Qiang Jin Jiu – Chapter 143 : Hidden

Translated with: Jia<3

Xiao Chiye’s body temperature was running hot. He was bathed in sweat all over after riding for half a night. He retracted his hand and continued to disrobe, looking at Shen Zechuan as the latter sat up and asked, “Have you eaten tonight? I’ll look for something to fill your stomach. I met the courier horse delivering your letter on my way back, so I intercepted it, and now the letter you wrote me is with me.”

Shen Zechuan, who had been making to get off the bed, paused. He lowered himself and watched Xiao Chiye from that position with a hint of seduction in his gaze, “Where is it?”

Xiao Chiye raised a finger and tapped at his chest. 

Shen Zechuan extended his right hand in an expectant gesture to ask for it. 

Xiao Chiye placed his armor to the side and rose with his hands on his knees, staring at Shen Zechuan as he did so. “Want it back? Come get it yourself.”

Shen Zechuan felt a tingle run down his spine from Xiao Chiye’s gaze. He felt his way to Xiao Chiye’s chest and slid the pads of his fingers down along his chest. All he could feel was Xiao Chiye’s sweat-drenched muscles. He whispered in a soft voice, as if he did not seem to understand, “Give it back.”  

On the surface, Shen Zechuan still had the dazed look of one still not fully awake, yet his fingertips were feeling Xiao Chiye out with ease and familiarity. His fingers wandered, mindlessly and almost imperceptibly, not minding in the least to let Xiao Chiye know that his appearance now was merely an act. 

Xiao Chiye relaxed his breathing, afraid that he would lose himself to his own desires and devour Shen Zechuan clean in just a twinkling of an eye. He seemed to be unmoved, using only an ardent gaze to pursue Shen Zechuan.

Shen Zechuan felt all over that sturdy torso, his breaths intertwining with Xiao Chiye’s as he moved. They pressed close together in this position, one higher than the other. Shen Zechuan’s expressive eyes glistened with ripples of desire. Despite this, he still spoke guilelessly, “Ce’an, I can’t find it.”

Xiao Chiye allowed Shen Zechuan’s fingers to do as they pleased. He tilted his head slightly, catching a waft of Shen Zechuan’s scent.  

Seizing the moment, Shen Zechuan pressed his cheek to him and nuzzled against him. The satiety brimming in the corners of his eyes took hold of Xiao Chiye’s heart, clenching it.

As he perspired, Xiao Chiye laughed out loud—a brief, harsh sound. He set his palm on the small of Shen Zechuan’s back, pulling him so close that Shen Zechuan was practically pressed against him in his embrace. There was no distance between them as they kissed, neck to neck. But while Shen Zechuan was kissing him, Xiao Chiye was biting him. 

As Shen Zechuan was pinned down onto the bedding, he swiftly extended his arm and placed his injured left hand onto the nape of Xiao Chiye’s neck. The bedding sunk down under their combined weight. Shen Zechuan’s inner garment was in disarray, and as Xiao Chiye kneeled with his head lowered to look at him, a fan fell out.  

Shen Zechuan picked the fan up. He had only just grasped it in hand when he saw the letter fall out too. 

Xiao Chiye made to pick up the letter, but the sharp-eyed Shen Zechuan deftly used the folding fan to push the letter aside to the edge of the bed. Immediately after, he flipped the folding fan over and propped it against Xiao Chiye’s chin, then lifted his head and planted a kiss on Xiao Chiye’s lips.   

Xiao Chiye did not appear to notice his actions, absorbed as he was in the kiss to the point he was roused and poised for action.  

Both of them had not done it in quite a while, so now that they had finally just met, Xiao Chiye went along with Shen Zechuan’s teasing. As though he had reached the end of his patience, Xiao Chiye fondled Shen Zechuan until Shen Zechuan was flushed red all over. Waves of passion crashed into Shen Zechuan to the point that he trembled uncontrollably. Shen Zechuan had learned well, no longer the picture of inexperience like he had been back in Qudu.  

Shen Zechuan narrowed his eyes, using the last bit of his reason to remind himself to find a way to toss the letter under the bed later… Before he could finish putting together his plan, he was flipped over by Xiao Chiye.  

Xiao Chiye held onto Shen Zechuan’s waist, admiring the contours of his back as they formed an absolutely beautiful curve. 

Shen Zechuan’s sweat-soaked inner garment had turned translucent. From the back, it appeared to offer an unobstructed view of the scenic scene underneath, yet it also seemed to be shrouded under a veil of fog—distant and unattainable.

Shen Zechuan looked back, wetting the corners of his lips. 

Xiao Chiye went on the offensive to seize his territory—this all belonged to him. The scorching heat. The damp sweat. The moans. The expressions in his eyes. The shivers. Even the scent that Shen Zechuan emitted along with the rocking movements. All of this belonged to him. They were all his—Xiao Chiye’s. 

