Wen Ning stood at his shoulder, comforting and solid as a wall of oak. “We did a good thing, Master Wei.”
“We’re fugitives. What can we give her, besides a life of hiding?” He held the nameless girl close, listening for any hitch in her breathing that might hint of sickness. It was so easy for ordinary children to fall ill. If he hadn’t formed his core at her age, hunger on Yiling’s streets would have killed him….
She’s old enough to learn. She doesn’t have to stay ordinary.
The thought froze him. He’d left the Jiang. Because of what he owed, yes, because of Qiongqi Path, definitely – but also because he couldn’t be a head disciple without a golden core. He couldn’t train anyone, what was he thinking-?
Wen Ning lifted his head, listening toward the village. “Um… we should get back.”
Wei Wuxian eyed him, but started moving. Wen Qing was going to be so smug about this… but the sooner they got back to camp, the sooner he could power the array to transport them to the next anchor. It was going to be iffy, and lean on Nie honor more than he liked. But with the mess they’d left behind them, it wasn’t safe for him to open the array twice. They’d have to all go through the first time, without he and Wen Ning scouting ahead-
Mournful yelps split the night, and all he could do was run.
Three frantic steps, and steely hands seized him, pulling him up into Wen Ning’s arms.
He wanted to protest. He really, truly did. He was a grown man, a trained cultivator, he did not need to be carried!
But there was a half-starved child in his arms. And dogs.
Another lunging step, and the Ghost General leaped, eyes pure black.
Oh… I miss flying.
Night air whipped past them, tinged with smoke. He shoved the longing back; there was no time for it. Even if the wish to have Suibian’s steel under his feet, seeking the sky, made his heart burn.