Actions

Work Header

The Pearl

Chapter Text

Lan Wangji is among the most powerful of his generation. Congestion simply does not happen to him. Yet, a week into the guest lectures, he wakes with a persistent, wet cough.

Lans do not panic. He walks quickly to the healers. Lan Lien, who has watched him since birth, needs only to glance at his face before ushering him to a bed. She listens to his complaint with reassuring steadiness, checking his qi. Her hands, familiar and warm, help to calm his slight wheezing.

"Your qi is flaring," she says, "but not as if you are fighting disease. Have you done anything particularly strenuous?"

Besides avoiding the infuriating Jiang disciple, no. Lan Wangji does not say this, of course, only shakes his head. Lan Lien hums and asks him to bare his chest. He does so.

Both of them stare.

Lan Wangji had dressed with more haste upon discovering his condition. He had shamefully thrown on layers with presentability far from his thoughts. So he had not looked at his chest.

It is glowing. The shadows of his ribs are visible. The longer Lan Wangji watches, the louder his heartbeat becomes, until its beating echoes through the room like an underwater drum. The glow, melted gold, matches it, until Lan Wangji realizes it is actually his heart.

The cough returns with sudden violence. It spurs Lan Lien. She smacks his back with spiritual energy.

Something clogs Lan Wangji's throat. Perhaps it is not his heart after all, for the glow is now in the same place. Lan Lien smacks again and—

Click, clack-clack. Something lands on the floor, shrouded in the golden mist. Lan Wangji does not know why, but he dives for it in desperation, cradling it to his chest. It is hot, then warm, then pleasantly cool, like Gusu in early spring, and he must protect it.

Lan Lien, and a few attendants drawn by the commotion, look at his hands with wide eyes. Lan Wangji swallows past his now sore throat.

Cautiously, he opens his hands.

It is a pearl, the size of a large candy. Perfectly round, with a brilliant sheen identical to the scales every Lan conceals.

"A-Zhan," Lan Lien whispers, breathless with wonder.

"How?" Lan Wangji croaks. "I am too young."

Too young being an understatement. Dragons, if they have a mind to it, take a thousand years to grow a pearl. Lan Wangji is fifteen. His adult talons have only just set in.

Lan Lien blinks out of her reverie. "I will consult the texts. In the meantime, you must hide this."

"Mn."

Lan Lien closes his fingers around his pearl and squeezes. "Afterwards, go to Lan Qiren and apprise him of the situation. Your brother as well, of course." Of course. Lan Xichen helped Lan Wangji hatch. There is no one Lan Wangji trusts more. "And...you are indeed too young, Wangji. This will take a toll on you. I would like you to return here for observation."

The list of tasks helped Lan Wangji to his feet. "Mn."

"This means," Lan Lien says firmly, "absolutely no lectures today."

"...mn."

After a moment, Lan Lien nods. "Go."


Dawn is barely trickling the mountain when Lan Wangji arrives at Uncle's. Lan Qiren's brow furrows in disapproval at the state of his nephew's dress. His lecture stills in his mouth when he sees the pearl; Lan Wangji thought it prudent to bring it. He will hide it later. He will.

He simply...cannot let go of it yet. It feels like a vital piece of him. The very thought of setting it down fills him with irrational terror.

Uncle sits him down. He pours tea while they both gather their thoughts. It helps soothe Lan Wangji's throat.

Eventually, Lan Wangji decides to treat this like a night hunt. He reports the events of the morning. It sounds incredibly straightforward. He focuses on that.

Lan Qiren listens in silence, stroking his beard. Wei Ying had joked about shaving it the other day. Lan Wangji wonders how he could possibly be thinking of Wei Ying at a time like this. But that is Wei Ying—inappropriate, disruptive.

A loud, echoing beat. Lan Qiren and Lan Wangji's eyes snap to the pearl just in time to watch the gold mist disperse.

"What were you thinking just now?" Lan Qiren demands.

Lan Wangji would prefer not to answer. It sparks fresh thoughts of Wei Ying.

Thump.

"Wangji," Lan Qiren snaps.

"It is impossible," Lan Wangji replies.


It is not impossible.

As he lies on the clinic bed, Lan Wangji attempt to meditate, but every glance of Wei Ying's smile in his mind ignites the pearl. Somehow, someway, Wei Wuxian has caused this.

Vaguely, Lan Wangji thinks it is very like him. Ridiculous.

Thump.

