I've already written the part where the letter and matchmakers reach the Unclean Realm. So I'm skipping that on here. Meanwhile in Lotus Pier:

It has been long enough since Jiang Cheng sent the letter for the matchmakers to reach Qinghe and be at least partway back to Lotus Pier. He hasn’t received a reply.

He hadn’t necessarily expected Nie Huaisang to write back as soon as he received it. Jiang Cheng realized that the final letter had been somewhat cryptic. But surely, once the matchmakers arrived and it was all clear, Nie Huaisang would have written back to him. Perhaps the letter got lost? Or perhaps Nie Huaisang had taken offense after all. Jiang Cheng hoped that wasn’t the case. Losing Nie Huaisang through this fiasco was the last thing he wanted.

Not sure if the next chapter of the betrothal AU will stay at Lotus Pier or move to the Unclean realm to start, but in any case....

It takes Nie Huaisang a minute to realize the pounding torturing him isn't due to his activities of the night before, but to someone hammering on his door.

"Nie-er-gongzi! Nie-zongzhu requests your presence as soon as possible!"

Fuck fuck fuck, he thinks.

"Uh.. yes... tell him I'll be right there,” he manages to reply, pushing himself to sit up on his bed.

He wonders if the guards on duty last night betrayed him and told his brother the time and state he came back in last night.

He takes as long as he dares to make himself presentable before making his way to the main hall, all the while planning what kind of revenge to exact on the traitorous guards and their big mouths. He distinctly remembers bringing them a jar of very fine wine to share, how dare they tell on him! If can only figure out who was on duty when he came back, they'll be sorry. It was very hard to tell, from inside the carriage.

Continuing from this

He doesn’t remember ever actually saying yes, but he is well aware he never actually said no.

He blames it, in part, on being overwhelmed in the moment by the whole thing. Nie Huaisang, his friend, was considered someone who might potentially be a man’s consort? Was considered someone who would be his consort? The matchmaker thought they would be good together? To say the idea came as something of a revelation was an understatement.

Before his brain had quite caught up, the old matchmaker was talking about initial overtures, how to handle this admittedly unusual case. How to approach Chifeng-zun with the idea. And at that point, Jiang Cheng thinks, surely Nie Mingjue will reject this out of hand, right? But in the meantime, he can enjoy a little peace and quiet before having to sort out this mess.

He can always explain to Nie Huaisang. They’re friends, after all. He’ll probably find it funny. They can have a laugh over it the next time they see each other.

So, based on this, but make it : https://twitter.com/PurpleNies/status/1626791584091230208

It had backfired spectacularly.

A month ago, Jiang Cheng had been in a room with his mother, her sister and several other older women who were maybe relatives and maybe professional matchmakers. They had been harrying him to pick someone from among the list of potential matches so overtures could be made to the potential bride's family.

His mother had started talking about finding a match for him almost as soon as he came back from the Cloud Recesses, but it had ramped up recently and culminated that after afternoon, with a long list of the cultivation world's eligible young women, complete with a plethora of portraits that made them all look the same, and Jiang Cheng feeling increasingly claustrophobic by their demands.