Fanfiction3: A-Li's Three Lives, Three Worlds - Chapter 22 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 22

written by LigayaCroft
edited by kakashi and Panda

Twenty-seven immortal days ago…

Mount Hua (Huashan)

Do you understand why you’re the only one that I can trust with this task? Tell me you understand!

The Observer opened his eyes and took into account the tree canopy overhead where he lay on a branch of one of the tallest trees in Mount Hua. Sunlight filtered through the leaves above and made light shine like stars against leftover dewdrops.

How long had it been since he had last heard that Voice? It spoke with such great fury and desperation that its owner did not even think to check the state of The Observer’s heart. He had always been curious what would have happened if its Owner had checked. Would he still have been trusted with the mandate if The Voice’s Owner knew of his own plans?

He sat up, which caused his wine bottle to tilt on his lap and fall to pieces as it crashed on the ground several lǐ below. From his vantage point on the mountain’s South Peak, The Observer could see the mountain’s other peaks, rivers, and valleys beyond. The sight was nothing but breathtaking, no matter what time of day or night.

It was only too bad that it would all eventually burn to the ground.

A movement from down below caught The Observer’s attention.

He had been in Huà Mountain for several mortal months as he took the time to follow a lead he had picked up at a tea shop a little to the west of the mountain. It was said there that a savage beast, one many believed to be a bear, roamed the sacred mountain and killed numerous animals in its wake. But it wasn’t the animal’s primal instinct for blood that attracted The Observer to investigate — it was the distinct signature it left behind after each kill.

It had been about seven mortal months ago that The Observer first spotted the animal, and as he suspected, it was not an animal but a Yāoguài — a Goblin — considered low-lives by Celestials, Demons, Ghosts and Fairies alike, but at the same time, feared by Humans. Yāoguài often ended up as pets of immortals although the higher clans also weaponized those who were formed out of èyì [1] for use in subjugation or war.

Clearly, this one was full of èyì. It had the form of a giant bear but it didn’t really look like one. Red fur sparsely-covered the top of its head all the way down the spine on its crooked back, while scaly blisters and boils covered the rest of its body.

However, what really gave its supernatural form away was that it glowed green for a whole day after it ate… and that of the entire carcass, it only ever took the animal’s heart.

With his eternal eyes, The Observer saw its Yuánshén, and it satisfied him to see the unadulterated greed and malice at this goblin’s core. It delighted him that every time it consumed an animal’s heart, he saw its cultivation rise and its form transform into something more sinister: less of an animal, more aware, more like a human.

Hence, last night, The Observer had conducted an experiment. After all, he might have been the weakest in magick and strength amongst his peers, but he was certainly the smartest. He was patient, too, and didn’t balk from playing the long game.

This game was the longest game he had ever played of all.

It wouldn’t be much longer now. The seal on his true powers had weakened since he had met Li, which enabled him to do things he hadn’t been able to do for hundreds of millennia. But more than that, meeting the future Crown Prince of the Four Seas and Eight Deserts also rearranged The Observer’s priorities to include a more urgent and important goal, which was essential if he was to fulfill his ultimate goal.

Of course, he still wanted to destroy all of the current creation— Fúxī’s creation.

But first, he needed to kill the boy whose name tainted his Beloved’s lips right before she died.

His mandate had given The Observer a very limited view on the countless possibilities within Hùndùn [2], but he persevered by peeking past the Liánzi [3] to look for a valuable scenario wherein he could finally take down Li before the boy got any stronger. Finally, after thousands of years of peeking, he had found one where he saw a weapon, a freak of a man, and the boy bloodied and alone in a battle with a fearsome human clan.

The Observer already had the weapon, and so for several millennia, he sought for whomever he could manipulate to bring the second part and third part of the possibility into fruition.

For his Beloved.

The love of his eternal life.

As The Observer— her Observer— he had seen her return again and again in endless mortal cycles. As each life and death uncoiled and stretched him taut like the strings of an ill-strung zither, the temptation to give up and return to eternal rest within Hùndùn felt sweeter and sweeter during the past several immortal millennia.

