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The Checkerboard Flooring

Chapter Text

The aftermath of that hell was a bloody mess of corpses forming a beautiful hill above the banal lake under them, its red color unsure whether it exists naturally or being tainted by the red liquid infiltrate it drops by drops and slows by slows. The sleeping faces of women, elders, and children coloring the entire scenery within the cold of cave, deprived from the warm of human’s touch, expressions perhaps peaceful and perhaps not, and perhaps moveless because of the merciless coldness that sweeps every bones and blood of the lifeless. There’re ones that decaying in peacefulness, and the others in deformedness, undistinguished under the pill of many human’s faces. Droplets’ s tail swims to the surface in the darkness, one dot of light highlighting the tattered distinguished white-red robes belongs to the sun, had been long beaten from its glory.

And all the suns have fallen scattered to the dirt and dust and their own bloods.

The stone ground in the cave that now become the burial is indeed cold to the second Lan’s vulnerable skin, body still weak from the pain that will never heal in the present and likely nor in the future, both in physical and heart. The fresh whip wounds and scars he bears is numb compare to the permanent bleeding of his heart, now spills endlessly to the earth. He drags his legs hard, knees still limping from the weak strength that left of him and the sore that still needs the merciful long time for it to heal, but he pushes it only from unmatchable determination.

His golden eyes desperately glance right here and there what exists in the ground aside from the non-livings and the death air, searching for the fallen man that the world regards as their ultimate enemy, the dog that bites into his owner mercilessly. The three thousand people’s bloods in his hands, both the accomplishment and the hanging sins on his shoulder, known as the source of calamity, and his closest ones prepare to only know unfairness and misfortune and sadness in their lives, and then there’s the unleashed hell of his own making, and the sky was crying the blood of thousands people that night.

So, the world shot him down.

But that same man is Lan Wangji’s source of fortune and happiness, the only sun he loves in this cruel, merciless cold world full of worldly affairs and the running evils, hidden from the ordinaries and masked under the glittering gold.

He can’t watch them beat his sun over and over, he can’t let the world bury him and things left of him.

And so, he drags his limp legs to the place that now fully become the home of the dead. It was also home of the dead in the past, but now it’s the hill of the dead as well. He was unable to find the person he loves among the bloody hill, red liquid continuing to pour to the pool that originally has the same color, but now the original color is undistinguishable among the pretty drops of those red liquids. He passed that hill in his way in Burial Mound, tongue-tied as he saw the scenery but body trembles and trembles as he still found none of what he seeks.

But then he finds a child voice, dim and vague within the darkness of the cave, in the sea of blackness and air of death and into the deep into the small, secret space of solid brick of cave stone. The child is running with raging fever, heat increased in the cold embrace of a dying body and the lack of food. River of blood seeping from his deep injuries, poisoned stabs and burning wounds imprinted throughout parts of body, camouflaged by the redness of liquid and clothes. Right eyelashes shut in tenderness of tranquility and the other in deep sunken hollowness, crimson wet petals dances in ecstasy within and pouring all its beauty to the silk and the earth. A broken Stygian Tiger Seal sit nears him, asking for the utter breaking of its existence and Wei Wuxian’s expression gives him a slight smile almost as if it’s contented.

As if it seeks death.

The faint pulse in his hand was rejecting that attempt however, it’s almost as if the world is finally giving him mercy for all his turmoil and endless sufferings. He was left alone to die and he is left alone to die.

Trembling, the hands of the Jade touches the peaceful face so tenderly, almost as if it’s afraid to break its fragility.

Still bearing the permanent wounds on his back, he carries the dying Yiling Patriarch’s body on it and bury the feverish Sun’s child on his chest deeply.

Then he departs, leaving the hill of lifeless alone to the world.

Chapter Text

Aches of the fading but fresh scars (wounds) on his back are to no end.

It pierces him and his never-ending bleeding heart like thousand thorns of beautiful roses grew arounds but never providing the way of out of the pain, and the fragility that exceeds reckoning just like the past and the present, and just like the last rope of life behind and the agony of (future) present end fate belongs to the frail dying man behind.

In the past, Wei Wuxian’s future end path was filled with bright ray of light and the toss of flowers, from those who had been saved by his heroic nature and those who admired his untamed nature. Many would be saying that it’s a gift, a treasure that should be kept and never tossed away because of its rareness. The utter savings and mending of young ones and family would be at his hand and his feet, and the joy of hearts would last. He would be left alone in field of Lotus flowers and clear lake, and blossoming willow trees along with lush paddock full of the air of life and unending ecstasy of vigor.

In the present, Wei Wuxian’s (future) end path is filled with darkness of shadow and the toss of blades, from those who had been wronged by his heroic nature and those who despised his untamed nature. Many is saying that it’s a curse, a sin that shouldn’t be exist in the first place. The utter killings and the ruin of the young ones and family would be at his hands and feet, and the shatters and indiscriminate breaking of hearts. He’s left alone in the cold desolate dark cave of graveyard and lake of red liquid, and withering trees along with decomposed skeletons giving the air of lifeless and unending misery.