Whenever Xiao Chiye’s thoughts strayed down this path, a limitless well of exhilaration would surge up inside him. Shen Zechuan knew him too well, and every sultry look he gave him was a knife to the chest. Xiao Chiye exerted himself physically; the more he cherished this man, the more terrifyingly rough he became. 

He wanted to caress him to pieces.

Xiao Chiye nibbled on Shen Zechuan’s right ear, holding the jade earring between his lips.

Shen Zechuan could not endure such a position; it was buried so deep that his sweat and tears flowed in never-ending torrents.

But there was nowhere for him to escape to; Shen Zechuan’s waist and ankles felt as though they had been restrained with a chain. He felt a little strained, and a little pained, yet this pain sent tingles of electricity up his entire body, rendering it limp and numb. It made him forget all of his nightmares. There was only Xiao Chiye, Xiao Chiye, Xiao Chiye—Shen Zechuan shivered, all drenched in sweat. Just as he was about to lose control and let himself go, he murmured, “… Ce’an.”

Xiao Chiye was clearly not done, yet Shen Zechuan’s soft, lazy call made him come.

Half of Shen Zechuan’s body had already sprawled over. He buried his head between his arms and gasped incessantly for breath. He was still trembling slightly. The bedding under his knees was already a wet expanse. 

It was in this position that Xiao Chiye bent over and covered Shen Zechuan with his chest. He had yet to withdraw, and as he pressed down on him, he advanced deeper instead of retreating, causing Shen Zechuan to let out a muffled moan. Xiao Chiye offhandedly brushed aside the messy pillows and enveloped him in this way. “Hug you for a good night’s sleep.” 

Shen Zechuan’s earlobes had been bitten red, and the exhaled breath of hot air made it numb and sore. He lifted his cheek from his arms, his eyes red and wet as he mouthed to Xiao Chiye: Too mean.

Xiao Chiye kissed him, and he remained motionless. There was a soft wet, watery sound, and only then did both of their ravenousness alleviate some. Shen Zechuan was bearing Xiao Chiye’s weight, and yet he felt incomparably relaxed, as if Xiao Chiye’s presence was his impenetrable shield. 

Xiao Chiye caressed him. He understood him all too well. He could tell just how much weight Shen Zechuan had lost just by holding him in his arms. He nudged away the hair by Shen Zechuan’s ear with the tip of his nose and said in hushed tones, “Did things go smoothly in Chazhou? You’ve lost so much weight.” 

Shen Zechuan thought for a moment and shook his head.   

Xiao Chiye probed, “What happened with Luo Mu? Did he give you the attitude?” 

Shen Zechuan pursed his lips tightly and continued to shake his head. 

Xiao Chiye exhaled warm air and teased him. “Did the bandits in Chazhou create trouble? I’ll redeploy the Imperial Army over for you.”  

Shen Zechuan half-narrowed his eyes. “From missing you.”

Xiao Chiye had yet to answer him.

But Shen Zechuan continued, “It’s rather cold to sleep alone on an empty bed.”

Xiao Chiye embraced him from behind, grasping both of Shen Zechuan’s arms tightly. He started to say something, but then caught a glimpse of white out of the corners of his eyes. He pulled over the left hand Shen Zechuan had been hiding under the blanket and abruptly turned it over, where he saw the gauze wrapped around it. His eyes shifted to Shen Zechuan. 

Shen Zechuan did not look at him and buried his head into the beddings. 

“Shen Lanzhou.” Xiao Chiye pulled Shen Zechuan’s face back by the chin and enunciated each word, “You. Sure. Know. How. To. Hide. Huh?!”

◈     ◈     ◈

The next morning, Qiao Tianya headed out of the city early on and led Lang Tao Xue Jin, who had been left outside the city in the cold for the entire night, back. When he arrived at the courtyard, he saw Meng striding around playing by itself under the eaves. He blew a whistle at Meng and asked in a soft voice, “Where’s your Master?” 

Meng paid no attention to him, not even with a tilt of its head as it went about its own way. It turned back and continued striding as though it had an endless stream of concerns weighing on its mind. 

Qiao Tianya saw that the bamboo blinds in the principal room had been lifted, but there was no one in attendance standing under the eaves. It was bright and spacious inside the principal room. Shen Zechuan sat behind the desk with a book in hand covering his face, revealing only a pair of eyes looking across at Xiao Chiye.    

Xiao Chiye put up one of his long legs and leaned back in his chair with a hand propped up as he rotated his thumb ring. Although he did not look back, he had already heard Qiao Tianya’s footsteps, so he said, “Come in.” 

