In Xuan Ji's mind, ten thousand awkward thoughts were pulling and howling at each other.
He wanted to explain, but his brain, trampled by awkwardness, forgot the words.
For a moment, his "get on the bus and talk nonsense" persona was in jeopardy, and he truly experienced the feelings of someone with social anxiety.
Who knew that Sheng Lingyuan's reaction was unusually calm.
He didn't even know if he was awake or not. After seeing Xuan Ji clearly, he let go of him and waved his hand casually, "No need to serve me."
Xuan Ji: ...
Sheng Lingyuan struggled to sit up, feeling a pull somewhere in his body. As he rose, his shoulders tightened and his hand lifted half an inch, as if he wanted to cover something, but then he stopped himself.
He sat silently for a moment before standing up slowly and steadily, pointing to the bed sheet and calmly ordering, "Have someone change it."
Xuan Ji stared at him incredulously, seeing that the emperor's face was completely nonchalant, without any shame for exploiting the labour of the people.
With a hint of sarcasm, he asked, "Do you want me to help you bathe and change?"
Sheng Lingyuan flipped through the clothes in the bag thrown in the corner, feeling embarrassed by the shabby garments.
He was too lazy to even move his hands, just lazily flicking his fingers and saying, "No need, you can go now."
Xuan Ji: ...
The feudal ruling class is so despicable, what a shitty attitude!
As for Sheng Lingyuan, he knows how to dress himself. When he woke up from Chiyuan, he happened to meet those tourists. At that time, he didn't remember anything.
Seeing that the local customs were very strange, he secretly followed those people for a while. Then, based on their clothing, he used leaves and simple illusions to create his own outfit - as a newcomer, he was afraid of unintentionally breaking taboos, so he studied the characteristics of each person's clothing and summarized the commonalities and the most common colors they wore to use for himself.
But now he understands that he was too cautious at the time, as the people here have no taboos whatsoever.
'They really live so recklessly,' the emperor thought with envy and disdain, 'they have too much freedom and don't know what is beautiful or ugly.'
In recent years, the trend of 'long legs' has been popular. People are trying every possible way to raise their so-called 'waistline'.
The tops are either short or tucked into their pants, which in the eyes of the emperor is simply 'barely covering the body'. Even if a laborer wears a 'short top', it is not as short as this!
Sheng Lingyuan threw a bright blue 'Superman' shirt aside, and he suspected that the green set was poisonous, so he didn't even touch it. In the end, he settled for a white sports suit, pinching his nose as he picked it up.
The bathroom door had a lock, but Sheng Lingyuan didn't bother to use it. After entering, he awkwardly turned on the faucet, using his fingers to guide the water flow. As he turned to close the door, a forbidden seal quickly crawled up the surface of the door, solidifying into ice in his hand. The temperature in the bathroom plummeted, freezing the entire door and causing the air conditioning to automatically turn on with a loud hum.
With just a few simple movements, Sheng Lingyuan was already sweating profusely.
He reached out to support himself on the sink, his hand trembling uncontrollably. He tugged at his clothes a few times before finally managing to undo them.
As soon as he removed the robe woven from the Life-Death Flower vine, it immediately withered into a pile of burnt grass. Sheng Lingyuan clutched his chest and stifled a groan in his throat. There was no blood on his chest, but instead, black mist swirled around it. Several flame-colored 'threads' were faintly visible, stuck in his chest, corroding the surrounding flesh and constantly healing themselves, causing a gruesome sight.
The other injuries were manageable, but these few threads were troublesome.
Sheng Lingyuan's fingers, still pressed against his chest, suddenly exerted force and plunged in, as if he was digging out his heart. He grabbed hold of one of the 'threads' and forcefully pulled it out.
Bored out of his mind, Xuan Ji turned on the TV outside the bathroom and randomly picked a channel for background noise. He then called room service to order breakfast from the menu. With nothing else to do, he wandered aimlessly around the room like a lost soul.
He took out his phone and deleted the old history book he had just downloaded, as well as a few BL novels that somehow found their way onto his device.
In the natural world, most creatures with wings are vain and lustful. Although Xuan Ji was not a real bird, he couldn't escape this stereotype because of the inappropriate organ on his back. He had an appetite for all kinds of pleasures, whether it be men or women.
