Fanfiction: Moyuan and Bai Qian, Book 2 - Chapter 2, Part 1 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 2 - The Woman

Part 1

written by LalaLoop
Consulting by Bunny
editing by kakashi

Bai Qian’s eyes were wide open yet everything around her seemed to be a blur. Moyuan was moving steadily under the feeble moonlight and by the familiar fragrance in the air, she could tell they had reached Kunlun.

After having been assured that everyone else was safe and also on their way back, Bai Qian’s mind drew a blank. She had forgotten when Moyuan had gathered her in his arms. She could not remember the last thing they had said to each other or how long she had kept her own arm around his neck. The only thing she was quite certain of was the desire to be left alone with him for a while.

Occasionally Moyuan would glance down, Bai Qian could feel his questioning gaze upon her, as if he thought she was behaving strangely.

From the corner of her eyes, Bai Qian saw a figure in white running toward them - one of her Seniors. She quickly dropped her head against Moyuan’s chest and closed her eyes.

“Shifu,” said Changshan. “Zilan and the other -- other people are just back,” he gasped. “What happened to her? Did she --”

“I will explain later. Is High God Zheyan here yet?”

“He should be here soon. Shifu, let me take care of Seventeenth. You’re still weak.”

Weak? Why was he weak? He’d seemed perfectly fine back in the forest. But whatever the case, Bai Qian decided she did not want to move. He had carried her from however far away to Kunlun, a few more steps should not be a problem. Even if they both collapsed here, it would not be the end of the world.

“Seventeenth.”

Feeling Changshan’s hands on her arms, Bai Qian flinched and gripped Moyuan’s robe.

“Seventeenth?” Changshan’s slightly stunned voice repeated.

“It’s fine, Changshan,” said Moyuan. “Please help me prepare the cauldron for High God Zheyan. And when he arrives, tell him Zilan and the Princess of Xunzhua need immediate healing.”

“Yes, Shifu.”

Changshan’s footsteps faded and Bai Qian felt Moyuan picking up his pace again.



When the air felt warmer and there was no more wind brushing by her hair, Bai Qian forced open her eyes. Flickering candlelight illuminated the room they had just stepped in.

She reluctantly let go of Moyuan’s robe when he had lowered her onto the bed and gathered herself into a sitting position, knees close to her chest. Bai Qian was not exactly tired. Perhaps the shock of the evening was still too fresh in her mind for her to feel tired yet. Moyuan settled at the bed’s edge and looked at her straight posture with some curiosity.

“You haven’t said a word to me all the way back here,” he said at last, placing a hand behind her back, as if telling her to not sit so stiffly.

Was this a complaint? Bai Qian looked back at him. Was he expecting her to talk about the Demons?

“You seem a little unstable, Seventeenth,” his hand raised to her forehead. “Did they use any mind spell on you?”

“No,” she said. “I — er — I don’t think so.”

“I believe Zheyan will be here shortly. He will have a look at you after --”

“No no --” Bai Qian quietly gasped, shaking her head.

“No?”

“I don’t want… I don’t need anyone…”

“Of course you do,” his brows furrowed in mild astonishment. “You are injured.”

“Not really.”

“Internally injured,” Moyuan insisted. “Your powers need to be rebalanced.”

But Bai Qian didn’t believe her powers needed to be stabilized at all. She did not want Moyuan to leave the room and it was important that he understood this. Though she was not too sure how to convey that without blatantly telling him she had been scared out of her wits back in the forest and that some healing spells from Zheyan were not what she needed now.

“Can’t — you do it?” she asked.

“Can I do the rebalancing spell?”

Bai Qian nodded.

“Not as well as Zheyan,” Moyuan said, looking quite confused. “You know I’m not a physician.”

“No, then,” Bai Qian shook her head again indefinitely. “I don’t need healing.”

For a moment Moyuan looked as if he was going to say something. But he did not. Instead, he gave her a long inscrutable look and let out a deep sigh.

“You know --” a voice suddenly shot through the silence between them like an arrow and Bai Qian almost let out a shriek. “Most people don’t get to pick their physician, especially at a time like this.”

Zheyan had entered the room and was now walking toward them. Behind him was Changshan, holding a smoking basin and some layers of white cloths.

