A Long Road Chapter 15 Ficbit – Ripples

Kellen was glaring at the ripples. :Is that what we’re after?:

:Let us so hope, and let it strike soon,: Lan Wangji answered. :Whatever power your priests and Groveborn have raised here does not work well with Nie cultivation.:

:It – what? But that makes no sense! It’s spiritual power, and you have no problem with-:

:The power called on by priests is not that drawn from within by cultivators,: Lan Wangji said practically. :Every sect’s cultivation is different. I am Lan. Our founder was a monk. Our focus has always been on matters of the spirit. We have no quarrel with priests, merely little to do with them. The Nie were butchers; bloody, unclean, avoided by priests and all but the lowest of common men. Their prey are yao, walking corpses, and fierce ghosts; they hunt them as a tiger hunts buffalo. They will endure your magics as long as they can, but they need a target. Any target.:

:I hear you.: Kellen shifted on his feet, a stallion’s frown. :And we should have one. Any moment now. Whatever resentment remains, whatever cursed spirit might lurk in the darkest waters, it should awaken here. We set up a cleansed perimeter-:

:For this part of the river.: Breathe in. Breathe out. He would remain calm. The priests were finishing up their rituals, Herald Talia coordinating between them and the gathered Heralds and Companions.

And yet, against that bright spiritual energy, he could sense a chill. As if a shadow passed over the sun-

There.

Kellen twitched. :You sense-?:

:Gui,: Lan Wangji said levelly. :Gathering downstream, near….:

Wei Ying. Of course. With a coherent river-ghost, the cool darkness that was Wen Qionglin, and what must have been Nie Huaisang’s entire flock of students.

28 thoughts on “A Long Road Chapter 15 Ficbit – Ripples

  1. I can hear Lan Wangji saying, “of course it was near Wei Ying. Of. Course. Why did I expect anything else?” Or, no. The one saying it is actually Niè Huaisang. But all three cultivators are thinking it. Oh well. The Yiling Laozu is a formidable foe. He can handle it.

    Lan Wangji is probably not handling it as well as he could, with his new knowledge of his beloved’s lack of golden core. He knows it doesn’t change what Wei Wuxian did in the war, but he’s suddenly aware of a whole host of danger that could take Wei Wuxian’s life.

    Valdemar is going to discover why the jianghu fear the cheerful spooky sunshine boy. And maybe just what he could do, with a battlefield of resentful men at his disposal. Something a lot of fics miss about post-canon Wei Wuxian. It’s not that he can no longer raise a battlefield and wipe out a sect and keep doing so for months and years at a time. It’s that he has a) no reason, and b) no desire to do so. If he’d been proactive and everything the Jin were accusing him of post-Sunshot, he could have taken down a lot more people with him. See: Nightless City, where he lived despite three thousand people attempting to make it otherwise.

    Sorry, I’ve run into a spat of fics where Wei Wuxian is a disaster boy who needs Lan Wangji to help him. Like. No. He’s a highly intelligent man, who may have left his personal work area messy, but worked hard and was a great support person. This does not translate into being a spaz who needs a babysitter to get through life. (Modern AU is particularly egregious for this.)

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I agree wholeheartedly with your points. My only objection is that, as far as I know and depending on the version, the resentful energy was killing him/making him go crazy, thus why he ended up killing his Shijie’s husband by accident. (Untamed is different) could he still be very very dangerous if he chose to? Oh yes. But even Wen Qing had to constantly remind him that he didn’t have a core any more and to take care of himself. He is not helpless or a disaster, but he is somewhat self destructive. One of the things I love about The Long Road is that it gives Wei Wuxian TIME to get a better handle on his cultivation.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I frankly see the whole incident with Jin Zixuan as a perfectly understandable and not uncommon real PTSD response.

        “I am being attacked by over 300 people. All of my concentration is going to Not Being Dead.

        “Someone in the uniform of the people attacking me just tried to get me to put down my weapons.

        “END THE THREAT.

        “…Oh, bleep.”

        Liked by 5 people

      2. …..I haven’t watched the entire donghua so maybe it’s different in that version, but I can say with certainty that the novel does not in any way show WWX’s cultivation actively harming him or his mental/emotional/physical health.

