The abyss was as Shen Chenzhi had said. It was a dark place.
The darkness was different from that of reality when lights were turned off. The darkness here was sticky like a flowing swamp. There wasn’t a trace of light and no smell but it made people feel suffocated.
Coming here was a momentary effort, just like entering an instance. In the blink of an eye, Xiao Li felt like he was standing on the ground but he couldn’t see what was at his feet. He looked back and found before turning around and asking Shen Chenzhi, “Where is the pollution?”
“In the darkness. It is everywhere but you can’t see it because I’m here.” Shen Chenzhi kept holding him, like a parent afraid of losing his children. Shen Chenzhi’s chin rested on Xiao Li’s shoulders and he clung tightly. “I will take you for a deeper look.”
He loosened his arms and led Xiao Li forward.
There was no other scenery in the depths of the abyss. When going deeper inside, it was still dark. The only difference was the speed in which the darkness flowed. It had become more active. It was an indescribable feeling. Staying in this place for a long time could easily be suffocating.
The abyss wasn’t big. Shen Chenzhi took him around for awhile and it took less than 10 minutes. He took Xiao Li and sat down here he used to sit most often. There was nothing to look at here. Everything was familiar to Shen Chenzhi but thanks to the presence of his lover, this time was more satisfying than any resort. He reached out a hand and spoke in a low voice. “Any traces of darkness here that flows out can easily pollute a god.”
“What happens when you’re polluted?” Xiao Li asked.
“You will go crazy and die. Then after death, you will pollute more of the world.”
“Earlier, the order of the instances hadn’t taken shape. I had to guard here every minute and couldn’t get out. Now the power of the gods has been strengthened by the instance and fed back. I have more free time and just have to come back here for half a day every month to suppress it.”
Xiao Li listened to him speak up to here and abruptly reached out to pat Shen Chenzhi on the back.
He had only stayed here for a short time and felt discomfort. However, Shen Chenzhi had to guard here every day and night. It was no different from prison. Every time he got out of here, he went outside to buy food for Xiao Li or just wanted to watch Xiao Li’s house from downstairs.
At this moment, there seemed to be some feelings burning in Xiao Li’s heart. Xiao Li grabbed Shen Chenzhi’s arm and pushed him to the grounds. His voice seemed to be suppressing some emotion. “There is still something I find strange.”
Xiao Li used too much strength and Shen Chenzhi’s entire body directly hit the ground. Even so, his brow didn’t furrow. He just asked, “What is it?”
Xiao Li’s fingertips ran over the other person’s first button and he undid it with a painful slowness. “The first time I entered the instance, you had already changed to my instance book and spoke those first words to me. At that time, I didn’t know you.”
“So why do you… like me?”
Shen Chenzhi hadn’t expected Xiao Li to ask about this. He stared at the other person for a long time before reaching out and pinching Xiao Li’s chin.
“Maybe you don’t remember.” Shen Chenzhi spoke slowly as if recalling the past. “However, we met long ago.”
Xiao Li stopped. “When?”
He recalled carefully and couldn’t remember any intersection with Shen Chenzhi long ago. Shen Chenzhi lay back, his light coloured pupils were almost black in the abyss. He whispered, “It was when I could only go out for half a day every year. Long ago, you lived with your mother.”
That was a really long time ago.
Shen Chenzhi might be powerful but he usually couldn’t come out of the abyss. The other gods were afraid of him and had no intersection with him. He also didn’t want to have anything to do with them.
After discovering that he could come out for a short time, Shen Chenzhi chose to watch the scenery somewhere in the main universe where the gods gathered and spent the whole day in silence. Later, he wanted to go outside to see and finally went to reality. He didn’t want to change anything. He was like a bystander as he walked from where he landed.
That day, Shen Chenzhi happened to pass by a certain community. There were a lot of people in the community and the sunset at dusk dyed the world pale, just like his eyes. At first, Shen Chenzhi was actually just passing by.
A beautiful little boy was walking out of the gate of the community. A little fat boy was behind him, holding onto a corner of his clothes like he wanted to play with the beautiful boy.
The boy in front revealed impatience in his cold expression as he repeated ‘I have something to do several times’. However, the little fatty at the back kept pestering him, muttering, “Auntie said I can play with you. What do you have to do?”
The boy was impatient and pointed at Shen Chenzhi. “I have something to do with him.”
Shen Chenzhi stopped and watched him with a tilted head. The boy grabbed his sleeve and blinked at him. The boy wasn’t afraid and dragged him away. Shen Chenzhi didn’t stop him. The boy took out his pocket money and bought Shen Chenzhi a popsicle at the cold drink store on the street.
At first, he was just curious about human things. He left the popsicle and returned to the abyss.
