A loud cough spread throughout Jingshi, alarming the entering man to arrive as quickly as possible in the place where the bed was located. With pain in his warm eyes, he looked at his brother's body torn by a terrible coughing fit. Sitting on the edge of the bed, he patted his brother on the back, he was stopped by a cold hand clenching his wrist.
"It's better now?" asked Lan Xichen, to which his younger brother only shook his head in denial and turning his head in the opposite direction again brought a terrible cough. The Sect Leader was left with nothing, but slow stroking of the sick boy's back. After a few minutes, the coughing stopped, however, the signs of the disease were clearly visible on the boy's pale face. Lan Xichen, taking a handkerchief, soaked it in a basin of water and allowed himself to wash his brother's flushed face.
"Maybe we should cancel the ceremony?" asked Lan Huan quietly, for which the younger brunet only denied it quietly. "It's not necessary. The faster the weddings will take place, the sooner our sect will be safe."
Lan Xichen bit his lip sadly, staring at his brother's face covered with a thick blanket. It was the middle of summer and the sweat dripping down along Lan Zhan's face testified to the discomfort of the younger man. Again washing the brother's face, he asked. "Are you sure? We do not want to put you at risk, even more, we can wait with your wedding until you feel better."
"Can you give me a guarantee that this will happen sometime, brother?" murmured Lan Zhan, staring blankly at the wooden wall opposite, heard his brother gasped, surprised. A moment later, he answered depressed. "No."
"You do not want to marry Nie Huaisang." Lan Xichen whispered, staring at his brother's golden eyes. He saw in the many emotions that could not appear on his face. The marriage of Lan Zhan and Nie Huaisang was to unite the two great sects and ensure their safety. None of the parties would like it, but after a long analysis, they agreed to a truce.
"I do not want to die, but both must happen." Lan Zhan said quietly, then looked into his brother's eyes. In fact, it was Lan Xichen's idea, but he did not expect that he would regret it so quickly. Looking at Lan Zhan's weakened body, the only thing he wanted for him was health.
"Will the Medic come today?" Lan Zhan's words struck the Sect Leader with redoubled strength. His brother was not afraid of the healer's visits, he was prepared for the day when the older man would eventually become his reaper. Lan Xichen did not even want to think about it, but he subconsciously knew that Lan Wangji was just waiting for that day to come.
"Yes, it will be in the evening. You should rest, tomorrow will be a great day." Lan Huan gave a soft sigh and looked into the corner of his brother's bedroom. A floating red material was suspended on the platform for a few days. Full of golden finishes and twisting embroidery. The outfit was really wonderful, made of the best materials that the Sect Leader's brother himself deserved, but tomorrow was not going to be wonderful. Everyone knew about the dangers of the dark. Sighing, the older brunet got up from the bed and sending his brother's sleepy posture last glance, he moved towards the exit in silence, closing the Jingshi's door behind him. Crossed the courtyard. Sunny day put everyone in a good mood and encouraged during slower moments to sit under the spreading branches of trees.
A few of Gusu Lan's students passed him, in a gesture of greeting bowing humbly, Xichen returned the gesture with a smile and then started in only a known direction. Thinking about the coming event, the sick brother and the danger that brushed their teeth. At some points, Lan Xichen was not sure if the alliances he had just made would be enough to stop the next attack of the Great Yiling Patriarch. The man he once knew flowed in the ocean of black robes and the color of blood in his eyes. He did not recognize the laughing boy who, at the age of fifteen, came to Gusu to learn with his brother. The only thing that we now associate with Wei Wuxian is the ranks of the dead, music played by the flute and Ghost General - the corpse of the best teenage friend.
"Sect Leader Lan Xichen, is everything alright?" He was torn out of meditation by the voice of one of the disciple, and then he realized that the student concerned about his sudden behavior noticed that for a few minutes he was leaning against the branch of a tree and stared into the grass with his head down. The student's face tried to hide his surprise with his appearance. Xichen wanted to laugh because he suspected he looked horrible. Tired, restless and unbearable to cry, he carried all the emotions with him, unable to throw them away.
"Yes, yes." he murmured quickly, then left without paying attention to the courtesy of the disciple.
