Fanfiction: Mo Yuan and Shao Wan - Chapter 35 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chaper 35

written by Miniorchid
consulting by Juls
edited by Chimera

Being the 2nd Prince of the West Sea and the Commander of his own army, very few people made Die Feng nervous – Shifu being one of the exceptions. The God of War had a commanding presence and an imposing aura. He was so intimidating that nobody dared to interrupt him when he spoke. But for Die Feng, it had always been his silences that were the most frightening. Now, Shifu had been silent for quite some time, which caused Die Feng to become more and more uneasy. Looking down to the floor as he bowed, feeling the God of War’s eyes on him, he could hardly keep himself from fidgeting.

He had already informed Shifu of the current situation with 16th and the Ghost Princess. Assassins were targeting the royal blood of the Ghost tribe and would have likely succeeded in killing the Ghost Princess and her child if not for 16th’s tenacity. As Die Feng had predicted, Shifu had no issue with the Ghost Princess residing at Kunlun temporarily, given the urgency of the situation, her wounds, and the young child who was with her. Truth was, the Ghost Princess was an important asset in this war to come and it seemed strategically beneficial not to turn her away, but to keep her close and investigate the situation.

However, there was another decision to be made. Die Feng had expected it to be a quick one, and he wanted to convey the message to the uninvited guest outside Kunlun Hall as soon as possible. But Shifu drank his tea, his face unmoving, and Die Feng waited on tenterhooks.

When it seemed like his Master had forgotten about the question entirely, Die Feng ventured a cautious “Shifu…?”

“She may stay,” the Master of Kunlun Mountains finally answered as he placed his teacup down.

Die Feng could not believe his ears. “Pardon?”

*****

Earlier in the day…

Luckily, there was no sign of assassins tailing them on their way back to Kunlun. 16th’s strength lasted exactly until their arrival at the gate, where he collapsed. Anticipating something like this might happen, Die Feng had already alerted his juniors to await their return at the foot of the mountain and six disciples rushed towards the party as soon as they arrived.

“Senior! How is 16th…?” they gathered around, worried and anxious to know what had happened. 6th and 10th bent down and lifted 16th up, each taking one of his arms over their shoulders to carry him.

“He’s heavily injured, take him to his room,” said Die Feng. “Where is 2nd?”

“2nd senior is busy making the elixir for 16th as instructed, it will be done soon,” 4th explained.

Die Feng looked at the Ghost Princess and the child in her arms, then turned back to his junior. “4th, prepare 9th’s old room for the Ghost Princess and her child,” he ordered.

“Yes, senior.”

Die Feng turned to the Ghost Princess, “Princess, please excuse me, I have to report to the God of War, so I will not be able to help you settle in. 4th will take care of your needs.”

“Thank you for your hospitality, and thank you for saving us. I didn’t have the opportunity to express my gratitude earlier,” she replied.

“As Kunlun Disciples it is our duty to assist those in need. However, it is 16th who had the honor of protecting you and the child,” he bowed to her and turned to 4th. “4th, make sure the Princess and the child have whatever they may need. Provide food and medical supplies to the Princess’s room when you settle her in.”

“Leave it to me, Senior,” 4th bowed.

Die Feng watched everyone leave as instructed. Then he reluctantly turned to the real problem at hand. The Demon Princess, back to her chirpy self, had followed them home, insisting she had to ensure their safe return in case of more assassins. Now that they were at the gates, she was visibly excited while Die Feng was dreading the next scene. He was really grateful for all her help; indeed she had saved their lives in the nick of time. He never liked being rude and now the last thing he wanted to do was hurt her feelings. Yet how could he let her inside Kunlun’s halls when their tribes were on the verge of war? Duty came first, always, without question. He cleared his throat.

“Princess...”

“Why are we still standing around? I want you to show me the waterfalls, they look magnificent!” She grabbed his arm, and pointed at the waterfalls above.

He gently disentangled himself. “Princess, thank you for your assistance earlier in the mortal realm. It is unlikely the assassins will appear here because of Kunlun’s power suppression. Your power will also be suppressed if you reside here, so it is wiser if you return to your realm.”

