Fanfiction: Mo Yuan and Shao Wan - Chapter 36 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)


Chapter 36

written by Panda
Edited by kakashi

Back when Ye Hua had explained to Bai Qian that the Demon Goddess was not after him but rather her Shifu, she hadn’t wanted to believe it. When the news had come that that woman and her Shifu were married - without a proper ceremony at that! - she hadn’t wanted to believe it either. Later, she had been angry. Then, she had felt sad. Now, all there was left was bewilderment. She just didn’t understand what her Shifu could possibly have in common with that crass and rude goddess.

With a pang of nostalgia, she thought about Kunlun back when she had still been a disciple. To expect everyone and everything to remain the same was foolish, of course. But after her Shifu had woken up, all the other disciples had returned to Kunlun and had resumed their lives at the school. While she moved on to a new life, they had not. That change was happening at Kunlun now was only natural, but it still made her emotional. Shifu, Shifu had gotten married and it was likely her seniors would not stay on Kunlun forever. Sighing, she realized she had been absentmindedly rubbing the scar on her breast. It was quite fitting that it ached today.

She gasped loudly when she felt hands embrace her from behind.

“Qian Qian”, Ye Hua whispered by her neck, his arms crossed over her belly.

Contentedly, she sank back into his hug. “Yes, Ye Hua.”

“You didn’t even notice when I came in. You have been more absent minded of late, is it the baby?”

She nodded.

“I also saw you were rubbing your scar,” he continued. “Has it been aching you a lot? Let me go and get the Medicine God.”

“Ye Hua!” she exclaimed and turned hastily to face him. “You fuss too much! And you know this is because of my pregnancy too. Especially since…” She stopped, blushing deeply and headed towards the bed.

“Especially since what, Qian Qian” he asked his eyes full of laughter.

“Ye Hua!”

He took her hand and walked with her to the bed. He sat down and lifted her on his knees. “Qian Qian, I know you have gotten more sensitive around your scar area, I promise to pay special attention to it later.”

She blushed even deeper and buried her head against his chest as his body shook with laughter. Indeed, though things had changed, change didn’t always have to be a bad thing. Sitting here, wrapped in Ye Hua’s arms, she felt such happiness and contentment. He slowly and gently moved his hands across her back and she settled deeper into his arms.

“Qian Qian,” he called her softly.

“Hmmmm,” she replied.

“I was thinking we should pay Da-Ge a visit.“

Bai Qian felt her good mood dissipate instantly. “Go to Kunlun?”

“Yes, Qian Qian. Today is–“

“I know what today is”, she got up and started pacing across the room. “Ye Hua, I don’t want to go. That demon woman - I decidedly don’t like her. And now she’s in Kunlun as the Mistress!

“Qian Qian, so you won’t ever go to Kunlun again because your Shifu got married to someone you don’t like? Are you never going to see your seniors again? Are you never going to see Da-Ge again?”

He got up from the bed and came over to take her hands in his.

“Qian Qian, you were under the God of War’s tutelage for 20,000 years and a favorite of his. I am sure you know your Shifu better than anyone else in the Realms. Think about it, have you ever known him to take a rash step? I think we should trust his judgment.”

She sighed, silently admitting to herself that she was acting irrationally. Maybe it was all that gossip she kept overhearing that made her so edgy. The marriage had happened too quickly after Shifu’s other engagement had been broken off - had they even checked for auspicious dates? People kept waiting for wedding ceremony invitations, but none came.

“Besides,” Ye Hua continued, “I have been hearing rumblings that the Demons have already broken the peace agreement - that’s something I also want to go discuss with your Shifu. He probably plans to sort things out all by himself. I want to tell him that I want to be right next to him when he goes to war.”

Though still a little miffed, Bai Qian nodded her head. “Okay Ye Hua, let’s go to Kunlun. It is true, I have missed everyone. I would like to speak to first senior and …” her voice trailed off when she heard someone at the door.

“Your Highness, A-Li has come for his morning visit,” Nai Nai called out.

A-Li came in and made his usual morning salutations. At the end, he did not rise up from his bow, but added a request: “Father Lord, Mother, may A-Li please accompany you to Kunlun Mountains to see Uncle God of War, his wife the High Goddess Shao Wan and the Kunlun disciples? A-Li has a message to deliver.”

