Fanfic: Mo Yuan and Shao Wan 2.0 - Chapter 40 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 40

written by kakashi
edited by LigayaCroft & Panda

“Are we resting here?” Shao Wan asked breathlessly. The air was cold and thin this high up in the mountains, but utterly clear; the view of rows upon rows of other peaks rising out of the morning mist like an island kingdom in the sky was spectacular. She was too proud to tell Mo Yuan that his speedy cloud-jumping had made her heart race and her head spin… she felt quite nauseous. Out of stubborness, she hadn’t held on nearly as tight as she should have - several times, she had feared for her life. But if he said: “Hang on tight!” she felt an immediate impulse to not hang on at all… why was that?

He looked at him from the side. His face was glowing in the morning sun, a mixture of immortal powers, cheeks kissed by the misty clouds, and contentment. He seemed at peace in this place, like he belonged here. There was a twinge in her heart and her gut contracted briefly. I like to see him like this, she thought. But why is it that it feels like I haven’t seen this face of his enough? And why do I fear it will disappear? Like there was a shadow hiding right behind his happiness. Pain? Grief?

“No,” he said, not taking his eyes off the view, “we’re staying here for a while.”

“You are joking.”

“Not in the least,” he replied and turned towards the entrance of a cave behind them. “It is easily defended and suits my purposes perfectly.”

A cave. In the middle of nowhere.

She stalked after him on unsteady legs, building up a small rage. When they stepped in, she even had to duck her head! And no heavenly miracle like a hidden palace waited in the darkness behind. No: it was small, moldy, cold … just utterly… cavey.

“Do you know that I am…”

“Yes, you are a Queen,” he said with a voice so low and patient it instantly made her feel sleepy, “if one argued long enough, one could come to the conclusion that you are even higher in status than me, since you carry the title Ancestor.”

“Good, so you know this,” she said. “A queen like me won’t dwell in barren caves.”

“But you were born in one, just like this,” he said. “Doesn’t it feel a little bit like home?”

With an elegant flick of his wrist, he conjured up a merrily crackling fire. Cozy warmth started to spread immediately. Like home? How dare he!

She frowned at him. “Stop using magic like this, you will hurt yourself.”

He shrugged. “The trick is to use a very little each time. Biteback is minor this way. Sit down.”

Since when? This Celestial was just too sneaky for her liking, getting his powers back so quickly. Another flick and a very comfortable looking bed of animal skins and cushions appeared near the wall where she stood.

“I will not do what you…”

He pulled on the invisible tether he had thrown around their wrists, which made her lose her balance and plop down in the midst of the cosiness. It was so soft and comfortable, her body relaxed instantly.

“Good,” he said smugly, “I’m glad you feel comfortable. Now listen. I want you to rest here. I need to find out what is wrong with your memories and what’s wrong with your cultivation.”

“But I do not want to…”

He glared at her so sternly that her defiant words faltered. Yes, alright, it was true: he had regained his powers in such a short amount of time while she was still as weak as a newborn baby. Her hands went to her tummy. As long as her children were alright…

“Maybe those mortals are actually right,” he mused, “maybe it is about the preservation of qi and we shouldn’t…”

“Are you out of your mind?” she exclaimed, trying to scramble up from the fluffy bed he had made for her, “aren’t immortal pregnancies a very long business?”

“From what I recall, it takes three years,” he nodded. “Immortal years.”

“Nooooo,” she wailed, “you cannot seriously suggest that we no longer…”

“Stop making such a fuss over nothing,” he said, “I was merely voicing a thought.”

Presumptuous. A fuss! And how could he call this nothing? “You know how certain things should never be even thought and much less voiced because it’s bad luck? This is one.”

“Shao Wan, I myself have gone many millennia without…”

“And I am sure it made you entirely insufferable. That’s not natural!”

He sighed. “Fine, let’s not talk about it anymore. I am merely trying to find the cause for your inability to gain any cultivation and since some of the books also suggested that during intercourse, men’s life are extended through the absorption of the woman's vital energies, both jing and qi...”