The day passed much faster than anyone expected. The sun gave way to the moon when the Medic arrived at the Gusu Lan. Lan Xichen with a smile led him into familiar areas, gently knocking on the door, he heard only a strangled invitation. Opening the door in their eyes appeared a pale body lifting from the bed.
"I see that your health has deteriorated even more," said the Medic honestly, just as he was asked at the very beginning of the treatment. Currently, medicine is developing slowly and concentrating only on general threads, so that the old medic could only say that Yin Lan Zhan is extremely weak. From the beginning of treatment, the doctor could not find the reason for his malaise. He did not want to say it after the first few meetings from many years ago, but the old Medic knew that Lan Zhan did not have much in front of him He tried many different ways -ointments, preparations, and blends, but nothing helped, even acupuncture failed.
"Doctor, will he leave this?" Asked the older of the two Twin Jades of Gusu. The medic looked at him with a certain question in his eyes, but the darkness in the room made it difficult for him to understand. Lan Zhan took off his upper clothing, as the herbalist asked before, tapping him from every side, the Medic trying to find points that would tell him what a disease devours a young man from the inside.
"Does it hurt you, some part of your body hurts you?" Asked the Medic.
"Chest and place on the right under the ribs," Lan Zhan answered truthfully, then covered himself with a white cloth when the medic permitted it. The old Medic, walking away from the young man's bed, went to a low table where the most-needed materials were spread out. Searching through the brown vials and the infusions wrapped in cloth, he scooped up the glass bottle and handed it over to Xichen. Lan looked at her surprised, expecting an explanation.
"Every morning and evening prepare a drink for him with these herbs. This will help in stabilizing the mood, it's the only thing I can do at the moment." the doctor said, then bowing in a gesture of appreciation, he marched out of the room, leaving the brothers alone.
"I'm sorry, Wangji, I'd like to help you somehow, but I'm powerless." Lan Xichen seemed close to tears, put the vial on the table and went again and sat on the edge of the bed. Sitting in the bedroom of an adult man might seem extremely inappropriate, even if he was your brother. However, everyone knew that Xichen only tried to spend as much time with his sickly brother as he would shut his eyes for good. Lan Zhan, however, during their meetings together saw only a huge pain on his brother's face, he saw an older man stop tears from running down the alabaster cheeks. At sight of the broken Xichen, not only Wangi's body but the heart ached too.
"Brother, you should go to rest, you look miserable, Sect needs you, you can not get sick, not because of me." at the words of his brother, Huan sighed loudly, in their presence they did not have to care for the good upbringing and immaculate appearance. Most people know The Two Jades of Gusu for mirror reflection. How much was the truth? When Lan Zhan was looking at Xichen's face, did he see his sunken cheeks, glazed eyes, and the same aversion to life?
"I feel good. I just want to talk to you one last time as your husband will take you away from us. "Lan Zhan smiled quickly, one of the few smiles in recent times. How much Xichen would sacrifice to remember only good memories including his brother, not to fall asleep worrying about whether he would be able to greet him the next day. Lan Wangji was right. He will be sick and die a few months later, because of his own sadness and helplessness. He got out of bed and started toward the door when a gentle knock came to him. He opened the door and took the pot of boiling water from the young disciple and silently thanked him, then he went to the table. Preparing a brew of herbs, he listened to the melodies played by crickets. After a few minutes, he carried the hot pot to Lan Zhan's hands.
"Careful, hot." Lan Zhan just nodded and dunked his pale lips in the decoction. He hissed gently when the water burned his skin. Xichen snorted softly under his breath, then leaned against the bed and looked out the window. He watched the clouds chasing after the moon as the stars shone in the best light. He did not even notice the moment when Zhan put the cup back on the floor and back under the cover. Xichen slipped out of his brother's Jingshi without notice, to hide in his own bedroom after a few minutes.
