Fanfiction: Mo Yuan and Shao Wan - Chapter 20 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 20

written by Chimera & Miniorchid
edited by kakashi & JoAnne

As night fell, Zi Lan and Die Feng took to the comfort of sharing a late night tea in their tent. Both disciples were exhausted but content from partaking in the festivities and from helping to make arrangements for the diplomatic meeting. Zi Lan felt fortunate to share a tent with his senior, who seemed very happy to share this space with 16th even though he was the second prince of the Western Sea.

For the past few weeks, they had worried a lot about Shifu. Their master had not been quite himself ever since his return to Kunlun Mountain and was even less so after the demon goddess’ awakening. Shifu spent almost his entire time meditating in the cave and became even more reserved and taciturn. It was surprising that such a thing was possible, since he had never talked much to begin with.

Luckily, things had taken a different turn this week. Mo Yuan had become more energized and affable and tackled the peace talks with an iron fist. His disciples were very proud of how much the immortals at the festival were in awe of their shifu. He did not leave Kunlun Mountain often and it was clear that many guests had come to the festival just to see him in person. However, they were far less proud of the other gossip that was spreading like wildfire: about how the God of War would rarely take his eyes off the Demon High Goddess when she was present, would seek her out when she was not present and that they had been seen together at the beach, walking with linked arms in the moonlight (among other things). The disciples were outraged at such accusations - even though they had to admit their shifu was very aware of that woman.

Die Feng explained that Shifu must be exceptionally wary of her, seeing how they were old enemies, and how her return made a war between the Heavens and the Demons highly likely. Only … Zi Lan had seen something different when he caught Shifu looking at the Goddess today. It wasn’t wariness. It was something he was quite familiar with: longing - and the suppressed pain of a man who knew his duty barred him from obtaining sweet happiness that was within reach. Of course, Zi Lan didn’t correct Die Feng’s assumption, because he knew his senior wouldn’t understand. Keeping his master’s secret was the only thing he felt he could do.

As they finished their tea and were about to prepare for bed, a figure barged into their tent.

“17th!” they said in unison.

“What?” Bai Qian exclaimed, looking confused.

Both Zi Lan and Die Feng shook their heads. Of course she just showed up unannounced and completely forgot her status here. This was their 17th after all, even if she now wore women’s clothes.

“Are you lost again?” Die Feng sighed.

“Of course not! I found this place by myself! I … I followed your aura!” Bai Qian denied immediately.

The two students glanced at each other, both knowing she was lying.

“Really? So why are you here at this hour?” Zi Lan asked teasingly, “were you looking for Shifu? He is drinking wine with Dijun and Zhe Yan somewhere else.”

“No! I...I...I needed to talk to 16th,” Bai Qian stammered, still quite obviously lying.

“This late?” Die Feng asked amused.

“Yes, it’s an important matter I need to discuss, it cannot wait,” she said, gaining more confidence.

“What do you want to talk about?” Zi Lan prompted.

“Let’s go outside, we don’t want to disturb our senior,” Bai Qian said, flashing that smile at them that never failed to get her what she wanted.

“Very well then, let’s head outside for this important discussion you need to have with me at this hour,” Zi Lan smiled back.

He and Bai Qian were about to step out of the tent when Die Feng called “16th!”

“Yes, Senior,” they both turned around to look at Die Feng.

“Be sure to escort the crown princess safely back to her tent after your important talk, we don’t want the crown prince to search for her all night.”

“I will do so.” Zi Lan smirked at Bai Qian, “maybe he should tie a magic thread around her foot next time?”

Bai Qian gave them her dagger glare, causing them to laugh out loud. However, she did not argue as she stepped out with Zi Lan in tow, knowing as well as they did that the crown prince would soon be seen hurrying around the encampment in search of his directionally challenged wife if she did not make it back in time. Since they always teased her mercilessly every time her husband fawned over her in front of them, Zi Lan escorting her seemed like the lesser evil.

Bai Qian and Zi Lan soon fell into a slow familiar pace as he led her back in the direction of her tent. It felt good to spend time together again, however brief. Zi Lan often fondly remembered the times he and 17th had roamed free as disciples of Kunlun Mountain. At first, he didn’t know if he could tolerate 17th, because she tried to take the senior position from him despite arriving later than he had. But 17th immediately grew on him with her wits and free spirit and he naturally ended up as her partner in crime and best friend soon after. They had snuck off to the mortal realms every time they had a chance, disguised as taoist monks to mess with the mortals. Alas, so much had changed since their carefree days … Bai Qian was now the crown princess of the Celestial Tribe and would soon become the Heavenly Empress, while he would return to Kunlun Mountain to silently curse fate while he regained his cultivation. Life was so unpredictable and bitter.

Zi Lan was still reminiscing when Bai Qian broke the silence.

“What happened to your princess?”

He stopped in his tracks and looked at her. “You know?”

