Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Living to Suffer - ch14

Translator: ayszhang
Editor: Marcia

Living to Suffer chapter 14
The prequel to TDDUP


The sun was high overhead by the time Ch’in Ching awoke, and the man had long left his side leaving behind only cold bedding.
He slept until midday but still felt sore all over because of the wild night. Ch’in Ching shook his head and chuckled before leaving his bed. After dressing and washing, he was about to open the windows to get some fresh air when he found a slip of paper weighed down on the desk.
Will come find you for New Year’s if not busy in the sect.
No greeting. No closing. His message was like his person, meticulous in content and strong and keen in shape.
As he clutched the slip, it occurred to him that it was the first time the man had arranged the next rendezvous with him. Again he shook his head and chuckled. He crumpled it up to throw it away, but in the end he went to the secret compartment on the bed, took out the book full of his childhood daydreams and tucked the slip in.
“I wonder why ‘love’ and ‘lust’ are always paired in people’s minds.” Ch’in Ching returned to the window and pushed it open, dispersing the traces of love and lust that remained. “Lust doesn’t necessarily occur with love.”

In about another fortnight came New Year’s Eve. Ch’in Ching waited from sunrise till sunset but received no visitors even after the Hour of the Dog had passed. Thus, he assumed that the man was busy and would not come that day. He donned a thicker coat before locking the gates and heading to the gambling house in the nearby town to spend another New Year’s Eve alone.
While Ch’in Ching’s shifu was certainly the disciple of a fabled recluse, he chose to hide himself in plain sight. He held the position of Grand Diviner in the imperial court, a true creature of the State. Currently the State was weak and lacked men of talent. The less able the Son of Heaven was, the more he believed in the auguries. Hence, Ch’in Ching’s shifu not only had to read the skies and consult the almanac, he was also responsible for the oracle bone divinations and all other ceremonies. Given the time of year, the man was not at liberty to visit his pupil.
Every year Ch’in Ching spent the holidays by himself, but the mountains proved too lacking in liveliness, so he would sit and indulge his bad habits at the betting table. He felt fortunate that such a place as this, open every day of the year, existed. It was loud and energetic, and he even found it convivial to welcome the New Year with a bunch of strangers who enjoyed gambling as much as he did.

“And where do you think you’re going, Ch’in-taifu?”
Ch’in Ching had locked the gates and just slipped out of the valley when he heard someone questioning from behind. After a momentary pause, he turned around with a grin. “Timing really is everything. You would’ve missed me if you had come any later.”
“I thought I told you to wait for me.” Shen Liangsheng began walking towards him. His expression appeared normal, but his tone contained a hint of discontent.
“But I did,” Ch’in Ching hurriedly appealed as he saw the man approaching. “And you didn’t come.” Then, he added in a softer tone after a pause, “You must know, Shen-hufa, that waiting is the worst feeling. Your stomach just hangs in the air fluttering.” He reached out for the man’s hand and sighed. “In the end you become frightened of waiting, and you just give up.”
“…” Shen Liangsheng gripped the doctor’s hand in return and answered, after a long silence, “Then I won’t make you wait again.”

The wild wintery wind whistled through the mountains, and the two men standing hand in hand in the gloaming truly seemed to share a delicate bond of mutual reliance.
Unfortunately, Shen Liangsheng did not know at all what Ch’in Ching knew too well, that the doctor would have to wait next time, that he was destined to wait for this man since the day he was born.
That he would have to wait for him to escort him to his death.

“Shen Liangsheng, come to town with me.” After some time, it was Ch’in Ching who first retracted his hand and started walking. “I don’t have anything prepared at my place. If there’s a restaurant still open in town, we can eat a year-end supper there.”
“You should eat regularly, as you’ve been losing weight.” Without warning, Shen Liangsheng drew the man into his arms and flitted down the mountain. “You shouldn’t have to be told that. And you call yourself a doctor.”
“But I was waiting for you.” Ch’in Ching joked on tirelessly, leaning on the taller man’s chest, “I had the rice washed and was waiting for the hufa to start working in the kitchen making me congee again to warm my heart.
“Do not be cheeky.” Without slowing down, Shen Liangsheng pulled the man closer into his embrace blocking the chilly air.