Fortunately, the toll Lan Lien spoke of comes in a sudden rush of exhaustion. Lan Wangji barely has time to tuck his pearl into his robes before passing out. He sleeps for three days.

The pearl does not leave his robes. Not even when he returns to lectures under his uncle and brother's watchful eyes and Wei Ying shamelessly calling his name. His robes, if Lan Wangji concentrates, are thick enough to muffle the sound.

He should hide it. Perhaps give it to Xichen, or seal it in the family vault.

He does not.

Chapter Text

The biggest lie the Lan Sect ever told is the first rule of their precepts. It is not, in fact, the first rule. It is the same reason that children of direct descent are instructed separately from other disciples for the first year of their training.

Rule 1: Hide the Scale.

Lan An had been humble and wise, his wife, Lan Wu, much the same. They decided on this rule together as they decided all things, but it had been Lan Wu who first proposed it. Not out of jealousy, but concern.

For cultivators, immortality is considered the top because beyond that is considered so unattainable they do not contemplate it: a higher form. Flight without the sword. The elements bowing to their will, all realms open at their leisure. Dragonhood.

For his beloved, Lan An grew a pearl, and from that, human bones. The Lans do not have to cultivate beyond immortality because they are hatched, not birthed. If the cultivation world knew, the consequences could be catastrophic: harmony disrupted, power imbalanced. Lan Wu foresaw this, and Lan An agreed.

In one stroke, Lan Wangji breaks this most vital precept.

It begins with a soul-killing void. Its residue mocks Lan Wangji as Jiang Cheng calls the culprit an ally, however unorthodox their methods. As if this can be neatly packaged as unorthodox.

No. This is...this is something beyond death.

And it belongs to Wei Ying.

One moment, Lan Wangji is staring at the blackened shell where Wei Ying's core should be, and the next, he is roaring in a voice none but his brother have heard. It is a visceral song of mourning, of pain, and when Lan Wangji is finished, he is staring at his talons, red with Wen Zhuliu's blood.

Wen Chao is screaming. Jiang Wanyin and Wei Ying, Wei Ying, are gaping. The shadows have cowered.

Lan Wangji's natal form, young as he is, reaches the length of three grown men. His scales are winter blue tipped with white, oval-shaped and prominent. His antlers scrape the ceiling, breaking it in places. He lacks a full mane, but he does have fur, a thick line of it starting in the center of his forehead and stopping just before the blades of his tail. His family has called him a paragon of Lan blood. Right now, he does not feel it.

Wen Zhuliu gurgles. Lan Wangji sinks his talons deeper. Bones are crushed. Lungs give way. Wen Chao is still screaming; Jiang Wanyin slams his sword hilt against his temple.

Wei Ying is stepping back, recovered enough to regard Lan Wangji like a cornered animal. "Who...what..."

Then Lan Wangji looks up at him and his expression shatters.

"Lan Zhan?" he whispers.

Without quite realizing what he is doing, Lan Wangji croons in distress and curls his tail around Wei Ying as best he can. Wei Ying jumps like a startled rabbit, eyes darting about as if in a cage.

"L-Lan Zhan..." he murmurs. Then he shakes his head and forces a laugh. "Ah, Hanguang-Jun is certainly a prodigy of our generation."

Jiang Wanyin also regains himself. "What the hell?!"

Lan Wangji opens his mouth, but his words cannot be heard by human ears. He settles for crooning again, touching his snout to Wei Ying's lower dantian. By the way Wei Ying stiffens, he thinks he's understood.

"No," Wei Ying hisses, "How—stop it!" He shoves at Lan Wangji's head. Lan Wangji aches for him.

"Wei Wuxian!" Jiang Cheng shouts, "It might be Lan Wangji, but have some respect!"

The Void that has taken Wei Ying's body bristles. Mine, it snarls, Given willingly. Mine!

Willingly.

Lan Wangji closes his eyes. Of course it was willingly. Wei Ying's core is gone.

He opens his eyes to Wei Ying recoiled from him, hand held protectively over his stomach.

Lan Wangji must speak to him. He must do this right. Carefully, he unwinds his tail, bunching it underneath him as he accesses the veil in his flesh where his humanity resides. The first lesson every Lan descendant is taught.

Lan Wangji cannot hide all of his scales. His emotions, frayed during the war and shaken by Wei Ying's disappearance, force his tail and neck scales to show. His vision also does not change, remaining aura-focused, so his pupils must still be slits.

