Fanfiction3: A-Li's Three Lives, Three Worlds - Chapter 32 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 32

written by LigayaCroft
edited by Panda and kakashi

When A-Li was barely 35’000 years old, he spent a week of drunken debauchery with Lian Song, Cheng Yu, Gun Gun and Mei Lin in the river fairy kingdom of Tianying [1]. The clan’s territory was located at the southernmost tip of the immortal realms, its tributaries eventually spilling its waters into the Red Sea. As expected of Southerners, the river fairies that dwelled in Tianying were an awfully cheerful bunch, which was most probably caused by all the sun they were getting.

They also had an even bigger problem with fertility than the Celestials did. Thus, the clan revered the water lily as their holy flower. Lily pods floated in beautiful arrangements on the river and its flowers' unique sweet smell— of water, river mud and roses— had been the first thing that assailed A-Li's senses when they entered the kingdom. They were led to the clan leader's palace upon arrival, where lily petals steeped in wine were presented for drinks and a complex incense made of musk, ambergris, grapefruit, ginger, and lilies were burned upon their arrival.

A-Li found out much, much later that the drink and the incense possessed hallucinogenic and aphrodisiac properties. It was a new sensation to be able to ingest a drug by both drinking and breathing it in, and for the first time in A-Li's life, he experienced what it was like to lose control. Inhibition and social convention immediately flew out the window. Many years had passed since then and yet, that one week in Tianying was still the wildest week A-Li had had in all of his 45’000 years.

But that trip to Tianying also served as Lian Song’s hands-on way of teaching them about hard limits and self-control. While Gun Gun had made several trips back over the years, A-Li had firmly made up his mind to never return.

Tianying and its lilies were a hard limit.

Speaking of hard limits, back in the present, A-Li was fast approaching another one.

All because of the scent of lilies more potent than the one that had enveloped him for a whole week in Tianying.

All because of her.

That unique, heady scent of hers — of lilies and woman — emanated from Huo Zheng’s skin, wrapped around A-Li, and demanded his sole attention.

Huo Zheng in his arms.


He concluded he must be hallucinating.

Am I?

But he was not. Her lips on his, soft and warm, coaxing and welcoming, told him he was very much awake and alive. He reveled in how easily she melted against him, yet her fingers trembled as they roamed the length of his back. And that tiny gasp that she made when he took a soft bite of her plump lower lip made him smile before he ran his tongue along its full curve, eliciting a sigh from her. As if not to be outdone, she smiled before she mimicked his recent movement and took a bite of her own, too. Her arms snaked around his neck and she pressed herself closer, writhed her body against his and made soft sounds from the back of her throat as A-Li claimed her mouth again to consume her. He stroked his tongue in even deeper, as if the act alone could erase the memory of her husband, that Prince and every other man from her mind.

Mine, he wanted to say but he aimed to show her instead.

A-Li wrapped his arms tighter around her lean body and sent his hands on a journey to discover her softness. His fingers trailed upwards, from the curve of her bottom against the rough fabric of her pants to the small of her back. His hands continued to move under her tunic and upwards on her warm, naked back as he traced kisses across her jaw from her chin to her right ear until his fingers discovered the layered strip of cloth that restrained her breasts.

His eyes flew open to look at her flushed face, this confirmation that she indeed had more to her curves, fanned the flames in him to even wilder heights.

“I know. I don't like it, either,” She murmured as her lips skimmed his cheek and nibbled on the left side of his lip. "But I have to. They get in the way of my work."

A tiny voice that called for reason in his passion-addled mind told A-Li that if he could pause, he should do it now.


Because Heavens help him, he wanted to see and taste every inch of her skin. If his immortal life only amounted to doing one thing and one thing alone, he wanted it to be spent solely on the mastery of the subject of her — to learn every peak and valley of her body, and to listen to every fact and secret from her mind.

He shouldn’t stop.

He should.

But Huo Zheng made the decision for the two of them when she forcefully pushed her entire weight against his. A-Li lost his balance but still had the presence of mind to hold her as he offered his back as a sacrifice to the cold, hard ground.

