A Long Road Chapter 4 Ficbit – Hide and Seek

Something broke past his shoulder, small and blue and fast.

Talismans were faster.

Four flicked out from his spread hands; right, left, above, and below. Wen Ning moved, with all a fierce corpse’s speed; the glint of blue recoiled from him, stuttering in air one moment as if trying to decide if it was more scared of the Ghost General or the Yiling Patriarch.

One moment too long. Two more talismans, and they had it trapped in a cube of glowing scarlet power.

Trapped and scared, Wei Wuxian knew. And while on the one hand good, it deserved to be scared, terrifying his people including small children….

Calm. Calm down. We need to solve the bigger problem.

And there was a bigger problem. One little watching spirit wouldn’t have been able to haunt the whole camp.

So he breathed out anger, and straightened his shoulders, approaching the translucent blue cloud writhing and squirming and trying to find a way past the array. Even as it stared at him, at them, with countless wide blue eyes. “Caught you! Wow, you’re good at hiding.”


Fear and panic and confusion; Wei Wuxian braced against it like a sudden gust of wind. It didn’t seem malevolent. Just… very, very strange.

“Lord of Light,” the peddler’s ghost almost gulped, “what the hells is that?

“It’s not from a hell.” Wen Ning scowled at the ghost. “Jiejie? Is that… a cloud spirit?”

“I think so?” Wen Qing craned her neck to blink right back at all those eyes. “Some kind of air yaojing? I’ve never seen it in any manual.”

“Probably because they’re just too good at hide and seek.” Wei Wuxian smiled at wide blue eyes, trying to sort as much of those inhuman feelings as possible. Yaojing had motives, just not ones most people understood. “Is that what you were doing? Playing a game on the humans?”

:Watch! Supposed to!: If clouds could pout, this one was. :Let go let go let go!:

“I’d like to,” Wei Wuxian said seriously, tapping Chenqing against his wrist. “But I don’t know. If we know you’re playing the game, are all of you going to have as much fun anymore?”


31 thoughts on “A Long Road Chapter 4 Ficbit – Hide and Seek

      1. Hey if he deliberately incites chaos, he probably has a little control over it. Besides, corralling this sort of thing is his job.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Vrondi are air elementals and usually it would take a mage to be able to see one. Problem is the haven’t been any workers of true magic in Valdemar for the past 600 something years.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. It never actually says regular people can’t see them in the books, they’re just so shy and so very very fast that most people don’t. Mages can bind them or coax them with the promise of a little yummy power, which is how you get the levels of the truth spell.

      It’s never explained how Heralds with no actual magic can use the truth spell (because mind magic and ‘true’ magic are two very different beasts) but I tend to think of it as one of those things the author hadn’t thought all the way through yet, since the Vrondi appear in the first book she wrote.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Based on how the magic system works in the rest of the books, anyone can cast a spell if they know how and there’s power available. Heralds use a ritual (rhyme and visualization), the power comes from their Mindspeech Gift, and the vrondi are getting “fed” as well by the line of power Vanyel and other Herald-Mages set up, so they’re inclined to come when called.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I just came from the archive, and apparently a Chinese colloquialism for being jealous is to say the person has become a vinegar pot or is drinking vinegar. So. If Wei Wuxian is the honey in this case…

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Is…is WWX going to make friends with the vrondi? This’ll be interesting. I wonder if he’ll teach them how to prank people…they are playful, if I’m remembering correctly…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hah, it’s already giving him smol child vibes, this is great. Is this one of the actually bound Vrondi, or one of the bored ‘wild’ ones that joined them in ‘playing’?

    For people unfamiliar with the Valdemar novels, go check out the song Vrondi’s Eyes on YouTube! It’s a pretty basic run down of why they’re doing this.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh gads, that mental shirt that keeps marking Wen Ning as Wei Wuxian‘s Companion in this crossover just started gleeing all over the landscape that the way this is going, Wei Wuxian is accidentally slot himself into the spell as a ‘foreign Herald.’ Hey, the spell is old and hasn’t been maintained in literal centuries. Wei Wuxian has all the soulmarks of a Herald, and he’s even got a former dead guy attached to him. And the Vrondi are simplistic. And Vanyel probably never envisioned that there was someone fast enough to catch a Vrondi.

    …And if Vanyel is indeed a distant ancestor, then Wei Wuxian may have inherited the rights to make minor alterations to the spell. Oh dear, that would derail the plans of any Beings even further than Elspeth planting her feet and saying “no.”

    Liked by 5 people

  4. How adorable! And in some respects/POVs, adoribble!

    I’m reminded somewhat of the Dragonriders of Pern, where generations of the farmers had passed down the admonition to watch for the presence of a kind of grub in the fields. Which had been interpreted to mean over time, that they were harmful, and to destroy them. Until it was finally rediscovered to have been part of the anti-Thread defenses the first generation(s) of the colonists had developed.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Even without “paper”, there were lots of alternatives that have been used historically, even portable and light-weight ones. And this includes ones that we’re already shown they make use of in limited form (the wooden coins. nothing actually preventing them from making the things larger, and putting more writing on it than just the value). But author biases…

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I read once that she start the series to get over a fear of flying. Reviewed what I recalled of the flying scenes in my head, and how much happens on the ground instead. “Yep, that didn’t work….”

        Don’t get me wrong, I adored them as a teen, and they still are good books. But as aa practicing writer I keep finding these plotholes… *Sheepish*

        Liked by 1 person

  5. …you know, it feels astonishingly IC on a meta level that people were bouncing around ideas for WWX dealing with the vrondi a la “magic! resentful energy! violence!” and WWX’s first reaction is, in fact, “let’s try talking to them!”

    Liked by 5 people

    1. *G* It is how he deals with ghosts first. Talk, then smack if necessary.

      …There are some adorable fics out there that propose, Lan Sizhui’s first night-hunt he either talked to the fierce corpses first, or hit one that tried to bite him with his guqin telling it “No! Bad!” Due to old fever-faded memories of how his Xian-gege did it….

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Are any of those in your bookmarks perchnace? They sound absolutely adorable. And like an adult supervisor having a Qi deviation in the background.

        Liked by 1 person

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