Fanfiction: Mo Yuan and Shao Wan - Chapter 45 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 45

written by kakashi
edited by panda

It was finally ready. Cautiously, Cheng Yin poured the glistening yellow powder through a funnel into the cylindrical glass on the table before him. Pulling out his dagger, he deeply cut his finger. Before the blood had a chance to flow freely, he pressed the wound into the powder. Lifting his finger into the light, he assured himself that the substance stuck to the cut and temporarily sealed it. He slowly counted to ten, watching how the red began to mix with the yellow. To be on the safe side, he blew a few loose particles away before putting the finger into his mouth. The substance itself was tasteless, as it should be - he could only taste his own blood. He swallowed it.

The effect of the poison hit him instantly – everything went dark as he lost his eyesight. Bile rose in his throat and the contents of his stomach followed. Blood poured from his nose, ears, and anus, warm and sticky. He fell to the floor, no longer in control of his twitching limbs, extreme agony making it hard to breath.

He was used to it.

As soon as the shakes stopped and his eyesight returned, Cheng Yin sat up. It was a messy affair, this getting immune to poisons, but he had tried many different avenues, only to find there was no better way to do it than ingesting it mixed with his own blood. He cleaned himself and the elixir chamber with magic and stood up. Using a small piece of cloth, he labelled the yellow powder, put a lid on it and stowed it away on a shelf for future use.

His father had been immune to all known poisons – so Cheng Yin had had to make sure to use an unknown one on him. It had taken him many years to find an alchemist with the knowledge he sought - in the mortal realm. What irony - to learn how to make his own toxins, he had had to turn to a stinking, old mortal. The man’s knowledge was profound, but the lifelong handling of poisons had made him very ill. The first thing Cheng Yin had to do was to create an elixir to prolong the man’s life and take him to the immortal realm. His unwilling teacher had loathed him for it, because he was plagued by unfathomable pain, but it had made teaching much more efficient. The man had wanted to die and Cheng Yin had promised him death as soon as he had learned enough from him. That wasn’t until hundreds of years later. The Master had been a talking corpse by then, but at least, he had talked until Cheng Yin had stopped prolonging his life.

Cheng Yin soon realized that the further away he ventured from known substances, the bigger the danger to his own immortal life became. Too little of a venom created no effect, but too much could be deadly, even for an Immortal - and he would only ever know it had been too much when it was too late. To solve this problem, he had started to test the poisons on other creatures before ingesting them himself. First, humans, because there were plenty of them. However, they were too weak. He had turned to Demons, taking those that were similar to him in weight and stature, feeding some too little and some too much, until he found the right dosage for each of his new creations.

He had publicly killed his father at a Yellow Demon Warrior Festival in front of almost the entire Clan. He had taken great care to crush and humiliate the King by showing the crowd how weak their ruler was in comparison to his son, playing with him like one would with an animal on a hunt. He had looked for fear in Qing Jiāng’s eyes and only when he had been sure his father was terrified, he had started to stick his sword into him, going for where it hurt the most, but wouldn’t kill. A slow, brutal, mortifying death, that was what he had given his father. His body had lain twitching and bleeding on the fighting ground until way into the night. The Yellow Demons had crowned Cheng Yin their new king as soon as Qing Jiāng had finished moving.

Nobody would ever know that he had driven his father insane and robbed him off his strength with a subtle poison, his first creation, before he had challenged him. He had taken such great pleasure in watching it take effect and knowing what it would lead to. His father’s face had become incrementally more twisted every day, the tremors in his hands when he poured himself some wine had increased, his limbs had spasmed hourly, and judging by the amount of elixirs he ingested and the rumors among the maids, he was soon no longer able to use his mighty meat sword.

