Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Liu Qingbo said with an odd expression, “Your relationship between master and apprentice is really good!”
He didn’t know what Long Shen’s true body was. He just faintly knew that Long Shen’s age might not be as young as he looked on the outside. Even so, because of his young and handsome face, he really couldn’t treat Long Shen as an elder. He thought if Long Shen had touched his face like just now, he would have gotten goosebumps.
Then the question arose, was it related to his personal style that he didn’t succeed in being accepted as an apprentice? Boss Long looked unkind, but in fact, he liked the sticky and coquettish apprentice like Dong Zhi?
When Liu Qingbo asked this question, Dong Zhi didn’t know how to answer, so he asked rhetorically, “When did I become sticky? Do you see me being sticky? Am I sticky to Boss Wu or Boss Song?”
That was true… Liu Qingbo rubbed his chin, still feeling confused. He felt that Long Shen’s action just now was indeed a bit strange.
In fact, there was nothing wrong with this issue at first. It was just Long Shen, and Dong Zhi didn’t intend to take the initiative to publicize it. Dong Zhi sighed and decided to take the initiative to solve Liu Qingbo’s mystery in order to prevent him from continuing to slide into the abyss of strange thoughts and beginning to doubt Long Shen’s character.
“Master and I are together.”
Liu Qingbo looked even more confused. “What do you mean, together?”
Dong Zhi: “Like in love, having sex. Is this explanation clear enough?”
It was clear enough, but Liu Qingbo was so shocked by the sudden news that he forgot to close his mouth.
“You, with Boss Long?”
Dong Zhi nodded, waiting for Liu Qingbo to slowly digest it.
“But you’re master and apprentice!” Liu Qingbo said in disbelief.
Two men falling in love—well, it wasn’t unusual. After all, even the Australian Parliament had legalized same-sex marriage now, but it was mainly because he couldn’t associate Long Shen, who was indifferent for thousands of years, with ever falling in love.
Thinking about it like this, his brain circuit suddenly turned in a mysterious and unpredictable direction. Then, it finally dawned on him, and he blushed. “Is it possible that the prerequisite for being accepted by Boss Long is to fall in love with him?”
Since he thought about it that way, should he be glad he didn’t succeed in becoming his apprentice?
Dong Zhi: ……
“I think it’s a pity you joined the Special Administration Bureau. With your imagination, you would be popular writing fantasy novels,” Dong Zhi suggested sincerely.
Liu Qingbo rolled his eyes. “I’m a normal person. It’s reasonable that I can’t react for a while from the shock, okay?”
Dong Zhi thought, ‘You blow hot air at every turn and often act tsundere. In my heart, you’re anything but normal.’
But he kept it to himself and didn’t dare to say anything. Otherwise, the young master would probably walk away without talking to him for at least half a month.
After the shock, Liu Qingbo gradually returned to normal and didn’t ask any more questions. After all, that was a private matter between the two of them. As long as it didn’t interfere with business, it had nothing to do with him.
This was Liu Qingbo. If it were He Yu, he would already make a fuss about it and run to Long Shen for verification.
As soon as He Yu’s big mouth knew it, Kan Chaosheng and Zhong Yuyi would as well, and then the entire Special Administration would probably know. Thinking of this, Dong Zhi twitched the corners of his mouth and decided it was better not to tell He Yu and the others for the time being.
These days, the Lucheng office was doing well. It was said that after the superiors praised the Lucheng office, several offices in the same province sent people to learn from them. One of them included Ba Sang, who was in the same training session as them.
Liu Qingbo wasn’t familiar with Ba Sang. Originally, he didn’t want to have idle chatter, but to give Dong Zhi some face, the two still exchanged a few pleasantries. Ba Sang said that he had found a girlfriend. The other party wasn’t a practitioner but a high school teacher. He asked Liu Qingbo to tell Dong Zhi that he would come visit him to play when he was free. There were many single, beautiful girls at his girlfriend’s school that he could introduce Dong Zhi to.