Wei Wuxian’s body bounces as The Jade takes another step of light jumps, the open holes of his body still raining the red liquid within despite the tenderness and carefulness dedicated to him, the seeping bloods hard to be differentiated in the merging of two crimson waters ruining and wetting the purity of white silk free of sins, frame too thin to the form of skeleton but still has enough weight to unfold more the oldest bleeding of the man of desperation, sweating cold in the panic and pained heart.  

Gusu’s night is generally occupied by the coldness of mountain and its habitual lack of life and human interactions, thus therefore the option of slipping him quietly to the desolate small cottage that once became the home for his long-deceased mother, locked under his sins and lived under his father’s mercy of blind love. Lan Wangji had been sneaking quietly out of the suffocating strictness of Gusu that night, hours following the shattered heart petals and the slammed cup on the ground and splattered water across the wooden floor in the clouded morning of mourning sky looked about to crying.

The sky above Yunmeng perhaps like that as well, but Lan Wangi could care less whether the same man might still harbor the feeling or not. He’s the same man whose hand is full of the blood of children and elderlies and drove sword to his brother’s body and all his attainment without anything left at its mercy, and the same man who taste the most of the tossing of congratulation flowers and the delicious fruit of ‘narrative’ in his favor. Whether he’s the direct force or not doesn’t matter, would and will never be nor in the past nor in present and nor will be in the future. He has no reasons to not despise him after all.

Voices of friction of the last step of feet, bare, cold and bleeding from the interaction with harsh footing throughout, and its tender touch with the ground is heard very thinly through the Gusu. He’s standing in front of rear gate of Cloud Recesses, located right on the remote cold tranquil mountain deprived of lot of liveliness and the atmosphere of the livings, unknown in the deepness of the lonely clouds and locked in its absent hermit. The only sounds accompany him is the chirps of birds and crickets throughout empty forest, and nothingness aside from the cultural solitude of the Lans.

As he’s about to step inside the gate, he hears his brother’s hospitable voice behind.

“Wangji?”

He feels his spine grow cold for a while and only giving a squint glance through icy golden eyes as his recognition of the other’s presence, grips that hold both the father and the child tightened as he alerts closer approachment from the other Jade. It isn’t because he’s having hostility towards him, but the brother that stands behind him is the same man who helped in the killing of man he aware is the only love of his own brother’s life, and the same person who was there during the breaking of the water and cup on the wooden floor of the place that once was their mother’s residence right before her passing, the same place where he unfolded him the lies to kept him in the dark from saving the man he loves.

“He is?”, he asks, soft tone is layering the layer of cautiousness within. His eyes raking everything over him, squinting at the sight of man enveloped by the elegant dripping of bloods indistinguishable above the redness of his own robes. The child on the front doesn’t appear on the corner of his eyes.

“Still breathing.”

He answers in habitual brief.

Lan Xichen can only gazes at him deeply for moments. He closes his eyes for a while, letting out thought flowing to his head and lets out a sigh, full of tiredness and resignation to his brother’s stubborn and hidden dissident nature. The words he lets out in the next is tender but tight, there’s visibility of the demands on the other’s liability and silent hoping that his brother will turns off the decision.

“Wangji, you do aware that, once you keep your grip firm on this decision, there will be no turning back? The man you will save and held in your embrace is the person that can’t be saved no matter how much you want to save him, both from the world around him and himself. He made too much grave mistakes and he himself needs his own redemption. Doing this would be only against his own will. Are you sure you want to continue this just for the sake of your rare blue moon selfish desire? Is it worth it for you to bleed both your feet and your back for the thing that would only danger you?”

The Second Jade stays muted for a while, eyebrows slightly up at the question that addressed, nerves slowly been boiling by the topic he deemed. He finally turns all his body around for his brother to see, and Lan Xichen widens his orbs at the sight of the sickly child in his younger brother’s carry.

“Brother, tell me, who were deciding the kind of redemption he must receive? It’s himself, or it’s the world who set it in the stone?”

Lan Xichen doesn’t answer.

Seeing the silence, Lan Wangji continue his words, this time his tone is seasoned in firmness and rigor, golden eyes displays the iciness of the stare that feels as if it would frozen the entire silent forest decorated by blossoming magnolia trees of early spring of March.

“I ever said this, that no matter what consequences I would face, I was willing to bear the responsibility alongside him? I don’t, and never intend to break its weight, nor in the past, nor in the present, and nor in the future. If saving Wei Ying will be counted as my selfish desire, then be it and I will not make any reasons, but the child I hold is not the one that made the wrongs, and yet, they spare him no mercy simply because of he held the surname he couldn’t control of.”

The oldest jade held his gazes to the golden eyes for seconds, eyes full of doubt and fear before finally surrendering to the strong principles and the insist of his brother. Perhaps, it wouldn’t take a lot to give the kindness even to a man that result in anything but good deeds during his life.

