The Four Y’s – 5/6 – duochanfan

Title: The Four Y’s
Author: duochanfan
Fandom: The Untamed/Mo Dao Zu Shi
Genre: Action Adventure, Drama, Family, Hurt/Comfort, Kid!fic, Pre-Relationship, Slash
Relationship(s): Nie Mingjue/Meng Yao, others
Content Rating: NC-17
Warnings: Hate Crimes/Hate Speech, Incest, Major Character Death, Slavery, Torture, Violence – Graphic, Violence – Domestic and/or Against Children, Dark Themes, Abuse Child, Abuse Domestic, Adultery, Death Minor Character, Discussion – Child Abuse, Discussion – Domestic Violence, Discussion – Murder, Discussion – Rape, Discussion Sexual Abuse, Discussion Torture, Disturbing Imagery, Violence Canon Level, Rape Off Screen, Murder
Beta: Arete
Word Count: 151,000
Summary: Wei Ying is once against being berated by Madam Yu, instead of taking it and watching as his brother is verbally lashed, he stands up to her. Not wanting to see his brother hurt by his own mother again. The woman turns on him and drives Wei Ying from the Jiang Sect he starts to travel around the Cultivation World, picking up a few people on the way to add to his own misfit little family. His hope as he travels is to find a home for himself and those he now claims as family.
Artist: SpencnerTibbsLuvr



Chapter Forty-One

The days and weeks blend into one as almost a year passed them by. Xue Yang’s birthday had been celebrated with his little friends. Wei Ying’s had come and gone, and he had celebrated with his new family and friends. A part of him was still sad that he hadn’t had Jiang Cheng and Jiang Yanli there with him again. It was now nearing Meng Yao’s eighteenth birthday when they were to head to Cloud Recesses for the lectures.

Nie Huaisang had made his displeasure known once more about having to go. He had tried his best to get out of it. But so far nothing had worked for him. And with Wei Ying all for it and wanting to go as well. The Second Young Master of the Nie Sect had no choice but to go.

It wasn’t until there were only three days left that things changed a little bit. Wei Ying was beginning to mope and five-year-old Xue Yang had taken to grabbing him and holding onto him, not letting him go for a minute or two. He would also become frantic when Wei Ying went out of his sight for a few minutes. No one quite understood it for a little while, until the two of them finally admitted that they didn’t want to leave each other.

“I just don’t want to leave A-Yang here for so long. Do you think the Lan Sect would let me bring him as well?” Wei Ying asked as he looked at Nie Huaisang. He was hopeful that maybe Sect Leader Nie would be able to do something and swing it so that he could bring the five-year-old.

“I doubt it, I’ve never seen a child that was younger than fourteen there when I went. And I was the one that was fourteen. Most of the time they would only accept fifteen-year-olds. Very rarely fourteen, and they only did that because Da-ge and Er-ge are friends,” the sixteen-year-old huffed, pouting at the thought of being one of the older students this time.

“Right, where are all the children then?” he asked him, frowning as he realised what he was saying.

“I’ve never seen any of them. I think that there are more places in the Lan Sect that we can’t get to. There are no female disciples that you can see either. But we all know that there are female disciples, we’ve seen them when they go on night hunts and when we sometimes have people from the Lan Sect over to help with our… problem,” Nie Huaisang pointed out, “They are just kept separate from us all, and no one knows where they were,” he added, looking over at his friend.

“Right,” he murmured, “But… Do you think Sect Leader Nie would be able to ask them at least?” he queried, looking hopeful once again.

“I don’t know, you’re going to have to ask him yourself,” Nie Huaisang huffed as he pulled Wei Ying to his feet and began to drag him to his brother’s office. As they walked, a little blur attacked them and latched onto Wei Ying’s legs.

“A-Niang!” he called out, even though Xue Yang’s use of the word had been starting to fade away. But over the last few days, it had started to crop up a lot more. Though everyone realised that the young child was thinking that his beloved Wei Ying, his A-Niang was going to be leaving him. And he was, but only for the year. This would be the longest that the two of them would be apart from the moment that Wei Ying had saved Xue Yang from that cart.

“A-Yang,” Wei Ying smiled down at him as he pulled him into his arms and then swung him around so he was settled on his back as they carried on heading to Nie Mingjue’s office. They walked in as Nie Huaisang forgot politeness.

“Oh,” he said as the three of them burst into giggles. Nie Mingjue and Meng Yao had been having a little make-out session as they walked in.

“Sorry Yao-ge,” Wei Ying said, grinning at the two of them.

“Oh! Kissing again!” Xue Yang giggled, “I’ll be a Gege soon,” he grinned, “Can’t wait to be a big brother,” he added, smiling happily.

“I know you can’t,” Wei Ying murmured as the two had pulled apart and were hastily sorting themselves out. He then turned to the two of them, “I just wanted to talk to you. A-Sang is the one that decided we should just barge in without knocking,” he pointed out, giving the older teen a look.

“Da-ge, I thought I told you to be careful!” Nie Huaisang snapped at him, “If you want to do things like this, then you at least need to lock the door. You don’t know who will burst in. This time it’s only us. Next time it might not be, and if Elder Yi sees you, you know what he’s going to do!” he berated the two of them as he went over and sat down, “Come on,” he said as he looked over at Wei Ying and Xue Yang.

Wei Ying walked over, settling Xue Yang down beside Meng Yao before sitting down on the other side, “Sorry about barging in like that,” he apologised once more.

“It’s fine, A-Sang is right, we should have locked the door,” Nie Mingjue said, brushing it aside. Though there was a slight hint of redness on his face as he spoke, “What is it that you wanted me for?” he asked them all, looking from his brother to Wei Ying.

“Well, I was wondering if you would be able to contact the Lan Sect and see about me having Xue Yang with us? I know that it might not be a good idea and all that. But it wouldn’t hurt to ask them, would it?” he asked him.

“I already have asked them,” Nie Mingjue answered him, “A-Yao told me about what was going on and that the two of you were having a little trouble about the thought of leaving each other. So, I contacted them as soon as I could about the possibility. Lan Qiren has already sent back his answer of no. I did try and argue for it again, but the answer came back the same. Though I will be trying my best to come and visit the Lan Sect and I’ll be seeing about bringing Xue Yang with me then, so he can at least come and see you,” he told him.

“That… that would be nice,” Wei Ying tried his best to smile, not really happy about the outcome. But at least the Sect Leader had tried to get what he wanted done, “Thank you though, for trying for us.”

“Welcome,” he smiled, “I know that the two of you are very close. I didn’t want you to have to separate when neither of you are really ready for it. I know that Xue Yang is still scared that you will leave him behind, he’s still little after all,” he added as he looked at the five-year-old.

“I’m not scared! I’m six! I’m a big boy now!” he protested as he heard Nie Mingjue call him little.

“Then you’ll be able to stay here with me and without A-Ying?” Nie Mingjue asked, “It will be just the two of us for a bit. As A-Sang and A-Yao both have to go as well,” he pointed out to the child.

Xue Yang was silent as he looked between them all. A look of fear flashed through his eyes before he nodded slowly, “I will,” he said, “I promise. I’ll be alright A-Niang. And I’ll write, I know lots of words now. So, I can tell you so much more in a letter, and I can write to Sang-Gege and Yao-Gege” he grinned as he looked at Wei Ying.

Wei Ying smiled at him and nodded, “Okay, you’ll have to write to me a lot, I’ll be so lonely and bored without you there with me,” he told him, gathering the child into his arms. Xue Yang was getting taller by the day and Wei Ying wondered how tall he would get in the end. He had just overtaken Nie Huaisang a few weeks ago. Much to the older teenager’s ire. It had been funny when they found that out. Nie Huaisang had been doing everything he could to try and regain the height over Wei Ying. Even wearing shoes with really thick soles to gain the height. But in the end, he had fallen over because of them a few times and Nie Mingjue had thrown them away. Wei Ying was also catching Meng Yao up, he was only a little shorter than the other. Meng Yao hadn’t grown at all over the last year, much to his irritation but Nie Mingjue’s happiness. The older said he fit perfectly in his arms with the height he was.

“I promise to be a good boy,” Xue Yang grinned, “And if I am, can I have a lot of sweets when you come back home?” he asked him, a devious little grin on his face as he looked at Wei Ying.

Wei Ying smirked and laughed, but nodded, “How about, if I can, I’ll send you a couple of sweets from what I find when I’m there?” he suggested, “That way you have a little gift from me every now and then to look forwards to,” he said, a little smirk on his face as he glanced at Nie Mingjue. The man had sent him back to Wei Ying full of sugar a number of times. Causing him and Meng Yao to have to take hours getting him to calm down enough for bed and when the sugar rush had finally crashed, they were exhausted.

Nie Mingjue paled. He had seen the destruction that Xue Yang could cause during a night of sugar, “That’s… fine as long as it doesn’t spoil his dinner. He won’t be allowed them before then,” he added, smirking thinking he got the upper hand with that.

“Not a good idea to let him have some before bedtime,” Meng Yao told his betrothed, shaking his head, “It will take him a long time to go to sleep otherwise. And if you don’t want him to be really cranky in the morning when you need him to get up, he needs all the sleep he can get,” he added, chuckling, as he knew how hard it was to get Xue Yang up. And since he and Zhao Zhuliu were the only two that Meng Yao and Wei Ying would trust to take care of Xue Yang while they were both gone at the same time, which had only happened once. So, the man should know what it was going to be like if he gave Xue Yang too much sugar.

“Zhao Zhuliu will be here to deal with that,” Nie Mingjue said, nodding to himself.

“Don’t forget that he does have a border patrol some nights and days,” Nie Huaisang grinned, “He’ll be gone sometimes, he has that rotation,” he reminded his dear brother.

“Ah,” Nie Mingjue muttered as he sighed, “Well, maybe I’ll let him have a little after lunch,” he said.

“Now that’s a better idea,” Wei Ying smiled, “Oh, there was one more thing that I wanted to talk to you about while I’m here and I am thinking about it,” he said as he looked at the Sect Leader.

“What about?” Nie Mingjue asked him, curious as to what the young man wanted now.

“Well, I need you to write a letter for me for the Lan Sect. I know that they might not like what I’m going to be reaching as I try and look for a solution for the Nie Sect problem,” he told him, “And since I really want to do something that will help.”

“That’s fine,” Nie Mingjue nodded, agreeing with him, “I don’t mind writing them a letter to give to them should you need to,” he agreed easily.

“Thank you,” Wei Ying said as Xue Yang struggled out of his arm to sit beside him again. The five-year-old wanted to be seen as a big boy after all.

“What do you think should be in it?” Nie Mingjue asked him, wondering what it could be that may get him in trouble with the Lan Sect.

“Well, I need to research Resentful Energy,” he said quietly, “I need to find a way for you to either to learn how to control it so that you can bend it to what you need. Or find a better way to cleanse it from when you are fighting,” he answered him, “It needs to be done before it gets too bad,” he pointed out.

“Right,” the Nie Sect Leader said. He had been looking at some of the notes that Wei Ying had given him over the last few months, detailing everything that the young teenager was researching. It was one of the things that he wanted to learn about was the Musical Cultivation of the Lan Sect and how it helped the Nie Sect clear their minds a little.

“Thank you, Sect Leader, hopefully, they have something there that might be able to help me,” he grinned. He had spent so much time on it, but so far there was just nothing that he had been able to find in the Nie Library. Nie Mingjue had told him several times not to get disheartened about not finding something. No one had been able to figure out the help with the problem in centuries after all. He wasn’t the first one to have a go at solving it. They remained in the office for a while longer, until lunch was ready and they spent it together.

Chapter Forty-Two

Wei Ying looked down at Xue Yang. Tomorrow they would be leaving for the Cloud Recesses. And he had been putting this off now for almost a year. Ever since he had finished the talisman for Nie Mingjue and the case he had. But Xue Yang had been voicing his need to know about his family. He knelt, putting his hands on Xue Yang’s shoulders. The two Nie brothers, Zhao Zhuliu and Meng Yao were with them in Nie Mingjue main office. Wei Ying wanted the five-year-old to have all of his family around him. A way to make sure that he knew that even if there were no lights, that he still had people that loved and adored him.

“Are you sure?” Wei Ying asked him once more.

“I am,” he nodded, “I want to know A-Niang,” he said softly as he looked at the teenager. The one who had been there for him since he had saved him from that mean cultivator.

“Okay,” Wei Ying sighed. He pulled out a talisman and handed it over. He had taught Xue Yang how to use this one.

The child pricked his finger and let a drop of blood fall onto the right space for it. With a little breath, he looked at Wei Ying. There was some fear in his eyes, but then he smiled at Wei Ying before he activated it. Sending a little of his Qi into it. It burst into flames and turned to ash and then to the surprise of everyone a large number of lights began to dart away. A number of light greens and a few light yellows. And then a red light burst from the pack and shot off. Another little green light headed straight for Meng Yao. Then a small surprise as two small blue lights darted away as well, along with three pink ones and one black.

“He… he didn’t?” Meng Yao whispered horrified at what he had seen. They all knew that Xue Yang’s mother was dead, the red light could only mean Xue Yang’s father.

“We all knew that it could be a possibility with that… man,” Wei Ying said, his teeth clenched together as he looked at the child. He didn’t know what all the colours meant and Wei Ying was glad of that.

“What is it?!” he asked, demanded to know what they were talking about, “There were so many lights and one even went to Yao-ge!” he yelled out, struggling as Wei Ying went to hug him.

“It just means that your father and my father are the same,” Meng Yao said, giving Wei Ying a nod as he walked over to Xue Yang, “We’re really brothers. Just like how Nie Huaisang and A-Jue are,” he added, smiling. Though he would be speaking with Wei Ying afterwards.

