Translucent gold hair whipped in cold wind, half-covering a wine birthmark as Betony Weaver stepped soundlessly away from the village that had let her be murdered. Her dress was a mist of blue and pale cream, her shoes only foggy suggestions of leather. But the cloth bundle in her arms was solid and real, brown wool striped with white and black.
Another step, and she faded, bones gleaming white through the fog of ghost-flesh-
Lotus Cloud was there in a swirl of red, shimmering with fury, hands on ghostly shoulders to lend her own resentful energy.
And I thought she didn’t like children. Wei Wuxian whistled, low and quiet, feeding both ghosts more power.
Betony solidified, blinking at him. “…Master Wei.”
“Ah, you don’t need to call me that! I was glad to help.” He smiled, trying not to glance too obviously at the blanket-wrapped treasure in her arms. Too big for a baby, too small to be a teenager. “I hoped you’d be at peace now.” Now that the mayor, her grandfather, was most thoroughly dead, never able to catch another grandchild overhearing what they shouldn’t.
Mayor Weaver had made quite the tidy little profit for himself and his town this past decade, allowing a small group of smarter bandits to use their village as a base to pick off travelers after they’d passed through. What was an ugly, unmarried granddaughter next to that? Just one less mouth to feed.
Flickers of Betony’s hurt still bounced through him, even after he’d spent most of the day meditating in preparation for their raid. Knowing your own flesh and blood had murdered you was horrible enough. Knowing they justified it because you were ugly and worthless–
Wen Ning was right. Gentle souls didn’t become restless spirits, no matter how much resentment they’d suffered in their lives. Rising as a fierce ghost took a push.
Maybe that’s why Lotus Cloud is helping. She’s all about revenge on awful clansmen.
“…I will be at peace. Soon.” Betony straightened, holding out her burden. “I need… one more favor. Please.”