Chapter 1: Departure
The morning was colder than usual, maybe it was Lan WangJi's heart that was being reflected. He put his brush down like was doing for countless times previously and crumpled the paper, he has made a mistake again. Sighing he got out of the library, his mood was not only gloomy but prickly as well.
Today Wei WuXian leaves.
It's been a year since he came here, a year since their engagement, the year when Lan WangJi has been the happiest. As he walked outside he felt his pheromones getting out of control causing people around him to flinch, he quickly walked towards the garden where he put his rabbits.
The morning classes were just over, the farewell arrangements of the guest disciples were just about done. After the final announcement of results, they will leave. Lan WangJi huffed, but his annoyance melted away as soon as the figure lying on the grass. Wei WuXian was sleeping peacefully under the Mongolia tree, the leaves created a veil stopping the sunlight to reach his eyelids but highlighted his lips, his neck, the edge of his robe and his fingertips. Lan WangJi sighed, his chest felt tight. Today was the last day he will see him like this, in his house relaxed content like this. The alpha sat down and Wei WuXian's nose twitched, his eyelids fluttered and he smiled when he saw Lan WangJi, "Lan Zhan!" His voice was raspy. Then titled his head, "Why are you so distressed?" His betrothed asked. Lan WangJi's ears burned, this was stupid. Getting all bothered because Wei WuXian will leave, they are engaged already to be married. It's not like Wei WuXian will never return, Sect Leader Jiang said they both will visit Lotus Pier and Cloud recesses in every occasion as they did in last new year but Lan WangJi's heart was still wrenching whenever he thought about not seeing Wei WuXian every day, like this.
"Lan Zhan, Lan Zhan please don't feel sad" Wei WuXian gripped his hand, he was sitting up, "We will visit each other and exchange letters I promise!" Wei WuXian swore holding up three fingers. "But if you make that face I won't be able to leave with ease." Wei WuXian's eyes were full of sorrow. Lan WangJi nodded, Wei WuXian flashed a smile that made his heart stutter and circled his arms around Lan WangJi's middle. They cuddled till Jiang WanYin called Wei WuXian back to pack his things.
"Let me help" Lan XiChen looked up. Jiang WanYin was standing with his hand outstretched, for a second Lan XiChen was confused before the other alpha titled his head towards the heavy boxes of food and sweets he was about to pick up. "No no it is alright Young Master Jiang." Lan XiChen smiled, "It is not heavy at all." Jiang WanYin frowned, "This is a mountain of boxes how come?" Lan XiChen grimaced, now how he was supposed to explain about the headstands he and his brother did as punishment. Jiang WanYin, however, didn't look convinced he still look the boxes and winced, "Older Lan this is really heavy, why were you lying? Isn't it forbidden?" Jiang WanYin's words look him off guard for some reason. "Ah actually to me it is not heavy at all" He picked up twice of Jiang WanYin's boxes and the other man gaped, "Wow Gusu Lan sect sure feed their heirs some tonic or something." He murmured.
They walked in silence till Lan XiChen opened his mouth, "WangJi was sulking all day" He said, Jiang WanYin scoffed, "My brother isn't any better, he cannot show it because he has an image to keep but as soon as we will reach lotus pier he will be back causing mischief." Lan XiChen's eyes widened, "Young Master Wei causing mischief?" His voice was laced with surprised, Jiang WanYin rolled his eyes, "He isn't a pretty and docile omega like he makes everyone think he is." Lan XiChen shook his head, "Well I am aware he is not he is really admirable but you said he is mischievous that is hard to imagine." Jiang WanYin was now giving a huge grin, " Well you can come to lotus pier unannounced one day and see by yourself." Lan XiChen laughed, "Then it's a deal." Jiang WanYin nodded, "Deal".
The Jiang sect arrived after Nie sect bid their goodbyes, Nie Mingjue relatively satisfied with Nie Huaisang's results but whacked a slap behind his brother's head when he heard Wei WuXian was among top three. "Learn a thing or two something from him." He had said, Jiang Cheng had laughed his ass off silently but Wei WuXian just smiled uneasily and bowed back. Lan Qiren was very very satisfied with his progress, per se. He ranked second, right after Lan WangJi, something that was expected from GusuLan's future bride. Even though he broke some rules, the old man ignored everything and boasted to his uncle that how much of a capable -not only cultivator- but an omega he was. Wei WuXian could see pride blooming in his uncle's eyes, "Jiang WanYin is right after his older brother." Wei WuXian grabbed his brother's hand from beside him. His brother has ranked third right after him and he feared that this might open new anxiety in his brother's heart. Jiang Cheng just gave him a squeeze, "Even though they master in different skill and it will be such an unfair comparison, I must say from what Lan XiChen's report has described Jiang WanYin has full potential and it is showing now." At the end Sect Leader, Jiang Fengmian left with his heart swelled by the pride of his two son's praise that Wei WuXian feared that he might burst.
After the students have their final meals together, then the farewell, then the two engaged family's meal, it was finally time to depart. There was a lump in his throat whenever he saw Lan WangJi, the alpha was not any better while eating a meal he had desperately gripped his fingers intertwining them together under the table. Even though his face didn't betray anything Wei WuXian knew he was sulking, the picking of food with the chopsticks was the proof. Finally when he retreated in his room to put his luggage outside so that someone will take them Jiang Cheng came in and pulled him again, this time he didn't ask. This time he wasn't needed to be guided, as soon as he saw the man standing right there, repeating the actions from their engagement night, this time with less uncertainty in his eyes, his legs moved on his own.
Arms wrapped around his waist as he pressed his nose in the crook of his neck. The smell of sandalwood, the rapid heartbeat made him sob in despair. Silent tears flowed from his eyes as he scented the man again and again. It's stupid to any rational brain, they were engaged to be married, they were not runaway lovers who were supposed to hide their affection, they can write letters, visit each other, no one will stop them. Yet right now his world was shattering with the mere thought of not seeing Lan WangJi anymore, that he won't see him in class anymore, he won't see him meditate in the garden anymore, he won't see him copying scripts in the library anymore. His heart was clenching. "Wei Ying" Lan WangJi called him, he will miss this voice as well. Lan WangJi tried to put distance enough to look at his face but Wei WuXian refused to let go, "Wei Ying." Lan WangJi tried again, this time Wei WuXian obliged. When they looked at each other's eyes, the sorrow reflected. "Don't cry." Lan WangJi caressed his cheek with his thumb, "Write to me." Wei WuXian said in a tearful voice, Lan WangJi nodded, "A letter every month." He said again, the alpha hummed and gathered his palms in his hands, "Promise to me, Lan Zhan." His voice was close to whining but he didn't care, "Promise." Lan WangJi said as he kissed his palms again.