Noting something amiss with the atmosphere, Qiao Tianya bent over to enter at the same time that he asked with a smile, “The weather is pretty good today. How about having lunch in the courtyard?”  

Xiao Chiye did not answer. 

Shen Zechuan shifted his gaze and motioned for Qiao Tianya to continue. 

Xiao Chiye said, “You, shut up.”

Qiao Tianya, who was standing at the back, sensibly shut his mouth and revealed a can’t-help-you-there expression. He felt that he really shouldn’t be standing here. 

Xiao Chiye rotated past the crack on his thumb ring and caressed it with his finger. He still had a matter on his mind. “Go call Ding Tao over first.” 

Ding Tao was standing at the courtyard entrance when he saw Qiao Tianya coming out of the principal room. The latter stood under the eaves and beckoned to him, but Ding Tao felt a little reluctant to go. He placed his hands at his back and rubbed at the mud left between his fingers, then shuffled over at snail’s pace to the bottom of the steps. Inexplicably feeling a little afraid, he craned his neck and said in a small voice, “I’m here.” 

Xiao Chiye said, “Get your ass in here now.” 

Ding Tao jumped up the steps, then slowed down as he cautiously made his way in. He saw Qiao Tianya standing by the side pretending to be a wooden stake, then saw Shen Zechuan looking down at a book, and he felt sure that he was going to get a beating today. 

Xiao Chiye turned sideways and asked, “Where did the frogs in the pond come from?” 

With his hands behind his back, Ding Tao lowered his head and answered, “Caught them from outside…” 

Xiao Chiye said, “It must have been hard catching them from beyond the city and bringing them back home, wasn’t it? That’s quite some distance.” 

Ding Tao braced himself and said, “Not, not too bad…”

Xiao Chiye sneered, “Rebelling when no one’s at home, aren’t you? Before I left, I told someone to clean up the pond, and you turned around and threw frogs into it.” 

Ding Tao had caught them for fun. He initially planned to put them in his own courtyard, but their courtyard had no pond, and Shen Zechuan wasn’t home half a month earlier, so he and Li Xiong had tossed them into the pond after catching a bunch. But in just a couple of days, he had forgotten all about them. Who would have known that the Master would return right then!

Ding Tao stole a glance at Shen Zechuan just as he was done thinking about it. 

Xiao Chiye said, “Who are you looking at?” 

Ding Tao instantly withdrew his gaze and lowered his head like a timid quail to listen to the lecture.

“Go.” Xiao Chiye continued. “Get rid of all of them before the hour of you1 today. If I hear the frogs croaking again tonight, I’ll get someone to fish them up, bring them to your room and make you sleep with them for company.” 

How would Ding Tao dare to raise any objections? He nodded his head vigorously, then leaped up and dashed out of the room onto the hallway shouting, “Daxiong—” He was only just done yelling when he belatedly covered his mouth and whispered in a particularly small voice, “Come catch the frogs!” 

Shen Zechuan changed his posture and held the book steady.  

Xiao Chiye looked at him, although he spoke to Qiao Tianya, “What happened during the trip to Chazhou? Your Master’s recount isn’t clear. You tell me.” 

Qiao Tianya scratched his head. He was now starting to envy Fei Sheng, who was still in Chazhou. He had a good sleep last night, but he had been neglecting his appearance lately; he did not even have the time to shave as he stood in the morning light and spilled it all out in a concise and comprehensive manner.     

Qiao Tianya did not even hide Shen Zechuan’s illness. If Xiao Chiye had not returned, then his lack of mention was because of Shen Zechuan’s instruction. However, now that Xiao Chiye was back, Qiao Tianya took the opportunity to give Xiao Chiye a reminder. 

Once Qiao Tianya was done, he did not wait for their instruction before he added on, “The discussion of the affairs over in the Zhou’s residence last night isn’t done yet. Since Master is not heading out today, then I’ll set off now.” 

With that, he made his way out from the bamboo blinds, fleeing even faster than anyone else. 

Shen Zechuan did not sleep for long last night, and now he was feeling sleepy reading the book. His gaze shifted over to Xiao Chiye’s face. When he saw Xiao Chiye looking at him, he blinked, as if he had only just noticed it, putting on a pretty convincing act. 

Xiao Chiye said nothing. 

Shen Zechuan loosened his grip and revealed his face. “A-Ye, I’m so hungry.” 

Xiao Chiye folded up that opened letter and stuffed it back in the same way it was before. 

Shen Zechuan probingly stretched his leg out and stepped on the tip of Xiao Chiye’s shoe. He set the book aside on the table and bent over, the tip of his foot nudging along Xiao Chiye’s calf. 

Xiao Chiye stared at him and said callously from a small distance, “You’ve knifed me in the heart so bad it’s been torn to shreds. It’s too late now. Shen Lanzhou, I’m dead.”

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