Lan Qiren winced as a bone snapped beneath his foot. Pausing to bless the spirit whose remains he'd unintentionally desecrated, he wondered if it could still be called desecration after so many centuries. The trees, long denuded of bark, standing ghostly pale even in daylight, did nothing to hide the streaks of black that circled in the air like a pack of hunting wolves. He briefly wondered which streak of resentment the bone had belonged to but there was no way to tell. Perhaps he should have waited while Wen Ning finished clearing some ground by burying the bones but Lan Qiren knew nothing he did could make the spirits more resentful. There was no need to wait.

He turned to the servant, a man from town, for another prayer wheel. The man shivered as his eyes darted about. Lan Qiren didn't blame him, but it would be difficult to do this work without an assistant. Perhaps he should request disciples from Gusu? No, it wouldn't be fair to put the burden of such a useless task on anyone else. "I will cleanse you when we are done here." His words didn't seem to appease the man and Lan Qiren knew the man wouldn't follow him again into the Burial Mounds.

Hiding a sigh, Lan Qiren held out his hand for another prayer wheel. After he set one end into the ground, the wheel started spinning madly, but Lan Qiren didn't hold out much hope for the technique. The Wen had tried to cleanse the Burial Mounds. Despite the shortcomings of their last generation, their ancestors had been strong cultivators. If there was a way to cleanse this land, they would have found it. Lan Qiren thought it unfortunate that no one now could learn what the Wen had tried. Any scrolls documenting their attempts had been destroyed in the attack on Nightless City.

As he squatted down to set up the next prayer wheel, Lan Qiren thought on the techniques his companions were attempting. He did not believe that burying the bones would do any good. The resentful energies had long lost any connections to their original bodies. Also, the area where the Wen had once lived had been cleared of bones but was still rife with resentful energy.

Lan Teegan, on another patch of ground, was using slow movements, intention, and her personal qi to move the resentful energy. Wen Ning had designed the technique based on medical treatments for moving stagnant qi in a human body. The brilliant thinking that had gone into that technique made Lan Qiren wish he'd gotten to know Wen Ning better when the young man had still been alive. Lan Qiren didn't hold out much hope for the approach. Perhaps the qi of a god could move resentful energy, but that of one lone disciple? Unlikely.

Perhaps Inquiry could make a difference. Speaking to the dead, learning the details of their life, one could, possibly, learn what would appease them and offer it, but the method didn't always work and given the number of dead in the Burial Mounds, Lan Qiren couldn't even begin to guess how many generations would have to devote themselves to the task. He might bring up the idea at their next discussion. Someone must have tried Inquiry already. He wished they knew what techniques had already been tried. The quicker they could discard different techniques, the quicker they could abandon this foolishness.