"Didi" Lan XiChen put his hand over his shoulder. The Jiang Sect had long left, the figures riding on the sword has disappeared from being a dot in the sky. "Let's go." He heard his brother say. He couldn't say it out loud, but the half of his heart has also left today with the dot.
Chapter 2: Estrangement
My immune system is shit this is the second time i am sick in two weeks ㄱ.ㄱ
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Dear Lan Zhan,
How are you? Its been three weeks since your letter has arrived but my useless self couldn't find the right words to write back. When I told that to Shijie she called me an idiot and told me to write whatever I want to talk about, to imagine that you are in front of me. Yet whenever I imagine you in front of me I cannot concentrate on anything but you. You are beautiful Lan Zhan and I will never get tired of reminding you that.
Today I learnt some special dishes of Yunmeng, I made a lot of mistakes but Shijie was patient. Madam Yu said only if I was as gracious as in welding a spoon like I am with a sword.
I really want to cook for you I will cook for you one day if you want to taste my cooking, even though I cannot guarantee the taste. It's really hot here, I kind of miss Gusu and it's cold but maybe I miss you the most. How are the little ones? I am sure you are taking care of them really well.
I have read in several novels where the lover would write many things to their beloved. About the sky, the rain, the birds, but I have no poetic comparison to give but the description of my own daily life. Forgive me if I sound boring. I can make poetry though, I did when I was younger to make a maiden throw flower at me in fluster. But you are different you are not a fair maiden I have to impress, you are my alpha the man I have accepted in my life. I want to see so many things with you experience so many emotions with you, I can only hope that you would feel the same.
I miss you.
Give my regards to uncle and brother.
Dear Wei Ying,
I hope the weather is treating you well, I hope you are not sick and spending your days in happiness. Forgive me for being late, I went to Weitingzhen with my brother to deal with some matters.
Wei Ying, I will eat anything you will give me to eat. After receiving your later I have also started to enter the kitchen, I don't really seek pleasure in eating but after you mentioned, I realised I also want you to taste the Gusu delicacies made by own hands.
I am also not a person of many words and you know that I find writing convenient because I can express myself better. But I can say since you have gone the mornings are not lively anymore, even uncle said the classroom seems too dull when you are not here causing mischief. Also, I have a hunch that brother also misses you and your calming presence. Growing up between the alphas we forgot what is tenderness
even though there was mother who taught us that, I can only hope that we will be together soon, in Gusu or Yunmeng I don't mind either. You can show me your hideout trees again and we can invite Jiang WanYin, Nie Huaisang and brother to eat with us maybe Maiden Jiang and Jin ZiXuan also.
You are the only omega I will ever accept in my life. Even if the day comes when you won't want me anymore, I will only accept you and desire you.
I miss you.
Give my regards to Sect Leader Jiang, Madam Yu, Maiden Jiang and Jiang WanYin.
Young Master Lan,
You might find it very inappropriate I won't blame you if you don't reply but I am writing this to enquire. My brother has become an absolute fool, he would giggle loudly in his room doing god knows what and then cry loudly, when I and my sister would ask he would answer that this was the tears of happiness and show us the letter Lan WangJi has written. I want to ask if it is the same there as well.
In all honesty, I really don't understand. They have courted each other, chose each other but I still don't understand the reason behind the tears the day they departed, it's not like they won't see each other again. I also don't understand the reason behind him trying so earnestly learning pork rib soup with spicy rice from my sister. I understand that a bride should be able to cook for the family but his happiness is bizarre to me. My brother has always defied the stereotypes forced by the society, he can wield a sword better than any alpha disciple in our sect but now he is accepting those very stereotypes and it is making me uncomfortable. If you have been infatuated by someone once in your life I would like to know did you also feel the same? Does everyone who experience infatuation behave the same way?
Give my regards to the elders.
Young Master Jiang,
Forgive me for replying so late. I see the fire is the same at both sides I must say. During the one month from the day Young Master Wei had left WangJi refused to set a foot outside of Jingshi, if my uncle didn't force him to leave with me to attend a matter in Weitingzhen I suppose he would spend eternity in there. Not to mention rushing outside every time the letter delivery came to the door, even the person who delivers would know whom he was waiting for and would smile brightly and hand him his letter. Sometimes I fear that they both cannot bear the estrangement that the boring sect rules bring and elope together.
Oh Young Master Jiang, love itself is a bizarre thing, even though they both don't realise yet. When I say the fire is ablaze in both sides, WangJi is also frequently visiting the kitchen. At first, the head cook almost vomited blood because their precious young master wants to cook for his betrothed but uncle intervened. Young Master Jiang the rules that we call stereotypes were not 'rules' forever, once it was done by love and affection. Society made it "rules" and imposed it thus it became stereotypes. Also who said the one who wields swords cannot wield spoon as gracefully. You will understand one day Jiang WanYin when you also become to adore someone as dearly you will understand.
Give my regards to the elders and love to the youngers.
I would like to talk to you about the current situation I am facing. Last night another set of letters arrived from Gusu with the usual set that Lan Zhan sends me, and it was addressed to Jiang Cheng. At first, I thought he was having an affair with a GusuLan sect's omega cultivator but after exactly 3 hours of pestering him and coaxing him, he confessed he has been exchanging letters with Lan Zhan's older brother Lan XiChen. Now don't get me wrong I have no judgement against anything but seeing Jiang Cheng being about as eager as me for the arrival of letters is very disturbing and amusing at the same time.