There was a scream from the morning. The entire sect had been put on their feet from the early morning and flew back and forth. Wearing decorations in various shades of red and gold. Lan Zhan stared curiously at the door of his Jingshi. Looking around the area, if no one accidentally observed him, escaped imperceptibly carrying a sword with him. The medic was right in saying that the brew would help him, but he probably did not mean that after this he would be able to go outside like most people of his age. Lan Zhan was seventeen years old, eight of whom he spent locked up in his Jingshi, not once joked like:
I'm going to marry Jingshi and never leave it! Bless us, Buddha!
Xichen always turned his eyes then and repeated the memorized rule "You will go out into the fresh air as you feel better blah blah" The truth was that Wangji never felt good enough to go out for more than five minutes. Moving to the back of the buildings, he headed towards the stable to take one of the horses. However, the disciples who circulated there quickly deprived him of the only plan of quick escape from the Sect area. Sighing under his breath, he looked intently at the familiar terrain stretching along the foot of the mountains. Clutching his sword in his hand he moved quickly forward - being weakened, he had no chance to use his sword to fly on it. His vital strength was at the end. Hiding among the trees, he tried to get rid of the disciples who, alerted by his uncle, began to look for him. Penetrating through the branches, he moved to a secluded place he had found a few months ago when he slipped away unnoticed for the first time. The sound of the waterfall hitting the rocks reached his ears and with each step, he approached the small lake at the foot of the waterfall. He bent branches to avoid scratching his face, letting the sun hit his alabaster skin.
He sat on one of the stones, putting the sword next to himself. Leaning his head back, he sank into the warm rays of the late morning sun. Birds sitting on the branches were chirruping cheerfully, humming under his breath, he combed his thick black hair. Hissing loudly under his breath as he sensed the untangled tangles under his fingers. He never cared about his appearance, because only his brother,uncle, and Medic saw him in his four walls. However, if someone saw him now, he would be terrified of his appearance.
" What are you doing here?" at the sound of the foreign voice Lan Zhan jumped up like a scald, turning towards the likely assailant. He wanted to shout when the familiar face of a brunet in black and green robes hit his golden irises. No no no. "You should not go beyond the area of your Sect, Lan Wangji."
His future husband looked dignified wearing the colors of his brother's sect. His hair was high and his face half covered by the characteristic fan, put Lan Zhan in embarrassment. Not because Huaisang see him on his wedding day, since he was here, it meant only one thing. Disciples under the command of Lan Qiren were nearby. Instinctively stepping back, he wanted to get rid of his insistently beating heart. He was terribly frightened by the situation. His uncle will strip him of his skin, and then he will clothe him again just to dig him under the altar.
"Lan Wangji, are you okay?" the older man asked, approaching a few steps toward the young man in bright robes. Lan Zhan instinctively stepped back, not wanting the stranger to stay in his personal space longer than necessary. "Lan Wangji, watch out!"
The younger brunet understood what it was all about when the land ended up under his feet and he flew back with the whole weight of his body. With a loud shout belonging to Nie Huaisang, he fell into the icy water struck by the strong streams of the waterfall. The lake turned out to be much deeper than at first it seemed to the boys. The strong impacts of the waterfall's water effectively prevented Lan Zhan from reaching the surface.
Nie Huaisang threw his fan and the outer robe aside, then called on the approaching disciples - earlier alarmed by his not too masculine screech - he jumped into the icy water. He easily fished out Lan Zhan above the surface of the water, and he watched as the golden eyes leaned over the stuck eyelids, brushed his dark hair from his face and pulled him toward the shore. The students in white robes quickly helped them out. Huaisang, raising his fan and his dark robe of grass, threw it on the back of a soggy boy.
"I told you to be careful," Huaisang pointed out, to which Lan Zhan looked at him reproachfully and replied, "And it's my fault ?!"
"And whose another one?" snorted under his breath the younger brother of the Nie Sect Leader.