Since the end of training, everyone had gone their separate ways. Dong Zhi, along with others, had been busy. Although there were various online groups, there wasn’t an opportunity for everyone to get together and chat. After Liu Qingbo went to Lucheng, he also knew how busy Dong Zhi was. From the dismemberment case to Yamamoto Kiyoshi, and later Han Qi, who led them to Southeast Asia, to fighting the Wuzhiqi and discovering the stone tablet, everything happened so quickly that they forgot to contact old friends.
Hearing Ba Sang’s recent situation, Dong Zhi couldn’t help but smile. “This kid is so fast. He’s already got a girlfriend!”
Liu Qingbo narrowed his eyes. “You have the nerve to talk about other people when you’re near the water tower*?”
*(近水楼台) Metaphor referring to getting some kind of benefit or convenience because of being close to someone/something. || In this context, he’s chiding Dong Zhi for making that comment considering how close he is to Long Shen.
“Then why don’t I introduce you to someone?” Dong Zhi scratched his nose. Ever since he started pursuing Long Shen, he seemed to have increased the thickness of his skin.
Liu Qingbo snorted and refused straight away. “Forget it. The one who’s worthy of me hasn’t been born yet!”
Dong Zhi: ……
Though the two hadn’t been separated for long, there was a period of time when Dong Zhi was in Southeast Asia that they didn’t have contact. Liu Qingbo was interested in how they dealt with the phantom of the heavenly demon and the sorcerer Songen. Last time, due to time constraints and network delay, he didn’t get to ask much on the video chat. Now he inquired about it again, and Dong Zhi went into more details.
After listening, his face didn’t relax but became more solemn.
“According to this, will the wisp of the demonic qi of the heavenly demon be more difficult to deal with than the Archfiend?”
Dong Zhi said, “It’s hard to say. Although it’s just a wisp of demonic qi from the phantom of Mara’s body, the qi comes from the demon king Mara himself. Master reminded me that since the phantom body can become independent from the main body, this wisp of demonic qi must have self-awareness. It may hide, disguise, and then wait for the opportunity to attack others. Before we set off, I’ll find an opportunity to talk to Zhang Song and the others, but I’m afraid they will not be relieved after hearing this. In the end, we still need to be extra cautious.”
Liu Qingbo said, “Understood. I’ll ask my family to send me a sword tomorrow.”
Dong Zhi was puzzled. “Don’t you have the Yinxiu Sword?”
“My grandfather has a sword, which is said to be the sword used by Zhong Kui*. It’s most suitable for slaying demons and spirits. This time, I’ll exaggerate the matter of the demonic qi, so I believe he’ll be soft-hearted!” Liu Qingbo was pumping himself up, eager to try.
*Deity in Chinese mythology, traditionally regarded as a vanquisher or ghosts and evil beings. He’s depicted as a large man with a big black beard, bulging eyes, and a wrathful expression. He is also known as the king of ghosts.
Dong Zhi was speechless. “Swords also have spirits. Is it really okay for you to like the new and tired of the old?”
Liu Qingbo sighed. “Boss Long also mentioned this problem, but whenever I see a good sword, my heart gets itchy. This time, after I switch to using my grandfather’s secret sword from Zhong Kui, I won’t change it again. It’s only a sword like that that can match me!”
Dong Zhi: ……
He suddenly felt that it wasn’t such a big deal for him to talk about master-apprentice love, because there was a much more narcissistic person here.
After eating, the two parted ways. Liu Qingbo’s family had a house in the capital, so he didn’t have to stay at the Special Administration Bureau. He also needed to rush back to pack his things and get up early tomorrow for practice. Dong Zhi, on the other hand, returned to the Special Administration Bureau. He first went to his dorm to feed the cat and found that it wasn’t there and saw that its rice bowl was still full. He went to the opposite room and, sure enough, saw Long Shen casually lying on the sofa while the big white cat was lying next to him.
The lights in the living room were turned off, but the light in the foyer turned on when Dong Zhi entered.