“You… Old…” Bai Qian breathed out, controlling the urge to spring up and give that Old Phoenix a few good punches. She’d had Demons jump at her and Demons sneak up on her in the dark several times in one night; and now the Old Phoenix thought it was fun to come into her room without knocking and disturb the silence with his loud voice while she was waiting for Moyuan to speak.

“These are for you, Seventeenth,” said her Second Senior as he set the basin down.

Bai Qian mumbled a ‘thank you’ to Changshan when their eyes met. He simply shook his head, gave her a smile and left.

“Have I ever mistreated you?” Zheyan said, lowering himself and taking her jaw into his fingers. “Have I?”

“No --” Bai Qian groaned.

Moyuan quietly rose and Zheyan instantly took his place at her bedside.

“Have I ever given you a bad potion?” he went on.

“That’s debatable, if we’re talking about taste —” Bai Qian stopped short when the Old Phoenix’ eyes narrowed into slits. “No,” she murmured.

“Exactly,” he said, now casting a spell and tracing up and down her arm, possibly to check for residue of dark magic. “So if I hear another word about you preferring your Shifu to me when it comes to healing, you ungrateful little Fox, I will seal my Peach Blossom Garden and never let you come in again, is that clear?”

“Yes, it’s clear,” said Bai Qian dully, feeling his threads of healing powers spreading to her limbs, warming her from fingertips to toes.

“She’s fine,” Zheyan turned to Moyuan, who was now standing at the foot of her bed. “Some medicine and rest will put her to right again by tomorrow morning.”

“How are Zilan and the Princess?” asked Moyuan.

“I’ve seen to them,” Zheyan’s voice became deeper. “They have no external injuries but I do need to speak with you about their condition.”

“Why?” Bai Qian frowned. “It is that serious? Please tell me they --”

“Don’t worry, Xiaowu,” replied Zheyan, who seemed to have forgotten about their little quarrel and was now taking a more regular tone. “It’s nothing I can’t handle. I just need to discuss something with Moyuan. Now, Changshan will bring you your medicine in a minute, please drink the whole thing and go to sleep.”

“Yes, Old Phoenix,” Bai Qian muttered.

With one last spell from Zheyan, the small cuts on her hands disappeared.

After Zheyan and Moyuan had left, worry for Zilan and the King of Xunzhua’s sister started to come back to Bai Qian. The Old Phoenix might have been a bit irritating, but his presence had reminded her she was not the only one injured tonight, if not to say she and Yanzhi were the luckiest out of them all. And now that priorities had been reordered in her head, Bai Qian felt a ripple of shame deep down for wanting to keep Moyuan with her for no good reason while he was needed elsewhere.

Zheyan is the best physician in the realms, Bai Qian thought to herself as she got up and changed into the white robes Changshan had brought, he’ll heal Zilan and the Princess. She soaked the white cloth with warm water from the basin and dabbed her face with it.

Though the moment Bai Qian was ready slump into her pillow, there was a faint knock on the wooden door.

“Seventeenth,” Changshan’s voice sounded from the other side. “Are you asleep?”

Bai Qian walked over and opened the door. Her Second Senior was looking neither pleased nor amused and there was no medicine goblet in his hands.

“The Skylord is here,” he said with his hands on his hips. “He asked to see you.”

“What…” Bai Qian almost pinched herself to make sure she wasn’t lost inside a bad dream. What could the Skylord possibly want with her?

“I told him you need to rest but he insisted,” Changshan continued; he was looking as disturbed as her. “He said it’s very important and that -- he’ll try to be as quick as he can so you can rest.”

“Are you sure he’s not here to see Shifu?”

“Doesn’t seem so,” Changshan replied. “I don’t think Shifu is available for conversation anyway, he and High God Zheyan are tending to Zilan. Seventeenth, if you’re too tired, I can --”

“It’s all right, Senior” Bai Qian said. “I’ll go see what he wants.”



Stepping into the grand hall, Bai Qian realized the Skylord wasn’t the only one there, nor was he the only one who looked like he wanted to be somewhere else.

Yehua’s grandfather was sitting at one of the tables, opposite of him was the King of Xunzhua who, Bai Qian suspected, was slouching to one side on purpose to irk the other man. In fact, this pose made him look very much like Lord Donghua always did save for an indifferent facade and a purple robe.

