Updated: Aug 18, 2020
In the words of Wen Qing, Lady Doctor of Qishen Wen Sect, more accurately of Wen Clan:
Jin Guangyao had kept her alive because she had a purpose to serve. Given his upbringing, a weak core was inevitable compared to his peers. To keep her under his control, he threatened the life of her Wen Ning, her brother. All those years living under his surveillance, she tried hard not to succeed, all-the-while keeping the most crucial observations to herself.
But keeping such knowledge required a price. A time of unknown past, not long, her voice taken before he could ask.
Jin Guangyao sought cultivators to create his living corpses. Although dead, their core is still as powerful as it was while living, given their powers that could destroy a whole army However, those cores are tainted by resentment energy. Only a portion could be preserved, barely a seedling in most cases, or none at all. Once gathered, fusing the fragmented cores is highly possible, Wen Qing explained. The more intact the core, the fewer living corpses they have to secure.
Unfortunately, there are not many highly cultivated corpses among the living dead since Jin Guangyao and Xue Yang’s deaths. Quality over quantity, but oftentimes, the choices were poor. The quicker they captured the selected powerful living corpses, the sooner they could create a golden core for Wei Wuxian.
While HanGuang Jun was ecstatic by the news, Wei Wuxian, unlike his usual talkative self, had left earlier without further words. It did not take long for Lan Wangji to find his solemn rabbit with a bottle of wine in his hand, sitting above atop a tree branch overlooking the Lotus Pier from the half-moon light. It did not escape him that there were several wine jars, most likely empty, under the tree.The person below didn’t want to disturb, nor could he leave.
This moment, this time, their past and present had aligned.
Lan Wangji understood the ramifications of Wen Qing’s words, yet, he could not let go of the possibilities. Not because he couldn’t protect the one he held dear, but Wei Wuxian never wanted to be protected. Once a cultivator of the blade, the Master of Suibian, at present, was unable to fight with his sword. No different than being a cripple of the cultivation world.
Miraculously, Wei Ying held on. Being a villain of the past and a hero of the present, he disregarded the discontented, ignored attacks of degradation from the cruelest words. Persisted because he could not conform.
His choice, his actions, as unorthodox as they were,
However, he was never deterred.
With each step forward, continually, he moves,
Despite those weighted shackles of reprove.
This man acted free from constraints,
Through all the complaints.
Despite their persistence,
He made his choice to ignore their existence.
Free, he was not,
Still, he fought.
Wei Wuxian had chosen such a path—neither black nor white, for there was no line in sight. From darkness, Yiling Laozu emerged. Although misled, Yiling Laozu’s reputation preceded. The fire that drew countless moths, yet, too close, they would burn. Many did, and they never learned.
Who wouldn’t be jealous of such a man?
Indeed, not with Jiang Cheng’s superiority complex. Thus, why did he need to have Wei Wuxian’s core restored or the Sect Leader of Jiang could never move past his guilt, or had it been shame?
Nonetheless, without him, they wouldn’t have this chance, Lan Wangji irritably acknowledged.
Far fetched, but still possible for the day, Suibian and Bichen could clash again. A swordsman may have many battles, but only the worthwhile opponent’s memories remain.
“Lan Zhan, are you going to watch me all night?” Wei Wuxian asked from above, never taking his eyes away from the sky, he took another sip of wine.
The gaze of the man below never faltered, Lan Wangji questioned, “Will you be up there all night?”
“I asked you first,” Wei Wuxian chuckled slightly, as he adjusted the wine jar to his side.
“My answer was given,” Lan Wangji replied solemnly.
“Lan Zhan,” Wei Wuxian’s voice chirped suddenly. He turned to face the white figure from below, “Come up here.”
“Why?” Lan Wangji asked, knowing the answer but still playing along. The game had become a habit through the passage of time. Enabling himself to continue to pine.
“I want to show you something,” Wei Wuxian said with a half-smile. He patted the tree branch to his side.
Lan Wangji was elated, which caused his response to be delayed. This situation happened more than he would like to admit. Forever, questioning if the person above him was real. Did Wei Wuxian want him to come closer than where he presently was?
“Mmn,” Lan Wangji nodded, then quickly took flight. Lightly, his feet gracefully touched the branch by Wei Wuxian’s side, but...he was unsure what to do next. Standing was natural; sitting down was another matter. As Lan Er Gongzi of Gusu, he was accustomed to meditation and proper posture when sitting for all occasions. HanGuang Jun, Lan Wangji, the other Blue Jade, in fact, from his knowledge, both Jades of Gusu never had in their life tried sitting on a tree branch!
Lan Er Gongzi could only look down at Wei Wuxian with a blank expression. Instantly, his uneasiness was apparent to his other half, who couldn’t help but laugh at his predicament.
