Fanfic: Mo Yuan and Shao Wan 2.0 - Chapter 7 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 7

written by kakashi
editing LigayaCroft and Panda

Every year on the 4th of May, Donghua Dijun felt a strange, half pleasant, half unpleasant sensation. In a life as long as his, particular points in time hardly play a role, but the 4th of May was different. Maybe it was because of the enraptured faces of the newly ascended passing through Qing Yun Hall on the morrow, a reminder for someone like him what a great blessing immortality was. Or maybe it was because this celebration of new immortal life reminded him so keenly of death, the great Nothingness, the inevitable end.

Keeping the immortal records was the only responsibility he had not relinquished to Tianjun yet. He had cut all other ties to the Heavens easily when he had wed Fengjiu, the current Queen of Qing Qiu. So it was strange even to him that giving away titles to the newly ascended was something he could not let go of. It must be sentimentality, a common affliction of the old. Apparently, even he was not immune to it.

As every year on the day before the Festival, he sat on his dais in Taichen Palace and let his mind wander to wherever it wanted to go.

First, he thought about dust and how remarkable it was that there never seemed to be any in the Heavens when there was so much of it in the Fox Den. Maybe, he surmised, it had something to do with the number of maids scurrying about soundless and almost invisible up here. Some of them must be ceaselessly dusting. Were they perhaps called Dust Maids? Should he inquire? After a bit of pondering, he decided against it. He was not that interested after all.

Second, he looked at the teacup in his hand and thought about different teas at length, ending up marvelling at how interesting it was that Da Hong Pao tasted different here in the Heavens from how it tasted elsewhere. Tea brewed at Kunlun had a special taste, Qing Qiu tea had another, and in the mortal realm, the taste was different yet again. But was it only the water that made the difference or could it be something else? Would tea brewed from Kunlun water in the Heavens taste the same as Kunlun tea at Kunlun, for example? Or could it be the air? He made a mental note to investigate this.

Third, he thought about his friend, Mo Yuan. The youngest among them, yet the most heavily burdened with responsibilities due to his lineage. It must have been a crushing disappointment when his father preferred someone who came out of a rock to his true born son, but being filial through and through, he had never shown it. He had taken on his role as Taoist monk and the God of War with fervor, like it was the only purpose he had ever known, and he had done everything in his powers to be the protector of the realms, however high the cost. Dijun had sometimes wondered about Father Immortal’s decision and recently, the thought had taken root in him that it had had more to do with the Golden Lotus, now Ye Hua, the Crown Prince, than Father Immortal actually dismissing his son’s capabilities.

Fourth, Donghua realized that this old issue between them was not the true reason he thought of Mo Yuan on this day that reminded him equally of life and of death. Of course, it was because of Shao Wan, the fiercest and most passionate among them. He would have bet his left foot and right hand back at school these two would end up a couple. Never had he seen Mo Yuan more alive than when around her and her more grounded than when around him. How cruel was the Universe to separate two lovers so clearly made for each other, not only once but twice - thrice even? What wrong had they done to be punished like this?

He heaved a sigh.

Then, he thought about what he could do to provide his friend - who was about to leave his mountain - with a little diversion. He got up and went over to the shelves in which he kept a few very valuable manuscripts. While browsing through them, he realized Mo Yuan had already read them all and probably wouldn’t care to own them; Kunlun’s library was already vast and Mo Yuan had spent half his life collecting particular ancient scrolls of value to him. Maybe some music? Perhaps he should go to the mortal realm and search for a good zither score Mo Yuan did not already have. But what would Mo Yuan do with it in the Demon Realm? Study them? Would he bring his zither? That seemed unlikely. What if…

“Donghua Dijun,” said a throaty voice from the entrance, interrupting his train of thought.

“Star Lord Si Ming,” the white-haired god greeted his retainer, feeling an instant foreboding. “What brings you here?”

“I… I fear you should come see for yourself, Dijun,” Si Ming sighed.

It was trouble indeed. At this time, Si Ming should be busy overseeing the washing of the immortals in the Jade Pond and be readying everything for the festivities tomorrow, not paying him a visit at his palace.

“What news from the Demon Realm?” he asked the Star Lord as he followed him through the vastness of the palace area. It had been very useful to have Si Ming directly at the source, so to speak - else, they might not have been alerted to the brewing Demon trouble as early.