“Of course I know! Second senior told me what I couldn’t guess myself. I’m worried about you. You lost most of your cultivation for her and you have not gotten much of it back. Why haven’t you gone to her?”

He remained silent.

“You need to stop punishing yourself. Shifu told you to come back didn’t he? He never blamed you for helping a ghost child.”

“They’re both different matters.”


“The princess and I cannot be together.”

“Said who?”

Zi Lan closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. It was him, him alone. He knew he was to blame for his own misery, he had driven her away. He told her to never see him again. He knew he had broken her heart and had made her cry, making sure he could not ever have her.

“Remember when you said she’s more beautiful than me?” Bai Qian broke him out of his thoughts.

“Yes, I remember.”

Yan Zhi’s image appeared before him instantly. His angel, his light - yes, she was the most beautiful, inside and out. Her gentle soul and good heart protecting those she loved, unyielding, unwavering, no matter how difficult the obstacles were.

“You still claim that?” Bai Qian persisted.

“Of course! No one is more beautiful than she.”

“Then why are you not with her?” she asked.

Zi Lan turned away to hide his emotions. Why he wasn't with her was not the real question, the real question was: would Yan Zhi ever forgive him? Would she take him back after he repeatedly severed their relationship? He failed their love because he placed his duty before her. He was certain she had moved on. It was too late.

“Sixteenth…,” Bai Qian interrupted him again.

“The crown prince will be worried if you’re not back soon,” he said, wanting to end this conversation that only tormented him. This was his own trial. He did not want to discuss it with Bai Qian.

“Wait…..” But he kept walking, leading Bai Qian back to her tent. He quickly bid her goodnight.

Her insistence on understanding why he kept wailing in misery forced him to think about his failure again. Instead of heading back to his tent, he decided to take a stroll at the beach. He had no idea how long he was out there, but at one point, he felt tears in his eyes and they wouldn’t stop. He was such an idiot, he realized. Shaking his head, he laughed at himself through his tears. Yan Zhi would not want an idiot like him. Or would she? he wondered as he stared into the night, contemplating whether he was still worthy of her, Yan Zhi, his beautiful princess.


After Zi Lan and Si Yin left, Die Feng stretched his limbs and opened the chest at the foot of his bed. He hoped Si Yin would be able to restore some of Zi Lan’s lost spirit and that the two would stir up trouble like old loopy times, but that might be a futile wish. Times were changing and there was no going back. Die Feng smiled at this philosophic turn of his thoughts; apparently he was in a contemplative mood tonight.

He changed into a plain robe and settled himself into bed with a poetry book for some light reading before turning in. Really, these state robes with layers upon layers of silk were far too stiff. It always took him a while to get used to them after returning from the simplicity of Kunlun.

Thinking of Kunlun, Die Feng sighed. The last few days had been an endless stream of guests and he was fortunate to get some time to himself. Now that older brother had returned to full health he had taken up a major portion of the kingdom’s administrative duties, lessening Die Feng’s workload. Die Feng had been able to spend more time at Kunlun as a result. However, as the second prince he was still expected to attend to diplomatic duties and look after the kingdom’s defense.

The king and queen were getting old and the two princes would soon have to take up the mantle. The marriage alliance with the East Water Kingdom was an important step in this direction. Once his brother was officially declared the crown prince, Die Feng would need to do everything in his power to assist him. The thought that he could not spend his entire life as the First Kunlun disciple had occurred to him more than once lately.

That was the reason he was so happy to have his family host the festival. Shifu was here and so were Sixteenth and Seventeenth and so, for these few days, his lives as  Second Prince of the West Water Kingdom and First Disciple of Kunlun Mountain had seamlessly merged.

He sipped from his teacup and turned a page.


Die Feng was jolted from his thoughts by suddenly finding himself lying under someone. A very soft, blue-robed and, going by the generous curves, female someone. He caught a whiff of basil.

Die Feng scrambled up, recognizing her from their official introduction at the start of the festival. “Princess! What are you doing here?”

Demon Princess Li Ying leaned towards him. Not sure what the etiquette was in situations where guests cloud jumped on him, Die Feng held her gaze and waited. She drew closer, leaned towards his neck and… was she sniffing him?! He jerked back from her tickling breath. She abruptly looked up. “Here?”

Die Feng looked down into her eyes. She gazed back at him innocently. “My bed. What are you doing in my bed?”

She shook her head as if to clear it and glanced at her surroundings. “I was sleepy. The wine made me do it.”

She was drunk? “Do what?” he prompted.

“Look for a bed,” she said as if pointing out the obvious.

“But this is my bed!” his voice came out slightly higher than he liked.

“It’s still a bed, isn’t it?” she yawned, nestling into his shoulder.

Die Feng didn’t know whether to laugh. “Do you climb into bed with any man when you’re drunk?”

She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. “No, I only like men who smell like honey.”

