Hua Cheng had always lived for his god, his savior, his dianxia. Dying for his dianxia again would make no difference to Hua Cheng, because his dianxia was much more important than his own worthless life. But this time he knew that his dianxia would be in pain without him; his dianxia wanted him, so he promised that he would come back no matter what. "I will come back, Your highness, believe me." Hua Cheng whispered before shattering into thousands of silver butterflies.
The next time Hua Cheng regained his conscious, he found his sight blurry and the world too dark too see. He felt light as if he was floating in the air. "Gege... Wait for me..." Hua Cheng whispered, eyes fluttering shut once again. He drifted in and out of conscious and when he could properly see again, he found himself plummeting towards the ground without any control over his body. He vaguely heard some screams and cries of terror before he was caught in a pair of warm, comforting arms.
"Hey kid, are you ok?"
"Gege?..." Hua Cheng asked, before passing out.
Pain. Intense pain as if thousands of needles were pricking his body was the only thing he could feel when he woke up. He looked around in confusion and curled up against himself shivering. Where was he and why couldn't he remember anything?
"Kid? You're awake," A man in black and red robes walked over to him. "You fell from pretty high. How did you get up there?"
He looked up at the newcomer and glared at him.
"Relax, I'm Wei Wuxian, the Yiling Patriarch. We're at the burial mounds right now. Well, I guess I don't really have a good reputation right now. Wei Wuxian chuckled, scratching his head. "But don't worry, I won't cause you any harm. Who are you?" Wei Wuxian asked.
"I-I'm... I'm..." He held his head and winced in pain. Who was he? That's right, he's Hong-er, but how come he could not remember anything else? "They... call me Hong-er..."
"Hong-er? Where are your family? I can send Wen Ning to send you back when you're ready." Wei Wuxian asked with a light smile.
"I... I don't know... I don't remember..." Hong-er replied.
"Wen Ning, get your sister." Wei Wuxian said with a frown.
"Yes, Wei gongzi," the ghost general replied before dashing off to find his sister.
"Hong-er, then do you remember what happen right before you fell from the sky?" Wei Wuxian stared at him.
"No... I... I remember falling and then someone catching me... Gege..."
"That was me."
"No... You're not! You're not! You're not gege! Gege! Who is gege?" Hong-er cried out, holding his head, curling up in pain. Resentful energy in the burial mounds were swirling around wildly. Wei Wuxian's jumped up, twirling chenqing in his arms before paying a tune to calm down the resentful energy.
"Who are you?" Wei Wuxian asked, eyes hardening.
"It's not me! It's not me! It's not me!" Hong-er whimpered, crying. "It's not me..."
Wei Wuxian could not sense any form of malicious energy from Hong-er. Wei Wuxian observed him for a moment longer before lowering his flute. Perhaps, I'm the one who's going mad, Wei Wuxian thought to himself.
Wei Wuxian sat down and awkwardly pulled Hong-er into his arms. "It's not your fault." Wei Wuxian agreed. Hong-er immediately stilled in his arms, too afraid to move. "It's not your fault." Wei Wuxian said again, hugging him tighter. Hong-er found himself relaxing and then fell asleep in him embrace.
Wei Wuxian laid Hong-er down and covered him with a blanket.
"Wei Wuxian, I've already heard from A-Ning." Wen Qing said, walking over to Hong-er, and checking his pulse.
"Xian gege," A-Yuan cried out happily, trailing from behind Wen Qing and Wen Ning. "Who's that?" A-Yuan asked with bright eyes.
"He's Hong-er. A-Yuan, I told you that you I would grow you a friend," Wei Wuxian grinned.
"Really? Then can we grow more?" A-Yuan asked, excitedly.
"A-Yuan's robes just got cleaned! Don't even think about it," Wen Qing glared.
"Ah, maybe next time," Wei Wuxian whispered to A-Yuan, winking. "Your Qing Jie is scary, so keep it a secret."
"Okay," A-Yuan nodded seriously.
"I can still hear you," Wen Qing scowled. "And, I just took the child's pulse. Nothing changed from the last time I checked. Everything seems to be normal, just a bit fatigued. The shock from falling from so high must be too much for him to handle. I can't say that's for sure the cause of him not remembering anything as it can be due to various factors.The only thing we can do is for him to recover those memories himself."
A-Yuan grew confused tired of listening to them and walked over to stare at Hong-er. A-Yuan poked Hong-er's cheeks, wondering when he will wake up to play with him.
"A-Yuan, Hong-er needs lots of rest. He'll play with you when he gets better." Wei Wuxian pulled A-Yuan away.
