Fanfiction 2: Moyuan and Bai Qian - Chapter 13, Part 2 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 13, Part 2 - The Man of the Moon

written by LalaLoop
edited by kakashi

With almost everyone asleep and having had enough of sword practice alone, Bai Qian started walking into the forest with a scroll in her hand so that she could feel occupied. Arriving at a lake, her head was full of thoughts of recent occurings.The night air was fresh and soothing. The moon shone against the dark sky, its silver reflection shimmering across the lake.

Sitting down on the grass, Bai Qian started to pick up little pebbles to throw into the water, occasionally glancing back at her scroll.

“Such strange abilities being a High Goddess can give you,” said a soft voice suddenly, making Bai Qian nearly drop her scroll, “being able to read a scroll upside down in the moonlight for instance.”

She turned in the direction of the voice and saw none other than the Man of the Moon sitting on another boulder only a few feet away with his fishing rod. Rolling up the scroll, her forehead felt hot. Had he been here before her? She must have disturbed his silence and, no doubt, the fish, else he would not have spoken up.

Yue Lao, the Man of the Moon, greeted her with a friendly nod, which she returned. Bai Qian squinted as she wondered how often he took strolls around and if he had been anywhere near the pond where her and Moyuan’s last exchange had taken place.

During her time at the Eastern Forest, Bai Qian had never seen Yue Lao speaking much to anyone besides Donghua and her parents. His solitary, however, was not prideful. Anyone who had spent more than one minute with the man would claim that perhaps he was intimidating to approach at first, but he was absolutely modest and humble. He was rarely seen in the main hall or anywhere crowded. Most of the time, he preferred to sit alone like at the moment, usually in meditation pose or with a book.

However, the person who had had the fortune to speak with him the most was little A-li. And this certainly had to do with the fact that A-li, being a well taught and forthcoming child, was able to start a conversation with almost anyone.

Since Yue Lao’s arrival, hundreds of myths about his ability to tell the future and how he managed the book of Fate had been made among the younger immortals. Zilan himself had come up with some theories based on what he had heard during his many times visiting the mortal realm, among which was one about how the Man of the Moon used threads of red color to bond forever people who were fated to be. This, of course, had been refuted immediately by a flustered Fengjiu, who mentioned her experience with the Stone of Reincarnation, though she did not entirely brush off the idea that the Man of the Moon could make prophecies.

“Yue Lao cannot tell the future,” Donghua had said firmly during a gathering after he’d heard enough theories to entertain himself. “No one can, for that matter.”

“That is true,” the Old Phoenix’ voice had sounded amused. “Yue Lao’s so called ability to foresee the future has more to do with his vast knowledge in various fields. Many of his ‘predictions’ did come true, but it is no different from Moyuan’s ability to predict where the enemy would ambush next during a war campaign. Yue Lao has always been more of an advisor than a fortuneteller.”

“What about the red threads?” Bai Qian had joked. “Does that mean the Stone of Reincarnation has to share authority with him?”

At this, Si Ming had spoken with a respectful but stern voice, “rumors are rumors. If you remember our last conversation in the Nine Heavens, High Goddess, I said anything that has to do with Fate is not to be accessed or tampered with. Any attempt to break this rule will meet with consequences. In fact, we should not even speak of it.”

And knowing how serious Si Ming had always been about the premise of Fate, Bai Qian had decided to refrain herself from making any more jokes.

After much discussion and a reminder from the Fox Emperor that his guests were not to be the subject of blunt conversation during dinner, they had all decided to leave it at: the Man of the Moon was simply a High God who was wiser than most of them here, which Bai Qian wholeheartedly agreed with.

As she was standing in front of him now, she could see the man was a reflection of wisdom and peace. His simple grey robe stood out in the black night. The shine of his white hair rivaled the moonlight. Having observed him from afar like most people had, Bai Qian noticed he had Lord Donghua’s mysterious air, Zheyan’s warm smile, and none of Moyuan’s prideful indifference every time he was in public. But then she was aware that she had never in her life admitted that anyone could possess any of Moyuan’s qualities.

Still holding onto his fishing rod, Yue Lao briefly glanced at Bai Qian. She found herself wondering why he would need to fish to begin with.

“I'm sorry I've disturbed the water,” she said nonetheless. “I must have scared all the fish away.”

“No matter. No matter,” he smiled. “I'm mainly here for the peace and quiet of the night.”

Of course, Bai Qian awkwardly glanced around, she had also disturbed the peace and quiet.

“I never found an opportunity to thank you and the people of Kunlun for what you all did during the battle recently,” he said politely. “All the realms owe you their gratitude.”

Bai Qian felt herself going red. From someone who had not been there, it sounded as if she and her Seniors had played a major role in saving the world while in fact it was Yehua who had almost died destroying the bell, by result nearly making Kunlun masterless, and Moyuan who had finished Qingcang once and for all.

“Please,” she said with a weak smile. “We only did what we could. It is our duty as disciples of Kunlun. We don’t want anyone to feel indebted.”

“Very modest and proper,” he commented. “But of course, one can expect no less from Kunlun disciples.”

“Well, anything we can do,” she blushed at the compliment, “We owe a lot to our Shifu’s teaching and training.”

“Ah,” Yue Lao nodded, smiling. “He whose heart is an ocean of secrets.”

Bai Qian tilted her head - what a strange remark to make about someone, especially in front of someone else he had barely spoken to. But the tone in Yue Lao’s voice made her wonder if he was a close friend of Moyuan. Perhaps, alongside Zheyan and Donghua, he too had been through battles with the God of War? Or perhaps he had also been a student under Father Immortal during the time of chaos when all the realms still had not been properly divided. He had been around for a long time after all. The Man of the Moon never lies, Bai Qian could not remember how many times she had heard this spoken. A rather exaggerated and overly glorified statement, she was sure, yet it was amusing how many immortals seemed to take it to heart.

And just like Fengjiu who had once pestered Zheyan for information about the life Donghua had led before his retirement, Bai Qian suddenly felt a strong urge to ask Yue Lao if he had known Moyuan during the old days, or if he had witnessed the great battle between Demons and Celestials a long time ago, if he knew things that weren't recorded even in the thousands of books and scrolls in Taichen Palace’s grand library.

For a long while, Yue Lao said nothing else. He simply surveyed her with curious and unreadable eyes, as if searching for something, as if he knew questions were racing in her mind and how she was wanting to hear the truest words about the God of War from someone who knew. The man then looked up at the night sky that was glittering with stars. The look on the face that was lit up by the reflection of the moon was most pleased, as though he had found what he had been looking for. His voice was soft and gentle, almost content, like that of a storyteller to an eager child who yearned to hear the end of a tale. But the words that came out of him turned her insides to ice.

“There is nothing in the world he is unable to let go of.”

Chapter 14