First song: Alive
Version I listened to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8i7ChGhEa0
The Lotus Pier was bustling with noise.
Vendors were pressuring passersby, urging them to purchase fresh produce for their stalls. The scent of seed pods, water chestnuts, and many different kinds of pastries filled the air, attracting all kinds of unwanted critters. Young men were calling to the maidens on the shore, complimenting their beauty and angelic voices. Runny-nosed children were sprinting from place to place, attempting to dodge the stones being thrown by the angry vendors they had stolen from.
“Those damned kids,” a vendor grumbled, “I swear, they’re my best customers and they don’t even buy anything…”
Laughter erupted from the young man currently paying for all the food the children had stolen, “Come on Uncle, it’s not like this is anything new. One day they’ll grow out of thieving and focus their efforts on cultivation or some other productive area.”
The vendor grunted, “You’re just defending them because you used to steal from me all the time, Wei WuXian.”
Wei WuXian winked at him and moved on to the next person waiting to be paid.
The woman beside them sighed, “Sect Leader Jiang is too kind. He lets those rascals get away with too much.”
Wei WuXian let out a tutting sound while rummaging through his wallet, “Come now Aunty, I saw you hand those pastries to them of your own free will. If anything you’re encouraging them.”
The woman smiled, “Oh dear me, I’ve been caught. Does that mean you won’t pay for the food I’ve lost? I’ll have to go a whole week without a meal to make up for that!”
Wei WuXian chuckled and handed her some money.
Nearby, some young maidens started giggling, “You’re much too kind brother!”
Seeing that the opportunity had presented itself to him, Wei WuXian flirted back, “That’s the highest compliment, coming for beauties such as yourselves!”
“Stop it, you praise us too much!”
“You’re going to make it so our hearts can’t beat for someone else!”
At the mention of ‘hearts’, Wei WuXian felt a shiver come over him. Unconsciously, he reached up, placed his hand over the left side of his chest, and channelled some spiritual energy into himself.
One of the maidens commented on his actions, “Well? Does your heart beat for us as well?”
Noticing what he had done, Wei WuXian plastered a huge smile on his face and said, “How could my heart not beat for such wonderful sisters?”
“Took you long enough.”
Jiang Cheng was waiting under a tree, throwing pebbles at absolutely nothing.
Wei WuXian smiled at him, “How did the meeting go?”
Jiang Cheng gave him a cold, hard stare, “Getting right to the point, huh?”
“Answer the question, Jiang Cheng.”
Jiang Cheng sighed, “What do you think? Terrible as usual! My heart didn’t even tremble! I mean, how could it? That bitch was way too loud and full of herself! No to mention that she looked like a pig…”
Wei WuXian laughed, “Jiang Cheng, your standards are too high! This is why you will never find a wife!”
Jiang Cheng sneered, “It’s not like my heart beating is my choice! Do you think I want to keep attending these stupid meetings, hoping that both of our hearts will beat enough for them to arrange a marriage? A-Jie is lucky her heart beat for her first suitor!”
Wei WuXian frowned, “I wouldn’t call being engaged to that damn peacock ‘lucky’.”
Jiang Cheng, “Whatever. Anyways, speaking of hearts beating, did you see anyone on your little trip that made your heart beat?”
Wei WuXian shook his head, “Not a single one.”
Jiang Cheng stiffened a laugh, “Oh how the maidens would cry, knowing that the man that flirts with them daily has never experienced a heartbeat. Even I’ve at least felt love before.”
Wei WuXian countered, “Oh yeah? Didn’t that maiden end up having her heart on the wrong side? What was her name? Wen Ning? No, that was her brother… Wen Qing! That’s it! Wasn’t Wen Qing a left-hearted maiden? Are you telling me the only time you’ve ever experienced love was for a maiden who was only interested in other maidens?”
Jiang Cheng lost it, “Shut up! It’s not my fault the damn woman had a man’s heart! Women are supposed to have their hearts on the right side and men on the left! Just because she was some kind of fucked-up left-hearted mutant that could only love another woman-”
Wei WuXian scolded jokingly, “Careful what you way about her. She’s leading the QishanWen Sect now after their little coup d’état.”
Jiang Cheng scoffed, “And I’m the future leader of the YunmengJiang Sect. Your point?”
Wei WuXian, “Ah yes, the last leader of the YunmengJiang sect, the one who will see us all in ruin- Ouch! What was that for?”
Jiang Cheng had thrown a rock at him, “You know very well what that was for.” He looked up at the sky and saw that the sun was getting ready to rest, “Common, we should head back.”
“Yes, oh noble leader.”
Jiang Cheng threw another rock at him.
When they arrived at the banquet hall, Jiang YanLi, Jiang FengMian, and Madam Yu were already seated, eating their respective meals.
As they entered, Madam Yu sneered, “Back so soon, eh? I’d have thought that you would have tried to run away after such an embarrassing meeting. Oh, you brought the servant with you as well.”
“My lady,” Jiang FengMian scolded, “you know how I feel about that word.”
Madam Yu looked as if she was going to counter, but Jiang FengMian quickly changed topics, “A-Xian, did you finish paying all the vendors?”
Wei WuXian bowed, “Yes Uncle Jiang. I made sure that they were all satisfied with the payments they received.” Wei WuXian proceeded to pull out the wallet he had been taking the money from, “Here’s your wallet back.”
Jiang FengMian took the wallet from him, then ruffled his hair, “Good work.”
Smiling, Wei WuXian took his seat.
Meanwhile, Jiang Cheng continued to stand, waiting to be addressed.
Madam Yu, “What are you just standing there for?! Do you expect praise? Words of understanding perhaps? Although I despise the fact that your father seems to have forgotten who his son is-”
“Don’t interrupt me! A-Cheng, your performance today was horrendous! That wonderful young lady-”
Jiang Cheng made a face at that.
“-came all the way from her home to attend this meeting, and what does she get? A barrage of insults and a face covered in food! What must that clan think of us now?! Honestly, how could I have given birth to a son like you?!”
Jiang FengMian looked disappointedly at his son, “A-Cheng, your mother is right. Your conduct was unacceptable. That poor young lady-”
Understanding that he would be in for a long scolding, Jiang Cheng marched over to his side of the table and listened as his parents continued to pick apart everything he had done that day, not leaving out even a single detail. Jiang YanLi tried to silently comfort him, but even that seemed hesitant, as if she too disapproved of his conduct during the meeting.
After he felt as if he had heard enough, Jiang Cheng exclaimed, “Alright, I get it! I’ll do better next time.”
“You’d better,” Madam Yu commented. “We’re going to be travelling for the next meeting. Pack your bags and be prepared to leave first thing tomorrow.”
Jiang FengMian looked towards Wei WuXian, “A-Xian, you too. We will be bringing a few members of our clan as guards.”
“And to show that we’re no pushovers,” Jiang YanLi helpfully added.
Overjoyed at the idea of travel, Wei WuXian excitedly asked, “Where are we headed? Have I been there before?”
Jiang FengMian chuckled, “Why of course. This is a location you should both be quite familiar with.”
Seeing that Wei WuXian was now wearing a confused expression, Jiang FengMian decided to clarify.
“Prepare yourself, we’re headed to Gusu.”
The next day, the Jiang family, Wei WuXian, and nine other disciples all mounted their swords—Jiang YanLi riding with Wei WuXian—and took off towards the mountainous region of Gusu.
“So you threw food at her, huh?”
Jiang Cheng, “Get over here so I can smack that grin off your face.”
Wei WuXian feigned fear, “Shijie, save me!”
Jiang YanLi, “No hitting, A-Cheng. And A-Xian, stop bullying A-Cheng. He knows what he did was wrong.”
“Yes he does!” Jiang Cheng countered angrily.
Wei WuXian, “Well, I hope your attitude has improved since yesterday. If we’re headed to Gusu, that means your future maybe-probably-not-bride-to-be will be from a family of boring rule followers, just like someone we know.”
Jiang Cheng rolled his eyes, “I swear, if you’re talking about him again…”
Jiang YanLi piped in, “Oh, are you talking about Lan WangJi again? Do you think he’ll be at the meeting?”
Wei WuXian, “I hope so.”
Jiang Cheng, “I doubt it. This woman I’m meeting is from a small side branch of the Lan Clan. I don’t think she even bears the Lan surname. There’s no way a man of his stature would waste his time guarding someone like her.”
Jiang YanLi giggled, “I don’t know, I heard that he pops up everywhere. Have you heard? People are calling him ‘HanGuang-Jun’ now!”
Wei WuXian’s smile widened at that, “HanGuang-Jun, eh? What a fitting name! I’ll be sure to use that when I see him.”
“ If you see him,” Jiang Cheng corrected. “What is it with you and your obsession with him? He’s gotta be the most boring person I’ve ever met!”
Wei WuXian laughed, “It’s because he’s so boring that I find him so interesting! How can a human being so boring even exist?!”
“For such a boring person, you sure do find quite a lot of opportunities to bring him up,” Jiang YanLi giggled. “But you know A-Xian? I’m glad you found such a great friend when you went to study at Gusu.”
Jiang Cheng snorted, “Friend? Hardly. They were more like the world’s greatest enemies. Lan WangJi was constantly on his case and I really don’t blame him. I’m surprised Wei WuXian didn’t get himself kicked out with all the rules he broke…”
Wei WuXian laughed, “I did break quite a few rules, but it’s not like I got into a fight with anyone. I was a rule-breaker, but I wasn’t a threat.”
Jiang Cheng, “Though, you did look ready to punch Jin ZiXuan when those disciples asked him about A-Jie.”
Wei WuXian scoffed, “That was if he answered incorrectly.”
Jiang YanLi smiled, “You two are too mean to him. Just because he was a bit full of himself when we first met him-”
“-doesn’t mean he’s not a nice person. Though, I’m glad to know he thinks highly of me.”
Jiang Cheng, “How could he not? What, with the way his heart beats for you, it would be weird if he didn’t say something nice! He’s just lucky he met you before he went to study at the Cloud Recesses with us…”
Wei WuXian, “Anyways, can we move on to a more interesting topic? Shijie, what else did you hear about Lan Zhan? Is he still single?”
Jiang Cheng groaned, but Jiang YanLi indulged him, “Last I heard.”
“Alright!” Wei WuXian cheered, “I can still tease him about that!”
Jiang Cheng sighed, “I will never understand your obsession with that man, no matter how many times you explain it to me.”
Wei WuXian, “I told you, it’s because he’s such a huge mystery to me! But, there’s never been a mystery too hard for XianXian to solve! I’ll get to the bottom of it one day, you’ll see…”
Second song: Clarity
Version I listened to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9buluPWlkAA
Low and behold, when they finally arrived at the meeting in Gusu, Lan WangJi and Lan XiChen were there to greet them.
Jiang FengMian, “Sect Leader Lan, what a pleasant surprise. I was not aware that you concerned yourself with such trivial matters.”
Lan XiChen smiled, “Normally I don’t, but this was an exception.” He turned towards Wei WuXian, “Young Master Wei, Young Master Jiang, it’s wonderful to see you both again, right WangJi?”
Lan WangJi gave no indication he had heard his brother speak, but Lan XiChen chuckled nonetheless, “As you can see, my brother is overjoyed at your presence.”
Ever the brother-reader , Wei WuXian thought.
As Lan XiChen went to greet everyone else, Wei WuXian waved to Lan WangJi, “HanGuang-Jun!”
Jiang Cheng looked shocked, “Do you have a death wish?! Why must you always bother him the moment you two meet up?! I won’t help you if you die!”
Wei WuXian ignored him and ran up to Lan WangJi.
“Lan Zhan! Why did you not respond to me? Do you not like being called HanGuang-Jun? How about Second Young Master Lan? WangJi-xiong? Er-Gege?”
Finally, Lan WangJi responded, “Whatever is fine.”
Wei WuXian backed away in awe, “Colour me impressed! Your attitude has improved quite a bit since the last time we met, Second Master Lan. Didn’t you throw quite a tantrum last time? Over something as small as a forehead ribbon, too!”
At that, a few Lan disciples turned, as if wanting to say something. However, Lan WangJi waved them off.
“Mn,” he simply replied.
Wei WuXian continued, “Anyways, what are you doing here? Shouldn’t an esteemed person such as yourself be meditating somewhere? I wasn’t aware you concerned yourself with worldly affairs.”
Wei WuXian, “Come on Lan Zhan! Can’t you give me more than that? I came all this way to see you!”
Lan WangJi, “…Lying is forbidden.”
Wei WuXian made a pouting face, “I’m not lying! Right Jiang Cheng? Shijie?”
Jiang Cheng, “Don’t involve me in this!”
Jiang YanLi, “He’s not lying, Second Young Master Lan! A-Xian wouldn’t stop talking about you on the way here!”
“There, you see,” Wei WuXian said smugly, “I’m not lying. If Shijie says so, then it’s true.” Suddenly, Wei WuXian tensed up, “You’re not gonna call Shijie a liar, are you? Because if you do, we’re about to have a huge problem.”
Lan WangJi sighed, then turned away, “Not a liar.”
A wide grin returned to Wei WuXian’s face, “That’s good! Now tell me, Lan Zhan, what have you been up to recently? Any exciting night-hunts? Has your cultivation advanced a lot? Any maidens on your mind? Oi! Where are you going? Second Master Lan! Er-Gege!”
Jiang Cheng, “Leave him be. Besides, we have to start this meeting soon, so let’s just go.”
Reluctantly, Wei WuXian agreed.
As expected, the meeting went horribly.
“Hey,” Wei WuXian offered, “at least you didn’t throw food at her this time.”
Jiang Cheng was messaging his head, mumbling “Why must my heart be so picky?” over and over again.
Wei WuXian, “Maybe your heart just can’t find anyone it thinks you’re compatible with. Maybe you won’t find anyone! Hahahahahaha-”
Wei WuXian was silenced by a scroll to the face.
Jiang Cheng, “I’m going to bed. Wake me up when we leave tomorrow.”
With that, he slammed the door to his room.
Jiang YanLi, “You should probably rest too, A-Xian. We’ll be leaving first thing tomorrow and I don’t want you to be too tired.”
Wei WuXian, “You know me, Shijie, I can’t sleep until later.” Wei WuXian looked down the mountain, “Besides, I heard there’s a town down there with excellent alcohol.”
Jiang YanLi smiled, then departed towards her own room, “Be careful, A-Xian.”
“Careful? What’s that?”
Jiang YanLi shut her door.
Sighing, Wei WuXian turned and ran out the exit…
…And right into Lan WangJi.
Wei WuXian, “L-L-Lan Zhan?! What are you doing here?!”
Lan WangJi looked down at him, an unknown glint in his eyes, “…Patrolling.”
Wei WuXian, “Patrolling? Lan Zhan, this isn’t the Cloud Recesses. Why would you be patrolling?”
Lan WangJi didn’t answer.
Wei WuXian gave him a look, “What, do you not trust the YunmengJiang Sect? I get if what I’ve done in the past has offended you in some way, but the whole sect? Really?”
Suddenly, a thought struck him, “…That is, unless you were only watching me?”