"Wei Ying," he whispers, storm clouds on his lips.

For once, Wei Ying is silent, the arrogant violence of before faded into blank wariness. Lan Wangji doesn't know which is worse.

"Wei Ying..."

"Lan Zhan," Wei Ying snaps, like a warning. Does he not want Jiang Wanyin to know? Why not? Brash and irritable he may be, but Jiang Wanyin is his brother, and has searched tirelessly for him.

But Lan Wangji does not ask. He must do this right.

Thump.

An image comes into focus. The hidden paintings of Lan An's life. The legendary pearl fashioning a human body. Tales of other Lans' pearls, once in millennia things, and his own, sprouted by an impossible man.

Lan Wangji grew a pearl because of Wei Ying. It is, therefore, essentially Wei Ying's.

What else, Lan Wangji wonders, can a dragon's pearl do?

Slowly, Lan Wangji reaches into his robes and presents it, shining with fresh gold. In this moment, it actually does look like a golden core.

"Let me help you," he says.

Wei Ying's sunken eyes scream with the Void. He looks between the pearl and Lan Zhan. "What is this?"

"A pearl," Jiang Wanyin breathes, "Hanguang-Jun, how old are you?"

"Only slightly older than Wei Ying," Lan Wangji replies.

"B-but." Wei Ying swallows.

"Mn. It was unexpected." Lan Wangji takes a slow step towards Wei Ying. "Take it."

"What?" the brothers cry with very different tones.

The Void's shriek drowns them, though they cannot hear it. But Lan Wangji is a dragon. No resentment can overcome him, and the Void knows it. If Wei Ying accepts the pearl, it can do nothing to stop him.

"Wei Ying," Lan Wangji says, "Take it."

Wei Ying bares his teeth. "Why? Have I angered the great Hanguang-Jun with my cultivation? Does he think to bribe me—"

"Wei Ying!" rumbles the skies. Wei Ying and Jiang Wanyin recoil.

Lan Wangji takes Wei Ying's free hand. He closes his fingers around the pearl as Lan Lien once did for him.

"It is powerful," he says, not taking his eyes off the contact, "There is no exact account of its capabilities." Wei Ying's hand spasms. "Wei Ying." They meet eyes. "Let me help you."

The Void tries to wrest control back. Wei Ying's eyes remain clear and wet.

"Lan Zhan," he says, "I can't...this is—this is yours. Dragons only make one pearl, right?"

"Mn. And it is yours. Wei Ying," as Wei Ying shakes his head, "yours."

He presses their joined hands against Wei Ying's stomach. What is left of Wei Ying's spiritual energy trembles. Jiang Wanyin remains silent in shock, likely not seeing the connection like Lan Wangji's draconic eyes can.

Lan Wangji pushes. Wei Ying gasps loudly. His fingers slacken, but the pearl is already flowing into his flesh. Dragons can open any dimension; the human body is one of many. Wei Ying's is so terribly cold and hurt. The Void may have helped him survive, but it is not kind.

Lan Wangji tells it plainly that its assistance is no longer required.

The resentment burns to ash. Wei Ying collapses against Lan Wangji and weeps. For the first time since its growth, Lan Wangji's pearl feels safe.


When Wei Ying and Jiang Wanyin rejoin Lan Wangji outside the advisory office grimly satisfied, Lan Wangji says, "I must ask you not to speak of what you saw."

"You're telling us to lie?" Wei Ying has already regained a little color, his breathing easier. It's not much, but it's enough for now. "Lan Zhan!"

"Why would you not want people to know?" Jiang Wanyin asks. "You've reached beyond the top!"

Lan Wangji averts his eyes. "I have not."

Wei Ying crosses his arms. Suibian looks wonderful in his hand, Chenqing placed firmly at his waist. "How else could you be a dragon?"

Lan Wangji says, "Promise me."

The brothers share a glance.

Jiang Wanyin nods curtly. "You were a great help in the search for my brother." Wei Ying starts a little. "If it's that important, it's the least I can do."

Wei Ying clears his throat and offers a smile. "I'd look ungrateful if I refused you now, Lan Zhan." He softens. "I promise."

Lan Zhan nods. "Thank you."

Jiang Wanyin snorts. "I promised first, you know. But sure, stare at Wei Wuxian." He brushes past Wei Ying's spluttering towards the road. "Jie's in Qinghe. I have another promise to keep."

