Song Lan had only been gone three days. Because surely, if he could leave A-Qing and Xiao Xingchen anywhere and expect for them to stay out of trouble, he could leave them in the Unclean Realm surrounded by Nies. Apparently not.
“This is Xue Yang,” said Xingchen, beaming in his general direction. “He’s going to come with us.”
“On your journey to the west!” agreed the brat, smiling up at Song Lan.
“Isn’t he the one who murdered the entire Chang Clan?”
“Yes,” replied Xingchen, “but solitary confinement is no way to atone for a crime.”
“I’m a really good fighter,” said Xue Yang, “I will for sure protect the Daozhang on his dangerous journey.”
“Daozhang doesn’t need you,” said A-Qing. “He has Other Daozhang for that.”
“It’s not a matter of need,” said Xingchen. “I couldn’t leave a fellow human to rot in a dark prison. He can help us with night-hunting when we get to Qishan, and atone for his crimes by protecting the villagers there.”
Xue Yang nodded vigorously. A-Qing made a sound of disgust.
Song Lan sighed. He should know better. The last time he left Xiao Xingchen alone, he’d returned to find he’d adopted A-Qing. Or she’d adopted him, Song Lan wasn’t entirely sure. It wasn’t worth arguing. He’d simply have to find another set of supplies.