Fanfic: Mo Yuan and Shao Wan 2.0 - Chapter 33 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 33

written by kakashi
edited by LigayaCroft and Panda

The day the Jade Kunlun Fan - the first weapon he had brought to completion after a very long time -  had appeared at Kunlun Mountain, Mo Yuan had thought he could finally be at peace again. He had worked very hard at freeing his heart of sorrow, of the weight that pulled him down during his waking and during his sleeping hours, hindering his healing, hindering his cultivation.

“It is normal to grieve,” Zhe Yan had said about 50’000 years after the First Demon War, “but don’t you think it’s enough now?”

He had denied that he was grieving at first, because it didn’t make sense to him. Zhe Yan could not seriously think he would feel this sort of sadness for someone who had felt nothing but utter disdain for him? For someone who had plotted endlessly to humiliate and later assassinate him? For someone who had ignited hatred in her people, forcing him to take up his armor as Supreme Commander for the first time? For someone who had brought doom on all of them, including herself?

No, he was convinced he was hurt still from the raging fires, which were known to harm so much more than the shell of the body. The Phoenix Fires burnt soul essence and left in their wake a wasteland of ash. He was convinced they had also burnt his ability to regenerate properly, because he was unbalanced and he had such difficulties getting his balance back.

His friends had insisted he do something else than sit in his cave, so he started to plan the design of a new weapon. He had always greatly enjoyed making weapons, and what he enjoyed the most was thinking about their properties, their strengths, weaknesses and how to balance their powers optimally.

He had sat and pondered … and came up with nothing.

Of course, because nothing could come from a wasteland of ash.

“Hm,” Zhe Yan had said during another visit, “you know, I found this interesting fan lying around in the mortal realm during a recent trip. It is clearly an immortal artifact. No idea how it got there, it's quite a mystery. Want to have a look?”

The Phoenix had handed him a tattered looking fan with ornaments and unreadable writing. Mo Yuan had dutifully stared at it for many days. It did seem vaguely familiar to him, but not even memories had a place in a wasteland of ash.

“I am beginning to despair,” Zhe Yan had sighed the next time he came by and found his friend in the same morose state, “why don’t you at least try to repair it?”

Mo Yuan had stared at the tattered fan for many more days, but it had not revealed its secrets. Maybe it had none. It could be just an object, a lost, broken object, discarded, lifeless and desolate. In fact, the fan had suddenly looked like the epitome of loneliness to him, so he had decided to make it a companion. That thought was strange, almost ridiculous, but all of a sudden, he had felt a tiny bit excited about making something new.

The tattered fan was almost entirely without energy, but Mo Yuan did find a spark of life at renewed examination and very carefully took it out of the object. Taking the last speck of life from it killed the broken thing entirely, but holding it in his hands like a priceless treasure, Mo Yuan managed to transfer its essence to another object in time. It almost felt like he had actually saved it.

It was enough to lift his spirits somewhat.

Weapons making did take a long time and in the case of the Jade Kunlun Fan, it took even longer. Mo Yuan had almost forgotten it had been cultivating in the depth of a cave when it came shooting out on that bright morning, flying into his hands only so briefly before choosing its true master.

Mo Yuan was not a man who believed in coincidences. The day the Jade Kunlun Fan had come into the world, Bai Qian, the youngest daughter of his very good friend Bai Zhi had come into his. Sneaky and disguised and part of Zhe Yan’s plan to shake him out of his enduring melancholy.

It was the day he stepped out of the shadows of his sorrow and looked ahead into a brightening future. His Seventeenth brought with her a light and a lightness he had not even known he had lost. She had brought trouble and excitement. She had made it possible for him to smile again.

For that, he would be forever grateful. And there had been a time, where he had hoped to be more.

When she said his name that night, Mo Yuan’s first impulse was to embrace her, kiss her, take all his pent up, raging passion and drown her in it.

Luckily, he was not a man who acted on impulse often.

