Fanfic: Mo Yuan and Shao Wan 2.0 - Chapter 4 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 4

written by Panda
consulting/editing by kakashi & LigayaCroft

“You may leave us,” Ye Hua told the obviously relieved Star Lord who retreated with his head bent, almost stumbling in his haste to be gone from their sight.

After his departure, a silence descended upon the remaining men in the grand room. His features as always betraying nothing of what he felt inside, Ye Hua leaned slightly back and studied the man who was seated across from him, his three golden circles crown so heavy that it gave him a slight bent of the head. It looked exceedingly uncomfortable. Ye Hua once again reaffirmed his decision to never wear it when he became Emperor. In fact, he would pass a decree to forbid such headgear entirely.

“Incompetent!” Tianjun ground out, his slightly rheumy eyes studying Ye Hua with annoyance. “It has been decades since the war and you have yet to capture the responsible party! How can we hold our head high and say we are the ruling clan when something so trifling eludes us still!”

Ye Hua bowed his head in acquiescence. “Great Tianjun, I apologize for the failure.”

“We are now the laughing stock of the realms,” Ye Hua’s grandfather continued in disgust. “We should punish that Star Lord severely.”

With his head still bowed, Ye Hua demurred, “Tianjun, if anything, the fault is mine. Due to the Star Lord’s investigations, we now have a little more information about the whereabouts of a possible suspect. However, the Star Lord’s power was greatly diminished where the suspect’s trail disappeared. I think… please permit me to take care of the investigation myself.”

Tianjun shook his head vehemently - which caused an irreverent thought to cross Ye Hua’s mind. Was one of the bobbing suns going to fall off? As he forced himself to listen to his grandfather with an impassive face, he observed with rapt attention as the third sun strayed dangerously close to the ground.

“No, Ye Hua, you cannot leave. I can’t have both you and Mo Yuan traipsing about. Who would protect the Heavens?” Tianjun said with some alarm.

Ye Hua raised his head. “I will do as Tianjun says then. I will find a more powerful person to investigate. It remains a top priority for me.”

Tianjun nodded in agreement. “That is a better idea. If I had been younger, of course I would have gone to investigate myself. I am sure it wouldn’t even have happened as I was very fearsome in my youth, you know.”

Ye Hua nodded dutifully.

Finally, the Tianjun raised himself from his chair with a small groan. “I am off to my quarters now for some rest, make sure you keep me abreast of developments.”

Ye Hua kept his head respectfully bowed as his grandfather made his slow and slightly labored departure from the room. Once Tianjun was out of sight, Ye Hua swiftly moved into the inner chamber and waited for his aide Jia Yun and bodyguard Tian Shu who, according to the usual routine, gathered the mass of scrolls deposited in front of the dais and brought them into the room where he was now seated.

Jia Yun bowed once the scrolls were all there and took his leave. Ye Hua acknowledged him with a nod and watched Tian Shu take his usual position outside the door before he picked the topmost scroll to begin his duties.

An incense stick later, Ye Hua slammed the scroll he had been reading down with some force and got up to pace.

Ever since the war had ended, Ye Hua’s tasks had increased exponentially. So many people and resources had gone into fighting the Yellow bastard, it had taken a huge toll on them and they had still not recovered. Apart from building up their strength again and trying to replenish the resources, the most difficult thing to reconcile was the people.

It had been frightening that there had risen an opponent so strong, he had almost succeeded in beating the Celestial Tribe despite the God of War. All the tribes remained skittish and distrustful ever since and Ye Hua found his days consumed with diplomatic issues more than ever.

Today, however, the usual squabbles were overshadowed by a more pressing matter - the traitor. Contrary to the calm facade he had presented to his grandfather, anyone who knew him better would have realized that under the placid demeanour was an absolutely furious God.

I should be able to find that snake quickly and bring him back to the heavens to face justice, was the foremost thought that ran through his mind as he paced.

Although the Tianjun had told him not to go looking for the Traitor in person, Ye Hua was determined to do his utmost to get a hold of the culprit soonest. To release poison in the Thirty Six Heavens was unforgivable and broke all rules of engagement. Ye Hua couldn’t wait to find the despicable creature who had gone after soft targets such as children, their minders and elderly people. He would tear him apart limb from limb.

