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the autumn leaf (falls not far from the tree)

Chapter Text

Of course, the moment he is summoned back into the realm of the living again, Wei Wuxian ends up stuck in a manor with a bunch of baby Lans, rogue fierce corpses and a demonic cultivation curse. 


Typical. So he makes a run for it.


Or rather, Wei Wuxian had been going to run. 


He was suppose d to run. 


He should be running. 


Oh the irony, the Yiling Patriarch, back in the realm of the living again and on his first day he is running from battle. Wei Wuxian, Wei Wuxian, what happened to the once fearless demonic cultivator who had laughed in the face of the Great Cultivation Clans? Oh right...he ended up losing everyone that had ever mattered to him in the end; and died alone on Yiling’s broken hills.


Maybe it is best not to stir up the past again. 


There is a fatal curse placed on Mo Manor and it would soon sap the life from all of its inhabitants soon. By the darkness of the outer gardens, Wei Wuxian stops beneath one of the flickering candlelight of one of the last few lanterns still alit and pulls his sleeve up to reveal the single last cut running down the length of his forearm. When all of Mo Manor turned to dust, the contract of the body summoning would be fulfilled. It would be difficult for the group of junior Lan disciples to control so many rogue fierce corpses of this level, but they had sent the Lan flares up and help would come soon.


Wei Wuxian yanks his sleeve back down and picks up his footsteps. If that person came ...if that person came, it would be troublesome indeed.


There is only one problem that dawns on him when he reaches the outer manor walls - he doesn’t have enough spiritual cultivation to flip over the walls, and the exits are sealed. Wei Wuxian sighs and falls back down to the ground in defeat after his third failed attempt at scaling the tall manor walls.


"First day back and living is too hard," He grumbles into his knees.


For a qianyuan, and a cultivator at that, this Mo Xuanyu was really too weak!


So he ends up sneaking back into the courtyard, watching the battle, hoping and praying that of all possible Lan Clan members, it would not be him. 


“I can’t be so cursed that the world doesn’t even let me rest in peace. I died fair and square sixteen years ago,’ Wei Wuxian mutters furiously under his breath as he clambers over the low bannister clumsily to continue his facade of a crazy Mo Xuanyu. Landing heavily on the stone corridor, he scuttles behind one of the pillars to poke his head out to observe the ongoing battle in the courtyard. 


The disciples are young, perhaps just past their fifteenth birthday, the age where they would be trusted with easy night hunts in groups on their own. The three of them back into each other, supporting their moves around the array seamlessly.


One of the small Lan disciples sends a fierce corpse flying back into the stone statue and it explodes across the garden - Wei Wuxian just manages to duck in time, out of the way of a spatter of stone fragments. Mo Xuanyu ah, Mo Xuanyu ...what a mess the previous owner of this body had summoned him into. And when he returns to the afterlife again, Wei Wuxian thinks, he’s going to have words with the spirit ranking officials, because surely he doesn’t count as a vengeful evil spirit!


A loud roar suddenly rings in his ears, and Wei Wuxian looks up in alarm only to see one of the fierce corpses staring down at him, its rotting mouth pulled back in a guttural snarl. His hands instantly fly to his side, but there is no spirit blade there, and when he calls his spirit core to himself, the golden core of this body is barely strong enough to cast a shielding spell. What sort of cultivator-


“Young Master Mo!” One of the Lan disciples call out in alarm and sends his spirit sword flying in the direction of the corpse, pinning it against the wall. The entire pillar shudders with the impact of the sword, and Wei Wuxian groans and cowers, cursing the weakness of this body yet again.


Drawn back by the sword, the corpse roars and leaps back into the array where the corpses are clashing with the cultivators. The Lan disciples are young, but they are already skilled in Lan style swordplay and their cultivation skills are not bad to boot. Wei Wuxian settles against the wall as he watches the disciple who had protected him from the corpse. He is fending off one of the fierce corpses with an excellent show of swordsmanship.


There’s something about him that is oddly familiar, in the seriousness of his gaze and refined cultivation casting...He is clearly the eldest of the three Lan disciples, although he edges closer to one of them over the other. The other appears to be the youngest, his swordsmanship and cultivation not as strong and experienced as his seniors. But the look in his eyes is determined, the curve of his side profile elegant with sharp tidy features and distinct Lan bearings. As he turns, his head ribbon catches the sunlight and there is the embroidered pattern of Lan descent - a Lan Clan disciple, part of the main family. He is young, but the gold brown of his bright eyes makes his lineage clear. And no wonder he looks so familiar - it's like looking at a mini Lan Wangji, albeit...albeit about a hundred times more expressive, Wei Wuxian thinks as he watches the baby Lan Clan disciple attempt to give the loudest battle cry he's ever heard from any Lan ever as he charges towards one of the corpses.


He certainly did not get that from the Second Jade of Gusu Lan.


For a moment, it looks almost as if the suppressing array worked, testament to the cultivation talent of Gusu Lan that such young cultivators could perform such a powerful array. And then Madam Mo gets back onto her feet from where she had fainted, except there is something off about her gaze now, hollow, dark and vacant...and when she pulls her lips back, her teeth flash in a vicious, forbidding snarl. The wind howling through the courtyard picks up further, lashing wildly with heavy threads of resentment and despair. The clouds have covered the moon, and the last lantern flickers out, plunging the courtyard into complete darkness.


