Reading Time: 141 Minutes
Title: Us Against the World
Fandom: The Untamed/MoDao ZuShi
Genre: Action Adventure, Drama, Family, Hurt/Comfort, Mystery, Pre-Relationship, Slash
Relationship(s): Wei Ying/Lan Zhan
Content Rating: NC-17
Warnings: Hate Crimes/Hate Speech, Slavery, Torture, Violence – Graphic, Dark Themes, Death minor Character, Kidnapping, Violence – Canon-Level, Genocide
Word Count: 55,975
Summary: The Sunshot Campain is over, there is peace with the four remaining great Sects. Wei Wuxian is ill from his overuse of Resentful Energy, taken back to Cloud Recesses to finally rest and heal, he hopes that he can finally be at peace with all he has gone through. Only for those with greed in their hearts to demanded the Stygian Tiger Amulet. Now Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji have to fight to keep each other safe as well as their family.
Lan Zhan walked over to Wei Wuxian as he played with Wen Yuan. Wen Ning and Jiang Yanli were sitting with him, chatting and watching the two. “They have left.”
“Right, what have we got to do?” Wei Wuxian asked, a smile on his face as he pulled Wen Yuan into his lap.
“Brother asked if we could make a small start on finding a place for them to live and to build some homes,” he said.
“Right, let’s get to work then,” Wei Wuxian announced, getting up and handing the playful child over to Wen Ning, “Take this little bundle of joy and have some fun,” he smiled fondly.
“I’ll go with them too,” Jiang Yanli added, getting up to leave with them. With the three gone, it was just Lan Zhan by Wei Ying’s side.
“Wei Ying. Are you sure you wish to help?”
Wei Wuxian nodded and smiled as he got up, “Yes, I am, now let’s make plans for the building They will need places to sleep, eat and cook. As well as…” he trailed off as he went around the Jingshi grabbing some paper and a brush, he sat back down and started to list what would be needed. After a few moments he looked up, “We’re going to have to have them outside aren’t we?” he asked.
“Yes, brother says that there is a clearing near the path that they can use, it would not take long to get there from Cloud Recesses.”
“Right, I think I know where you mean.” he nodded and then began to make a few drawings, detailing some of the small buildings that could easily be constructed. They wouldn’t be fancy, but practical.
“Are you done?” Lan Zhan asked, getting a nod almost an hour later, putting aside the research he was going through.
“We should gather everyone, I know a lot of people are still working on restoring Cloud Recesses to how it was, but this will be more important,” Grabbing the paper, Wei Ying head out of the Jingshi.
The two spread the word for everyone to gather in the largest clearing in Cloud Recesses. It didn’t take long for everyone to be there, whether they were a visiting disciple or Rogue Cultivators that were visiting. Wei Wuxian had already shared what he thought with Lan Qiren. The man had gone through his plans and had approved them to be used.
“Okay,” Wei Wuxian greeted them all, “Sorry for pulling you away from things, but I need as many as possible to come and help with starting to build these houses. The remnants of the Wen Sect will arrive in around a week. We have that long to try and build as many living quarters for them to sleep, cook and eat. I know it is a lot that is being asked, but at the moment they all have nothing. They have been abused by those in charge of them. Now they are being brought to us.”
“I know some of you may feel as though they deserve what they have received. But the ones that we will be housing are those that had nothing to do with the war. Elderly, children, the sick, women and men that did not choose to be cultivators,” Lan Qiren stood up, told them, seeing some of the faces on the visitors.
“So we want to ask for volunteers to make a home for them,” Wei Wuxian added as a yell came from near them.
“Mama, mama!” Wen Yuan ran towards them, screaming and laughing as Wen Ning tried to catch him.
“A-Yuan,” Lan Zhan said as he went over and grabbed him, picking him up.
“Papa, want mama,” he giggled as he reached out towards Wei Wuxian.
“Me…. Mama!” Wei Wuxian huffed.
“Mama!” Wen Yuan giggled as he reached out.
Jiang Yanli laughing brightly as she followed behind Wen Ning, “A-xian, you are mama to A-Yuan,” she smiled as Lan Zhan went over to Wei Wuxian and handed the child over.
“Come on A-Yaun, I’m not mama,” Wei Wuxian protested to the child.
Wen Yuan stopped giggling and looked sad, “But you mama, cuddles,” he told him.
“Then why is Lan Zhan papa?” he asked, pouting at the toddler.
“He brings food,” Wen Yuan told him with all the wisdom of a child.
“So he’s papa because of that?” he asked him.
“Hm,” he nodded.
Wei Wuxian pouted as he then looked at his sister who was giggling behind her sleeve, “you had something to do with this,” he told her. Only getting a few more giggles in return.
“Wei Wuxian,” Lan Qiren called his attention, “Are you going to be overseeing the construction?” he asked him, annoyed by how he had been distracted by the child in his arms.
“Sorry,” he apologised, “And yes, I will be going down with them,” he smiled.
“Are you sure you’re well enough?” Nie Huaisang asked him as he walked over, waving to the small child, who hid himself in Wei Wuxian’s arms.
“I’m all right for a while. I’m getting a little bored,” he smiled easily as he looked at Lan Zhan, “you coming?” he asked.
“Yes,” he nodded as those that had volunteered followed Wei Quxian and Lan Han out of Cloud Recesses and towards the clearing Lan Xichen was going to be offering to the remaining members of the Wen Sect.
The days took on the same routine. With breakfast together before Wen Yuan was left with Jiang Yanli and the others all went down to the clearing to carry on building. On the day before they were set to arrive most of the small village was already built. Jiang Yanli had led some of the people into the town to get some things that they would need, materials for clothes, things to till the land, though the volunteers had already begun that process for them to grow their own food after a while. Now everything was finished, the volunteers had worked quickly and efficiently to get everything ready.
“Okay,” Wei Wuxian smiled as he looked around, his sister and Lan Zhan stood on either side of him.
“It looks good,” she smiled as well as she began to move around the village that was empty but now.
“You helped a lot shijie,” he smiled to her as he followed, Lan Zhan doing the same.
“Thank you,” Lan Zhan added
“Glad I could be of some help,” Jiang Yanli smiled at them and then began to talk to some of the people that were still working.
“They should be arriving soon,” Wei Wuxian said as he looked towards the entrance of the village. Walking towards it he could already hear the carriages as they began to approach.
“They are here,” Jiang Yanli smiled as she too rushed, as she knew that her brother would be there as well.
It didn’t take long for the long procession to arrive. Lan Xichen walked beside the first of many carts that were bringing the last of the remnants to them. Lan Xichen smiled at them softly, “Hello,” he greeted.
“Brother,” Lan Zhan greeted, as Wei Wuxian and Jiang Yanli bowed to him. They watched as three carts went past them and carried on toward the Cloud Recesses entrance.
“Are they okay?” Jiang Yanli asked, a hint of worry in her voice as she watched them go.
“They are hurt and ill from what they have gone through, most of them are scared of what is going to happen now,” Lan Xichen explained, gazing back to those that were now getting out of the carts. The three can see the fear on their faces.
“Hello,” Wei Wuxian greeted them, a friendly smile on his face as he walked forwards.
“As loud as anything,” Jiang Cheng huffed as he walked towards them. Wei Qing beside him along with an elderly woman, whose eyes were darting around.
“Maybe,” he grinned, unrepentant, he turned to Wen Qing, “Everyone okay?” he asked her.
Wen Qing shook her head, a sombre air around her, “We lost two on the way here,” she said.
“A-Qing,” the older lady said as she looked all around, “Where is A-Yuan?”
“Are you A-Yuan’s granny?” Wei Wuxian asked as he walked towards her, a bright smile on his face.
The elderly lady jumped a little and then nodded, “yes,” was the simple answer. Her voice was quiet, full of fear.
“He is such a wonderful little boy, I’ve been looking after him with Wen Ning,” Wei Wuxian said, “I’ll… I’ll bring him down to come and see you. Lan Zhan and I would like to talk with you when you are more settled.”
“Thank you, for taking care of him,” Granny sighed with relief and bowed low towards the two.
“Let’s show you around, there are many huts. I’m sorry that there aren’t more for you all, and that you’ll have to share, but we have left tools around so that you’ll be able to make better ones when you’re able to,” Wei Wuxian smiled at them, as he began to lead the way inside the small village.
“How many?” Jiang Yanli asked as she watched her brother and his fiance take them around to show them.
“We were able to rescue just under eighty. We lost two on the way, the injuries they had along with their starvation, there was nothing we could do to help them. Just… ease the way,” Jiang Cheng answered, knowing that he couldn’t shelter her from the harshness that was going on. “There is a young woman that has been taken up to Cloud Recesses, she’s over seven months pregnant. Her husband is one of the ones that passed away. She is very weak herself,”.
Wen Qing looked at Jiang Yanli, “I don’t know if she will be able to survive the birth. She is barely holding on, and the loss of her husband and the rest of her family. She may give up.”
“Oh,” was all Jiang Yanli could say, a hand going to her mouth as tears pooled in her eyes.
“How has Wei Wuxian been?” Jiang Cheng asked her in order to distract from the morbid reality, watching his brother walk around and animatedly show the people their new home.
“He still gets tired, but he has recovered significantly. The amount of resentful energy around him is still high,” she answered, wiping away any stray tears to focus on the task at hand.
“At least you now know that trying to get rid of it all at once can cause problems, you can start up with Clarity and Cleansing once more. But only once a week. If things are well, then we could do so every five days. But I would like to keep an eye on his energy levels. The resentment does make him angrier if pushed,” Wen Qing warned as she headed towards Granny.
“Come A-Cheng, let me show you around,” Jiang Yanli smiled, as she began to chatter with him about what they had done for the small village that had been built within a week.
Wei Wuxian and Lan Zhan led Wen Qing and Granny towards the Jingshi. Wen Ning had been told to bring Wen Yuan there after dinner. Wei Wuxian looked back and smiled at Granny, “Wen Yuan has been staying with Lan Zhan and me.”
“Has he been good?” she asked him, worried that the toddler had caused problems.
“Of course,” he answered, “he is such a sweet child.”
The door of the Jingshi opened and there stood Wen Ning, with little Wen Yuan standing beside him. Though that didn’t take long to change as the toddler spotted Lan Zhan and Wei Wuxian.
“Mama! Papa!” he yelled as he began to run towards them.
“Still mama,” Wei Wuxian huffed, but a smile quickly appeared on his face as he moved a little quicker so he could scoop Wen Yuan into his arms, “Has A-Yuan been good for Wen Ning?” he asked him.
“Yes mama,” he beamed as he then saw Wen Qing and Granny. “Granny!” he yelled out so loud that Wie Wuxian winced at the noise. In the distance, he could hear a replying yell from Lan Qiren about loud noises.
“Hypocrite,” Wei Wuxian muttered, rolling his eyes as he let the toddler go to his grandmother.
“Oh my baby boy, my little grandchild,” she wept as she held him, shaking all over as she never thought she would have his chance again.
“We would like to talk with you granny, but let’s go inside,” Wei Wuxian smiled as he led the way, taking Lan Zhan’s hand and letting his grandmother carry Wen Yuan inside. The Wen siblings greet each other warmly, happy smiles on their faces. Lan Zhan set about making tea for the guests.
The group was silent except for Wen Yuan who was telling his grandmother about his adventures with mama and papa. There was a sad look on granny’s face and Wei Wuxian had a feeling it was because of Wen Yuan’s parents, that they should be the ones called Mama and Papa. Lan Zhan soon returned and poured tea for them all.
“We wanted to ask, I know that you wished for him to find a family, but Lan Zhan and I have become rather attached to him, we wanted to know if it was still all right for us to adopt him?” Wei Wuxian asked Granny, sipping his tea slowly.
“Even though you don’t have to now?” she asked them, looking between them and then looking at her oldest grandchildren, “What do you think?”
“Young master Wei and Second Young Master Lan are really good with A-Yuan, and they care a lot about him,” Wen Ning said quietly as he looked up from where he was watching Wen Yuan play.
“If they care about him, and with what has gone on. He would have a better life with them,” Wen Qing told her, “in the end, it is up to you, as you are the one that has been looking after him.”
“And why do you two wish to adopt him together, surely when you find a wife-” she was cut off by Wei Wuxian laughing lightly.
“Sorry granny,” he apologised, “But Lan Zhan and I are engaged, we marry in a few months,” he explained, “We wish to make A-Yuan our son, I promise that he will come and see you whenever I can make it.”
“You will be welcomed into Cloud Recesses to see him as well,” Lan Zhan promised her, “We do not wish to cut his family out of his life, you are important to him.”
“Thank you and yes you may still adopt him if you wish,” she told them, smiling down at Wen Yuan.
“Thank you,” Wei Wuxian grinned, “Though I need to get him out of the habit of calling me mama,” he said only for the others to laugh, while Lan Zhan had a little smirk on his face.
Wen Yuan smiled as he walked between his mama and papa, they were heading to the nursery once again. Over the last two days, he had been there to stay during the day when his parents were busy.
“Will A-Yi be there again, mama?” he asked as he looked up.
“He will,” Wei Wuxian answered him, a smile on his face. The Demonic cultivator still hadn’t been able to get him to call him something else other than mama.
“Good, he is very funny,” he giggled, swinging his arms and theirs as he walked.
Walking towards the Nursery Pavilion, Wen Yuan almost pulled away from them as he saw Lan Yi waving at him. The two had met only two days ago, but they had quickly become friends.
“Bye A-Yuan,” Wei Wuxian whispered as he knelt and hugged his son tightly.
“Be good and have fun,” Lan Zhan told him, smiling down at him.
“I will papa,” he grinned, “bye mama!” he called out as he was let go and ran the rest of the way. Almost falling a couple of times.
“He’s already so independent,” Wei Wuxian whined, “Little Lan Yuan,” he smiled as he took Lan Zhan’s hand.
“Wei Yuan,” Lan Zhan corrected.
“No Lan,” Wei Wuxian insisted, “I think it would be better with Lan, it would open more doors for him in the end,” he told him.
“But Wei Yuan sounds good as well,” Lan Zhan told him, almost pouting at his soon to be husband.
“Lan Zhan, Lan Zhan, it would be so much better for him to be a Lan. I might be in good standing, but I know that there are people out there that would do all they can to get to me, so, please, I want him to have the Lan family name. After all, I’m going to be marrying into the Lan Clan,” he smiled at him.
Lan Zhan sighed then nodded. He understood where Wei Wuxian was coming from, but he still liked the thought of Wen Yuan becoming Wei Yuan. They headed into the Library Pavillion. Lan Zhan settled down to finish his work, while Wei Wuxian made a start on the notes about his own cultivation. He wanted to record it down so it wouldn’t be forgotten.
They had only been there for a short time when a young disciple walked into the room, “Hanguang Jun, you are needed by Sect Leader and the elders,” he announced, with a bow.
“Very well, I’ll join them,” he closed the book he had been studying and stood up, “I’ll return later Wei Ying,” he told him.
“Okay,” Wei Wuxian smiled fondly as Lan Zhan kissed him before walking away. The young disciple looked stunned and blushed from the intimate display between the two.
Lan Zhan walked through Cloud Recesses. It didn’t take him long to reach the pavilion and knock on the door. There were only three elders, along with his uncle and brother already sitting when he walked in.
“Uncle, Brother, Elders,” he greeted with a bow before he walked over and sat down at his seat.
“Sorry for interrupting your time with Young Master Wei,” Lan Xichen said to his brother, “But we’re going through the requests, and would like your input on which disciples to send out.”
“I will not be going,” he warned them.
“No, you won’t, you’re to remain with Young Master Wei for now,” he agreed, noting the sour look on Lan Qiren’s face.
“You should not shirk your duties Wangji,” their uncle warned him.
“My duty is to my fiance who is ill, I wish to be with him to help him recover,” he replied bluntly.
Lan Qiren didn’t look happy with the response he got from his nephew, “If you are needed for a night hunt, you will go,” he told him.
“Uncle,” Lan Xichen called out to him, “Wangji is right, his duty is to his husband at the moment, we have many disciples who will be able to help.”
“Hmm,” Lan Qiren nodded, still not happy.
“We have a few problems with some fierce corpses that are near Yueling, they are asking for our help,” Lan Xichen began as he started to go through the requests that they had received since the end of the Sunshot Campaign. He knew that some of them were older than that, but other things had taken priority.
The elders helped them work through the list of requests. None of them were serious enough that Lan Zhan or even Lan Xichen would be needed on the hunt. “I believe that is all of them,” one of the elders spoke up as they wrote the last mission to a group of disciples that would be going to the border village between Moling and Gusu.
“I will return to Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan said as he hoped to leave.
“There is one more thing we wish to talk about,” Lan Qiren cleared his throat as he stroked his beard.
