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the child and his god.

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Not many had heard of him. And even if they had, it was only at the dying of their light. The god’s child was feared by many, even more so than the god themself. The god’s child was feared by many, even more so by the child himself.



Agony. Hatred. Despair.



Under his master’s command, the child only knew of those. And even if he knew of others, those three were the only things he was allowed to know. He knew of torment; the child knew the tormented dreams of countless lost souls. He knew of torment; the child knew the vague feeling hazing in from the very back of his mind.



Did the child have a life where the god did not chain him down? Did the child have a life where he was free?



The child didn’t know; he wasn’t allowed to know. He served and dedicated his life to his master. His master didn’t allow him to be free. The child was a weapon, obedient and loyal to the god.



His master told him to kill. The child killed.



His master told him to eat. The child ate.



Save me. Save me. Save me.



Amidst his meals, with each blood-soaked dream, the message had arisen to the forefront of the child’s mind as he was sprawled out by the god’s feet. Was the plea of the child’s victims? Was the plea of the child’s own? A bloodhound so drunk and frenzied on dreams so sweet, he was powerless in the face of his master. A child so bounded and blinded by his master’s selfish desires, he despaired.



His master told him to kill. The child did.



His master told him to eat. The child did.



The god told him to fight. The child did not.



War had risen in Teyvat. Gods and monsters plagued Liyue, and the child’s god told him to fight them - not for the sake of Liyue, no, but instead for power and amusement. Though the child had spent his life killing mortals as the god had wished, the child could not bring himself to fight neither gods nor monsters. He believed that the war was a perfect chance to free himself from the god.



And it was.



Save me. Save me. Save me.



The child had pleaded, murky pools of yellow jade overflowing with unshed tears. Who he called to, he didn’t know. It wasn’t in his nature to show weakness - it had never been - and he certainly didn’t know what it meant to hope. Despite not knowing, the child continued to believe.



An arrow, sharp and powerful, had pierced the heart of the evil god. Golden jade glinted in the dark of the night. It was the end of a war. The God of War had won, with the child’s master as the coup de grâce. The child was free.



Yet the child was lost.



He had only ever known of darkness. To be dragged into the light, to be brought into the mortal realm of bliss and agony - it wasn’t for him. Happiness, the child realized, wasn’t for him. Then what did he want-? It was freedom he had wished for. And what came after?



Basked in the soft, serene glow of the night, Rex Lapis had approached the lost child.



“In the fables of another world,” the lord of mountains started, gazing over the remnants of the war, “The name Xiao is that of a spirit who encountered great suffering and hardship.”



The child didn’t know what the god meant. The child was a weapon - not a spirit.



“He endured much suffering,” the glowing orbs of hardened gold drew in the child, “as you have.” The Geo Archon’s voice was soft yet authoritative. “Use this name from now on.”



Xiao did. The child didn’t have to understand.



“I’ll- I… What can I do to repay my gratitude, Morax?”



His God looked at him, a hint of pleasant surprise evident in their cemented features. Harsh winds pierced at Xiao’s skin. Golden eyes softened as his God’s tainted hand stroked his hair, which was endless and wispy with flecks of dried blood. Calloused fingers and raging winds. The child relaxed under the rising sun.



His God spoke. “What would you like to do?”



The child was a weapon - one that had sparked fear.



“The decision is yours, Xiao.”



Xiao was a weapon - one that endured much suffering. He was a weapon that believed.



“I’ll fight,” he declared solemnly. “I’ll fight. I’ll get Liyue out of harm’s way. I’ll get you, Morax, out of harm’s way. I’ll protect what I hadn’t before.”



And Xiao was a weapon that would do great things, his God believed. The Geo Archon, poised and prudent, created a contract as per Xiao’s dream wish. Though the child was once a looming bloodhound, his God trusted and liberated him. His God allowed him to be free, yet he chose to walk the path he knew of; a new day, a new life his God created for him, and he chose to fight the darkness. Was it the child’s fear that had led him down that path?