Wei Wuxian tenses from behind the pillar. 


This...This is going to be a problem.


His gaze immediately snaps back to the Lan disciples in concern, and before he knows it, his hand begins to glow a dark red. It’s too risky to use demonic cultivation, but if no one from the Lan clan showed up soon, these few disciples would be done for. They’re already worn down from battling the rest of the corpses, and the fatigue is beginning to show in their missteps and faltering arrays. If help didn’t come soon, if he didn’t do anything to help-


The youngest Lan disciple stumbles in battle and goes crashing on his knees in the midst of the courtyard, and eldest one cries out in concern and runs over. But the corpses have noticed too, snarling ferociously in triumph and preparing to leap for their throats- 


A panic unlike any other crashes through him, tears his breath out of his chest. Like thunder in his ears, so fast his heart is suddenly racing. 


His vision goes red.


No, no, not-  


Without thinking, he reaches out to pull the young Lan disciples back and the demonic energy pours out of him in full ferocity, a blast of raw, unfettered resentful power stronger than anything he’d ever called upon in an emergency before, even in his old body. The dark crimson wave shatters the courtyard, and all the corpses in their midst.


And then the familiar sound of a guqin resonates through the courtyard, suspending all in-between pure white spiritual energy. 


Wei Wuxian closes his eyes.


Ah... so it is him after all. After that little show, there would be no way that HanGuang Jun, who hates demonic cultivation above all, would let him go now.


The young Lan disciple slips out from his grip, falls onto the floor but his expression is shaken and confused. For some reason, Wei Wuxian does not move an inch from his side, his and this body’s protective qianyuan instincts still raging at the back of his mind.


“HanGuang Jun!” The other Lan disciples chorus in relief, except the Lan disciple who remains on his knees next to Wei Wuxian, shocked.


Wei Wuxian finally gets out of the way when Lan Wangji walks over to the both of them - he's done plenty of foolish things before but he knows at least not to get in the way of a kunze and their children.


“Chenping, ” Lan Wangji calls out as he gathers the disciple - Lan Chenping - to his feet, slowly, but with more urgency that Wei Wuxian had ever seen from the perfect countenance of the Jade before. He doesn’t miss the quick one over of concern that Lan Wangji gives the young disciple as he brushes the dust and soot from his robes. Standing together like this, the family resemblance is undeniable, though it would not account for the strange unruly curl sticking out of the young disciple’s hair. On his end, Lan Chenping actually shamelessly pouts before flinging his arms around Lan Wangji who lets his son be without even blinking.


Then the Jade looks around quickly and reaches out for the eldest Lan disciple, drawing him in as well. 


Sizhui .”


“I am fine, HanGuang-" Lan Sizhui says as he steps out from Lan Wangji's arms, then at the slightest dip of his brows, hastily adds on in a softer voice, " F-father." 


Father too huh...


Oho , Wei Wuxian finds himself staring at the log of them, father and sons and that one extra Lan, with renewed interest now. That explains it - well, what had that passing villager said? It has been more than sixteen years now. So Lan Wangji had found a worthy mate in the end, of course he had...He nods approvingly on the inside. Whoever his mate was, they must be quite the individual to be worthy of HanGuang Jun, and have such fine sons too. 


There is a sour twinge in his chest for some reason and he tightens his folded arms across it, pinching his side for good measure. He should be happy that Lan Wangji has found such an excellent mate in the end. Hadn't he always said that the other needed to lighten up a bit, to smile more, otherwise who'd want to mate someone who always had a wooden block expression on their face!




“That is Young Master Mo Xuanyu,” Lan Sizhui supplies in return.


“Young Master Mo,” Lan Wangji nods politely, but Wei Wuxian doesn’t miss how his light golden brown eyes are examining him closely despite his placid expression. He shifts on his feet, trying to think of any possible explanation for that outburst of resentful energy.


To his surprise, Lan Wangji just bows his head gracefully in response. 


“Thank you for saving our Lan disciples.”


“Oh…" Wei Wuxian snaps his mouth shut and shrugs nervously. "Ha ha ha, that? That...that was only to be expected, I mean, don't get me wrong I was just protecting myself too!"


“You are very powerful in demonic cultivation,” Lan Wangji says mildly, and Wei Wuxian still can’t read anything in his expression at all. 


This part of Lan Wangji has certainly not changed one bit.


"An accident, an accident, that's all, you know, crazy little me, who knows what I can do and danger, had to help, all that…" He waves the topic away, stepping slowly back with each word, ready to bolt. It's not like he is lying - qianyuan instincts had always been to protect the young and those in danger, that's all it had been...


There is something starting to ache in his chest - really, what other problems did this body have?


“If HanGuang Jun has no further questions, this one shall be taking his leave. Goodbye!"


He rushes off to the entrance before anyone can say anything, throws himself atop Lil Apple and kicks the donkey into a braying run.


For some reason, the ache in his chest grows heavier still, like he's doing something wrong, like he's left something behind.


Something important behind.