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Between Light and Darkness

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Everything is moving too fast. For someone like Lan Xichen who is used to the calmness and peaceful atmosphere the Cloud Recesses have, everything around him is moving at a dizzying speed. 

There is blood, swords and arrows flying around him, piercing the skin of both living and unliving bodies that let blood-curling screams before either falling to the floor or attacking back with murderous eyes. For several minutes, the Gusu Lan Sect Leader can’t even tell who is alive and who is already one of those puppets with bloody mouths and white eyes, his spiritual energy isn’t as strong as it normally is and he just knows Shuoyue is having a harder time in taking down the ones who try to kill him.

How did they come to this?

Killing Wen Ruohan was supposed to be the end of the problems for the cultivation world, ending the power-thirsty sect who dared to use the Yin iron to murder so many innocent people was supposed to be the end and now… now more people are dying and perishing under evil forces who scream in joy for having more souls to feed on.

Without his permission, his eyes leave the fallen body who attacked him and move to the distressed figure with dark robes and black energy swarming around him that stands ominously above everyone, just watching the tragedy unfold right in front of him.  

How can he be the same Wei Wuxian who came to study at the Cloud Recesses?

He had weird ideas that went against the bases who founded the cultivation world and refused to follow the rules their sect established centuries ago, but he wasn’t a bad person. He was powerful and had a strong sense of justice that guided everything he did, he always spoke up his thoughts and never allowed anyone to step on him or any of the people he loved. Lan Xichen liked him, hell, he can’t even say he hates him right now because the root of the problem is conflicting for him as well.

The Wens he saved were innocent, elders and even a child who had nothing to do with what Wen Ruohan, Wen Chao or Wen Xu did, their only crime was being part of the Wen Sect and Wei Wuxian wanting to save them was actually the right thing to do. He was protecting the innocent, the weak, he was using his power to help who needed it and that wasn’t wrong. 

But the Demonic Cultivation…

With a hiss, he staggers back when one of the corpses uses his distraction to attack him and even when he manages to block it and push back, he feels the force of the hit shaking his body. 

“Wei Wuxian, stop this right now and hand over the Stygian Tiger Seal!” Someone yells and Lan Xichen has to suppress the urge to sigh.

“It’s your only concern, right?” Wei Wuxian responds, a humourless and pained laugh leaving his lips. “I just find it ironic.”

Talking behind people’s back is forbidden, but Lan Xichen can’t deny how repulsed he feels by the hidden motives some of the sect leaders show. It’s crystal clear that a lot seek the power Wei Wuxian holds for themselves, they desperately want to climb up the ladder, be the first ones to put the crown on their heads to reign and command everyone else and they don’t care who they have to get rid of. Wei Wuxian is only the common enemy, but once he’s gone, not many things will change.

“Wei Ying…”

It’s just a whisper, but Xichen hears it as if it has been told right in his ear, and when he looks around to look for him, he finds his brother staring with pain and horror at the figure who turned away from him. He’s hurt, God,  there’s blood running down his right arm and smaller specks of the crimson liquid stain the rest of his clothes, his brother is not weak, he’s far from being weak, but deep down he knows his spiritual energy is going down just like his.

Back in time, he had encouraged his little brother to get closer to Wei Wuxian, he had seen in him a potential friend for the brother who had grown up alone and with no one aside from him to rely on. 

Is it his fault, then? Is it his fault that his brother is suffering so much because of this man? 

Hating is also forbidden, but something inside Xichen tells him he should hate Wei Wuxian for everything he had done to the world and, above all of it, to his brother… but he ultimately fails. He can’t hate this man because he’s not entirely bad and because he knows his brother loves him...This just helps to break his heart into a million pieces as he stares at the usually cold and serious face twisting in pain, fear and despair.

“A-Xian!”

The battlefield is filled with blood and screams, but the soft and anguished voice vibrates in the vast expanse of it and has Xichen following the wide amber eyes to find the source.

