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Murder machines

Chapter Text

Lan Wangji is finding himself close to matched in a swordfight, which is unusual.

His opponent is dressed entirely in tattered and fluttering black. There is a white skull painted on their - her? - face, her brilliant red hair is standing straight up. She has an absolutely massive onyx blade, which she is wielding in two hands with an incredible amount of ferocity.

The dissonance in the size of the blade and the size of the person had been puzzling at first, but Lan Wangji has now registered, with a sinking feeling, that he is trying to subdue a teenager.

Wei Wuxian, trying to cope with the other, even smaller opponent (teenager), is providing a near-constant report on the status of the fight, between directing a half-dozen summoned dead with a skipping, improvised melody on the flute. “Lan Zhan, have you noticed she is covered in skeletons?”

“Yes.” She is currently summoning skeletons too, completely bare of flesh and yet somehow still attacking. He has shattered more than one as it wrenched itself closer to Wei Wuxian than seemed safe.

“Lan Zhan, I've invented a lot of necromancy shit, but this one is terrifying and she won't stop.” And, a moment later, when Wei Wuxian has darted, distressingly, outside Lan Wangji’s line of vision: “She is MAKING MORE BONES OUT OF BONES.”

Lan Wangji, with a trio of strikes, pushes the swordfighter back far enough as to be out of her range, and momentarily sheathes Bichen to play his guqin with both hands to keep her there. The swordfighter braces her feet against the concussion of the chords and keeps grinning, holding her ground. This is, again, disconcerting.

Wei Wuxian is starting to sound pouty, which Lan Wangji interprets situationally as tired. “I, the Yiling patriarch, powerful and feared, am frightened of this-”


“Yes, she appears to be a teenager. We were teenagers once, that doesn't mean we weren't dangerous, you know how many people I killed when I was a teenager?” Lan Wangji knows, obviously, but Wei Wuxian is not listening for an answer. “At least she doesn't have dogs, please don’t suddenly summon a dog.” Wei Wuxian huffs another breath, bending over theatrically to rest palms on his knees as though he’s exhausted, in the relative safety of Lan Wangji’s personal space, cleared by the chords.

“Can we switch? I can take your-”

Teenager,” slightly more emphasis this time, and he’s trying to catch Wei Wuxian’s eye. The swordfighter is starting to advance again and Lan Wangji strums twice to give her something to deal with.

“Yes, teenager,” Wei Wuxian agrees again, with a dismissive wave of his hand. “I heard you. But it’s not like they’re stopping on their own. Let me take the one with the sword instead, I can cope with swords.”

“Can you?”

“Mostly. Usually when they're that big the trick is to stand somewhere where they're not stabbing. And then keep doing that for a while.” He raises his flute to play again. It looks as though the tall, stabby teenager is also taking the moment to regroup, shouting something at the smaller, bone-coated teenager.

Lan Wangji, with some resignation, prepares to play again.