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Tear Jerker / Mo Dao Zu Shi

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In a world filled with prejudice and injustice, No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.

"Can someone tell me... what I'm supposed to do now?"
Wei Wuxian, in his Darkest Hour.
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When the first sentence of a story starts along the lines of "The main character is dead! Everyone celebrate!", and then proceed to explore the events that lead to the main character's death and rebirth, there's bound to be a couple teardrops here and there.

Warning: Spoilers Off applies to these pages. Proceed at your own risk.


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Main Story

Pre-Time Skip

    Studying in the Cloud Recesses 
  • When Jiang Fengmian comes to the Cloud Recesses to retrieve Wei Wuxian, he gently tells the young cultivator that he's taking him home, not realizing that his son is standing right behind him. The look of pain on Jiang Cheng's face when he sees how much more loving his father is to Wei Wuxian than he ever seems to be around his own blood is hard to watch.

    The Discussion Conference 
  • The spite and venom Yu Ziyuan holds towards Wei Wuxian, calling him out for losing his temper and causing the end of Jiang Yanli's engagement to Jin Zixuan, ignoring the fact that Wei Wuxian only picked a fight with Jin Zixuan after he insulted both of Yu Ziyuan's children. Later on, when Jiang Fengmian offers his wife a jade pin, she almost takes the gift until her husband tries to convince her that ending the engagement was for the best, causing her to lose her temper and storm off.
    • The hurt in Yu Ziyuan's eyes when Jiang Fengmian argues that Jiang Yanli should choose who she wants to marry. Madame Yu bitterly asks if he's saying that because he doesn't want their daughter to end up in a marriage like theirs and leaves.
      Jiang Fengmian: But they are the ones who will spend the rest of their lives together. If they do not care for each other, yet are forced into a marriage by their parents' wishes...
      Yu Ziyuan: Like us?
      Jiang Fengmian: My lady, you know that's not what I meant.
    • On the other side of the argument, however, while there's no justifying how Jiang Fengmian is a lousy father to Jiang Cheng, he was forcefully roped into a marriage with someone he was incompatible with, something he knew from the start. Considering that he went to the Cloud Recesses and likely heard the story of why Wei Wuxian got into a fight with Jin Zixuan (who at the time had nothing but disdain for Jiang Yanli), it's at least easy to understand his reasons for cancelling his daughter's engagement. Even when you take into account the issue of Values Dissonance and cultural differences, no parent in their right mind would force their child to marry someone who doesn't even like them, political connections be damned.
  • Wen Ning attempting to join in on the archery tournament, but is called out by Wen Chao and publicly bullied. Wen Chao claims that Wen Ning is so distantly related that he barely counts as a Wen. Even when Wei Wuxian backs up Wen Ning's skill in archery, his anxiety gets the best of him and he's forced to sit out from the tournament. It's easy to see why after the fall of Lotus Pier that Wen Ning did all he could to help Wei Wuxian since he was literally the only person who was nice to him than his supposed family ever was.
  • While it is brief, when the results for the archery tournament come in revealing the Jiang Sect won first place with the champion being Wei Wuxian Jiang Cheng's face is momentarily thrilled until he hears his friends name being called out. He tries to not let it bother him, but even when he smiles, he doesn't look cheerful.

    Xuanwu Cave 
  • The poor cultivator who speaks out against Wen Chao has his core forcibly destroyed by Wen Zhuliu, and rendered almost in a corpse like state afterwards. Most people who dedicate their lives around their skills as a cultivator would likely agree that something like that happening amounted to a Fate Worse than Death.
  • While trapped in the cave with a man-eating monster and injured, Wei Wuxian tries to strike up a conversation with Lan Wangji but, inadvertently reminds the other of the partial destruction of Cloud Recesses by the Wen clan, the frail state his father was left in after the attack and the fact that his brother had to escape with part of their library, with no one having a clue where he could be nor if he was safe, which prompts the always stoic Lan Wangji to cry, something that shows just how much these events have hurt and marked him.
  • Even though they were rescued from the cave and were returned to their families, Lan Wangji's father passed away during those days which means that neither Lan Wangji nor Lan Xichen were able to properly say goodbye.
  • Afterwards, when Wei Wuxian is being pampered by Jiang Yanli, Jiang Cheng is hurt that everyone (especially his father) was worried over Wei Wuxian's time stuck in the cave when he himself literally spent five straight days traveling with little rest to make it back to the Lotus pier in order to warn everyone where Wei Wuxian was. Yet no one shows him any concern and Jiang Cheng's once again forced to see how he always has to take second place, even in his family.