“Very well, we will bring both of them inside.”, his tone softer with the allowance, “Wangji, hand the child to me and be careful with the Young Master Wei on your back.”

And so, they depart silently into the loneliness of Gusu, and the feverish child is held within the warm carry of the older Jade. The younger Jade is following closely behind, each step taken are full of carelessness and tender caress as if it’s afraid to break the fragileness of the person in the embrace, eyes tightly shut and crying blood with fading breath and pulse within his body asking for his mercy that’s death itself, the figure of his carrier slowly deeper and deeper to the darker spots of night. As it dissipates under the darkness, it would be the last time for his definite prosperity to be undissolved under the sinister nature of the world.

In the past, Lan Wangji’s future end path was filled with a definite bright ray of light and the admire of Juniors that’s set in the stone. He would cling firmly to the rules and its bound, tasting the freeness of the thirty-three whips and punishment and unscratched body of the mourning of love.

In the present, Lan Wangji’s (future) end path is filled with the flickering of light and dark and the indeterminate admire of Juniors. He would taste the fresh new bleeds of thirty-three whips of his lovesick and the mourning of love, and hiding the most condemned person by the world within the place bound by strict three-thousand rules fluttering its purity and lack of worldly affairs.

Chapter Text

They brought him and the Wen child right into the quietness of the Jingshi, as the child is placed in separated room across him, tossing through high fever with several disciples attempt to suppress it to stability. 

It was done wordlessly and for the most part, so subtly almost like quietly, just like of what the room is supposed to be, yet, the blurry next scenes after are becoming the very antithesis of Gusu’s Silent Room itself, filled with panicked voices of disciples and medics running in and out for the supplies of medicine and equipment needed.

Lan Xichen had called several medics and a proficient Daifu for the treatment. The latter hasn’t yet arrived to revive the man who had been killed back to life.

He had been left dying alone in the coldness and darkness of Burial Mound, deemed worthy for all the crimes he had been committed during his life. The situation has been the emergency, both for Wei Wuxian’s critical condition itself and the risk that GusuLan’s name must face if the world find out their crime of revivifying of the man deemed and killed by the world, concurrently defying the rules they set itself and defying the world’s decision, and soon will be judged both for the decision they took and the visible hypocrisy. All of these risks and yet, his brother willing to even smear the name of whole sect merely because of love.

The blood of fathers never stopped flowing into their offspring, after all.

He glances at his brother sitting on the bedside of the person that once was the warmth and the bright of Lan Wangji’s life, now become the dark of his life, and he sees the overlapping reflection of his father’s face in his brother’s.

In the dim light of Jingshi’s inner room, Lan Wangji keeps pouring his spiritual energy to the feeble man, lay upon the bed that once was his mother’s and dying just like his mother once was. His gaze keeps fixated to the only man he loves, color of his face faded and lips cracked from dryness of loneliness in the merciless Burial Mound, studying his face thoroughly as if he’s afraid that the face will be disappear right from his eyes, and that he will never see the face again, never to remember the face again.

Lan Wangji never saw his mother’s face in her death.

It was such a long time ago, blurry under the bury of years ago, and the coldness of the snow under his knee still feels so vivid and clear.

It was near the autumn and the beginning of the winter at that time, and his mother was alone in the coldness of Jingshi when she needed help the most. Nobody was there to attended her nor accompanied her. She died alone in the middle of blazing winter and the coldness that froze her thin bones to the core, and they said it was worthy of the sins she had committed. And the last image that he saw from his mother was her gestures when she taught him, and then he never saw his mother’s forlorn face again.

The lifelessness of his mother’s face that he never saw now shewing its depict in Wei Wuxian’s lifeless face, now a mere frail shadow of the personifications he were once in Lan Wangji’s distant memory, bright and warmth, free-spirit and lively, a beloved of many people and once had promising future. And now he’s the personification of something else, dark and cold, distant and unreachable, trapped and unwilling to open, the outcasted, the feared and the hated of many people that once loved and admired him, and the embodiment of everything he never was before, the serenity and the loner just like his mother.

Lan Wangji wasn’t there during the death of his mother. He never has the chance to hold her hand, nor holding her hand. He wasn’t there to accompanied her to her eternal sleep, nor even sparking the joy of life so that she would have more will to live on. He wasn’t there to ensuring her that she wouldn’t be alone, or dying alone in her life.

And the outstretched hand was left alone, rained by the coldness of swiftly snow.

The same hand is now in the warmth of burning candle inside the room, holding the hand of his beloved and giving the cold hands he holds the heat its needed. It’s now the end of Winter’s coldness and the beginning of the warmth of the Springs, the seasons of beginning of new life, the seasons when it will bloom and there will be no loneliness like the Winter. Lan Wangji holds Wei Wuxian’s hand tightly with warmth, never once let go or stop giving him the spiritual energy for his life to hang on until the proper help arrive, ensuring to the eternity that Wei Wuxian will never be alone again, even if he suffer the same fate in the end, even if the chances are nothing but uncertainty.

