A Long Road Chapter 9 Crossover Ficbit – Chaining Up

At least they have good roofs up here. Wen Ning peeked over the crest of a slate roof near the middle of Haven, noting the guard positions atop the walls surrounding the palace complex. Whoever’d built them knew what he was doing. Even if it’d been broad daylight instead of twilight, only about half the guards were in physical view. The rest he had to feel, little glows of life and watchfulness, well-hidden and defended from any ordinary attack. From an attack borne by swordflight, not as well – but each post did have archers. Enough to make an airborne attack risky, no matter how good a cultivator’s wards might be.

He flattened himself a moment, as Shaya cawed and a few young messengers ran, jumped, and clattered over rooftops nearby, avoiding the crowded streets below. No need to attract young curiosity. Or youngsters in general. Haven’s ghosts would likely bring Wei Wuxian enough seedlings in trouble. They didn’t need to go looking for more.

..Not that he minded helping children in trouble. But the clink of iron chain behind him was a sober reminder of how much trouble the two of them were in already.

Sliding back down behind the roofline, Wen Ning turned, picking up one of the end links. Iron’s chill was faint to his touch. Far stronger was the blackwater-rush of resentful energy from Georg’s spirit and Rikard’s pain, threaded through with a touch of Master Wei’s sheer power. It was a comforting rush, the drowning undertow of dead resentment tempered almost to a predictable river current. Yes, Master Wei had trapped a ghost, held it in flesh when it should have fled – but in doing so they’d carried out its last wish, easing the anger and guilt that would have bound a spirit to earth. The flow was almost… well, resentful energy was never tame. But it recognized an ally.

Iron shivered in his grip, as Wei Wuxian used steel tools and flickers of power to carve tiny arrays into each link of chain in turn. Wen Ning swallowed. “D-do you really think this will hold Hanguang-jun?”

“The chain alone wouldn’t bind him for a minute,” his friend said absently, moving to the next link. “And if he had a chance at his guqin, even resentment wouldn’t hold the chain together. But if we can keep him from moving so he can’t get Wangji out – that should be enough time for me to hit him with talismans. Or for you to use a needle.”


A/N: So you were wondering about that chain… 😉

(Yes, his guqin is named Wangji too. Is possible it was named that first.)

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52 thoughts on “A Long Road Chapter 9 Crossover Ficbit – Chaining Up

  1. Oh geez, I get they need to be prepared for all possibilities, but there will be SO MUCH DRAMA if they kidnap LZ thinking he’s possessed! Plus the sheer WTFery from the Heraldic Circle of how he was able to sneak in and out! I’m preemptively chewing my nails!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Roof critique. 😀

    And plotting how to chain up your possibly possessed/kidnapped/deceived friend, ouch.

    …I am cracking up though imagining their bemusement at finding out Kellen has concluded, secondhand, that WWX is great.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. Kellan should maybe wait to see what some of the nasties in the sect lands can do before making his judgment call. And wow, does Wei Wuxian have cause to worry about possession. He is, most likely, the foremost expert on possession. From the inside even.

        And I do love the different flavor of resentment from the chains!

        Liked by 4 people

  3. :head in hands, laughing:
    ….anybody seen that gif from Road to El Dorado where the scruffy blond is dramatically strumming the lute, which he’s holding way up in the air?

    My brain just insisted on showing me LZ doing that with a guqin…. #crackfic

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Well, it does change the sound quality a little… and there are some sound effects that are easier to produce on the body of the instrument if you hold it in weird positions… but yeah, mostly it’s a drama/busking move.

      It does kinda get stringed instruments back to their roots, as almost all cultures started with the strings in vertical positions, like simple lyres. And it’s definitely better for bows as a sound control device, as opposed to fingers or fingernails or picks, or picks affixed to the fingers.

      Liked by 5 people

  4. Plans to kidnap whichever cultivators are actually in trouble.

    The thing is, the more Wei Wuxian scouts, the more he’ll see that the Nie are being treated as respected/not-quite-trusted-because-unknown foreign dignitaries, while Lan Zhan is . . . practicing an unknown style of cultivation, having philosophical discussions, taking ethics lessons in how to defy elders for righteousness’ sake . . .