    The Fall of Lotus Pier 
  • Yu Ziyuan and Jiang Fengmian having a rather heated discussion where the former threw to her husband's face all her grievances regarding his blatant favoritism for Wei Wuxian and his coldness towards their son. Jiang Fengmian decides to walk out of the fight and go on a mission, saying nothing to his wife even when she angrily declared that if he left, then they would never speak again.
    • At this point, their entire relationship is one aggravating yet also devastating tearjerker. While it was an arranged marriage, it probably wasn't nice for Yu Ziyuan to hear the rumors about her husband being in love with another woman, even if that woman fell for and married someone else. To add insult to injury, the child of that woman is taken in and treated as if he was a child of the main house while her son, even if he's recognized as the heir, is treated coolly by his own father. Jiang Fengmian may have tried to honor the memory of his beloved friends, but in the process he ended up harming the rest of his family. It is also implied that he did try to reach out to his wife in recent years to improve their marriage but, in the end, one of the last times they saw each other they parted in bad terms and there's no evidence that they managed to reconcile before being killed.
  • The lover of Wen Chao, wanting to have revenge against Wei Wuxian for his actions in the cave, asked for him to receive punishment. Yu Ziyuan complies with the order and whips him several times with Zidian, while having Jiang Cheng restrained so he would not intervene on his friend's behalf. While it's made clear that the main reason behind her actions are to protect her family and sect from further harassment, is not hard to imagine that she was letting out some of her resentment against Wei Wuxian out.
  • Yu Ziyuan sacrifices her life to send both Jiang Cheng and Wei Wuxian to safety, even ordering Zidian to entrap them until they arrive to a safe zone. Her final farewell was one of the few times she shows any overt affection for Jiang Cheng, but this is countered by how she doesn't continue to show any love or even concern for Wei Wuxian, continuing to blame him for all that happened and ordering him to protect her son to the last of his breath. In her eyes, he was still nothing more than some worthless servant her husband should have left in the streets. If you ever wonder why Wei Wuxian has almost no sense of self-worth, this is why.
  • Jiang Cheng and Wei Wuxian try to find survivors or see if they can help the ones in the training grounds, only to see piles and piles of bodies of their comrades and friends be tossed carelessly by the members of the Wen sect. In the middle of it all, there are the bodies of Yu Ziyuan and Jiang Fengmian facing each other, all the while Wen Chao and his lover mock them, showing not a single shred of respect towards the dead.
    • Even more heartbreaking was that he was still carrying the jade pin he tried to give to Madame Yu as a gift, showing he was trying to prove he cared for her despite their arguments.
  • The sight of the Wen Sect's sigil being displayed over the flaming ruins of the once peaceful Lotus Pier. It shows just how brutal and uncaring the Wen sect has turned, forsaking their once allies, and just how far they are willing to go to gain power.
  • After narrowly escaping the place, with the help of Wen Ning (not that they know that), Wei Wuxian tries to reason with Jiang Cheng and prevent him from seeking revenge just yet, when so many odds are against them. However, this only seems to exacerbate Jiang Cheng, who furiously blames Wei Wuxian as the reason the Wen Sect is targeting them, which then turns into a heartbreaking tirade about how Jiang Cheng has always felt less than his adopted brother and how he was not powerful enough to do anything to protect their family.
    • Then, like a child who's realized they're now lost and alone, Jiang Cheng breaks down as he tearfully screams for his parents while Wei Wuxian hides his tears behind an arm and has to bite the inside of his lip to keep from loudly grieving alongside his brother. Jiang Cheng's voice actor absolutely nails the despair and confused anger his character is feeling, and this scene is always guaranteed to be a huge tearjerker.
    • While the novel does explain that Jiang Cheng knows that Wei Wuxian isn't truly at fault, since one way or another the Wen Sect was still planning to raze down Lotus Pier. But the fact that his grief caused him to lash out so violently at his closest friend is still hard to watch.
  • Jiang Cheng shoving Wei Wuxian and telling him in a broken voice that he used all of his spiritual power in that shove. And no matter how many times he can try, the result will always be the same, because his golden core was destroyed by Wen Zhuliu.
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    The Sunshot Campaign 
  • In the audio drama as Wei Wuxian runs to find Jiang Cheng, he starts getting flashbacks of his life at Lotus Pier before its fall. When he trips and falls, it's only then does he let his grief sink in as he angrily punches the ground and cries, likely feeling that everything that happened was his fault.
  • Wei Wuxian threatening to kill Wen Ning and even calling him a Wen dog like everyone else. Wen Ning doesn't hold it against Wei Wuxian, but it's sad to think that Wei Wuxian's grief and anger has started clouding his mind like everyone else as they direct that anger to the Wen's.
  • Jiang Cheng losing the will to live after losing his golden core to Wen Zhuliu, and his mood shifting between monotone depression and enraged insanity.
    • His maddened reaction to waking up in the Yiling Supervisory Office is very obviously due to the Wen insignias triggering his PTSD.
  • The donghua gives us a scene of the scared look on Lan Wangji's face when he stumbles upon Wei Wuxian's clarity bell, as all he can do is pick it up and keep it on his person while worrying where Wei Wuxian was taken. Closer inspection of his hand as he hold the bell shows he's visibly trembling.
    • This leads to one of the few scenes where the viewers see and hear the anguish from Lan Wangji. He even gets outright violent when he demands Wen Chao to tell him what happened to Wei Wuxian, to which Wen Chao taunts him with the information that he threw Wei Wuxian into the Burial Grounds months ago. Lan Wangji grabs his guqin with his bloodied fingers and broken strings as he makes one last wild and desperate attack at Wen Chao while he screams angrily, realizing that he may never see Wei Wuxian ever again.
      Lan Wangji: Where is Wei Ying?!
  • Jiang Cheng and Jiang Yanli's reunion, while it should be heartwarming it has an air of somberness. In the donghua, this is when Jiang Yanli finally finds out the fate of her parents as Jiang Cheng holds out the last mementos they have of them. She slowly breaks down into tears as she gingerly reaches out towards the remnants of her parents. Her sadness isn't helped when she asks Jiang Cheng where Wei Wuxian is, and he can't give her a proper answer.
  • The entire fight between Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji about the former's use of demonic cultivation, where you can see Lan Wangji's desperation to save Wei Wuxian as well as Wei Wuxian's rage and hate towards the Wens. The donghua heightens the angst factor by featuring Lan Wangji showing a great deal of vulnerability, and Wei Wuxian exhibiting unbridled and raw emotion.
    • Wei Wuxian's anger when he thinks that Lan Wangji is condemning his actions is more tear-jerking in hindsight when you know why he insists on practicing demonic cultivation. Everyone knows early on that his time in the Burial Mounds caused him to learn The Dark Arts, but he also no longer had his golden core by then. He may not have regretted giving it away, but he still lamented its loss and what it meant for him as a cultivator, so demonic cultivation is all he has left. It's no surprise then to see him get so enraged whenever Lan Wangji presses the issue.
  • In the donghua, after Wei Wuxian refuses to go to Gusu with Lan Wangji, Jiang Cheng steps in, telling Lan Wangji that since Wei Wuxian is a disciple of the Jiang Sect, whatever he does is none of the Lan's concern. The moment those words hit Lan Wangji, he looks visibly heartbroken and on the verge of tears but solemnly leaves the scene.
    • There's some twisted irony to be found in this scene. At that moment, Jiang Cheng explicitly told Lan Wangji in the novel that whoever Wei Wuxian would be coming with at the end of the day, it wouldn't be with Lan Wangji. But guess what happens years later?
  • This is also shown only in the donghua, but the scene where Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng reclaim Lotus Pier and return to what remains of it counts. Any viewer is guaranteed to feel melancholy alongside Wei Wuxian as he walks inside his home while hearing the voices of his deceased adoptive guardians, with the clincher involving his reaction when he hears Jiang Fengmian's voice calling out to him.
    • Even if their relationship caused strain in the Jiang family, it's still not hard to understand why Wei Wuxian saw him as a second father. After all, he still gave him a home and treated him well.