"But as good as it feels," Xuan Ji flipped his phone back and forth in his hand, reminding himself with a serious tone, "I still need to be rational."
As he spoke, Director Xuan, the advocate of "reason," perked up his ears and listened to the sound coming from the adjacent bathroom.
He had heard that these corrupt and decadent feudal ruling classes couldn't even feed themselves. Could they really take care of their own lives?
"Your Majesty, did you forget how to turn on the hot water? The stainless steel thing on the wall - the iron handle. Lift it up and turn it a little towards the red side!"
But Sheng Lingyuan ignored him.
Xuan Ji crossed his legs and leaned back on the sofa, staring at the girl group singing and dancing on TV.
They were his favorite group, but for some reason today, he couldn't focus on their performance. He quickly ran through all the chaotic events of the past few days in his mind, gradually furrowing his brow.
What was the connection between him and the great emperor? For generations, they had been taking care of his corpse, and even forced to share their minds after giving him their blood... And then there was the sudden change in attitude from Sheng Lingyuan after he peered into his memories.
Just then, Xuan Ji's borrowed phone buzzed.
Someone wanted to add him on WeChat, it was Gu Yuexi.
Xuan Ji accepted without hesitation. Gu Yuexi was an efficient person who never wasted time on small talk and got straight to the point.
She quickly typed out a long message: "Director Xuan, forgive me for speaking out of turn, but just in case you are not aware, I wanted to remind you that the burns on your sword spirit will heal on their own. However, the part that was pierced by your formation has been corroded and shows signs of being 'purified.' I don't mean anything else by this, just wanted to remind you to be careful. After all, a sword comes into contact with many things, and it's possible for it to become contaminated."
There was something hidden in Gu Yuexi's words, as if she had something to say but couldn't quite express it. Since her X-ray vision could be disabled, it wasn't surprising that she was "silenced" as well.
Xuan Ji pretended not to notice and politely thanked Gu Yuexi.
It was normal for the demon king to be corrupted. His Nanming fire burning formation was originally meant to ward off evil, but...
Xuan Ji stood up and walked to the bathroom door. "Your Majesty, do you really not need any help?"
As he spoke, he placed his hand on the door, and the bone-chilling coldness emanating from it made his fingers shrink.
Xuan Ji narrowed his eyes.
There was a restriction on it.
Just then, there was a sudden suppressed cough from inside the bathroom, and Xuan Ji could clearly feel the restriction loosen.
Flames erupted from his palm as he patted the door, and under the light of the fire, the hotel bathroom door became transparent, clearly revealing the frozen restriction on the other side. Xuan Ji pointed his fingers like a knife and sliced through the ice from behind the door, breaking the restriction. The door suddenly swung open--
Sheng Lingyuan had just pulled out the last 'thread' from his chest, but he was still standing.
The mirror, the bath, and the floor were all splattered with blood, like a string of beautiful red plum blossoms.
As Xuan Ji took in the scene, he felt as though he had suddenly been suspended over a bottomless abyss, and his heart began to tremble uncontrollably.
A vision flashed before his eyes - he was surrounded by rolling magma, and everything he could see was a brilliant, deathly glow. A figure fell from the sky and landed straight in front of him, only to be swallowed up by the magma and thrown back out again.
In a panic, Xuan Ji rushed forward and grabbed the person, trying his best to protect them, but instead ended up dragging them deeper into the fiery depths.
The last 'thread' seemed to be tied to his lungs, and before his wounds could heal, Sheng Lingyuan found it hard to catch his breath, his voice unsteady: "Go...I'm covered in blood, seeing me suffer, are...are you happy now?"
As Xuan Ji regained consciousness, he fell back to the mortal world, drenched in cold sweat.
After a while, Sheng Lingyuan finally gathered enough strength to reach out and grab the air. As he did, the water from the faucet began to wash away the blood splattered around him.
"No need... cough," Xuan Ji's voice was hoarse as he quickly cleared his throat. "No need to go through so much trouble. Just take off the showerhead and rinse it. The showerhead is... oh, forget it."
He flicked a coin and it transformed into a thin iron chain that wrapped around the showerhead. With ease, he removed it and used another coin to turn on the hot water. Thanks to modern technology, the blood splatters around him were quickly washed away and didn't flood the floor as he had feared. Instead, they flowed down the drain in the corner.