“Really?” Xue Yang asked him, eyes going wide, “We’re really brothers? Really, really?” he asked him, eyes wide as he pushed away from Wei Ying.

“Yes,” Meng Yao laughed lightly, “I am,” he grinned as Wei Ying let the child go full so Xue Yang could hug him tightly.

“I have a da-ge too!” Xue Yang giggled as he looked at Nie Huaisang, “I’m like you now Sang-ge,” he grinned widely.

“Right,” Wei Ying said, “Sorry to interrupt, but you promised me that you would go to your classes and behave today if we did that now, so off you go,” Wei Ying said as he pried the two apart.

“I’ll take him!” Nie Huaisang volunteered as he could see the two needed to talk about the results, “Us Didi’s need to stick together,” he grinned as he took Xue Yang’s hand and left the room with the five-year-old who was now chatting excitedly about having a da-ge.

“Wei Ying, what was that?” Meng Yao asked him, eyes wide.

“It means that Jin Guangshan raped his mother,” he said blankly, “He also has aunts or uncles out there. And some cousins and a grandparent,” he sighed, “He has a family that doesn’t belong to the Jin Sect. As we know his parents are both dead and the only possible Uncle from the Jin’s is also dead.”

“So, he does have some family out there. But what if… you remember the case that you made this for?” he said softly, getting a nod, “What if it’s like that, that she was kicked from the family for being pregnant,” he added, looking at his brother.

“Yes, I know,” he nodded, “I remember that. I could… see that Xue Yang’ mother would be kicked out. Ending up alone in that village when she passed through there. She… would have stayed there if she couldn’t go any further,” Wei Ying sighed, closing his eyes for a moment.

“We can use them to track down the other members of Xue Yang’s family. Learn what happened with them?” Nie Mingjue suggested. They had done it with the case to help the man’s mother find the other woman he had attacked and the child that resulted from it. Both the mothers and their children were now living happily with the family.

“I’m not going to be here for it though,” Wei Ying muttered, “I don’t want him to have to face something like that without me.”

“No, but I will be. And we won’t be telling Xue Yang until you’re there with him. But we can at least look into the situation to learn about it a bit more,” Nie Mingjue said, shaking his head as he walked over, “Look, I promise I will only be talking with them. I won’t let Xue Yang meet with them until you are there with him,” he promised him, reassuring him that it was all on Wei Ying if they do this.

“Okay, track them down, talk with them. But if you’re going to do that, leave him here and make sure that Zhao Zhuliu is there to look after him. Or maybe even that Elder that he likes to talk with,” he added.

“I will,” Nie Mingjue snorted. The elder in question was a distant relative and one that liked to know everything that was going on in the Sect, and out of it, and annoy them about marrying sooner rather than later. Mostly because he was trying to find them a few children that they could adopt and take in.

“Good,” he nodded, “I… I don’t want him to find something like this out without me being there for him. He will not just be upset, he would be devastated; he only remembers a little of his mother. And that was her being warm and giving him sweets. It’s why he likes them so much, they remind him of her.”

“Right,” Nie Mingjue nodded.

Meng Yao was still seething as he thought of the man that was his sire. Because there was no way he was ever going to call that bastard a father. He wasn’t. He was a monster, parading around and people were ignoring the crimes that he was committing because of who he was. Well, Meng Yao would be doing his best to change that one day. But first, he had his own little family to worry about and care about.

“I’m going to see if the little disciples want to play some talisman tag,” Wei Ying muttered, needing to get out of room and do something, “This should distract me a little and A-Yang would be there as well,” he added.

“I think I’ll join you,” Men Yao said, wanting to be near his little brother as much as he could. Wanting to make sure that he knew that he was wanted and loved.

“Yeah,” Wei Ying agreed, the two of them left the Sect Leader alone with Zhao Zhuliu so they could find the baby disciples and get them to practice their talismans.

XxXxX

Wei Ying wasn’t happy as he arrived at Cloud Recesses. The day before he had left the Nie Sect behind and for the first time since he had arrived, he was now in another Sect’s territory. He knew that Jiang Cheng would be there as well. That he would finally see his brother. He had to admit that he was scared about that. He had sent Jiang Cheng a letter, telling him that he would be there. He had given it to Zhao Zhuliu who was going to be crossing the borders and would be able to send it from the Jin Sect territory. He still didn’t want it to get back to them that he was with the Nie Sect. Though he would be finding that out soon.

“You alright?” Meng Yao asked him, looking at his younger brother.

Wei Ying sighed, “I really do wish that I could have brought Xue Yang with me,” he told him.

“I know you do,” Nie Huaisang said, patting his shoulder, “I just wish I could go home. You have no idea what this is going to be like,” he muttered as they gathered with some of the other disciples.

Wei Ying yelled as he was grabbed from behind, “What the hell!” he yelled out, causing a few people to look at him, several with disapproving looks on their faces at the cursing.

“You really are here,” came a quiet voice, it sounded like the person was on the verge of tears.

“Jiang Cheng?” Wei Ying whispered as he recognised the voice.

“Who else you fucking dickhead. I can’t believe you never contacted us properly. We could have met you anywhere you wanted. We….” he said, holding him tightly. As though letting him go would mean he would disappear on him again. He didn’t want the chance of losing sight of his brother again.

“Let me go so I can see how you’ve grown,” he told him, getting him to let him go.

Wei Ying turned around slowly and smiled as he saw his brother for the first time in two years, “You’ve gotten taller. Though not as tall as me,” he told him.

“What? Did you expect me to remain short!?” he rolled his eyes. There was still time for him to catch up to Wei Ying’s height, not that he really cared.

“I’m sorry about leaving the way that I did. I know that to you that place was my home. But… it never really felt like it for me. Not with her there all the time. She… made it so hard for me to see it as my home. It was just a place that I slept and lived in, but-”

“It wasn’t a home for you,” Jiang Cheng nodded, “I know. Dad and I talked. We talked a lot about you. I learned a little more about things and about your parents and the fact that Madam Yu and my dad were forced to marry because of a contract,” he sighed, pulling a face.

“Yeah, I know about that. Uncle Jiang let me see the contract,” he added, looking sadly at his brother.

“He let me as well,” he said, a sad look on his face. “I’ll be sixteen just after you. You’ll be able to come to Lotus Pier. I know you say it’s not your home, but there will always be a place for you there. You know that don’t you?” he asked him, hoping his brother did.

“I know. But I won’t ever go there with her there at all,” he shook his head, “I’d… I’d love to see Shijie and Uncle Jiang again.”

Jiang Cheng looked at his brother and nodded, “Right,” he said, a plan formulating in his mind, “Did you know that dad actually loved Madam Yu once. He did all he could to make things work with her. But she was always jealous of your mother,” he told him.

“Yeah?” Wei Ying asked curiously, he didn’t get much chance to learn about his parents with Madam Yu always dogging his steps when he tried to spend time with Jiang Fengmian so he could learn about them.

“Your mother was his best friend, Uncle Wei was his brother and best friend. They… they were a trio, just like you, me and A-Jie. We’re a trio. We’ll always be best friends and family. No matter what. No matter where you decided your home is,” he added, reaching out to Wei Ying’s shoulder.

Wei Ying smiled, “Good to know,” he told him, laughing lightly, “Come and meet two of my brothers, you could say,” he said as he then dragged him around so he could see the two, “This is Nie Huaisang, and yes he is Sect Leader Nie’s little brother.”

“Nie to meet you Jiang Wanyin, I’ve heard a lot about you from Wei Wuxian,” he smiled, bowing.

“Hope you’ve been able to keep him out of trouble, he tends to attract it at times,” Jiang Cheng bowed in return.

Meng Yao snorted, “Not a chance with the two of them together. More likely that they find trouble instead.”

Wei Ying and Nie Huaisang shared a grin, “Can’t be helped!” they said together as Wei Ying then added, “This is Meng Yao. We met when I was travelling. We… became really good friends and then brothers. There is also another one that I met. He’s only five, will be six in a few more months. He wasn’t allowed to come here to stay with me though,” he pouted.

“Mingjue already said that he would be bringing him to Caiyi town in a few weeks so you can meet up with him there and spend some time together,” Meng Yao said, shaking his head.

“I want my baby boy,” he muttered.

“We know,” Nie Huaisang and Meng Yao said, patting him on the back as Jiang Cheng watched them. There was a pang of jealousy and hurt in the young Jiang Heir. But he knew that he still held a place in Wei Ying’s heart as well. He could hear that when the older had spoken his name so quietly.

“Just don’t forget me with your new family,” Jiang Cheng rolled his eyes, though there was a little smile on his face.

Wei Ying glanced up at him, “How could I forget my family, Jiang Cheng,” he told him, snorting and shaking his head, “You’re my brother. Which does mean that these two are your brothers as well,” he grinned, “Now you have a lot of older brothers, and a bratty nephew,” he laughed.

“He actually calls A-Ying, A-Niang,” Meng Yao told him, moving over to the other teen, “It’s all he shouts sometimes. Has done for years,” he laughed as Jiang Cheng gapped at his brother.

“He calls you that?” he asked him, not believing it.

“He’s my son,” Wei Ying pouted, “He can call me that if he wants to,” he huffed.

“Okay,” Jiang Cheng laughed brightly.

“Come on, we have the announcement ceremony now,” Nie Huaisang said as he saw that everyone was starting to head into the Orchid Room.

The three nodded and followed everyone else. Jiang Cheng broke off and re-joining the other Jiang disciples, who had quickly said hello to Wei Ying as they went inside. All of them were happy to see their previous head disciple looking well and happy. Wei Ying glanced around the room, eyes spying a teenager around the same age as him, that was standing near the front. There were two of them, both of them looking similar to each other. One had a gentle smile on his face, the other looking rather blank and stoic. But it was his eyes that drew Wei Ying in, they were filled with loneliness.

Chapter Forty-Three

The first few days passed with nothing significant happening. The only thing that was worrying Wei Ying was that Jiang Cheng had told him that he had sent a letter to Lotus Pier. To tell his father and sister that Wei Ying was at Cloud Recesses. The days were boring for Wei Ying as he went to lectures. Though he had already taken to staking out the library to try and find out as much as he could about resentful energy and the cleansing of it as he could. He really wanted to see if there was something in there that he could use.

“I can’t believe that they let someone like him, with his parentage into the Cloud Recesses Lectures. They are only for the refined cultivators after all,” a Jin Sect member sneered as they glared at Meng Yao, who was with Wei Ying in the library this time.

“Jin Zixun, you should be careful,” someone else spoke from nearby.

“And why the hell should I? I’m a proud member of the Jin Sect and they are letting trash like that in. You do know that his mother is a whore don’t you,” he sneered as he looked at the eighteen-year old that was ignoring the words as best as he could.

“And I would mind the words that you speak,” Wei Ying said as he looked up, “Or do you not know anything about the other Great Sects?” he asked him.

“I know more than what a servant boy would know,” he spat at Wei Ying “Wei Wuxian, the ungrateful servant of the Jiang Sect that ran away because he was being punished.”

“My brother didn’t run away, he left because Madam Yu was being a horrendous bitch. And if my father had a choice, she would have been sent back to her mother Sect in disgrace already. I would be careful with your words. You degrade my cousin and sworn brother,” he said, even though they had never been able to go through with the ceremony, the two of them planned to do so at some point. Jiang Cheng then sneered as he added, “And then you also do the same to the betrothed of the Nie Sect Leader?” he pointed out, “And as my brother asked, do you even know anything about the other Sects?” he asked him again.

“And why would I need to know about any other Sect?” he sneered, glaring at the Jiang Heir.

“Because in the Nie Sect they show their courtship and the position of a person through their braids and hairpieces. What Advisor Meng wears is the betrothal hairpiece of the Nie Sect. Showing that he is to marry someone, but the carving on them show who he will marry. And in this case, it’s the Nie Sect Leader. In his hair are a number of beads, and the way that the braids are done, also show that he is a high ranking member of the Nie Sect. On par with that of Madam Jin, within the Jin Sect,” he explained, as though he was talking to a child. And he may have well been since they would at least pretend to listen.

“And why would I care about what his position is? He’s still the son of a whore,” he sneered, shaking his head, “The Nie Sect has truly fallen so far to take in such pieces of trash.”

“You really are so clueless as to what is going on in your own Sect,” Meng Yao snorted, rolling his eyes, “Do you even know the circumstances of my birth?” he asked him, a little smirk appearing on his face, “Because if you did, you would be keeping that big mouth of yours shut. And I have no doubt that Madam Jin would be telling you the same. As I know a few things that could fully turn the entirety of the Jin Sect on its head,” he told him.

“And what would that be?” he snapped, “Nothing, you have nothing!”

“Contract child,” Meng Yao murmured, so only they and the two Jin’s were able to hear the words.

Jin Zixuan went pale, his mother had made sure that he had learned about contract children a year ago and now he knew why, “Shut up, and don’t say another bloody word Zixun,” he ordered his cousin, glaring at him. “He’s right,” he hissed when he saw that Jin Zixun was going to protest, “Mother would not be happy with you speaking of things that you don’t even know anything about.”

“Oh,” Meng Yao said as he looked at the two of them, “I would also ask the man that you call a father to see how many other children he has out there. I know of another one personally. And there are at least twelve more half-siblings we have out in that world,” he added, looking directly at Jin Zixuan.

“What?” the Jin Sect Heir gapped, staring at the other teenager.

“I made a talisman to show the relationships between people. It can show the relationships between siblings, half-siblings, cousins, parents, grandparents, aunt and uncles,” Wei Ying told him.

“So,” Jin Zixun muttered, snorting as he didn’t see the value in the talisman at all.