“Yes, Uncle?” Lan Xichen asked, a little puzzled.
“With Wangji marrying, we are now looking at you Xichen,” Lan Qiren said as he looked at his eldest nephew.
Lan Xichen was silent, “Uncle,” he began, “I am… I do not wish to at this point in time,” he protested, “I know that it is normally the eldest that would marry. But I…” he was at a loss for words, he had never really thought of marriage, preferring to not have the entanglements that his brother had for the moment.
“It is something that you should be thinking of,” one of the elders spoke up, “You are of marriageable age, and there are many young maidens whose families have put them forward for consideration.”
“I will consider my position on this matter, but I ask that you leave that to me,” Lan Xichen said, sitting even straighter as he glanced at the elders, “You know our sect, you know our position, we do not have arranged betrothals or marriages for a reason.” It was a reminder to them all.
“We will,” the elder promised, “Just be aware that it is something that you should now be thinking of, especially now that the war with the Wen sect is over. We have only the child that Wangji is adopting as the future Sect Leader if he wishes,” The elder glanced at the young cultivator. “We do still prefer a blood-related child, but it is not imperative,”.
“Mn,” Lan Zhan nodded in agreement, though there was no chance he was going to betray Wei Wuxian at all, and everyone in the room knew that, “Wei Ying will decide if Lan Yuan will take the mantle of Sect Heir for now. When A-Yuan is old enough to decide it for himself, you will take his answer,” he added.
“We will,” the elder smiled at him, “It is a heavy-duty they carry, it will be up to them if they are willing.”
“Thank you,” Lan Zhan added.
“You may return to your fiance, I do hope he will fully recover soon,” she added as she let them go.
Lan Xichen stood along with his brother and left the room. Only splitting as Lan Zhan went to find Wei Wuxian. Lan Xichen had a few things to think about.
Wei Ying couldn’t help the chuckle as he watched the disciple follow Lan Zhan out of the library. Shaking his head he went back to his writing, though it didn’t help that he quickly got bored and started putting things away. Getting up he stopped short as he noticed Jin Guangyao and Nie Mingjue walked side by side.
“Sect Leader Nie, Lianfang-zun,” he greeted the two of them.
“Young Master Wei,” Jin Guangyao greeted, as Nie Mingjue just nodded towards him.
“Is everything well?” he asked the two, seeing the barely restrained look on Nie Minguue’s face.
“I am heading to one of the nice clearings. I am going to play Clarity for Da-ge,” he smiled.
Wei Wuxian nodded, “That’s great,” he smiled, “Lan Zhan and Lan Xichen should have played for me this morning, but things have been busy,” he smiled at the two.
“You may join us,” Jin Guangyao suggested, “if you don’t mind being with us?” he asked, sounding unsure of himself of the offer he had made.
“Sect Leader Nie?” Wei Wuxian called to him, “would that be all right with you. The resentful energy that is within me is full of a lot of anger and pushes against me. Clarity helps me keep it under tighter control,” he added.
“I do not mind you joining us,” he answered, the words tight and forceful as he spoke.
“Thank you,” he smiled as he walked with them. The two were quiet and he had hoped they would at least talk so he wouldn’t be bored.
It didn’t take them long to reach the clearing within Cloud Recesses, it was near where the bunnies lived; a place that Wei Wuxian would often go when he needed to think.
“Please sit down and find a position that you can relax best in,” Jin Guangyao said. Though Nie Mingjue had already taken a place on the grass, sitting in lotus position and eyes closed.
Wei Wuxian nodded and did the same, slouching a little as he settled down. It didn’t take long for Jin Guangyao to begin playing a Guqin, the familiar tunes of Clarity rang out in the clearing. Wei Wuxian began to relax. Wei Wuxian began to frown as the music played. It was very similar to Clarity, very similar, but some of the notes were wrong. As he opened his mouth to say something, he paused. The resentful energy inside of him was bubbling, swirling almost violently. It was uncomfortable only to settle down again, while still bubbling just beneath the surface.
The music carried on after a few more notes but then there was that feeling of wrongness coming through. Shifting the energy inside of him in a way that he was now beginning to find it hard to control. The music stopped after a while and Wei Ying needed to get away from them. The resentful energy was trying to break free, to do something. Whatever the music was, it had affected the resentful energy that lay within him.
“I need to go and do something,” he mumbled as he stumbled to his feet, and without waiting for a single word from either of them he rushed from the clearing. The resentful energy burning inside of him, bubbling and wanting nothing more than to explode out from him. He reached the Jingshi, glad that he was alone as he collapsed to the floor, he pulled the energy in, beginning to meditate to keep it calm.
“Wei Ying?” came a confused voice as the door to the Jingshi opened, “What happened?” he asked, eyes wide as he saw the state that his fiance was in.
“It feels wrong, something is wrong,” he breathed heavily, closing his eyes as tendrils of black resentful energy began to emit from him, “I don’t know if I can control it,” he said, voice breaking.
Lan Zhan’s eyes widened in alarm. He rushed over to the table to sit down in front of Wangji and began to play Cleansing, hoping that it would help calm the energy that was surrounding him.
Wei Ying pulled at the energy doing all he could to keep it calm as Cleansing began to work on it. Seconds passed, then minutes, until almost an hour later Wei Wuxian slumped to the floor, the resentful energy once more calm inside of him.
Wei Ying?” Lan Zhan called as he got up and rushed over, kneeling beside him. He saw that he was flushed, checking his forehead, he felt the heat of a fever. Mild though it was, he wondered what had caused this reaction in his fiance.
“Lan Zhan,” he croaked as he tried to sit up, only to fall back to the floor.
With a single movement, Lan Zhan carried him behind the separator and laid him on the bed, “Rest,” he said.
“I’m fine,” he smiled, “Just a little tired, that’s all,” he told him.
“You have a mild fever,” he worried, “What happened?” he asked, frowning in confusion as to what caused the state he had found him in.
“I went with Jin Guangyao and Nie Mingjue. Jin Guangyao was playing Clarity for Nie Mingjue, he suggested that I go with them, so I did. But the music, it didn’t sound the same, there was something different to it. Instead of calming, it made the energy bubble around too much. I went through it all and it almost broke the control I had. If I had lost control of it… it could have killed me and others,” he explained.
“How was the music different?” he questioned.
Wei Wuxian thought for a moment, “The wrong bits were more powerful, they sounded off, like a few notes here and there. I don’t… I’m tired,” he said, almost falling to sleep on the bed.
“Rest then Wei Ying,” he told him, brushing a few strands of dark hair away from Wei Wuxian’s face.
“Wake me soon,” he told him, “I just need to rest a little,” he said as he dropped off into sleep.
Lan Zhan stood up, making sure to cover Wei Wuxian up before he walked out of the Jingshi. He didn’t particularly want to leave him alone after such a thing, but he wanted Wen Qing to check on him and to find his brother.
“Wen Qing,” he greeted the woman as she walked out of the infirmary, which had become her home since she came up to Cloud Recesses from the encampment.
“What can I do for you?” she asked him with a bow.
“Please check on Wei Ying for me and remain with him,” he glanced around as he moved closer and murmured so as not to be overheard, “the resentful energy suddenly stirred up, I had to play cleansing to help him get it under control.”
Wen Qing frowned, “That shouldn’t be possible.” With a small huff, she nodded at him and headed towards the Jingshi to check up on the demonic cultivator.
Lan Zhan then went in search of his brother, wanting to bring him to the Jingshi as well. It didn’t take long to find him with his uncle, “Uncle, Brother,” he greeted the two.
“Yes, Wangji?” Lan Qiren quarried his appearance in front of them, “have you told Wei Wuxian?” he asked.
“I want to ask that brother to come to the Jingshi with me, I wish to talk with him and Wei Ying at the same time,” he turned to his brother, “Will you be able to?” he asked.
Lan Xichen could easily read the worry and fear that lined a blank face. He nodded, “Of course. Uncle, we will continue this discussion later if you don’t mind,” he smiled at the man that had raised him and his brother.
“Very well,” the elder sighed in resignation.
The two brothers left and headed towards the Jingshi. With how fast Lan Zhan was walking, Lan Xichen knew that something was wrong, he just didn’t know what.
Lan Zhan opened the door to the Jingshi, to find Wei Wuxian awake again, sitting at the low table with a tea in front of him and Wen Qing standing above him, watching him carefully. “Is he all right?” he asked as he went over to look Wei Wuxian over himself.
“Yes, just need to rest a little. A large amount of the resentful energy that was inside has been pulled out and cleansed. No more cleansing unless it is absolutely necessary for at least a week,” she advised, “Whatever it was that stirred it up, don’t let it happen again. “He no longer has spiritual energy to help him heal injuries that come from using the energy, so it can take time if there is too much pushing on his control.”
“Thank you Healer Wen,” he bowed to her gratefully as she then looked towards Wei Wuxian.
“And you, stop getting into trouble,” she huffed, turning she walked out of the building.
“Sorry,” he called out after her, a small smile on his face as he drank some more of his tea, feeling a little less shaky that he had done when the woman had flown into the building.
“May I ask what has happened?” Lan Xichen asked, feeling a little confused.
Lan Zhan explained what happened as soon as he returned to the Jingshi. “And then I came to find you,” he finished.
“Right,” he sighed, looking towards Wei Wuxian he asked, “Can you tell me what was wrong with the music?”
Wei Wuxian took a moment to gather his thoughts, “Yes, some of the notes were wrong. I know that because you both have played it enough for me that I know it by heart,” he gave a wry smile before it dropped, “I normally feel it when you use your spiritual energy with the song, Jin Guangyao was powering a section that was different, and it stirred up the resentful energy,” he told him, looking up from his drink.
“Right, well, if I play would you be able to place the wrong place and then replicate the notes?” Lan Xichen asked of him.
“Yes,” he nodded, sure that he would be able to do so. He might have only heard them once, but they were easy to remember as there were only a couple each time.
“Okay,” he smiled as he went over to Wangji to get his flute after asking his brothers permission to use it and began to play.
“Go through it again and when I say stop, stop and I shall then play the notes that were used instead at that point,” Wei Wuxian suggested, thinking it might be the easier way of showing where they were than just trying to explain.
“Good idea,” the Lan Sect Leader smiled as he began to play again.
Wie Wuxian listened and then after a few moments, he said stop and began to play the few notes that were wrong. Lan Zhan writing them down. It took them a few more minutes before they came to the end of the piece of music.
”There,” Wei Wuxian smiled a little, feeling tired again. Though he had been warned it would be like that for at least a day or two with what his body had just been through. He was lucky he wasn’t still unconscious.
“Thank You,” Lan Xichen said, a pinched look on his face.
“Brother?” he asked.
“I need to speak with Da-ge,” he said as he got up, “I will be back soon.” With that, he hurried out from the Jingshi. He wandered through Cloud Recess, he knew the notes were from one of the tomes in the forbidden chamber. He didn’t want to think that a person he considered a brother, who was a brother in all sense of things, could do something like this. He pushed it from his mind, there must be a reasonable explanation for what had happened. But first, he needed to talk to Nie Mingjue.
Knocking on the door where the Nie Sect Leader was residing until he left in the morning, he waited to be called in. Opening the door and walking in, he saw his friend and sworn brother sitting on the floor, meditating.
“Xichen,” he greeted as he opened his eyes, “What is it?” he asked.
Lan Xichen winced inside as he heard the bubbling anger in his voice. He could feel the energy coming from the other as well. It was angry, hot, and knew that the lead up to Qi Divination was coming ever closer.
“I… need to ask about the music that A-Yao played for you and Wei Wuxian earlier,” he said as he walked over and took a seat on one of the cushions by the low table. Still facing the older Sect Leader.
“If you wish,” he growled, moving to the table himself and pouring some tea that he had made before he began his meditation.
“The music, how… how did it make you feel?” he asked.
“Angrier,” he admitted, “What are you getting at Xichen?” he asked of him bluntly.
“The music made the resentful energy that is held within Wei Wuxian play up so much it almost caused his death as well as those around him. I… found out that some of the notes played were wrong. Is it the right tune?” he asked of him.
“It has been a long time since you played for me, I have never been musically inclined,” Nie Mingjue replied.
“Then I shall play for you,” Lan Xichen said, “Will you come with me to the Hanashi?” he asked, standing up.
Nie Mingjue nodded, “Sure,” he muttered, a little annoyed at the disturbance, but he could see a troubled look on his sworn brother’s face.
The two made their way to the Hanashi and stepped inside. Lan Xichen smiled at his friend, “please sit down, I’m going to play it for you normally, tell me if that makes any difference to you and if there are bits wrong?” he asked of him as he settled in front of his guqin and waited for his friend to sit down and settled. He began to play, watching Nie Mingjue closely.
Nie Mingjue began to relax as the music played, the spiritual energy in the notes soothing the frayed edges of his core and meridians. As the music came to a slow stop he opened his eyes feeling a lot better than he had done earlier, “Thank you Xichen,” he said, his tone already softened as the anger subsided.
“Well?” he then asked, hoping to get something from his friend.
“Yours made things smooth out when Guangyao plays, it… aggravates me. Makes things rougher. Your playing makes me feel calmer, his tends to stir me up more,” he finally answered after a few more moments of silence.
Lan Xichen slumped where he sat feeling the gnawing dread in his findings, “Right,” he nodded slowly, standing up.
“It is getting late, we’ll talk with him tomorrow,” Nie Mingjue said kindly to his friend and sworn brother.
“You’re not shocked, are you?” Lan Xichen frowned, looking at his sworn brother.
Nie Mingjue shook his head, “No, I’m not.” Sighing deeply, he closed his eyes for a moment before opening them to observe his friend, “Xichen, he has never regained my trust from what he did back in the Unclean Realm. There was always something about him that has put me on edge. I thought by becoming sworn brothers, I could somehow redirect him to the right path but since you are bringing this to light, I know I have been too naive.”
“He just wants the approval of his father,” Lan Xichen murmured, thinking of what Jin Guangyao wanted in his life.
“He wanted to make his mother proud, to be acknowledged by his father,” Nie Mingjue said, “He is trying but Jin Guangshan isn’t the type to give anything to him. We both know that. He has so many children running around, I’m sure that all together they could make their own sect,” he huffed, rolling his eyes. “For now,” he said, getting the others attention again, “take some time to sort your thoughts out. We’ll need them when we talk to him tomorrow.”
“You’ll be leaving tomorrow?” he reminded him.
“I know, but we still have time in the morning before I have to leave,” he smiled, “he won’t be leaving with his own party until the afternoon.”
“All right, I shall send word that I’d like to see him in the morning,” Lan Xichen nodded.
“Rest easy,” Nie Mingjue advised, “and meditate a little.”
“I will,” he smiled at his sworn brother, who stood and walked to the door, “Rest well brother,” he told him.
Mingjue shared a rare smile and walked out of the Hanashi and towards his rooms.
Lan Xichen remained standing inside to gather his thoughts, before setting out to meet with his brother and Wei Wuxian.
For Lan Xichen, morning came too soon, and after stopping by the Jingshi to meet with Lan Zhan and Wei Wuxian, the three then headed towards the rooms where Jin Guangyao was residing. Greeting Nie Mingjue first he turned to Jin Guangyao, the younger of the three sworn brothers looked puzzled at the gathering.
“What can I do for you all?” Jin Guangyao asked them all, a soft smile on his face.
“If you don’t mind, we would like to have a small talk with you before our elder brother has to leave,” Lan Xichen smiled at him, though this time it didn’t quite reach his eyes.
“Of course, we could go inside for a bit,” Jin Guanyao smiled as he went back to the rooms he was using. He walked in first, letting them all in before closing the door behind them, “Shall I prepare some tea?” he asked.
“No, that’s fine,” Lan Xichen answered, shaking his head as they all sat down around the low table.
“I hope everything is alright? He asked as he looked from him to the others.
“Yesterday, after you played Clarity for Wei Wuxian and elder brother, something was amiss. From talking with them both, some of the music was played wrong,” Lan Xichen began, unsure of how this conversation should go.
“I… I played it wrong?” he stammered, eyes going wide as he looked between Wei Wuxian and Nie Mingjue, “Are you both all right?” he asked, worried for the two of them. Playing a single note wrong could harm them after all.
“We are now,” Wei Wuxian smiled at him, but there was a wariness around him that only Lan Zhan could detect as he looked at his fiance.
“Oh, that, that is good,” Jin Guanyao smiled, as though a weight had been lifted from his shoulder.
“A-Yao,” Lan Xichen called him, “I would like to hear you play?” he asked of him, “I know I taught you how to play it, and you played it as well as any master can.”
“Of course, I won’t use any energy this time,” he told them as he went over to the guqin that he had brought with him to Cloud Recesses and began to play.
