After that, Xie Yi was too exhausted. He had climbed up the cliff not too long ago, and the mental strain was heavy as well. He needed a break.
“You can’t walk back on your own this way”, Shi Yue scolded in a gentle tone that held nothing back on the worry he was feeling.
Xie Yi merely rubbed his ears. They felt itchy. Shi Yue’s voice was like honey.
“I can walk”, Xie Yi coughed. He could walk, indeed. At least for maybe another hour. Slowly. Why had he wasted his energy running away just now again?
“We will have to camp outside one way or another, but I’d prefer not being too close to this place when we do”, Shi Yue said with a glance down the canyon. The white, thick clouds of fog looked ominous.
“I don’t even know where we are, please lead the way”, the young man meekly asked.
Shi Yue looked at him. If Xie Yi wasn’t so exhausted, he’d probably still be running away, but now he was standing right next to him.
“Right you are. I’ll be the one leading, and the one doing the walking.”
What’s pride? Can you eat it? Does it help when you’re trying to pursue someone?
Shi Yue realized he was stuck. If Xie Yi had really obstinately decided to not pursue him, then that would mean he would have to. And not just with his actions, but also vocally.
The whole thought was awkward. In the first place, Xie Yi was mentally… twice? his age, and physically only a fraction. He was also his disciple and a man.
If it came down to things like initiating simple physical contact then he had fewer problems with it, but anything beyond that left him with a weird feeling.
Voicing out that he liked Xie Yi would surely be the fastest way but…
Next to feeling awkward about it, he was also worried that Xie Yi would find ways to continually twist his words into familial love. He wouldn’t be able to stomach that.
And about pursuing, that wasn’t that easy, either.
Xie Yi would not like any of the common presents you gave women and Shi Yue had no idea how to pursue a man anyway. Let alone someone as special as his disciple.
So how was he supposed to continue?
Xie Yi didn’t even get the hint when he tried to kiss him. Rather, he had fled with a guilty expression like it had anything to do with him when Shi Yue was the one to tilt Xie Yi’s head and lean in.
That was a damn high level of twisting the truth into misunderstandings.
Well. Slow and steady wins the race? He could try to get Xie Yi used to being close with him and maybe naturally cheat him into a relationship.
Uh, no, it wasn’t cheating if the other side wanted it too. Kinda.
With that in his mind, he decided he would have to take drastic measures. He bit down his pride and, before Xie Yi could think too much about it, swept him off his feet and lifted him up.
Xie Yi writhed in his arms for a moment, hesitating on whether he should climb back down when Shi Yue’s stern voice stopped him. “Don’t move.”
So as to avoid Xie Yi getting any idea, he already began quickly walking forward.
Xie Yi was stunned.
Shi Yue held him with one arm under his knees and the other behind his back. He could lean against Shi Yue’s chest, hearing the strong heartbeat. His fingers had curled around the robe on reflex. 1Princess carry
It was very comfortable. He was tired, Shi Yue was warm and safe, the heartbeat calming.
Obedient, he fell quiet and only tugged Juxian into his arm so that the sword wouldn’t hang down awkwardly. His other hand, he kept curled around Shi Yue’s robe - a bit of selfishness on his side.
It took him a while until he dared to relax his tense muscles. When he did, Shi Yue slightly adjusted his hold to accommodate the difference in weight distribution. He did not say anything, and only kept his relaxed and relieved expression.
Xie Yi checked his master’s face every few seconds, just in case he did something wrong. How was he supposed to know whether he was supposed to do something?
Shi Yue had been quiet all this while, but now he softly said a sentence. “If you’re tired, take a nap.”
“I’m… not tired.” He couldn’t sleep while his master carried him!
“If you’re not tired, then you can wrap your arms around my neck so that it takes off some weight of mine.” ...His face felt thicker than usual. Shameless.
Xie Yi swallowed.
Two problems. One, his arms were even more tired than his legs. Two… Wouldn’t that be even more awkward…?
“Sleep well”, Shi Yue said with some amusement at the silence. Xie Yi pulled a face and leaned his head against Shi Yue’s chest.
The next time he opened his eyes was surprisingly when the sun was rising.
Shi Yue had debated on stopping and camping, but he neither had a problem continuing to walk nor did he want to place Xie Yi down right now, so he walked on and on.
Thankfully he knew where the next large city was located and from there, they could return to the sect.
“Did you carry me the whole night?!” Xie Yi made a choked sound. “Let me down! I can walk!”
“Are you sure?”
Shi Yue hummed and stopped. He slowly set Xie Yi down, who sighed in relief but then froze the moment his feet hit the ground.
Training for days is hard, climbing a vertical cliff up without break and spiritual energy is harder.
His face paled at his muscles screaming under his weight. And that despite the fact that Shi Yue still had an arm around his waist and was holding half his weight up.
“Holy fucking shit, this hurts”, he hissed.
This. This was something that he had experienced before, in his last life, after an unfortunate run-in with a whole horde of beasts.
This was what happened if he wanted to stop using his muscles, but still had to keep going on for his life.
“Up you go”, Shi Yue said with unconcealed glee and lifted his disciple right back up. He had some things to alleviate the symptoms, but that wouldn’t change that Xie Yi needed rest, so he might as well keep on hitting two birds with one stone.
“I can’t move”, Xie Yi howled as he tried to lift his arm. It was shaking, completely unstable, and clenching his fingers was near impossible.
“What did you do? Can you tell me what happened?”
Xie Yi nodded and summarized what had happened. He kept to the main points, leaving Shi Yue with a number of questions.
“How did you get here so fast?”
“Impossible. If there was one so close to the sect, we would have noticed it.”
“One of the small ones.”
“...You mean the ones that take your life-force?!”
“Alright. I won’t get mad right now.” Shi Yue breathed in and out slowly. If Xie Yi kept on advancing, the difference in life force shouldn’t be too large. Just using it once wasn’t that terrible. Still, he’d have to hack that tree to pieces.
Not that it was that easy to get rid off those dreadful things - in fact, it would probably take weeks until they’d have everything prepared to destroy it. At least it was a one-way array type.
“Where were you all this time? I was searching for you.”
“...Fell down the cliff.”
“That cliff? And you climbed out of it?” Now it was Shi Yue’s turn to be shocked. One reason why people avoided this place was because people who fell down didn’t come out anymore. It didn’t matter if they were cultivators or not.
“Which is why my body hurts like hell. It’s a high wall, and you can’t use your spiritual energy. I didn’t notice how exhausted I was. I guess that’s a good thing, or I would have fallen down again.”
In his last life, he had been mentally so out of it that Mingtian had carried him back anyway, maybe that was why he hadn’t noticed the strain. Besides, his body had been older and stronger.
Shi Yue felt his heart aching and immediately wanted to hit himself. He might allow himself to like this person, but he couldn’t allow himself to lose his brain.
Xie Yi was neither badly hurt not especially depressed. He simply had overstrained muscles that were painful.
Also, this wasn’t what he should be focusing on.
“Back to the more important tasks at hand. You said that Yao Ming was acting abnormally?”
“Highly.” Xie Yi moved his arms and crossed them on his chest, although it was painful. “He wasn’t thinking, and his movements weren’t smooth. His eyes hardly moved at all, he kept on turning his head.”