Chapter Text

When he sees Wei Ying, Lan Xichen chokes on his tea.

Lan Wangji sends him a look.

"Young Master Wei!" Lan Xichen cries as Nie Mingjue slaps his back, "What a—wonderful surprise!"

Wei Ying laughs and salutes, though he's clearly as confused as every non-blood Lan in the room. "Thank you, Sect Leader Lan. It's, ah. Good to be back."

"Yes," Lan Xichen says, "Yes, very good! Wangji! You must be tired after your journey!"

It's the closest Xichen has come to outright dragging someone. Lan Wangji feels guilty about leaving Wei Ying alone, but it's only supposed to be a brief greeting to the other members of the war council before Wei Ying rests. Jiang Wanyin is with him, and he also has—

"Your pearl," Xichen whispers, "Wangji, what happened?"

Remembering Wei Ying's reticence about Jiang Wanyin, Lan Wangji says, "He needed my help."

It feels unnatural to keep things from Xichen. His brother notices, of course. However, instead of looking troubled, he smiles softly at Lan Wangji and asks, "I'll approach Sect Leader Jiang tomorrow about the contract."

"Contract?"

"Wangji, Uncle will be displeased if you elope."

"Elope?" Lan Wangji says, perhaps too loudly.

Lan Xichen turns slightly. "You gave him your pearl. Don't tell me you didn't tell Young Master Wei your intentions?"

"I...there is not...I did not..."

Lan Xichen's eyebrows climb. "Wangji?"

Lan Wangji barely restrains his tail from lashing out and twitching like a restless tiger. "Brother, I am not marrying Wei Ying."

...his brother looks confused. "Did he refuse?"

"I did not propose," Lan Wangji replies tightly.

"Why else would you hand over something so precious?"

"He needed my help," Lan Wangji helplessly repeats.

"Wangji." Xichen looks sympathetic. "Surely you—"

The scent hits before the knocking: spice, lotus, resentful dust. Wei Ying needs to rest, settle his energy. Yet here he is, calling Lan Wangji's name.

Lan Xichen sighs through his nose and fixes his smile. "Young Master Wei."

Wei Ying opens the door. In the light, what color Lan Wangji had thought he'd seen has drowned. He looks exhausted. Lan Wangji has to restrain his tail again.

"Zewu-Jun," Wei Ying says, "Sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt."

"Not at all," Xichen replies, "I was just leaving." He fixes Lan Wangji with a pointed stare. "Good night, Wangji."

Lan Wangji purses his lips and bows. "Brother."

Wei Ying slides into the room. "Lan Zhan," he says as soon as the door shuts, "can I ask you something?"

"Mn."

Wei Ying sits on Lan Wangji's bed despite the perfectly good table nearby. Lan Wangji does not mind. "What makes a pearl? A dragon's pearl." He presses a hand to his gut. "It feels different from a core, but there's no weight to it."

Lan Wangji takes two steps forward before he realizes it. "Did something go wrong?"

"No, no! It's." Wei Ying huffs, smiling. "Ah, Lan Zhan. That's the other thing." He rubs the back of his neck. "Jiang Cheng says I should kow-tow for your gift."

"No need."

Wei Ying jumps to his feet. "Well I should do something! Lan Zhan, you know what you've done for me." His throat bobs. "You know."

Lan Wangji averts his eyes. "There is no debt. Wei Ying needed help."

"You—! Lan Zhan!" Wei Ying pokes his chest with Suibian. "You're impossible. At least let me thank you properly."

"No need," Lan Wangji repeats.

Wei Ying sighs dramatically, plopping back on the bed. After a moment, he mumbles, "Though, you did undo all the work I put into harnessing resentment. So maybe I shouldn't thank you after all."

Lan Wangji glares at him, only to find a teasing smirk. Wei Ying points at his face. "See? You do want thanks!"

"No," Lan Wangji says, "And do not joke about resentful energy."

Wei Ying's nose scrunches. He looks so much like a rabbit.

Cautiously, Lan Wangji sits beside him. He considers. Then asks, very quietly, "Did they truly throw you into the Burial Mounds?"

Wei Ying's hands clench around his sword.

Lan Wangji's lungs seize. "Wei Ying—"

"Lan Zhan." Wei Ying's smile has turned brittle. "Whatever happened, happened." He looks at him. "Let's not go back."

A crackling noise draws their attention. With a start, Lan Wangji sees his fingernails curing into silver talons. He can't cover them fast enough.

