Fanfic: Mo Yuan and Shao Wan 2.0 - Chapter 16 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 16

written by kakashi
edited by LigayaCroft/Panda


Menacingly, a fan closed right in front of her nose, sending a sharp gush of air into her face. Shao Wan’s feet skidded on the polished floor as she came to an immediate stop, her heart drumming rapidly in her chest.

The Third Prince stepped out from behind a red pillar. For someone whose face usually showed either boredom or quiet amusement, he looked very grim.

I knew he was a dangerous man, Shao Wan thought and quickly looked down, like a properly trained maid would. Only, she wasn’t dressed as a maid anymore. It wasn’t opportune to be caught like this, but she really had no time for games. Attack him? She would if she had to, even though she knew she stood no chance, weak as she was.

“Spy, where are you headed to so determinedly, dressed like a man?” The Prince asked slowly. She could feel his piercing eyes on her, likely trying to probe deep, maybe to see her soul essence.

She curtsied and made sure to keep her head down. Just let me pass, she hoped, if the Stick Celestial has to wait for too long, he might get impatient and will do something stupid.

She had cajoled Yin Guan into meeting her at the South Gates, telling him she would help him get to the mortal world to reconnect with his lover. Indeed, the Turtles knew a secret passage out of the Heavens. However, since the Celestials took this lockdown rather seriously, Shao Wan wasn’t quite sure what to expect in terms of extra defenses and guards inside and outside. So, let Master Stick, who had been so eager to sell her out the moment he had an opportunity, be the one to get severely punished if they were caught. She would let him go first and would only follow once the air was proven clear.

“Look at me,” the Prince ordered.

“Your Highness,” she whispered, “it is untoward to…”

“You can drop the act,” he said coldly. “You may be no spy, but you sure are something. You are smart, but not smart enough. If you were, you would not have let me see that you are not afraid of anything.”

Oh, but she was! She was afraid she had made bad decisions, she was afraid she had miscalculated horribly, she was afraid that she was fooling herself, she was...

“Who are you?” he continued his investigation when she lifted her head. “Or rather… what are you? You move with the certainty of a queen.”

I cannot tell you, she thought and shook her head with remorse.

“You are being punished for something,” he observed further, “and whatever curse is on you prevents you from saying anything. Can you write it down? Probably not.”

Of course not. Her hands would not perform the task of writing or drawing at all. She shook her head again. Please let me go.

“So you are planning to break out of here? Cheng Yu might have given you these clothes,” the Third Prince said, looking over her disguise, maybe even recognizing the garb. “Where are you headed?”

If he wanted to stop her, he would, if she told him or not. “Mount Kunlun,” she whispered truthfully, afraid the curse would hit - but it did not.

“There it is again,” he mused. “Kunlun. High God Mo Yuan. Why this obsession? I know he has many admirers. But in your case, it seems different... even if I cannot quite put my finger on it.” He tapped his fan against his lips, thinking. “Have you maybe met him in the mortal realm? Did you fall in love with him?”

Shao Wan exhaled slowly. “If you let me go, I will help you,” she offered, thinking it wasn’t a good idea to answer his question.

“Help me?” he echoed sardonically. “Help me do what, idle my days away? I can do that very well myself, no need to bother.”

She would risk it. I am sorry if you misplaced your trust in me, she mentally told the Turtles and pulled out the scroll she had brought with her from Yinguang Palace.

“This is a drawing of the man you seek,” she said and offered it to the Third Prince with a bow.

The Prince unrolled it with a slight frown and studied the image intently. “Where did you get this?” he then asked. “I know this face.”

“From the ghosts of Yinguang Palace,” she smiled.

His frown deepened. “So it is haunted?”

“Immortal ghosts in the Heavens? You cannot really believe this!” she laughed. He looked slightly hurt, so she shook her head in disbelief. He had believed it? “It’s not ghosts at all,” she explained. “Somebody lives there. I am not sure where exactly they came from but it’s a large family of turtles.”

“Huh,” was all he said.

“They have knowledge of the traitor you seek,” she explained patiently. “I told them they would be rewarded for their help. I am sure you are a man of honor, are you not? One that will help me keep my promise?”

“Are they dangerous?” he asked.

“Oh yes, very!” she eagerly claimed. “If you go talk to them, go alone and make sure to bring gifts. Many gifts.”

“Why do I get the feeling you are lying to me,” he murmured and put the scroll into his sleeve pocket. “Very well, I will venture to speak to whomever you found in that palace. To have found out what is wrong with it is already something you should get a reward for. Also, a proposition, Strange One. I will let you disappear in return for a little favor. So that we have no debt between us.”

She liked that.

“You will tell Cheng Yu what a great catch I am,” the Prince said. “She listens to you. Tell her she should never have left me. If she says “but it was him who left me”, just shrug. Tell her she is missing out on so much. Tell her she might think she is living an immortal life with an infinite amount of time. Well, she is, but nobody knows… nobody knows how long we still have left. So it’s better to spend your time, every possible moment of it with people we care about. Tell her… are you crying?”