        The general ASSUMPTION is that modao (demon path cultivation) is harmful (as often repeated by younger LWJ), but first of all WWX is actually doing guidao (ghost path cultivation), and secondly he is the first one to do so successfully so NO ONE is actually an authority on it besides him. But as the novel starts revealing more of the context surrounding WWX’s first life, it is made very clear that every ‘outburst’ or act of ~scary violence~ WWX commits is actually extremely reasonable and understandable given his situation completely irrespective of his cultivation.

        Furthermore, after his rebirth we see WWX continue to use his guidao without any problems at all. And LWJ, as part of his growth as a character, also stops harassing WWX about the supposed harmfulness of resentful energy.

        WWX doesn’t need more time to “get a better handle on his cultivation,” he had everything entirely locked down. The only time anything slips is when he is under insane amounts of stress and is actively being attacked (JXZ and Nightless City) or is under insane amounts of stress and is actively being attacked while also working frantically to do something extremely difficult and nearly impossible (destroying the yin hufu during the siege of the Burial Mounds). All of those situations where ANYONE would be expected to make mistakes, no matter their cultivation style.

        Liked by 4 people

      3. I’m wrong then, no worries. I honestly thought that in the book they say that both his killing Jin Zixuan, and the craziness in the nightless city, along with killing himself during the siege of the Burial Mounds (granted, being Suicidal in that situation isnt exactly surprising) was a result of him actually loosing control of his cultivation. But I am aware that the translation I read was not the best version either, I’m trying to get the official translations now. I also thought that his ability to use the ghost path better after he came back to life was directly influenced by his experience in using it, being in a whole different body, and actually having a golden core again. Again, the book translation I read was not great, but he was inventing a completely new cultivation, there is no way, even as a genius, that he had every aspect of it completely locked down. Like how years of experience with the Nie Sect cultivation shows that their cultivation is dangerous and can kill them through Qi deviation, even without being helped along by outside influences. Or was the whole situation with the Nie Sect Leader completely different in the books as well? I like Wei Wuxian, he is a great diverse, intelligent, very powerful/SCARY, morally grey character, but he is not perfect. I’m not saying his mistakes are not completely understandable or that he wasn’t put in situations that would Break other cultivators. But I do think he is self destructive, and there isn’t a single person in the world, fictional or not, that wouldn’t benefit from someone being on their side and helping look out for them. That is another reason I thought that Wei Wuxian had no issues with his cultivation after being resurrected. Lan Wangji was determined to support and help him, and stayed by his side. I am curious, since the translation I read is clearly inaccurate, Did JC find out about the Golden Core thing in the books? If so, How and When?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. And yes, Wen Ning and Wen Qing are on his side too, another reason I like The Long Road, because I think it shows just how much having both them and the rest of the Wens help Wei Wuxian.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Unfortunately the official translation is much worse.

        It omits entire sentences and mistranslates badly to flatter the translator’s favoured character.

        Liked by 3 people

      6. Answering your (suteneko87’s) later question: in the novel, Jiang Cheng only ever finds out about the golden core after the Second Siege on the burial mounds, right before the climax of the novel.

        In the novel, “they say” that Wei Wuxian’s cultivation is destructive – but that’s the entire point: “they say” is unreliable. You get one explicit statement of it early in the novel at Mount Dafan, and it seems clear-cut. Then you reread and realize that the omniscient narrrator is speaking in Jin Ling’s voice for that statement, and Jin Ling obviously only knows what everyone has ever told him – which, at that point, is a mix of misunderstandings, mistruths, and outright lies. You have the claim that he’s “consumed” at Nightless City, but that’s Lan Wangji’s PoV, and he’s still desperately clinging to the idea that somehow the problem has to be Wei Wuxian at that point (evidenced by him attempting to disarm Wei Wuxian when he’s being attacked by the combined forces of the cultivation sects).

        Lan Wangji pretty much gives the thesis statement for what went wrong in Wei Wuxian’s first life when the juniors are shocked that Wei Wuxian fainted after the Second Siege: “He’s human.” He’s human, and he has limits, and he was pushed past those limits. At no point in the novel are his reactions actually unrealistic for anyone under those kinds of stressors. And he never demonstrates the behaviors associated with being corrupted by resentful energy that we canonically see manifested in Nie Mingjue.

