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Sep 22, 2021 3:59 PM
Wei Wuxian meets up with the other time travellers
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Destroyed?

He knows that didn't happen last time.  That means that someone from the future must have done something to change it.  There is only a single person from any point in time who both would and could destroy Nightless City.

Wangji looks at his brother.  "Wei Ying," he says.  He needs to get to Nightless City and look -

Though brother's first guess had been that this child had been responsible?  He looks at 'Mo Xuanyu.' 

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Coming here had been a miscalculation. 

He laughs nervously.  "Hi Lan Zhan."

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"Wei Ying."

His arms tighten their grip.

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Oh no.  He is going to be crushed to death.  Not that he can say it's a bad way to go - certainly better than the last time he died.

Before that, he does still have questions.  "How did you figure out it was me?" 

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It takes a while for him to respond.  Eventually, "I remember the future.  Twenty years of it." Seven years of war and confusion and not being where he ought to have been.  Thirteen years of grief.

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Twenty years.  Wei Wuxian had died about seven years from now, if he didn't miscount.  Always a possibility, given the state of the Burial Mounds in his final years.  The days had blurred together, from both their isolation from the rest of the world and the effects of demonic cultivation on Wei Wuxian's mental state. 

"It is just you who came back?  Have you seen anyone else who might be from the future?"

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"One."

He does not look happy about it.  After some wheedling from Wei Wuxian, he clarifies.  "Jiang Wanyin."  It sounds like a curse.

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"Jiang Cheng!  What has he been getting up to?  Where is he?"

He is initially gleeful, before he remembers their last meeting and stops squirming to be set down.  No, Jiang Cheng isn't going to be happy to see him.  Not after all Wei Wuxian had done. 

"How has he been, in the future?  Has he been okay?"

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There is nothing okay about Jiang Wanyin.

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"Sandu Shengshou did not return to the past in his own body.  Rather, he appeared in your body.  We did not know that your soul was elsewhere and assumed that it was being suppressed by his presence.  He had been cooperating with our efforts to exorcise him. 

"He is no longer here, however - after the techniques in our own library failed we called Madam Yu to use Zidian.  She refused to, and her and Sandu Shengshou returned to Lotus Pier after hearing about the destruction of Nightless City."

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He takes this information in. 

"So, who is in Jiang Cheng's body then?"

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"There are two of him."  He says this like it is a personal slight that the universe has caused him and now needs to answer for.

He is also furious that Jiang Wanyin has run off with Wei Ying's body.  If he'd been told immediately, he could have flown after him. 

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Wei Wuxian finds this hilarious.  He wishes he'd been there to see. 

Lan Zhan is getting agitated.  He pats his shoulder in a soothing motion.  "Did the Jiang Chengs cause a lot of trouble?  Surely they couldn't have been worse than me."

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Wei Ying and Jiang Wanyin are incomparable.

He can't help but start clinging tightly again.  He doesn't want Wei Ying anywhere near any Jiang Wanyin.  Not even the past one who has been loudly hating his future self.  It is too dangerous and Wei Ying is too small and can't defend himself.

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He wants to go see the other Jiang Cheng.  The one that still looks like himself.  Who might not hate him yet.  And Shijie, of course. 

Which means he's back to not being sure what to do with himself.  He'll look like nothing more than a street urchin for a while yet.  A burden wherever he goes.  But at least he knows talismans this time.  It'll be a little weird, but he can probably work out a way to sell them and get food, maybe by claiming his parents sent him to the market?  Assuming, of course, that he doesn't have to run from the Lan.  That seems likely.  Lan Zhan had kept trying to drag him back to Cloud Recesses to lock him up.

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Let's get this back on track.

"Are you the one who caused the time travel?"

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"No.  The last thing I remember before waking up back at Mo Manor was dying.  It took a little while to realize that I was in the past, in fact.  I guess not having people I knew before nearby to compare to made that harder."

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"Do you have any idea how it happened?"

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"Nothing that I'm certain about.  I looked into time travel, once.  Briefly.  It was too dangerous to actually try.  Before finding out that there were others, I had the thought that perhaps Mo Xuanyu in the future did something.  There are... other dangerous things I'd looked into.  If they had all been combined, somehow, this isn't impossible.  But that wouldn't explain Lan Zhan." 

It might explain Jiang Cheng, if had been only Jiang Cheng being sent back alongside Wei Wuxian.  A combination of Wei Wuxian's body still being alive in the past, and Jiang Cheng having Wei Wuxian's golden core.  That would still be a stretch - he'd never have bet on it, if he'd heard someone theorizing about it. 

And there was nothing connecting Lan Zhan and himself on that kind of level.  Destined enemies, perhaps?  The one who had to be strong enough to kill him when he went too far?  Since Jiang Cheng hadn't been able to do it, had pulled his blow. 

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"I had not been under the impression that things being dangerous would dissuade you.  Given the demonic cultivation."

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He pats Lan Zhan before he can bristle too much.  Zewu-jun is right to be angry, if he'd been told a fraction of what Wei Wuxian had done.

"There's a difference between something that can destroy me, something that can destroy a city, and something that destroys the entire universe."

A universe that had held Shijie, at least when he'd been sketching out his initial thoughts.  His nephew.  Jiang Cheng.  Lan Zhan. 

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"That's a risk?"

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"There's a fifty-fifty chance that it already happened.  To everyone and everything that was in the future.  I mean, all of the stuff that the universe is made from had to come from somewhere, right?  Either the universe was destroyed and remade into this one, or this universe appeared out of nothing and we were just shunted into it.  Or were copied, perhaps.

"It's a fascinating subject, even if I never want to do it.  There's so much to think about.  Even with the evidence, I'm not sure how it was done.  Do you know how much power it would take to move everything back to where it had been?  And for that matter, how did anyone know where it had been - There had been books burned in Wen attacks that are nothing but scattered ash in the future, and they're back to being books.  Where was the information kept?

"And the idea of prophesies, too.  Which I'm pretty sure have never really happened, but would operate under similar methods.  Either creating a future universe to get information from, or managing to simulate all of the people and physics of anything even potentially connected to what you were trying to look at.  And when simulating people, how accurate would you have to be before they count as people and using them is wrong?"

Whoever had done this - Mo Xuanyu still being his best guess - had known about him.  Had likely used Wei Wuxian's notes as a starting point.  He supposes this means that it is his fault.  He sighs.  Just more names to add to the list of everyone he's caused to suffer and die. 

"Either way, though, we're where we are.  No point worrying about it at this point."

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That is all very fascinating, but as Wei-gongzi has pointed out it isn't currently useful and Lan Xichen is so, so tired right now.  He files that all away under 'yikes' and moves on.

 

"So... Nightless City.  Was that one you?"

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