Fanfiction3: A-Li's Three Lives, Three Worlds - Chapter 53a (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 53a

written by kakashi
character consulting by Bunny (thanks for letting him cameo :)
edited by LigayaCroft & Panda

“Da-Ge, you will n-o-t guess what has happened to us.”

“It’s u-n-b-e-l-i-e-v-a-b-l-e-!”

XiShui’s magpie-like chatter would normally have amused Gun Gun, but his mood had seldom been this bad. Gritting his teeth, he glared at the unsold teas in front of him, hating them with all his might. He hated them so much he was close to vowing he would never ever drink tea again in his life.

“Da-Ge, did something happen?” A-Xi interrupted his verbal outpour. Both looked at him with concern. “You look upset.”

Upset was not the appropriate description of his state of mind. Furious maybe. Livid. About to scream from pent up rage. He wanted to smash all the ceramics in front of him, then burn all the tea leaves with crimson hellfire and piss on the ash.

“Ah, it was Mei Lin who angered you,” Mei Shui nodded knowingly. “I don’t know how we will ever get her to behave like a lady. Will any man want to marry her the way she is? I have my doubts.”

“But some men like their women a bit… rough,” A-Xi chuckled.

“I know,” Mei Shui chuckled back. “There is hope yet.”

Whatever joke the two were sharing, Gun Gun did not want to be privy to it. But now they were here, he better make use of them.

“Can you two take over and sell these teas for me?” he asked the duo, jumping up.

“Oh… no. Da-Ge… very sorry...”

“We have a meeting soon,” A-Xi said contritely.

“With the swordsmith’s daughters!” Mei Shui chirped, his excitement making his eyes shine like two lanterns.

Huh? Swordsmith’s daughters? Gun Gun stared at the pair. What were they saying?

“You were preoccupied before, so you did not hear. When we went to find the famous swordsmith we heard so much about, there was no swordsmith,” began Mei Lin’s brother.

“But his two daughters!” A-Xi continued. They had the sometimes endearing, sometimes ridiculous, often extremely annoying habit of finishing each other’s sentences.

“We were not ready to talk to women about weapons at first,” Mei Shui said pompously.

“But!” A-Xi almost squealed from excitement, “turns out it is not a famous swordsmith who makes those blades at all! He died a while ago.”

“It’s them! It’s his DAUGHTERS!”

“Congratulations,” Gun Gun murmured and suddenly missed his Li-Gē so much, it hurt in his chest. With him gone, he had nobody to kick under the table and share amused looks with. And worst of all… nobody to talk to about Mei Lin and what she had done to his head.

“Oh no, it is not what you think,” A-Xi hurriedly said, shaking his head rapidly for emphasis. “But we are going to meet them later at an inn - after they have run an errand for a rich lady dowager - so that we can discuss the possible purchase of a very pricey item.”

“It’s the Purple Fang Sword,” Mei Shui whispered, awe making his voice thick.

Was he supposed to know what that was? Racking his brain, coming up with absolutely nothing, Gun Gun managed a semi-enthusiastic nod. “Do you have enough money with you?” he asked, since that was where this conversation seemed to be naturally headed.

“That’s the problem, Da-Ge,” Mei Shui moaned. “We don’t. We thought about returning to the immortal realms to get more, but we fear we would not be back in time!”

“Hence we need to bargain. Bargain hard.”

Gun Gun snorted. Right. If there ever were two certain victims for unfavorable deals, it was XiShui. They basically had an invisible “cheat this” target painted on their foreheads.

“Hence, Da-Ge… we wanted to ask you to accompany us.”

“Me?” He stared at their expectant, excited faces and felt more despair rise inside of him. They wanted him to come along to this romantic meetup of theirs?

“Yes, Da-Ge. You would help us greatly. It also would be proper to have you there as chaperone. We cannot just meet with two unmarried mortal women alone!”

Oh for the love of Pangu. What had he done to deserve this?

“Ah. But… the teas… I cannot leave.” Damn his recent bad luck. DAMN it!

The two young men looked chagrined and quite pitiful in their disappointment - and because Gun Gun took his role as big brother very seriously, that just added more weight to his heavy soul. But no! It was not like him to despair so easily, there had to be a solution!

Yes. There was. “Did you say… rich dowager?”

“Yes, that is where they need to go first. We agreed to meet them in about…”

“You do not by chance know where that rich dowager lady lives?” He interrupted them.

“Yes, of course we do,” the two nodded.