    The Rescue of the Wen Survivors 
  • Lan Wangji goes to visit Yunmeng and tries to plead Wei Wuxian from continuing to use demonic cultivation which only angers the other and when Wei Wuxian slams his fist into the table the female ghosts he called off react to his anger by hissing at Lan Wangji. Afterwards, Lan Wangji apologizes for stepping out of line.
    • Wei Wuxian then decides he shouldn't have bothered Lan Wangji today and tells him he won't be a bother to him anymore. Before he leaves he hopes they'll have another chance to meet.
  • Wen Qing desperately pleading to Wei Wuxian for help. Her distress over what could happen to her brother is heartbreaking enough, but then — like Wei Wuxian — the viewer is left feeling more upset when they remember Wen Qing as a firm and strong-willed woman, but at that moment they're seeing a frantic and emotional mess.
    • Followed soon after is Wen Qing's reaction when she realizes that Wen Ning is already dead. The audio drama sinks the knife in even further by gracing our ears with her anguished cries. In the donghua, she doesn't even get to do that; as soon as Wen Ning's death fully sinks in, she sheds some tears... and faints then and there because she's too exhausted to do anything else. That, or the grief and the resulting shock was too much for her to take.
  • Just the fact that Wen Ning, one of the gentlest and kindest characters we've known so far was brutally murdered just because he was part of the Wen Sect. Even Wei Wuxian was angered enough to the point he resurrects Wen Ning in order to get payback on the Jin Sect for killing him.
  • The cultivation world's hatred for the Wens runs so deep and blinds so many that they torture elders and children, both of whom likely had nothing to do with the horrible decisions their sect leader made.
  • As Lan Wangji arrives to attempt to deescalate the situation, Wei Wuxian doesn't heed any of his words as he literally and metaphorically breaks the bridge between him and the cultivation world. The face that Lan Wangji wears when he tries to peacefully confront Wei Wuxian is nothing short of worried for what will happen if Wei Wuxian continues down this path.
  • It's subtle, but the first Wen Jiang Cheng meets is Wen Yuan, who is a toddler. The fact that does nothing to change Jiang Cheng's mindset, that he still refuses to help blatant innocents in front of them despite the proof that only civilians were there and even go so far as to tell Wei Wuxian to let them be killed, is absolutely heartbreaking.
    Jiang Cheng: The only way of making up for things is for us to end things before they get the chance to!
    Wei Wuxian: End what?
    Jiang Cheng: You burn [Wen Ning] right now and return to them all these leftovers of the Wen Sect. That's the only way to make the subject die!
    Wei Wuxian: Are you joking?! If we return Wen Qing and the others to them, they’d meet nothing but a dead end!
    Wei Wuxian: I doubt you’ll even return all of them. Why do you care what kind of end they meet? A dead end it is, then-- what does it have to do with you?!
  • The pain in Jiang Cheng's voice when he tells Wei Wuxian that if he insisted on shielding the Wens, Jiang Cheng wouldn't be able to protect him. And Wei Wuxian's rebuttal of his brother just makes it all the more painful, especially when the promise Wei Wuxian is made is taken into account.
    Wei Wuxian: There's no need to protect me. Just let go.

    Reunion in Yiling 
  • When they bump into each othter, Wei Wuxian offers to treat Lan Wangji to some drinks and food. Lan Wangji soon informs Wei Wuxian that Jiang Yanli will be marrying soon. Wei Wuxian's smile drops a bit as this would have been an event he'd wouldn't have missed for anything in the world, but because of his status as the Yiling Patriach and him openly rejecting the other sects, he can't leave the Burial Mounds for too long for fear that he'd leave the Wen survivors defenseless to an attack. He then goes on to vent to Lan Wangji how he would have wanted to give his sister the best wedding ever because she deserved so much, and now he wouldn't be able to do even that.
  • As Lan Wangji and Wei Wuxian manage to contain the malevolent energy in Wen Ning and bring his consciousness back, Wen Qing and the other Wen's break into happy tears and ask Wen Ning if he can recognize them.
    • Although a downer minor moment as Wen Ning quietly says that he wants to cry but can't anymore. When Wei Wuxian inquires if he can remember what happened before they restored his consciousness, he solemnly nods.
  • Seeing Wei Wuxian cough, Lan Wangji offers to give him spiritual energy to help heal his wound but Wei Wuxian vehemently refuses. He claims it's so Lan Wangji wouldn't waste energy on such a small wound, but it was to deflect him from finding out that Wei Wuxian no longer has a golden core.
  • As Wei Wuxian sees Lan Wangji off, he wonders if they'll ever meet each other again so he can actually treat him to a meal, but thinks against it when he feels they always part on bad terms whenever they meet.
  • This leans more for a happy tearjerker when Jiang Cheng and Jiang Yanli secretly meet Wei Wuxian so she can show him her wedding gown and help them give her child his courtesy name. Unfortunately, this would be the last time all the siblings would meet in happier times before all hell breaks loose.