It had taken a lot to clear the heavens of the poison even after the Demon Ancestor’s sacrifice and it had also been partially due to luck that the effects had not been more devastating. Clenching his fists when he remembered again with a horrible sinking feeling that A-Li’s life had been under threat, he hit the pillar that was closest to him.

“My, my, someone seems to be in a bad mood today,” quipped a voice in the background.

Swirling around, Ye Hua saw his uncle lounging on a pillow, eating an apple, his always curious eyes focused on him. A sudden idea popped into his head and with a small inward smile, he walked back to his seat.

“Uncle,” he greeted.

“Ye Hua, you were completely lost in thought when I entered. I know the Tianjun came today for an unexpected visit. Hope that isn’t the cause of your bad mood?”

“Uncle, of course not. It is just the usual diplomatic issues.”

“Oh,” Lian Song retorted and with obvious disinterest, focused his attention back on the peach he was eating.

Undeterred by his indifference, Ye Hua pressed on. “Some of our companion tribes have been making demands ever since the war ended. I know they gave a lot of supplies to the war effort, but now they claim they have not been well-compensated despite assurances to the contrary.”

“They dare make demands?” Lian Song quipped, genuinely surprised.

“No, they are not so straightforward. Rather, they cloak their words in flowery tones and strike pitiful notes. I would have disregarded their talks completely but I can’t help but feel a bit guilty. We did enjoy their largesse during the war, we should do a bit more now.”

“Ah!” Lian Song exclaimed “It seems you have already made up your mind as to what to do. That takes care of the problem, right.”

“Hmmm, yes it takes care of that problem, but others remain. Take for instance the petition of the Xì Mǎ Yú tribe,” Ye Hua stated, handing over a scroll to the other man for his perusal.

After glancing over it, Lian Song dropped it with a sigh. “They sure are persistent tribe, aren’t they?”

“Yes, they surely are.”

“And courageous, I must add, even if not wise. Surely, everyone knows you are the person in charge, and therefore that you would be the person to both read their petition and punish the person responsible for maltreating their shaman. Someone who happens to be… YOU.”

“I am sure their King knows that fact,” Ye Hua said with a shrug. “He is a businessman who I think has his eye on making more trade with us. As you read in the petition, he also made references to horses - odd in this context unless he is subtly alluding to something else. I will peruse it further when I have thought more about it.”

Lian Song grunted.

“And also, Uncle, there is this petition from -”

“Ye Hua!” Lian Song exclaimed. “Ah, let’s talk about these issues another time. You know I always used to run from father to avoid such. I guess it’s time to avoid you too, uhn.”

With an inner chuckle that Ye Hua let not escape, he cleared all the scrolls to the stool that stood at his immediate right. “I apologize Uncle, I will deal with these later.”

Lian Song gave a satisfied nod and happily turned back to selecting another peach from the delicious fruit display that had been placed in front of him.

“I also miss not being bothered with diplomatic issues, Uncle.”

“You could have fooled me,” Lian Song muttered under his breath.

Ye Hua disregarded the statement and forged on, slyly observing his uncle. “Despite the headache they induce now, I do remember our trips to the Horse tribe with fondness. You played a very important part in that, do you remember?”

“Of course I do!” Lian Song retorted excitedly. “I was the one who so smartly told the King to ask for an apprenticeship as an alternative since your stubborn brother guards his virtues so well. The perfect solution that fit all. A new disciple for the God of War, horses for us.”

Ye Hua nodded. “Indeed, Uncle. You always come up with great solutions to confounding issues. That is why I feel you would be the perfect person to search for the Poisoner who has eluded us for so long.”

There was a brief period of silence then Lian Song glared at his nephew. “I should have known there was a catch when you started espousing my praises.”

This time, Ye Hua didn’t confine the chuckles that bubbled up inside of him. Their release also relieved the tension he had had in his shoulders.

