at him, lost in his thoughts, and he didn’t ask any further. The weather of early spring grew warmer, and the two of them kept heading south as well, so the snow and ice along the way slowly melted. Li Jinglong had specially chosen a path that led along the southern portion of Guanzhong, and after almost ten days, there were even hints of green along the sides of the road.
On the twelfth day of the first month, the two of them actually came to the foot of the Taihang Mountains. When Hongjun lifted his head to look towards the mountain valley, fear rose in his heart. He turned his head back to look at Li Jinglong, following behind him, but Li Jinglong was as composed as always as he looked into Hongjun’s eyes. Right then, Hongjun suddenly had an impulse - he wanted to turn around and leave, and not return to Yaojin Palace anymore.
He opened his mouth, but he couldn’t say a single word.
“I’ll be with you,” Li Jinglong said. “The truth is right there. In every person’s life, there will always come at least once where you have to face it. Don’t be afraid, Hongjun.”
From Li Jinglong’s gaze, Hongjun gained confidence.
“You’ve also faced it before?” Hongjun asked, before turning his head to look towards the summits of the Taihang Mountains.
Li Jinglong didn’t respond to that. Hongjun continued, “When?”
He kicked his horse onwards to the Taihang Mountains, and Li Jinglong followed behind, neither too fast nor too slow. His eyes had mirth in them as he didn’t respond; Hongjun, however, had already come to a decision, and he was no longer afraid.
Climbing the Taihang Mountains from the north, summits wreathed in clouds blocked the path forwards. The narrow road wound in on itself like a sheep’s intestines, and wheels were unable to traverse it.
In ancient times, there were the Eight Passages of Taihang, which were eight thoroughfares that led through the cloud-wrapped peaks. The first day upon entering the mountains, the warhorses found even the stone roads to be extremely difficult, and many of the military passes here had already long since fallen into disrepair. The horses trod along the path at the waist of the mountain, but if they had even a single misstep, they would plummet down along the cliff.
Thankfully, these two warhorses had been chosen by Jia Zhou after last time, when Hongjun had been corrupted by the devil qi and killed the renown Dawan horses. These horses were even more understanding of humans, and they had actually made their way up, knocking about, just like that.
As night fell, the two of them made a fire in the midst of a ruined military pass. During the day, they passed through heavy clouds and fog, heading towards the center of the mountain range.
This was the first time Li Jinglong had entered the Taihang Mountains. Though he had heard before that this place was a place where even the swinging monkeys and flying birds could not survive, but he hadn’t expected that it would be such a series of steep cliffs.
“How exactly did you leave the first time?” Li Jinglong asked.
The two of them led their horses slowly along the mountain path. The horses were already starting to grow a little afraid, and though one steed passed, the other stood there, unwilling to move. Li Jinglong pushed from behind, while Hongjun pulled from the front, coaxing that horse to move forward little by little.
“I depended on my own two feet the entire way,” Hongjun replied.
“No wonder.” Li Jinglong narrowly missed getting kicked by the horse. After crossing over that steep part, there was a huge meadow, where the earth veins gathered. There was also a hot spring here, and the two of them took a bath, the open air as their bathhouse, before looking upwards to the sky filled with a river of stars.
Hongjun turned onto his side, pillowing his head on his arm as he looked at Li Jinglong. The two of them were lying on the grass.
“How about you wait for me here ba,” Hongjun said. “The path later is even harder to walk.”
“You underestimate me too much,” Li Jinglong said, smiling. “If you don’t come back, then what?”
At that, Hongjun smiled a little, complicated emotions swelling up in his heart. He turned over, his back to Li Jinglong, counting the blades of grass in front of him. Li Jinglong lifted his body a little, spreading his outer robe over the two of them, and they fell asleep just like that.
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), moon.