Fanfiction 2: Moyuan and Bai Qian - Chapter 17, Part 3 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 17 - The Plan

Part 3

written by LalaLoop
edited by kakashi

“And so the king ruled his kingdom with justice and grace to the end of his days.”

The woman closed the storybook and smiled at her son who was sitting inside a cot, separated from her by the wooden bars.

The 100-year-old boy possessed bright eyes and a certain look of curiosity on his face. In the cot, he was having the best of time with a little anklet held in his small fingers, a beautifully made anklet with little bells that made silvery sounds. He liked the silver bells so much that she had allowed him to play with it instead of wearing it.

When the story was over, he made an excited sound and pointed at the armor his mother was wearing, possibly thinking this was another one of his parents’ acts to tell him stories of ancient warriors. And it was the innocence in those eyes that send tears to her own.

For the last few days they had tried to keep the disturbing matter among themselves. But even the boy could feel that something was wrong. People kept rushing in and out of his room in armors, pulling either his mother or father away while they were playing with him. He could hear his parents talking in loud voices, arguing about something he could not understand, somewhere his father did not want his mother to go to. Most of the times, he quickly lost interest in those complicated exchanges and went back to his toys.

But tonight, it was quiet again. His mother had been sitting with him, making pretty lights and animals from silver mist with her magic, laughing along with him. She had even read him a story. Such luxury compared to the last several days.

So innocent. So blissfully unaware, the woman smiled.

Her eyes blankly stared into the distance - the pillars of the sky were falling. The Demon army was breaking through every fortress and gaining great advantage over them, grasping the opportunity to attack the neighbor realms and tribes. And her husband had been hesitating to make the decision. He had been ordering different kinds of magic to be tested on the broken pillars. He wanted to find another way; but she knew that just like her, he had realized that there was no other way. Once the pillars of the sky fell, all would sink into darkness. The mortal realm and all the they had vowed to protect would perish. One second passed was one second wasted. And he could not stall forever. They both knew too well that she alone held the power to repair this damage.

She had done it once before. But this time around… this time it would require all of her powers. All of her powers at once and the pillars would stand again, shielding the Celestial troops, giving her husband the advantage to move on with his battle plan.

She quietly put the book aside. Inside the cot, the boy raised his arms, trying to tell his mother to pick him up. But she simply shook her head with a smile, her lips a strict thin line. After a few seconds, the boy gave up without making a fuss.

“My dear one,” she whispered through the bars, her voice as soft as a lullaby. “Tomorrow, you will not find me here. Or anywhere ever again.”

He looked back at her with big, shining eyes, clutching the anklet with both hands, his mouth a circle of curiosity, clearly unaware of the significance of the words he was hearing.

“And I am sorry. But this…this is what I do. This is what we do. We protect. Even if it means parting with what you hold dear.”

Tears started to choke her, but she swallowed them back. These were her last seconds - and she would not make her last image a mournful one.

“So promise me, because I need you to. Promise me you will be strong. Be strong… And live your life well.”

As if sensing she was wanting to leave, the boy extended his arms towards her again.

But without complying with his wish, she rose to her feet. She could not bear to touch him, afraid she would never find the strength to let go, more afraid to offer him the comfort that would soon be ripped away. No, it was better like this.

Quietly, the Mistress of Kunlun took one last look at her son’s little figure inside the cot, then turned on her heels and strode away.

Dropping the anklet, the boy grabbed onto the bars to pull himself up, wondering where his mother could be going.

But when it looked to him like she was not going to come back any time soon, he dropped down and went back to playing with his anklet, raising it above his head, shaking it to make more noises, not knowing that later that night, his father would come rushing into the room, waking him up with his desperate cries for his missing wife. Nor did he know that very soon afterward, he would see a great fire rising, after which the eight realms would soon return to peace again - and there would be no more people going in and out of his room with weapons anymore. And the least did he know that he would spend the next several weeks wondering why a strange person called “celestial maid” would read him the stories from his favorite book, and not his mother.


It was late in the afternoon. Zheyan and Donghua were outside, having a duel with wooden swords. Moyuan had decided to settle at one of the desk in the hall, flipping through his book, occasionally glancing up to see who was winning.

“Excuse me.”

Moyuan jumped. He looked up to the side to see the girl whom his father had just introduced to the class today standing in front how him with a thick book - whose size was about half of her own - held tightly in her arms. His father had not told him which clan she was from, only that she was about the same age as he and Zheyan, an orphan, and very good in many subjects. The girl’s hair was held in a high bun by an abnormally large hairpin and she had a rather bossy look on her face. And unlike them, she was not in her school robe.