"Hong Hong gege, are you sick? Xian gege said you can play with me when you're better. I'll leave one of my grass butterflies for you so you can recover quickly." A-Yuan exclaimed, placing a paper butterfly next to Hong-er's head.
Hong-er twisted and turned in his sleep, his brows furrowed in discomfort. Wei Wuxian was too deeply engrossed in creating one of his new talismans to notice.
"Dianxia... Wait, for me..." Hong-er mumbled in his sleep. "No... No... Don't hurt him!" Hong-er gasped in pain and terror. Hong-er fell from the makeshift bed, but didn't wake up.
Wei Wuxian was startled from the sudden sound and turned over to Hong-er. He frowned in concern and placed the boy back into the makeshift bed. Hong-er was shivering and whimpering in his sleep. The sight reminded Wei Wuxian of when he was younger, stuck in the streets with no blankets and nightmares of dogs biting him.
Wei Wuxian felt a sudden wave of protectiveness towards the boy he barely met. He laid down and pulled the boy into his arms. Hong-er visibly relaxed in his hold and Wei Wuxian let his own much needed sleep embrace him.
Hong-er woke up to foreign but warm arms wrapped around him and tried to wiggle out of the hold. "Hong Hong gege, don't move too much, Xian gege is finally sleeping." A-Yuan puffed up his cheeks and lightly scolded.
Hong-er froze and glared at him. "Who are you?" Hong-er asked offensively.
"A-Yuan is A-Yuan," A-Yuan stated obviously.
"Hong Hong gege, do you like the grass butterfly I left you?" A-Yuan pointed at the grass butterfly on the bed. Hong-er glanced over and picked it up to examine. Hong-er blinked a few times and decided that he liked the grass butterfly very much.
"For me?" Hong-er asked in wonder. Hong-er felt his cheeks warm up. It felt as if he has never received such a nice present before.
"Yes, for you. I hope Hong Hong gege gets well soon and plays with A-Yuan," A-Yuan said brightly.
"Thank you," Hong-er said bashfully.
"Mn. No problem!" A-Yuan said proudly.
Hong-er wiggled again, trying to get out of Wei Wuxian's hold.
"Hong Hong gege, stay still," A-Yuan chided when Wei Wuxian shifted in his sleep. Hong-er immediately stilled. "But A-Yuan said he wanted to play," Hong-er said shyly with hints of confusion.
"Xian gege said Hong Hong gege needs to rest and Qing jiejie said Xian gege needs to rest," A-Yuan crossed his arms. "So A-Yuan will rest too," A-Yuan said with determination, and with a few huffs and puffs he was finally able to climb up the makeshift bed. A-Yuan cuddled against Wei Wuxian's side, grabbed one of Hong-er's hands, and fell asleep in an instant.
Hong-er blinked once, blinked twice, and blinked again wondering what was happening. Finally Hong-er decided not to think about it and went back to sleep.
Life in burial mounds was pleasant. Although there were not enough food and everyone was much older than him besides A-Yuan, Hong-er didn't feel left out. Everyone was nice to Hong-er despite him glaring and ready to fight anyone that was not Wei Wuxian or A-Yuan. After half a year, Hong-er slowly found himself relaxing in the people's presence and stopped glaring at everyone.
However, he still mostly stuck to Wei Wuxian or A-Yuan's side. Throughout the time Hong-er has stayed in burial mounds, he found Wei Wuxian puzzling. Sometimes, Wei Wuxian would be hyper and burying Hong-er and A-Yuan in soil and laughing whole heartily while playing with them. Another day Wei Wuxian would be buried in his inventions, scribbling away and forgetting to eat, drink, or sleep. Some days he would stare off blankly into space. Hong-er had asked him what he was thinking about but Wei Wuxian would just ruffle Hong-er's hair and laugh it off. Hong-er realized that Wei Wuxian was very sad and lonely inside.
"Today was one of the days where Wei Wuxian was buried in his inventions so Hong-er and A-Yuan took it in their hands to take care of him.
"A-Yuan will make sure Xian gege eats!" A-Yuan declared. Hong-er nods in agreement while Wen Ning claps politely in encouragement.
A-Yuan marches off to the kitchen with Wen Ning, but Hong-er decided to enter the demon slaughtering cave instead. Hong-er helps Wei Wuxian tidy up all of the scattered paper and as he was about to touch one of the scattered devices, Wei Wuxian felt something off, looked up and scolded him. "Don't touch it!" Wei Wuxian snapped out a bit too harshly.