“News of High God Mo Yuan’s imminent arrival has spread like a wildfire. The Demons are equally excited and outraged,” Si Ming chattered. “I am not quite sure how High God Mo Yuan will fare there though… the Demon Tribe is… rather different.” Si Ming grinned happily.

“He’ll be fine,” Donghua chuckled. Rather different was good for Mo Yuan. Anything to shock him out of his resigned state was very welcome. And if anything could do it, it was the unrestrained shamelessness of the Demon Tribe. It wasn’t unlikely he’d find Demon Ladies in his bed, like he once had. Donghua chuckled at the memory. Throwing them out every night had been such a blast. Maybe Mo Yuan would be similarly entertained.

When they finally reached the Lotus Pond, Donghua slowed down. The pool was full of newly ascended immortals splashing and washing off the dust of mortality while rainbow birds flew overhead chirping merrily - everything was as it should be. Only… at the edges of the Pond, several of the invaluable Lotus Flowers looked shriveled and ill.

“When did this start?” Donghua asked.

“I only discovered it a few hours ago,” Si Ming answered, “but it seems to be spreading.”

Donghua lifted his hand and guided some energy towards the Lotus Flowers. Briefly, their petals shone in immortal light, before they turned a sad brown again. Frowning now, Donghua lifted one up from the water and examined it from all sides.

“Is it… poison?” Si Ming whispered. There was a chill in his voice that made Donghua look up to see whether the sun was still shining.

“It seems to be,” he said slowly. Cheng Yin’s poison… it was back.


When Shao Wan came to and opened her eyes, it was so horribly bright, she preferred to close them again instantly. She heard birds chirp in the air and her nose was assaulted by the heady scent of blooming lotus. What the…? Could she be...

“Star Lord Si Ming! Here’s another one!” somebody shouted above her and she gasped in fright at the sudden sound. Carefully peeking out underneath slitted eyelids, she perceived a Celestial in white, leaning over her, just about to poke her with a golden stick.

Si Ming? That waddling friend of Donghua’s who always grinned? Well met! She hadn’t seen Donghua in ages. Having a welcome drink with him would be such a treat!

She jumped up, frightening the slender Celestial, who jumped back, then quickly bowed to her. She inclined her head back. Better be polite and not anger any Celestials on the first day of her return. Yes, this time, she would make sure not to lose her temper often. Gradually opening her eyes wider, she took in the sights around her. Clouds, pink, gold, white, azure, more clouds, more clouds. Lots of light. Clouds. Pink clouds. She shuddered.

Yes, she had not been mistaken earlier: it seems like she had materialized in the Great Overarching Heaven (大羅天 - Daluo Tian). No wonder everything felt unfamiliar. The Celestial energies flowed like soft silk around her, caressing her skin, susurrating in her ear.

Si Ming appeared in her field of vision, scurrying in her direction. He was busy checking a ledger, blinking rapidly. “This is very strange,” he murmured, “which one is it?”

“Si Ming, look up! It’s me! The Demon Ancestor!” she wanted to shout, but instead, something that felt very much like a sharp and very pointy knife was rammed into her throat and she could only gargle in horror.

He stopped and looked down at her, frowning. “Pray, what is your name, new immortal?”

“Shao Wan!” she wanted to shout, but gargling was all that came out again. She was beginning to feel annoyed and, admittedly, a bit worried. What was wrong with her voice? Why did Si Ming not know her? And when would she get a choice to become a Demon again?

Si Ming’s frown deepened. “Don’t be frightened. Did you get lost? It’s almost time for the ceremony.”

He bent down a little and, to her mortification, sniffed at her with a wrinkled nose. “Hm. You desperately need to wash.”

Signalling the Celestial with the stick to come closer again, he ordered him with a stern voice to take her to the Pond to “wash the mortal dust off”. She was too outraged and muddle-headed to say anything when the Stick-Celestial herded her in front of him rather ungently towards a vast pond, from which that horrible Lotus smell emanated.

“In!” the Stick-Celestial ordered her. She glared at him viciously, but he was completely unimpressed and pushed her so suddenly with the pointy end of his stick that she fell in head first. She surfaced quickly, sputtering perfumed water. It was so embarrassing. She would make this maggot pay!

