He remembered that he had died. He was dead and then - suddenly he wasn't. He did not know how much time had passed.
Blood was eclipsing all other thoughts within his mind.
The scent was alluring. He craved it. He wanted it.
He needed it.
He laughed coldly. If only the other cultivators could see the monstrosity he had become now.
The last thing Wei Wuxian remembered was the siege of the Burial Mounds and dying after destroying the Stygian Tiger Seal. He remembered the corpses ripping into him, devouring his flesh and everything went up in flames, exploding into his former shidi's face.
The final look on Jiang Chengs face, it was almost as if he cared about Wei Wuxian still, after everything.
He groaned, his throat was on fire, eyes red.
He was hungry.
He was so hungry .
A soft breeze wafted by, he sniffed it and closed his eyes to the delectable scent on the wind, parting his lips; enticed by the smell. He sighed, already knowing what he was about to do. He felt sorry for whatever poor soul had drifted by.
They wouldn't have to wonder long. He wouldn't be cruel. He would make sure they suffered no pain. He wasn't that far gone.
He followed the scent, seeking out his first prey.
The poor soul saw him coming too late.
There was a scream of terror, and a flurry of swift movements.
He gripped his prey right in his hands.
It hurt so much. He was so hungry.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." He growled with an effort to hold himself back before losing all sense and control.
He savagely sank his teeth into the humans vein at the neck, tearing and biting, feeling nothing but the hunger that gnawed at him - inside and out.
He sucked greedily; drinking, consuming the life of the person in his grasp - feeling the pulse threading and slowing with each gulp as he feasted on their life blood, savoring every last drop of the salty, metallic and deliciously tasting blood, so sweet on his tongue.
The person's struggle stopped, the body went limp in his grip as he drank until he was fully sated.
He gasped, gulping. His hunger had finally abated after draining the person dry of any blood in their veins. Wei Wuxian shuddered looking at the blood coating his pale hands and the person - a young girl - covered in spilled blood from her neck.
He flinched, turning his own head away in disgust and shame.
This is the monster I have become.
He hated it. Hated this. Himself.
And he also hated the young girl for foolishly wandering alone, and right into his path.
He gently lowered the body of the girl to ground, using his torn and dirty robes to wipe away what blood he could and closed her wide and fearfully frozen eyes, glazed with death. Her mouth open in a silent scream.
Wei Wuxian felt a wet sensation trickle down from his face, escaping the corners of his eyes. He wiped at the sensation.
Oh. Oh .
He was crying.
Crying tears of blood.
He looked down at the girl in his arms, and spoke so softly, so gently that voice was ripped away on a light breeze.
"I'm so sorry."
His apology was wasted, for a dead girl could who could no longer hear.
He had intended to kill her painlessly and drink her blood soon after but the closer he was, the closer he got - he lost all sense. He attributed it to waking from the dead, apparently, and obviously changed at that.
How had he changed so drastically after death? How was he even alive?
Or, was he alive at all?
His heart was still inside his chest. His heart did not beat.
He thought about everything that transpired in the past, before he died.
He gave his golden core to Jiang Cheng.
Things went downhill after that, even though he tried so hard to protect and save everyone but look at him now.
What a joke.
It clicked then, strangely, somehow.
It was the only thing he could think of.
When the siege happened, the moment he destroyed the real, dying on the backlash - the same backlash from the seal and all the resentful energy accumulated and absorbed into him, the corpses that had been tearing at his flesh died and his body was kept in a limbo state at death.
Even though he destroyed the seal - at least half of the seal itself - it...the seal and the resentful energy ... did this to him and then concealing him before fading after being destroyed, the aftermath becoming Qeo Wuxians current predicament, a consequence, or a curse. And he had been dying long before anyway without his core and using resentful energy, he had been on borrowed time.
He grimaced. It wasn't the best explanation but it was the only way he could have become this. He had been turned into a demon after death, and waking up from the dead after who knows how many years.
Fantastic . Wei Wuxian thought bitterly.
He looked down again at the dead girl in his arms, a girl he killed . He would need to give her a proper burial, or at least a semi - good one.
