- Rough Draft
- Work in Progress
- Discussion - Child Abuse
- Discussion - Murder
- Discussion - Rape
- Disturbing Imagery
- Explicit Sex
- Hate Crimes
- No Beta
- Violence - Canon-Level
- Fix It
- Time Travel
Wen Zhuliu died soon after he had become an official member of the Wen sect. He had just sworn his oaths to Wen Ruohan and had been dismissed with the rest of the sect members at the end of the meeting and had headed out of the large chamber and to the stairs.
No one could tell exactly what happened, but it seemed like he tripped over his own feet and fell down the stairs and was not able to stop himself. He ended up breaking his neck and was dead by the time help arrived.
Wen Ning blinked his wide eyes as he listened to the retelling of what happened to Wen Zhuliu to him and Jiejie by Wen Chao. Wen Chao was trying to make it as gruesome as possible to scare them. Which he thought was kind of pointless since besides being cultivators, both he and his Jie were training to be healers and saw much more gory and horrifying sights then a man who died from a broken neck. They also had the minds of adults who had lived through war and almost the complete destruction of their clan. This death was actually quite peaceful.
He was glad the talisman worked how Wei-Gongzi had thought. It was one of the inventions that he had made, in the future that never was, during the long nights he could not sleep so would bounce his ideas off of Wen Ning who had been dead and no longer slept. Wen Ning had made sure to make copies of all the ones that could be useful as soon as he had gotten back in the past. Before they had left for the past, he had asked him if it would be all right to use any of his inventions and Wei-Gongzi had agreed. He even tried to say that they were as much Wen Ning’s inventions as they were his since they worked on them together but Wen Ning barely understood how they were made, he could never have come up with any of them on his own.
He finally left them alone and he and Jiejie went back to their quarters for the evening. She slapped the muffling talismans on the wall and then stared down at him with her hands on her hips. “Didi, what did you do? I know you had something to do with his death so come clean.”
“Jiejie, I just used a little clumsy talisman. It causes someone to do a lot of tripping if they have one put on them. It might not have killed him. He could have just had a few falls.” He opened his eyes wider and blinked a couple times.
“Oh, don’t give me that look A-Ning. You made sure it would get on him right before the stairs so he would trip down them. You were planning on him dying.”
“But Jiejie, he caused so many issues with his use of the core melting hand technique.”
“I know A-Ning, but we need to be careful, we’re in a precarious place here.”
“I just want to protect you this time Jiejie.”
“Well try to do that by not just killing people. I know you caused Wang Liangjao to get that mortal STD.”
“Well if she wasn’t sleeping with so many men to get ahead it wouldn’t have caused her death.”
“Jiejie, I checked she wasn’t in love with anyone and even stated she was doing it to get ahead and she was even getting ex-lovers in trouble just to be in a better position with new lovers. If she was doing it under duress, I would have been more sympathetic, but she even said she was going this way to get power because who wants to actually work on their cultivation.”
“How did you even find out about that poison. I had to search through all our specialty scrolls to even find the one reference.” She said with a sigh of exasperation sitting at the table as he prepared tea for them.
“Jiejie in my first life I spent a lot of time hiding and reading, you know that” he said with a sigh. “I know we never talked about what we were doing since we got back. Jiejie I know you were trying to keep us safe and I was going along with you, but I will protect us as well.”
Jiejie looked down at her tea in her cup without bringing it for a drink. He knew that it had all been hard on her. She had gone from barely surviving in the burial mounds to back in Nightless City soon after they had been brought there after the death of their parents. It had been a time fraught with danger even for the children they had been. His Jie was just 9 years old and he had been 6 again.
“I cannot just kill people for sins they have not yet committed. I can’t kill at all. I took the oath of the healers of our family to do no harm.”
“Jiejie, I am not asking you to kill anyone. I will take care of us both. I am not killing anyone who has not already committed crimes. Wen Zhuliu was inducted into the clan because he crushed the cores of 50 cultivators who Wen Ruohan thought were plotting against him. Wen Zhuliu did not care if they were guilty, he just did it. The whole plot that they were supposed to be involved in was a fabrication that Wang Liangjao made to get rid of an ex-lover and so she caused them to lose their cores. You know none of them were plotting anything.”
“You had already given her the poison at that point though.”
“She has done other things caused other horrible things including a couple of the wives of lovers to have miscarriages so she would be favored over them.”
“How do you even know all of this,” Jiejie hissed in frustration.
“No one notices me. I’m still small and I am quiet and timid. I stay out of the way. I also use the talismans I learned from Wei-Gongzi. I am better off then I was my first life. Those issues I had as a child the first time around are not the same. You know this. I have been working on my cultivation, but I have also been working on ways to make things better and if I must kill this time I will. I was brought to the lowest point anyone can be brought in my last life. I tried to do the right thing and it seemed to make things worse. I want us to be happy. We still live in fear and I want us to be in a better place. It’s been six years since we have been back, and we are still afraid all the time.”
Jiejie began to cry and Wen Ning rushed over to hold her. He was still a little smaller than her, but he still was able to hold her as she wept on his shoulder.
“I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to change anything without it making things worse.” She said as she continued to weep into his shoulder. “Uncle is so powerful I do not know how to get us away from him.”
“Jiejie, we need to work together. I know that you have worked hard to protect me, but we must work together so we can protect each other. I have been making plans if you are willing to hear them.”
