Work Header

Wild and Free

Work Text:

Lan Zhan aches to be free. She always has. She dreamt about freedom when her mother was hidden away in a secluded cottage. She dreamt about freedom when she found herself in the dorms for female disciples, kept separate from her brother.

She dreamt about freedom when she came of age and all expectations started to pile up.

Freedom lay outside the confines of Cloud Recesses. Freedom lay under the open skies, among the wild mountains and forests outside of Gusu.

Lan Zhan goes wherever she is needed. Every step away from the Cloud Recesses feels like a step towards breathing without any burdens.

It is perhaps fitting that she finds the personification of freedom on one of her trips.

Wei Ying is a wild, treacherous storm, spreading across the open skies like the wrath of a dragon. She spins around Lan Zhan with a teasing smile on crimson lips, her fragrant hair infusing the air with the scent of jasmine.

Lan Zhan has never felt like this. She has never felt so moved by beauty, grace, and life.

Wei Ying is the daughter of Wei Changze and Cangse Sanren. She is untamed, it is in the blood running through her veins. Like Cangse Sanren, she draws attention wherever she goes. Like Wei Changze, she doesn't let bonds of obligation stop her from reaching for what she truly wants. There are no shackles around her feet.

They meet on a night hunt. Lan Zhan has barely laid a fierce ghost to rest when she feels resentment stir behind her. There's a sharp, loud swish followed by a familiar clang of a sword intercepting something.

She spins around just in time to see a blur of black and red defeat a ghost she had missed. Lan Zhan feels a thrill race down her spine as the cultivator spins her sword around and tucks it against her back, scanning the area with sharp grey eyes.

She is tall, with a long ponytail flowing down her back. Her head is tilted to the side as she scans their surroundings, drawing attention to her elegant neck and sharp jaw.

When she is certain the threat is gone, the focused expression melts away.

Lan Zhan sucks a breath at the smile.

It is wide and gleaming, almost unseemly with how mischievous it is. There’s the slightest flush of exertion on the fair, comely face and her eyes are like silver disks, almost as pale as moonlight under the sun’s rays.

Lan Zhan has never seen anything so beautiful.

“You seemed to handle it well, Lan-guniang!” Lan Zhan swallows at her sweet, lilting voice, “But I couldn’t possibly let it attack you from behind! Your pretty hair could have been soiled!” She dipped into a playful bow, “This humble one is Wei Ying. What is the esteemed Lan-guniang doing in such a place? Gusu is quite some ways away from here.”

Lan Zhan dips her head to acknowledge her greeting, “Lan Zhan,” She introduces herself, “Nighthunting.” She offers no other explanation beyond that. It is unusual for Lan women to be away from Cloud Recesses for too long. Lan Zhan is the only exception and that is only because her brother would never confine her like their mother was confined.

“Well, if you’re nighthunting in these treacherous parts,” They look around and Lan Zhan acknowledges her point. So far, she has encountered all manner of ghosts and corpses while trying to purify the land. While she is capable of handling them, it is risky to travel alone. It seems that Wei-guniang has the same idea because she smiles up at her, “Let me accompany you then!”

Lan Zhan ignores how her heart skips a few beats at her beseeching expression. Something tells her that it would be difficult to deny this girl anything.

She nods once, curtly.

Wei Ying brightens and skips ahead, light on her feet and elegant in her movements.

Lan Zhan begs her heart to be calm and she follows her.


Wei Ying is infuriating. It takes her two long Nighthunts to move from Lan-guniang to Lan Zhan to Lan-jiejie.

"Jiejie!" She waves, smiling when she spots Lan Zhan approaching their pre-arranged meeting point. She is dressed in her usual black robes but Lan Zhan finds her even more beautiful today than she did three months ago, when they last parted ways.

And she's not the only one.

Lan Zhan feels her face grow stiff as a few men eye Wei Ying, their indecent gaze lingering in some places longer than appropriate.

Her fingers twitch towards Bichen.

Wei Ying isn't oblivious to people admiring her form. There's a slightest hint of amusement in her liquid silver eyes as Lan Zhan approaches her. Her lips curve in a smug little smile that makes Lan Zhan burn.

Wei Ying flirts. Or it is better to say Wei Ying has a flirtatious nature. She charms people wherever she goes with quick smiles and quicker words.

'Speak meagerly,' Lan Zhan aches to say when the beautiful rogue cultivator draws men and women alike, seeking information or favors. 'Don't smile excessively,' Not at others, at least.