“Don’t worry. You won’t fall off. I’ll make space for you.” Wei Wuxian cheerfully pulled him down. Side by side, their bodies pressed, more because the other had dragged him close. With nowhere to go, Lan Wangji’s body involuntarily froze.
Not the first, not the last, a learned behavior from their past. He could only look ahead, away from the only person who ignites his fire. Thank goodness Wei Wuxian was too occupied with his childhood memories to take notice because he would chatter away whenever the atmosphere was silent.
“I can’t tell you the number of times I fell off this tree,” Wei Wuxian laughed as he reminisced. “Once, I even hit my head and passed out. You see there,” Wei Wuxian pointed to a large old log by the stump below. “Shijie found me at the bottom and nursed me back to health. I never learned my lesson, though. I still climbed whenever I had the chance, despite how much Auntie scolded me for climbing trees after each fall. And over the hillside there. There’s this watering hole, but to enjoy it, we have to jump into the hole itself! During the summer, when Jiang Cheng and I were kids, we would go there to cool off. Of course, Madame Yu would chastise us over the danger even when it was just myself at the watering hole. I guess I am a forever disappointment to her,” Wei Wuxian concluded with a laugh, but his pained expression was evident.
Tentatively listening, Lan Wangji realized -- Wei Ying, who never cares for others’ acceptance, the very Yiling Laozu who dismissed all authority of the cultivation world, whether they be true or false, to this day from the past comes the future -- only desired for one late person’s acknowledgment.
Madame Yu, the most feared woman of her time - not to all, but enough - even if it was just him. Wei Wuxian, to this day, still elevated her judgment above all others.
“You were not,” Lan Wangji refuted, thoughtfully.
The lost youth from the past, at present, asked. “What do you mean?”
“If Madame Yu did not care, would she have told you to stop?” He asked. From what Lan Wangji had heard of the legendary Madame Yu, Lady of Lotus Pier, she was a fierce mother. A protective Tiger mom, known across the cultivation world, for her lack of charm.
The message was clear. It only took the recipient a moment to reflect on what he already knew.
“You’re right,” Wei Wuxian admitted, “Given my clumsiness, Auntie must have cared for me somewhat. If she didn’t, she would have let me be. Because if she...”
The words broke, as well as the man who couldn’t finish the last strokes. Wei Wuxian’s fist tightened over the wine bottle. Cold, the knuckles turned white. Not quite habitually because it did not happen as often as he would like, Lan Wangji placed his hand over Wei Wuxian’s shaking fist. The gesture was enough for the other to continue words of which he would not have otherwise dared to utter.
“Because...,” Wei Wuxian paused, his unfocused eyes reflecting the forgotten past, “Because...she didn’t want me to lose my arm from that vile Wen’s whore. She...She gave her own life to spare mine. If only I had listened. A reckless being...If I wasn’t who I was…”
“There’s nothing wrong with who you are,” stated Lan Wangji, but he knew his words would not be accepted.
Wei Wuxian shook his head and tipped the bottle for another mouthful of the wine, but there was none left. He let the bottle slip from his hand. Falling, crashing on the other bottle as it landed. The sound must have woken the wayward rabbit somewhat because he hurriedly explained, “I should’ve packed some Emperor’s Smile, everything tastes like fresh lotus rainwater here.”
Ignoring Wei Ying’s attempt to change the subject, only half unaware of his drunken state still, Lan Wangji pointedly reminded, “Wei Ying, Wen Qing had explained to me the method to restore--”
“I get it,” Wei Wuxian cut him off. “This is no different than night hunting. We kill those things every chance we get to keep villagers safe,” Wei Wuxian acknowledged. “Technically speaking, they’re already dead. Those corpses would not feel a thing. Living in their hell, which they could never escape from. A-Qing was the same way. Even in death, she kept on discouraging others from entering Yi City. Still, they are not mine to take. What Wen Qing wants to do is to tear out what is essentially another’s flesh. Tell me, Lan Zhan, how would that make me different from Wen Ruohan, Jin Guangyao, and Xue Yang?”
“Unlike them, you are ending that which should not exist,” Lan Wangji answered logically.
“The existence of my own creation?” he asked, but more of a statement of fact. “I created the strongest corpses, raised them from the dead. Used them as my weapons. Those times I did not think because we-”
“Even more appropriate for them to end by your hands.”
“My hands…,” Wei Wuxian looked down at his hand, with the palm facing up. Squinting his eyes, he attempted to focus, but the alcohol clouded his senses, the more time passed. Before he could make a fist again, Lan Wangji placed his right hand over Wei Ying’s. Holding on, the pressure light at first, but more determined to keep Wei Ying’s hand in his when the other tried to pull away. “Lan Zhan?” Wei Wuxian flushed, but he didn’t push him away. Instead, he was leaning closer.
Lan Wangji had been patient because he didn’t want to scare We