Fanfic: Mo Yuan and Shao Wan 2.0 - Chapter 2 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 2

written by kakashi
consulting/editing by LigayaCroft & Panda

“And you guarantee this will work?” Shao Wan, whose name was Jiānguǒ (堅果) in this miserable life, frowned at the shaman in front of her. The one-eyed woman had lost most of her teeth and her tanned face was full of deep wrinkles that were like crevices of shadows in the flickering candle light. After entrusting her hard earned - and sometimes stolen - money to too many charlatans over the millennia, Shao Wan was naturally cautious about approaching the next mystic. But this one had caught her eye in curious ways on her stroll through the night market. Sitting outside her tent on a low stool, smoking her pipe with a content expression, this woman had not tried to draw potential customers’ attention like everybody else, but had simply surveyed the crowds like it was her favorite pastime. When their eyes met, Shao Wan had felt a strange falling into somebody’s arms through pink, soft clouds. Shao Wan even thought she saw a golden glow around the woman when she squinted her eyes, but it was gone the second time she looked.

“It is you who has to make it work,” the old woman said, putting some more herbs into her mortar. “I just provide the means.”

Oh, but she had been trying. One horrible life after the other Shao Wan had exerted herself to get the attention of the Gods. One horrible life after another, she had failed. It was like the Heavens had wrapped her in a bubble or stuffed her into a hole with a thick lid on top so that nobody up there could see or hear her.

Knowing how vindictive the Heavens were, this was probably exactly what was going on.

Every life had been more miserable than the other: sickness, starvation, abuse, murder, heartbreak, misery. Dying unloved, dying alone, dying slowly and extra painfully, dying with all hopes crushed - all possible misfortunes were piled on her in different variations, again and again and again. The only constant was to make her a woman who was barren, clumsy and weak - an object without value.

Well, she knew what she was being punished for. So she laughed in Fate’s face, every time she could muster a smile.

She would return to her unborn babies. And to him.... however long it would take her. If she knew anything, it was how to fight. And she would continue to fight until she got what she wanted.

“What God do you want to talk to again?” the old woman asked and turned her one good eye on Shao Wan.

“Mo Yuan, the God of War,” Shao Wan said. Her heart started beating faster: She had been counting days, every miserable day of her many, many miserable lives. And now, at way over 13 million miserable days, the God of War must have shaken the curse. He would remember her. If no other God listened, he would. If nobody could hear her, he would be able to.

But he would be heartbroken...she would bet a lot on the fact that he was wailing in misery, thinking about going into the Nothingness. Alternatively, there was the possibility he was angry and resentful for being used by her to save the realms. Whatever it was, she needed to speak to him. She needed to let him know where she was. More: she needed to go back.

“Never heard of him,” the old hag shrugged. “Can you draw him? I need to visualize him to establish contact.”

Shao Wan frowned again, this time more deeply. She could...try? Her frail body’s short fingers were good for nothing, but since his face was edged into her memory like nothing else, it should not be too hard.

The Shaman handed her a snippet of paper and some ink she had already prepared. Concentrating hard, Shao Wan drew Mo Yuan. Well...tried to. She wrinkled her nose in displeasure.

“He looks...more handsome than this,” she declared. “His face is incredibly pretty for someone who fights as well as him. I mistook him for a sissy when I first saw him. He grew a beard later, a small one. Quite...appealing. It’s fun to tug it when...” Dammit, she missed him. Every single day for an eternity had she missed him. That didn't improve her mood throughout her many lives. It was awful enough as it were, but being punished by this kind of longing made things much worse.

The shaman shook her head at Shao Wan. “If you already see him in your dreams, what do you need me for?”

Dreams? Yes, Shao Wan had dreams, very vivid ones, in all her lives. In them, he killed her and she killed him. It must be Fate’s way of telling her what she did not need to be reminded of: that him and her, they were supposed to stand on opposite sides of the universe. Their union, it had not pleased the Heavens. The fruits of their union even less. They were too powerful together - for what would be able to stop them if they combined their strengths and learned to overcome their weaknesses? And their children… was always very difficult to think of them. Knowing how the Universe felt about them, could what she had done be enough to keep them safe? Add worry to pining after a man and her torture was perfect.