Lan Wangji will never leave Wei Wuxian suffering alone again in this world that condemn him unjustly.

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And the hollowness of the once was the home of Golden Core finally reaches his fingers through the frail wrist.

Chapter Text

Lan Wangji stares at the hollowness that once become the home of cultivator’s pride, then at the sunken carving of Wei Wuxian’s left eye filled with red liquid drops seconds by seconds sinning the pure white sheet and peaceful wooden floor into the color of crimson. His grip tightens on his black rope, pulling the inch of its silk into the twisting of the grief and rage directed to the world and himself, and heavy puffs starts to issued frequent from every of his breath and mouth.

Trembling, his hand reaches Wei Wuxian’s pale bloody cheeks as it carries the inheritance of the dying liquid within it. The slow raining of the red liquid in his back hurries into the heavy one as the hyperventilation starts to take its toll on him.

Then he feels his body slowly swaying into the state of pandemonium before the gentle palms of his brother caught him, and he stares at the worried brown gazes of his brother.

“Wangji, please go back to your bed. I will call the healers for you.”

He only lets out several headshakes in the response, the grip stays straining the thin robes that doesn’t covered Wei Wuxian enough from the coldness of the end of Winter Season, piercing into his weak bones and body that almost bloodless from the amount of blood loss, puddles in the floor and the ground and Second Lan’s bloodstained robes. Wei Wuxian’s black robes itself conceal the color of his crimson water.

Lan Xichen stares deeply at his brother and lets out a heavy sigh afterwards. Closing his eyes, he opens it afterwards, this time in more determination and filled with will.

“Wangji, you still need to heal. Your scars are opening again and still bleeding, we need to take care of yours too. If you don’t want to be healed, how can you take care or protect young master Wei later?”

The younger Lan gazes at his brother’s brown orbs, taken aback for seconds, searching for its honesty and the need of assurance. The First Jade recognizes the hesitance and hidden distrust of his brother and the next tone is delivered in firmer tone asking for the greater trust, attempt to loosening the guard of skepticism away from his brother.

“We will take care of young master Wei for you. I definitely assure you that he will not die, and we’re not going to let him die especially this night.”

Lan Wangji’s eyes on his brother’s for moments, and then switch back and forth with it and the sight of cold, lifeless Wei Wuxian on the bed. The approaching healers starts to cut the clothes of his outer revealing the inner within, soon to display the clear view of his ruined body.

Wei Wuxian is propped in the soft pillow when layers of the layers of his clothes is picked on, the red in the inner robes can’t be differentiated between the natural color and the spill of red inks, and his frame is left as merely skeleton coated by a layer of skin, very thin to reveal the hungry carving of the bones, deprived from proper nutrition and life and his golden core. The dying man stay stills and lifeless, accompanied by his own very weak irregular shortness of breath that seems about evaporate to the empty vacuum soon, burning up from high fever and shivering in his deathly pallor and dark bags clinging under his death eyes. Bloods still spurned from his mouth filled with the iron taste of blood,

Lan Wangji then looks at his brother eyes. Still hesitate, he response in rather slight whisper, “I understand your concern brother, but I can’t leave Wei Ying’s side until I assure that he stables enough to be far away from the door of death. I will deal with my wounds later, not until Wei Ying is safe.”

“Wangji…:”

“Brother.”, his tone cut the unfinished dispute of his brother before it got longer, “There’s something about Wei Ying’s condition that you, or the world need to know of.”

Lan Xichen’s expression went into puzzle and his stares exude the disoriented and the slight feeling of curiousness.

“It’s about his choice on—"

“What’s going on in here?!!”

Chapter Text

Golden eyes turning its chilling icy gazes to the familiar voice of the embodiment of rigidness of the sect.

“Uncle.”, his tone answers nonchalantly, alertness increases silently to the fullest.

Lan Qiren barges in hurried his presence into the room, forehead and brow frowns hard at the sight of hustle and bustle in supposedly quiet and calming lonely space for the meditation and self-reflection. He sees the stopping of clumsy healer disciples and the still-exhibition of both of his nephews, standing only a meter from him with rare synchronized guarding and icy expressions painted on their faces. Both of them then bows out of respect, but doing so with such visible heavy tension, and then his brows frown harder and harder forming the great expression of dissatisfaction and disapproval as the sight behind greeting him closer.

That hall is supposedly place for the tranquility of the pure, for the reserved rest of Lan Clan’s members, all peaceful and lacking the feet touch of the earth. The person resting on the bed is never a member, nor the person deserved to have such a peaceful place for healing. He’s the chaos and the desecration, the enemy of cultivation world who deserve an agitated rest in the end for the destruction and restless he caused for the world.

Just as he’s about to open the thousands of lectures, it’s cut off by the mark of arrival of the waited Daifu, voice echoes within the tighten room.

“Zewu-Jun!”

