Fanfiction: Mo Yuan and Shao Wan - Chapter 46 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 46

written by panda
edited by kakashi

His face as impassive as ever, Ye Hua inwardly cheered with relief as Jia Yun cleared away the last of the scrolls from his tray. Ever since Ye Hua he had come back from his 300 year interlude in the Basalt Coffin, the Heavenly Lord had passed everything but the throne to him. Thus, Ye Hua had taken over the actual ruling of the Celestial Empire while his grandfather, the Heavenly Lord Tianjun, only did the occasional ceremonial showing. Normally, the Crown Prince didn’t begrudge the work and even mostly enjoyed it but his and Donghua Dijun’s recent trips to Kunlun had changed some of his priorities. Now, he mainly wanted to help his brother.

It was apparent that another war with the Demon was inevitable - and it was evident that the Heaven’s Clan was not as ready as they should be at this point. The squabbles with the lesser tribes had never ceased ever since the Ghost War, but they seemed to have become much worse of late - in fact, it seemed to Ye Hua most clan leaders had just waited for an opportunity to haggle for benefits and cause more complications. Mo Yuan looked more worried than usual and Ye Hua did try to see him as often as he could. In order to take a more active role in training the Celestial soldiers and afford more trips to Kunlun, he had roped his most unwilling 3rd Uncle to help with government matters. Today, he had been extra mischievous and had sent more than Lian Song’s designated share to him. He chuckled at his own slyness as he hurried along the halls. Today was the start of A-Li’s new lessons and he wanted to be there before going to Kunlun - for some special matter.

It had been the previous afternoon when he had been eagerly observing Bai Qian’s expression, trying to see if she liked his new meal of pickled loquats with stewed cabbage. Pregnancy had made her extremely picky yet ravenous and it gave him immense pleasure to experiment with new dishes. He had come to realize: the more revolting the food to him, the more his wife liked it. This recipe also seemed to get her approval, he noticed with pleasure. She had just finished the last morsel on her plate and turned to him with that smile which never failed to turn his insides to mush.

“Ye Hua, that was lovely! The best of your creations yet.”

“I am glad you enjoyed it, Qian Qian, I was afraid it would be too spicy.”

“It was the perfect heat, it was as though you read my mind,” she said with a satisfied sigh and rolled her shoulders as the maids cleared off the plates.

The movement stretched her aqua gown over her chest and his head temporarily cleared of all thought. Heavens, but she aroused his passions. She observed where his eyes were and her face turned pink even as a smile flitted across her face.

“Qian Qian, come here,” he stretched out a hand to her and pulled her on his lap.

“Ye Hua, Bai Zhen came for a quick visit today.”

“Hmmm,” he murmured distractedly, his hands making circular motions on her back.

“He said he had seen a lot of unrest in the realms from his travels. Ye Hua, for this talk to reach parts of the Fox kingdom, this must be a serious issue. Ye Hua what are you doing?!”

Her rebuke temporarily stalled his hand which had sneaked under her robe.

She puffed in exasperation: “Ye Hua, I don’t think you heard a word of what I said?”

He grinned unrepentantly. “Of course I have, your brother paid you an impromptu visit today and you are concerned because he was. I heard you, see? We’ll be fine. Qian Qian,” he continued, dropping light kisses on her exposed collarbone, “let’s go to bed.”

“Ye Hua!” she whispered furiously, “it’s still early in the day and remember, we have to scold A-Li”.

As on cue, he heard Nai Nai announce the arrival of his son.

Ye Hua could barely contain his laughter as Bai Qian jumped off his lap in haste and adjusted her clothing before telling Nai Nai to come in.

“Father Lord, Mother,” his son made his salutations. He didn’t rise from his bow even when Bai Qian motioned him to stand up.

“A-Li, Master Hua Ge told us that you disappeared for the majority of your training today. He also told us that this was the third time this week. Where have you been going?” Bai Qian queried him in a stern voice.