Seeing how that comment had interrupted Lan WangJi’s normally steady breathing pattern, Wei WuXian decided to continue teasing him. He fluttered his eyelashes, “Lan Zhan Lan Zhan, why must you suspect poor old innocent me of plotting anything? You hurt my heart! Do you want to hurt me, Lan Zhan?”
Lan WangJi backed away and turned his head, “…Go back to the inn.”
“I wanna drink.”
Lan WangJi started to talk, “Alcohol is-”
Wei WuXian, “Forbidden? Come now Lan Zhan, we’re not in the Cloud Recesses, so those rules don’t apply. I’m going to drink and that’s that.”
Just as Wei WuXian started to walk away, Lan WangJi grabbed onto his sleeve, keeping him there.
Wei WuXian groaned, “What now?”
“…Let me come.”
Wei WuXian paused, bewildered, then laughed, “Oh? Does the esteemed HanGuang-Jun wish to leave his post and drink his night away?”
Lan WangJi didn’t respond, but Wei WuXian took that as confirmation, “Very well, let XianXian show you how to have fun!”
By the time they reached the town, it was close to midnight.
The cold air surrounded them. It was chilly, but not unbearable. The wide, paved streets were lit by the light of the many lanterns that hung from the vendor’s stalls, creating a comforting atmosphere. The streets were bustling with people, all enjoying their midnight strolls or whatever else they were doing.
Wei WuXian peered into a shop window, “Quite a nice place, but not a place where I’d drink.”
Lan WangJi looked mildly confused, so Wei WuXian explained, “I’ve had more than enough alcohol in my life to know when the stuff is good.” He pointed to the shop they had just passed, “The stuff they were serving there was good, but not great. Something you could get at any place. No, what I want is something I’ve only had in Gusu!”
Lan WangJi looked at him, then took a guess, “Emperor’s Smile?”
The gleam in Wei WuXian’s eyes increased, “Exactly right! I haven’t had that alcohol in ages, and I’ve got a huge craving for it! Really Lan Zhan, you don’t know what you’re missing! You have to try some when we find it!”
Wei WuXian flashed a smile at him, and Lan WangJi forced himself to turn away.
They walked for around for a while, enjoying the scenery and basking in the soft glow of the moon. The farther they walked away from the center of the town, the more sounds they could hear, like the crunch of the pebbles beneath their feet, or the whistling of the wind as it flew through the trees, causing leaves to fall.
Wei WuXian looked around, “…You know, Lan Zhan, I’m not actually a huge fan of crowds.”
Lan WangJi looked curiously at him, as if trying to identify whether or not he was lying.
Wei WuXian, “Don’t look at me like that! It’s true! Don’t get me wrong, I like people, but I would much rather spend my days adventuring with the people closest to me, experiencing things like this.”
Wei WuXian looked into Lan WangJi’s eyes, “What about you, Lan Zhan? Do you feel the same way?”
Wei WuXian smiled, “I knew it! You seemed like the type.” Wei WuXian got a distant look in his eyes, “Just think about it, a future exploring the county, hand in hand with your bonded one…” He elbowed Lan WangJi, “Don’t you think it would be nice to experience that with your special lady?”
Lan WangJi sped up, putting some distance between them.
Wei WuXian, “Oi! Lan Zhan! Where are you going? We were having such a heartfelt conversation and you just-”
Suddenly, they both paused.
Undetectable to all but those with a cultivator’s ears were the screams of a maiden.
Wei WuXian, “Lan Zhan.”
They both took off, swords flying them to the source of the sound.
When they arrived, they were greeted to a gang of men trashing a small brewery. They held weapons of varying degrees of usefulness, but all quite effective at the task at hand. On the ground by their feet laid the crumpled figures of two women.
Wei WuXian cried out, “Hey! What the hell do you think you’re doing?!”
The men turned and, seeing that the people behind them were two cultivators, took off running.
“We’ll be back you bitches!”
“You’d better leave this town if you know what’s good for you!”
Wei WuXian looked at Lan WangJi, “What was that about?”
Lan WangJi was equally as confused, but those concerns soon found their way to the back of their minds as they saw one of the women attempt to rise.
Wei WuXian ran over to her as she collapsed once again, “Sister, you shouldn’t move, you’re too injured. Here, let me see.”
Wei WuXian began to peel away clothing, inspecting every bruise she had, while Lan WangJi went to aid the other woman.
As Wei WuXian got to the woman’s chest, he realized how his actions might be perceived and started verbalizing everything he did.
“Alright sister, I’m going to have to look at your chest now. Don’t worry, I’m not going to do anything or touch anything you don’t want touched, but those bastards seemed to be targeting all their kicks in this one specific place, so…”
Just as Wei WuXian peeled away the woman’s upper undergarments, Lan WangJi spoke, “…Wei Ying.”
“…Do you see what I’m seeing, Lan Zhan?”
Wei WuXian buried his face in his palm, “I guess that explains that, then.”
On the left side of both women’s chests was a matching, glowing mark.
The mark of a bonded pair.
Wei WuXian, “Common, let’s get them inside.”
By the time the first woman regained consciousness, Wei WuXian and Lan WangJi had finished treating most of their injuries.
The woman looked around, then immediately picked up a knife that was near her bed.
“What the fuck do you bastards what?! We already said we aren’t leaving! A-Lin even said- Wait, A-Lin? A-Lin!”
The woman ran over to the other woman, presumable A-Lin. She begun to inspect her, then noticed that both of them were bandaged and changed.
The woman spoke, “What—?”
Wei WuXian smiled softly, “Hello sister, my name is Wei Ying, courtesy WuXian. This is my friend, Lan Zhan.”
Lan WangJi bowed, “Courtesy, WangJi.”
Wei WuXian continued, “We’re both just some wandering cultivators. We found you two surrounded by a bunch of ruffians, so we chased them away and treated you both. Fear not, we didn’t do anything, but we did have to undress you both to get to some of the injuries. Though, we avoided touching your marks.”
The woman spoke, “…I don’t have the words to express how grateful I am.”
Wei WuXian turned towards A-Lin, “Is she your wife?”
The woman nodded.
Wei WuXian, “Then I can take a guess as to why those men were throwing a tantrum.”
Wei WuXian got up and passed some of their supplies back to the woman, “Here, use this to treat the injuries around you and your wife’s mark. I don’t want us to risk touching it and making things worse.”
The woman nodded again, “Thank you, young masters.”
Lan WangJi and Wei WuXian went outside to give the two some privacy. They remained there in silence, guarding the door to prevent others from entering.
They remained that way for what seemed like an hour, when they heard another voice cry out, “A-Hui!”
“A-Lin! You’re awake! How do you feel? Can you move?”
“How injured do you think I am? Yes, I can move… Colour me impressed, A-Hui, since when were you this good at treating injuries?”
“It wasn’t me, it was these two cultivators… Young masters! It’s safe to come in!”
Wei WuXian and Lan WangJi entered the room. Immediately, A-Lin tensed up, “A-Hui, are they safe?”
A-Hui nodded, “Yes. Don’t worry about hiding your mark either, they’ve already seen that.”
A-Lin looked up, “…And you’re fine with that?”
“Why wouldn’t we be?” Lan WangJi offered.
A smile crept up on A-Lin’s face, “Well, you’d be the first then. Anyways, I should thank you both for saving us. We deal with that on a regular basis, but they were especially bad today. I might have lost a limb if you hadn’t helped us.”
Wei WuXian chuckled a bit, “You’re just lucky they didn’t touch your mark. If they had, I’m not sure we could have dealt with the backlash.”
“I guess we have some luck, then,” A-Hui commented bitterly, “Anyways, we should probably flee this town, A-Lin. Who knows when they’ll come back?”
The two women looked up, “Young master, what do you mean?”
Wei WuXian smiled, “He means that there’s no need to leave. While you were out, we hung up the GusuLan and YunmengJiang Sects’ symbols outside your door. That should be enough to ward them off. If not, you can send up some of the signal flares we’ve left you two and someone will be here to help.”
A-Lin, “…Thank you very much, young masters, but do you have the authority to do such a thing…?”
A-Lin looked at their clothing, then gears started to turn in her head, “…A-Hui, what did you say their names were?”
“Wei WuXian and Lan WangJi.”
A look of shock came across A-Lin’s face, “Wei WuXian and Lan WangJi?! As in the head disciple of the YunmengJiang Sect and the Second Young Master of the GusuLan Sect?!”
“Yep!” Wei WuXian confirmed.
A-Lin turned to A-Hui, “A-Hui, why didn’t you tell me we had such important guests in our house?!”
“…They’re important? I thought they were just some wandering cultivators.”
A-Lin facepalmed, “…This is why you should keep up with the cultivation world. You’re always whining about how you don’t need to know about stuff like that, but here were are…”
“Don’t ‘A-Linnnnn’ me!”
Seeing that they were alright, Wei WuXian and Lan WangJi began to leave.
A-Lin called out, “Oh, young masters! Please let us thank you before you go!”
She ran out of the room and came back carrying two jars full of…
“Emperor’s Smile!” Wei WuXian exclaimed.
A-Lin smiled, “Oh, you know it? We brew alcohol for a living, so I hope you can take this as payment…”
Wei WuXian was in shock, “You know how to make Emperor’s Smile?!”
A-Hui, “Of course. My family is the one that came up with that recipe. My grandfather said he came up with it while he was visiting Yunmeng. Would you like more?”
A little while later, the two cultivators left their house with bags full of Emperor’s Smile.
They rode their swords all the way back to the inn, dropping the bags off near the rest of the YunmengJiang Sect’s supplies.
Wei WuXian turned to Lan WangJi, “What a haul!” He then looked up at the sky and saw the slowly rising sun, “Too bad I have to wait until I get back to taste any of it. I don’t wanna be drunk while Shijie is riding with me. You sure you don’t want any?”
Lan WangJi shook his head.
Wei WuXian shrugged, “More for me.” Suddenly, he looked lost in thought. “I hope we did the right thing down there. I mean, don’t get me wrong, protecting them comes first, but who knows if that will be enough? What, with their unusual relationship…”
Lan WangJi, “Unusual?”
Wei WuXian nodded in agreement, “Sure, it’s unusual!… Don’t look at me like that, Lan Zhan, it’s true! Women have their hearts on the right side and men have their hearts on the left! That’s why they’re attracted to each other! It’s always strange when a woman is born with a left heart or a man with a right heart… Lan Zhan? What’s wrong?”
Lan WangJi’s fists had turned white, as if he was trying his best to hold himself back.
Wei WuXian, “…Lan Zhan?”
Lan WangJi turned away.
Wei WuXian walked up to him, “Lan Er-Gege? Are you okay? Did I say something to offend you? Say something! How can I tell what’s wrong if you don’t say something?”
Wei WuXian put a hand on his shoulder, but Lan WangJi immediately shrugged it off.
Tired, cranky, and severely alcohol deprived, Wei WuXian lost it, “What is it with you?! Can I not say anything without you throwing a tantrum? Huh?! I thought your attitude had improved since we were kids, but no! First the forehead ribbon, now this! What did I say? What did I do?! Nothing!”
Wei WuXian turned away, “I’m going to get my five minutes of sleep while I still can. Thanks for everything tonight, Lan Zhan, but let’s not do this again.”
And with that, Wei WuXian stormed inside, ignoring the small twinge in his chest.
Internally, Lan WangJi cursed his inability to properly express his emotions and retreated.
The next day, the YunmengJiang Sect left Gusu.
Lan WangJi was nowhere to be seen.
Third song: River Flows In You
Version I listened to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrF814OnFQ4
It wasn’t until Jiang YanLi’s wedding, months later, that they saw each other again.
By that time, Wei WuXian had come to regret what he has said to Lan WangJi. He also knew his comments on left-hearted women and right-hearted men were insensitive and downright wrong. He had just been copying what Jiang Cheng said about them all the time.
So, when Lan WangJi found him sitting on a roof hours after the wedding, he immediately broke down in drunken tears.
“Lan Zhannnn! I’m soooo sorry”
Taken aback by his outburst, Lan WangJi looked around, trying to see if there was anything around more capable of dealing with a drunk, wailing Wei WuXian. A rock perhaps, or maybe a twig.
“Do you forgive me? Lan Zhannnn!”
Realizing that he was the one that Wei WuXian was confiding in, he looked down and simply nodded.
Relief swept over Wei WuXian, “Good, good…”
Suddenly, Wei WuXian saw what Lan WangJi had in his hands.
“Is that… Is that Emperor’s Smile?!”
“Mn. A gift from maiden Lin and maiden Hui.”
“The gods have blessed me today!” Wei WuXian cried as he accepted Lan WangJi’s gift and downed it in a single gulp.
Wei WuXian, “That hits the spot! I ran out a month ago, so I’ve been craving this stuff for a while. Just the right amount of spice! You have got to try this, Lan Zhan! I mean, that’s only if you like spices. You do like spices, right?”
Wei WuXian let out a sigh of relief, “That’s good. We of the YunmengJiang Sect love spices! Everything we eat is coated in the stuff. I mean, nothing is as good a Shijie’s cooking, but I’ve been trying to eat less of that lately so I don’t go into withdrawal when she leaves…”
A sad look came across Wei WuXian’s face, “…That damn peacock, getting to hog Shijie all to himself. That bastard had better appreciate her.”
“It was a beautiful wedding,” Lan WangJi supplied.
Wei WuXian let out a pained laugh, “That it was. The look on her face as they finally got to mark each other… I mean, the peacock got his left and his right mixed up, so he tried to touch her heart with his left hand. Doesn’t he know that the woman reaches with her left hand, and the man reaches with his right hand?! At least he was embarrassed afterwards! Hahahahahahaha!”
After Lan WangJi helped Wei WuXian calm down, he continued, “I mean, after they finally crossed their arms, the mark they created on each other’s hearts was quite nice. I mean, I didn’t see it, but anything my shijie makes must be nice, so it was nice!~”
At this point, Wei WuXian was getting rather tipsy, barely able to hold himself up.
“Oi, Lan Zhan, let me sleep in your arms for a while. My head hurts…”
“Huh, you actually agreed…”
With that, Wei WuXian was out cold.
After an hour passed and Wei WuXian gave no sign of rising, Lan WangJi picked him up bridal style and carried him to his room.
He gently placed Wei WuXian on his bed, then turned to retire to his own room. However, as he attempted to leave, he noticed that his sleeve was caught on something.
And that something was Wei WuXian’s hand.
Lan WangJi, “…”
Wei WuXian mumbled in his sleep, “Don’t… Don’t go… Shijie…”
Feeling his heart soften, Lan WangJi couldn’t bear to leave him be. He sat down at the head of the bed, then spoke, “What would you like me to do?”
“Please Shijie… Sing like you used to sing when XianXian was young… When you let Jiang Cheng and I sleep on your lap…”
And thus, Lan WangJi adjusted their positions and sang the first song that came to his mind.
Understandably, Wei WuXian flipped out when he woke up with his head on the lap of the most esteemed cultivator of their generation.
He instantly felt a hollow twinge in his chest, “L-L-L-L-Lan Zhan?! What are you doing here?! Why was I—?”