At his distant demeanor, confusion flitted across her face for an instance before she pouted. “But the Ghost Princess is staying; her powers are similar to mine.”

“That is correct, but she is injured, has a child with her, and is being targeted by unknown assassins. Also, she is a guest of 16th’s,” he explained.

“Then I can be your guest.” She smiled at her own suggestion.

“My guest?” he repeated.

She beamed innocently, “Yes! I won’t cause any problems for you at Kunlun.”

He looked at her with disbelief. How could her staying at Kunlun not cause problems under current circumstances? She could not be completely oblivious of the fact that the master of this mountain and her brother were on the brink of going to war with each other, could she? They had no idea how much she knew or where her allegiance lay. Her staying here would be unwise on so many levels. But how did one broach such a subject with someone one was in debt to?

“Why do you hesitate? I led you to your 16th junior and his princess, didn’t I? And as I recall, I saved everyone, including you.”

“Princess, I don’t think it is wise, Kunlun is not accustomed to hosting female guests.” This sounded like a feeble excuse even to his ears.

She laughed, “But the High Demon Goddess is residing here as well! We are acquainted! She can be my chaperone if you prefer.”

Shimu as a chaperone? Die Feng couldn’t think of anything less appropriate. This whole situation made his head swim. He had hoped it wouldn’t come to this but now it seemed he had no choice. He sighed, “Princess, I don’t have the authority to decide in this matter. Let me ask Shifu’s permission.”

Asking Shifu was the last resort; he was quite certain Shifu would never let her reside at Kunlun. He just hoped that when the moment came, Shifu would not look too grim and the Princess not too disappointed. She, however, was not fazed by the suggestion. “Your Shifu? The God of War? I saw him at the Festival and though he looks very scary, I’m sure he’ll let me stay, seeing that I saved his disciples. Go, ask – and then let me see the waterfalls.”

Die Feng stared at her violet and brown eyes glimmering with anticipation and wondered if there would ever be a day on which he could win against the Demon Princess.

****

Present time...

“Pardon?” He must have misheard, because Shifu could not have just agreed to let another questionable female from another realm, the sister of the Yellow Demon King at that, stay at Kunlun.

Shifu poured himself another cup of tea. “She has saved 16th and you. We cannot be ungrateful to those whom we owe a debt.”

Die Feng was stunned. The Yellow Princess could stay? “But Shifu, what about the tension between the tribes? The assassins…” he trailed off. “Besides, we don’t have any more free rooms; I already placed the Ghost Princess and her child in 9th’s old room.”

“We do not know anything for certain yet. As long as she does not venture near my chambers, political tensions should not be a problem.” Shifu’s expression remained inscrutable. “Put her in 17th’s old room,” he added.

“With Shimu?” Die Feng asked, stunned again.

Shifu’s tea paused ever so briefly before touching his lips. “Shimu is no longer residing there.”

“Where is she residing?” As soon as he had asked, Die Feng wanted to kick himself for babbling before thinking, because the look he got from Shifu for prying was of the highest disapproval.

Die Feng understood then that Shimu must be residing in Shifu’s room. That was puzzling, because before she had run away, Shimu had been raging and screaming about being the God of War’s wife. It was unclear to him how Shifu had caught his runaway bride, but it seemed like he had made peace with Shimu and quickly at that; they had not been gone from Kunlun for more than two Celestial days.

“I apologize, I spoke out of turn. I will do as instructed.” Die Feng turned to leave quickly, feeling very uncomfortable under Shifu’s intense gaze.

“Die Feng.”

He froze at the sound of his name. He turned around and bowed. “Yes, Shifu.”

“She is your guest.”

“Understood.”

Relieved that the decision was done with, Die Feng hurried back to where he had left the Demon Princess. He had instructed her to stay outside of Kunlun Hall until he could inform Shifu of the situation. But when he got back, the Yellow Demon Princess was nowhere to be seen. Great. Shifu had left her under his care, and he had already lost her.

“Have you seen the Demon Princess?” he asked the disciples nearby.