“Fine, I admit it - you saw right through my ruse, Uncle. But, the truth is, you are the best man for the job.” Ye Hua told Lian Song what the beleaguered Star Lord had reported. “Obviously we need someone with more power to go after him. I planned to go myself but while ordinarily, I would try to work around the Tianjun’s wishes, I must admit I see his point. I need to be here, Uncle. I -”

“Ye Hua,” Lian Song said and interrupted Ye Hua’s flow with a raised palm, his face deadly serious. “Of course I will go. This is no job for a Star Lord.”

Sighing in relief, Ye Hua bowed in gratitude. “Thank you, Uncle.”

Lian Song waved the thanks away. “Of course, it’s my duty to go.” Getting more excited, he stood up and waved his fan around. “And he was last seen in the Demon realm? Maybe I will finally make closer acquaintance of some Demon women? They certainly have their charms.”

Also getting to his feet, Ye Hua nodded. “Indeed. Why, I heard from Qian Qian that Cheng Yu also has a Demon Lord paying court to her.”

Lain Song stopped in his tracks and turned to Ye Hua with slightly panicked eyes, but the latter simply bowed again.

“I am afraid, Uncle, it’s time I go see Qian Qian and the baby. We’ll talk later,” and he hurried out over frantic calls from his Uncle - a huge unseen smile on his face.


A tired but grateful Bai Qian carefully put A-Xi down and then gingerly sat next to him with a heartfelt sigh. A baby growing his back teeth was not a joke as she had recently found out. A-Xi had been a most agreeable baby from birth - always smiley even when growing his first set of teeth and quick to sleep - but this had drastically changed recently. He was now extremely irritable. His sleeping patterns had also been altered such that he hardly slept during the night, but only during the day.

Bai Qian had been terribly disturbed initially when the change in A-Xi had occurred but had been assured by Cheng Yu and Nai Nai that A-Li had gone through the same phase. Although Cheng Yu had volunteered to help out when needed, Bai Qian had refused her help and had also forced Nai Nai to stay away.

She was determined to do this by herself.

No one could understand how pained she had felt when she had had to inquire about A-Li’s habits, so she could compare them to his brother’s. The pain caused by not being around when A-Li had all his milestones was one she had not known still lingered till after having A-Xi. While her brain knew the reason, her heart still ached for what might have been and she was thus determined to not miss a moment of her little one growing up.

However, there was something she hadn’t counted on when she had made that decision - boredom.

By the first Fox Deity’s shiny fur, she was so bored!

Nobody around her could understand how boring watching over a baby was to her. She had loved seeing him coo for the first time, his first true smile and even finally seeing a razor sharp tooth had been a sight that had brought her so much joy. However, in between, nothing happened. A-Xi slept while she waited for him to wake up again, aware she was hovering, but unable to stop.

Since she had decided to attend to A-Xi primarily, she had cancelled her lessons with A-Li and Gun Gun. The two boys had been gratifyingly unhappy and had grumbled a lot but she had assured them she would continue once the baby became older. She and Ye Hua had teased the boys about their despondency and so it had come as a shock to her when she realized some time later how much she missed the activity. The boys had genuinely been a joy to teach, being extremely quick of mind and body. Their antics to escape any form of philosophical teachings had amused her and it had been a pleasure to see the two of them ganging up against her in their battle of wits.

She had looked around for things to occupy herself with and had shocked the maids once more when she announced she was going to do all of Ye Hua’s sewing from there on. There had just been one flaw with that plan - she was remarkably bad at it and all her efforts to get better were futile. Ye Hua had been silent throughout her many failures but the day he had worn a robe she had painstakingly sewn for 3 days and the sleeve had simply unravelled just from pulling a stray thread had been the day she had accepted her defeat. The fact that Ye Hua had made no comment but had simply hugged her, just made her feel worse.

Then, she had tried her hand at painting but that had been half hearted as she knew all along that she was not artistic in any way. Yet, she persevered for a few months until one of her paintings had gotten mistaken by an incredulous A-Li to be A-Xi’s talented scribbling. Pride couldn’t make her correct his assumption but she had locked the other drawings away.

