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ᴅᴏɴ'ᴛ ᴡᴏʀʀʏ 'ʙᴏᴜᴛ ᴛᴏᴍᴏʀʀᴏᴡ ᴀɴʏᴍᴏʀᴇ.

Message to Readers

cross posted

another piece of glorified fanfiction. been sitting in my folder for a long while, and now that ff is over, i can finally relax. lore and points from the book are used even more heavily in this, so i'll try to introduce everything as smoothly as possible. as of now, no major spoilers for Mo Dao Zu Shi (though "brother brother where have you gone" has a substantial few). you don't need to know anything about the book to read this. this was just for my own enjoyment teehee. lots of chinese xianxia stuff though. my brain hurt from writing those pronunciation guides. don't stress about the chinese, ok? it'll only hurt ur head.

this is, ig, the more boring "in-between" section.

the lotus stays in limbo

August 20, 2020

FREE WRITING

5
nothing really changes.

your nephew is an orphan now. the power struggle that occurs after the seige on him is complicated, far to complicated to put into words, but you manage to walk away victorious with your sister’s son cradled in your arms. you walk away with him, far away from the dirty hands of his father’s family, far away from Koi Tower (1).

his name is Jin Ling (2), and you swear you will never let anyone hurt him.

Lotus Pier (1) is quiet now, only harkening to noise when Jin Ling cries or screams in joy. the disciples that grew up beside you are dead, and even though new ones have replaced them, they are far too afraid to walk around as freely as their predecessors.

you aren’t blind. they’re afraid of you.

your council nags you to get a wife. “you are nineteen after all. if your parents were alive, then they’d surely—” the conversation ends when your mother’s ring crackles in your hand, a bolt of purple electricity splitting through the air. still, when the meeting ends, you’ve written about nine requirements for a future wife.

you go and get yourself blacklisted by every woman the council sets you up with.

you are young, but you are not a young sect leader anymore. you do not need anyone to take care of you, to “calm your fire”, as the gossipers say. you don’t need any woman. you don’t need anybody but Jin Ling.

(your nephew deserves more than an “uncle’s wife”. those women deserve better than you. it’s those reasons you don’t say, when you list your sister’s personality traits in that list of requirements and reject every single one of those women as harshly as you can.)

when Jin Ling is six, one of his lesser uncles visits lotus pier. you send your nephew away to play and grudgingly invite the man in for tea. the man might’ve been a bastard of his father’s, but he still had enough money to pull strings. the man arrives with a proposition and sickeningly fake genuity splayed onto his table.

Jin Guangyao (2) moves his mouth once, and you end up giving him six of your nephew’s months.

(Jin Ling was old enough now, after all. he should be able to know his father’s side of the family too. that is what you tell yourself.)

your nephew cries onto your robes when you tell him, almost smearing his vermillion mark. you tell him to quiet down and to go with his xiao-shushu (3) to koi tower. Jin Ling’s been wearing yunmeng (1) purple his entire life, and now, he leaves in lanling (1) gold, his father’s sword clutched in between his chubby fingers.

that night, you lay awake, and it is the first night in six years that you do not have Jin Ling in a place where you can protect him. you think you’ve been tricked.

when your nephew returns again, after six months, he is happy. you will never tell him about the sleepless nights you spent or just how glad you were to see him then. you meet him down by the lotus flowers, ready to welcome him home.

that feeling vanishes when you see a dog at his side.

(you see, there was once a little boy who was deathly afraid of dogs. so afraid that he would cry and scratch his arms at the sight of them. that boy had a shidi (4), and that shidi loved dogs. he even had three of them before the little boy came. still, that shidi promised. his dogs were sent away, and he promised he would protect his shixiong (4) from any dog that came near him.)

Jin Ling has never seen pure, unadulterated rage on your face before. he starts crying, and it’s too much. it’s too much. you clench your teeth and stomp away before you can hurt him, before you can hurt that dog.

you spend the rest of that night polishing his flute (5), the one you picked up all those years ago from the graveyard dirt. you have never broken that promise before; you have never broken any promise you made to him.

but he did. he only made one promise to you, and he broke it.

and the only thing that’s left of him? a stupid flute, one that has killed thousands, your disciples, your brother in law, even your own sister.

but you can’t let go. you can’t let go of it.

the next day, you go to Jin Ling’s room and ruffle his hair. you ask him how his stay at koi tower was. his cheeks are streaked with tears, but he lights up.

later, all you can think about is how happy your nephew looked when he was describing his amazing xiao-shushu. how gentle and kind he was, how he was such a good aide to the sect leader, how he bought Jin Ling a dog—

you try not to feel bitter when you realize that your nephew thinks that Jin Guangyao is a better person than you are.