Now even though he says that Lan XiChen and he talks about sect matters and the older gives him advice but the letters were thicker than mine and Lan Zhan's and we are engaged to be married. We have been together for a year in Cloud recesses I ask for your opinion because I refuse to see this as a simple companionship if not romantic at least a deep friendship like ours.
Give my regards to older brother Nie.
I got your letter last week but brother dragged me to a night hunt so thus the late reply.
Brother, I am no expert but affection works in a strange way and works differently for everyone. The way it happened with you and WangJi-Xiong might not work for everyone, to say you two were incredibly lucky to be engaged with the people you adore if not love, not everyone has the privilege. I also don't hold any judgement against anything, if something is making someone happy if it's not morally wrong then they should be left alone. I understand your concern but you are thinking very far along, it might not be the case at all and if it is then we will think about it then, no matter what I will support you two.
Give the elders my regards.
Thank you for reading see you next friday!!
Chapter 3: The Archery Competition (I miss you)
I changed my schedule and added another update date because I don't wanna wait!!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"Did you see him?"
"Who? the second Young Master Lan?"
"Yes! He is not wearing a forehead ribbon!!"
"What! Let me see!"
"Whoa! He really is not!"
"So the rumours are true he is engaged!"
"What! But he is the younger to be engaged before the older brother!"
"I heard the omega they both were supposed to be engaged chose second master instead of the first!"
"Really! Who it might be!"
Lan WangJi's eyebrows twitched, he was so tempted to close their mouth only his brother's hand on his shoulders stopped him. "Didi ignore them" Lan XiChen whispered. He really didn't like the way those disciples were talking about his personal life, his and especially Wei Ying's. He felt his stomach bubbling with anticipation when he thought of the omega after he left for Lotus Pier they exchanged many letters, one more inappropriate after another, he felt his ears grow warm when he thought about the contents. Speaking of which, he was supposed to come today right? This year's discussion conference was held in Qishan, as well as an archery competition held by the QishanWen sect. Lan WangJi was not really fond of competitions but he would have endured it better if they wouldn't have forced them in this uniform. He was not used to wearing this bright colour with such tight bindings on his waist, he was about to turn and ask his brother to make it bit comfortable when a very very familiar voice tingled.
"WangJi-Xiong your forehead ribbon is missing!"
There were several gasps around them followed by Lan XiChen's chuckle, Lan WangJi quickly turned around only to have his breath hitched.
During his stay in cloud recesses Wei WuXian was only in his best behaviour, wearing the clothes that were expected of him as a potential bride of the Lan clan, doing what was expected of him but this Wei WuXian was his own person away from any expectations and this was beautiful. Wei WuXian was wearing his hair as a high ponytail with a red ribbon, even though it was braided the way engaged omegas wear, he was wearing trousers, not the long robes, the tight forced uniform was outlining every curve of his slender body. This Wei WuXian didn't have this calculated polite smile on his face, rather a huge smirk with a dangerous teasing glint in his eyes that made his heart thunder in his chest. Lan WangJi then looked at his left hand to see the sleeve was pushed past and attached on his elbow with a pin, revealing the forehead ribbon that he had wrapped at the ceremony, his entire neck felt warm.
"Young Master Wei!" Lan XiChen called merrily, Wei WuXian came towards them with a scowling Jiang WanYin at his tow, "These people are annoying." The heir of Jiang sect commented after they exchanged greetings, "Ah don't mind then Young Master Jiang, people tend to gossip when they get idle." Lan XiChen waved his hand, "I always wondered why the Gusu Lan sect had the particular rule that forbade of gossip but now I get it, I can't wait for them to shut up." Jiang WanYin said sourly. Lan XiChen laughed but nodded nonetheless. As they talked they walked further to give them some privacy, there were many eyes watching them but Lan WangJi glanced at Wei WuXian, who was already looking at him unabashedly. "How are you?" He asked and mentally slapped himself, what kind of question? As if the last letter he sent was not the most inappropriate content he has ever written, he sucked in a breath when he heard Wei WuXian laugh, the belt was very very tight and it was not helping at all.
"I am very very fine WangJi-Xiong" Wei WuXian replied, then took a step forward, leaning in his personal space, like how he had done thousand times before in the cloud recesses, "Even though, you know it very very well hm? Lan Zhan?" Considering how the crowd stopped talking and the way Jiang WanYin spluttered, everyone with an average cultivation could hear them, he didn't care, not when Wei Ying was looking absolutely stunning, free, unrestrained like a bird of beautiful colours that were splashing on his white colourless self, not when his beautiful spice and lotus scent was caging him, soothing him, not when his bright laughter was ringing in his ears.
Wei WuXian then looked at his belt that he was unconsciously fidgeting with, "Are you okay? Is this uncomfortable?" And grabbed his fingers carefully, the crowd watched in horror and amazement at how Wei WuXian untied Lan WangJi's belt and fastened it again, while the notorious Second Young Master Lan that absolutely hated physical contact was standing still and letting the omega do his belt in public. "There you go," Wei WuXian said, then eyed him, there was this teasing smirk again on his face as he reached to his forehead, "Oh your forehead ribbon?" then smiled and turned his voice an octave higher putting emphasis, "How can it be there, it's mine now." With how there were a collective scandalous gasp, Lan XiChen's quiet laughter and Jiang WanYin's exasperated sigh, he was sure nobody will dare to gossip about this anymore. "Enough of your nonsense we have to leave the competition is starting" Jiang WanYin came, at last, to collect his ShiXiong, bowing at Lan WangJi. "See you later!" Wei WuXian chirped, "Mn" He couldn't help but agree.
The competition never interested him, neither the results yet when his name was announced as first and Wei WuXian's name was loudly announced in the fourth place, he found himself smug, because how got to show his talent in front of someone he really wanted to, also because everyone saw how his betrothed was as capable as him. Truth to be told, in the entire competition whenever the omega came in his line of view his breath hitched, the way he gracefully moved his arms, the way he ran full speed to hit the target, the way his brows furrowed in concentration and his face steeled in determination, he absolutely cannot blame the cultivation world to put him as the most desirable omega even though his chest burned when somebody looked at him with less platonic eyes. That includes Wen Chao, as that Wen spawn was ogling Wei WuXian so hard that he missed the target and was disqualified, even after that he couldn't keep his eyes off of him. Wei WuXian was engaged! His hair indicated it! His left hand was covered with a cloud patterned forehead ribbon that was supposed to be around his temple YET that man kept ogling him! As he tried to keep his composure throughout the whole competition but when Wen Chao's last comment reached his ears, his head snapped up as did his fingers.
