The Banquet was held in Lotus Pier. It wasn't a traditional banquet per se, rather a celebration. The comeback of the great Yiling Patriarch and the fall of nasty Jin GuangYao. Jiang Cheng being the emotionally constipated person he is hesitated for thousands times till Jin Ling wrote the invitation on his behalf, criticising his uncle for being such a coward. Jiang Cheng doesn't understand how and when this child became so attached to WuXian, whom he hated from birth. He even takes help from Wen Ning during night hunts and goes to WuXian to take advice.
The hatred he was suppressing for years is now nothing but a bubble of water, fading away till nothing. Jiang Cheng really was grateful, the day in Lotus Pier when Wen Ning gave him the sword and informed that WuXian was the one that gave him his core, he ran around like a lunatic asking every single living breathing creature to unseathe, the more they couldn't, the more his head spun. When he heard that Jin Ling went away with fairy he didn't loose a single second. Half of his heart was worried about the brat and half of it refused to let WuXian die again on him.
"Uncle you are spacing out" Jin Ling whispered as they stood in the far centre of the room, him being the host it was certainly very disrespectful to space out. He coughed lightly, getting his thoughts together. The guests have arrived already, Lan XiChen and a few disciples has arrived as well however Lan SiZhui didn't arrive still, that's why Jin Ling still haven't completely entered in the crowd. "Sect Leader Jiang , Sect Leader Jin" Lan XiChen greeted and they greeted back. Jiang Cheng fidgeted, Lan XiChen chuckled noticing that, "Are you wondering about Young Master Wei?". He nodded as nonchalantly as possible. He somehow feared the answer, that WuXian wouldn't want to come here anymore after that day in the ancestral hall. WuXian's pale face with blood smudged on the corner of his lips still haunts him in his sleep.
"Apparently WangJi and Young Master Wei has caught into an argument" Lan XiChen said with a face that reflected so much positive emotions towards both of the names. "SiZhui is unable to come because when they have an argument they would talk through SiZhui" The leader of the Gusu Lan sect chuckled again. Beside him Jin Ling shook his head sighing. Jiang Cheng didn't say anything. "They should come here by now...
.." A loud scream outside broke Lan XiChen's words.
"LAN ZHAN GET IT AWAY FROM ME!"
"LAN ZHAN WHY IT'S COMING THIS WAY!!"
"Oh no I sent Fairy outside because I thought everybody of Lan clan is here!" Jin Ling exclaimed beside him and ran.
"Everybody from Lan clan" The words pierced Jiang Cheng's heart.
When he rushed outside he saw Wei Wuxian has almost climbed Lan WangJi, screaming endless blubber while WangJi is calmly supporting his waist with his left hand and the other rubbing his back to sooth. "Fairy I know you like him but he is scared of you, please don't just jump on him" Jin Ling pleaded to his dog, the naive creature barked in answer and WuXian curled up in fear again. Jin Ling sighed, he bowed an apology to WangJi and picked Fairy up. "I will keep him in my room" He said, "Wait I will go too" SiZhui suddenly emerged from behind the couple. Jin Ling's eyes lit up but his tone was cold, "What you have with my room?" SiZhui grinned, "I just want to see it". The two youngster's voice faded over the corridor.
After Jin Ling left WangJi tapped WuXian's back, the house was full of guests, almost all of them heard the commotion however rather than his dog fright their attention settled on WuXian's arms around WangJi's shoulders and WangJi's arms around his waist like it belonged there. WuXian slowly separated himself from WangJi then looked around seeing nearly hundred eyes on them he faltered a bit, his eyes flashing a hint of fear, but then WangJi rubbed his palms over his back again and that disappeared. He jumped from the poll, grinning again as if he was not scared to death a second ago.
"Do your work" Jiang Cheng said to the servants. The crowd started to scramble however few guest stayed to greet them. At some point Lan WangJi and Wei WuXian came infront of him too, WangJi bowed but WuXian grinned at him, his eyes held no malicious feelings. Till WangJi pressed two fingers in the middle of his back and made him bow. Jiang Cheng returned it, his hands were awfully clamped.