The air was filled with mutual dislike because the King was no admirer of the Nine Heavens and the Skylord, given how he had raised Yehua to be an epitome of good manners, obviously considered this King’s lack of etiquette a crime.

Bai Qian’s entrance did not help lift the tension by much.

“Skylord,” she said wearily and did not bother curtsying but instead walked straight to a low table - Yehua was not here so she saw no need to put on an act of properness toward this man. Settling down, she exchanged a look with the King, who simply shrugged and took a gulp of drink from his cup.

“Queen of Qingqiu,” said the Skylord. “Since the King of Xunzhua is also aware of what happened, I will speak with you both.”

Bai Qian gave no answer, waiting for whatever it was that made him sound so serious. She knew the Skylord had a reputation of overthinking everything and panicking when there was absolutely no problem.

“My grandson is no longer in any danger,” he began.

“I am glad,” Bai Qian said, recalling what Moyuan had told her in the forest.

“I am grateful for what you did for Yehua,” said the Skylord, who did not look like he was grateful at all. “And I have a favor to ask of you both now. As I was saying to the King of Xunzhua before you came in, I’d like you to keep this incident a secret. No one needs to know --”

“That someone had infiltrated the Nine Heavens without you people noticing?” she interrupted, Bai Qian could not believe that after all she and her friends had gone through tonight, she was having to listen to this insecure man talking about how he thought the Nine Heavens’ good name should be protected.

“Infiltration,” the Skylord tried to laugh, but the nervousness in his voice was apparent. “Really --”

“What else could it have been? Doesn’t the Celestial clan have the most effective methods for checking an immortal’s background before granting them an occupation in the Nine Heavens? But whoever it was was good enough to get that close to the Crown Prince and poisoned him.”

“Unless, of course,” spoke the King of Xunzhua, “you’re telling us that what happened to the Crown Prince was a reaction to terrible wine, Skylord; which, I have to say, is perfectly believable.”

“This is not something to joke about, King of Xunzhua,” the Skylord sighed, under the mask of composure was an obvious desire to drag and throw the King into Zhuxian Terrace. Looking over to Bai Qian, he continued.

“Queen of Qingqiu, even though you are a Goddess, you are young in age. Most of all, you are unfamiliar with the way things are run in the Nine Heavens. So it’s best that you don’t make assumptions about our system.”

“I’m old enough to know the Crown Prince was doing the right thing by calling that meeting, which you gave him no support for.”

“That is something entirely different and not at all what I came here to discuss,” the Skylord said, his patience seemingly starting to wear out. “I want your word that you will tell no one about the Crown Prince being poisoned, save for those who know already.”

The King of Xunzhua snorted, obviously finding the Skylord’s request no more than a joke.

“I’m not an attention seeking fool,” Bai Qian snapped. “Why would I go around telling random people about that?”

“A simple ‘yes’ would have sufficed, but thank you. Regarding my grandson’s determination to believe that someone is leading the Demon tribe into war against us all, it is a matter of the Nine Heavens. Please don’t concern yourself with it.”

Bai Qian knew what she was about to say would be as useful as carrying water to the oceans, but she said it anyway.

“Skylord, the Demons have a leader, someone hidden out there waiting for the best opportunity to strike. Instead of accepting this fact and do something right for once, you’re cowering behind the Nine Heavens’ shield, leaving it all to Yehua, making him keep up an image!”

“That’s exactly the point, isn’t it. Whoever this leader is, he is hidden. Do you know that Demons are best at injecting fear into people’s hearts? They have gotten to you, I see. This ‘someone’ could indeed be a powerful leader, but he could also have been made up for a scare play, which is almost always what Demons do.”

“For someone who’s usually very apprehensive, you’re being ridiculously careless,” said Bai Qian bluntly.

“I allowed the Crown Prince to hold that meeting as he and -- some other members of the court wanted, that is that. If those tribe leaders choose not to do as advised, there is nothing I can do about it.”

“There’s something you can and should do instead of wasting your time here,” the King spoke, his voice suddenly becoming fierce and completely void of that jesting tone earlier. “Send someone to issue a warning to the arctic prisons, make sure none of the jailers are working for the other side. If the Demon tribe decides to start a war, that’s the first place they’ll go to look for recruits. Those prisoners would be more than happy to see the Nine Heavens fall. And if you don’t want to take this measure yourself, stay well out of the Crown Prince’ way when he makes the decision to do it.”

