Fanfiction3: A-Li's Three Lives, Three Worlds - Chapter 54 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 54

written by LigayaCroft
edited by kakashi & Panda

“I don’t think the West Desert King and the Monkey King would do well to sit beside one another in the banquet.”

“Ah, you are right, Shūshu,” Ye Hua thoughtfully agreed as he motioned for an attendant to switch the West Desert King with the First Prince of the Snake Kingdom.

Planning a banquet was as tedious as planning a war, as Ye Hua was quickly finding out. The food choices, the selection of draperies and fripperies, not to mention the pure politics of creating a seating chart — Ye Hua felt only a slight bit remorseful at borrowing his Uncle away from Lian Song’s original mission of finding his wards.

But the former Tianjun’s 300’000th birthday was an occasion that Ye Hua could take advantage of to push their family’s agenda given the current political climate of the Realms. He hadn’t expected for all the rulers, their progenies and proteges to confirm their attendance either. When the confirmations began pouring in by the hundreds, Ye Hua knew many would be there only to watch the spectacle of the Royal Family trying to save face by coming up with a stronger, more united front. This was where his Uncle came in very handy. Lian Song was very well-liked across all tribes, and knew everyone who knew everyone. He was also well-known for throwing multicultural parties, and with practically only a day to go, Ye Hua needed all the help that he could get right now.

“Your Majesty, Mo Yuan High God and Dong Hua Dijun have arrived!”

Ye Hua sighed and once again wished there was a way that he could receive his brother while in Lingxiao Palace without the whole realms knowing about it. He straightened his back from the banquet’s model and turned toward the hall entrance.

Mo Yuan and Dong Hua walked in. The God of War moved briskly with his dark hair up in its usual stern place on top of his head while his old friend, the former Heavenly Emperor, strode in a more leisurely pace, loose silvery hair swaying from behind his back.

Cheng Yu had once whispered there were ongoing bets in the realms on whether the two starkly different High Gods would eventually end up as in-laws, then had bravely asked if Ye Hua would be interested in participating. He of course declined on matter of principle. Cheng Yu had laughed, commending his choice, confiding that Gun Gun and A-Li had stopped recognizing Mei Lin as a woman a very long time ago.

Yet looking at both Mo Yuan and Dong Hua standing side by side a few steps from him, Ye Hua couldn’t help but give in to the frivolous thought of how his own brother would react to having Dong Hua as an in-law.

“You need to find your wards, Lian Song,” Dong Hua commanded without preamble before setting his eyes on Ye Hua. “And you need to find your oldest son.”

A-Li? Ye Hua’s breath hitched but thankfully it didn't show in his face.

“Everyone except for my Uncle, the God of War and Dong Hua Dijun— out.”

All the immortals who attended to Ye Hua and Lian Song compliantly and quickly piled out of the hall, closing the massive doors behind them.

“Dong Hua Dijun, please clarify your statement,” Ye Hua calmly requested as his mind ran through various scenarios of why A-Li would be in trouble.

“I have it on good authority that not a long while ago, your son—”

“A-Li,” Ye Hua firmly interjected to remind Dong Hua that in so many ways, as his son Gun Gun’s sworn brother, A-Li was Dong Hua’s own son too.

“A-Li,” Dong Hua repeated more carefully this time. “A-Li had just been to Diyu.”

“He was?” Lian Song’s fan loudly snapped shut. “What was he doing there?”

“I don't know but whatever he did, he’s gone and Yánwáng’s Palace is now filled with light.”

Ye Hua’s hands tried to curl into fists but he was able to stop it before it did.

“Diyu has light?”

“Yes, Lian Song,” Dong Hua repeated with an almost imperceptible sigh. “Your good friend’s palace is now all lit up. But here’s the mystery that befuddles everyone who knew he was there. Many saw A-Li go into Diyu. None had seen him come out and we all know that place only has one entrance and exit.”

Weight brought about by dread settled in Ye Hua’s chest. He could feel his palms grow cold as he thought about his son. He has several, but A-Li, his A-Li, has always been his most special.

Maybe because for quite some time, there had only been the two of them. He had raised A-Li himself, changed his son’s dirty diapers, fed him, lulled him to sleep. He was there when A-Li first smiled, first rolled onto his stomach, first sat, first talked, and first walked. A-Li had been his sole reason for living as he trudged through the first three hundred years without Bai Qian.

“I tried to look for him, Ye Hua, but I couldn't detect him in the billions of mortal worlds in the Trichiliocosm.”

A hand squeezed his left shoulder. Ye Hua turned his head from Dong Hua to see Lian Song’s kind eyes.

Zhìzi, don’t you worry. I have a hunch A-Li went to Hùndùn. He will come back. He has done so before.”

“A-Li went to Hùndùn?” The question came from the God of War. “That is not possible. Father has always said there was only one way to that place, and no way out. What foolishness have you been teaching our children, Lian Song?”