As Jin Ling and Lan SiZhui returned they went inside the banquet hall. Unsurprisingly the centre of attention was Lan WangJi and Wei WuXian, everybody was eager to talk to them, if not the adults the children. After saving the young disciples from burial mountain and the Yi City they were attached to the couple the most. Jiang Cheng was talking to some guests, one of the female cultivators chirped, "Who knew HanGuang-Jun and Yiling Patriarch would turn out to be like this." Another agreed, "So true, I also studied with them when they were in the cloud recesses they used to disagree so much, even after Wei Ying left they used to disagree in every possible occasion!" An young cultivator piped in, "But when I saw HanGuang-Jun at the Burial Mountain he seriously stood between every attack and the Yiling Patriarch! Who knew their heart would change like that!"
Jiang Cheng coughed, the gossip dissolving completely. "Please sit down the food will be served shortly" He said quietly and they all hurriedly left the place. Small desks were placed forming a shape of small rectangles, Jiang Cheng sat in the centre in midst of everyone's attention, the food started being served. Pork rib soup with spicy rice and meat marinated with sour milk. Gusu Lan Sect however was served different kind of food, clear cabbage soup with white rice and vegetable stir fry with very little spice. As they started eating he saw WuXian's eyes lit up at the menu, "Lan Zhan its my favourite!" He said and grinned. Jiang Cheng felt himself smiling as well. WuXian then joined the four desks together Lan SiZhui and Lan JingYi on the other two and they started eating. He watched WangJi oh so carefully served the rice as if he does that everyday, he saw WuXian put small amount of meat on SiZhui and JingYi's plate because it was spicy. Jiang Cheng gulped, feeling Jin Ling's pinch under the table. His mouth twitched when he saw Lan Wangji putting the steamed vegetables on WuXian's bowl, Wei Wuxian's fingers intertwined with him and a giggle left his mouth. Somehow he felt warm on his cheek, beside him Jin Ling's eyes widened.
It was always him and WuXian, from protection from a mere dog to his mother. It was always him that WuXian was beside, then why? How? Lan Wangji came in the picture? Why fate played such cruel game with them and WuXian doesn't even look at him the way he used to do before. Jiang Cheng was feeling miserable. The loss of his parents the loss of his sister didn't make him this miserable, in his ears Jin GuangYao's voice kept booming, "You also had a part of this of WuXian's death, of your sister's death. If only you weren't this coward and stood up with him, for him instead of blaming him with others none of this would happen". Indeed, indeed he was a coward, Lan WangJi always stood beside him with his back straight, eyes only acknowledging WuXian. He waited for him thirteen years, accepted the punishment of his clan, took the kid WuXian loved with him and treated him like his own child while, while he was blinded by hatred and jealousy.
The day when WuXian came to Lotus Pier first after the reincarnation, Jiang Cheng hoped that WuXian will find him, that they would talk, reminisce about their life, maybe laugh about their misery a bit. Yet when he saw WuXian jumping from the tree so freely, and WangJi catching him, something in his heart hurt. It hurt so badly that his eyesight blurred, WuXian hugging WangJi like the person he trusted the most made his heart pierce with small needles, unbearable. Jiang Cheng shook his head bitter laugh escaped his throat.
"HanGuang-Jun may I have a minute with you?" Lan WangJi's turned around hearing his name being called. Jiang Cheng stood with an attendee, WangJi nodded. "I would like to discuss something with you" he said "Alone" then added. WangJi glanced at WuXian who was already looking at them from a bit far, he seemed a bit restless but nodded when WangJi shook his head. "Lead the way" The second jade of the Gusu Lan sect said.
The feast was over, the guests were now sipping alcohol and other beverages while being entertained by musicians. Jiang Cheng led them to his father's chamber, "Please enter" he said when WangJi stopped at the doorway. "My father's chamber was originally reserved for WuXian" He started handing a key of the only almira present in the room. "I hated it that time, after he left" Jiang Cheng gulped, "I thought finally I will have something of my father, but no matter what I couldn't live in it. It was awfully empty" He smiled. Behind him WangJi stood wordlessly, he kept talking, "I still cannot wrap around my head about you two, I still cannot accept the fact that no matter what I do he won't comeback to me. Think of me as a selfish bastard but Wei WuXian always came back to me so this time as well......." He trailed off.