Except it was not ground that it met, but a bed of hay.

With a triumphant smile, Huo Zheng placed her hands against his chest and pulled herself to sit astride his lap as she fumbled with the cloth belt over A-Li’s cross-collared top.

A-Li’s initial reaction was to hold her hands to stop her.

“What are you doing?” He asked through gritted teeth and mentally berated himself for even opening his mouth. She sat right above where he had begun to tent right under his pants, and it took all of his strength not to dissolve at the feel of her moving listlessly above him.

“Taking your clothes off,” She pushed against his hands, the movement extra torture for A-Li as they caused her inner thighs to rub more forcefully right above where his hardness was.

“The door is not locked. Anybody could walk in anytime.”

“I think we will be fine,” She promised with a saucy smile as she gently tried to wrench her hands free from his. “Bo’er knows I use the hut to sleep during this hour so he leaves me alone and doesn’t come back until the monkey hour [2]. We have more than enough time.”

The way she cooed at him reminded A-Li of somebody from his past — somebody whose existence he just knew he couldn’t tolerate now. However, having her this close distracted him from being able to gather his thoughts and pinpoint exactly who it was.

He momentarily released her hand to speedily push himself to sit up and intentionally scooted backward so her buttocks now sat closer to his knees. Her eyes momentarily narrowed but she shook her head and with a wide smile moved her hands to continue her unfinished business with his tunic belt and ties.

She was delicious. Even better, everything about her felt delicious, like the finest spread set out before a starving man.

Yet, he, notorious in the Four Seas and Eight Deserts for his questionable morals was suddenly questioning his morals.

Her, on top of him, felt right.

But, her, on top of him, was also all shades of wrong.

So again, on some strange, self-preservation instinct, he took hold of her hands to stop her.

Why?— the visceral part of his brain asked as it threw an internal tantrum.

Why? She’s married. You don’t sleep with married women, A-Li, admonished the more logical side.

“A-Li,” Huo Zheng began. “What —“

He put his right index finger on her lips to effectively cut her off.

Think. Think.

“Huo Zheng, I do not think we should do this,” He said after drawing a shaky breath, knowing full well what he just said was a lie. He wanted to have her, to not stop until he had had all of her.

So what was he doing?

He would give anything in the world to have her, but not like this.

And it was then, in that moment when his mind hesitated while his body rebelled that he realized one thing: he loved her.

Loved her enough to want to protect her from making a mistake.

No, not because she had a husband. A-Li didn’t give a fig about the existence of her husband or the fact that she still legally belonged to that man who had defrauded her trust.

No, he cared about the village’s perception of her if they were found out.

Further, what kind of son of Ye Hua would he be if he would have Huo Zheng like a common doxy and literally rolled her in the hay?

She deserved much better.

A real marriage, a present husband, a father for Ling’er.



He could give her those.

As an immortal, the how was a minor complication in light of the major hurdle that he had just overcome. It was a heady feeling to be able to think of the word and not feel sick.


A-Li pushed the ramifications of his realization aside for a later time so he could deal with the more urgent issue at hand. “Huo Zheng,” He swallowed as he forced himself to not be distracted by her soft gaze on him. “Listen. The complications, especially for you, will be massive.”

She answered by nipping at his finger.

Startled, A-Li pulled his hand back and gulped.

Huo Zheng blew at the strands of hair that fell across her nose and mouth before she leaned forward to capture his lips for a quick, mind-muddling kiss.

“You talk too much,” She pulled herself to kneel straight in front of him, effectively putting her chest directly across his face. “Since you won’t let me undress you, why don’t you help undress me instead?” She freed her hands from his left hand and immediately put them to work over untying the top of her own shùhè[3].