The voice comes in running closer and a woman in her thirty dressed in white and bringing the needed medical bags approaching closer to where they stands, positioning herself right beside Lan Qiren, before bowing her head few times repeatedly to the three Lans of highest reputations, her hands are forming a salute of respect and formality.

“Here to duty my presence.”

She said in a firm tone as she turns to face the eldest Lan in the next, and then she bows her head again, “Uncle Lan.”

Smile was formed in her face before Xiao-Daifu hurries her body closer to her assigned patient, passing the three Lans and open the medical tools needed from the bag.

Lan Qiren’s face grow colds.

“You!!—”

The Daifu’s movement stops.

“Stops right there! Don’t try to heal him!”, the tone is released in anger and condemnation.

Lan Wangji’s expression goes icier and rage fills behind the tension silence, the long sentiment held finally being undone in the unties of silent wrath threads busted one by one and slowly. Xiao-Daifu stays in silence, holding her tools and standing there as she and the First Jade watches, her in bewilderment and him in heartaches as the suffocating tensions unfolds and unfolds.

“Uncle—”

The rage of golden eyes meets the raging brown one and its pierces each other in equally amount of resentments.

“Wangji, do you realize what you’ve done?”

The Second Jade stills and not replying.

“Is it worth if for you to sacrifice the bloods in your back and your own sect just for the sake of this failure, the person who can’t even appreciate your effort?! Look at yourself, just how much you want to be more alike like your father?! You really want to against the whole world and your own family, just because you’re drunk in love for the man who had taken so many lives and happiness!! And not even sparing his own family!! Is this the kind of person you think worth for the world to turn against us and for your back to be whipped like this?! Think again Lan Wangji!”

The Elder Lan demands, tone filled with anger and the warning to the younger Lan who still says in his muteness, gathering his thoughts behind the zipped mouth.

“Wangji, do you really think that this man still can still be saved? From all the great sins he committed?”, the next words wave in the still armor-piercing way, this time on the very core of the inquiry.

Lan Wangji deepen his golden gazes at the piercing eyes of his uncle, determination fills the window more as he’s about to unties the yarn of reasonings for the mercy to the dying unconscious man in the bed, hated by so many people yet given only little peck of love.

“Wei Ying has his own reasons.”, his tone firmer and deepen, the sense of pressure is both on expression and voice, steadily very ready to unfolds and reveals the hidden truth in the hope of it can change things even if it’s merely a little bit.

“Any reasons he had can’t pay for what he had done.”, insist the elder Lan.

“It can’t pay but it can help shedding the light on the choices and actions that he did in the past.”, he disputes, his belief is clear and firm within his own, “That there’s misunderstanding on his part that be condemned by people, that they’re thinking immediately at the worst about him.”

Lan Qiren stays silent at the argument thrown, expression neither agreeing but can’t denying either. The words spoken held weight of the truth, denied by almost the entire people in the word out of saving self and hypocrisy. There’re people who would and will be one of them, and there’re people who don’t, and it’s either one of two categories he falls into.

Younger Jade of Lan deemed him as the afore.

“Wei Ying doesn’t have his golden core.”

The statement caught the room by surprise, air tensioned as Lan Xichen’s orbs widened and the immovability and heavy silence of the still-standing Daifu and other healers in the place. It feels as if they’re trapped in a vacuum, unknown to time and space. Lan Qiren’s expression was in surprise for a while, following the silent surprised suit of others before going back narrowing his eyes in skeptic.

“Soo what if he doesn’t have golden core? That still can’t excuse not erase the fact that he murdered three thousand people in a cold-blood. Many cultivators lose their golden core too but none leaving greater destruction than him. You can’t use that for the excuse, Lan Wangji.”

Lan Wangji’s eyes lit more the fiery within.

“Uncle, I don’t excuse his actions. The thing that I ask is for him to be given the second chance, because everything that he had done before, he didn’t intend for it to be like that in the first place. He has his valid reasons on why he ended up choosing demonic cultivation, and why he ultimately chosen to turn against the world. He may practice unorthodox methods of the dark arts, but he’s not by any means unscrupulous in his purpose.”

Lan Qiren remains quiet in the next, trying to digest all the words and information that only piercing and adding his headache. When he blinks several times, the firm and assured expression of his nephew is still emblazoned right in the front, and never change for minutes, stares are still prim and demanding and lets out a loud sigh of jaded and weariness.

“You really call this despicable demonic path as mere ‘unorthodox methods’, just how far are you going to underrating his actions? Just how far are you going to fall in love with the man that’s too far gone to be saved?”

“Uncle, I’m by any means ---”

“Enough Lan Wangji.”, he instructs with fingers, the tone of voice is in neutral and his back turns around, slowly going further and further from the room. The slides sound of the opened and closed doors is almost not heard throughout the small room, the noise becoming glitches and blurry in ears. The twin jades can only watch as his silhouette going far and afar away and as he leaves in the boundary of neutrality and disapproval, and a Daifu that stands stunned, gazing at the pale face and the shortness of breath belong to the man condemned by the world as their enemy and being handed to the death.