“A talisman like that will show a person their family. Not fully, but enough to know that there are other people out there that they are related to,” Wei Ying rolled his eyes at the brat, “Want to give it a try?” he asked, teasing and goading the Jin Heir to use it.

“I bet all that comes up will be me and his parents,” Jin Zixun countered, “You’re only making it all up I bet. I bet they don’t even work, or that you cheated with them anyway,” he added.

“Want to test it out on someone else?” Wei Ying asked him, “Go and find someone that you know has family members that you know of for sure,” he told him.

“Nie Huaisang, we all know that it’s just him and his brother,” Jin Zixun smirked.

“Him, his brother and an uncle and cousin,” Wei Ying told them.

“Jiang Cheng, can you go and get him, he should be near the courtyard just outside. He didn’t want to come in here just yet,” Meng Yao suggested, “He wanted to capture the birds,” he smiled.

Jiang Cheng nodded, leaning and coming back quickly. They told him what was going on and waited for his answer if he would agree to use the talisman.

“I’ll happily volunteer,” he smiled, as Wei Ying pulled out two identical talismans. The youngest Nie took them and looked at them, “They are both exactly the same,” he said as he turned to the Jin Sect Heir, “Do you want to choose the one I am to use?” he asked as he waited for the Jin’s to decide which one to use. Jin Zixun was the one that snatched one out of his hand and laid it in front of his cousin, leaving Nie Huaisang with another one. The Nie pricked his finger and put some blood on the talisman. “Add some blood,” he muttered, “Then feed it a little Qi,” he added, “It’ll go up in flames and when it’s nothing but ask. The lights will go out,” he told him, as he demonstrated. Three lights left the young Nie. A light green, a blue and a pink one headed away from him.

Jin Zixuan looked at the colours, “What do the colours mean?” he asked, looking at the Nie.

“Light green means half-siblings,” Nie Huaisang answered easily, “Everyone knows that Da-ge’s mother died when he was four. And then my father married my mother not long after that,” he said, shrugging. It was common knowledge in the world, “If it was a darker green, then it would have meant a full brother and not half. As in, both parents are the same. The blue means an aunt or uncle and the pink means cousin. The number of them tells you how many of them there are,” he added, explaining his colours.

“Right,” Jin Zixuan said, staring at the other one. He had heard a lot of things around the Sect that he had several siblings out there. But he didn’t know if he really wanted to believe that his father would do such a thing to his mother. He pulled it towards him and did as Nie Huaisang did. Dropping a bit of blood on it and then activating it.

In the air in front of him was one pink, two purple, one blue and the three light yellow orbs along with 11 light green ones. The lights then shot off with the pin going towards Jin Zixun and entering his chest. And the other heading to Meng Yao, there was a little warmth to it when it entered them.

“So…” Jin Zixuan said as he looked up at Meng Yao, “You’re really my half-brother?” he asked him, suddenly sounding unsure.

“I am,” he nodded. “There is also a five, almost six-year old that lives with me. He’s our half-brother as well. I didn’t know that when we found him, but I’m glad that we were able to find him. He was living on the streets at just three years old,” he told him, “Jin Guangshan left a mother pregnant with his child, letting them out in the cold to starve and die. And that’s not all,” he said, eyes flashing a little as he stared at Jin Zixuan, “That test when used can tell you if one of your parents raped the other, forced the other to have sex. And for A-Yang, that was the case. His mother is dead, he was alone. The only parent he has that is left alive is him and he forced himself onto A-Yang’s mother.”

“No,” Jin Zixuan said, shaking his head, “He… he wouldn’t do that, he wouldn’t.”

“Yes, he would,” Wei Ying and Jiang Cheng said together, “Your father doesn’t care as long as he can bed them and that they are pretty,” Jiang Cheng carried on, “You’re not the one that has to make sure that all female disciples are out on night hunts, or visiting elsewhere when he comes to visit your Sect. Do you know how many disciples he has groped and tried to force himself on within the Jiang Sect, and let’s not even get into the servants that he has tried that on!” he spat, “My father and myself have had to save a number of them that we’ve taken to only having males and the older generation around when he is around,” he told him, “If it was anyone else, I’ve no doubt that my dad would have castrated the bastard by now, and would have done so with great relish as well!” he snapped at him.

“That man is despicable. He may be the one that fathered me,” Meng Yao said, a look of disgust on his face at the thought, “But I will never, ever acknowledge him as anything in my life. He means nothing to me,” he added, staring at Jin Zixuan.

Jin Zixuan nodded, pulling at his cousins and getting him to stand, “I… I need to write a letter,” he said as he walked out. His cousin followed behind him, looking confused.

“You know,” Nie Huaisang said as he fluttered his fan in front of his face, “There could have been a kinder way of saying something,” he pointed out as he looked at the three of them.

“There is no kinder way of telling someone that the father that they look up to and admire is a rapist,” Meng Yao retorted.

“There isn’t and he’s always thought so highly of his Sect and for him to now learn that the other Sects doesn’t even like or trust his father to be a good man when he visits them,” Jiang Cheng rolled his eyes, as he muttered, “He’s also upset A-Jie for too much in the past for me to be gentle with him. She still hasn’t decided if she is going to break things off with him or not.”

“She should hurry up and decide. There are so many cultivators out there that would be a better match for her,” Wei Ying sighed, shaking his head.

Nie Huaisang shook his head, huffing, “Come on,” he told them, “Lunch is going to be soon, I know it’s a day off from lessons. But you have both been in here all day!” he complained, “I thought it was going to be so much fun with the two of you here with me,” he grumbled as he waited for them to clean up their mess.

Wei Ying stood up, laughing lightly as they walked out of the library.

“Sect Heir Jiang,” came a soft voice as a Lan Sect disciple walked towards them, “Sorry to disturb you, but a letter has arrived for you,” he said as he handed it over with a small bow.

“Thank you,” Jiang Cheng smiled pleasantly and bowed back. He opened it and began to grin as he read through it.

“What does it say?” Wei Ying asked, a nervous tone in his voice. He recognized the writing on the letter as Jiang Fengmian’s.

“Dad and A-Jie are going to be coming to Cloud Recesses as soon as they can so they can come and see you. They’ve told me to tell you that they’ve missed you a lot and they look forward to seeing you and hearing about everything that you’ve done since you left,” he told his brother as he looked at him.

Wei Ying was pale as he listened to him, “I… I don’t know,” he began.

Jiang Cheng stuffed the letter into his robe and hugged his brother, “They’re not angry with you at all for going. They were so worried, and so was I. We knew you were hurt from her and we didn’t know if you had healed up or anything. It wasn’t until we got the letter at the Discussion conference at Koi Tower that we knew that you were alright. That was when we started to relax a little and not worry so much,” he told him quietly, holding him.

“Right,” he nodded against his brother’s shoulder, “I just don’t want to disappoint them.”

“You won’t. They just want to see you for themselves and to know for sure that you’re alright. That you really are happy and safe wherever it is that you now call home,” he told him, letting him go, “Wuxian, you’re part of my family, our family,” he reminded him, “All they want is for you to be happy and to be safe.”

“Yeah,” he smiled as they began to head towards the lunchroom, where the other disciples were beginning to gather. The three promised Nie Huaisang that they would do something more fun after lunch before he would let them inside.

Chapter Forty-Four

Wei Ying’s first week at Cloud Recesses, after the little confrontation with the Jin Sect Heir and his cousin, was calm and quiet. There was nothing going on apart from him spending as much as he could in the library, researching. He was doing his best to see what he could find on resentful energy. Either controlling it or cleansing it, as the Lan Sect could do. Though, the cleansing of it could only happen with the playing of one or two specific songs.

“Why won’t this just come to me, why does it fight me so hard all the time,” he grumbled as he looked through the notes that he was making.

“Wei Wuxian!” a yell went through the classroom.

Wei Ying stopped what he was doing. He had forgotten that he was in the middle of class once more. He had a small thought about cultivating resentful energy and how it could be used that he had made a note of, and instead of paying attention to the class again, he had begun to jot whatever came to mind over it. “Yes, Master Lan?” he asked, trying to look innocent as he glanced up at the man.

“Were you even paying attention to what is going on in this lesson?” he asked him, eyes narrowed as he glared at the young teenager.

“I’m sorry Master Lan, but I had a thought of a problem that I have been working on,” he sighed, answering him honestly. “I forgot for a moment that I should have just written it down and left it for after lesson instead of trying to carry on working on it now. My apologies for wasting your time, Master Lan,” he said.

“And just what do you think is so important that it took over lessons?” he asked him, barely controlling the anger in his voice.

“I’m just thinking that maybe Resentful Energy could be used, and even how it is used,” he muttered, not really thinking about what he was saying, “But how could that be done. I-”

“How dare you bring such demonic ideas into this classroom!” Lan Qiren finally yelled at him, “Out of this classroom. I will be dealing with you after!” he continued.

“But Master Lan, this is for th-” he was cut off as a scroll was thrown at him. He easily dodged out of its way, catching it before it could hit Nie Huaisang, who was sitting behind him. “Master Lan,” he began again, trying to talk to the man, instead he had to quickly catch another scroll. “This one will leave, but you should at least listen to your students before you jump to conclusions that you know nothing about!” he huffed as he glared at the man and then stood, walking out of the room with his head held high.

Lan Qiren was watching with wide eyes at the young man that had just walked out of the classroom, “Nie Huaisang, he is a disciple of your Sect, make sure to inform your brother that he is in need of some proper discipline when he returns.”

“Permission to speak Master Lan?” Nie Huaisang said as he stood up, bowing.

“Granted,” he answered him.

“You did not even give time for one of the Nie Sect’s top disciples to even speak before you jumped to conclusions. He is working on something for my brother and I know that the problem has to do a lot with Resentful Energy,” he added, “As Wei Wuxian has suggested. I believe that you should have at least listened to him before you jumped to the wrong conclusions. He would have shown you the letter that my brother has sent with him. Yao-ge?” he called to the other teenager that was in the room as well.

“I’ll gather his notes and take them to him,” he said with a gentle look at the youngest Nie brother and then gave Lan Qiren a small glare, “My brother has been working on this problem for a year, maybe even longer. And has been very excited about coming here to speak with the Masters of the Lan Sect about the problems he is working on,” he told the man as he gathered the notes, using the little breath trick of Wei Ying’s to dry them all before stacking them and standing back up. “Master Lan,” he bowed, politely before walking out of the classroom to find his brother.

“Brother?” Lan Qiren frowned, knowing that the young man that had just walked out was the future consort of the Nie Sect Leader, that they were to be married soon if things went the way the Elder Nie had said when they last spoke.

Jiang Cheng nodded, “Meng Yao and Wei Wuxian met as they travelled. They became family to each other along with a third person,” he told him, “They are as brothers, as I am Wei Wuxian’s brother,” he told him.

Lan Qiren nodded and then gave himself a mental shake from the words that had been spoken and started to lecture once more. The only problem was Nie Huaisang, looking perfectly polite and hostile all at the same time as he watched Lan Qiren walk around the classroom as he spoke.

Nie Huaisang was one of the first ones out of the classroom, searching for Wei Ying. Jiang Cheng hurried alongside him. “Most likely the library?” Nie Huaisang suggested that they head there first.

“Yeah,” Jiang Cheng nodded, agreeing with him easily, “What… What is he working on to talk about such a thing?” he asked his new friend.

“There Is a problem with the Nie Sect Sabre. They will cause Qi Deviations after a while to each cultivator that uses them. That includes me,” he said softly. Three was a hint of fear in his voice, “I… I was there when it happened to my father. He… he didn’t even recognise me. He almost killed me, would have done if Da-ge hadn’t gotten into the room in time. Without him fighting our own father, I would have been killed. Most of the time our cultivators don’t even die because of Qi Deviation, but because they are fighting in a frenzied state that they end up being killed to stop them. Da-ge… da-ge had to kill our father to stop him. We’ve lost so many to that. A-Ying joined us, and he had someone with him that has been able to stop the Qi Deviations before it got to that point. So, we’re not losing them anymore. But it’s still scary to see, and I fear it happening to da-ge and me,” he whispered at the end, a haunted look in his eyes as he spared Jiang Cheng a glance.

“Right,” Jiang Cheng nodded solemnly, taking hold of his friends’ shoulder and squeezing, not really knowing how to comfort him. “So, he’s looking into helping with that?” he asked him, a small frown on his face as they carried onto the library.

“Yeah,” he nodded, a sad smile on his face, “Da-ge has given him permission to have the reports of everything to do with it. He’s been able to find out a lot. And that is resentful energy is at the root of it all. it’s killing us all the time, each time we practise we’re actually getting close to Qi Deviation. But he’s trying to find a way for us to either use it or cleanse it. The Lan Sect are the ones that can help to cleanse it, but it doesn’t really get rid of the damage that has already been done. Just eases the problem for a little while,” he sighed.

“Okay,” he nodded as they walked into the library. Meng Yao was the first one to nod at the two of them, Wei Ying beside him scribbling away furiously onto some paper.

Wei Ying glanced up, still looking upset, “Hey,” he greeted the two of them almost listlessly.

“You okay?” the two of them asked at the same time as they went over and sat down.

“Why didn’t he listen to me? I was… I was trying to be polite,” he said frowning, a hurt look on his face, “I really was,” he repeated.

“We know,” Nie Huaisang said, “I don’t know why he didn’t even bother to listen to you before making such a judgement. That’s not what he’s usually like,” he added, remembering how the man was when he was at the lectures before Wei Ying had come to the Nie Sect. While they were always punished, he would at least listen to their explanation first before doing so.

“Well,” he sighed, “What’s done is done. I just need to see if I can speak with him about what I’m doing. I was hoping to do so sometime next week, get settled in a little more,” he murmured as he looked down at his notes again.

They looked up as the door to the library opened again, “Wei Wuxian,” came the quiet voice of the Youngest of the Twin Jades as he walked inside.

