Fanfiction: Mo Yuan and Shao Wan - Chapter 78 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 78

written by kakashi
edited by Panda

“In the year 262,000 after Father Immortal’s death, the immensely beautiful and wise Demon Ancestor Shao Wan led 574,732 Demon tribe soldiers against the Celestial host. The Celestial troops were seemingly disadvantaged by their size (counting only 389,522 soldiers at the beginning of the campaign), but were commanded by the God of War, Mo Yuan, Master of Kunlun Mountains, known for his strategic superiority, iron will, and victory in many battles. In the first weeks of the military campaign, after making only a very brief appearance and show of force, the Demon Ancestor used unconventional fighting tactics to her advantage. By splitting her own forces into small groups and attacking Celestials at the most unexpected times and seemingly out of nowhere, she managed to further decimate and confuse the Celestial armies. Shunning any direct confrontation with the God of War’s troops, she continued to fight a war of attrition from the shadows and…”

“What a load of pompous shit you’re writing,” Yi Mei Nian said, looking over Si Ming’s shoulders as he busily put words on a bamboo scroll, his tongue sticking out a bit as he concentrated.

Si Ming gasped and quickly covered the writing with his arm, yet expertly managing not to smudge the ink. “Purple Queen! Don’t you know you have to make your presence known before entering a tent?”

“Well, your tent flap was wide open. Be glad I’m not an assassin. You’d be lying sputtering in a pool of your own blood,” she said amiably.

“I was just trying to get some air in!”

Yes, the air was stuffy inside the tents. Since it had gotten cold, they had to use braziers for heat, but the coal they had been supplied with had an unpleasant smell: an old, damp, burial vault smell. Only idiots went to war when winter was coming and only idiots got this kind of coal. Overall, it was very surprising the Celestials had managed to rule the realms for so long, seeing how they met the definition of idiots on almost every single account.

“Why are you writing about things that happened weeks ago?“

“My scrolls were stolen,“ Si Ming‘s voice dropped to a sad whisper.

“Stolen!“ Yi Mei Niang was delighted. Finally, excitement! This was her first military campaign and she hated everything about it. The horrible food, the lack of decent, refined alcohol, the cold, the dirt and most of all the many men, most of which were Celestials, for whom she had little patience at the best of times. Plus, her armor was just a little bit too tight across the chest, making her feel itchy and overall restricted.

“I think we are dealing with saboteurs,“ Si Ming continued to whisper. He had a very manly, very nice voice, Yi Mei Niang thought. One she would like to whisper things to her in the dark.

“Saboteurs who are stealing scrolls? I don’t know, Star Lord, that sounds…,“ she couldn’t imagine anyone that much interested in Si Ming‘s writing to risk being caught and killed for it.

“Something similar has happened before!” Si Ming said, sounding offended, “before the First Demon War, somebody meddled with an ascension trial.”

“Oh?” she lifted her eyebrows.

“Yes,” Si Ming’s voice dropped to a half-whisper again, “it’s not something Celestials often speak about. It was High God Mo Yuan’s trial.”

“Oh!” she was really intrigued now.

“It’s still mostly a mystery,” Si Ming continued, as always happy to spread gossip. “The Demon Ancestor was believed to be implicated, but it could never be proven and High God Mo Yuan himself vehemently defended her in her absence. So, eventually, the case was put to rest.”

“The Demon Ancestor? That seems unlikely. Besides, she would have boasted endlessly about it had she pulled off something like this.”

Si Ming shrugged. “Donghua Dijun, Heavenly Emperor at the time, also thought it was a ridiculous idea. But she was seen in the mortal world where High God Mo Yuan was undergoing his trial.”

Yi Mei Niang took a few moments to process this information. “So … you’re saying Demon Ancestor Shao Wan is stealing scrolls from you? What for?”

“How should I know!” Si Ming exclaimed. “But who else but a Demon … an enemy Demon would be behind it?”

“A fan of yours?” Si Ming’s round eyed surprise made her laugh. “I heard that some of your more … juicy chronicles fetch a high price on the black market. Depending on what you wrote in those earlier version, I’d…”

“Oh, there’s nothing juicy at all to write about,” Si Ming interrupted her with a sigh. “Warfare is just so dreary.”

“Tell me about it!” Yi Mei Niang exclaimed.

“So why are you here, Demon Queen,” Si Ming now politely asked, putting his unfinished scroll away carefully after blowing on the ink and rolling it up.

“Ah, to fetch you. We’re summoned to the God of War. Urgently.”