The child raised his polearm, the ethereal green of jade glinting. The weapon was gifted to him by his God; Xiao thought that the gesture was unneeded. Besides the swords and spears the evil god had forced into his hand, he didn’t see the need to give him yet another weapon - the child was a weapon, polearm or not.



“It serves as a reminder of your freedom. The colour of the head resembles that nostalgic shade of nature, no? Perhaps the green is not to your liking…?”



Xiao carried the gift everywhere he went, everywhere he fought. (He hated the colour green, though.)



“Restore order through slaughter. Purge evil through battle, to this we dedicate our lives.”



With each practised thrust of his polearm would the misty black tendrils disperse deep underground. The Guardian Yakshas fought day and night, the shadows of their figures dancing along the distant horizon as the moon and sun greeted them. Alatus met others of his kind, others of the same suffering and hardship. They rejoiced in the name of their saviour God.



Xiao didn’t know how long it was; he had lost his grasp on time. He was the happiest he had ever been, and though all he did was subdue the everlasting darkness, it was much better than chasing after those mesmerizing, shattering bright lights. Was this happiness…? It wasn’t as bad as Xiao had thought it would be. Perhaps happiness was for them, for him.



But like everything in life, there were two sides of the same coin.



Screams of agony. Cries of help. A rise of hatred, and the state of despair. The Yakshas, save Xiao, slowly lost themselves to the darkness. No longer was the war they fought physical; there was little they could do to defend their souls. It reminded Xiao of the lives he’d taken, the dreams he’d devoured, the voices he’d ignored. Memories corroded. Feelings corrupted.



And all he could do was watch their downfall.



Save them. Save them. Save them.



The child prayed. Still, even his God struggled against the remnants of defeated gods. But as much as the child believed and hoped, there was no breaking a contract signed with the God of Contracts themself.



“Restore order through slaughter. Purge evil through battle, to this we dedicate our lives.



The child felt lost. What… about him? Who would fight by his side? Who would exchange anecdotes of their lives before salvation? Who would be there for him, to protect him?



The child felt numb. Soon, he believed, he too would lose himself to evil. Maybe he could fight it, maybe he could not. But did he want to persevere? A child so lost and alone, he despaired.



His contract said to fight. The child fought.



His contract said to protect. The child protected.



The music guided him. The child followed.



Wait-



Xiao finally stood, perched on a tall tree overlooking Dihua Marsh. Silky tunes swirled around him. Dreams Stars hung above the child, and the crystal waves below glistened in the glow from Guyun. The moon seemed to smile a silent “goodbye”. His heart palpitated; each thump, although irregular, accompanied the dihua flute like the beat of a drum.



It was as if the music - the wind - wanted him to dance, to let go of his worries and fears. The child did.



He moved freely and expressively, his shadow copying every step. Brilliant shades of orange blended into the blues of the previous night. It was yet another day. With each practised movement would the heavy, suffocating darkness from within disperse and leave his body, his soul.



Save me. Save them. Save us.



The child sang, hope blossoming. A light gust of wind blew past, and that was all it took for the leaves and petals to twirl and glide. Yellows, greens and a myriad of white flower petals coloured his vision. Xiao’s gaze followed the winds, the petals of white; his intuition said that they were not those of qingxins. Who was playing the flute? Who was guiding him?



Polearm in hand, Xiao let himself follow the sound of the flute. Who was it? Who could it be? The last person who could help him was one of The Seven themselves. So this person, too, must be-



He looked upon the glittering waters under the break of dawn and noticed those white petals flurrying in from afar. A gentle breeze carried them closer, and the voices realized that the petals were those of cecilias. Flashes of that shade of green crossed his mind, and suddenly he didn’t hate the colour anymore. He prayed, he believed.



The child’s breath hitched, and clear pools of yellow jade overflowed with wistful tears.