Wei Wuxian jolted awake at the shout of his name, body moving on instinct at the thought that he was late for sword practice and Madam Yu was likely ready to flay the skin from his bones for his tardiness.
It took far longer than he was willing to admit for his mind to actually catch up and remind him that he was a fully grown man that didn’t have lessons to attend.
A fully grown man without a golden core that therefore couldn’t attend sword practice anyway, even if he’d wanted too.
And also…he was in his home in the Burial Mounds. A place he was sure Madam Yu wouldn’t set foot in even if her life depended on it.
Blinking in the murky sunlight bathing his doorway, Wei Wuxian batted at the drool dampened talisman paper stuck to his cheek as he tried to figure out who was caterwauling at the end of his path.
“What are you shouting about? Don’t you know people are trying to sleep here?” deeming the group of strangers unimportant, Wei Wuxian waved a dismissive hand. “Get out of my Burial Mounds. Come back at a decent hour if you must come back at all.”
“Get out?!” the apparent mouthpiece of the group shrieked. “Do you know who I am?!”
Dropping down to sprawl across the steps leading up to his door, Wei Wuxian sighed. “Should I?”
“You disrespectful, ignorant beast!” the mouthpiece puffed up in what Wei Wuxian could only assume was some misplaced attempt to look impressive. “I am Wen Chao! Heir to the great Qishan Wen Sect!
“Uh huh.” Inspecting his nails, Wei Wuxian picked at what he thought was dirt, but could just as easily be dried ink. “And you’re in my little corner of the world because?”
“You are to go on a quest for me and retrieve my bride!”
“And why would I do that?” Just because he was coreless and somewhat of a pariah, didn’t mean any old Sect could suddenly decide to use him as an errand boy.
“Because I order you to!”
“So sorry to disappoint, whatever-your-name-was,” from his sprawled position, Wei Wuxian gave a slapdash, mocking bow, “but I don’t take orders from anyone. Hadn’t you heard? Don’t you know who I am? Wei Wuxian, coreless troublemaker extraordinaire. Dabbler in Demonic Cultivation, and banished disciple of the Yunmeng Jiang Sect?”
“You will take orders from me!”
“No. I won’t.” Finally bored of the conversation, Wei Wuxian rose to his feet and proceeded to dust off his robes, thoroughly ignoring the screeching twit before him.
A final shriek of “Wen Zhuliu!” had him looking back up, however, when it was followed by the sounds of a ladened wagon rolling up the path.
Wei Wuxian looked on.
Completely and utterly perplexed at the sight.
The wagon, which was being pulled by a particularly foul tempered looking donkey, was filled with cages upon cages of animals.
A brightly coloured bird flit restlessly in its tiny prison, while a wild boar snorted angrily.
What appeared to be a quartet of bunnies huddled in the corner of their pen, while a peahen preened the neck feathers of the peacock next to her.
“Eh? Is this supposed to be a bribe or something?”
Wen Screechy scoffed. “This, Wei Wuxian, is what remains of your closest friends and family.”
“The donkey too?” Wei Wuxian muttered earning himself a glare, though the loudmouth continued speaking as though he hadn’t heard him.
“I have had them cursed, and only I hold the key to breaking that curse. Do as I say, bring my bride to me, and I shall give it to you.”
Folding him arms over his chest, Wei Wuxian leant against the doorframe. “And where is this so-called bride of yours?”
“Everything you need to know is in this,” the arrogant little arse decreed, tossing a scroll onto the dirt path. “Don’t keep me waiting.”
With that said, he turned on his heel and marched back down the path.
His entourage diligently scrambling to follow.
The cart remained where it was.
The donkey now glaring at Wei Wuxian.
A donkey which, on closer inspection, appeared to be wearing a muzzle.
“I suppose I best get you all settled,” Wei Wuxian sighed, hopping down the steps of his home, “family or not.”
The muzzle was the first thing to go.
“Don’t bite me,” he admonished as he slipped it free.
It being a donkey, Wei Wuxian wasn’t expecting a reply, and could, therefore, be forgiven when he startled badly enough to fall onto his backside at the words that snapped out. “If I bit you, you’d deserve it, Wei Wuxian!”
Wei Wuxian stared, wide eyed, at the donkey.
That was a voice he knew.