Chapter Text

The Second Jade watches as the silhouette of his uncle fade away in the dark and turns to a man merely a shadow shell of his former self, the sun he used to be. In the reflection of the gold, he sank in the darkness of the cave and the red, soaked in his own blood and the world, crawling for something and unconsciously craving for someone that not yet hating him still, and the last words within the lit gold burning of cave still carved deeply in the Jade’s mind. He closes his eyes in heaviness, and in the next finding himself observing the pale lifeless face of once the liveliest of them on the bedside in the midst of dim candles and spirits, sending a spiritual energy to his forehead while the older Jade only stay stands in prim pose beside, still greatly stunned at the revelation and drowning in his own pensive, gaze in contemplation and mouth muting.

On other hand, the Daifu standing near is still in her spot, not a tiny bit of moving. Between the flickers of light and the dark, Lan Wangji sees the mixed but unidentified expression within her eyes, a tangle of conflicts of its own, before it finally strengthening its determination to toss aside the other. The Second Lan can only stare in cryptic of many unwanted feelings that hurried like the splash of cold wave. She then sits on the bedside and grabs the metal trim, tearing the last crimson robes that wraps and conceals him from the winter wind and his own continual blood-flowing stabs wounds. The presence of the Jade’s hand nearby compounds the next movement.

“Hanguang-Jun, can you please step aside?”

Can you leave him from your side?

The intended person only still in his iciness, grip shielding the thin bone hand for the undelivered assurance and protection.

Zewu-Jun tenses, senses finally return to the grasp of reality.

“I need to examines all the external and internal injuries that he possessed. From his extreme pallor, I afraid that it’s more than what we meet on eye. Aside from his stabbed left eye, seven stabs injuries on his chest and stomach, and the burning wounds in his hands, and then there’s the severe malnourishment and the possible other internal problem as well. His condition seems very critical and needs emergency surgery soon. All I need is other healers and medics, no others needed.”

“Wangji.” the voice that previously silent starts to raise its voice.

The Second Lan only shakes his head in declination, “I will never leave him.” his answers are brief but clear and firm.

Not until out of the danger enough.

The surface danger at least as of now, as the other will alight soon and he will be just facing another the face of another death.

The persuasion doesn’t loosen its bind.

“We swear to you that we will do everything in my power to save him. And I affirm my promise, and my promises are to be bound. The child is still in fever, and your body still needs medical attention. Doing this will not help Young Master Wei at all, it will only hurt yourself.”

Second Jade begin to stir as the awareness slowly sinks inside his eyes.

A-Yuan.

“Please do this in favor of Young Master Wei himself, he will not like it if he wakes up and see the child that he almost gave his life to protect for still in this state, nor he will like seeing you like this.”

They finally see his hand finally pulls itself from his, however trembling in the process. They watch as he takes a bit of steps backward and make a standing near them, eyes fixating on the pale face of his beloved for the rest of the ticking clocks of unending time before he makes his formal degree bows and resigning, feet are about to go further from the place.

“Brother, Daifu, I will go checking A-Yuan on the other side, I’ll leave first.” He said as his shadow furthering away from the room and sank into the moonless night behind the door that closed gently with the dripping trail from the back still has its splatter in the wooden ground.

As the silhouette fade away completely, Xiao-Daifu instructs using her fingers to the healers and disciples nearby, unspoken communication presences between persons of the room, and looks at the things she should heal and assigned to be. Placing her hand on his chest, she tracks every unseen roots and branches, hiding behind the skin that’s too dry like a parchment.

“How is his condition?” she hears the First Jade asks, quite blurry inside her ears.

Deadly poisons from four teared and shattered lung tissues and ribs that lingers, the affected burning windpipe and of stomachs that slowly whither, the lacerated pancreas and the ripped small purple spleen perching beside it, the torn skins layers and bowels with heat and blood fund draining from it, detaching the owner away and more away from life, the continual flowing of the red from now a hollow place of a left eye, infected and soaking in its own crimson, and finally the peculiar severe damages on lungs and kidneys membranes that already spread its fatality to the fluids of their, suspected from the abnormal white blood cells that attacks and kills.

“His condition is very critical. It is not just the stab wounds nor his eye’s injury, but he also suffers from the malnutrition, fatal poisoning from the blade he took, has so many other hidden injuries that didn’t even heal properly, and from what I tracks on my sense, there’s this severe, life- threatening illness that he harbors for quite long time, it seems that not once it’s tried to being treated.”, the statement comes as her tongue slumps on heaviness, eyes still fixated on the dying man.

Heavy suffocating air falls into the room, and for seconds that seems lasts as if it’s long hours, silence is the only thing occupied the minds of every persons.

“I’m afraid that he might be not breathing by tomorrow” are the first words she says after a while, apologetic.

Chapter Text

Xiao-Daifu glances at the hollowness that once was a golden pride.

