A Long Road Chapter 2 Ficbit – Not a Harem

No need to ask how any Wen had known to come to the Burial Mounds. By now rumors of the massacre at Qiongqi Path were spread across the cultivation world. He’d taken them all in; how could he not? There was nowhere else to go.

Then Wen Qing had come back from a town trip to trade medicine for food. And she hadn’t come alone.

“After Lotus Pier… there are water ghouls everywhere the corpses drifted. Meifeng was going to be married, but she went to the river to fish, and – she lived. But her betrothed, her family….”

Didn’t want a marred beauty unlucky enough to attract ghosts and monsters. Didn’t want a fierce, stubborn woman; too shameless to hide her scars, too determined to stand and walk even when gossip whispered that maybe the ghouls had done more than just tear her, after all she’d lived when any modest woman should have died-!

Meifeng had been the first desperate woman Wen Qing had brought up to the Burial Mounds. She hadn’t been nearly the last.

And now he’d dragged them all across a half-dozen kingdoms and most of the known world, because if he left any of them behind-

They’ll die. It doesn’t matter if they’re Wens or not. They were with me. No cultivator’s going to ask their clans before they cut them down.

We have to keep moving. I could do one more array

Oh no you don’t.”

Ow ow ow, Wen Qing had him by the ear, it wasn’t fair-!

“You need to rest.” Dark blue eyes narrowed at him; behind her, Wen Ning was doing a very bad job of hiding a worried smile. “Everyone needs to rest; we may not be walking far between the arrays, but spatial translocation takes it out of anyone. And it’s worse without a golden core.” Needles gleamed bright between the lady doctor’s fingers, even in the fading afternoon. “So you’re going to rest. Whether or not you can move is up to you.”

“I’ll rest, I’ll rest!” He threw up both hands in surrender-

Tried to. Wen Qing snatched the hand that wasn’t holding Chenqing, taking his pulse. And frowned.

“I’ll rest,” Wei Wuxian said softly, as Wen Ning passed the word to Fourth Uncle and limping Cousin Renshu to start organizing groups to look for the best nearby campsite and water. That wasn’t the annoyed doctor frown, that was the worried frown. He hated that one. “There’s a reason I’ve pushed so fast.”


16 thoughts on “A Long Road Chapter 2 Ficbit – Not a Harem

    1. Untamed is on the ‘to read’ list, but I’ll go ahead and ask: Are people blaming Wei Wuxian as a victim who survived, or as an enemy who bargained with forbidden and blightful entities for power?

      Because while I’m a westerner on the outside looking in, as far as I can tell the East Asian cultures don’t have any kind of ‘everyone has a right to try to survive, including defense of that life’ in them. If you aren’t of divine lineage, your life ain’t worth jack. And your clan head can arbitrarily demand your life anyway.


      Liked by 3 people

      1. Er, so-so. Wei Wuxian is more blamed for not returning to an orthodox path after the war, but even that wouldn’t have mattered if he hadn’t taken off with political prisoners. Excuse me, war criminals. And even then, I don’t think most people would have cared if the Jin hadn’t wanted his power and tools for themselves, and so were bad mouthing him everywhere.

        So. It’s like using an unsavory set of skills even in peacetime, busting some people out of prison with them, and then some shady politician won’t let it blow over.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. He doesn’t actually get blamed like that, but he didn’t tell ANYONE about it. People might have suspected, the Wen soldiers who were interrogated knew, but he didn’t confirm it. He didn’t exactly deny it either, the one time we see someone ask he deflects.

        I’m of the opinion that if people did know, it would likely be the latter type of blame. The cultivation world sure as hell has a very negative opinion of him. They’d jump on anything to make it worse.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. It’s……a bit more complicated than that? Or rather, a mix of a whole bunch of factors.

        First, no one really KNOWS that Wei Wuxian is really a victim, because he keeps that hidden for a mix of reasons.

        Second, the power he uses is a MAJOR cultural taboo; one that was mostly overlooked during the war when it was the only thing keeping everyone alive. But the fact that the war is over and he doesn’t “need” to keep breaking that taboo anymore does grind some people’s gears. (Wei Wuxian CANNOT in fact stop using his form of cultivation, but again, no one knows that).

        Third….what Wei Wuxian can pull off is absolutely terrifying. Like, walking person of mass destruction, eldritch creature of nightmares level terrifying. Just about everyone finds it hard to believe that he genuinely has zero ambition and dreams of a domestic life on a farm. So people are scared of him, or jealous of his power, or covet it and want it on their side. Which led to a massive smear campaign launched against him painting him a monstrous villain.

        Fourth would be classism. Wei Wuxian had a very complicated place in the the Jiang sect, but ultimately is considered “just a servant.” The fact that he rose so high, commands such power, and was such an integral part of the sects winning the war really ticks off certain people, and makes it easy to condemn him for “not knowing his place” or ascribe malicious ambitions to him.

        Fifth would be the fact that, in order to prevent the Jiang sect’s reputation from being dragged down with him, Wei Wuxian staged a fight between him and Jiang Chen so that Jiang Chen could tell the rest of the sects that Wei Wuxian was no longer part of his sect. Only…..Jiang Chen went the extra mile and outright called Wei Wuxian a traitor. Obviously betraying a sect is a much bigger deal than just leaving it. People already primed to dislike Wei Wuxian are vindicated. People more neutral to him hear that his sect leader, whom he was said to be as close as brothers with, is calling him a traitor, and have no choice but to believe it.

