“It might take us some time and materials to make something permanent for everyone, but temporary talismans so we can get some sleep? I can do that.” Wei Wuxian hefted the slight weight, already considering potential alterations to arrays he knew.
“Oh good,” Wen Ning sighed.
That drew his sister’s startled attention. “A-Ning. You don’t sleep.”
“That makes it worse, jiejie. They’re staring all the time.”
Now Wei Wuxian hoped the air-spirit had noticed, and that peeling off the talismans had stung. Wen Ning was shy enough already. Bad enough that people stared. He didn’t need yaojing at it too. “But what I’d really like to do,” he mused, half to himself, “is make it so they just ignore us.”
Wen Qing glanced at him, nostrils flared in a way that meant she wished she had the air-spirit in front of her needles. “Why? If you can just drive them off….”
“Supposed to,” Wen Ning breathed. “Oh.”
Wei Wuxian smiled softly, recalling Wen Ning’s look of quiet wonder a year back, when he’d admitted his current state wasn’t all bad. Motion was easier to see, faster… and the world was alight with energy, more than he’d ever sensed as a cultivator.
“There was some kind of energy-net linked to it,” Wei Wuxian stated now. “And where there’s a net, someone wove it.” He grinned, almost yearning for a fight to burn off the frustration and worry. Bad idea, bad idea, he had too many people to protect; but oh, he wanted one. “Anyone who can not just catch wind-spirits, but bind them so it sticks – well, we really don’t want to get their attention!”
Wen Ning nodded, eyes wide. Wen Qing looked like she wished she were the fierce corpse, just to have claws to shred something with. “I thought Valdemar didn’t have people who could bind spirits.”
“That’s what Betony said.” Wei Wuxian eyed the peddler’s ghost, judging how it’d frayed at the edges. Whatever resentment the man had gathered was currently partly dispersed by confusion. He could feed the spirit more energy, but….
Not if I can help it. Angry ghosts are easy to ward against; just convince them you’re not their target. This one has greed and malice laced into his soul. That can turn on anyone.