"This is so convenient," Sheng Lingyuan couldn't help but exclaim.
As soon as he spoke, Xuan Ji was startled and his hand trembled, causing the water from the showerhead to spray all over the Emperor.
Sheng Lingyuan's hair was instantly soaked and parted, revealing half of his shoulder.
Xuan Ji was petrified.
"Tch", the emperor didn't seem to mind much, perhaps because in times of war one couldn't be too particular. He had experienced a lot of clumsy servants, so the emperor just complained casually, "Why so clumsy? Come here, little demon, help me bathe."
Xuan Ji choked on his own feathers as if she had eaten them by mistake, coughing like a dog.
As the highest ruler of feudal society, Sheng Lingyuan was already a relatively simple and upright emperor for not having a group of beautiful women to massage and rub his back while bathing.
He didn't think much of his casual command, but it unexpectedly caused such a big reaction. He turned his head in surprise and saw Xuan Ji's gaze, causing him to instinctively step back and bump into the wardrobe, looking like a pitiful little puppy that had been teased.
The man was never a good person to begin with.
Sensing Xuan Ji's embarrassment, he immediately had the idea of teasing him.
With a malicious smile, he deliberately lowered his voice and asked, "What, are you afraid of water?"
Sheng Lingyuan's body seemed to be accustomed to the rapid process of healing after being injured.
He had pulled out the few fatal 'threads' and his face was relaxed. The oppressive coldness in the bathroom was also dispersed by the warm air from the air conditioning. With that smile, his defeated and gray demeanor was immediately dispersed, replaced by the demeanor of someone always ready to deceive and cheat, making people's teeth itch.
Xuan Ji: ...
He was used to it!
If he were to reveal his movie-watching habits as a modern youth, it would scare these ancient people to death.
Who was he afraid of?
With that, Xuan Ji regained his composure and pulled the iron chain on the showerhead, causing it to snap back into his hand. Across from the bathroom was a wardrobe and a small bar. Xuan Ji leaned against the wardrobe and grabbed a beer from the fridge on the bar.
As he drank, he teasingly said, "Your Majesty, you need to accept the values of our new society. Look at yourself, a grown man with hands and feet, yet you still need help with everyday tasks like eating, drinking, and using the bathroom. Don't you feel ashamed?"
"Mm," Sheng Lingyuan picked up the showerhead that Xuan Ji had thrown down and tested the water temperature. He casually adjusted the faucet to the cold side, not caring that someone was watching. "Why should I feel ashamed?"
Xuan Ji's throat began to itch again, so he quickly chugged a big gulp of ice-cold beer to maintain his serious demeanor.
He said, "You old society exploiters, oppressing the working masses and deriving pleasure from their pain, aren't you ashamed? There are so many noble spiritual pursuits in the world, yet you indulge in material pleasures every day, wasting extravagantly and thinking highly of yourselves. Is that even reasonable? Besides, everyone is equal, so why should others serve you?"
Sheng Lingyuan didn't even stumble and replied, "There is food to eat, a salary, and therefore expectations. You live in this house, do you expect to make your own bed and sweep the floor?"
Xuan Ji responded coldly, "Oh, then I've never gotten any salary from you. Don't boss me around."
Sheng Lingyuan immediately guessed the meaning of "salary" and casually flicked his hair, saying, "Well, tell me what you want. What if I have it?"
Xuan Ji was trembling with anger at the man's behavior - did this emperor have no limits just to find someone to wash his hair?
The beer quality at this crappy hotel was terrible and made Xuan Ji's throat dry, so he cleared his throat and sternly rebuked, "Your Majesty, only the sick, injured, or those who cannot take care of themselves need someone to take care of them. Which category do you belong to?"
Before he could finish his sentence, Sheng Lingyuan lifted the showerhead to wash his hair, causing his arm to strain and tug at his new injury in his chest. He paused for a moment, taking a slight breath, although he didn't make a sound.
Xuan Ji: ...
Oh, that's right, he belongs to the 'injured' category.
In an instant, his temper dissipated as he resigned himself to the situation. He rolled up his sleeves and pants, turned up the air conditioning a few degrees, and walked into the bathroom.
Regardless of the reason, someone had just stood up for him.