Hong-er flinched in surprise and dropped his hand. "I-I'm sorry..." Hong-er squirmed, looking down unable to look at Wei Wuxian. Hong-er was too afraid to see the disappointment in his eyes. "I-I just w-wanted to help t-tidy..." Hong-er whispered weakly, tears threaten to spill from his eyes. He didn't know why but the though of Wei Wuxian being angry at him, frightened him. Hong-er wonders if he would be chased out of the place he now though of his home.
Realization dawned upon Wei Wuxian when he saw neat stacks of paper in a pile, and crumpled papers in a bin. "I'm sorry, I-I didn't mean to yell at you. It's just that some of these devices I make are still in testing process and it's dangerous to randomly touch them. I don't want them to hurt you," Wei Wuxian scratched his nose sheepishly in guilt.
Hong-er blinked his tears away and nodded, still unwilling to look up at him. He stayed silent and still. Wei Wuxian picked up his brush and scribbled away for awhile before presenting it in front of Hong-er. Hong-er was startled by a piece of paper suddenly being shoved in front of his face. Hong-er looked up stunned. It was a portrait of him smiling in red robes. He was half buried in dirt, and surrounded by hundreds of butterflies and flowers. "Please accept my apology Hong-er," Wei Wuxian said. "Won't you forgive this little old me?" Wei Wuxian let out a small whine.
Hong-er took the portrait with a smile. Hong-er reached over to take a brush and paper and drew away. He crossed his eyes in confusion when the portrait of Wei Wuxian turned out to be a very beautiful man dressed in white, holding a steamed bun. The man looked so familiar, but he couldn't recall who.
"Who's this?" Wei Wuxian asked, curiously.
"I wanted to draw Xian ge, but I don't know why I drew this beautiful gege instead." Hong-er stared at the portrait in a trance. "Xian ge, where can I meet this beautiful gege?" Hong-er asked with starry eyes. "I want to see him everyday; I like him very much." Hong-er blushed.
"Oh Hong-er, you're only like eight? You want to leave your poor old Xian ge already?" Wei Wuxian cried out dramatically. "Kids grow up too quickly."
"No, Hong-er won't leave Xian ge. Hong-er will draw Xian ge." Hong-er panicked and took another paper to draw away, but no matter how many times he drew he could only draw the same man in different poses and outfits. Wei Wuxian took a look at the scattered photos and chuckled. "Hong-er is still a child, but already has such crush before me."
"Beautiful gege," Hong-er muttered dreamily, eyes sparkling.
"I don't remember him but then again I'm not known for good memory. Did you see this man outside when we went to sell radishes?" Wei Wuxian asked.
"No... I have never seen him before," Hong-er said confused.
"Hong-er... Could he be from your past?" Wei Wuxian asked, suddenly serious. "You always cry in your sleep about a dianxia, and a gege, but when you woke up, you don't remember anything."
"I wouldn't forget this beautiful gege," Hong-er frowned, hugging the portraits. "I want to see him."
"I'll have Wen Ning bring his portrait around to see if anyone knows him," Wei Wuxian said.
"I will like that very much," Hong-er beamed.
"That's the brightest smile you've ever given me! Am I not enough?" Wei Wuxian playfully flicked Hong-er's nose.
Hong-er let out a small laugh. "Oh Hong-er you're finally laughing! You're so cute when you laugh," Wei Wuxian tackled him into a hug.
"Oh cuddles," A-Yuan exclaimed happily, abandoning the food with the ghost general and tackled Wei Wuxian and Hong-er.
"A-Yuan... What happened to persuading Wei gongzi to eat?" Wen Ning asked.
"Yah, Wei Wuxian! You haven't eaten all day. If you don't eat, I'll make sure you won't be able to move for the rest of these week with these needles," Wen Qing threatened.
"A-jie..." Wen Ning sweat dropped.
"You can't do that! I have two kids to raise," Wei Wuxian looked up innocently with two kids settled on his lap.
"Try me," Wen Qing rubbed her needles and smiled.
"Wait, wait, I'll eat." Wei Wuxian raised up his hands in defeat.
Hong-er has heard about Lan Wangji from Wei Wuxian and rich gege from A-Yuan before, but he didn't feel anything good towards the man he didn't know. He had a slight displeasure towards this Lan Wangji for making Wei Wuxian sad and lonely. Hong-er had felt Wei Wuxian's pain when he mentioned how Lan Wangji probably wouldn't want to see him anymore. That's why when Hong-er finally met A-Yuan's rich gege showed up at the burial mounds, he did not like him. Hong-er glared at Lan Wangji as if him claw him if he hurt his Xian ge.
