Fanfiction: Mo Yuan and Shao Wan - Chapter 92 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 92

written by MiniOrchid
edited by kakashi, Chimera and Panda

During the dark ages when the world was freshly formed, cultivation was new and there were no controls or limits. There were no records either, no masters to teach anyone, not even the High Gods. Stabilizing cultivation was a balancing act established through trial and error and if one was not careful, it could easily lead to catastrophic results. It took millennia and thousands of innocents dying at the hands of those who had lost control over their powers for enough knowledge to be gathered, rules to be set, and records to be put in place.

The Lost Devil Tower was created in those times, at the furthest edge of the realm, when borders had been stabilized after countless battles. It was an asylum, a prison for those who took extreme measures to gain powers and failed to control them. There were many stories of immortals, some even highly respected among their people, who succumbed to the lure of immense powers and turned to dark methods. These immortals were left a shell of their former selves after their primitive demonic side took over. They lost their control, their sanity...but worst of all, their memories. Their first victims, horrifically, were often their loved ones who were nearby when they reached the point of no return.

Many who lost their lucidity were instantly killed. But there were those who were deemed too dangerous to kill. They were the ones who were close to reaching High God powers. Although these Demon Immortals were no longer sane, their powers lay within their unstable bodies. They could burst forth at any moment, and their death would surely trigger their harnessed energies. The consequence of such a release of energy was too dangerous to even ponder. Lost Devil Tower was created to seal these unfortunate creatures. Thus, it became the most dangerous place in the Demon Realm - for within it rested hundreds of precarious energy bombs that could burst at any moment.

After the Demon Overlord burnt to ashes, Lost Devil Tower was left unattended for millennia. Throughout time, it became a legend, a myth, worse...most forgot about the dangers it held. The Yellow Demon King had chosen the perfect place to hide his hostage, because no sensible person would dare to venture into the Tower without reinforcement, without knowledge of the layout, nor the danger it held. Fortunately for them, the Yellow Demon Princess had given them sufficient information.

Each prisoner was held within their own sealed dome, tethered by energy straps on their ankles and wrists. The cord absorbed their cultivation power, and the more force the prisoner exerted on their contraptions, the more they were held back by their own powers. A perfect mechanism to seal these powerful Immortals with near High God powers.

According to the Yellow Demon Princess, Qiao Er was held underneath the Tower, a most inconspicuous yet secured location. Breaking the seal of the dome would require high cultivation release, at least four times the cultivation powers of the prisoner held within the dome. Luckily for them, Qiao Er was young and most of her powers were still dormant. But still, they only had one chance to succeed as the break of the seal would most likely alert the Demon King to their presence.

Yan Zhi had her hands pressed against the sealed wall, suppressing her emotions to remain focused. She gazed at Qiao Er, who was asleep within the dome. Her hands and feet were tethered to the white energy, absorbing her powers. General Yu and General Zhao stood on the other side of the dome, ready for action.

“We only have one chance. Once the seal is released, take her and run,” Yan Zhi instructed Xiu Tao. Their cultivation would be damaged momentarily, but they were surrounded by her warriors, ready to battle at a moment’s notice in case Cheng Yin showed up. It was a dangerous gamble.

“Yes, Your Highness,” Xiu Tao answered and stood back cautiously.

Glancing at her Generals on either side, she signaled for them to start. The two Generals would use their powers to release the seal as planned. They would be vulnerable after the act according to General Yu, who claimed familiarity with this type of shield, so it was better for her to be their backup once the Princess was released.

As cultivation powers began to reach the weapons in their hands, the colorful flames brightened on each side in yellow and red, the colors of their spirit beasts. Their weapons blasted the shield at the same moment with their powers, draining their energy. It took longer than they had predicted, but eventually the shield gave way. Both Generals fell to the ground, their cultivation depleted.

Yan Zhi tried to reach Qiao Er, but Xiu Tao held her back. She reached for the child in her place, as was planned in case there was a trap. When the sleeping Qiao Er safely taken from her prison, there was a huge sigh of relief - but all hope for a swift rescue fell apart with the arrival of Xiu Li, the second Xiu sister, who descended from the stairs above.

