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Fanfic / A Long Road

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A Long Road is a crossover fic written by Vathara, showing what happens when Mo Dao Zu Shi and Heralds of Valdemar are thrown together and mixed. Mainly, it's a mess.

See, Nie Huaisang had a plan to force the Yiling Patriarch to leave the Burial Mounds, and it was to pretend to go on a diplomatic venture to Valdemar, where Lan Wangji would fall into a trap and need the aid of Wei Wuxian to be rescued. And since Valdemar has kind of a reputation for stealing good people, everyone is going to believe it!

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Then the white horse yao decides to bond with Lan Wangji and now Valdemar won't let him go. Oh dear.

In which the Companion objects to be considered a bad spirit, Lan Wangji objects to boyfriend, Wei Wuxian objects to another country stealing his man, and Nie Huaisang regrets everything.

Contains the following tropes

  • Absent-Minded Professor: Wei Wuxian is pretty much a magical variant who treats cultivating the Ghost Path as a sort of Fantastic Science. He tests new techniques, takes notes, needs to be reminded to use safety measures and preserve his own health, gets excited about new ideas, and goes into tangents while speculating on magical/cultivation phenomena. He CAN hold it together if he has to, and he's definitely more of a people-person than most eccentric experimental-mages, but there's a reason why Wen Ning and the ghost brides follow him everywhere, and it has nothing to do with their own safety.
  • Adult Fear:
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    • Nie Mingjue disapproves his younger brother's plan to go to Valdemar because the country somehow takes good people, and they don't come back, and Nie Mingjue doesn't want to risk his or his sworn brother Lan Xichen's younger sibling suffering this fate. And it comes true when Lan Wangji is Chosen as a Herald.
    • Nie Mingjue also worries about bringing the Jin's military prowess against the Nie sect if he officially grants his protection to the Wen remnants.
    • Courtesy of the Qinghe Nie sect's peculiar cultivation methods, any powerful warrior born from their ranks is unlikely to live longer than their thirties. Nie Huaisang is painfully aware of this, often sending doctors to sit on his brother in order to gain a bit more time. It's strongly hinted that the ultimate goal of his original plan was to get Wei Wuxian to find a way to fix these issues, using his knowledge of resentful energy.
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    • Wei Wuxian is so paranoid about the Great Sects leading an assault against the Burial Mounds in his absence that he brings all the Wen remnants with him in his travel to Valdemar. He also secretly worries about the possibility of A-Yuan (barely a toddler) being lost in a foreign country and unable to ask for help.
    • The Lan elders disapprove so much of their Second Jade falling in love with the Yiling Patriarch they would refuse to help Wei Wuxian in order to "free" Lan Wangji from this bond.
    • A woodcutter was courting two sisters, and murdered one of them when she fell pregnant. The baby survives, but he's sickly and his aunt refuses to raise him for being a murderer's offspring.
  • Animalistic Abomination: Companions apparently register as such to cultivators who are fully aware of their supernatural nature and freaked out by creatures trying to impersonate a mundane horse.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: Of course Companion Kellen went to the guy who already was wearing white clothes.
  • Batman Gambit: Nie Huaisang knows the best way to rile the Yiling Patriarch into leaving his seat of power is a threat to Lan Wangji.
  • Berserk Button: Never insult Jiang soup. Seriously, this is in the diplomatic packet.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Nie Mingjue points Lan Xichen would never let his younger brother leave for a far away country without the utter certitude he will be back, and Nie Huaisang freaks about the First Jade of Lan murdering him for giving a Companion the opportunity to Choose Lan Wangji as a Herald.
  • Canon Welding: Regarding the Mo Dao elements, Vathara mainly draws on the novel but concedes being inspired by the donghua's spectacular effects and choregraphy while Nie Huaisang's attendant is an extra from the live-action series.
    • She also merges Valdemar and Mo Dao's respective magic systems by making a cultivator's golden orb a Heartstone rooted inside their own bodies.
  • Culture Clash
    • From the Valdemaran viewpoint, being Chosen by a Companion to be a Herald is the opportunity to serve the country and become part of a legend so much greater than yourself. On the cultivators' side, they are stealing and brainwashing good people into joining them.
    • Nie Huaisang feels rather weirded out in front of the Valdemaran fashion, since people keep their hair cropped short and wear a lot less of clothes.
    • The cultivators strongly believe into the mandate of heaven, so the Heralds have to explain that no, the Companions aren't there because the monarch is a righteous ruler, they're here to ensure the land will be ruled by a righteous monarch.