It blemishes, tissues trimmed and lacerated to the certain degree of destroyed red organ that almost decomposed to the fullest, already propagating to kidney and the lungs that triggering certain cells to made ruckuses in lungs’s tissues and inhibits the blood vessel connected to hearts. The red branches around it only forming a black hole of vacuum that with no ending with tendons far below it that become its floor post its painful extraction, decorated by nothing but the same nothingness that destroyed Yiling Patriarch’s internal body right now, and the same nothingness that cause the hell he unleashed on the night of the last day of a brother.

It was a sharp knife that hard to heal. 

She shakes her head, getting rid of waves of personal sentiments.

‘Be professional’ she remains herself of the oath, ‘Your only duty here is to heal.’

Her eyes then look deep at the nothingness in his left eyes and the crimson that starts to dry in it, severed nerves and tendons can be seen quite clearly from her distance, “Help me cleaning the blood in his eye please.”, she instructs other healers as several of them hurries away to her side, bringing the needed equipment such as towel, bandage, scalpel, and several herbal and others concoctions.

She takes the scalpel and opening his chest and stomach.

The first sight that greets her is the blood that fills his lungs, and the pieces of shattered ribs that piercing the pleura of lungs and other nearest organs including the spleen. There’re group of white blood cells, residing in the blood-filled lungs and within the kidney that slowly rotten away from infections. Red blood cells that comes from the kidney are quite little and mostly torn, failures of its product. Layers of skins that pierced, four on chest and three on stomachs are festering in quite fast rate and many bloods’s coats making their homes in the center of lungs and nearing the heart’s vessel.

And Yiling Patriarch’s mouth still being the vessel of the crimson liquid that continue to pouring.

As she’s about to take the sharp pieces of the ribs, her patient’s swift blood flowing then speeding and he starts to take violent inhales of his own, breath spasms and mouth spurting red and more of red that defiling the white mattress and her white robes.  

Oh god’…her black orbs widen in slightly panic on the sight of the breath failure.

There’s no golden core, which means no spiritual healing can help him, and she has to do it using practical way that has more risks and higher failure rate, but even the lungs hindered her quite a lot.  

“Wangji will be –(………)- if he doesn’t survive.”, echoes the blurry words of First Jade as his silhouette furthering itself away from the room to go after his brother to help and gave them enough airs and rooms for working and fixing the person wanted dead by world.

She can only let out a loud sigh in the room that slowly filled with the scent of the blood.

 


 

“How is he?” asks the Second Jade, wistful golden eyes staring deeply at the sleeping child on the bed, hands tenderly caressing last sun in his deep sleep taken down by the cultivation world as its darkness and hypocrisy.

“The fever is high but nothing too dangerous and we’ve already got it stabilized. Also, he will likely wake up by tomorrow.”, answered the head disciple in firm assurancing the Jade.

The room that baths in the light of fire only filled by silence and little numbers of people that have little communication skill, and atmosphere in the room feels like the breeze of cold winter similar to the freezing winter on the outside in the place that’s supposedly to be warm from the heat of the golden lighting displayed on the edges of wall’s rooms.

The red on Lan Wangji’s back is still raining, and the disciple’s gazes falls on the small crimson puddle on the floor.

“Hanguang-Jun…”, he trails off, eyes still facing deep to the golden eyes of the Jade, “…are you sure that you don’t want your back to get treated?”

Lan Wangji still silent, hands still stroking the hair quietly and softly as if it’s afraid to break its fragility.  

It’s enough answer for the disciple.

The child he held is still young, barely five years old and already losing his family from the greediness and the unjustified hate from the world that he never entered nor participated. Gone are the people that taking care of him during the moments of darkness, gone are the people that protected him from the cruel environments that they were living. What remains are only the flute he loves to doted on, and the Xian-gege that he adores.

His grip of the blanket tightens.

“Excuse us first.”, the disciples bow in polite farewell, each leaving the room until nothing of the sight of them can be seen within the room.

For the period, there’re only sound of the blood drippings, the hard and soft breathings are the only thing that can be heard from the lonely room, the golden orbs that only filled with sorrowfulness and never stir nor moving from its spot that continuously holding the child hand, and the Jade’s silent prayer to the child and the dying man on the other side of walls that he loves deeply from his heart.

 

Chapter Text

The first Jade stands in his prim pose and gazing in contemplation as the shadow of the most hated man in the world shines in the moonless night and thorough the pristine white layer clothing the desecrate of his existence, mouth spurting a bit of red that beautifying his own frame and with every bit more of the heat of life drops, the more the sullying of the pristine especially of his brother.

“He isn’t completely stable yet.”, the Daifu informs as she wipes the uninvited crimson on the corner of Yiling Patriarch’s lips, “There’s still much others needed to be done, but I can definitely assure that he’s for now at least isn’t on the edge of death door anymore. I already injected him some nutrition to neutralize the effect of the malnutrition he suffered from the lifestyle he lived with and treating his eye’s infection. We haven’t managed to restore the full function of his lungs and kidney too, but we’re doing our best right now, the chance is fourty-five percent. Then there’s the illness regarding his autoimmune system that has too much risk to go wild and fatal, we’ve yet to find the appropriate treatment for that one. Currently we’re out from the supplies of the donor so we can’t help regarding his eye much except from distancing itself from the potential degeneration in the future and unsterile environment. He also should stay in this room for sterile recovery.”