“Your Highness, we have a problem!” Xiu Li shouted.

“What is it?” Yan Zhi asked, alarmed.

“All prisoners escaped their prisons. Their shields were lifted.”

“How?” She asked anxiously.

“Cheng Yin…” General Yu got up from the floor, his face pale from the spell. “He must have connected the shields. Once we broke the seal here, all the other seals broke as well.”

Dear Heavens, it was a trap! But who could possibly have guessed Cheng Yin would risk releasing unstable Demon Immortals to destroy them all. The man was insane! How could he possibly allow such a calamity in his own realm?

“I knew we should not have trusted a Demon,” General Zhao growled. “His sister led us to the trap!”

No….it couldn’t be, Li Ying could not possibly have led them to a trap! Had she really betrayed them?

But there was no time to ponder that now, they had to find a way out. A rumbling explosion shook the ceiling above them. Tension grew as the soldiers looked at each other. Cloud jumping out was impossible due to the high concentration of Demon energy. They couldn’t walk out of this place with the hundreds of prisoners free from above. The mindless immortals were ready to slaughter whomever dared to cross their paths. The explosions continued above - crashes, sounded like the prisoners had started to attack each other. They had to find a solution quickly.

“We have to seal the princess’ prison again,” General Yu deduced, glancing at the ceiling out of breath from using too much of his cultivation. The tower above them rumbled again, they could hear the battle among the immortals getting louder. “All magic can be reversed. The seal here broke all the shields above. If we reseal it again, we’ll have time to escape with the least amount of casualties.”

Yan Zhi turned to the more experienced General, her brows furrowed. He was right, resealing might reverse the effect, the ones who were still within their cell would not be able to get out. It would be too late to reseal all the prisoners, but at least it would marginally increase their chance to escape. General Yu’s gaze hardened when he continued: “But the prison won’t reseal without a prisoner inside.”

Eyes widening, Yan Zhi understood. There was a reason why no one had ventured to break anyone out of this prison for millennia. A sacrifice had to be made.

Yan Zhi turned to Xiu Tao, who held Qiao Er in her arms and General Zhao who stood by her side. “Your Highness?” Xiu Tao tightened her arms around the child.

“Generals,” Yan Zhi addressed both men. “Escort the Princess out of here.”

“What about you?” Xiu Tao asked.

“I will buy everyone time,” Yan Zhi stated. “Our Generals are injured,” she turned to the rest of the warriors. “Take them to safety, back to the Ghost Realm.”

“You can’t possibly...” General Yu interjected as a warrior helped him to his feet. “Your Highness! You can’t!”

“I can and that is an order. Get out of here now!” She snapped impatiently, but to her astonishment, they wouldn’t budge.

“But your Highness…,” General Zhao shook his head.

“I told you it’s an order!”

Xiu Tao shook her head as well, unlike her normal self. “No, Your Highness you have to turn around.”

“What? Why?!” Yan Zhi frowned in anger and confusion. Baffled by their dismayed expressions, her body involuntary tensed and her skin shivered from instinctual fright. Had Cheng Yin arrived?

Suddenly, a brightwave of red fluttering lights surged from the floor to the walls above, signaling the magic shield was secured once more.

An eerie silence followed. Instinctively, her head snapped around.

Blood pulsed through her veins. Even the sound of the explosions above was drowned out by the fierce beating of her heart. What she saw, felt...that haunting moment...made her mind swim with perturbation. Her throat was paralyzed, weighed down by flashes of recent memories.

The weapon slipped from her grasp. Images of a stolen future rushed by, shattered by the muffled sound of the bow hitting the floor at her feet.

No, no, couldn’t be! Why was Zi Lan here?!


It was getting harder to breath. Pain...the piercing pain was unbearable.

Yan Zhi struggled to stay above the surface of hell turned reality, but each breath was excruciating, awarding only just enough air for her to keep her sanity, her lucidity. She had to try again. No matter how many times, no matter how long it took, she had to get him out!

