Nie MingJue did not know what he should be feeling at the moment as he watched the man in front of him blabbering about the man who helped him out and guided him to form his golden core.
Was he feeling angry?
He was currently at Yiling, and he came all the way here merely because he heard someone in Yiling who was of the age of 20 actually formed a golden core a few days ago, and this was all thanks to a wonderful rogue cultivator who happened to pass by and guided him on the right way to cultivate. He had come all the way here to investigate the identity of the cultivator, hoping they could meet up and if possible, he would like to hire that cultivator as HuaiSang’s mentor. If this rogue cultivator was able to help someone to form a golden core when he merely passed by, then HuaiSang with the help of this mentor would be a strong cultivator in no time.
Albeit, all these wishful thinkings were crushed when he was told the great cultivator lived not too far away.
At the Burial Mounds.
“His name?” questioned Nie MingJue.
“We don’t know, but we all call him Young Master Wei.”
Nie MingJue felt his eyebrows twitching annoyingly. He hoped someone kind enough could tell him again, what did he even come here for?
He expressed his thanks and walked away. It was a waste of a trip. He was about to mount onto Baxia and travel back to Unclean Realm when he saw a crowd gathering in the middle of the street, the voice of two men debating was heard clearly.
“I am the real Yiling Patriarch!”
“You are fake, I am real!”
Nie MingJue walked closer to take a look, witnessing the two men dressed in black, their hairs tied up with a red string, debating between themselves whether who was the real Yiling Patriarch. They were both clearly not the real one, because the real one would have no need to use debating to prove himself. As Nie MingJue watched the two fought to be recognized as the real Yiling Patriarch, he was suddenly reminded of a conversation he had a few days ago with one of his sworn brothers. Lan XiChen had been looking unsettled recently like he was worried about something. Nie MingJue had asked what was bothering him and Lan XiChen finally opened up to him and told him what it was that made him worried.
“XiChen, is something the matter? You have been looking troubled for a few days already,” said Nie MingJue.
Lan XiChen stared at his elder sworn brother, his face clearly stating that he was surprised that he had been found out.
“If there is anything I can help, feel free to tell me,” said Nie MingJue.
“It’s just… WangJi…”
Lan XiChen looked hesitated, as though he did not want to trouble anyone with his trouble, or to be precise, his dear little brother’s trouble.
“Your brother? Did something happen to him?”
“WangJi is suffering… I want to help, but I don’t know how or if it is actually appropriate for me to try helping,” said Lan XiChen. He looked extremely sad.
“Elder brother, WangJi… he is in love,” said Lan XiChen.
There was a moment of silence as Nie MingJue stared at Lan XiChen for a long time, still processing his words. He thought he must have developed some hearing problems at first because he heard Lan XiChen just said that Lan WangJi, the stoic Hanguang-jun was in love. When he finally realized that he did not mishear anything, he cleared his throat and tried to make a response.
“Oh…” said Nie MingJue, because as he thought and thought, there really weren’t any words to describe his surprise.
After another moment of silence, and out of curiosity, Nie MingJue asked, “Who?”
He could not recall who would be able to capture the heart of someone as cold as the Second Master Lan.
“Young Master Wei.”
Again, Nie MingJue thought he misheard.
“Young Master Wei, you mean Wei WuXian? How did he fall in love with the likes of him?” asked Nie MingJue.
“Young Master Wei is a good man. I have interacted with him before,” said Lan XiChen.
“He is a demonic cultivator and sides the Wen remnants,” said Nie MingJue.
“I certainly have no idea why he would learn demonic cultivation and sides the Wen remnants, but WangJi believes that he must have a valid reason, so do I,” said Lan XiChen.
If both Lan WangJi and Lan XiChen trusted Wei WuXian, he believed there was no wrong in trying to understand the man more. Since he was already in Yiling, he might as well pay the man a visit and if they managed to start a conversation, perhaps he could advise him to stop walking on his crooked path for there were many people out there who were worried about him, Lan WangJi for example.
When he stepped into Burial Mounds, there was no denying that he was definitely surprised with what he was seeing. He might have expected to see Yiling Patriarch standing in the middle, eyes glowing red as he controlled corpses while he played Chenqing or hands holding Stygian Tiger Seal. He definitely did not expect to see old men and women busying themselves farming. The Wen remnants did not seem like they noticed him for a while until someone dropped the tool he was using for farming and the others dropped down whatever they were holding too in a fit of anxiety.
Now, why did it seem like he was a demonic cultivator who was scaring them instead?
“Is Young Master Wei here?” questioned Nie MingJue.
“Y-Y-Young Master Wei?” The old woman in front of Nie MingJue stuttered. She did not answer, but she glanced behind her nervously which Nie MingJue guessed was the so-called Demon Slaughtering Cave, and that was enough of an answer.
He walked toward the cave but did not enter. He heard people speaking inside, or more like someone was being scolded by a lady. He walked farther in to have a look who were inside and the scene before him definitely did render him speechless for some time. There, Wei WuXian and a toddler were sitting on the ground in front of Wen Qing who seemed to be scolding the two.
“You brat! Do you still think you are as strong as before? Have you forgotten that you no longer have your golden core?! And not only did you make yourself fall sick, you even make A-Yuan sick with you!” yelled Wen Qing.
Wei WuXian and Wen Yuan had their heads bowed down as they waited for Wen Qing to complete her scolding session.
“I am sorry –”
“How am I supposed to know it will rain so heavily and we simply accidentally stayed under the rain a little longer than expected,” Wei WuXian tried explaining, doing his best to prove that he was not in fault, but it never worked against Wen Qing.
“Excuses! Wei WuXian, I don’t care if you are sick, but A-Yuan can’t afford to be sick. You know fully well that we are short of medicine here, it’s fortunate that A-Yuan’s fever is not high.”