Lan WangJi got up, “Get changed. It’s morning.”
Wei WuXian cried out, “Nonononono Lan Zhan, you seem to be missing the bigger issue here. What happened last night?”
Lan WangJi, “Maiden Jiang got married. You got drunk.”
Wei WuXian, “Yeah I get that much, but after that? Like, after the blackout?”
Wei WuXian was unsure of what to make of that statement, “…Nothing? You’re sure?”
“Did you want something to happen?”
“N-no! Of course not! I was just concerned is all-”
Suddenly Wei WuXian heard a knock at the door.
So, he did the only logical thing: Throw a blanket over Lan WangJi, push him onto the bed, and answer the door.
A servant was there to greet him, “Young Master Wei, Madam Jiang wishes to see you.”
“I’m not sure. She is summoning the entire Jiang family to her quarters.”
Wei WuXian sighed, “Alright, tell her I’ll be there in a minute.”
With that, Wei WuXian closed the door and quickly started to change.
By the time he had finished, Lan WangJi had emerged from the blankets looking quite displeased.
Lan WangJi, “Wei Ying—!”
Wei WuXian, “Sorry Lan Zhan, I panicked! Anyways, I have to go now, so catch you later?”
Wei WuXian ran out without waiting for a response, not bothering to give the hollow feeling in his chest much thought.
He was the last person to reach Jiang YanLi’s chambers.
Jiang Cheng was sporting his signature sneer, “Took you long enough. What, were you sleeping with a woman or something?”
“Ha ha. Now where is Shijie? What does she want.”
“A-Xian!” a soft voice called out.
Wei WuXian turned his head towards the center of the room, where he was greeted by Jiang YanLi in her undergarments.
“S-Shijie?! Why aren’t you dressed?! What-”
“I wanted to show all of you my mark first.”
Suddenly, his heart felt warm, “Oh Shijie…”
Madam Yu, “That’s what all this commotion is about? You sentimental child!”
Jiang YanLi frowned, “Do you not want to see it?”
“Of course I do!”
Madam Yu marched her way to the front, blocking the rest of the Jiang family from seeing the mark, mumbling something about ‘mothers always going first’.
Madam Yu, “…Not bad.”
Jiang YanLi smiled, “That’s high praise from you, Mother.”
Next, she allowed Jiang FengMian to see the mark, then Jiang Cheng and Wei WuXian.
Below her collarbone and slightly down the top of her right breast was a glowing Heartmark. It was a beautiful bouquet of peonies and lotus’, two flowers that shouldn’t have gone together, but somehow did.
Wei WuXian gazed in awe, “…Beautiful.”
Madam Yu, “Don’t you dare touch it, or you’ll cause her quite a lot of pain.”
Wei WuXian, “I know, only a bonded pair can touch each other’ mark or they’ll suffer a backlash.”
He turned towards Jiang Cheng, “As much as I hate the fact that that damn peacock can do something we can’t, I don’t want to cause Shijie pain over something so petty.”
Jiang Cheng grunted in approval.
After a while had passed, Jiang FengMian cleared his throat, “We should probably let her change for the banquet. Let’s let the bride’s maids dress her, A-Xian, A-Cheng?”
“Yes Uncle Jiang!”
Jiang FengMian turned to Madam Yu and extended his arm, “My lady?”
Seeing how she was in a good mood, Madam Yu took the arm, “Very well. Let’s leave A-Li be.”
With that, they left the room and headed to the banquet.
However, they weren’t even halfway down the hallways when the heard a terrifying scream of pain come from Jiang YanLi’s room.
They all raced back towards the room to find Jiang YanLi curled on the ground, clutching the right side of her chest. Beside her, one of the younger bride’s maids was apologizing profusely, “I’m sorry! It was an accident! I’m sorry!”
Understanding the situation, Jiang Cheng lost it on her, “You bitch! Don’t you know that you’re not supposed to touch someone else’s mark? What kind of backwards family could have raised someone as incompetent as you?!”
Even in her state of extreme pain, Jiang YanLi’s heart of gold shone through, “It… It’s not her fault… an… an accident…”
Wei WuXian tried to comfort her the best he could, joining Madam Yu in rubbing her back. Madam Yu, “It’s alright A-Li, hold on for a little while longer…”
Wei WuXian let out a frustrated growl, “Where the fuck is that damn peacock when you need him?! He should have felt Shijie’s distress by now!”
As if on cue, Jin ZiXuan came running into the room, sweat dripping from his head and ceremonial clothing dishevelled, “A-Li?!”
Jin ZiXuan looked around, “What happened? Was her mark touched? I felt pain and-”
Wei WuXian erupted, “Ask questions later you stupid peacock! Hurry up and heal Shijie!”
“Right!”Jin ZiXuan, in all his awkward glory, sprinted across the room, fumbled with Jiang YanLi’s clothing, then placed his hand on her mark and channelled spiritual energy. Almost immediately, Jiang YanLi felt better, “Thank you, A-Xuan. You must have run quite a distance to get here so quickly…”
“It was nothing, I took too long…”
Wei WuXian, “Darn right you took to long! Who knows what could have happened if you were away for much longer? Shijie could have died!”
Jiang FengMian finally spoke up, “Now A-Xian, it wasn’t that bad. Yes, A-Li’s mark was touched, but no spiritual energy was used, so no real harm was done.”
Jiang YanLi turned towards the young bride’s maid who was currently pinned to the wall by Jiang Cheng, “A-Cheng, release her.”
Jiang Cheng, “Not until she experiences the same pain she caused you.”
Wei WuXian got up and fought back, “Jiang Cheng, that’s enough. She’s just the daughter of some noble somewhere, it’s not like she’s done any of this ceremonial stuff before.”
Jiang Cheng turned to him, “What, are you on her side now?!”
Wei WuXian, “Of course not! I’m mad as well, but if Shijie forgives her, then so do I.”
Reluctantly, Jiang Cheng released the girl, “Get the fuck out of here.”
The girl ran out, but no before offering a bow to Jiang YanLi and Wei WuXian.
Now that the culprit was gone, all focus centred back on Jiang YanLi.
Jiang FengMian, “A-Li, are you alright? The pain’s gone?”
Jiang YanLi answer with a smile, “Yes Father, I’m alright.” She looked around at everyone, “I’m alright, I promise. It was just a shock is all.”
Relief came over everyone, but this time they refused to leave her be, talking to her from outside the room. Eventually, Wei WuXian remembered the strange dream he had had the previous night,
“Do you mind singing a song you used to sing when I was a kid?”
“Sure, but you’re going to have to tell me which one.”
Wei WuXian thought about it, but came up empty, “Sorry, I don’t remember what it was called, but I do remember what it sounded like.”
Wei WuXian then proceeded to hum the strange, but beautiful melody he had heard the night before in his dream.
Jiang YanLi poked her head out of the door, “I’m sorry, A-Xian, but I don’t remember ever singing something like that to you. Are you sure you heard it from me?”
Fourth song: Catch Me
Version I listened to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7kACNwxqak
The next time Wei WuXian saw Lan WangJi was a month later at the discussion conference.
As an offering of sorts, the LanlingJin Sect had given permission for the YunmengJiang Sect to host the conference this year. While much of the conference was the same, such as the boring arguments about the year to come and the passive-aggressive comments targeted at other sects, there was one large difference—the amount of females that chose attended that year.
The conference marked the fifth year since Jiang Cheng had started looking for a bride, so the Jiang family was understandably desperate. When they had sent out the invitations, they had emphasized the importance of bringing any single women that the sects had in their families, be they daughters, sisters, or cousins. They even extended the invite to many of the noble families in the area, though they wouldn’t be able to attend the actual conference itself, they were certainly welcome to the banquet that was to be held afterwards.
And that was how Lotus Pier ended up being overrun with young maidens, all waiting in the main hall for the world’s worst suitor.
Understandably, Jiang Cheng was not pleased.
“Just talk to them, A-Cheng!” Madam Yu scolded. “There are any number of fine, noble young ladies here. I don’t even care if she’s from a major sect anymore, just find someone and stop being so picky!”
Jiang Cheng shot back, “It’s not my fault my heart won’t beat for any of them! Don’t you think I’ve been trying?! I-”
“Don’t you dare talk back to your mother!” Madam Yu shouted back. “What, are you waiting for your heart to beat out of your chest? To experience utter euphoria, maybe? What son have I raised to believe such fairy tales! Such nonsense!”
They continued back and forth like that while the entire Jiang family—now including Jin ZiXuan—watched from the sidelines.
Jin ZiXuan, “…”
Wei WuXian sneered at his shocked expression, “What, scared already? You wanna leave the family so soon? You’re more than welcome to.”
“A-Xian, be nice.”
Jin ZiXuan shook his head, “No actually. I just finally understand why those two are such good friends.”
Wei WuXian, “Those two—? Oh, you mean Madam Yu and Madam Jin. Yeah, I can see the similarities.”
Jin ZiXuan, “They’re almost the same person…”
Jiang YanLi shook her head, “I can almost understand her frustration, though. A-Cheng must have gone to over a thousand meeting by now, but still no one can make his heart even beat a little.”
Wei WuXian, “I mean, that’s only true if you don’t count Wen Qing. Hahaha!”
Jin ZiXuan, “Ha ha. Quite the joker aren’t you, Wei WuXian?”
Jiang YanLi sighed, “A-Xian, I thought you promised you’d stop teasing A-Cheng about that. He’s embarrassed as it is…”
Jin ZiXuan looked shocked, “Wait, he’s not lying?! Jiang WanYin actually fell for a left-hearted woman? And Wen Qing of all people?! You can’t be serious!”
Jiang FengMian finally spoke up, “I’m afraid it’s true. It seems that A-Cheng is unable to fall for people that can actually love him back…”
Jin ZiXuan looked as if he wanted to ask more questions but fell silent.
Noticing this, Wei WuXian turned and watched as Jin ZiXuan and Jiang YanLi had a silent conversation in their heads, exchanging any information they didn’t want heard.
Wei WuXian sighed, They are bonded, after all…
Just as the silence was getting unbearable, they heard the sound of lightning being summoned, then a cry from Jiang Cheng.
Wei WuXian, “…”
Jiang YanLi, “…”
Jin ZiXuan, “…”
Jiang FengMian, “…I think I should stop my lady from whipping A-Cheng too many times, seeing as we’ll be sending him out there to talk to ladies.”
Wei WuXian, “…Uncle Jiang, you’re the bravest among us.”
Jiang FengMian smiled, “Nonsense, I just know who I married.”
Jiang FengMian then turned and walked towards his wife.
Jiang YanLi, “We should probably go entertain the guests. We don’t want all the eligible maidens leaving us even before they’ve met A-Cheng now, do we?”
The banquet hall was packed to the brim with young maidens from many different sects and noble families, all wearing exquisite clothing that floundered their wealth and status. Their faces were all caked in powder and rouge, some wearing it better than others, and their bodies reeked of perfume.
Wei WuXian greeted each and every one of them like a gentleman, resisting the urge to cover his nose.
“Young Master Wei! You’re here as well?”
“Young Master, when is Young Master Jiang coming out?”
“Are you also looking for a bride? I can speak to my father if you are! I’m sure he would be fine with me marrying someone with your looks and skill, even though you are just a servant.”
Wei WuXian navigated through the crowd, complimenting women left and right, though the pounding headache he now had didn’t allow him to give specific compliments to anyone.
Suddenly, a voice came for the back, “My heart beats for you, Young Master Wei!”
Naturally, Wei WuXian turned to the voice, vaguely recognizing it’s sound.
It was the young maiden who had been sent to act as a bride’s maid at Jiang YanLi’s wedding. She was now dressed more like a noble, but that did nothing to disguise her small stature.
Wei WuXian walked over, “Young maiden, as wonderful as that makes me feel, aren’t you a little too young to be throwing your heart away?”
The girl shook her head, “Nobody is too young for their heart to beat! You were so wonderful back then, so how could my heart not beat for you! Does your heart beat for me?”
Wei WuXian’s headache was truly starting to take over his body, so he let his instincts take over. He brought his hand to the left side of his chest, made an obvious display of channelling spiritual energy, and smiled, “How could my heart not beat for a maiden as wonderful as you?”
The girl was no blushing furiously, but a wide grin appeared on her face, “I can’t wait to tell my father! When my birthday comes around, I know exactly what I’m asking for!”
With that, the girl skipped away.
Thank the stars she’s gone, Wei WuXian thought, Her perfume was by far the worst, not to mention her horrendous taste in clothing. Also her makeup. Even I could do a better job than that! What on earth was she even talking about-
Suddenly, Wei WuXian was pulled out of his thoughts by a flash of white and a hollow ping in his chest.
Immediately, two words popped into Wei WuXian’s mind, “Lan Zhan!”
Lan WangJi was walking towards him, face as stormy as ever. Maidens were attempting to crowd around him, but his terrifying expression scared them away.
Wei WuXian tutted at him when they reached each other, “Lan Zhan Lan Zhan, that’s no good! Your face is scaring the maidens away! Just think of how you’re breaking their poor beating hearts-”
“Who was that?”
“Who was who?”
Lan WangJi, “That young maiden just now. Who was she?”
Wei WuXian got a whiff of Lan WangJi’s sandalwood scent, and his headache started to disappear, “I have no idea what you're talking about, Lan Zhan. Why are you here anyway? There are so many better places around Lotus Pier!”
“Then show me.”
Wei WuXian paused, “Pardon?”
Lan WangJi looked straight into his soul, “Show me.”
The hollow feeling in his chest was getting much harder to ignore.
Wei WuXian finally smiled a genuine smile, “Of course! Let’s go Lan Zhan! I’ll show you all my favourite spots~”
He grabbed Lan WangJi’s hand and took off, “Shijie, I’m going to show Lan Zhan around!”
Jiang YanLi smiled, “You go have fun! A-Cheng is about to come out anyway.”
And have fun they did.
They moved from place to place at a record pace. Vendors offered free samples to Lan WangJi, seeing as he was with Wei WuXian, and he graciously accepted them, taking small bites of everything before offering the rest Wei WuXian.
Wei WuXian, “Wow, you really like spices, don’t you Lan Zhan?”
Lan WangJi simply nodded, his mouth hurting too much to open.
They walked to the farthest reaches of the Jiang territory, Wei WuXian adamant to show Lan WangJi all of his favourite places growing up, telling him stories the whole time. From the time he had caught his first pheasant, to the greatest fight he had ever gotten into, he explained everything with great vigour, not leaving out even a single detail.
“…and so I ended up breaking an arm, but it was worth it! I swear, Jiang Cheng was pulling feathers out of his hair for a week! Hahahahahaha!”
He looked up, checking for even the slightest change in Lan WangJi’s expression.
Seeing the soft look in his eyes and the almost unnoticeable upturn of his lips, Wei WuXian’s spirits soared, “You’re smiling, aren’t you Lan Zhan? Are you enjoying this?”
Noticing his slip-up, Lan WangJi corrected his expression to the same icy face he was used to wearing, but couldn’t hide the glint in his eyes, “En.”
