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Sep 27, 2020 9:54 PM
f!wangxian get up to shenanigans
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It's a pity Wen Qing insisted on splitting off, but it's not like Wei Ying doesn't understand having to protect your little brother. Even if hers ended up coming along after all. Whatever, between her and Lan Zhan it's not like they can't take whatever crosses their path. 

And Yueyang is lovely! Mm, free samples of tasty alcohol--hey! Mrrg, that Lan Zhan, she never waits up. 

"Hey! Hey Lan Zhan, where are you going?"

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They have not come here for the alcohol. Why did Wei Ying even insist on coming if she wasn't going to prioritize their mission? (It is because Wei Ying exists to make Lan Zhan's life as hard as possible, of course.)

"I am going to look for gentry families. Some must reside here."

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"Why would you look for them, though?"

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"They will be knowledgeable."

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"Ah, Lan Zhan, you're so lucky you have me along. That's not how you find out what's been going on someplace!"

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"We should go there!" 

She is absolutely pointing at a wine shop.

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"You just want to drink." 

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"What, psht, no, would I do that? It's totally the best plan! Think of how many people will be there, gossiping. And if anything weird has happened, you can bet people will be talking about it. It might not reach a cultivator family's attention until something has been confirmed to be happening, but even if it's just a little weird or suspicious, you can bet the common people will be talking about it." 

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Hm.

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Before this can be further deliberated, Nie Huaisang hurries over from that direction. "Heyyy, hey!" he calls, panting and waving his fan as though they might miss him. "Jiang-xiong, Wei-guniang..."

He shakes his head, still out of breath. "Meng Yao hasn't arrived yet. Can we sit down somewhere, please?"

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"Yes we can!" she says brightly, and grabs Lan Zhan and her brother by the wrists and drags them into the wine shop. 

Once they have a table, she slaps a string of coins down on it. 

"Three jars of wine!" she says brightly. 

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"Aw, c'mon, A-Cheng, money loosens lips, you know that." 

"Ah, our Dichroa Red is really excellent, you won't regret your generosity!" the server promises. "I'll be right back!" 

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"Don't ask me for more money if you run out." 

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"Okay, I won't ask you," she tells him, and then winks at Lan Zhan.

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Reproachful glance. If Wei Ying thinks Lan Zhan is ever going to sponsor her absurd alcohol indulgence, she is sorely mistaken.

She pours herself tea from the little kettle set on the table and sips it quietly.

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The server comes back with the jars of wine. One for Wei Ying and one for Jiang Cheng and one for Nie Huaisang. It's not only her own alcohol indulgence!!!

She tilts her head and bats her eyelashes at the waiter. "So, this is my first time in Yueyang...is there anything interesting around?" 

"Ah--what kind of interesting?" 

"Oh, I'm really into things that are weird or spooky. The creepier the better! Mutilations, soul snatchings, grave robbings..." 

"Ah, you're a really intense young lady, aren't you?" 

"Mm, I suppose I am." 

"Well...there's what happened to the Chang clan..." 

"Mmmm?" she prompts. 

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The waiter doesn't know anything about how intense Wei Ying is and he has no right to comment on it.

The combined emotional toll of both Wei Ying batting her eyelashes and Wei Ying batting her eyelashes at someone else is too much. Lan Zhan glares at her tea.

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"A few miles outside the city to the southeast, you can find the manor of the Chang clan. They were the local cultivation sect, but for some reason, just recently, they all disappeared! They never come into town anymore, but...at night, you can hear something pounding on the doors trying to get out," the waiter says earnestly. 

Wei Ying's flirtatious demeanor drops as she exchanges serious looks with the other occupants of the table. 

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She gives a serious look back.

"Has no one looked inside?"

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"Of course! But there isn't anybody there during the daytime. And at night..." he shivers, perhaps partially picking up on the weight of the cultivators' gazes. His eyes dart to the southeast. "...It's almost evening now," he murmurs, and hurries off. 

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We should go now, she thinks to say, but before she can even open her lips -

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The Yin Iron flares to life, resentful energy spilling out from its pouch and burning cold against Lan Zhan's breast.

She gasps in pain and shock, clutching at the Yin Iron against chest as images of blood - and screams and fear and death - begin to flash across her eyes.

 

Something very bad is happening, right at this moment - it hurts -

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"Lan Zhan? Are you okay? Your chest really is magnificent, but this isn't exactly the time..."

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"The Chang clan -- we must - go now," she pants, still gripping the Yin Iron over her heart. The screams flare louder and she squeezes her eyes shut.

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