“Huo Zheng,” A-Li tried to clear his rapidly drying throat, undeniably turned on as the first flap was released, which showed part of her left chest and bare shoulder. “Huo Zheng, I—“ The second tie that held the tunic together came undone, and the fabric fell open and exposed her bound chest and toned belly. She no longer wore a dùdōu [4] underneath the thick strip of cloth wrapped around her chest, the ends of which were tied in a neat ribbon just underneath her left breastbone. “H-Huo— “

“What?” She impatiently gave a slight shimmy and the top fell with a whisper on top of his legs.

She should have been mine from the start. Why didn’t I arrive in Huicun a couple of years earlier?

“A-Li, let’s not overcomplicate things,” she whispered as she grasped at the ends of the cloth that severely bound her chest. “It's simple, really. I want you. You want me. So why don't we have some fun until one of us gets tired of the other or until you have to leave?”

“What?” A-Li was sure he had heard her wrong. He forced himself to look into her eyes, which were still heavy-lidded with desire.

“Lovers, you silly man. I'm not looking for commitment and I’m fairly certain, neither are you.” Her fingers pulled at one end of the ribbon and the cloth around her chest slackened and slowly began to unravel.

Looking pleased at herself, Huo Zheng leaned forward to kiss him again.

“Wait,” A-Li’s right hand shot out to press on her back to stop the cloth from unraveling. He even clenched his fingers around it to ensure that the already droopy sections did not droop even further.

His chest burned with the need to ask, or was it the backs of his eyes that did? Either way, he had to know. “Do you usually do this to any male guest who is forced to stay in Huicūn?”

Her hands on his shoulders gripped just a little bit tighter.

“Were you thinking that I would sleep with just any man?”

“You're laughing.”

“I was but that was because,” her right hand cupped the side of his face, “One, I’m particularly choosy. And two, if I go around haphazardly sleeping with just any man, between you and Gun Gun, don’t you agree that your nephew is the more attractive one? But no, I want you,” she resisted against his strength and tipped forward to drop a full-on kiss on his mouth. “I allow myself a few liberties in life. This is one of them, and you could share it with me, but only if you're a willing participant.”

Her lips were so sweet, minty with a just hint of cinnamon, and that teasing tongue of hers — it almost drove A-Li mad to resist from kissing her back.

“So this is just sex to you?”

His question stopped her assault. Her head pulled back so she could look at him while she nodded.

“As it should be, shouldn’t it?” Her hand on his jaw slid down his throat and came to rest palm down on his chest. “I assure you, you won’t find a safer lover than me. I track my courses fastidiously so I can confidently say I’m safe today. But I can also create and take contraceptives later on if you want to be even surer.” She laughed again, shaking her head. “Actually, I want to be sure. I can’t afford to have two children running around the village.”

He didn’t like any of the words that had just come out of her mouth — probably because he had heard them in many iterations many, many times in the past.

From himself.

They used to flow like honey from his own mouth when he was still a selfish sod who only took pleasure from his women without the pressure to provide more permanent arrangements.

He had said the words before without remorse, and the few who had tried to change his mind, dared to ask for more or had professed to love him he had mercilessly cut off from his life. He had never even looked back while they cried; so shut off was his heart that his disappointment over their weakness overcame his manners to check if they were doing alright. In his mind, any attempts made to change a relationship’s original terms violated his trust.

“And if you got pregnant?”

“Are you asking if I’m an incompetent healer?”

“I’m asking about contingencies.”

Her face tightened by just a bit. “It won't be your problem.”

“You are talking about my child, too. How can it not be my problem?”

“You would never even know it existed, anyway. There are ways to deal with it if I catch it early, which I will.”

He could feel his eyes blink rapidly at her brazen response.

“We are poor folk,” she said matter-of-factly, both an answer to his silent question and a reprimand against any judgement that might stem up. Huo Zheng could very well have been discussing something as mundane as the weather, which frustrated A-Li all the more.

He looked at her, and it was like looking at the eyes of the man he was before he met Xue Jiaolong. He saw the coldness beneath her heated, lustful gaze.

Being a village leader and healer was hard work, so she deserved a spot of fun every now and then, right?

But at the expense of his own heart?

With just a few words, she had robbed him of his breath, giving him pain instead of pleasure. A-Li felt his chest constrict and he saw spots flash in his vision.