Wei WuXian sighed, “I’m glad. I was scared you would hate spending so much time with me, seeing how we always end up fighting…”
“Not hate,” Lan WangJi stated firmly. He looked down, straight into Wei WuXian’s eyes, “Never hate.”
The hollow feeling inside him bubbled even more, but he ignored it, “Alright then, no hate.”
Wei WuXian looked up at the sky, noticing how far the sun had dipped, “We should probably head back. The hall should be empty now that Jiang Cheng has scared away all the maidens.”
A small huff escaped Lan WangJi, and the hollow feeling increased.
Wei WuXian ignored it, “Find that funny, eh? It’s true! Jiang Cheng has this way with women that makes sure they always stay at least one li away from him at all times! Though I can’t blame him for hating these meetings, all that awful perfume and those disgustingly loud outfits… Honestly, you saved me back there. I was getting quite a headache from looking at and smelling all that garbage, but your smell is quite calming. Sandalwood suits you, Lan Zhan.”
Lan WangJi remained silent.
Wei WuXian continued, “Anyways, I should probably stop teasing Jiang Cheng so much. I mean, it’s fun and all, but it’s not like I have much of a leg to stand on. I haven’t even experienced a heartbeat myself…”
Lan WangJi stopped, a clear expression of shock overtaking him, “What?”
Wei WuXian turned around, “What ‘what’? What did I say?”
Lan WangJi, “You… Haven’t experienced a heartbeat before?”
Realizing what he had let slip, Wei WuXian froze, “ …Shit. You weren’t supposed to know that.”
Lan WangJi seemed conflicted, testing whether or not what he heard was true, “But those maidens, you said-”
Wei WuXian waved his hand dismissively, “All lies. I just tell them what they want to hear so I don’t end up like Jiang Cheng.”
Lan WangJi, “How—?”
“I just say what I would want to hear if a handsome man was flirting with me,” Wei WuXian answered, guessing what Lan WangJi was trying to ask, “It works every time.”
Wei WuXian turned around, “Anyways, it doesn’t matter. I just haven’t found the right woman yet. It’s not like I’m being forced to marry anyone, so I’m going to take my time. Shijie said I’ll know when to actually feel if my heart wants to beat when I feel like something is missing, whatever that means. She kinda described it as an emotion that was longing to escape but couldn’t. I’ve never felt that ‘missing’ feeling when looking at a woman, but at least the maidens feel something for me.”
Lan WangJi looked as if he wanted to say something, but held back. He started walking again and quickly caught up to Wei WuXian.
Wei WuXian, “So, now that you know something embarrassing about me, you have to tell me something embarrassing about you! It’s only fair!”
Lan WangJi sped up, attempting to dodge the question.
Wei WuXian ran in front of him, blocking him, “Come on Er-Gege! It’s not like there’s anyone else around us right now! It’ll be a secret between you and me, how about that?”
Wei WuXian plastered a pout on his face, “You’ll hurt me greatly if you don’t! Do you want to see me hurt, Lan Zhan?”
Seeing that Lan WangJi was being swayed, Wei WuXian changed his expression to a caring one and added in a soft voice, “I promise I won’t laugh, okay?”
Lan WangJi hesitated, then gave it. Looking down, he mumbled in the smallest voice possible, “I… like rabbits.”
Wei WuXian went stiff, then erupted in laughter, “Hahahahahahahahahahahaha! Lan Zhan, I can’t with you! Saying something like that with a straight face! Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!”
Lan WangJi clenched his fists, then started storming away.
Wei WuXian ran after him, “Stop Lan Zhan! I’m sorry! It’s just that you didn’t seem like the type of person who cared for rabbits. You even rejected the ones I gave to you before… Though, I guess you did eventually take them.”
Wei WuXian smiled up at him, “I’m sorry I laughed, but I really am glad that you shared something with me. It makes me feel closer to you.”
Lan WangJi slowed down, then sighed, “…Let’s get back.”
Disappointed that their time together was coming to a close, but understanding nonetheless, Wei WuXian nodded, “Yeah, let’s go.”
As they walked back to the banquet hall, Wei WuXian noticed something in the distance. An excited expression painted his face as he grabbed onto Lan WangJi’s hand and ran.
Lan WangJi, “Wei Ying?!”
Wei WuXian, “Follow me, Lan Zhan! I have something really special I have to show you!”
Lan WangJi compiled, making sure his speed matched that of Wei WuXian’s.
When they finally stopped, Lan WangJi was greeted by the sight of an average-looking tree, maybe only a few decades old.
“It’s a tree,” Lan WangJi astutely observed.
Wei WuXian slapped the trunk of the tree, “Not just any tree, Lan Er-Gege! I’ve climbed this tree before!”
Lan WangJi looked confused, “Most of your stories involved you climbing trees. You also climbed every tree on our way here.”
Wei WuXian, “But this one’s different! This was the first one I climbed after I came to Lotus Pier. I remember climbing it in the middle of the night. Shijie came out to search for me and even tried to catch me, but her arms weren’t strong enough, so I ended up breaking one of my legs.”
Looking at his legs, as if to make sure they were still intact, Lan WangJi asked, “Why did you climb the tree at night?”
Wei WuXian answered while climbing the tree once again, “Oh you know me… Always fooling around at night! Hahahahaha!”
Wei WuXian continued to climb until he reached the highest point, “Hm, You know Lan Zhan, this felt so much scarier before, but, looking at it now, it really isn’t that high…”
Wei WuXian looked down at the glowing figure of Lan WangJi. The way the setting sun painted the pristine white robes he wore, the slight shimmer of his sleek black hair in the sun…
The hollow feeling in his chest reached its peak.
Compelled by some unknown force, Wei WuXian let go of the branch he was clinging to.
Lan WangJi’s eyes immediately widened. Panicked, he shot forward just in time to catch Wei WuXian.
Lan WangJi made a motion, as if to place Wei WuXian onto the ground, but Wei WuXian held tight. The hollow feeling in his chest was starting to take over his body, causing a tiny bit of pain. He had no clue what was causing it, but somehow being held by Lan WangJi eased it a bit.
Lan WangJi noticed the tenseness in his body, “…Wei Ying?”
Wei WuXian looked up, then immediately let go, jumping off as though nothing had happened, “Let’s go back!”
Lan WangJi, “No more reminiscing?”
Looking up at the sky and how the light was quickly abandoning them, Wei WuXian reluctantly agreed, “Yeah, no more reminiscing.”
When they got back to the banquet hall, it was, indeed, devoid of potential brides. Jiang Cheng was being scolded in the corner of the room, something about throwing tables, while Jiang YanLi and Jin ZiXuan watched from the sidelines, trying to hide their smiles. When Jiang YanLi saw Wei WuXian, she waved at him, beckoning him to join them.”
Lan WangJi, “…You should join your family.”
Wei WuXian looked as if he was about to argue, but Lan WangJi turned and left before he could say anything.
As he watched the slowly retreating figure of the most pristine cultivator in existence, the hollow feeling in his chest increased, making him feel as if he was about to burst.
Fifth song: We’re Just Friends
Version I listened to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fynkd80K8Ic
In the months that followed, Wei WuXian and Lan WangJi ran into each other quite frequently. Whether it was on a night-hunt or just a casual stroll, Wei WuXian would find where Lan WangJi was and ‘happen’ to bump into him. Every time this happened, the hollow feeling in Wei WuXian’s chest would increase, almost squeezing his very being. He had doctors check his health and golden core, but nothing was out of the ordinary, so he ignored it.
Perhaps this means that I’ll ascend soon , Wei WuXian thought jokingly.
The feeling only ever really acted up while he was out with Lan WangJi, so he was able to go most days without feeling anything. However, if it came to a choice between seeing Lan WangJi and going a day pain-free, Wei WuXian would take the former any time.
That was how Wei WuXian had ‘accidentally’ run into Lan WangJi at a small bookshop on the edge of YiLing.
“Oh! HanGuang-Jun! What a surprise to see you here!”
“Wei Ying,” was all the response he got back.
Wei WuXian feigned innocence, “So what are you doing here? Buying books? Of course you’re buying books! Hahahahaha…”
“Wow, what’s over here? Books? Wow, who’d have guessed that!”
“I’m just gonna go over there and see what they have!”
Wei WuXian slipped away and hid behind a random shelf.
Well, I think that went well, Wei WuXian complimented himself.
He wasn’t sure when he got so nervous interacting with Lan WangJi, but he was trying to ignore it and act the same way he always had.
So far, it wasn’t really working.
Wei WuXian peeked his head from behind the shelf, watching as Lan WangJi picked out a few books to take back to his clan or add to his personal library, Wei WuXian didn’t know which.
Deciding to at least pretend he was here for something other than gawking, he looked towards the shelf he had hidden behind and pulled out a book.
…Then immediately dropped it.
He had hidden behind a porn shelf.
Wei WuXian burst out laughing, earning him a glance from Lan WangJi, but little more.
Not only porn, right-hearted male porn! Falling back to his mischievous ways, Wei WuXuan thought, If Lan Zhan reacted that badly to normal porn, how would he react if he saw porn meant for maiden-hearted men?
Noticing how Lan WangJi had exited the shop and was now waiting for him outside, Wei WuXian grabbed the book off the ground, paid for it, then walked towards Lan WangJi, ignoring the thumbs-up he got from the bookseller. Figuring that the only time he could slip something like that inside Lan WangJi’s bag was when he was drunk, Wei WuXian came up with a plan, “Hey Lan Zhan, how do you feel about going to get something to drink? I heard that there was a really good place around here!”
Lan WangJi looked hesitant, but nodded.
Wei WuXian felt the hollow feeling take over his chest again, but he pushed it to the back of his mind, “Great! Let’s go then!”
Wei WuXian grabbed his hand, then ran in the direction of good alcohol.
When they arrived, it was rather crowded, so Wei WuXian went up to the owner and requested a private room.
“Of course good sirs!” the owner replied, seeing their clothing and knowing that they most definitely could pay for whatever it was they wanted, “Give us a few moments to prepare one worthy of your presence.”
Wei WuXian laughed, “No need to do anything special, just let us know when it’s ready.”
With that, they went to wait outside.
They waited in uncomfortable silence for a bit, the hollow feeling in Wei WuXian’s chest getting worse by the minute. Wei WuXian sighed and, in an attempt to relieve the pain, started humming.
Lan WangJi’s eyes widened, and he grabbed his wrist.
Wei WuXian was shocked, “Lan Zhan?! What are you doing?!”
Lan WangJi’s breathing was unsteady, “That song—!”
Wei WuXian blinked, “Do you know it? I’ve been trying to figure out where I learnt it before for a while now, so maybe I heard it while I was studying in Gusu. It calms me, so I tend to hum it pretty often these days- Ouch! Lan Zhan, your grip! Your grip!”
Lan WangJi let go of his wrist, but his intense stare remained.
Wei WuXian, “Geez, your arm strength is insane! You could probably beat ChiFeng-Zun in arm wrestling…”
While Wei WuXian massaged his wrist in a sad attempt at soothing the pain, he noticed that one of the servers was poking his head out of the door, watching them.
The boy was no older than twelve, perhaps younger. He looked like he was doing what he could to make a living, so he had probably never seen people as well-dressed as them.
Wei WuXian gestured for him to join them, blind to Lan WangJi’s inner turmoil, “What’s your name?”
The boy looked up timidly, “…A-Ru.”
Wei WuXian lowered himself so that he and A-Ru where eye-level, “Have you ever seen a cultivator before, A-Ru?”
A-Ru shook his head.
Wei WuXian laughed, “Well then you are in luck! The man beside me is the best, most pristine cultivator you’ll ever meet!”
A-Ru looked up towards Lan WangJi, staring in awe. From the beautiful white robes that knew not the touch of dirt, to the almost godlike way he carried himself, A-Ru was sure that he would never meet a cultivator as great as the one in front of him.
Lan WangJi, “Stop playing, Wei Ying.”
Wei WuXian got up, putting an arm on his hip, “I’m not joking! Not even close! There’s no one as good as you Lan Zhan, I swear!”
While the two cultivators were distracted, A-Ru allowed himself to further inspect Lan WangJi’s attire. When he saw the gorgeous ends of his forehead ribbon dancing in the air, he couldn’t help but reach up and…
“STOP!!!” the shop owner cried. “WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING, A-RU?!”
The boy froze, hand mid-air, “N-nothing sir!”
Lan WangJi, noticing what the boy was about to do, suddenly tensed up and jumped about five chi backwards, putting his hand on his sword, as if he was about to attack.
The owner got on his knees and bashed his head into the ground, “Forgive him good sir! He isn’t aware of the significance of your clan’s forehead ribbon! Please!”
Lan WangJi, now seeing that the danger had passed, relaxed and resumed his normal stance, “…Is the room ready?”
The owner immediately stood up, “Yes sir! All ready! We’ll even throw in a free jar for the inconvenience the boy caused you! Two even!”
Wei WuXian walked to Lan WangJi’s side, grabbing his arm, “That’s fine, right Lan Zhan?” Since Lan WangJi didn’t respond, Wei WuXian assumed he agreed, “Alright, let’s put that all behind us and just drink! Let’s go let’s go!”
With that, Wei WuXian dragged Lan WangJi away, following one of the female servers up the stairs and into their private room.
After closing the door to their room, Wei WuXian turned around, “What was that about?”
Lan WangJi turned his head and said nothing.
Wei WuXian, “As I recall, you were pretty angry with me that time I grabbed your forehead ribbon. Why? What’s so special about that thing anyways?”
Lan WangJi looked up, attempted to say something, but couldn’t.
Wei WuXian approached him, “Come on, Lan Zhan. Can’t you tell me? Aren’t we already this close? HanGuang-Jun? Lan Er-Gege?”
Just as Wei WuXian got close enough that he could feel Lan WangJi’s breath touch his skin, the door was thrown open.
A-Ru was there, in a deep bow while crying.
“MASTER LAN! I AM SO SORRY FOR WHAT I DID! I HAD NO IDEA THAT YOUR FOREHEAD RIBBON COULD ONLY BE TOUCHED BY YOUR WIFE! PLEASE FORGIVE THIS FOOL!”
The female servant from before caught up to him, carrying the two promised jars of alcohol with her, “A-Ru! Leave the masters be!”
With tears streaming down his face, A-Ru left. The servant apologized profusely, then carefully shut the door, leaving the two jars inside the room.
Lan WangJi, “…”
Wei WuXian “…”
Lan WangJi, “…”
Wei WuXian, “…”
Lan WangJi, “…”
Wei WuXian, “…Lan Zhan?”
Lan WangJi didn’t respond.
Wei WuXian panicked, “…Second Master Lan? WangJi-xiong?”
Still no response was heard from Lan WangJi.
Wei WuXian cried out, “Lan WangJi!”
Lan WangJi finally looked up at the sound of his courtesy name.
Wei WuXian, “Is that true?!”
Lan WangJi looked down again, ears are red as an apple.
Wei WuXian grabbed Lan WangJi’s shoulders, desperate to shake information out of him, “Tell me Lan Zhan, is what A-Ru said true?!”