____

(TW: torture. ends at the ”~~~~~~” sign)

there are a lot of things you cannot tell Jin Ling. this is one of them.

your mother’s purple whip crackles in your hands, buzzing with a stinging electricity. it sends shocks up your hands, and you raise your arm and bring it down again, brutally.

there is blood; there is so much blood, but you have never been better.

the man beneath you writhes in pain, clenching his teeth so hard that you can hear the grinding. he lets out a cry of pain, and you can’t even recognize the face you brought in anymore. the demonic energy pulses out of his body in waves. he looks crazed; he looks like him.

you smile. there is blood on your face.

the whip cracks again.

____

~~~~~~

it has been thirteen years since you killed that man.

Jin Ling is fourteen now, and he chooses to wear gold instead of purple; he can now pick up his father’s sword without difficulty. it is his birthright after all, but you cannot help but to feel bitter. his dog, Fairy, trails behind him at all times. to this day, Fairy is the only dog that will ever set foot in lotus pier.

Jin Ling’s grandfather is dead. you are secretly glad. it was only a matter of time that stupid man picked something up from those brothels he liked so much. in fact, you wish he could’ve died earlier.

there is a demonic cultivator in the Mo village. maybe you will check it out. you were going to check it out, until your nephew invites you on a night hunt.

(you buy several very expensive spirit-catching nets just for the occasion. your nephew is probably spoiled, but at least he is loved.)

in the forest, you tell him to meet you again after a shichen (6). you know there will be another sect roaming around tonight, and it is a sect you do not fancy running into.

he does not return after a shichen. you grudgingly go out searching for him, ignoring the fear slowly crawling its way up your chest.

your nephew screams a lot. you wince when you hear him shout, but at least he is safe. you plan on simply waiting, just to see if he can get himself out of trouble. that is, until you hear the next words uttered.

″-lacking in maternal education (7)!”

you can almost hear the way Jin Ling’s breath hitches. you know the way the juniors at koi tower have been bullying him with that exact same phrase, taunting him for his dead parents. you

“wait until my jiujiu (3) gets you!” he hears Jin Ling say, no doubt close to tears.

that voice responds, unfamiliar yet so so familiar... “who’s your jiujiu again?”

with that, you clench your teeth and reveal yourself, eyes blazing with barely restained fury. all heads instantly turn towards you, and you think you can see that person’s eyes widen.

you speak clearly and crisply, not bothering to hide your anger, ”i’m his jiujiu.”

the man’s mouth drops, and for a second, you see something that is supposed to be long dead.




 
(1): Koi Tower, Lotus Pier, Yunmeng, and Lanling are all locations in the book. (the former two have been translated.) Koi Tower is an establishment in Lanling, where the sect family Jin (2) and the sect’s disciples live. Lotus Pier is an establishment in Yunmeng, where the sect family Jiang and the sect’s disciples live.

(2): names are complicated in ancient china, so i won’t get into it. the narrator’s nephew’s name (名) is Jin Ling. Jin Ling’s lesser uncle on his father’s side, is Jin Guangyao (字). i’ll explain the naming system sometime later.

(3): Xiao-shushu (pronounced roughly “shee-ow shoo-shoo”) is a term addressing a father’s (younger, hence, xiao) brother. likewise, jiujiu (pronounced roughly “jee-yo jee-yo”) is a term addressing the mother’s brother.

(4): Shidi and shixiong are both terms that roughly describe male peers in a workplace, not bound by blood. for example, in Lotus Pier, there are younger and older disciples. a younger disciple would call an older one “shixiong” and the older to the younger “shidi”. shixiong is used to address a male older than you (xiong, roughly “older brother”), and shidi is for younger (di, “younger brother”).

(5): this is the same thing from “brother brother where have you gone” described as “your foot bumps into something on your way out. you pick it up, dust it off. / you leave with it in your pocket, fingernails scabbing over...”

(6): shichen is, in chinese time measurements, two hours.

(7): “lacking in a mother’s teachings”. basically, you had no mother to teach you to be polite.

this is a direct sequel to “brother brother where have you gone”. it can be read as a standalone, but it is highly recommended that you read that first.

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  • August 20, 2020 - 2:53am (Now Viewing)

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2 Comments
  • Dmoral

    ugh, i stan with foreign language pieces all the wayyy, they're my weakness <3


    3 months ago
  • Eblinn

    i'm in awe of your beautiful writing and i'm so intrigued in these characters now. also, thanks for educating me about chinese time measurements, that's so interesting!


    3 months ago