“Second Master Lan,” the four of them greeted him.

“Uncle has decided on your punishment for the disruption of the lesson and for your inappropriate questions,” he said, there was no hint of emotion in his voice.

“I will not be going to any punishment until Master Lan will let me speak to him without him interrupting me,” Wei Ying told him, “If he still finds that I deserve the punishment, after listening to me. Then I will go to it, but not before,” he explained, looking at the other teenager.

“I will explain such to Uncle,” he nodded and bowed before leaving the library.

“You really are going to make Lan Qiren hate you,” Jiang Cheng told him, shaking his head.

“I’m not going to agree to a punishment when I was asking a legitimate question on something that has to do with a problem that I’m trying to solve. If he thinks after the explanation then maybe I will listen to the punishment that he wishes to hand out. The disruption of the lesson, I agree with. But the question I asked, no, I don’t,” he told the three of them.

“So, if he is punishing you for both, you won’t do it. But if he was just punishing you for one, you would go for it or contest it, depending on which one it is,” Nie Huaisang nodded, agreeing with him.

“Exactly,” he nodded, “Though maybe Young Master Lan Xichen, might be a good idea to have in the room as well,” he sighed, “As he may have a clearer head than his uncle. He was really angry at me, and I have no reason for him to be such against me.”

“And he has been singling you out in each lesson to answer questions,” Nie Huaisang pointed out.

“He doesn’t look that happy when you answer each one of them correctly, either,” Jiang Cheng rolled his eyes at the action of the old man.

“I know,” Wei Ying shrugged, “I don’t know what he has against me, but I’ve already dealt with someone that hates me. I will not be putting up with it in another place that I am to see as a Place that I will live in. Even if I’m only here for a year. I will… walk out,” he murmured at the end. The other three looked at him but understood where he was coming from.

“No,” Jiang Cheng sighed, “You don’t need to put up with that again. I don’t want to see you… you force yourself to conform to what others what you show,” he told his brother.

“Agreed,” Meng Yao said, nodding along with Jiang Cheng, “I don’t want to see that spark of intelligence that you have taken away from you because a teacher doesn’t know what teaching actually means.”

“You’re a better teacher than him. At least you listen to those that have questions about anything. Even if they are dangerous,” Nie Huaisang huffed, snapping his fan closed and slapping it against his hand.

“I know,” Wei Ying smiled at them all, happy that they were ready to stand up for him should he be maligned again.

“All you can do is talk to him. If he doesn’t listen,” Nie Huaisang began to advise him, “Tell him that you wish for Sect Leader Nie to come. Da-ge will, and he will make sure that Master Lan will listen to you.”

“I will,” he nodded, agreeing, but hoping it wouldn’t come to that.

Lan Zhan walked back into the library a few moments after they finished talking and said quietly, “Uncle will speak with you now. If you are able to.”

Wei Ying nodded, getting up, “I have the letter, can you make sure all of my notes are taken care of Yao-ge?” he asked him.

“I will,” he smiled, rising from where he was sat to do so.

Wei Ying smiled and followed Lan Zhan out of the library and to the office where Lan Qiren was waiting for him, “Lan Wangji,” he said politely, “Will your brother be there as well?” he asked him.

“Mn,” he nodded once.

“Would you stay as well please?” he asked him, Wei Ying was a little curious about the young teenager. He was quiet but smart. There was still that loneliness in his eyes that continued to draw Wei Ying to him.

“If you wish,” he spoke softly.

“I do,” he told him. He had made a bad impression on the other teenager, and he wanted to change it a little. He was always looking at him with suspicion and he didn’t know why. He hadn’t done anything wrong at all, this was the first time he was being punished after all. Lan Zhan nodded and walked over to the building and knocked on the door. The two waited for a few moments before they were let inside.

Chapter Forty-Five

The door opened and the two of them were able to walk in. Wangji, you may leave,” Lan Qiren said, looking at his nephew.

“I’ve asked him to remain here while we speak,” Wei Ying said as he stood there, giving the two men in the room a perfect bow, “I believe that he should be able to hear what is going on as well,” he added.

“And why would that be?” Lan Qiren asked him, eyes narrowed.

“Because I don’t want him to have the wrong impression of me. And I believe that his discussion would be able to clear up any misunderstanding,” he added, his voice calm and mature as he looked at the teacher.

“Misunderstanding,” Lan Qiren shook his head, “No, there have been none. I know that you are going to be a disruption in my lesson and I was right.”

“I have done so once, as something you said sparked a thought in my mind concerning a problem, I have spent almost the last two years working on for Sect Leader Nie,” he told him.

“Before we speak more, please Young Master Wei, sit down,” Lan Xichen said as he gestured to a seat, “Wangji since Young Master Wei wishes you to remain, please join us,” he added, a softer smile on his face.

“Thank you,” Wei Ying bowed again before he walked over and sat down, Lan Zhan following him and sitting beside the other teenager.

“Now, what is it that you wish to talk with Uncle about?” Lan Xichen asked him, as he poured the four of them some tea.

“I understand that I was somewhat disruptive today in class. As I stated while I was there, that I should have written the thought down and gone back to it at a later time. Instead of trying to work on it during the lecture itself. That was rude and discourteous of me and to the teaching of Master Lan,” he said, bowing to Lan Qiren, “I once more apologise for doing so,” he told him. “It was the second part that I am contesting. It is not an inappropriate question. No question from a disciple that is looking to be educated. I understand that resentful energy damages the mind and the body. I know what it can cause more than you can understand,” he said.

“Then why would you ask such a question?” Lan Xichen asked him curiously.

“It does not matter why you asked it. You should never have asked such a thing, that is going down the dark path. One that will corrupt you. Then again, your mother was the same, had no thought for anyone but herself and what she-”

“Stop,” Wei Ying demanded, face blank as he interrupted Lan Qiren. “I ask that you refrain from speaking of my mother,” he said, “I’ve had enough of another jealous woman doing the same thing all the time and speaking untruth about her. And I know that she once shaved off your beard. But do you even remember why she had done so?” he asked him, his eyes beginning to show his anger.

“There was no reason for her to do so,” he huffed.

“Then you’ve pushed it out of your mind. You were so up on following the rules that when you, my father, mother and uncle, Sect Leader Jiang, went on a night hunt, you followed them and in the end because of that it put my father and Uncle in danger. They almost died. And because you decided that following them was the right decision, you didn’t report that they almost died. The only way you were punished was when my mother shaved off your beard to teach you a lesson. It seems that you never even bothered to learn it after all,” he snapped at him, “And my Uncle is who told me that story. He told me of the danger you put them in because you wanted to follow the rules. You followed them and if my mother hadn’t broken them, they would have died that night. All you did was report the fact that my mother broke the rules. Nothing about that it was you following them that almost caused them to be killed.”

“Uncle,” Lan Xichen said softly, “Is this true?” he asked him.

“N-”

“Do not tell lies,” Lan Zhan spoke softly, looking at his uncle.

“You blamed my mother for what nearly happened, but you know that it was you following the rule that almost killed them and her that saved them! She was punished for breaking the rules because you made it seem like her breaking them is what had almost cost them their lives. When she was the one to save them,” he added, repeating himself once more, “Uncle Jiang told me that story in detail, everything about it. It’s why he said that the Jiang disciples should only follow the sensible rules of the Lan Sect. No running, no loud noises and such, but the more idiotic ones, that are to make their own minds up on them. I am going to be doing the same,” he finished, sitting up straight.

“How dare you try and flaunt our rules! You come in and caused such a disruption to our ways from the moment you stepped foot in here,” Lan Qiren began.

“Uncle!” Lan Xichen called to him, getting him to stop his ranting for a moment, “I have been attending some of the lessons as well as an observer, and not once have I seen Young Master Wei disturb the class. He has answered all the questions that you’ve asked him as well,” he frowned.

“The question I was asking in the lesson was to do with what I am doing to Sect Leader Nie,” Wei Ying said softly, “I and the other have all noticed how Master Lan singles me out each lesson to ask me questions all the time. I always answer, I’m a rather studious person. But I am also one that is prone to a lot of activity. Which is why I tend to do a lot of training out on the fields. Which Master Lan has also had a problem with,” he added, sighing and shaking his head.

“What do you mean?” Lan Xichen asked him, puzzled.

“I do not have trouble with you training, I just believe that there is a time and place for your training,” Lan Qiren told him.

“Then when is it? You have not organised any training for any of the Sects. Nor do you actually tell off any of the other Sects or even the disciples that are training either. The only one you seem to have trouble with doing anything is me,” he told him, looking at the man, “What is your problem with me? Is it because of my mother? That she called you out on your behaviour and you hate her for it?” he asked him, his voice serious, “Your own rules say that you shouldn’t hold a grudge. And yet that is exactly what you are doing isn’t it?”

“You are nothing but a troublemaker. I was warned that you might show up here,” he began.

“Oh, let me guess who warned you about that. Madam Yu?” he asked, snorting and shaking his head, almost laughing as he realised that the woman was really out for him.

“Yes,” he answered, “She informed me that you may show up. That you have done nothing but caused problems with the Jiang Sect, which was why you had been kicked out,” he said.

“I wasn’t kicked out from the Jiang Sect. I left because that woman had attacked me for the last time. I still have the scars on my back from where she had used Zidian on me. She also threatened to hurt Jiang Cheng and Jiang Yanli if I didn’t leave the Sect. Then again, why don’t you ask him what is going on at Lotus Pier at the moment? And I know that you’ll find out that Madam Yu has been confined to Lotus Pier, to a small area of it. She no longer even holds the title of Lady of Lotus Pier. Instead, you want to believe the words of a woman that has been jealous that my Uncle actually cares about me. That he cared about his brother and sister in law when they passed. He is my Uncle, by blood,” Wei Ying growled at him, “Or are you another one that only believes what they want to believe and fuck anything else that people tell you, just like she did?!” he asked him, eyes ablaze.

“Language!” Lan Qiren yelled at him, “You are-”

“I am nothing but a fifteen-year-old cultivator that is trying to do their best to learn. And all I come across are blowhards like you that try and stop me. From the moment that my parents were killed, I was alone until Uncle Jiang found me. Then I thought I had a place to call home, but it came with a vile woman that was offended by my very presence because she wanted to believe that my Uncle had loved my mother. He did, as anyone would love their sister. She refused to believe that her husband loved her, wanted her. Instead, she believed the gossip and rumours of how close the three of them were. But then again, the Jiang Sect all know that my father and Uncle Jiang were cousins. That they swore brotherhood in their early teens. My mother was Uncle Jiang’s friend, a sister, but that was all she was to him. The two were trusted and Madam Yu drove them from their home at Lotus Pier when she attacked my mother. Both refusing to be where she was after the attack. Just as I now refuse to step foot inside Lotus Pier until that bitch is gone from it,” he told her. “I know for a fact that woman is getting what she has sown. Not once has Jiang Chang called her mother since I met him here. He always refers to her as Madam Yu. And he can’t wait until she is sent back to Meishan Yu as soon as he turns sixteen. Neither of her children wants anything to do with her. What does that tell you about the woman?” he snorted, “And as for you, you look at me and see what my mother did to you. And please, don’t tell me that you don’t. I recognised the look in your eyes, as it is very similar to what Madam Yu looks like. You are holding a grudge against a woman that has been dead for over ten years!”

“I ask that you please remain calm Young Master Wei,” Lan Xichen called to him, getting the young teenager’s attention on him.

“My apologies,” Wei Ying said, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath to try and centre himself and calm the anger that was now rolling inside of him. “I’ve done my best to be a good guest here. I have followed your rules, and I asked the question I did because of this,” he said as he pulled out the letter from Nie Mingjue. He handed it over to Lan Xichen, as he was the only one of the two that he would trust to read it and listen to him. He was now ignoring Lan Qiren.

Lan Xichen took it as Lan Qiren seethed beside him. The Lan teacher was glaring at Wei Ying, “You,” he began.

“Teacher Lan,” Wei Ying said, calm once again, “I ask that you please refrain from attacking my character without getting to know me,” he told him, “You only know about me from someone else’s gossip and lies, which is another of your own rules that you have broken,” he pointed out.

“He speaks truly if you have not learned about Wei Wuxian from him, uncle,” Lan Zhan spoke quickly, not really looking at his uncle as he did so.

“Ah, so that’s why you wanted to know about resentful energy?” Lan Xichen asked as he put the letter down, “It has never been figured out before. But with the amount of research that Mingjue has said that you’ve done, you’ve now found out a lot more than what was once known.”

“I know, Sect Leader Nie said the same thing. I’ve found out as well, that when the Nie fight, the spirits within their sabres actually pull in resentful energy, it’s why when the Nie fight they are much stronger than a sword wielder. But the spirits pull in more than is needed. After a while, the resentful energy started to push into the cultivator and it harms their core. Just like you say, it does harm the body and the mind. But with the amount, it takes a long time to damage them. It starts off with anger, and then a thirst for battle. Eventually, it leads to Qi Deviation,” he explained to Lan Xichen, “Which is why I was asking about it. I want to learn what I can about resentful energy to try and stop the Nie Sect Problem.”

“Agreed. I will see if there are any other books that might be able to help you,” he smiled at the young teenager. Nie Mingjue was his friend after all, and even he feared what would eventually happen.

“Thank you,” Wei Ying smiled back, “I know it’s not a normal thing to research. But anything that could help in finding a solution to the problem, I would be grateful for it,” he added looking at the other teenager, Lan Xichen was only eighteen, almost nineteen now, and was starting to take over a number of Sect Duties as his roles as the next Lan Sect Leader.

“I believe that there will be no punishment at this moment for this incident. But please, try and make sure that when you have any ideas, to leave them for when you are out of your lessons,” Lan Xichen admonished him gently.