Reluctantly, Lan WangJi nodded his head.
The meaning of his past actions suddenly washed over Wei WuXian, causing the hollow feeling in his chest to spread to the rest of his body, causing pain that was hard to ignore.
“Yeah I’m going to need more than two jars,” was all Wei WuXian said before downing two entire jars of alcohol in less than a minute.
About an hour and way too many drinks later, Wei WuXian was drunk enough to talk to Lan WangJi again, “Lan Zhan… Why didn’t you tell me about that?! I wouldn’t have touched that damn ribbon if I knew!”
Lan WangJi simply nodded, too unsure of what to say to an intoxicated Wei WuXian.
Remembering his reason for bringing Lan WangJi there, Wei WuXian poured a cup for Lan WangJi, “Drink.”
Lan WangJi compiled, bringing the cup to his mouth and quickly drinking the liquid within.
Then he collapsed.
Wei WuXian, now the only one awake in the room, cried out, “Are you kidding me?! He didn’t even finish the whole cup and he collapsed?! What kind of messed up logic is this?!”
However, not wanting to waste the opportunity, Wei WuXian walked over and placed the book inside Lan WangJi’s bag with the rest of the material he had bought, hiding it.
Just as Wei WuXian finished, Lan WangJi rose once again.
Wei WuXian let out a sigh of relief, “You scared me Lan Zhan! Here I thought you’d left me alone…”
Lan WangJi immediately reached over and grabbed Wei WuXian’s wrist.
Wei WuXian yelped, “Ouch! Lan Zhan, you’ve already abused that wrist today, so please have mercy-”
“It was me.”
Wei WuXian looked up, “…Pardon?”
Lan WangJi looked straight into his soul, then elaborated, “I sang you that song.”
It took Wei WuXian a moment to process what he had just said, “Song? What song… Oh! That song! Wait, that was you?! When?!”
“Maiden Jiang’s wedding. You asked me to sing, so I did.”
Wei WuXian paused, then laughed to the point of tears, “Lan Zhan! You don’t always have to indulge my requests! Especially one as stupid as that one-”
Lan WangJi’s golden orbs shook, letting Wei WuXian know the answer before he said it, “Not stupid. If Wei Ying wants something, he’ll get it.”
Wei WuXian smiled, joking when he said, “Oh? So if I ask you to kiss me you’d-”
Wei WuXian didn’t get the chance to finish that sentence.
His body was slammed against the floor, his wrists pinned above him as his lips were captured by Lan WangJi.
Shocked, Wei WuXian attempted to speak, but Lan WangJi used that opportunity to slip his tongue inside his mouth, deepening the kiss.
The kiss was unlike anything he had ever felt before, rough and desperate, but clearly inexperienced. It felt as if Lan WangJi was trying to devour him, his tongue swirling, tasting every bit of him.
Wei WuXian attempted to turn away to breath, but Lan WangJi’s other hand grabbed onto his face and turned it back, pushing his tongue as far as it could go.
Just as Wei WuXian felt as if he was about to pass out from the lack of air, Lan WangJi bit his lips and pulled away.
Wei WuXian gasped for air, dizziness filling his brain, “What—?”
Just as he said that, the hollow feeling he had been suppressing all day exploded, causing his entire being to seize up.
He didn’t even notice he was crying out in pain until a panicked Lan WangJi grabbed onto him, “Wei Ying! WEI YING!”
With sweat beading down his forehead, Wei WuXian got up, “I… I’m fine. I just… need to go…”
With those words, Wei WuXian grabbed the bag closest to him, unsheathed Suibian, and took off towards the Lotus Pier.
Sixth song: Sinners
Version I listened to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSB1heNrFao
By the time he got to his room, the throbbing pain in his body had transformed into a bursting, sharp pain throughout all his veins. It felt as if his body was trying to tear itself apart, desperate to let something out.
Wei WuXian collapsed on the ground, dropping the bag he was carrying, and frantically grasped at his chest.
He managed to shut the door to his room, activating the silencing talismans he had plastered around the room, and screamed in pain.
Frenzied thoughts passed through his mind, What the fuck is this?! I’ve never felt anything this bad before!
“FUCK!!!” he cried out in a sad attempt at lessening the pain.
Wei WuXian tried to recall the advice Jiang YanLi had given him when he had confided in her about the dull throbbing in the past:
“Perhaps it’s your heart trying to beat,” she said with a slight giggle.
“Shijie, I’m being serious!” Wei WuXian complained.
“And so am I,” Jiang YanLi scolded lovingly, “Everyone experiences love differently. I certainly didn’t feel anything pleasant when I first saw A-Xuan.” She lifted her hand to the right side of her chest, where her mark was, “I had to place my hand here and channel the small amount of spiritual energy I had into my heart to start it. After that, the feeling changed to the love I feel for him today.”
Jiang YanLi laughed again, “Honestly A-Xian, I’m jealous. They said that, the worse the pain, the better the love. I wonder who this lucky girl is~”
Wei WuXian, now out of options, slammed his hand onto the left side of his chest and poured as much spiritual energy into it as possible.
The pain was still present, and he now felt weaker after depleting his spiritual energy reserves like that.
But, like a madman, he tried again.
As he continued this futile act, he searched his mind for whoever could have possibly made him feel this terrible.
Was it that servant girl from today? No, I’ve heard of love at first sight, but this can’t be that… One of the girls from the banquet maybe? No, I remember this feeling starting way before then…
Images of all the women he had ever interacted with flew through his head, but none of them seemed to match, only resulting in him feeling more and more frustrated.
Who the fuck could she be?!
Suddenly, a thought crossed his mind, Who… Who do I want it to be?
Clear, golden eyes appeared in his head, accompanied by the calming sound of a guqin and the soft smell of sandalwood.
The pain in his chest surged.
Wei WuXian panicked, Nonononononono, Lan Zhan isn’t a maiden! What are you thinking, Wei WuXian?! It’s impossible-
Suddenly, he remembered the two left-hearted maidens he had met in Gusu, showing clearly how little their ‘condition’ mattered to them.
Wei WuXian looked across the room, noticing that he hadn’t actually brought his bag home, but Lan WangJi’s. The contents had spilled out, scattering books all over the floor.
Closest to him, open, was the porn book depicting acts between maiden-hearted men.
He crawled over and looked at the images, this time analyzing how they made him feel. How they sparked a fire within, how he longed to know how something like that would feel…
It finally occurred to him when he had first felt the hollow feeling, and why it got worse when he was around him.
Slowly, he brought his hand away from the left side of his chest, carefully channelled a small amount of spiritual energy into his palm…
…And gently brought it to his right side.
Suddenly, Wei WuXian was overtaken by an intense feeling of pleasure, of euphoria. The seething pain was replaced by a wonderful warmth, his pale, sweaty skin warming to a blush. His breathing sped up as his shaking got worse, the pounding in his chest increasing. Something was beating strongly against his hand, but in his hazy state, he could not tell what it was.
He looked down at the hand clutching his chest, seeing how it had still not let go.
Moderately recovering from the shock, Wei WuXian realized what it was that he was feeling.
His heart was beating for the first time.
And it was beating for a man.
Now, with the newly discovered information that his heart was on his right side, Wei WuXian started to explore himself.
He thought about what it was he found attractive, what turned him on. He thought about why he never found the idea of penetrating a woman particularly appealing but had simply resigned himself to that future. He thought about why he preferred being in the presence of other males, though Jiang YanLi was an exception.
He thought about why he was so obsessed with the straight-faced cultivator, why it was that he constantly did things to get his attention, why he’d go out of his way to seek him out.
Wei WuXian sat up, placing his back against the wall and leaning his head backwards, looking toward the roof.
So I’m a right-hearted man, huh?
Wei WuXian brought his hand up to his lips, tracing them as he remembered the feeling of being kissed for the first time.
He felt heat build up in his nether regions, letting him know that his thoughts were going to take him to dangerous places.
But, at that moment, he didn’t care.
He reached out and grabbed the porn book, carefully examining the images as he played with his member, stroking it in an attempt to find release.
However, after looking at the images for a while, he noticed that it wasn’t the idea of doing a man that made him heat up, but the idea of being done.
He moved his other hand to an entrance he never thought he would touch like this, and played with it the same way the men in the images were.
It was a strange feeling at first, something he had never experienced before. He tried to push his finger further in, but he noticed he was getting a lot of resistance, not to mention sparks of pain, so he took it out and searched for something to wet it with.
In the corner of the room was a vile of scented oil he had gotten as a gift from one of the maidens in town. Seeing as he had no other use for it, he opened it up, poured some of his fingers, and tried again.
This time, he was easily able to slip the finger inside himself, speeding up as he moved the digit in and out. Feeling braver, he decided to push a second finger inside, then a third. Soon, he was moaning in pleasure as he fucked himself on his fingers, imagining something in place of them, something warmer and, judging on what he saw when he had seen him in the cold springs, much bigger.
He continued like that through the night, finding release a few times, but no relief. No matter what he did, he couldn’t calm the beating of his heart, the pounding in his chest.
He stayed in his room all day, attempting to figure out how he was going to move forward with is life now that he knew he was right-hearted, but to no avail. Honestly, he probably would have thought of something if it wasn’t for the fact that his mind was clouded with images of Lan WangJi doing various dirty things to him.
It took a little more than half a day for his beating heart to let up.
By that time, Wei WuXian was a puddle of mush on the floor, exhausted from experiencing such an intense reaction for so long.
Suddenly, Wei WuXian heard a knock at the door, “A-Xian? It’s A-Li.”
Feeling some energy come back to him, Wei WuXian hastily dressed himself in whatever was lying around, kicked the now well-used porn book under a shelf, and opened the door.
…Only to be greeted by the terrifyingly attractive figure of Lan WangJi.
Jiang YanLi, “Hello A-Xian! A-Xuan and I were asked to come to the Lotus Pier, something about a family meeting tomorrow. Anyways, look who I found wandering around outside! He said he was waiting for you to come out so he could return your bag and take his back, so I thought I’d save him some time and just bring him here- A-Xian? Are you alright?”
Wei WuXian, in a move of absolute brilliance, slammed the door in their faces and crumpled to the ground.
Why is he here?! Why now?! Shit, I’m not dressed properly!
The worried voice of Jiang YanLi came for the other side of the screen, “A-Xian? Are you alright? You didn’t look too good. Do you want me to call someone to take a look at you?”
“NOPE I’M PERFECTLY FINE!” Wei WuXian squeaked in a voice he was sure he hadn’t had since he was a kid.
“A-Xian? Are you listening to me? Open the door so I can hear you, those silencing talismans you have up make it hard to talk to you like this…”
Suddenly remembering that he did, indeed, have many silencing talismans plastered around the room, Wei WuXian opened the door the slightest bit, allowing his voice to pour through, “Just tell him to wait for a minute. I need to get changed.”
“A-Xian, he’s right here, tell him yourself.”
“Also tell him that I accidentally knocked over his bag, so everything is a bit messed up, but I promise I didn’t go through his things!”
“Anyways I’ll be out in a bit see ya!”
Thus, the door was slammed shut once again.
Jiang YanLi “…”
Lan WangJi, “…”
Lan WangJi, “…Does he… normally do this?”
Jiang YanLi sighed, “Not usually… Well, for now I’ll entertain you, Second Master Lan. Come, there is a lovely pavilion out on the lake. A-Xian shouldn’t take more than a few minutes at most.”
It was hours before Wei WuXian emerged from his room again.
He was dressed in the best robes he could find, robes meant for when he was supposed to pass as a noble or someone of similar status. He had combed back his hair and swapped his normal red ribbon for a very expensive headpiece, almost like a crown wrapped around his ponytail. He had cleaned himself the best he could, burned some incense in the room while he was changing so that it could seep into his clothing, and even replacing his usual boots for much more uncomfortable cloth slippers.
He walked out of his room and headed towards the banquet hall.
When he walked into the room, he got quite an array of reactions. Jin ZiXuan and Jiang Cheng looked like they had seen a ghost, Jiang FengMian wasn’t sure whether he was looking at a copy of Wei ChengZe or CangSe SanRen, and Madam Yu looked mildly impressed.
“Good, it seems like A-Li told you,” Madam Yu said with a straight face, “Wear that for tomorrow.”
Wei WuXian looked around the room, “Where are Shijie and Lan Zhan?”
Jin ZiXuan spoke up, “Out by the pavilion.”
Madam Yu interrupted, “She’s been out there all day entertaining your guest, so you’d better be a grateful servant. Honestly, people keep forgetting their ranks around here!”
“Yes, Madam Yu. Thank you, Jin ZiXuan.”
With a bow, he left the room and headed towards the pavilion.
Jin ZiXuan whispered to Jiang Cheng, “Is he okay? He never calls me by my name…”
Wei WuXian somehow managed to get lost on his way to a place he had visited at least a million times.
It’s a straight fucking path, Wei WuXian. How did you get lost?!
He managed to find his way eventually, but it had taken him so long that the day had turned to night.
When he finally saw them, Jiang YanLi looked like she was in the middle of telling Lan WangJi a story—probably about their youth—and didn’t notice him approaching until he was within earshot, “…so A-Xian ended up spilling the mud pie all over A-Cheng. They both cried, of course, but I think A-Xian was more upset he couldn’t give me a pie full of all my favourite spices! Oh, here he is now! A-Xian!”
Jiang YanLi got up and gently placed her hand on Lan WangJi’s, an action that would normally have been rejected but, for some reason, wasn’t, “It’s been wonderful talking with you, Second Master Lan. I can see why A-Xian likes you! Please take care of him~”
Jiang YanLi looked towards Wei WuXian, “Come now A-Xian, we both know you still need a babysitter.” Jiang YanLi removed her hand and walked back towards the hall, but not before grabbing Wei WuXian’s shoulder, smiling, and whispering menacingly in his ear, “He’s been waiting patiently all day, so you’d better be nice.”
A shiver ran down his spine as the only person scarier than Madam Yu walked away.
When she disappeared, Wei WuXian turned his eyes to Lan WangJi.
He was glad he had taken so long that night had fallen, since now he was able to admire how beautiful Lan WangJi looked bathed in moonlight, as if the real moon had descended to earth and taken human form. His golden, glassy eyes were scanning him, causing Wei WuXian to feel very self-conscious.
“G-Good evening, Lan Zhan. What was it that you required of me?”
That’s it, act natural.
Lan WangJi’s eyebrows knit together, a clear sign that he was very worried, “Wei… Wei Ying?”
Wei WuXian attempted a smile, “Yep, that’s me!”
“Why… are you dressed like that?”
Feigning innocence, Wei WuXian gave a quick twirl, “Oh, you know, reasons… What do you think?”
“Why do you smell different?”
“Oh, you noticed?” Wei WuXian said in a coy voice, heart soaring because Lan WangJi had noticed so quickly, “I’m just trying it out. What do you think?”
Just like that, his heart crumbled.
“W-What, Lan Zhan? Do you not like it? You don’t, right? Otherwise you would have said so. I can try and wash it off if you don’t like it-”
Wei WuXian’s heart was revived at the sound of his birth name being used as a command of silence, “Yes?”
