They talked for a while more before Feng Xi sent Xiao Hei on his way back to his friends, despite the young elfins protests of wanting to stay longer. In order to appease him, Feng Xi promises Xiao Hei that he can stay the night some other time, and that right now he should return to his friends to reassure them that he’s fine.
With a heavy sigh and a newfound determination to keep Feng Xi’s word true, they walk to the elevator, where Xiao Hei throws himself at Feng Xi in a tight hug, one that he is all more than happy to return, before they parted ways.
The elevator doors slid close, and Feng Xi felt empty inside.
He was happy to see Xiao Hei again, he was happy that the young elfin was doing so well, was able to grow strong and kind, and didn’t let the past hold him back. He’s made friends, and no doubt has a very promising future. Xiao Hei deserved it, he really does, and Feng Xi was so happy that Xiao Hei was doing well.
But he also had to come to terms with the reality that was, after this, he probably won’t be able to see Xiao Hei for a long time, or maybe even ever again, and Feng Xi wasn’t ready for that.
He sure as hell didn’t deserve to keep Xiao Hei in his life, but a selfish part wanted the child around, wanted to watch him grow and to be a part of his life in whatever way he could. Feng Xi didn’t want Xiao Hei to have to sneak around Wuxian, so eventually he’ll have to tell Xiao Hei to not come around anymore. It’s going to break his heart to have to tell him, but for now, he’ll be content with this.
Turning around, Feng Xi walked the hall to return to his apartment, only to have the door across from his to open up, and instantly he scowled.
Xing leaned against the doorway with her arms crossed, looking completely exhausted, which made Feng Xi pause for a moment before he continued walking. He was still upset with her, afterall.
“Listen,” she said, followed by a heavy sigh, “I just want you to know I’m sorry, okay?”
Feng Xi scoffs, reaching his door and intending to slam it shut, but is stopped before it can close. Turning around, he sees her foot wedged at the bottom of the door, only protected by a pair of slippers. “I don’t expect you to forgive me, but just hear me out, alright?”
Not wanting her foot to get hurt any more than it probably already was, Feng Xi opens the door wide and waits for her to continue, frowning.
“What I did… I had good intentions, but I know it was wrong of me to do that to you. I shouldn’t have kept the truth from you like that, and I’m honestly sorry. I wronged a lot of people so far this way.”
“Who else did you drag into this?”
“Pretty much just Luo Zhu as well. He’s not too happy with me either, especially after finding out I had known you were back for a while now and never said anything to him.” Xing let out a humorless laugh as she rubbed the back of her neck, looking down for a moment. “I can’t blame either of you for being angry with me, honestly. But, just please know that I really don’t have ill intentions. I just wanted to try and help you, and-- Wait, are you feeling okay?”
While Xing had been talking, Feng Xi started to feel dizzy, the words she was saying sounding more and more like they were muddled under water as his entire body felt like it was being submerged, unable to think correctly and needed to lean against the door for support.
He tried to insist that he was fine, but even speaking felt difficult to do. It was as if all the energy was being drained rapidly out of him.
Xing reached out and supported his weight as best she could as she quickly brought him over to the couch, sitting him down before he fell over onto his side. She called out his name and shook him, trying to wake him up, but Feng Xi wasn’t responding no matter what she did.
As quick as possible, Xing took out her phone and tapped the screen a few times before bringing it up to her ear. It didn’t ring very long before it was picked up on the other end. She didn’t even allow the other person to get one word in.
“Wuxian, it’s Feng Xi!”
He knew this was going to happen eventually. He couldn’t hide away forever, and he knew that, but he just hoped it would have been just a little longer, a little longer to get his heart to stop hammering and to calm his nerves.
But time certainly waited for no one, so he took a deep breath and did what he could to compose himself before turning the corner.
The moon hung in the darkened sky, surrounded by a cascade of stars that all helped to illuminate the night, struggling to fight against the light pollution from the city below. There weren’t as many stars visible from here, not if they were in a remote area, away from human influence and technologies.
From where he stood, Wuxian could see Pan Jing and Ka Li talking and drinking, though he couldn’t pick up on what they were discussing exactly. Having known that Wuxian more than likely wouldn’t show if he was asked for, Pan Jing made the effort to come to Ling Xi personally, more than likely bringing along a serious mission with him. With his hands clasped together behind his back and trying his best to look as put together as possible, Wuxian walked over.
