Kantor yanked on his mind, and Alberich came to himself crouched on the salle floor, one arm around Bodhi and at least three students huddled up behind him. The flute was still warbling, but softer now, a lullaby; shadows subsumed into the concrete image of a living monster, finally fading into the certainty that the nightmare was over, and they could wake.
Wei Wuxian lowered his black flute to one side, crouching to gather a shivering Theo into his arms. “Easy. Easy, now. You’re okay. It’s all over.”
A familiar, exhausted shiver, Alberich noted. Gift-strain. The boy would need warmth, and likely willowbark tea. And another series of lectures on center, ground, control the energy you throw into your Gift. He was not looking forward to it.
But no one was harmed, even with fear and rage rampaging like a whirlwind. It could have been so much worse.
Could still be worse. Odd to realize, sometimes, how looking through another’s eyes skewed perception. In Lan Wangji’s memories Wei Wuxian was slightly shorter, thin, and worn; eyes shadowed and glowing red as night-demons. In life, the man was easily Alberich’s height, with gray eyes, broad shoulders that spoke of sword-training since childhood… and a grin that lit the room bright as midday.
Fearsome, he can be. As I am. Yet a proper Swordmaster must be able to inspire trust as well as fear….
Carefully peeking out from behind Alberich, Payden shuddered. “What was that?”
“Hmm?” Wei Wuxian stood with only the subtlest hint of a hitch, as if lifting a boy Theo’s size was no effort at all. “Oh. That was a monster.”
Old wounds, that he takes care to hide, Alberich judged. Wen Qing is a Healer, so all that can be done likely has… but he aches.
For now, the cultivator’s scars were far less important than the sudden swarm of staring eyes from his class. “Who are you?” Bodhi demanded. “How’d you get in here?”
Alberich clicked his tongue, catching young gazes. “Important to both Heralds and Courts, situational awareness is. Very disappointed in your grasp of this, I am.”