Unmanning his father gave Cheng Yin extreme pleasure and returned his own virility to him. Ever since Shao Wan had kicked him out of her palace before the Great War, he had searched for someone who would give him a similar feeling of ecstasy paired with bone-chilling threat, but of course, she was unique in all the realms and he had not been able to enjoy himself at all with other women. In some ways, he had mourned her demise, even if mainly because he could not take revenge. He had then started to search for her ashes, but her annoying mount had been faster. Dominating this woman had become his secret obsession, and the more uncertain it was whether she would ever return, the bigger that need had grown.

Seeing her again that day she had come to the palace had given him an intense thrill and a bone-hard erection. For millennia, he had drafted and then discarded scenarios of their reunion. Primarily, he wanted to hurt her, hurt her so badly she would break - but there also was a part of him simply wanted her attention, if not affection, at the very least to be mounted by her and ridden to oblivion. He had come to realize that it was these conflicting emotions that had hindered him from simply taking her when he had had her in his dungeon. He should have raped her when she was unconscious and should have raped her again as soon as she awoke and again and again … but he had hesitated. He had hesitated and as a consequence, he had lost her.

He would not make the same mistake again.

The bell over the thick door chimed. He lifted his head and frowned: Someone needed to see him at this hour?

He looked at the glass orb over the blue fire in the middle of the room. It would have to wait.

It was his Head of Spies who was waiting for him in the throne room. Cheng Yin scowled angrily - the man had been gone for weeks without a word and he had started to believe he had been killed.

“My King”, Chan said and bowed deeply.

“Rise. What news?”

“Forgive me, Majesty, for my long absence. I stayed near Kunlun all this time and had to be extremely cautious not to be discovered. I did not dare send a message.”

“No matter. You must have had your reasons.”

“Thank you, Majesty. I tried every day, but I ultimately failed to penetrate Kunlun’s defenses. Even from the air, it is impossible to see or hear anything. However, I was able to witness two Ghost generals arriving at Kunlun yesterday.”

Cheng Yin smiled. Things were finally moving.

“They set camp at the gates after dispatching a messenger”, Chan continued. “The Princess talked to them, briefly, before she disappeared again. She and her false offspring are still in the God of War’s hands.”

Cheng Yin snorted angrily. Of course, only a fool would let go of such valuable hostages. Still, this was good. “It seems The Elders are getting desperate. We will keep stirring things up. What about a raid as long as they’re camping there?”

“I advise against it, my King. Power suppression is already very strong at the Kunlun Gates and we would be too vulnerable if those from the Mountain got involved.”

Cheng Yin nodded slowly. “What about some more unrest back in the Ghost Realm?”

“That’s much better, his Majesty,” said his Head of Spies and Cheng Yin smiled a feral smile at the hungry expression in Chan’s eyes.

“It doesn’t even matter whom you kill, just go in and find the most valuable yet easy target,” he said and sat down on his throne. “I will reward you greatly if you harm an Elder. I also want you to give Hu Qian a message when you're there. Tell him I am ready to sell him more weapons - at the right price. Those Young Generals are getting a bit cocky. I want him to realize how much he depends on me to build up an army in secret.”

Chan bowed.

“Did you meet my sister before she attached herself to the Kunlun boy?”

“I did, my Lord, as ordered.”

“You spoke to her?”

“Yes, I made sure she would discover me.”

“Excellent. I am very pleased with you.”

It wouldn’t be too long now, Cheng Yin thought. He had never been a patient man, but this time, he knew he would be the one laughing. Things were moving exactly how - and where - he wanted them to move.

“Majesty, do you not fear the enemy might harm her?”

Cheng Yin shook his head. “No. You don’t understand the Celestials. They think being ‘noble’ has great value. They stick to their rules even if it means death. The God of War would never hurt an innocent - but I don’t think he knows that I know that. I’m sure he thinks he has an advantage over me by keeping my sister hostage.”

A few weeks ago when Mo Yuan had dared to invade the Demon Realm and snatch Shao Wan away, Cheng Yin had raged in this very room until his throat was raw. His official protest addressed to the Heavenly Lord in the Nine Heavens that a Demon had been kidnapped had had no effect because the hated Celestial had immediately claimed that everything was fine, since he and Shao Wan were now married. Married! The audacity! Everybody in all the realm knew it was a lie but due to the God of War’s status, nobody dared to openly challenge him.