    I’m contemplating Wei Wuxian dropping in on Talia, Alberich, or Her Majesty for a friendly interrogation, but you know what I’m _really_ hoping for at the moment?

    If Kellen notices WWX and intercepts him so that he can have a talk with his Chosen’s Lifebonded before anyone does anything else. (And if necessary, deliver the shovel speech.)

    How would WWX react to knowing that it’s confirmed that he’s connected to Lan Zhan on a deep, spiritual level, that ‘dual cultivation’ is usually involved once the bond is acknowledged but doesn’t have to be, and the locals actually have some experience/expertise with this oddball tangent of cultivation? Oh, and the horse yao cares a lot less about him being a resentful cultivator and a lot more about checking to see if he and Lan Zhan are likely to be happy together.

    Wait, shaych dual cultivators can cultivate children together? Can you help non-cultivators cultivate children, in cases where they’re wanted but can’t happen naturally? (Lan Wangji knows a lot about cultivation. Wei Wuxian knows a lot more. Wen Qing may not know _all_ the medical cultivation, but not for a lack of trying on her part.)

    Oh, yeah, we’ve got blood-tainted lands because of an neighboring king gone mad. You’d call it ‘resentful energy’ contamination. The whole ‘raise an army of fierce corpses’ thing has the ranking Heralds more than a little nervous, but if you could accompany perhaps our Weaponmaster, our Gift Instructor, our Monarch’s Own, both Nie to help smooth over misunderstandings . . . if they can see that what you know is useful for countering the horrors taking place at the border, that’d go a long way towards establishing ‘necromancy is a legit branch of Gifts/Magic, with a code of ethics required just like any other potent ability’.

    -Albert

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The thing is, the more Wei Wuxian scouts, the more he’ll see that the Nie are being treated as respected/not-quite-trusted-because-unknown foreign dignitaries, while Lan Zhan is . . . practicing an unknown style of cultivation, having philosophical discussions, taking ethics lessons in how to defy elders for righteousness’ sake . . .

      *attack of giggling*

      Liked by 3 people

    1. *Wry G* It’s Wei Wuxian. Canonically good at getting into and out of places that are armed against cultivators.

      Plus, never underestimate the value of ghost spies with a grudge against Heralds.

      …Seriously, if Heralds are the Good Guys and end up capturing criminals who then get executed, there will be a lot of ghosts who have it in for them.

      Who’s the Herald most directly responsible for criminals ending up meeting messy ends all over Haven? 😉

      Liked by 4 people

  5. Would that many know that Alberich was the one who caught them, though? Though I can imagine Heralds in general would be a target without the Companions.

    Oddly enough, in the book series it seems almost all the ghosts we actually see are friendly/helpful to Valdemar or the protaganists. Kris, Vanyel, Idra, the trainers Tarma has, the ones that become the falcons in Mage Winds, heck even Need could be classified that way.

    I’m bemused at the roof talk, but pretty much any (older)city is going to try and fireproof their roofs and buildings as much as possible, especially that close to the palace/government buildings. Haven is just set up oddly in the varying series, though, about what buildings would be where.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. ::pictures Albrich going into his Secret Costume Room and finding a necromancer and only-mostly-dead guy waiting::

        I’d still lay money on Mr. Pokerface looking chill, but–!

        Liked by 4 people

      2. Ooooh.

        …I’m sure whatever actually happens in the story will be fun, but meanwhile, I am definitely enjoying the speculative scenarios. Both this one and Kellen getting the first chat in.

        Liked by 4 people

      3. He (or she) would have to maintain selfish self-centeredness in the face of a whole lot of Companion hoofs hitting the ground and chiming _all the time_. So it’d be a very _wicked_ ghost.

        Or possibly an innocent victim of collateral damage, hoping that the Heralds can still deliver justice.