Lan Zhan traces the beautiful curve of Wei Ying's lips as they grin up at her.

When she glances up, those pretty, pretty eyes look faintly surprised, "Jiejie?"

Lan Zhan berates herself for being so easily distracted. She shakes her head and glances around, noting with distaste that the men are gazing at her inappropriately as well.

Though they are far more reserved, unwilling to provoke the fury of the Lan Clan by bothering one of their female disciples.

They had been brazenly staring at Wei Ying, without reservation or fear of retaliation. They were ready to approach her. Even though they weren't worthy of even kissing her feet.

Lan Zhan is barely aware of her actions as she puts her hand on the small of Wei Ying's back and guides her away.

How many times has Wei Ying experienced such indignity? As a rogue cultivator with no home or clan, Wei Ying must be among strangers and in strange places all the time.

Wei Ying is capable. She is Lan Zhan's match in every way. But Lan Zhan understands how difficult it is to keep your guard up at all times.

"Aiya, Jiejie! Slow down!" Wei Ying laughs, "What happened? Did those men upset you? I can go teach them a lesson!" The last thing she wants is for her Wei Ying to be in the company of strange men any longer.

Her fingers flex on Wei Ying's back, digging in slightly. "No need," Lan Zhan says, guiding her companion towards a tea house.

They're just about to cross the threshold when a running child causes Wei Ying to stumble.

Lan Zhan catches her, wrapping an arm around Wei Ying securely as she directs her sharp gaze to the unruly child's parents. Wei Ying laughs at their apologetic bows, smiling at them kindly.

They walk towards their table, her hand still wrapped around Wei Ying's waist, a palm resting lightly on the swell of her hip.

Wei Ying doesn't move away.

Lan Zhan doesn't remove her hand.

There is a fetching blush on Wei Ying's cheeks. The beginnings of shyness on her charming countenance.

When they sit, Lan Zhan hesitates to let go.

Wei Ying chooses to sit by her side, a warm body against her arm.

She closes her eyes, soaks in Wei Ying's presence and orders tea.


"Jiejie," Wei Ying whines, walking ahead of her, her long ponytail swaying mesmerizingly with her movements, "Can't we take a break?"

Lan Zhan can't take her eyes away. She is starved for this beauty. Her duties at Cloud Recesses kept her away from Wei Ying for many weeks. Before, Lan Zhan could handle it tolerably well.

Now, it rankles. The thought of Wei Ying nighthunting alone, of her constantly being surrounded by strangers, of her finding new companionship…

All of it is unbearable.

Her fingers itch to pull her close, to silence that playful mouth with possessive kisses.

She will welcome her, Lan Zhan thinks.

They know something is there. Wei Ying has become increasingly shameless, often clinging to Lan Zhan, pressing up against her arm.

Lan Zhan can feel the soft, yielding flesh of her breasts and wants to bite.

"Jiejie…" Wei Ying pouts at her, her perfect lips sticking out, red and wet from Wei Ying's abuse.

She knows exactly how tempting she is, the minx.

"How can you be so cruel to your poor Wei Ying?" She asks and Lan Zhan feels something sharp and triumphant race through her.

'Her poor Wei Ying.'

"Wei Ying is capable," She says, trying to hold onto patience in the face of such temptation. It doesn't help that Wei Ying wears her robes looser than appropriate. Her eyes drift down, seeing glimpses of a sharp collarbone she wants to trace with her tongue.

"Your Wei Ying," Oh, she's being naughty, "is capable but she is also tired, jiejie!"

Lan Zhan should resist. Wei Ying flirts with everyone. When she teases Lan Zhan, it is likely she doesn't mean anything serious by it.

But Lan Zhan is a Lan. And she is already enamored. If she gives in now, she will hold onto this wild treasure and never let her escape. She wonders if Wei Ying would easily fall into her possession, willing and content in her arms.

When they finally stop to rest, it is late evening. The full moon shines brightly, its light reflected on the still waters of a pond. Even though it is late, the area seems well-lit.

Well-lit enough for Lan Zhan to see the teasing curve of Wei Ying’s lips as she strips off her outer robes. “Who knows when I will get the opportunity to bathe?” Wei Ying asks absently, testing the water with a dainty foot.

Lan Zhan traces the arch of the fair foot with her eyes, her fingers curling into fists. ‘I would kiss it,’ She thinks, ‘Kiss it and then mark my way up her legs until-’ She shakes her head and looks up just in time to see Wei Ying discard her final outer layer, leaving just a thin inner robe behind.

Lan Zhan swallows.