"Hong-er, stop glaring at Lan Zhan. You can't glare at everyone you don't know," Wei Wuxian sweat dropped.
"Wei Ying, who is he?" Lan Wangji asked.
"Why? My eldest child of course!" Wei Wuxian grinned.
"Come on Lan Zhan, no need to be so serious," Wei Wuxian exclaimed.
"Hong-er go outside to play with A-Yuan and Wen Ning. I have to talk to Lan Zhan." Wei Wuxian turned to Hong-er, who was on his lap. Hong-er threw a dirty look at Lan Wangji and went outside.
Hong-er sat right outside the cave, playing with flowers, not willing to leave completely. Hong-er couldn't hear what they were saying but when he saw Lan Wangji take a leave, he hurried in, only to see Wei Wuxian lost in thought. Hong-er frowned at the sight because his Xian ge was supposed to only experience happiness. Hong-er thought if Lan
Wangji stayed, maybe Xian ge would not be so lonely. Hong-er will do anything t make the man stay. Hong-er ran as fast as he could and caught up to Lan Wangji, who was walking slowly as if he didn't want to leave.
"You! Stop!" Hong-er cried out.
Lan Wangji stopped mid-step and turned around. Lan Wangji stayed silent, looking at him.
Hong-er grew a bit uncomfortable with his stare.
"That is not the proper way to address someone," Lan Wangji said finally.
"You..." Hong-er flushed red in anger and embarrassment.
Lan Wangji continued looking at him.
"Stay..." Hong-er finally let out. "Xian ge seems lonely when he talks about you. He doesn't eat and sleep well, and I can't do anything. I know you can. So stay!" Hong-er cried out in frustration.
"Wei Ying doesn't eat or sleep well?" Lan Wangji frowned in concern.
"Xian ge only pretends to eat and sleep well so we don't worry. When he talks about you, he seems happy. But you make him lonely and sad for not coming to see him," Hong-er said.
"Wei Ying speaks of me?" Lan Wangji asked.
"Xian-ge talks about you a lot. He cares about you and what you think about him so why don't you ever visit Xian ge?" Hong-er asked.
"I-I want to see Wei Ying, but I don't know if he wants to see me," Lan Wangji says.
"Xian ge has three people he always want to see! You, his shijie, and his shidi! But he talks about you the most!" Hong-er said. "That's why you have to stay..."
"I'll stay," Lan Wangji nodded in agreement.
Hong-er let out a breath of relief and warmed up to Lan Wangji within a month.
"No speaking during meals," Hong-er and A-Yuan chorused.
"You two traitors!" Wei Wuxian sniffed. "Lan Zhan see how you corrupted my two angels?" Wei Wuxian pouted.
"Eat," Lan Wangji pushed the plate of food towards Wei Wuxian. "No speaking," Lan Wangji took a sip of water.
"Lan Zhan!" Wei Wuxian whined. "We aren't even in cloud recesses!"
Lan Wangji gave him a look and Wei Wuxian grumbled to himself, shoving food into his mouth, missing the slight upward twitch of Lan Wangji's lips. Hong-er, who was observant did not miss it and smiled to himself.
Hong-er was happy that Lan Wangji stayed because his Xian ge's mood improved tremendously.
After their meal, Wen Ning came in with a few books. "I've found the person in Hong-er's drawing. The people say that he is a god. He has various titles from the Prince of Xianle, the God of misfortune, rubbish god, and martial god. I'm not sure which one is accurate, but I've found various plays on him," the ghost general placed down the books.
"Prince of Xianle! The only god!" Hong-er automatically declared.
"Hong-er, you must have been a very religious person. I personally know nothing about gods," Wei Wuxian said.
Hong-er settled himself on Wei Wuxian's lap and picked up one of the books to read. "Hong-er, do you need any help with reading?" Wei Wuxian asked.
Hong-er shook his head. "Wow, our Hong-er is so smart," Wei Wuxian patted his head.
"A-Yuan needs help," A-Yuan pouted, taking a book and settling in Lan Wangji's lap. Lan Wangji softly read and explained to A-Yuan little by little.
"Xian-ge! I want to marry beautiful gege," Hong-er declared suddenly.
"Aiyaa, Hong-er aren't you getting ahead of yourself?" Wei Wuxian laughed.
"No, I will marry him," Hong-er said seriously.
"That's going to work out as well as me and Lan Zhan getting married." Wei Wuxian joked. "Isn't that right Lan Zhan?" Wei Wuxian chuckled in amusement.
