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Jul 25, 2021 5:22 PM
ranwan beauty and the beast
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He's about to demand again when the wind picks up. 

He has only a split second to notice the increased howling before the pain hits. 

He doubles over as his body rebels in ways bodies aren't supposed to. His clothes tear as his bones shift, hair sprouting and claws extending from his fingertips. 

By the time he collapses to the floor, passing out from the agony, the transformation is complete. 

By the time he wakes up, he remembers none of this. 

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Shi Mei walks away.

Already he feels more peaceful, without Mo Ran babbling at his side. Such a clumsy and energetic kid exhausted Shi Mei to handle gracefully, but Mo Ran won't pester him any longer. He certainly won't pester Shizun any longer.

Shizun will be upset, at first, but Shi Mei will be there to console him. In time, Chu Wanning will recover. He will find other things to make him smile the way Mo Ran so often did. (Sickeningly often). 

 

The sun is setting by the time Shi Mei staggers through the village and falls against Chu Wanning's door, knocking frantically. He has become dirty and disheveled and his clothes are torn; blood oozes from multiple slashes on his arm. "Shizun! Shizun!"

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Xue Meng opens the door, his eyes widening when he takes in Shi Mei's state. 

"What happened?"

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"There was - there was a terrible beast, in the woods - out of nowhere, and A-Ran -- oh, it's awful -- "

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Xue Meng pales and runs to get Chu Wanning. 

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He rushes to Shi Mei. "What happened? Where are you hurt, where's Mo Ran?"

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"I'm sorry, Shizun," he whimpers, clutching his arm and looking down at the floor. "A-Ran - A-Ran -

it killed him."

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"No it didn't. What - what it are you talking about, speak clearly damn it -"

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"It was a monster, Shizun," Shi Mei whispers. "Some huge wild beast in the forrest. It -- it -- one minute we were just walking, and then - it ripped A-Ran's neck."

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"What?" Xue Meng demands disbelievingly, eyes wide. 

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"It killed him!" Shi Mei cries. "I beg you, don't make me say it anymore! The beast tore his throat and ran off with the body, I wasn't fast enough..."

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"I'm faster. Tell me where he is, Shi Mingjing, I'll get him back."

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"Shizun... he isn't there anymore. He isn't anywhere! I don't know if there will be a body left to recover." He gags on his own words and covers his face with trembling hands.

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"There will be, and he will be there, he will be alive, don't talk back to me! Not recovering the body - how dare you suggest such a foul thing! Tell me where it happened!"

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Shi Mei drops to his knees. "Shizun, please! Please, don't go out there, it's already getting dark - please, you'll get hurt!"

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Xue Meng bolts out of Chu Wanning's house to go get his father. 

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Like fuck he'll get hurt. Like fuck he cares.

"Tell. Me. Where."

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"Please, Shizun, I can't lose you too, we need you! Please..."

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Wanning grabs his nearest contraption and hurls it across the room. It smashes loudly against the far wall; wood splinters and metal gears go flying.

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He flinches.

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nonononononononononononononono

 

Mo Ran

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Xue Meng rushes back in, Xue Zhengyong in tow. 

Xue Zhengyong wants to know EVERYTHING about the attack. They are definitely going to send search parties. 

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Shi Mei mournfully relays a location and some details about the struggle with the terrible monster. He wants to participate in the search parties! He feels guilty for letting the beast get away with his shidi's body.

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