“Could you not have said this sooner?” Si Ming’s terror made Yi Mei Niang chuckle.

“You are cute,” she said and pinched the Star Lord’s cheek.

“Presumptuous!” he squealed and hurried to put on a thick fur coat that made him look like an oversized chicken.

It had started snowing lightly a few days ago, but it wasn’t cold enough yet for the snow to stay on the ground, which meant that wherever they struck camp, they were instantly sliding around in a mud-pit. Yi Mei Niang had always been under the impression that the God of Rain was a Celestial and that therefore, Celestials should be able to manipulate the weather at will, but apparently not. Mo Yuan had last moved the troops to slightly more rocky grounds, but it only made the situation marginally better. The mood was abysmally bad among the soldiers and getting progressively worse with each passing, idle day. Shao Wan did everything right by dodging their main forces and only going after the more careless and more vulnerable troops as well as the provisions after a hit and run fashion, further lowering the morale.

Yi Mei Niang and Si Ming stepped into the entrance part of the command tent after walking through the large encampment, their boots soaking wet and horribly dirty. Many had given up on even cleaning them with magic, because there was no point in getting them clean when moments later, they were dirty again. However, nobody would dare step into Mo Yuan’s tent with dirty shoes or clothes - or even hair that was out of place. Even Yi Mei Nian felt compelled to look at Si Ming questioningly pointing at herself before going in. Si Ming looked her over and brushed something off her shoulder. Then, he carefully removed a stray strand of hair from her face that had slipped out of one of her braids and tucked it behind her right ear.

“Perfect,” he said and smiled at her admiringly.

“Don’t give me ideas,” she said, narrowing her eyes at him. But he had already opened the tent flap, holding it up for her politely. Throwing him a suspicious look from the side, she entered.

All the faces turned towards her and a few showed relief, not something she was particularly used to see in Celestial faces looking her way. Before she could feel good about it, she realized the true reason: The God of War, splendid looking in full armor, radiated a type of fury that made even her swallow in fear and since she was late, his attention immediately settled on her - away from the others. It was like a jolt of adverse energy hit her as soon as his burning eyes turned to her and she would have taken a step back if Si Ming hadn’t grabbed her around the waist and made her bow deeply.

“God of War,” he said, “my humble greetings! Crown Princes and Princess, Kings, Princes, Princesses, Generals, greetings as well! Excuse my tardiness, I had to finish writing a particularly difficult sentence before making my way here as fast as possible.”

Si Ming nudged her in the ribs and quickly, Yi Mei Niang murmured her own apologies and greetings.

The God of War wordlessly waved at them to rise. His twin was hovering at his arm, seeming concerned about something. Likely that his brother would unleash his fury on all his generals, Yi Mei Niang thought. The truth was, she would not mind seeing that, not at all, because an angry High God Mo Yuan was quite the treat already, but she had been fantasizing about seeing him snap. Maybe tonight was the night? There was something about someone looking so immaculate in every situation, even when it rained heavily and everybody else was dying of misery, that rubbed her the wrong way. It made her want to ruffle the perfect look. Even if it only was by smudging the golden skin of his handsome face with some omnipresent dirt.

But of course, she wouldn’t dare. There was only one Demon Woman strong enough to be his equal and that Demon Woman was also the one to blame for their situation. Therefore, Demon Women were generally not in favor right now and better kept their heads down. She slowly sidled over to the Blue Demon King, who was grinning broadly at her. He was too dumb to read the mood and know when he, very visibly a demon, was in danger, but that just endeared him to her.

“Big trouble,” he whispered excitedly and jammed his elbow into her ribs.

“Pssst,” she hissed at him, making herself as small as possible behind his broad shoulders.

“Now that everyone is here,” Mo Yuan said with a completely even and emotionless voice, belying the tempest in his eyes, “let’s start this meeting.”

He motioned for them to sit down on the stools around the large table. There was a detailed map on it, provided by one of his Disciples, all of them beautiful, talented men one could lust over endlessly, as well as several markers for Celestial troops, showing their main camp and several of their other deployments throughout the realms.

“The number one objective is to find the majority of the Demon troops and engage them in a real battle,” he said, throwing Demon troop markers onto the map. “I have already sent more scouts to the mortal realm, where a division of Demon soldiers was previously hidden. It isn’t possible to hide thousands of soldiers for a long time, they need to eat too, so find them already.”

Several of the people responsible nodded dejectedly.

“Also, we will have to send another division out as bait. A capable one this time.”

