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Complete The Story Is Not Over Yet

Discussion in 'Crystal Vales' started by Wei Wuxian, Jan 8, 2020.

  1. Wei Wuxian

    Wei Wuxian The Untamed

    Posts:
    17
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Cultivator
    Race:
    Human
    Age:
    Late 20s / Early 30s
    Alignment:
    Chaotic Good
    January 20th, Year 109
    @Lan Wangji

    Wuxian leaned against the wall of the cave as he rubbed his hands together, the cold biting his skin as he waited for the fire to warm him up.

    The last few days have been strange. The last thing Wuxian recalled was him being at the Dafan Mountains...where the Goddess statue had come to life and he had summoned Wen Ning to fight it. And then, he saw Lan Zhan. And it all went dark.

    When the darkness left, he was in a forest filled with snow. It was the most bizarre part because there had been no snow at Dafan. He found his bamboo flute and that stubborn mule bumped into him. He scolded the donkey but dragged it along as they searched for food and water.

    That was five days ago. He found the people of a small village and they told him where he was. Pandora, a world that people were brought in and had no way of escape or of the reason. While...annoyed at being taken, Wuxian also felt...relieved. Because he didn’t need to hide here, he didn’t need to pretend of being Mo Xuanyu or wear a mask.

    He was Wei Wuxian, a simple man and no more. He wouldn’t be cursed as the Yiling Patriarch, or of his evil tricks and accused of every murder and crime in the vicinity. He could just be himself.

    It was winter now in this world, in January. He hummed as he added a bit more fuel for the fire. Wasn’t Lan Zhan’s birthday this month? He’d actually been making something, but it was quite stupid—beads for a bracelet, to protect the wearer from evil creatures. He’d finished carving them yesterday, but he hadn’t infused it with spiritual energy yet. Mo Xuanyu’s core was very weak compared to Wuxian’s core...but that had been so long ago. Besides, what was the point of making a gift when the man wasn’t here?

    There were some things he could not remember; the day he died was one of them. He just knew...there had been pain. There had been hate and loss and just an emptiness.

    He shook his head and side-eyed the donkey. “Hey, Apple. Eat your hay. There is no grass now, so you gotta make do with what you have, alright? No time for luxuries.” The donkey brayed at that comment, causing Wuxian to chuckle in amusement.

    After taking a sip from the jug he had water in, Wuxian glanced over at his flute. Picking it up, he brought it to his lips and began to play that familiar tune. He still didn’t remember where he had heard it but he knew someone had made it. The emotions behind this song...meant something.
     
    #1 Wei Wuxian, Jan 8, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2020
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  2. Lan Wangji

    Lan Wangji The Untamed

    Posts:
    17
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Cultivator
    Race:
    Human
    Age:
    Early 30s
    Alignment:
    Neutral Good
    Lan Wangji was sure he could hear his uncle's voice in his mind as he made his way through the Dednear Woodlands, reprimanding him as if he were but a teenager again for the choices he was making now. Sixteen long years and he was still the same in many ways, right now it was his fierce loyalty shining through that he had seemingly brought in bountiful amounts on his trip to Pandora. The reason for one of the twin jades of Gusu to visit the Dednear Woodlands? The same reason he had drive to do most things.

    Wei Wuxian.

    As the cultivator familiarised himself with Pandopolis and how things worked around the shoe box of a world, he had tried finding any of the others from his clan whilst doing so. Sadly he'd come across none, though he kept the faith that perhaps some day he should return to his own world, to his brother, to his son. He'd been in an inn when he had heard the rumours of the shrine of shade and ember. A remote place of worship, simple and wooden which seemed to only gain visits now from lost travelers rather than devoted people looking for their wishes to be granted.

    But it was the promise of that wish that had him desperate enough he had to at least try. When he'd made it to the shrine he'd entered under the wooden gazebo, remembering from the half drunk rogues who spoke of it that he was to light a fire upon the altar if he had any hope of summoning whatever presence was tethered to the place to try and grant him his wish. When it came to Wangji actually needing to speak his wish, he found himself at a loss, struggling to put into the words the one thing his scarred self wished to bring back, the one thing he knew could heal him.

    A gust of wind swept through the temple then, causing Lan Wangji to raise his arm and shield himself before he watched the fire he'd lit be snuffed out. The small charms and bells that hung near the entrance swayed and chimed into the afternoon air whilst the man's rabbits hopped about listlessly, scurrying closer to his robes and hiding beneath them for comfort. But... that was it. Nothing else happened at all and it left Wangji frowning somewhat before a simple Mnn left his lips.

    Evening would be upon the man soon and he knew he needed to be leaving quickly, not too keen on the idea of spending more time in shrine than he had to. Thoughts of returning to the portal he had come through earlier came to Wangji then, thinking there would be enough time to then find another inn among the mostly hospitable places of the bustling city, enough comfort he could rest his head for another night. Rabbits in tow, the cultivator made his tracks through the snow as the evening swept in quickly, though he made no complaint despite the cold weather, for it reminded him of home.

    He'd been thinking of Sizhui, hoping his child was not beside himself with worry over his disappearance when a rather familiar melody pierced his consciousness. Almost immediately the man stopped in his tracks, his body rigid and unmoving, as still and beautiful as carved marble whilst he listened to the notes on a flute, carried to him with a biting breeze that nipped at his cheeks and nose. Wangji didn't often rush places or hasten himself as was the Gusu way ingrained into him, but for now he couldn't care less as he followed the song, their song and the smell of wood burning on an open fire.

    Moving among the snowfall that had begun as soon as the sun was beginning to disappear, Wangji only stopped in his hasty movements to return to his rabbits, scoop them up into his sleeves and then be on his way again. Snow crunched under his boots as he went, leaving behind tracks that would be filled in by the time stars would fill the night sky later on, but no matter how quickly he ran it never seemed to be fast enough.