Jiang Yanli has the looks of a fragile maiden, soft voice, gentle eyes and a pure commitment to take care of her family, but Xichen, thanks to Wanji, knows she’s stronger than what he looks. She doesn’t let anyone hurt the small family she has and even when she’s not strong in cultivation, she’s fierce and protective. Still, seeing her running in the middle of the field in her white, mourning clothes while screaming his brother’s name is a shock.

“Ajie!” As expected, Jiang Wanyin horrified scream follow her voice and while fighting a new wave of corpses, Xichen sees him trying to kill everyone in his way in order to reach her. “Get out of here!”

Of course, the young maiden doesn’t listen and instead continues looking for her brother, barely dodging several corpses and spirits that aim at her at one point. Seeing her running like that starts to form an uncomfortable feeling deep inside him, but it doesn’t matter how much he tries to step forward and help to protect her, the corpses are relentless, they seem to feel he’s not the usually strong First Jade of Lan and thus, feel with the advantage to win.

“S-Shijie!” Wei Wuxian’s voice is the next one he hears and while battling two different corpses, he sees the man leaving his spot for the first time since this started and falling still far away from his sister. “Shijie please go away!”

Their voices, however, doesn’t reach her so she continues running through the bloodied place, looking around in hopes of finding him and even when Lan Xichen does his best to get rid of these thoughts, he knows, he just knows this will end in tragedy.

And it does end in a tragedy.

A corpse starts to head her way, wielding a sword erratically, mouth bleeding and white eyes fixed on killing this easy pray. Wangji, Jiang Wanyin, Wei Wuxian and even Xichen try to get rid of their enemies in order to reach her, but the corpse is closer; his sword cuts her back with a sickening noise, sending her to the floor with a bleeding gash and a cry of pain.

It’s chaos after that.

 The two brothers scream as they rush towards her, but it is Wangji who manages to kill the corpse before it can finish the job and so, Jiang Cheng ends up holding her wounded sister close to his chest and protected from anyone else, Wei Wuxian included. In the corner of his eyes, Xiachen sees Jiang Wanyin pushing his former brother away, but his sister extending her arms to him, mouth moving as she says something he can’t listen from where he’s standing.

To his surprise, Wei Wuxian nods desperately and stands up, bringing the flute to his lips and starting to play a melody that has an immediate effect on the corpses around. They stop as if they had been frozen on their place, arms falling to their sides lifelessly, the army of undead warriors waiting for the next command.

Lan Xichen barely holds back a sigh of relief. This will be over, the pointless massacre, the suffering, everything will end because they will find a reasonable way to solve the problems that will arise and he promises he won’t let his brother and his clan down.

“A-Xian!” 

“Wei Ying!”

Just as it happened after the Sunshot Campaign, things go from good to bad in seconds and when he looks up once more, he sees his brother spitting a mouthful of blood before collapsing back, barely being caught by a Wei Wuxian who stares with wide eyes at his unmoving body.

“The Yiling Patriarch attacked Lan Wangji!”

“He just murdered him in front of us!”

Murdered. Death. 

“W-Wangji!” He screams, the kind of fear that freezes your whole system and threatens to make your heart explode taking over every single part of his body as he runs to see, to make sure that his brother, his Wangji, isn’t dead.

But he can’t reach him.

“I didn’t kill him,” Wei Wuxian whispers, arms tightening around the figure in his arms. “I didn’t do anything— Lan Zhan is not dead.”

His eyes are blown wide, breathing coming out in erratic pants as if he has completely disconnected from the whole situation.

Xichen is just a couple of steps away from reaching him, but he’s late once more.

Showing a strength they were sure he didn’t possess anymore, Wei Wuxian jumps back with Lan Wangji in his arms and stares at the ones who point fingers at him and call him a murderer, the black in them turning a furious red that ends up falling on Jiang Wanyin.

“Save Shijie.”

His voice is cold, commanding, and his eyes once more spark red before a cloud of darkness and resentment consumes the two of them.