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.
"And how, exactly, are you going to explain losing all the sect heirs to their parents?" Wen Ying bites out.
Wen Chao flicks a hand dismissively. "If we're the only ones to leave this place alive, nobody will have any choice but to believe what we say."
"That's true," she says quietly.
"Whoever survives gets to control the narrative."
She has her blade out of its sheathe and sunk into Wen Chao's gut before he can react. Wang Lingjiao screams.
There are many shouts of alarm from the Wen soldiers present, and several other screams from startled disciples.
The Wen guards who are quickest to recover themselves lunge at Wen Ying. Lan Zhan sets the nearest one on fire, whomping her torch into his chest before discarding it. A moment later, Bichen glitters in her grip.
Oh good, it's sword time. Hitting people with swords is so much easier than avoiding a diplomacy crisis with Wen Chao, hooray.
Whack whack whack. Nearly half of the Wen soldiers turn to flee once the disciples brandish their spiritual swords.
Wen Ying throws a talisman that casts a wall of flame back the way they came, cutting off the soldiers' escape route.
"You..." Wen Chao manages to hiss out.
"Your death was sealed when you did what you did to my village," Wen Ying says coldly. "But I suspect it was always going to be necessary, in the end."
She pulls her blade out of his abdomen and slices his head clean off.
She is very, very good with her sword. So is Lan Zhan. None of the soldiers who go after her in particular survive.
Eventually a handful of soldiers are left alive, held immobile at swordpoint by various disciples. Wen Ying first attends to the thankfully relatively few injuries on their side, then addresses the remaining living soldiers.
"Wen Ruohan is a tyrant and a madman," she says flatly. "It was always going to come to a head, one way or another; if it wasn't someone from within the Wen sect, it wasn't going to be much longer before the entire rest of the world figured out there was only one way to definitively prevent suffering the same fate as the Lan sect. Or worse. You have two choices, right now. You can swear to me, and I will tie you up and leave you here until the dust settles, then send rescuers. Or you can remain loyal to Wen Ruohan and die here and now."
There is stunned silence.
It takes under a minute for all the Wen soldiers to glance at each other and lower their swords. Not a single one seems to think loyalty to Wen Ruohan or the late Wen Chao is worth dying for, apparently. There is some nervous mumbling as they huddle together and fumble to their knees.
She gets them all bound hand and foot, tense and wary. Once they're all taken care of, she gets up and surveys the rest of the cavern. Whatever oogedy boogedy is hiding in this cavern still hasn't shown itself. Nobody's time-sensitively hurt.
Her shoulders lower slightly as some of the tension drains out. Her eyes light on Lan Zhan, and--
the part of this that involved putting on a show for Wen Chao is over. She strides towards her wife and throws her arms around her neck and kisses her, heedless of any consequences.
Kiss!!!!! Lan Zhan wraps her arms fast around Wen Ying's waist and sways forward into the kiss (with her WIFE).
Wen Ying just began an excellent coup, she deserves many kisses.
AwWWWWWW. Mianmian rises on her tiptoes to peek over Jin Zixuan's shoulder and cheer in support!
Shocked murmuring ripples around the cave! Lan-guniang kissing someone is even more surprising than a violent Wen coup.
After a while, Wen Ying pulls back, breathing hard.
"I love you. Let's go kick some ass."
"Okay. So!" she turns to the erstwhile hostages. "I've been planning to overthrow Wen Ruohan for a long time, on account of, uh, who he is as a person. Anyone who wants to help would be welcome to! Anyone who wants to be like 'he's your mess, Wen-guniang, you clean him up,' is valid and can chill probably here so as to be out of the crossfire."
"You're overthrowing Wen Ruohan... right now?" says a Jin disciple. "Leaving right now?"
"I just had to gank Wen Chao, it's not like I can keep my cover of loyalty going much longer."
"Are fighting in your coup and staying in this monster cave really the only options? Could we just instead... not be in a cave?"
"What are you talking about," Zixuan snaps. "Should a member of the Jin Sect be so cowardly? Of course we are all going to fight Wen Ruohan!"
"I mean, you could not be in a cave if you wanted, but then somebody on Wen Ruohan's side might find you and decide to stab you."
"I wouldn't get stabbed by a Wen," the disciple mumbles, but he quiets down and files in behind all the other Jins.
A dozen disciples decide to stay here.
Among them is Nie Huaisang and a cluster of fellow Nies who were instructed to protect him. Huaisang is more than happy to chill in this cave and not stab or be stabbed by anyone! He's sure everyone else will do a great job!
"Don't get eaten by whatever's in here," she teases him, and then she and Lan Zhan and the rest of the disciples can leave.
On the way back to Nightless City from the cave, she and Lan Zhan and Jiang Cheng and Jin Zixuan and whoever's acting head of the Nie disciples who came along can talk strategy. She's going to peel off from the main group to try to catch Wen Ruohan unawares before he finds out she's in on the rebellion. Here's a shitton of strategic information about Nightless City's weak points and so on, also a bunch of talismans she never shared with the enemy.
Lan Zhan will accompany her to kill Wen Ruohan.
Wen Ying considers trying to argue her out of this, considers what dajie would have to say about that, and settles on, "Stay out of sight until actual violence starts, he knows you're his enemy."