"Delicious, absolutely splendid!"
It was heard by everyone as Wen Chao commented with glee when Wei WuXian jumped gracefully and shot an arrow. That very moment a crackle was heard and everybody saw Lan WangJi's bow was snapped in half, his face frosty to the point of sending shivers to some's spine. Lan WangJi doesn't remember how he got back to his respective seat but the way every single person around was looking at him, he did cause a scene. His brother looked absolutely pleased though if not more, even though his uncle eyed him but he could tell the old man approved of his reaction.
"WangJi-Xiong" He turned his head to see a young girl in purple was smiling at him, she was probably a Yunmeng Jiang sect disciple, "Please come with me!" Lan WangJi frowned but made no move, she was a beta from the smell, then she passed him a paper and as he took it his eyes widened at Wei Ying's handwriting. The girl gestured him to follow, as they reached into a corner of a relatively darker corner where an ever scowling Jiang WanYin was waiting, they nodded at each other before the sect heir took the girl by her collar and left. Lan WangJi saw the silhouette of a person leaning on a tree. As he got closer his pace increased, he couldn't take it anymore and wrapped his hands around that small waist and shoved his nose in his neck. Wei Ying made a small noise of surprise but embraced him as tightly as he could, Lan WangJi inhaled that lotus and spicy smell that ghosted on his fingers after the omega left cloud recesses, the smell that kept him up after nine when he would read those letters over and over and also lulled him to sleep when he would be having a bad day.
"I missed you" Wei Ying mumbled, voice muffled on his shoulder, "Mn" All he could reply. Wei Ying laughed, oh how he missed it.
"I missed you."
"What aren't you gonna tell me the same?"
"Mn. Miss Wei Ying every day."
Wei Ying spluttered.
"Oh, WangJi-Xiong you have to warn me before saying something like that!"
They embraced each other for who knows how long before Lan WangJi reached up and tugged his hair ribbon. "Lan Zhan?" Wei WuXian questioned, but he didn't reply and tugged until the ponytail loosened, the long hair fell on his back, "More beautiful like this" Lan WangJi nodded to himself. Wei WuXian stared at him before laughing, "Oh Lan Zhan, you are so adorable!" Wei WuXian kissed on the top of his nose and grinned, his ears burned. This was something new. He shoved his nose in his neck, scenting him thoroughly and getting that lotus and spice on him as well, he felt Wei Ying shudder, bare his neck. The daring, teasing omega became so plaint in his arms that it woke something feral in his heart, he quickly put out the flame. When they parted Wei Ying's eyes were misty and he felt oddly satisfied with that.
"We should go greet our family" sometimes later Wei Ying opened his mouth.
"We are going to get caught."
"Lan Zhan, would you feel ashamed?"
"We will take our leave" Jiang Fengmian bowed and Lan WangJi's heart churned. He had schooled his expression enough but his brother didn't miss it as he bumped his shoulders, and whispered: "Cheer up we will visit Yunmeng again!" However, Wei Ying looked disappointed at most. As the two families paid respect towards each other and as they were parting Lan WangJi and Wei WuXian's eyes met.
Miss You too.
see you next friday!!
Chapter 4: Meng Yao
This chapter is short, because I wanted to introduce the character only.
"A-Xian" he heard the knock right after he finished tying up his hair. Now he doesn't need anyone's help, he can tie his own hair. "Yes," he called out then opened the door and blinked. Jin ZiXuan was standing behind Jiang YanLi, his gaze on the floor. "A-Xian he wanted to talk to you in private." Jiang YanLi said, Wei WuXian gulped, Jiang Cheng was away to run errands for Madam Yu so there would be no one to be the chaperone. Jin ZiXuan bowed at Jiang YanLi and entered his room, Wei WuXian didn't move from the entrance. "Relax" His Shijie whispered, then left.
Jin ZiXuan sat there for a solid ten minutes before he started to speak. "I found one of my father's son." For a moment Wei WuXian was lost, he was expecting some kind of confession but absolutely not this. "What?" He could only say. Jin ZiXuan shook his head, "I know it's shameful, I cannot even talk about this to maiden Jiang." He sighed, "I couldn't even talk about it to my mother. Only my trusted subordinate knows about it also I wanted to talk to you about it." Wei WuXian sat in front of him. He never thought Jin ZiXuan would talk to him like that, that he trusted him enough to tell this kind of things. Even though Jin Guangshang's reputation was never hidden the story of him having endless children was even a part of an inside joke not only among the cultivators but among the normal citizens as well. Wei WuXian always had a slight dislike for Jin ZiXuan he also never agreed for the engagement but looking at his Shijie's face they both didn't say anything. Yet now when Jin ZiXuan sitting in front of him looking helpless he couldn't help but sympathise when children make mistakes the adults' job is to correct it, but when a grown-up adult do things that don't suit their age what kind of corrections the children are supposed to do?
"His mother works in a brothel" Jin ZiXuan started to speak, "He is the same day as us also" Jin ZiXuan paused, "He is an omega" He whispered. Wei WuXian's eyes widened at the statement. "Where is he now?" He asked, "Yuping, the brothel is there. I found him on the day of my birthday, father's guard kicked him from the stairs thankfully his scent was hidden or..." He trailed off. Wei WuXian felt a shiver going through his spine. "I bought his mother from the brothel and arranged a house for both of them but..." Wei WuXian perked up, "But?" Jin ZiXuan sighed again, "His mother deluded herself into thinking that one day father will come and take him in, also he has too much pride he refuses to accept any help from me." Wei WuXian snorted, of course, he was an omega who grew up in a brothel everybody looked at him like a piece of meat no wonder he won't take any help. "So what are you thinking now?" Wei WuXian asked, "I don't know." Jin ZiXuan generally sounded lost, "My initial idea was to talk to you and ask you if you would want to meet him or not. Considering you are the first omega that ranked second in the finals, if he talks to you he might find something he wants to focus on. But now I feel like I would be troubling you, you are an engaged omega I shouldn't even talk to you without a chaperone let alone sneak out to a brothel."