Cheng Yu still came often like a welcome breath of air and always made Bai Qian leave her quarters whenever she came for her visits. They took strolls amongst the heady and now dense Peach blossom trees that Ye Hua had planted. She regaled Bai Qian with wild tales that left her reeling with laughter and made her grateful to have a sister in the palace. However, Bai Qian had told her to stay away for a while until A-Xi got better.

Bai Qian’s thoughts drifted off to her Shifu and Tian Gu. Funny how fighting a war with someone changed your perspectives of them, she mused. When she had initially met the horse princess, she had instantly disliked her. But once at camp with her, her defenses had melted away when she had observed how sweet a person she was. I am glad she is with Shifu. He needs someone like her right now, especially on his journey. Ye Hua had been so proud of himself that his plan to get her Shifu out of Kunlun had worked.

Speaking of Ye Hua, where was he?

On cue, Ye Hua burst into the room - in the process waking up A-Xi who immediately burst into tears.

“Ye Hua!” she whispered furiously and moved to soothe the baby. Striding swiftly towards them, Ye Hua motioned her to sit and picked up the baby, crooning softly and bouncing him. To her mild annoyance, in no time, A-Xi fell asleep again in his arms.

After carefully putting him down, Ye Hua reached out to her and gathered her in his arms. “Qian Qian,” he breathed against her hair, “I have missed you.”

Against her wishes, Bai Qian giggled. “You left my side less than 6 incense sticks ago.”

“6 long sticks ago! No wonder I missed you so,” her roguish husband replied and the two of them shared a deep, passionate kiss.

With her hand in his, Bai Qian led Ye Hua to a seat further from the sleeping baby and sat willingly in his lap as he pulled her there.

“Mmmmm,” Ye Hua murmured nuzzling her neck.

Refusing to be distracted, Bai Qian squirmed until she got a hold of his face and grasped it. “You know what I want.”

Dropping a quick peck on her lips,Ye Hua finally told Bai Qian the gist of the information he had gathered today. He saved the news about the wanted man for last. Immediately after she heard that the latest investigator had failed too, she got up in anger.

“How can he evade even such a Star Lord?” she asked agitatedly.

“Qian Qian, he might have failed but he did manage to glean two potential useful bits of information.” Ye Hua paused to reach for wine and poured a minuscule amount for her too. “It seems he was an old foe of Da-Ge’s. Information suggests he made an armour for the Yellow bastard using his dragon scales. It must have been someone with access to the shrine.”

After the first wave of surprise had washed over her, Bai Qian nodded with a determined air. “No wonder the Star Lord was not able to make headway. This needs someone with far more power.”

Ye Hua nodded in agreement.

“This needs you, Ye Hua! And of course, I will follow along.”

Thoroughly excited now and already making plans, Bai QIan continued, “I will have A-Li go for an extended visit to the Fox Den. Mi Gu will be so happy to have him although he and Gun Gun will run Dong Hua ragged,” she said with a happy chuckle. “That will free up Nai Nai so she can accompany me to care for A-Xi when we go investigating.”

“Qian Qian,” Ye Hua’s quiet voice broke her excited chatter. “Lian Song has volunteered to go. I can’t leave the Heavens now. I am needed here.”

“Oh. Of course. I forgot, he is also immensely powerful. I am sure he will get the culprit.” Shielding her eyes from his, she reached out to pour herself a drink before remembering she shouldn’t imbibe too much and slammed the cup down on the tray with savage but controlled force.

“Qian Qian,” a concerned Ye Hua urgently called on her. “Qian Qian, is everything alright? Please talk to me.”

“I am fine, Ye Hua.” she answered shortly. “I just briefly forgot you couldn’t just leave the Heavens. I got a little excited.”

“Qian Qian - ” Ye Hua’s next words were interrupted by a servant who brought an urgent message from one of their informants.

Seeing that he was torn, Bai Qian stood up. “I am truly fine, Ye Hua. I will see you at night, okay?” Although he still looked undecided, she alleviated his concern by giving him a brief hug and waving cheerfully as he left.

Immediately after he had left the room, she sat down, her tears no longer kept at bay.

No. She was definitely not fine.

Chapter 5