“That is horrid!”

“Yes… and during pregnancy, the woman’s qi is already weakened because the unborn child takes its share and…”

“You think you know everything from reading a few books!” she replied angrily, “typical.”

“What is that supposed to mean?” he said icily.

“That’s exactly what those women told me,” she ranted, “men think they know everything about having children just from studying while in truth, they know nothing. On top of things, they are the ones having all the enjoyment while women are the ones bearing all the pain.”

Mo Yuan sighed. “That’s what those women told you?”

“Well, yes. But I could have figured it out myself too. It’s not hard to see.”

“Then let me tell you this,” he said and sat down next to her, “because you are the one having to carry our children until they are ready to be born and because you will be the one having to give birth to them under major difficulties, I want to do what I can for you. That is why I studied. And it wasn’t a “few” books. It was many.”

“Still,” she murmured, though of course, she was touched.

“You are not fit to go back to the immortal realm,” he continued, “it is too dangerous for you in your current state. Hence, we will stay here together until I have found a way to give you back your powers.”


“Yes, here. And I will put you to sleep.”

What was he saying? This time, she succeeded in pushing herself upright.

“I need you to be asleep, Shao Wan,” he said and moved a little closer so that he could take her hand. “I know I am no doctor, but I fear I cannot risk going back to fetch Zhe Yan. If he is travelling, like he so often does, then I lose too much time…”

Yes, time was always an issue between mortal and the immortal worlds. “Drink tea in the heavens and your mortal lover will have withered and died” - wasn’t that one of the sayings of immortals?

“For how long?” she asked with a thin voice.

“A few days only, I hope,” he answered quietly.

She nodded, though she felt her innards knot up in fear. What was it about being oblivious to the world for a bit that scared her so? Or was it the thought of parting from him? “Sleep is like death,” she remembered reading once, “only if you wake will you ever know you’ve lived.”

“But not today,” she said.

“No, not today,” he agreed.

“I want you to hold me,” she whispered.

“I plan to join you in your dreams,” he said, moving even closer and putting an arm around her. “And if you are afraid or need me, just pull at the cord that connects us. I will feel it and I will come.”

“You mean to dreamwalk with me?” She stiffened. That was dangerous! Especially if someone had no experience with it. “No.”

“It is the only way, Shao Wan,” he said resolutely. “I should get clues from your dreams. About where the missing pieces of your soul are. And what is blocking your memories. And if worst comes to worst…”

… you will never return, she finished his sentence in her head. She remembered a famous calamity from their school days all too well: A Celestial, infatuated with a mortal woman to the point of madness, trying to be with her more often since his duties kept him in the Heavens. He had found a way to dreamwalk with her every free moment - until he had not found his way back. Forever locked in a dead person’s dreams, the tales of his eternal suffering had been all the warning one should ever need.

“Living in your dreamscape cannot be the worst of fates,” he said.

“Don’t be stupid,” she replied angrily, “don’t you remember Liu Can? His tortured soul is still haunting the Western Seas. Being an immortal ghost is the worst of fates! And you, too, are no Shaman. You are a Celestial and Celestials are known to be hopeless when it comes to this kind of magic.”

“I will not be hopeless at it.”

She wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry at his arrogance. Celestials were the Tribe with the purest of cultivations, derived from the Stars and the Sky, their magic following the laws of the Universe without room for negotiation. Those best at wielding it were people like Mo Yuan, whose minds could calculate probabilities at lightning speed. There was not a single known case of a Celestial using dark magic in a proficient way, nor had she ever seen one use the powers of the earth - the powers with the most arcane uses.

“I won’t allow it!”

“You won’t be able to stop me,” he shrugged. “I’d rather have you let me in willingly.”

I would never be able to forgive myself if something happened to you, she thought as she gazed into his determined eyes. And with that thought came another. I love him more than life itself. When… when did this happen?

It must have been a long time ago.