“Mother, the Master keeps teaching me boring philosophies and sayings. When I saw that he was distracted, Gun Gun and I went off to see Cheng Yu and Lian Song.”

Ye Hua rolled his eyes. He should have known those two would be involved somehow.

“And Mother, A-Li does pay attention, I just already know all those sayings.”

Raising his head, he prattled off the Book of Philosophies volume 1 with a look of intense concentration on his face. When he started interjecting the contents of the volume with sayings from his Master, a small laugh escaped from Ye Hua. The sayings were very familiar to him as he had had the same Master when he was young, and truly, the Master had been full of pompous sayings. A-Li’s own smile bloomed when he saw his Father’s reaction and he continued until Bai Qian stopped him in exasperation.

“A-Li, teachings are not boring. Well, some of them are, but not the ones you are getting. They are a guide for how you have to behave as Imperial Grandson and Heir to the throne. You have to pay attention to your studies,” Bai Qian explained impatiently. This was a regular battle between her and A-Li of late, as he kept escaping from his lessons and she kept admonishing him.

Ye Hua knew it was time for him to interfere: “A-Li, we have talked about this before. You cannot keep sneaking off from your lessons.”

“Father Lord, I do want to be good, but A-Li gets so bored. And I hardly get lessons in physical fights as much as the Tao lessons.” Glancing slyly at Ye Hua, he continued: “Father Lord, since you have started training the Celestial soldiers, I was wondering if you could also train me in swordfight?”

Ye Hua exchanged a look with Bai Qian. It was true that he had not personally started training A-Li. He and Bai Qian had agreed to wait till he was at least as tall as Ye Hua’s sword.

“A-Li, your master Fei Liu is one of the best swordsmen in the Celestial heavens. You will learn a lot from him. I will train you, but I want you to be a bit older.”

“Father Lord, please… A-Li promises not to run again from his Masters if he could get some more training.”

Bai Qian stopped pacing and walked towards him. “Okay, A-Li, you will get another instructor from tomorrow. Your new master was once a Kunlun disciple and will assist with your training till your father can.”

A-Li could barely contain his excitement and hugged his parents gratefully. “What is my new Master’s name, Mother?”

“Si Yin. Wasn’t that the name Ye Hua?”

Ye Hua burst into laughter that persisted even as A-Li left their quarters, his head full of the prospect of learning new techniques and new moves that he couldn’t wait to show Gun Gun.


After watching Si Yin teach their son, Ye Hua cloud jumped to Kunlun Mountains. As always when he appeared, the disciples came to offer greetings to him. He quickly told them to stand at ease and to be taken to his brother without further ado. Being the Crown Prince came with enough restrictions and protocol that he found stifling and whenever he was away from the heavens, he liked to cut the ceremony short.

As Die Feng took him to his brother, Ye Hua inquired briefly about his uncle in the Water Kingdom and offered his well wishes for his older brother’s upcoming marriage. The remaining walk was done in companionable silence until they got to where his brother was seated.

“Mo Yuan Da-Ge,” Ye Hua bowed.

“Ye Hua, welcome,” his brother nodded in greeting, rolled up the scrolls he was reading and motioned him to sit. “It is just past lunch time, would you like something to eat?”

Ye Hua declined with a shake of his head. “I ate just before coming. How is your wife, the Demon High Goddess? I was hoping to greet her myself.”

“Usually at this time, she is training the two princesses in combat. Please excuse her, she is very passionate about her teaching.”

Ye Hua nodded his understanding.

“And your wife? How are she and the baby faring?”

“Qian Qian is fine. In fact, she just finished giving your nephew a fighting lesson - as Si Yin.”

“As Si Yin?”

Mo Yuan’s face showed a bit of surprise and Ye Hua briefly explained the events that had led to Bai Qian teaching A-Li. At the end of his talk, Mo Yuan smiled.

“Times sure are changing. The Si Yin who could hardly sit still during my lessons is now a teacher herself. A-Li is in trouble, she knows all the tricks for how to skip lessons.”