The next year, Shen Chenzhi came out and thought for a moment about where to go. He might’ve lived a long time but he had no interests. Thus, he decided to go see the little boy who asked him to eat popsicles.
The other person didn’t recognize him in the crowd so he just watched from a distance.
Year after year passed.
He was able to come out more often and for longer periods of time. This meant he spent more time ‘observing’ Xiao Li.
He saw the grown-up teenager bending down to feed the stray cats after school, he saw the teenager’s side profile as he explained the questions when asked by his classmates, he saw the teenager leaving a meal for the stray aunt in the restaurant and he saw the teenager cover his mother with a quilt after she fell asleep.
It was a very mysterious feeling.
Shen Chenzhi’s feelings accumulated over the years but the other person never found him or knew him. It was just that the gentleness under his cold appearance had caught Shen Chenzhi and made him choose to stay by Xiao Li’s side whenever he had time.
This went on for a long time.
Later, a girl asked Xiao Li to go to the garden at the back of the school. Shen Chenzhi happened to be present at the time. He made himself invisible and followed. He saw the red-faced girl stand close to Xiao Li. Somehow, his heart started to feel extremely uncomfortable and he hoped that Xiao Li would directly push that person away.
However, Xiao Li didn’t do anything. He just watched the girl’s next movements indifferently. She held out a love letter and handed it to the teenager with a blushing face.
Shen Chenzhi’s long-term emotions collapsed at his moment. The seeds took root in his heart and his heart turned into teeth and claws. It was transmitted to his limbs along every blood vessel and became a towering tree. He even wanted to kill the girl. It wasn’t until Xiao Li relentlessly rejected her, saying that he had no plans to fall in love that Shen Chenzhi could breathe again.
It was at this moment that he understood what he wanted. He wanted Xiao Li.
Later, Styx had completely overturned, reality was pulled into the instance and Shen Chenzhi had relative freedom. He couldn’t wait to replace Xiao Li’s original task book. He entered the other person’s life and became his deskmate.
Xiao Li listened to Shen Chenzhi and fell into a strange quiet.
Shen Chenzhi asked, “What is it?”
Xiao Li answered honestly. “I think you are a bit abnormal.”
He was half lying on Shen Chenzhi at this moment. Due to this posture, Shen Chenzhi could feel any movement on him and should naturally be able to detect that Xiao Li was actually smiling. However, perhaps because he cared too much for the other person, Shen Chenzhi didn’t notice the laughter in his words. The young man reached out to hold his waist. “I am.”
I am abnormal. I want everything about you, your love, your attention and your gentleness.
“However, don’t leave me,” Shen Chenzhi continued, his hands trembling hard as he pulled down Xiao Li’s upper body and buried his face in the other person’s neck. “I love you.”
I am willing to be a ‘normal person’ for you.
Xiao Li sensed that something was wrong with the other person. He raised his head and reached for Shen Chenzhi’s face. “…I know.”
“I guessed that you were abnormal. I knew it when you were still the task book.”
Xiao Li held Shen Chenzhi’s hand and raised his face. “Still, you should understand one thing.”
“What?” Xiao Li was leaning too close, his red lips close at him. Shen Chenzhi asked this question in an extremely low voice.
Xiao Li stared into Shen Chenzhi’s eyes, softening his tone as he declared gently, “I hope you know that since I have promised you, it means I love you. You don’t need to hold me like this. I will stay by your side.”
In the darkness, Shen Chenzhi’s eyes lit up like stars. The young man covered Xiao Li’s hand in this position and spoke in a hoarse voice. “Say it again.”
“What?” Xiao Li was slightly startled.
Shen Chenzhi’s voice was very low, as if engulfed in darkness. Xiao Li couldn’t hear it unless he listened carefully. “Just say that sentence just now.”
“…I love you,” Xiao Li declared. “You don’t have to suffer like this.”
Shen Chenzhi’s Adam’s apple moved. “Say it again.”
If Xiao Li didn’t do anything, Shen Chenzhi would probably make him repeat it a hundred times. Xiao Li didn’t repeat it anymore. He gently kissed the other person’s lips and pressed down. Shen Chenzhi took advantage of this to deepen the kiss.
‘You catch me under the endless cliff and I will accompany you to the abyss.’
“Since you don’t like me calling you ‘Baby’, I will call you ‘Brother’ this time.” Shen Chenzhi stared at him.
Xiao Li kind of wanted to hit him.
Darkness amplified his senses. Now wasn’t the time to talk about what to call him.
Shen Chenzhi told him, “You should call out to me. If it is good then I will stop.”
Xiao Li, “……”
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Xiao Li: Why don’t you call me Dad (.)