Fanfiction: Mo Yuan and Shao Wan - Chapter 15 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)
Chapter 15written by kakashi
edits by JoAnne
Shao Wan woke up under a warm blanket, feeling exceptionally well rested despite sleeping on the hard rock surface. The chains from her hands were gone, her body was healed and her head felt fine. Her stomach lurched and then growled loudly when the smell of food wafted through the air.
As soon as she stirred, Fong Hung served her a simple meal prepared on the small hearth he'd built near the cave entrance. She wolfed it down in one go, taking those moments to observe her surroundings. Her mount had brought clothes, all neatly stacked in a corner. There were shoes, brushes, hair pieces, scented oils for her skin, and a small mirror that he had put on a ledge. He had even organized weapons: a selection of daggers, and a black leather whip of basic, simple design. Not her Whip, but a whip nonetheless.
She hugged him, full of gratitude - and then remembered, with a pinch of fear, what Cheng Yin had said after drugging her.
“Did Cheng Yin hurt you when I was dead?” she whispered.
“It’s of no consequence, Ancestor. He used everything he had on me, but I would not tell him anything. After I managed to escape he searched the whole Demon Realm for your ashes, but I hid them well.”
She hugged him again, because she knew that in Cheng Yin's case, “everything he had” must be a lot. Fong Hung, the loyal fool, would have died for her.
“We should hide here for a while,” her mount said with emphasis. “I will provide food and all other necessities for us, Ancestor. I am sorry I could not find a bigger cave. We cannot use the other one anymore, you drew attention to it when you woke up.”
Hiding did seem like a smart thing to do, but it was also highly undesirable. She was not made for sitting idly in small, dark caves living on offerings and, she strongly suspected, stolen supplies. She wanted to go back to her Obsidian Mansion and whip the skin off Cheng Yin’s body with her Demon Tongue before roasting him over small fires.
Correctly guessing her thoughts, Fong Hung said: “Do not go back yet. We need to observe him and find out what he is planning. He has amassed a huge army, Ancestor. It is by far the biggest in the whole realm. He is itching to go to war, but he seems to be waiting for something.”
Fong Hung was right, of course: going back there with no army of her own would be extremely unwise. She had to stop acting on impulse.
That thought made her remember that she had dreamt of Mo Yuan wearing his crystal armor and carrying the immortal Xuan Yuan sword at his back. They had not fought each other. Instead, he had taken her into his arms - and just held her. They were of almost equal height, so her cheek rested on his. He was warm and solid, and the slow, calm rhythm of his breathing was as soothing as the sound of waves breaking in shallow waters. She had felt safe in his embrace.
Of all the strange things that had happened to her since she'd woken up, this was by far the strangest. She tried to figure out what it could mean, but remained excessively puzzled - realizing also that she felt a bit bad about how vicious she had been to him about that Bai Fox lady. If Mo Yuan had feelings for that one, it was none of her business. But why would this make her dream of a Mo Yuan who hugged her?
During her drawn-out silence Fong Hung watched intently, probably fearing that she was considering something foolish.
“We will hide here and gather information first,” she repeated, to reassure him, and mentally readied herself to tackle Demon politics.
They hid and they gathered information and they tried to understand on whom they could rely. Shao Wan visited the other kings, many of whom she remembered in lesser roles from her time as Demon Overlord. She soon realized that they were waiting for Cheng Yin to make his move, and only then would they decide whether to ally with him against the Celestials or remain non-partisan. Not a single one, apart from Yi Mei Niang, the Purple Demon Queen, was ready to preemptively move against the Yellow King. Yi Mei Niang was surprisingly young and not very powerful, which told Shao Wan something about her wits. To remain queen in the Demon realm without being powerful meant she could outsmart all her challengers easily.
Still, Yi Mein Niang was not sufficient as the only ally and this situation was very frustrating for Shao Wan. The Demon kings were afraid to even meet with her, there were no trained soldiers to be had anywhere, she hated to return to her hole of a temporary home at night instead of going to her Mansion, and on top of everything, she now dreamt of the Celestial bastard almost every night. She was sure she must be sick, but when she checked her pulse she had to admit to herself that there was nothing wrong with her.