Of course they did. He himself had been a bit too preoccupied with looking at a certain infuriating Demon-Celestial to pay enough attention to his surroundings, but these two had the habit of pointing out to each other everything they saw when they walked somewhere.

“Good,” he nodded. “If you can describe the way there and watch this space for one, maximum two incense, I will be able to come with you to your meeting.”

He got a most detailed and enthusiastic description of the way - “then, you turn left at the house with the silver lion above the door - you mean the bronze one? - ah, yes, the bronze one with a bit of silver at the top, and walk about 50 steps until you see a flower pot with a chipped rim - it is red and blue! - and then blablabla” - and after being done wondering why Mei Shui and A-Xi had not put their rather impressive skills to better use yet, he chose three samples of their best teas, flashed a smile at the cousins and left in a hurry.


It was a wonderful day. There was a faint smell of blossoms in the crisp air, the promise of spring, an energy that made everything in this town sparkle. And the many exciting things on display! She had never known mortals were this talented.

“Are you that happy?” Yu Dian asked her when she smiled at a little boy that almost ran into her.

“Yes, Uncle,” she laughed, “I feel so… so… alive!” Maybe it had something to do with her immortal powers that she had certainly missed, and her Fire being this docile. This was what life should be like every day! she thought.

“Ah,” he sighed with a rueful smile, “to be young again. You haven’t lived until you’ve gotten your heart broken at least once.”

That gave her pause. “Why… why do you say that, Uncle?”

“Ah,” he sighed again, “don’t mind me. My fifth wife has run away again and it is equal part annoyance and embarrassment for me.”

It dampened her mood quite considerably to hear him talk about one of his wives. In her mind, Uncle Yu Dian was a free-spirited, travelling poet and not a Lord in that faraway corner of the Demon Realm with a harem of… however many he had in there. And if he wasn’t travelling, he should be helping her mother deal with all the difficulties of being Overlord.


He nodded solemnly. “It is now the third time. I got word she may have come here to Nanking - hence I’m here to see whether I can find her before it turns into a veritable scandal.”

Mei Lin tried to remember the fifth wife, but without luck. Anyway, she must be stupid. “Why would anyone want to run away from you?” she asked with a snort.

Yu Dian laughed softly. “My lovely Mei Lin, if only all women were as easy to get along with as you are.” Another sigh, this time heavier. “It’s one of those very sappy stories you never believe are true: She is in love with a mortal man but her father forced her into a marriage alliance with me.”


“Yes. And I am just too softhearted to lock her up. How many more times can she possibly see her lover? He must be an old man by now.”

Mei Lin walked in silence for a while. She felt quite sorry for the fifth wife, which surprised her. But to fall in love with a mortal? That was just Fate being cruel. It made her think of A-Li and how his heart had been shattered by the death of the woman he had loved. That silly cousin of hers, was he making the same mistake twice?

“I hope you will not know such hardship in your life,” Yu Dian said softly and tenderly and very briefly touched the side of her cheek.

“I can help you look for her,” Mei Lin offered. “Any clues where she may be?”

Yu Dian shrugged. “At an inn, I think. I’ll leave them some more time before I go fetch her. Are you thirsty? I know a very good teahouse in one of the side streets.”

“Yes, Uncle!” Mei Lin beamed at him, glad he sounded less morose.

He gallantly pointed in the direction to walk and she hooked arms with him since taking his hand like she always had when she was a little girl was no longer appropriate.

“I would like to make you a present,” he said after a few steps, “will you allow it?”

At her nod, he led her to a stand with the prettiest of hairpins. “This one,” he said, choosing one with an emerald stone and beautiful silver ornaments around it, “this will go very well with your complexion.”

Mei Lin felt a bit shy all of a sudden, but accepted the expensive gift with a small curtsy. “Do you want to wear it?” Yu Dian asked.

Mei Lin briefly hesitated before pulling out the wooden hairpin Gun Gun had made her and stowing it away in her sleeve pocket.“Yes, please,” she said.

Yu Dian hesitated too at the sight of what she put away. “Guard your heart well, my beautiful Flower,” he then said sadly. “Enjoy what there is to enjoy, but never forget: that boy is trouble.”


“Amaaaaaaazing,” XiShui crooned when the servants had carried away the last of the pots and the head servant had paid Gun Gun a considerable sum of money for it, reluctantly, coin for coin, into his outstretched hand. “How did you do that, Da-Ge?”

Gun Gun coughed and blushed a little. “Well, you know… I have my ways.”

Truth be told, it wasn’t the first time he had used his body to get what he wanted in life, but this time at least, he was certain it was more than worth it. It had all worked out exactly like he had hoped it would: the lady dowager had ended up buying all the teas.