    Finally he found the source, rounding the edge of a cave camouflaged with more snow covering its back, though the light from the fire within licked at the snow at the mouth of the cave where Wangji now stood. Carefully he let the bunnies out from his sleeves, the animals hopping their way over to the warmth of the cave where they sniffed around in search of anything to eat. As for their owner, he took one, two, then three steps forward. The fire illuminating up his figure and slowly melting the snow that had settled on the cultivator's eyebrows and ink-like hair, that of which swayed at his back whilst his shoulders lifted and dropped slightly, almost as if he were trembling.

    He was trembling.

    Wangji's hands curled into fists at his sides, one gripped tightly around Bichen's scabbard whilst the other furled so tightly in on itself that his knuckles bled white under the tension and force. This... This was not the Wei Wuxian he had known, for there were subtle differences and he should know, Lan Wangji saw that face every time he closed his eyes. But it was him. It had to be him. No one else knew that melody like them, and if they did, no one else dare play it in front Hanguang Jun.

    Before he himself knew what he was doing, Lan Wangji had closed the distance between the two men and wrapped his hand around the familiar stranger's wrist. He could feel the pulse beneath the wrappings there, whilst his own fingertips lightly slid over Wuxian's wrist to the bottom of his palm, holding onto him tight enough that there would be no chance for the man to leave without some kind of scuffle occurring.

    As the flames from the fire flickered from the aftermath of his blindingly quick movements, it cast long shadows over the man's face, one half lit by the warm light whilst the other was darkened. It made for two startling sides to the man, both of which few very rarely ever got to properly see but as history was determined to repeat itself, he found he was showing far more to Wuxian than he ever showed others. Though Wangji did not speak his grip never loosened either, if anything it grew more insistent, tighter, as if he were afraid that should he let go even an inch, the being in front of him would turn out to be no more than another ghost come to haunt him.
     
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  3. Wei Wuxian

    Wei Wuxian The Untamed

    Posts:
    17
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Cultivator
    Race:
    Human
    Age:
    Late 20s / Early 30s
    Alignment:
    Chaotic Good
    This melody calmed him, despite there being uncertainty in his entire being. He’d play it when he felt uncertain or wished to soothe others. He couldn’t remember how many times he’d play in the Burial Mounds when he was with the remaining Wen Clan...or when he’d been trapped there—left for dead. After finding Chenqing in the Burial Mounds, music had become a comfort when all he’d felt is resentment and anger.

    His eyes had drifted shut as he continued. For some time, he could imagine he was elsewhere than this strange world—a different place, a different time. Lotus Pier and Cloud Recesses came to mind; both being equally important to him. A part of him hoped that the others were well; that they didn’t hate him. But he knew that was a lie—Jiang Cheng would have his head if he knew he’d returned. Lan Zhan…he probably felt the same, right?

    The cold nipped at his fingers as the wind blew. Thankfully, the fire didn’t go out; the cave provided proper shelter, as evening drew closer. He had enough linen for warmth. Tomorrow would be a new day. He needed to find a way to make money—while living off the natural fauna and flora sounded delightful, he’d rather not anger anyone...unless it was for good reason. Stealing a few foods here and there wouldn’t be bad, but only if he was discreet. Apple was blissfully silent—maybe had fallen asleep to the music.

    Snowflakes fell to the ground, covering the earth outside the cave with a white blanket. He’d have continued playing when he heard the familiar sound of someone stepping on snow. His eyes snapped open and he almost dropped his flute in shock as his eyes widened at who was at the mouth of the cave.

    Lan Wangji.

    Wuxian felt his heart thumping wildly in his chest, hardly even noticing the small pack of bunnies hopping towards the fire. How could Wangji be here? Was he also brought here by the powers of this world? Was he even here or did Wuxian simply had a fever or fell asleep?

    He looked the same way he’d last seen him; when he’d been trying to lure Wen Ning away. Wearing the white robes of the Lan Clan, his posture perfect, that impenetrable gaze, some could say his face was unreadable and yet…Wuxian could swear that he saw Lan Zhan was trembling.

    Almost in the blink of an eye, Wangji moved towards him. Wuxian tried to scoot further into the cave before his wrist was grabbed. The cultivator felt like he was reliving the same scenario again. The light from the fire flickered, shedding light to half of their faces, yet casting darkness to the other side.

    Even after sixteen years...Wangji’s eyes had changed—they spoke of something else. Wuxian couldn’t look away, despite the grip of Wangji’s hands becoming tighter, almost to the point where it hurt.

    Wangji was holding onto him as if in desperation. As if he’d vanish into thin air…was he afraid? Wangji had never judged him in the past—sure there were some moments where Wuxian would have believed Wangji hated him, but the man...had tried to help him, didn’t he? Help him control the resentful energy, had eaten dinner with him and A-Yuan.

    Neither of them spoke so far. As if they were both fearful that once one of them spoke...whatever this was would shatter. But someone had to. “I see your grip is as strong as it used to, Hanguang Jun. Didn’t expect the bunnies though.” He said, patting the hand holding his wrist, in an attempt to lighten the mood of this situation...and yet it didn’t feel right.

    Sombre, Wuxian lowered his gaze and bit his lip before sighing. “It’s been sixteen years. I...I didn’t think I’d see you here, Lan Zhan.” Wuxian’s lips curled to a small smile, yet there was a lingering sadness behind it. He remembered the villagers say that some people can come from different timelines. Now, all he had to do was wait and see the man’s reaction.
     
    #3 Wei Wuxian, Jan 9, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
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  4. Lan Wangji

    Lan Wangji The Untamed

    Posts:
    17
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Cultivator
    Race:
    Human
    Age:
    Early 30s
    Alignment:
    Neutral Good
    The poor joke was well and truly ignored as was the typical fashion of Wangji, though he didn't do it out of an unimpressed manner this time, but more so because there were far more important matters for him to be comprehending. Both of his golden eyes darted between Wuxian's own spheres, right from one to the other as he searched them for the red hue that haunted him to this day, glowing eyes in the dark that stole away the most important thing to him.

    But there was nothing there. Just fairly warm eyes looking back at him and his own disturbed reflection staring, unflinchingly. As Wuxian looked away from him, Wangji recognized that melancholy smile in an instant, for he had seen it used as armour countless times before, but he knew how dented and worn down it was. He'd been there when the last pieces of it had fallen away after all.