"Yours! You have come too close!" Wangji pointed to him, rising from grass and dropping the dark robe. Huaisang covered his face with a fan to minimally escape the fierce gaze of his fiancé, he saw Wangji's lips twitch and stop the tongue from spitting out unpleasant words. He heard a lot about Lan Xichen's younger brother. He heard that the warrior's soul was hidden beneath that lovely face and weak body. Unfortunately, it could not be developed through illness. Most saw Lan Zhan as a quiet, calm, young man from a good home, but this little accident put Wangji in a different light. Nie Huaisang smiling behind the material of the fan came to the conclusion that marriage with this young man does not have to be so boring. Huaisang was about to speak, but a loud scream reached them from the forest. Everyone looked at the leaders coming out from the trees. They both walked confidently towards the congregation, anxiety prevailed among the youth. Nie Huaisang, looking at his brother's angry red face and his ruffled hair, was sure that he would break his head. And on his wedding day! Lan Wangji did not seem too alarmed by his brother's anger. In fact, the angry Lan Xichen was a rare and any sane man would run away while he had the opportunity.
"What are you imagining, huh?" Nie Mingjue's roar pierced his younger brother to the very bones, Huaisang could swear that he had seen Wangji and Xichen crumble as if Mingjue's anger were to reach them too. "You sneak away, push your fiancé into the water and I will not even mention that you dared to see him before the ceremony!"
"What, but what but? Nie Mingjue shouted, and although Xichen tried to calm him down several times, he finally stopped, fearing that one of the hands that the Sect Leader waves could hit him in the face. "Who brought you up, boy! I do not believe I must be ashamed of you on your wedding day!"
"But!" Huaisang tried again but stopped when he noticed that Lan Zhan gives him only amused glances. Wangji immediately straightened up, when Nie Mingjue's attention rested on him.
The show will start - it flashed through Huaisang's mind when he saw his brother's mood completely changed when his eyes fell on the figure of a tall, skinny young man. Nie Mingjue caught him in his arms, muttering a few apologizing words on his brother behalf, he refrained from rolling his eyes. Mingjue imposed his robe on Wangji's body, then turned back to him.
"You will not even think about covering him with something, do you? You know he is sickly." Huaisang looked at the scene in front of him with pure disbelief on his face. He even blinked several times to understand more accurately, what the hell is going on here. Xichen gave him a sympathetic smile, knowing well that the entire incident was one hundred percent blame on Lan Zhan. However, Mingjue loved Xichen's younger brother and did not allow himself to know that Zhan could do something bad. It is not that Huaisang burdened Wangji for the misfortune of his life. The younger Nie considered Lan Wangji as a role model, a walking ideal, and a man with the most merciful heart he had ever known. It was just that his older brother was so damn blinded by Lan Zhan's ideality and he did not notice that the devil was hidden behind those golden eyes.
"Huaisang, ride to get ready! If I see you again today, I swear you will crawl into the chamber of honeymooners! "Huaisang covered his face with a fan again, so he would not burst out laughing at the sight of his brother's red face. He saw his fiancé stiffen in his brother's arms for a moment, but Mingjue did not even notice.
It will be the strangest night in his life, he admitted to himself.
The ceremony was strange, according to Lan Zhan. He did not imagine his wedding, but he did not complain behind the red veil. He certainly did not dream of a wedding with a male, but Nie Huaisang did not seem such a bad choice. It was possible to say that he even liked the older boy, in a strange way he was quite ... cute. The wedding feast was full of various dishes that he had seen for the first time in his life and could not even taste it through his dubious stomach. The disease first spoke to him somewhere after the main ceremony. He had the impression that he would burn with shame when he choked on his own cough while bowing. He had the pleasure that the veil was just as red as his face when he was stopping the next bouts of coughing. He did not want to worry anyone, especially because the feast was at its best. He hoped that the food would eventually end and everyone would go to sleep, but contrary to his requests, the servants reported further trays full of delicacies.
Stopping the cough after the thousandth of today, he hid between the high screens and let himself be weak for a moment. Covering his lips with his hand, he let the terrible coughing shudder his whole body. His eyes widened in horror as he saw drops in the color of his outfit on the palm of his hand. Quickly wiping his hand and mouth for certainty, he once again holed up between the partying guests. He paused for a moment when he saw his older brother, his husband and Nie Mingjue talking about something. He stomped on the desire to approach them and find out what was going on, but as a wife, he did not like it. He bit his lip angrily at the thought that he had to put on a veil tonight. Why? Because he was weaker?
Gods, if you hear me, let me be a husband in my next life, "he said to himself. - And I'm asking for health too. And if I had to choose, I am asking for health!