“I will,” he nodded, “Once more I am sorry for disturbing the lesson. But I am not sorry for the question, though I should have waited until the lesson was over with, to speak up.”

“You may go,” Lan Xichen told him, handing his letter back.

“Thank you, Sect Leader Lan, Second Young Master Lan, Master Lan,” he said as he got up and bowed at the three of them.

“I will come with you,” Lan Zhan said as he got up as well. Leaving his uncle and brother alone in the room.

Chapter Forty-Six

Lan Xichen waited for the door to fully close before he turned towards his uncle, “Well Uncle,” he began, “Was what he was saying true?” he asked him seriously.

“Which part?” Lan Qiren almost spat, there was still anger in his voice and it was barely being restrained.

“Let’s go with you listening to Madam Yu, first,” he began, “What was that all about? You have taught us both that we should never listen to anyone else’s opinion about someone. Not even you. That we are to form our own, how is it that you have failed at such a basic rule?” he asked him, shaking his head in disbelief.

“She had known Wei Wuxian for five years almost,” he pointed out, “I knew his mother and his father. I-”

Lan Xichen sighed, stopping the man from saying anything more, “You blinded yourself, Uncle,” he told him calmly, “You’ve taught Wangji and I better. Why have you ignored the teachings yourself?” he asked him, reaching for his tea once more. “I suggest that you try and get to know Young Master Wei before you decide what he is like. Do not believe gossip, for it will lead you astray,” he reminded his uncle, “And as for his mother, please, tell me the truth?” he asked of him.

“He… was correct,” he said softly and slowly, “I did put them in danger because I was following the rules so closely. I always put them first, before anything, always. I believe that they would not lead me astray,” he told him, “Cangse Sanren, she made me question them for the first time in my life. I was young, twenty-two, I thought I knew it all, that the rules would guide me. She was sixteen at the time, a force to be reckoned with already. Confident in what she could and couldn’t do. But so curious about the world around her,” he told him, actually telling him the truth.

“So, when faced with something that would cause you to break them?” Lan Xichen asked his uncle, his vice calm and coaxing almost.

Lan Qiren closed his eyes, “I decided to follow them, blindly. Not taking in the fact that though she was young, she would be right and that breaking the rules of our Sect would save them. Do not consort with evil…” he said, “And I felt like it at that very moment. She pulled on the strings of resentful energy that was around. She, like her son, asked about resentful energy when she was a student. Back then, the teacher, our teacher, answered her. Telling her the damage that it could do to a person. But… she used that knowledge to save their lives. That is why I reacted as I did in class today, I was taken back to them, my fear of seeing it used once more,” he told him, glancing up at his nephew.

“She did something that saved their lies and never used it again. If she had, we would know about it,” Lan Xichen murmured, “She is rather well known. As is Wei Wuxian these days, though more from his time in Lotus Pier,” he sighed, “The rumours would have spread about her if she had continued,” he shook his head, “I think you may need to reflect on your actions, past and present Uncle,” he told him, disappointed in the man that had raised him.

Lan Qiren said there for a moment before nodding, “You are right. I do need to think about things properly. Put them in the right perspective,” he said calmly, “Xichen, I will leave things in your hands. I believe I will spend a day or two in seclusion, maybe three,” he told him, getting up and leaving the room.

XxXxX

Wei Ying walked out of the room, feeling a lot better now that he was out of the room. He sighed and closed his eyes for a moment, “I’m glad that’s over with,” he muttered. He turned towards Lan Zhan, opening his eyes and smiled, “Lan Wangji,” he greeted him for a moment, “No, that… doesn’t sound quite right,” he grinned, “I know, Lan Zhan,” he laughed as the look on the other teenagers face, “You can call me Wei Ying, as well,” he told him, as he then started to walk away from the office.

“Mn,” Lan Zhan grunted, “Wei Ying,” he said after a moment’s pause, testing the name out.

“Yes, Lan Zhan?” he asked, turning to face him, his smile was still there as he looked at the shy teen.

“What are you… working on?” he asked after hesitating for a moment, “The Nie Problem?”

“I am. I can show you my notes if you want to read through them. I know that the Lan Sect comes to Qinghe often to help with the problem. They play Clarity for them. Which does lessen the anger a little, but doesn’t really deal with the actual problem. It just calms them for a little longer,” he told him softly as they walked side by side, “Come on Lan Zhan,” he grinned at him, turning to face him, “Show me around Cloud Recesses, I was to see the best places around here to rest and relax at.”

Lan Zhan looked at him and then nodded, “Mn,” he said as he walked away, expecting Wei Ying to follow him.

Wei Ying watched him go and then grinned, rushing over to him and following him, “So, Lan Zhan,” he grinned, enjoying saying his name a little too much, “Where are you going to take me?” he asked, curious as to where the teen was going to take him.

“The back mountains, quiet,” he murmured, his voice almost too low for Wei Ying to hear.

Wei Ying observed him as they walked. The other teenager was quiet, there was an air around him that shone with loneliness and even some hurt. But Wei Ying didn’t think that many others around Lan Zhan could see it, “You’ve been alone a lot, haven’t you?” he asked, almost casually as they walked.

Lan Zhan stopped, eyes going wide as he turned to face Wei Ying.

Wei Ying smiled softly, “I know what that’s like. I… lived on the street for a while, I was always alone there,” he told him, “It’s hard to make any friends. To think that someone would want to be friends with you, and not use you for something. I always thought that with Jiang Cheng and Shijie a lot. That they didn’t really want to be friends with me, but… slowly I began to trust them. I love and adore them, they are my family,” he said, “So, don’t be afraid to reach out to people, to make friends.”

“They do not… like me,” he hesitated as he spoke, he had only ever let his brother know what was going on, and why he didn’t have friends.

“Because you’re smarter than them?” he asked, getting a nod, “I’m not always the smiling and happy person I pretend to be. I’m rather serious most of the time. But when I was with the Jiangs, I always thought I had to smile through whatever was going on. To show them that I was happy with them, that I belonged. That I had to joke with them. But with the Nie… I can have my jokes and the occasional prank and I can still have my serious and sad moments. Let them see me for the smarts I have,” he grinned, “But also the one that is scared to lose the family that I’ve built around me. Nie Huaisang and Nie Mingjue are family to me. They gave me a chance after I left the Jiang Sect. They didn’t even expect me to do anything, they let me do what I wanted. Learn how I wanted to, I even teach the little ones the basics as well. And I love doing it.”

“Mn,” Lan Zhan nodded as he listened to him, “I… find it difficult to talk,” he told him, “They see… someone that…” he trailed off slowly, looking away.

Wei Ying looked at him, waiting for a moment before guessing, “They see someone that always follows the rules and doesn’t smile because they are unsure if they should,” he said.

Lan Zhan nodded one more, “Hard to make friends when they see the rules I follow and not… me.”

“I see someone who is alone a lot, who enjoys reading poetry, can play the guqin really well and is rather shy,” Wei Ying said as he looked at him.

“Mn,” Lan Zhan said, his lips twitching a little into a smile, “Wei Ying is smart, helpful and kind.”

“Thank you,” Wei Ying smiled brightly, with a light blush dusting his cheeks. They came to a stop atop a small cliff that looked over a waterfall, “Wow,” he murmured as he gazed at it.

“I come here to be alone, to think,” Lan Zhan told him, “It is quiet here.”

“Yeah,” Wei Ying nodded, glancing back, “I like it,” he smiled, “It’s really peaceful here, you can feel it,” he added sitting down on the stone that they were standing on. Lan Zhan hesitated for a moment before gracefully joining him.

The two sat there in companionable silence for a while longer, until Lan Zhan stood and told him that it was almost time for dinner. Wei Ying followed him, knowing that he had better go and see his brother and tell them what had happened during the meeting. They would all want to know what was said and what is to be done.

XxXxX

“Lan Zhan!” Wei Ying grinned as he rushed over to him, stopping quickly and saying, “Sorry, carry on.” The teenager was at the cliff again, practising his guqin music in peace.

“Wei Ying,” he greeted the other with a nod as the other teenager almost threw himself to the ground and listened to him as he finished playing.

“That was beautiful Lan Zhan, you’re really good,” he grinned at him as the music stopped.

“Mn,” Lan Zhan nodded, though there was a tone of disbelief within it, “I need to practice more,” he murmured quietly.

“Just because you need to practice, doesn’t mean that you’re not good already,” Wei Ying told him firmly, he twisted around where he sat, “I got a letter today,” he grinned, pulling it out and waving it around.

“Oh?” he asked, looking at him curiously.

“Yeah,” he smiled happily, “It’s from my son, well… not exactly my son. But he calls me A-Niang,” he grinned, laughing as he saw the look on Lan Zhan’s face.

“Son? A-Niang?” he asked him, puzzled as he put away Wangji.

“Yes, Yao-ge and I found him as we were making our way around as Rogues. Meng Yao and Xue Yang are actually half-brothers as well. But when we found little A-Yang, he was about to be run over by a cart. He was only three at the time. He was so scared that I and Yao-ge would leave him behind all the time. He would latch on all the time. I didn’t want to leave him behind when I came here. Even Sect Leader Nie asked if we could have him brought here for the lectures so he wouldn’t have to leave me,” he said, smiling, though it was a sad smile, he was missing his little A-Yang after all.

“Ask to meet in Caiyi?” he suggested.

“I said that as well. And so did Nie Mingjue. He said that they would be going there in another two weeks if Xue Yang behaves. He’s been a little naughty at the moment. Broke Nie Mingjue’s brushes while he was playing with them, and a few other things that have gotten him in trouble,” he grinned, as though he was proud of the five-year-old.

“That is good for Wei Ying,” he nodded.

Wei Ying turned to him, “It is when they come here, do you want to meet A-Yang as well?” he asked him, “I told him about you too, and he would like to meet you.”

“Mn,” Lan Zhan agreed, “Will be good to meet him as well,” he said softly.

Wei Ying smiled, “Come on, I promised Nie Huaisang that I would help him with studying for the test tomorrow. You want to come with me and help?” he asked as he got up, holding out his hand for the other to take.

Lan Zhan hesitated for a moment before nodding and taking the offered hand. Being helped to his feet was something different for Lan Zhan, the last person to do so had been his brother. Though that had stopped not long after his mother had passed away. The two of them walked towards the library, they could already hear the whining of Nie Huaisang to Meng Yao as they walked past the window and to the door. Wei Ying shook his head at Nie Huaisang’s defeated whines as he begged Meng Yao to get his brother to take him back home.

“A-Sang,” Wei Ying said, walking into the room and over to them, “Thinking and acting like this isn’t going to get you anywhere. You remember the promise that you made?” he asked him.

Nie Huaisang stopped whining and looked up at him, “I’m sorry,” he sighed.

“You don’t have to be sorry. As long as you try and do your best, instead of wasting the opportunity that you have, then it will be fine in the end,” he reminded him as he walked over, Lan Zhan following him as they sat down at the same table.

“Right,” Nie Huaisang said, “Let’s start studying then,” he said, looking hopefully at Wei Ying.

Wei Ying nodded, “Yeah,” he grinned as he and Lan Zhan started to go through the things that they had been learning in the last few lessons. So far, since his talk with Lan Qiren and Lan Xichen, the older man hadn’t been singling Wei Ying out, which, while the teen was starting to relax a little, he wasn’t going to let down his guard at all.

“Wei Wuxian,” came a call as Jiang Cheng walked into the library and over to them.

“What is it?” he asked, as he looked up at his brother.

“I just got another letter from A-Jie, but she also sent one for you as well,” he smiled as he handed it over.

Wei Ying smiled, “Thank you,” he looked at the letter for a moment before he started to read it, “They’ll be arriving here sometime in the next two weeks,” he murmured, his heart once more in his throat as he felt a rolling in his stomach.

“I know,” he grinned, though it didn’t last for long. He could see the fear in his brother’s eyes, “it’ll be fine you know. They’re looking forward to seeing you again,” he reassured him, gripping his shoulder lightly as he sat down.

“Hmm,” he nodded, “Let’s get back to studying,” he said, needing the distraction that it would give him. The other around him nodded and began to do the same, letting Wei Ying’s mind ease a little as he concentrated on something else.

Chapter Forty-Seven

Nie Mingjue

How is A-Yang, has he been behaving this time? I know that he can be a handful. But he just misses me and Meng Yao. I know that he’s still scared that we’re going to leave him behind. So be warned, he may try and test you a lot. See what it will be that will make you leave him. He’s a terror about it I know, but just, when he starts doing things like that. Hold him and make sure to reassure him that we’re going to be back and that he’s loved and we miss him so much.

Wei Wuxian

 

Wei Wuxian

Damn straight that he’s a terror. He’s broken so many things over the last few days. Week even. And by the way, he’s also gotten better. He made his little birds solid now. They bloody hurt too! Why would you teach him that? When he wants someone’s attention now, he just uses those to attack everyone. But don’t worry, he knows that you love him and miss him. I remind him of that nightly. He’s taken to sleeping in my room. Had to bring in another bed though. He kicks when he sleeps. He also likes to wake me up like A-Yan did when he was little. Thankfully, I’m still trained not to attack when a weight lands on my chest like that or you would be down a brother.

He also wants a sword now. I’ve let him use a practice sword occasionally, and only when I’m there, I don’t need a repeat of what A-Yan did when he was a child. The trainer never forgave him and still has a scar on his side from where he stabbed him. He wants one of his own, I’ve said no, but he’s pouting at me! What do I do to make him stop that? He’s worse than A-Yan. And that kid could get anything out of us at one point. Though I did think I was immune to the look. Turns out my bratty little brother was who I was immune to. It works from this little brat. And I don’t care what you say, Xue Yang is a brat, but I supposed that he is our brat after all.