    Without taking his eyes off of the phantom of a man in front of him, Wangji released his grip on his wrist and lowered his hand right back down to his side. Without speaking of the sixteen years he had spent mourning, the man's golden gaze drifted to the flute in Wuxian's hands, eyeing it up in an almost accusing manner before he returned his gaze to his... friend?

    Leaving the term for another day of headaches and worrying over, the cultivator took a few steps back without ever really looking away from Wuxian, finding himself on the other side of the fire before he dropped down to the ground. The motion was swift and delicate, causing Wangji to look like fresh snowfall whilst his robes splayed out beneath him, pooling about as his sleeves rested over his thighs and knees.

    A swipe of his hand brought forth his guqin, the instrument appearing seemingly out of thing air and left propped on the cold cave floor since he had no table. Delicate fingers skimmed the top of the strings and the world around them seemed to fall silent, the snow outside even appeared to be holding its breath in barely contained anticipation. What came forth as Wangji's fingertips teased the strings was the same tune that had guided him here, to Wuxian.

    It was a song he had created himself a long time ago, though one he had never really gotten to share properly with Wuxian, at least not nearly as long enough. But when was enough for him when it came to Wuxian anyway? Still, he continued, his face passive and expression unreadable as he looked only at the instrument in front of him. One of the few things that had never left his side.
    "Are you awake now?" Was all Wangji asked. It was perhaps a very strange question on the surface, but he knew Wuxian would understand him, or so he hoped.

    Of course what he meant was if Wuxian had really returned, for who else would know their song? Well, the disciples within his home knew of it from long, cold nights where the haunting tune would sound out over the Cloud Recesses. But none of them dared play it, and this man was certainly not from hi clan. In fact, Sizhui had asked him only once about it, when he couldn't stand seeing how his father looked, bent over his guqin and crying with the stoic mountains watching on silently and the faint smell of alcohol lingering in the air.

    Suffice to say, the stony silence and even harder look he had received as his answer was enough to stop Sizhui from ever asking again. As Wangji now waited for his own answer and his fingers kept on teasing the sounds out of his instrument, he tipped his face up just slightly to look over at Wuxian, studying his own expression in an attempt to see if the other would respond in any way at all.
     
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  5. Wei Wuxian

    Wei Wuxian The Untamed

    Posts:
    17
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Cultivator
    Race:
    Human
    Age:
    Late 20s / Early 30s
    Alignment:
    Chaotic Good
    Despite Wangji’s serious demeanor, Wuxian wasn’t quite sure what to say. While he considered Wangji a friend, even his soulmate, did this man considered him that anymore? He wasn’t sure where they stood anymore. Not when he caused so much pain near the time of his death.

    It looked like as if Wangji was looking into his very soul, his core. As if he was looking for something underneath. Wuxian knew he looked different, even though Mo Xuanyu did have a striking resemblance to him. And yet, when Wangji let go of his wrist, Wuxian’s hand rose up for a split second before lowering it as he gazed the flute Wuxian had. Was he angry? Sure, he loved riling the man up, but he wasn’t sure if it’d be taken well. Not that it ever was back in their youth—being told to piss off and the like.

    The other cultivator took several steps back, but his gaze still remained. Perhaps...Wangji was concerned about what he could do—what evil tricks he can use or maybe attack him? What did Wangji take him for?

    His thoughts were moving like a storm, not staying in one place. So, he just observed Wangji move to the other side of the cave. Even when seating down on the dirt, Lan Zhan was as elegant as ever. The sight of his guqin was a surprise, causing Wuxian to frown in a questioning glance just when Wangji started playing.

    His eyes widened at the realization of what was being played, mouth slightly agape. The music was like a warm caress on his cheek, of something deep and unsaid.

    So...it was Lan Zhan who played it to me.

    He wasn’t sure when the man had played it. Maybe when he’d passed out after the Sunshot Campaign. But at Wangji’s question, he breathed in sharply, recalling where he had heard it. “The cave with the Tortoise of Slaughter. I’d been injured, feverish and you...hummed this. As you kept the pressure on my wound.” How could he not remember that until now?

    However, he also felt...that this wasn’t the only thing Wangji was asking of him. “I have a few...gaps in my memory. I don’t clearly remember...that night. But I remember how...it felt. How it ended.”

    Wuxian poked the fire, adding more tinder. “I never thought that I’d still be alive.” He spoke softly as if telling a secret.
     
    #5 Wei Wuxian, Jan 10, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
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  6. Lan Wangji

    Lan Wangji The Untamed

    Posts:
    17
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Cultivator
    Race:
    Human
    Age:
    Early 30s
    Alignment:
    Neutral Good
    The sharp inhalation of breath pierced through the sound of the guqin's strings being plucked, though Wangji did not stop, he did lift his gaze so he could look at the other man once more. The answers that came seemed to make him relax a little more as he was grateful that this much was at least remembered, times of their youth where he had stayed by Wuxian's side even then and earned himself a nasty injury in the process. Despite this, it was one of the fond memories Wangji recalled sometimes when he allowed his mind the pleasure of wandering.

    For one to have a few gaps in their memory after dying and coming back somehow, it was not unheard of, but there were only two or three other occasions people had ever been brought back from the dead that Wangji knew of. All of them had been used for vengeful wishes as well and he wondered if perhaps the body Wuxian now inhabited was insisting on the same thing. No one gave up their precious body for anything less it seemed. If this was true, then it came with its own set of worries, making Wangji wonder if the other would be willing to divulge these with him now or perhaps a little later.

    As steadily as he had been playing, Wangji found himself stopping abruptly when Wuxian mentioned knowing how it felt to basically die. How did it feel for him? Wangji knew how it felt to die too, but... not exactly in the same way either. There was no body to be found and Wuxian's spirit would not appear no matter how many other sects had tried to call upon the Yiling Patriarch for themselves. Not to mention how often Wangji had played inquiry each day for sixteen years in the hope of hearing something. Anything.

    Nothing had ever come.