“I did not…”

“You will be quiet when I speak,” Mo Yuan said with a dangerous edge to his voice. Donghai Shuijun, who had tried to speak up in his own defense, pressed his lips together.

“When I say go right, you go right,” Mo Yuan continued, his dark blazing eyes on the King of the Eastern Seas. “When I say go left, go left. This applies every single time. You owe a great debt to General Tian Gu for saving your life. And you owe a great debt to the families of all the soldiers that died because of your glaring incompetence.”

Donghai Shuijun scowled defiantly. Yi Mei Niang pulled a face. Even if she did not know the details of what had happened, it didn’t look like he was sorry about his failure and the consequences. The man was thoroughly unpleasant and not only because he showed his hatred for Demons so openly.

“Also, the next time I hear about any mistreatments of prisoners of war, I will personally throw the perpetrator into the prisoner tent. Together with the Demons,” the God of War continued.


One thing had to be said about Donghai Shuijun, he was unexpectedly brave. The Crown Prince of the Celestial Heavens took a step forward, but Mo Yuan shook his head and held up his hand.

“I understand if revenge is something important to you, but at least make sure to take it out on people who are to blame for your loss. Captured Demon soldiers are not to be tortured. This is my last word and if you cannot comply, leave. Now.”

The Eastern King looked down at his feet but didn’t move. He was not that brave after all, it seemed, but just very stupid.

“Also, I don’t overly mind being called names, since I have more important things to worry about. But please, be courageous enough to call me names to my face.”

Yi Mei Niang sucked in air, just like many others in the tent and the Eastern Water King went as white as a ghost.

“For the record,“ Mo Yuan continued with an icy smile, “‘Demon Lover’ isn’t an insult to me at all. It is no secret that indeed, I even married one before she ran away.“

He lifted his hand to quiet down the whispers that erupted.

“Believe me, it is not pleasant to fight with your wife in this way. We Celestial men are not used to women being so feisty.” Ye Hua started to chuckle, effectively lessening part of the tension in the tent. He quieted down quickly though and Mo Yuan continued. “Despite my ties to the Commander of the Demon armies, If anyone doubts that I will do what is necessary to win this war and punish everybody for their crimes as they deserve, speak up now.”

Nobody said a word. In fact, the tent went so quiet you could have heard a mouse cough.

“If you are worried about my battle plans being stolen by her when she was on Kunlun, then rest easy. The plans are all in here,” Mo Yuan pointed to his head. “And in here,” he pointed to his brother’s head. “And nowhere else.”

People around the table nodded, even the Eastern King.

“All we need to make sure now is that we can actually use the battle plans,” the God of War said grimly. “We will change our tactics from defense to offense. One of the divisions that will pose as a supply unit will be led by General Tian Gu. I will ride with them as a soldier.”

“Da-Ge, are you sure?” The Crown Prince looked concerned again.

“I mean to follow the raiders to their base,” Mo Yuan nodded, “from which we should eventually get clues as to where their higher ups are. I don’t want anyone else to go after Cheng Yin or Shao Wan, it is too dangerous. I will pass full command to you in the meantime,” Mo Yuan told his brother and his face clearly showed that he would not tolerate any further discussion about this.

They talked about additional aspects of today’s and tomorrow’s operations and it was already quite late when Mo Yuan dismissed everyone with a wish for a good night’s sleep.

“You two, stay back,” he said to Tian Gu and Yi Mei Niang. Also staying behind were the Crown Prince and his pregnant wife.

The Purple Queen saw that the Horse Princess froze in her tracks looking unsettled, mirroring her own reaction. The young woman had a very interesting face, eyes into which she wanted to gaze deeply and full, rich hair of a brown hue that was very unusual, made for braiding. It was a shame the Horse Princess was so shy or else, Yi Mei Niang would have invited her to her tent to get to know her better. Since she had never met any people of the Horse tribe before, she was very curious to learn about their customs and beliefs - and business opportunities. Plus, it was interesting and a bit of a mystery to see how the Crown Princess reacted to her - she constantly had her eyes on her, as if it were a test.

“Please sit again,” the God of War invited them and sat down on a stool himself. His eyes looked much kinder now, a look that was usually reserved for his disciples. Which Tian Gu was, Yi Mei Niang realized, and maybe she just benefitted from it too.

“Purple Queen, I need two things from you,” he said to her, “information and a service.”

She bowed and nodded.

“I admit to you that I am somewhat baffled by the behavior of the Demon Commanders. Am I missing crucial knowledge about Demon customs again?”