When she woke one morning about 21 days after her resurrection and felt a pang of disappointment at being ripped from the comfort of Mo Yuan's arms by the reality of waking up, she knew it was time to get to the bottom of this problem.
After a simple meal - they were all simple meals, stupid cave - she asked Fong Hung, “What happened to the God of War after I died?”
“I am glad you ask, Ancestor. He was badly injured,” Fong Hung told her. “It must have been your fire. Still, he remained on the battlefield until all the Demons under Qian Jiang surrendered. Afterwards, he wasn’t seen often in the realms - he stayed on Kunlun most of the time.”
Shao Wan knew this could not be all. “And?”
Fong Hung shrugged. “Dong Hua Dijun made sure that the realms were peaceful and then abdicated. Oh, you might be interested to hear that he married the only granddaughter of Fox King Bai Zhi not too long ago.”
Another fox woman? Shao Wan rolled her eyes. They seemed to be everywhere these days! And they surely were skillful: Dijun was not an easy nut to crack.
“There was another Celestial war about 70’000 years ago against the Ghost Tribe.” Fong Hung explained, “Remember how the Celestials gave Ghost Lord Qing Cang Mo Yuan’s Bell of the East Emperor to win him as an ally? During that war, Qing Cang activated it in an attempt to destroy the world.”
Shao Wan was impressed. Qing Cang had always been prone to insane violence, but going as far as destroying the worlds? Served the Celestials right. Why did Mo Yuan have to create such a powerful artifact in the first place? She had always thought it was idiotic.
“Mo Yuan stopped him?”
“The God of War sacrificed his soul to calm the Bell and bring back peace. He scattered.”
Shao Wan frowned. Scattered? Mo Yuan seemed far too alive for that.
“Something was strange back then,” Fong Hung continued. “Apparently, his body was never found. As a consequence, there were rumors that he was not dead at all, but that he and a favorite student of his … I forget his name… used this opportunity to disappear and to live as more than master and student where nobody would ever find them. Officially, the history scrolls say they went into seclusion together, but only naive people believe that.”
Oh. That was interesting.
“Was the student’s name Si Yin?”
“Yes, Ancestor! How did you know? Si Yin was greatly favored by the Master of Kunlun Mountain. Everybody talked about it back then. He even gave him the Jade Purity Fan of Kunlun, right after creating it! That is another very powerful magical artifact, my Queen.”
Shao Wan felt a bit annoyed. What the heck had Mo Yuan gotten himself into? She could not imagine that this paragon of virtue would cheat on his own twin, but maybe it just took the right woman to shake him?
“About 700 years ago, the God of War returned to Kunlun Mountains,” Fong Hung concluded his story. “so it is probably true he was never really dead. Si Yin has never returned, though. It’s one of the bigger mysteries in Celestial history.”
Shao Wan processed this information. Obviously, it was not common knowledge that Si Yin and Bai Qian were one and the same person. How had the Fox Lady pulled off two identities like this? Well, she must have first lived in a scandalous relationship with her Shifu and then switched over to his twin, the Crown Prince, when she had grown tired of the older brother.
She was content that she had worked it out, but then remembered her first impression of Mo Yuan at the orchard. A gap of 70’000 years explained why he seemed decidedly younger than 360’000 years. Also, if he had scattered and come back from the Nothingness only recently, it explained why he wasn’t in full possession of his powers. If both Mo Yuan’s body and Si Yin had disappeared together, it was very likely the Fox woman had taken and hidden Mo Yuan’s body. Hmm.
One puzzle remained - Mo Yuan possessed no Phoenix powers. How had he managed to come back after sacrificing his soul? Had the Fox lady helped him? What uncanny powers did that woman possess? Sadly, it was a puzzle unlikely to be solved - she and Mo Yuan would hardly sit down over tea and chat about their common experience.
“Ancestor,” Fong Hung said carefully. “please don’t get angry, but I do not think the God of War killed you.”
Shao Wan did not get angry. In truth, she was glad Fong Hung expressed what she had been wondering about herself.
“I think he was trying to save you,” Fong Hung continued.