    He didn't know what to say to Wuxian in terms of him being alive. What did you say to the love of your life when he didn't know he held such a place in your heart, nor were you expecting him to come back ever? Sixteen years later, on top of everything else. Returning his gaze to his guqin, the cultivator resumed his playing in the hopes that perhaps he might jog other memories, and at the very least, it would be soothing to Wuxian.

    "That night, Jiang Cheng insisted on looking for your body himself. No matter how hard he looked, however, he could find nothing but bones." Wangji explained softly, his feelings still a little conflicted when it came to the leader of the Yunmeng Jiang Sect, but there was a mix of indifference and slight bitterness whenever he recalled the man. He still heard Jiang Cheng screaming at his brother to die when Wangji had been holding on so desperately, and even now, it caused the slightest of frowns to appear on those brows of his.

    Sweeping thoughts of the man aside once again, Hanguang Jun bowed his head slightly before he made a point of avoiding the other's gaze now, knowing he was toeing a very fine line as he admitted these next words.
    "I looked for you three years after the incident. But when I looked, there weren't even any bones left." He knew very well why it had taken him three years to do it, to make it there so he could check for himself to see if his soulmate was really gone, even when the gaping hole in his chest told him as much already.

    But there had been nothing, nothing at all. That's when he continued his campaign of falling deeper and deeper to the point even his brother and uncle didn't know what to do with him anymore. Only once had he made a fool of himself in a drunken fit, demanding a flute, but not any flute, his flute, him... Wei Ying. Lan Wangji's head bowed a little as he felt the shame from the incident weigh him down some more, as if it had happened yesterday and not all those years ago.

    But then, a ghost from his past was sharing memories in front of a fire with him tonight, so he supposed anything was truly possible.
     
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  7. Wei Wuxian

    Wei Wuxian The Untamed

    Posts:
    17
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Cultivator
    Race:
    Human
    Age:
    Late 20s / Early 30s
    Alignment:
    Chaotic Good
    It was odd he never made the connection earlier. He’d always play it when he needed to calm himself or was feeling nostalgic at the Burial Mounds. Wuxian wondered if the time they had spent together was actually something he never looked badly upon, even though Wuxian turned his back on the Jiang Clan and the others...all for the remnants of the Wen Clan.

    While he’d wanted to live without regrets in his first life, Wuxian knew he failed at that. Despite wanting to do the right thing, it caused more harm than good. In the end, he couldn’t save them.

    Wuxian’s hand tightened on his flute, especially once Wangji stopped playing. It was probably due to what he had said. He doesn’t recall much, but the feelings were there. Pain, sorrow, uncontrollable anger and resentment. And then there was an emptiness, feeling hollow and then...there was nothing.

    There was just silence. He suspected that this was probably how he felt when he died.

    He was brought out from his thoughts when Wangji began playing again. It soothed him—he wondered if he’d ever remembered what happened that night. Another part of him wondered if he wanted to remember.

    The mention of Jiang Cheng brought dread in his gut. He remembered how Cheng reacted to him when he had trapped Jin Ling, how his eyes were filled with hate because of another man using evil tricks that Wuxian used. He never meant to cause so much grief to his sword brother or his sister.

    The next words caused Wuxian to lift his gaze to Wangji. The man wasn’t meeting his gaze—in fact, he was avoiding it—but he had to ask. “Why after three years?” It was still in a soft tone, still worried that if he spoke louder, he’d break whatever was happening between them.

    Wangji was different. The years had changed him and Wuxian was worried it was due to what he caused. He wanted to apologize, yet what good that will do? He cannot change the past. Seeing the man he considers a friend—if they still were, was up for debate—lower his head as if in shame, made him lower his gaze as well.

    He didn’t know what to say.

    “For the past sixteen years, I don’t know where I was if I was even anywhere.” He sighed as a rabbit came nearby and Wuxian stroked the fur with his fingers. A part of me wanted to tell him about Mo Xuanyu, as to why he was brought back, but he didn’t know if he should. Wangji had been worried when he dabbled with demonic cultivation. Being summoned for revenge was probably something Wangji disapprove of. “Lan Zhan...I’m sorry to cause you trouble. If you wish to ask anything, I will try to answer as best as I can.”
     
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  8. Lan Wangji

    Lan Wangji The Untamed

    Posts:
    17
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Cultivator
    Race:
    Human
    Age:
    Early 30s
    Alignment:
    Neutral Good
    Why hadn't he come until the third anniversary of the Yiling Patriarch's fall? That was a well known secret that his clan had done so well to keep, or rather Qiren and Xichen had worked so hard to keep very hush hush. It wasn't too surprising that some of the other clans wanted Wangji to pay for what he'd done in siding with Wuxian up to the very end, going so far as to protect Wuxian's own-made home in some hopeless attempt to somehow protect the man who had already left him behind. The Lanling Jin Sect in particular would have been all too happy to have Wangji severely punished, or even killed for his choices and if it wasn't for his brother, then the cultivator was almost certain that he would have ended up the same way.

    But it was also thanks to Xichen that he ended up the way he had. Partially at least. It was a time Wangji tried not to dwell on too often as it reminded him of another loss in his life, history repeating itself for him and stealing away precious people he loved no matter how hard he tried to cling on. Whilst he didn't blame his older brother for what had happened to him as a result of his actions, the scars on his back were a reminder enough of that painful part of his life, and whilst Xichen was not one quick to anger, he had never really forgiven Wuxian for having to watch his little brother fall to pieces. So distraught, Lan Wangji whom hardly ever made mistakes found himself pulling the wrong note to their song, causing it to take a turn for sounding dreadfully doleful, but no more than he felt he might have sounded should he have told Wuxian what had happened.

    Wuxian... Looking at the man now, the twin jade of Gusu could see the other seemed to be blaming himself for things he could not remember entirely but only feel partially. What good would it do him if he confessed what standing by him had brought Wangji? What if the revelation was too much of a toll on Wuxian and it threatened to take him away from Wangji once again? What if he was more fragile than ever now? No. He'd not tell him, he'd keep just one secret from the other man, so long as it was done with the purest intention of keeping him safe.