    The Ambush at Qionggi Path 
  • Wei Wuxian being accused of cursing Jin Zixun, and he only seems mildly annoyed to even tired that everyone wants to blame all the evil in the world on him because he's become an easy target to pin misfortune on.
  • Jin Zixuan's death. He was innocent of his family's plot to kill Wei Wuxian, and knew nothing about it; indeed, he was trying to deescalate the altercation before Wei Wuxian loses control. His last breath is spent telling Wei Wuxian that Jiang Yanli was waiting for him to arrive.
  • Wei Wuxian's entire breakdown after Jin Zixuan's death. He's left with nothing but despair and self-loathing, and in that moment, he's not the feared Yiling Patriarch. Just a broken, helpless, powerless man who, for once, is completely lost.

    The Nightless City Attack 
  • Wen Qing paralyzing Wei Wuxian so she and Wen Ning could turn themselves over to the other sects in hope that would protect the Wens at the Burial Mounds. He panics and tries to get them to stay, but is unable to move as he watches the two leave the cave and Wen Qing giving him some parting words.
    Wen Qing: I'm sorry... and, thank you.
    • Once he regains some feelings in his limbs, he tries to futilely follow after them in the hopes that he still has time to save the Wen siblings. But the next time we see them, Wen Qing is being burned at the stake and Wen Ning is held in a talisman barrier, forced to watch his sister burn alive. The worst part is that the Jin Sect (obviously) are not going to hold up their end of the bargain.
  • While Wei Wuxian is heading to the Nightless City to settle things once and for all with the Jin Sect, along the way he sees his shijie, who is mourning her husbands death, but he can't make the final step to talk to her and leaves without saying a word. Jiang Yanli turns around, likely realizing Wei Wuxian was there, but misses him one second too late.
  • Wei Wuxian's breakdown when Lan Wangji attacked him with Bichen, trying to stop him from playing Chenqing.
    Wei Wuxian spun around to dodge the attack and laughed, "Fine, fine. I knew since the start that we'd have to fight a real fight like this one sooner or later. You've always found me disagreeable no matter what. Come on!"

    Lan Wangji, "Wei Ying!"

    Although he shouted the words, any sane person would be able to tell that Lan Wangji's voice was clearly shaking. However, right now, Wei Wuxian had already lost his judgement. He was already half-mad, half-unconscious. All evil was being augmented by him. He felt that everyone loathed him and he loathed everyone as well. He wouldn’t be scared no matter who came at him. It wouldn't matter no matter who came at him. It was all the same anyway.
    • The donghua takes a slightly different spin on this scene, with Wei Wuxian wrongfully accusing Lan Wangji with both rage and agony.
      Wei Wuxian: You've always seen me as an annoyance!
  • Jiang Yanli's death. She made a rash decision to head to the Nightless City and look for Wei Wuxian, which gets her killed when she takes a fatal blow meant for him. Despite everything that happened, she loved her brother, but it's that same love that causes Wei Wuxian to lose his dear shijie, and for Jiang Cheng to lose his family once again.
    • The donghua makes this just a bit worse by showing the viewers the exact moment when Wei Wuxian gets consumed with grief and anger before unleashing a raw and powerful Howl of Sorrow. To everyone else, he's a monster that's gone mad, but the audience knows better.
  • The realization that Jiang Cheng had to brave the bloodbath Wei Wuxian unleashed in order to get his sister's body to safety.
  • Despite Wei Wuxian acting only out of madness and grief, which was exacerbated by the cultivation world's so-called brand of "justice", many people had still lost family members in the bloodbath that night. Yes, the cultivators did strike first, but it's still easy to understand the grief their relatives must have felt from their loss.

    The First Siege 
  • Jiang Yanli's death being the impetus for Jiang Cheng to realize that if Wei Wuxian lost control like that again, there would be even more human lives lost.
  • The thought that Jiang Cheng led a siege to kill his foster brother. Whatever his true intentions were at the time, there's no doubt that it's driven by grief and hatred in equal measure.
  • The deaths of the Wen survivors. No explicit details are ever given, but from the little that's said in the novel, the reader can already tell that they suffered cruel deaths at the hands of the cultivators that took part in the siege. Keep in mind that the survivors were all defenseless people, and they were brutally slaughtered. Worse yet? They didn't get a proper burial; their corpses were thrown into the blood pool like worthless garbage.
    • It wouldn't be far-off to assume that this is one of the reasons why Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng do not — and can not — reconcile. Wei Wuxian doesn't hate Jiang Cheng, but the Wen refugees were still like another family to him. Even though Jiang Cheng didn't kill him, he did help kill them, and that is something neither of them can forget.