The memory of what had happened between the Demon Queen and her son made Bai Qian’s hackles rise, but she had decided to let bygones be bygones and gracefully forgive the Demon High Goddess, who was after all her sister-in-law now.

“Of course, A-Li can come with us, go and get ready” she said and watched as he took his leave with another, sincere bow. Sometimes, that boy acted much older than his age, just like his dad, she thought.

***

When Shao Wan woke up that morning, she was alone in the room. Her mood turned instantly bad - that damned Celestial sneaking out without waking her annoyed her. She got more irritated as she did her morning ablutions and thought about all the other things he did that made her angry. By the time she had dressed in her favorite gown and had arranged her hair, she had worked herself into a fine state of anger. She, the Demon Ancestor, was here in this lackluster assortiment of caves, without maids or servants, and nobody cared at all to check on her!

She decided to take a stroll around Kunlun and tease all the meek boys she could find for her morning amusement. But first, she paid Fong Hung a visit. The toad was looking very pleased with himself. He must have crammed himself full of flies because he didn’t bother to jump on her in greeting but only lazily blinked both eyes instead. Laughing, she blew him kisses and resumed her tour of the grounds. Actually, she had a feeling where Mo Yuan might be: He had talked about weapons with his first disciple yesterday. Her steps quickening in anticipation of seeing him, she headed towards the training and weapons room.

Suddenly, she saw a flash of yellow in the curve ahead and came to a stop. Before she could call out to that figure, Mo Yuan stepped out of a room right in front of her.

“Celestial, was that the Yellow Demon Princess?”

“Good Morning, Shao Wan. Yes, that was her. Come in, have a seat, I brought you breakfast.”

She ignored the latter part of his reply. “When did she get here and why didn’t you inform me?”

“She has been here for a couple of days.”

“A couple of days,” she repeated. How dare he keep things from her.

“She helped rescue my disciples and the Ghost Princess from assassins. It would not have been honorable to deny her guest right here.”

“Celestial, is Kunlun a tavern now?”

“We have always helped people in need.”

“Let me make this clear, Celestial,“ she stated, her voice deadly quiet. “I am not one of your disciples. I am not a Celestial concubine. I am the Demon Ancestor, I have ruled an entire tribe. I will be treated appropriately. If a Demon related to Cheng Yin lives near me, I need to know about it.”

Mo Yuan furrowed his brow - he had his pride too, and being lectured was not something he often experienced. She expected him to get angry in turn, she even wanted him to get angry, but he only nodded.

“I apologize, Shao Wan. I do agree I should have told you - I am not used to sharing things. My 16th disciple that she helped rescue is in a bad state and that has been weighing on me.”

He rubbed his eyes with his left hand. He looked tired, Shao Wan realized. He had had another nightmare this night. It had been a bad one.

“Please, come in, do sit, Shao Wan.”

She followed him into the room, arranged her gown and sat down. She could see from his countenance that he was indeed sorry, but that did little to abate her anger. Damn Celestial leaving her alone in bed to go do things without telling her like she was not to be trusted hurt her.

“I am surprised you let her stay, savior or not,” she said.

“Do you suspect it’s a trap?” He asked, “she really did save them.”

Shaking her head slowly, Shao Wan replied: “Not a trap. She’s naïve, an innocent, the opposite of her brother. I am intrigued to hear that she saved your disciples from assassins though. You must have noticed she has no demon warrior aura - she must be hiding it. This woman is more than she seems.”

Mo Yuan nodded thoughtfully. “This is my conclusion too. It is useful she got involved with my first disciple somehow. I hear Cheng Yin is attached to her - he will be on his best behavior as long as she is under my care. We have more time to perfect our plans.”

“I often forget you are the God of War,” she said admiringly. “Using her as a political hostage. Very sneaky, I like it.”

Mo Yuan wanted to say something in reply, but one of his disciples came to whisper something to him.

“Shao Wan,” Mo Yuan said to her, his voice stern, “somebody is coming for a visit. Behave.”

***

Even after thousands of years of staying at Kunlun Mountains, Bai Qian still felt impressed by the divine energy every time she stepped foot on the holy ground. Now that she was in front of the school, she felt a little silly for hesitating to visit before. I will be polite to the Demon Goddess, she told herself, for Shifu. He deserves nothing less.

