Jiang WanYin strolled around the forest, eyes searching around to find his brother. The man had already created enough trouble earlier by arguing with Jin ZiXun, and Jiang WanYin hoped his brother could give him some face and to stop picking a fight with anyone, especially with people like Jin ZiXun who was of no importance to them at all. To him, all that he cared was his sister and brother, the only remaining family members he had. The Jins or people from other sects held no importance to him, but he had to respect them because he was Jiang WanYin – the current sect leader of the Yunmeng Jiang sect. He held the responsibility of rebuilding the sect and regain its former reputation, just like when his father was still here. He would not disappoint his father and mother, and he would also not let down his sister and brother who supported him all these while.
There was no one around standing, but he heard something – something that seemed to be coming from the tree. He looked up, and at the tallest of trees, there were two men. One in a black robe, his eyes blindfolded by a black cloth while another who was hovering over the one in black wore a white robe, a familiar forehead ribbon on his head. The two were – kissing, no! That was not simply kissing, more like the man in white was binding the man in place as he kissed him, preventing the man from trying to escape.
That was disgusting, Jiang WanYin thought. He was thinking if he should save the man being forced into doing something that he could not escape from when he suddenly saw the face of the man in his white robes. His eyes widened because surely, he must have seen wrong. But wait – who would even capture the attention of this second master Lan, and Jiang WanYin found himself scrutinizing the man who Lan WangJi was forcibly kissing. The familiar face, the familiar black robe, the familiar red string on his hair, and the flute that he had just managed to spot on, there was no doubt who that man was.
He gritted his teeth, rage enveloping him. He wanted to beat the hell out of Lan WangJi! No, he wanted to hurt him so badly, to kill him again and again until the man would start begging for mercy and he still would not stop. He wanted him to drop dead at the moment, dead in the stab of Sandu. How dare that man – How dare that man… to his brother..!
That was certainly one hell of a shout, almost everyone who was hunting not overly far away from them could hear it. Lan WangJi was startled and he was starting to get panicked to know that someone was here to witness what he had just done, but before he could see who the man was, he felt a heavy punch to his abdomen before another punch came to his left face, pushing him down the tree while doing so. Lan WangJi fell to the ground and when he looked up, Jiang WanYin was standing before him and yanking him up, only to send him more punches until he felt his lips swollen and bleeding.
“How dare you?!”
Lan WangJi dared not look at the man. He was ashamed of what he had done, especially now that he knew someone had found out – had seen what he had done, and Wei WuXian would know soon. He felt a drop of tear dropped down, but that merely made him felt more ashamed of himself. What right did he have to cry when he was the one who had done wrong, acting as if he was the victim? He had wronged the man that he loved, kissed him without his permission, and locked the man in place to stop him from struggling away from the kiss.
He was the worst.
Wei WuXian, although still blindfolded, heard the ruckus and noticed the maiden who was kissing him had disappeared. He took the cloth off him immediately, remembering he heard the voice of his brother shouting Lan WangJi’s name. They must be nearby, he thought. Did the two somehow saw him being pinned against the tree, being kissed while he had trouble freeing himself? That would be embarrassing and he could almost be sure that Jiang WanYin would be teasing him about it for at least a few months if not a year or more.
He turned around, scanning his surroundings and that was when he noticed Jiang WanYin pulling Lan WangJi upward, his fist raised up, looking exactly like he was about to deliver a punch to the already injured Lan WangJi’s face. Anxious of what was about to happen before his eyes, he jumped down the tree and pulled at Jiang WanYin’s wrist, halting him in time from injuring Lan WangJi any further.
“Jiang Cheng, stop! What do you think you are doing?!”
Lan WangJi flinched at the voice of the man who saved him from Jiang WanYin’s rage. Jiang WanYin was furious. Whoever the man who was trying to stop him from killing this disgusting man before him, he paid him no attention at all. He was so furious that he did not even notice or tried to comprehend who it was that had been grasping his wrist and calling out to him.
“Get the hell away from me!” exclaimed Jiang WanYin, but the man’s hold on him was still as tight. In a fit of fury, he pulled his hand away and turned to the man who held his wrist, ready to send the man a punch or throw him out of his way with zidian but that was when he finally realized that the man was none other than his brother.
“Wei WuXian?! How can you still side with him after what he had done to you?! Do not stop me, I will kill him today!”
Wei WuXian was puzzled. What was it that Lan WangJi had done to him that Jiang WanYin wanted to kill him so much?
“What, wait! What happened? What do you mean? What did Lan Zhan do?” questioned Wei WuXian, bemused at everything that seemed to be a complete puzzle before him.