Nie Mingjue

 

Xue Yang

A-Yang, you need to stop breaking things. I’m going to be paying off all that you broke at this rate. Leave Sect Leader Nie’s brushes alone, don’t use your birds to attack people either. That’s not nice. I taught you that to help you, not for you to be a brat with them. If you keep doing things like that when I get back, I won’t teach you anymore. And then you’ll have to wait and learn things with everyone else. This is the only warning I will give you. And the sweets that I sent to Sect Leader Nie, you won’t be able to have any at all for a week.

Wei Ying, your A-Niang

 

Wei Wuxian

What the hell did you say to the kid? He does nothing but cry since he got your letter. That is all he has done. Cry and cuddle up to me and say he’s sorry. That he still wants to be a cultivator.

Okay, he let me read his letter. Brutal, Wei Wuxian, brutal. But I think it might be effective. I’ll see about getting him to stop, and I wish you had sent me a letter about the sweets as well. Though maybe it’s in the little parcel. Yep, it was in the sweets. Don’t give any if he has misbehaved. Short and sweet. Okay, he won’t get any from me and everyone is under orders not to let him have any either. Just in case he tries to sweet-talk anyone into letting him. And I know that he would. He’s the type to try. A-Yan did a lot.

I’m going to make sure the little brat is doing his work. He got a little homework from his classes and has been neglecting it. I’ll make sure he does it and then write a letter to you to go out with this one.

Nie Mingjue

 

Nie Mingjue

I miss you. I know that I was going to come back with you. But I think I will stay here a little longer. Mostly because Lan Qiren is making a bit of a case against A-Ying. He has brought his mother and father up a few times. Though since A-Ying’s talk with him a few days ago, well, seems like he has calmed down a little on that. But we’ll wait and see.

I hope A-Yang is behaving. I know he can be trouble. A-Ying has been telling me of the letters he has been getting as well. The child learned from A-Ying that look. It would get some of the ladies on the stalls to give good discounts when we were travelling.

I hope to see you soon. I’ve missed you so much. Love you A-Jue.

Meng Yao

 

Meng Yao

A-Yao, I’ve missed you as well, and I love you. Uncle and cousins are quite happy to work with the elders in planning the wedding. They would like us to marry within the year. I am hoping that you would like that as well. I know it would be nice to say that I have the best husband by my side. Is there anything that you wish to be part of it?

Miss you and love you. And please do not tell A-Yan about how soppy I’m being. My brother will only tease me.

Always yours,

Nie Mingjue

 

Nie Mingjue

Da-ge! I saw the soppy letter, Yao-ge left it out where I could see it. I knew you were a big soft bear inside. And I can’t believe that you are planning the wedding when I’m not there. Didn’t I tell uncle to let me help? I wanted to organise things. I have so many ideas. And I know they would be fantastic if I ever get the chance to use them. You need to tell him to stop until I return, and when I do, I’ll show you just what your wedding would be like.

Nie Huaisang

 

Nie Mingjue

You have no idea how much I am missing A-Yang. It’s only been a month here and it feels like it has been a year since I saw him last. How much has he grown? What is he like now? Has he changed at all, or has he remained the same? I need to know how my little boy is doing, Nie Mingjue! I miss him so much. He doesn’t write enough. A letter every couple of days isn’t enough. I need a letter each day. I need him to tell me everything that he is doing each day.

I never thought I would miss his chatter before bed. When he would tell me all he learned, what he did and everything. It’s so quiet here as well. No one really does anything fun like we do. But I suppose that’s because of the wall of rules. I can’t believe how many there are. And Uncle Jiang was right, some of them are sensible and should be followed. But the others could be open to interpretation. And I think that they should be looked at and either changed or erased from the wall of doom.

Do you think the Lan sect would be open for their rules to be looked at properly to see which ones are really needed?

I’ve not made any progress on the Nie Problem yet, but I’m looking at the books they have on resentful energy in their forbidden section. Sect Leader Lan, Lan Xichen, is the one that has been getting me them. His brother, Lan Zhan, he’s so shy and nice. Though everyone thinks he’s cold, but that’s all because he doesn’t know how to talk to people. But don’t worry, I’m working on that too. He’s been helping me.

Anyway, I need to help Huaisang study again. That boy doesn’t like studying anything he doesn’t find interesting.

Wei Ying

 

Wei Wuxian

Don’t worry Wei Wuxian, I’ll be coming around soon and bringing the brat with me. He’s so excited about it, I don’t know if he will be able to sleep in the days before we leave.

Thanks for helping A-Yan study, and you’re right he doesn’t like to study anything he doesn’t find interesting. It’s why I’ve had such a hard time with him. I know he isn’t the fighter like I am. I just want him in a place where he would be able to protect himself and then I’ll be happy.

Nie Mingjue

 

A-Niang

Jue-Gege said that he will bring me to Caiyi town. So that I can meet you. It’s going to be so much fun. I’m going to show you everything that I learned. And I promise that I’ve been a good boy, so please make sure to keep teaching me. I don’t want to be like the other ones I want to be just like you. I’ve been good!

It was so long since I could have the sweets, and now I can have them again. Jue-Gege said I had been good enough for me to be able to have them. I promise I won’t be naughty anymore. I miss you a lot and Yao-ge and Sang-ge as well. When I see you, I want a hug. A big hug. That’s what I want. I miss you A-Niang, I miss you so much. I just want you to come home. But Jue-Gege said that you have to be there for a whole year. I’m going to be six and you won’t be here for it.

Love you A-Niang and miss you.

A-Yang

 

Lan Xichen

It would be good to see you again. I’m going to be coming to Caiyi town and bringing along Xue Yang. I told your uncle about him. He is somewhat the adoptive child of Wei Wuxian. And yes, I know Wei Wuxian is only fifteen, not even sixteen yet and how the hell would he adopt a child when he was still one himself. But long story short. He found the kid when he was three years old on the street along with Meng Yao. He’s closer to Wei Wuxian because he saved him. He sees A-Yao as his brother but Wei Wuxian is his mother. And trust me there is nothing more fun than watching heads turn when he is screaming for his A-Niang and Wei Wuxian is the one to respond.

Hoping that you’ll be coming down to Caiyi so we can meet up. Been a few months since we were last to have some time together and I miss my best friend. And I hope you’ve been getting along with Meng Yao. He’s going to be my husband and I can’t wait. He… he is everything I always dreamed of and more.

See you soon,

Nie Mingjue

 

Nie Mingjue

You’re welcome to actually come up to the Cloud Recesses instead of just staying in Caiyi Town. I’ll have rooms prepared for you and your party. I’ve heard my brother mentioned this Xue Yang and that Wei Wuxian considers him his son. Wei Wuxian has talked often to Wangji about him and their relationship. I have to say that Wei Wuxian is a character, and a very observant one as well. He has done well in class, except a spot of bother with my uncle. But I believe that to be sorted. I look forward to speaking with you more properly.

And I may have to thank you for letting Wei Wuxian come here. He has been a delight. Wangji is speaking with him like he is a normal teenager for once. Not as head of discipline but as one teen to another. My brother has finally made a friend.

Lan Xichen

 

Lan Xichen

Good to know he isn’t causing trouble. And he is smart, really smart. You have no idea what he has been able to do since he arrived here. He’s helped a lot, and what he’s done, well he invented a few talismans. And he’s changed the way that most use them here as well as a few other things. But like you said I’ll tell you more when I see you.

We should be there the day after you get this letter. Don’t tell Wei Wuxian that we’re coming to cloud recesses, he thinks we’re only going to be in Caiyi town. Thought it would be nice to surprise him for a change.

Nie Mingjue

Chapter Forty-Eight

Nie Mingjue walked up the steps that led to Cloud Recesses, he was alone bar the five-year-old, almost six according to said child, that huffed as he walked up to them. Xue Yang had laughed with joy as they were flying to Gusu. Though Nie Mingjue, against Xue Yang’s protests, had stopped twice on the way. To get them something to eat and to sleep for the night. Nie Mingjue had made sure to arrive on a day where there wouldn’t be any lectures. He knew that Xue Yang was going to be breaking the silence that enveloped Cloud Recesses most of the time.

Reaching the gate, he smiled as he saw his best friend waiting there for him, “Xichen,” he greeted grinning widely as he walked over. Keeping a hold of Xue Yang’s hand so he wouldn’t be able to run off.

“Mingjue, good to see you again, and this must be Xue Yang? I’ve heard a lot about you,” he said to the child as the five-year-old looked up at him.

“Hello, is A-Niang here?” he asked, glancing around the man to see past the gate.

“A-Yang!” Nie Mingjue growled at him, “Manners, I know A-Ying taught them to you,” he reminded him, shaking his head.

“Sorry,” Xue Yang pouted and then let go of Nie Mingjue’s hand. And with perfect grace that would rival any Lan, he bowed, “Greetings Sect Leader Lan Xichen, this one is Xue Yang.”

Lan Xichen smiled, covering his mouth as he fought the laughter at the adorable sight. “It’s a pleasure to meet you as well, Xue Yang,” he told him, returning the little bow, “Perfectly done.”

“A-Niang taught me,” Xue Yang straightened up as he looked around again, “Can I go and find A-Niang now?” he asked again as he looked around Lan Xichen.

“Why don’t you both come in and then maybe, we can let you go and find him,” Lan Xichen said as he let the two of them through the barrier.

“Wow!” Xue Yang said as he felt the barrier, “That’s really strong!” he said as he looked back and stepped over to it. Poking at the barrier with his finger.

“Xue Yang,” Nie Mingjue growled in warning, “Don’t mess,” he finished sighing in exasperation. Xue Yang was going to take after Wei Ying at this rate.

“Sorry,” he said as he darted over to them. Lan Xichen smiled as he led the way to where the main buildings were, and where the guest disciples would be staying.

“Young Master Wei should be around here somewhere,” Lan Xichen said as he looked down at the child.

“Thank you,” Xue Yang nodded and rushed away, calling out as loudly as he could, “A-Niang!”

Wei Ying was sitting on the grass, they were out on the training grounds. Getting a little training done while they had a day off from lectures. Wei Ying had just finished a friendly spar with Lan Zhan, the two were well matched and had fought to a standstill once again. Wei Ying frowned as he thought he heard something.

“A-Niang!” came another shout.

“That’s A-Yang!” the fifteen-year-old exclaimed as he shot to his feet and turned around. Grinning brightly as he saw a small blur running towards him.

“A-Niang! A-Niang!” came a joyful shout as Xue Yang spotted him and ran towards him, quickly jumping into Wei Ying’s welcoming arms.

“Oh, my baby boy,” Wei Ying smiled as he picked him up and held him tightly, “I’ve missed you so much,” he said softly.

“Missed A-Niang as well,” Xue Yang said, holding Wei Ying just as tightly, “Don’t leave me again A-Niang,” he said as he pouted at him.

Wei Ying laughed, “Oh, A-Yang,” he sighed, shaking his head, “You know you have to go back to Qinghe, and then when a whole year has fully passed since I left. I will be coming home to you,” he promised him.

“Did that kid really call him A-Niang?” someone whispered from the gathered disciples.

“He did and so what!” Nie Huaisang said, glaring at them, daring them to say something else about it.

“A-Niang, I’ve been practising really hard,” he said as he wriggled to get down.

“Oh?” Wei Ying smiled as he set the child onto his feet. He knew what Xue Yang could do now, thanks to Nie Mingjue keeping him fully updated.

“Yeah,” he grinned as he moved back and began to make one of his little birds and then sent it to Wei Ying, so it could land on his hand.

Wei Ying poked at it and grinned, “Solid, well done,” he praised him, “You’ve done really well A-Yang, though you know better than to attack the good guys with them,” he warned him, having been told what he had done a week ago.

“I’m sorry,” he sulked, pouting a little as he looked at Wei Ying, “But I can make other animals now,” he added, as he started to make a few of the other animals he had learned.

Wei Ying jumped and grabbed Lan Zhan when one of the animals turned out to be a dog.

“A-Yang, get rid of the dog,” Meng Yao ordered quickly as soon as he saw it appear. He knew that Wei Ying was terrified of them.

“What why?” he protested, not understanding, “He’s a good doggie,” he said, as he patted it on the head.

Wei Ying whimpered as the animal gave a rough bark of agreement. He knew that it was only a construct, but they still scared him badly. He gripped tightly onto the back of Lan Zhan’s robes, trying to hide himself away.

Meng Yao huffed as he went over and over powered the Qi within it, destroying it himself, “A-Yang, did you forget that A-Ying is scared of dongs,” he murmured, “You scared him look,” he told him gesturing to where a pale Wei Ying was standing behind Lan Zhan, who was giving him worried looks

Xue Yang’s eyes went wide as he looked, “I’m sorry, A-Niang! I won’t make them any more I promise,” he said as he darted over, eyes filling with tears as he began to cry and repeatedly saying, “I’m sorry.”

Wei Ying was shaking as he kneeled, “I know you are,” he told him, “But you have to think a little more about who is around you when making your animals. I won’t stop you from ever making them. But for dogs,” he shuddered, “Just not around me, okay?”

“I won’t,” he nodded, hugging Wei Ying tightly.

“He’s doing really well with them,” Jiang Cheng said, trying to change the subject as he could see that Wei Ying was feeling uncomfortable.

“What’s so special about doing animals like that?” one of the Jin disciples asked, pulling a face at what he thought was a waste of time.

“What to show them, Wuxian?” Jiang Cheng asked his brother, a smirk spearing on his face.

“Sure,” Wei Ying stood up, grinning back as his fear was now forgotten. He turned to Lan Zhan and said, “Can you hold Subian for me?” he asked, holding out his sword and waiting for the teenager to take it.