No matter how lightly Dong Zhi moved, Long Shen immediately opened his eyes.
In the past, Long Shen wouldn’t say much of this knowing nonsense. He often had a confusion that was unlike that of normal humans, and precisely because of this, he sometimes couldn’t understand this kind of detailed behavior.
But now, he gradually understood. In fact, things like “I’m back” or “I’ve eaten” seemed meaningless, but when said with concern, they were meaningful.
From just one sentence, Dong Zhi could hear the fatigue in Long Shen’s voice. “Why don’t you go to sleep in the room? It’s uncomfortable here.”
Instead of walking towards Long Shen as usual, Dong Zhi went to the bedroom first, took out a thin blanket, and covered Long Shen.
“I’m not going to catch a cold.” Long Shen thought what Dong Zhi did was interesting and couldn’t help but chuckle.
“It’s more comfortable like this.”
Dong Zhi leaned over and sat next to the two of them. The white cat didn’t bother moving and instead flicked its tail as if to greet him.
Dong Zhi petted the cat’s head and saw the information spread out on Long Shen’s knees.
“What’s this?” He didn’t lean over to look. Although the relationship between the two was different from before, in business matters, Dong Zhi always adhered to the principle of confidentiality at the Special Administration Bureau. He would not ask questions that shouldn’t be asked. He felt that this was the minimum of professional ethics. It had nothing to do with whether the two of them were inseparable.
“You can read it.” Long Shen took the initiative to hand over the information.
After scanning the contents, Dong Zhi found that it was information on Atsuta Shrine.
“Is it related to the whereabouts of Li Ying and the others?”
Long Shen said, “Every autumn and winter, Otowa will retreat to Atsuta Shrine or Ise Shrine. According to the news received, he went to Atsuta Shrine not long ago and hasn’t left since.”
Dong Zhi immediately reacted. “This may be a trap!”
The other party was waiting for the rabbit—waiting for someone from the Special Administration Bureau to take the initiative to come to their door and get caught.
Long Shen said in a deep voice, “Yes, but we have to go. In any case, it’s necessary to save Li Ying and Yu Buhai, and there must be an end to the matter of the stone tablets.”
Like Songen, Otowa Yasuhiko liked to use magic qi to refine souls, creating all kinds of appalling and unimaginable monstrosities, which, in their opinion, were extremely creative. Although Ding Lan’s soul lamp was extinguished, they wanted to verify if he was still alive or find his corpse if he was dead. It was impossible for the Special Administration Bureau to leave them outside and let them fend for themselves.
The tragedy of Dong Zhilan had happened once, and it must not be repeated.
More importantly, they must thoroughly find the key to the demon seal from Otowa and solve the mystery of the stone tablets once and for all.
Dong Zhi knew that Long Shen and the others would be well prepared, but the enemy was hiding in the shadows while they were in the clear, so it was impossible not to worry.
“It’s getting late. Are you going to sleep?” Long Shen asked him.
Dong Zhi shook his head. “I didn’t drink just now, so I’m not sleepy.”
“Then let’s go.” Long Shen got up and said, “Let’s go out for a walk.”
It was rare for Long Shen to take the initiative to invite him. In the past, Dong Zhi would have been overjoyed, but now he was less enthusiastic.
“Let’s go.” Seeing that Dong Zhi didn’t move, Long Shen stretched out his hand and pulled him up. “Shall I carry you?”
Dong Zhi couldn’t help laughing. “Really?”
Long Shen nodded.
In the end, he didn’t let Long Shen carry him. The two went downstairs to the underground garage and got into the Land Rover that hadn’t been driven in a long time. Dong Zhi saw Long Shen drive out of the garage and head towards the highway, as if he had a destination in mind, and it wasn’t simply going out for a walk like he said.
“Master, where are we going?” he couldn’t help asking.
“My house,” Long Shen replied.
Dong Zhi’s brain suddenly short-circuited. He suddenly became nervous and even stammered a little. “Are there elders? Do I need to buy gifts?”