“Let’s go!” he said to XiShui and to the little scrawny beggar boy sitting on the wagon, dangling his feet, he said: “I will give you many more coins when I return and the oxen and the wagon are still here, do you understand?”

“Yes, Young Master,” the boy nodded and grinned, flashing his crooked brown teeth.

Possible that he would actually sell the oxen and the wagon instead of waiting to be paid by him, but Gun Gun would deal with that later if necessary. Now, he felt the utmost urgency to find Mei Lin. She had been alone with the way too smooth Demon Lord for much too long. In front of his mind’s eye, Gun Gun saw an image of her squirming in the Demon’s arms, softly giggling as he traced his beautifully manicured fingers down her smooth skin.

“No!” he grunted and ignoring the surprised looks of XiShui, he quickly hurried away. Not for the first time, he wondered whether he should have told Mei Lin what he knew about Yu Dian. But would that have changed anything?

“The inn is this way, Da-Ge,” XiShui politely pointed out to him once they had caught up to him, who was craning his neck to see above the crowd, foolishly hoping he would see Mei Lin somewhere. Of course he didn’t. As he followed a few steps behind the two excited young men, he started to feel a bit anxious. Maybe he should have stayed with the wagon because she was already on her way back? Would she be pleased he had sold all the teas? He imagined her smiling face and smiled at the air in return, like the fool that he was.

The inn was quite busy, but had a nice outside area with large red paper umbrellas between the trees, providing extra shade. Gun Gun noticed even before they had taken their seats that it was in no way just an “inn”, but a brothel that also served tea, likely because the Madame was particularly business-minded and believed in diversifying her services.

A very pretty courtesan with blood red lips came to their table to take their orders. “I don’t want any tea,” Gun Gun said with a shudder and ordered the house wine, even though it was not even noon.

“What an excellent idea,” XiShui nodded, “our Da-Ge always knows what’s right! House wine for all of us and two more cups! And snacks! We need snacks! Those sticky crackly ones if you have them!”

Right after they had taken the first sips of the sweet wine, a great agitation came over XiShui. “They’re here! They’re here!” they croaked and started to wave like lunatics towards the entrance of the courtyard.

With the eye of a connoisseur, Gun Gun looked the swordsmith’s daughters up and down as they approached. They were dressed like the men of their trade in leather clothes, their hair bound up tightly with more leather. There was not a trace of makeup on their tanned faces, but they had expressive eyes with long lashes, cute little noses and full, certainly kissable lips. The slightly taller and more full-bosomed one of the two carried on her back a sword wrapped in cloth. All three of them got up and bowed politely.

“Have you come to an agreement already?” the one with the sword addressed Gun Gun bluntly.

“Excuse me?” Gun Gun frowned at her, irritated by her rudeness, “what agreement?”

“Do you not also wish to buy our sword?” she asked, obviously puzzled.

“No,” he replied, equally puzzled. “I’ve already got a sword.”

“He is our cousin,” XiShui busied themselves to explain, “he has come to… to…” they screwed up their faces trying to come up with an explanation that wouldn’t embarrass them but failed.

“Cousin?” the swordsmiths frowned at Gun Gun. “How many young men with gray hair are there in town today?”

A strange feeling came over Gun Gun then, as if he had just become aware of being in a dream. Maybe it was the alcohol he had drunk on an almost empty stomach, maybe it was a strange foreboding, but everything suddenly felt unreal, brittle, and dangerous. It couldn’t be his father, could it. And that meant…

“One is young and one is not quite that,” said a calm voice behind them. Gun Gun stiffened instantly… of all the High Gods including the God of War, this was the one he wanted to face the least. He did not need to turn to know: Long gray hair, jade-like skin, striking features that far surpassed even godly standards, and a pair of shining emerald eyes. Some said they looked like brothers, but only to those foolish enough not to know that eons lay between them.

XiShui sprang to their feet. “High Go…,” A-Xi elbowed Mei Shui into the ribs, “Hi… High Governor Xiao Yu! What a surprise to meet you here!” they cried and almost fell over when they bowed deeply. Gun Gun got up and also bowed, keeping his eyes on the ground until the High God coughed and signalled for them to rise.

“Ah, yes,” he said, “furball, dragon, and phoenix offspring, all gathered in one place. It must be my lucky day!”

“So you do know each other,” said one of the sword sisters triumphantly, “excellent, that should hasten things along.” She waved over one of the waitresses and ordered more wine and another cup. “We have one sword and two… three interested buyers,” she then said in her obviously customary bluntness, “we do have urgent business to tend to, so we will just sell to the highest bidder.”