She was probably wondering why he wasn't out there with the rest of the students. Or maybe she needed help with the homework?

“What's your name?”


“What's your name?” she repeated impatiently. “I know you are our Shifu’s son; but I just got here, Shifu hasn't told me your name yet.”

“Moyuan,” he said, smiling. “And you are...”

But before he could finish, the girl continued.

“Mo -- Yuan… Like ‘deep’ and ‘dark’?” her nose wrinkled. She obviously had found something wrong with his name.

“Yes. So?” he said, prepared to give her a lecture about how and why this name had been given to him. But to his surprise, she smiled.

“Nothing. It's just you don't look like that to me at all. You look really bright and happy.”

Was that a compliment or a joke? Moyuan frowned.

“Where is your school robe?” he asked.

“Oh, the Seniors said that it should be sent to my room tomorrow,” she replied, tiptoeing and glancing down at her clothes and the slippers with embroidered butterflies. “Shifu told me I could wait until then but I really wanted to come to class today.”

“It’s not a problem,” said Moyuan quickly, afraid she might have misunderstood that he was making fun of her appearance. “I was just curious.”

But the girl simply smiled again. And just when he was about to ask if she wanted to set that heavy book down for a minute, she spoke.

“What's that?” she pointed at the anklet he had put out on his desk.

“It's an… anklet,” he flushed, realizing how strange it must have looked to someone who didn't know what it really was. The truth was, he only wanted to see if it needed cleaning or polishing.

“I know what it is. I just meant that… it looks so beautiful. And the pattern is so unique.”

“My mother made it herself,” said Moyuan proudly.

“Your mother?” she gasped, brushing her hand across her nose. “The High Goddess who repaired the pillars of the sky and saved the eight realms? No wonder!”

The girl stared at the silver anklet rather respectfully. And this just improved his opinion of her by a fair amount, enough for him not to feel too awkward when she went on to open the thick book and started to read at his desk. 


“Lost it!” exclaimed Shaowan, blowing her hair out of her face, the large hairpin on one side of her head glittering in the sunlight. “How did you even lose it? Don't you always keep it inside your sleeve pocket?”

“He took it out to polish it and might have left it in the tent or… somewhere,” answered Zheyan. “I don’t know… We couldn’t find it anywhere now.”

“You mean it was stolen?” said Shaowan, her eyes huge. “Someone broke into your tent? How could that be? There are protective enchantments around! Did… did anything else get stolen?”

“Well, no,” said Zheyan. “None of us left anything in there; just clothes and some food. I don’t think anyone could have broken in, either. Unless it was one of our Seniors, or someone who used some kind of forbidden magic.”

“Are you sure you've looked everywhere?” asked Donghua, looking genuinely concerned.

“Yes, I have,” said Moyuan wearily. He had gone through his clothes, searched every nook and corner of their tent and gone to every places they had been to, hoping to find it.

While Zheyan and Donghua were quite understanding about his precious anklet being lost, Shaowan was wearing an I-told-you-so look with her hands on her hips.

“Did you really have to bring it along? I keep telling you: the best way to keep something safe is not to always keep it with you. Did you ever consider locking it inside a box somewhere?”

“Like I don’t know that!” protested Moyuan, looking back at her defiantly. “But this… this is different. I didn’t want to lose it.”

“Well, I hate to break it to you, but you just did. You’re 1,200 years old, stop carrying a baby anklet around all the time!”

You’re 1,200 years old, stop wearing that glittery orange butterfly hairpin all the time, Moyuan wanted to say back. But he had a feeling that this remark would not do him any good.

Not wanting to argue anymore, Moyuan sank onto the grass with his back to Shaowan, Donghua and Zheyan. It was bad enough that he had lost something that his mother had left him, he did not need to hear someone pointing out how stupid he had been for letting it happen. Maybe Shaowan was right - he could have just left it in a safe box back at Kunlun. But he just had to bring it along on this camping trip where he’d known they would have to climb trees and fish and put up tents like mortals. The chance of things getting lost on the way was high.

Probably having noticed that she had been too insensitive, Shaowan dropped down next to him, her arms around her knees, her tone still impatient but significantly softened.

“Do you reckon someone took it? Maybe it was one of the Ghost boys we bumped into this morning?”

“They couldn't have... And why would they even want it?”

“I don't know. We had a fight with them after all. They looked like they would do anything to annoy us.”