“I have no parents, so where would there be elders?” Long Shen felt a bit helpless. “Didn’t I tell you a long time ago that I have a house in the city?”
He casually fished out a set of keys from the glove compartment and handed them to Dong Zhi.
“Car and house keys. Take it and use it when needed. You don’t need to ask me.”
Dong Zhi stared at the strings of keys and didn’t take them.
“No, I live in the dorm pretty well, and I don’t need a car.” He said this in a low voice and turned to look at the scenery passing by the car window, not wanting Long Shen to find that his eyes were turning red.
Long Shen didn’t say anything but instead stuffed the keys into his hands.
Dong Zhi clenched his palms tightly, as if he didn’t feel any pain from the sharp edges of the key jabbing into his skin. “Master, can you stop acting as if you’re handing out your last will?”
“I’m really not sure about how things will turn out in Japan,” Long Shen said, “but giving you these things has nothing to do with my trip. This is just making it more convenient for you.”
Dong Zhi took a deep breath and said slowly, “I don’t want the key. If you want to give it to me, just wait until you return, okay?”
Seeing that he insisted, Long Shen didn’t force the issue. “Okay.”
Dong Zhi said in a low voice, “I really want to go to Japan with you in spite of everything.”
Long Shen freed up one hand and patted Dong Zhi’s leg, silently comforting him, then retracted it and continued to hold the steering wheel without saying anything. Long Shen knew that his apprentice was just talking and had already learned how to take responsibility, for himself and for others. His future would be bright, and not only would he become an excellent practitioner, but he would also advance to a suitable position. Even without his guidance and care, Dong Zhi would still be able to spread his wings and soar.
Although Dong Zhi refused the key, he had already taken the car out, so Long Shen took him to his house anyway for a tour.
The house was large, and the location was good. It was a small villa that was quiet in the middle of nowhere, away from the hustle and bustle. Since no one had stayed there for too long, it had a cold and desolate feeling. Dong Zhi looked around and found that apart from a few personal decorations, the rest of the house was just basic facilities. It could be seen that Long Shen rarely stayed here himself.
For Dong Zhi, the value of the home lay in the people who lived in it, and a place without Long Shen was the same anywhere.
Seeing that he wasn’t interested, Long Shen didn’t say much and took him away again.
It was rare for them to go out, so Dong Zhi thought for a moment. “Let’s go around and find a lively place to go? Today’s Christmas.”
In fact, he had already forgotten what day it was, and he didn’t remember until he saw the decorations on the street.
Most Easterners may just want a lively Christmas, but this didn’t prevent businesses from taking the opportunity to promote activities and enhance the festive atmosphere. Over time, everyone would have the jolly feeling of the holidays, with Christmas being a hodgepodge of their holiday spirit. Walking along the streets with Long Shen, Dong Zhi saw no less than three flower shops offering Christmas flower delivery along the way.
The long and clean street was crowded with people and got even livelier after nightfall. They walked against the crowd, seemingly going against the flow and looking out of place.
Dong Zhi suddenly laughed out loud.
“I remember that once you took me to get the Qingzhu Sword, and we were walking on such a road. At that time, there were no people, and I hoped that the road would never end.”
There was always some bitterness to a secret love, but after it was uncovered, it would turn into sweetness.
Long Shen: “I didn’t know at that time.”
He didn’t know that Dong Zhi wanted to worship him because he had such feelings for him.
Dong Zhi was curious. “What would happen if you knew it then?”
Long Shen: “What do you think would happen?”
Dong Zhi thought about Long Shen’s initial reaction and scratched his nose embarrassedly. “I might have been beaten up and thrown out of the capital!”
Not to mention the apprenticeship, he probably couldn’t even enter the gate of the Special Administration Bureau. From then on, he would have no chance of seeing Long Shen again. Thinking about it that way, it seemed a bit tragic and comical.
Long Shen said, “There is no if, and now is now. Asking about it assumes that you’re asking for trouble.”
