Fanfic: Mo Yuan and Shao Wan 2.0 - Chapter 17b (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 17b

written by kakashi
edited by Panda/LigayaCroft

“Did you say turtles?”

“Yes, Da-Ge. A large family of turtle humans has been living in Yinguang Palace! It is quite a mystery how they got there. Lian Song discovered them and has initiated contact. However…,” Ye Hua broke off.

Mo Yuan waited politely for his brother to continue, which he did after a few moments.

“They are a bit peculiar and refuse to talk to anyone so far. They know where the traitor is, we believe, so we are trying to get access politely for the moment.”

Turtles. Turtle humans in his former palace. Mo Yuan smiled a tiny little bit at this quirk of Fate – a minuscule movement on his face, yet immediately picked up by his brother.

“Da-Ge, you know something about them?”

“I suspect I do, Ye Hua. It’s a long forgotten secret I have never told anybody about.”

Ye Hua’s eyes took on a slightly excited gleam and Mo Yuan felt a strong wave of affection for his brother and his barely masked curiosity. Thankfully, they had grown much closer in the years since their first meeting, but there were still many parts of their past lives that remained unknown to the other. A few times, Mo Yuan had allowed himself to wonder how different his life would have been had he and Ye Hua spent their whole lives together. To think he could have had a brother by his side growing up, could have had a friend to share his joys and woes with instead of being always alone… But there was no use in mourning a life that could not be. Sadly, their actual lives had been far too busy to leisurely share childhood stories and that was he was feeling regret about.

Overall, Mo Yuan thought, they had spent too little time together, and hardly ever alone. Now, they were alone, but it would only be moments before the others would join them in the Dragon Hall. Ye Hua bent forward a little, positioning his ear closer to Mo Yuan’s mouth. With another small smile, Mo Yuan dropped his voice, since it seemed to him that childhood secrets deserved to be shared in a hushed tone, and put his arm around his brother’s shoulders, to draw him even closer.

“I once took home a turtle from the mortal realm when I was a boy. I kept it a secret from everyone since I knew my father would not approve of such sentimentality. Unfortunately, it died. I was heartbroken. But it seems…”

“It laid eggs?” Ye Hua asked astonished.

“I believe it might have. Is it not every living being’s wish to live on through its descendants?”

Ye Hua nodded, throwing him a sympathetic look. A touchy subject in the past indeed. Should he tell his brother about the frail woman that had so suddenly and strangely appeared in his life? He smiled at Ye Hua again, but before he could say something about the woman and his silly, possibly unfounded hope, Tianjun and the Celestial Princes arrived.

“High God Mo Yuan!” The Ruler of the Heavens wheezed, “you chose an opportune time for your unexpected visit! My third son has discovered evidence of the traitor who helped that despicable Demon get his hands on the contents of the Dragon Shrine and who, we believe, helped poison your father’s creation.”

Mo Yuan looked at Lian Song, who wore his usual, detached smile and slightly bored expression. Mo Yuan wasn’t fooled in the least. He had experienced this one’s sly manipulation once, when he had been nudged into taking on a Horse Tribe disciple so that the Prince would not have to marry… Fate must have wanted him to meet this strange tribe and its eerie magic, but Lian Song had certainly had a decisive hand in it.

“Thank you, Father, for the trust you’ve put in me. I have indeed discovered something very relevant.” With flourish, Lian Song pulled out a scroll from his sleeve and unfurled it. “This is an image of the Celestial Traitor.”

When Mo Yuan saw “Uncle” Ying Ming’s face, he drew in a sharp breath. It was one of those rare moments in one’s life when it felt like the bits and pieces of a large puzzle were set in motion, as if the Universe was slowly starting to align them to reveal an aspect of a larger truth previously hidden from view.

“High God Mo Yuan, you know this man?” Tianjun asked intrigued.

Mo Yuan nodded. “A disgraced Star Lord,” he curtly said, trying to fully understand this revelation for what it must mean. The man had been punished to mortal cycles after messing with his ascension trial, he remembered. But afterwards? He did not recall whether they had reinstated him or not, since he had not lived in the Heavens anymore. Also, it had all been during the time of the First Demon War, when he had been so severely wounded in Shao Wan’s Phoenix Fire, when he had grieved her passing for a very long time and had paid little attention to what had been going on in the Heavens.