After arriving in town, they could not find any restaurants still open. Ch’in Ching then thought of the noodle stand in front of the gambling house that was open year-round, so he led Shen Liangsheng to it. When he saw the gambling house, however, his dice hand began to itch, and he inveigled good-naturedly, “Well, seeing as I’m not hungry, would you care to accompany me for a few rounds?”
Shen Liangsheng shot him a glance from the corner of his eye but did in fact enter the facility with him. He stood by the table watching Ch’in Ching playing sic bo with a horde of gamblers.
Anyone who lingered at the gambling house on New Year’s Eve was bound to be an addict who wasn’t willing to part with the die even for a family reunion. With bloodshot eyes, they howled and screamed at the twists and turns of every roll.
Now, Ch’in Ching may have been an addict too, but he at least wore the mask of a scholar. Standing in the crowd, he appeared rather calm and self-assured, although his hand belied his demeanour, as he lost more rounds than he won. Nevertheless, he did not seem down-hearted.
“You will lose for sure if you bet ‘Small.’ ”
As he heard the whisper, he turned and saw Shen Liangsheng just behind him. He replied quietly, “You can tell from the sound?”
“What do you think?”
Chuckling, Ch’in Ching remarked silently – of course someone with your neikung can hear it – but he said aloud, “The fun is in the suspense. What’s the point in knowing?”
Instead of answering, Shen Liangsheng took the doctor’s hand and moved his bet to ‘Big.’ The dealer uncovered the lid, and the sum of the dots was ‘Big,’ exactly as the hufa anticipated. Ch’in Ching gathered his silver winnings but then left the table. He smiled while shaking his head. “It’s my money. Why do you care if I win or lose?”
“You yourself belong to me. Why be quarrelsome about money?”
Ch’in Ching shot a look of surprise in his direction. This man was so uncharacteristically wordy today that the sun must have risen from the west.

“Come on. Since you won money for me, I’ll treat you to noodles.” Deciding that the conversation was not going to go anywhere, Ch’in Ching tugged at the taller man’s sleeve and headed out of the building first. When they both sat down at the stand, he continued the chitchat. “Come to think of it, I eat here every New Year’s Eve. The owner is an old widower, no wife or children, so he runs this shop even during the holidays to earn a few more coins.”
Shen Liangsheng nodded and said no more. When the noodles were served, the two men each picked a pair of bamboo chopsticks and shared what could be considered a holiday supper.
The shop was set up in front of the gambling house and made good use of the location. Especially at this time, the patrons were all gamblers who could not stand their growling stomachs and came out for some quick chow before diving nose-first back into the games. Every one of them practically inhaled their food before rushing back. Amongst the diners, only Ch’in Ching and Shen Liangsheng felt no sense of urgency, sitting quietly in a corner across from one another eating their noodles.
Under the hazy lantern light, the people around them came and went, but that had nothing to do with them. Even the brightly lit, clamorous gambling house seemed to drift further away, leaving only the two of them and two bowls of noodles in the protective bubble of their small, tranquil cosmos. Hovering above this world of mortality, they meandered skyward along with the steam from the stove, higher and higher, farther and farther.
As if they could even reach the stars and the end of the world.

But in the end, it was just a bowl of noodles. Chewing his food carefully, Ch’in Ching finished and paid the bill. He voiced his wish to take a stroll to help digestion, so the pair left the noodle shop. Walking in silence, they turned into a narrow street to take the short route to the town entrance.
Residences lined either side of the alley, their doors and windows tightly shut, concealing what must have been scenes of families in happy reunion. Faint sounds of joy and laughter could even be heard from inside the walls.
Ch’in Ching recalled the times when his shifu had spent the holidays with him prior to joining the imperial court. At the time the doctor was still that young boy who could not face death with acceptance. He would argue futilely, while forcing down dumplings which he despised, “You say the demonic sect is savage but mostly kill people of the chianghu. So if the commoner is safe, why must my measly life be sacrificed?”
He remembered his shifu explaining to him, as he halved the dumplings so they would cool, “How could the Son of Heaven ignore the loss of order in the chianghu as the demonic sect amassed power against the court? Now that the maternal branches are eyeing the throne, I fear that the moment the country falls into civil war, the frontiers will fall into warfare as well. Then it wouldn’t be disaster just for the chianghu. The commoners would be devastated, too.” At the end of his discourse, he would remind the boy, “Have a few more.”
Later his shifu entered the court and became a piece in the game, and he never had the chance to eat New Year’s Eve dumplings again.