During Time Skip

  • Lan Wangji, in his grief after Wei Wuxian died, decided to go and experience everything that Wei Wuxian experienced, including using the Wen branding iron on himself on the same location where Wei Wuxian was branded.
    He drank the wine he drank, and bore the wounds he bore. Until today, the wound had already scabbed for thirteen years.
    • And during his drunken stupor Lan Xichen asked his brother what he was looking for and Lan Wangji replied that he wanted a flute. Lan Xichen gives him the finest flute they had made of jade, but Lan Wangji throws it away and mutters that it wasn't the flute he wanted. The audio drama makes it more painful as Lan Wangji sounds nothing short of anguished while he's futilely searching.
    • The donghua adds an extra touch of sadness to the entire scene. Years later, Wei Wuxian finds a handful of hand-carved flutes next to the jar of Emperor's Smile that Lan Wangji keeps under his floorboard.
  • Nie Mingjue's death. The entire scene would classify more under Nightmare Fuel, but then one remembers that his own younger brother saw him die with his own eyes. Worse yet? It was Nie Huaisang that sent him back into a brief moment of lucidity before he fully succumbed to his qi deviation.
  • Jiang Cheng spent thirteen years alone, with his trauma of losing all his family members in quick succession, some at the hands of another, with only a nephew that undoubtedly reminded him of said events in his care.

Post-Time Skip

    Mo Village 
  • Despite his small role in the story, it's not hard to believe why Mo Xuanyu sacrificed his spirit in order to bring back Wei Wuxian. He was one of the many bastards of Jin Guangshan, was kicked out of his sect due to his low cultivation and because of his sexuality, and wasn't treated any better by his aunt, uncle and cousin back at the Mo manor. Soon afterwards, everyone else starts labelling him a lunatic once his mental state starts to deteriorate after all of the abuse he suffered through. It was only a matter of time before he snapped and believed getting his revenge via Wei Wuxian was a better alternative than living.
    • The audio drama even makes this clearer where he calls for Wei Wuxian in broken tears.
  • While her abuse of Mo Xuanyu doesn't win her any sympathy points, it's hard not to feel just a bit sorry for Madam Mo when she cradles her son's withered corpse in her arms and weeps.

    Dafan Mountain 
  • A-Yan's fate is especially pitiful, having been engaged, her fiancée dying, losing her soul, and her father sacrificing his soul for her own before dying shortly afterwards. The worst part is his father's sacrifice wasn't completely worth it, as A-Yan Came Back Wrong. She's still living and breathing, but her mind is not the same as it used to be, and it often causes her mother distress. And all because the entire family was looking forward to a happy wedding.
  • Wei Wuxian unknowingly mocking Jin Ling when he asks how on earth his mother raised him, and after realizing that Jiang Cheng is the boy's uncle, Wei Wuxian immediately puts two and two together and is horrified. Once Lan Wangji calms everything down and everyone parts ways, Wei Wuxian slaps himself across the face, wondering how he could have said something like that to his nephew when he's part of the reason why the boy doesn't have any parents.

    Xinglu Ridge 
  • While Wei Wuxian's cynophobia is often Played for Laughs, in a flashback of him as a child, it's made clear how he got his lifetime fear of dogs, and at the time he had no one there to protect him but himself.
    • It gets worse later when Jiang Cheng uses Fairy to scare Wei Wuxian while he has the latter in his custody. Whatever you think about Jiang Cheng, his act of using Wei Wuxian's fear against him is undoubtedly petty and cruel.
  • This happens only in the donghua but as Wei Wuxian is healing Jin Ling from the curse, he looks into his nephew's memories, seeing that even as a child, he was bullied for having no parents. As the two converse, a child Jin Ling even asks Wei Wuxian why his parents didn't love him since they were never there. Wei Wuxian has to gently tell the boy they did truly love him, but can't bring himself to go further than that.
    • Wei Wuxian looks up at a portrait of Jiang Yanli and Jin Zixuan, with the portrait painting the two as a happy couple. Despite Wei Wuxian knowing that the two eventually became a happy couple, he probably can't help but think about how those two should be here and alive with their son.
  • After Jin Ling helps Wei Wuxian escape his uncle, Wei Wuxian gently tells the boy that he will need to learn two phrases in this life, "thank you" and "I'm sorry". The gentle look he gives Jin Ling confuses the boy, but the viewers know that this is Wei Wuxian trying to apologize without giving anything away.

    Yi City 
  • The entirety of the Yi City arc is sure to drive anyone to tears. Even the junior disciples that accompanied Wei Wuxian were reduced to a sobbing mess after Wei Wuxian told them the whole story.
  • Xiao Xingchen's life essentially is one big piece of tearjerker marinated in more tears.
  • Xue Yang attempts to coerce Wei Wuxian into repairing Xiao Xingchen's spirit, but Wei Wuxian takes one look at the spirit in the pouch and concludes that it's far beyond his capabilities to repair. This only drives Xue Yang further into denial and Wei Wuxian has to point out that since Xiao Xingchen committed suicide an act which shatters someone's spirit, he's certain Xiao Xingchen doesn't want to be brought back.
  • Song Lan's death will leave any reader with teary eyes and a heavy heart. He had been searching for Xiao Xingchen for years to apologize for what he last said to him, and when he does find him again, he makes the Tragic Mistake of confronting Xue Yang first, which ends in him getting killed (unwittingly) by his own friend.
    • There's a tear-jerking detail that even Xue Yang noticed: when Xiao Xingchen attacked him, he neither fought back nor made a sound when he was stabbed, because he knew that doing either would cause his friend to immediately recognize him, and he didn't want to break him with the Awful Truth.
  • A-Qing breaking down in tears at both Song Lan and Xiao Xingchen's deaths. Both times said deaths happen, she can only hide and watch, and only after no one's around to hear her is she able to let out her sorrow.
  • Xue Yang's reaction to Xiao Xingchen's death is arguably a tearjerker as well, since despite everything he did to Xiao Xingchen, he also grew to like him since he treated him not as a delinquent or a street rat, but like a decent human being. But he failed to realize what Xiao Xingchen was beginning to truly mean to him, even when it was already too late.
    • He sounds downright stricken when Xiao Xingchen's sword gets taken from him as he demands it be returned to him.
  • Wei Wuxian finding a piece of candy in Xue Yang's severed hand. The implications behind that are bound to make the reader feel some sympathy for the bastard, whether it's because of how his Start of Darkness happened simply because he wanted some sweets, or because of how he — in spite of his villainy — did care for Xiao Xingchen.
  • Although the scene is Played for Laughs, Wei Wuxian's distress upon learning that no one may have burned any paper money for him is depressing when you think about it. He knew that he didn't have a good reputation and he clearly remembered the events of the First Siege, when he was the enemy of all cultivation clans. Still, he hoped that at least one or two people would have paid their respects to him, even if it's simply for formality's sake.
  • The juniors paying their respects to A-Qing, some even shedding tears over what lead her to her death and how horrible her end was.

