A Long Road Chapter 3 Ficbit – Old Cultivators

Kero blinked. :…Wait. Just wait. Yes, he’s a mage; he’s probably as spry as a man ten years younger. And blood-mages like Wen Ruohan can do horrible things to live longer. But Guangshan’s still over sixty. Why the hells were they expecting him to-?:

:Kellen says strong cultivators may be in the field until they hit a hundred.:

Kero tried not to stare. :What.:

Sayvil cleared her mental throat. :Apparently everyone expects Lan Wangji and his older brother to clear the century mark, if not longer.:

:What.: Because yes, Grandmother Kethry had been well into her twelfth decade when she’d finally passed, but she hadn’t been on a battlefield since before Kero herself had been born. Even a mage couldn’t fight when they were over ninety… could they?

:There’s something different about them,: Sayvil muttered :The way energy flows around them, it’s like….:

:Like. What?: Kero asked bluntly.

:A Hawkbrother would be closest,: came the reluctant admission. :The way they move magic not just with their minds, but through their bodies as well. We Companions use the magic of our existence to be stronger, faster, more enduring than any horse. Hawkbrothers use their own magic to do some of the same.:

Meaning those sabers weren’t showing off at all. Oh. Joy.

Nie Huaisang cleared his throat. “Of course, the most likely suspect to have stolen those arrays would be a rogue cultivator, or perhaps one of the smaller sects that wanted an unusual filial revenge on the Wen Sect. I’m sure all the sect leaders would say so.”

:They’d “say so.”: Sayvil smirked. :Oh, he is good. You know, I don’t think he’s told us one lie yet?:

Kero’d met experienced mercenary captains who couldn’t have pulled that bit of diplomacy off. The Nie Sect leader had picked the right man for the job, fluttery or not.

“But wherever those notes may be, it’s a matter for – well, sneakier people than we are.” Nie Huaisang brightened. “My brother’s spies are on it! And I know the Lan are too. But we’re not sneaky-”

Lan Wangji gave a minuscule shake of his head.

Yes? No? Augh, does this man come with a dictionary?


45 thoughts on “A Long Road Chapter 3 Ficbit – Old Cultivators

  1. The only full copy of the dictionary is with Lan Xichen, the abridged version is with Wei Wuxian, and Kellen only has the cliff notes so far. I wish you look Kerowyn, your gonna need it.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Sorry Kero, but no. XD Even his own lifebonded has been reading him wrong since they were kids (in between instances of reading him better than his own family).

    Cultivator lifespans are gonna be fun to explain! It’s the actual node they build and keep inside their bodies! Duuuuude, the revelation is gonna be wasted on the Valdemarians! They don’t know just how weird that is. The Tayledras though. Darkwind may have to lay down for a while, and Firesong is going to be FASCINATED. XD

    Hah, NHS being all butter wouldn’t melt as he spells out the situation. Very nice!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I mean, in WWX’s defense, literally everyone has been telling him LWJ hates him since the day they met, and LWJ has been really bad at showing otherwise. And WWX still trusts LWJ and thinks they have an alright relationship, even though he thinks LWJ dislikes him at best.

      Liked by 5 people

    2. What’s going to interesting is the fact that the Hawkbrothers and the Companions are bleached by the use of node energy. Cultivators aren’t. Of course that could be a case of accidentally breeding for people who can withstand that sort of power in their bodies, so it would take a lot more power to get the same effect.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. If handling energy prolongs life, and doing so efficiently means it takes longer for the body to break down, does that mean WWX’s handling of resentful energy does something similar? Or does energy type make a difference? Like, companions use natural energy, cultivators use yang/spiritual energy, WWX uses yin/resentful energy…?

        Or I could be confused. Terminology can be very vague, even when it’s specific. 🙂

        I love how you’re building this! Hope life has been treating you better!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I can tell you Wei Wuxian and Wen Qing have been working on the problem. *G*

        And, well, somewhat better? This is my worst allergy season so I’m a bit miserable, but at least in the new place I’m not getting so horribly sick as I have the past few years.

        Currently finishing up the index for Gateway to Fiction. It’s been a bear to do by hand, but it should work in Kindle – at least it does in the Previewer!

        I’m putting a lot of effort into it because I recall how frustrated I was getting a nonfic book on Kindle and the index being just… a copy of the printed pages, not something that actually let you get to the page in question.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. “So he shook his head two and a half times, does that me ‘no’?”

    “That means someone has attacked something precious to him, and he will destroy them.”

    “Okay. Now he shook his head two and a half times, with the last part ending in a slight downward tilt.”

    “That means he’s very stressed and wants to pet a bunny.”


    “To be fair, those situations often overlap.”

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Going backwards a bit, what is this ‘array’ that they speak of. The paranoid jumping to conclusions mind think this is how they are creating contagious zombies. As opposed to WWX “whistle and they will come” method for raising corpses.