Ch’in Ching’s steps slowed as he reminisced. Without rushing the man, Shen Liangsheng strolled along with him. Midway down the mile-long alley, doors on either side suddenly swung open – it was time to light firecrackers and welcome the New Year.
Some kids were brave enough to hold a stick of incense and light the explosives while the adults held them up, and then they leapt away giggling when the snap and crackle began, hands clapped over their ears. Ch’in Ching stopped to watch, and a warm emotion blossomed in his heart, a certain peaceful joy.
Shen Liangsheng halted beside the doctor and quietly observed him. Spotting the smile about his lips, the hufa experienced a fleeting moment of unusual tranquility. So calm was he that he seemed to have gone back to the time when they first met. He had opened his eyes and seen another man, another pair of eyes looking earnestly back at him. “The rain will stop soon,” he had said. “Staying alive is better,” he had said. “I will save you,” he had said. “What say you?”

As the firecrackers went off, Ch’in Ching watched the merry and harmonious scene with a smile while Shen Liangsheng gazed at him thinking back to the doctor’s teasing replies as he treated his wounds. A light smile rarer than shooting stars appeared about the hufa’s lips, but unfortunately it disappeared in the next moment. If Ch’in Ching knew what he had missed, he surely would have cried with distress and regret.
I will let you save me if that is what you wish to do.
Shen Liangsheng mused in silence before the fleeting smile vanished.
My devotion, body and soul in return for saving my life – that is not necessarily an unfair trade-off.

After the firecrackers died down, the crowd of families gradually dissipated, leaving the two outsiders with nothing else to do but to keep advancing.
They ambled to the end of the narrow alley. Stars lit up the cloudless, winter sky above, and beneath their feet was a red carpet of firecracker flakes.
In silence, they arrived at the mouth of the street. Shen Liangsheng stopped and asked out of nowhere, “Does anything come to mind, Ch’in-taifu, after walking over a path of crimson firecrackers?”
Naturally, Ch’in Ching comprehended the implied meaning since he had a naughty mind to begin with, and he replied without skipping a beat, “Now that the firecrackers have been set off and we have walked across the nuptial carpet,[1] what do you think should come next?”
“An auspicious day, a pleasant evening – should I say Happy New Year or…” Shen Liangsheng wrapped his arms around the man and leapt into the air. As he flitted high above the world, he looked down at Ch’in Ching. “Should I say Happy Honeymoon?”

The answer was likely the latter: Shen Liangsheng made his way nimbly through the formations of the valley and vaulted right over the walls into the yard. The moment Ch’in Ching felt the ground beneath his feet, he was thrust up against the door, and the hufa was on him, exploring every nook and cranny of his mouth with his tongue. Ch’in Ching’s scalp tingled from the deep, passionate kiss. Their tongues were entangled like two copulating serpents that could not bear to part even a hair’s breadth.
“Shen…hm… Listen…” Ch’in Ching managed to get his words out after giving a strong push. “It’s freezing out here. We should at least head inside, no?”
After his final syllable, he felt himself leave the ground once more, but this time Shen Liangsheng was holding him by the butt. Face to face, they stared into each other’s eyes as he walked towards the building.
Ch’in Ching was not much shorter than the other man, so he had to wrap his arms around his neck and his legs around his waist in order to maintain balance. Of course, he did not let the man off without some teasing remarks. “How indecent! How improper!”
“Ch’in-taifu, did you really think you were decent or proper?”
“Fine, so I’m not, but you should at least try to resist my bad influence.”

Meanwhile they were entering the room. Shen Liangsheng headed straight for the bed and set Ch’in Ching down. The two men stood face to face but did not resume their kiss. Their words seemed to have been depleted during their short trip, and all that was left was a silent stare.
After a moment, Shen Liangsheng led Ch’in Ching’s hand to his belt before sliding his own hand up to the doctor’s neck and carefully untying the knot buttons on his collar. The fervent urgency earlier in the yard had vanished. Slowly and delicately, they undressed each other, and when their eyes accidentally met, they would look down again and continue with the handiwork.
Such a chaste scene truly befit a newlywed couple who walked through all the traditional observances – the exchange of patzu, dowry and gifts, the reverence to heaven and earth and to the elders, the matrimonial wine – to finally come to this step: taking off their partner’s garments in the quiet darkness to consummate a hundred years’ worth of happiness.