“Yes, Senior,” answered 7th.

“Where is she?”

“She asked to see 2nd Senior.”

“What! Why?”

“We don’t know, she sounded quite urgent.”

Urgent? Ah, she must be low on sugar again. After seeing her fight, he understood why this woman could binge on sweets without putting on bulk – her training must be intense. Hopefully, 2nd would still have some to satisfy her. He told 7th to prepare 17th's old room for the Demon Princess before heading out to find her.

As he walked, his thoughts turned to their conversation in the mortal realm. It appeared that she had few friends and a complicated relationship with her brother. Die Feng himself could not imagine being afraid of his own brother’s anger. But then his brother had never been the authoritarian type. Her stories of mortal realm shenanigans had come as a surprise – it had never occurred to him that an immortal would find it fun to spend days as a mortal.

More surprising, though, was her boldness during the battle with the assassins. He didn’t have time to analyze her skills before, but now that he thought back, he realized they had been impressive. Previously, he had assumed her primary weapon was the sword. Who could have known her weapon of choice was a silver chain whip. It fit her exceedingly well—fierce, unpredictable, and vibrant. Her moves were graceful like that of a silk dancer under the stars.The chains lit up unexpectedly at certain moments, as bright as the moon, without him being able to tell what made them so.

Die Feng had to admit, due to her lack of cloud jumping abilities he had underestimated her martial arts. She had no killing aura either, despite her body count in the short battle he had witnessed. He realized she must have hidden her abilities. But why? Weren’t demons prone to bragging about their battle skills all the time? Curiously, the Princess had not brought up the subject with him once, even though she brought up countless other subjects. Something about her was strange…like she was keeping secrets.

“Die Feng!” her voice broke through his train of thought.

He turned in anticipation. She was running towards him, her whole face lit up by a smile, likely because of the candy box in her hands. The breeze flowed through the yellow layers of her soft silk dress, while Kunlun’s ancient energy mingled with her essence to suddenly remind him of her true form. When she transformed in the alley behind the teahouse, Die Feng’s first instinct had been to reach for his sword. But then the huge grey predator had tilted its head and his brain had recognized the wolf’s glinting violet and brown eyes as Li Ying’s. As they had set off, he had barely been able to take his eyes off. Her loping strides had been all power and speed and predatory grace. The thought that there was nothing delicate about her true form had occurred to him as he had watched her muscles bunch underneath thick fur. He would not want to be on the wrong side of her fangs when they came down on her prey, he thought wryly. As she reached him, human sized and fur-less, he smiled.

“Die Feng, look at what your 2nd junior gave me.” She showed him the half eaten box in her hands.

He had to laugh. “Princess, I don’t believe that will be enough to quench your appetite.”

“Of course not, he told me he’ll make time to teach me how to make Kunlun candies!”

Die Feng felt an unsettling tug in his chest. “Teach you?” he asked.

“Yes, teach me. I wouldn’t want to bother him every time, he has other duties to attend to,” the Princess explained.

“Oh,” he said.

She must have caught his tone. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” He looked away from her.

She arched her head to look at him directly. “Are you sure?”

“Yes.” He assured her. Turning to the matter at hand, he added: “Princess, I came to tell you that Shifu has approved your being my guest during your stay. I had my junior disciple prepare the guest room for you.”

“Wonderful! Please thank your Shifu for me. Where will my room be?” she asked.

“On the East side of Kunlun Hall. Please follow me.” He led her in the direction of 17th’s room.

“Where is your room?” she continued.

“On the West side of Kunlun Hall.”

“Can I switch?” she asked.

He stopped and looked at her. “Switch?”

“Not with you, but another disciple close to you. Shouldn’t you keep an eye on me, seeing that I’m your guest?” she asked mischievously.

He swallowed. “No.”

“Why?!”

He kept walking while she trailed behind. She gave a multitude of logical and not so logical reasons why he needed to stay close to her and he continued to refute them all. Only when he saw her grin did he realize she was teasing him.

Fine, victory was hers today. But there were many days ahead, Die Feng thought as his heart sped up and he grinned back.