Lan WangJi looked concerned, “Why are you doing this?”
Wei WuXian was about to give a witty remark and try to play his odd behaviour off as nothing more than an elaborate joke, but his heart wouldn’t allow it. He sighed, “…Guess I’m not as slick as I used to be, huh? Alright, you caught me.”
Wei WuXian sat down next to him, now sharing the bench, “I-…Last night I… I felt my heart beat for the first time.”
Lan WangJi went stiff.
Wei WuXian, “I’ve been feeling weird for a while now, but I couldn’t quite figure it out. I tried to ignore it, but it just got worse and worse. So, last night I- Lan Zhan?! Where are you going?!”
Lan WangJi had attempted to rise, but Wei WuXian grabbed onto his arm and kept him there, “…Lan Zhan?”
“Who was it?”
Blush quickly crept up Wei WuXian’s face, “Well, it’s, um…”
Wei WuXian wanted to look up into Lan WangJi’s eyes when he told him, but the minute he did, all he could see was anger and hate.
Suddenly, the little courage he had amassed disappeared.
Of course , Wei WuXian thought scoldingly, How disgusted would Lan Zhan be if he was confessed to by a guy? And me of all people!
“It’s… um… some servant girl I met…”
Lan WangJi pulled away and started to march away.
Wei WuXian felt his world crashing down, “Wait, Lan Zhan!”
Lan WangJi turned, too far away to reach for anymore and an unreadable emotion in his eyes, “Just… Give me my bag and I’ll leave.”
Seeing that he would lose Lan WangJi either way, Wei WuXian made a split-second decision to at least end things with the truth.
Wei WuXian cried out with the most sincerity he had ever used, “It was you!”
Lan WangJi didn’t quite seem to understand, confusion falling over his face.
Wei WuXian realized that he would need to clarify, so he spoke with the calmest voice he could muster, hoping that none of the fear he felt was audible, “I’ve been feeling this hollow feeling in my chest for months now. I kept touching the left side of my chest, hoping that that feeling meant I had found my love, but nothing, no beating heart, not even a tremble. So I ignored it, or tried to. Whenever we’d meet, the feeling would get worse and worse. It was especially bad that time you caught me after I fell from the tree. I didn’t understand it, not until last night when you kissed me-”
A loud gasp escaped Lan WangJi’s lips, but Wei WuXian continued.
“-and I realized that I wasn’t feeling these things for a woman, but a man. And not just any man, you! So, Lan Zhan, I want to know if-”
During Wei WuXian’s little speech, Lan WangJi had started walking towards him. Now, however, he was close enough to grasp onto Wei WuXian’s shoulders, an action with so much force it cut him off.
Wei WuXian looked up to see Lan WangJi’s face twisted into one of great pain, almost on the verge of tears.
He spoke is a quiet, almost broken voice, “Who told you?”
Wei WuXian was speechless, unsure how to approach the situation.
Lan WangJi continued, “Was it Brother? Or the bag?”
“Lan Zhan, I-”
“Tricks and jokes. I could handle that. But this…”
Lan WangJi said the next lines as if his life had ended, “Why would you go so far to make fun of me?”
Wei WuXian’s heart dropped. He didn’t understand everything Lan WangJi had said, but he knew he had to fix it, “You’ve got it all wrong! I’m not making fun of you, not even close! I really do mean what I said! Here, I’ll prove it.”
Wei WuXian grabbed Lan WangJi’s left hand and brought it to the right side of his chest, moving layers aside until there was only skin. The minute Lan WangJi’s hand touched his body, it was as if an explosion of emotions went off inside, his breathing getting harder and harder to control and his skin rapidly heating up.
However, undeniably, there was a beating heart there.
A heart that recognized the hand of the one it longed for.
Wei WuXian was gasping for breath now, but he refused to let up until he got his point across, “You… You see?... I’m… not lying…”
Wei WuXian reached into the deepest depths of himself and pulled out the words that needed to be said, “Lan Zhan… the one I love is you.”
Wei WuXian didn’t have time to process his reaction before he was pulled into the tightest hug he had ever experienced.
Wei WuXian, “L-Lan Zhan?! What-”
“This is real,” came the breathy voice above him.
“Of course it’s real! Did you think this was a fucking dream?! Here I am pouring my heart out to a man who probably can’t return my feeling anyways-”
That got Wei WuXian, who thought the hug was only a sign of forgiveness, “Y-You can?! How?! Only right-hearted men can fall for other men…”
Seeing that he was dealing with the world’s smartest dumbass, Lan WangJi pulled at his robes until his chest was exposed.
Wei WuXian panicked, “L-L-L-L-Lan Zhan?! I just told you I’m attracted to you! You know how I’ll feel about seeing this!”
Lan WangJi stared at him resolutely, “Then feel.”
He then reached out and grabbed Wei WuXian’s left hand, bringing it to his chest.
The right side of his chest.
Wei WuXian, “What—?”
Suddenly, Wei WuXian felt a beat. Then another one. Then another.
Realization washed over him, “Lan Zhan… you’re… right-hearted?”
Lan WangJi nodded, a small smile present on his face.
Everything started falling into place, “Then that means that you- That we-”
“Yes, Wei Ying.”
Wei WuXian buried his face in the arms of an angel, a jumble of emotion taking over him, but mainly relief. Lan WangJi returned the gesture, nuzzling his face into the crook of his neck.
After a while, Lan WangJi spoke, “Did I… really kiss you?”
Wei WuXian pulled out of the hug and look at Lan WangJi as if he had lost his forehead ribbon, “Are you kidding me? How could you forget something like that?!”
Lan WangJi looked down, ashamed, “I… am not good with alcohol.”
Wei WuXian huffed, amused but in a teasing mood, “I can see that. Well then, Lan Er-Gege, I’ll just have to refresh your memory.”
Wei WuXian leaned forward, angling his head and presenting his lips to him. And, like the hungry beast that he was, Lan WangJi moved forward and devoured them.
The kiss was different this time, more gentle and controlled, but also much messier, as this time, Wei WuXian was kissing back.
They got lost in a swirl of tongues, bodies pushing into each other more and more, hands flying everywhere, desperate to touch the other. The expensive robes that Wei WuXian wore were now a mess of wrinkles, his crown slipping down the side of his head, a shoe lost.
But he didn’t care.
He moved into the grooves of Lan WangJi’s body, messing up the once pristine robes.
Mind in a haze and eyes glazed over, Wei WuXian pulled out of the kiss and spoke breathily, “L-Lan Zhan… Take me. I want to feel you inside.”
Lan WangJi compiled, lifting him bridal style and taking him back to his room.
Seventh song: Where We Are
Version I listened to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pi3VVcvGCgI
They snuck into Wei WuXian’s room through the courtyard, wary of any guards that might see them. The minute they shut the door, thus activating the silencing talismans, Wei WuXian was pushed onto the bed and promptly stripped.
“Lan Zhan!” Wei WuXian called out whiningly, “I need to wear that tomorrow! Careful!”
Lan WangJi didn’t reply, simply looking down at Wei WuXian’s body in awe.
Feeling embarrassed to be looked at like a tantalizing piece of meat, Wei WuXian curled up on himself, blocking Lan WangJi’s view of most of him.
This clearly displeased Lan WangJi, as he made a motion to move the limbs out of the way, but Wei WuXian spoke, “You can’t look until you strip! It’s not fair if you’re the only one who gets to look…”
Lan WangJi paused, then, with an air of embarrassment, scolded Wei WuXian, “Shameless!”
Wei WuXian laughed, “Yes I’m shameless, but clearly I’m not the only one. Come now Lan Er-Gege, show me your body.”
Lan WangJi compiled, carefully removing every piece of his outerwear.
When he was done, Wei WuXian felt as if he was looking at the body of a god. Lan WangJi’s shoulders were broad and muscular, but also smooth and comforting. His abdomen was chiselled to perfection and his legs were long and strong. And his member…
Well, Wei WuXian had been right in his earlier thinking. His fingers definitely couldn’t measure up to the real thing. Especially as it stood now.
Lan WangJi stared at him expectantly. Wei WuXian was confused, then remembered what it was he had promised. Slowly, he unfurled his body, revealing it to the man in front of him.
Lan WangJi shook his head, then gestured towards his forehead.
The only piece of clothing remaining was his forehead ribbon.
Wei WuXian, “…Lan Zhan, are you sure? Can’t your forehead ribbon only be touched by-”
“You may touch it.”
Wei WuXian didn’t think it was possible to get any redder, but here he was.
Wei WuXian nodded, then Lan WangJi lowered his head, allowing Wei WuXian to carefully pull his forehead ribbon off.
Wei WuXian started at the sacred item in his hands, “…What now?”
Lan WangJi carefully picked it up, then wrapped it around Wei WuXian’s right wrist, “Yours for tonight.”
Wei WuXian stared at his wrist for a long time, soaking in the great honour that was bestowed upon him.
Wei WuXian then laid down, presenting himself to Lan WangJi. However, after a minute passed and nothing happened, Wei WuXian looked up.
Lan WangJi had walked to another corner of the room.
Devastated and embarrassed, Wei WuXian called out to him, “Lan Zhan! What are you doing?!”
Lan WangJi’s ears turned a darker shade of red, and he held up the book he was reading.
It was a guide on pleasuring another man in bed.
It suddenly hit Wei WuXian that he wasn’t the only inexperienced man in the room.
In an attempt to help, Wei WuXian covered his face, then pointed towards a shelf, “Under there is a porn book for right-hearted men. Look and see if you can figure things out. Grab that vile of oil while you’re at it.”
Wei WuXian heard him walk away from the corner towards the shelf he had pointed at.
Curious, Wei WuXian opened his eyes and watched as Lan WangJi bent over to reach the book under the shelf.
What an ass…
He didn’t even notice he was drooling until Lan WangJi turned and raised an eyebrow at him.
It took him a few minutes of flipping, but Lan WangJi finally seemed to find the answers he was looking for. He placed the book on top of the shelf along with the second one he had picked up earlier, grabbed the vile, and returned to Wei WuXian.
Wei WuXian was expecting to be taken then and there, so he closed his eyes and prepared himself.
Suffice to say, he received quite a shock when he heard Lan WangJi open his mouth and felt him swallow his member whole.
Wei WuXian grasped at the sides of the bed, “Lan Zhan!”
“Fuck, don’t do that with your mouth on my dick! What the hell do you think you’re- AH!”
Wei WuXian let out a choked scream as Lan WangJi started sucking.
It was evident that he was quite a gifted student. For just a few minutes of looking at porn books, he had been able to figure out the rough motions he should be doing to cause Wei WuXian to melt into a puddle of pleasure. He carefully watched Wei WuXian’s every reaction, seeing what got the best reaction out of him.
He swirled his tongue around the length, bobbing head to constantly change the angle. When he’d reach the tip, he’d teasing the small hole at the top with his tongue.
Pleasure took over him. Wei WuXian attempted to thrust his hips up, but Lan WangJi held them down, torturing him.
“L-Lan Er-Gege. P-Please- ah!- allow me a little r-release!”
Lan WangJi hummed in agreement, causing Wei WuXian to moan even louder.
He increased his speed, taking Wei WuXian as far as he could. Wei WuXian felt the rapidly rising heat below and attempted to warn Lan WangJi, “Lan Zhan I’m—!”
Lan WangJi understood and braced himself as Wei WuXian came in his mouth.
After coming down from his high, Wei WuXian realized what he had done, and panicked, “Spit it out! Spit it out right now!”
Lan WangJi simply shook his head and made a show of swallowing his cum, presenting his empty mouth to Wei WuXian afterwards.
Wei WuXian gave Lan WangJi’s shoulder a light slap, “How dare you, Lan Er-Gege, doing something like that to me without a warning! I could have died! Do you want me to die?”
Wei WuXian laughed at the seriousness of his response, “Fine fine, no dying. Now, it’s my turn to service you.”
Wei WuXian made a motion to crawl over and replicate what had just been done to him, but Lan WangJi pushed him back down on the bed.
He was shocked, “Come now Er-Gege, don’t try and deny yourself pleasure for my sake! I want-”
“Not the mouth.”
Lan WangJi lifted Wei WuXian’s legs, revealing the hole he never thought would be used, “Here.”
Wei WuXian felt as if his face would burn off, “A-Alright, sure. We can do that.”
Wei WuXian spread his legs.
Satisfied, Lan WangJi reached for the vial of oil and poured some on his hand, coating himself. With his dry hand, he started playing with Wei WuXian’s shy, but welcoming hole. He teased the entrance, carefully inserting a single finger and pushing it in.
He didn’t get very far before confusion coated his face. He pulled the digit out and saw that the top was coated in liquid.
As if he wasn’t embarrassed enough, Wei WuXian explained, “I was… playing with myself earlier. I tried cleaning up, but I guess I didn’t go that deep. There should still be some oil there…”
Stunned, Lan WangJi recalled how loose the entrance had actually been, “…How long?”
“All night, give or take.”
Something in Lan WangJi snapped, and he quickly shoved three fingers inside him.
Wei WuXian gasped in pain and pleasure, clinging to the bed for help, “Lan Zhan!”
Lan WangJi continued to play with Wei WuXian’s insides, but this time in a rough manner, causing Wei WuXian’s cries of pleasure to go up an octave. He found joy in diminishing Wei WuXian to moaning mess, addicted to the motions his fingers were making.
When he was sure Wei WuXian could accommodate his length, he removed his hand-
“Noooo,” Wei WuXian whined.
-and poured some more oil onto his entrance.
Lan WangJi, “Wei Ying I-”
“Do it Lan Zhan,” Wei WuXian pleaded, knowing his intentions by his stance. He ran his hands all over his body, ending with them resting on his ass. He then lifted his legs and spread them as far as they could go, moving his cheeks with his hands so that his hole was clearly exposed, opening and closing it a few times for good measure, “Fuck me. Make me yours.”
Ears as hot as the rod between his legs, Lan WangJi muttered, “Extremely shameless!” before shoving himself inside.
Wei WuXian felt as if he was being split, his insides forced to widen more than they ever had before to accommodate the hard, hot object. He could feel the too-big object pulsating inside of him, clearly letting him know exactly what he was in for tonight.
And he loved it.
Suddenly, Lan WangJi started to move. Sparks of pleasure went up Wei WuXian’s spine as he was trust in and out of, his hole clamping down every few seconds in an attempt to keep its new toy inside.
“Relax,” Lan WangJi commanded.
Wei WuXian was delusional with pleasure, “Lan Er-Gege, how can you expect me to relax like this? I’m being spread open! You’re just going to have to think of a way to-”
Lan WangJi bent down and captured Wei WuXian’s ever-flapping lips, attacking him from both the top and the bottom.
Wei WuXian melted, his body relaxing enough for Lan WangJi to resume his thrusts.
After breaking the kiss, Wei WuXian noticed something, “Lan Zhan, why do you keep changing the angle? It’s not like you’ll find anything new down- AHHH!”
