He's not sure what he was expecting, really. No one had lived in the Burial Mounds for over a decade, so of course it would be run down, falling apart, nothing more than half-burnt buildings and the remains of a broken community.
He had thought – hoped, really – that seeing the Burial Mounds in bright daylight and wandering around it would spark more memories, give him back some of his lost childhood. But while he can see the shape of the buildings and stories Uncle Ning told him about on the trip here, it feels more like he's remembering someone else's memory.
There's a small patch of dark earth in the middle of the village, clearly where the planting had been started. Somewhere else, it might have been covered in overgrown vegetation, the remains of a farm gone to weeds, fueled by the composting remains of harvest left to rot. Here, though, where resentful energy swirls thick and heavy, the dirt is nothing but dead and barren. He remembers the feeling of wet earth pressing around him, a sprinkle of water over his head, laughter from Senior Wei and scolding from... from someone, and Uncle Ning has told him that was his jiejie, Sizhui's aunt, the brilliant Wen Qing, who had scolded Wei Wuxian for planting a child where he was supposed to plant radishes.
He remembers that, but not how he ran up and down the lines of greenery waving a butterfly toy, not hauling a tiny bucket of water behind his uncles to help tend the vegetables, not any of the things that Uncle Ning tells him happened. It feels like a failure, no matter how often his uncle reassures him it's completely fine. Like he should be able to reconcile Wen Yuan and Lan Sizhui easily, and the fact that there is still a chasm of lost time between who he is and who he's been told he was is his fault.
He kicks absently at a stray rock on the path and tries to turn the blackened, jagged walls into buildings, the empty dirt into a garden, the ruins into a home, but the images feel washed out and flat. A story, not a memory, and nothing here to latch his own remembrance on to. The mountain is dead, and it feels like it took a piece of him with it, and it seems like all he can do is build around the hole with the memories of others.
It's enough. It will have to be enough.
He bows deeply to the cave in the mountains where the family he can't remember saved his life and turns to return to his not-quite-living uncle to continue their travels.