"Whoa," Wei Ying says, "Does that happen a lot? I mean, I haven't seen it, but maybe because we've become so cloooose?"

For lack of a better option, Lan Wangji sits on his hands. "Ridiculous."

Wei Ying snickers, nudging their shoulders. "You didn't answer my question, you know. About the pearl. And what about the rest of it? See, I've been thinking. You said you didn't cultivate beyond the top, but how else could you be a dragon?"

Lan Wangji stares ahead.

"And the way Zewu-Jun reacted to me," Wei Ying continues, "He looked right at my core—or, your pearl. Like he could see it." He nudges again. "Lan Zhan. Are you both dragons?"

Lan Wangji keeps staring. Nie Huaisang's touch is apparent in this room by the tasteful tapestries and splashes of color.

Wei Ying blows out a breath, settling back on his hands. "The Twin Jades truly are paragons of cultivation! Only they didn't cultivate to scales, apparently. Which means..."

Perhaps if he says nothing, it will not count as revealing anything to Wei Ying. Can Lan Wangji be faulted if Wei Ying is clever?

Then Wei Ying's hand is on his thigh and Lan Wangji's mind goes embarrassingly silent.

"Don't worry, Lan Zhan. I won't tell." Wei Ying squeezes. "I promise."

There's a tearing sound. Wei Ying whips his head about for the source. Ears flaming, Lan Wangji carefully retracts his hands from underneath him. The linens do not survive regardless.

Wei Ying's lips contort. Lan Wangji stares at his full talons. Wei Ying snorts, tries to cover it with a cough. Thankfully, it means his hand retreats to cover his mouth.

"Energy," Lan Wangji says. Wei Ying makes a stiff, high-pitched noise. "A dragon's pearl is made of spiritual energy. But not the same as a human's. Our cores are different."

Wei Ying's laughter dissipates into interest. "Really? I can't tell."

"My human form is carefully structured," Lan Wangji replies. His talons finally sheathe. "We study our elders' constructions and imitate."

Wei Ying's eyes flick over him. "So...is this an illusion?" He pokes Lan Wangji. "Doesn't feel like one."

"Yes. And no."

"Ah, very straightforward. A good Lan answer!"

Lan Wangji scowls at him, making him laugh. "Illusion is not the proper word. But you can never see every aspect regardless of form."

"You're dragon and human? The perception of your core changes with you?"

"Mn."

"That's incredible! So you just—" Wei Ying makes an innocuous gesture. "Switch? Like clothes?"

Lan Wangji opens his mouth. Closes it. "There are texts that describe the process. You are not permitted to see them."

"No fun, Lan Zhan!"

"I have already spoken too much."

Wei Ying laughs. "Lan Zhan, you never speak too much. I like listening to you!"

Lan Wangji's throat works.

"...then, isn't a pearl just—another core? If it's made of spiritual energy?"

Again, Lan Wangji opens and closes his mouth. No one has ever described a pearl this way, but it would make sense: the time it takes to form, the material. But it still does not account for Lan Wangji's case.

As always, Wei Ying fills his silence. "So I guess I have something closer to dragon than human now. You're amazing, Lan Zhan."

Lan Wangji does not know how to respond.

Wei Ying shifts in his periphery. "Is that the only reason you did it? Because I didn't...because I needed help?"

Lan Wangji does not know how to respond.

Wei Ying leans closer. He's warmer than other humans. Because of Lan Wangji. "Lan Zhan. Can I ask you another question?"

"Mn."

"What does it usually mean when a dragon gives someone their pearl?"

For some reason, this makes Lan Wangji think of his brother's grin.

"...it is rare to cultivate a pearl," he replies, "Lan An is the only precedent to—this." He keeps his eyes carefully away from Wei Ying. "He gave a woman his pearl and told her it would grant her deepest wish. She wished to marry him. He used his pearl to make human bones. This is why we have two forms."

Wei Ying is very still.

Lan Wangji feels his scales scratching under his skin. It's as if the dragon, once seen, wishes to be seen all the time. Vain and reckless.

"One more question," Wei Ying murmurs. "Why did you give me your pearl?"

Lan Wangji swallows. "Seeing you...without your core. I could not bear it." He forces his head up. Wei Ying's eyes are wide. "You deserve to fly, Wei Ying."

Wei Ying kisses him. His hands are dry, cupping Lan Wangji's face, but his face and hair are soft. He is far too thin, hip bones jabbing Lan Wangji's fingers. He is still warm. He is still beautiful. Lan Wangji wants him closer.

