A Long Road Chapter 16 Ficbit – Pick Your Battles

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.”


20 thoughts on “A Long Road Chapter 16 Ficbit – Pick Your Battles

  1. Huaisang just got his first look at the Wen “Army”🙄
    Knowing Nie Mingjue there’s not a Jin currently in the unclean realm who didn’t leave without a serious beat down.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. I’m picturing that boot, to the tune of “Team Jin is blasting off agaaaaaaain!” Complete with vanishing into the skyline with a twinkle. After all, they’re cultivators, they can fly. They should survive a Team Rocket sendoff

        Liked by 7 people

  2. /The young Nie cleared his throat. “I thought… there were more….”/

    In a different scenario, this could’ve gone really badly.
    If Huaisang thought he was manipulating an army into position, and got unarmed refugees…

    Liked by 5 people

    1. That could be understandable, I think. I could have my timeline wrong, but the Jiang at that/this point are still really weak, right? And with his sister in the middle of the enemy stronghold, his people not ready to deal with ONE hostile sect, let alone all THREE, can he afford to put his neck on the line?

      More importantly, do NMJ and LXC believe it, when JC’s brother is also on the line? Especially if the Jin now have a reason to discredit him.

      And finally, these are the Wen, the people who burned Lotus Pier to the ground. Maybe not these exact people, but the Wen didn’t exactly spare non-combatants either. And JC has always struck me as the kind of guy who thinks eye-for-an-eye is a fair and just consequence.

      Does it make it better? No, but it does make it understandable.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. NHS sees the Wen Remnant, *knows* that WWX would have brought *every last Wen* with him… and jumps straight to “Imma kill me some Jin, FOR GREAT JUSTICE!”

    Then NZH sets him up the bomb by pointing out that his elder brother is probably way ahead of them, and NHS pouts a bit, while Talia is all “Main Screen Turn Off, We Get No Signal”, and the seedlings are all “Your candy has no chance to survive, hahahah!”

    …aaand, I’ve definitely overstretched the Zero Wing jokes here.

    That said, the Jin have *definitely* pushed the Nie Sect’s GREAT JUSTICE button, and are *not* going to enjoy the experience. War exhaustion or not, some things cannot be allowed to stand.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Not to mention, NMJ is a direct pipeline to LXC, who will believe him about this. So that’s both the Lans and the Nies pissed about being lied to.

      And don’t forget JC, who went to the Burial Mounds and still said the Wens were an army. JGS and JGY can say they were lied to about the Wens and thought they were an army, after all, they never went to the camp (that can be proven), so they have a chance to wriggle out of major consequences. JC though? He’s screwed, after all, everyone knows he went to the Burial Mounds. And now he’s been proven to have betrayed WWX to sect leaders who adore their brothers.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. Jin Zixun is also the one who kidnapped WN. The remaining Wens/noncombatants were confined to an area of Qishan and (theoretically) left alone. Jin Zixun grabbed WN and some others while they were hunting (which they were allowed to do), and then didn’t inform anyone (JGS and JGY absolutely knew, but can deny). And capturing the (presumably) last young master of the main Wen clan would give him great bragging rights in that era, especially if he came up with a story about WN doing something bad. It’s not like it would be difficult!

        But he didn’t say anything. Which is suspicious.

        So he’s doubly screwed because of it.

        (I’m convinced he was set up by JGS and JGY to be the fall guy for Qiongqi Path/the camps if the truth came out.)

        Liked by 4 people

  4. The other question is “were there other camps?” Wei Wuxian .only able to rescue one group. So Nie Mingjue saw the Wen group and promptly provided candy for A-Yuan. Nie Mingjue was actually expecting if not any army, a squad of dangerous cultivators. Didn’t earlier in the story there were some cultivators in the group, subordinates of Wen Ning, shy and quiet and not very powerful?
    Herald Avril should come back into the story. He would be very impressed by the progress made in rebuilding the city and the way that everyone is getting along. Also Wen Qing is the type of person who would have a Herald friendly hospital room with an outside door so that a Companion could visit easily and a large window convenient for a Nosy Companion to observe their Herald at rest. Also a Companion friendly operating room and recovery area with plenty of ventilation and shelter from the elements.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. She would, once she understood a Herald/Companion’s precise needs. She seems a very thorough person, and would likely want to avoid erroneous conclusions. I foresee many conversations with Valdemaran Healers so she can pinpoint those needs.

      Liked by 1 person

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