    Did Nie Huaisang just claim to be “Not Sneaky”. I think this is editorial license or satire or situational comedy. I’d sooner believe random teenager that “No I didn’t eat the last piece of cake, and spoiled my dinner ” { Random teenager can eat a whole cake before dinner without spoiling their appetite }

    Liked by 3 people

      1. That doesn’t mean he’s not sneaky. Lan Wangji would know too, he had to try and ride herd on the guest disciples, not just Wei Wuxian. And Wei Wuxian and Niè Huaisang definitely played off each other, and most likely covered for each other.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. He’ll have a lot of incentive to learn to be ultra sneaky…

        I thought you were going to bring up that old hoary chestnut of there being old cultivators, bold cultivators, but few ol, bold cultivators…

        Liked by 1 person

      1. No, he said “We’re not sneaky.”

        That includes the entire Nie sect!

        Therefore he *still* isn’t lying.

        I suspect Huaisang would be an excellent demonstration of how a Truth Spell doesn’t always help.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. I just like imagining the conversation.

        “We’d like you to participate in a lecture for our trainees.”

        “Oh? What’s the lecture about?”

        “Well, the last lesson was on how to cast the Truth Spell. Our next lesson is on it’s limitations and how it can fail.”

        “I have no idea how I could help in that lesson…”

        “Don’t worry, you’ll do great.”

        Liked by 4 people

  5. “But wherever those notes may be, it’s a matter for – well, sneakier people than we are.” Nie Huaisang brightened. “My brother’s spies are on it! And I know the Lan are too. But we’re not sneaky-”

    …. you know, that IS technically true.

    “We” are not sneaky….

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thats a dubious reply. If he is saying that “Not all the Nie Sect are sneaky” this statement is true, if he is saying “No one in the Nie Sect is sneaky” that statement is false. I’d assume he meant the latter.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, incredibly dubious.

        Just not actively false, since “characteristic of the group as a whole” is a valid use of “we.”

        That’s why I’ve said, oh, “we can’t use the girls’ room, we’re not women.” Usually then clarify because the person starts giggling, because I am very definitely female, but it isn’t false before that point.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Uh… I feel the need to point out that while I am very strict about what is actually lying, I have a much more complex concept of respecting truth by recognizing the information to which a person is rightfully due must be honored. “I didn’t actually lie” is no excuse to deny someone information to which they are rightfully entitled, and if I volunteer information they definitely have a big, honkin’ weight in support of their right to information that is as accurate as I can manage.

    …this is part of why I over-explain, out of respect for truth.

    (Religious conviction that to do less is a sin against the Holy Spirit, plus it is sound philosophy. Which most religious convictions are, or at least SHOULD be, stomping on digression now….)

    Liked by 2 people

      1. The classic “Nazis asking about Jews in the attic” example, where if you tell them the truth you are helping them damn themselves, knowingly.
        May as well shoot them in the head where they stand– actually, would be BETTER to do so, then enable them in damning themselves by slaughter of the innocent, although that’s getting into figuring out which bad is worse…..

        Slightly more common, the equivocation where the Nice But Slightly Dotty neighbor gives you a pie where she confused TEA spoon of salt with TABLEspoon of salt, and you tell her how much you appreciated it and how delighted the gift made you.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah. One of the big sets of lies of the modern day is that Truth and Fact are identical, that Lie, Untruth, Non-Truth, and Falsehood, are logical equivalents, and that Lie and Truth are antonyms and diametrical opposites.

      It’s entirely possible to lie without even one untrue thing being said, and to not-lie without even one true thing being said. Not easy in the first case, and unfortunately common in the second (tho usually difficult to entirely avoid true things without lying, even when mislead), and anything other than those two extremes is much more common and much easier. It’s even possible to lie, saying nothing untrue, while believing everything said was false. Because the key point of lying isn’t the truth or falsity of the statement, but the active and malicious intent to deceive for gain or harm (which is where NHS is dancing on the line, in my estimation).

      And that’s before, as you note, any considerations of duty or morality in the question.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Oh, NHS is definitely dancing on the line. He has no personal animosity towards Valdemar, but he has no current reason to go out of his way to give them the whole truth, either. Not when he’s rolling the dice to (ultimately) keep his brother alive!


  7. Hey, we may have finally found a Herald that may outlive the Companion. By. Several orders of magnitude. Unless Kellan can pull a bit more on node energy? Man, Wei Wuxian and Wen Qing may go ape over the meridians in a not-Yao. At this point I may as well admit that I consider the two of them the foremost experts on Golden Cores. Wen Ning, I love, and you are important, but the two of them have just done more dumb and out there things with a Core then most people have even dreamed of considering.

    … You know Wen Qing’s proximity to the Core-Melting Hand probably has a lot to do with her core transfer theory. How many times did she have to watch? How many times did Wen Ruohan toss her the broken bodies of shattered cultivators to tend? Because her coming up with the transfer theory is Not Normal. At all.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m sure Lan Wangji will work with Kellan on the problem. Not to mention we know Groveborn are “immortal unless killed”, so there’s precedent for longer life.

      I’d say that Wen Zhuliu had a lot to do with her work, yes. My personal headcanon? The Core Melting doesn’t just destroy the core, it shatters meridians leading to it; hence victims being in an awful state and wasting away. But it’s also a canon fact that meridians shattered by, for example, qi deviation, can heal – if there’s an intact golden core.

      Wei Wuxian’s meridians were not shattered.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Which means that if the pressure had ever been left off long enough in canon, he may have developed a second core. He had strong meridians and his body already knew how to make and support one, so if he’d just had time… But no one was going to give him that.

        Liked by 2 people

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