"Lan Zhan, it's just a joke. Don't glare at poor old me like that. It's not good for my heart. I know you want a pretty young lady like Mian Mian, or do you have someone else in mind" Wei Wuxian asked.
"Okay, I won't say anything anymore. I won't pry. Stop glaring," Wei Wuxian pouted.
"Awww, don't be mad I promise not to bring up your love life again. I know you're shy," Wei Wuxian said.
"Xian ge..." Hong-er said hopelessly.
"Xian gege isn't already rich gege's boyfriend?" A-Yuan asked innocently.
"Mn," Lan Wangji said with a hint of a smile, ears flushing red.
"Wait, Lan Zhan... You... towards me?" Wei Wuxian asked incredulously.
"Mn," Lan Wangji replied.
"As in like like? As in a couple?" Wei Wuxian asked.
"Mn, like Wei Ying. Only Wei Ying."
Wei Wuxian stayed frozen for a long time. Lan Wangji tensed up, curling his hands, taking silent glances at him. Hong-er shifted uncomfortably in Wei Wuxian's lap, while A-Yuan just stared at them confused.
"Oh Lan Zhan," Wei Wuxian smiled after a long period of awkward silence. "I think, me too. I don't know how I didn't realize." Wei Wuxian said, finally coming to a realization.
"Wei Ying!" Lan Wangji said, touched.
"Lan Zhan!" Wei Wuxian cried out.
Hong-er silently climbed out of Wei Wuxian's lap, taking his book and A-Yuan out with him. The ghost general trailed out behind them. Hong-er turned around only to see Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji deep in embrace with intense eye contact.
Hong-er was pleased.
"Sorry, I don't know how it would be at Jin Ling's one month celebration. I can't take the two of you," Wei Wuxian said. "It's dangerous."
Hong-er crossed his arms and A-Yuan pouted.
"I can protect Xian ge," Hong-er declared.
"Aww, aren't you the sweetest?" Wei Wuxian smiled. "Lan Zhan and Wen Ning are coming with me so we need someone to protect our home. You two can protect our home, right?" Wei Wuxian asked.
"Yes! Protect!" A-Yuan nodded seriously. Hong-er was much less reluctant but finally agreed.
Hong-er could not explain his heart' heaviness, but he knew he could not let his Xian ge out of his sight. He didn't know why, but all he could think about was Xian ge being in danger. "A-Yuan, you protect our home. I make sure Xian ge is safe," Hong-er whispered to A-Yuan right after the trio left. "Make sure Qing jie doesn't find out," Hong-er said.
"Okay Hong Hong gege! Leave it to A-Yuan!" A-Yuan promised.
Hong-er trailed after the trio, making sure he wasn't seen. Wei Wuxian frowned, turning around, but didn't see him. After a few more stops, Wei Wuxian stood still and crossed his arms.
"Come out now!" Wei Wuxian said.
Hong-er silently stepped out of the shadows. "Hong-er, how did you leave the barrier from the burial mounds?" Wei Wuxian asked.
"It just let me leave," Hong-er said.
"Okay, Hong-er. It doesn't matter how you left, but didn't I tell you to stay home?" Wei Wuxian scolded. "I told you it might be dangerous."
"That's why I came! I have to make sure Xian-ge is ok! I can protect Xian-ge!" Hong-er said.
"Hong-er, I am strong. Leave the protecting to the adults," Wei Wuxian crouched down to look him in the eye.
"But Xian-ge, I don't have a good feeling about this. I know I can protect Xian-ge." Hong-er said stubbornly. "I don't want them to hurt Xian ge."
Wei Wuxian sighed. "Hong-er, everyone is scared of my strength. I also have Lan Zhan and Wen Ning with me."
"I'm strong too!" Hong-er said.
"Fine. Then promise me that you'll listen to me. If anything happens. You are to follow Wen Ning without complaints." Wei Wuxian said strictly.
"Okay," Hong-er agreed easily.
Wei Wuxian picked him up with a smile. "Good boy. Then you'll get to see my nephew!" Wei Wuxian sang happily, repeatedly tossing Hong-er in the air and catching him.
"Wei Ying, hold him properly," Lan Zhan said.
"Okay, okay." Wei Wuxian pouted. "But wasn't that fun?" Wei Wuxian asked Hong-er, who was too dizzy to reply.
Hong-er was on high alert when they arrived. He didn't know where the bad feeling was until they were surrounded by hundred of archers.
"Wei Wuxian!" A man with twisted brows that matched his ugly face scowled.