The group of four listened well, and Lan Xichen couldn’t help the wince as he heard the mistakes, exactly like what he had heard when Wei Wuxian went through it for him, “A-Yeo,” he called, “Please, no more.”
“Have I been playing it wrong?” he asked, eyes wide once more. He looked as though he could start crying at any moment.
“You have,” Lan Xichen said.
“Oh, I’m so sorry,” he said bowing a few times to Wei Wuxian and then to Mingjue, “Da-ge, I’m so sorry,” he repeated.
“A-Yao, do not play again until I have retaught you,”
“I won’t, I promise,” he agreed easily, “I thought it was right. But… maybe the stress of all that has happened over the last couple of months have clouded my memory of your teachings,” he said, looking at Lan Xichen.
“That could be the reason,” Wei Wuxian was the one to speak. His eyes told a different story to the others in the room.
“Yes,” Jin Guangyao nodded, “I apologise once more to you both,” he told them.
“I shall leave you be, thank you for talking with us,” Lan Xichen smiled at him as he stood up.
The others all did the same as Nie Mingjue turned to Jin Guangyao, “Take this time to think of what you want for your life A-Yao,” he told him, “I know your memory is great, you remember everything, so to me, it’s hard to believe. But I will give you the benefit of the doubt.”
Jin Guangyao nodded, “I have been under a lot of stress Da-ge, but I can not apologise enough for what I have done to hurt you,” he told him. Sounding genuine to the others gathered there. He nodded and watched them leave.
Lan Xichen closed his eyes briefly before he walked away. Not looking back and missing the calculated look on Jin Guangyao’s face.
Wei Wuxian went to the gate as the Nie sect prepared to leave. Looking at the Sect Leader he went over to him, “I wish to talk with you,” he asked of him.
“Of course,” Nie Mingjue agreed easily.
The two walked away from everyone so they could converse in private, “Do not trust Jin Guangyao, I’m going to work on Lan Xichen, but at the moment he still sees the person that protected him at the cost of his own safety.”
“I know, I doubt he would believe any ill of Jin Guangyao,” Nie Mingjue huffed a little at how naive his friend and sworn brother could be at times.
“He is trusting and believes in him,” Wei Wuxian told him, “it’s not a bad thing, but believing in the wrong person, it could be disastrous. I’m going to do my best to make him see that he’s up to no good. But I don’t know how successful I’m going to be.”
“I will do my best to keep an eye on him and Jin Guangshan as well. They are both up to something,” he muttered.
“They want the amulet, I’ve taken care of it already, but I doubt they will stop until they have it in their hands,” he sighed.
“I will not ask what you have done with it, I trust you,” Nie Mingjjue said, “Huaisang speaks highly of you, and of second Young Master Lan. The two of you together, I do not doubt that no matter what you have done, it will be for the best.”
Wei Wuxian could help but smile a little at those words, “thank you, and I promise you, it has been taken care of.”
“Take care of yourself, I do hope the next time I see you, you are well and getting married,” he smirked as Wei Wuxian couldn’t help but blush as he remembered that he would be getting married in a couple of months.
“Thank you,” he nodded once more as he let the Sect Leader go back to his disciple and younger brother. Waving and saying bye to Nie Huaisang once more before they took off for home.
Cloud Recess was finally quiet. The last of the visiting sects had gone home and even Jiang Cheng had to leave. Lotus Pier wouldn’t rebuild itself after all. Jiang Yanli would also be leaving in a few days, so Jiang Cheng left two of the Jiang Sect disciples behind to act as escort for his sister. Jiang Yanli had remained behind to do the last minute planning for the wedding, wanting to have everything sorted before she left.
“A-xian,” she called out as she watched her brother run around after the newly renamed Lan Yuan.
“Shijie,” he grinned up at her as he finally caught his son and swung him around in his arms, causing the child to squeal.
“Mama!” he laughed happily.
Jiang Yanli laughed brightly at the sight, though a little bit of pain laced through her heart knowing her parents weren’t able to see this. To watch as Wei Wuxian would marry and adopt a child. Knowing that when it came to her own time to settle down for a family, that her parents wouldn’t be there. That they were not there to see how well Jiang Cheng leads their sect. “A-Xian,” she called again, shaking away the painful thoughts.
“Yes Shijie?” he said, finally turning to her properly and paying attention.
“I’m going to find some lunch for us all,” she told him.
“Okay,” Wei Wuxian nodded, smiling still as she walked away, heading towards the kitchens. “So, what shall mama and A-Yuan do now?” he asked, “Shall we bury you in bunnies?” he suggested as he went over to where a high number of the almost fifty bunnies that now populated the clearing were eating at the food Lan Zhan had brought them all.
“No, no, bury me!” Lan Yuan shook his head, still giggling a little, but there was a hint of fear in his voice. His eyes darting to the bunnies.
“It’s okay, they won’t hurt you,” Wei Wuxian reassured him, knowing what was playing on his mind. He may only be a toddler, not even two years old, but that doesn’t mean he can’t remember. Placing the little child down, he began to pile bunnies onto his lap. Making sure to leave some food on the toddler’s lap so they would stay. He had almost finished burying him in bunnies when he felt a presence nearby.
Battle reflexes kicked in a little as he looked to Lan Yuan, “Keep quiet for a while. Don’t say anything,” he whispered.
Lan Yuan looked at his mama, seeing the scary look in the other’s eyes he nodded as he bunnies remained on him. He watched as his mama stood up and walked away from him. He wanted to scream, but fear held him back as he saw three more people approach his mama.
Wei Wuxian moved away from where Lan Yuan was hiding, making sure to keep his back towards the people that were trying to sneak up behind him. He smirked to himself like he would let anyone get the drop on him. He stood up, stretching as he did so before turning and lunging towards one of the men, as they got closer. There were three of them, dressed in black robes and had stupid looking masks on that made Wei Wuxian want to laugh at them. “Really,” he muttered to himself as they attacked back.
The first of the three, the one that talked, swung his sword towards him, the glint of the metal in the low sun as it brushed his neck. Spinning around Wei Wuxian dropped and swiped the first one’s feet from out underneath him. With a smirk on his face, he watched him fall to the ground.
The second and third saw their leader go down and they began to move as well. Going either side of him, one swung high, the other swung low. Jumping up and spinning, he was able to dodge the low swing of a sword. But the second one glanced on his arm.
One of them moved closer as Wei Wuxian was distracted by the sting in his arm. Trying to dodge he began to cough as a powder was blown into his face.
“Let it take effect,” one of them chuckled darkly. His vision swam for a moment before he focused himself and pulled the resentful energy within him to try and slow it down enough to get through this fight.
“Not so powerful is he?” the second snorted, “I don’t know why no one else wanted to take him out. He’s just a person who started playing with dirty tricks after all.”
Wei Wuxian’s eyes narrowed at him as the first one began to go for him again. The sword swung up towards him. Quickly he jumped back, going a few feet away from them. He stumbled as he came to a stop. Hissing to himself, “Come on.”
Wei Wuxian reacted slowly as the second and the third were already heading toward him. The first on his feet and running towards him as well. Wei Wuxian makes a decision and runs towards the first masked man, jumping up and with a hand on his shoulder, using him as leverage to flip himself over them. He landed, only to stumble to his knees.
Wei Wuxian could feel his vision fading and he hoped that Lan Yuan kept out of sight as he fell to his hands and knees. He tried to get up, managing to get to his feet once more. He moved as quickly as he could as he felt his body beginning to stop listening to him. The two lunged towards him, dodging one sword but giving a weak cry as the second sword pierced his flesh through his side.
“Don’t fucking kill him, we need him alive,” the first one hisses as the world around Wei Wuxian began to fade. The last thing he could remember was something wrapping around him and the world going black as he was lifted from the ground.
Lan Yuan watched as the three hurt his mama. Wanting to cry out, he felt the scream caught in his throat. He knew that screaming would make them mad, it always made the bad men mad at him. They hurt granny and auntie and uncle all the time when he cried. Mama had told him to be quiet. But when he saw them leave with his mama, the scream that had caught in his throat finally made itself known and the terrifying scream broke the peaceful silence of Cloud Recess.
Lan Zhan was walking towards the Bunny Field, Jiang Yanli walking beside him as they carried lunch together. The trays they were holding dropped from their grip as they heard the scream.
“A-Yuan!” Lan Zhan shouted as he took off. Running as fast as he could, he didn’t notice when Wen Ning and his brother joined him on his way to the field. He went into the field and looked around, as another scream rang out. He saw bunnies scatter from a huddled form on the ground. Running over, “A-Yuan,” he said, heart in his throat as he picked his child up into his arms and held him.
“Where is Young Master Wei?” Wen Ning asked as he began to look around the field as Wen Qing and Jiang Yanli ran in.
“What’s happened?” Wen Ning asked as she went over to the fearful child.
“I don’t know,” Lan Zhan said.
“Let’s look around,” Lan Xichen suggested as the four began to look around as Lan Zhan held his child and tried to calm him down.
“I’m here A-Yuan, papa is here,” he soothed. Looking around hoping to see Wei Wuxian come into view, especially after hearing the terrified scream of their son.
A disciple ran towards them as they searched around, “Sect Leader,” he bowed to him, “We just found Lan Xiao unconscious near the wall.”
“What?” Lan Xichen asked, unsure if he had just heard right.
“He has been taken to the healers already,” the disciple answered, “We checked the barrier there and it has been breached,” he added.
“Someone has entered Cloud Recesses,” Lan Xichen closed his eyes and then turned to his brother, the toddler now only crying in his arms.
“I found blood!” Wen Ning shouted out, looking up from where he was standing.
They all rushed over, the disciple behind them. There on the ground was a small pool of blood.
“Bad men took mama,” Lan Yuan sniffled, clinging to his papa as hard as he could. He was scared about being taken as well.
Jiang Yanli turned to the child, “Can you tell who A-Yuan?” she coaxed cogently, hoping they would be able to get something to point them in the right direction.
“Bad man, scary. Hurt A-Yuan ‘before,” he sniffed, burying his head in Lan Zhan’s robes, not wanting to talk again/ he began to cry, calling out for his mama.
“Hurt you?” Wen Qing asked, as she went over and began to check the toddler over. His wailing got louder as soon as she did so.
“Hurt Wen Yuan, not Lan Yuan,” he cried.
“It’s okay, they won’t hurt you, you’re safe,” Lan Zhan promised him, but it felt a little empty at that moment in time. With Wei Wxian not being seen.
“Gather as many disciples as you can, we need to make a thorough search of Cloud Recesses, and in the surrounding area,” Lan Xichen ordered as he looked at the disciple.
“Yes Sect Leader,” the disciple bowed and then hurried ahead. Lan Xichen turned to his brother.
“We will find him Wangji,” he reassured. He could see he was worried and scared, despite Lan Wanji’s seemingly impassive appearance
“Thank you,” Lan Zhan replied while rubbing Lan Yuan back in the hopes of soothing the crying child.
“Mama hurt,” Lan Yuan sniffed, finally calming down enough and feeling safe.
“Hurt?” Jiang Yanli asked him, though they already knew that from the blood. Though a part of them hoped that it was someone else’s and not Wei Wuxian’s. There was just no way to tell.
“Sword go through,” he answered her, scared eyes finally appearing as he moved his head and looked at her.
“Where?” Wen Qing asked him gently, a soft smile on her face.
Lan Yuan pointed at his belly and then his back, “Sound like bad man auntie,” he told her, “hurt yuan, hurt granny,” his mouth began to tremble again as he began to remember the things that happened to him in the prisoner camp.
“It’s okay, it’s okay,” Wen Qing reassured him, “you’re safe with papa,” she told him, patting his back.
“I shall take him to my room, see if I can get him to rest,” Jiang Yanli said, not wanting the child to be there anymore. She knew that talk would change soon enough and Lan Zhan would want to search for Wei Wuxian as soon as he could.
“No!” he yelled, trying to remain with his papa.
“A-Yuan, be good,” Lan Zhan told him, “You should go with Auntie, she will stay with you so papa can find mama,” he coaxed, hoping it would work and distract the child a little.
Lan Xichen smiled at how open his brother was becoming with Wei Wuxian around him as well as Lan Yuan, “Lady Jiang, my uncle should be in the library pavilion, I know you will head past that, can you inform him of what has happened and tell him that he and the elders need to help me repair and strengthen the barriers around Cloud Recess.”
“I will,” she said as she turned to Lan Yuan, “A-Yuan, can you help me take a message to your Uncle Qiren?” she asked, hoping that would get the child to go with her.
“I trust you to help Lady Jiang, nephew,” Lan Xichen told the toddler.
“Okay,” he nodded, as he went from the safety of his papa’s arms to the warm and caring arms of his aunt.
“Take care of him,” Lan Zhan said, reluctant to let his son out of his sight.
“I will,” she promised as she turned and began to walk away. Lan Yuan looked over her shoulder, waving at his papa until he was out of sight.
Lan Zhan slumped a little where he stood and looked to his brother, “I will search outside of Cloud Recesses.”
“I’ll go with you,” Wen Ning volunteered, feeling a little braver. He wanted to make sure his friend was okay after all.
Lan Zhan nodded as he headed away, fear gripping his heart. He walked through Cloud Recesses, already seeing some of the disciples grouping together to search inside. The two met a few as they walked through the gates and began to search outside.
“A-Ning!” came a cry from a man as he ran towards them, waving.
“Uncle Four?” Wen Ning puzzled as to why he was running towards them.
“I was going to head to Cloud Recesses and tell someone there, but I saw you and Young Master Lan,” he said as he turned to the young cultivator.
“What can I help you with?” he asked politely, though the two could tell that he wanted to hurry.
“Sorry, I was with granny as we were picking some herbs that we are growing. We heard a few voices. One of them was very familiar,” he began.
“What did you see?” Lan Zhan asked him, a sense of urgency in his voice.
“I saw a group of three men, all in dark clothes and wearing masks. One of them was carrying a bundled up form. I could just see a hint of black and red robe. I can only think of one person that has those coloured robes and that’s Young Master Wei,” he explained what he could.
“Young Master Wei has gone missing. A-Yuan said that some bad men took him” Wen Ning told him.
“Then they could be the ones that took him, Young Master Lan, the voice was that of Jin Zixun, I swear to it. All of us heard his voice a number of times while we were imprisoned at the camp,” Uncle Four cried.
“He enjoyed making life as difficult as possible. He would often attack us, kick us as we worked,” Wen Ning explained.“He even hurt A-Yuan a few times before we were able to keep him out the way,”
“Thank you for the information. We have a place to start,” he bowed and as he turned back and ordered, “Take me to where they were.”
“I will,” Uncle Four agreed easily as he led the way to the small area that they had been at.
Lan Zhan began to look around, turning to Wen Ning, “Fetch my brother, tell him what we have been told.”
“Yes,” he nodded, bowing quickly and running off.
Lan Zhan remained where he was, searching around for a clue as to where Wei Wuxian was taken. He knew who, he just needed to know where.
Lan Zhan looked up as his brother walked into the small area. “Have you found anything Wangji?” he asked, walking up to him. Their uncle followed closely behind him.
“Some of the grass has been trampled, there is some blood as well,” he answered him, “I believe they took off by sword, the trees are harmed from being forcefully moved,” he added, pointing in the direction of where Lanling was. Above them was several damaged branches, some almost falling off, and on the ground below were some fallen branches and leaves.
“So we know this is where they left and which direction they went,” Lan Xichen murmured.
“Yes, but that’s all, we don’t know if they went to Koi tower or somewhere else,” Lan Qiren shook his head, “We should head back,” turning to Wen Ning and Uncle four, “Thank you for helping.”
“I’ll talk to the others and tell them what is going on,” Uncle Four said bowing to them all before heading back towards the small Wen Village.
“Thank you,” Lan Zhan nodded as he head followed his uncle back towards Cloud Recesses.
Jiang Yanli held Lan Yuan close, rocking him as he began to cry for his mama again, “Mama will be fine, you know your papa will find him soon,” she promised him, hoping that her words would come true.
“Want mama,” he cried, clinging to her, “want papa,” he sniffled.
“I know you do,” she rocked him more, rubbing his back. She kissed his head, “They will come back, you don’t have to worry about that,” she promised once more.
The door to the room she had been taken to opened and Lan Zhan was the first through it. Lan Yuan saw his papa and struggled from Jiang Yanli’s grip. It didn’t take long for the toddler to be clinging to his papa’s leg, crying for his mama.
“I will go get mama, but it will take a few days,” he told his son, bending down and picking him up. Letting the scared toddler grip him tightly, he walked over to Jiang Yanli and sat down as the others followed him into the room.
“Do you know what’s happened to A-Xian?” she asked, looking between the four men that had joined her and Wen Qing.
“We believe that he might have been taken by Jin Zixun,” Lan Xichen answered her, sitting down as Wen Qing walked over with tea for them all and a light snack for Lan Yuan.
