A Long Road Chapter 14 Ficbit – Defining Monsters

“You killed it?” Theo squirmed to be put down, even if he swayed on his feet and Wei Wuxian had to steady him. “But it was so big….”

“There was a lot of running and screaming first,” Wei Wuxian said practically. “Which is what you should do with monsters, most of the time! I mean, think about it. Why do you call anything a monster?”

“Because it’s eating people?” Bodhi snorted.

“No, no, you don’t always know that for sure,” Wei Wuxian shook his head. “You call it a monster because it’s scary and you don’t know what it is. And if you don’t know what it is-” He flung out his free hand. “Then you don’t know how to fight it! Maybe you should get in close and go for the throat. But maybe it’s got armor, or a paralyzing gaze, or it can set you on fire when it touches you. Getting close might just let it kill you faster.”

“Correct, Master Wei is,” Alberich stated, unflinching. Swept his gaze over doubtful and scared students. “All such things have been reported from creatures of the Pelagirs. Firebirds have Heralds harmed before, who fell into their nests. Monsters they are not; only birds, much fond of fruit, that can set things ablaze simply from being… upset.”

Ah, and that drew the children’s shivers yet again. Some had bad memories of fire, and all could imagine it-

“Oh, you have false-phoenixes here, too?” Wei Wuxian’s grin was quick, even as he winked at the youngsters. “Don’t tell Nie Huaisang! He hasn’t given up on trying to tame them.”

Ha! The Nie heir did have an ulterior motive for attracting a Beast-Speaker to his ranks of seedlings. Alberich bit back a smile, amused. Even if the idea of Nie Huaisang with a firebird on his shoulder was mildly terrifying.

Fitting, though. With his fans and his fluttering – he, of all men, might appreciate a perilous creature that only wishes to eat fruit and sing.

Payden tilted his head, eyes gone wide. “Why would anyone want to tame birds that set you on fire?

Wei Wuxian tipped his own head to match, like a curious hawk. “To set someone else on fire, of course! Or something,” he added thoughtfully. “A lot of yao have to be burned after they’re dead. Just to be sure.”


19 thoughts on “A Long Road Chapter 14 Ficbit – Defining Monsters

  1. … Nie Huaisang is going to combust with jealously when he meets Firesong and Aya!!!!! *cackles*

    I always thought the Firebirds in the books were a really neat twist on the usual Phoenix type critter!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I just thought you might like to know, the Firebird is different from the Phoenix. Lackey contrasts them in one of her books… (Probably the Firebird, or her Five Hundred Kingdoms series…)

      The Firebird is from Russian or Slavic traditions, being a fire spirit that can transform into a woman. I think Lackey is fascinated by the Russian stories, because many of her twists on fairy tales include Russian folklore.

      The Phoenix is Greek I believe, but it’s been a long time since I read anything about a Phoenix

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Phoenix legends are found, at the very least, from Greece and Egypt to most of Asia – China, Korea, and Japan in specific. And while the Firebird in the storybook novel is based on the Russian stories, the firebirds in the Velgarth universe are based more on the classic phoenix, do not transform into people, and do set things on fire.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. It’s been a while since I’ve read the velgarth books, but been working my way through Lackey’s various fairy tale twists lately. Like I said, not very familiar with the Phoenix legends.

        Didn’t mean to offend, sorry.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. For Huaisang in particular, the “light on fire when upset” is a wonderful tool.

    “Oh, please don’t raise your voice, it might upset Sparky!”

    Liked by 3 people

      1. And I’m giggling thinking of the total shock that Wei Wuxian will feel when he realizes why they want to grab him. 🤣 and the complete lack of surprise by Wen Ning and Wen Qing.

        Liked by 3 people

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