The Wen Sect contingent is approaching the Cloud Recesses, and Wen Chao has a smirk on his face that's even stupider than average for a Wen Chao facial expression.
"Were you hoping to run around and yell?"
"Running is very useful for getting from point A to point B in the minimum amount of time, Jiejie!"
"Mhmmm. I'm sorry there are so many rules to follow, A-Ying. Hopefully we'll get what we need quickly."
She sighs. "I wouldn't have minded coming here for real. Lan Qiren is supposed to be a remarkable teacher for all that he's an old fuddy-duddy. Uncle ruins everything."
"It's not a bad idea for one of us to attend the actual lecture. That will be better for appearances. You can -- A-Ning parallel! -- you can go tomorrow. There will still be time to search."
"You're not coming? You don't think it'll blow our cover if we don't all attend the classes?"
She sighs. "I don't honestly think Sect Leader Lan believes our cover. I think they are going to go along with it as long as we don't make trouble or start obviously doing something else. I am not going to make trouble. A-Ning is a little too young to attend the lecture anyway, technically. I can officially be busy looking after him."
"Okay. I'll bring you guys notes if there's anything especially interesting."
She finally tracks down Brother, and restrains herself from tossing the notes at him. She feels uncomfortably immature, like a child about to throw a tantrum. Lan Zhan never even threw tantrums when she was an actual child; she hates feeling this way.
"Wen-er guniang broke the wards," she tells him, brandishing the crumpled notes. Her face warms further with embarrassment.
"...Well, that's mildly terrifying. But better than having coerced our disciples into letting them in, I suppose. What's this?" he asks, taking the papers and smoothing them out.
"Wen-er guniang made notes," she grits out. "On improving the wards."
Lan Zhan doesn't know the words to adequately convey how terrible this is. Hopefully Brother will just Understand that this is the most terrible thing ever.
"...I see. That was helpful of her."
He skims through the notes.
"Either she is a genuinely good person constrained by a terrible sect leader, or she very much wants us to think she is," he concludes.
Lan Zhan looks infuriated by both of these possibilities.
"A-Zhan, I trust you completely. But I don't think you've ever felt this way before, and feelings like this can be difficult to handle. Please don't say anything unwise in front of the Wens because you have a crush on Wen-er-guniang."
WHAT THE FUCK
She absolutely does not have a crush on anyone and especially not a Wen and especially not a really really pretty and clever Wen who arrived late and broke the wards. That's Absurd.
She has been betrayed. Time to storm off AGAIN.
The next day only one of the Wens shows up to class, but she is definitely not late and she is very attentive. She takes lots and lots of notes and knows the answers to all the "gotcha" questions Lan Qiren throws at her.
Why did she agree to attend this lecture. This is the worst thing that's ever happened to her. Lan Zhan struggles to pay attention in class for the first time in her life, which is terrible. She wants to do well in class, and even moreso she wants to hit Wen Ying.
And then she wants Wen Ying to hit her back. And then maybe knock her over and sit on her and pull her hair.
Just. Because challenging duels are fun and rare. This is the only reason.
Lan Qiren is cautiously impressed by Wen Ying, although he continues tossing "gotcha" questions her way. Most of his students seem to be doing well, in fact, except for Nie Huaisang. He is mostly very pleased with the group of disciples.
She approaches Nie Huaisang after class.
"Nie-xiong, it seemed like you were having some difficulty keeping up. I was wondering if you wanted help?"
"Oh, Wen-er guniang!" Hasty bow. "Wow, would you really want to spend all the time to help me catch up? You seem really really advanced, I w, wouldn't want to bore you..."
"It's not boring! Besides, after the way Wen Chao barged in here like that, it's really the least I can do to be as helpful as I can."
“Okay! Can we study somewhere outside? There are interesting birds here.”
"Sure! I don't know much about birds, can you tell me about them?"
He would love to!!!
They can sit outside on some rocks on this nice sunny day, and Huaisang can tell Wen-er guniang about birds and Wen-er guniang can tell him about scholarly things! Huaisang really isn't very fussed about learning the scholarly things but this is a fun and friendly way to spend time. He's interested in what education is even like for Wen disciples; it seems even more daunting than the instruction in Gusu or Qinghe.