Jiang Cheng left Sandu with a Jiang Disciple that he trusted and the two of them went to the middle of the field. Looking at each other, both of them grinning widely as to what was to come.

“Now,” Wei Ying said, “Since I’ve not really had a good sparring partner for this in a long time, I might be a little rusty,” he grinned, “Usual rules?” he asked Jiang Cheng.

“Sure,” he nodded, “Red for you, blue for me,” he added, “Oh, and freeze tags are allowed.”

“Great,” Wei Ying laughed, “Make sure to stay back,” he then told those that were gathered. Within a few moments, only the edges of the field were occupied. “What Xue Yang was doing in the precursor to what we are going to be doing. Note, that we aren’t using our swords for this,” he said, explaining to those around them a little of what they were going to do, “To do talismans without paper and cinnabar you need one thing, excellent control of your Qi, this is to be able to form them on the fly and use them.”

“The Jiang Clan have been practising doing this since Wei Wuxian came to the sect and basically invented this method,” Jiang Cheng added, looking proudly at his brother.

“The Nie’s are only just starting to learn how to do this. And haven’t even started on the sparring that Jiang Cheng and I are going to be doing,” Wei Ying added, his tone sounding much like Lan Qiren when in full lecture mode.

“Shall we start?” Jiang Cheng asked him.

“Yeah,” he nodded and answered, and with that, the fight started.

Both of them took off, running towards each other before taking to the air. Talismans forming in front of them, from the tips of their fingers as they wrote. Sometimes that wasn’t even needed and they would just form in front of them before being blasted towards the other. It took a while for the first one to hit Jiang Cheng, and a splash of red appeared on his white Gusu Lan guest disciples’ robes.

“Wow!” Xue Yang exclaimed as he watched the two of them running around and dodging each other’s talismans. Sometimes one of them would hit and a flash of colour or the person would freeze for a moment and so many splashes of red or blue would appear on them.

“Very impressive,” Nie Huaisang said as the two of them looked like they were having a lot of fun with their spar against each other.

“We do this all the time,” a Jiang disciple said softly, “Though none of us are as good as Da-shixiong, or even Sect Heir Jiang. Wei Wuxian taught him a lot, kept taking him aside and training him more than the rest of us. Though I think that was more to make sure She didn’t berate him for nothing again,” he pulled a face as he thought of Madam Yu, as did many of the other Jiang disciples when She was mentioned.

“What is going on?” Lan Xichen asked as he and Nie Mingjue walked into the training fields.

“Wei Ying and Jiang Wanyin are sparring,” Lan Zhan was the one to answer him.

“So, this is what he’s really like when sparing properly?” Nie Mingjue asked, looking around.

“No, this isn’t what Wei Wuxian is like when he fights all out,” one of the Jiang said, “He’s a lot stronger than our Sect Heir. He only ever really went all out when he was sparring against Sect Leader Jiang,” he added quietly. There was a reason why he had become Head Disciple at such a young age after all.

“He holds back?” Nie Mingjue asked, frowning as he glanced over at the Jiang disciples that had spoken.

“A lot of the time, though I’ve seen him sparring with Second Young Master Lan, he does go all out in those. They are really well matched. Wei Wuxian has never won against Sect Leader Jiang, but he was starting to last a little longer each time they spared,” he answered him.

“Sect Heir is also getting really strong. He has been sparring against Sect Leader Jiang as well. He wants to get stronger,” another one murmured.

“That’s a good thing,” Nie Mingjue said, nodding slowly as he watched the spar continue.

“Halt!” Wei Ying called out after almost half an hour, “You’ve gotten so much better!” he grinned at his brother, “You really have. You’re moving a lot faster and the talismans are coming up even quicker than when we last spared,” he praised his brother.

“So are you. I can barely keep up with you at this speed. I would hate to see it when you really do go all out,” he told him, “And don’t tell me you didn’t hold back this time, I can tell when you do,” he said before Wei Ying could even speak, “I’m not mad at you for doing so. As you did speed yourself up a little as well as we spared, to keep me doing the same thing,” he smiled at him.

“You’ve still improved a lot though,” he told his brother as he walked over and placed an arm around his shoulders, “I’m proud of you didi,” he murmured quietly, so no one else could hear it.

“Thanks,” Jiang Cheng gave a genuinely happy smile, “I did a lot of training with dad over the last two years, he trains both me and A-Jie,” he admitted softly.

“Good,” he grinned, “I know he’d been wanting to do so before I left. But each time he tried,” he trailed off.

“She got in the way. I know, I found out. Heard them arguing about it not long after we got back after looking for you,” he said softly.

“You… you looked for me?” Wei Ying asked, his voice sounding small as he let Jiang Cheng go so he could look at him.

“Of course, we did. You are family. She isn’t as far as we’re all concerned. When she raised that whip against you that day and against me as well. I knew I could… never really think of her as my mother again. She isn’t one, you were right about that,” he gave him a sad smile, “I just wish that we were home for you. I know that you’ve found that now, with the Nie Sect, but still. I miss having you around all the time,” he sighed.

“When she’s gone, I promise I’ll visit more. So, I can spar with you occasionally,” he told him, a soft smile on his face.

“You better,” he said, punching the top of his arm lightly.

Xue Yang darted over to them. Lan Zhan had been holding him back for a moment, to let the two brothers talk. “A-Niang!” he yelled out, “That was awesome!”

Wei Ying laughed as he picked him up, settling him on his hip, “You’re going to be too big for this soon,” he murmured, before adding, “I’ll be teaching you how to do that when I get back home.”

“Really?” he asked, eyes wide at the thought of what he could do with that type of ability.

“Yes, and if you do something naughty with it, I will never teach you anything else ever again,” Wei Ying warned him seriously, already seeing the calculating look in the five-year-old’s eyes.

“Okay, promised,” he said, with his three fingers raised to the sky, just as he saw A-Niang do when he promised someone something.

Wei Ying laughed and walked back to where everyone was sitting, talking a little before lunch would be served.

Chapter Forty-Nine

Lan Qiren watched Wei Ying like a hawk watching their prey. Making sure that the young man was paying attention to everything within the lectures. He hadn’t called on him since their talk. Instead, he had been taking the time to observe the young man. He glanced up as he saw a little shadow near the door. A small child poking his head around the open doorway.

“Wei Wuxian,” he called out, recognising the child as one that was often seen with the young man, “There is a child by the door. Either bring him inside or go and take him somewhere else,” he advised him.

“It might be best to take him somewhere. I’ll be at the training field if I am needed. My apologies Master Lan for the disruption,” he said as he got up and bowed. Grabbing his things and heading out of the classroom. He took Xue Yang’s hand and sighed, “A-Yang, I told you that I would be in lessons today. You were supposed to remain with Sect Leader Nie,” he told him, shaking his head.

“I know,” Xue Yang pouted, “But I wanted to see what you were learning,” he told him, annoyed that he wasn’t going to be able to learn anything that the big kids were learning.

“Come on, we’re going to do some training,” he said, “Did you bring your practice sword?” he asked him, knowing that Nie Mingjue had sorted something out for the five-year-old.

“In here!” he called out as he pulled on the pouch that Nie Mingjue had given him to keep his sword in. It was mostly made of wood, though weighted like a sword would be.

“Good, when we get there, you can bring it out,” Wei Ying told him, carrying his own sword as well. The two made it to the training grounds and Wei Ying set about instructing him through the basic sword forms from Baoshan Sanren.

XxXxX

“Why are you all so agitated?” Lan Qiren asked the students, shaking his head slightly. Since the moment that Wei Ying had left the classroom those of the Nie and Jiang Sect kept sharing looks with each other.

“Wei Wuxian is one of the best people to train with, he makes it fun and interesting at the same time,” one of the Jiang disciples answered him.

“When he goes to a training field, he is either training himself, but since he has A-Yang with him, he’s going to be teaching him. And I want to know what,” Nie Huaisang said, “We’re sorry, Master Lan, for disturbing your class,” he and the others all quickly apologised.

Lan Qiren huffed, “Then let us go to the training field. Since I don’t have your attention here, may as well try something else,” he said, as he waited for the class to pack their things away before he led the way to the field. He walked to it and stopped when he saw that Wei Ying was finishing going through sword forms with the five-year-old. He observed them for a moment, as the others with him were doing the same.

“Okay,” Wei Ying said, ignoring the observers for the moment and concentrating on the child before him, “Shall we play a game?” he asked Xue Yang, kneeling.

“Yeah!” Xue Yang bounced on the balls off his feet, “What are we going to play?” he asked him, eager to do something else with Wei Ying.

“Well, since you’re getting really good at making the animals, how about we use them to play tag?” he suggested. It was a step down from the talisman fight that he had with Jiang Cheng the day before. But it was a good one to play with those that were just learning.

“Really?” Xue Yang grinned at him, “I can make any animals, but not doggies,” he promised with a nod.

“Okay,” he smiled, “Then you’re allowed to make as many animals as you want and as big as you want,” he told him.

Wei Ying explained what they were going to do a little clearer, making sure that his voice was loud enough that the others watching them would be able to hear him. Wei Ying and Xue Yang made a start. Creating animals and sending them after each other.

Meng Yao laughed as he watched Wei Ying run from a small bee that Xue Yang created. He quickly went over to join the two of them. Jiang Cheng and Nie Huaisang shared a quick look before joining in as well. Creating small birds and animals to join the game. It didn’t help that Meng Yap kept using his favourite move on them all. He would surround himself with small birds. So many that he was obscured from sight. He would then let them burst away from him, attacking those around him before disappearing and sending more after the others watching.

It didn’t take long before all the Nie and the Jiang Sect disciples were joining in. Lan Zhan watched from the side as Wei Ying rushed over to him, “Come on Lan Zhan, you should join in with us,” he grinned down at him.

“Mn, teach me, please,” he said quietly.

“Lan Zhan, you know the animals that I made you learn how to make?” he asked him, getting a nod, “It’s just those, but we make them a little more solid, enough so that it will push others away. You have to make sure that everyone keeps away from you by using those only,” he grinned, dragging Lan Zhan onto the field. It took a few moments, but soon enough Lan Zhan was joining in with the fun.

Lan Xichen walked over with Nie Mingjue, smiling at his uncle, “He’s happy,” Lan Xichen said softly, his eyes watching his brother as he moved around the field.

“Yes,” Lan Qiren sighed, “He is enjoying himself. It’s… nice to see, but the method that they are using is very noisy.”

Nie Mingjue laughed, “This isn’t noisy,” he told him, shaking his head as he watched Meng Yao and Wei Ying leave the playing group and starting to teach the others around the field how to make the animals so that they could join in on the game as well.

The game lasted until the bell went to signal the end of the lectures and the beginning of dinner.

XxXxX

“Did you have fun Lan Zhan?” Wei Ying asked as they walked towards the dining hall that night. Xue Yang was hanging on his arm as they walked.

“I did,” he nodded slowly, “It was… different.”

“That’s good,” Wei Ying grinned, “I was hoping you would like that. It’s a good way to improve your speed as well and to have to concentrate on something else as well. They can be made really solid and if you’re really good at it, you can even make it into a tiger or something larger and then use that to attack someone while you go another way and attack. It’s a great distraction technique,” he told him, telling him one of the uses that particular skill could be used for.

“It is a good idea,” Lan Zhan nodded.

“A-Niang,” Xue yang said, pulling on Wei Ying’s arm for attention, he didn’t like the fact that he was ignoring him.

“What is it A-Yang?” he asked as he glanced down at the five-year-old.

“Up please?” he asked, as though he was a toddler once again and wanted to be carried.

“You’re starting to get a little too big for this,” Wei Ying said as he did so, setting the child in his arms, “You are getting heavier,” he muttered, shaking his head at his little boy.

“Don’t care, want to cuddle with A-Niang,” he grumped as he glared at Lan Zhan. He thought for a moment as the two of them started to talk to each other, “A-Niang,” he said, calling for his attention once more.

“What is it A-Yang?” he asked him, smiling.

“Why do you like him?” he asked, looking at Lan Zhan, as though trying to figure out that answer for himself.

“Oh, erm!” he stumbled over his words for a few moments, “Lan Zhan is really nice and sweet. He likes to read poetry and he helps me study so I can become a really good cultivator. He’s very kind as well, but he’s also very shy,” he said, adding a little whisper to his voice.

“Really?” he said, a little skeptical, “I remember you telling me about him in your letter.”

“I know. He is really nice though, so don’t forget that. You can’t ask him when we’re eating. He has to sit with his brother and uncle,” he reminded the child.

“Okay,” he huffed, “But after dinner, I can talk to him?”

“Yes, after dinner. We can all go and talk for a bit,” Wei Ying answered as he glanced at Lan Zhan, “That would be alright to do? Won’t it, Lan Zhan?” he asked him.

“Yes,” he nodded and then looked at Xue Yang, “I will be happy to speak with you,” he told him quietly.

Xue Yang nodded and smiled, “Okay,” he said as he then looked at Wei Ying, “You can put me down now,” he told him.

Wei Ying shook his head at the demand, but let him down, “No running off,” he warned him as he saw that Xue Yang was about to do so.

“I was going to Jue-Gege,” he muttered, pulling a face as he looked up at him.

“Fine, but you have to walk. There is a no running rule here. Lan Zhan here is the one that will be in charge of your punishment should you break the rules,” he warned him.

“What would the punishment be?” Xue Yang asked Lan Zhan curiously.

“Copy the rules, all of them if you break it,” Lan Zhan answered him, “There are over three thousand rules,” he added.

Xue Yang’s eyes went wide, “Three thousand rules!” he yelled.

“Yes, and one of them is no shouting,” Lan Zhan told him, he couldn’t help the little twitch of his lips as he tried not to smile when Xue Yang slapped his hands over his mouth in horror.