Everybody looked at him expectantly. “Star Lord Si Ming should know more than me,” he said, still mulling over this surprising turn of events. What might be the man’s motive? So many millennia and he was still trying to sabotage the Heavens?

Si Ming was fetched and his eyes grew round when he saw Ying Ming’s face on the scroll. “My predecessor!” he squealed. “He messed with High God Mo…”

He clamped his mouth shut and looked over at Mo Yuan. Mo Yuan nodded permissively. Only very few people knew the full story of what had happened back then when Golden Dragon had destroyed a world. He was a private person, but apparently, today was the day his old secrets were striving to be revealed.

“This man tried to sabotage High God Mo Yuan’s ascension trial,” Shi Ming explained, “we believe he was attempting to make him fail it. Powerful Demons were behind it: Rare goods were discovered in the Star Lord's abode that they had used for payment to make him their agent. Since the evidence was fairly conclusive, Donghua Dijun punished him: Starlord Ying Ming was banished from the Heavens and his Immortality stripped off.”

“Then how is it possible he is here?” Lian Song asked pointedly once the astonished murmur had died down.

“He shouldn’t be, Donghua Dijun sealed his powers. I will have to check his mortal records though,” Si Ming said, “maybe I will find a clue.”

“The turtles claim to know where he is right now?” Mo Yuan asked.

Lian Song turned to him. “So they say.”

“You spoke to them in person?”

“Well…not exactly.”

Mo Yuan lifted his eyebrows. “Please explain, Third Prince."

“I was told by an informant,” Lian Song explained a bit defensively. “The turtles won’t speak to me directly. They sent a message, telling me to send… someone more trustworthy.”

Si Ming snickered, earning himself a scathing look from Lian Song.

“Let me try,” Mo Yuan offered. He needed to get the memory token from where he had hidden it, the sooner, the better. He might as well talk to his turtle’s descendants.

“High God Mo Yuan, the Celestial Tribe will owe you another debt,” Tianjun said, sounding relieved and grateful.

Mo Yuan turned his attention on Lian Song again. An informant? He looked at the Third Prince a bit more closely. A Celestial who could wield a good tracking spell that wasn’t easily discovered? He had probably found him.

“A word,” he said when they had been dismissed. Ye Hua threw him a questioning look, but then left with his Grandfather and Father when he saw whom Mo Yuan was trying to speak with.

“Yes, High God Mo Yuan?” Lian Song said warily.

“Your informant. Is it possible she was able to leave the Heavens despite the lock-down?”

Lian Song grew a shade paler and dropped his voice to a whisper. “I didn’t help her. I merely watched.”

Mo Yuan knew, he could never show this sly man how excited that confirmation made him or he'd be at a horrible disadvantage. Making sure his voice was impassive, he asked: “Then you know she went to Kunlun and stole something from me?”

Lian Song gasped. “I had nothing to do with it, High God Mo Yuan! She appeared in the Heavens unscheduled and puzzled everyone, including Donghua Dijun. Many thought she could be a spy!”


“No records of her at all, Si Ming was quite nonplussed.”

Unscheduled. It might be her. It might. But why is she in a different body? Why has she lost her powers? What if… I’m wrong?

“She was a maid in my household,” Lian Song further explained, “if you send her back here, I will make absolutely sure she will not cause any further trouble for you.”

“I will not send her back,” Mo Yuan said coldly. “I have not gotten back what she took. She hid it.”

“Ah.” Lian Song looked intrigued and much too curious. “I did think she was rather unusual. What secret might she hide?”

He waited expectantly as if Mo Yuan would share his own assumptions with him, but Mo Yuan would rather bite off his own tongue than let Lian Song know just how unusual he personally thought that person was. Gathering courage, Ye Hua’s Third Uncle finally asked: “May I accompany you to Yinguang Palace, God of War? As you have heard, I am the one in charge of investigating the Celestial poisoning.”

“I am afraid not,” Mo Yuan said in his politest possible voice, “if we so want them to cooperate, we need to take their wishes very seriously. Let me see whether they consider me trustworthy enough.”


When Shao Wan opened her eyes, it felt like she had just come out of a very long, very deep sleep. For a moment, she did not recall where she was… and even more importantly, what had happened to her.

