Nie Huaisang was wide-eyed, glancing back toward the front gates, and the swarm of mingled Wens and Rabbit Hole locals Wen Qing had led them through. He looked bewildered. And startlingly young.
He noted who was armed, Alberich thought, and how many not could be.
The young Nie cleared his throat. “I thought… there were more….”
“Sect Leader Nie is laughing at us,” Nie Zonghui sighed. “I just know it.”
“He, um… kind of looked like he wanted to go stab something, when he saw us,” Wen Ning got out. “Then, well….”
“Nie?” A-Yuan perked up. “More candy?”
Meigui wriggled against Wei Wuxian, for once just an eager child. “Candy?”
“We did find some in Haven,” Wei Wuxian winked at her. “I don’t know if it’ll be as good as Nie spun sugar, but – well, later we will have candy.”
“Candy,” Nie Huaisang mused, one finger twirling absently in dark hair. “Hmm….”
“No,” Nie Zonghui said firmly. “Your brother will have called dibs, and he is our sect leader. If there’s any left when we get back, you can ask him then. If you agree to take a full guard with you.”
Nie Huaisang pouted. “But-!”
“The insult is extreme and you deserve your share of answering it. But we’re not risking our heir until Wei Wuxian’s had time to keep his promise.”
Mina squinted at the both of them. “You’re definitely not talking about candy.”
“No, no they’re not,” Wei Wuxian reflected. “I don’t think Wen Ning and I left any of that patrol alive, but… I doubt those were the only Jin involved. Every guard shift has to be rotated, after all. Happy hunting!”
The children looked confused; Wen Qing and Granny Wen, wary. Lan Wangji straightened, scandalized. Alberich sighed. Quietly.
Talia gave him a bemused look, then ostentatiously studied the sky above the herb beds. “My, the nights come on quicker in autumn… you know, Valdemar has a habit of not getting involved in other nations’ noble affairs, unless they’re out to harm our citizens. Or people we’ve sworn alliance with. So even if I did hear anything about a plot by one Jianghu clan to go wreak justice on another Jianghu clan, it wouldn’t be any of our business.”