Suddenly, it all made sense. Her dreams were not only of being hugged by Mo Yuan - there was a second kind, more like a nightmare, in which he rushed forward to save her when she burst into flames. She could only helplessly cry as she saw his horror-stricken face, his hands trying to reach her, and the pain in his eyes when her fire hit him. Now she understood: those were not dreams - those were memories.
“Please consider that we need allies, my Queen, if you want your position back. Allies and an army. You should go and talk to the God of War. I believe we need him.”
Shao Wan sighed deeply. Fong Hung was right, as always. But ally with that bloody Celestial bastard? She was almost glad she had burned and died that day. At least it meant she did not owe Mo Yuan a life debt, even if she had to admit that she owed him something for trying to save her at the risk of his own life. She would have to swallow her pride next time she saw him, and try to talk to him. Civilly.
Si Ming hurriedly made his way to Taichen Palace to report to Dijun. He was very proud of himself: after more than a week, he had finally found the demon goddess and delivered the invitation to the White Rock Sea Festival in time. Getting hold of her had been difficult, since she was appearing here and there unannounced before disappearing again to locations unknown. It was only thanks to Yan Chiwu, the Blue Demon King and a very good friend of Bai Fengjiu, that he had learned where he could meet the goddess’ capable mount, Fong Hung. After making sure that Si Ming had come with good intentions, the mount had arranged a meeting with his mistress in a secluded spot halfway up a barren mountain.
Lian Song stepped out from behind a pillar and barred his the way. Si Ming grinned - they were well met since he had juicy information involving the most venerated God of War. He was dying to share it with someone who would appreciate it and there were few in the Nine Heavens who appreciated gossip as much as the the Heavenly Lord’s third son.
“Tell me everything you know about the resurrected demon goddess, Star Lord”, Lian Song said eagerly, “is she as beautiful as people say she is?”
“She is so beautiful and awe inspiring it is hard to look at her without trembling,” Si Ming nodded.
“So the Demons will reunite under her?”
“It hardly seems so, no.”
“One of the kings - an infuriated ex-lover who killed his own father, I hear - took over her palace. She has no land, no army, no possessions. We are very fortunate it turned out this way; last time she led a united Demon Army against us, the God of War paid a high price to stop and kill her.”
“It took him millennia to fully recover. The history scrolls are vague, but Dijun once mentioned that the wounds from a Phoenix’s fire never fully heal.”
Lian Song smiled happily. This was very much to his taste. “I heard she and High God Mo Yuan already met after her return.”
“Yes, your Highness. Twice already.”
Si Ming nodded. “Whenever they meet, they fight - often until both are heavily injured. Dijun said it has been like this from the start, and all throughout their time at Father Immortal’s school. Not too long ago, Dijun and Zhe Yan arranged a diplomatic meeting for them at Ten Miles Peach Blossoms, but it failed.”
“They did. And the demon goddess also fought our Crown Princess.”
“Or the crown princess fought her, because the goddess mistook the Crown Prince for the God of War and assaulted him”.
“Ah, Demons. They are very passionate”, sighed Lian Song and thought fondly of the few demon ladies he had had the pleasure of knowing more closely himself.
“Yet, the God of War wants to meet with her again,” Si Ming continued. “This time, at the upcoming White Rock Sea Festival. She accepted the invitation. It seems she wants to meet him again too.”
“Will you be there?”
“Yes, of course I will, your Highness,” Si Ming said this with pleasure and started to tick off names on the fingers of his hand. “Dijun and his wife will go with their offspring, and I just love the Western Seas, so I will follow them. Zhe Yan might come, he said, with High God Bai Zhen. The Crown Prince and Princess are on the guest list with their son, as is the Lord of Numinous Treasures and his niece - yes, Mo Yuan’s not-quite bride. The infuriated ex-lover and his sister and 3 other demon kings will go too. And Mo Yuan, with a few selected Kunlun disciples.”
“This sounds like the event not to miss”, said Lian Song with a smirk. “I am sure you know how I can get my name on the guest list too, am I right?”
Si Ming nodded and grinned broadly. Indeed, this was an occasion not to miss. It was likely to blow up in the most delightful ways possible.