        Personally, I don’t see him as self-destructive at all. A lot of people want to cast him in that light, particularly Jiang Cheng and past Lan Wangji, because it makes their narratives about how the world works simpler. But he’s not; he has a clear sense of what he can and can’t do, he just also has strong morals and he isn’t willing to bend them for convenience or look the other way for his own safety.

        Liked by 4 people

      7. I’m just teasing, because your comment makes a lot of sense, but I thought that a person putting the health and safety of those he cares about way before his own, to the point where he is constantly hurt or in danger, would fit the definition of self destructive. 😉😅 most would argue that giving away his golden core is also an example of this. But I guess that could be considered more similar to giving up a Kidney or something like that rather than self destructive. 🤔

        Liked by 1 person

      8. I get the teasing. 😉 But I’d counter: we don’t call a soldier making the decision to stand and fight to buy time for others to escape self destructive. A knight turning around against an unbeatable foe to buy time for his lord to get away isn’t self destructive. Wei Wuxian values his life. He fights for his life. It’s just that there are things he’s willing to die for, if that’s what it takes. And the MDZS fandom has a baaaaaad habit of ignoring that distinction…

        Liked by 4 people

    2. “He’s a highly intelligent man, who may have left his personal work area messy, but worked hard and was a great support person. This does not translate into being a spaz who needs a babysitter to get through life.”

      This is an issue with a lot of fiction in *general* these days. The idea that the person who doesn’t interact with people in the socially acceptable way needs a “minder” who can keep that person from doing that. Usually so that *everyone else* can feel comfortable that social order is being kept. Done well, it can come off that different characters are playing to their different strengths. Done badly it comes off as “if you’re too weird for normal society, so we just want to to stay out the way of everyone else until we need your skill-set”. And it is *very* often done badly in fiction.

      It’s also far too common IRL when it comes to how to “manage” nerodivergent people. Where “nerodivergent” can be anything from legitimately nerodivergent to “doesn’t see the point of a lot of surface-level social customs”.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I 100% agree that ‘managing’ isn’t necessary. I help out a cousin occasionally, because he was home schooled from elementary through high school before going to college, and so was never exposed to the social pressure to be ‘correct’ and that being ‘wrong’ is bad, and as a result his view of failure of any kind is to treat it as a learning experience rather than something to be afraid of. Because that is what drives so many social norms when you get down to it. Fear and shame. Fear of being awkward, wrong, incorrect, and finding it shameful to be so, and my cousin just doesn’t have that, which can lead to situations where he find himself extremely confused by why other people react the way they do to all kinds of situations.

        He’ll occasionally call me afterwards and explains what happened from his perspective, and I can often explain to him what the other person was concerned about from their point of view, and he appreciates that, even if he doesn’t emotionally understand why they care about it, and brings that knowledge with him into future interactions. He is definitely a bit neurodivergent in addition to the nurture of being raised without that sense of shame and fear, but he in no way needs a minder.

        The only thing I could do if I tried to be there in person is help smooth things over for the other party, which wouldn’t actually help the communication issue at all. I just help explain what the problem was to him afterwards and he goes on his merry way doing his best to remember the issue as something to watch out for in the future, even if it’s not something that would ever personally bother him.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. >> Suteneko87’s comments

    Be careful of the official translation as well. I have heard scathing reviews of it. The English translator taking out the line that states Jiang Cheng would drag suspected demonic cultivators back to Lotus Pier and torture them to death is only the tip of the iceberg.

    Yes, Jiang Cheng does find out about the core transfer! After the second siege of the Burial Mounds, everyone winding up at Lotus Pier, catching Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji hugging in the ancestral shrine, whipping Wei Wuxian with Zidian while screaming at him, and Wei Wuxian fainting into Lan Wangji’s arms. Wen Ning steps in and demands to know how he thought he got his core back, unloads the entire details of the surgery and the ‘deception’ that led to it, and shamed him into backing off. Jiang Cheng. Traumatic for all involved.

    Wei Wuxian is not perfect. He’s never claimed to be. He’s just a good man trying to live his life the best he can and help people along the way. He tries to live up to his husband’s own goodness.

    Lan Wangji is not perfect, and he’s figured out that that’s ok. He’s a good man living his best life and helping people along the way. He tries to live up to his husband’s own goodness.