“No!” Lan Yuan protested being given the snack, “Want mama,” he pouted for a moment before bursting into tears.
“Don’t shout,” Lan Zhan scolded. It sounded impersonal but it made Lan Yuan flinch nonetheless, “I know you’re scared, but you need to eat for mama’s sake” he added, holding him closely.
Lan Yuan looked at him, a pout still on his face as the tears stopped. “Sorry,” he said leaning against his papa as the man fed him a little of the fruit that he had been served.
“What are you going to do?” Wen Qing asked, sitting down herself, she had grown fond of Master Wei while he had been hiding out in the supervisory office she had been in charge of.
“I need to head to Lanling, to see if I can find any trace of him there,” Lan Zhan said, feeding Lan Yuan another bit of fruit.
“You go away?” Lan Yuan stopped and looked up at him.
“Yes,” Lan Zhan nodded, and before his son could cling to him and protest he added, “I need to go and find your mama and bring him home.”
“Promise?” he asked him.
“Mm,” Lan Zhan nodded and then looked up at the others, “I will need an excuse to be there, t Turning up without reason, will make them suspicious..”
“There is a night hunt in a small town near Lanling that we have been invited to go along with. You’ll be meeting with Jin Zixuan,” Lan Qiren suggested, “it is the only one that is near there.”
“Then we’ll there.,” Lan Zhan agreed easily.
“I’m going with you,” Wen Qing demanded, “Depending on how injured he is, and what methods of interrogation they’ve used, you’ll need my expertise.
“Are you sure?” Jiang Yanli asked, looking concerned. She was worried about the woman being near those that had harmed her and her family.
“I am,” she nodded, “After all, everyone would still be at the Lanling Jin’s encampment.”
“I will send word to Lotus Pier about what has happened as well, we should warn Sect Leader Jiang,” Lan Xichen suggested.
“Have him meet with Second young master Lan in the same place. If you have a faster messenger, use them to get it to my brother and inform him,” Jiang Yanli suggested, “it might help having him there.”
“I will don’t worry,” Lan Xichen nodded, getting up and going to the small desk in the room. Taking paper and brush he composed a small note. Leaving the building he went to send it on.
“It should reach them soon if he is using our faster messenger. It will take about 6 hours,” Lan Qiren assured them.
“I’ll get ready for the night hunt, I will take a group of senior disciples so they can handle it while I search for Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan spoke quietly.
“Then I’ll organise that,” Lan Qiren stood, bowing to the two ladies in the room before he left.
“Lady Jiang, could I ask you to watch over A-Yuan for me until I return with Wei Ying?” he asked of her.
“Of course I would love to look after my nephew,” she said, smiling at Lan Yuan as he looked at her, he understood what his papa was saying, but that didn’t mean he was happy about it.
Wei Wuxian slowly woke up, the pain radiating from his side was still there. He couldn’t move, chains were wrapped tightly around him. He finally opened his eyes and looked around. It was a bare room, the only thing telling him what it was, was the iron bars that were across from him.
“Who took me?” he questioned as he tried to make sense of what had just happened to him. He didn’t know how long he had been unconscious for either. A flash went around the room as Wei Wuxian tried to call up the resentful energy he held, hoping he would be able to use it to weaken the chains enough for him to escape. He felt the energy leave him, slumping in the chains, barely able to keep himself standing to keep the pressure off his arms and wound.
“So he’s awake,” came a sneering voice as someone stepped up to the bars.
Wei Wuxian knew the face, he just couldn’t place the name. Though the yellow robes were a giveaway from what sect he was from at least. He just hoped he would be able to get out. “And who are you?” he asked bluntly and almost laughing as the man began to splutter in outrage of not even being remembered.
“You… You…” he raged, not even able to get a second word out of his mouth.
“What, cat got your tongue?” he smirked, he could finally feel the paralytic start to leave his system more, giving him a little more control over his body. With what little he had, he tried to stand up straighter in the iron manacles. He didn’t want to show any type of weakness.
“How dare you!” he yelled out, opening the cell door and walking in, punching Wei Wuxian in the stomach.
The demonic cultivator was only just about able to hold onto the scream that wanted to erupt after the hit. It had been so close to the sword injury he already had. He slumped in the chains, shaking. He glared up at him, “How dare I, more like how dare you take me from my home!” he yelled back, using the pain he was feeling to shout.
“Tha-” he began only to stop when he heard someone coming into the area. He turned and bowed to the man that now walked into the cell.
“Jin Guangshan,” he shook his head, “Should have known you would be behind this. There is no way this dumb idiot would be able to plan and capture me without some help behind the scenes,” he muttered, “This is so embarrassing, being caught by the spoilt idiot and the slut,” he rolled his eyes.
Jin Zixun stepped forwards as smacked him across the face, “shut up and show the proper respect to a Sect Leader,” he ordered him.
“Why the hell would I want to show respect to a guy that has no doubt slept with everything single female he could. It’s sick, I don’t know how Madam Jin puts up with him. Though I do know she stays for her son,” he sighed, “Hopefully he will be a better man than you,” he smirked as he looked at Jin Guangshan.
“Hm, you always did have a mouth on you whenever I saw you,” Jin Guangshan snorted, “no matter, as long as you are in a talkative mood, then you don’t mind answering some of the questions I have.”
“And what would they be? No, no, let me guess instead, it will entertain me a little better,” he rolled his eyes and chuckled. “The amulet?” he suggested, smirking as he knew he was right.
“Very astute of you,” the Sect Leader sighed, “Jixun, bring me a chair to sit on, I’d rather not have to stand here.”
“Yes uncle,” Jin Jixun nodded as he went to do just that.
“And bring me my favourite,” he smirked, eyes locked on Wei Wuxian’s. The demonic cultivator could read them easily, they promised pain, and he knew he would have to brace himself for it. He had his core taken from him, he didn’t think there was anything more painful in the world than that.
Jin Zixun walked back in with a chair, and on it was a whip. Setting the chair down, he then picked up the whip and handed it to his uncle, “I do hope you will give me a chance to use it as well?” he asked, eager to show this upstart of a servant’s son just what being at the top meant.
“Of course, but for now, we’ll leave off on this, Just a… friendly chat for now,” Jin Guangshan said, sitting down and taking the whip, he laid it across his lap and looked up at Wei Wuxian. “Now, Wei Wuxian, the Stygian Tiger Amulet, where is it?” he asked him.
“I’ve already told you that it’s been taken care of. I destroyed it,” he answered him once more.
“Now, do you really think I would believe something like that,” he snorted, “There is no way that you would destroy something that useful, it did make you a hero after all. But, well, I’m making sure that people see you for the monster that you are. Using such tricks and the amulet, you killed thousands,” he reminded him.
Wei Wuxian said nothing. He just glared, he knew what he did. He did all he could to end it. The only people he killed were cultivators after all.
“Answer my uncle, where is it!” Jin Zixun shouted at him, almost nose to nose with him.
“Bad breath,” he muttered, as he then said, “I may have killed those that raised their sword at me, but at least I didn’t kill innocent men, women and children,” he argued back, sneering past the man before him and looked at the one sitting in a chair, “how many have you killed?” he asked of him, “May not be as many as me, but they knew what they were getting into, and I know this dim-wit killed innocent people as well.”
“I killed no one!” he protested.
“Do you not remember,” he asked him, snorting, “And here I thought my memory was bad,” he sighed, “you killed the men, elderly, women, and almost killed a woman carrying a child if Lan Zhan hadn’t gotten in the way. They know all about that, why do you think that the Nie Sect and Lan Sect are going to be sending people to Lanling, they’re going to investigate you,” he laughed, “it’s already in play, within a few weeks, every single thing that has happened in Lanling Jin will be known to the cultivation world you’ve added another crime to the list.”
“Like anyone knows that it was us that took you,” Jin Zixun laughed, “You won’t be able to tell anyone either, don’t’ think that you’re going to get out of this alive. We will get what we want from you, one way or another.” Wei Wuxian could hear the threat of a promise in their voice.
“Not going to happen,” he said, “there is no amulet to get.”
“I believe letting you think for a few hours alone will let the situation really sink in. There is nowhere for you to go, nothing for you to protect. I will have that amulet, even if I have to raise Cloud recesses down to the ground again. Do not think I won’t come up with something that they could be accused of?” Jin Guangshan warned him as he stood, “Jixun, with me,” he ordered as he walked towards the exit. He turned a whip in hand and lashed out.
Wei Wuxian was barely able to suppress the scream that bubbled up in his throat. It felt like a line of fire went across his chest, ripping his robe open slightly. He could feel the fire spread across his chest, as though there were actual flames licking over his skin, bringing painful reminders of the brand scar on his chest.
“Do think about what I’ve told you Wei Wuxian,” Jin Guangshan told him as he then left.
Wei Wuxian stood up straight until he heard the door to the cells close behind them. He slumped where he stood, unable to keep himself upright. “I think I might be fucked,” he muttered to himself as he looked around. He tried again to pull the tendrils of resentful energy in himself and felt the flash and it all neutralised around him. “Yep, fucked,” he sighed.
He hung there a little, feeling the blood beginning to run from his sword injury, he glanced down. It wasn’t healed, but it had been treated. “Wen Qing is better,” he snorted. He closed his eyes and hoped that Lan Zhan had found Lan Yuan. “Hope you can find me, I don’t think I’m going to get out of this one on my own,” he whispered to the air.
Lan Zhan touched down in the small village, eight Lan disciples landed behind him, with Wen Qing quickly doing the same.
“That brought back a few memories,” Wen Qing smiled. She had been gifted a spiritual sword before she had left. She felt it vibrate in her grip, calling to her like an old friend. It was something she had missed out on when she was a teenage.
“Hm,” Lan Zhan nodded as he turned to head towards the inn. A message had been sent out to Jin Zixuan about meeting him for the hunt. It wouldn’t arouse suspicion already. It had taken an extra half hour to set off as they had to find suitable robes for Wen Qing to wear. They didn’t want to take the chance of her being recognised as a Wen.
“Hanguang Jun, the inn is over here,” one of the disciples said, as he began to head towards it. Lan Zhan and Wen Qing followed. Although Lan Zhan rarely visited this part of the town in Langling, the inn was a familiar haunt.
“Second Young Master Lan,” greeted a familiar voice as the man stood near the inn.
“Young Master Jin,” Lan Zhan bowed to him, the disciples and Wen Qing doing the same.
“Welcome, we’ll talk a little more about the hunt before we leave. I’ve come across a little more information as I walked around the town” Jin Zixuan explained, leading the way inside. Going to the tables that he had booked for them to eat, he sat down.
Lan Zhan and Wen Qing sat along with him, the other disciples using the second table to eat and prepare themselves.
“What have you learned?” he asked, not wishing to carry on with pleasantries. He wanted this night hunt over so he could search for Wei Wuxian, after all.
“There’ve been several deaths in the area, all women. Most of them were married to merchants in the town. We’ve had seven die in rather odd circumstances,” he said, explaining what he had learned, “They are always naked when found, splayed, rather crudely,” he said, a look of distaste on his face as he thought of the poor women.
“Has there been any deaths before them?” Wen Qing asked, looking at him.
Jin Zixuan nodded, “Not that we know, but there was a woman who went missing from the main brothel in the town. She went missing just before the murders began.”
“If the spirit is this woman, then they could be killing the women that were married to her customers,” Wen Qing surmised, “It would be a good idea to talk at the brothel this woman worked at. Ask those she worked with if the husbands of the victims were her patrons.”
“Will you go and see?” Lan Zhan asked her, not wishing to go to such a place himself.
“Of course,” she said as she stood up, “I’ll take my leave now,” with a bow she then left the inn without eating or drinking anything that was on the table for them.
“Why did you bring a Wen?” Jin Zixuan asked him quietly, “I know who she is of course.” He was quick to add.
“She’s a healer,” Lan Zhan answered.
“Very well,” he nodded, observing the young master a little more as he quietly ate.
Almost half-hour later Wen Qing informed them that what they suspected was true and that the missing woman had not been found. They set out as night descended on the town. Already people were hurrying to their homes. Women were scared of what could happen should they remain out on the streets for too long.
The night hunt was successful, the body of the woman had been found and her spirit finally laid to rest. Her killer was the wife of one of the men that had visited her on several occasions. They had turned over what they had learned to the locals so they could deal justice for the murdered woman. Walking back to the inn where they would be staying the night, they found Jiang Cheng waiting outside for them.
“I was told to meet you here and you were off on a night hunt!” he hissed out as he looked at Lan Zhan.
“My apologies for not being here when you arrived,” he said, bowing slightly.
He huffed and then added, “Let’s go inside.”
“What are you doing here?” Jin Zixuan asked him as soon as they were in a private room that Jiang Cheng had organised for them.
“That is none of your business,” he answered him, “You should leave.”
“I won’t, what is going on?” he asked them all once more as the disciples had gone to their rooms and it was just him, Lan Zhan, Jiang Cheng and Wen Qing.
“Wei Ying was taken from Cloud Recesses early this morning,” Lan Zhan finally answered the worry he felt for his fiance, winning out over caution where Jin Zixuan’s loyalties lay.
“What?” Jin Zixuan questions, eyes wide, “How is that possible?”
“Someone broke through the barrier at Cloud Recesses,” Wen Qing told him, “They got through and attacked him, taking him towards Lanling. We had several witnesses confirm that your cousin Jin Zixun was involved. They recognised him when he was taking Wei Wuxian away.”
“You’re serious?” he asked of them, getting nods from Lan Zhan and Wen Qing.
“I’m here to help with the search,” Jiang Cheng added.
“I want to help,” Jin Zixuan straightened up.
“You betray us and I will gut you, forget about breaking your legs,” Jiang Cheng threatened, Zidane, sparking on his finger, an extra warning for the man before him.
“And I shall show you the few tricks I have up my sleeve,” Wen Qing gave a sinister smile, pulling out a hand with three needles tucked between her fingers. “I’ll show you exactly what I’ve learned of the human body and how it responds to things.”
Jin Zixuan shuddered at the threat. Though he saw Jiang Cheng grin at her, nodding. “Okay, what do you need?” he asked.
“We know he isn’t smart enough to plan this, and we know that your father is still after the amulet even though we have told him repeatedly that it has been destroyed,” Jiang Cheng told him.
“So you think my father is behind this,” he sighed, closing his eyes for a moment and thought it through, “You’re right, he wouldn’t give up. He’s been talking to a number of sects, the smaller ones at least. About how dangerous Wei Wuxian is, and that the amulet could be turned on any of us at any time. That he is biding his time until we are relaxed and will strike,” he told them what he knew.
“Then he is fear-mongering,” Jiang Cheng growled, “Those that know Wei Wuxian would know he would never do something like that.”
“I know, which is why I believe you when you said my father might be involved. I know he isn’t a good man,” he said quietly.
“Are there any places that your father goes that you know about?” Wen Qing asked.
“There is one place that no one is to know about. I only know because he left me alone when I was a child on my birthday. I wanted to find him. I found him sneaking out during the party and followed him. He went for ages, I followed as best as I could and came across an old tomb. He used something to open it. I’ve gone back once more, but he doesn’t know I know about it,” he told them, looking away.
“We shall go there and check it,” Lan Zhan nodded.
“It’s pretty far,” he warned, “When I followed him, he went by sword, I did the same, just at a higher position. As I said, it took a number of hours to get there. I think it’s closer to Yummeg than Lanling,” he added.
“Right,” Jiang Cheng nodded, “and you remember where it is exactly?” he asked him.
“Yes, I’ve gone back a few times, intent on trying to meet with him, but I’ve always stopped myself for making myself known,” he sighed, getting up from the table.
“Okay, we rest for a few hours and then head out,” Wen Qing said before Lan Zhan could say anything.
“Wei Ying is in danger,” Lan Zhan told her.
“I know, and if we aren’t rested and we try and go and save him, we could make a mistake and all of us will be harmed,” she huffed.
“Listen to her Lan Wangji,” Jiang Cheng told him, “We’ll do my brother no good if we rush things. I know I want him safe, but he would not forgive us if we’re harmed as well.”
“Very well,” Lan Zhan said as he stood up and left the room. Booking himself into the inn. The other three sighed as they followed his example, they all needed to rest.
Wei Wuxian didn’t know how long he had been hanging there for. To him, it didn’t matter, all he knew was that he had to keep quiet. The longer he did the more chance he had of figuring out a way to get out of there. He closed his eyes for a moment, he had tried bringing up the energy within him. But he hadn’t tried to pull it towards him. Wei Wuxian concentrated and began to pull what little resentful energy was in the cells. He frowned, there was so little.
“Damn, must have cleaned the place,” he cursed. Eyes flying open as he heard the door to the place opened again. He stood up straighter, wincing as the stinging from the injury to his side and the one across his chest throbbed in pain. Sending little tendrils of it through him.
