It’s a week later after the funeral of both Sect Leader Jiang and his wife that Jiang Cheng was soon declared as the new sect leader of the YunmengJiang Sect. As the new sect leader of his sect, and especially a young one; too much younger than when Lan XiChen first leads the GusuLan Sect, Jiang Cheng needed all the help he could get and he needed to control his temper even more. There were no more chances he could let his temper get the better of himself as before, not when his sect depended on how he presented himself, not when his siblings leaned on him more now that their parents were dead.
(He couldn’t lie although he wouldn’t admit how relief he felt at his parents’ death. He didn’t care who killed them, but he still held a proper investigation to find out their murderers as one final respect to his parents. However, after so many years, he and his siblings could finally live in peace. No more pain, no more nonsensical arguments and Wei WuXian would no longer need to be whipped by Zidian, writhed in pain for something that didn’t deserve the pain of being hit by the spiritual tool. Zidian was inherited by his sister and knowing Jiang YanLi, he knew that Zidian would no longer be going to be wielded to punish those undeserved of its fury.)
At first, he had wanted to dissolve the engagement between his sister and Jin ZiXuan, knowing how the other had disliked his sister - the nerve of that peacock - and the fact that the engagement happened in the first place due to his mother and Madam Jin’s promise to each other. However, his sister had disagreed with his suggestion, knowing how they needed the connection with the LanlingJin Sect especially with how new Jiang Cheng’s reign right then. They couldn’t afford to lose any ally at the moment, with how other sects hungrily and eagerly look down at the current state of YunmengJiang Sect.
Jiang Cheng couldn’t do anything about it, especially not against the decision his sister had made for herself. He knew that his sister had loved her fiance (for whatever reasons, he didn’t know because the LanlingJin Sect heir was nothing but pompous and arrogant to him) but he supposed he would never understand why. With that in mind, he had extended an invitation to Jin ZiXuan, formally inviting him to Lotus Pier to spend some time with his fiance, and at the same time, to discuss the matter of their engagement.
It was obvious he was forced to come to Lotus Pier by his mother, with the sight of the LanlingJin Sect heir scowling next to his mother when they docked at Lotus Pier. Jin ZiXuan even refused the company of Jiang YanLi when Madam Jin suggested her son to spend time with his fiance. However, his protest didn’t last long and at his mother’s continuous insistence, he had followed Jiang YanLi one day to the market when Jiang YanLi announced she was going to make a quick trip there. A week in, Jin ZiXuan had grown closer to Jiang YanLi and he shocked all of them by unexpectedly confessed to Jiang YanLi in public after he heard the rumor that their engagement will be broken if Jin ZiXuan still held disinterest in Jiang YanLi.
Madam Jin just facepalmed at her son while Jiang YanLi was red-faced by the confession before she accepted it. Jiang Cheng was happy for his sister, of course, he wasn’t even surprised that it only took a week for Jin ZiXuan to completely fell head over heels for his sister - his sister is the best and an angel so, of course, it didn’t take long for anyone to fall for her angelic self - but he swore he was going insane with all the sudden onslaught of public display of affection coming from Jin ZiXuan. (He might be biased but he wouldn’t blame his sister for showing her affection because she could do anything she wanted and Jiang Cheng wouldn’t hold anything against her.)
At least, he was content that at least his sister would get her happy ending, especially with the way how Jin ZiXuan spoiled his sister - just as she deserved.
At the same time, while he worried about his sister’s engagement, he also worried about Wei WuXian. He knew that among the three of them, Wei WuXian would be the happiest after his parents’ death considering he was hurt the most among them. He knew those purple scars on Wei WuXian’s back wouldn’t disappear. He knew for a fact it wouldn’t because it was a spiritual tool and his mother had never held in whenever she used it to whip Wei WuXian into a bloody, whimpering mess. His father didn’t even bother to lend a hand to Wei WuXian, not even when it was clear Wei WuXian couldn’t hold onto himself, not after a session with Zidian. It was up to his sister and Jiang Cheng to clean their parents’ mess and then, Jiang Cheng knew that his father didn’t love Wei WuXian more than his son. (He wasn’t even sure if his father could love anyone else more than himself and the memories he held onto himself.)
He remembered the first thing he did when he was crowned as the new sect leader was revoking the tradition of whipping substitute. Most of YunmengJiang Sect elders protested against the revocation, insisting that it was important considering how old the tradition was but Jiang Cheng was having none of their traditional, conventional and old mindset.
He had seen what the tradition had done to his brother and he refused it happened to anyone else.
Wei WuXian was skittish during the first week of Jiang FengMian and Yu ZiYuan’s death, most likely still couldn’t believe that after all these years he finally going to be freed from the torture that had kept haunting him. Jiang Cheng couldn’t blame him. He couldn’t believe it when the news of his parents’ death reached him. However, when he saw with his own eyes as Jiang FengMian and Yu ZiYuan’s cold, stiff and dead bodies were being cremated and their ashes were being placed inside the ancestral hall, he slowly started to loosen up and lose the timidness that often followed him when he was at Lotus Pier.
Jiang Cheng was glad that finally, after all these years, his brother was free. He was relieved that after all those torturous years of having to hear his parents’ arguments, the sounds of Zidian hitting against his brother’s flesh raw and bloody, the sneering of comparison between him and his brother - they all were finally freed.
Three months into his reign, another letter arrived at Lotus pier and later, onto his desk.