Once both had been laid bare, Shen Liangsheng took Ch’in Ching into his embrace, and they fell onto the bed. They were both erect and ready, but neither rushed to the main course. Pinning the doctor down, Shen Liangsheng went to work untying the ribbon in his hair with one hand while sliding out the pin securing his own headdress with the other. The ornament tumbled away, and his dark, luscious hair cascaded down to the man’s cheeks and slipped lower to join the flow of the man’s hair.
There they lay together in quietude for some time before Shen Liangsheng finally dipped down and planted a kiss between Ch’in Ching’s eyes. From there he kissed his way downward to capture his lips in a tender restraint. He sucked on them delicately as he gently ground against the man.
Ch’in Ching blindly pulled loose the bed clothes and covered both of them, and under the sheets their naked bodies rubbed against each other with a taboo, secret pleasure.

It was Ch’in Ching who lost his patience first after a long, teasing entrée. He reached down between them and manoeuvred their members to the same spot so that the shafts and the sacs would grind against together with so much as a lift of his hips. The head of his length felt so unbearably tingly that more and more lewd juices oozed out from the slit, to the point that a small pool gathered on his abdomen.
Shen Liangsheng released his lips and whispered in his ear, “You’re so wet.”
Ch’in Ching whispered back, “Then how about you suck it a little?” Then he added after a pause, “Turn around, and I’ll do you, too.”

Shen Liangsheng then shifted his orientation so his legs were next to the doctor’s head. He took the man’s manhood deeply into his mouth as the man did the same to him. The loud, sloppy noises were especially distinct in the night.
Ch’in Ching was not as good at endurance as the hufa but did not want to always shoot first, so after a pot of tea’s time he stopped and said to the man, “That’s enough.”
This time Shen Liangsheng truly listened to every one of the doctor’s commands and let his member slide out of his mouth. He trailed his tongue down between the cheeks and began toying with the opening, reaching in deeply to nudge the slippery walls and nibble on the tender skin around the entrance. Having that spot played with by the hufa, Ch’in Ching felt a sense of shame that he did not want to admit but also a burning pleasure inside him even greater than that which he received from the fellatio.

Eventually, Shen Liangsheng returned to their previous face-to-face position, and Ch’in Ching initiated the kiss this time. While they kissed, he felt his legs being gently pushed apart and a finger sliding in and out of him.
“Does it hurt?”
Naturally it did not hurt since his entrance was wet and the man had inserted only one digit. Hearing the concern in his voice, Ch’in Ching replied honestly and then immediately realized the tease, that the man was speaking to him as to a bride on her wedding night. The doctor’s cheeks flushed red, but before he could form a retort, he let out a low yelp from the sharp pain shooting up from his rear.
The opening was wet, but it had not been properly relaxed. Shen Liangsheng plunged himself totally into Ch’in Ching, and although the scorching, rock-hard shaft did not tear the entrance, the doctor was left hissing and gasping in pain. He sincerely wanted to know why he was suffering this injustice when he hadn’t even provoked the man this time.
“Just hang in there. It’ll stop hurting soon.” Shen Liangsheng’s utterance was as gentle as his thrusts were violent. This was exactly the tone that Ch’in Ching found irresistible, and all he could do was to admit that the colder and more loveless a person appeared, the more potent their rare expressions of affection.

After quietly bearing with the pain for some time, it indeed ebbed slightly. It was as though his opening had recognized the intruder at long last and was willingly enveloping it despite the dull discomfort, recalling the blissful pleasure that would soon follow. Thus, it clung desperately to the length, afraid that it would leave.
Shen Liangsheng felt the tight canal squeezing around him, the tender flesh gently pulsating and massaging his head. A gush of heat rushed straight to his groin and urged his hips to rock more quickly. Wet slushy sounds soon emerged from the penetration, but it was because Ch’in Ching had begun excreting lewd juices from within, and he was actively pushing his hips up to meet the hufa’s thrusts.
Shen Liangsheng began pinching his nipples while playing with the man’s ear, sucking the lobe and wetting the canal before thrusting his tongue in and out in a suggestive manner.