Weakness...why was she so weak?

If she were not so powerless, would things have been different?

If only she possessed more power, more cultivation…intuition...foresight...

If only...things were different...

But it was too late to have these useless thoughts. All she had to do was save him.

Her vision blurred from stinging tears that refused to stop. Blinking, she wiped them away with the roughness of her sleeve. Struggling, crawling, she pulled herself up, knee down, foot pressed to the ground. She barely managed to lift herself up… she had to try again. Grabbing her bow, she conjured the arrows. Eyes closed...she forced herself to relax and transferred energy to ignite the blue flames at the ends of the arrows.

Her body weakened once again from the technique she had not possessed before her training days…the gained cultivation, forever lost after each use.

The flames aimed at the transparent red glowing shield. She released her arrows, but they shattered upon impact.

Silence followed. They were alone. She had ordered her people to take Qiao Er and the Generals to safety, before the freed Demons above could make their way down here. Her people couldn’t argue when she threatened capital punishment for those who refused. They hurried away, promising to return once the Princess and their leaders were safe.

Desperate words, honorable intentions, from warriors who refused defeat.

Defeat...the word Yan Zhi couldn’t grasp as she stared at the man behind the shield. He stood there, held by tether ropes on his hands and feet, a prisoner sealed behind the magic shield. His eyes were unreadable, but they held the abyss of mysterious knowledge she had yet to decipher.

“Zhi’er,” Zi Lan called out, with gentle voice that engaged her muddled mind. His hand tried to reach the seal wall but couldn’t, the tethers held on too tightly. “It’s no use. You have to leave now, before the tower collapses. It won’t hold much longer.”

As if on cue, another explosion from released cultivation vibrated from the ceiling. Dust and small rocks showered upon them. One of the Demons must have met his demise. The other Demons were taking each other out.

“No…,” she rejected, her head shook with shuddering denial, ignoring the falling rocks around her. “Not without you,” she declared. “You have to come back with me.”

“You don’t have much time,” Zi Lan urged, pleading, “before Cheng Yin finds out you’re still alive, you should leave.”

“Why are you so calm?” She screamed in fury. “Why are you not fighting?!”

Furious, Yan Zhi grabbed the sword from the floor, and ran the blade into the seal wall - but it only bounced off with the same force she exerted. She hit the shield again and again, enraged by his inaction. “Why are you not reacting?” she wailed at the unfazed man behind the shield.

Then it hit her. The truth was more merciless than the seal she was trying to break. Her attacks immediately ceased. With a trembling voice, Yan Zhi asked the question she had avoided, dreaded: “Did you know?”

“This is my destiny,” Zi Lan answered, simply, his words hollow, like he was stating a fact that was known all along.

Heavens above...the waking-nightmare wasn’t over, it had just begun. “What do you mean?” Yan Zhi asked in a harrowing, quivering whisper. The sword dropped from her hand, clanking on the floor.

Zi Lan closed his eyes briefly, his body trembling. She saw the moment his strength vanished. The willful stubborn warrior she knew was no more. A serene, yet crushed expression crossed his face as he answered: “I knew my life would end today. We have to let fate take its course.”

“No…,” her head shook in denial. Understanding dawned after the calamitous words. “It’s not true. We can change fate, we’ve done it before! We can do it again. All we need is time.”

Determined, Yan Zhi grabbed the sword on the floor and with all her might, she attacked the unrelenting shield. Frustrated by her weakness, she harnessed the powers in her hand. She tried to blast the shield, but the energy from the blast propelled her back, sending her flying across the room. She groaned in agony from the impact.

“Yan Zhi, stop!!! Not for me, please stop,” he cried desperately, struggling against the ropes that held him.

“I don’t care if it’s your fate! I won’t let you die!” Yan Zhi shouted from across the room. Standing up once more, she ran towards him, stumbling along the way. “Zi Lan...don’t give up yet, please...I can save you, I can…,” her words were cut short as she tripped over a fallen rock.