“Good morning Wei Wuxian,” Jin Guangshan greeted him, sounding as though he was treating a beloved guest and not a prisoner.
“I would agree, but I haven’t seen the sun yet,” Wei Wuxian jokes, the only defence he truly had at that moment.
“And you never will,” Jin Zixun laughed, a large grin on his face.
“Now, I trust you’ve had time to think about my question,” he began going to the chair that was still in the cell and sitting down. The whip that he had used when he left last night was laid across his lap again.
Wei Wuxian eyed it for a moment before looking up at Jin Guangshan, “I’m sorry, I’ve got a terrible memory, what was the question?” he asked, looking like a wide-eyed student that had been asked a question that he hadn’t heard.
Jin Guangshan bit back a curse as he grabbed the whip and from the chair lashed out. “Where is the Amulet?!” he yelled at him.
Wei Wuxian bit back the scream, his body shaking from the effort as pain flared within him. Through gritted teeth he glared at the man, “You suck at using a whip,” he breathed heavily, “Madam Yu was more of a threat than you.” He couldn’t help the hysterical laughter that bubbled up.
“Insolent fool,” Jin Guangshan growled as he wiped Wei Wuxian another three times, before laying it down on his lap.
“I may be a fool, but at least I’m not a Wen Ruohan wanna be. No one fears you, how could they? All they’d have to do would be to put a pretty lady in your path and you’ll be done,” he laughed.
The laughter didn’t last long as he received another lashing. His body was shaking badly from the pain, his chest felt as though it was on fire, along with the rest of his body. He hadn’t been able to rest properly. Jin Guangshan and Jin Zixun paused for a moment.
“Someone’s trying to enter?” the younger of the two asked, eyes wide.
“Of course not,” Jin Guangshan reassured him, “must be some animal or spirit even,” he muttered, turning back to Wei Wuxian. Though he had dismissed it. Wei Wuxian concentrated on what little energy he could and began to build it up, causing the cell to flash over and over again. He could hear them, someone coming in. He didn’t know if they were friends or foe, but anyone might be able to help.
“What’s he doing!” Jin Zixun yelled out.
Jin Guangshan said nothing as he raised his whip and lashed out once more. Wei Wuxian gave a small whimper but carried on pulling and expanding as much of the energy as he could into the room. Moments later a purple flash was in the room and something reached out and grabbed Jin Guangshan around the next before he could raise the whip again. He shot away from Wei Wuxian and hit the metal bars with a loud thud. Falling to the floor unconscious.
Jin Zixun pulled out his sword, swinging it around a few times before he went towards Wei Wuxian, “carry on and I’ll kill him!” he yelled out as the bright flashes stopped. He looked around, eyes still trying to adjust the low lighting in the room.
“What do you think you are doing?!” Jin Zixuan yelled out, confusing his cousin with his appearance there.
“I- ” was all he got out before he dropped to the floor. Eyes wide and a needle in his forehead.
“What?” Wen Qing shrugged at the looks she was getting, “I didn’t want to hear his whiny voice anymore. Had enough of that in the camp thank you very much.”
Wei Wuxian couldn’t help but laugh as he slumped. Wen Qing turned her attention to him and darted over. Examining him, “Hey Wen Qing,” he greeted with a tired smile.
“Someone cut him down,” she ordered as Lan Zhan went to one side to support him. Jiang Cheng pulled out Sandu and slashed through the manacles with ease. Wei Wuxian fell into Lan Zhan’s arms and was helped to the floor.
“Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan called, his voice full of pain at the sight of his fiance.
“Lan Zhan,” he smiled, “Knew you would come eventually,” he told him. His eyes began to close, finally at the end of his endurance.
“Of course,” he said as Wen Qing looked him over.
“I can heal him, but I need some proper supplies,” she told them.
“We’re not far from Lotus Pier,” Jiang Cheng said, “We should go there for now. He can heal there.”
“Fine, let me do what I can now,” she said as she got to work, using the herbs she had to treat the whip burns.
Jin Zixuan looked at his father and cousin, “I need to send for some of the disciples,” he muttered to himself as he went outside and set off a flare calling his sect to him.
“Make sure you deal with them,” Jiang Cheng growled, a threatening look on his face.
“I will, he won’t get away with this,” he promised, knowing that the Lan Sect and Nie Sect were already coming to investigate, they may be able to find out more of what his father had done.
“Good,” he nodded.
“Okay,” Wen Qing said as she finished, “Let’s get him out of here and somewhere where I can properly treat him.”
Lan Zhan nodded, taking Wei Wuxian into his arms and the four of them left Jin Zixuan with the mess that was his father and cousin.
Wen Qing landed quickly, Lan Zhan carried Wei Wuxian while Jiang Cheng led them to the healing halls. She walked into the room and began to look around, grabbing what she would need to treat the injuries Wei Wuxian had.
“How well is he going to be able to heal without his core?” Jiang Cheng asked, worried about his brother.
“He’ll heal slower than a normal cultivator would. But faster than a civilian thanks to the resentful energy he has. There’s an increase in the risk of infection for him as well. But we should be able to get around that by making sure that the injuries remain clean and dry,” she explained, as she brought over the herbs she had found. She set to work as Lan Zhan undressed Wei Wuxian.
Jiang Cheng stood back as he watched her work. She was quick and efficient. Lan Zhan had to move out of the way, even though the barely conscious Wei Wuxian was whining for him to remain near him.
“Wei Wuxian, shut up, I’m trying to work, or do you want me to knock you out?” she threatened him, pulling out a needle just to show she meant it.
“I’ll be good,” he muttered, going quiet once more.
The room was silent as she worked, only the occasional hisses of pain from Wei Wuxian sounded. Wen Qing took a step back almost an hour later, “Done,” she said, “he just needs to rest and he should be fine.”
“Thank you,” Lan Zhan bowed to her before he went over to the bed and took Wei Wuxian’s hand in his once more.
Wen Qing sighed as she backed away more and headed over to where Jiang Cheng was watching. “He will be fine,” she reassured him as she could see he was still worried.
“I know, you’re good at what you do, the best,” Jiang Cheng smiled at, “Thank you.”
“Now, I hope there is a place where I can rest for a bit?” she asked him.
“Of course,” he nodded, “Lan Wangji, I’ll be back soon,”
Lan Zhan didn’t even look up to acknowledge him, his attention was completely on Wei Ying. Jiang Cheng rolled his eyes and led the way out of the room and towards the guest rooms he hoped were ready. The place was still recovering from what the Wen’s had done to it while they had occupied Lotus Pier. He led to one of the guest rooms and walked in, it was clean and tidy, ready for someone to use it.
“Please, rest well, if you need anything then don’t hesitate to ask,” he told her.
“I won’t,” she said, giving him a small smile as he then left her alone. She looked at the closed doors for a while before sitting down on the bed. It was soft, comfortable. “I still don’t know what I should do,” she muttered to herself as she then got back up and prepared herself to sleep for a while.
Wen Qing woke to the knocking on her door. “One moment,” she called out as she rushed to dress, only braiding her hair back as she went to the door. “Yes?” she asked as she opened it.
“Sorry to disturb your sleep Healer Wen,” the servant said, bowing to her, “But Sect Leader Jiang requests your presence in the healing rooms.”
“Has something happened to Wei Wuxian?” she asked as she began to head towards them.
The servant followed and shook her head, “No Healer Wen, he is fine. Sect Leader and Second Young Master Lan have requested your presence for a moment.”
“Thank you,” she nodded and rushed towards the healing halls. She knocks on the door and waits for the reply. As soon as she heard the words she walked into the room and looked around. Wei Wuxian was still in bed, sleeping, this time he was curled up against Lan Zhan, sitting on the bed beside his fiance. Shaking her head a little at the pair she turned to Jiang Cheng.
“Sorry for waking you so soon after letting you go,” Jiang Cheng apologised to her, “We just got word from Lanling Jin. The Jin elders are trying to brush off what Jin Guangshan and Jin Zixun have done as nothing more than protecting Lanling. Jin Zixuan needs some back up to make them see sense. As it’s now not just a Jiang Sect matter, but also Lan Sect, both of us have been called. Lan Xichen has also been sent for, he’ll be meeting us there.”
“Right, thank you for telling me instead of just leaving,” she said, going over to the bed and checking Wei Wuxian over.
“Please watch over him,” Lan Zhan murmured as he began to settle Wei Wuxian on the bed.
“I will. does he know you’re leaving?” she asked.
“Yes, he only just fell asleep,” he answered, “Thank you,”
“You’re welcome, he should be healed enough to return to Cloud Recesses in around three days, I know that A-Yuan will want to see him. So I suggest we leave as soon as he can,” she informed the two of them.
“That’s fine,” Jiang Cheng said, “Thank you,” he smiled at her as the two men left the room.
Wen Qing sighed as she found a chair and sat down, she was still a little groggy from when she had been woken up. If Wei Wuxian was going to sleep a little longer, it wouldn’t hurt her to do the same. Closing her eyes she let herself drift for a while.
Wen Qing slowly woke up, stretching a little she yanked and looked towards the bed. “You’re awake,” she said, seeing Wei Wuxian watching her in amusement.
“They brought some food and drinks in for us,” Wei Wuxian pointed towards the spread, though the bowl of congee he had been given was already empty along with most of the tea.
“That’s good,” she sighed as she got up, it was still warm. Settling back on her chair, she began to eat, “How are you feeling?” she asked him, “And be honest, or I will just knock you out,” she warned him.
Wei Wuxian winced, “Better, my chest still hurts, but it isn’t as bad as before. The stab wound feels a little stingy, but it’s fine too,” he said, knowing better than to try and brush off any of his injuries to the healer.
She nodded, swallowing a bit before saying, “I’ll check them over after I’ve eaten.”
Wei Wuxian nodded and the two were silent until she had finished eating and examining him. “All good?” he asked her.
“No infection and they’re healing as I hoped,” she told him, “Though, I… I want to talk to you about something.”
“Oh?” he asked, sitting up a little more.
“Jiang Wanyin,” she began, sighing as she pulled out a comb that she had been carrying around with her for months.
“Oh, he gave that to you?” he asked her.
Wen Qing nodded, “He did after he rescued me, he told me that I should give him that if I ever need help. But recently, he asked… he asked to court me,” she was still unsure what she felt towards the man.
“Ho, ho. That blockhead Jiang Cheng is finally making a move and here Shijie and I was worried that he’d stay single for the rest of his life.” Wei Wuxian laughed but sent an apologetic look towards Wen Qing who was glaring at him. “Sorry, I was ahead of myself. How do you feel about that?”
Sighing she began, “I don’t know. I really don’t. I don’t want to leave my family.”
“But you’ll be gaining family,” Wei Wuxian pointed out to her.
“Maybe,” she sighed, “I think… I think I do like him, he has been…” she trailed off, keeping her thoughts to herself for a bit longer.
Wei Wuxian shook his head, “I thought that Lan Zhan hated me, you know, that he hated what I was becoming. But instead, he just wanted to be beside me. Look, my brother likes you. He has no romantic bones in his body but if you like him too despite that, you should give it a chance,” he smiled fondly.
“Hmm,” she hummed and nodded, “We shall see. I’ll think about it a little more.”
“Okay, but Wen Qing, if you can love him, be with him, and be a pillar of strengths to him, I know he can be the same to you. You’re both strong people, in mind and action. I think you’re well suited to each other.”
Wen Qing went silent but nodded slightly to show she had heard. She needed to think. Wei Wuxian left her to her thoughts as he leaned back and rested his injured body.
Lan Zhan and Jiang Cheng landed at the bottom of the steps to Koi Tower. Jin Zixuan was standing there waiting for them.
“Sorry to call you away while your brother is recovering,” he said to the two of them after they greeted each other.
“What’s going on?” Jiang Cheng demanded to know.
“The usual politics,” he muttered his answer as he led the way to the hall where the elders had gathered. “They are trying to say that nothing has happened and that I am trying to usurp the power of my father.”
“The usual shit then.” Jiang Cheng cursed, walking with pride as the three of them entered the hall.
Lan Xichen turned and smiled at his brother, “Wangji, how is Wei Wuxian?” he greeted.
“Brother, Wei Ying is recovering well,” he told him.
“Good to hear, your son is beside himself with worry,” Lan Xichen said quietly as they then turned to the elders. Jin Guangshan and Jin Zixun both standing side by side, in a binding spell, to stop them from doing anything. So far none of the elders had been able to undo it.
“You will release Sect Leader Jin and your cousin Jin Zixuan!” an elder demanded against as soon as he spotted the younger walking in.
“I will not release someone who kidnapped and tortured a friend,” he answered him, keeping himself calm as he walked over, “Now that most of the concerned parties are here, we can continue with this.”
“You dare do this to your own father!” another yelled out.
“Jin Guangshan and Jin Zixun conspired to kidnap my brother, who has been recovering from a grievous and almost fatal illness and tortured him over the two days he was missing. Myself and Second Young Master Lan, who is my brother’s fiance, went out in search of him and found him in a hiding place that only Jin Guangshan and Jin Zixun knew about,” Jiang Cheng said. “It was only with the aid of Jin Zixuan that we were able to rescue my brother from the hands of two men that were going to torture him to death!”
“Why would he do such a thing?” another scoffed.
“Since the end of the Sunshot campaign, it has been well known to those in the Jiang Sect and those in the Lan sect that Sect Leader Jin Guangshan has been trying to get hold of the Stygian Tiger Amulet that my brother had created to aid him in the battles. Now that it has been destroyed, he has become mad in trying to find it. My brother made sure to take care of it so that it would never be able to harm another person in this world,” Jiang Cheng argued back, “I still have the missives that he sent to me suggesting that the amulet was too powerful and that it should be locked away in Koi Tower. It is not an artefact that belonged to a clan, but to a person. That person has seen its end,” he finished, keeping his voice as even as he could, though Zidian crackled in his hand as he wanted nothing more than to whip the two bound men before him.
“We found Wei Ying chained to a wall being tortured with a fire whip.” Lan Zhan added, there was no emotion in his voice from what most could tell. But his brother and Jiang Cheng could hear the anger, the disgust for Jin Guangshan and Jin Zixun and worry he held for Wei Wuxian.
“Can you explain why you had Wei Wuxian in such a position?” Lan Xichen asked Sect Leader Jin.
“He has a dangerous artefact that can cause an entire clan to be wiped out,” he began.
“How many more times do we have to repeat it to you!” Jiang Cheng finally let loose, “It has been taken care of!”
“What you have done is not acceptable,” Lan Xichen interrupted before Jiang Cheng could whip the idiots. He paused for a moment, “You kidnapped the Jiang Sect’s Head Disciple,” he began, “and the fiance of my brother.”
“If you do not wish to try them for what they have done, then I will gladly do so within Jiang Sect laws,” Jiang Cheng told them.
“Y-” one began to splutter.
“I will also accept that Clan Leader Nie Mingjue presides over such a trial if none of us can agree. Evidence of what has happened will easily be dealt with,” Lan Xichen added.
“I find that most acceptable,” Jin Zixuan agreed quickly before the elders could even hope to shoot it down. “The Nie sect have always valued justice above all, I know they will do their best,” he said, bowing to the two, “as of this moment Jin Guangshan is no longer Sect Leader.” He turned to his father, “you have brought shame on this family for the last time,” he told him, “With you affairs known throughout the cultivation world you bring shame, and now this,” he shook his head, “And you, an idiot,” he called to his cousin. “You bad mouth everyone, expecting to get away with it all the time because of the family name, to me you are no better than Wen Chao. He used his name for most of what he did, and he paid the price. And now you will be doing the same,” he told him, turning to Lan Xichen, “Sect Leader Lan, I do not trust the people in this sect to keep them, prisoners, here, I ask that they are transported under your guard to Qinghe and to the Nie Sect. I will send a letter saying such.”
“I will do so,” he nodded in agreement, “I ask that some of the Jiang Disciples that have accompanied you come along as extra security,” he asked of Jiang Cheng.
“I will gladly send them to help you escort the prisoners,” he agreed easily.
“Now that is sorted,” Jin Zixuan said as he looked to Lan Zhan and Jiang heng, “I ask how Wei Wuxian is at the moment?”
“He is recovering. We believe he will be well enough to travel home to Cloud Recesses in three days,” Jiang Cheng told him.
“Good to hear, please pass on my apologies for all that he has suffered at the hands of Jin Guangshan and Jin Zixun,” he added bowing to them.
“I will,” Lan Zhan nodded, “I wish to return to Lotus Pier,” he added as he turned to Jiang Cheng.
“I suggest that you rest a while before doing so, you have not slept,” Jin Zixuan said, “Please I will prepare rooms for you so you can return to Lotus Pier in the morning.”