But then, she did remember.

With a gasp, she shot up.

She found herself in one of the guest rooms of the Obsidian Palace in bright daylight, an unknown, very handsome Demon staring at her from a stool at her bedside.

“You’re awake,” he said with a velvety voice and a smile spread across his face. He wore his hair bound back loosely, braided in a pattern that was unfamiliar to her. His nose was long and elegant, his cheekbones pronounced, his eyebrows full and manly. The most fascinating feature on him was the fullness of his beard, however. Shao Wan felt an impulse to reach up and touch it.

“How are you feeling?” the handsome Demon asked, “are you thirsty?”

“Yes,” she croaked. She was very thirsty. In fact, her throat felt raw, as if she had been made to swallow sand.

The Demon handed her a cup full of fermented rice wine with a small nod and watched closely as she gulped it down.

“Where is High God Mo Yuan?” she asked him as she handed back the cup. She wanted nothing else than to touch him again. She would cling to him and would never let go again. Never.

The bearded Demon shrugged. “He does as he pleases and without telling me. He left the Demon Realm, possibly to go to the Celestial Heavens?”

“Will he be back?” she asked with a sinking feeling, tears gathering in her eyes because she missed him so. She wanted to feel his body against hers again, his warmth, his strength, his godly aura… has he recognized me? Can he? Will he? She wasn't sure. This wasn't over yet.

“It is likely,” the Demon said.

Shao Wan squinted at him. He did not like Mo Yuan, that much was clear. She didn’t think that particularly strange, however, since she knew of Mo Yuan's talent for angering the entire Demon Tribe repeatedly.

“Why is he in the Demon Realm?” she tried her luck asking.

“Ah,” the Demon said, “you have not heard? It is a diplomatic mission. We Demons are not behaving like the Celestials wish, so they sent him. Without an army at least. Should we call it progress?”

He sounded very bitter. Shao Wan surveyed him closely as he spoke. He expressed himself very well and his bearing was the one of a noble. The son of a Demon Lord? Or… she looked at his hair again. Maybe even a Demon Lord himself? But which Tribe? She was dying to ask him what had happened to the Tribes after her second demise, but she feared the Curse and the pain that came with it if she ventured there.

“You seem unwell,” he said and gazed at her worriedly.

She was. Everything was hurting, especially her tummy. She also felt very dizzy and quite nauseous. Most likely, it was the power suppression she felt. How ironic that she of all people would be so affected by the power suppression in the Demon Realm.

“I scanned your powers before bringing you here,” the bearded Demon explained, “High God Mo Yuan left you all alone and unattended in one of the drafty rooms on the second floor. I did not like what I saw, so I brought an elixir to help you realign your energies,” he said and handed her a vial.

“Ah, but I don’t know you,” she said and pushed his hand away. “Did you think I'd take elixirs from just anyone?”

The Demon Lord laughed softly, though there was little humor in that sound. “Who are you? I heard you caused quite the ruckus.”

I cannot tell you, handsome Demon, she thought and shrugged.

“What is your connection to High God Mo Yuan, Immortal?” he asked, this time more sharply.

She shook her head decisively. Handsome, but annoying. Did he think she was a weak pushover?

She was about to tell him to get lost when she suddenly caught a glimpse of something green at the base of his throat when he moved. Shao Wan sucked in air. It was a tattoo.

Jiàopài Huàn Zong! He is part of the Soulswapper Cult!

The Demon got up, looking angry.

“Pray, what is your name?” she quickly asked and grabbed him by the arm. He looked down on her hand and then into her face.

“I am Yu Dian, Ruler of the Green Tribe,” he said haughtily.

Green Tribe
. Shao Wan was intrigued. Small, remote, secretive. Just perfect to be the ones to harbor a Cult using forbidden magic.

“I am looking for someone,” she whispered, “can you help me?”

“Looking for someone?” the Demon echoed. “Who?”

“A very dear friend. I believe he is somewhere in or at least near your Kingdom.”

His eyes took on a guarded expression. “You are a weak, newly ascended Immortal and know where the Green Demon Tribe resides? I must admit, I am surprised.”

“What if I get High God Mo Yuan to travel there, will you help me?”

Yu Dian slowly lowered himself onto the stool again. “How?”