She smiled at Ye Hua who was fussing over her again as they walked towards the Grand Hall. The closer they got, the more excited she became. She had missed everyone so! Next to her, A-Li fidgeted as well - as they got to the where the disciples stood waiting, he excused himself immediately and went off with them. First Senior, very happy to see them, took them to Shifu.

She bowed deeply like a disciple for him. “Shifu,” she greeted and “Demon High Goddess.” It was too early to call this woman sister-in-law. Ye Hua gave his greetings too.

“Congratulations, Shifu, Demon High Goddess on your marriage,” Bai Qian continued, still bowing.

“I thank you, Crown Princess and Crown Prince. We also thank you for the wedding gifts you had delivered,” Mo Yuan smiled warmly.

Gazing surreptitiously at her Shifu, Bai Qian thought that something was different about him. He looked a little tired, she knew the signs, but apart from that, he was brimming with immortal energy. Bai Qian was relieved - it seemed he had overcome his prior weakness. The Demon Goddess, too, was different from the Festival. She looked more relaxed and yet commanding as she sat next to Shifu, sipping her tea. She certainly was hauntingly beautiful, Bai Qian thought, as she studied her features. But what was wrong with her powers? She had only the faintest of immortal auras.

When Bai Qian’s eyes suddenly locked with hers, the Demon Goddess raised her chin and gave her a questioning, cold look. Then, she ostentatiously put her hand in Shifu’s lap - and he immediately placed his hand on hers and held it tight. Bai Qian’s eyes grew wide in amazement. She realized she had still doubted the marriage, had still thought this must be some ploy to fool everyone - but her Shifu’s gesture had been as genuine as it was sincere. Still processing this information, she saw Shifu turn and ask the Goddess a question - and the look in his eyes removed every doubt she still had had. He was in love with her! How could she have mistaken him? Bai Qian vowed to be a better student to her Shifu and truly make a greater effort to understand, even befriend the Demon Goddess.

Her thoughts were interrupted by her name and as she focused, she saw all three of them looking at her. Ye Hua was smiling. He probably knew she had gotten lost in her thoughts again. I am truly becoming too absent-minded, she thought crossly. I have to pay more attention to my surroundings.

“Bai Qian, my congratulations on your pregnancy! Ye Hua just told me,” Shifu said. “A-Li will be delighted to have a sibling.”

She thanked him, blushing slightly.

“You could have let Ye Hua visit alone, so as not to put any stress on the baby.”

“I am perfectly fine, Shifu, and so is our child. And how could I have missed to see you today! It is the day you returned.”

“It is.”

“Returned?” the Demon Goddess asked, but before Shifu could answer, Second senior came in with A-Li, saying the Little Prince was seeking an audience.

A-Li stepped up, bowed deeply and said, his clear voice trembling slightly, betraying his nerves: “A-Li, Imperial great-grandson of the Celestial Tribe, son of the Crown Prince and Crown Princess, greets Uncle High God Mo Yuan and High Goddess Shao Wan.”

He finished his greetings and dropped into another deep bow. “A-Li would like to address High Goddess Shao Wan, if he may.”

Bai Qian suddenly feared he was about to propose to the Goddess again but Ye Hua shook his head at her very lightly, telling her to leave him be. Glancing at the Demon Goddess, she saw that she was rather amused by his earnestness instead of offended and relaxed a bit.

A-Li dropped into another deep bow: “High Goddess, A-Li would like to formally take back his offer to marry you. A-Li will not fight for your hand with High God Mo Yuan. He is bigger and much stronger than little A-Li and A-Li is already exhausted. A-Li hopes the High Goddess is not too hurt or angry and understands his reasons.”

The High Goddess stood up and stooped in front of him: “High God Mo Yuan is lucky that brave A-Li has taken back his offer, it would have been a tough fight. A-Li, I accept that you will no longer be in my harem, but I hope you will still be my friend. Come let’s go sit over there and you can tell me all about your teachings.” She pulled him up and together they walked off to a corner to continue their talk.

Bai Qian felt gratitude to the Goddess for how well she was treating A-Li. Her son was beaming at the tall woman, talking in a very animated way.

She stood up. “Shifu, Ye Hua, I want to walk around the grounds. I will be back shortly.”