"Nonsense" everyone jerked their head to see Jiang YanLi standing at the entrance, "Don't talk nonsense aren't you the son in law of the household? If I don't respond to your request won't the YunmengJiang sect will lose face?" Jiang Cheng was also standing behind her, "Don't worry we heard everything but not a single soul will know." He was scowling but his voice was soft. "Also if you need a chaperone A-Cheng can help!" Jiang YanLi happily commented.
That was how they started their journey to Yuping city with Jiang Cheng and Jiang YanLi there would no controversies among people. As they landed from the sword Wei WuXian saw it was a decent house, nothing special except some disciple of the Lanlingjin sect was guarding the entrance. The disciple bowed as they entered, inside was clean and fresh flowery incense was lit. "Meng Yao?" Jin ZiXuan called. There was the sound of footsteps and a boy no less than their age poked his head out, "Xuan-Ge? I thought you left already?" The boy halted when he saw Wei Wuxian and Jiang YanLi, seeing their clean clothes with neatly braided hair he felt conscious of his clothes albeit being neatly dressed. "I did but to fetch someone to meet you but they wanted to see you as well." Jin ZiXuan smiled at the boy. Meng Yao was pretty, black hair touched his shoulders probably cut for convenience, his doe eyes golden just like Jin ZiXuan and thin lips with a long nose. Being grown up in a brothel he was rough around the edges but there was a bit of innocence in his eyes that the cruelty couldn't put their hands on.
"This is Jiang YanLi eldest daughter of the Jiang sect also my betrothed." He started to introduce although his cheeks burned mentioning that, "Jiang WanYin the heir of Jiang sect and Wei WuXian. Head disciple and adopted son of the Jiang sect also" Jin ZiXuan coughed, "Betrothed of the second jade of Lan." Wei WuXian rolled his eyes, "If you insist Jin ZiXuan then I shall behave like the bride of Gusu." He said dramatically with an accent. Meng Yao giggled, proceed to introduce himself "I am Meng Yao son of Meng Shi." He bowed, "My mother is sleeping I will wake her up." Meng Yao was about to leave but Wei WuXian stopped him, "No need to disturb she must be tired." He insisted.
Meng Yao made them some tea and they sat on the floor of the kitchen. "Meng Yao, what are your plans?" Wei WuXian asked, Meng Yao, looked confused, "Plans?" Wei WuXian shrugged eyeing Jin ZiXuan, "Your mother is safe and will be taken care of you should start doing something for yourself as well." With that Meng Yao pursed his lips, "Mother wanted me to join father." His voice was timid Wei WuXian and Jin ZiXuan exchanged glances. Wei WuXian sighed, "Let me be very blunt with you A-Yao." Wei WuXian said, "You don't have to prove your worth to anyone, not even that poor excuse of a father -excuse me Jin ZiXuan- neither you will have to please anyone just to show how docile and submissive you are just because you are an omega." Wei WuXian's voice steeled with confidence, "I understand it's hard to push through but trust me" He covered the other omega's hand with his, "The only one you have to prove your worth to, is yourself."
"I agree with A-Xian." Jiang YanLi said, "I am not as strong as him or as skilful but I know what I love and I do that. I know people whisper behind our backs that how A-Xian is more of a likeable candidate as an omega than me because he is strong and skilful but the end of the day they are outsiders, not the family. They know nothing about us, we have to prove them nothing!" Meng Yao listened carefully, his eyes were glassy, "We might not be a lot of help but if you need us, send a letter." Jiang Cheng said.
As they came back after evening after having dinner at Meng Yao's house Wei WuXian started writing a letter to Lan WangJi.
Dear Lan Zhan,
I feel like I stopped a big tragedy from happening with just a few words........
Chapter 5: I Will Protect You
and the angst begins.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The news came as abruptly as the rain in Lotus Pier. Madam Yu's hands shook as she went to the kitchen after sending a disciple to collect Jiang Fengmian. The siblings were having fun in the kitchen, the training ended earlier because of rain so Jiang YanLi was teaching Wei WuXian a recipe and Jiang Cheng was just there to stay calm. "A-Cheng, Wei Ying" Madam Yu's voice ceased the laugher immediately. "Mother?" Jiang Cheng was already at her heel, she wordlessly handed the emergency talisman letter that has been sent from Gusu. Jiang Cheng frowned, then his eyes widened and his head snapped up at Wei WuXian. Perhaps his heart already felt it as his arms trembled, Jian YanLi wrapped her arms around her brother, "He is alive right?" Wei WuXian's voice was soft, vulnerable. "A-Cheng!" He yelled, the pot he was holding fell scattering the ingredients, "A-Cheng, tell me I need to know!" And ran towards him and snatched the paper.
Sect Leader, Jiang Fengmian & Madam Yu,
I, the acting sect leader of the Gusu Lan sect is very ashamed to inform you that the Gusu Lan sect has been attacked by the Wen sect last night. Following the burnt of the library pavilion and several of other chambers, also the death of our sect leader and me suffering from several injuries. My older nephew has fled while my youngest nephew has sustained a very serious leg injury. As we cannot provide the necessary healing environment, I request you to receive him from the east of Caiyi town where he will be waiting and let him stay till we recover from this blow. As the maiden home of the future bride of the Gusu Lan sect, we kindly acquire your full alliance. Please take care of my nephew, he and XiChen is the only family I have now.
Wei WuXian sat down with a thump, Jiang YanLi immediately pulled him in her arms. Jiang Cheng sat down on a chair with his head in his hands. "A-Xian its okay." Jiang YanLi soothed, "She is right Wei Ying, he is alright and your uncle has already left so he will be here in the evening." Madam Yu's voice was dripping with guilt, but she didn't go closer since she was alpha and her presence will bother that distressed omega more.