"Who are you?" Wei Wuxian asked. "What do you think you are doing? How dare you keep me from seeing Jin Ling's one month celebration!"
"I'm Jin Zixun! How dare you forget me after cursing me?" the man seethed. "Do you think you actually have a right to see him after what you did?"
"If I don't know you, how can I curse you?" Wei Wuxian shot back.
"If it's not a demonic cultivator like you, who else would curse me with the curse of hundred holes?" Jin Zixun cried out, lifting a part of his shirt.
Wei Wuxian gasped and quickly covered Hong-er's eyes. "Hong-er, You need to leave with Wen Ning while Lan Zhan and I deal with this. Don't be afraid, your Xian ge will still be okay even if he has to shove his own heart back in.
"Wei-gongzi, how about I stay while Lan er gongzi takes Hong-er. It'll be more effective," Wen Ning said.
"No, Wei Ying and Hong-er go. I'll stay with him," Lan Wangji said firmly.
"No, I'm staying. This is my problem. One of you take Hong-er now." Wei Wuxian said.
Wen Ning reached over for Hong-er, but Hong-er refused to let go of Wei Wuxian.
"Hong-er, you promised. Now go!" Wei Wuxian said.
"NO!" Hong-er screamed, then collapsed in his arms trembling. Startled shouts were heard everywhere as every arrow shattered into hundreds of pieces.
"Wei Wuxian! What kind of devilish trick did you use?" Jin Zixun demanded angrily.
"H-hong-er?" Wei Wuxian whispered in disbelief. "H-hong-er." Wei Wuxian said again. Lan Wangji took his temperature. "He's running a fever." Lan Wangji said with concern. He took out some water and cloth to place on Hong-er's forehead.
"What are you guys doing?" Jin Zixuan cried out when he arrived to the scene. "Jin Zixun! I invited Wei Wuxian here so he can see his shijie's son! Stop this instance! Come back!"
"Why should I stop when he cursed me?" Jin Zixun snarled. He took out a dagger and threw it towards Wei Wuxian, who was now distracted by the sick boy.
"Wei Wuxian! Watch out!" Jin Zixuan cried out. He was too far to reach even if he ran.
Lan Wangji and Wen Ning stepped over to stop the dagger, but before they could, a flash of gold light appeared and the dagger exploded into pieces. A person in white with a glowing necklace appeared after the gold light faded. "San Lang!" the person cried out, touching the glowing ring on his neck in relief.
"San Lang," the person said again, placing his hand on Hong-er's forehead. Hong-er's temperature went down, and he stopped trembling.
"Y-you... You're that god that Hong-er is really into," Wei Wuxian looked at him, then looked back at Hong-er in his arms. "Then he's?..."
"I'm Xie Lian, and the child your holding in your arms is my San Lang." Xie Lian smiled.
"Yah! Wei Wuxian! How dare you ignore me?!" Jin Zixun screamed. Lan Wangji shot him a glare, and he grew silent in fright.
"All of you stop and come back this instant! Don't ruin my son's celebration!" Jin Zixuan shouted. "You too Wei Wuxian! A-Li is waiting for you!" Jin Zixuan said.
"So I've been taking care of the ghost king in mortal child form this whole time?" Wei Wuxian laughed. "Wow, that's so cool," Wei Wuxian held Hong-er closer in his arms and stroked his hair.
"Yes, San Lang used too much spiritual powers because of me and then he disappeared. I didn't know where he was. I had no idea he was turned into this form until this ring on my necklace led me to you guys today." Xie Lian explained. "Thank you for taking care of him. If you don't mind, I would like to take him back."
"Hong-er doesn't remember anything besides being called Hong-er and your face," Wei Wuxian said.
"San Lang doesn't remember?" Xie Lian frowned.
"He always cried out for a gege and a dianxia in his sleep, but when morning came, he did not remember a thing. However, he painted you many times and really wanted to meet you. Why don't you stay with us until he recovers his memories?" Wei Wuxian asked.
Hong-er snuggled deeper in Wei Wuxian's embrace and Xie Lian smiled. "I would like that," Xie Lian replied.
Lan Wangji opened the door and greeted the visitors.
"Shijie! Jiang Cheng!" Wei Wuxian exclaim in happiness. He got up and dashed to hug them, only to realize that Hong-er was still in his arms.
"Who's that A-Xian?" Jiang Yanli giggled. "He's so cute."
"Why? Who else could he be? Hong-er is Lan Zhan and my first son!" Wei Wuxian declared.