“Very well,” Jiang Cheng nodded.
Jin Jixuan led the way to some guest chambers for them all to rest at. It was evening now, and they would be able to freshen up for a meal before resting the night at Koi tower.
Jin Zixuan looked at the two that were about to leave. Lan Xichen had already left an hour earlier, taking with him some Jiang Disciples, Jin Zixun and Jin Guangshan. The man was thankful that it had been taken care of, even though the elders were still being annoying to him about it. His mother had been very helpful in pointing a few things out to them. “It shall be next month that I will be sworn in as Sect Leader, I hope I will be able to see you there. I know the month after is your wedding, Hanguang Jun,” he said as he turned to the silent man.
“Yes,” he nodded, “We will be there,” he agreed. Jiang Cheng still had the same to do, but he was waiting for Lotus Pier to recover a little more before they did so. They were not up to handling a high number of guests at the moment.
“Thank you, and once again, I’m sorry for the distress and hurt that the actions of my father and cousin have caused you.”
“It wasn’t you,” Jiang Cheng told him, “We should get going, we need to make sure Wei Wuxian is behaving,” he added, turning to Lan Zhan.
Lan Zhan nodded and the two took to their swords and headed back for Lotus Pier. The hours that went by were in silence, the two disciples that were returning with them uncomfortable enough that not even a single word was said between them. Landing they went straight to the healing halls.
“Welcome back,” Wen Qing greeted the two of them.
“Lan Zhan, Chengcheng!” Wei Wuxian greeted them enthusiastically from the bed.
“What the hell are you calling me!” Jiang Cheng growled at him, eyes narrowed as he marched towards the bed.
“Chengcheng, I think it’s cute,” he laughed at the indignant look on his brother’s face.
“Wei Ying,” Lan Zhan distracted him before he could drive the Jiang Sect Leader to murder.
“Lan Zhan,” he smiled brightly at him, holding out a hand that was quickly taken, “I’m feeling a lot better,” he told him, seeing the questioning look in the other’s eyes.
“Good,” he smiled.
“Will he still be fit to leave tomorrow?” Jiang Cheng asked Wen Qing quietly.
“He will, he is healing well, the resentful energy he has is helping to speed it up a little. It is starting to act a little like our spiritual energy,” she explained.
“That is good?” Lan Zhan asked, a little worried.
“It is for him,” she answered, “For now, he should carry on resting, in the morning we’ll see how healed up he is and make a plan.”
“Thank you for watching over him,” Lan Zhan said as he sat on the edge of the bed after Wei Wuxian pulled him on it.
“Wen Qing, want to get out of here?” Jiang Cheng asked as Lan Zhan and Wei Wuxian began to cuddle and talk quietly to each other.
Wen Qing gave him a tight smile and nodded, “I would,” she answered.
Jiang Cheng led the way out of the room, intent on trying to talk with the woman again, but quickly failing as he was called to attend to some sect duties.
Wei Wuxian was leaning on Lan Zhan as they headed out of the entrance to Lotus Pier. They were going to be heading to Cloud recesses. Finally going home and seeing his son again. Wei Wuxian looked back at Lotus Pier, though a lot had changed over the last year since his Uncle Jiang and Madam Yu had died. He knew the place would always remain in his heart and he would visit when he could. For now, his home and heart was Cloud Recesses, or rather Lan Zhan and Lan Yuan.
“Remember, if you start feeling tired, we’ll stop, feel anything we’re stopping. And if you pass out, we’re finding the nearest inn and you’re resting the rest of the day,” Wen Qing told Wei Wuxian as he turned away from Lotus Pier.
“I will,” he rolled his eyes at how overprotective they seemed to be. Though he understood why they were.
“Let’s go, the sooner we set off the better, we’re going to be stopping partway there to rest,” Jiang Cheng added, knowing that it was mostly for Wei Wuxian that they were going to be doing so.
“Lan Zhan,” Wei Wuxian said as they took to the skies, not going too high as they skimmed above the trees as they headed towards Cloud Recesses.
“Yes Wei Ying?” he asked, glancing towards him for a moment, tightening his hold on the younger.
“How was A-Yuan when you left?” he asked, concerned for his son.
Lan Zhan was silent for a moment, “He was scared, and wants you home.”
“Ah,” he murmured, “I was so scared that they would know he was there,” he said, leaning his head back so it rested against Lan Zhan.
The group went silent for a while, though Wei Wuxian would often say something in the silence just to break it. As they neared the halfway point between Lotus Pier and Cloud Recesses they headed down to the small field they came across.
“Right,” Wen Qing said, putting away her sword and going over to Wei Wuxian as soon as they landed.
“I’m fine Wen Qing,” he insisted as she pulled his robes open so she could check for herself.
“I’ll determine that myself,” she huffed, “They are fine,” she nodded, letting the man pull them back together and tie the sash back up.
“See!” he pouted at her and then snuggled back into Lan Zhan’s arms.
“We should eat a little,” Jiang Cheng said, pulling out his Quirky bag and the food that he had stored in it.
Settling down they began to eat underneath one of the few trees in the area, Wei Wuxian taking the time to tease his brother. The Sect Leader couldn’t do a thing with Lan Zhan glaring at him each time he went to retaliate.
The laughter was silent as they heard a rustling before something fell from the tree above them. Lan Zhan acted as fast as he could, he brought Bichen out and defeated the blow that was aimed towards Wei Wuxian. The clang of the sword hitting the sheath of Bichen echoed across the field. Wei Wuxian rolled backwards, getting out of the way as Lan Zhan and Jiang Cheng pulled their swords out and went on the attack.
Wen Qing, taking Wei Wuxian’s actions and did the same. She wasn’t a fighter, she was a healer, and she kept to that, no matter what was going on around her. Moving out of the way, she settled near the tree to watch.
“It’s Xue Yang,” Wei Wuxian said, recognising the man before then, “Finish it quickly!” he ordered the two that were fighting.
“Hm,” was the only reply from Lan Zhan and Jiang Cheng took charge and flew towards Xue Yang, putting as much force behind Sandu as he could, while he whipped Zidan towards him as well.
The younger laughed, gleefully as he spun around, using Jiangzhai to flick Zidane and Sandu away from their chosen path towards him, “So much fun,” he laughed.
“I hate this guy!” Jiang Cheng muttered as his future brother in law rushed past him, flipping over Xue Yang as he tried to land a hit on them.
“Oh no, you don’t!” Xue Yang grinned widely as he spun on the spot, Jiangzai singing with the speed as it neared both Lan Zhan and Jiang Cheng. The two jumped back, away from the blades. Lan Zhan didn’t make a sound as he was slashed on the arm, part of the of his sleeve covered in blood, dropping to the grass.
Xue Yang seeing that opportunity to take someone else out headed towards Wen Qing, the nearest of them. Jiang Cheng’s eyes went wide, “no,” he muttered as he used his spiritual powers to rush towards her. He made it, just as Jiangzai slashed down. He cried out in pain as the sword pierces his chest, dragging a long line down it.
Lan Zhan’s eyes were wide as he went on the attack. Drawing Xue Yang away. He kept the man occupied as Wen Qing and Wei Wuxian gathered around the Jiang Sect Leader. The former began to treat him, as Wei Wuxian kept an eye on the fight. As Xue Yang once more tried to head towards them a sword fell from the sky, imbedding just before Xue Yang.
“So they’re here as well,” Xue Yang muttered as he looked to the sky seeing two forms quickly depending on one sword.
Xiao Xingchen jumped off Fuxue and pulled his sword from the ground as Song Lan landed beside him, “Xue Yang,” he greeted, not sparing a glance to others in the area.
Xue Yang laughed and began to fight once more. Lan Zhan behind him heading for the attack once more. Song Lan and Xiao Xingchen are doing the same. Xue Yang was able to duck under Lan Zhan’s Bichen and twist away from Song Lan’s Fuxue. It was Xiao Xingchen’s Shuanghua that was able to finally land a hit on the man. Causing him to go down. Three swords were pointed towards him.
“So you caught me,” he said, sorting, “Again, what are you going to do? Give me to another sect. I will find a way out,” he told them, taunting them of his previous escape.
“I’ll make sure that you won’t get out this time,” Jiang Cheng said from where he was still being treated by Wen Qing.
“Stay still!” she ordered, causing Wei Wuxian to snort a little at the huff his brother gave.
“Fine,” he muttered, rolling his eyes, but listening to Wen Qing as she finished patching him up. The wound wasn’t as bad as it looked. He had been moving away from the sword as it came down, so while it was deeper in the middle and beginning it tapered off near the end of the seven-inch gash.
“Do you really think this is going to be over?” Xue Yang asked them, a smirk firmly in place.
“It is,” Song Lan said, taking a step towards the man about to bind him.
Xue Yang began to laugh, “yeah,” he moved quickly, picking Jiangzai from the ground and swinging it above him, he slashed towards all three, driving them back away from him again.
Xiao Xingchen moved quickly, Shuanghua singing with speed as it found its home in Xue Yang’s chest.
Xue Yang coughed, blood coming from his mouth as he dropped Jiangzhai once more. This time it was flicked away from him before he could try and use it again. Falling to the ground, he looked at them, a smirk on his face, “it’s not the end. I’m not the only one that was ordered after you,” he laughed, coughing a few times afterwards.
“Who?” Wei Wuxian asked him, moving towards the dying man.
“He’s so good, you don’t even suspect him. Even when he’s done something that could have killed you all,” he grinned, blood dripping from his mouth to the grass.
“Who is it?” Wei Wuxian demanded, eyes narrowing at the man as he came to a stop above him.
“He manipulates all, they think he only wants recognition for who he is, but really, he wants power and he won’t stop until he gets it,” he said, starting to cough even more as the light finally dimmed from his eyes.
“Who is it!?” Wei Wuxian yelled out, knowing he wouldn’t get an answer now.
“Manipulates, recognition,” Jiang Cheng said from where he was beginning to sit up.
“Is there anyone that you can think of like that?” Song Lan asked of them, as he looked to the body of the man that they had been chasing for over a number of years. They had caught him once with the help of Lan Zhan and Wei Wuxian.
Wei Wuxian paused, “I can, but a lot of people trust him, but many of us don’t,” he said looking at Lan Zhan, “Jin Guangyao,” he muttered.
“Brother will not believe so,” Lan Zhan said as he knew how close his brother was to the man. Jin Guanyao had helped hide Lan Xichen and saved him when Cloud Recesses had been burned down.
“I know, he’s going to find it hard to listen to what we say,” Wei Wuxian agreed, sighing he looked at the body, “For now, let’s sort that bastard out.” They began to bury the body, making sure that it wouldn’t be able to come back as a fierce corpse.
“Right,” Wei Wuxian said as soon as they finished. He glanced at his brother and then Wen Qing, “Is he okay to travel?” he asked, worried for him as he walked over and knelt.
“Yes,” she answered, “He’s already healing,” she told him, “We should take another break along the way but we should be well to get back to Cloud Recesses before curfew.”
“Mn,” Lan Zhan nodded.
“If you don’t mind, we would like to come with you,” Xian Xingchen said as he looked from Song Lan to the other cultivators.
“We might be able to help. We know that someone has been helping Xue Yang behind the scenes ever since he escaped from Qinghe. He was also seen in Koi Tower at one point after his escape,” Song Lan said as he looked at the four.
“Hmm,” Wei Wuxian hummed as he began to think, “If I remember right, Jin Guangyao was in the Unclean Realm for a while. When we brought in Xue Yang, he was there, though called Meng Yao at the time.”
“Yes,” Lan Zhan nodded, “We should leave,” he suggested.
“Leaving would be good,” Jiang Cheng said, drawing Sandu out. He was ready to leave and get somewhere where he could really rest up. He may have been healing already, but that didn’t mean it didn’t bloody well hurt still.
“Yeah,” Wei Wuxian sighed as he went to Lan Zhan. The group took to the air once more. This time Song Lan and Xiao Xingchen are following behind them.
“Do you think we’ll be able to convince Lan Xichen of what is going on when it comes to Jin Guangyao?” Jiang Cheng asked after a little time.
“Don’t know,” Lan Zhan answered, “need proof.”
“I’ve no idea what though,” Wei Wuxian muttered, “Music,” he began, “he played it wrong, but we all know that he gave the excuse of playing it wrong. That he didn’t remember it right.
“We should talk with him, see what he says before anything else,” Jiang Cheng told them.
“He knows something is going on,” Lan Zhan replied.
With those last words, they all went quiet as they continued on their way to Cloud Recess. Wei Wuxian was looking forward to seeing his son. He was still a little worried that something had happened to the little boy after he had passed out.
Su Minshan led the way to the entrance of Cloud Recesses. Behind him the disciples he had taken for a night hunt walking quietly behind him. A number of them had been hurt during the fight with a higher than expected amount of force corpses. Standing at the entrance to Cloud Recesses he looked to the guards, “please ask if we may be permitted to enter, I have a number of injured here with me and they are in need of help,” he asked of them, bowing.
“I shall inform Master Lan,” one of them said, “Please wait,” he added before he bowed back and rushed off, walking quickly.
Su Minshan waited for a few moments before Lan Qiren walked to the entrance and looked at the group of Moling Su disciples and the leader of the sec standing there, “Sect Leader Su,” he greeted politely though there was suspicion in his eyes as he looked at the man.
“Master Lan,” he bowed back, “I’m sorry to trouble you,” he said with all the politeness he could muster, “Some of my disciples have been hurt during a night hunt, I am hoping you would be kind enough to help us for a day or so,” he asked of him.
“Very well,” Lan Qiren said after a moment of silence, “I shall escort you to the healing halls,” he added as he began to lead them into Cloud Recesses, letting them through the barrier. He had already warned a few disciples to keep an eye on the Moling Sect Disciples and their leader. He would not forget what he heard from his nephew Lan Wangji about the man.
Su Minshan watched as his disciples were being treated, he turned to Lan Qiren, “Thank you once again for the help you have provided for my disciples,” he bowed.
“You’re most welcome,” he nodded as he then bowed saying, “I have duties to attend to, please excuse me.”
“Of course, I understand,” he smiled as Lan Qiren walked out of the healing halls.
Su Minshan looked around, he could see a few disciples of the Lan Sect standing around, looking like they belonged, but it was obvious to him that they were there to watch him and the others. He had been told to expect to be watched after Wei Wuxian’s kidnapping. He put his hands inside his long sleeves and pressed against the talismans that he had brought with him. He took a step back and in front of him was his own form, a mirage that would fool them for however long he needed. While he himself was now invisible to their eyes. He moved out of the healing halls as soon as one of the doors opened. Slipping out he moved silently but quickly through Cloud Recesses towards the back mountains.
Su Minshan had been told that the burst of resentful energy that came from Cloud Recesses had been centred there. It would be the first place he looked. He walked alongside the river that wound its way through Cloud Recesses, he remembered when he had been a disciple there, it had been one of his favourite places to relax and centre himself from the rage he would feel.
“Hmm,” he hummed as he looked around, towards the cliff face that he came across. Pulling out another talisman that he had been given. He had a lot of them, making sure he was well stocked for this trusted mission. He held it up and pushed his spiritual energy into it. It lit up before expanding out a little, not far enough to draw any attention from the Lan Sect Disciples. It caused something to flicker at one part. Going closer he pressed his hand against the wall, he felt the tingle of a barrier.
“So it’s here then,” he muttered using his spiritual energy to examine the barrier as gently and quickly as he could. “Blood barrier, who?” he queried aloud as he tried to pull that information out of the barrier itself. Growling in frustration he pulled out a talisman that would give him some idea of who the family lines would be at least. He powered it up and threw it at the barrier. He watched carefully as the names Wei and Lan appeared. “Of course it would be them,” he grumbled, if something was going on, it was usually those two in the middle of it.
Su Minshan rushed back towards the healing halls. Sleeping inside once more. He stepped into the mirages images and it melded with his own as it faded. Making it appear as though he had never left. Hiding his smirk, his friend was good at what he did. People thought him weak and useless when it came to wielding a sword. But he was smart, crafty and an inventive mind, he used his mind to fight the battles and won before people even knew they were part of a fight.
Looking to one of the Lan Disciples, “I wish to step out for a moment,” he said, “please excuse me,” he added as he walked out of the healing halls and towards the entrance of cloud recesses, he could feel someone watching him as he walked. But he waited a moment and, under cover of trees, he sent off a butterfly message, knowing that it would get to his friend in less than an hour.
Landing Wei Wuxian stepped off Bichen, he smiled back at Lan Zhan, “Thank you.”
“Hm,” he nodded, a soft smile appearing on his face.
“Come, healing halls,” Wen Qing demanded as she ushered Jiang Cheng away.
“I’m fine now, it’s mostly healed up,” he protested, there was just a single look before she had been able to get him to follow her willingly.