“Seeing him in my dreams is not sufficient,” Shao Wan explained, “I need to talk to him urgently.”

“Is he like Guandi?” the shaman asked, studying the picture she had drawn some more, holding it up close to her good eye, squinting hard.

“Isn’t that the tofu seller who later became a god?” Shao Wan asked appalled. “No, Mo Yuan was never a mortal. He was born a God. He is Fuxi and Nüwa’s son!”

The shaman shook her head again and chuckled. “You seem to have mythology all wrong, young Miss. Well...just visualize him very strongly, this God of yours. Maybe he will turn out to be your handsome neighbor?”

If only. All her neighbors were the opposite of handsome and on top of that, very mean.

The Shaman started to burn some powders and herbs and proceeded to chant in a low voice. Soon, Shao Wan’s head began to swim from the fumes. Her 551st mortal life...would it be the last? Would Mo Yuan sweep down from the skies and rescue her? If he wouldn’t be glad to see her again - knowing him and his stick-in-the-muddedness, that possibility existed - Golden Dragon would be on her side...she was certain she could always count on Mo Yuan’s true form to recognize and cherish her even if the higher form was being an idiot.

The Dragon’s eyes when he had sunk down to earth…

I am so sorry I did not tell you, she thought tearfully, but you would have tried to stop me, you would have sacrificed your own life. I could not let that happen.

She had tethered her own soul to the souls of her children, but the connection had been weak… transferring two unborn spirits had cost her her entire cultivation. Of course she had not really believed her reckless plan would work, but what other option did she have?

When Mo Yuan had stabbed her, the connection had been severed - not unexpectedly. This kind of magic took lots of practice that she didn't have and there was no way Fate would let her get away easily.

She just needed to kick Fate hard enough where it hurt to make Her see reason and leave them alone.

“Visualize him,” the shaman demanded with a raspy voice. “Now!”

She did. Mo Yuan’s face was before her instantly, his tranquil eyes full of love and care.

Mind shattering pain followed.


“Should I get someone to escort you back to Kunlun, High God Mo Yuan,” Lord Puhua asked discreetly.

“I...I can manage,” Mo Yuan wheezed, cursing his weakness as he staggered and almost fell when the chains released him. How he would be able to cloud jump in his current state was beyond him, but he would rather fall off a cloud and break his neck than get some Celestial stranger’s help.

“You can take a day of rest tomorrow,” Lord Puhua suggested. “That is not against the rules.”

“No, I want it to be done as quickly as possible,” Mo Yuan replied with a decisive shake of his head.

Lightning torments were an unpleasant thing any way one looked at them, but he had Ye Hua to thank that his sentence had been set at 5000 strikes he could do whenever he wanted instead of forcing him to return here for 40 daily strikes during 125 days. This way, he could return to the peace and quiet of his cave much sooner and be done with the Heavens for good.

“Please do not take offense,” Lord Puhua said with a bow, “High God Mo Yuan, I feel great unease about the amount of hits you are taking per day. What if…”

“Lord Puhua,” Mo Yuan said with a calm, yet commanding voice meant to discourage any objection. “It is not my first lightning torment. So I know there is no harm to the body. And for someone whose soul was torn apart for almost 70,000 years, the pain of lightning torment does not remotely compare.”

Lord Puhua bowed a little deeper but seemed decidedly unconvinced. So Mo Yuan stood a little taller and took a deep breath to steady himself. Lord Puhua was a steadfast and very stubborn man. He could not be pushed too hard or he might divert the Celestial lighting storm. “Please await my return tomorrow,” he said, "I will heed your advice." He jumped.

… and almost fell. The truth was, he did not know how much more of this he could take. During his 100 year long meditation, he had accumulated more cultivation than he had ever had, but he barely made it to Zhe Yan’s Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms, where he collapsed in a heap in front of the hut. The Old Phoenix was home, which was fortunate, yet scolded him rather severely after rushing down the steps to help him up, which was less fortunate, but Mo Yuan felt too weak to reply. As soon as he was helped inside and deposited on the bed, he stopped fighting the pull of unconsciousness and let his mind sink into a sea of blackness.


“That God of yours sure is in a bad mood,” the old woman croaked as soon as she had recovered enough to speak.