        And last (but probably not least; I’m sure someone else can come up with more points) of all, Wei Wuxian DID actually break into a camp for prisoners of war (that everyone despised), slaughter the guards, and steal the prisoners away after having caused a big scene at a banquet involving him threatening people. The rest of the sects believe he absconded with soldiers and is building an army. The fact that the prisoners were instead a bunch of civilians, mostly elderly and one literal toddler, who had nothing to do with the war and were being tortured and killed off by their guards for fun is subjected to a coverup by the people in charge of the camps, which coincidentally are also the same people running the smear campaign against Wei Wuxian.

        So while everyone is thinking Wei Wuxian is gearing up to build an army to become the next dictator (and in actuality is desperately trying to eke out existence for himself and his rescues), the only three people who know otherwise are Lan Wangji, Jiang Chen, and Jiang Yanli.

        We don’t technically know if or why these people stayed silent. Jiang Chen’s silence is generally considered to be a mix of lingering hatred for the people Wei Wuxian saved and him caving to external pressure. Jiang Yanli is a very passive person and is generally assumed to have no power to exert. Vathara has implied (I think?) that she’s attributing Lan Wangji’s silence to a mix of his terrible social skills and conflict over rules/morality. I’ve seen other fics where Lan Wangji DOES speak up about it……to his brother, who is sect leader but also has been very thoroughly caught up in Jin Guangyao’s lies and manipulations. And Jin Guangyao is one of the key players in the smear campaign against Wei Wuxian…)

        Liked by 3 people

      4. *Thumbs up* Awesome analysis!

        And yes, I’m implying that. For one thing, if Lan Wangji were to go public with “hey, there’s absolutely no army there, I’ve seen it”, his clan elders would shut him down with “he was breaking orders to be there, he must have been deceived by the awful Yiling Patriarch, we know he can drive people insane!”

        (Which, canon, Wei Wuxian absolutely can drive people insane, so.)

        There’s also the whole “shoot at the Wen captives” mess at the Phoenix Mountain hunt, which Lan Xichen raised absolutely no objection to. And Lan Wangji’s been raised to believe 1) His brother’s the first heir and has every right to make clan decisions, and 2) Lan Xichen is an upright, moral, righteous cultivator.

        And his brother’s not doing anything. No one is doing anything.

        It’s really, really hard to fight your whole society, even when you know they’re wrong. Wei Wuxian is definitely a bit crazy – and even he probably wouldn’t have snapped like he did if he didn’t owe Wen Qing and Wen Ning everything.

        Liked by 3 people

      5. Also, when it comes to LWJ telling people about what he knew? He’d be telling his brother, his uncle, and maybe some of his elders. I doubt he’d talk to someone outside his clan. And those people? Excluding the elders, maybe, they KNOW he’s in love with WWX. Anything he says in WWX’s defense is going to have that taken into consideration.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. How his people treat him is going to be his very best defense when he comes in kicking hornets nests in Valdemar tbh. Ooooo, SCARY NECROMANCER. And yet he lets a toddler tug him around, and lets his healer bully him, and absolutely no one is /afraid/ of him.

    Valdemar is generally very good at looking past the surface.

    It also will probably help that the general Valdemarian response to refugees is to welcome them with open arms, and be like, ‘Got a leader? Good person? Want them to stay in charge? Cool, here are several tracts of land no one is claiming right now!’ with the occasional optional lordship for the leader in question if they have something extra to bring to the table.

    Iirc, there are several areas along the far border of Valdemar, up between The Forest of Sorrows and Lake Evendim that are mostly Pelagirs and thus a bit too freaky weird for most people to want to live out there that would be PERFECT for the Wen refugees.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. True, true.

        The Heralds tend to take their cues from their Companions, and the public takes their cues from the Heralds/Bards, so it seems like this will be down to how Kellen reacts to him and how he reacts to Kellen once he understands that Kellen isn’t holding Lan Wanji captive? (And hopefully a nice friendship based on ‘keep this guy we love alive’ will form? Here’s hoping Kellen will take a page from Sayvil’s book and be willing to mind speak to people other than his chosen!)

        I remember it being talked about in at least one book that Companions know full well there are many things that can tamper with the mental/soul bond a Companion has with their chosen, but that the ability isn’t a /bad/ one necessarily, because there are dark gods, and dark semi-devine beings. Just because most things like that avoid Valdemar like the plague doesn’t mean the knowledge will never not be needed after all.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. I think it was in one of the novels extras that mention a common punishment for promiscuity is
    being drowned in a pig cage. If I knew something like that was waiting for me just for surviving I’d run the the barren haunted wasteland too.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I’m reminded of the situation that befell many women in Nazi occupied nations, particularly France, who had become/were prostitutes and/or lovers/mistresses of Germans, as a means of survival, and/or as intelligence sources for the Resistance/Allied Forces. Many suffered brutally after liberation, as people punished them for their “collaboration”…

    Liked by 2 people

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