She wanted to put Peach blossoms in one of Shifu’s rooms, like she always had. A gesture to show her unwavering devotion, despite the changes in their lives. She went to the grove, got a big handful of twigs and then headed for Shifu’s meditation cave. She was surprised to see cushions on his meditation platform, but thought nothing more of it as she summoned a vase and arranged the flowers to her satisfaction.

She felt happy as she walked back to where the others were. It had indeed been a wonderful idea to come. It seemed like she might have misjudged the Goddess - they had started their relationship on the wrong foot, but now that Bai Qian knew that Shao Wan and Shifu were enjoying each other’s company and the Demon woman was very kind to A-Li, she would swiftly move on to a better relationship.

Right before she was about to get back to the others, the Goddess stepped into her path with that strange look in her eyes and effectively blocked her way.

“High Goddess,” Bai Qian nodded her head and smiled.

“Crown Princess, did you go to Mo Yuan’s meditation cave just now?”

“Yes, I went to put some flowers there. I always used to arrange flowers for my Shifu when I was still at Kunlun.”

“I see.”

Bai Qian tried to walk around her, but the Goddess stepped in her way again.

“So you used to sleep in the cave too? Didn’t the other disciples feel jealous at the blatant display of your relationship?” Suddenly she laughed. “Ah! They must have thought Mo Yuan liked men. I wish I could have been here to hear the gossip.”

Bai Qian wondered if her pregnancy was affecting her in more ways than just making her absentminded.

“I never slept in Shifu’s meditation cave.”

“So where did you have your assignations? His bedroom?”

“Excuse me, assigna-”

Bai Qian could not believe it. Was this woman accusing her and Shifu of having more than a Master - Student relationship?

“Demon Goddess, there were no such activities you are inferring between myself and Shifu. My Shifu is a highly respectable teacher, he would never … It seems you don’t know my Shifu at all!”

“My Husband,” the Goddess retorted. “He’s no longer your Shifu but my husband. You both do not want to tell me what there is between you, but I am going to find out what it is nonetheless.”

Bai Qian could feel her anger rising. She tried to keep it in check, not least because of the promise she had made to herself to try and be on good terms with the Goddess, but it was getting increasingly difficult. Ye Hua, attuned to her every mood, started glancing over to where they stood more frequently.

“You are one of the luckiest women I know,” the Goddess told her softly, while eyeing her up and down. “You have had the glory of being with Mo Yuan and now you are married to his younger brother. Tell me, are they as alike in those activities as they are facially?”

Bai Qian froze in shock.

The Goddess continued. “Your Crown prince might have the benefit of youthful vigor on his side but Mo Yuan has all that experience. Tell me, which is more to your liking?” Her voice dropped even lower as she added, conspiratorially, “did you perhaps get a chance to enjoy both of them together?”

Exploding in white hot fury, Bai Qian pulled out her fan. “How dare you say such disgusting things to me, you, you, you … horrible demon!” she shouted. Before she could blast the surprised Goddess, Ye Hua materialized in front of her and magicked both of them to another part of the mountain. This whole situation seemed sadly familiar.

Struggling in his arms, she shouted: “Ye Hua, let me go. Let me go I say. I knew it, she is a crass creature. I need to go back, I need to get her away from Shifu! Ye Hua, unhand me!” she added panting heavily.

“Qian Qian, calm down. Please think of the baby.”

She forced herself to calm down. “You should have heard what she insinuated, Ye Hua! The most vile things!” Blushing violently, she told him what the Demon Goddess had said. But his reaction was not what she expected. He looked … amused.

“Qian Qian, the ways of the Demons are different from ours. Don't let her annoy you so much, she was just marking her territory.”

“Her territory?”

“Mo Yuan.”

“But I never … she must be crazy!”

“Then you’re calling me crazy too, my love. I did go through a time of intense jealousy myself. You and Mo Yuan … now I know better, but for those who do not know, your relationship is hard to understand.”

Bai Qian remained silent. She wasn’t ready to excuse the Demon Woman’s rudeness, but Ye Hua’s reasoning was solid. Considering all the rumors that certain people had spread about Si Yin and Mo Yuan…

“Then I hope she does not find out about the heart blood I fed him,” Bai Qian finally said.

“We will deal with that once she does. Come, I know you wanted to see some of your seniors. I'll walk you to go see them. They will surely help you to cool down and will put you in a better mood.”