"Stop joking," Jiang Cheng smacked Wei Wuxian's head, earning a glare from Lan Wangji.
"Okay, Okay. You two stop bickering." Jiang Yanli lightly chided. "A-Xuan will bring Jin Ling in a bit."
"Shijie, you've gotten more and more beautiful!" Wei Wuxian grinned.
"A-Xian, you've gotten thinner again. I made a large batch of lotus rib soup for you and your friends. They should be delivering it soon." Shijie smiled.
"Shijie is the best!" Wei Wuxian exclaimed.
"Humph," Jiang Cheng scowled.
"A-Cheng, there is enough for you too," Jiang Yanli giggled.
"T-that's not... A-Jie!" Jiang Cheng grumbled.
Jiang Yanli chuckled amused. "Now, who is this young man?" Jiang Yanli asked.
"Nice to meet you, I'm Xie Lian." The man greeted. "I'm Jiang Yanli," Jiang Yanli greeted warmly.
Jin Zixuan walked in with Jin Ling and smiled at his wife.
"A-Xian, would you like to hold Jin Ling?" Jiang Yanli asked.
"C-can I? W-what if I drop him?" Wei Wuxian asked.
"You won't," Jiang Yanli said reassuringly.
"I can hold San Lang," Xie Lian said, taking Hong-er into his arms. Hong-er was startled awake when he felt a different pair of arms carry him. He didn't feel uncomfortable. He looked up and stared at the man carrying him. "Beautiful gege," San Lang muttered dazed.
"San Lang," Xie Lian chuckled, brushing a light kiss on Hong-er's cheeks and forehead. Hong-er flushed red, hugging the man tighter.
Wei Wuxian laughed and took Jin Ling into his arms. "Lan Zhan look, he... he's so small," Wei Wuxian whispered.
"Mn." Lan Wangji agreed.
Wei Wuxian chuckled, a silent tear trailed down his face. "Lan Zhan, can you take out that clarity bell I made for Jin Ling?" Lan Wangji silently handed over the bell. "Jin Ling, this bell well protect you from malicious spirits and protect you from harm. You have to always keep it with you," Wei Wuxian said. JIn Ling looked curiously at the bell and drooled.
"Xie gongzi, ever since you came, we've gotten so many different good crops! Not just radishes," Uncle Four said. "Why don't you have a drink."
"It's no big deal. I only asked the rain master for help," Xie Lian said. "Thank you for taking care of my San Lang."
"Uncle Four, he doesn't drink so let me drink with you," Wei Wuxian exclaimed.
"Of course Wei gongzi," Uncle Four smiled.
"A-Yuan wants too," A-Yuan said, trailing behind Wei Wuxian like a little duckling. Hong-er nodded in agreement.
"A-Yuan, Hong-er. How about some mantou instead?" Xie Lian asked, taking out two steamed buns. A-Yuan didn't look very interested, but Hong-er was happy with anything Xie Lian gave him. A-Yuan, seeing Hong-er so excited, scurried after him to get his own mantou too.
"A-Yuan, after you eat, go to Lan er gongzi for your lessons. Hong-er you come with me to practice calligraphy," Xie Lian said. Hong-er pouted but agreed. Hong-er would agree to anything Xie Lian asks of him. A-Yuan nodded, taking the mantou and then running after Wei Wuxian.
"San Lang is so cute," Xie Lian chuckled, bending down to squish his cheeks. Hong-er blushed and took big bites out of his mantou.
"San Lang, are you shy?" Xie Lian picked him up, hugging him tightly.
Hong-er instantly paled, trying hard to breathe.
"What's wrong my San Lang?" Xie Lian looked at him in concern.
"Gege..." Hong-er breathed out. "Tight..."
"Ah San Lang, I forget my strength sometimes." Xie Lian apologized, loosening his hold.
"No. Gege never has to apologize," Hong-er shook his head.
"Is that right my San Lang?" Xie Lian pressed kisses over his cheeks.
"Of course! Because gege will be my husband when I grow up!" Hong-er declared.
"San Lang is so dedicated and decisive," Xie Lian laughed. "We should put some of that in your calligraphy. Don't you think?" Xie Lian asked.
"If gege wants," Hong-er replied.
During the middle of calligraphy practice, Hong-er crouched down and held his head in pain.
"San Lang!" Xie Lian picked him up and placed him on the table. He gently rubbed his back and pressed kisses on head. "What's wrong?"
"Dianxia..." Hong-er said after the pain subsided. "Dianxia!" Hong-er transformed into his real form and kissed him.