It was no surprise that the Skylord had started to look like a fire Kirin that was about to breath flames. Having someone who looked about Yehua’s age speak to him in such a tone must equal to being splashed in the face with cold water while sleeping.

“You doubt my security!” he barked, no longer controlling his voice.

“Someone has managed to slip poison into your grandson’s drink right under your nose. Anyone with half a brain would doubt your security!” Bai Qian cried in frustration.

“A -- a war -- preposterous -- I do not wish to discuss this any further!”

“Why? Because if you do, you’d soon run out of excuses?” the King lifted his chin.

“King of Xunzhua, mind your word!”

“Or?”

“Your kingdom vowed to serve the Nine Heavens. It is not your place to criticize the way we run things.”

“We made no vow and we do not serve anyone. What is between our tribes is cooperation. My father may have been lenient to your irresponsible reign in the Nine Heavens out of generosity, but I am the King now. If you don’t take this matter seriously and start making some changes in your court, Xunzhua will withdraw its support and you can find some other clan to supply you with weapons.”

“Is that a threat?” not only did the Skylord look like an angry fire Kirin, he was also breathing like one now.

“No, it’s a warning.”

“Do you really believe that the Nine Heavens need support from Xunzhua to survive!”

“To be honest, I’m not too sure myself,” the King sneered. “Would you like to find out?”

The Skylord leapt up from his seat, taking in air through his mouth and glaring at the King. It seemed words could no longer express his anger.

“Tell High God Moyuan I will be back for an audience with him,” he almost shouted at Bai Qian, his face purpling. “Queen of Qingqiu, you have promised to keep the matter about the Crown Prince secret, please do so!”

Then, without waiting for a reply, the angry ruler of the heavens stormed away, huffing and thundering at celestial soldiers as they attempt to find out if he was wanting to go straight back home.

“If only I was the Crown Princess!” Bai Qian blurted out without thinking.

“Indeed” the King said. “The Crown Prince is desperately in need of someone who’s willing to face reality and able to make better judgement.”

“What are you saying?” she folded her arms and shot him a scathing look.

“I’m saying I appreciate the Crown Prince’s effort, but effort doesn’t equal result; and his past record makes me nervous.”

“What exactly are you referring to?”

The King looked a bit reluctant but he said after a while, his finger tracing the cup on his table, “shall I be honest with you?”

“Are you ever not?” Bai Qian scoffed - as if he had been sensitive to other people’s feelings all along.

“The war with the Mermaid clan about 300 years ago. I don’t know if you were already involved in his decision making then but that incident proved he is not exactly the best politician.”

Bai Qian remained quiet for a second - this was something she was not very clear about. It must have happened some time during her trial since no one had ever mentioned the details about it to her.

“The Mermaid clan was threatening to revolt,” she said. “I’m sure whatever Ye… the Crown Prince did was for the best.”

“Maybe what he planned to do stemmed from good intention, but to lead a full force battle at that particular time and annihilate almost a whole tribe instead of trying to negotiate for peace, that is neither good politics nor good --” he cleared his throat -- “common sense.”

“Look, how old are y --” Bai Qian took in a deep breath, swallowed down her irritation and decided she would ask Yehua about everything later. She might lose this argument if she did not know the exact details. Breathing in one more time, she steered the conversation away from the Mermaid war.

“If you agree with us about the Demon tribe, why did you oppose me during that meeting?”

“I wanted to know if you really knew what you were talking about or were just blindly supporting the Crown Prince,” he laughed lightly. “As it turns out, you seem to be in the know.”

An uncomfortable moment passed by.

“That does not mean I still don’t think people are exaggerating when they talk about you and your Qingqiu,” he continued. “So don’t worry, you don’t have to start being friendly or thank me.”

“I wasn’t planning on it,” Bai Qian rolled her eyes, promising herself that when she had repaid this King for saving her life, she would let him know in plain words what a scoundrel she thought he was.

“Good,” he remarked with a sneer and went on. “Now that you mentioned it, why are you still not the Celestial Crown Princess? We were informed some time ago about an arrangement between your two tribes.”