    They make each other better, and make each other want to be better. And that is as it should be.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Your explanation about Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji is what I was trying to say, and not managing it at all, thank you! I am curious, I have heard a lot of people say that Wei Wuxian is supposed to be a very Morally Grey character instead of the usual definition of a “Good man.” Is that what you understood from the Novels? And yes, I have heard about the bad reviews of the official translations, but the unofficial one I originally read was not a good version, and any other unofficial versions are incomplete or have taken down their translations due to the official one being released. 😓

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, my plan to get my hands on a translation involve either going to the Wayback Machine for the ER translation, with all of its flaws, or getting my hands on a foreign language official translation and making nice with my translation software. I may get some odd words, and holy hell will some the conjugation be off, but some sacrifices I will make. Hey, I may even pick up some of the language while I’m at it.

        Yeah, I got the vibe that Wei Wuxian was a mischievous guy, but a Good Man.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. re: WWX being Morally Grey – HAHAHA absolutely not! The author herself is on record stating that WWX (and LWJ) are supposed to be the moral ideals of the story. They both make mistakes and grow into themselves over the course of the story, but we the readers are genuinely supposed to believe they are doing their best, and that their best is better than anyone else’s.

        There are a couple of talking points that sometimes get brought up to justify calling hie “morally grey.”

        1) the slaughter at the Nightless City – where the sects were not only actively mobilizing to kill WWX and his dependents, breaking the promise they made to get Wen Qing and Wen Ning to turn themselves in, and the sects were also the ones to attack WWX first.
        2) JXZ’s death – as previously mentioned, far more an accident and/or traumatic reaction to JXZ being very very stupid
        3) JYL’s death – not his fault at all??? her initial injury was an accident cause by her running – completely unarmed – onto a battlefield, and her actual death blow was caused by a sect cultivator not one of WWX’s corpses
        4) golden core transfer – some people make a lot of noise about ‘consent issues’ surrounding this. A) the modern conception of informed consent is hardly universal around the world throughout history. B) JC was in fact asked if he was willing to receive a new golden core; he was the one who accepted it not further questions asked. C) and none of that even matters because in-universe, JC’s complaints about the transfer revolve entirely around WWX ‘managing to one up him yet again’ without any mention of consent mentioned.
        5) deaths of Wen Chao, Wen Zhuliu, and what’s her face the concubine whose name I can never remember – this is probably the closest thing to morally grey on the list in my opinion, but in context this is very much a case of WWX, after crawling out of 3 months in the closest thing to hell on earth, hunting down the perpetrators and getting revenge. Even before he was thrown into the Burial Mounds to die, he was also tortured by WC. All 3 of them were people who have previously inflicted extreme pain and harm on WWX; him paying them back in kind when he’s already in a terrible headspace really comes across more as villains getting their comeuppance than an act of evil on WWX’s part, but I admit that YMMV there

        Liked by 3 people

      3. I agree! The idea of Wei Wuxian being kinda almost villan has always bugged me, but I have been hearing it a lot lately. Although the arguments I have heard are usually more about him digging up graves for corpses and manipulating corpses for his cultivation during and after the sunshot campaign, creating the Seal, and such. Or not objecting to how people in general were treated, until it came to needlessly killing the Wens, Not really caring about the older Sect Leader Jin’s actions, stealing, ignoring even the more resonable rules in Cloud Recesses, stuff like that. People do also keep saying that making Wen Chao literally eat himself was too far, even after everything he had gone through. Another common arguement is that there is more proof of this in the fact that both The Untamed and the Doughua changed several plot points of the story to make Wei Wuxian seem less to “blame” in certian situations. 🙄 I don’t agree with these points, at all, but those are the more common arguments I see. 🤔 Go figure.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. I haven’t read/watched, but– didn’t he get in trouble not for breaking rules, but for breaking rules in a non-hypocritical manner, while low ranking?

        In many cultures, that is a villainous move; in traditional American culture, someone who breaks rules and demands folks act as if they are not is a villain. (predator subtype, in contrast with the “I am being bad and don’t care” type, IE, “you get more with a gun and a kind word than a gun alone” type villain)

        Liked by 3 people

      5. My read of Wei Wuxian as “morally grey” is that he was not at all actually “grey” but that the people in charge of the sects felt that what was “morally most appropriate” was “Do what the leader of the most socially powerful or important of the Great Sects, meaning my own Great Sect of course, is the thing that Ought To Be Done regardless of the effect of that thing we want done on the people at the bottom it most effects.”