The feeling of immense pain had hit both of them simultaneously and they had screamed and not stopped, so loudly that several of the other merchants had come rushing into the old woman’s tent to see whether somebody was being murdered. They had found them curled up on the floor, howling in horror and had dumped buckets of ice cold rain water on them until they had calmed down. It was bad business if they scared the customers away, they had lectured them angrily before returning to their own tents.

Shao Wan, dripping wet and very cold, felt sick to the stomach from the aftereffects of the shock, but her excitement knew no bounds.

“Again,” she breathed, “please do it again.”

It had been horrible, but undeniably, it had been a connection. She had felt him. Why he would be in so much pain was beyond her and she did not care - this was her chance.

But the shaman shook her head decisively. “Whoever your God is, I do not like him at all. I value what is left of my life too much to meddle with such powers.”

“ must!” Shao Wan shouted, “don’t you understand? If I cannot reach him, I might be stuck here forever!”

The shaman eyed her with a frown. “You are very dramatic.”

“Just believe me when I say it’s a life and death situation,” Shao Wan begged. She could not let this opportunity slip away! 

“Well, it is going to get more expensive,” the old woman snuffled and started looking around for her pipe, finding it in a pool of water, which made her curse fouly.

“ expensive?” Shao Wan stammered and started rummaging in her leather purse. If she didn’t eat for a few days, she might be able to pay for another prayer session.

“Five silver taels.”

“Five…,” Shao Wan gaped at the old woman who had suddenly turned greedy like a money demon. “That’s a small fortune!”

“Please leave if you cannot pay,” the shaman said and lit her pipe. The sweet smell made Shao Wan’s head swim again. But no. She would not give up. It was possible this old woman was sent her way by Fate herself, to taunt her, to tangle sweet hope in front of her only to reveal it a rotten illusion. But Fate needed to be taught a lesson. She was trying her underhanded tricks on the wrong woman.

“You know exactly that I don’t have that amount of money,” Shao Wan challenged the shaman. “But I have something else. Something that is going to be worth much more than five silver taels.”

“Oh yes?” the old woman looked curious.

“Yes.” Shao Wan opened her knapsack. “This.”

She handed the one-eyed shaman a copy of Mr. Mo’s Magickal Moments. For an instant, she held onto the manuscript even when the other woman’s fingers were already pulling it away from her. Shao Wan had started writing again not long ago, remembering every word from before. Maybe, just maybe, she had thought, her stories would create a big enough scandal for Mo Yuan to notice? It was entirely unlikely, but her level of desperation was high enough to pay charlatans to sacrifice chicken and other animals for her, so she could as well believe in a miracle.

“Mr. Mo?” the shaman asked with a low voice and moved closer to the candle. “Three Fingers and a Smile?"

Shao Wan nodded eagerly. The beginning of their story. Nobody could not like it, she was quite certain. Mr. Mo suffered so well. She loved to torture him.

“Mhhhhhh,” the old woman said after a while. “You are much more knowledgeable than you look. Is there more?”

“Yes!” Shao Wan nodded eagerly, “some are written, some in my head.”

“And you would give me these to turn into money?”

“Y...yes.” It would be hard to part with her manuscripts, but the hungry couldn’t pick what they ate.

“Then I will try to reach that god of yours again,” the shaman said and extinguished her pipe. “Let's see how much money your erotica will make and I will tell you how many times I will try to reach that murderous God of yours.”

The second time, it took forever until a connection was established. Thankfully, there was no pain. There was only a black, quiet blankness. She shouted, cursed and begged, but he did not seem to be awake at all.


Mo Yuan knew it was a dream, because even in his dreams, he knew that Shao Wan was dead. The pain caused by her demise was eating away at him, deep down in his core. It had become a part of him and he knew it would never go away, unless he himself ceased to exist. Even in his dreams he knew that trying to get himself killed by lightning torment was something a young, stupid God would do - he should know better that it wouldn’t work. And yet, every day on that platform with Lord Puhua, he hoped it would end him.

In his dream, he woke up on the bed in Zhe Yan’s hut. It was a cloudless night, such that the cold, white beams of the moon which was nearing its full cycle could fall through one of the windows and paint everything it reached in a ghostly light.