“I want to find A-Yuan,” Wei Wuxian smiled.
“He should be with Lady Jiang,” Lan Zhan told him as he then turned to the guards, “Please have someone set up rooms for Song Xichen and Xiao Xingchen,” he asked.
“Yes, Hanguang Jun.” The man nodded, bowing and then turning to the rogue cultivators that had returned with the Second Jade of Lan.
“Let us go and find A-Yuan,” Lan Zhan suggested as Song Lan and Xiao Xingchen followed the guard.
Wei Wuxian grinned widely as the two walked into Cloud Recesses to find their son. It didn’t take long to reach the bunny field, Jiang Yanli was sitting on the grass, Lan Yuan beside her petting one of the bunnies in his lap.
“MAMA!” he screamed as soon as he saw Wei Wuxian. Jiang Yanli was just about quick enough to rescue the poor bunny that Lan Yuan had as he jumped up and ran towards his mama.
Wei Wuxian knelt as the child ran into him, crying his eyes out as he repeatedly said, mama. “I’m home.”
“Mama,” Lan Yuan sniffed as he clung as tight as he could to Wei Wuxian.
“It’s okay A-Yuan, I’m right here, it’s all right,” he rescued him, ignoring the little twinge from his chest as he stood up, holding his son tightly in his arm.
“Wangji,” came an older voice.
“Uncle,” Lan Zhan greeted him.
“We have guests at the moment,” he told him, “Su Minshan the Sect Leader of Moling Su Sect is here with some of his disciples. A night hunt went wrong, they are resting at the moment. They arrived yesterday.”
“Brother should be home soon,” he told him, “he is escorting Jin Guangshan and Jin Zixun to Qinghe. We’re asking them to hold them and to help with their trial. Since the Jin Elders didn’t wish for us or the Jiang Sect to do so. Said we would be too biased against them,” he huffed at the insult laid against the Lan Sect. He then listened to his nephew as he explained what had happened during their search and rescue of Wei Wuxian.
“Master Lan, Hanguang Jun,” came a voice as one of the guards from the entrance rushed towards them.
“Yes?” Lan Qiren asked, waiting for the other to speak after bowing.
“Jin Guangyao has arrived at the entrance, he is wishing to talk with yourself, Sect Leader, Second Master Lan and Young Master Wei ” he answered him.
“Very well, I shall meet with him,” Lan Qiren nodded as he began to walk to the entrance.
Lan Zhan watched him go before turning back to his fiance and son who were heading towards him, “Wei Ying, A-Yuan,” he greeted, a soft smile on his face. “Lianfang-Zun is here to speak with us,” he informed them.
Wei Wuxian looked up, eyes narrowed at the name, “What’s he doing here,” he muttered more to himself than to Lan Zhan.
“Unsure,” he answered.
Wei Wuxian shook his head, “I don’t like it,” he murmured, “I need to send a message to Jin Zixuan, he should know why he’s here, ask him to come as well,” he finished as he began to head towards the Jingshi to write out a message.
“We shall use Lan Zhang, he is our fastest messenger,” he suggested, “if he leaves now,” he began as Wei Wuxian was already inside, sitting down with Lan Yuan sitting next to him as he wrote out a letter. “He should be able to reach there by morning at the lastest.”
“Good,” he nodded, concentrating on the words for a moment, “done,” he grinned, standing up, only to almost fall when Lan Yuan clutched onto his arm. “A-Yuan, I just have to send a letter okay,” he told him gently as Lan Zhan picked their son up.
“Mama, stay with mama,” Lan Yuan begged, looking at Wei Wuxian with big teary eyes.
“Let papa hold you for a bit while we send this,” he told him, kissing his cheek as they walked out of the Jingshi to find Lan Zhang.
Wei Wuxian and Lan Zhan kept away from Jin Guangyao as much as they could. Wei Wuxian was extremely suspicious about him being there. He just hoped that Jin Zixuan would get back in touch with him about why the man had come. Jiang Cheng was healed up already, his golden core was strong. Wen Qing had also made sure Wei Wuxian was healing well. Though he might not have a golden core anymore. The resentful energy was doing its best to help him heal a little faster than someone without but slower than someone with a golden core.
Wei Wuxian was walking with Lan Zhan beside him. They had been called to come and speak with Jin Guangyao as he had asked for a meeting with him.
“Are you sure I should bring A-Yuan?” Wei Wuxian asked as he looked at the newly arrived Lan Xichen.
“It will be fine, he just wants to talk with you for a moment, about what has happened,” he smiled at him, nodding towards his brother. Both of them looked sceptically at the meeting.
“Okay,” he nodded as the three of them carried on walking. Lan Xichen opened the door for them, at the low table in the room was Lan Qiren and Jin Guangyao, the latter stood up to greet them.
“Greeting Second Master Lan, Young Master Wei, and?” he queried as he looked at the child.
“This is their son, Lan Yuan,” Lan Xichen introduced him.
“Young Master Lan as well then,” he smiled as he looked at the child.
Wei Wuxian greeted him back, Lan Zhan doing the same. The former was looking at the man before him, the smile on his face seemed fake to him. “What can I do for you?” Wei Wuxian asked as he walked over and settled himself down.
“I’m here on behalf of the Jin Sect, to make reparations on what has happened to you. The pain and stress that the former Sect Leader and cousin have done against you,” he said, taking on a more formal tone.
Lan Zhan and Lan Xichen sat down as well, “To be honest with you Lianfeng-Zun, there is nothing as far as I am concerned that the Jin Sect can do. All I want now is for justice to be served on those that have wronged me and others,” Wei Wuxian told him calmly as he settled Lan Yuan on his lap. The child turned away from the man in gold and clung to Wei Wuxian.
“Mama, bad man,” he sniffled, lower lip trembling as he looked up at his mama.
“It’s okay A-Yuan,” he smiled down at him.
“A-Yuan,” Lan Zhan called to him, “You are safe,” he told him gently.
“I’m sorry,” Wei Wuxian said as he Lan Yuan gave no sign of wanting to be near Jin Guangyao, “if you don’t mind I’m going to go for a walk around and hope that he will calm down a little more,” he said, getting to his feet.
“Of course, please, I can talk with your Fiance and brother in law,” Jin Guangyao smiled at him.
“Thank you,” Wie Wuxian walked out of the room, looking at Lan Yuan, “You don’t always have to be scared,” he reassured him.
“Wei Wuxian,” came a voice as someone walked towards him with purpose, the child in his arms stiffened as soon as he saw who was approaching.
“Bad man,” Lan Yuan cried as he buried himself even more into Wei Wuxian’s arms.
“No, he’s a good man, a good guy,” Wei Wuxian reassured the child as Jin Zixuan walked over.
“Sorry if I scared you little one,” he said gently, he had heard that Wei Wuxian and Lan Zhan had taken in a Wen child, adopted them. Jin Zixuan knew that the child had been one of those at the work camp from what he had been able to find out in his father’s paperwork after taking over.
“Mama?” Lan Yuan questioned, unsure of himself as he looked to the man.
“It’s all right,” Jin Zixuan said, shaking his head, “I’m sorry to scare you but I need to talk to your… mama,” he said, doing his best not to laugh.
“So why are you here?” Wei Wuxian asked, shifting Lan Yuan around in his arms.
“Though I would see how things about the reparations were going myself,” he sighed, “I’m sorry for what he has done,” he added.
“I know, and it’s not something you should apologise for. I understand that you wish to, but,” he paused.
“I know,” Jin Zixuan sighed, “There isn’t anything that can make up for what has happened.
“Wei Ying,” came a voice from behind.
The two turned and saw the Twin Jade’s of Lan walking towards them.
“Where is Jin Guangyao?” Jin Zixuan asked the two of them.
“He retired to his room,” Lan Xichen answered.
“Ah,” he nodded, “I’ll go and speak with him, Sect Leader Lan,” he said as he greeted him, “I hope my coming here unannounced will not put you out,” he told him.
“Mama, Papa, what’s that?” Lan Yuan asked as he saw something a little further away.
The four adults turned to what the child was pointing at. Dark black smoke plumed into the sky. Four pairs of eyes widened.
“Fire?” Lan Xichen said in horror.
“Jin Zixuan, I’m trusting you to take my son to my shijie, please, make sure they get as far away from the smoke as possible,” Wei Wuxian said as he put Lan Yuan into his arms.
“I will,” he promised, about to leave.
“Then head to the healing halls, make sure they’re aware of what is going on,” Lan Xichen added.
“Mama, Papa!” Lan Yuan screamed out as the three then rushed towards the fire as Jin Zixuan headed to find Jiang Yanli to hand the child over before making sure they were safe and then heading over to help.
Wei Wuxian looked around the buildings that were on fire, they were empty, thankfully. The guest quarters for visiting disciples hadn’t been in use since before the Sunshot Campaign. They had only just started to be repaired after the damage they had taken. Most were still burned-out remains. Lan Zhan and Lan Xichen both looked lost, and he knew that they were thinking back to the burning of Cloud Recesses before everything started.
“Let’s get everyone organised!” Wei Wuxian yelled out, calling the attention of some of the disciples that were also staring in shock.
Lan Xichen seemed to shake off his shock and began to organise everyone. Lan Zhan and Wei Wuxian now doing the same as they all worked together to try and stop the fire from spreading, or even from causing more damage. They had put out the fire on one building when Lan Zhan and Wei Wuxian stumbled to their feet. Looking at each other in horror.
“The barrier,” Wei Wuxian breathed, “someone’s broken it,” he added, getting to his feet.
“We should go,” Lan Zhan nodded, turning to his brother.
“What’s going on?” Lan Xichen asked the two, seeing the worry on their faces.
“The barrier protecting the Amulet has been broken,” Wei Wuxian answered quietly.
“Broken?” Jiang Cheng asked as he had rushed up behind them. He had been heading over to help put the fire out after making sure his sister and nephew were safe.
“Someone’s broken the blood barrier, we need to go now. It won’t take long before they can get to the Amulet,” Wei Wuxian said, glancing at Lan Zhan.
Lan Zhan nodded, unsheathing Bichen and getting on, pulling his fiance into his arms, the two of them took off. Lan Xichen and Jiang Cheng glanced at each other before doing the same and heading after them. They flew through the skies as fast as they could. Lan Xichen called out to one of the disciples as to where they were going, telling him to inform his uncle in case they needed help.
Landing Wei Wuxian went through the barrier quickly, the others following, but keeping their swords firmly in their grasp. They didn’t know what they were going to find.
“How nice of you to join me,” Jin Guangyao greeted as he looked to the four that had burst into the cave.
“What do you think you are doing?” Wie Wuxian asked him, striding towards him,
“A-Yao?” Lan Xichen said, his voice breaking a little as he looked to the young man that he had thought of as a younger brother.
“I’m sorry,” the man turned to him, “but this is something that I need to do,” he told him as he pulled the amulet towards him a little. Intent to use it.
“A-Yao, please, this isn’t-” he began only to be cut off as an alarming amount of Resentful energy began to build up.
Wei Wuxian reacted quickly, talisman flying around him as they headed towards Jin Guangyao. The resentful energy dissipated a little, but it was too late. From the water what appeared to be spirits rose. Wei Wuxian dodged away from one as it lunged towards him, “Don’t let them touch you,” he yelled out, “Focus your spiritual energy into your sword before you use it, make sure it’s high!” he added.
The three with swords did as they were told as they dodged and swiped at the spirits that were after them. “What are they?” Jiang Cheng yelled out.
“Manifestations of resentful energy. They take on the personality and wants of the energy that has been used to form them. The Amulet is using it to fight us!” Wei Wuxian explained as best as he could, moving away from another before using his own energies to dissipate it. Wei Wuxian looked at the seal, it was taking the energy from the talisman that he had set up to keep it subdued here. With a sigh he glanced around, seeing where they all were and began to break them, taking the energy himself.
Eyes turning red as their energy continued to build inside of him, he used it to push at Jin Guangyao, causing the other to stumble. It was enough to break the concentration and Wei Wuxian used it and took in the last of the energy. Leaving none that Jin Guangyao could use.
Jin Guangyao tried again to pull the energy, but this time there was none to answer the call, “How?” he puzzled, glancing towards Wei Wuxian and seeing the blood-red eyes.
“There is no resentful energy in Cloud Recesses, it’s always cleared away. The only thing was the talisman that I set up, and I’ve reabsorbed that,” he smirked at him. He was about to put a change to his lips when he heard a cry of a child behind them.
Turning Wei Wuxian could only look in horror as a man stepped into the cold cave, Lan Yuan held at sword point that was already dripping with blood.
“Mama! Papa!” Lan Yuan cried, his clothing had blood on them, but the two parents could already tell that it wasn’t his.
“I wouldn’t even take a step,” Su She said as he pushed the sword that little bit closer to Lan Yuan.
“He’s a child!” Wei Wuxian yelled out, eyes wide and desperate.
“What did you do with the woman watching him?” Jiang Cheng asked, voice shaking as he thought of his sister.
“She won’t be bothering us,” Su She sneered, this time as Jiang Cheng took a step towards him, he pushed the sword in enough that Lan Yuan cried out in shock and pain as it pierced his skin.
“MAMA! PAPA!” he screamed, trying to get away as he felt a grip in his hair, stopping him from moving.
“A-Yuan!” Wei Wuxian yelled out, wanting nothing more than to go to his son and hold him, reassuring him that everything was okay and that he was safe. He was about to take a step towards him when he felt a wire sneak around his throat. Before he could do anything it was pulled tightly.
“Wei Ying!” Lan Zhan said as he heard the gasp and turned to see what was going on.
“Seal your spiritual powers,” Jin Guangyao ordered as he tightened his grip, the wire cutting into Wei Wuxian’s neck enough to draw a few small beads of blood.
“Do it now,” Su She added, still keeping a steel-like grip on Lan Yuan’s hair.
Lan Zhan looked between his son and finance, closing his eyes for a moment. He knew he didn’t have a choice, he hoped that he would be able to get them free even with his powers locked. He sealed them, glaring at Jin Guangyao as soon Jiang Cheng and Lan Xichen followed him into doing the same.
“Good,” Jin Guangyao smirks as he then looked to Wei Wuxian, “I want you to tell me how to control the resentful energy, as you do,” he ordered.
Wei Wuxian shook his head, “Not until you let them go,” he said, mainly meaning Lan Yuan. “You know if you hurt them at all I won’t hesitate to use the resentful energy to kill you,” he told him, jerking when the wire was pulled tighter across his neck.
“I will not let them go at all unless you tell me what I want to know about demonic cultivation,” Jin Guangyao told him, his voice was calm.
“Why are you doing this?” Lan Xichen asked of him, eyes full of sorrow as they looked at the young man.
Jin Guangyao looked at him, “I’m sorry, I have to do this, I have to. Everyone always looks down on me because of my birth. I… I don’t want that. I want them to look at me and see someone powerful, strong, able to do anything,” he said, looking pitifully towards the Sect Leader.
Jiang Cheng snorted, “like birth matters,” he muttered, thinking of his brother, “It’s what you do with what you have that matters,” his words sharp, “My brother’s strong, did something no other person has done. Worked something out to keep himself going, even when people feared him he still carried on. People talked bad about him at Lotus Pier a lot, my mother included. But it didn’t stop him, he rose above it and carried on. You let it pull you down.”
“He was the son of a servant, not the son of a prostitute!” Jin Guangyao bit out, “that is vastly different.”
“The matter of your birth didn’t bother Lan Xichen, it didn’t bother a number of people,” Wei Wuxian wheezed as the tightness around his neck was becoming worse. “You could have done anything with yourself, but y-” he was cut off as Jin Guangyao jerked the wire.
“Su She, let’s get out of here,” he ordered, instead of listening to what Wei Wuxian or any of the others said. He knew what he needed to do. He would figure things out himself, he was smart enough, he knew that.
“Y-” he began only to cut off as his eyes went wide for a second as he fell to the floor. Lan Xichen, who was closest to him, moved quickly. Grabbing Lan Yuan from him before the sword could harm him as it fell to the floor he covered the toddler with his own body, hiding him.
Wei Wuxian felt the wire slacken a little, using his hand he ripped it away, able to get it from his neck and ducking under before Jin Guangyao could react and capture him again. The palm of his hand was bleeding and he couldn’t help the few coughs that came from being able to breathe easily once more.
Jin Guangyao pulled the Stygian Tiger Amulet up once more attempting to gather resentful energy to use the power of it. It failed as two more joined them in the Cold cave. With a flick of a strong delicate wrist, a needle flew through the air and struck Jin Guangyao on the forehead before he could even react.
“I do love doing that,” Wen Qing smirked as she glanced from Su She to Jin Guangyao.