His brother was glaring at Lan WangJi in disdain as though he had just hurt one of his family members.
Lan WangJi was a complete mess. He was on the ground, face injured with bleeding lips. The wounds on the man must be caused by the hot-headed Sect Leader Jiang, Wei WuXian realized, and the strangest of all was Lan WangJi was just there, not defending himself at all looking as though he deserved everything even if Jiang WanYin was to take his life now.
“What had he done, you asked?!” Jiang WanYin was furious as he turned to Wei WuXian, “He took advantage of you, you idiot! He pinned you to the tree using his abnormal Lan strength while you blindfolded yourself merely for that stupid competition you had with that rubbish Jin ZiXun, and Lan WangJi took the chance to kiss you, and God knows what more was he planning to do if I did not come here in time!”
Lan WangJi closed his eyes, feeling even more ashamed of himself as he heard what Jiang WanYin had said. He was not wrong though. He had taken advantage of the man he loved, and oh God, he really did not know what else he might do if Jiang WanYin did not make his appearance. He had actually wanted to take a look at Wei Ying, but as he saw the man, his desire to touch him and to get closer to him got the better of him. It was like he could hardly control himself at all and the next thing he knew, he found Jiang WanYin punching him and pushing him off the tree. Only then did he realize what he had just done.
He had kissed Wei Ying, without the man’s permission and without the man knowing it.
What a coward he was.
He felt warm tears forming within his eyes. Now that Wei WuXian knew it was him, what would he think? He would be disgusted by him and loathed him for taking advantage of him. Not that he could blame the man because he felt just as disgusted at himself.
Wei WuXian, on the other hand, was completely flabbergasted. What Jiang WanYin said, that was simply ridiculous. Did that mean the one who had pinned him on the tree was not a maiden, but a man – Lan WangJi?
That did not seem possible at all, did it? After all, Lan WangJi disliked him. All the man had ever wanted was to lock him in Gusu and to punish him for practicing demonic cultivation. Lan WangJi, just like Lan QiRen hated demonic cultivators like him.
“How is that possible?” Wei WuXian found himself questioning.
Lan WangJi clenched his fists as he felt the hot tears welling up in his eyes threatening to fall any time soon. Jiang WanYin turned to his brother, finding his anger rising even more, and the desire to strike Lan WangJi with zidian merely increased.
“Wei WuXian, why are you still protecting him even now?! He hurt you, he took advantage of you! I saw it with my own eyes, or do you think I will accuse him of doing something like that without any evidence?”
Wei WuXian had been eyeing Lan WangJi all the while, but the last few words his brother had said in a disappointed and hurt tone made him paid his attention to his brother. Jiang WanYin was staring at him, looking upset that his brother did not seem to believe in him.
“That is not it. I just –”
He just thought the well-respected Hanguang-jun would never do something like that. Besides, the man hated him, all the more reason to prove that he would not be the one who had kissed him.
“Lan Zhan, were you the one who…” Wei WuXian paused a moment, suddenly feeling a little embarrassed to say that out loud before he continued, “…kissed me?”
Lan WangJi’s head was still bowed down, refusing to meet anyone’s eyes, especially Wei WuXian who still seemed to believe he was not the one who took advantage of him. Jiang WanYin looked even more enraged than before with the silence that greeted them.
“What a great man you are, Hanguang-jun. You dare to do it but refuse to admit?” Jiang WanYin scoffed.
“Jiang Cheng, there must be a misunderstanding. Lan Zhan would never – He dislikes me. Why would he even do something like that to me?”
“Wei WuXian, he must be doing it to humiliate you, to tell you that he can do whatever he wants and you will not be able to do anything about it. You are wrong, Lan WangJi! I will make you regret what you have done and planned to do towards my brother. I will kill you right here even if it means a war against the Gusu Lan sect!”
Lan WangJi looked up in an instant. Jiang WanYin was wrong. He was not doing it to humiliate Wei Ying, if anything he was humiliating himself and bringing shame to the Gusu Lan sect.
“No, Wei Ying! I –”
“Jiang Cheng, enough! Please stop,” Wei WuXian said, his hands grabbing Jiang WanYin’s hand that was ready to release zidian any time soon, his eyes looking away from the two. No one had any idea what he was thinking about, but one thing was certain. Wei WuXian was thinking that Lan WangJi had kissed him to humiliate him.
Lan WangJi knew he had to explain before Wei WuXian’s hatred for him increased, that was only if the hatred he had for him had not already been maximized. He opened his mouth, ready to make an explanation that he had been misunderstood – not the kissing part, but the part where he was trying to humiliate the man he loved, but before a single word managed to escape his lips, he saw many cultivators approaching them, Lan XiChen and Nie MingJue standing in front of the cultivators.