The attendee handed him a rectangular pouch and the keys, then bowed and left. Jiang Cheng turned around and saw Lan wangJi standing at the doorway, he didn't move a single bit. Suddenly he laughed, "HanGuang-Jun you can enter I am not here to quarrel with you" he said and opened the pouch. Inside the pouch there was a piece of clothe the colour was beautiful crimson, with golden strings creating beautiful flowers.
"He might not be a part of Yunmeng Jiang sect anymore but I have to do my duty".
He caressed the clothe with both of his hands. "My mother bought this roll of clothe when she was married to this house, it is very special family heirloom. According to Yu family's tradition the Son In Law of the family is allowed to wear it. My father did but then I thought I lost it after the wen sect wiped out the clan." He opened the clothe revealing a striking crimson robe, "I couldn't give it to Jin XiZhuan, but now I..." Jiang Cheng took the robe and bowed, "I want you to accept it."
"I wonder what's happening." WuXian rubbed his temple, Lan XiChen patted his shoulders, "Sect Leader Jiang is not like that anymore they will be okay". Even though he was supposed to feel assured WuXian still felt restless till he saw Jiang Cheng on the threshold. He was about to approach him when Lan WangJi entered the hall.
There was a group of orchestra player playing a very lively music and people were humming. Everything stopped at once as Lan WangJi entered, it was pin drop silence, people even forgot to breathe probably.
Jiang Cheng probably planned it from the beginning, since the robe fit WangJi perfectly, the crimson garment making a stark contrast with his white forehead ribbon. WuXian's whole body shook, when he realised what had happened he opened his mouth and looked at Jiang Cheng. The man shrugged, smiling, eyes blur. Ethereal would not be enough to describe how Lan WangJi looked right now, the violent crimson garment flowing as he walked, his back straight eyes fixed on Wei WuXian only. Another crimson garment was in his hand, designed with golden strings, a lotus. WangJi put the clothe on his head, it created a perfect veil. WuXian was speechless, his eyes blown wide. He was so shocked that he didn't even have time to feel embarrassed. Holding his hand Lan WangJi said, "We have the third prostrate left" and started to lead them to the ancestral hall of Yunmeng Jiang sect.
The Gusu Lan sect followed as well, along with others. Only Jiang Cheng was left, he sat down in front of his throne, his heart aching so heavily. He cannot stand it, he cannot accept the fact that WuXian will never be his anymore, the person he loved, he killed him with his own hand and the person came back is not his anymore. A pair of arms circled his shoulders, Jin Ling patted his head, muffling his hiccups in his chest, "It's alright" The sixteen years old child consoled his uncle.
"Tell me brat" Jiang Cheng said, "Do I deserve this?" He asked, "Do I deserve to loose everyone? Father, mother, sister, and now Wei Ying, did I deserve this?" Jin Ling froze, then continued to caress, "Neither did he you know, he also didn't deserve loosing his father, mother, the person he thought as father, the woman who was harsh but loved him nonetheless, the sister who loved him also the brother who didn't trust him." Jiang Cheng looked at Jin Ling, as he stared blankly while speaking he so looked so...older. "Don't you hate him? Jiang Cheng asked, Jin Ling shook his head, "I did once. But then I realised don't we hate because its the easiest thing to do? I was so conflicted first I felt wrong I felt like crying but...." Jin Ling trailed off as he saw several Lan Sect disciples fawned over Wei WuXian and Lan WangJi in the ancestral hall across, Wei Wuxian took SiZhui's hand and made him bow, he said something that made SiZhui blush and WangJi smile so tenderly. "....someone made me realise, unfortunate things will always happen, we will make mistakes, grave ones, sometimes we will loose something very important but instead of blaming and hating we should face everything with head on, and learn to understand and forgive." Jin Ling smiled as SiZhui laughed, Jiang Cheng's eyes didn't miss the tenderness that held.
Jiang Cheng doesn't know when he will be able to accept. He doesn't know when he could look at WuXian and smile without feeling needles pricking in his heart. Maybe oneday he will be able to understand why he did it, maybe one day he will be able to understand Wen Ning without hating him. But right now he can only take a step forward and keep living just like WuXian decided to so in this life. Just like Jin Ling said , "Face everything head on and learn to understand and forgive".
He crossed the bridge and went inside the ancestral hall. WuXian's eyes found his immediately, he smiled. Jiang Cheng smiled back as well, "My blessings for your marriage" He said.
This was the first step.