“Please go back to Ghost Realm. Let me fulfill my destiny,” his voice broke, his head shook. “Fate won’t tolerate more interference. This calamity, one way or another, it has to happen.”

“There has to be another way,” Yan Zhi maintained fiercely. Grabbing the nearest weapon, she struggled to her feet again.

“Yan Zhi!!!”

“No!! Not you too! Not again…,” Yan Zhi argued. She refused to accept the inevitable, the destiny and her blade attacked the shield again.

She had lost so much already. Not again!

“You have to leave,” Zi Lan pleaded. “I don’t want you to see me like this. You already witnessed so much in this lifetime.”

“That’s not true,” her voice choked, straining to maintain her composure that was ready to shatter. “I never witnessed brothers’, my father’s, even my mother’s death. They were all gone before I could reach them, could save them.”

Their last moments were taken away...there was never a chance to say goodbye. It was not the dead one that suffered, but the one who was left behind.

Zi Lan pulled on his chains, unable to reach the wall of his shield. “Yan Zhi, I am sorry. I know you lost everyone, but you still have Qiao Er, think of her,” Zi Lan tried to reason, calling out her weakness, the calculative man that he was.

She wouldn’t listen. Yan Zhi slammed her fist against the shield, hitting it with her powers, but it blew her back, landing her on the dark damp floor. Disoriented from the impact, her body still rose. Ignoring the blood spilling from the side of her mouth, she crawled back in staggering stubbornness, until she reached the invisible wall.

Helpless, distraught...defeated...her shaking hands pressed against the shield. Subdued...her tearful gaze upon the noble man who had healed her soul, yet stolen her heart.

“If I knew fate was this cruel, I would have forgiven you sooner,” she whispered with chilling calmness.

His hands clenched, unable to reach the wall. Helpless, Zi Lan dropped to his knees. He didn’t raise his head, but she could see his body shake, could hear the choking sound as he held back his tears.

Zi Lan tilted his head, their gaze met, like it would be their last. Those rich and dark eyes that held much, much more than the pain - regret. “Yan Zhi, before I met you, I spent thousands of years living a carefree existence,” Zi Lan chuckled, with a hint of bitterness. His tearful smile squeezed her chest, choked her breath.

A soft expression of reminiscence crossed his face. “But those times...were nothing compared to a moment with you. Each day in the mortal realm...I wanted a little more time. Just a bit longer… I kept praying. I don’t mind if you choose to forget me.”

“I will never forget you!” Yan Zhi sobbed, her fist slammed against the damn wall that separated them. Her head pressed against the shield, “I won’t leave you. Zi Lan, we will stay together...die together. I choose you...without doubt, without reservation. I have no regrets.”

The ceiling above shook once more. Her eyes lit up when Yan Zhi realized there was an answer there. Struggling to rise, she turned to the stairs. Determined to do what had to be done. Treacherous the plan was, but it was their only hope. “Zi Lan, I can still save you,” she whispered.

“Yan Zhi...what are you doing!”

With heavy breath, ignoring the guilt, the physical pain, as darkness descended upon her soul, she said: “I can take their powers, I can harness their cultivation!” Empowered now by the vision, with renewed purpose, she staggered toward the stairs. “Some are still locked up there. My father was well versed in dark magic, so am I. I can get you out.”

“No, no...don’t!” his head shook fiercely as Zi Lan pulled at his chains. “Yan Zhi, this is taboo! You’ll become one of them!”

Dark magic, stolen cultivation, the magic taboo of all realms. It was a risk she was willing to take.

“Nothing will happen to me, I’ll be careful,” she told him reassuringly, turning toward the stone stairs again. “Like you say, fate won’t tolerate interference. Calamity has to be balanced. With Xiu Yin, with 4th Disciple Shang Ling. This is the price I am willing to pay. I will save you, no matter the consequences.”

“Zhi’er, look at me!” his voice rose, with an expression of panic, his jaw clenched as he struggled to remain calm. “Look at me!” Zi Lan shouted. His gaze locked on to hers, capturing her attention with touching velvet words. “That night under the stars, do you remember our vows?”

