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Wei Ying & Lan Zhan: Untold Stories - Chapter 10 "Lotus Pier Part 3"





Her name was Cangse Sanren.


A wandering cultivator, a student of the legendary Baoshan Sanren. Well known from her time, not for her beauty, though she was beautiful. Many wanted to court her, while others denied their attraction. For such a wildflower, tame she was not, but a challenge she was. A flower, blown in the breeze, could not be easily captured, no status or wealth, power of one’s strength, could possess.


Yet, simply it was, for her heart to falter was none other than him. Most said Wei Wuxian took after his mother, but none had thought of his father. A steadfast dutiful man. A person with barely a name. Rumor had it, for decades even now, that the Leader of Jiang Sect had courted this unattainable lady, but in the end, she was stolen by none other than his sworn brother. How could that be, a servant no less, obtain what others could not, a beauty, though wild, still, she was the woman of the hour.


None had realized because they were not astute. Yes, it was the future leader of Jiang Sect, Jiang Fengmain who openly courted, but it was not he, who actually started.


One day, of a forgotten past, Wei Changze, Jiang Fengmain’s second in command, offered to assist his bosom friend to capture the attention of the woman of their heart. Actions aside, the quiet man may not be good with spoken words, but his written ones beg to differ. Not just letters, but countless messages from dragonflies, which floated to her side. Clumsy she may be, yet, this lady of her time wasn’t easily deceived.


A man, hidden from the shadows of another for all of his life, was now in her sight.


She coaxed, teased, and flirted, but Wei Changze’s loyalty refused to waver. Cangse Sanren, with no other recourse, unconventional others had claimed, pounced on this stubborn but faltered man. Plainly put, his chastity was taken, by this eccentric maiden.


Hence, such a stoic invisible person had become the man of the hour.


Disregarding, the blessing that was given, he stole his master’s lady, the world proclaimed. To this day and time of the past, such a gossip persisted. The pure love that was shamed, for no other reason than the status that was to blame.


A shadow of the past, wherever their child passed.



**********************



Today, with low clouds and a light breeze, Wei Wuxian took Lan Wangji to the most northern part of the Lotus Pier river, opening to a great Lake. His father’s hometown, but not too close to Lotus Pier. Much quieter than the southern river, full of activities, countless boats, endless festivities. His soft spoken father, unlike his mother, chose to remain hidden whenever they dropped by. A habit, but more of a consideration.


Although Wei Changze was a powerful cultivator in his own rights, his name was barely mentioned. In records nor word of mouths. A shadow figure, the right-hand man, Wei Changze, an existence to this day and time remained unheard.


In contrast, Wei Wuxian was not given such a path upon his arrival at Lotus Pier. Others’ rumors were that it was all due to Uncle Jiang’s love for the woman he was unable to court. None had actually paid much attention to the brotherly bond, beyond romance that could not be said.


As Wei Wuxian took in the familiar surrounding, a particular memory rose. His parents had brought him here that early winter, Wei Wuxian recalled. They took shelter beyond the riverside. An old traveler’s hut, protected from the elements, because his father was injured from a night hunt at the time. When his mother was away searching for medicinal herb, a man in purple arrived.


He did not speak nor made a sound because he didn’t want to wake the person resting near the heat of the fire. The young Wei Wuxian, even as a child knew, intuitively, the gentle person meant no harm. He would touch his father’s wrist ever so often and nursed his father like his mother did. The man in purple with lotus embroidery would always depart before she returned, leaving lotus seeds candies to the child who was easily bribed.


Every day, that winter’s month he would bring back various sweets to appease someone’s tongue. All for the opportunity to stay at that person’s side. That child, in that hut, was too young to realize what those long gazes and lingering touches meant at those times.


Simple acts. No words needed to be spoken. Even if that person left, the other still wants to keep a part of them. Later, the following year, that man took great care to find the bloodline of the one he truly cherishes.


Uncle Jiang...Wei Wuxian’s mind spoke.


But...all was in the past, no one would have known. Clearly, they were all wrong, most notably Madame Yu. A secret that would have been kept to the end of time, finally realized by the youth who had passed his prime.


“Wei Ying.”


Lan Wangji’s voice pulled him, that child from his reverie.


“Huh…” Wei Wuxian barely reacted, but Lan Wangji had already grabbed onto his wrist and checked his pulse.


“You know, I doubt my condition would change every incense burn,” Wei Wuxian teased, but Lan Wangji still ignored him and proceeded to concentrate. Even on their boat outing, the other man never ceased worrying, however, the patient had grown accustomed to their routine. Although a part of him feared he could not live without.


“Lan Zhan.”


“Mnm…”


“Uncle Jiang didn’t love my mother,” Wei Wuxian felt the need to declare, yet he wasn’t sure why.


“He did not,” Lan Wangji acknowledged without hesitation.


“Lan Zhan...Yo-You knew?” Wei Wuxian was perplexed. “How?”


He answered matter - of factly, “You told me.”


Did he now?


Wei Wuxian had to wonder how HanGuang Jun always had the ability to deduce his past and present with words spoken without much thought. He speaks because he’s nervous, he speaks because he felt he had to. There were times he spoke just so he wouldn’t feel alone. Over time, these countless stories are from those who are here no more.


Even he, Yiling Laozu had become just a legend. A legend which he shall remain.


Wei Wuxian smiled, which made the one beside him alert. He likes talking to this man, not because he’s nervous, nor because he had to. He wanted to share what he had come to realize long ago.


“Lan Zhan, let me tell you a story…”




******************




Meanwhile, on the other side of the lotus lake…someone was clinging to the side of the boat. To be exact, he’s been hurling for quite some time. This unfortunate rabbit was not accustomed to the waves that happened to be stronger than the last time he was here. If the boat was moving, it wouldn’t have been so terrible, but the problem is, they had to hide behind the floating vegetation. With no horizon for him to focus on, the waves continued to torment his churning stomach.


“Lan Sizhui, why are you even on this boat if you’re going to spend all your time throwing up?” Jin Ling frowned.


“Leave him alone, he’s trying to adapt, can’t you tell?” Lan Jingyi snapped back.


Jin Ling scowled, “This is not a good time to cure his seasickness.”


Lan Jingyi rolled his eyes. “We’ve been observing the past incense, and like I told you your plan was botched. Nothing is happening, so why can’t we just go back already?”


“Didn’t you say Lan Sizhui needed to cure his illness?” Jin Ling shot back, “Besides, I paid good money for it. I am not leaving until I see the result.”


“You do that, we will be leaving!” Lan Jingyi grabbed onto Lan Sizhui.


“No!” Lan Sizhui pulled back from Lan Jingyi. Shaking his head profusely, he assured, “I’m fine now.”


Eyes widened Lan Jingji said, “You’re already blue.”


“There’s nothing left in my stomach,” Lan Sizhui forced a smile.


“That’s why you’re blue,” the young Leader of Jin Sect added.


Lan Sizhui shook his head again, “I can’t go yet, my fath--I mean HanGuang Jun and Senior Wei aren’t making much progress. Senior Wei might not come back to Gusu...and if that happens HanGuang Jun will be the way he was...”


It’s probably due to hurling for the past incense, more than his emotional state, but Lan Sizhui looked like he was about to tear up. The two other youths, his brother in arms, in good time and bad, were left speechless. For the first time Lan Sizhui managed to defuse the situation between the bickering friends without physical force.


“Here.” Jin Ling handed him a sachet. “Those should help your stomach.”


Lan Sizhui tentatively checked the content, inside, they are candied lotus, with a scent of ginger. Relieved in his eyes by the near sight of them, he quickly pops a few in his mouth, barel