    • Valdemar is familiar with pantheons in the Western sense, and cannot envision the kind of low-grade divine spirit — animism the cultivators have grown up with.
    • Villagers are floored by Wen Qing introducing herself as a Healer since she's not wearing the green uniform.
    • The Jianghu allows for concubines but not for divorce, while Valdemar is the inverse.
    • The majority of Valdemar still sees magic as some mysterious, powerful, strange force not to be meddled with. Even those with magic-based Gifts are still largely not understood well or studied beyond "how do we best help people use their Gifts." In Jianghu, cultivator practices are understood well enough to be studied, replicatable, and even use math. While neither trope fits properly, Valdemar's magical practices are closer to Wild Magic while Jianghu's are closer to Sufficiently Analyzed Magic.
    • Valdemar has seen The Dark Arts and has specific expectations of necromancers, Blood-mages, and the like. The Jianghu had little knowledge of blood magic until Wen Roahn built his arrays, and the cultivator world is currently convinced that Wei Wuxian uses The Dark Arts based solely on the results of his power. Although the Heralds have to admit controlling corpses is sketchy, when Lan Wangji shows them his memories of the Yiling Patriarch in battle they also realize that there's several key checkmarks of Necromancy his magic doesn't fit and aren't ready to condemn him just yet.
  • Dirty Old Man: Jin Guangshan has sixty years' worth of bastards and still going strong with the lechery.
  • Dramatic Irony: After learning that Valdemar accepts and was founded by refugees, Lan Wangji came up with the idea to save Wei Wuxian by securing sanctuary for the Wen remnants in Valdemar. Meanwhile, Wei Wuxian and the Wen Remnants came up with a plan to bunker down for winter and secure temporary safety for their sick, young, and elderly by pretending to be the exact kind of foreign refugees Lan Wangji wants them to become.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Nie Mingjue loathes the Wen sect with the burning passion of ten thousands suns, but seeing the Wen remnants are nothing but elderly and cripples and a child suddenly made him rather eager to not slaughter them.
  • Foreshadowing: Nie Mingjue openly worries about Valdemar stealing Lan Xichen's younger brother and sect heir, then the guard Cas Wainwright twitches in front of Lan Wangji's white Gusu Lan robes. Sure enough, he's almost immediately chosen by a Companion.
  • Gilligan Cut: A few:
    • A scene with Wei Wuxian discussing plans with Wen Ning ends with Wei Wuxian concluding that Nie Huisang is probably making hell for his captors. After all if he's not entertained, he gets bored. The next scene starts with Nie Huisang complaining about his boredom, as part of a scheme to snare an observer.
    • Lan Wangji concludes a planning/advice session with Dirk by describing the Yiling Patriarch as "honorable" and "prudent." Cut to Wei Wuxian being excitedly distracted from a ghost-finding expedition by his first exposure to tree sap.
  • I Want Grandkids: Nie Huaisang openly bemoans the impossibility to find a bride with enough guts to marry his brother and give him nephews/nieces to spoil and inherit the leadership instead of him, considering the travel to Valdemar as an opportunity to play the matchmaker.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Even if they disapprove of Wei Wuxian, Lan Wangji's brother and uncle would accept his decision to pursue his love.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: So, a Companion's Choice of Herald is impossible to be overridden, but Lan Wangji came from another country entirely and can't exactly abandon his duties there. There's two words to describe the situation, and that's diplomatic disaster.
  • Love at First Sight: Lan Zhan is lifebonded to Wei Ying since they were six years old and briefly bumped into each other. Then they formally met at fifteen and Lan Zhan can remember this with perfect clarity.
  • Mama Bear: Wei Wuxian and Herald Arvil team up on the case of a murdered woman who refused to pass on since she was pregnant when she died. Her baby survived through her using the surrounding magic field and stealing milk, and she only agrees to move on after being reassured her son will get to live.
  • Mundane Utility: Using weather-witches to ensure good crops and safe travels is briefly discussed. It's also confirmed that talismans are used in regular mundane matters, such as increasing cloth production.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: If Nie Huaisang hadn't had the idea about leaving for Valdemar, Lan Wangji would have never been Chosen to be a Herald.
  • Noodle Incident: Wei Wuxian once tried to lay a perfectly nice ghost to rest. Someone died, the whole village wound up screaming, the forest was set on fire and Wen Qing still feels salty.
    • He's also started at least three fires from Stuff Blowing Up in his experiments- and apparently each fire had a unique cause.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity:
    • Nie Huaisang is extremely skilled when he needs to play The Dandy Upper-Class Twit to the hilt, and his sect is far too happy to let him. This way, the enemy won't waste their time fleeing.
