“Ha!” Spectral arms crossed, as the gray old ghost squinted suspiciously at Wei Wuxian. “Like I’d tell a bunch of foreigners my best trade stops!”
Wei Wuxian studied the misty form for any details that might help him sway the ghost to a better mood. The tunic had fine embroidery worked around its edges, but was obviously far too thin for even a warm fall day here. Given the ghost’s fingertips were still blue, Wei Wuxian was willing to bet hypothermia had killed him. Months ago, years ago; he couldn’t be sure. Though based on how coherently nasty this ghost was, he’d guess no more than a few years.
Very nasty. Whatever words the ghost had just used as he went on yelling, Betony hadn’t even known them.
Wei Wuxian tried not to roll his eyes, all too aware of the rest of the camp trying to make sure the horses were screened from the bare-earth traveler’s track of a road, put together a lunch stew, and distract two little seedlings who really shouldn’t overhear some of this language. Cousin Renshu had A-Yuan corralled with a familiar grass butterfly, but little Meigui was hanging onto Wen Qing’s leg with a mouth wide enough to catch flies.
At least the copper-haired girl was starting to perk up with new clothes, a bath, and a few days of decent meals. She’d get used to the ghosts. Eventually.
…Maybe sooner if he could keep Lotus Cloud from shredding this unhelpful old spirit. Ghostly fights could get bloody. The way the bride ghost’s fingernails gleamed like steel, she was looking forward to it.
He hummed under his breath a moment, low and soothing. Lotus Cloud hmphed, but floated back a pace, behind Wen Ning.
“We’re not traveling peddlers, we don’t want your trade routes,” Wei Wuxian repeated. “All we’d like to know is, are there any places near here that need trained healers? Artisans? Or a village that used to be settled, and isn’t now?” Calm. He was going to stay calm. Which would be so much easier if he wasn’t sure something was staring at them all the time.