    Settling his fingers over the guqin's strings and slowly bringing the sounds from it to a gentle halt, Wangji straightened his back and lifted his face, studying Wuxian as he apologised to him and offered answers for anything he might want to ask. What was he supposed to ask? Had he missed him? Did he regret what he did? Was he going to stay now? Or leave Lan Wangji once more? The thought caused a terrible pain to clench at the cultivator's chest, one of his hands pressing over the spot for a moment whilst Wuxian was distracted by one of his furry companions.

    "I don't know where you've been these past sixteen years... but if you knew and you told me, I'd believe you. And if you can't, or won't, then I am content with that too". I'm content just seeing your face and feeling your pulse again. Wangji's heart beat particularly harshly in his chest as he spoke bravely, even after all this time, he was loyal to Wei Wuxian, and he was sure he would continue to be up to the point of his own passing some day.

    Pushing aside the more emotional subject that he didn't think he could process or handle, for tonight at least, Wangji decided on the safer option, more mechanical questions that would have somewhat more straightforward answers.
    "This is not your body." Wangji began, looking over the figure and form that his friend had acquired upon his return to the mortal realm. This body was smaller and thinner, nor could the cultivator sense a particularly strong aura or golden core coming from it. Wuxian's on the other hand, had been strong and bright, sometimes Wangji could swear he could feel its strength and warmth just by being close to the other man back in their earlier days, so much so it drew him in like a moth to a flame, but that strength had been turned into something else.

    Something Lan Wangji had not quite been able to get over just yet.

    "How did you acquire this body? Whom did it belong to, Wei Ying?" It had to belong to a cultivator of some kind, who else could summon someone's spirit if they weren't somewhat versed in the world of cultivation? Did they summon him as the Yiling Patriarch? If Wangji was right about his guess of this being a call for carrying out vengeance, then it would only make too much sense that they would request the Yiling Patriarch. But they were so wrong. This was a spirit that was once one of the kindest, warmest souls ever, one that felt so much, love, happiness, pain and loss, and that was what had been his ultimate downfall in the end. Never because he didn't feel enough or just rage and resentment.

    This spirit was beautiful - the only one that could bring the great Hanguang Jun down to his knees. Even so, that didn't explain why it worked now, sixteen years on when so many sects had tried and failed before.

    Perhaps fate was not finished tangling the two men together with its red string just yet.
     
    #8 Lan Wangji, Jan 10, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
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  9. Wei Wuxian

    Wei Wuxian The Untamed

    Posts:
    17
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Cultivator
    Race:
    Human
    Age:
    Late 20s / Early 30s
    Alignment:
    Chaotic Good
    There was no response to his question—perhaps that was for the best then. Wuxian understood that Wangji had more concerning things to do; he was one of the Twin Jades of Gusu, he was the second clan master after his uncle and brother. He couldn’t as well run off to find his body—and even if he had found the body, where would he have taken it without looking like a traitor? He didn’t want Wangji to suffer for his crimes.

    Guilt grew in his stomach, gnawing it like hunger, but worse. The music to the guqin stopped as Wangji studied him when he apologized to him. Wuxian was unsure if Wangji would ask anything, but Lan Zhan deserved to know. But if he could protect Wangji, he would do so.

    At his response, Wuxian’s gaze lifted to meet his companion’s. Even though he caused so much pain to the world, Wangji would believe him? That meant more than Wangji ever knew. He smiled softly before exhaling. “Lan Zhan...did you really believe me back then?”

    It was a question he wanted to know if Lan Zhan trusted him that much to believe him simply by word. Wuxian doubted if he’d get an answer for that, but simply saying it, making it known between them, was something he wanted.

    Wuxian nodded at that statement, even if Wangji was already aware. It was simply a confirmation of it. He didn’t know what else he could say without telling too much. But he knew that Wangji was persistent; he couldn’t hide it forever. “His name was Mo Xuanyu. He used a Sacrificial Ritual to summon me.” Wuxian scratched a rabbit behind the ears, chuckling as it nuzzled in closer.

    “I believe...you’ve already realized what his reason for summoning me was.”
     
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  10. Lan Wangji

    Lan Wangji The Untamed

    Posts:
    17
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Cultivator
    Race:
    Human
    Age:
    Early 30s
    Alignment:
    Neutral Good
    Recomposed and feeling much more like himself, Wangji held the man's gaze steadily with his own, those golden spheres unflinching now. He might not have answered with words, but it was enough with his gaze to show that yes, he did believe in Wuxian back then too. It wasn't just anyone he wanted to bring back to the Cloud Recesses and hide away within its safety after all. But that hadn't happened and instead he was in need of Wangji putting a little more of his faith in him, or showing it a bit more than he was used to at least.

    Mo Xuanyu? The cultivator knew of this person. He did not know him in person, but word of Mo Xuanyu had spread of how someone who technically belonged to the Jin family, had been discarded with his mother. The youth had then gone on to unintentionally make a mess of things when his father had returned, about the time Xuanyu was at the age of learning cultivation. Though, thinking back on it, the weak core inside of Wuxian made so much more sense now.

    In addition to this, the name had felt so familiar because Wangji had sent his son and Lan Jingyi with a few other of his disciples to the Mo residence in order to speak with them on a few matters. The timing seemed a little too coincidental for him to be able to believe, though he didn't mention it but instead kept it in his own mind for later should anything else strange come up. What he took away from it for now, however, was the fact that even in this body, Wuxian was still technically the uncle to Jin Ling.

    Without a word, the guqin disappeared with a wave of the cultivator's hand before he moved himself over to where Wuxian currently was with one of his bunnies. Picking up another, he held the snowy white creature carefully in his hands, stroking over its smooth, silky ears and alone the fine line of its spine before he repeated the action several more times.
    "Even in this life, in this given body, you are still Jin Ling's uncle." Wangji added quietly, handing Wuxian the rabbit in his hands so he could hold it alongside the one the other man had already been tending to.

    When he was sure he was distracted with the animals enough, the taller of the two men brushed his fingers over Wuxian's sleeve rather than retrieving his hand like most would have. Instead, he curled his fingertips into the fabric of the man's sleeve and slid it back in an attempt to look for the marks that would need to be healed if he were to keep this body and not perish should he fail his task.