Cheng Yin had waited for Shao Wan to blow the mountain to smithereens for days, but instead, there had been no signs of her, only infuriating silence. Not long after her disappearance, he had come to realize that he had to change his strategy. Mo Yuan would never let her go before making sure she was no longer vulnerable to his manipulations. Control over phoenix powers of the sort Shao Wan possessed was certainly possible with the right kind of techniques and the right amount of willpower. Shao Wan had always been extremely lazy, mainly due to the amount of power she naturally possessed, but she was certainly not stupid. She, too, would make sure nobody would get to control her in the future and Kunlun was the best place to acquire these skills.

Cheng Yin had realized that in the war to come, he could no longer count on getting his hands on Shao Wan to simply manipulate her as a weapon, as his father had done. She would have to come to him willingly and fight by his side.

After Chan’s report, he was certain she would come before long. Mo Yuan would lose his biggest strategic advantage as soon as she left his mountain - and Cheng Yin knew, the Celestials were not ready, far from it. Even the God of War could not change the great distrust of most Clans towards the current Heavenly Lord. They were stalling and troops were not even dispatched. The sooner he started the war, the better: the Demon armies were ready and had been for a while.

There was the God of War himself to reckon with though. Cheng Yin had seen him fight 190’000 years ago. He had been young then, too timid and afraid, a victim of his father’s machinations and abuse. He remembered the awe inspiring aura he had felt a long time before he had actually seen the God of War, who was wearing his armor of evergreen sacred wood and was brandishing his Xuanyuan Sword.

“This is the God of War”, Qing Jiāng had said, and his voice had shaken from excitement, “now the real fight begins.”

Cheng Yin had witnessed Mo Yuan’s wrath. He had single-handedly massacred thousands of Demons until Shao Wan had stepped into his path. They had fought for three days and three nights, like the world around them did not exist, until they could barely stand.

“Watch and learn,” Qing Jiāng had said, had pulled out a feather, had cast a spell - and had set Shao Wan on fire.

Cheng Yin had screamed then, in shock, and his father had smacked his gauntlet into his son’s face, to shut him up. Shao Wan had burned, hotter and hotter. The God of War was still there, next to her, trying to stop the discharge of power, failing. But he had stayed. He had tried to save his enemy at the peril of his own life.

Cheng Yin had not understood back then and he still did not. But he had spent a lot of time researching Celestials. And in particular, he had researched the God of War. He had studied the ancient records, analyzing the legend. When he had finally gotten a chance to study the man at the White Rock Festival in person, he had felt like he knew him intimately well. And indeed, High God Mo Yuan was every part the legend and exactly how Cheng Yin had imagined him to be. Extremely self-confident, like only someone born with a golden spoon in his mouth could be. Awe-inspiring, like a person who knew he was amongst the most powerful living beings in the realms. Arrogant, because he did not care for the opinions of those he knew to be intellectually inferior. Judgmental, because he considered his own rational thought process and strategic abilities vastly superior to those who used emotions to make a point.

The only other thing besides Shao Wan that gave Cheng Yin a raging erection was thinking in gory detail about how he would crush Mo Yuan.

“You may leave,” he told Chan and got up to go back into his elixir chamber, “I await your report from the Ghost Realm.”

Back in the dungeons, he went straight for the glass orb over the blue fire. He took it into his hands carefully and held it against the light. Slowly, he moved the vessel from side to side. It had been an arduous process, but the few drops of blood he had been able to collect from his whip that had broken Mo Yuan’s skin had since multiplied into several dozen. He had already used half of this precious resource, but he was confident he would have more than enough of it once the war started.

He would make sure it would be the last war Mo Yuan would ever fight in.

Chapter 45.5