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May 18, 2021 3:00 AM
The Untamed bodyswap time travel
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"Do not go easy on him, nephew.  Wangji knows the appropriate ways to have reacted in this situation, and did not follow them."

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It is for the best that he attend.  It will give him the chance to see who else is there.  Will the Wen interrupt again?

Lan Wangji is sent to clean up.  He is still wearing the robes he'd fallen onto the dirt while wearing and his sword has been misplaced. 

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"I concede to your wisdom and experience, Uncle." 

Lan Xichen is unhappy about this.  Yesterday, he'd been enthusiastic about the start of the lectures, hoping that his shy brother would have the chance to make friends with the visiting disciples.  Now he's dreading it. 

Lan Wangji had always found comfort and stability in the rigid structure of life in Cloud Recesses.  Adding in the unknown element of several dozen non-Lan disciples taught under different systems is going to stress that.  It would have been healthy, before, to accustom him to the ways of the other sects.  He's less sure it will do any good when his brother is in the middle of an unknown crisis.

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Meanwhile:

Jiang Cheng wakes up feeling much better. 

Until he checks a mirror and spends the next several minutes looking at himself in horror.  This isn't his face.  These aren't his clothes.  That isn't his sword and Zidian is gone and why is he Wei Wuxian?  His face - Wei Wuxian's face - is pale in shock as he steps backwards away from the mirror as if his reflection might attack him.

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He's left to this for a while, before Jin Zixuan finishes his own morning preparations and gets around to checking on him.

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He ignores the knocking at the door.  Answering the door while looking like an infamous demonic cultivator and murderer is not going to go over well.

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The door opens after a few seconds, because Jin Zixuan was the one who paid for this room and also doesn't care if he's rude.

Jin Zixuan takes stock of Wei Wuxian's appearance.  Pale and shaky, but not unconscious.  He's not sure whether or not he ought to comment on it, thinks about it for several seconds, then decides that after such a long pause it would be awkward to.  There's no reason for him to care anyway.

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Jiang Cheng contemplates this.  That can not possibly be Jin Zixuan.  Jin Zixuan has been dead for over thirteen years. 

Therefore, another person who has been dressed in the face and clothing of a dead person. 

"Who are you."

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"I am Jin Zixuan, heir of Lanling Jin."  Which he'd already said the evening before.

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Bullshit.  Probably?  He peers at "Jin Zixuan's" neck for any of the tell-tale veins which would indicate he's some kind of fierce corpse.  Not that the lack means anything, when such good illusions or whatever are involved. 

"Of course you are.  What do you know of what happened?"

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Jin Zixuan is getting rather fed up with his attitude.  It's bad enough he's been engaged against his will, but to be engaged to someone from Yunmeng Jiang whose servants wander around acting like this -

"You broke into my inn room then passed out."

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"I don't know what's going on, but it's obviously Wei Wuxian's fault.  No one else is this unreasonable and obnoxious."

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Is that supposed to be an apology? 

"It does seem that way," he agrees.

"We're about to leave for Cloud Recesses.  You should be heading there too - your sect is likely wondering where you are."  Jin Zixuan has wasted enough of his precious time as it is.  With that, he walks out to await the rest of the well-behaved and proper Jin disciples to finish lining up for the hike.

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Jin Zixuan's corpse/visage/whatever wandering into Cloud Recesses sounds like only a slightly less terrible idea than Wei Wuxian going there.  On the other hand, Jiang Cheng can't hide in the inn forever.  He wants answers.  If Jin Zixuan is going he might as well follow and see what happens.

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No one in Caiyi Town thinks there's anything unusual about Jin Zixuan and the Yiling Patriarch walking through town.  The mundane folk of the town stop to stare at them, but only in the admiring way that such people always take note of well-dressed cultivators. There is a complete lack of horrified screaming or confusion of any kind. 

The Cloud Recesses gate guards also don't consider their presence amiss.  Jin Zixuan hands them his invitation and they are all allowed entrance.  The guard, being helpful, points out that the salutation ceremony will begin shortly and tells them where the relevant hall is.

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Jiang Cheng continues to be very confused, but at least he has a few more pieces of the puzzle to start putting together.  Does he recall anything about invitations to Lan ceremonies?  Well, there was that one time back when they'd arrived for Master Lan Qiren's lectures and Wei Wuxian had left their invitation behind.  In an inn full of Jin disciples...

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Jiang Cheng is beaten to the hall by a different Jiang Cheng.

This Jiang Cheng spends the last few minutes before the ceremony is about to begin angrily fretting about the still-missing Wei Wuxian.  He has no idea where Wei Wuxian is.  Did he get lost?  He probably got lost.  He'd better have gotten lost, because if he instead did something stupid and dangerous then Jiang Cheng is going to break his legs when he gets back! 

For variety, there is also being pissed off at Lan Wangji.  He had apologized earlier, while they were on their way to check if the gate guard had seen Wei Wuxian yet, but had only done so to A-Jie.  Apparently, the great Second Jade of Lan did not think attempted murder worth apologizing over unless it caused an injury.  Lan Wangji had walked right past Jiang Cheng without acknowledging his existence. 

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The Jin disciples arrive last, only a single minute before the start of the ceremony.  They stride in as if the only reason the start of the ceremony was scheduled when it was, was to be a minute after their arrival, rather than the other way around.

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Jiang Cheng does not share their confidence.  The fingers of his hand reflexively try to twist at a ring that isn't there. 

Someone is wearing his face.

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Wei Wuxian has been spotted, meaning that Jiang Cheng can now start yelling at him.

"Wei Wuxian!  Where have you been?  Have you decided to join the Jin sect?  You'd look terrible in gold, and don't think they'd let you get away with wearing black over there.  A-Jie has been worried sick over you.  Get back here and sit down!"

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He stares at his body.  That is so creepy.  That is even worse than looking at someone else's face copying his movements in the mirror.  The voice sounds different than what he hears when he speaks.  He is too distracted to take in the meaning of the words.

"Wei Wuxian?" he guesses.  It seems like the most obvious place for Wei Wuxian to be, in whatever mockery of logic is being used in this nightmare.

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Jiang Cheng looks him up and down.  Wei Wuxian is unharmed.  He's feeling some kind of emotion at that.  It's probably anger. 

"Are you drunk?  Don't embarrass the Jiang sect with your irresponsible ways.  What are the other clans going to think of us, with you wandering around and getting into trouble like a stray cat."

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Jiang Cheng glares back, then steps right up into his personal space and grabs his robes by the collar.  "Who do you think you are, to speak to me that way?"

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There is a moment of pause.

"What?"  Wei Wuxian looks genuinely upset?  He glances at A-Jie.

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"We're glad to see you, A-Xian.  What happened?"   Obviously something happened.  She just has no idea what it could have been.

Jiang Yanli steps in front of them, resting her hand on Wei Wuxian's arm.  Her other arm is kept at her side, the bandages wrapped around it faintly distorting the shape of the sleeve resting above them. 

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