A Long Road Chapter 2 Ficbit – Stream of Thought

Wei Wuxian slowed, feeling mossy rocks more ready to turn underfoot as they reached the edge of rippling water. They’d taken Hanguang-jun. If only he knew why.

Wen Ning crouched, flipping back a dark sleeve before he scooped up a handful of water to sniff. “No death. The water seems good.”

“It does,” Wei Wuxian agreed, dipping out his own handful and inhaling. Clean, cool; not like the Burial Mounds, where even the clearest water always had a trace of grave dust-

Wen Ning’s hand clamped on his wrist, halting it before it could reach his lips. “Don’t you dare. Jiejie would be so angry.”

Ah. Right. This wasn’t the Burial Mounds; that graveyard stream might be gritty, but there was nothing in it that would harm him. This was a strange land, with strange waters. There might be strange illnesses as well. If Wen Qing had to use precious medical supplies to keep him from dying because he hadn’t waited for boiled water, he’d never hear the end of it.

He sighed, and tipped his hand to let water drip away. “It’s odd. Sometimes it’s the little things I miss. Hair that behaves. Being able to write talismans in cinnabar without poisoning myself.” He laughed once, rueful. “Drinking from streams.”

Wen Ning shifted; almost a sigh. “Should we try to go back, after we rescue Master Lan?”

“I don’t even know why someone’s kidnapped him-!” Breathe. Stay calm. “We need to think about this. Right now… we have water. Let’s go tell your sister nothing’s eaten us yet.”

Afternoon faded into twilight, but they’d managed to set up a half-decent camp, Wen Ning dragging back a dead tree that almost matched the deadfall picked up by the rest of the firewood detail. There was hot water to wash up with. Tea. Stew, that had barely a trace of radishes.

And two worried stares making sure he ate his, Wei Wuxian reflected, instead of slipping half of it to the toddler on his lap. Which, come on. He’d made it through the Sunshot Campaign without starving to death. So long as everyone had enough food, he’d eat.


18 thoughts on “A Long Road Chapter 2 Ficbit – Stream of Thought

    1. Well, given that this is Out of Universe implied to be happening because the Star Eyed noticed a large influx of a whole bunch of previously ghosts who suddenly were able to move on, there is a probably going to be an eye to benefiting the cultivators (orthodox and demonic) in question. I have much more faith in one of the one’s who made the Angelic Horse Collective then I do in the politics of the Angelic Horse Collective.

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      1. The cultivators in charge seem to be power-greedy buttheads, per the genre-standard cultivator attitude. What would benefit all parties involved might involve a swift death for the people who forced war needlessly.


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  1. Well, apropos of nothing, Lan Wangji is going to have a brand new nightmare after this trip if it drags on long enough to become acquainted with Need. That of Wei Wuxian casting his soul into the Yin Tiger Tally. (Or Stygian Tiger Amulet, whichever translation you prefer.) That’s, that’s great, Brain. Why did you go there?

    Wei Wuxian is determined to find out the why not just come in with the dramatics, full on Yiling Patriarch. That’s what makes him so good as a cultivator, that drive not just to Resolve the Situation at Hand, but to fix the underlying issue so it doesn’t keep happening down the road. It would do him no good to snatch his friend and the diplomatic team out of Valdemar if it just meant that they tried again.

    I like the almost, not quite but almost, wistful way he’s thinking of the Burial Mounds. Or I may be utterly misunderstanding the question and Wen Ning is offering to come back here after the rescue. I can see him being, quite content with a small settlement in the middle of literal nowhere that no one else wants, far enough away from the cultivators to be worth chasing, far enough from any other country to be worth (attempting) to savage, mocked by his birds and his not at all afraid dependents. It’s his own Incense Burner dream, the emotional intimacy of a basic domestic life. Specifically with Lan Wangji, but he’s probably given that up now. He cut it out of him with his core.

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  2. Wei Wuxian doesn’t get that he’s become Important, I see. (Yes, you make sure that critical personnel are taken care of, even if it means someone else going without or making do with less. The problems start when said critical people decide it’s because they’re better than others, rather than vital.)

    I wonder if they’ll come across a Herald on circuit duty, once they’re out of the Pelagirs and into the tamer areas of Valdemar. Because I want to see what happens when his walking dead hear Silver Hoof bell-like chimes.

    Haven has the most frequent cleansing, after all, but Heralds on circuit duty all over mean dispersion of resentful energy several times a year. Just hanging on, in order to complain to the next available ghost-path shaman, has to take some effort for the dead with complaints against the living, with their spiritual power not getting to build up much.


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    1. I think this might be a cultural thing actually. Most of the people are older than him, so I think culturally he’s trying to preserve them so they can pass their knowledge and wisdom on. And A-Yuan is a toddler. He did not rescue a literal toddler from a prison camp just to watch him starve to death instead.

      But yeah, if he’s ever realize the best way to stop hurting people around him was to stop hurting himself it would work better. It’s a big character growth for him in the book to realize he doesn’t have to be responsible for everything. But he had to die for thirteen years after his traumatic mass murder/suicide and go on a buddy cop cold case murder mystery to get it.

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      1. Best way to stop hurting people around him is to stop hurting him self— This I completely agree with its just hard for WWX to realize people care. At some point I hope someone gives him the *Your Not Expendable Speech*

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      2. The Dafan Wens are supposed to be medical cultivators. Their village is gone, their sect is destroyed, all their manuals are either burned or taken. If they die, that whole branch of knowledge is gone. Wei Wuxian lives for more cultivation knowledge. He’s not going to let that happen if he can avoid it.

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    1. It’s canon that making sure A-Yuan got enough to eat was a tricky business for at least the first few months in the Burial Mounds. Between the whole resentful energy-poisoned ground, the fact that it’s implied none of them are really farmers, and outside of Wei Wuxian (who has his own physical problems) and Wen Ning (still trying to get fine motor control back), the only not-elderly or seriously injured person in the whole bunch is Wen Qing. Farming from scratch is really not easy.

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  3. How long until Wei Wuxian starts to suspect that the message he received about a kidnapping was only true from a certain point of view . . .

    Not saying Nie Huaisang doesn’t have some talent for being a tricky trickster (from what I’ve been able to glean about the character and series) but is he enough of an Obi-Wan to get away with the certain point of view gambit . . . especially after it goes awry in a way he was really not expecting.

    Well, it’s always good to learn that the certain not-horses are very good at throwing a spanner into the best laid plans . . . even when they aren’t trying.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s Huaisang. Wei Wuxian knows it’s probably sneaky. OTOH the Nie and Lan are allies, so Huaisang wouldn’t lie that Lan Zhan’s in trouble. What actually happened? Wei Wuxian wants his own info… before he unleashes any walking dead hordes.

      (He can always unleash them later.)

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