"San Lang! You've recovered and remember everything now?" Xie Lian smiled, breaking the kiss.
"Gege," Hua Cheng hugged him tightly.
"San Lang, I missed you too," Xie Lian muttered.
"San Lang, are you sure you don't want to tell them?" Xie Lian asked.
"Especially your Xian-ge and A-Yuan?" Xie Lian asked.
"I only need gege," Hua Cheng stated firmly.
"San Lang, if that's what you want." Xie Lian said.
The only person that has ever been nice to Hua Cheng as a child was Xie Lian so he didn't know how to deal with new people in his memories. Xie Lian told them that Hua Cheng regained his memories, but didn't remember anything from his child form. Hua Cheng refused to look into Wei Wuxian and A-Yuan's eyes for too long, because for the first time he felt fear for anything that was not related to his Dianxia. Xie Lian and Hua Cheng bid them farewell without too much trouble.
Three months later, Hua Cheng was happily cuddling in bed with his Dianxia. When his dianxia fell asleep, he carefully slipped out of his dianxia's hold.
"San Lang, are you going to see them again?" Xie Lian asked.
"Gege, weren't you asleep?" Hua Cheng asked.
"San Lang, you go out every time around this time. How would I not notice?" Xie Lian said.
"... Sorry for interrupting your sleep gege."
"San Lang, it's okay if you want to see them. I won't think anything less of you. I'm happy that you've found such good people in your life. I think they're fun to be around too," Xie Lian said.
"But I said gege is enough for me."
"And San Lang is enough for me too. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't have friends." Xie Lian replied. "Besides, don't you want them at our wedding?"
"Dianxia, are you serious?" Hua Cheng asked.
"Of course, I don't want to marry anyone unless it's San Lang." Xie Lian smiled.
"Gege," Hua Cheng embraced him, breaking into a warm smile. "I will make sure dianxia has the best wedding in this world," Hua Cheng promised.
"And I'll make sure San Lang has the best wedding in this world," Xie Lian replied, stroking Hua Cheng's face gently.
"San Lang only deserves the best in this world."
Hua Cheng and Xie Lian sat in a tree watching Wei Wuxian plant A-Yuan in the ground once again. Lan Wangji was quietly reading a book while taking glances at Wei Wuxian.
"San Lang, do you want to be buried in soil again?" Xie Lian teased.
"Dianxia, please don't tease me," Hua Cheng said. "Let's go to Puji Shrine after I give them these gold leaves." Hua Cheng let his silver butterflies scatter some gold leaves on the ground.
"Hong-er! I know you're there," Wei Wuxian suddenly shouted. "Show yourself!"
"His sixth sense is strong!" Hua Cheng said proudly.
"No San Lang, it's because money doesn't just randomly appear every week," Xie Lian said. "Also your silver butterflies are pretty flashy."
"Hong-er," Wei Wuxian said again. "Fine, Crimson rain sought flower, Hua Cheng! Are you happy now?" Wei Wuxian said.
"Wei Wuxian," Hua Cheng revealed himself with Xie Lian.
"Su She was revealed to be the one that cursed Jin Zixun. Jin Guangshan was revealed to be as corrupt as Wen Ruohan. The remaining Wens were revealed to not be threatening to the cultivation world and not wanted anymore. A miracle pill was given to me to help me form a new golden core. A bunch of gold leafs were given to us every week. It's all you, isn't it?" Wei Wuxian crossed his arms. "And you say you don't remember us."
"Thank You Hong-er!" Wei Wuxian finally said, throwing his arms around Hua Cheng. "As expected of my first child."
"I'm almost eight hundred years older than you."
"Hong-er is Hong-er and I'm still your Xian-ge," Wei Wuxian ruffled his hair. Hua Cheng wanted to glare at him but he couldn't.
"Since you're of age now, care for a drink? Uncle Four has been experimenting different flavors," Wei Wuxian laughed. "A-Yuan misses you a lot. Lan Zhan and I even held off our wedding for you two. We also built a shine for you and Xie Lian. Come check it out," Wei Wuxian walked ahead cheerfully, chatting away.
Hua Cheng was stunned and only broke out of the trance when Xie Lian took his hand. "Shall we San Lang?" Xie Lian asked warmly. Hua Cheng nodded and they walked behind Wei Wuxian quietly.
Wei Wuxian suddenly stopped and spun around. "Hong-er, welcome home," Wei Wuxian grinned.
Hua Cheng's heart burst into a warmth and happiness he had never felt before. "I'm home..." Hua Cheng whispered, a slight smile blooming on his face.