He lifted the girl into his arms and walked into the dark expanse of the forest, until he was swallowed up by the darkness.
Fifteen years have passed since his death, he found out.
He found himself back at the Burial Mounds; a small part of him stupidly thinking of Wen Yuan and how he was dead because of him, and even after he hid him away - but that wasn't good enough.
Nothing he ever did had ever been good enough.
No longer human, his body had already undergone a change - his senses were all heightened and he no longer had to worry about a frail mortal coil, oh, how he had been so, so weak without his golden core and relying on the one path so many scorned and despised, because it was the only path left that was open to him.
Wei Wuxian looked down at his slender, pale hands - the same hands that had before been covered by blood. Wei Wuxian figured he would once again claim Burial Mounds as his own and live here away from innocents to protect them from him. However, he would need to venture out every now and then for blood.
He supposed he could try to sustain himself on animal blood. It would be a better alternative than hunting down mortals and killing them, although Wei Wuxian was sure there were few out there that would not be missed - ones that were most vile and evil.
He could definitely sniff them out but that would be a waste of his time searching for such people, and they were not worth mentioning anyway. And yet...why was he here in the first place? Wei Wuxian should dead. He never planned to come back to life, especially as - well - not like this.
He was fine with staying dead. He should have stayed dead. Wei Wuxian made up his mind. He knew what he needed to do. And so...
He tried a few times to kill himself.
It didn't work.
He even set himself on fire once, which was excruciating. He knew he still felt pain - that was for sure, and then he healed quite quickly.
Wei Wuxian sighed, muttering, "Unbelievable."
He glanced at the sky, darkness blanketing over Burial Mounds, always.
This was his life now. He had literally become a monster, becoming a demon all because he walked the demonic path, using resentful energy as mortal - but he didn't have a choice! What else could he have done?!
Jiang Cheng would sure try to kill him if he saw him, and maybe if he himself couldn't do it, Jiang Cheng could?
He could deliver himself to his former brother and end this miserable existence he had become before it even truly began. It would be better than living like this forever, and he owed Jiang Cheng.
He was no longer alive, and no longer human. Wei Wuxian wondered if he even still had a soul. He still cared about things, about the humanity he really no longer possessed himself.If he was without his soul, then how could he care about anything at all?
That must mean something, that he somehow managed to hold onto his soul. He hoped so, even if it was really no consolation at all considering he had still taken an innocent life, no matter how disgusted he was at himself - it wouldn’t bring that lost life back. And she had been so young too...
“AH!" He screamed and yelled inside his cave, punching the hard walls until blood was seeping out, even as his wounds tried to heal - he kept smashing and pounding the cave wall with his fists. Unbridled rage and fury swirling within him, screaming himself hoarse.
Wei Wuxian sank to his knees, sobbing into his hands - which had already healed, with crimson tears flowing endlessly as he cried to the encasing silence, with it embracing him in it's cold arms.
The sun was bright and warm shining down on his cold skin as he walked around Mo Village where he had just arrived, drawn to it. His skin was pale and he stood out against the villagers milling about, a contrast to the tanned skin he had when he had been alive years ago. It was a struggle, really - to be surrounded by such vulnerable and regular humans, completely unaware of the predator in their midst as they went bustling about their day.
He didn’t need to breathe, but he found holding his breath helped block out the scent of the bustling people and the scent of their blood and the pulse of their hearts, which he heard so clearly.
He paused, coming to stand still, cocking his head and listening. Someone was doing a ritual, summoning someone, his heightened hearing honing in on the summoner and who that summoner was trying to call.
He smelled freshly spilt blood.
Wei Wuxian moved swiftly and silently with a deadly stillness and fast movements. He paused in front of a shabby rundown shed, before barging in and seeing a young boy still in the middle of completing the ritual. He scowled, recognizing his manuscripts in the boys hands. He quickly snatched it out of the boys grasp, quickly stopping the summoning, destroying the circle. He knew it was a forbidden ritual.
“Hey! Give that back!” The boy leaped up, snapping.
Wei Wuxian smirked with a cold sneer, showing his teeth, and arching a brow. “Oh? And why should I do that?”