“There isn’t anymore.”

“Why?”

“It’s none of your business.”

A jolt of pain suddenly shot through her skull; Bai Qian sucked air through her teeth and grabbed the side of her head. Then it was gone.

“What is it now?” he asked, jerking his head at her.

“A little headache,” she said as she staggered up. “I’m going back to my room.”

To Bai Qian’s astonishment, the King too had risen from his seat and was striding toward her.

“Let’s go then.”

“What?” she stared at him.

“I will walk you back to your room, Queen of Qingqiu,” he said, sounding impatient.

“There’s no need,” Bai Qian almost laughed. “It’s not that far away.”

“Listen,” he held up a hand. “You look like you could pass out any moment, and if you do, I don’t want to be blamed for that, especially when my sister and I are enjoying Kunlun’s hospitality.”

“I’m not going to --” too tired to argue and truth be told, she needed to reach her room for some rest more than anything, Bai Qian gave up with a sigh.

“Thank you, I suppose, King of --”

“The name’s Pojing (珀镜),” he cut her off.

Bai Qian looked into his eyes for a brief moment and chuckled.

“Fitting,” she said.



When Bai Qian was back in her room, there was a smoking goblet sitting on the low table. She picked it up and let the heat warm her hands a little as she settled on her bed.

As much as Bai Qian wanted to yell at the Skylord for his short-sightedness, she certainly wished things were as he had said, that there was no Demons lurking out there, preparing for a war.

The Master... who was this Master? Bai Qian took a sip of her medicine, getting on her knees and looking out the window. Kunlun’s air of peace and quiet was incomparable. Bai Qian inhaled a large gulp and that air, letting it fill her senses. She sometimes still hung on to the childish belief that as long as she was inside Kunlun’s gate, inside Moyuan’s shield, no evil could ever reach her.

But why did they need a soul-gathering device? She picked up on her thoughts. Was that why they had tortured Zilan too? Those savage Demons… The feeling of being trapped inside that cold and damp cellar was still lingering on her every fiber.

“Seventeenth?”

Bai Qian wheeled around. She did not know why he was here now but a smile naturally broke across her lips when she saw him approaching. She noticed there was a book in his hand.

“What are you doing?” Moyuan asked gently, sitting down at the edge of her bed. “Is there something outside?”

Bai Qian shook her head, moved away from the window and pulled the blanket over herself with one hand while holding on to the goblet with the other. “I was just getting ready for bed.”

Moyuan said nothing - this made her extremely thankful. She was thankful he did not ask her to relive the horrible experience in the Demons’ forest, nor was he asking any questions at all for that matter. She was certain none of her friends would want to talk about it tonight, either.

“Your medicine,” he pointed at the goblet.

Bai Qian emptied it within seconds.

When she was done, Moyuan took the goblet from her hand and put it aside as he rose. Then, when Bai Qian was going to ask why he had brought a book with him to her room, he had sat down behind her and placed his arms around her shoulders.

The suddenness of the act warranted some astonishment and Bai Qian almost resisted. But she quickly gave in as the feeling that had been washing over her ever since she’d come back from the forest, the thing she’d fought back when the Old Phoenix had come in, was surging up inside her again, prickling her eyes.

Her hand moved up to find Moyuan’s wrist and hung onto it. His embrace fastened. And it was silence afterwards. Long and warm silence where all the wrong in the world ceased to matter.

Not all the wrong - Bai Qian suddenly recalled.

“I’m sorry about your arm,” she said.

He chucked and rested his chin on her head.

“You should be.”

Several minutes went by before they broke apart. Bai Qian twisted around to get a better view of him. He was looking paler than usual. Or was it the moonlight that was making everything look pale? In the black depths of tranquility that were fixating on her was a fragment of concern.

“Go to sleep,” he said.

And Bai Qian did not know whether it was because of the potion’s effect or his soothing voice, but she had started to feel very much sleepy indeed.

Moyuan picked up the book in his hand and moved to the low table across the room, near the branched candle holder. Lying on her side and through half open eyes, Bai Qian saw his figure become still as soon as he settled down and immersed in the content of the book, so very still he looked like part of a painting.

Her ears quickly grew accustomed to the sound of the pages being turned and soon all thoughts fled her mind.

Chapter 2, Part 2