Yi Mei Niang cleared her throat. “The only explanation I have is…she is stalling.”

Mo Yuan lifted his eyebrows. Of course, that was hardly news to him, she had to do better to be of use. His handsomeness was such a distraction, she quickly looked towards the Crown Princess. Her half-smile gave her courage. Here was another woman she would not mind being friends with. She cleared her throat again. “If Demon Ancestor Shao Wan wants to regain her position as Demon Overlord, she will have to gain power and the trust of the people through a public spectacle - the reason why fighting pits are so popular in my realm, the more dangerous the better. Beating you on the battlefield, High God Mo Yuan, would be such a spectacle. That she is hiding herself and her troops is a clear indication that she is waiting for something else to happen first.”

Mo Yuan looked very thoughtful at that. “And how does Cheng Yin fit into the picture?” he then asked.

“He gained credibility when he killed his father, but mainly in his own tribe. Yet, he is strong and before the Demon Ancestor returned, he was many demons’ hope for a new leader who would unite them. Sooner rather than later, Shao Wan will have to go up against him if she wants to take over all Demon tribes again. We Demons have a complicated code of warrior conduct. Choosing the right time and place for such a showdown is a crucial aspect of the ritual...unless she marries him.”

The fury in the God of War’s eyes was back instantly and Yi Mei Niang swallowed compulsively. She still had to understand why two people so much in love with each other chose to fight in a war - and not for the first time. “They could become Demon Overlords together very easily if they united like this. My guess is that would be Cheng Yin’s preferred option. He is a High God, but he is by far not powerful enough to beat her in a fair fight.”

“Ah, but then, he does not fight fairly as we know,” Mo Yuan hissed. He got up and started pacing, the eyes of his brother and sister-in-law following him. “What could she be waiting for? For me to make a move? For the right time and place? For what?” He stood still in front of the table, glaring at the map. Then, he sighed.

“Thank you, Purple Queen, for your insights. I will ponder her behavior for a bit longer tonight. Now, for my other request: I want to buy your entire supply of honey liquor for my soldiers.”

“Oh!” Yi Mei Niang said surprised. “That will be…”

“Costly? No matter,” Mo Yuan said with a wave of his hand, “the royal family will of course pay for such a way to boost the morale, won’t they, Ye Hua?”

The Crown Prince blinked, once, twice, then said: “Yes, of course, Da-Ge. We will pay.”

“Good,” Mo Yuan said, “you are dismissed, Purple Queen.”

Yi Mei Niang bowed and then walked out of the tent, feeling relief to escape from what felt so much like being tested on things one did not fully understand and at the same time, feeling for the first time in quite some time that she had made the right decision in supporting Mo Yuan and the Celestial side. He would make things alright. She really believed it.


Riding out with the God of War somewhere behind her felt unreal. Tian Gu bit her lip to prevent herself from shouting out her excitement. The beast underneath her trembled as a reaction to her own emotions and fought against the reins. She whispered words into her studs ears, words in the horse language, telling him to be patient and steady, feeling how she quieted down as her horse did. She had been raised for this since the moment she had been able to walk - nay, even before that.

She wanted to prove herself to him. She longed for his praise, but when it came, like when she had saved the Eastern King from a very dangerous situation, she always felt extremely shy and embarrassed. Maybe it was because her father had talked to her a lot about the God of War, about winning his affections, even his love, for the Tribe - but she had never wanted that. She wanted to be a good soldier, maybe a bit better than everybody else, and she wanted to be praised for her abilities. And now, she had the chance to prove how good she was.

They had been riding for two days already, several heavy wagons in their midst. They were loaded with supplies, food and weapons. The Demons were sly, so they had to make sure it looked real. Well, they were tired soldiers very fed up with the horrible weather on a pointless mission, so there was no need to play a role.

The God of War, her Shifu, camped with the soldiers, dressed in an ordinary and rather dirty armor. He had insisted on coming along incognito. Since most of her soldiers had never met him before, they thought he was just a Celestial sent along by one of the higher ups. She felt great unease every time she heard one of her soldiers make a coarse joke around him, but the God of War didn’t seem to mind and was appearing to be fairly content, despite the circumstances. He was left alone for most of the time time, since he wasn’t of the Horse Tribe, but her soldiers were polite enough to him and the God of War did not take offense easily, so she had stopped feeling very anxious. She tried hard not to give away his identity, but every time she saw him, she froze and had to force herself to start moving again. She couldn’t help it. He was the personification of what she admired and it was hard to get rid of the reflex to kowtow before him.

