A Long Road Ch 2 Ficbit – Rumors Lie

Wei Wuxian sighed, eyes checking over the tiny village’s worth of people he’d dragged so far from home. Fourth Uncle had just helped Granny off the gentlest horse they had, A-Yuan clinging to his neck like a monkey. The dozen-odd Wens who had a little cultivation looked worn; everyone else slumped, exhausted. Though the Yiling Patriarch’s concubines were fresher than the elders-

He took a deep breath, hauled that thought out to a mental target range, and riddled it with arrows. Why, why, why had Wen Qing told him what kind of rumors were swirling around in Yiling? He could have lived his entire life without knowing the gossips of the cultivation world painted him as some unholy combination of Wen Ruohan and Jin Guangshan, complete with an army of the undead, a sect teeming with rogue demonic cultivators, and an endless harem of stolen beauties held captive in golden chains.

If Wen Ning and three bride ghosts were an army, then four rowboats were an invasion fleet. Just about every rogue cultivator roaming the land had been snapped up by the legitimate sects recruiting to fill out war losses. The very few idiots who’d shown up to become his apprentices had screamed at one quiet Hello from Wen Ning; the saner ones had run, before the real fierce corpses could tear them apart. As for the endless harem….

Patting down a black horse with a white blaze, dark-eyed Meifeng winked at him, amusement turning her lovely no matter how many water-ghoul scars crossed her face. Then she turned back to the swarm of women and youngsters and elders, pulling out snacks from the saddlebags for anyone too tired to eat.

Wei Wuxian tried not to sigh again, and manfully stifled the urge to fling himself to the ground wailing about the general unfairness of the world. All he’d tried to do was run off with Wen Qing, Wen Ning, and a couple dozen half-starved prisoners. To the Burial Mounds, horrible as that place was, because every sect’s hands were against the Wens, down to the smallest child, and he was just one man.

Every sect. Not one righteous cultivator would lift a sword to defend Wen-dogs. Not even Jiang Cheng, who’d owed Wen Qing and Wen Ning his life. Even Lan Wangji had-

He slapped that memory back into the darkness. It hurt too much.

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23 thoughts on “A Long Road Ch 2 Ficbit – Rumors Lie

  1. Ooof, Wei Ying is not in a good place right now.

    In the novel Wen Qing and Wen Ning were never at Gusu and Lan Zhan never got the chance to know them until the Burial Mounds so I could see him putting them with the other Wen who burned down the Cloud Recesses. Jiang Cheng though? Even before the core transfer both Wen siblings saved his life and he never even tried to at least put in a good word. I know he was under a ton of pressure but it always rubbed me the wrong way.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jiang Cheng, Jiang Yanli, and Wei Wuxian were raised by a couple doing the parent thing very badly. And then Jiang Cheng lost most of his sect, and was in power decades before he was supposed to be, and all kinds of horrible pressure. But he also made some pretty bad calls.

      Poor Communication Kills is a ongoing story theme in Grandmaster!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. *cackles* oh DEAR, the horrified, red faced squeaking that poor guy must have uttered when he was informed what a debauched weirdo everyone and their grandmothers had decided he’s become. Countries always run on gossip, no matter how much they pretend they don’t, and every whisper picks up a new embellishment every third retelling at least!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wen Qing: (Eyeing Wei Wuxian on the ground.)

      Wei Wuxian: Go away, I’m dead. You have slain me. I can never show my face to living human beings again.

      Wen Qing: A-Ning, pick him up until he stops being ridiculous.

      Wen Ning: …Jiejie, you mean forever?

      Wen Qing: (Facepalms, because those two get along too well.)

      Liked by 4 people

  3. Somehow I don’t think Valdemar is going to be very impressed with the Sects once they find out how they’ve been treating the surviving Wens.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. /“Well excuse us, we don’t have nosy white not-horses cluing us in when someone went off the sadistic deep end….”/
        Obviously Wei Wuxian’s next trick to to somehow shanghai a bunch of Companions back to the Sect lands. That or figure out how to create local equivalents.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. See, now I’m picturing a bunch of cultivators running around with Companions that look like the Thestrals from Harry Potter…

        Liked by 3 people

  4. Well. He’s not wrong? Though if anyone deserves a bit of time lying on the ground it’s Wei Wuxian. He’s had a rough few years. Though I do think that, culturally, he’s got a point. Jiang Cheng did owe Wen Ning and Wen Qing a life debt, even if we’re not talking about the core transfer. That sort of thing is big, especially as the Sect Leader. And they managed to get the bodies of his parents out so they could honor them properly. In that vein, Wei Wuxian is fulfilling the debt the Jiang in general and Jiang Cheng in particular owe. So it’s properly filial, just, politically terrible because no one is acknowledging that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. *Nod* Jiang Cheng’s main problem is a perfect storm of social pressure and being horribly sabotaged by your own parents that you’re never “good enough”.