    He didn't know what else he had been expecting, but he thought he would have seen several wounds if this was the body he had claimed it to be. Didn't someone who lived anything like the rumours claimed want revenge on multiple people? Despite this, he saw but one cut there, deep enough it would make him worry in general, but especially so since it would only heal when he had exacted Mo Xuanyu's revenge. Or, perhaps by some other miracle, they would find another way to halt the process or even appease the young soul another way so he might let Wuxian keep this body and not feel failed. Of course that's what Wangji wanted, but this set a whole new level of difficulty to the list of worries he had. What was he supposed to do now? How did he fix this so that the man wasn't snatched away from him just as he'd found him?

    Keeping has fingers curled into Wuxian's sleeves as he looked up into the other's eyes, Wangji shook his head gently before he found the strength to finally speak at least a part of his heart.
    "Let me help you, Wei Ying." It wasn't much but it spoke thousands of words for the taller of the two. He regretted not having been there more for Wuxian, blamed himself for losing him, he couldn't do it again. Wangji had to promise him now that he wasn't going to let him go again like that.

    "Please..." It wasn't often that one of the twin jades of Gusu ever pleaded for anything, especially considering his status but also lack of want for material things more often than not. But this... this was something he had to beg for from Wuxian, something he knew he needed to hear the other man say, especially before he ever dreamed of letting go of him or his sleeve. The heat subtly coming off from Wuxian's skin just beneath his hold on his sleeve was far warmer than the fire to his side ever could be, and it reminded Wangji that he was nothing more than a moth to Wei Ying's stunning flame.

    "Wei Ying."
     
    #10 Lan Wangji, Jan 11, 2020 at 5:03 PM
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020 at 11:10 AM
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  11. Wei Wuxian

    Wei Wuxian The Untamed

    Posts:
    17
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Cultivator
    Race:
    Human
    Age:
    Late 20s / Early 30s
    Alignment:
    Chaotic Good
    The look in Wangji’s eyes spoke volumes, despite the silence that had befallen them—only the crackling of the fire to be heard. If Wangji hadn’t believed in him, trusted him...then he wouldn’t have tried to help him. Let him go with the Wen Clan remnants that stormy night. He defended him and helped him find Yanli when she had come to the Nightless City.

    A part of him wondered if Wangji had known of Mo Xuanyu. They likely never met, but seeing as the man was one of Jin Guangshan’s many illegitimate children, he must have heard of him when he was taken in by the Jin Clan. He wondered at what point was Wangji from—likely sixteen years later, since Wangji didn’t correct him...but had Wangji send the junior disciples till then or had it not happened yet for Wangji?

    The guqin vanished as Wangji stood up and made his way towards him. Wuxian’s eyes followed him, curious as to why the man changed his seat. The other cultivator had always liked his personal space, though seeing Wangji with one of those fluffy animals..was actually very funny. The serious and proper Hanguang Jun, petting a cute bunny.

    Wuxian smiled sadly at the mention of Jin Ling. “And in both lives, he hates me. Not surprised, to be honest.” He said, as he took the bunny from Wangji. He didn’t expect it to be different; to the world, Wuxian and Wen Ning killed Jin Zixuan, even when he had never meant for that to happen. He had never meant to destroy Yanli’s happiness.

    The rabbit sat on his lap, nose twitching, causing Wuxian to chuckle and smile as he stroked the rabbit’s back. “Little rabbit, you like that, don’t you?”

    However, his smile fell when he felt fingers against his arm, pulling back his sleeve. He turned to look at Wangji. “Lan Zhan,” he said, tugging his arm slightly, but it was already too late. Wangji had seen the deep mark, looking like a cut that was meant to bleed out.

    He hadn’t wanted for Wangji to see it—he knew it would have been seen eventually, and yet, he also knew how persistent Lan Zhan was. Having already his suspicions, the man wouldn’t have let this go. And seeing the look Wangji was giving him...he knew what this mark meant.

    And yet, Wangji’s next response shocked him; he wanted to help him. He was begging him, hand still clutched on his sleeve, as if afraid a gust of wind would pull him away from his grip. His expression had not changed, and yet Wuxian could hear in the man’s voice there was pain.

    What burdens was Lan Wangji carrying on his shoulders?

    “Lan Zhan...” He felt his pulse jump when Wangji spoke his name like that, causing him to bite his lower lip for a moment. He sighed as he met his gaze again. “I...don’t know how you can help. These rituals always come with a price, and Mo Xuanyu had gone to the point of sacrificing his own soul to get revenge. I don’t know if Pandora might have a way to...prevent the ritual. I haven’t been here long enough to know...but what if it can’t be stopped.”

    If Wuxian did not find the last person Mo Xuanyu wished revenge upon...he’d be gone.
     
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  12. Lan Wangji

    Lan Wangji The Untamed

    Posts:
    17
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Cultivator
    Race:
    Human
    Age:
    Early 30s
    Alignment:
    Neutral Good
    That saddened smile was like a knife to the gut for Wangji, seeing how Wuxian still felt guilty over something he hadn't really even had any control over. He was almost certain Yanli would have told him to stop this a long time ago and to live his life, especially this new one he was given and to not waste it on regrets as he had in his first. But Wangji couldn't speak for the woman, he struggled speaking for himself in front of his friend as it was.

    He left commenting on Jin Ling and whether or not he hated his uncle for the moment, instead letting his gaze dip down to Wuxian's mouth when he bit at his lip. His fingers twitched among the fabric he still clung onto, desperate to free the man's plump flesh from the hold of his teeth digging into it, wanting to smooth his thumb over that worried bottom lip. Wangji wanted to do far more than just that but now was not the time, even sixteen years later, it was beginning to feel like there never would be any time for them.

    Wuxian didn't know how Wangji could help and that was okay. He hadn't outright told him he couldn't or that he wouldn't want to be around him anymore, so it was enough of a 'yes' for the cultivator to take comfort from. He would not dwell on what would and could happen if they didn't find an answer to heal the cut before it would grow and grow, eventually consuming Wuxian if he didn't appease Xuanyu's spirit. Instead, he would, as he always had been, be a figure of action and start putting plans into motion so he'd never have to lose Wuxian ever again.