Lan Xichen nods in solemn, “I understand.”.

Brown eyes then glances in melancholy at the man who once had the bright future ahead of him before one void within his chest was enough to devoured him into the path of self-destruction with no return.

The harbored breathing of Wei Wuxian isn’t as severe as the one he had when Sect Leader Jiang drive Sandu deep and down into his stomach, nor when Sect Leader Nie tore the tissues in his lungs. The red eyes of demon gazing in a vague expression in return as he’s being trapped in a cage of pitfall of foolishness and the obsession, the desperation of dying, and the feels of his own icy blade touched with the burning skin of the only man his brother ever loves still fresh in his sensation and his skin.

Ah…Wangji…

“How is Second Master Lan?”, the Daifu asks in the tone of genuineness.

The First Jade’s mind can only think of the man that had been found unconscious in the bedside, hands still gripping the child’s hands tightly as if it’s afraid that it would lose from his embrace and then the trace of rare tears in the white robes of his brother. The man being mentioned is currently has fallen from his tree of consciousness, lying on the bed behind the wooden wall of separation and defeated by the extreme exhaustion, a little bit of the loss of blood and a heartbreak but alive and hope still ahead in his mind.

“He’s fine.”

 


 

Sandu Shengshou sits on a bed that once where his sister lay in with a crying baby that misses the former warmth of his mother’s skin, nowadays cold with the touch of uncomfortable dry ice and detached from the world as her remaining essence locked in a very dark and cruel room, unalive for over past three months because of the circumstances beyond her control and of cold hand of a brother killer that took everything and everyone away from him.

The child that cradled in his embrace is weeping, begging for a father and a mother that are cold no longer in this world, a black hole lodged right in their chest by the merciless pierce of claw (of a dog) and of the blade, dead because of by the hands of the man they trust, the man they regard as family and the man his kindest sister always has her unwavering faith even when the same man ended her and her family’s smile of happiness.

Not even thousand debts and deaths are of enough.

That man (your brother) is responsible for the loss of the dearest, the deaths of thousands, and the ending of a promising young family, once had a bright future now drop dead in the detached cold room separated from each other. The cold gone of the families waiting for their father to come back, the faith of the dearest swayed by the wind, the killings of father and mother, the murderer of happiness.  

Him bleeding in that dark cold cave of death, surrounded by hollow bodies of his newest dearest was that too much of a mercy.

He should be death, skinned alive by his own hand and those whom that man wronged to.

He should be burned alive, by his own hands that destroyed that cursed thing and set the whole explosion that eaten his subordinates alive.

He should be annihilated completely, torn apart by his own creation until nothing, nothing of his bones nor his blood has the trace nor their fritter of life.

Why Jiang Cheng?! Why fucking why?!!

The images of the trembling of his own hands, the crimson staining on his Sandu and on his own hands, the muted words of Wei Wuxian that sinking in the middle of the fiery blaze, the waves of corpses swarming and drowning them, and the faded images of Wei Wuxian cradling a child, no— a Wen in the middle of the ground of battlefield.

You already took the step that led him to his deserved death!!

Jiang Cheng laughs, not to anything nor anyone else but himself. In the lonely room that only filled with the desperate crying of his sister’s son, the laughter of nothing but the ridicule of man that now only have nothing echoes loudly through the walls of gold.

Why did it half and half?!

The laughing can only continue louder and louder as he sees the image of himself frozen and then the unmoving of a body that he’s supposed to has full control of as the silhouette of Wei Wuxian drifted away, far and afar from the Jiang and himself.

‘Oh, the irony!!!’, his mouth taste bitters, ‘Even his body also betrayed him!!’

He stops the laughter, gathering several of his senses that stop ringing as the insanity about to devoured him to the whole.

He’s killing of your father, your mother, your sect, and now your sister, why are you letting him off?!

He gritted his teeth.

You let the man who killed all of your family (…….)!!! Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?!!

Jin Ling’s grip is tight and pitiful, cries echoes throughout the walls made of hollow wealth and hollow people, care only nothing but the superficial of the world.

Jiang Cheng only could care less of it.  

“Sect Leader Jiang.”

He hears the polite knocks behind the door.

“Enter.”

Sect Leader Jiang shifts his gaze only to find the one visits him is that lovechild of Jin Guangshan and the famous whore, wearing the gold color with the peony flower as the form of superficial recognition from the Jins and wearing a sly smile like a fox painted on his face as he speaks.

“My father plan to held a celebration for the success of our mission and he already sent several of our disciples to invite other sects that’s also participated. Since you’re our leader in this siege, he personally asks you to be the host in this party. Are you willing, Sect Leader Jiang?”