He couldn’t have heard that right. “What did you say?”

“Honey. You smell like the sweet nectar of honey bees.” She sniffed again. Her cold nose nuzzled his neck. Die Feng shivered. She was a soft, warm bundle against his chest but her hands…her hands were going through his pockets.

“What’re you doing?” he asked.

“Looking for sweets,” she poked around urgently. “Don’t you have any?”

This was ridiculous, and so many levels of inappropriate for an unmarried woman to be alone in his tent let alone paw at him in his bed that he didn’t even want to think about it. Zi Lan could come back any moment and finding Die Feng in bed with the Yellow Demon Princess was not how Die Feng wanted Zi Lan to get his spirit back.

Ignoring his pounding heart, Die Feng put down his book and gently slipped out of her arms. “Let me escort you to your tent, Princess.”

She remained kneeling on the bed, her nose in the air. “My tent?” she sounded puzzled.

“Yes. Which one is it?” he asked, hoping that she was not drunk enough to have forgotten it. If he knew her exact tent in the Demon encampment he would directly cloud jump her there.

“But I haven’t found any sweets yet,” she protested. She was now on her feet sniffing around his small table.

He caught one scroll as it rolled off. “We need to get you back to your tent. If anyone sees you here we’re both done for.”

She looked at him with an arched eyebrow, her expression laden with insinuation, “Are you expecting anyone?”

Die Feng felt his face heat up, “No but-”

“Then we should be fine.” She went back to his table.

He wasn’t so sure. If she didn’t remember her tent he’d have to find a servant to escort her back. However, she couldn’t be seen emerging from his tent, even by servants. In all his 158,000 years of existence Die Feng had never caused a scandal. He didn’t intend to start one now.

He slid back into the role of Kunlun’s most senior disciple shepherding wayward juniors and moved to the tent flap. “I’ll go check if the coast is clear. Wait here.” He stepped out. A second thought made him turn around, “Don’t make any loud sounds.”

The wind outside was chilly. The crashing waves rendered any noise emanating from the tents inconspicuous. The moon and stars were out in full force, bathing the shore in their silvery glow. Faint music and laughter could still be heard from one of the pavilions attracting revelers like moths to a single flame. The campsite was devoid of stragglers, everyone apparently in their tents, at the pavilion or at secluded rendezvous spots.

Die Feng turned to head back and bumped into Li Ying. “Princess! I told you to wait for me.”

She sniffed before holding out her palm. “I found candy.”

He considered the candied peach blossoms, “Zi Lan must have brought some for A Li.” They set off in the direction of the Demon campsite.

“My nose is never wrong,” said Li Ying.

Die Feng smiled, “And here I thought foxes were the ones with keen senses.”

Li Ying’s tone grew thoughtful. “It is true that foxes have good hearing, and they are indeed closer in relation to bloodhounds.”

At that Die Feng burst out laughing. “Do not let High Goddess Bai Qian hear you compare her kind to bloodhounds, I implore you.”

“Oh,” Li Ying’s puzzled frown turned into a mischievous smile. “I wouldn’t dare.”

Die Feng looked down into her glinting eyes and his heart skipped a beat.

The paths between tents were lit with luminescent corals here and there. Li Ying ate, nay, devoured the peach blossoms as they walked. Out of the corner of his eye he followed her tongue as it licked her fingers, one by one. “This candy is exquisite,” she purred.

“I’m glad it was to your taste.”

She met his gaze and her lips lifted into a wolfish smile, “That is not the only thing to my taste.”

Die Feng’s throat grew dry.

She moved forward and took a whiff. “Honey, and...sea salt,” she murmured, like a connoisseur analysing a complex wine.

Basil, Die Feng found himself thinking as he caught her scent. Caramel. She was standing so close and--what on earth? He quickly took a step back, snapping out of it.

They had neared the Demon camp entrance. He cleared his throat. “Let me find someone to escort you to your tent, Princess.”

“You escorted me this far,” she replied.

“I do not know which tent is yours, Princess, and you-”

“Remember the tent perfectly well.”

“But you said you-”

“Needed sweets first.”

He closed his mouth. She had never said she couldn’t remember her tent. His brain had simply jumped to the likeliest conclusion. The Yellow Demon Princess, Die Feng was discovering, did not fit likely conclusions. What woman would find herself in a strange man’s tent in the middle of the night and decide to snoop around for sweets, rather than run to her chambers screaming bloody murder? It had to be the alcohol.

He followed her past the tents until they reached a cluster marked with yellow flags. She stopped before one of the bigger tents.  “Here we are.”

“I will have my steward send some sweets over in the morning.” He bowed. “Goodnight, Princess.”

As he straightened, she caught hold of his collar and raised herself on tiptoe to plant a soft kiss on his neck, taking one last whiff.

Die Feng stared after her, eyes wide, fingers raised halfway to his neck, as she disappeared beneath her tent flap.

Chapter 21