    Koi Tower 
  • After beating up the other Jin sect juniors Wei Wuxian talks about how Jin Ling should get into some scraps since he's still young, and realizes he can't call for back up because he has no friends. When he talks with Lan Wangji Wei Wuxian realizes Jin Ling was always alone on night hunts, and only Jiang Cheng seemed to be an exception. He wonders whether or not his nephew actually has friends his age.
  • Qin Su finding out that the man she loved lied to her for their entire marriage and (possibly) murdered their son. Worse, the man she loved is her brother. What makes it even worse is that she was otherwise a Nice Girl who was unlucky enough to fall in love with the wrong person.
  • When it's discovered by the sects that Wei Wuxian has in fact returned, there are several reactions from the characters that range from bewilderment to anger but the one that hits the most is Jin Ling's. This kid lost both his parents in circumstances related to Wei Wuxian and has developed a great hatred towards him as a result, however, in the past couple of weeks prior to the reveal, Jin Ling had grown unknowingly close to Wei Wuxian while believing him to be Mo Xuanyu. He, along with Lan Sizhui and Lan Jingyi, were the first friends Jin Ling ever had in his life, which made the apparent betrayal all the more painful.
    • This gets worse when you take in consideration how in the past Wei Wuxian was excited about meeting and caring for his beloved shijie's son but with everything that happened, he not only missed out on watching Jin Ling grow up but also carries the guilt of being partially to blame for his parents' death.

    The Second Siege 
  • In what is also a Moment of Awesome, the spirits of the Wen family that lived there prior that was killed during the First Siege, rose from the grave to protect and help out Wei Wuxian and co. in dealing with the hordes of zombies that surrounded everyone.
    • What's more tear-jerking was the spirit of the old granny recognizing Lan Sizhui for who he was.
    • Afterwards, they all gather in front of Wei Wuxian and salute him one last time... before dropping dead once more and turning into ashes, with Wen Ning scrambling and struggling to collect said ashes.
    • The audio drama even makes it more tragic, since as both Wei Wuxian and Wen Ning recognize who each corpse is, the track would play a flashback of the character. Then it all ends with the corpses gathering before Wei Wuxian, all the while Uncle Four's speech is being replayed. It all seals in that the only reason the Wen surivovrs hadn't passed on was that they hadn't yet repaid their debt to Wei Wuxian, who saved their lives, even if only for a little longer.
  • Wei Wuxian silencing a vengeful cultivator by telling him that he had his own fair share of suffering, he admits that the blood of thousands are on his hands, and he doesn't expect to be forgiven or understood by anyone. This is just another brutal reminder that where the cultivation world sees Wei Wuxian as a murderer and a monster, but in reality, Wei Wuxian is a also self-sacrificing and good-intentioned man whose efforts are lost behind the atrocities he did commit and accept responsibility for.

    Return to Lotus Pier 
  • Wei Wuxian's reaction to seeing Lotus Pier and how it's nothing like he remembered it. He knows that it's been years and that he's not welcome there anymore, but it was still his home once. Anyone who experienced visiting their old home after so long could empathize with Wei Wuxian's pained nostalgia.
  • Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng's confrontation in the Jiang ancestral hall. The entire exchange shows just how broken their former brotherhood is. It eventually devolves into a fight, and things do not get any better from there.
    • Some fans have speculated that Jiang Cheng was most likely going to the ancestral hall in an attempt to reconcile — or at least have a semi-civil conversation — with Wei Wuxian, only to see him with Lan Wangji, and in the end, the problems never got properly worked out due to Jiang Cheng's jealousy and fear of abandonment causing him to lash out at the couple.
    • If one takes a closer look at the scene, Wei Wuxian never got mad when Jiang Cheng would deride him, mock him, or chew him out, and only lost his patience when Jiang Cheng dragged Lan Wangji into their argument. No matter what Jiang Cheng would say to him, as long as it was directed at only him, Wei Wuxian accepts it because while he doesn't show it, he's still beating himself up about the deaths of nearly the entire Jiang family.
  • Jiang Cheng, Lan Wangji, and the audience finding out the truth behind Jiang Cheng recovering his golden core. The entire scuffle ends with Jiang Cheng... well, to say that he didn't take The Reveal well — partly due to shattered pride and partly due to crushing guilt — is putting it very lightly.
  • Wen Ning confirming that the process of the golden core transplant is not painless. And worse, the donor has to be awake and fully conscious the entire time. Wei Wuxian doesn't regret the sacrifice he made, but one can imagine what it's like to witness and feel your own power being stripped from you. It's not a pleasant experience, either physically or emotionally.
    • And with that, there's Lan Wangji fully realizing just why Wei Wuxian picked up demonic cultivation and insisted on using it. While he no longer has problems with his usage of The Dark Arts at present, Wei Wuxian's actions and behavior in the past begin to make a whole lot more sense, and not in the way Lan Wangji would like.