Xuan Ji took the showerhead from Sheng Lingyuan and, with a tight jaw, pointed to the bathtub. He only looked at Sheng Lingyuan's shoulders and above, saying, "Just so you know, I'm only washing your hair."
Xuan Ji couldn't help but have some naughty thoughts at this moment, wondering how hairdressers wash hair all day. Perhaps they have become numb to dealing with so many heads, but for Xuan Ji, whose preferences were unclear, it was hard not to have some mischievous thoughts.
In this era, where the main characters of most novels couldn't wait to "take the ball and run", many romances were open and progressed so quickly to the point of being boring.
Everyone was busy with their studies and work, preferring to get straight to the point. Couples either rushed to satisfy their desires and then parted ways, or sat together calculating their assets and planning for the future, as if they were two accountants having a serious discussion. As a result, many subtle and beautiful feelings were lost, and "ambiguity" became a derogatory term.
However, in Xuan Ji's opinion, the two most subtle and ambiguous parts of the human body are the hands and the hair. Since ancient times, "green silk" has been associated with "romantic feelings," and there is a saying that goes, "tying the knot" with someone's hair can give you the illusion of directly touching their myriad thoughts... Especially with Sheng Lingyuan's long and dense hair, when it was soaked in water, it tangled around Xuan Ji's fingers in a seductive manner.
Of course, Xuan Ji admits that this is just his personal secret fetish and is not widely accepted by social etiquette.
What's even more frustrating is that he's the only one feeling awkward in this situation.
"I say, Your Majesty," Xuan Ji tried to desensitize himself, "don't you check the sexual orientation of those you hire to wash your hair first?"
Sheng Lingyuan lazily lifted his eyelids and asked, "What does 'sexual orientation' mean?"
"Well...this term may be too trendy for you ancient people. It means that in most cases, when it comes to dating and marriage, it's between a man and a woman. But besides that, some people prefer other combinations, like..." Xuan Ji hesitated for a moment, carefully choosing a euphemistic and easy-to-understand explanation, "for example, same-sex relationships."
Sheng Lingyuan remained unfazed and asked, "Like the love between men in ancient times?"
Xuan Ji: ...
During the chaotic period of war, the ancient people had seen it all. Except for hardcore technology like airplanes, cannons, and atomic bombs, there was nothing that could make the emperor feel out of touch in this world.
Sheng Lingyuan then asked nonchalantly, "What about yourself?"
"My situation is a bit complicated," Xuan Ji forced down the rush of blood to his face and made it as stiff as a coffin, "I'm quite 'broad-spectrum', if you know what I mean. So, to avoid any misunderstandings, I don't really develop friendships with other men by soaking in hot springs and rubbing each other's backs... um, do you know what I'm talking about?"
Sheng Lingyuan looked at him inexplicably, and Xuan Ji keenly read from his face a message that said, 'I understand, but what does that have to do with me?'
Xuan Ji: ...
Oh, those decadent feudal imperials used to have maidservants around, and they didn't seem to be embarrassed to be naked in front of a row of young ladies.
The wicked old society really had no shame!
The class struggle had intensified, dispelling his untimely daydreams. Xuan Ji's sudden "monkey mind" was now riding on a wild "horse of intention," fully focused on his hatred as he diligently worked as a hair washer.
Half an hour later, his mind was completely clear, and he even contemplated shaving the Emperor's head bald - his luscious locks were just too difficult to wash!
The hair was thick and abundant, with fine and soft strands that took forever to rinse with water alone. It was impossible to hold in one hand, even harder to scrub than a pair of jeans!
The stingy hotel had provided travel-sized toiletries for each room, and the tiny bottle of shampoo barely lathered on his head. Xuan Ji had no choice but to mix everything together - face wash, body wash, shampoo - and smear it all over his head, rubbing and scrubbing haphazardly.
In the cramped bathroom, there was no stool for washing hair. Xuan Ji had been bending over for so long that his thoughts were starting to straighten out.
Exhausted, he was about to stand up and stretch when he absentmindedly grabbed the beer can that he had set aside earlier. Before he could take a sip, Sheng Lingyuan, who had been dozing off, suddenly opened his eyes and asked him a soul-searching question.
"I forgot to ask," Sheng Lingyuan said, "what is your name?"
Xuan Ji hesitated for a moment, unsure whether to pour the beer on his face or dunk his infuriatingly stubborn head into the bathtub.
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