Wei WuXian's stomach churned. Lan WangJi's father was dead, his brother has fled, his uncle is injured, everything is burnt, his home, the home that they both dreamt while his stay in cloud recesses. The Jingshi, the library pavilion that they learned about each other, the disciple quarters where Lan WangJi first gave him his courting gift was gone. The first wail ripped from his throat started everyone in the room, Wei WuXian last cried like that when he woke up after Jiang Fengmian brought him here. Everybody watched in horror as he wailed, clutching the letter in his chest. Jiang YanLi's tears flowed silently.
When Jiang Fengmian arrived with a disciple, it was past evening, Madam Yu was walking back and forth on the deck and Wei WuXian was sitting blankly on the side. Jiang YanLi was inside, the whole afternoon she tried to feed her brother but he refused, staring blankly at the entrance. Jiang Cheng who had gone to the entrance of the Lotus Pier to catch his father arrived with them, Lan WangJi was standing stiffly his elbow gripped tightly by Jiang Cheng, his eyes were unreadable but when he saw Wei Wuxian his eyes widened before turning back to normal. "We couldn't fly with the sun up, they are everywhere." Jiang Fengmian commented as he walked on the deck. Madam Yu bit back the curse she was about to throw and turned to Lan WangJi who bowed. "Welcome, please don't be shy this is your home as much as it Wei Ying's." She was not smiling but her voice was soft, Wei WuXian had come forward as well, his hands curled up by his side. "Wei Ying, A-Cheng take him inside." With that Wei WuXian gripped his hand and the two of them helped Lan WangJi whose face would twitch at every step.
Lan WangJi didn't utter a single word as they were helping him to the guest room. Wei WuXian kept glancing at him, the alpha's breath stuttered when he was lowered in the bed. "I will bring something to wash his wound" Jiang Cheng left mumbling that. When his brother left Wei WuXian wrapped his arms around Lan WangJi's shoulders, "Lan Zhan." He whispered, his voice shook, "Lan Zhan talk to me." The said man was stiff as if he has turned in to a stone statue if not his steady breathing. "Lan Zhan it is okay." Wei WuXian pushed the alpha's nose in the crook of his neck, hoping his scent would calm him down. Jiang Cheng came back with a pot with warm water and some herbs, “Mother told me to give it to you.” Wei WuXian nodded, then set the screen. He took a blade and cut the left leg’s trouser and gasped Jiang Cheng’s gritted his teeth. Lan WangJi’s leg was broken brutally, the inside of his knee was completely blue and black. While the wound was dressed neatly before coming here it was starting to bleed. Wei WuXian didn’t say a word and cleaned the wound then bandaged it with herbs while inhaling every time Lan WangJi’s breath hitched every time the cloth touch the wound. Jiang Cheng then took the pot and left.
When Jiang Cheng came back he glanced at them huddling in the bed, he closed the door soundlessly. They stayed like that till Lan WangJi's breath evened out, Wei WuXian untied his hair, pulled off his boots and stripped him from his outer robe. He stayed beside his bed till Jiang YanLi entered to give them dinner, "Mother said you should eat here as well, Second Young Master Lan needs you." She eyed Lan WangJi's sleeping form sadly, "Going through this at such a young age, this is so unfortunate." Wei WuXian felt his eyes burn. After Jiang YanLi left Wei WuXian woke up Lan WangJi and the man refused to eat, but he was persistent so Lan WangJi ate very little and slept again. Wei WuXian sighed and ate his meal as much as he can, then cleaned his face with a clothe. Then he pressed his lips on Lan WangJi's forehead and left.
When Lan WangJi's eyes opened he panicked momentarily. His lungs were still full of the smell of smoke, everything was burning, his home, his room, Wei Ying's letters, his brother. Lan WangJi sprang up on the bed, as he glanced around he recognised the room. He was in lotus pier, Yunmeng Jiang sect's leader has picked him up today. Lan WangJi stood up and came outside, he came to lotus pier once in the new year when he and Wei WuXian was newly engaged. He was meaning to visit soon. The cool air hit his face as he shivered, clutching his outer robe Lan WangJi stood in front of the water. The moon illuminated the water perfectly reflected his ragged appearance. Who was he now? His home was gone, his father has died, his brother is missing. What was he supposed to do now? There was no one, there was no-
"Lan Zhan!" A surprised voice came from behind him. Lan WangJi turned around and saw Wei Wuxian standing there, his voice full of panic, "Lan Zhan what are you doing!" He ran towards him, then pulled him from the edge of the dockyard. Then he touched his cheeks, "Lan Zhan, Lan Zhan please its not your fault, everything will be alright." Wei WuXian's eyes glistened with unshed tears. Lan WangJi felt his heart drop at that, Wei WuXian was crying, Wei Ying was crying because of him, Wei Ying the one he still has, the one who was devoted to him and him only, the one Lan WangJi still haven't failed to protect. "Wei Ying." Lan WangJi probably spoke for the first time today, his voice was rough. Wei WuXian's eyes lit up, "Yes, I am here!" Then he pushed Lan WangJi's nose in the crook of his neck like always, he might have lost everything but he still has him. Under the moonlight inhaling Wei WuXian's lotus and spice scent, Lan WangJi took a vow, if anything happens to Wei WuXian he will burn everything down.
The knock was so light that it was almost hard to hear, as Lan WangJi looked up from the book he was reading he saw Jiang WanYin standing. His face was dark and eyes were full of regret. The heir of Jiang sect bowed, "Good Evening." Lan WangJi bowed back. Wei WuXian's Shidi was a very closed up person behind the scowls, not someone Lan WangJi would get along with. The only person that found his company entertaining was Lan XiChen considering they exchanged letters very frequently before everything. Jiang WanYin sat down in front of him, "Is your injury okay?" He asked awkwardly, "Yes Maiden Jiang and Wei Ying gave me very effective herbs”, it was just three days he is in Lotus Pier and he could walk around on his own already. The other alpha nodded, "Young Master Lan, I wanted to ask..." He licked his lips, "Lan XiChen...was he injured?" The last syllable was spoken very softly as he expected a drastic answer.