“Of course, A-Ning,” she said as she sat up and wiped her face. “I’m sorry I have not been a good sister.”
“Jiejie is the best sister. I know it has been hard to do this all over again.”
He had to take a breath and get his thoughts in order. He had planned many things and set more in motion. It is amazing on what a child can do when they have the mind of an adult and are below the notice of most people.
“Jiejie, I know what you have done this time. I know that you have let yourself be seen as a good student, but you have not let yourself stand out as an exceptional one. You are not in Wen Ruohan’s eye. It is better that we are barely noticed that is true. It will I think be easier to get away.
“I have been talking about my sister and wondering about marriage. In my history class there was discussion on some alliances, and I asked if it was still done since I would not know of anyone who has an alliance marriage in our family at this time. You know that my history class is taught by an elder who has the ear of Wen Ruohan. I asked if it was possible if you would end up in one of these marriages, the elder did not know but I could tell it put something in his mind. I than vaguely wondered if I would end up in one of these marriages as well.
“I have also been letting it get out that you are very much a homemaker and wish for a family and children one day. That you care more for the idea of marriage and motherhood then being a physician and warrior.”
“Have they believed it?” Jie asked in bemusement.
“Well you do study but because you should since you are making yourself seen as average that part is believable plus you spend a lot of time with me, your little brother. Also, you are polite to the female servants. For some reason they seem to think that means you are soft. And the big thing that I use is the fact that the thing you are seen to be most interested in is midwifery. I know that is because it keeps you farther away from Wen Ruohan, but I have made everyone think it’s because you adore babies.”
“Hmm, I may be able to help that along. I do admit I have been acting more girly because that does keep me below notice. I will start mentioning little things about what I think it will be like when I am married and of course how my brother will come with me.”
“I figure that Uncle will set something up with one of the major sects to get a Wen in place. I feel like only the Jin’s would be an issue to be betrothed to and the only one who is at the level that Wen Ruohan would betroth you to is Jin Zixuan, who was betrothed at birth to Jiang Yanli.”
Jiejie finished her tea and set the cup down decisively. “This could be the answer. I think we can trust any of the other sect heirs to be honorable to a betrothed and that would get us away. Thank you Didi for coming up with the plan.”
“Of course, Jiejie. I love my Jiejie.” He gives her a big smile.
“Just please can you not kill anyone without asking me unless you are attacked?” She said with a sigh.
“Of course, Jiejie.”
Wen Ning and his sister were standing in the main hall for the weekly open court which all family who were in the Nightless City when it happened had to attend. It was pretty boring usually, a bunch of petitions from affiliated sects, any praise that needed to be given out as well as any public humiliations. Luckily, they had received none of that mostly because they had been children and now that Wen Qing was at an older age she had been as unnoticeable as he was.
Today though that changed.
“Wen Qing, Wen Ning courtesy Qionglin. Come forward.”
He took a breath and moved to the place in front of the throne that Wen Ruohan sat upon. He could think of nothing bad that they would be brought before him and he had been hearing little remarks about betrothals and gifts and though it had not been specified who it was about, he had a good feeling.
He and his sister bowed in greeting to their uncle and then stood to listen attentively.
“My dear children of my beloved passed cousins. You are both loyal members of our sect and I am proud of your growth since you have joined us in Nightless City. “he paused at this point for what Wen Ning thought was supposed to be a look of fatherly indulgence. He didn’t think he quite was able to pull it off.
“The Wen clan has always valued family and I have thought hard on how to allow you to honor your family as you become of age. To this I have entered negotiations for both of your betrothals. The Jiang sect has been incredibly happy to form an alliance with us through the children of the main family. Since I know how much you do not like to be parted you both shall be betrothed to members of the Jiang Clan.
“Wen Qing, you are betrothed to Jiang Wanyin, who is the heir to the Jiang Sect. You shall be the Madam of Lotus Pier.
“Wen Qionglin, Though this is rarely done and agreement has been reached for you to marry the eldest daughter of the current Sect Leader, Jiang Yanli and you shall be joining your sister at Lotus Pier to bring the Wen presence to the Jiangs.”
“Thank you for this very thoughtful arrangement,” Wen Qing said as she bowed to Wen Ruohan. He hurriedly followed his sister also murmuring his thanks.
“The Jiang have asked, and I have acquiesced that you shall join your betroths at Lotus Pier so a courtship may take place and you may get to know your betrothed and they you. Then when Wen Qionglin and Jiang Wanyin have reached 16, you shall be married.
“I will dismiss you now since you will have packing and some training you must receive before you leave at the end of the week.” They bowed again and he shooed them off. Wen Ning looked at his sister and she glanced at him and they both walked from the hall with dignity though at least he felt the need to run to their rooms and scream in excitement that the plan worked and better than either had thought.
“This seems extremely fortuitous,” Jiejie said as soon as they had applied the muffling talismans to their rooms.
“Well they did come back in time as well, “he said philosophically as he made them tea.
“I just hope I can handle this, there is much between us and now we are entering into marriage. Though it does make me wonder what happened to Jiang Yanli’s betrothal to Jin Zixuan. “She took her cup of tea and sipped it delicately as they sat together at their table.
“I’m sure we will find out everything when we get there.”
“Now we just have to pack,” she said with a groan. He giggled into his tea. If it was one thing his sister hated it was packing.