Ye Hua nodded and ruefully said. “A-Li is a handful. He has scandalized almost all his masters. Lian Song and Cheng Yu’s influence on him have been hard to correct. At least you won’t have that problem with your future offspring,” he concluded.

Mo Yuan froze almost imperceptibly and Ye Hua only caught it because he had been watching his brother very closely. It seemed he had been right in his suspicions.

“Da-Ge, I have been wanting to tell you, I am glad we have had a chance to meet more often and discuss the art of war and strategy.”

“Yes, Ye Hua, you have been an invaluable support to me. I thank you for it.”

“Da-Ge, yet I feel there are other things I would like to have your guidance on. Now that we are both married...”

Ye Hua waited for his brother to pick up the cue, but Mo Yuan said nothing. Ye Hua started thinking furiously about how he could prod him to get more details without appearing rude. The closer he got to his brother, the more he marveled at their similarities despite their great difference in age. Just like him, his brother was naturally taciturn to the point of appearing cold and detached. But because he was so much like him, Ye Hua knew that this was just an outward mask shown to the world and had little to do with what lay underneath.

“Da-Ge” Ye Hua began anew, a bit diffidently, “so, what…”

“Ye Hua, I am reminded that I wanted to show you some new tactical plans I have made,” Mo Yuan cut into his sentence and stood up.

Ye Hua had no choice but to walk with him to the sword room. His brother walked with uncharacteristically long and fast strides and he had to increase his own pace to keep up. They went to the armory where Mo Yuan showed him plans and weaponry and thus a long afternoon passed. Not for nothing was he known as the God of War, he had come up with some audacious plans that Ye Hua felt in awe of. He still had quite a lot to learn from his brother.

On passing by the Lotus Pond on their way back, Ye Hua’s eyes fell on the Demon Goddess’ mount in his new form, gazing at them in a very unfriendly manner. Ye Hua lifted his eyebrows at the animal, but decided to disregard him. Demon creatures were known to be quite rude, this was not very surprising. Yet, involuntarily, he stopped and gazed at the lotus flowers. What was it about this particular place at Kunlun that called to him?

“Ye Hua,” Mo Yuan said and Ye Hua realized he had stopped and gazed for quite some time.

Gathering himself he pulled back and wanted to bow in apology, but Mo Yuan stopped him by shaking his head.

“I apologize, Da-Ge, it is just that …”

“…you find yourself drawn to that pond,” Mo Yuan completed.

“Yes, I do.” He shook his head slowly and continued, “when I woke up here after my mortal trial, I was struck by a feeling of how familiar everything is to me about this place. And I had dreams...dreams that sometimes didn’t feel like dreams but actual memories. Is it because we two are connected through our life force?”

Mo Yuan smiled one of his almost imperceptible smiles and said: “No, it is because you have lived here for many thousands of years. I think you know that your spirit was entrusted to me by our Father? It was enclosed in a Golden Lotus, which I brought to Kunlun to cherish and protect. When Si Yin joined the school, she was drawn to you in that form, in this pond. It is why I have said to you before, you two were fated to be.”

Fate. Fate was a delicate, temperamental, sometimes very cruel thing. Were he and Qian Qian truly fated and not meant for anyone else? He couldn’t say. All he knew was that Qian Qian was his very essence, the blood that flowed in his veins. If they indeed had been fated, then Fate was his great benefactor. And if they had not been, he knew he would have done everything in his power to change it. He could have existed without her, but that’s all he would have been doing - barely existing. She brought all the color to his life and made him the happiest being in the realms, every single day. Never, absolutely never would he have thought this possible before she came into his life.

He looked at his brother and his innate reluctance to probe into his affairs dissipated. The venerated High God looked under strain and he knew it was not all due to the war issues. He wanted his brother to be as happy as he was with Bai Qian, every single day. Before the return of the Demon High Goddess, his brother’s sad loneliness had been weighing on Ye Hua greatly. Now, he saw something else, but his brother still was not as happy as he should be.