The soft fabric clings to the contours of her body, accentuating her curves. Lan Zhan can clearly see the graceful slope of her hips, the elegant slant of her shoulders, the beautiful arch of her back.

Her legs glow in the moonlight, pale and plump. Lan Zhan doubts anyone has seen Wei Ying so bare but even a single thought of anyone catching a glimpse of this is unbearable.

She looks around, expands her senses and senses nothing. Nothing but them. No one but Wei Ying to stop her if she decides to take.

Wei Ying’s body is soft, gentle, and supple. Lan Zhan would treasure it, treasure her if she is accorded the honor of being her cultivation partner.

Jiejie,” Wei Ying calls in her teasing voice, “Keep an eye out for me, won’t you?” Lan Zhan glances up her body and meets her sparkling eyes, “I wouldn’t want anyone else to see me in this state.” Wei Ying says as she walks into the pond with just a thin fabric on.

Lan Zhan can watch nothing but her, “Wei Ying,” She warns, feeling heat course through her as the water turns the bottom of the fabric translucent.

Wei Ying takes a dip and when she emerges, Lan Zhan forgets to breathe. The wet fabric, thin and sheer as it is, sticks to her skin. The skin itself is flushed pink already, glowing under the bright moonlight.

Wei Ying in a pond with a wet robe clinging to her skin

Lan Zhan feels her pulse start to race as she traces the figure before her, looking at the fabric doesn’t hide the planes of her body. She feels her blood heat as she runs her eyes along the delicate slope of Wei Ying’s stomach.

Her mouth goes dry when she sees it. Sees them.

Pretty, perky, perfect.

Nipples hard from cold, poking through the translucent fabric, wet cloth clinging to the delicious curve along the side and bottom. Every time Wei Ying moves they move, so very delicious that Lan Zhan’s mouth waters. They’d fit perfectly in her hands, she thinks wildly. Lan Zhan can already imagine their warm weight and their beautiful suppleness.

Wei Ying turns around and it is almost worse. Because now there is an ass with plump little cheeks, perfectly round, ready for Lan Zhan’s hands to grab. Her fingers itch and there's something feral rising within her. She sucks a sharp breath, feeling a throb in her cunt as grey eyes that look like molten silver peer over a wet shoulder.

The image is something straight out of a dream. Wei Ying is soaked, her robe translucent, a coy smile on her lips as she glances at Lan Zhan with demurely lowered eyes, “Jiejie will protect my virtue, yes?”

The provocation sears through her and Lan Zhan stalks forward, roughly discarding her outer robes as well.

Wei Ying widens her eyes, all pretend shyness and alarm. She scrambles back, sputtering Lan Zhan’s name even as her eyes sparkle with anticipation and laughter. She is beautiful like this and Lan Zhan can’t mistake her expression for anything but a warm welcome.

Wei Ying wants this.

She dips under the surface and Lan Zhan snarls, provoked beyond reason. She plunges her hand into the water, grabs a wet ponytail and pulls Wei Ying up.

Wei Ying is laughing when Lan Zhan kisses her. There’s nothing tentative about it. Lan Zhan has never been tentative. She wraps an arm around Wei Ying’s waist, tightening her grip enough to make her beloved arch and moan into her mouth. She bites a plump lip, drawing a sharp gasp, and licks into the mouth that has tormented her for months. Wei Ying is still warm and slippery in her arms, squirming, moaning, tempting.

“Jiejie,” She breathes, “So cruel!” Lan Zhan dips her hand down and cups a plump ass cheek, her fingers digging in, “I’ve been trying to get your attention and you always ignored me. For weeks and weeks, you ignored me.”

Lan Zhan buries her face in Wei Ying’s neck, mouthing her skin, tasting the salt of her sweat on her tongue, “And now, when you finally respond, you’re so rough -” Wei Ying winces as Lan Zhan grabs a thigh and squeezes, digging her fingers in hard enough to bruise, “Lan Zhan...

Lan Zhan sinks her teeth into warm flesh, worrying the skin until she feels the tang of blood rising to the surface.

Wei Ying whines and Lan Zhan lingers, “Try to get my attention,” She says hoarsely against wet skin, “And see if I ever ignore Wei Ying again.” Wei Ying doesn’t even get a chance to reply before Lan Zhan plunges her hand into the water, brushes aside Wei Ying’s robes and cups her cunt. She feels heated, feverish as she parts her folds, her fingers slipping over the slick flesh.