Pleasure erupted throughout his body as Wei WuXian let out the loudest moan that night. His eyes glazed over and he swore he saw stars on his roof, “What the fuck was that?”
Lan WangJi let out a huff of laughter, then continued thrusting into Wei WuXian, but this time his attacks were targeted at that spot.
Wei WuXian was on the verge of tears, “Yes yes yes! Right there Er-Gege, keep pounding me right there!” Lan WangJi’s hands tightened as he did exactly that, resulting in screams of absolute euphoria, “Faster Lan Zhan! Fuck me faster! Ahhh!~”
Wei WuXian’s moans encouraged Lan WangJi to do exactly that.
It was a threatening, almost punishing pace. The ‘pa’ sound could be heard below as Wei WuXian was drilled into, causing him to feel as though his lower body no longer belonged to him.
In the throes of pleasure, Wei WuXian reached up and clasped onto Lan WangJi’s chest, desperate to hold onto something.
…Then, as he felt Lan WangJi’s beating heart, a thought struck him.
“Lan Zhan! Lan Zhan stop!”
Lan WangJi was curious whether or not this was play, but one look into Wei WuXian’s eyes let him know he was serious.
Lan WangJi slowed down and tried to pull out, but Wei WuXian hooked his legs behind his back and pushed him back inside, “No, I want you here for this.”
Wei WuXian, without a hint of sarcasm, looked into Lan WangJi’s eyes and asked, “Lan Zhan, do you love me?”
Lan WangJi looked at his forehead ribbon currently wrapped around Wei WuXian’s right wrist, then the place where they were connected, “…Isn’t that obvious?”
“Humour me Lan Zhan.”
Wei WuXian smiled, “Then mark me.”
Lan WangJi blinked, then bit Wei WuXian on the side of his neck.
Wei WuXian cried out, “What are you doing?! Stop biting me, that’s not what I meant!”
Lan WangJi pulled away, then realized what he had meant, “…You’re serious?”
Wei WuXian nodded, “Dead serious. Well, not dead, because you said no dying, but you get what I mean! Yes, I want you to mark me and for me to mark you- Ahhh~ There it is. I knew you’d get harder!”
“Wei Ying,” Lan WangJi said worriedly, yet also excitedly, “there’s no going back. Once you’re marked-”
“-You’re life is forever bound to that person. Yeah, I know, why do you think I proposed it?”
“…Are you sure? There’s still time to-”
“Lan Zhan, I’ve never been more sure about anything in my life. I don’t want to just feel you inside me, I want to feel you with me. I want to be connected to you for the rest of my life, to feel your emotions as if they were my own. What if we have another misunderstanding like the one we had today? Or the many we’ve had in the past? No, I can’t have that. I want to be with you forever and that’s that.”
Lan WangJi looked at Wei WuXian with awe, “…This is surprisingly well-thought-out.”
Wei WuXian pouted, “What’s that supposed to- You know what, I’ll find out in a minute anyway. You’ll do it?”
Lan WangJi smiled, “Yes.”
Wei WuXian returned the smile, “Great! Let’s do it.”
“…Right here? Like this?”
“Right here. Like this.”
Lan WangJi sighed, then reached out to place his right hand on the right side of Wei WuXian’s chest. Wei WuXian did the same thing, reaching his right arm—forehead ribbon and all—out and placing his hand on the right side of Lan WangJi’s chest.
“Alright, on my count,” Wei WuXian commanded, “Three, two, one!”
On the count of ‘one’, Wei WuXian and Lan WangJi both released spiritual energy into their palms.
The impact was instant. Wei WuXian felt as if his whole body was being penetrated by a ghost. The energy flowed from his heart to the rest of his body, then accumulated back at his heart, where he felt it bunch into a shape of some kind, though he wasn’t sure what.
Wei WuXian took in a few deep breaths, then spoke, “Lan Zhan? You good?”
“Did it work?”
Lan WangJi looked down at his palm, “Let’s see.”
At the same time, Wei WuXian and Lan WangJi removed their hands, exposing their new marks.
It was in the shape of a lotus surrounded by a cloud, almost like it was protecting it. At the bottom of the lotus laid two bunnies, a single ribbon connecting their right ears together. It glowed brighter than anything Wei WuXian had ever seen.
Lan WangJi spoke first, reading his mind, “It is.”
Wei WuXian laughed, “I’d expect it to be! After all, something we create has to be stunningly beautiful! If we could have a child, I’m sure even they- Lan Zhan, how much harder can you get my love?”
Wei WuXian felt his amusement course through his body, signalling Lan WangJi’s happiness.
Wei WuXian, “…It’s a strange feeling, isn’t it?”
Wei WuXian smiled to himself, “But it’s comforting.”
It truly is.
Wei WuXian looked up, “Don’t forget, Lan Er-Gege, if I concentrate hard enough, I can read your mind! So you’d better stay faithful!”
Wei WuXian cupped his face, “Now, do you want to continue what we were doing before? You’ve certainly grown harder.”
A solid thrust answered that question.
The first difference Wei WuXian noticed was his ability not only to feel his own pleasure, but to also feel Lan WangJi’s.
He could feel the sensual way his hole wrapped around Lan WangJi and the pleasure that brought his partner. He could tell how he should be controlling his contractions—when he could control them—and how tight he should squeeze to grant Lan WangJi maximum pleasure.
Wei WuXian let out a long moan, “Lan Zhan, is this what I feel like? I can see why you feel so happy. Honestly, I’d fuck me too if I could, but I guess I’m just going to have to settle for- AHHH!~”
Wei WuXian was then thrown into an avalanche of pleasure, Lan WangJi’s dick hitting him in all the right places, the faint pain he had been feeling all but gone.
He had forgotten that their connection also worked in reverse, meaning that Lan WangJi was also feeling exactly what he felt. He could thrust all he wanted without worrying about going too far or delivering too little. He could please Wei WuXian exactly the way he wanted to be pleased.
Wei WuXian chuckled, teasing, “How does it feel to be penetrated by your own dick?”
Wei WuXian earned many deep thrusts for that, tears of pleasure falling from his eyes.
Now that Lan WangJi’s mind was connected to him, Wei WuXian was able to tell how much his little teases turned him on, so he continued, “I must say, I feel amazing! I didn’t realize how warm I felt, so I guess I know what to do when you’re feeling cold. Maybe we can try this up in your sect’s cold springs…”
Lan WangJi started pounding harder and faster than ever, turning Wei WuXian’s mind to mush. Clearly, the comment had succeeded in getting him more worked up, but he hadn’t anticipated the backlash.
It didn’t matter though, he loved it.
Wei WuXian felt as Lan WangJi grew more and more restless, his thrusts slowly morphing into ones targeted at attaining release.
Wei WuXian, “La-ah! Lan Zhan… You… Ohhh yes right there!~ You’re about to release, right?”
Panting, Lan WangJi simply started thrusting faster. However, now that they were linked, Wei WuXian knew that that was a ‘yes’.
Wei WuXian, “You know where I want it.”
He was almost there.
Wei WuXian, arms draped around his neck and legs locked behind his back, pulled himself up, “Fill me up with your seed.”
He brought his mouth to Lan WangJi’s ear, and whispered, “Lan. Er. Ge. Ge~”
Lan WangJi achieved release, shoving his member as far up Wei WuXian’s ass as it could go. Wei WuXian cried out, body and mind in utter bliss. Because of their connection, he had cum at the same time, resulting in his essence being spilled all over both himself and Lan WangJi.
After a few minutes passed and their breathing calmed down, Wei WuXian spoke, “…I feel… full.”
If they hadn’t been linked, Lan WangJi would have attempted to pull out to ease the feeling, but now he was aware that Wei WuXian actually thoroughly enjoyed the feeling of fullness.
Wei WuXian smiled, rubbing his lower abdomen, “It lets me know that you’re here, Lan Zhan.”
Then he looked up at the glowing mark on Lan WangJi’s chest, “Though, I guess that’s not really a problem anymore, huh?”
Lan WangJi cradled the head of the man he had chased for so long, “En.”
“You’re stuck with me forever now.”
“Also, you’re going to have to pull out of me before you grow hard again. I love you Lan Zhan, but I don’t want to break on our first night.”
Wei WuXian reached up and stroked Lan WangJi’s face, “Don’t worry, Lan Zhan, a bit of you is still inside me.” He grabbed Lan WangJi’s hand and brought it to his abdomen. Lan WangJi could feel the slight bulge of his dick, causing a small bit of heat to find its way back to his nether regions.
Wei WuXian, “…Er-Gege, I mean your seed, not your dick. Now you really have to pull out or I’m about to go for an unwanted ride.”
Lan WangJi reluctantly complied.
Wei WuXian winced as a feeling of emptiness overtook his body, but remained jovial, “Don’t worry, Lan Zhan, I promise we’ll do this again tomorrow. And the day after even. Hell, let’s just do it every day, okay?”
By the warmth he felt coming from Lan WangJi’s chest, he knew that he was very excited about that.
After cleaning themselves the best they could—Wei WuXian leaving Lan WangJi’s cum untouched, of course—while remaining in Wei WuXian’s room, they settled into bed and cuddled.
Voices horse and really unnecessary, they indulged in a silent conversation.
Lan WangJi, “You know you’re going to have to clean that soon, right?”
Wei WuXian, “Don’t wanna! You do it for me~”
Lan WangJi, “I plan on it.”
Wei WuXian giggled out loud, then pushed his head into the crook of Lan WangJi’s neck, “Why didn’t we do this ages ago?”
Lan WangJi didn’t respond, simply bringing Wei WuXian closer to him and fitting their naked bodies together like puzzle pieces.
Wei WuXian continued, “I was such an idiot. How could I actually think I liked women? I should have figured this out years ago! …Well, I guess Jiang Cheng won’t be that pleased. He hates abnormal people like us…”
Putting his own feelings about the heir to the YunmengJiang Sect aside, Lan WangJi knew that Wei WuXian deeply cared for their relationship, so he simply tightened his hug and planted a kiss on his forehead.
Just as they started settling into bed, Wei WuXian suddenly brought his head up again, “Wait, where did you get that guide book from? I know I didn’t have anything like that here…”
Wei WuXian felt Lan WangJi’s embarrassment, so he looked towards the corner he had seen Lan WangJi loitering in.
On the ground was Lan WangJi’s forgotten bag, the books spilled all over the floor.
Wei WuXian didn’t have to read his mind to know exactly where he got that book from.
A sly smile crept onto Wei WuXian’s face, “…Lan Zhan… Don’t tell me you were buying porn that day?”
Their link immediately gave Wei WuXian the answer he wanted, providing him information about that small bookstore.
He burst out laughing, “No wonder the shelf I found was full of male-only porn! And here I thought it was just a small section I just happened to find. Now I get why the owner was looking at us like that! And why you wanted your bag back! Hahahahahahahahahhaha!”
Thoroughly mortified, Lan WangJi attempted to turn away.
Wei WuXian, “Don’t look away, Lan Zhan! You know I’m just teasing. You’re not angry, right? Oh good, you’re not. Well, what I said wasn’t wrong-”
Lan WangJi pulled Wei WuXian into a deep kiss, effectively shutting him up.
When they pulled away, Wei WuXian hazily looked up, “…Dammit, you’ve found such a good way to shut me up… Ah, Lan Er-Gege, how did I live without you?~”
Lan WangJi sighed, “Go to sleep, Wei Ying.”
Wei WuXian fake-pouted, “Fine.”
They both closed their eyes and resumed their previous cuddling position.
“But we’re going to have to talk about your porn collection tomorrow.”
Eight song: Siren
Version I listened to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbDY5bRcZrw
When Wei WuXian woke up the next morning, we had already been cleaned and dressed.
Wei WuXian looked around in a haze, slowly remembering the events of the night previous.
A slight glow caught his attention, so he looked down at his chest and saw the Heartmark that had been made over his heart.
His right heart.
Wei WuXian sighed lovingly to himself, then looked around the room.
It was clean. Cleaner than when the servants came in while he was away. The floor was spotless, everything was neatly organized, and a slight smell of sandalwood incense came from the corner.
At the end of his bed, reading a Buddhist scripture, was Lan WangJi.
“So they’re not all porn, huh?”
Lan WangJi closed his book, “Good morning, Wei Ying.”
Wei WuXian looked down at his chest again, “So last night really was real…”
Wei WuXian brought his hand down to massage his ass, “I guess the ache down here could have told me that…”
Lan WangJi looked down guilty, “…Felt the pain when I got up. Tried to heal it, but…”
Wei WuXian laughed, “Come on Lan Zhan, you should be able to tell that I’m not mad. This feeling reminds me of you~”
Lan WangJi’s eyes softened, relief washing over him.
Wei WuXian sighed, thinking, How did I ever think he was difficult to read? His reactions are so obvious!
Lan WangJi, “You’d be the third to think that.”
Curiosity got the better of Wei WuXian, “I know your brother is one, but who’s the other?”
Lan WangJi shared a few memories with him.
He saw images of a beautiful woman in white. She bore a clear resemblance to both Lan WangJi and Lan XiChen, possessing Lan XiChen’t smile and Lan WangJi’s clear eyes.
“A-Zhan, come over here!”
“A-Zhan, I promise I won’t tease you. I’ll treat you like an adult, okay? Will you come and hug me then?”
Suddenly, coughing could be heard from behind. The small Lan WangJi turned and ran to her, seeing if she was alright.
…And she immediately stopped coughing and threw her arms around him.
“I knew you’d come, A-Zhan! You’re so predictable!”
“Nope! I can tell you love this, so I won’t let go! Look at you, so embarrassed~”
Laughter filled the room as the memory ended.
Wei WuXian smiled, “I would have liked to have met her.”
Wei WuXian felt Lan WangJi’s sadness, so he went to wrap his arms around him, climbing onto his lap and peppering his face with kisses, “Lan Zhan, I-”
Suddenly, they heard a knock at the door.
“A-Xian? Are you ready?”
Recalling the events of Jiang YanLi’s wedding, Lan WangJi looked Wei WuXian in the eye and thought, If you throw another blanket on me…
Wei WuXian pushed down his embarrassment, I won’t, but just hide! I want to let them know about us on my terms, not be discovered in bed!
Lan WangJi went and hid while Wei WuXian fixed his robes and opened the door, “Shijie! What are you-”
Jiang YanLi was shocked, “A-Xian! What are you doing?! You aren’t even ready yet!”
Wei WuXian was dumbfounded, “...Ready? For what?”
Jiang YanLi, “Oh, I thought they told you. Oh well. Just get ready, okay? They’re waiting!”
With that, she closed the door on him and ran off.
Wei WuXian, “…”
Lan WangJi, “…”
Wei WuXian, “…Hey Lan Zhan, did she tell you about what was happening today when you two were talking?”
Lan WangJi re-entered Wei WuXian’s frame of view, then shook his head.
Wei WuXian shrugged his shoulders, then spoke, “Well, I do remember something about them wanting me to wear these-” he pointed towards the clothing he had worn yesterday “-clothes today. This will take forever if I dress myself, so do you mind helping me, Lan Er-Gege?”
A little while later, Wei WuXian was at the entrance of the banquet hall.