    Pulling his hand back at last, he brushed the sleeve back down over the other man's arm, covering the cut gently before he leaned back somewhat, only then realising he had left Bichen on the floor where he had been playing his guqin. Only Wuxian could make him so careless and forgetful with such precious things. It was like he had tunnel vision for the man.
    "I will take you to Pandopolis in the morning. I'm sure you are not the only person with such an ailment to arrive here. We can look through the extensive library there and ask if anyone can help us." Wangji nodded himself as if he were agreeing to his own plans, and he sort of was, especially when he thought it was the best thing they could do as of right now.

    "You've been brought here with a greater purpose than to just die." The word again lingered on the man's lips though he didn't say it, for what was the purpose of bringing even more pain to the situation? Wuxian needn't know any of his own, he'd already glimpsed enough of the desperation held within the cultivator's eyes and voice. Walking over to his sword, the man picked it up in a single swiping motion before he was making his way towards the donkey near the mouth of the cave, his movements slow and paced.

    Lan Wangji seemed to fetch something from the pouch he had at his hip just then, producing an apple for the donkey and feeding it to the grateful animal before he walked back over to Wuxian. He returned to the other man's side, close enough they almost touched at their shoulders but were just shy of actually doing so, but it was close enough for him. For now.

    He produced a couple more apples and handed them to Wuxian this time, wishing he had the man's favourite peanuts to give him, but he figured it would be something he could give the other when they were in Pandopolis tomorrow, little comforts to make Wuxian feel better as they searched for answers. Keeping himself warm by the fire, Wangji settled into another one of his familiar silences as he thought over what Wuxian had said about Jin Ling, the rest of the bunnies naturally crowding around him though he seemed to not mind or notice.

    "That child doesn't hate you." Wangji began after a while longer, his golden eyes on the flames that seemed to match those spheres of his.
    "Jin Ling only knows how to act out of frustration and what he thinks is anger. For the loss of his parents, he has been spoiled throughout the years of his youth as if it could make up for what was taken." Whilst Wangji had not raised the boy nor had much of a great relationship with his carers, Jiang Cheng or Meng Yao, since Wuxian's passing, he was well aware of the youth's tendencies and how he treated people. In his eyes, the loss of parents did not account for behaviour Jin Ling had displayed at times and he knew if it were up to him, he would have used the Silencing spell on him more than once.

    "But Jiang Cheng has helped raise him too, with his own values and... askew beliefs." It was one of the reasons they still clashed and kept well away from one another, Jiang Cheng's unhinged hunt for Wuxian and how he never let go a single person he accused of possibly being his brother. Even when proven innocent. He had no doubt this dislike for Wuxian had blurred some lines for his nephew, who had then foolishly made his own judgments on a man who he had never even met.
    "He does not hate you." Wangji repeated, his next words speaking for the thousands of people who spread word of the Yiling Patriarch without knowing him, including Jin Ling and even those who had at least met Wuxian but still couldn't grasp the kind of person he genuinely was.

    "They simply do not know you."
     
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  13. Wei Wuxian

    Wei Wuxian The Untamed

    Posts:
    17
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Cultivator
    Race:
    Human
    Age:
    Late 20s / Early 30s
    Alignment:
    Chaotic Good
    Wangji’s hands twitched on his arm, before pulling away. While Wuxian hadn’t told Wangji that he didn’t want help, he just didn’t know how the other cultivator could. These rituals cannot be avoided and there was no known way to remove it. And even then, for Wuxian, he felt that he needed to honor Xuanyu’s wishes. He just didn’t know how when he was dragged into this world.

    Wuxian’s eyebrow perked, slightly amused how Wangji had already a plan on what to do. He’d heard a bit on Pandopolis; mostly it was the capital of this world, but that there were so many types of people there, with magic and technology (he had no idea what that was). But Wangji’s next words caused him to freeze for a moment.

    “You’ve been brought here with a greater purpose than to just die.”

    It was...surprising to hear that. That Wangji believed in him enough to not want him to die, to believe that there was a reason of him being here. Despite how many painted Wangji as a strict and cold individual, there was so much more to him.

    His thoughts were broken when Wangji stood up and fed Apple...an apple. He smirked at the sight, seeing that donkey greedily eat it and basically ignoring the hay he got for it. Ungrateful.

    Wuxian added some more wood to the fire, the embers licking the fuel as Wangji sat next to him. How long ago had it been since they’ve sat like this? What he wouldn’t give to have some good wine right about now, even though it’d piss off Wangji. Apples were given to him as well, to which Wuxian nodded to Wangji. “Thank you. You better eat too—you’ll need your strength.” The sight of the rabbits hopping to Wangji made him laugh a bit but tried to restrain himself since it’d be pretty stupid if he died choking on an apple.

    The subject shifted back to Jin Ling. While he understood what Wangji was trying to say, it still didn’t change the fact that he had caused it; it was his fault that Zixuan died, his fault that Yanli died. If they had been alive, maybe...maybe he wouldn’t have…

    He could understand the way Wangji thought, though when he mentioned Cheng, he couldn’t say he was surprised. By the end of his life, his sworn brother hated him; he turned his back on them and got Yanli killed. “To the outside, Jiang Cheng’s beliefs aren’t askew. To him and everyone else, I betrayed them and got our sister killed. All because I thought…”

    Wuxian gently shook his head. No point on thinking of the what-ifs. He already lived with regrets; there was no changing that. “I met Jin Ling before I arrived here. As well as...Jiang Cheng. They made their dislike loud and clear—though it was more towards Mo Xuanyu and my ‘evil tricks’ than because who I really was.”

    “They simply do not know you.”

    The last words made his heart skip a beat, and there was a flutter in his chest for some reason, but he attributed that to the cold. And yet, he appreciated the words Wangji spoke. His hand moved to Wangji’s own hand. “You’re too kind, Lan Zhan.” He smiled before his brow furrowed as he held Wangji’s hand. “You’re hands are freezing. Come closer to the fire.”
     