“By making sure he will take me along.”

He looked her over, slowly. “Be glad you’re so weak or I’d probably consider you a threat. Your agenda is unclear to me. Is High God Mo Yuan friend or foe for you?”

“Both,” she said. “He’s always been both.”


“You are the former owner of this Palace? The Dragon Son?”

“I am.” Mo Yuan dipped his head.

“And you grant us permission to reside here?”

“Indeed so. With pleasure.”

The Turtle Clan members behind their leader started whispering excitedly. Mo Yuan smiled at them in true fondness, at which they dropped their heads, seeming a bit shy.

“I knew your Ancestor,” he told them. 

They gasped. “You did!” their Leader exclaimed. “Tell us all about him!”

“It was a Mother,” Mo Yuan said, “and I secretly took her to the Heavens from one of the mortal worlds, hiding her in my sleeve pocket as a boy.”

“Oh!” they said and, “Ah!”

When they found words again, someone asked to please describe what she had looked like and how she had behaved, and Mo Yuan told them all he remembered, how he had watched her walk around in the courtyard, determined and yet infinitely patient, even though she had never reached a final destination.

The Turtle Clan solemnly folded their hands in silent prayer.

“Could you, if it is not too much to ask, draw an image of our Mother?” the Turtle Clan Leader asked politely after they had finished praying.

“It is not too much to ask,” Mo Yuan answered and waited for them to bring paper and ink. One of the Turtle Leader’s children mixed the ink for him and handed him a simple brush with a deep bow.

Mo Yuan settled down, recalled what the turtle had looked like and, feeling a pang of nostalgia, drew his nameless, determined turtle who had mothered an entire Clan of immortals - every one of which was looking at his hand with evident excitement.

“We will honor this more than anything,” the Turtle Leader said when Mo Yuan let the brush sink. “Would you be so kind to come to the Ancestral Shrine with us? Would you maybe put your drawing there?”

They led the way deeper into the Palace, to its heart, the centermost courtyard where their Mother had walked as long as she had been alive. It almost felt unreal to be here, where he had grown up, now remembering scenes from his childhood. Here, he had stubbed his toe so forcefully, he had hidden himself to be able to cry unseen. Here, he had skinned his knee for the first time and had learned how to heal himself. Here, he had been taught martial arts by one of his first teachers. Here, one of the maids who had helped raise him had hugged him when his toy horse broke.

“Could I please go to my former bedroom,” he asked the Turtle Leader, “I need to retrieve an item.”

“No need to ask us for permission,” he said, though obviously delighted to be asked, “maybe we can be of assistance?”

“It is a jade pendant,” Mo Yuan said, “a belt hook.”

“Oh”, said the Turtle Leader. “That item, I am afraid to say, has been lost.”

Mo Yuan stopped and scowled. Of course it had. Things had been proceeding far too smoothly.

“We used to look at it often, for it was very mysterious and very beautiful, but one day, it was gone,” the Turtle Leader hurried to explain.

“You should not have taken it out of its box,” Mo Yuan said, trying to contain his anger. Well, he should have put a stronger invisibility spell on it. He had been a fool not to. It was not right to blame these people for his own mistake.

“Bàba,” a young Turtle said, “we think that man might have taken it. I talked to all the children after that woman was here, and nobody took it out to play.”

The Turtle Leader must have seen the question on Mo Yuan’s face, because he immediately explained. “Not so long ago, a frail woman came to the palace - she said it was some sort of punishment. She was very polite and we did not scare her away. We even told her about the Traitor who sometimes hides here.”

“Tell me everything,” Mo Yuan said with great urgency.

And he heard about that woman’s strange behavior, her spells of muteness, her agitation when a Dragon had arrived at the Gates and her sorrow when he had not come for her.

She knows me, he thought, she really knows me. It is her. It must be her.

“She promised she would help us and she has kept that promise,” the Turtle Leader ended his story. “You are here. You have granted us permission to reside here. I hope she finds what she was looking for.”

She has found me.

But then, Mo Yuan realized who “that man” must be.

“Where is that traitor?” he pressed out between gritted teeth. “I need to find him and make sure he will never again harm the Heavens.”

And if he has damaged Shao Wan’s memory token, I might just kill him, he finished the sentence in his head.

Chapter 17c