With GusuLan Sect’s signature emblem on top of the letter, what was written inside it made his blood run cold and his heart skipped a beat.
A marriage proposal, between GusuLan Sect and YunemngJiang Sect.
Between the Second Young Master Lan and the Head Disciple of YunmengJiang Sect.
Between Lan WangJi and Wei WuXian.
Between that cold and stoic second young master, the one that barely showed any emotion and his brother, his cheerful and cheeky brother that was slowly recovering from his parents’ torture.
He wanted to refuse, he wanted to say no to the marriage proposal. His was already engaged to an heir of another sect, and would surely move out from Lotus Pier and if he accepted this proposal, surely Wei WuXian would be married off to another sect because there would be no way Lan WangJi-
In the end, he decided to call his siblings into his office to discuss the marriage proposal.
He wasn’t surprised when he saw how red his brother’s face when he read the marriage proposal from GusuLan Sect, asking for particularly his hand for their precious second young master. He had seen how his brother had hung around the second young master from GusuLan Sect, how he had clung to the slightly older boy. He had said that he wouldn’t accept the marriage proposal without the agreement of his siblings and he huffed in exasperated adoration when his brother eagerly accepted the proposal.
However, his sister shared his feeling as she stared a bit wary at the marriage proposal.
“Why don’t we ask the GusuLan Sect to send a delegation to discuss this matter first? We neither decline nor accept the proposal, so I’m sure it wouldn’t do us any harm for it,” she had suggested and Jiang Cheng immediately agreed as he wrote a letter in reply to the marriage proposal he received.
Wei WuXian seemed a bit of crestfallen when neither of him and their sister readily accepted the marriage proposal but it didn’t take much to cheer the other one up. Just with an offer of Jiang YanLi’s famous lotus root and pork rib soup, Wei WuXian immediately trailed after Jiang YanLi like a lost puppy.
(Jiang Cheng snorted at that thought, especially when he remembered how his brother feared dogs and yet, all his actions couldn’t help but let others thought of himself like a puppy. He didn’t mention it in front of the other though, except his sister, knowing Wei WuXian would freak out and claimed he was nothing like the canine beast.)
A week later after he sent the reply, requesting a delegation to discuss over the matter of the marriage proposal, said delegation - he wasn’t surprised to see Lan WangJi among the delegation - arrived at Lotus Pier. They certainly didn’t waste any time to talk about the marriage proposal. The matter was agreed in the end, the engagement between Lan WangJi and Wei WuXian confirmed and with one condition.
Wei WuXian needed to go to Lotus Pier at least once a month (unless there was an emergency) because despite marrying into another sect, he was still a part of YunmengJiang Sect and Jiang Cheng’s righthand man.
It didn’t take long before the news of Lan WangJi and Wei WuXian’s engagement was announced and soon, it was spread all around the cultivation world. It came down as a surprise to anyone outside of Lotus Pier and GusuLan Sect when they heard the news about two men that were on top of the list of bachelors had gotten engaged to each other.
However, the talk soon died out as everyone started to accept the news of the engagement between the Second Young Master Lan of GusuLan Sect and the Head Disciple of YunmemgJiang Sect. (No one talked about how those who had been loud about their disdain over the engagement between the two men suddenly disappeared, especially when a certain GusuLan Sect disciple happened to be around to hear about it.)
Jiang Cheng watched as how his brother and sister were happy with their loved one, although he had to swallow all the dog food he had been feed. He felt bitter at times, knowing that soon after their wedding, his siblings would soon leave to their new home but he calmed himself down, noting that even if that’s the case, his siblings would always return there, to Lotus Pier because no matter what, they were all still siblings.
It will be a tough and long journey, a long recovery road for all of them, but they would always stick together just as they had before. That he was sure of and that was enough to cheer him up as he spent more time with his siblings despite his responsibility as the new (and young) Sect Leader of YunmengJiang Sect. The scar left by their parents wouldn’t disappear, not even the scars on Wei WuXian’s back, but at least they could slowly heal from the terror their parents bestowed upon them.
In the JingShi, Lan WangJi and Lan XiChen sipped on the freshly brewed tea.
“I commend the fact that the new Sect Leader Jiang is much wiser than the late Jiang FengMian. Don’t you agree, little brother?” Lan XiChen said as he placed the steaming cup of tea gently on the oakwood table.
Lan WangJi hummed a, “Mn,” as he continued drinking his tea.
Lan XiChen chuckled elegantly. “I see that you’re so happy, WangJi. I suppose it is warranted considering soon enough, you will be wedded with Young Master Wei.”
The atmosphere settled in comfortable silence before Lan XiChen spoke again.
“You know, the other day, as I walked around Cloud Recesses, I heard some… unsavory comments from our new disciples concerning our new in-law, especially about Young Master Wei and your engagement. Would you want me to handle the matter?”
Lan WangJi shook his head. “Don’t worry Brother, I’ll handle it myself. Wei Ying will live here soon and it’s my responsibility to make it as comfortable as possible for him.”
Lan XiChen smiled. “Ah… How my little brother has grown into a man! Alright WangJi, if that is what you wanted, who is this Brother to stop you from it. I’ll leave it all to you, WangJi.”
As soon as he said that, Lan WangJi gave a faint smile, the corner of his lips slightly curved upward and Lan XiChen chuckled. The conversed matter immediately died down as they began to talk about a different thing.
Perhaps, they could discuss how to make Wei WuXian’s stay in Cloud Recesses much more enjoyable.