“Yes…,” she nodded tearfully, smiling at the heartfelt reminder. “You will always stay by my side, you promised me.”

“I did…,” he answered breathlessly. His gaze flickered with guilt, as regretful words escaped his lips. “But you should know...a husband will always protect his wife.”

“Zi Lan…?” she asked in apprehension, alarm rang in her ears. What was he saying?

“Zhi’er, I’m sorry. I’m a cruel man, please forgive me.”

“Why?” she cried, pulling back in panic. Before she could comprehend the depth of his words, sudden shadows of darkness engulfed her senses as she fell into a deep abyss.

All went black.


Should I tell her?
Zi Lan had wondered when he had first understood their destiny. But he couldn’t, because it would only bring her sorrow, pain, misery

Knowledge can only bring suffering, he deduced.

He kept the information to himself, as long as he could. Until the calamity befell them. He would take it. He would take them all if he could...and he would. He would not let her suffer for one day, one moment. If only he could take away her pain.

However, he couldn’t be too greedy. Fate would allow only so much interference. He had known, when he saw the examples, the deaths, the casualties of war when they took advantage of the power that was both a blessing and a curse.

The thing about knowing the future was the inability to control one’s fate. But there were times when a human could take charge of the last moment of indecision, because, no matter how well planned destiny was, it couldn’t control free will. The balance of the universe could be reversed by the slightest decision at the last moment, when humans make their own choice.

Do we take the path that was shown, or do we lead ourselves into the unknown?
Falling to his knees, Zi Lan bowed to General Yang, the man who had let him out of his seal the day before. He had convinced the General that only he could save Yan Zhi, because he possessed the knowledge of Qiao Er’s last premonition. His loyalty to Yan Zhi taking precedence over duty, the General had reluctantly let Zi Lan go. Despite his hostility towards him, the General believed him and did everything as Zi Lan instructed.

The stage had been set for that moment; each actor had played their part within the dream of a powerful girl. General Yang had brought him to the Demon Tower, hidden them until the right moment, and sealed him within the prison before anyone realized they were there.

Nothing went amiss…he almost pulled it off.

But foolish as he was, Zi Lan had not anticipated how much Yan Zhi was willing to risk her soul to save him. His Queen, the most resilient person he knew besides his mother. A survivor, no matter the odds stacked against her. She refused to give up. If not for the General, his unlikely partner in crime, he would have lost her.

Without words, the General knew the moment Zi Lan decided to distract Yan Zhi: it would be long enough to give him the opening to cast a sleeping spell on her. Zi Lan had never imagined that his rival since the day of his arrival in the Ghost Realm would be the one to assist him in this final scheme, this lie. But the best opponents were the ones who can read you well. With only a subtle glance, the General knew what he had to do, and he had accomplished the task feared by others. He would suffer the wrath of his Princess once she awoke.

“Thank you, General Yang.” Zi Lan raised his head, then sat back as the General lifted Yan Zhi in his arms.

“Call me Yang Jie. We’ve been rivals without proper address for far too long,” Yang Jie spoke as if they were old friends. With only the barrier between them, both men stared at each other with the same respect they had since the first day despite their animosity.

It was unfortunate they had never shared a drink together.

His eyes closed tightly, Zi Lan took a deep breath. “Yang Jie, when she wakes up, please tell Her Highness…” Zi Lan stopped short of the parting words, his regretful gaze turned to Yan Zhi’s sleeping face. Her tears had not yet dried. “Tell her I took her choice away. Her fate...because I was weak. Too weak to bear living without her. She can continue to hate me, curse me, forget about me. I deserve all her resentment.”

“I will relay your message, though I doubt she could forget you,” Yang Jie said softly.

“Please watch and protect Yan Zhi and Qiao Er; they have been alone all those years without the protection of their kin.” Zi Lan tore his gaze away from Yan Zhi. He glanced up at his unlikely co-conspirator. “Although the debt I owe you can never be repaid, I hope you can grant this one last wish to a man who will soon be gone from this world.”