“I can tell,” Jin Zixuan rolled his eyes as he looked at the four men and the child that was struggling out of Lan Xichen’s grip. Calling for his parents.
Wei Wuxian looked at his son and rushed over, Lan Zhan following behind him close as they pulled him into their arms and began to reassure him that he was okay. And that the bad guys were all taken care of now. The two knew it would be a little time before the events would fade, and he would recover from them. But at least, they hoped that it was all over now.
“Could someone unseal my core,” Jiang Cheng muttered, glancing at Wen Qing.
“May as well,” she muttered going over and doing so, going to Lan Xichen and then Lan Zhan to do the same.
“See to A-Yuan, he was hurt,” Wei Wuxian called to her as she walked over.
Wen Qing smiled at her cousin as she said, “it’s okay A-Yuan, I’m not going to take you from mama, I just need to look,” she rescued him as she began to look him over, “it didn’t go in deep, but I’ll clean it and put some herbs on it to help it heal a little faster.” She told them, “He’ll be fine,” she reassured the two worried parents.
“Thank you,” Lan Zhan murmured, running a hand over the top of his son’s head.
Wen Qing saw the blood on Wei Wuxian’s neck and checked it out as Jiang Cheng turned to Jin Zixuan and asked, “How the hell did you know where we were?”
“Your sister. We found her hurt, but at the moment Wen Ning is seeing her. She’s going to be fine,” he said before the other could demand to know. “She told us that you would be here from what we heard about the Amulet.” He sighed, “I wish you had said this was what you had done with it, but I can understand you not wishing to destroy it,” he added.
“It’s not that we don’t want to destroy it,” Wei Wuxian said as he walked over, “it’s because if I try and do so the backlash will kill me and those nearby. It’s too powerful. I need to come up with a safe way to do so. That’s why I sealed it with Lan Zhan,” he explained to him, not even looking away from his son.
“Right, when you’ve found a way, tell me, and I’ll help in whatever way I can,” he promised and then turned to Jiang Cheng, “there is something that I would like to ask of you,” he added, “The main reason why I came.”
“Yeah?” the Jiang Sect Leader asked, “What do you want?”
“I would like to ask permission to court Jiang Yanli, I plan to ask her as well if I can, but I would like your permission to ask her,” he said in a rush.
“Is this really the time?” Wen Qing muttered as she looked at the two unconscious men.
“I- ” before he could speak Lan Qiren and several disciples rushed into the room.
“Uncle,” Lan Xichen said, “Please make sure that they are suitably imprisoned until they can be taken to the Unclean Realm, Elder brother has said that he would help with a trial.”
“Good,” he nodded as he ordered the disciples to do so.
“I for one want, to get out of here,” Wei Wuxian said, calling the amulet towards him and looking at it, “Going to have to find somewhere else to seal it until I can take care of it,” he muttered.
“We seal it back here,” Lan Zhan said, “but this time the barrier should have all our blood to form it,” he suggested.
“Should have Nie Mingjue or Nie Huaisang here to help with it, a barrier done by one from each of the five sects,” he said.
“Four sects, there is no Wen sect,” Wen Qing pointed out.
“Maybe not, but the Wen Clan is still here,” Lan Xichen said, “maybe one day you can rebuild and be proud once more,” he added.
“Maybe,” she nodded, “But I doubt any of us wishes to lead,” she added glancing towards Jiang Cheng. “Let the Wen’s fade away, we’re happy just being a family.”
Jiang Cheng nodded to her, a small soft smile appearing on his face, “If that’s what you want,” he agreed, “maybe we can find the others that were taken,” he pointed out.
“We can see,” she told him.
“I’ll send a message to Sect Leader Nie to come here,” Jin Zixuan said as he began to leave.
“Oh, Jin Zixuan, I give permission to ask, but you make her cry again no one will find your body or spirit!” Jiang Cheng threatened as he gave his permission.
The man smiled and nodded as he left. Lan Qiren and the disciples took Jin Guangyao and Su She into custody until they could be handed over for trial. Lan Xichen followed, still feeling the sting of betrayal as he walked. Wei Wuxian looked at Lan Zhan and then his son. Leaving the cold cave they headed towards the healing houses.
“So,” Jiang Cheng began, unsure of how he should begin, “Would you give me a chance?”
Wen Qing smiled at him, “I will, but don’t fuck it up.”
“Yeah I know, you’ll attack me with your needles if I do,” he snorted as she smirked at him. Following his brother out of the cave towards the healing halls, wanting to make sure his sister was fine.
Wei Wuxian walked side by side with Lan Zhan as they headed over to Jiang Cheng, “Congratulations,” he smiled brightly, looking at his younger brother.
“Yeah,” Jiang Cheng said, his voice flat, there was no emotion within it.
“They would be proud of you,” he added, glancing towards the ancestral hall. Knowing the plaques of Madam Yu and Uncle Jiang were inside.
The Jiang elders, or rather, the three that were left after the massacre of Lotus Pier, walked over, “Jiang Fengmin would be,” the oldest of them said. He was the Great Uncle of Jiang Cheng, the only other blood family from the older generation that had survived.
“Thank you,” Jiang Cheng said, his voice wobbled a little, but no other emotion came through.
“Congratulations Sect Leader Jiang,” another said.
“Carry on as you have, and you will surpass your father with ease,” the third said.
“I thank you all for your kind words, I shall do my best to live up to the motto of our sect,” Jiang Cheng promised, giving them all a bow.
The three bowed back and walked off, going towards Jiang Yanli. The young woman was being courted by Jin Zixuan, who had been sworn in a week before, as the Jin Sect Leader. Jin Zixuan had proven himself a few times in showing that he loved and cared for her. Even going so far as to help build a lotus pond at Koi Tower.
“Sect Leader Nie,” they three greeted when the gruff man walked over to them.
“Sect Leader Jiang,” he grinned at the youngest of the group before turning to the others and greeted them, “Looking forward to your wedding?” he asked the two.
“We are,” Wei Wuxian smiled, glancing towards Lan Zhan.
“Yes,” he agreed easily.
“Good, and how is the courtship or Healer Wen?” the man asked as he turned to Jiang Cheng.
“Our courtship is going well,” he answered him, giving him the same vague answers he had to many others.
“Any plans for marriage?” he asked, curiously.
“At the moment we wish to get the trials over with before we settle down, which is why my brother and his fiance have pushed their marriage back,” Jiang Cheng answered him.
“The trial should take two to three weeks to be over with,” Nie Mingjue nodded, “We have all the evidence already, I’ve been going over it before it starts next week,” he added quietly.
“It’s been a shock with all we’ve found,” Jiang Cheng sighed, “How much they’ve done behind the scenes and all the plans they had made with each other.”
“Hmm,” he said as he began to speak again, this time he was called away by another guest.
“I can’t wait for all this to be over,” Wei Wuxian murmured as he stood by his brother, “It’s starting to get late, I don’t want to leave A-Yuan alone for long.”
Jiang Cheng nodded, “Good night then, I’ll see you in the morning.”
“Yeah, we’ll stay until the trial is over and then after that return to Cloud Recesses,” he informed his brother.
“All three of you are welcome to stay for how long you wish. I’ll make sure some permanent rooms are waiting for you. So turn up when you want,” he told the two men before him.
“Thank you, Jiang Wanyin,” Lan Zhan nodded gratefully, knowing that Wei Wuxian was happy with that.
“Thanks,” Wei Wuxian grinned as he took Lan Zhan’s hand and they retired to the room that they had been given. Already asleep on a small bed to one side of the room was little Lan Yuan. Walking over to him, Wei Wuxian bent down and kissed him, “Night A-Yuan,” he murmured.
Lan Zhan did the same before the two readied themselves for bed and went to sleep. The next two weeks would go quickly. Before they knew it, it was time for the trial against Jin Guangshan, Jin Guangyao, Jin Zixun and Su She.
Wei Wuxian stood up as the people around him cheered. The trial was over and the last thing to go through would be their execution. The man wanted nothing to do with it, it was now the past for him. He was finally free from the worry of always looking over his shoulder. While he knew that some would bring it up and try, he felt safer now. And he and Lan Zhan were looking to destroy it, though the world had been told once more that it had already been destroyed.
“You all right?” Lan Zhan asked him as he felt Wei Wuxian lean against him as they left the room.
“Tired, but happy that this is over,” he looked up at him.
“Hmm,” he agreed, an arm around Wei Wuxian, supporting him as they walked through the corridors to the meeting room that had been asked to go after the trial was over.
Walking inside, they were the first ones to arrive. The next was Lan Xichen, he looked pale and tired, “Brother,” Lan Zhan greeted him, worried at how his brother looked and was acting.
“Wangji,” he greeted with a wan smile, “Wei Wuxian,” he nodded to the younger of the three.
“It’s over,” Wei Wuxian said relieved, looking sorrowfully at the man. He knew that Lan Xichen had trusted and believed in Jin Guangyao, and then to find out that nearly all he had done was just to gain his father’s approval. And even more besides freeing Xue Yang and using him to do a lot of his dirty work.
“Hmm,” he nodded going over to one of the chairs and sitting down, “I…”
“You did nothing wrong, you trusted him, and that is on him for betraying you,” Wei Wuxian told him, going over and seeing the conflicted look on his face.
“I should have seen through him, I should have,” he said, shaking his head.
Lan Zhan went over to his brother and knelt, “Brother, do not blame yourself for the actions of another. You have done nothing wrong, you trust people and that is not always a bad thing. You cared about someone genuinely and he should have done the same with you,” he told him, taking hold of his hands.
“Wangji, I’m the Sect Leader, I should know when someone is playing me,” he pointed out.
“Bullshit,” Wei Wuxian snorted, “Some people are that good at doing that, keeping a front, even with people that they care about. And from what we’ve learned he has been doing such things since he was a young child. Playing people to get what he wants and such. You can’t be blamed for not seeing it when so many others couldn’t see it either, everyone was blinded by what he was and what he was doing,” he told him.
“He’s right,” came a gruff voice from the door as it opened and two more people walked in.
“Elder brother,” Lan Xichen greeted Nie Mingjue, turning to Nie Huaisang he greeted, “Young Master Nie.”
“Sect Leader Lan,” Nie Huaisang smiled, though it was a weak smile. Eyes shadowed a little. He had learned that Jin Guangshan and Jin Guangyao had planned his brother’s death. That they wanted the only family he had left, dead.
“How are you?” Wei Wuxian asked the two of them.
“He was my friend,” Nie Huaisang said, “but he wanted to harm Da-ge,” he added, eyes sad as they looked at his school friend.
“He was a friend to several people,” he said, looking from him to Lan Xichen, “You both trusted him and believed in him. It was up to him to be the same,” he told them.
“Thank you,” Lan Xichen smiled at him, “I will think about it all,” he began as the door opened one last time.
“Sorry,” Jiang Cheng said as he walked in, following him was Jiang Yanli and Ji Zixuan.
“It’s fine,” Wei Wuxian smiled at him, as the man closed the door behind him and they began to sit down. “So why were we asked to come here?” he looked at Nie Mingjue.
“The execution,” he answered bluntly, “I know a few of you don’t want to see the end of them. I understand and respect that, which is why I’m offering to have you each nominate one of the Elders of your Sect to oversee it, instead of you. Normally it would be the Sect Leaders and those involved in the crime, to make sure that it was taken care of properly,” he added, looking at the people gathered in the room.
“I will come,” Jiang Cheng said, looking at his brother, “I can represent you and Lan Wangji as well if you wish,” he suggested.
“Thank you,” Wei Wuxian nodded, “I know they weren’t friends at all, but I want to put this behind me now. I need to move forward and get on with my life.”
“I will take that,” Jin Zixuan agreed, he may have hated the man his father was, but he was still his father. And it was also his cousin, his playmate, and someone he had been friends with while growing up. Then someone he had begun to learn to get along with, a brother, half brother yes, but still a brother.
“I will as well,” Lan Xichen agreed, feeling as though he should be there.
“I thought you would,” Nie Mingjue nodded, relieved that his friend was going to do so, “I hoped you would. Send one of the elders in your stead, A-Sang, you’re not going either,” he added looking at his little brother. He knew that he had been close with Jin Guangyao before he had been kicked out of the sect.
“Thank you,” Lan Xichen smiled gratefully.
“Let’s eat,” Nie Mingjue said, standing, “I’ve had a meal prepared for us in the hall, come and join us,” he said, gesturing to his brother to leave the room.
“Can I collect A-Yuan?” Wei Wuxian asked. The two had left their son with a Nie Sect Disciple that Nie Mingjue had promised would look after and protect their son.
“Of course, I’ll send word to have him brought to you,” he said as he asked a passing servant to do so.
“Thank you,” Lan Zhan nodded.
The servant left and they headed to the hall where they would be met by a happy Lan Yuan.
Wei Wuxian stood in the red robes that had been made for him. There was a ball of excitement bubbling up in him that he kept shifting around. He jolted a little as Jiang Cheng pushed him a bit.
“Stop moving around, you’re messing up your rooms. Not only that but A-Jie is having trouble doing your hair,” Jiang Cheng growled at him.
“Sorry,” he apologized again. It was the fifth time that he had been told off, “I’m just-”
“Excited, nervous, scared, can’t wait,” Jiang Yanli said, rolling her eyes, but giggling a little as he carried on weaving Wei Wuxian’s hair through the hairpiece that had been made for him.
“All of them,” Wei Wuxian grinned as Jiang Cheng finished fixing in his robes.
“Right,” Jiang Yanli said as she stepped away, she had finished putting the headpiece into place and making sure all the ornaments in his hair were settled right.
“Ready?” Wei Wuxian asked, turning around to see her.
“Yes,” she smiled, as Jiang Cheng nodded as he went to stand by his sister.
“Okay,” he smiled happily at his siblings.
They turned to the door as it was knocked, Jiang Yanli opened it, smiling as she saw that it was her now fiancé, “They are ready for him now,” he told her, glancing behind to see Wei Wuxian.
“Good,” Wei Wuxian was the one to speak as he walked out. Heading towards the pavilion that had been set up for the wedding. They had finally been able to make sure that only those they wanted were going to be there.
Wei Wuxian walked with his sibling and Jin Zixuan. He walked inside and smiled brightly as he saw his future husband waiting for him. Dressed in a red robe, even his headband was red, gold threads depicting the cloud motif that his normal while one had. He smiled widely as he went to the altar to meet with him. Nearby was a clapping Lan Yuan, happily sitting with his uncle Lan Xichen.
To Wei Wuxian everything blurry. He could barely remember anything until they began to bow. First to The Heavens and the Earth. Then his sibling came forwards holding the plagues of Wei Wuxian’s parents, and Jiang Fengmien and Madam Yu. While Lan Xichen stepped forwards holding Lan Zhan’s parent’s plaques. They two turned and bowed to them. Finally, it was the one that would finish this part of the ceremony.
Turning to each other. A large smile on his face, as Lan Zhan’s lips, curled into a smile. Barely seen by anyone. But Wie Wuxian could see it clearly. They bowed to each other, their final bow.
“We did it,” he whispered, as Lan Zhan’s smile got that tiny bit bigger.
“Hm,” he nodded as they turned to the small gathering. There was already a table as their parents’ plaques were set up in their places for the last bit before the banquet.
Wei Wuxian and Lan Zhan sat down, as Jiang Yanli, Jiang Cheng, Lan Qiren and Lan Xichen sat with them at the small table. Wei Wuxian smiled, he had practised this bit as he didn’t want a single chance of messing it up. He picked up the pot and began to pour. First to Lan Qiren, the elder of the family and then to Lan Xichen. The two picked them up and sipped them, smiling lightly at the men in front of them.
Lan Zhan then took the pot as he looked at Jiang Yanli and Jiang Cheng, pouring for the Sect Leader before his new husbands’ sister. They too took a sip, welcoming both n to their families. Wie Wuxian relaxed a little more. There was only the banquet for the two of them to get through before they could retire for the night. As the tea ceremony was over, Lan Yuan could wait no longer to run to his mama and papa.
Grabbing around Wei Wuxian’s leg, he looked up, a joyful grin on his face. “Mama, Papa,” he laughed brightly as he was picked up by his mama.
“Congratulations,” Wen Qing said as she and her brother approached the two of them.
“Thank you,” Wei Wuxian smiled, glancing at Lan Zhan seeing the softer look on his face.
The night was a blur as one after another congratulated the pair. Wei Wuxian refrained from drinking as much as he normally did, not wanting to take the chance of forgetting anything if he went too far.
“Shijie,” he called out as he rushed towards her.
She smiled, a knowing look on her face as she took Lan Yuan from him, “Have fun,” she laughed as Lan Zhan’s ears went red. Though that didn’t stop him from taking Wei Wuxian’s hand and walking him away from the banquet, as their guests carried on the celebration, while they took off to celebrate a little more privately.