Of course she was crying. She had died twice already, she of all people knew too well how even an immortal life could be cut short suddenly, how easily relationships could be destroyed and what a heartbreaking sentiment regret was.

“There, there,” the Prince said awkwardly and patted her shoulder. “Let me…”

She felt how he threw some magic on her. It was like a soft, warm blanket and calmed her instantly.

“Now it’s harder to see you’re a girl wearing some ill-fitting men’s clothing,” he said and looked pleased. “‘Don’t forget to talk to Cheng Yu before you leave, yes?” he added and patted her shoulder again.

At that time, she was too overwhelmed to wonder about this man’s readiness to help her, a stranger to him. Also, she might have become a Celestial after her ascension, but she had very little experience with Celestial ways. Gentle and beautiful on the outside, yet cunning and ruthless when they went after what they wanted.


Mount Kunlun.

Shao Wan stood at its foot and looked up with her head tilted back, feeling a mixture of awe and excitement that made her weak body tremble.

She was here, finally here!

“As I said,” she heard Mo Yuan’s calm, deep voice in her ear, “you will be my wife.”

What a fit she had thrown back then. Later, when they had been able to exchange words civilly, he had clarified things. A trick, just a trick.

“It's just that keeping you at Kunlun would be difficult otherwise. It buys us time from their nagging until you're healed. Not even the God of Marriage will dare challenge me openly."

But then again, much later in the mortal realm: “This is my wife, Xian Mo.” And they had certainly lived like husband and wife, even if they had never made any of the customary vows. Shared a bed, a hearth, part of a life. She had cared for him when he had been so very sick from magic biteback and she had... liked it. She had liked that he needed her, such a powerful God, yet so vulnerable in many ways.

Wife. Husband. Parents. Not enemies, as she had believed they were all her life. But what if…

Shao Wan shook her head vehemently. No, she wouldn’t allow herself negative thoughts. How hard she had fought to get here… but now that she was at the end of this part of the journey, it felt frightening.

She looked up to the peak of the Mountain again, which was partially hidden by fluffy, white clouds. There was no golden shimmer. But she had only a fraction of the powers she had once possessed and maybe such a shimmer was not visible to just everyone, she told herself.

But what if he reacted badly to her finally telling him about their babies? What if he judged her harshly for what she had done, what she had jeopardized? What if...

Swallowing hard, she forced her feet to walk forward. The Gates at the foot of the mountain stood open, as was the custom in peacetime. Even this far away from the peak, she felt the increase in Celestial energy in the air around her. It was like floating peacefully in perfectly tempered water.

Nervously, she pulled at the rim on her tunic and checked her topknot for its fit before she started walking up the footpath. Her ability to cloud jump was very limited, she only had gotten so far because she had hitched a ride with the Stick Celestial, now alone, she would have to walk… even though her feet hurt badly and her stomach growled angrily. She could rest, eat and drink once she had reached her destination.

It was a very long walk. And the longer her feet drudged on, the heavier they got, and the more her heart beat frantically like a caged bird’s.

Truth was, she was terrified.

When Shao Wan had broken the shell of her egg and crawled into the world in human form, she had possessed a very high level of cultivation and an even higher confidence that she was capable of vanquishing any obstacle in her way. Now that her powers were all but gone, her confidence was brittle.

And she was very, very tired. It was a tiredness that threatened to break her, as if it had seeped deeply into her essence, to drag her down and immobilize her.

She did not allow herself to feel sorry for what she had had to go through, even though it took such an effort. Hundreds of mortal lives with endless suffering… maybe she deserved it. Ascension and starting as the lowest kind of immortal… she could overcome this.

But what if… what if Mo Yuan had moved on? What if… what if he hated her for what she had done, for what she had forced him to do, without consulting with him? What if he had found out she had cut his hair, using him in her plan to get Cheng Yin’s trust?

I love you…

Would he be able to forgive her? He was, after all, a ruthless God when ruthlessness was called for.

It was in the evening hours that she finally neared his school, nestled harmoniously against the mountain surface. Everything was so peaceful and calm here, which made her own panic seem even more out of place.

Hide, hide, hide, was all she could think when she heard voices approach and she quickly darted behind a rock as a flock of students walked by.

She felt like she was about to faint. Should she just walk into the Great Hall and ask for High God Mo Yuan? Would his disciples go fetch him for anybody? Or maybe he was in meditation! She bit her lip in agitation. That would be so much like him! What if they sent her away because he was holed up in his cave for months?!

Slowly, using as much cover as she could, she made her way over to Mo Yuan’s meditation cave. She heard voices come in her direction about halfway there and she thought with a sinking feeling that she would be discovered for sure, but the loudly chattering disciples took another path right before crossing ways with her. Heaving a sigh of relief, she continued to sneak forward.