“I swear to watch over them in your stead, at the risk of my own life. The Ghost Tribe will never let anything happen to our royals again.”

“Thank you, General Yang Jie.”

“No, our people thank you, Commander, for saving our Queen today.” With a nod, Yang Jie turned to leave with the sleeping Princess in his arms, but paused at the stairs. His head turned back. “You should know, you had my approval a long time ago.”

Zi Lan couldn’t help but chuckle at the parting words as he watched them depart from the dark basement of the tower. His world began to churn like a whirlwind of emptiness - his body, his mind, his emotions.

Sitting back, it didn’t take long before rocks and debris began to rain and crumble around him. He watched the ceiling as it started to give way. This was the end. Shortly, the tower would be no more. Qiao Er had said the day of the Blood Moon would be the night the Lost Devil Tower would be gone. She was right, he mused. Zi Lan could hear the explosions from above as mindless immortals, with neither sanity nor humanity, fought to their deaths. At least those dangerous beings would be no more.

Zi Lan did not fight or react, even when the bright red luminescence of explosive energy blasted from above. Even when his body began to feel the energy that broke through his shield.

The price of fate, was a life for a life.

But the life was more than worth the price.

His smile remained till the last moment.

He was done, content. At peace.


Zi Lan...

“Zi Lan…,” she repeated his name like an unending mantra, “I have to save him.”

“Your Highness…Your Highness…,” she heard them call out.


The voices were all the same - concerned, distraught...afraid. When they tried to block her path, she blasted them away with her powers. When they bent their knees, she kicked them away. When they kowtowed, she stepped over their submissive bodies. Nothing would stop her, no matter what they did.

Just mere moments before, she had fought her way back to consciousness through the fog of dreams, fears, regrets...and fragile hope. When her mind reached clarity about where she was, in the Ghost Realm, in the comfort of her own room, reality crashed down like a thundering mudslide.

Ignoring the the sea of black clad warriors, she fought through their attempts to hold her back. She had to see him, she had to save him.

“Your Highness, please listen, he’s gone,” she heard one of the Xiu sisters say.

“Demonic energy level has not subsided after the explosion, we can’t go back,” her General explained.

“Lying to the royal deserves what punishment?” she demanded to know. Her tone was icy, devoid of all emotions, making them pause and quiver. Yet, stubbornly, they wouldn’t budge, surrounding her again, bending their knees before her.

“Your Highness! The Lost Devil Tower collapsed yesterday. Zi Lan’s aura was gone, he’s no longer alive,” General Zhao recounted.

“I don’t believe you!” she roared. Her arm extended, a magical sword appeared in her hand. “He’s still alive, now get out of my way!” She slashed the General across the chest, making him fall back.

She turned slightly to walk passed them, but more warriors blocked her path. She blasted them back, her sword rose to do more harm. “I’ll cut all of you!”

The rest bent their knees before her, bowing again. “Your Highness! Please listen…the Disciple is dead.”

“No!” Yan Zhi thundered. Her head shook in denial, shuddering with painful memories. “Zi Lan….he’s not gone…he promised me…” unable to finish, she turned to her target, General Yang, the next to block her path. “Do you want to die? ” she threatened icily.

“If your Highness wants me to die, I will lay my life before you. But please, don’t go back. 16th Disciple is gone. I made a promise to him to keep you safe.”

“I don’t need you to keep me safe!” Yan Zhi shrieked, her sword rising again. The blade nearly cut his shoulders, but a child’s voice broke her resolve.

“Mother! Please don’t hurt them!”

She froze, the sword dropped, and Yan Zhi turned to see Qiao Er standing right behind her. The child ran to embrace her waist. The touch brought out emotions she could no longer suppress and she almost broke - yet couldn’t. Not yet. Huddling down, face to face, she saw a light at the end of the tunnel.

