Ch.171: Marrying away a brother
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A few days later, master and disciple had retreated to a quiet room together.

Xie Yi was groaning heavily at feeling the pressure on his body.

Shi Yue clenched his jaw, trying to block out the sound. His hands did not stop moving, however. He was relieved that Xie Yi was on his stomach - that way at least he couldn’t see the flustered expression on Shi Yue’s face.

“Ahh...”

“Can you please stop moaning!”

“But… it feels good…” Another groan.

Shi Yue wanted to scream. “If you don’t stop making sounds, I won’t continue!”

That shut his disciple up.

Xie Yi pressed his face into the pillow, trying to hold back from letting the pleased sounds slip. After the long practice of what was a set of martial arts he did not know, his whole body was hurting.

He had ignored it and continued to practice, as he was used to, but Shi Yue found out and scolded him for training when his muscles were aching.

Doing that, he explained, often had a negative effect.

So Xie Yi stopped training for the day, was forced to take a long hot bath and then was called to lie down flat on the ground. Only a thin mattress and a pillow were placed there.

When Shi Yue started moving his hands over Xie Yi’s calves, it had hurt pretty badly for a while but by now, it was a numbing sort of pain.

He didn’t know what would trouble Shi Yue about him making sounds, but maybe he was distracting his master’s concentration. 1A/N: Yeah, kinda.

Shi Yue exhaled through his nose when the sounds finally stopped. 

If someone had heard those, they’d think he was doing things to his disciple! It sounded way too perverted!

“In the future, don’t train until you can’t walk. You can’t gauge pain levels well enough so… Stop training as soon as you get a muscle ache.”

Xie Yi hummed in reply. It was half a moan, actually.

The Grandmaster had intended to give Xie Yi a complete massage but changed his mind after hearing his disciple moan and feeling him writhe. He massaged his calves, jumped over thighs and lower back, and continued on his shoulders.

He wouldn’t touch any area that might cause this to get more problematic.

“I never got a massage before. I didn’t know it feels this nice.” The muffled voice sounded from the pillow. “The medical department can give those, too, right?”

“You’re forbidden from getting a massage.”

“Ah? Why?”

Two reasons, Shi Yue swallowed the words. One, because your voice is too tempting and two, because you won’t be able to tell whether someone is groping you or not.

“...If Xu Yan or Li Mei know how to do one, you can get it from them. But no one else.”

“My brother?”

“He would be fine, too. But he might accidentally use too much strength.”

“He’s really gentle, though”, Xie Yi mumbled. He knew how Mingtian acted towards Xue Hua. He treated the bird like a precious treasure, unwilling to break a single feather. It was very sweet to watch and Xie Yi always felt warm observing them interact.

“Hmmm.” Shi Yue merely hummed.

The room turned quiet, each to their own thoughts.

When hurried steps approached the room, both master and disciple paused to turn to the door.

It slammed open, a flustered attendant standing in the doorway. He gave the two of them a confused look, twitching half a step back, then relaxing when he saw both were wearing clothes and nothing weird was going on.

He breathed in deeply. “Master Li, please follow me! Your partner… That is, Xue Hua collapsed!”

The cultivators were out of the room before the attendant could react. He had to run back by himself.

When they reached Xue Hua’s private room, Mingtian was already there in his human form, leaning over his mate and holding his hand. It came of no surprise that he was there; he had probably been around in his animal form anyway.

Mingtian was glaring at a timid-looking woman that gave a deep bow when Shi Yue entered. “Master Li.”

“What is wrong with him?”

Shi Yue rushed over to the bed, looking at his partner.

Xue Hua was unnaturally flushed red and his eyes were a bit glazed. He blinked slowly when Shi Yue entered his field of vision and slightly tilted his head towards him. 

Mingtian brushed some feathers out of his face.

It wasn’t quite hair anymore. The feathers were growing out of his face and his fingers had turned into a more clawed structure, with smaller feathers showing on his arms. 

For beasts to return to a state where their animalistic features showed so strongly, it was rare to see.

“Are you alright?”, Shi Yue whispered gently, grasping Xue Hua’s free hand. Then he turned to the woman. “What is wrong with him?”

“I was about to give him a full check-up. Would you mind?”

“No. Please, go ahead.”

Mingtian with ruffled fur and the calmer Shi Yue stepped back.

Troubled, Xie Yi walked over to his older brother and leaned against him. Mingtian hugged him to his chest, holding him tight. Only Xie Yi could feel the soft shaking of the body around him.

It took over an hour. She prodded every part of his body, checked his eyes, ears and mouth, did a quick blood test. When the woman stepped back, all eyes were on her.

She lowered her head nervously. The pressure was heavy on her shoulders. “Uhm, please don’t worry. There is no injury, external or internal. How has he been eating lately?”

“There was a period in which he hardly ate”, Mingtian said in a low voice.

Shi Yue twitched. When he had been unconscious?

“Hm. His state is like someone recovering from exhaustion and lack of nutrition. He would be on the way to full recovery right now, but it seems that this weakened state caused him to catch a virus. Basically, he’s sick.”

“Why does he look so bad if he’s only sick?” Mingtian was snarling, ready to go over and grab that woman’s collar, but Xie Yi held him back.

“Because it’s a virus that comes with fevers.” The woman paused. “There are always types of sicknesses that certain beasts take worse than others. They are not in any more danger than another beast would be, they only feel worse. Those are fevers for ice-type beasts, for example, or skin irritations for reptile-beasts. It’s normal. He might look bad, but this will be better in a while.”

“How long is a while?” This time it was Shi Yue who asked. He did not like seeing his partner so weak.

“The virus is at its worst state right now. He should be better in a week or two, but it might return.”

“Can I ask you to check up on him regularly during that time?” Unsettled, Shi Yue rubbed his partner’s head.

The woman nodded.

Mingtian only looked at Shi Yue, who furrowed his brows but sighed anyway. “And you’re welcome to stay in this room, of course. As long as there’s no risk of you catching the infection.”

“I’ve been around him a lot lately”, Migntian commented. “I’d have caught it already. I’ll stay with him.”

Shi Yue nodded. 

Xie Yi freed himself from his partner’s hug and went forward to look at Xue Hua as well. He smiled at the bird. “I’ll be lending him to you, I guess.”

Xue Hua’s exhausted eyes showed an amused glimmer. “Only for a while?”

“Well, you can have him fully for now. Later… I think I can give you three-quarters. The remaining quarter, I’ll keep for myself.” Xie Yi was smiling childishly, but his voice was serious.

Xue Hua knew of course that Mingtian and Xie Yi did indeed have an inexplicably close relationship. He did not know how it could have formed, but he was aware of it.

So he understood that this was Xie Yi’s way of telling him that he agreed with Xue Hua as being Mingtian’s mate.

As long as Xue Hua never tried to fully separate the two of them.

“I don’t want the him that is a brother. You can keep that”, Xue Hua coughed.

Xie Yi laughed. 

Obligatory "massage sounds unnecessarily sexual" scene.
As a person who is both impatient and a great fan of fluff or scenes of emotional development, writing the chapters that have to lead up to those scenes is hell. That aside, it's a pretty good feeling to finally link scenes together :') And you all want to get to the fluffy parts too, right? Troubled and jealous Shi Yue is a joy.

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