Lan WangJi sighed, "I don't know" He shook his head, "I was protecting the library pavilion he ran away through a secret path with some important documents, I know he succeeded because...." He tailed off. Jiang WanYin nodded, "I understand." What was left unsaid that if anything happened during the escape the news would fly out eventually if it is still haven't then he was alive. Jiang WanYin bowed and left, he could see the other alpha's eyes darkened with uncertainty, but he couldn't do anything, he knew how Jiang WanYin was feeling, the utter helplessness when you fail to protect the people you cherish.
Follow me on [@joontiddies2___] I yell about MDZS and BTS all day. (Post snippets as well)
Chapter 6: No Secrets Between Us
I really wanted to update but I became busy. I always update with one chapter is written ahead so I was postponing. Thank you for waiting and also HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
When Jiang Cheng arrived in Lotus Pier from an errand it was already 2 hours at noon. He met his father and then straight went to Wei WuXian's room. "A-Xian" He called, Wei WuXian had just finished bathing, "What is it A-Cheng?" He asked while tying his outer robe. Jiang Cheng closed the door, "This letter came by a LanLingJin disciple" He whispered, Wei WuXian frowned, wasn't it normal to hand it to Shijie? Jiang Cheng rolled his eyes, "It's from Meng Yao." Wei WuXian's eyes widened. They didn't get any news from Meng Yao past year other than he had left Yunmeng for Qinghe and worked there for the Nie sect. Jiang Cheng sent his trusted Jiang disciples several times to look after his mother when Jin ZiXuan couldn't send his. "Two letters have arrived" Jiang Cheng whispered, "One for Jin ZiXuan and other for you." Wei WuXian hurriedly opened the letter. It was empty, "Huh" Jiang Cheng look confused. "Of course he couldn't risk it." Wei WuXian said as he lit a lamp, then held the paper above it. When the paper started to warm up, the characters started to be visible, "He couldn't just send it with a disciple like that, it's dangerous." Wei WuXian started to read the letter.
Young Master Wei,
I hope all of you are alright, I hope my brother is okay in Yunmeng as I was the one who suggested that. Tell him not to worry too much, I am alright, nobody blames him for what happened.
You might be surprised at how I met A-Yao. But after he left for Qinghe he came in Gusu for various official reasons, even escorted Mingjue on special occasions, after I ran away he was the one who helped me in hiding. We hid in Qinghe at first, after A-Yao joined Wen sect as an undercover we moved to Yitangzhen. It's safe for the time being but before it gets too risky I am requesting you to meet me as soon as possible, I have several pieces of information and a letter for WangJi. When you reach here, look for a house with a red roof, when you reach the reception say 'mourning clothes', that's the code.
I expect you and Jiang WanYin as soon as possible.
"He is in Yitangzhen" Jiang Cheng whispered covering his mouth with his palm. "A-Cheng?" Wei WuXian called him when he realised Jiang Cheng's eyes were glassy, "Fuck Fuck" Jiang Cheng cursed, "I was so worried" his brother tried to hold the lump in his throat. "He called you as well didn't he?" Wei WuXian smiled, Jiang Cheng scoffed, "Yeah," He said sarcastically. Wei WuXian rolled his eyes, "Don't be so stubborn A-Cheng." He examined the letter in his hand, "Meng Yao and Lan XiChen exposed themselves in great danger, we have to pass it to uncle." Jiang Cheng nodded. Wei WuXian didn't bother tying up his hair he straight went to Jiang Fengmian's quarters, "Uncle" He knocked, Jiang Fengmian and Madam Yu both were talking in the studies, Madam Yu's eyes widened when she took in his appearance, "What is that good for nothing child doing! Why he let you get out like this without his protection!" Wei WuXian sighed, Jiang Fengmian tried to calm his wife down, "Madam he can protect himself." Madam Yu glared, "I know he can but that doesn't mean the other one can neglect his duty!"
"Uncle," Wei WuXian said, his voice was probably heavy enough to make the couple stop their argument. Wei WuXian wordlessly shut the door, "A letter has arrived from Yitangzhen." He said. Both of them exchanged glances, Yitangzhen was inside the Yunmeng territory under the Yunmeng Jiang sect. "It's from big brother Lan." Jiang Fengmian widened his eyes, "What?" Wei WuXian nodded, "Yes from a trusted alliance, he also has information he wants to disclose." He paused, "He has asked me and A-Cheng to meet."
Uncertainty clouded Jiang WanYin's mind as he travelled with Wei WuXian, Both of them wearing disguises. After Wei WuXian went to get Jiang Fengmian and Lan WangJi, Jiang WanYin didn't go with him, even though he knows he will be wanted. In all honesty, he didn't care much about is mother's scowling face. His heart was in chaos, there was a happiness that Lan XiChen was alive and well but then..............
"He is living with an omega."
"Huh" Wei WuXian looked at him, Jiang WanYin clamped his mouth shut when he realised he had said the last word out loud. "Nothing." Wei WuXian raised one of his brows and turned ahead to instruct the carriage driver. Since they couldn't mount their sword in the fear of being found out they rented a cart, Yitangzhen was not far but by the cart, they won't reach before the evening. Jiang WanYin sighed, the spark of jealousy he felt when he learned that Lan XiChen was close to Meng Yao was childish, Meng Yao was not that kind of omega who would throw himself to an alpha just like that, neither Lan XiChen was like that kind of person. Also, it's not like they didn't exchange letters for two and a half years continuously, it's not like he doesn't know the Lan Xichen loved naming the flowers that he grew in his father's garden, it's not like he didn't know what kind of opinion Lan XiChen holds about Nie Mingjue's adamance in making Nie Huaisang a cultivator. He knows, he knows Lan XiChen no less than his brother, yet. Yet he felt insecure because......because he was an alpha. Because his pheromones won't won't raise any instinct but violence in another alpha.