“Three thousand rules!” he exclaimed in a whisper this time. As though he is now trying to follow the rules.

“Yes, there are a lot of them. To make sure that we are always good people,” Lan Zhan told him as they started to walk again.

“But sometimes you have to forget the rules to help someone. Say that if you were trying to tell someone who was far away from you that they were in danger, what would you do?” Wei Ying asked him.

“You would shout danger at them,” Xue Yang said, frowning as he looked between the two teenagers.

“You would,” Lan Zhan nodded in agreement. He was quickly coming to learn that sometimes the rules were more of a guideline. Not a hard line that he had to follow, “Sometimes you have to bend the rules a little to make sure that people will stay safe,” he said softly.

“Right,” Wei Ying nodded, smiling at him, “But try and follow them while you’re here though,” he added.

“I will,” Xue Yang said as they walked into the hall, stopping as he looked around and turned, “Can I sit with you?” he asked Wei Ying, no longer wanting to find his Jue-Gege, “And with Zhan-Gege?”

The two shared a look, “I will ask uncle and brother if they would permit me to be seated with you,” he said as he went over to his family.

“Come on, let’s go and find a place for us to sit and save him a place,” Wei Ying smiled as he went over to one of the tables. Nie Mingjue was there. He sat down, guiding Xue Yang to the middle of three empty seats. The child now guarded the empty one, not letting anyone sit on it. As both Meng Yao and Nie Huaisang had tried and were told off. Jiang Cheng got the picture after the two were told off and ended up near Nie Huaisang.

Lan Zhan walked over to them and sat down, a tiny almost invisible smile on his face, “I am allowed to sit with you all tonight,” he said to Xue Yang.

“Yay!” Xue Yang gave a quiet cheer as the food was served and they began to eat.

Wei Ying smiled and began to eat himself. He knew the rules as did everyone. And while they spoke a lot during dinner the night before, that was because they ate in the private room of Sect Leader Nie. The two would be leaving soon since it was only going to be a short visit. Though Wei Ying wondered if he would be able to get them to come again in a month or two.

“A-Niang, can we do something fun after dinner?” Xue Yang asked quietly, mouth full of food.

“No speaking while eating Xue Yang, against the rules,” Lan Zhan warned him gently.

Xue Yang looked at him and then nodded, as he carried on eating. This time he didn’t speak a word until he and everyone had finished their food. As a treat for his good behaviour, Lan Zhan and Wei Ying took him around Cloud Recesses to let him explore it a little more. It was an hour before curfew when Xue Yang began to tire and the energy of the child dropped so much he had to be carried back to the guest quarters. This time he had insisted that Lan Zhan be the one to carry him back.

“He is a good boy,” Lan Zhan said as he looked at the sleeping child in his arms. He felt a little odd carrying him, but it felt… right.

“He is a little too energetic at times, but I’m the same way. It’s why I have so many games that can be used for training. They all have a lot of movement so as to tire me and him out a little, I’d never sleep otherwise,” he smiled at him.

Lan Zhan nodded and then went to the room where Xue Yang was sleeping, he laid him down and watched as Wei Ying got him ready for bed. Xue Yang woke for a few moments, whining about being moved around, before falling back to sleep after the two had said their goodnights to him. Lan Zhan and Wei Ying spent a little longer with each other, talking softly before they separated for the night.

Chapter Fifty

“I don’t want to leave!” Xue Yang cried once more as he clung onto Wei Ying with all his strength.

“A-Yang,” Wei Ying said calmly, patting the child’s back, “I have to carry on going to lessons and one day, you’ll be the one coming here to do the same thing,” he told him softly, “Now, come on, you need to let go. Sect Leader Nie really needs to get back home. He has to make sure the place is still standing after all.”

“A-Yao,” Nie Mingjue said as he looked at his husband to be, “Are you sure you don’t want to come back with me now?” he asked him, giving him a watered-down version of the puppy eyes. He wasn’t that good at it after all.

Meng Yao smiled, kissing him on the cheek, “A-Jue, I’ll be home soon enough. I’m thinking it would be nice to carry on learning here, and keep an eye on those two. Not only that, but I’m enjoying reading all the books here,” he added.

“I can buy you new books?” he suggested pouting when Meng Yao just laughed lightly at him.

“I know you could,” he told him, shaking his head, “I’m fine to stay here a little bit longer. I think that A-Ying is getting closer to figuring something out as well. I want to be here in case he needs a little help.”

“There’s another reason why you don’t want to leave isn’t there?” he murmured as he got a little close so they could speak without someone being able to overhear them.

“You’re right, there is. Jiang Wanyin has sent word to Sect Leader Jiang, and to Lady Jiang as well. Telling them that Wei Ying is here,” he spoke softly, “They are going to be arriving sometime next week. Wei Ying is… nervous about the meeting.”

“I bet he is,” he sighed, nodding, “What was his reaction when he received that news?” he then asked.

“Shock and fear. I’ve never really seen him scared of anything before. But this, there was fear in his eyes, A-Jue. I’m scared that he might try and run off just to avoid the meeting,” he told him, glancing over to where Wei Ying was still trying to get Xue Yang to let go of him.

“Keep an eye on him. And if you think that something is going to happen, message me and I’ll come and get him, and bring him home,” he told his betrothed.

“I will, if I have to, I’ll drag him myself,” Meng Yao nodded.

“A-Yang, come on, stop being silly,” Wei Ying said gently.

Lan Zhan walked over, seeing the trouble that Wei Ying was having to get Xue Yang off him. He went over and plucked the child from him and set him down, “Xue Yang,” he said, kneeling, “You need to listen,” he told him.

“But I don’t want to leave A-Niang, what… what if he leaves me? I don’t want to be alone again,” he said, tears still in his eyes. The fear will always play on his mind. That someone would leave him behind again.

“A-Yang,” Wei Ying began, kneeling, “You know that I’ll always come back to you. A-Sang told you about that, didn’t he?”

“Yes,” he nodded once.

“Then you should know that Wei Ying will always go home to you,” Lan Zhan told him, hearing a few stories about Xue Yang and his inability to trust them to return to him, “Wei Ying misses you a lot as well,” he added, glancing at Wei Ying, who was kneeling beside him, “But he will always go back to you because he loves you.”

Xue Yang pouted but nodded slowly as he finally went over to Nie Mingjue so they could finally leave. Though he did sneak in one last hug to Wei Ying and another to Lan Zhan before doing so.

“Bye, A-Yang,” Wei Ying said, a smile on his face as he added, “I’ll miss you, but I’ll write to you again so you don’t have to worry,” he reminded him gently.

“Promise?” he asked, looking at him, hoping that Wei Ying would answer the same as when he had left.

“Yes, I will,” Wei Ying said as he went over and hugged him a little awkwardly before letting him go.

Xue Yang then turned to look at Lan Zhan, “Will you write to me as well?” he asked him.

“I will,” Lan Zhan nodded.

Xue Yang nodded back as he was then taken into Nie Mingjue’s arms as the man walked through the barrier.

“A-Niang, the barrier here is really cool!” he called out, reaching back to try and poke it again.

“I know,” Wei Ying smiled at him.

Wei Ying walked forwards and waved at them as he watched them leave. He slumped where he stood after they had flown out of sight. Lan Xichen was curious as to what the two of them meant by the barrier and walked over.

“Young Master Wei, may I ask you something?” he said as he reached the young teenager, his brother standing beside him.

“Of course, Sect Leader Lan,” he answered with a nod, though the smile he had on his face didn’t quite reach his eyes as normal.

“What do you both mean about the barrier?” he asked him.

Wei Ying looked at him, “Well it’s the feel of it. It’s warm, protective. It’s been here for a long time as well. Each person that has ever lived beneath it, or stayed here for a while has given something to it. So, it’s really nice and pleasant. When you pass through it takes into account your reasons for being here. Those that are welcomed by it may even feel warmth when passing through. More at ease. It would work against any that try and enter without permission. But you need to be careful,” he said, “it’s starting to weaken.”

“Weaken?” he exclaimed, alarmed at the news.

“Yes,” Wei Ying nodded. He rubbed his nose as he tried to think of the words he needed to explain what he was feeling from the barrier. “I… work a lot with the natural Qi that the world around us produces,” he began, “Because of that I’ve started to become really sensitive to Qi of any type. Spiritual energy and Resentful energy,” he pointed out to him, “The barrier is more Natural Qi. It takes what you are giving out when you train when you practice things. The energy wouldn’t be used otherwise, and would just dissipate in the end. But… are the Lan sect training as they once did in the past?” he asked gently, “Or is it more book learning now?”

“We learn more from books. Not many will train physically now,” Lan Zhan was the one to answer, “Brother and I are two of them that do so.”

“You need to get people training more. At least a few hours a day. Books are all good and fine to learn from. But you need to train the body along with the mind. Training the body also released the Qi a little into the air. The barrier will start to regain its strength again. It already has done a little with some of the training we’ve been doing here. But you need to get all the cultivators to train more than they are,” he suggested to him.

“How often do you train?” Lan Xichen asked him as they walked inside the barrier.

“I’ve always trained for at least seven hours a day in total. Unless there are Night Hunts that I’m going on. Then I will miss a day afterwards, and maybe the day before them if I need to prepare anything for it,” he shrugged. “The Jiang Sect does the same, an hour or two in the morning before breakfast. Mostly going through sword forms. Then in the afternoon, it will be more physical conditioning, running, swimming, things like that. To make the body stronger. Though that is alternated with book learning as well. And then in the evening, we will usually spar with each other. After dinner, we will sometimes play the game we’ve made up, but they are the ones that train the Core more than the body,” he added, “putting into practice some of the book learning we are doing as well.”

“Right,” Lan Xichen nodded, they had more time for book learning than physical. It was only once a day that they would train with the sword. And usually only for a few hours. Nothing more than that, unless they wished to. They did more of their physical training on Night Hunts with Senior Cultivators to help them. It was up to the cultivators themselves to train more than their basic instruction, “I believe I will see about changing that to make sure that they train more. We are a strong sect, but we have begun to put so much into our book learning that our physical capabilities could easily be overtaken,” he agreed, nodding his head minutely.

“It would be an idea. I know that the Lan Cultivators are some of the best around. But just relying on books is never a good idea,” he smiled weakly.

“Thank you,” Lan Xichen nodded as he walked off. Leaving Wei Ying and Lan Zhan walking together. Meng Yao and Nie Huaisang had already walked ahead of them a while ago.

“Are you alright?” Lan Zhan asked him gently.

Wei Ying sighed, “I miss A-Yang already. It’s stupid I know, but… he’s mine… he’s my family. I know that he will always love me and it’s nice,” he murmured, “I love teaching him new things. It’s amazing what he is able to pick up. Even when he first joined us, he was so quick to pick things up,” he added, looking at the older teen.

“He’s a good and smart child, like you,” he nodded, “You will see him soon, I know,” he told him quietly.

“Yeah,” he smiled a little happier as he looked at Lan Zhan.

XxXxX

The next few days after Xue Yang had left with Nie Mingjue were the same for Wei Ying. he missed the little boy a lot. And he was even sadder as he remembered that he wouldn’t be able to see Xue Yang on his birthday either. The only thing that made him smile most of the time was when he was bombarded with the little solid bunnies that Lan Zhan would send him when he saw that the teen was feeling down. each time, helping him to cheer up a little more.

Wei Ying wandered the back mountains a few days before Jiang Fengmian and Jiang Yanli were to arrive. Wanting to do something nice for Lan Zhan. He had noticed that the other liked bunnies a lot. Always sending them to him when he was feeling down. He stopped when he saw a small black bunny hopping around that was soon joined by a small white one. He grinned as he settled down on the ground and tried to coax them to join him. “Come on,” he whispered, you’d be perfect little companions for Lan Zhan,” he added.

Two days it took him to befriend them. And that was more because he brought them a lot of treats to get them used to him. He caught them after a while and stood up, putting them in the little basket and went off in search of Lan Zhan.

“Lan Zhan,” he called out softly, not wanting to scare the two little bunnies that he was hiding.

“Wei Ying?” he puzzled as he and his brother turned towards him.

“I brought some companions for you. I know that pets are forbidden, but these are companions,” he reiterated as he uncovered the basket. The two baby bunnies eating the food that was in there for them to nibble on.

Lan Zhan nodded, “I will take good care of them, Wei Ying.”

Lan Xichen bit his tongue as he knew that their uncle would be against it. But Wei Ying was right, pets weren’t allowed, but there was nothing against them having a companion in animal form.

“We can build them a little home so that they’ll be nice and safe and warm,” Wei Ying said as he picked out the black bunny to hold it.

“Hm, will… you help?” he asked him hesitantly.

“Yes, I will,” Wei Ying grinned brightly, “We can build that and then these can go to their bobo for a while,” he added as he looked at Lan Xichen, “You’ll be able to watch over them when Lan Zhan and I build them their own little home?” he asked him, a hopeful look on his face.

Lan Xichen nodded, “I would be delighted to watch over them. I promise I will take good care of them for you Wangji, while you and Young Master Wei build them their new home.”

“Thank you, brother,” Lan Zhan said as he and Wei Ying darted off to go and build the bunnies a home.

Lan Xichen looked at the two bunnies that were back in the basket he had been handed. “Well, looks like you two are coming with me for a moment. And did you see Wangji and that smile of his towards Young Master Wei?” he asked the two of them, reaching inside and slowly stroking the two of them, “Of course you did, those two are so smitten with each other. They are already friends. But there is something more that is beginning to develop between the two of them,” he sighed, shaking his head at the two. Lan Xichen slowly walked towards the Jingshi, knowing that would be where the two were going to be setting up the new hutch. He then wondered how long it would be before their uncle found out about it.


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