    Yunping City 
  • After making out with Lan Wangji and both of them getting physically intimate, Wei Wuxian thanks Lan Wangji for being there for him, but he mistakes his words to mean something else entirely and Wei Wuxian realizes that Lan Wangji had sobered up.

    Guanyin Temple 
  • Lan Xichen filling in some of the blanks in Wei Wuxian's memory. After the Nightless City attack, Lan Wangji took Wei Wuxian away and hid him in a cave while giving him spiritual energy. Lan Xichen says his brother spoke gently to Wei Wuxian the entire time, but since this was right after Wei Wuxian had witnessed his adoptive sister's death and subsequently lost his mind, he only kept repeating one thing to Lan Wangji:
    Wei Wuxian: Get lost!
    • He also adds that Lan Wangji had always followed the rules of their sect as well as being the epitome of moral goodness.
    Lan Xichen: The only mistake he made all his life... was you. You're telling me... you're telling me you didn't know?
  • After Lan Xichen reveals that information to him, Wei Wuxian immediately tries to run back to Lan Wangji, realizing how terrible he left the situation between them. But then he's stopped by Jin Guangyao's men who eventually overpower him.
  • When Jin Guangyao tries to hurt Wei Wuxian by pointing out that Jiang Cheng doesn't seem to care about him since he refuses to look in his direction, Wei Wuxian casually brushes off his statement by retorting that it's not the first time Jiang Cheng acted that way towards him. Whether you're seeing this scene in the novel, the audio drama, or even the live-action drama, Jiang Cheng always appears stung by the comment. What's painful is how Wei Wuxian is resigned to the idea that he's now a complete eyesore to Jiang Cheng, and how Jiang Cheng is struck once again with the revelation that he treated Wei Wuxian more poorly than he had realized. As Jin Guangyao had put it, it isn't easy being Jiang Cheng's shixiong.
  • The entirety of Chapter 102, where Jiang Cheng confronts Wei Wuxian about his golden core. He starts off by raging about how Wei Wuxian is always better than him and how he still blames the latter for his family's death, then ends up breaking down in tears as he reveals what he's hurt about the most.
    Jiang Cheng cried soundlessly, but tears had already streaked across his face. To cry in such an unsightly way in front of others was almost impossible for him in the past. But every single moment that passed from now on, as long as the golden core remained in his body, as long as it could still revolve, he'd forever remember this feeling.

    He choked, "... You said I'd be the sect leader and you'd be my subordinate, you said you'd help me your whole life, you said you'd never betray the Yunmeng Jiang Sect... You said so yourself."