Pan Jing laughed at something before noticing Wuxian’s presence, shoulder shaking as he calmed down. “Ah, Wuxian, I haven’t heard from you in a while. I was afraid you might have left the guild without telling anyone.”
Wuxian felt his stomach twist, feeling the words were a direct hit against him. He tried his best not to shrink back in guilt. “I would never do that,” he said, trying to sound as normal as possible.
Nodding, Pan Jing stood up, speaking as he did so. “Let’s get straight to business then, shall we? Ka Li?”
The other guild leader stood as well before leading the way, hands in his pockets. Wuxian followed without complaint, but wondered why the mission couldn’t have been handed to him right there, and why both guild leaders were getting involved.
Was this that serious?
Well, it must be, if they were getting Wuxian involved. As being one of the more powerful Executors in the guild, even if he was no longer one of the top ranking ones, they hand him the harder tasks, the ones that may involve more force or negotiation than others.
Ka Li led them into a vacant room, one that Wuxian couldn’t quite tell what the use for it was, before the doors behind him shut and threw the room into darkness.
The darkness didn’t last very long as it was soon lit up by a small circular object that Pan Jing held in his hand, throwing the room into a soft yellow glow before he tossed it to the center of the room, where it suspended itself before projecting a grid with various marks upon it.
“Recently,” Pan Jing spoke, “there have been sporadic flares of spiritual energy throughout Long You. They don’t last very long, but their frequency is increasing.” As he spoke, the grid showed the large city with white dots of different sizes scattered across it. They showed the time and date of each occurrence, with the largest white dot being the most recent activity.
Wuxian walked around the grid, looking at all the different places the white dots shown, already trying to find a common trait between each location, but it was difficult to place as it seemed just as sporadic as Pan Jing explained. “Wouldn’t this be easier with a team of Executors than one alone?” he asked.
“That has already been tried,” Ka Li said, of course knowing the details of the situation due to Pan Jing having told him. “Some of the members of my guild were even sent to assist, but nothing could be found, not even a lingering trace of spiritual energy.”
It was strange to have something or someone causing these flares and not leave a trail behind. In fact, it would be nearly impossible to do, as the flares would have the registered energy onto it, making it so the one responsible for it would be easy to track down.
This certainly was a difficult situation, especially since they didn’t know the motives of the one behind the flares. They could be planning something that could lead to catastrophe if not stopped.
As the light from the object died down and floated over to Wuxian’s hand, the room was lit up by soft candle light. “That will update as new spiritual energy flares are located and registered, use it as a reference to try and track it down. Once you find the source, you are to contact me immediately before further action is to be taken.”
Wuxian frowned. This entire situation felt a little off, like Pan Jing knew something that he wasn’t explaining. He opened his mouth to speak when the vibrations from his phone cut him off. Wuxian intended to place it on silent as he took it out from within his robe, but froze as soon as he saw the name on the screen. Looking up at Pan Jing for a moment, the guild leader motioned for Wuxian to go ahead and answer. It felt rude to do so, but….
Turning around to show his back to two leaders, Wuxian quickly hit the answer button. He didn’t even get the chance to open his mouth to speak before Xing’s frantic voice sounded through the phone.
“Wuxian, it’s Feng Xi!”
Instantly, Wuxian felt his stomach dropping, as if he were jumping off a cliff and plunging into the frozen waters below. Panic overtook every rational thought before he quickly haphazardly gathered up whatever sense he still had left. “I’ll be right there,” was all he said before hanging up, needing no further explanation. Every moment he wasted listening to the situation was a moment wasted that he could actually be there.
“I’m sorry, but I have to leave,” Wuxian said as he turned back around, trying desperately to seem put together, that he had everything under control, that he wasn’t an absolute panicked mess on the inside, heart feeling as though it was about to leap from his chest at any moment. “I will head to Long You through the portal. Please, excuse me.”
With that, Wuxian wasted no time in rushing out, leaving the two guild leaders behind in that room without further explaining the reason for his leaving.
“Is this situation so dire that you need Wuxian for it?” Ka Li asked after a few moments, raising his eyebrows in question.
Pan Jing nodded. “It is.”
“But there are much stronger Executors that could take care of it if it is someone planning something. Wouldn’t it make more sense to send one of them?”
“Perhaps, but it’s not necessarily strength I need right now. Wuxian will feel more compelled to figure it out faster than others because he has someone in Long You he wants to protect. Also, if this is exactly what I fear it may be, it won’t matter how strong of an Executor we send, we could already be too late.”