    #13 Wei Wuxian, Jan 13, 2020 at 8:00 AM
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020 at 9:24 AM
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  14. Lan Wangji

    Lan Wangji The Untamed

    Posts:
    17
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Cultivator
    Race:
    Human
    Age:
    Early 30s
    Alignment:
    Neutral Good
    The sound of Wuxian trying to smother his own laughter beside Wangji had said man looking over to him, watching as if he had never heard something so precious in his life and a glint of desperation to his gaze that suggested he might do anything to hear that laugh just a little bit more. As Wuxian suggested the cultivator eat as well, Wangji just shook his head to signal he needn't eat anything more, though he didn't want to admit aloud he had actually been gorging himself on loquats since his arrival and realisation Pandora even grew and sold his favourite fruit.

    Whilst he thought of the small, sweet treats, nothing but a sour taste was left in his mouth as Wuxian talked about Jiang Cheng and the others who had pretty much labeled him as the worst villain of their time. He knew there would be no arguing with Wuxian over it, guilt was a tremendous support for self-doubt and worry, guilt topping it all off, but he wanted to be of some comfort still.

    Once more his thoughts drifted to Yanli, wondering if perhaps he should have wished for something else for Wuxian instead of his selfish need to see the man again after so long. Was it his fault Wuxian was even here now? Had the wish actually worked or was this Pandora just dragging in someone else?
    "Think on how Yanli would tell you to live, especially now you've been given a second chance, Wei Ying." Wangji pleaded, knowing deep down that Wuxian's family were just misguided and full of hurt that had festered over the years and had no real chance to heal.

    "It is only the truth." Wangji knew it was Wuxian's guilt making him think he was just being nice to try and make him feel better. But honestly, the cultivator had never been one to mince his words or say things he didn't mean. And so was the same for now. He believed in Wuxian like no other could and would continue to do so for the rest of his life, especially as he tried to make up for those own regrets he harbored from their last life together.

    The sudden touch of Wuxian's hand on his own had Wangji flinching just a bit, only out of surprise though before he actually seemed to melt into the gesture a little bit at a time. Naturally the man ran a cooler temperature than average thanks to his life up in the Cloud Recesses, so he would feel colder than most would expect him to. Its why the cold spring never bothered him as much or hadn't had his teeth chattering away, nor did his confinements in cold caves with little light, or kneeling in snow for long hours of punishment deter him much. That and his stubbornness. That's why he could forgive those who thought of him as cold and rigid, like the mountains he had grown up among, but only because they didn't really know him.

    He wondered if Wei Ying could perhaps some day venture past the cold and feel the fire burning from within his own heart, one Wangji had tended to and cared for in varying degrees over the years during their separation in a despairing attempt to keep his heart alight. Without letting himself think about it too much, Wangji turned his hand over beneath Wuxian's, his fingertips brushing over the other's skin before his fingers lined up against Wuxian's own and he curled them in just slightly, giving the other's hand a squeeze.

    "Mnn." Came the familiar hum, golden eyes staring into Wuxian's before they were directed to the fire keeping them both warm. Lan Wangji would not sleep tonight, but instead keep stealing glances at the other man, just to check he was not some unkind ghost who had played a trick on him all this time. Tomorrow they would be off, early and bright, to try and find answers to help save Wuxian. But for now... Wangji gave the hand in his own a slight tug, signalling for Wuxian to lay his head upon his shoulder and to rest should he wish. As the snow continued to fall steadily just outside the cave, a silent promise passed between them, one declaring that Wangji would watch over his soulmate throughout the night, and no doubt, many more to come.
     
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  15. Wei Wuxian

    Wei Wuxian The Untamed

    Posts:
    17
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Cultivator
    Race:
    Human
    Age:
    Late 20s / Early 30s
    Alignment:
    Chaotic Good
    Wuxian had bitten the apple and had almost choked on it when he saw the rabbits on his fellow cultivator. The look that Wangji gave him made him smile, as he wiped the juices that dripped from the side of his face. They weren’t lotus seeds or peanuts, but it was better than nothing.

    When Wangji mentioned Yanli, Wuxian felt a pain in his chest. His fist clenched as he took a breath in, before releasing it and leaning back the wall of the cave. Yanli would have wanted him to be happy; his sweet sister, who had finally gained happiness and yet...a part of him wondered if Pandora brought people here, could they perhaps bring people who had died back?

    He thinks that Yanli would be happy here...though he also doubted it since she’d want her son and husband to be part of this life. So, Wuxian simply smiled and nodded, even as Wangji said it was only the truth about what he had said.

    Wangji flinched when Wuxian brought both of his hands’ to the Lan, tugging him gently closer to the fire. While he was certain Wangji could withstand the cold due to having lived in Cloud Recesses—he remembers how Wangji didn’t even shiver at the Cold Spring when they were younger—it wasn’t a good idea to not warm oneself.

    When the other moved his hand in Wuxian’s grip, his eyes widened in surprise as Wangji squeezed his hand. He’s never seen Wangji do that before, especially not to him when he’d literally just grab his wrist and drag him to places. Maybe he was that cold and didn’t realize it.

    Their eyes met briefly before Wangji looked away, eyes glinting in the fire. It has been years since he’s really looked into Wangji’s eyes; and in the firelight, his eyes seemed to gleam like fires of their own...or like golden cores.

    They were quite beautiful.

    But the hour was soon growing late and he was getting tired. While Wuxian had been prepared to sleep against the wall, Wangji tugged the hand in his own...offering his shoulder to sleep on. “Hanguang Jun, you’re full of surprises today.” Well, he wasn’t gonna look a gift-horse in the mouth and it’d be better they remain near one another to remain warm.

    So, Wuxian got comfortable as he leaned on Wangji’s shoulder. “Good night, Lan Zhan.” He said softly and closed his eyes. Tomorrow would be another day, and for the first time in a while, Wuxian didn’t feel as lonely.

    At least, there was one person that stood by him in this world.

    The End
     
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