“Wash!” the Stick-Celestial barked at her. “We can’t have anyone reeking like a mortal!”

The water around her was warm and pleasant. Looking down, she realized she was wearing a thin white garment that floated merrily around her. Thin… what… she shouted in horror. Her body! Thin! Tiny! No breasts! Minuscule feet! Stick legs! Stick arms! Her hands went up to her face, but that was useless, so she bent down to have a look at her reflection in the pond. It was hard to see anything in the rippling water, but this was not her face.

She burst into tears.

“Is something the matter?” Si Ming asked who had stepped closer to see what this commotion was.

“I do not know, Star Lord,” said the Stick-Celestial with a disgusted look on his face, “she is crying.”

“From joy?”

“It does not seem like it.”

Tears were streaming down her face like waterfalls. Never in her life had she cried like this. It was shameful. She hid her face away, but that did not stop the eye water crisis. Slowly realizing what must have happened, she wanted to scream insults at Fate, but her muteness continued and her current brain could not even think of anything sufficiently rude right now.

It was not over. It was by far not over.

“I’ll put her to sleep,” Si Ming said mildly, though there was a strain in his voice, betraying his agitation, “very rarely, this happens, when they’re overwhelmed by all the beauty up here. She will be awake and tranquil in time for the ceremony. I hope.”

A gentle light enveloped her and all went black.


When Shao Wan came to again, she remembered where she was and what had happened and it instantly turned on the waterfalls again. It was so unfair! Another tense-looking Celestial servant, obviously put on a vigil next to her to wait for her to regain consciousness, quickly put a pill into her mouth, and waited with his hands in fists and bated breath for it to take effect. Whatever it was, it did calm her down quickly and to her delight, the tears stopped.

“Thank you,” she managed to whisper. The Celestial nodded and smiled. He seemed very relieved himself.

A few other heads appeared above her. They belonged to several gentle looking Celestials, men and women, dressed in soft white garments, their hair bound up tightly, who smiled at her curiously.

“Are you alright?”

“What is your name?”

“Can you walk?”

She gingerly sat up and nodded at all of them, feeling another water crisis coming on. Was everybody here nice?

“We haven’t seen you around before,” a young, beautiful man said and bent down a little to look at her face, “have you been hiding? You look shy. Don’t be. We all help each other.”

“Get in line!” somebody shouted from further up.

“It’s starting,” a beautiful woman whispered and her eyes grew large as moons as she clasped her hands in front of her mouth. The mouth was beautiful too. Everything and everyone was beautiful.

Shao Wan looked around her. She was lying on a stretcher at the bottom of very steep and long stairs, on top of which stood an ornate and magnificent building with tourmaline beams and amethyst walls, surrounded by cerulean clouds. It was the most impressive and most beautiful building she had ever seen.

“What will he ask us you think?” a man said and his teeth chattered from fright. “What if he deems us unworthy?”

“I heard you just need to recount your merits that got you to ascend and will then be rewarded the appropriate title. I think it’s perfunctory?” somebody whispered back.

“Are you sure?”

“I’ve heard they have rejected applicants before!” somebody else said gravely, “better prepare yourselves!”

“Can you stand?” The Celestial servant asked and nudged her.

She could. Standing on her tiny stick legs felt precarious though and she quickly grabbed the servants arm for balance. “I’ll help you,” he offered and gently guided her up the steps to stand behind another white-robed Celestial. She was the last in two long lines that led all the way up the steep stairs to the magnificent building.

Ah, now she understood. It was a dream! That revelation was such a relief, she laughed. Just a dream! She would soon wake up in Zhang Mei Mountains, in her proper, strong, glorious body.

The Celestials before her turned around and smiled at her. “Rejoice!” one said, beaming at her, “immortality awaits.”

“Enter and bow to the former Heavenly Lord, Donghua Dijun!” the herald at the top of the stairs boomed. Slowly, the two lines started shuffling up the stairs. Excitement filled the air like a jubilant song.


Donghua sat high on the golden throne, looking down at the two long lines of bowing, newly ascended immortals with his usual air of great indifference. This year, there seemed to be slightly more individuals than last year. The stories of their ascension adventures ranged from utterly boring to mildly fascinating and he had to try hard not to yawn. It always scared them horribly when he did.