Madam Yu looked displeased, “You’re late.”
Wei WuXian looked around. Not only was the entire Jiang family present, but there were also a number of guards stationed around the perimeter. Even Jinzhu and Yinzhu, Madam Yu’s personal maids, were away from her, guarding the doors.
In the middle of the room sat a small group of people, probably a noble and his servants. To his left sat a young girl, a girl that Wei WuXian had definitely seen before…
Wei WuXian, “You!”
The girl smiled up at him and waved.
Jiang FengMian, “Ah, so you do seem to actually be well-acquainted. Good, that makes this easier…
The nobleman spoke up, “Of course they are well-acquainted! Did you take my daughter for a liar?!”
Jiang Cheng mumbled, “I’d take her for even a thief after what she did to A-Jie…”
The girl frowned, “I have already offered my deepest apologies for that incident. Since then, I have not wavered in my training and a similar incident will never occur again.”
Did she always speak like that? Wei WuXian thought.
The nobleman nodded, “That’s quite right. My daughter simply slipped, that’s all. Accidents happen.”
Jiang Cheng looked as if he wanted to argue, but Jiang FengMian waved him off, “Yes yes, all in the past. Now, A-Xian, do you mind sitting down so we may commence the discussions?”
Wei WuXian nodded and went to sit down on the seat they had prepared for him.
When he was settled, Jiang FengMian began to talk, “So, seeing as both parties have expressed an interest in each other, I see no reason to deny such a generous proposal. However, I would like verbal confirmation from both parties before we proceed.”
The noble girl rose, “I give my full consent to this arrangement.”
The nobleman clapped as if she had just given a rousing speech, “Well said, well said!”
The girl nodded, then sat down.
Jiang FengMian then gestured to Wei WuXian, “A-Xian?”
Stared at him, dumfound, then got up and spoke, “Excuse my bluntness, but can someone please explain to me what this is about?”
Silence echoed throughout the room.
Jiang FengMian, “…A-Xian, did no one tell you?”
Jiang YanLi pipped in, “Oh, sorry Father, I forgot to tell you that. Do you want me to take him outside and explain?”
Jiang FengMian, “No need. A-Xian, this fine nobleman is from a family for cultivators. Unfortunately, he didn’t have much of a gift for cultivation-”
“I’ll have you know,” interrupted the nobleman, “that I’m an almost-cultivator! I’m quite good at channelling my spiritual energy, I just-”
It was Madam Yu’s turn to interrupt, clearly impatient, “Of course, I’m sure we’ll hear more stories later. As we were saying, Wei Ying, he is offering his daughter’s hand in marriage to you, a servant. Now, seeing as she is a noblewoman, we wanted to have this meeting to make sure she actually knew the person she was talking about.”
Madam Yu looked offended, “What? It’s ridiculous to be hosting such a thing for a servant…”
Jiang FengMian sighed, “A-Xian, we wanted to know if you were both alright with this, so we called you here today.”
Wei WuXian paused, terrified, “…I-”
“Of course he agrees!” the nobleman shouted, “He’s expressed interest in my daughter before! She even revealed that her delicate maiden heart beats for him! And he said it back! Now that that’s out of the way, may we discuss when my daughter may move in here? This is what I came to deal with today.”
Wei WuXian was speechless, unsure what to do.
Jiang FengMian, “While I do understand where you’re coming from, sir, I still wish to hear A-Xian’s opinion on all this. A-Xian?”
Wei WuXian looked at the maiden, then Jiang FengMian, “No.”
The nobleman sputtered, “What do you mean, ‘no’? If you marry my daughter, you will be nobility! No longer will the rank of servant follow you around! And you say no?!”
The girl spoke, grabbing her father’s arm, “Father, A-Ying is quite the joker. He must be testing your sense of humour!”
The nobleman calmed, “…Oh, that makes sense. Funny joke, my future son! Ha!”
Wei WuXian looked offended, “I wasn’t joking. I don’t know your daughter well enough and I have no intention of marrying her.”
Anger flashed through the nobleman’s eyes, “You dare deny my daughter of something she wants?! She chose you, so you will be hers! End of story!”
Jiang FengMian frowned, “I’m afraid not. A-Xian is telling me that he has no interest in your daughter, so this is where our meeting ends. Thank you very much for coming, but-”
“ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!” The nobleman cried, “I didn’t come all this way to be denied by some brat! Some servant!”
As he said this, he channelled spiritual energy into his palm, and slammed it into Wei WuXian’s chest, hoping to knock him back a little and assert his dominance.
What he was not expecting, however, was the blood-curdling scream that came from Wei WuXian’s mouth.
All at once, everyone panicked.
Jiang YanLi went to check on Wei WuXian as his screams filled the air. Jiang Cheng ran up to the nobleman and grabbed him by his robes, hoisting him into the air, a murderous gleam in his eyes, “What the fuck did you do to my brother?!”
The nobleman was equally as clueless, “I only hit his chest! Sure, I used a little bit of spiritual energy, but my hand wasn’t even near his heart! I targeted his right side!”
Madam Yu had Ziadan out, ready to strike, “Well, you’d better start figuring it out or you’re about to lose more than a marriage proposal.”
Meanwhile, Jiang YanLi was trying her best to deal with a screaming Wei WuXian, “A-Xian, I need you to tell me what’s wrong, please! I can’t help you if all you do is scream!”
Jin ZiXuan spoke into her mind, Check his chest, love. They just said spiritual energy was used on his chest.
Jiang YanLi thanked him and looked down at his chest. Wei WuXian, with tears streaming down his face, was desperately grasping at the robes centring around the right side of his chest. Jiang YanLi immediately started peeling layers of robes away.
When she finally saw what her brother was clawing at, she gasped, “A-Xian, you-”
Suddenly, the doors were slammed open.
In the doorway stood a very frantic, very dishevelled, Lan WangJi.
Jiang Cheng looked towards him, “…Second Master Lan? What—?”
Lan WangJi ignored him and quickly ran towards the crumpled Wei WuXian.
A few guards tried to stop him, afraid that Wei WuXian’s greatest rival would attack him while he was down, but Jiang YanLi stopped them, “Let him through! He can help!”
Lan WangJi finally reached Wei WuXian after what felt like an eternity of screaming, and gently placed his hand over his mark.
The effect was almost immediate. As Lan WangJi channelled spiritual energy into the mark, Jiang YanLi turned her murderous glare towards the nobleman, “You could have killed him!”
The nobleman was now on the ground, but he was being surrounded by more and more people why the minute, “What are you talking about?! It was only a little spiritual energy! And it was his right side! Besides, even if I did aim for the left side and hit his heart, it would have killed him…”
Jiang YanLi looked like she was about to burst, “Are you forgetting what another’s spiritual energy does to marked people?! It’s deadly when fired at a distance, but from that close? He could have died the instant you touched him!”
Everyone was now just as confused as the nobleman.
Jiang FengMian, “…A-Li, what do you mean, ‘marked’? A-Xian-”
“-Is a marked man.”
Everyone turned to face the voice.
Weak, but awake, Wei WuXian was being carried bridal style towards them. His breathing was steady and he was smiling, but nobody was paying attention to that. Instead, their eyes were attracted to the glowing mark-
“-On his right side,” Jiang Cheng said, disbelievingly. “Wei WuXian, you’re… right-hearted?”
Wei WuXian chuckled weakly, “Yeah, I just found out myself.”
“And you’re marked,” Jin ZiXuan added helpfully.
“Astute observation skills, Peacock!”
Jiang YanLi looked at the slight glow that peaked out for Lan WangJi’s now-messy robes, “You did it, right Second Master Lan?”
Lan WangJi nodded his head.
Jiang FengMian approached them, “…A-Xian, Second Master Lan, do you two mind explaining what this is all about?”
Wei WuXian nodded, “Sure Uncle Jiang. But first, can you give me a minute to recover from the shock of almost dying?”
“Of course, A-Xian,” Jiang YanLi smiled ominously, “We have some business to take care of on this side anyway…”
Suddenly, the nobleman was faced with the wrath of the entire YunmengJiang Sect, the heir to the LanlingJin Sect, and a very deadly second master of the GusuLan Sect.
So, as any man with basic survival instincts would do, he ran.
His daughter got up to chase after him, but not before turning to Wei WuXian and bowing, her speech pattern returning to normal as she said, “I can see this won’t really work out. I’m sorry that my family caused so much trouble, and I’ll tell my father to call off the arrangement. We won’t bother you again.”
And, just like that, she and the servants that had followed them left the Lotus Pier, chasing after the terrified almost-cultivator.
When they were sure that he was gone, everyone turned to look at Wei WuXian, watching as he lovingly nuzzled his head against Lan WangJi’s chest, his fingers tracing Lan WangJi’s Heartmark.
Madam Yu, “So Wei Ying, I think we deserve an explanation, don’t you?”
Ninth song: Take yours, I'll take mine
Version I listened to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJs7OlSaEgg
“So let me get this straight, you’ve been in love with Lan WangJi for over half a year now, figured it out last night, had sex, and then just decided that you were meant to be?!”
“Yeah, pretty much.”
Jiang Cheng facepalmed, “And I defended you too…”
Jiang FengMian rubbed his temples, “While there were a few details that could have been omitted from your story-”
“Hey, you said you wanted to know why Lan Zhan was still in Lotus Pier.”
“-I now completely understand the situation.”
Jiang FengMian raised his head, then looked at the matching glowing marks over both of their right hearts, watching the way they interacted. The way they looked at each other, held each other, spoke to each other… Only a fool would be blind to their love.
Jiang YanLi piped in, “My question is, A-Xian, why did it take you so long to figure out you were right-hearted?”
Wei WuXian thought for a minute, “I guess it’s because I didn’t even think I could be one? Yeah, that’s it. Right-hearted men were always ‘other people’. I couldn’t possibly be one because I was ‘normal’.”
Wei WuXian went silent, then looked up into Lan WangJi’s eyes, “Of course not, Lan Zhan! How could you even think that?! That was just how I thought before.”
Wei WuXian’s face rapidly started blushing, “You have to warn me before thinking something like that! I could actually die you know!”
Wei WuXian’s face twisted, “Ahhh, don’t be sad, Lan Zhan. I’m sorry. No dying, I promise. Oh? What’s that? Of course! Awww, what a cute little face your making right now! You have to do that more often, it’s good for my health!”
Jiang Cheng, “…”
Jiang YanLi, “…”
Jin ZiXuan, “…”
Jiang FengMian, “…”
There’s no change!!!
Madam Yu finally broke the silence, “So, Second Master Lan, I take it you don’t plan on just taking our best cultivator away now, do you?”
Lan WangJi looked directly into her eyes, then shook his head, “I will ask Brother to offer a full alliance. That way, Wei Ying will be able to remain a member of the YunmengJiang Sect.”
“A full alliance?!”
“We don’t even have that with the LanlingJin Sect!”
“Is he serious?!”
Jiang FengMian, “Second Master Lan, I’m sure you are aware of what a full alliance would entail? Are you sure Sect Leader Lan would agree to such a proposition?”
“As long as it is reciprocated.”
Shocked expressions were present throughout the room.
Jiang FengMian looked at Lan WangJi, then at Wei WuXian.
“A-Xian, I know that this question is coming a bit too late, but are you sure you want this?”
Wei WuXian looked up into Lan WangJi’s eyes, then back to Jiang FengMian, “Yes Uncle, I’m sure.”
Jiang FengMian looked at him, then smiled, “Well then, I wish you both the best of luck in your marriage. The YunmengJiang Sect offers a full alliance to the Lan Sect as a wedding gift.”
Gasps were heard throughout the room, then cheers.
“A full alliance! We’re getting a full alliance with the GusuLan Sect!”
“What a move, Da-shi-xiong!”
“You’d better treat him right, Lan WangJi!”
As Lan WangJi carried Wei WuXian out of the room, Wei WuXian turned to Jiang Cheng, who was trailing them.
“Are you… okay with this?”
Wei WuXian tried to search for how best to approach the issue, only comforted by the warmth of Lan WangJi’s arms, “All this. About me being right-hearted, getting married, loving Lan Zhan…”
Jiang Cheng sighed, then spoke honestly, “It is a bit hard for me to wrap my head around, but you’re my brother, so why wouldn’t I support you? Someone has to be there to make sure he-” Jiang Cheng pointed his chin at Lan WangJi “-treats you right. Anything happens to you, and I’ll fucking kill him! …Are you crying?”
“No!” Wei WuXian said, snot threatening to fall from his nose, “I’m just sad that, even after you attended all those marriage meetings, I ended up losing my virginity before you! Hahahahahahaha!”
“That’s it, I’m going to kill you!”
Wei WuXian laughed from the heart, happy that his greatest fear had disappeared.
As they disappeared down the hallway, Jiang FengMian turned to Madam Yu, “…Best cultivator, huh?”
Madam Yu brought her fist to her mouth and coughed into it, “…Technically speaking. He still fools around too much and is a disgrace to the YunmengJiang Sect! The fact that he is our best disciple should be enough to indicate how far the sect has fallen! A servant the best cultivator we have… What a disgrace! Now, where are Jinzhu and Yinzhu? I have something I need to discuss with them.”
Jiang FengMian smiled, “Yes, my lady.”
A month later, Wei WuXian and Lan WangJi were sitting together on their bed, dressed in red.
Of course, Lan XiChen had agreed to Lan WangJi’s proposal, seeing how it not only benefited the sect, but made his brother happy. There was some minor opposition, but, after Lan QiRen and Madam Yu had a good heart-to-heart about troublemakers, things smoothened out.
Since there was a full alliance in place, they had held their wedding in two different locations. The first half was in the Cloud Recesses, seeing as they had the earlier rising time. There, they held celebrations until noon, taking off on their swords towards the Lotus Pier the minute they could get away. Once they arrived, the YunmengJiang Sect hosted the wedding until midnight, finally sending the happy couple off to their pre-prepared chambers for the night, complete with silencing talismans, a few vials of oil, and many jars of Emperor’s Smile—wedding presents from A-Lin and A-Hui.
Wei WuXian leaned into Lan WangJi’s embrace, soaking in the moment, “Hey Lan Zhan?”
“What do you think would have happened if I had stayed silent that night?”
“…Don’t think like that.”
Wei WuXian got up and looked straight into his eyes, “I mean it! I keep thinking about the night I confessed, and I get scared. What if I hadn’t made the decision to tell the truth and you walked away? Or what if we never went to that inn, and I wasn’t able to realize how I felt about you? What if-”
Wei WuXian stopped, “Yes Lan Zhan?”
Lan WangJi looked into his eyes, then smiled, “We are together now. That’s all that matters.”
Wei WuXian calmed down, “…You’re right Er-Gege, I’m just being stupid. I guess I just can’t imagine a world where I’m not with you.”
“Mn. Me too. I wouldn’t be able to live without Wei Ying.”
Wei WuXian, heart beating, turned and smiled his signature smile, touching the beautiful glowing mark on Lan WangJi’s chest while showing his off, “Then tonight, why don’t you show me just how much you love me, Lan Er-Gege?”