A young girl came over with a basket of flowers. When she saw couples walking together, she would ask if they would like to purchase one. During this kind of holiday, she could easily sell bundles in the blink of an eye. When she came to Dong Zhi, there were a few scattered flowers left in the basket.
She glanced at Dong Zhi and Long Shen. She originally saw two men and didn’t think much about it. When she was about to pass by, she caught sight of the backs of their hands touching under their coats and thanked her lucky stars. She hurriedly stopped and smiled sweetly at them. “Two little brothers, do you want to buy flowers? There are just a few of the most beautiful ones left, so won’t you buy them?”
Long Shen didn’t move. He didn’t have the idea of gifting flowers to express romance yet, but Dong Zhi had already rejected the other party.
“I have a boyfriend who’s more beautiful than flowers. Why would I need them?”
The girl was dumbfounded, not knowing whether she was stunned by his outright, but righteous, stinginess or that he could blurt out such cheesy words without even blinking.
Did one have to be extremely flirtatious these days to find a handsome guy as their boyfriend?
Before she could collect her thoughts, Dong Zhi and Long Shen had already walked away.
“Shouldn’t couples use flowers to express their feelings?” Long Shen asked.
Although he lived far longer than most people, he never took the time to ponder or pay attention to trivial things that he had never experienced or that didn’t matter to him.
Dong Zhi smiled and said, “Not necessarily. There are many people who think that beautiful words can lift their mood, and usually they are said to women by men.”
Long Shen questioned, “But flowers are the reproductive organs of plants, so doesn’t sending flowers mean you want to reproduce with the other party?”
Dong Zhi almost choked on his spit. According to this logic, there was no need to send flowers between men since they couldn’t have children.
He even thought of the first divine intercourse when he was transformed into a delicate flower that was devastated by the storm. Later, he knew the scenes he saw in the divine intercourse were all consciousness incarnations taking on a figurative form, but looking back, he still couldn’t bear to look at them directly.
“Master, please stop talking.” His voice became a little weak.
Long Shen really stopped. He held Dong Zhi’s hand, ignoring whether it was crowded or not. As long as he wanted to, he didn’t care about the eyes of others.
The two walked for a while until Dong Zhi saw the logo of the Oriental Plaza* in front of them and proposed to find a café to sit in for a while. Long Shen naturally had no objection.
*One of the largest comprehensive commercial buildings in Beijing. It has a mixture of entertainment, commercial buildings, shopping, and food.
Pushing the glass door open, the warm wind blew on his face. It felt like he instantly went from winter into late spring. Inside the plaza, it was livelier than outside. Christmas music was playing everywhere, and glass balls and colorful lights covered the shopping malls. There was a large Christmas tree in the middle with many people gathered around it taking pictures.
Dong Zhi found a café next to the Christmas tree and took Long Shen there. He ordered two matcha lattes, with his own drink with less sugar while Long Shen’s with full sugar.
He still remembered that Long Shen had no obsession with eating, and the only thing that could be called a hobby was his preference for sweets.
“When I used to live by myself, I would bring a few bunches of flowers to my house every New Year’s, but after I met you, I didn’t like it anymore,” Dong Zhi said.
He held his latte and lowered his head to take a sip. The warm and sweet taste made Dong Zhi show a slight sense of happiness. Long Shen looked at him for a moment without blinking.
The sweetness flowed down his throat into his stomach and warmed up his body. Dong Zhi couldn’t help but let out a comfortable sigh.
He smiled and said softly, “Because after knowing your original form, I vowed to take good care of all creatures in the world.”
Because of Long Shen, whenever he saw a sword or knife, he would feel that they may have a chance to transform. Even if it were a flower or grass, he would involuntarily soften his heart. Dong Zhi didn’t feel that he was great, but he just loved the house, which extended even to the crows perched on its roof*.
*(爱屋及乌) Metaphor referring to loving a person and caring about the people and things related to him.
His heart was originally small, but it was Long Shen who put the world in it.