        That is to say, to the head of the Jin sect – Jin Guangshan and later Jin Guangyao – the “most morally good” thing for anyone to do is to go along with whatever the Jin Sect TOLD them was the “best” thing to do, which of course included everything they were doing to the Wens. It was judged as “Good and Proper” because it’s _what the person in power wanted._

        Wei Wuxian – and later on, Lan Wangi once he came to more clearly understand WWX’s point of view (I do agree that LWG is a good guy, but it took him awhile to break away from ‘what my elders tell me is right is automatically the Most Right’) instead said to the world – No, being The Most Powerful Guy should NOT give you the right to do terrible things just because you want to. Being powerful does not make it _good_ to do this awful thing you’ve done. You should do a thing that _is inherently_ good rather than declaring that the thing you have done is good because you, a powerful person, want it done.

        Liked by 5 people

      6. Regarding the deaths of Wen Chao et al… something that I never see brought up is the fact that novel establishes canonically that Wei Wuxian can’t simply call the dead up willy-nilly. He either has to be using corpses accustomed to working with him, or corpses that already have an inclination to do what he’s asking them to. That gets established right up front with Mo Manor – he can’t use random fierce corpses against Nie Mingjue’s arm, but he is able to use the bodies of the arm’s victims.

        Add to that the repeated line about how the dead can’t escape the Burial Mounds, and his hunting of Wen Chao et al looks a lot different. He’s not using terror tactics for fun, he’s using them because that’s literally the only weapon he has available. The only corpses we actually see him working with are the woman and the child – presumably recent victims of Wen Chao and/or Wang Liangjiao. (Brrrr.) Beyond that, it looks like he just reversed the protection talismans so that the ghosts of the people slaughtered would swoop in and wreak their own revenge, and that’s where a lot of the body horror stuff happened…

        Still very ugly. But along the lines of fighting with a flamethrower because that’s the only weapon you have available.

        Liked by 4 people

      7. re: WWX breaking rules

        There is definitely an element of classism in WWX getting punished. I’m not sure if it is outright stated WWX is the only student attending the Gusu Lan lectures who isn’t properly gentry, but it is certainly implied. So when WWX gets punished for helping other students (including NHS) cheat, but the students actually cheating get lesser (or nonexistent; I can’t quite recall) punishments, or similarly when WWX gets in trouble for sneaking in alcohol, but the other young masters (including JC) go completely unpunished, there are definite implications to the matter. See also WWX being so shocked and dismayed when LWJ actually turns himself to be punished alongside WWX; literally no one else has ever been punished with him instead of letting him take the fall.

        But on top of any classism affecting WWX’s punishments, there is also the heavy bias of the two adults usually punishing him to take into account.

        YZY absolutely despises WWX since he was literally a dirty 9 year old fresh off the streets, simply on the basis of his mother. We are outright told that she punishes him excessively – not even beating him with a rod or board like the Lan sect does that would be considered ‘typical’ for the culture, but outright WHIPPING him with a weapon meant for deadly combat to the point where WWX’s back is covered in scars by the age of 15 despite the fact he has one of the world’s strongest golden cores. We are outright told WWX gets punished for things every other disciple is doing- including JC – and they go completely unpunished.

        Similarly, LQR is shown to take an instant dislike for WWX basically on sight as well, and ALSO because of his personal beef with WWX’s mother. LQR was mad that WWX answered his ‘tricky’ question correctly, because he had wanted to show off LWJ by having whatever student was chosen get the answer wrong and then LWJ would get it right. WWX notices what LQR was trying to do, and that is the real reason he escalates with his own unorthodox answer musing on resentful energy. He was testing LQR, and LQR failed by going nuclear and kicking him out of the class.

        So WWX frequently breaking rules and being nonchalant about getting punished really reads to me as less “I don’t care about the rules, no matter how reasonable, and will break them as I please” and more “The people in charge are going to punish me no matter what I do, so I might as well do what makes me happy.”

        Liked by 2 people

  3. …nevermind the cute guy, now I’m wondering how they’ll deal with it if the ghost brides come out to play.

    “Oh, yeah, we saw one of those in our new guy’s memories. It’s fine!” is unlikely to fly.

    Liked by 5 people

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