Air swished along the side of Ye Hua’s cheek from Lian Song’s fan that now lazily moved from side to side in front of its owner’s face. Ye Hua had always known that his Uncle still carried a grudge with the God of War after all these years, and lived for seeing Mo Yuan upset as often as possible.

“Oh, let me see,” Lian Song pointed one left finger up to the ceiling. “How to hide one’s prowess from parents was a skill the children became particularly good at. That's what happens when you expect too little from your daughter, God of War.”

“Enough,” Ye Hua commanded to stop any further exchange between the two High Gods. “Da-Ge, I know it is possible to return from Hùndùn as I have done so myself.”

Dong Hua tilted his head to one side and raised a brow.

“But that is a story for another time. As for Yánwáng, I will wait until the party tomorrow to interrogate him on what happened to my son and why his Palace now has light. And as for the real purpose why I had asked you to come,” Ye Hua added firmly but respectfully, ”Dong Hua Dijun, I would like to know more about the status of the water kingdoms.”

Dong Hua didn't look pleased at having his unspoken question shoved aside but as a good vassal would, he proffered his knowledge. “Si Ming came back with the assurance that the four Water kingdoms are still loyal to our Heavenly Emperor. The Eastern Sea King was throwing a party when Si Ming arrived so it became easy for Si Ming to convene with everyone.”

Dong Hua recited the update with the excitement only a rock could muster but the news was enough for Ye Hua. He nodded his thanks and turned to his brother.

“The Demons and Ghost Leaders have expressed no intention to join Celestial politics. But clearly, they have taken great interest on the developments in the Celestial Realms especially ever since you and Her Highness have allowed free speech. As you know, the Demons and Ghosts are not as… conservative, as Celestials have been,” Mo Yuan shared, his gaze steady on his brother. “It has been pretty interesting for them to hear Celestials gripe about how the Royal Family is now a paragon for interracial mingling. Strangely enough, there have been reports even from the Lower Realms that Celestials are of the opinion that peace equates to the Royal Family getting soft and weak.”

“It is interesting to note how you are reporting this as if you are no longer a Celestial yourself, God of War,” Lian Song pointed out, his tone cold and flat. “Are you on the road to becoming a Demon yourself now?”

“Shūshu,” Ye Hua scolded.

“What?” Lian Song raised his hands in front of him. “I was just curiously noting how the same man who vehemently objected when his daughter announced she would become a Demon was now reporting this valuable information with the detachment of an outsider.”

“I apologize if any of you Lords feel that is so,” Mo Yuan said stiffly. “My loyalty remains with the Celestials as head of my Brother’s troops.”

Something is bothering him, Ye Hua knew. They had worked to lessen their twin-link through the years but that hadn't diminished their ability to read one another like a book. It only took three persons to make his brother feel unsettled and Ye Hua would stake his crown this had something to do with Shao Wan. Again.

“Ye Hua,” Dong Hua raised his right arm and fist to rest against his belly. “I cannot stay for long but I need to tell you that Si Ming reported there are new faces hovering around that party. He had the displeasure to meet some of them— one in particular was a man wearing an eye patch on one eye who hung in the background. Si Ming felt off about him.”

“An eye patch? The man was a pirate?”

Ye Hua dismissed his uncle’s fake-interested remark. “It could be worth looking into, or not. Si Ming Xingjun has a very active imagination.”

“Maybe,” Dong Hua shrugged his shoulders then bowed. “I am afraid I have to get going, Tianjun.”

“Alright,” Ye Hua gave his permission with a slight nod.

“I have to get going, too.” Mo Yuan declared after watching Dong Hua’s receding form. “Be careful, Ye Hua, because even a bad cause can become good if the people who believe it fight for it together self-sacrificially.“

Ye Hua agreed and afterwards watched his brother leave.



“Find A-Li,” he requested and between uncle and nephew, the sense of urgency was already understood. “Please.”

“I have received word from my good friend Yu Dian that Mei Lin and Gun Gun had been spotted selling mortal teas in Nanking,” Lian Song shared. “They couldn't have gone far from there. I will take care of it, Zhìzi. You will see your son at tomorrow’s party.”

“Thank you, Shūshu.”

Lian Song wordlessly nodded and then he, too, left.

Now alone inside the cavernous hall, Ye Hua walked toward the nearest window to view the Celestial Sky beyond. Bright. So bright. He much preferred the skies of Qing Qiu, which also reminded him a lot about the days he had spent looking up at the sky guised as a mortal from Junji-shan.

Bright. But as only he— and if Lian Song’s story which he had first shared to Ye Hua days ago was true— and now his A-Li knew, this bright Sky was but a foil for the indescribable Húndún beyond.

Mother, I hope wherever you are, you are keeping my son safe.

It was the first prayer that he, Heavenly Emperor, High God of all Living High Gods, has ever uttered with all his heart.

Chapter 55