Wei Ying makes a noise, whispers his name, but then they're back to kissing. Wei Ying climbs into his lap. Closer, closer. Lan Wangji's mind glides pleasantly somewhere above him. His eyes are stinging, he realizes, but he is happy. Very, very happy.

"Ah, Lan Zhan," Wei Ying gasps, tipping his head as Lan Wangji burrows against his throat, "What if someone comes in?"

Lan Wangji says "Let them" because his mind is still elsewhere.

Wei Ying chokes a laugh. "I don't mind being caught kissing, er-gege,"—what did he just call him— "but the tail?"

"Mn?"

Very reluctantly, Lan Wangji pulls off and looks over Wei Ying's shoulder.

His tail is indeed wrapped twice around them, clutching Wei Ying close. It's a pleasing sight. This way, Lan Wangji knows Wei Ying is safe. No blade can pierce his scales, certainly no shadow. What could be wrong with that?

Wei Ying's thumb presses gently on his cheekbone. "Your eyes. I didn't tell you. They're so pretty, Lan Zhan." Lan Zhan rumbles. "Ah, and that noise! So cute, like a cat. But you're trying to keep a secret, aren't you?"

But kissing is important. Lan Wangji likes to think he prioritizes well.

Wei Ying's little sigh into the next kiss is so lovely Lan Wangji's hands warp into paws. The dimensions in his flesh are melding. It is not painful. With Wei Ying like this, Lan Wangji thinks he will never feel pain again.

Thundersong finally tethers his mind. It speaks in his brother's voice. And there is his brother, clearing his throat, sending Wei Ying flailing—though not very much, as Lan Wangji's tail still holds him.

"Zewu-Jun!" Wei Ying cries, "Hello! We were just...ah."

"I take it your conversation went well?" Xichen asks.

"Yes," Lan Wangji replies. "Does Brother need something?"

He does not like Xichen's expression. "I only wanted to offer my congratulations. Sect Leader Jiang expressed his relief knowing you two will be officially wed. He is convinced you engage in indecent behavior."

"Indecent?" Wei Ying says.

"Wed?" Lan Wangji says.

"Wed?" Wei Ying shouts.

Xichen's smile is bland and insufferably smug. "There is still a war, of course, and rebuilding after that. But I trust you both can be patient."

Lan Wangji slowly unwinds his tail.

"Hard to think of a future after this war," Wei Ying says. He turns back to Lan Wangji. "But Lan Zhan, are you sure? You won't be able to back out of a marriage, you know."

The Twin Jades blink as one.

"Does Wei Ying have any objections?" Lan Wangji asks.

"No!" Wei Ying replies instantly, "No, no, Lan Zhan. Not when I know—no. I'm just making sure you don't."

Another blink.

Lan Wangji realizes Wei Ying is actually waiting for a response. "None."

Wei Ying grins, relieved. "Really?"

"Mn."

Wei Ying hugs him tight. "That's good, Lan Zhan. Because—I really like you, you know? Not because of what you did for me. Because you're—you're Lan Zhan."

The next "Mn" comes out slightly hoarse. Lan Wangji quickly gathers himself enough to reply, "Like Wei Ying."

"Really?"

Xichen looks mildly lost.

"Mn."

Wei Ying sighs and snuggles closer. Then jumps away completely with a, "But we can be patient! Right, Lan Zhan? You're the most patient person in the world, apart from my Shijie. And Zewu-Jun. We can do this!"

Lan Wangji places one hand over the other in his lap. "Mn."

They stare at each other.

"Right," Xichen says, "Young Master Wei, Sect Leader Jiang wishes to speak with you about this."

"Hah? Ah! Jiang Cheng is probably going to break my legs!" Wei Ying seems very excited about this. "Shijie is probably making a bunch of soup! She'll want you to have some, Lan Zhan! But later. I'll see you later, Lan Zhan! Zewu-Jun!"

He kisses Lan Wangji's cheek and nearly runs from the room.

At length, Xichen says, "Young Master Wei seems happy." His smile becomes more genuine. "As do you."

Lan Wangji is certain he is capable of more happiness. Most of him has been whisked off with Wei Ying's lips.

Xichen nods. "Congratulations, Wangji."

The halls tremble with "WEI WUXIAN!"

Lan Wangji smiles. "Thank you, Brother."