Moyuan looked away, wishing no more than to be left alone. And after several minutes of silence, he started to hear his friends leaving.

But only two seconds later, he saw a hand sticking out in front of his face, holding a fresh pear.

“No, thanks, I’m fine,” Moyuan scowled at the fruit but then immediately regretted his bluntness - the last thing he wanted to do was offend his friends and their good intentions.

“Don’t be ridiculous.Take it!” Shaowan snapped, thrusting the pear at him. “Donghua and I got a whole basket for all of us.”

Moyuan reluctantly took the pear.

“Don't worry,” she took a bite from her own pear. “If no one took it, it's probably just here somewhere. We’ll find it.”

Shaowan then stood up and shook away the grass and other things that were stuck in her dress. “Let's go back. Shifu should be here any moment. He'll want to hear what we've done today.”

And with that she quickly headed in the direction of their tent.

Maybe one day it would turn up somewhere, Moyuan told himself, somewhere unexpected. That was what usually happened after all: lost things coming back to you when you least expected it.

“Come on, Moyuan. Tea’s ready!” Zheyan’s voice boomed from the other side of the meadow. “We don’t want to keep Shifu waiting!” 


The chillness in the air and the howling wind outside of his tent were nothing compared to the prospect of tomorrow. This was the eve of battle - his last chance to make her understand how important she was to them all, the task Zheyan and Donghua had entrusted him with. But so far, he was failing. Facing Shaowan in her armor, Moyuan could not help but ask himself how it had come to this, how this day had come so much sooner than he had wanted, than any of them had wanted.

“This is the last time I will ask you this,” he said, not really wanting to hear the answer. “Would you trust us to help you should the Demon and Ghost allies lose the battle tomorrow?”

“And how would I explain myself to my tribe, my people, my followers who have placed their trust in me? How would I justify receiving shelter from the enemy?”

“Would you trust us to help you?”

“My loyalty has found its place, and it is not Kunlun.”

“Would you trust us -- to help you?”


“Shaowan,” he looked at her, stating once again the truth, “we are friends.”

Shaowan smiled. It seemed that she understood. But he also knew from that smile that his effort to convince her had been futile.

“What I would not give to go back to those days,” her eyes were determined yet glazed with unshed tears. “Where there were just the four of us against the whole world. But we cannot. We each have our own beliefs, our own judgement and duty. I cannot make you abandon yours and you should never try to alter mine. Let us give each other one last act of courtesy and all fight our best tomorrow. That is the only way we can live with ourselves.”

Moyuan fell silent. He hated to admit that she was right. Shaowan had always been destined to walk on a different path from the rest of them. Their long years of friendship could not change the obligations thrust upon each, or the difference in principle they could no longer avoid. Shaowan would rather die with her people than live under the enemy’s mercy. Perhaps she did treasure their friendship as much as they did, but in the end, it could not stand a chance against her unwavering loyalty to her people.

“Moyuan,” her soft voice jabbed him. “When this is over, let us all be friends again. Tea and music and magic fights.”

Tea and music, magic fights, games of war, chases on the peaceful meadow - vivid in his head as if it were yesterday yet seemingly belonging to a different lifetime now.

“I hope you will find what you have lost,” she continued. “I know you’ve never stopped thinking about it. I hope you will see it again one day. And if you do, keep it safe.”

“But not by keeping it with you all the time,” they both said, on each of their faces a smile.

Then, as if afraid that the familiarity of this moment would make her stray from the goal, the Demon High Goddess turned around and walked from him without a single glance back.


But Shaowan would have been disappointed. He had not been able to keep it safe. He had watched it burn. Just as he’d had to watch her burn.

Because Qingcang had planned it so. So that even if he was the winner, even if he would find the little anklet and hold it safely in his hand, he would still have but one choice: to let it go, let it be destroyed.

And there was fire again - fire emerging from within his chest, spreading to his limbs, burning his organs. Now fire was everywhere he turned. Fire. And the Bell.

While he was forced to the ground, a black figure bolted away and into the Crimson Fire of the Bell. Another figure followed closely behind.

Not them… Not them too… 

They would eternally run away from his protection. They would never heed his advice nor turn back despite his calling. And she… she thought of him as a great protector who knew no failure, while the fact was he had failed to protect every single person that mattered - his friend, his disciples, his brother.

The pure trust in her eyes was a source of pain.

He suddenly let out a small gasp when something ice-cold was dabbed on his forehead in a rather abrupt manner. A pair of hands, gentle yet quite reluctant, slightly pulled on his lapel. A cold cloth was swept over his burning neck and shoulders.