    "..." After a moment of silence, Wei Wuxian replied, "I'm sorry. I broke my promise."
    • Jiang Cheng's response when Wei Wuxian makes the aforementioned apology is also painful, as he laughs at himself and remarks how he's still so fragile that he needs the other's apology. Even if part of him already knew it for the longest time, it hits him again that the promise he's been holding onto for all these years will never be fulfilled. And he knows that he's partly responsible for that.
    • What's worse is that if you look at it from a certain point of view, Wei Wuxian did keep his promise. He promised Jiang Cheng that he would always support him, and he promised Jiang Cheng's parents that he would protect their son with his life — both of which he managed to do by being there for Jiang Cheng when he rebuilt the Jiang Sect, and by giving up his golden core. Needless to say, however, this is barely any consolation to Jiang Cheng; partly due to his Inferiority Superiority Complex, and mostly because deep down, past all the envy and the blame and the hate, he just wanted his brother back.
  • Then in Chapter 103, Jiang Cheng and Wei Wuxian express remorse for everything that happened between them. The entire confrontation ends with Wei Wuxian telling Jiang Cheng that regardless of what they promised or how much they wronged or have done for each other, it's all in the past now and it's better for them if they move on. Even if you factor out Wei Wuxian's romance with Lan Wangji, his relationship with Jiang Cheng is still too fractured to be salvaged, let alone repaired. The audio drama has Wei Wuxian express all of his thoughts about the matter.
    Wei Wuxian: Yes, I was no longer able to continue on the path of cultivation without my golden core. But if Uncle Jiang hadn't brought me back to Lotus Pier, I would have been just a commoner who would never have had the chance to form a golden core anyway. That's why... just forget it... It's all in the past. We don't have to bring it up anymore. As for you, you don't have to think about it either. That being said, with your personality, you would probably remember it for the rest of your life. But no matter what, right now I really think that it's all in the past. It's been too long. There's no need to be torn up over it anymore.
    • Painful as it sounds for them both, it's hard to blame Wei Wuxian for saying that, since their troubles and personalities just have them go back and forth with Oblivious Guilt Slinging involving everything they suffered. Wei Wuxian no doubt feels guilty for all that happened to the Jiang family, but there's nothing he can do about it anymore, so naturally he feels that the best thing for them to do is to stop looking back at the past... as well as stop holding on to each other.
    • And Jiang Cheng's response to all this? He just wipes his tears and takes deep breaths to calm himself down, but he says nothing else. After hearing Wei Wuxian's answer, he finally realizes that his friendship with Wei Wuxian is ancient history now. He finally gets his closure, but it's still not the closure he wanted, yet he knows he has to accept it.
  • Jin Ling fearfully telling Fairy to run away when Jin Guangyao orders Su She to kill the dog. Jin Ling starts to cry as he asks his uncle why he would hurt Fairy when he gifted them to him when he was a child.
  • Whether or not you think Jin Guangyao's speech to Jiang Cheng about how he didn't trust Wei Wuxian enough and how that lack of trust partially caused Wei Wuxian's downfall was warranted, his words hurt one way or another because he speaks the truth. It's telling that neither Jiang Cheng nor Wei Wuxian can refute anything he says.
    • What makes it worse is that Jin Guangyao's speech might have been the very final push for Jiang Cheng to let go of Wei Wuxian for good. After hearing such a cutting statement, he might be thinking that he's a terrible brother who's unworthy of Wei Wuxian's loyalty.
  • Jin Guangyao's death. No one in or out-universe can say that he's innocent. If anything, almost everyone agrees that his past and his sins have finally caught up with him, and it's hard to disagree that, in a technical sense, he got what was coming for him. Yet it's hard not to pity the man when he tells Lan Xichen about his entire story, then when he later rages at his friend for, in his eyes, betraying him. When he breathed his last, no one's feeling relieved. Even the one who plotted against him likely had only felt that it had to be done, even if he finds no pleasure in it. After all, Jin Guangyao was a man who dreamed of climbing high and gaining recognition and approval, only to lose it all and fall so far.
  • Lan Xichen crossing the Despair Event Horizon after Jin Guangyao dies, since it finally sinks in that he never really knew his friend who he had deeply trusted and repeatedly defended, and that the others' warnings about Jin Guangyao were completely correct.
    Lan Xichen: Just what does he want to do? I once thought I knew him well, and then I realized I did not. Before tonight, I thought I knew him well once more, but now I do not.
  • Jin Ling breaking down in tears after Jin Guangyao's death fully sinks in. Even when he realized that his uncle wasn't all who he seemed to be, even after learning of all that he had done in the name of securing power, Jin Ling still lost another member of his family.
  • The Reveal of the real reason Jiang Cheng got captured by the Wens. It was actually Wei Wuxian who was in danger of getting discovered, and Jiang Cheng saw this and drew the Wens' attention to himself to save Wei Wuxian.
    • Even worse, Jiang Cheng considered telling Wei Wuxian the truth, but decided to keep it to himself. Whether he thought it wouldn't change anything between them now or to spare Wei Wuxian any more guilt; whatever his reasons are in keeping silent, they're definitely heartbreaking ones.
  • All in all, the end state of Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng's relationship. Jiang Cheng no longer hates him, but they still choose to let go of what remains of their friendship rather than rebuild it. While it isn't an unhealthy outcome, it's nevertheless sad to see them remain strangers after everything they've been through.
    • What's more heartbreaking is that they're both hinted to want to reach out to each other. However, Wei Wuxian feels that he caused nothing but pain for Jiang Cheng, and Jiang Cheng doesn't want to rob Wei Wuxian of his happy ending. Therefore, they distance themselves instead. It's just like what Jiang Cheng said: "There's nothing to say."
    • How Jiang Cheng says the above line in the audio drama might tug at some heartstrings in a painful way. He sounds completely resigned and tired and yet also bitter and despondent, as if he realized just now that he can't undo or repair the damage and fractures in their relationship even if he wanted to, so he should just do nothing, say nothing, and stay away. While he accepts it since it's for the best, it still hurts because he's severing the last ties that remain between him and his former friend. But what else can he do? The soundtrack playing at that scene isn't any better, as it clearly imparts the feeling of how something is gone and can never be reclaimed, so the only thing left to do is to move on.
    • A quote from one of the first promotional posters of the donghua even confirms that they're no longer enemies, but they're far from friends or even brothers. They no longer have a relationship, or anything resembling one.
      As the lights of Lotus Pier ignite, memories of the past burn brightly. We were once disciples together, now we go our separate ways. If we meet again one day and there is nothing to say, that would be better than too much.

    Post-Epilogue 
  • Even months after the events at the Guanyin temple, Lan Xichen still hasn't recovered from his depression over what happened, to the point that he's been neglecting his health and his presence of mind.
  • After the Lan family banquet, when Wei Wuxian asks the juniors about how their latest night-hunt went, this bit will surely leave the reader feeling melancholy.
    In truth, he knew that these weren't what he really wanted to ask. But as it sounded like Jiang Cheng and Jin Ling had been doing quite well, there was nothing left to say.
  • When Wei Wuxian discusses with Lan Wangji and Sizhui about how most of society looks down on servants, to the point that the same servants even have a low opinion of themselves, the latter two shoot worrying looks at Wei Wuxian. While Wei Wuxian brushes it off, by this point, any reader can tell that he also suffered mistreatment and scorn because of his status as a servant's son.
    • What's even sadder is that the insult is a misnomer. While his father did serve Jiang Fengmian in the past, he left his service eventually and Wei Changze was a rogue cultivator (just like his wife) by the time Wei Wuxian was born. So technically, Wei Wuxian is not the son of a servant. But of course, society would find any excuse to mock someone's status and put them down because it's just easier.
  • The extra where Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji go on a date in Yunmeng is mostly sweet. But there are bittersweet implications in the chapter nevertheless; the couple has fun in many places, but never once do they state any plans to visit Lotus Pier, and the place is only mentioned a few times when Wei Wuxian reminisces about the past. Wei Wuxian is in a much better place now and has made peace with almost everything in his life, but it's a little sad that he's keeping his distance from his old home. After all, what was the last thing Jiang Cheng told him the last time he was in Lotus Pier?

Audio Drama Extras

    Season 3 
  • "Gifting A Dog": Jin Ling gets bullied for being parentless and some Jin kids even try to take his sword away, leading Jin Ling to fighting the group and biting one kid. Once he returns home in tears, he starts screaming and tearing his room apart with the adults around him unsure of how they should intervene. The story ends with Jin Guangyao gently giving Jin Ling a puppy he asks to name and look after.

Meta

  • On December 6, 2019, Wu En (the singer for the second and third audio drama ending songs as well as a few fan songs of Mo Dao Zu Shi) was diagnosed with cancer. Much to everyone's relief, however, he underwent surgery and recovered.

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