Wei Ying is already wet. Lan Zhan knows it is her fluids and not the water around them that makes her fingers slip against hot skin. Wei Ying pants as she pinches her clit, whines when she traces her hole, squirms as she rubs again and again and again until her lover is clinging helplessly.

Lan Zhan keeps her trapped in her arms; she swallows all moans with her mouth as she plunges her fingers into Wei Ying’s cunt until three are buried as deep as they can go. Lan Zhan rubs the swollen, sensitive tip of the clit with her thumb and Wei Ying sobs.

Is this what Wei Ying wants?Lan Zhan asks, unable to help herself. The heat around her fingers is almost unbearable. She wants to feel it against her cunt. Wei Ying’s breasts press against hers and the reminder of their presence drives her wild. She has no hands free to feel them so she dips her head and mouths the tops of them, “Answer me.

Yes,” Wei Ying gasps out, “I want to be yours, jiejie. Please, Lan Zhan-!” Lan Zhan pulls her fingers away and lifts Wei Ying up. She silences her protests with a kiss, cupping the back of her head to keep her in place as they stumble towards the shore.

The ground by the pond is wet with patches of dirt and grass. Taking her precious love on such a surface is unacceptable. Wei Ying sucks a breath when Lan Zhan holds her aloft with one arm before using the other to spread white robes over the ground.

“Lan Zhan! Your clothes will get dirty!” Wei Ying protests, pulling back a little to frown at her.

That’s unacceptable.

Lan Zhan tucks an arm under her ass and holds one of Wei Ying’s bangs, pulling her into a fierce kiss. It is easy to get out of the water and press Wei Ying against the blanket made of robes. It is easier to strip the wet cloth from her beloved’s form.

Lan Zhan licking Wei Ying's throat

The sight of Wei Ying’s bare, wet body steals her breath. She leans back and just watches her for a moment, her eyes taking in the smooth skin as it reacts to her gaze.

Wei Ying drops her gaze, her shyness genuine this time. Lan Zhan is between her legs so she can’t close them but Lan Zhan feels how her thighs twitch against her sides. ‘My dearest heart,’ Love blooms like a wound in her breast, aching and powerful, ‘My Wei Ying.’ Perhaps one day, she will have words to express what she feels. Wei Ying certainly deserves something more than silent affection. Today, she feels too overpowered by her fortune.

Lan Zhan leans forward and tucks a finger under Wei Ying’s chin, tipping her face up. There’s a flush on her cheeks and her eyes are liquid with emotion.

‘For weeks and weeks, you ignored me.’


“Forgive me,” Lan Zhan says and Wei Ying stiffens, her fingers curling on Lan Zhan’s arms, afraid that she would move away. Lan Zhan doesn’t intend to. She presses closer until Wei Ying’s naked body is warm against hers once again, “Wei Ying wanted me and I failed to respond.”


Lan Zhan doesn’t say anything else but she promises herself that she will never dismiss Wei Ying again. It is unbearable to think that Wei Ying experienced the same longing she did, had the courage to reach out, and Lan Zhan misunderstood her intentions.

Aching to reassure her, Lan Zhan leans forward to kiss Wei Ying, a gentle brush of lips. Wei Ying leans up to chase her, a tight sound of yearning escaping her throat as she pulls Lan Zhan close.

Lan Zhan removes her robe and descends on her love, pressing so close that there's barely any breath between them.

She showers kisses on Wei Ying's face and sucks bruises on her neck and shoulders. She presses fingers against Wei Ying's hips, already imagining the marks that may appear on them.

But while all parts of Wei Ying are appealing, there is something Lan Zhan has been aching to taste since she first started desiring Wei Ying.

Her mouth salivates as she wraps it around a nipple, revelling in Wei Ying's gasp. Her skin tastes clean and slightly sweet but the strangled 'jiejie' from Wei Ying's mouth is sweeter.

She presses a thigh against Wei Ying's cunt as she suckles one breast and fondles another. The skin is wet and the weight of her flesh in her palm feels somehow precious.

"Lan Zhan," Wei Ying's voice trembles around the edges, "Lan Zhan- jiejie-" She pinches and rolls the nipple not in her mouth, tugging until Wei Ying cries and arches her back, her cunt wet against Lan Zhan's thigh.

Hunger yawns in her as she presses her leg higher, feeling the tip of Wei Ying's clit against her slippery thigh. The nipple in her mouth shrinks and hardens. Lan Zhan sucks and bites it, tugging at the nub playfully as Wei Ying's voice goes high and sharp.

Lan Zhan dips her head to lick the delicious curve under Wei Ying's tormented breast, relishing the slightly salty taste of sweat.