Awareness started to creep back to him.

Were his disciples back yet? He had sent them all away so that less people would have to worry should he return in an inelegant state; but they could be back any moment.

But he did not have the strength to question anything now. His head was still spinning. He could hear distorted voices around and the were becoming clearer, though he was still having trouble registering the words.

“Why is he still unconscious? It’s been hours!”

“Don’t talk to Zheyan like that! He’s doing everything he can! If you’re going to blame someone, blame your hero. I tried to tell him it was an insane idea but he insisted on testing it out.”

They are both here… They are both safe…

“I’m sorry. I received a lecture about how my reckless action during the battle have worried everyone. Reckless? Is this not the definition of ‘reckless’?”


“Forgive my incivility, High God.”

“No matter, Your Highness. Don’t apologize for reacting correctly. And no, Xiaowu, Moyuan was not testing out anything. He did exactly what needed to be done to break the enchantment.”

“How could you take his side, Zheyan? He locked me in a shield.”

“There now, let's put aside your pride for a moment. Moyuan did not become the God of War by giving out orders and hoping that people would follow them. It is always his job to make sure orders are followed.”

“Be fair, Zheyan. Our friend’s tendency to withhold information can be quite vexing. A bit of explanation beforehand wouldn’t have hurt anyone.”

“Thank you, Lord Donghua.”

“But Zheyan is right, High Goddess, and Your Highness. High God Moyuan did what needed to be done.”

“Don’t look too troubled, Xiaowu. You did well.”

“You mean… you mean this? Please don’t mention it. I’m just glad I haven’t killed anyone.”

“You destroyed the soul-gathering device. That was the goal.”

Above his head, worried voices carried on with the conversation. He wanted to speak up, to tell them all was well, that he was not as delicate as they believed. But his body would not obey. And the truth was every inch of him hurt. His head felt like it could explode any moment, his eyelids as heavy as lead. The more he fought, the worse it became. The feeling of being burned from within still prolonged. Was it because of the strikes he had received, the aftereffect of the vile enchantment he had taken in, or some kind of healing magic from the Zheyan?

A moment later, a force of power hit him straight on the chest. The voices started to fade and he was deep in sleep once again.


Bai Qian’s eyes fluttered open when she felt a cloak being placed on her. Still nestling half of her face in her arms, she squinted and saw the back of Zheyan’s figure, who was walking to the far side of the room with another cloak in his hands, towards the table where Yehua had fallen asleep at. Bai Qian could notice that while she was lounging across her own table, Yehua looked far more graceful and proper in sitting posture. Carefully Zheyan put the cloak around the closed eyed Crown Prince and just as quietly as he had entered, he exited.

The next time Bai Qian woke up from her drowse, there was no sign of Yehua in the room. He had probably had to go back to the Nine Heavens, she massaged her sore shoulders, he had been here almost all night after all.

It seemed none of her Seniors were back yet. It was fortunate, thought Bai Qian, that Zheyan and Lord Donghua had already been present at Kunlun hall upon their return from the cave, otherwise things could have been much worse. For one thing, Moyuan had almost fallen completely unconscious by the time they had reached Kunlun and she herself had been so exhausted and panicky that she’d almost burst out in tears thinking she would have to bear his weight and walk all the way to the nearest room and then cloud-jump to the Peach Blossom Garden to fetch the Old Phoenix.

Afterward, when Yehua had arrived, his bloodless face and alarmed expression had made her believe for a moment that he had been seriously ill. And she’d almost cursed at herself for being so forgetful when it’d suddenly snapped in her mind that the connection between the twins was still present, and that Yehua must have felt the effect of the strikes Moyuan had withstood to a certain degree.

On the whole, the shock and exhaustion of the evening had made Bai Qian feel that nothing in all heavens and earth could be better than some food made by her Second Senior and a bed to rest on. Which was, Bai Qian groaned, exactly what she would do after Moyuan would have woken up and let her know for sure he was well.

Lifting herself up from the table and rubbing her eyes, she noticed that Moyuan was sleeping quite peacefully on his bed. She stood up, still keeping the cloak around herself, and approached him, trying to make as little noise as she could. Sitting down on the bedside, Bai Qian sighed at the sight of his clenched fist clasping the blanket and the crease between his brows.

Not as peacefully as she had thought.

She reached forward, gently uncoiled his hand and kept her fingertips intertwined with his.

She could tell the unsettled look on his face was not only because of the pain. Why did it always look like he was fighting a battle?