        -Albert

        Liked by 4 people

  6. I love how Wen Ning just KNOWS they are going to get more seedlings here, and is already resigned to that fact. And I’m glad to see that the security around the Palace might have been changed after Lan Wangji showed off his sword flying skills… after reading some of the comments, I do have to giggle over the idea Kellen wanting to beat Wei Ying up for reverse kidnapping his chosen, and my mind jumped to Lan Wangji waking up in the middle of a stone celler,still chained up in the middle of a some sort of array, with Wei Ying casually spinning Chenging as he proceeds to interrogate him about if he is actually possessed and what his intentions are. Along with the rest of the Heralds and companions being UNABLE TO FIND THEM. Oh this is going to be awesome, no matter how the story goes. And all those evil ghosts being able to tell Wei Ying all about certain sneaky Heralds will be very interesting, both in possibly telling Wei Ying who to trust, or who to watch out for… and this whole thing could go sideways if they don’t manage to get the Nie out of there at the same time! 😈

    Liked by 4 people

    1. “I love how Wen Ning just KNOWS they are going to get more seedlings here, and is already resigned to that fact.”

      (I realize I have no idea how to do quotage in WordPress)

      I admit, this put me in mind of one of the good bits from The Phantom Menace, when Qui-Gon Jin shows up with Jar-Jar in tow, and Obi-Wan rolls his eyes and says “Master, don’t tell me we’ve picked up *yet another* pathetic lifeform?”

      The way he said it hinted at this being A Thing with Qui-Gon, and something of a standing joke between them. And I just see Wen Ning being Obi-Wan here, with WWX as Qui-Gon.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You know there’s something we aren’t considering here. WWX is intending to grab LX to see if he’s possessed/mind controlled etc right? Well you can no doubt get a far more detailed/accurate analysis if you also have the critter that did the mind controlling/possessing on hand.

    -Kero watches as WN runs off with a hog-tied Kellen on his shoulder, the three ghosts carting a chained up LX and WWX following, playing a lively tune on Chenqing-

    Kerowyn: “Alright, I’ll give them point for audacity if nothing else. Now would somebody CATCH THOSE MANIACS!”

    Liked by 6 people

      1. /That wasn’t quite the image I had in mind, but yes, it will be audacious./
        Well I figured that it would be a smash and grab (though a thoroughly planned out one) action at the end.

        Because the minute they grab LX, Kellen is going to be Mind-yelling to everyone that can hear that his Chosen is being Ghost-napped. Ergo they’d need to get out of town, FAST. With or without WWX calling up a horde of ghosts to tie up the Guard and Heralds.

        Liked by 5 people

  8. Lan Wangji, post ghost-napping: /Wei Ying must have misunderstood something. He needs healing and the people there seem to be good at that. Maybe I can make a suggestion, a compromise?/
    “Wei Ying, come back to Haven with me.”
    Wei Wuxian:
    “Lan Wangji, what the HELL! Did you get brainwashed so bad even your sales-pitch got twisted???”

    Liked by 6 people

  9. why do i imagine WWX flirting outrageously with Karowin as he escapes, to her anger, and Talia’s amusement?

    and when karo yells that she is married- WWX asks if the husband is as pretty as she is?resulting in a brain reboot as she slows, which is what he was aiming for…

    its not just that the guy is a necromancer and a cultivator, or taht he is also sneaky- but that he is a trickster as well.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. To be fair, Kero, of the raised as a teenager by Kethry “Mother of a dozen kids”, Tarma and Warryl of “Neuter doesn’t mean we don’t know what’s going on”, and spent a couple of years sleeping with then Prince Darren *and* managing to treat the ending well enough that they’re still good friends, and spent a load of years building a mercenary company that’s attitude toward relationships was canonically pretty much “as it harm none” is more likely to ask if he’s up for sharing! Now, Eldan, on the other hand, might choke…

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Kerowyn probably has a lot of experience with outrageous flirts and tricksters. I mean, she was a merc, in a male-oriented profession, who roomed with a bunch of people of various sexual preferences. So yeah, it’s like trying to BSOD somebody who’s been a bartender for twenty years. “That joke was funny the first twenty times I heard it.”

      Liked by 3 people

      1. /Oh man, no; Kerowyn would yell back things/
        At which point he yanks out a brush and piece of paper because some of those lines were very creative and he wants to record them.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. WWX would teas e back, untill she starts joking about Lan Wangji- which will confuse him so much ( because he has no idea thats what the guy really thinks) that he will take it as another sign of possession

    Liked by 2 people

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