“Da-Ge, my apologies, I mean no offense. You and the Demon High Goddess Shao…”

Mo Yuan closed his eyes in response. Ye Hua decided he would not be deterred, even if it meant discomforting the God of War. He had enough knowledge of his brother’s deflection methods, because they were also his own. One was to change the topic and the other was to shut people down by closing them off.

“You are not really married, are you.”

Mo Yuan opened his eyes and looked at him. He wasn’t angry. “I am not. I thought it was common knowledge by now.”

“ care for her,” it wasn’t a question and Mo Yuan did not react.

“And she cares for you. There is no doubt, Qian Qian and I clearly saw it the last time we observed you too together.”

“Ye Hua, has Dijun spoken to you?” Mo Yuan asked.

Well, yes, he had. Dijun had talked about Mo Yuan and his wife as if he were enjoying a private joke nobody else was privy too. Then, he had suggested in passing Ye Hua speak to his brother not only about martial issues but also about marital bliss.

“I thought so,” Mo Yuan said with a sigh. “Let me explain the situation to you, Ye Hua. I had to claim we are married to protect the High Goddess Shao Wan temporarily. Let us say I made this decision in an unusually hasty manner, leading to a series of unforeseen consequences. At this point, all I can say is that she will leave here soon.”

“But...Da-Ge, does she know how you feel? Have you told her?”

Mo Yuan said nothing.

“Da-Ge, you must tell her. Me and Qian Qian...if I had not told her and been persistent even after she rebuked me, who knows where we would be now.”

“You and Qian Qian were fated. There is no other possible outcome.”

“How do you know you two are not also fated?”

“Because I know,” Mo Yuan said with a short bitter laugh.

“With all due respect, High God, brother. There was a time I believed I would lose Si somebody else. I would have told you the exact same thing then you are telling me now: We are not fated, it cannot be. But you cannot know. You cannot! You can only miss opportunities and regret them for the rest of your life, thinking it was fate when it was just your own failing.”

Mo Yuan sighed. Softly, he said: “I do want to tell her. I have even tried, but I found it...very hard.”

“Do not be discouraged! Women can be frightening creatures, but you must persevere, the reward is such bliss!” Ye Hua grabbed his brother’s sleeve in his excitement. "The deep affection between you two is real and I am certain you can make this a true and happy marriage. She will like it if you tie yourself to her for good, I have seen how possessive she is of you. I recall how scandalized Qian Qian was about…,” Ye Hua caught himself and stopped, letting go of his brother’s arm. He may no longer feel any jealousy thinking about Qian Qian and his brother, but he really couldn’t bear repeating what his brother’s woman had asked Qian Qian.

“I have been wanting to apologize to Seventeenth about whatever offense Shao Wan gave,” Mo Yuan said tiredly.

“Do not worry, brother. I already told her why the Demon Goddess acted like that and I do believe it softened Qian Qian a bit towards her. The Demon High Goddess was merely very jealous.”

Mo Yuan looked a tiny bit smug at that suggestion, Ye Hua thought. He adjusted his clothes and looked straight into the eyes of the face that looked just like his, albeit wearier. “Da-Ge, with this woman you are happy. You should do all you can to stay together. It is that simple. And imagine how sad A-Li will be about his love sacrifice if you don’t indeed marry the Demon Goddess.”

A smile crossed Mo Yuan’s face and lit up his eyes. He raised his hands and put them on Ye Hua’s shoulders. “I do not think it is simple at all. But thank you, little brother. I appreciate the concern of my friends. It is indeed only my own cowardice that keeps me from doing what I, too, think needs to be done. I will ponder on your advice tonight and will do what’s best. Will you stay for late evening meal?”

Ye Hua stood up. “Thank you, Da-Ge, but I do have to get going. My regards to your wife when you next see her,” he said with a smile, bowed and took his leave.

As he cloud jumped back to the Nine Heavens, Ye Hua felt very content for having accomplished his mission. Despite his considerable age, his brother just didn’t know women as much as he did. How fortunate that he had been able to give him some much needed advise.

Chapter 47a