On the third day, the attack finally came. They were traversing a gorge when all of a sudden, Demon soldiers materialized out of thin air and blasted Crimson Hellfire at them. Collectively, they put up a good fight, retreating only after an unsuspicious amount of time. They watched from afar as the Demons gathered their supplies and cloud jumped away.

“Now,” the God of War said, by her side all of a sudden, grabbing her arm and jumping after them, puzzling every soldier in their vicinity. He cast a highly protective invisibility spell around them and had obviously tethered himself magically to one of the supply wagons so that he could not lose sight of it. Tian Gu’s heart hammered in her chest, not only because he was so close she could feel his body heat, but mainly because this was it. She was in a war. She was writing history.

The Demon soldiers were very sly indeed, cloud jumping in an erratic fashion, hither and thither, which would have thrown off most pursuers. Not the God of War, though. He knew how to keep the necessary distance and await their next move, and before long, they were perched above a demon encampment of considerable size: many thousands of soldiers, at least. Not the main force, but finally, many more Demons than they had seen in weeks.

They sat on a mountain for days, watching the camp below them. She had thought she knew what patience was, but the God of War taught her differently. They sat in the miserable weather without a tent or without a spell, since that would risk detection, they hardly talked, they hardly moved. She followed his lead as much as she could, meditating when he did, gazing down when he did, copying his ways. After what seemed like half an eternity, the God of War whispered: “There we go.”

Below them, a Demon got ready to cloud jump. Grabbing her arm again in the same fashion as before, Mo Yuan went after the soldier and several destinations later, they landed somewhere in the Demon realm. Tian Gu immediately noticed that the wards around this place were very strong...she felt excited. Carefully and patiently, the God of War checked all of them, until he found one that wasn’t as perfect as the others. After disabling it, he motioned her to move forward and they snuck inside the perimeter, using the rocks in that place as cover, carefully dimming their auras.

Soon it was apparent that they had found the main army. There were rows upon rows of tents as far as the eye could see.

“There you are,” the God of War said all of a sudden, sounding exhilarated.

There she was, amidst a gathering of soldiers. Tian Gu had to close her eyes because she shone more brightly than the sun in her armor. It must be Demon Ancestor Shao Wan, her Shifu’s runaway wife. Her palpable powers sent chills down her spine. So beautiful and yet so scary.

“What do we do?” Tian Gu whispered.

“Make sure we get the confrontation we want,” the God of War said and got up.

“Shifu! No!” Tian Gu said, horrified, grabbing his sleeve before she realized that touching him was inappropriate, and quickly let go again, blushing deeply.

The God of War looked down at her. “Do you think I will take on one hundred thousand demon soldiers by myself? I won’t. I know my soldiers are dying to prove themselves. I will just make sure they see me down below. Do not fear.”

Tian Gu just stared at him in horror as he walked down the slope, shimmering golden, not masking his aura or hiding his powers anymore. And of course, they saw him alright. She rushed forward to join him as thousands of demons howled and reached him just as the Demon Ancestor Shao Wan materialized in front of him.

“I knew you would get restless,” the Goddess said. She was so beautiful and radiant, Tian Gu closed her eyes again and opened them slowly, so that they could adjust.

“I have been waiting for you,” the God of War said, his eyes burning in his face. “Why did you hide for so long? You know I am a patient man, usually, but this...”

“I had to ascertain a few things. I guess I’m ready enough now... I even expected you a bit sooner.”

“You were sending me a message?”

“You deciphered it?” she looked pleased. “I did order the attacks in very specific places, yes.”

“So it will be Ruoshui River?”

“That place means a lot to you, doesn’t it. I thought you would be pleased to have a battle there.”

The God of War laughed a short, hard laugh. “Pleased? It’s where I died.”

“I know that. I also know you like a challenge.”

“I don’t mean to die again.”

“Neither do I.”

The God of War looked at the Demon Queen with such a tender expression, Tian Gu suddenly felt completely out of place. Quickly, she turned her face away.

“Will you meet me there tomorrow?” he asked her.

“That can be arranged,” the Demon Ancestor smiled back. “I will bring backup.”

“I cannot wait,” the God of War said, “I hear you Demons need a spectacle. Be assured, Demon Queen. You will get a spectacle.”

“Thank you,” the Demon Ancestor said with emphasis. “You are, after all, my most reliable enemy.”

Chapter 79