With multiple sensitive spots being tended to, Ch’in Ching was floating giddily on cloud nine. His member was angrily flushed and erect even though its desperate needs were being neglected. It stuck out against Shen Liangsheng’s lowered torso, and the head scraped across the tight knots of muscles on his abdomen with every thrust of the hufa’s hips. The stimulation was beyond words, and climax could not come soon enough.
Mind clouded, Ch’in Ching reached down to relieve himself, but a soft utterance shook him from his daze and made him forget about his ignored needs. If it wasn’t for the lips flush against his ear where the whispers originated, Ch’in Ching would have assumed he had hallucinated.
“Be obedient, Su-er,” the man said, “and call me husband.”

“What…” Despite knowing those words were truly uttered, Ch’in Ching could only pretend he was dreaming, but then he couldn’t just pass it off as a dream. His face was practically burning now, but thankfully it was dark. He murmured between tight lips, “You can’t just use the courtesy name like that…”
But Shen Liangsheng just did what he had done once before: he stroked Ch’in Ching’s manhood but kept a finger pressed tightly on the slit.
Ch’in Ching had learned from the previous time the frustration of a denied orgasm, so when the pain and pleasure began to build on top of each other, he willingly joined in this romantic wedding night skit in exchange for release and uttered the magic word.
The next moment, the pressure on his member was lifted, and cum gushed out in splurges. Overwhelmed by euphoria, his eyes lost their focus, and his chest rose and fell wildly in an effort to cope.

Shen Liangsheng paused his thrusting as the violent orgasm ran through the canal and simply stayed fully hilted enjoying the ecstatic stimulation. He felt as though he had taken a short trip to heaven with Ch’in Ching even though he himself had not reached release.
When Ch’in Ching’s mind returned, he held onto the man’s back and rolled over with him, switching their position, and lying on top of him in order to catch his breath.
Shen Liangsheng let him and leisurely patted his back for him.

“Do you also have a nickname, Shen Liangsheng?”
He simply wouldn’t be his shifu’s star pupil if he didn’t strike back after being dealt such a humiliating blow. He teased the hufa while lying on him like dead weight. “Sheng-er? Or perhaps Ah-Liang? I think Ah-Liang sounds nice.”
Ah-Liang. Ah-Liang… It sure sounds like a girl’s name.”
“I love you, Ah-Liang. Give me your hand in marriage.”
“Marry me, and you will be the only one for me this lifetime. We’ll find a quiet place and settle down, keep a few chickens and ducks, have a son and a daughter, and live until one hundred. How does that sound?”
After a while, Shen Liangsheng took Ch’in Ching’s hand and interlocked their ten fingers. Then he let go and led it down to where they were still connected. “If you really want kids, I can ask Miao-t’angchu if she knows of anything.”
“No, thank you. I’m fine, thank you very much. I was merely jesting. Please do not take it seriously, Shen-hufa!” The moment he heard that woman’s name, he thought of the balm, and at the thought of the balm he recalled that feeling of being caught between life and death. He was afraid the Hsing Sect might actually know of some heretical method to impregnate a man, so he quickly took back his words and shut his lips before they caused more havoc.
“Well, don’t we look lively?” Shen Liangsheng glanced at him before flipping them over, pinning the man down again. “Let’s continue, shall we?”

Thus, the lust and passion returned and did not ebb till the sun rose.
Ch’in Ching wanted nothing more than to hit the sack, but the now soft intruder was still inside him keeping what must have been a pool of thick cum clogged up.
“Could you pull out first?”
He negotiated good-heartedly, but the man circled his arms around him and forced him to abandon his request with a curt reply.
“Sleep with it.”
Oh goodness gracious. Ch’in Ching sighed, annoyed, but the exhaustion hit him, and he really fell asleep like that.
Right before he slipped into his dreams, he heard the man speak. “I have matters to deal with for the next two months, so I likely won’t have time to come. You shouldn’t wait.”
“Mhm.” Ch’in Ching managed in acknowledgment. Then it faintly occurred to him.
Oh, there’s only two months left.
Then he fell into slumber.

[1] It is tradition to lay down a red carpet for the bride to walk on when she arrives at her groom’s house.

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ayszhang: *dabs tears* Such a romantic chappy....
Sorry for the late post. Was a little busy since last weekend <3
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