He had been woken from a happy dream by her voice. In that dream, he had lived on Mount Kunlun with Shao Wan and their two lovely children. Only, Shao Wan looked almost exactly like Bai Qian - and in many ways, they were the same: beautiful, mischievous, a bit lazy, blunt, yet fiercely loyal - and so very alive.

When he opened his eyes to look at who had called his name, he was not sure who she was at first.

But when he saw how shocked she was to find herself wrapped around him like this, blushing visibly in the moonlight, clamping her hands over her mouth who had spoken his name with such familiarity, he recognized her clearly.

Make her transform? Golden Dragon asked, stretching himself lazily, I want to chase the White Fox around. I will bite it a little. Does it squeal?

Of course, the Dragon had to choose this very moment to make trouble too. With an effort, Mo Yuan turned around and stood up on shaking legs, bringing a safe enough distance between Seventeenth and himself. After spending days in that state between human and beast, he yet had to establish full control over his true form again. Since he was so weakened, it was difficult. But he would persevere, he always did, however much it cost him.

No, he commanded. No.

But I want to have fun, Golden Dragon said viciously, I've always wanted to see it. I’m sure it will look cute scurrying about on its short fluffy legs.

“Shifu…,” Seventeenth said with a quivering voice, “I don’t know what… I am… so sorry.”

“But I know,” he said bitterly. “No need to apologize, you were not fully in control.”

Bai Qian looked very puzzled upon hearing him say this, then nodded furiously, seeming relieved. “Yes! That’s it! Not to worry, Shifu, I’m awake now.”

“Good,” he growled. Does it squeal? “If you feel faint or dizzy, let me know immediately,” he told her sternly.

And who will help you when you’re faint and dizzy? The Dragon laughed. Fenghuang will have your hide, human.

Just be quiet! Mo Yuan yelled at it in his head. She is in so much trouble!

For the moment, Mo Yuan didn’t even dare think about how much trouble they would be in after this. How would he be able to shield Shao Wan from Ye Hua’s wrath? Making sure his brother would not punish her according to Celestial Law would have to take precedence over everything else after they had her back, even if it meant messing up his previous plans to finally get a hold of the Celestial Traitor, get back the memory token and be done with all the sadness and enmity from their past forever.

He growled again in frustration. It sounded ferocious.

“Are… you alright, Shifu?” Bai Qian asked in a small voice, fussing over her hair and skirts.

Not alright. He wants to chase you around the mountain... among other things, Golden Dragon quipped, Little Foxies shouldn’t mess with Big Dragons - but you must not fear: we will behave. We always do.

“Let’s go,” Mo Yuan said, suppressing the Beast with all his might until he felt quite faint.

“But Shifu! You are not rested enough!”

He looked at her with furrowed brows. “Yes, I am. I say we go, we go.”

There used to be a time this situation could have ended differently, he realized as he walked through the night to get to a place they could cloud-jump. But that time was long gone. And to his satisfaction, he had no regrets.


“I have never been to this mortal world before,” Bai Qian said curiously and righted the little hat she was wearing. “Is it favored by immortals much?” The world felt serene and majestic. A bit like him, she thought.

“Not at all,” Mo Yuan replied quietly, “it is almost entirely unknown.”

There were things hidden behind his words - should she ask? She was exceedingly curious. But since she was still feeling embarrassed about what had happened the night before, Bai Qian thought it much more opportune to keep a safe distance between them.

His eyes last night… very briefly they had been so much like Ye Hua’s when he looked at her.

A small shudder traveled down Bai Qian’s back and settled somewhere in her stomach like flitting insects. It was the appreciation of what could have been, but would never be… the echo of a past and future that wasn't theirs, a possibility whose time had passed. It was that part of her that had always adored her Shifu - and that had come to realize much later that he was also a man. A very handsome man, so alike and yet so different from her husband. She knew exactly whom she belonged to and whom she always wanted to be with, but that did not change that fact that she felt decidedly weak in the knees when she thought of being close to this one.