Just now, a stunning woman bowed and began to recount her adventures following the third school of immortality, Fángzhōng Zhī Shù (房中之术). When she began with man number one, Donghua lifted his eyebrows ever so lightly. Ah, now this would be interesting. Number two and number three were quickly done. Four took a bit longer to recount. Five…

“Donghua Dijun,” Si Ming whispered at his ear came the detailed recounting of the twelfth man, “it has been brought to my attention that this is... improper.”

“Oh? But the sexual behaviors between a man and woman are identical to how the universe itself came into creation,” Donghua said back, “‘Like Heaven and Earth, male and female share a parallel relationship in attaining an immortal existence. Engaging in the utmost joys of sensuality, applying the principles of yin and yang to their sexual activity, their health, vigor, and joy of love will bear them the fruits of longevity and immortality.’ So it is written.”

“But to hear all the details…”

Somebody gasped loudly from the back and if Donghua was not very much mistaken, that gasp was followed by some rather foul words. Unusual for someone to take that much offense. Today was not a good day for any commotions.

“Thank you,” he nodded at the woman who had gained immortality by acquiring the sexual essence of a thousand males through absorption, “your dedication is remarkable. The tales of 50 men will suffice. You shall carry the title zhiren. May your immortal days be blessed.”

The ceremony continued until, at the the very end, there remained a somewhat wide-eyed tiny woman who was leaning on one of the aides for strength. Donghua squinted. Eight Hundred Forty Six was the number this year. Why were there Eight Hundred Forty Seven?

“Are we not done?” he asked Si Ming who, he noticed just now, fidgeted nervously beside him.

“It … seems to be an unscheduled ascension?”

“Oh?” Donghua bent down a little and scrutinized the female… who seemed to glare at him viciously. He leaned back. Extraordinary. “When did that ever happen before?”

“I have found no records, my Lord,” Si Ming said, “I have looked all night.”

“Immortal,” Donghua addressed the small creature, “whence do you come from? What’s your name?”

The woman took a deep breath and seemed to want to shout something, but instead, she only gargled. It was a horrible sound. Several of the newly ascended shouted in fright.

“Oh, she’s a mute? How curious,” Donghua remarked.

“That’s a first, too,” Si Ming murmured. “I have never heard of a mute immortal.”

The female gargled again. It sounded very rude.

“Why is she glaring at me like that?” Donghua mused.

“Presumptuous!” Si Ming squealed.

“Which lower realm did she come from?”

“I… I have no record of her previous lives either.”

Donghua made a “hmmmm” sound. Very suspicious. Of course, that other time someone had meddled with the mortal records came to mind. He had been Heavenly Lord back then and very inconveniently, it had nearly ended in a disaster for Mo Yuan.

“With the recent developments… we cannot be too careful,” he mused. Was it possible she was a spy? That would take quite a bit of skill. He got up. “I will go talk to Tianjun and Lian Song afterward. We need to go on a lock-down. Nobody enters or leaves the Heavens without explicit permission.”

“Yes, Lord,” Si Ming bowed, “this is a prudent decision. But what shall we do with her?”

Donghua looked down at the frail woman again. Using his powers, he probed her soul essence. Curious and curiouser.

“She is hiding something,” he murmured. Or someone was hiding something for her? “But she hardly has any immortal powers. She is not threat to any of us. Make her work as a maid.”

“A maid?”

“One of those that dust?”

Si Ming blinked.

“There are no maids who dust?”

“I think dusting is a task assigned to the maids who wash our garments?” Si Ming said.

“Ah. Then let her be a maid who washes things. Put her in the care of someone capable and tell them to keep an eye on her.”

Donghua threw the plain woman a last look. It took courage to look at him with such obvious will to offend. “Clear the hall. I will check the recordings in the Lianxin Mirror now. Since she is unable to tell us her name, put her in your ledger as Sùnǚ (素女—Plain Girl).”

Again, the creature gargled at him, her eyes shooting another array of hostile projectiles in his direction. Suddenly, Donghua Dijun felt an ominous shudder creep up his spine. Inauspicious. First the poison, now this.

It looked like he could not return to Fengjiu as quickly as he had hoped… maybe he could not return for a very long time.