When she walked by the Lotus Pond, she remembered how she had tried to hide in it… that day they had first made love. Thinking about their lovemaking, her mouth watered. The feeling of his hands on her body… the ecstasy of him inside of her, doing everything right, as if he had known no other woman beside her and had spent a lifetime finding out exactly what she liked. Oh, but would he consider making love to her as long as she was stuck in this wrong body? And if yes, would she… enjoy it?

Pulling a face, she threw a pebble into the pond. She had to find Fong Hung. He would know how to get her back into her proper body. Her faithful, devoted Fong Hung!

I will come find you very soon, she vowed, you made it all possible. What have you learned by now?

There was no barrier up. Slowly, she put forward her head and peeked into the Meditation Cave… feeling how the concentration of energy took her breath away.

The cave was empty.

In fact, it looked quite deserted. No candles were burning, no items were lying around. Mo Yuan had not been here in a while, it seemed. And yet, something called to her from inside, faint, yet persistent. Curious, Shao Wan stepped forward. Had he kept some of her things in here?

As soon as she was inside, an immense wave of loneliness and despair hit her. She fell to her knees, tears streaming down her face. She recognized them instantly as her heart reached out to them.

My babies! My poor, poor babies… and yet, alive, alive and waiting. “It’s going to be alright,” she whispered, “your mother has come… your suffering is over. ”

Dread filled her as she rushed forward to where she sensed their souls. But was it all over? With her current level of cultivation, she was much too weak to carry two souls as powerful as they were to term - the children of two very powerful High Gods. They would most likely drain her of power immediately and she would perish, all three of them would perish!

She opened the cabinet and there it was, the bottle, the rainbow bottle! She lifted her hand and touched it and the babies cried for her, longed for her, wanted to feel safe and protected, wanted to be inside of her, nurtured and cared for, no longer lonely, no longer afraid. Tenderly, she took the bottle out and kissed it.

“I tried to tether myself to you,” she whispered, “but transferring your souls cost me too much energy… I had to leave you alone, I had to hope… I am so very, very sorry. Has your father not sensed you?”

She tried to probe for their souls, but the magic protecting them was very strong. It was her own magic. It had protected her children well, too well maybe... At least, they had been able to profit from Kunlun’s strong energies, she hoped, energies that made breathing hard for her.

“What do I do now?” she whispered, the need of her children breaking her heart.

“Who are you?” someone shouted from behind her.

She whirled around, clutching the bottle to her flat chest. It was the Second Disciple, she realized with relief and wanted to rush forward to greet him, but he had already released a strong blast of energy in her direction. It hit her in the stomach and threw her backwards, onto the cold stone floor, where she lay paralyzed, hurting as if Mount Kunlun had fallen on top of her.

“Is it a thief, Shifu?” someone asked excitedly.

“We thought it was strange how he snuck around so carefully!”

“Is he dead?”

“Please stand back, he could just be feigning to be injured,” Chang Shan ordered and walked towards her.

She could barely open her eyes. But when she managed too, she saw him stand above her, Chang Shan, looking much more mature than when she had last seen her, not wearing student garb but a simple, yellow robe… also looking stern and unforgiving.

Shao Wan tried to speak, but no words came out.

When he saw what she held clutched between her hands, he gasped loudly. “The bottle! Shifu told me to guard it exceedingly well, give it back!”

She managed to shake her head and grasp it even harder. He bent down to wrestle it from her hands, but it was like it was glued to her and however strongly Chang Shan and some of the disciples he called over pulled, she would not let go.

Huffing angrily, Chang Shan ceased his efforts and looked down at her again. “This is pointless, Immortal,” he lectured her. “We have already caught you. You cannot leave here with this bottle. Give it back.”

Never! No, she could not part with her children now that she had found them again. But what to do? What if… she concentrated her meager powers on the bottle, all she had, calling the Old Ones to protect and help her… and just like she had willed it, the bottle shrunk, smaller and smaller.

“What…!” Chang Shan gasped but she had already put it into her mouth and swallowed it down.

“No!” the Second Disciple screamed and grabbed her by the front, shaking her violently. He hurt her, but she did not care. A happy smile spreading on her face she felt them, almost where they belonged, in her tummy. They ceased to cry, they were happy.

“It’s all going to be well,” she whispered to them.

“How dare you!” Chang Shan shouted and tried a series of spells on her. They hurt a lot, but she just curled up into a ball and protected her stomach from any harm.

It was all going to be alright.

“Shifu, please calm yourself,” someone said and several students came to hold Chang Shan back. Shifu? Where...

“I want to speak to High God Mo Yuan,” she croaked.

“He isn’t here!” someone shouted.

Chang Shan looked like he had swallowed a thorn fruit hole. “First Disciple, I will have to go to the Demon Realm.”

Demon Realm? Shao Wan perked up. Whatever for?

“But Shifu, why?”

“This bottle… it is of high value. I will have to inform High God Mo Yuan personally about my failure to keep it safe.”

“But what of this thief?”

“I will take him with me!” Chang Shan said all agitated. “Hopefully, Shifu will know what to do to get his bottle out of this person. Bind him well! I will leave immediately.”

Chapter 17a