Swallowing hard, she scurried after Mo Yuan, who was walking down the main street of a small town with determined strides. They walked until they got to the closed gate of a sizeable, prosperous looking building. “The Golden Dragon”, a big golden sign above the door read. “School for the poor,” it said underneath. Mo Yuan knocked. It took a while until running footsteps drew closer and a small boy opened.

“Be welcome, visitor!” he said and smiled at them, “come in and… oh!” His eyes turned huge as he stared at Mo Yuan. “You look exactly like him!”

“Who is it, boy?” an adult asked and an elder scholar appeared behind the boy.

“Oh!” he also said when he saw Mo Yuan’s face.

“Teacher, I have come to see the place my ancestor built,” Mo Yuan said and smiled at them warmly. “I am very pleased to see it is so prosperous. May my companion and I come in for a visit?”

A school? Her Shifu had a school in the mortal world? Bai Qian was quite amazed - but not surprised. It was something he would do, careful not to break any immortal laws.

They spent the day and the night at that place. Pupils and teachers flocked around Mo Yuan when they learned he was a taoist scholar like his ancestor, and being who he was, he sat down on the dais and began to lecture to them without further ado about the Wu Xing, the Five Elements.

Seeing him like this made Bai Qian very happy. He was truly made for this, just like Ye Hua was made to sit in meetings with officials. It made her wonder when her Shifu would return to Kunlun, because that was where he belonged: Passing on his vast knowledge to young immortals, shaping them into worthy deities.

All of a sudden, his eyes caught hers over the heads of the children and she realized with a start that she had been staring at him rudely. Embarrassed, she fled the courtyard and hid somewhere near the storage rooms until it became dark and the smell of food from the nearby kitchens made her stomach growl so loudly, she feared she would be chased away with sticks for fear of being a wild animal.

After taking a few deep breaths, she let her legs take her towards the sound of many voices and found a seat in the dining hall somewhere far away from him.

Wood feeds Fire, Fire creates Earth, Earth bears Metal, Metal collects Water, Water nourishes Wood. The cycle of the Mother.

Wood parts Earth, Earth absorbs Water, Water extinguishes Fire, Fire melts Metal, Metal chops Wood. The cycle of the Father.

For someone who had always been so lazy during her school days, she remembered his lessons surprisingly well.


“Seventeenth,” his deep, calm voice said behind her, “a word.”

Bai Qian jumped and her flight instinct took over. In fact, she was about to transform into her true form to run away when she realized they were in the mortal world, where magic was forbidden and came with consequences.

“Sh… Shifu,” she stammered, “I didn’t hear you approach.”

“Probably because you are staring at the moon like you want to swallow it,” he remarked drily. Dinner was over, the children had gone to bed. After mulling over what she had done, she feared he would be forever angry with her. Hence, she did not dare look him in the eyes and kept her eyes awkwardly fixed on his feet.

“How are you feeling?” he asked.

“Well! Very well,” she blurted out.

“And the… souls?” he asked. “No more trouble?”

She would have loved to know what his definition of trouble was, but she shook her head vehemently anyway. It was no lie, the Demon Woman was quiet, as if she were not even there.

“Good,” he said. “If you so please, we will go on a journey tomorrow. I will have to use magic to retrieve Shao Wan’s body. I will have to rely on you to get me back here once the magic biteback sets in and arrange for a doctor to take care of me. Please take Shao Wan’s body back to the caves.”

Bai Qian lifted her face. “Is that even a plan?” she blurted out.

“I know I have no right to ask this of you,” her Shifu said, “but…”

“Of course I will help you, Shifu!” Bai Qian said, offended that he may think she was hesitating because she did not want to help him. No, she just did not like him doing another stupid sacrificial thing.

He nodded gravely. “Then please get some sleep. We leave at daybreak.”

They packed supplies and tents on two pack horses. Mo Yuan said it would take them two or even three days to get "there" and they had to walk, since the paths were too narrow and dangerous to ride on. Walking for two full days on her own feet sounded like a nightmare, but Bai Qian nodded and smiled bravely and waved goodbye to the lovely people in his school.