There was someone next to him. The someone was lying close and was holding onto his left hand, very tightly. He turned his head to look at who it was. Shao Wan? She looked pale, fragile, almost translucent. You damn fool! The dragon roared in his head and Mo Yuan gasped from the onslaught of anger. “Am I to blame for his?” he whispered, feeling shocked and horrified. He lifted himself up on an elbow, to look at her more closely.

She was breathing, but her beautiful features were showing pain. There was sweat on her forehead and it even looked like she had cried - there were wet streaks on her cheeks. That a woman like her would cry alarmed Mo Yuan and his heart contracted in empathy. Bending over her, he carefully dried her face with the sleeve of his white robe. She did not even stir. What was wrong with her? Mo Yuan thought, feeling great concern. He examined her body with the meager healing abilities he possessed. He did not understand what he saw - where was her life essence? He tried to use soul-searching magic to probe deeper, but his head wanted to split again from the immense pain that immediately followed.

Mo Yuan groaned and put his head down on the pillow until the worst was over and his stomach felt stable. Then, he sat up and looked at Shao Wan again. His eyes fell on the white knuckles of her hand that still held his and would not let go. Why would she do that? Because she loves you, a voice whispered in his head. She needs you and you let her down.

He blinked and swallowed down the lump in his throat. Gently, he brushed a few strands of hair out of her face. He wanted to kiss her, a selfish impulse. For the moment, he continued to look at her still face, drinking in every single aspect of what gave him such joy. He lifted his hand, the one she was not holding, to trace her beautiful features with his fingers. Her stubborn forehead. Her arched brows. Her pointy nose. Her eyelashes. Her cheekbones. Her chin. And finally, her lips.

“Forgive me,” he whispered, overcome by emotions, “please.”

He bent down and kissed her, very tenderly. He did not want to stop. He wanted to continue kissing. He wanted … much more. The Dragon was very pleased at the intimacy and some of the pressure in his head ceased, but it was wrong. It was all wrong. His confusion grew and his heartbeat increased, as did the speed of his breathing.

“Mo Yuan, can you hear me?” a voice said far away. “Will you goddamn listen, you fool?”

Shao Wan next to him opened her eyes. They were blood red. “I will never forgive you for what you have done to me,” she hissed and suddenly, there was a sword in her hand.

“Take your revenge,” he urged her, “I welcome it. I do not want to walk this life without you.”

She plunged the sword into his heart without hesitation. The piercing pain made him grunt. Warm blood started to gush from the wound, soaking his garment, soaking the bed, flowing to the ground and filling up the hut.

“Let’s drown in your blood together,” said Dream Shao Wan, “it seems a fitting death.”

“Mo Yuan!”

Somebody was trying to wake him up.

Again: “Mo Yuan!”

Mo Yuan reluctantly opened his eyes. It was daylight. Which meant he was late for his lightning torment.

“You are bleeding,” Zhe Yan said and pointed at his heart. “You will not go to your lightning torment today.”

“You cannot hold me…” Mo Yuan attempted to get up to take his leave anyway, but he could not move. “Have you bound me?” he asked incredulously.

Zhe Yan looked quite smug. “I had to. These are Donghua Dijun’s new inventions that I am very happy to try on you today. You won’t be able to break them. They will only absorb your powers.”

“How dare you!” Mo Yuan fumed, shaking his arms with the glowing bonds.

“Don’t you think I haven’t realized what you are trying to do,” Zhe Yan said. “I promised Xiaowu I would make you alright and I always take my promises seriously. I will keep you here until I’m certain you stop trying to kill yourself. I am really fond of you. I cannot lose another of my dear old friends so soon.”

Resigned, Mo Yuan let his head sink back onto the pillow. Her presence next to him still felt very real. As real as the blood still seeping from the wound above his heart.

“What happened to her remains?” he asked quietly. He suddenly felt ready to hear everything about the burial rites he had missed. He would go and honor her properly.

“There is a shrine built for worshippers,” Zhe Yan answered. “In Zhang Mei Mountains. They burned her body and scattered the ashes. Some of it remains there. I will take you. But first, you rest.”

Rest...fine, he would rest. Maybe, if he was lucky, he would dream of her again. Dreams were dreams but even if it was the only thing that remained of her, he would take it.

Chapter 3