“Sister,” Wen Ning walked forward, but before he could say more, Wen Qing, raised her hand up, showing her palm to her brother which gave off a signal that she did not want to hear another word from him.
“A-Ning, stop explaining on behalf of him!” exclaimed Wen Qing.
“Fine, fine. If A-Yuan needs medicine, I will get him the medicine he needs even if I need to be a beggar to beg for money,” said Wei WuXian.
“You think being a beggar is so easy?” questioned Wen Qing angrily.
“Well, I have the experience,” said Wei WuXian. The way he said it as though he was looking a little proud of having the experience made Wen Qing wanted to simply grab something and hit him hard on the head. She felt so frustrated that she did not know what to do anymore.
“Big brother, who are you?”
That was A-Yuan’s voice. Wei WuXian and the Wen siblings looked around and turned out A-Yuan who was just sitting beside Wei WuXian a second ago was not in his place anymore. The three of them went out of the cave to see Wen Yuan pulling at a tall man’s robe.
“Sect Leader Nie?” questioned Wei WuXian, surprised.
What a rare guest… He was rather expecting either Lan WangJi or Jiang Cheng to come to visit, but Nie MingJue was definitely the last person he would expect to see here, unless…
He might be here to annihilate them.
Wei WuXian clenched Chenqing tightly, preparing for the worst.
“A-Yuan, come here,” said Wen Qing as she gestured for her nephew to go to her. Wen Yuan quickly moved to his aunt and hid behind her. The man looked so scary and the fact that A-Yuan had asked him something and the man did not answer his question made him look scarier.
“If I may ask, what brings Sect Leader Nie here? If Sect Leader Nie is here for a visit, we will welcome you, but if Sect Leader Nie is here for another reason, I will not hold back either,” said Wei WuXian.
Nie MingJue did not offer any answer to the question. He chose to walk forward instead, approaching Wei WuXian. Sensing that something did not feel right, Wen Ning went forward and stood in front of Wei WuXian.
“Sect Leader Nie, it’s us, the Wens that you hate. Young Master Wei has done nothing that harms the Nie Sect,” said Wen Ning.
As if taking it as a cue, the other Wen remnants joined in too.
“Young Master Wei is a kindhearted person. Please don’t kill him. If you want to kill, then kill me,” said Wen Yuan’s grandmother.
“You can kill me too.”
“Not Young Master Wei please.”
Many of the Wens who were all old enough to not be able to stand straight came to stand in front of Wei WuXian, pleading for Nie MingJue to kill them instead.
“What are you all doing? Stand back!” exclaimed Wei Wuxian. He sounded so angry that the Wen remnants were startled at his tone and all started moving to stand behind him except for Wen Ning.
“Wen Ning, you too,” said Wei WuXian.
“Young Master Wei,” said Wen Ning as he shook his head, unwilling to listen to him.
“Sect Leader Nie, Wei WuXian’s hatred for the Wen Sect is not any lesser than you. Therefore, I will need to make it clear to you that he is never an accomplice of what the Wen Sect has done. Today, if you are here to kill the remaining of us, we will accept it as it is. All of our lives here are saved by Wei WuXian, we are all considered to be living on borrowed time. However, if you are here to kill Wei WuXian, we will do our best to stop that from happening even if that means we need to die and come back as fierce corpses,” said Wen Qing.
“Wen Qing, enough,” said Wei WuXian.
“Sect Leader Nie, you all always say the Wen remnants hiding here will harm the innocents. Now that you have seen everyone living here, who do you think will go out trying to harm others? Is it those people who can barely even walk straight?” asked Wei WuXian as he pointed to those old men and women behind him whose age was obviously too old to even do anything heavy.
“Or do you think it will be A-Yuan, who barely even understand what is going on right now?” Wei WuXian pointed to Wen Yuan who had turned to hide behind him and was hugging his legs tightly.
“Or do you still think Wen Qing is the one who will harm people? She is a physician, both she and Wen Ning had never dirtied their hands before by killing anyone.”
“Sect Leader Nie –” started Wen Ning, but was then interrupted by a frustrated voice.
“Enough. Pack your things,” said Nie MingJue.
Everyone went silent. What did the man mean by asking them to pack their things? As none of them moved, Nie MingJue turned back to see everyone staring at him suspiciously.
“Don’t you all need medicine? I am inviting all of you to Unclean Realm,” stated Nie MingJue.
“Brother Xian, Brother Xian, what is Unclean Realm?” asked Wen Yuan as he pulled on Wei WuXian’s robe.
“Unclean Realm is this man’s house,” said Wei WuXian as he crouched down so that he was almost of the same height as Wen Yuan.
“Will there be lots of food?” asked Wen Yuan.
Wei WuXian was not sure if he should answer the question. The answer was yes, but whether Unclean Realm had food or not had nothing to do with them.
“There will be,” said Nie MingJue as he crouched down and patted Wen Yuan’s head. Wen Yuan went to hug Nie MingJue’s legs, a proof that he liked the man. Wei WuXian and the Wen siblings looked at one another, all three considering if they should pull Wen Yuan away. Nie MingJue was well known for having a bad temper, they were worried that the man would hit Wen Yuan for even daring to touch him.
Nie MingJue, however, out of everyone’s expectations, carried Wen Yuan in his arms and said, “You will get as much food as you want.”
He turned to walk away with the child in his arms.
“A-Yuan!” exclaimed Wei WuXian. He turned to the Wen siblings and then to the other Wen remnants and decided they had no choice but to take up his offer and to travel to Unclean Realm together. If Nie MingJue planned to kill them there, well – then Wei WuXian would just need to make sure to be careful enough to not let that happen and to prepare for a counter-attack if anyone dared to try killing them.