On the first day, they made good headway. Mo Yuan spoke not a word but seemed lost in thought and she avoided getting too close to him. That was much easier than she had expected, since he walked first, the two horses behind him, with her making up the rear. He pitched her tent for her, at some distance from his that night and Bai Qian made sure she did not fall asleep even for a second, for fear of waking up in his arms again - and liking it.

The next day, the journey became much more strenuous. The path was steep and slippery and Bai Qian’s feet started to hurt with a vengeance only a few hours after setting out. Immortals were not made for walking.

“Do your feet hurt?” Mo Yuan asked her.

“Not at all,” she lied.

“But you are limping,” he remarked.

“I limp? You are mistaken, Shifu!” Shao Wan stirred inside very strongly when Mo Yuan opened his mouth to say something else. “You will not carry me!” Bai Qian blurted out.

Mo Yuan closed his mouth again, then shook his head. Was he amused? “No. Of course I will not carry you.”

What followed was pure agony. Bai Qian was sure she was dying from the wounds on her feet, lifting them ever so often to check for the red waterfalls of blood gushing out (there were none), whimpering softly under her breath. But like all journeys, this one eventually came to an end too. They reached a high plateau with a breathtaking view of mountains and clouds just when the sun was nearing the horizon.

But that was all there was, a view.

Bai Qian sank down on a slab of stone and felt like crying. There was no Demon Queen’s body here. It was a fool’s errand. She had always suspected it, the Demon Queen was insane and had dragged her Shifu down into the madness with her.

Presumptuous! A voice screamed inside of her. The soul was very agitated all of a sudden. So much so that the world started to flicker in front of her eyes. And now that she sat still and listened, Bai Qian felt it: There was something in the air here. Like the song of water on stone, the sound of bamboo leaves rustling in the wind. Magic?

Intrigued, she looked up. Mo Yuan had walked a little further and she noticed in the evening sun that he was glowing. He was performing magic! With a groan, Bai Qian hauled herself up and limped over to him.

A few steps closer and the feeling of being pulled forward was so strong she basically flew through the air to join him.

He was sweating profoundly.

“Shifu,” Bai Qian said alarmed, forgetting her fears of getting too close to him, “please be careful.”

With a loud, whooshing sound, the wards disappeared and before them, a tall, deeply red bamboo grove became visible. Bai Qian gasped. So much immortal power! The amount of magic it had cost to set the wards to hide it… and therefore also to remove them...

Mo Yuan fell to his knees, spitting blood.

“Shifu!” Bai Qian cried but a powerful force grabbed a hold of her before she could reach him, drawing her up and away. The red bamboo stood very thick, but just when she feared to be slammed against one of the stalks, a path opened up for her, whirling her inside and into the heart of the forest, where she landed on her aching feet almost gently.

All was quiet here but for the blood pounding in her ears. Before her lay a pond of the darkest red, its surface smooth like a mirror. It filled the air with an eerie, inaudible song that resonated in her bones and made her hair stand on end.

It is here…

Bai Qian lifted her hand with the Kunlun fan in a swift, upward movement - and from the depth of the pond slowly surfaced a dripping body.

Mine, it sang in Bai Qian’s ears as she felt cultivation flow out of her more and more rapidly and with an ear-shattering plop, three souls left her body through her mouth. Drawing out even more of her powers, the blood lake started to boil, the body to shake and while the song of the lake became faster and more high pitched, the souls disappeared into the newly emerged body with a bright flash like shooting stars.

The lake exploded. Fountains of blood started to rain down on her, emptying out the lake. In her throat rose an object, threatening to choke her and she doubled over, then fell on her knees and retched and retched until it finally left her body too and fell onto the blood red earth.

The rainbow flask.

Two naked, blood smeared feet appeared in front of the thoroughly exhausted Bai Qian, followed by a blood smeared, trembling arm that reached down to lift the flask off the ground.

Chapter 34