To her delight, there's a small beauty mark there, the most charming little blemish. A secret that no one but her will ever know.

"Jiejie, Jiejie, have mercy!" Wei Ying cries even as she rides Lan Zhan's thigh with sensual swirls of her hips. Lan Zhan pinches the abused nipple and tugs it up, making more room for her to mark the underside of Wei Ying's breast.

She bites and Wei Ying releases a tormented cry that sears through her being like a raging fire.

Something wicked stirs within her as she pulls her leg away from Wei Ying's cunt and pins her hips in place.



Lan Zhan switches to the other breast, covering the tormented one with a warm hand.

She sucks a breath.

She proceeds to break Wei Ying.

Sharp cries and pleas ring throughout the clearing as Lan Zhan licks, nibbles, suckles, and tugs at her breasts. She plays with them like she plays a new instrument; fascinated, determined to draw the most beautiful sounds, willing to experiment.

Wei Ying whines, begs, and squirms under her. Her hips move uselessly, her fingers dig into Lan Zhan's shoulders and back, her head is tossed back, flushed red.

"Spare me, spare me," Wei Ying gasps, "Jiejie, have mercy on this virgin." She pleads like proclaiming Wei Ying is untouched and entirely hers is supposed to deter her, "Lan Zhan, please-"

Lan Zhan tears her ribbon off her forehead and quickly wraps it around Wei Ying's arms, her movements quick and sharp. Her own cunt throbs with desire and she wants nothing more than to press it against Wei Ying's.

She tucks Wei Ying's leg over a hip, spreading her wide open before slipping between her thighs until their slick, sensitive folds touch. Wei Ying draws a sharp breath at the touch and Lan Zhan pushes down, grinding their cunts together.

"Oh," Wei Ying breathes, her eyes wide and sparkling at the new sensation. Lan Zhan studies the wondrous pleasure written on Wei Ying's face with something covetous rising within her.

She grinds down before falling forward, her hips moving in small, tight circles as she assaults the tormented breasts again.

Wei Ying's cries are sweeter than the most tuneful guqin.

Her lover is loud, her voice as free as her spirit. Lan Zhan has surrendered all of her restraint and tied it around Wei Ying.

She doesn't hold back.

Wei Ying convulses and shakes apart under her several times, but Lan Zhan doesn't relent. She doesn't relent until Wei Ying's nipples are red, her breasts are bruised, and her pretty little face is soaked in tears.

She doesn't relent until Wei Ying twitches feebly as another orgasm assaults her oversensitive body.

The sight of her Wei Ying like this, the sight of her claim on this beautiful, wonderful soul, breaks her resolve. Lan Zhan takes in the dazed, bullied expression and falls forward, grinding and fingering herself until she finds her pleasure too.

They lay in silence, after, with Lan Zhan resting her body on Wei Ying, aware of her lover's strength and unwilling to part from her warmth.

Wei Ying laughs softly against her head and Lan Zhan can feel her smile, "Why are you laughing?" She asks, pinching a nipple when Wei Ying laughs again but doesn't reply.

Her love yelps and hurries to apologise, the mischief still lingering in her voice, "Aiya, Lan Zhan, who would've thought that the stern, elegant princess of the Lans would conquer this one so thoroughly?" Bound hands drape over her sweaty back, fingers rubbing the strained muscles gently, "I am ruined indeed, Lan-guniang. Half mad in love, completely under your power. You would ask for the skies and I will find a way-"

Lan Zhan surges up to kiss that clever mouth.

Later, she gathers her courage and whispers words of love against her Wei Ying's lips.


Wei Ying is shameless. Now that she knows how to provoke Lan Zhan, she finds every opportunity to do so.

They stop by a spring a few days later. Wei Ying again uses it as an excuse to bathe and tempt.

This time, Lan Zhan doesn't hesitate.

She presses Wei Ying’s bound hands against the grass, glaring down at the mischievous sprite under her. She is still wet from her dip in the spring, her dark hair clinging to her fair features, drops of water lingering on her flushed red lips.

Those lips are still smiling.

Lan Zhan feels heat flood her veins at Wei Ying’s defiance. The desire to subdue her, to push her down and ruin her nearly overtakes her senses. Wei Ying makes her feel shaken and provoked. The composure she has spent years maintaining as a Lan shatters under the power of Wei Ying’s smile.

With rough, stiff movements, she moves her robes aside and tucks them onto her sash. Wei Ying’s eyes gleam but Lan Zhan doesn’t give her a chance to tease any further. She shifts forward until her cunt is over Wei Ying’s mouth and curls her fingers into wet hair, pressing her close.