But who would be there for her when she was released from her prison? Who would know her better than he? Who could be the perfect complement to her Power and Beauty? Who could calm the Tempest she brought with her? Who could show her the Reason within her situation? Who could show her all that she had missed? Who could be her pair in rebalancing the scales? Who could help her serve her Justice?

His Beloved needed him, and if only for that reason, The Observer carried on.

He stayed.

It was his fault that he was too distraught after her death as Xue Jiaolong that he forgot the requisite clean-up of her po [4], before the Death Gods arrived. What followed then was a vicious manhunt for her Yuánshén that lasted a millennium, instigated by the High God Lian Song and his grandnephew, Li.

If the past hundreds of millennia taught The Observer anything, it was this: the created worlds responded to order, thus, they were susceptible to patterns. With some of his previously sealed powers now back combined with his limited-access to seeing the possibilities within Hùndùn, The Observer arranged events so that his Beloved’s Yuánshén kept coming back as a man, and thus avoided capture for a millennium.

The ruthless Xie Bi’an and Fan Wujiu of the Underworld were too distracted looking for a woman, they didn't check on men.

Indeed, The Observer felt very clever.

And yet, there were things across her many lives since meeting Li that grated at him a lot.

One was persimmons and sweets. His Beloved had never liked anything sweet; yet, in her many incarnations after Xue Jiaolong, his Beloved had developed the habit of hoarding candies, sweet fruits, and, from autumn to early winter, a penchant to always have a persimmon on-hand— even though her incarnations never ate any of it at all. Then there was the other annoying fact that all her incarnations since Xue Jiaolong had died alone and unattached. Whether by the design of the Heavens or not, these key differences were so glaring it could only have come from his Beloved’s past interaction with Li.


His Beloved belonged to him.

His Beloved could love only him, and not that young Upstart who broke her heart.

This was why The Observer — fueled by his rage at this Usurper — spent much time in careful contemplation on how to bring Li down.

Although the question remained: Would the Heavens will for his Beloved and Li to meet again?

Not if she keeps returning as a man, The Observer thought wryly. Or if she didn’t, and instead returned as a woman — and she had, since Xue Jiaolong — The Observer had made sure that her mortal family moved to one of the millions of magickal wastelands, undisturbed by immortal eyes and away from the whims of immortal lives.

He looked up to the Sky, to where the Thirty-Six Heavens were. His Beloved was due to return soon while he was due to go to his latest employment later on today. He needed to get moving.

The Observer jumped from the tree and floated invisibly along the grass to search for his quarry— his Pet.

His Pet that he had contained to roam in Hua Mountain these past several months.

It should have found the food he left for it last night by now.

The Observer walked around and did not pay any attention to the scenery. Instead, his nose strained to smell for death.

A few breaths later and he finally found a human carcass on a flat slab of rock, savagely broken and torn apart to the point that grey matter oozed out of the cracks of its head, its flesh flayed in ribbons. It seemed his Pet had taken its time and had had a little bit of fun before tearing out the human’s heart. The Observer was pleased with the brutality he found.

The Observer heard guttural sounds from the distance and immediately flew to find its source.

He found a dazed, naked, red-haired man bathing in a stream. To The Observer’s delight, the man’s eyes and skin glowed green.

A thrill ran up The Observer’s spine.

His experiment was a success.

Under his care, his Pet had finally ascended to its next form.

A human.

Chapter 23


1. (恶意) malice; evil intention

2. (混沌) Primordial Chaos. Entropy. The sum of all orders. The world of plenitude where everything is shifting and extant. Magick thus draws power from Chaos because it rearranges the natural order in a physical realm. (Adapted and crafted by Author for this FF. Mistakes on script translation or original definition are mine.)

3. (帘子) The curtain/veil/mass that stands between the physical realms (or, the state of order formed from the infinite set of possibilities that lie within Chaos/Entropy) and Chaos. The physical realms are immutable, so “piercing/tugging at the curtain/veil” —such as when employing magick — is prone to backbite unless the yin is balanced by an equally capable yang.(Adapted and crafted by Author for this FF. Mistakes on script translation or original definition are mine.)

4. (魄) the substantive, corporeal soul. Po is considered as the “shell” or “container” for the three soul fragments. At death, Po will descend into the earth with flesh and bones, and eventually dissolve.