Lan XiChen upon seeing his brother on the ground, badly injured widened his eyes.
He did not run to his brother yet, and he was turning from Wei WuXian to Jiang WanYin, finding out who was the one responsible for hurting his younger brother. Wei WuXian was grasping Jiang WanYin’s wrist, looking upset but his eyes were not looking at anyone. His eyes were staring on the ground like it was an interesting item. Jiang WanYin however, had an exactly opposite expression on his face. He was burning in rage.
Somehow, Lan XiChen felt he had found the one who had hurt his brother, yet it did not make him feel at ease at all. He was starting to wonder what had happened to cause such a scene, and his brother seemed to be…
What was it that his brother actually could be feeling ashamed of… unless –
Lan XiChen turned to Wei WuXian. Did his brother finally confessed to Wei WuXian, but if his brother was there looking so upset, did that mean Wei WuXian had rejected him? How could the injury on his brother be explained then?
Sensing Lan XiChen’s distress, Jin GuangYao stepped forward, planning to question what had happened, but Nie MingJue was always a second faster.
“What happened here?” questioned Nie MingJue, voicing out everyone’s questions. Everyone turned their attention to the three, absolutely curious to listen to an explanation.
Jiang WanYin scoffed, “Go on, Lan WangJi. Tell them, tell your brother and all the cultivators here, just what indeed had you done.”
The silence was all the audience could get, not that anyone would blame him. They were used to his silence after all.
Lan XiChen frowned, which was something new because there was hardly anyone who had seen the man frown. His brother who had remained silent, head still bowed down was definitely not doing anything to help out with the situation.
Wei WuXian bit his lower lip. This was getting ugly and he would really like to leave this place as soon as possible. Jiang Cheng’s words, where he had said Lan WangJi was merely trying to humiliate him kept on repeating itself in his brain, and he would really rather be at any place than staying here, standing so close to Lan WangJi and being reminded of how much the man had loathed him.
“It is nothing, it is a misunderstanding,” said Wei WuXian.
No one bought his explanation. After all, just what type of ridiculous misunderstanding could it be that had ended up with Hanguang-jun on the ground, injured.
“Misunderstanding you say? Wei WuXian, he took advantage of you!”
“Sect Leader Jiang, what do you mean by that?” questioned Lan XiChen. Even as he asked the question calmly, he was internally fretting as he scrutinized his brother’s expression. Something was not right here, and his brother looked like he was in the wrong.
“My brother, Wei WuXian had announced that he would blindfold himself throughout the competition. Lan WangJi, while my brother was still blindfolded, took the advantage to pin him on the tree strongly, making it impossible for my brother to escape while he forcibly kissed my brother.”
Wei WuXian turned to his brother immediately, surprised that he would say that out loud, “Jiang Cheng!”
The audience gasped at the shocking news.
Lan XiChen was astounded. He needed confirmation from his brother.
As expected, his brother did not provide an answer. However, seeing that his brother was clenching his fists and refusing to look up at him, that was actually enough to answer his question. The truth was just as Jiang WanYin had said, his brother had…
“No!” Wei WuXian exclaimed, startling everyone.
“It is not that. It is a misunderstanding. Zewu-jun, please do not punish Lan Zhan. This is – He is –”
Everyone turned to see Jiang YanLi advancing towards them with Jin ZiXuan and Madam Jin not too far away from behind.
Jiang YanLi scrutinized Wei WuXian for a moment before she pulled him along and walked to Jiang WanYin.
“A-Cheng, what you had said just now, is that true?”
“Right, how do we know what you said is the truth?” questioned someone from within the crowd.
Jiang WanYin was furious, “I saw it with my own eyes!”
“Jiang Cheng, enough!”
“Wei WuXian, even now are you still trying to protect him?!”
Ignoring her two brothers, Jiang YanLi scrutinized the man on the ground before she opened her mouth to question the man, her voice no longer the sweet and weak maiden that everyone had expected her to be.
“Second Master Lan, may I ask what is your intention towards my brother?”
“Shijie, it is not like this. It… It is my fault. I must have angered him so much, so it is not really Lan Zhan’s fault. He is just…”
“No..!” exclaimed Lan WangJi, finally speaking for the first time throughout the ruckus.
Everyone stared at Lan WangJi, surprised. Lan WangJi tried moving his lips, preparing to explain to everyone that it was all his fault, that he could no longer control his desire and had done something that brought shame to his sect. He had hurt the man he loved all because of his bad self-control. However, before he could speak up, a man from the Lanling Jin sect had spoken up, looking absolutely proud as though he had done Lan WangJi a big favor.