“Qiao Er...tell mother how I can find En Cong. Tell me where he is. You must have dreamed about this, tell me he’s alive. You must have seen En Cong at the Tower?” Yan Zhi bombarded her, hopeful. But Qiao Er only gave an expression of confusion.

“But mom, I didn’t have dreams about En Cong in the Dark Tower. I didn’t see him there,” the child answered, her awed expression making Yan Zhi grasp her arms tighter.

“I don’t understand. You didn’t see Zi Lan there?” Yan Zhi asked in dismay, unnerved by this.

“I only dreamed about you at the Tower.”

“What do you mean? You dreamed about me?”

“In my dreams, you were behind that prison in which I was held. You were taken by the light, the fire. The tower collapsed,” she said shakily. Frightened by the images, tears began to spill. “You disappeared, mother.”

“Qiao Er, when did you dream about this?” Yan Zhi grasped her tighter, making the child wince. “Why didn’t you tell me?!” She roared.

“En Cong told me not to tell you. I’m sorry, mother…,” Qiao Er cried through her tears, trembling from fear and guilt. “He said if I told you what I saw, my dreams would come true.”

For a brief moment, Yan Zhi was speechless. She released her hold, hands fell to her side.

“Why? Why would he say that?” she forced herself to ask.

“He said he can save you, but only if I didn’t tell you my dreams.”

The startling knowledge hit her like the first strike of a lightning trial and brought chills to her very bones. She could not comprehend. Callous man that he was, he had made choices for her, like everyone else before. That ruthless man.

“Mother, where is he? Where is En Cong?” Yan Zhi heard her child ask.

Like a soulless doll, Yan Zhi stood up… and staggered back, putting a safe distance between herself and everyone else. She could not trust herself, unstable as she was. Like a weeping willow plant, her body lost all strength, a mere touch would make her collapse.

At first, Yan Zhi didn’t make a single sound. Her head shook, trying to understand the words spoken by an innocent child.

Zi Lan knew…he lied…

It was her calamity he had stolen.

It was her destiny, not his.

Zi Lan had taken her place....her fate…

Her pulse picked up speed, she forced herself to listen to her heartbeat, to drown out the ringing in her ears. But it wouldn’t go away. Tears began to fall, streaming endlessly, her breath caught from rushing raw emotions pushing to the surface.

Tattered remnants of her memories were flowing like waterfalls before her vision. Images of the life that could have been and the memories they had shared: Tender words her heart skipped to, caresses that made her blush, and his smiles that made her scowl.

The visions became more unbearable, stirring even more emotions. And then, all hell broke loose!

Dormant powers she had never known she possessed surged through her cells like racing water. They felt like blow after blow of blasted energy that burnt her flesh, her skin. Vibrating with the gush of blue fire, Yan Zhi heard herself scream when the pulsing energy escaped her trembling body. It was relentless, it felt like an eternity, until finally….darkness overtook her vision.

It was the voices that woke her up. Eyes opened once more...fluttering uneasily against the brightness of the moon from above.

She was on her knees. But something bright shone before her gaze. It wasn’t the moonlight. Shakily, she grasped the strands, not yet realizing their significance. Trembling fingers delved into the loose tangles that were her own. Squinting with bafflement, confusion, she pulled her once dark luscious hair over her shoulders. She held it tightly, blinking in awe, her breath catching at the realization.

The transformation of her shattered spirit...of her broken heart.

Her once dark raven hair, the locks Zi Lan had cherished with his gentle caress, was no more. The silk strands had turned into the color of jasmine, of white snow, glimmering in the moonlight. Like her chilled heart, her soul had frozen, her body taking the toll.

But it did not matter…nothing mattered.

A husband will always protect his wife…

His last words resonated through the passing breeze. Her jasmine white hair flowed along with the memories that will would forever be etched into her being...her soul.

Not only had he stolen her heart, but also her life.

Zi Lan...he was a cruel man, but he was hers, and hers alone.

Like the night under the star filled sky, witnessed by the flickering fireflies - their eternal vows would remain true, whether in life or in death. There were no regrets.

Chapter 93