On Christmas Eve, the café was bustling with activity. Couples could take a couple’s photo and would get a free second cup, but the photos had to be hung on the café board.
With the excellent appearance of the two, it naturally attracted inquiries from the clerk. The clerk said that the couple didn’t need to be of opposite sexes. It was open to anyone as long as they were willing to take a couple’s photo.
Dong Zhi and Long Shen had a special profession, so photos usually weren’t taken when they went out. Dong Zhi was about to decline when Long Shen said, “Can you take a photo of us? We don’t need the free drink. I want to keep the photo for myself.”
The clerk readily agreed and took Long Shen’s phone. She took a few pictures of the two sitting together, making sure to capture a good angle of Dong Zhi under the lighting. Long Shen thanked her and gave her a tip.
Dong Zhi asked Long Shen to let him see the photos, then chose the best one and made it his phone’s wallpaper.
When Long Shen saw this, he caught on and also set a photo as his phone’s wallpaper.
Dong Zhi couldn’t help laughing. “Master, this will make it easy for you to be questioned by others!”
Especially the big bosses of the Special Administration Bureau who interacted with Long Shen, and even the higher ups. Dong Zhi couldn’t imagine their expression when they saw this.
Although the two of them were next to each other in the couple photo, there wasn’t any excessive behavior. At most, Dong Zhi was smiling brightly, and the corners of Long Shen’s mouth were slightly hitched, but what master would use a photo of his apprentice as their phone’s wallpaper? Although he was his master’s closest person now.
Long Shen didn’t seem to mind. “It’s fine.”
The two sat until about 8, when the mall was about to close. They didn’t talk much. Most of the time, they sat like they were in a daze. Dong Zhi shrank lazily on the café sofa. He felt good as he watched the tourist leave, and he didn’t want to move an inch.
“Sleepy?” Long Shen didn’t have much free time throughout the year, so sitting quietly and doing nothing was a bit uncomfortable at first, but gradually he was able to enjoy his rare leisure time.
“It’s okay. I just don’t want to go back.” Dong Zhi yawned. Tomorrow, Long Shen would leave the Special Administration Bureau and go to a secret place with Wu Bingtian and Tang Jing, then leave the country under a false identity. In other words, tonight would be the last night they spend together before parting.
“Let’s go. It’s closing soon.” Long Shen got up and pulled on him. Dong Zhi didn’t move and instead grabbed Long Shen’s hand.
Long Shen felt a bit helpless. He would always indulge his apprentice in non-principle matters.
“I’ll carry you on my back.”
Dong Zhi felt a bit embarrassed, but Long Shen had already squatted down with his back to him and motioned for him to climb on, so he could only go with it.
Among the surprised gaze of many, Long Shen walked out steadily carrying Dong Zhi on his back. Dong Zhi coughed lightly and buried his head into Long Shen’s neck like an ostrich.
“I love you.”
His voice was close, and even the heat passed through the ears and straight to the heart.
Yes, Dong Zhi did say [wo ai ni] (我爱你) so this is not just a simple “like”.
This marks the end of the anniversary release. I will be taking a break for the rest of this month, so releases will be extremely sporadic until at least January. Thank you everyone for your support, comments, Ko-fi donations, and help throughout the past year. Here’s hoping for more danmei in 2023. Wishing everyone an (early) happy holidays.
A deity in Chinese mythology, traditionally regarded as a vanquisher of ghosts and evil beings. He is depicted as a large man with a big black beard, bulging eyes, and a wrathful expression. Zhong Kui is able to command 80,000 demons to do his bidding and is often associated with the five bats of fortune.
He became the King of Ghost after committing suicide when he was stripped of his title top-scorer by the emperor due to his disfigured and ugly appearance. Seeing potential in him, Yama bestowed the title “king of ghosts” on him and tasked him with hunting, capturing, taking charge of, and maintaining discipline and order among all ghosts.
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One thought on “Bu Tian Gang Ch122”
Yeeey, thank you and have a nice holiday! Hope for some more BL in 2023:):)