    • Before meeting one, the cultivators thought the Companions were mundane if specially bred horses given to the Queen's messengers as a badge of office.
  • Oh, Crap!: Nie Huaisang's reaction when a Companion chooses the Second Jade of Lan as a Herald is to bleakly state Lan Xichen is going to murder him.
    • Alberich and Father Gerichen are struck with dread when they finally understand Lan Wangji has been chosen for being a demon-slayer.
  • One Myth to Explain Them All: Downplayed. While monsters, demons, fierce corpses, and mystical beings do seem to be semi-region-locked, this is portrayed more like different ecosystems across the planet. Meanwhile, the major gods of Valdemar and of Jianghu are noted to have many similarities. Alberich and Lan Wangji notice that Vkandis and the Jade Emperor could possibly be the same entity operating under a different names.
  • Sibling Team: How the Qinghe Nie sect is ruled — Nie Mingjue is a peerless warrior and general while Nie Huaisang is more busy with logistics and diplomacy.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome
    • Heralds picked as children are thrilled and excited to start a new life, but Chosen adults are likelier to be confused, terrified and angry to be yanked out of their established lives. Companion Caryo admits she wouldn't blame Lan Wangji for being cranky, especially since he hails from a completely different culture and is now supposed to drop everything for Valdemar.
    • Lan Wangji currently is the only heir to the Gusu Lan sect and lives in a far west country, meaning his being Chosen to be a Herald of Valdemar is a diplomatic minefield.
    • Lan Zhan has been so thoroughly restrained and sheltered by his Sect's rules that he has no idea whatsoever about the true nature of his feelings regarding Wei Ying.
    • The trust between the Twin Jades of Lan has been rather damaged by Lan Xichen's close friendship with Jin Guangyao who's stubbornly loyal to his greedy, ambitious father. Queen Selenay and her council also look at this relationship with wariness, as Jin Guangyao might convince Lan Xichen to leak info about Valdemar and Heralds.
    • As in novel cannon, Wei Wuxian's ghost path isn't inherently evil, but it is dangerous because it's untested- all other cultivator branches have had centuries to work out the pitfalls and drawbacks of their abilities, but Wei Wuxian is discovering all these on his own.
      • The kind of person who develops a new cultivation method only needs need be an expert at discovering new cultivation methods- politics, logistics, and leadership aren't necessary traits to this end. Also, in a culture where bloodlines are universally important to leadership, this will remain true even after the death of a corrupt leader. Wen Qing is the unambiguous leader of the Wen Remnants, due both to her being the closest one remaining to the old main branch, and Wei Wuxian being ill-suited to lead refugees in domestic issues. She generally trusts him in matters of cultivation, ghosts, and protection, but she undoubtedly holds a superior position and vetoes several of his ideas.
  • Tempting Fate: Nie Huaisang convinces his elder brother to give his blessing to his plan with the assurance that of course Lan Wangji is too strong for letting himself being stolen away, he he... oops.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted — after peeping into his new Herald's memories, Companion Kellen heavily recommends for Lan Wangji to see a Mind Healer.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Queen Selenay's reaction when Companion Kellen picks a complete outsider to Valdemar as his new Herald. And she doesn't even know about his political status back home or the necromancer boyfriend...
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Right as Valdemar is teethering on a war with Ancar and their blood-mages, enter Lan Wangji who's fresh off a prolonged conflict with blood-mages. Since divine intervention is a thing, it was explicitly invoked.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Nie Huaisang has to explain that yes, the Great Sects are the equivalent to nobility, making Lan Wangji a prince.
  • Unequal Rites: Cultivators are implied to use magic in a very different way from mages, channeling it through their own bodies to create Golden Cores.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: If you know what's good for you, don't even think about harming Lan Wangji or the Yiling Patriarch will dramatically object. You really, really don't want for the necromancer with an imaginative streak to get dramatic.
  • Wizards Live Longer: Cultivators are able to preserve their youthful looks a long time, and Kero from the Council explicitly cites her centenarian grandmother and sprightly octogenarian uncle as an example of magic prolonging life.
  • Wrong Context Magic: Subverted. While at first glance Valdemar's magic and Jianghu's Cultivation look like two uniquely different powersets, they're actually just two different methods of accessing the same basic collection of energies. Though they interact in unexpected ways to one another, the energy itself still operates on the same core principles.
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