“Service me,” She commands, her fingers tightening.

“Oh jiejie,” Wei Ying whispers, her breath brushing against her sensitive folds, “It would be my pleasure.

The first tentative lick sends a spark of heat down her spine. She tips her head back and makes a small sound of approval, pressing Wei Ying’s head closer. Wei Ying takes the hint and follows her direction, licking across her flesh and prodding her clit.

Her first few licks are hesitant, her inexperience shining brightly. Lan Zhan feels both heated and tender, her fingers caressing Wei Ying’s scalp in approval every time she does something right. Sparks of pleasure shoot up and down her spine as Wei Ying focuses on her clit, licking along the sensitive tip, sucking it unto the warmth of her mouth.

Lan Zhan tightens her fingers and moves her hips, riding Wei Ying’s mouth. Her lover adjusts quickly, sometimes dipping her tongue down to prod her hole before returning her attentions to her clit.

She tips her head back, her fingers pressing Wei Ying’s mouth close with every sway of her lips. The noise emerging from her love is obscene. Sharp gasps, dirty slurping, and muffled moans fill the clearing.

Lan Zhan isn’t gentle. She rolls her hips and rides Wei Ying’s mouth relentlessly until her pleasure crests. She falls forward, curling an arm around Wei Ying’s head to keep her in place as the lingering sparks of pleasure race through her body.

Wei Ying makes a muffled, helpless sound, her arms straining under Lan Zhan’s grip and her hips thrusting uselessly into the air.

Lan Zhan holds her in place for a long moment as the flush of orgasm recedes. Her fingers flex around Wei Ying’s wrists and her hair. She doesn’t want to let go. She wants to keep her beloved trapped between her thighs, pinned underneath her, her mouth wet with Lan Zhan’s slick.

Shakily, she shifts back and looks down.

Wei Ying, poor girl, looks ruined. Her lips are blood red, shiny with Lan Zhan’s fluids. Her nose and cheeks are flushed and her eyes are clouded with tears. There’s a blush riding down her neck and crawling over her heaving breasts.

There’s desperation in those enchanting silver eyes, "Jiejie,"

Oh, her dear girl, her pretty little flower.

Lan Zhan closes her eyes, collects herself, and gazes down at her Wei Ying again.

The bruises she had left on her pretty breasts have started to fade.

That won't do.

Wei Ying screeches as she wraps her mouth around a sensitive nipple and drops a hand between Wei Ying's legs. She doesn't warn or start slow. Wei Ying is already wet and responsive. She twitches and whines when Lan Zhan spreads her folds open and thrusts her finger into her hole.

It is rough and fast. Lan Zhan has three fingers in before Wei Ying can protest or do more than moan. She presses her thumb to the clit and rubs in teasing circles until Wei Ying is sobbing under her attentions, her face red and her eyes full of tears.

Lan Zhan doesn't let up until Wei Ying falls apart, staring up at her with dazed eyes that send a thrill through her entire being.

It has been barely a few days but Lan Zhan is certain.

Wei Ying will be her wife.


'Xiongzhang,' She glances at her sleeping lover, her eyes roaming over her relaxed features before turning to the letter, 'I seek permission to marry. I have found my fated one in Wei Ying, the daughter of Wei Changze and Cangse Sanren. She is capable, honorable, and righteous. I am certain she will be a credit to our sect.'

"What is Cloud Recesses like, Jiejie?" Wei Ying had asked, always eager to learn more about Lan Zhan's home. There had been a touch of wistfulness in her voice and a look of gentle longing in her eyes.

Lan Zhan had spent her entire life seeking freedom but Wei Ying had spent it seeking a home.

'I wish to add her to our family registry. I wish to bring her children to raise.' She wonders and dreams. She wonders if it is possible. She thinks of Wei Ying swelling with their child and aches.

'I am honored by her love. I wish to acknowledge our bond formally. Please grant me this happiness, xiongzhang.'

Lan Zhan spent her entire life seeking freedom outside Cloud Recesses.

When she receives xiongzhang's tentative approach, she smiles.

Perhaps instead of chasing freedom, she can bring her freedom home with her.

Wei Ying is warm and soft in her arms when she whispers words of marriage and home into her ear.

Her love's voice shakes when she speaks of her acceptance but Lan Zhan is content to ignore it.

She draws Wei Ying into a kiss and tips backwards into their bed.

She has her freedom at last.