Here he was, fresh from realizing that he loved her, only to find out she only looked at him as a welcome diversion.

He wanted to do things right by her.

He would commit himself to her if she wanted him to.

He would love her if she needed him to. He had an idea on how it could be done given he had had thousands of years watching his parents do it up close.

So this was how it felt like to want both from someone.

From her.

And this was how it felt like to be unable to have both from someone.

From her.

Because she didn’t want any of the things he hadn’t been able to offer to any woman before.


But he wasn’t able to even begin because the ground vibrated from the force of rushing, thundering hoofs.

Hēng [5]! Heeeeeeeeng!”


The belly of Huo Zheng's fat, huge pig pressed heavily against A-Li's thighs and groin, which effectively killed the hard proof of his sojourn through the edges of insanity just a few moments ago. The pig gave a sharp squeal of delight, its stubby feet seemingly swimming in the air, as its sharp teeth finally tore through the fabric of the satchel that was tied to A-Li’s belt. Golden candies spilled out into the hay, and the pig squirmed on A-Li’s lap as its snout and mouth dug around for its prize.

The pin that held A-Li's hair in place had been lost in the haystack when Huo Zheng had pushed him earlier and he fell on his back. With the heavy pig on his lap, it was close to impossible to be able to turn so he could search around — nor would the pig budge. A-Li resigned himself to run his hand through his loose hair and pulled at the pieces of hay that had clung on to the strands.

Two persons' width away to his left was Huo Zheng who went through the motions of closing her top, albeit with forceful tugs on the fabric and its ties. A-Li's eyes mourned each and every inch of skin that was reclaimed and covered by the cloth. His hands suffered the loss of her warm skin against his palms and his lips still craved the sweetness that he had had access to just a few breaths ago.

But they were saved from insanity by a pig.

Even if deep inside, A-Li hadn’t wanted to be saved.

"Huo Zheng—" he started but shut his mouth and swallowed when he heard how meek his voice sounded. Born to power and authority, his voice had sounded many things, except for meek. A-Li stretched his spine so he could sit straighter but just as he was doing so, the pig decided to roll on its side, its spine against A-Li's stomach, as it wore a self-satisfied grin from consuming too much sugar.

A-Li looked up and mentally counted the beams that made up the hut's ceilings while he let his thoughts fly.

The woman who had been the apple of his eyes during the past several months had just tried to seduce him.

He should have let her have her way with him but some irrational degree of morality he hadn’t known he possessed had him push her away before she did something she might eventually regret.

He pushed her away because he loved her.

Did I, really, love her?

And finally, today, he found out huge potbellied pigs could actually fly.

This could not be happening to me.

With a great heave, A-li pushed the pig off his thighs. The lazy pig did not resist nor did it want to get up on its own so A-Li had to result into rolling it down his leg until he could pull his feet from underneath its heavy weight.

Huo Zheng stood up to her feet and A-Li followed suit.

"Huo Zheng, I—"

"Weixiao, let's go," she commanded her pig and started walking away.

"H-Huo Zheng," A-Li increased his pace because even with him calling from behind her, she didn't slow down. "Huo Zheng, I'd like to apologize—"

"Don't," The snow crunched on her feet crunched so hard when she turned. "Just... don't talk, alright?”

With that, Huo Zheng walked even faster there was no denying that she was fleeing from him. She didn't even turn to look back at her pig who noisily squealed as it bounced in the thick snow right behind her.

Chapter 33

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1. (天映) The kingdom got its name because the surface of its river reflected the skylight so well that its waters were blue.

2. Between 3pm-5pm

3. (裋褐) A Shuhe is a tight-sleeved cross-collared top that extends to the knees, coupled with tied trousers. It is the basis of almost all underclothing, the casual outfit of commoners and laborers, and is usually the clothing worn under armor.

4. (肚兜) Undergarment that covered a woman’s chest and abdomen

5. (哼哼) Hēng Hēng is how the Chinese think a great-bellied pig snorts or snuffles.