A Long Road Chapter 3 Ficbit – Exeunt Stage Left, Pursued

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.

“Oh, no….”

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.

33 thoughts on “A Long Road Chapter 3 Ficbit – Exeunt Stage Left, Pursued

  1. Wei Wuxian is meant to be a teacher and a dad. I’m not sure where he learned his absolute Dadness from, but he thrives on the role. But it’s so like him to try and deny what he wants to look out for the other person’s benefit. But sometimes that means he overlooks the fact that he could be the best option.

    For this baby girl, being given to the necromancer is far from the worst thing that could happen. Her dead guardian was killed by family in this town, so this isn’t the safest place to grow up anyway. And Wei Wuxian tried, he tried so hard, to take care of the children in his care, of everyone in his care. That’s why Lotus Pier being burned and Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng being forced away was so hard. They’ve been raised to protect this place, these people. And now it’s burning and the very people who raised and taught them that won’t let them help.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I suspect part of it is remembering his own parents and part is looking at Jiang Fengmian and Madame Yu and some shred of good sense saying, “See that? Don’t do that.”

      And yes. So much. When you think of the fact that Wei Wuxian was about 18 when the war started, and he’d been head disciple since he was 14 – he’d been responsible for all the bittiest disciples of Lotus Pier for four years.

      And then in comes Wen Chao’s bimbo, starting off with killing child disciples who were shooting kites for practice.

      And then fire and everybody’s dead, everybody but Jiang Cheng and Jiang Yanli, and Jiang Cheng’s going to die, and he gets that fixed – he hopes, no matter what the cost to him – and then the Burial Mounds-

      That guy needs to be buried in fluff for years.

      (There’s some canon support that yes, Jiang Cheng would have died, Wen Zhuliu’s strike shattered meridians, where Wen Qing’s surgery was more like an amputation. You can live without a golden core but everyone needs meridians!)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Jiang Cheng had also lost all will to live along with his GC. He straight-up refused to eat. Yeah, maybe he could have snapped out of it given time,but he and WWX didn’t have any, they were actively being hunted.

        It’s a pretty big contributor to the surgery.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Honestly, the more I think about it, the more it bothers me that they made Jiang Cheng get rid of his dogs. It showed Jiang Cheng that his opinion didn’t matter, especially when Jiang Fengmian tried to get him to share his room pretty much right after that, and it didn’t actually help anything.

        I think it would have been much better to keep, at the very least, the calmest dog and help Wei Wuxian get over his fears, but I suppose that would have required more long-term thinking on Jiang Fengmian’s part. And the less said about Madame Yu, the better.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Long-term it would have been better for everybody, yes. But treating trauma instead of ignoring it would have solved a lot of problems in the canon setting!

        A lot of Jiang Cheng’s problems can be traced back to the mixed messages he kept getting. Among other things, “You have to be better than Wei Wuxian, but you can’t be, he’s supposed to spend his life protecting you, not the other way around.”

        Like

  2. I understand why he wouldn’t want to teach demonic cultivation, but WWX wasn’t the head disciple of a major clan for nothing. There’s no reason he can’t teach her the normal methods.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Speculation, the major part of being a cultivation teacher is the implicit knowledge that the teacher can reign in any mistakes a student is making. That way the student doesn’t, you know, accidentally spontaneously combust. While Wei Wuxian is sensitive enough to energy flows that he would be able to detect a student reaching outward for power, he doesn’t have the ability to ‘show’ them how to do it right. Also, cultural expectations as well. But between him and Wen. Qing and Wen Ning I think they’ve got a pretty fair shot at it.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. This. With the risk of potentially fatal qi deviations if you do one little thing wrong building your foundation and core, you need someone on-site with the skills to fix energy flows before they go wrong. Wei Wuxian may be able to find workarounds, he’s a genius. But it’s not something to consider casually!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Except for the question of whether he is authorized to teach.

      Credentialing and permission can be a big part of stories about martial arts schools.

      The techniques of a school are often considered the intellectual property of the school. Wei Wuxian knows how to train people in the Yunmeng Jiang techniques, and was previously authorized to pass on those techniques, but he does not think he is authorized to do that any more, or to take on students on behalf of the Yunmeng Jiang school.

      Because he invented resentful/ghost/demonic cultivation, he is authorized to teach it to whomever, he just doesn’t feel that it is appropriate.

      One interesting question is what the feeling is on authorization to pass on Wen school cultivation teachings. Wen Qing and Wen Qing obviously have information on a path within Wen teachings that doesn’t drive people mad, and which may be safe.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. *G* Yep. Wen Qing’s specialty may be medical cultivation, but it’s canon she does know how to use a sword – and so does Wen Ning, even if we almost never see it on-screen. So if all three of them work together, something could be done.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Anyway, being reminded of the ‘Yiling Edgelord Sect’ seems to have helped me find a point of assembly for the most recent incoherent mess to be sitting around and getting nowhere.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. “Wait, your job title is *keeper* of hounds, not *releaser* of hounds! I assumed that mean you kept the menaces locked up!”

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Worse, they have Royal Kennels on site. Noble ladies often tend to carry lap dogs too. Since they will be scouting out the palace before hand I’m sure any plans involved will be far away from the Kennels as possible.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The idea that kids can just be taught to cultivate without having any inborn Gift of any kind may come as quite a shock to everyone on the valdameran side… I’m trying to remember if they have any type of special stuff that people can learn by, you know, just having a good teacher and trying hard, but even the bardic and mage gifts you have to just have, don’t you?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. *G* Inborn gifts help. But theoretically, yes, anyone can be taught to cultivate – some will be good, some not so good, some geniuses. Starting young helps all of them.

      Oh, the Valdemaran side is going to have even more shocks once a Healer gets a good “look” at a cultivator. They’re different.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Grew up knowing what “but he’s sweet” dogs do to calves when their owners let them run.

        Then “got” to see what wolves do to animals.

        Nope. People who want to act like cats are horrible because of their hunting, but dogs are great, have just not seen the pack hunting.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have met dogs safe to be off-leash. I know someone else is going to think it, so I’ll poitn it out. 😀

        They were NOT family dogs. They were WORKING dogs, and suitably trained for it.

        In some cases, they were the wolf-and-feral-dog-defenses.

        They weren’t fun, play dogs.

        It’s a world of difference.

        Liked by 1 person

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