Yéye! You have come for the sword too?” XiShui’s mouths had become wide open fly traps and Gun Gun winced in sympathy. The deal was done, the sword was sold, they could empty their cups and leave. Only fools were fooled by High God Xiao Yu’s erratic behavior. Gun Gun knew much better than to take him lightly in any way, not least because High God Mo Yuan had told him a few things about him.

“Oh yes, young masters, I have been looking for the next Purple Fang incarnation for a very long time. Name your price, good women!”

“Hey,” the younger of the sisters grinned at A-Xi when Xiao Yu brought out bag upon bag of money from his sleeve pocket, “don’t make such a long face. We will make you guys a new sword, alright?”

“It will not be the same,” A-Xi sniffed, his disappointment driving tears into his eyes that were glued on the blade in the High God’s hands.

“But maybe better!” she said and lifted her cup for a toast. “Are you still in town tomorrow? Come by and we can discuss the handle and the blade.”

“There comes the little Phoenix,” Xiao Yu said casually, as he examined his newly acquired blade closely.

Gun Gun’s heart dropped into his stomach. There she was. So beautiful, his mouth went dry and his breath caught in his throat. Drawn to each other like magnets, their eyes met and his breath got even shorter. There was surprise there, a bit of anger, and a lot of defiance. But she let go of the Demon’s arm when she saw him, which made his heart pick up speed and a fireball of desire start to churn in his gut.

“Yuan-Yuan won’t be pleased if he finds out,” Xiao Yu said to no one in particular and Gun Gun flinched. What exactly did the High God mean though? Jealousy rose up in him again like bile. The approaching pair looked just too good with each other.

“You have many beautiful friends,” said the younger swordsmith to A-Xi, “where are you all from?”

“A… kingdom that is quite far away,” he answered, “and his - (he pointed at Yu Dian) - is even further away. I’ve never visited!”

“I wish I could travel,” she said, a dreamy smile on her face, “one day, when we have enough money…”

“Oh, I’d like to show you how beautiful it is in the… our realms,” A-Xi smiled.

“Really?” the woman beamed, “is that a promise?”

“We won’t ever have enough money if you keep sitting around moony eyed!” the older sister reprimanded the younger, but her tone was gentle, with a hint of sadness. “Young Masters, very sorry the sword did not make it into your possession. But do visit us again soon, we always have interesting blades.”

“Interesting skills,” Xiao Yu remarked as the two women walked away, “yes, do visit them again soon, Young Masters. I have heard they have their eyes on a sword from the Xingpin Kingdom that they might acquire soon.”

“Oh!” Mei Shui’s eyes grew large, “Father Lord has talked about those before. They are very rare, are they not? I will go read about them. There should be some information in Father’s Weapons through the Ages.”

“A few pages should suffice: Never hesitate when you can get your hands on a treasure,” Xiao Yu said, “especially not if it’s a mortal artefact. Everything is so fleeting here. You sneeze in the immortal realms, and a baby has turned into a young man down here.” He turned his eyes on the pair that had just joined them. “Green Demon Lord Yu Dian, you look more dazzling than ever. Is it the beneficial energies of the Obsidian Palace you’ve absorbed? Or is it some of that dangerous magic you green-diamond tattooed people like to use.”

Ouch. Everybody knew that Yu Dian liked to keep the Demon Ancestor company and everybody knew how little the God of War approved of that. Gun Gun shrank back a little, quite glad it was the Demon Lord who got a taste of Xiao Yu’s dagger-like tongue and not him. And he certainly deserved it.

“And look at how beautiful you’ve become,” the High God smiled at Mei Lin, “just bloomed and already the flower is picked? At least some men know not to hesitate when they see a treasure.”

Mei Lin blushed a little, looking so endearing that Gun Gun had to smile. But that smile was wiped from his face instantly when the sun caught a silver hairpin on her head. It had not been there this morning. It was brand new, expensive and extremely beautiful. He wanted to jump up and rip it from her head and ram it into the Green Lord’s throat.

“Very well,” Xiao Yu clapped his hands, startling everyone. “Since I am in a good mood, I will invite all of you to a meal in these lovely premises. They are famous for their red shrimp balls since balls are rather important for their wealth. Let’s go eat balls!”

Whirling around dramatically, holding the new sword in front of him like a General, the High God Xiao Yu led the way into the brothel to what was going to be a very interesting meal at the very least.

Chapter 53b