The carriage halted and Jiang WanYin woke up, "We are here" Wei WuXian whispered. The carriage has stopped in a market, which was about to break before the evening. They started walking and eventually found the house with a red roof, "Uh" Jiang WanYin hesitated when they saw it was a brothel, "Meng Yao put him in a tight position." Wei WuXian laughed. "That doesn't reassure me?" Jiang WanYin deadpanned as he was tugged to the entrance. The old man narrowed his eyes when they saw them, "This is an omega brothel, omegas are not allowed." The old man said, Wei WuXian smiled sweetly before leaning in, "Mourning clothes" his whispered, the old man raised his brows before he yelled, "Xiao Mei!" A young boy poked his head out from the screen. The boy was around the age of seven to eight, Jiang WanYin averted his eyes when he saw the boy was barely dressed, his scent was sweet, so sweet that it was fake like scent enhancer, Jiang WanYin felt sick in his stomach. "They are here." The old man said, the boy smiled adjusting his robe, "Follow me." he chirped.
"Gege you are really pretty." The boy complemented Wei WuXian the moment they were alone in the corridor, "Are you his omega?" the question made Jiang WanYin splutter, Wei WuXian laughed, "Thank you, Xiao Mei, no I am his brother-in-law." Xiao Mei smirked as he tapped his finger on his lips, Wei WuXian smiled mischievously as he eyed Jiang WanYin, he rolled his eyes. "Is Gege a very important person?" Xiao Mei questioned again, "Why?" Now Jiang WanYin asked, somehow the curiosity was unsettling. Xiao Mei smiled, "All of you are wearing very expensive clothes, that white fairy- gege also." They took a turn and were climbing stairs now, "We might be." Wei WuXian mused. Jiang WanYin scoffed, Lan XiChen was living here was kind of more unsettling than living with Meng Yao. "We are here!" The young omega chirped and opened the screen, Jiang WanYin felt his heart skip a beat when he saw Lan Xichen sitting inside, his back straight writing something on the paper. "Fairy gege!" Xiao Mei hugged his side, Lan XiChen smiled and put his hand on his head, "Did you brought them here?" He asked, his voice soft. Xiao Mei smiled and nodded, "Good Boy." Lan XiChen patted his head, "Now can you wait outside for gege like a good child? I will treat you later." Xiao Mei glanced at them and then nodded enthusiastically.
"Brother has already made friends," Wei WuXian remarked as soon as the child left. Lan XiChen laughed, "He is a good child a bit hyperactive but good." They sat in silence for a bit before Lan XiChen asked, "How is WangJi?" Wei WuXian sighed, "Better, better than the mental state he was when he arrived." Lan XiChen nodded, he pushed a letter, "Pass it to him, tell him to pass it to my uncle he will know." Wei WuXian silently pushed it in his sleeve, "Don't let him know my location." Lan XiChen's voice was sombre, "Yes" Wei WuXian answered. After some silent pondering Wei WuXian got up, "I will give you two some privacy." He said and left the room. There was silence again, Jiang WanYin recked his eyes all over Lan XiChen. "You have gotten thinner." He commented, Lan XiChen chuckled, "Well running away from life is not the most ideal situation to eat, don't you think?" Jiang WanYin gritted his teeth. "That's all you have to say to me?" Lan XiChen shook his head, "I had, a bunch of letters that I wanted to send but the fire destroyed it." His lips quirked, "Now I think it is not necessary anymore."
"Lan XiChen!" Jiang WanYin's voice shook, then twisted with sarcasm, "Looks like living with an omega can sure change an alpha." Lan XiChen's face turned cold, "Do not talk about Meng Yao like that", he said. "You know it very well I am not talking about him if you lose control it would be no other's fault but yours." Jiang WanYin fired back. For the first time, Lan XiChen's eyes lit up with anger, "What the hell are you implying? I lose control? Don't decide everything yourself!"
"Then do not decide what's necessary for yourself as well!" Jiang WanYin knew he sounded desperate, but he didn't care. "Don't lose your hope and decide it yourself." He moved closer and gripped Lan XiChen's hand, "You are not alone." Lan XiChen's eyes snapped up, "I am here." He whispered. Arms circled his torso as Lan XiChen buried his nose on his shoulder, inhaling. Jiang WanYin sighed, caressing the Lan XiChen’s head, "Don't come back here." Lan XiChen whispered Jiang WanYin scoffed, "This province is under my sect, you are prohibiting the sect heir?" Lan XiChen rolled his eyes. They stayed like that until Wei WuXian knocked, "Take care" Jiang WanYin said before existing.
"Is angry gege is the lover of fairy gege" Jiang Wanyin almost tripped, Wei WuXian Laughed. "Don't say useless things to children." Jiang WanYin grumbled. Xiao Mei kept pouting all the way to the entrance, "Are you going to visit again?" The child asked when they were about to leave. Wei WuXian and Jiang WanYin glanced at each other, suddenly Jiang WanYin had an idea he patted his sleeve and found two out of the four meat buns that he packed when he left lotus Pier and gave it to Xiao Mei. "Take it." He said. When Xiao Mei hesitated he pushed in his hands, "This is not for free. This is the payment for taking of Fairy-gege." Xiao Mei's eyes lit up he happily accepted the treat.
As they travelled back Wei WuXian kept smiling at him.
"What?" He asked.
"You look happy." Wei WuXian mused.
Jiang Cheng rolled his eyes, "uh-huh."
"You are becoming soft A-Cheng."
It was almost night when they arrived in Lotus Pier. Wei WuXian expected Jiang Fengmian but not Lan WangJi standing at the entrance. He felt guilty instantly, he didn't elaborate where he was going. Not that he was supposed to, Lan WangJi never pressed him but he didn't want to keep any secrets between them. "Lan Zhan" He spoke as soon as he slid off the carriage, behind him Jiang Cheng passed without a word. Lan WangJi inhaled and eyed him from head to toe. "Wei Ying." Lan WangJi looked conflicted, Wei WuXian pressed his palm on his chest and found his heart beating loudly, "Lan Zhan?" Lan WangJi was about to reply but then stopped, "Let's go inside." He said and took his hand in his.
As they were nearing the chamber where Jiang Fengmian and Madam Yu resided they heard quarrel which was not new, the couple argued a lot. Jiang Cheng was standing frozen ob the yard, "A-Cheng." Wei WuXian called, the disciple with him bowed and walked away in distance from them. Jiang Cheng was holding a paper, "What is this?" Wei WuXian took the paper. His eyes widened. It was an invitation from The Wen Sect.
New character!! Also yes XiCheng confirmed.