“Why would Hanguang-jun even want to touch someone like Wei WuXian? This is so obvious that Wei WuXian must have tried to seduce Hanguang-jun into kissing him and Sect Leader Jiang must have walked into the scene,” said Jin ZiXun in disdain before he laughed mockingly, “As expected of a son of a servant. Wei WuXian, you really have no shame!”
Wei WuXian widened his eyes, tears welling up in him as he stood there stunned, each word Jin ZiXun had said repeated itself in his brain especially the first thing the man had said.
Lan WangJi would never ever want to touch someone like him.
He almost laughed at how true the statement was. The man was absolutely right. He was a fool to think that the one who had pinned him on the tree loved him. No one would fall in love with a man like him, especially a man as perfect as Lan WangJi himself.
Lan WangJi was no better than Wei WuXian upon hearing what Jin ZiXun had said. He was stunned for a short moment before he started burning in fury. He was almost prepared to stand up, unsheathe Bichen, and thrusting it towards the man who spoke of such ridiculously disgusting words of Wei WuXian but Jiang WanYin was much faster.
The Yunmeng Jiang’s sect leader had left his brother's side and started swinging zidian towards the man who dared to accuse his brother of something so disgusting. Jin ZiXun winced in pain and was about to shout at whoever attacked him, but he realized he was facing an enraged Sect Leader Jiang who had a leg trampling his abdomen painfully.
“Who did you say was seducing who?” Jiang WanYin questioned as he trampled harder onto Jin ZiXun.
“And who were you calling a son of a servant?” Jiang WanYin questioned again before he removed his leg. Jin ZiXun had thought this was his chance to stand up and run away but just as he had his hands pressed against the ground and tried standing up, another strike from zidian came to him again and again.
No one dared to interfere with the enraged sect leader who continued whipping Jin ZiXun who had never gotten the chance to stand at all. Jiang WanYin did not and would not stop even as Jin ZiXun screamed in pain, he wanted to kill this man!
He would want to kill anyone who dared say something so disgusting against his brother. Oh, what a day. It seemed he would have to kill so many people today, and Lan WangJi would be the first. He did not stop until he saw his sister walking towards their brother, wiping the man’s tears away as she caressed the man’s face.
“A-Xian, it is fine. Do not listen to them. Look at me,” said Jiang YanLi and when she was sure her brother was looking at her, she continued, “Shijie is here. A-Cheng and I will protect you.”
“Shijie…” Wei WuXian voiced out brokenly and it pained Jiang WanYin to see his brother so miserable.
Feeling his entire body burning in rage, he kept zidian and unsheathed Sandu, advancing towards Lan WangJi with only one intention.
“Lan WangJi, you will pay for this!”
Lan XiChen widened his eyes, trying his best to stop Sandu from reaching to his brother’s heart, but he knew he would never make it to his brother in time.
Blood started dripping down with Sandu still in the injured man’s abdomen. The injured man’s face was twisted in pain and the man’s face seemed to be growing paler rather quickly. Everyone widened their eyes in astonishment at the scene before them.
“A-Xian!” Jiang YanLi had screamed, that much Jiang WanYin was aware.
“Wei Ying!” Lan WangJi had screamed too, but Jiang WanYin felt he was of no importance at all. All he was aware of at the moment was his brother was injured, stabbed by Sandu. His sword had not stabbed Lan WangJi, but Wei WuXian.
“J-Jiang Cheng, do not… do not hurt him…”
Jiang WanYin tremblingly pulled Sandu out, only to have Wei WuXian fell into his arms.
Jiang YanLi had reached her brothers by now, eyes scrutinizing her injured brother, hoping that it was not as painful as it seemed and that her brother would certainly survive this.
“Wei Ying!” Lan WangJi was advancing towards Wei WuXian, only to be shoved backward by Jiang WanYin who was glowering at him with hatred. Lan XiChen was already at his brother’s side by now and had been there to catch his brother when he had been shoved backward by the enraged man.
“He has always been protecting you, even now… but what have you done for him? Take that dirty hands of yours off my brother, and don’t you even dare get anywhere near my brother again,” demanded Jiang WanYin as he lifted his brother up in his arms before he turned to his sister, “A-Jie, we should go.”
Jiang YanLi nodded, “A-Xian, we are going home. Please hang in there.”
Lan WangJi leaned on his brother, tears finally leaking as he watched the Yunmeng trio left, leaving nothing behind but the blood that the man he loved had left on the ground. Lan XiChen embraced his brother tightly, feeling his heart ached upon seeing his brother in such a state.