Lan Zhan would be happy at this moment. Food and alcohol ended at last and everyone could give him peace of mind, but he quickly recovered when a very important forgotten event reached him. Wedding night. Instinctively, he looked around, as if searching for his last resort. The cough came back to his throat again, and he shuddered all over his body.
"Wangji, are you okay?" he turned instinctively when Xichen's voice hit his ears. By sending him a false smile, his eyes rested on Huaisang and Mingjue, who stood beside him - the latter took on the appearance of sober. "I heard you coughing, maybe you should go to bed." Xichen suggested gently, to which Mingjue snorted under his breath, directing his drunken speech to Huaisang.
"Do you know what to do or should I help you?" He gasped and Huaisang blushed instinctively. Xichen hit the elder Nie imperceptibly sideways, admonishing him. A moment later they left, leaving the newlyweds alone.
"So we should." Huaisang began uncertainly, indicating the entrance to the chamber of the newlyweds. Lan Wangji looked at him uncertainly, with apparent fear in his eyes, then cut off. "No."
"Okay. I understand." he quickly blurted out, but he watched Lan Zhan step inside confidently. Huaisang directed his steps behind his husband, closing the door behind him as if to be sure that he would not get away anywhere. He put down the fan on the table on which the red lantern was burning. The room was drowning in red blood and the subtle flame of candles. He had to admit that Sect Gusu Lan really did a good job. The room took on a delicate yet intimate decor. He looked briefly at Lan Zhan, who was now sitting on the bed. With his head bowed, he looked at him for the veil material.
Collect in yourself, gather in yourself - reminded himself Nie. Letting air out of his lungs, he went to his husband - as strange as it sounds - and sat down next to him on the bed. Wangji instinctively turned his head towards him, and he began to panic. Did Lan Zhan expect the consumption of their relationship? Tilting the red material he met the tired look of Lan Zhan's golden eyes. He laid the veil on the bed next to them and let himself admire the beauty of the man in front of him. Delicate make-up improved the condition of tired skin, giving Lan Zhan an appetizing look. Huaisang did not hide that he like men, but Wangji was not his type.
"Will you kiss me at least?" Zhan suddenly asked, not hiding his boredom. "Huaisang looked at him in surprise and asked," What? After all, you said that ... "
"I'm not going to make out with you in the coming months." Lan Wangji summed up the cold, and Huaisang felt as if someone had kicked him in the crotch. "But we have to seal the marriage, so the kiss is probably a good start."
Huaisang bit his lip, then looked at Wangji's red-coated lips, why was he shaking so much?! A moment later he realized that the whole bed had moved with the terrible coughing of Lan Zhan.
"All right?!" asked Huaisang, alarmed, he knew that Lan Zhan had felt worse than usual in recent times. He was aware of the platform on which this marriage was built, but no one would want his husband to go down during the wedding night. "Wangji?"
"Yes, I'm fine," he answered fleetingly, wiping his lips and smudging the red lipstick. "You should not, however, kiss me."
"It's fine.'' - murmured Nie Huaisang./p>
Collect in yourself, because your brother will laugh at you once he finds out - Huaisang reminded himself - after these words he got closer to Lan Zhan as much as he could, but Wangji, fearing and not willing, moved away as much as he could. Huaisang flew at him with all his weight and at one point he was afraid that Wangji would push him to the floor with a loud bang
"You hurt me." the older brunet murmured under his breath, and Wangji continued to look down at him. Huaisang was in such a strange position for the first time. He towered over a boy who, although he did not look, was stronger than he. The atmosphere in the room was so awkward that if some Deities watched this incident, they would probably roll up laughing on fluffy clouds. However, he did not expect Wangji to take his face in his hands and connect his mouth with his own. Time stood still and not because he felt a magical spark pass through his whole body, rather in the realization that someone like Lan Zhan kisses him. He opened his mouth to let Wangji's tongue go inside, the younger boy's movements were very clumsy and uncertain, but at least he was making some moves. Because the only thing that Huaisang could do at the moment was enjoying the warmth of his husband's mouth. Wangji, despite his inexperience, kissed wonderfully, and if Huaisang could choose the moment in which he would fall in love with Wangji, it would probably be the moment when Wangji gently bites his lip and he kisses harder.