The boy flinched but didn’t back down, undeterred. “Because! It's not yours! Who the hell are you anyway? Where did you even come from?!”
Wei Wuxian let out a sharp, chilling laugh. He liked this boy and he figured he might as well be honest, “Brat, you have no idea. It is mine. This manuscript belongs to me. It certainly does not belong to you and you have no business even having it in the first place.”
The boy blinked, eyes going wide in shock, shaking his head in denial. “No! No - that’s impossible - I didn’t even complete the ritual! You’re supposed to be dead! There is no way that you're him, the former Yiling Patriarch.” He shouted, backing away.
Wei Wuxian rolled his eyes. “Thats me, in the flesh - Wei Wuxian. What's it to you, and why were you trying to summon me?”
The boy stuttered, frozen.
“Well? Speak up.” Wei Wuxian turned steel silvery grey eyes onto the boy. Thankfully they were not crimson red right now or the boy might lose it, he could see the boys’ tremors, body shaking. Despite that, his expression was fierce. Wei Wuxian turned his attention to the boys wounded, bleeding arms. Wounds he had inflicted upon himself.
“Tch. What’s your name?” He stalked forward, shredding the cloth of his dark robes and taking hold of the boys arms to wrap his wounds. The smell of blood was driving him mad, the hunger rearing its ugly head. Wei Wuxian grinded his teeth. No. He would control this newfound hunger, he would not allow himself to be enslaved by it. He couldn’t . He didn’t want to kill this boy. He swallowed thickly.
Wei Wuxian shook his head fiercely, No. No. Keep it together.
“I asked for your name.” He looked down at the boy who was futilely trying to pull away from him.
“Let go! LET GO! I don’t want your help. This wasn’t how…” the boys lips trembled, tears in his eyes.
“You intended to summon me, sacrificing yourself, yes?” Wei Wuxian asked. The boy flinched, mouth opening and closing silently. Wei Wuxian sighed, tying up the bandage of the boys wounds. “You know, even if you had succeeded, if you were able to - you would be destroying yourself, for the likes of me for whatever reason you seem reluctant to admit to me. I can take a wide guess. But I won’t because I’m sure I know what you wanted and no. If I wasn’t... this...what I am now -” Wei Wuxian paused before continuing, “and you were successful in bringing me back I would have had no choice but to do what you wanted; that's not the case. And I’m sorry but I won’t let you die in front of me. I don’t know what reasons you may have had for wanting to end your life...but you are young and still have a life ahead of you, don’t cut it so short.” He finished speaking quietly and stepping back.
The boy pulled back, glaring, before looking downward and mumbling.
“Hmm? What was that?” Wei Wuxian cocked his head to the side, pretending he hadn’t heard the boy, though he clearly did. He wanted the boy to speak his name louder.
“I said my name is Mo Xuanyu.” He spoke up, glowering. A small smile appeared on Wei Wuxians lips, a fleeting thing.
“Well then, Mo Xuanyu, as I have already told you my name is Wei Wuxian, it is a pleasure to meet you.”
Then Wei Wuxian thought of an idea, a very bad Idea.
“I’ll tell you what, I will hear what you have to say and see about helping you out with whatever it is you want and afterwards, if you want, maybe you would like to join me? And not hide away in this place. What do you say?”
What am I saying? Its a bad idea. I am a danger to him, and if he stays by my side.. No, it's not safe.
Wei Wuxian opened his mouth, about to take back the offer. “Fine. I’ll do it.”
What? No, kid. Shut up. Don’t say that. You don’t know…
Mo Xuanyu stared at him resolutely. “I will.”
Wei Wuxians mouth twitched as he stared back at Mo Xuanyu. He actually expected the boy to decline and then he goes and actually accepts Wei Wuxians offer.
Wei Wuxian sighed. “If you are sure. It was only an offer, you don’t have to accept...”
Back out anytime now!
Wei Wuxian, just open your mouth and tell him you take it back. Come on. Do it.
“No. I want to do this. I don’t want to stay here anymore and I have nowhere else..” Mo Xuanyu trailed off, voice low.
“Alright. Fine then. Let’s hear it.”