      Wei Wuxian’s problem is he’s been convinced he’s worth less than anyone else in his life, so he tries not to impose on them.

      Which meant Wei Wuxian hitting Justified Rage Breaking Point over the treatment of the Wen prisoners completely blindsided Jiang Cheng, who’d grown up with his parents telling him Wei Wuxian is the servant and there to be his loyal right hand no matter what.

      Remember who strangles whom in the wake of Lotus Pier, and who’s willing to just take it to let Jiang Cheng get his anger out because he’s convinced everyone is right and it is his fault the Wen attacked.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It doesn’t help that when Lotus Pier is attacked, the book makes it sound like everyone but Jiang Cheng, Jiang Yanli and Wei Wuxian dies. Now, there are probably a few survivors, cultivators who were off night hunting, or visiting friends, but for the most part the entire structure of the sect, the institutional memory embodied by those people, is gone. Everyone who could have provided any sort of advice, and mature judgement to balance youthful mistakes and inexperience is gone. (If I’m not misreading the book, then the boys aren’t quite 18 when the Sunshot Campaign kicks off.)

        Then Jiang Yanli gets married, and moves away, and Wei Wuxian and Jiang CHeng have never communicated successfully without her intervention. It probably doesn’t help that Wei Wuxian’s mental state is -justifiably- horrible. Jiang Cheng literally has no one he trusts left to provide a sounding board, or even just enough people behind him to give him the political power to back up Wei Wuxian. I honestly suspect he fought the SC with whoever wasn’t at Lotus Pier the day it fell, and he likely lost some of those to later battles, and any rogue cultivators who were looking to join a sect for prestige, which means they likely don’t have the training or the social background to replace the ones lost. And even if they have been through a war together, the distance between Jiang CHeng’s social position as leader of the sect, and that of disciples’ social position leaves Jiang Cheng isolated.

        He desperately needs someone to shake him, and tell him to make better decisions, and there is literally no one, after Wei Wuxian takes off, in a position or with the relationship, to do so.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Also doesn’t help that the instant Wei Wuxian goes off on his own, Jin Guangshao is right there… pushing. Suggesting. Implying.

        Jiang Cheng was already unstable and insecure and everything else, and then he got the one adult in the room playing Wormtongue. Brrr.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. >>re:Lotus Pier burning: I do tend to hope that a few of the cultivators survived, but I believe that at that point the Wen had forbidden all the other sects from night hunting. My canons are hopelessly mixed so it might not be book canon, but I’m pretty sure that means that literally the only three who are confirmed to have made it out are the Jiang siblings and Wei Wuxian. (I tend to head canon that there were some who managed to get into the water and escape, or a few that Wen Ning and others managed to pull back from the brink of death. They did manage to have a presence at the first Burial Mound Siege, and I believe that Yungmeng purple is the only set of cultivators that Wei Wuxian didn’t go after when he snapped at Nightless City. But canon confirmed it’s the Yungmeng Siblings.)

    I don’t think that even if Wei Wuxian had stayed he would have been able to be the one who could shake Jiang Cheng. By that point there were so many things lying between them, heavy and bitter and painful that I honestly believe the healthiest thing in the long run was separating. (If only someone hadn’t been planting shaped charges in the gap.) What I wish they had done was announce/acknowledge the debt owed to Wen Qing and Wen Ning, and formally hand Wei Wuxian over as equaling it. There still would have been sniggering and whispers about the equality of it all, but I think politically it would have been cleaner. Again, without someone actively shoveling crap all over the situation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely seconding that, even if there weren’t people shoveling fuel onto the fire, Wei Wuxian wouldn’t have been able to salvage the situation with Jiang Cheng. JC had just so heavily internalized his mother’s vitriol and reflexive blaming of WWX for everything, and was making no visible sign of working to change that.

      Like, people like to talk up the Yungmeng Shaungjie (the Twin Prides/Twin Heroes, depending on your translation) scene. But that whole segment is literally just. WWX wakes up after a near death experience where he achieved something extraordinary, and then has to haul himself out of his sickbed and chase after JC in a snit in order to comfort him. And JC literally hits him on his raw wound and outright calls it punishment “for playing hero.” And only subsides when WWX promises to serve as his right hand man the way his own father once did for JC’s.

      (And then years later, JC will bring up how WXX swore to serve him forever and broke that oath, when WWX never mentioned forever. WWX instead compared them to their fathers, and guess what? WWX’s father *left* Yunmeng Jiang! And JC’s father was perfectly fine with it!)

      ((….sorry for the rant lol. That scene and how it gets misinterpreted so often really grinds my gears))

      Liked by 2 people

  6. People get a certain amount of slack for bad raising, bad training, and being young and stupid. But beyond that point, if the person can walk and chew gum, and is older than playground-age, he should be able to figure out basic morality or at least basic enlightened self-interest. If the guy’s a nasty idiot, then nobody owes him anything. If he wants stuff, he needs to start giving people reasons to help him.

    Liked by 1 person

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