The momentary pleasure dissipated much faster than it had begun. Lan Zhan touched by a coughing attack, turned his head to the side. Huaisang rose slightly upwards giving the younger brunet more free space. He touched his red cheek.
"You have a high fever," said Nie, then decided. "Lie down, I'll go find your brother, he should know what to do."
"You should not leave," Wangji noted wisely, but Huaisang quickly dislodged him. "Your health is more important than some stupid superstitions.
Lan Wangji pulled off his red robes and remained only in white clothing, which was still weighing on the feverish body. Covering himself with a bedspread, he tried to remember the moment when he was taking a brew of herbal medicine, he was in the middle of meditation when something moved in the darkened corner of the room. He froze in place, listening to whether something is still there. Lanterns were on burnout and the attacker probably waited only for the moment when the darkness would prevail in the room.
"Who you are?" Wangji asked confidently, to which the character moved, frightened. As if it did not expect to be noticed. "Show up."
" It's just a dream." a man's voice began. "You slept tired, after the night of your life with your husband and you only dream of it."
" Not at all!" Wangji cut off irritably. He certainly would not have dreamed of a murderer in the corner of the room, especially after the night with Huaisang. Nonsense. "Come out."
After a moment the figure lost the desire to play when it realized that he would not win. The figure turned out to be a tall man with dark robes, on which red flames were rising. Red eyes shimmered for a moment, causing Lan Zhan to be concerned. Golden eyes record the shape of the flute at the beltt when the man's silhouette approaches the bed. Lan Zhan instinctively pulled himself up, hitting his back against the wall. The man in long, diluted hair only laughed, apparently enjoying him as like a trapped animal.
"Who do we have here, huh?" The foreign voice vibrates in the small room, it was quite pleasant to the ear. "Isn't it the famous Lan Zhan? Sickly pride of the entire sect?
"Yiling Patriarch?" Asked Lan Zhan, masking his terror, he heard a lot about the man in front of him, but these were all bad things, full of murders, rage, and blood.
"So you heard about me? How nice. " he grinned in a smile that did not reach his eyes, staring at half-naked Wangji as if he were a wolf for a small sheep, he was a hunter, and he was self-confident because he appeared in their area when two powerful Sects wanting his head.
"Go away and I will not tell anyone that you have been here." the younger brunet looked at the Patriarch with fake self-confidence.
Wei Ying just laughed, then put the flute in his hand and put it to mouth, playing melody only know to himself. Wangji's hair bristled when the dark melody reached his veins. Lan Zhan - at the moment when Ying lost himself in the melody -tried to reach his blade hidden between the red materials, but the hand caught him on the run and threw him back on the bed.
"Don't try tricks Honey, my patience has limits," he hissed through his teeth.
Lan Zhan repeated the order. "Go away!"
"Oh, I'm leaving, but with what I came here for!" Wei Ying explained gently, but when the lips touched the flute again, his eyes sparkled with the color of blood, and someone's roar spread through the door of the newlyweds' chamber.
"What was that?!" Alarmed by the sounds Lan Zhan rose from the bed, but Wei Wuxian stopped him again.
"Did I tell you to move somewhere?" hissed a twenty-five-year-old, to which Lan Zhan just bit his lips angrily. He did not see any chance of escaping from this room, and it did not seem good outside either.
"What do you want?" younger Lan plotted a topic on which the patriarch Yiling rolled his eyes and then put his hand to the Lan Zhan's nose. Before Lan Wangji saw what the attacker was holding, his senses blurred in the color of laughter and reds.
Wei Ying lifted the body of the unconscious man out of bed, stating that at the age of seventeen he was unusually light. Well, the disease always served its purpose. Leaving the room, he found a crowd of drunken cultivators who clumsily tried to defeat wild beasts. Wei laughed under his breath, then summoned the tall corpse to him, throwing an unconscious victim at him.
"You know where to go, I will stay here and have a good time." said the patriarch, with a malicious smile, putting the flute to his mouth and told the audience about the lost remains of humanity.