A/N: Just remember when it comes to plans, this is a younger Huaisang than the whole Jin Guangyao mess. So… there may be hiccups.
Lan Wangji ought to stop moping so much. Yes, it looked like glaring, out of a face that could have been carved from jade, but it was moping. Nie Huaisang had read – and written! – enough spring-books to know the difference. Honestly, he couldn’t see how everyone else missed it. Lan Wangji had accepted the order to leave his home sect for months with a perfectly stoic face, but the moment their roads had taken them riding past, and then north away from Yiling and the Burial Mounds….
Huaisang was going to fix this. And so many other things. He had a plan.
“It’s a terrible plan, A-Sang.”
Huaisang hid any eye-roll behind his fan, thinking back to that morning months ago in the Unclean Realms. The war-shutters had been open, letting in sunlight and the clash of sabers from disciples training in the courtyard. Seated in his office, broad shoulders wrapped in near-black robes, Sect Leader Nie Mingjue had stopped polishing Baxia a moment to gauge the saber’s shine.
Baxia shifted herself in Mingjue’s grip, pressing steel a little closer to the weave of the rag. It was a very judgmental shift.
Nie Huaisang shook open his latest fan, glimmering with a painted peacock, stung by the both of them. At least neither of them had to worry about potential eavesdroppers, even on a serious conversation between the Sect Leader and his younger brother and heir. Sound-dampening talismans were made for thwarting spies. “You haven’t even heard it yet!”
“I’ve seen the Burial Mounds. Enough angry ghosts and fierce corpses walk those hills to take down an army of cultivators. Without a demonic cultivator egging them on. Even Wen Ruohan didn’t mess with that accursed place. And you think you’ll get Wei Wuxian to turn his back on those damned Wens and walk right out into the clean country with the Stygian Tiger Seal?” A hissed breath. “He may be a fool, but he’s not an idiot. He’ll burrow in there like a tick. And we don’t have enough strong cultivators left to pierce his wards and set the Mounds on fire.”
All of which were excellent points. But they were irrelevant. “No, no.” Nie Huaisang flipped his fan back and forth, like a disdainful dove’s wing. “We make him want to come out.”
Mingjue snorted, eyeing the length of Baxia’s blade again. Eyes just faintly bloodshot, lingering traces of the last qi deviation sect doctors had nursed him through. “And then we’re facing down hordes of fierce corpses outside the Burial Mounds. Not an improvement.”
Oh, this was a disaster- No. No it wasn’t, Huaisang just needed to keep talking. “No, no, no. He won’t want to attack us at all!”
His elder brother straightened to his full, sometimes terrifying height. Well, terrifying to everyone else. “…How.”