Why do I keep resisting?

Just let go. Let go… he will be there to catch you.

Will he?


Mo Yuan gazed at her still form as long as time allowed, looking for any sign of discomfort. But she was sleeping soundly and deeply, her face still and serene. The air was heavy from the kǔ cǎo (苦草) he had burnt, but he was resisting its sleep inducing effects. There was something else he had to take care of first. I will be back, he vowed and got up.

Sealing the entrance of the cave took more magic than was allowed in the mortal world, but thanks to Xiao Yu’s instructions before he had left with Seventeenth, he now knew how to temporarily cheat his Father’s Laws. There would be consequences for this, since there always were, but he would deal with them later.

Striding to the edge of the cliff, Mo Yuan appreciated the view that reminded him of Kunlun. Clearly, he missed it more than he had realized - his mountain abode, the pillar of the sky. If anything, his latest adventures had made it clear to him that Master of Kunlun Mountains was more than just a title to him. It was where he belonged, where he was the most whole and fully balanced. But would he be able to return there anytime soon?

Taking a deep breath, Mo Yuan cloud-jumped, gathering speed as he raced towards the position of his enemies. They may try to hide their presence all they wanted, he would still always be able to find them. Ironically, the group of Celestials his brother had sent looking for him were far behind, but the two Demons had followed them with more success.

Why that was the case became instantly apparent when he touched down in front of them.

“You’re bait?” he asked the two Demons after quickly checking their bonds.

“High God Mo Yuan,” the Green Lord gurgled through smashed up teeth, “flee.” Yue just moved his bloody lips, but no sound came out.

Mo Yuan erected a protective dome around himself and the two badly wounded men. “Who…?”

He needn't have asked. Recognition was instant when “Uncle” Ying Ming’s sneering, ever-changing face appeared outside his barrier and blasted energy at it from one of his devices.

Now he was a present from the Heavens Mo Yuan had not expected but gladly received. Of all his unfinished business, this one was the one he was most eager to resolve.

“Careful,” the Green Lord gurgled again.

“Thank you for the advice, Demon Lord,” Mo Yuan chuckled, “so you got on the Soulswappers’ bad side? Are my thanks in order?”

“I wouldn’t have cried a single tear had they killed you,” Yu Dian pressed out, “but they tried to hurt things dear to me.”

He had known the Demon Lord’s infatuation with his Eighteenth disciple would come in handy, Mo Yuan thought quite satisfied. Like so often, a successful plan hinged on bringing together the right man with the right woman. Only that made him remember his poor Sixteenth disciple whose sacrifice he would never forget - and his anger surged like a spring tide.

Letting his killing intent flow freely, he stepped outside his dome to finally vanquish the Celestial Traitor who had brought harm to so many.

“Uncle,” he greeted him mockingly, “I am glad to see you. There are a few questions I have for you.”

“You Celestial fool,” the renegade Star Lord chuckled, “have you still not realized I can very easily beat you?”

Pulling out a second device from his sleeve, he attacked with full force. But this time, neither the Celestial Lightning Box nor the Power Suppressor had any effect.

“Oh, I have,” Mo Yuan answered and directed his strongest powers at the man, “and that is why I come well protected this time.”

Ying Ming was thrown backwards and his body slammed against a rock so hard, Mo Yuan heard his bones break. Following after, Mo Yuan threw bolt after bolt of energy at him every single time he tried to move. He was not called a ruthless God for nothing and sometimes, he was a vengeful God as well. Only when there was hardly any life left in the Star Lord, he wrapped a painful binding spell around him and shrunk him to the size of a chickpea.

He did have questions, many in fact… but he also had time. Indeed, it was something immortals had aplenty and in addition, Mo Yuan had always had a great deal of patience.

Looking at his completely immobile prisoner with satisfaction, Mo Yuan put him inside his sleeve pocket. From the other, he drew the Dragon Mirror Tian Gu had taken from Shǒu’s house, frowning when he saw its cracked surface. So it had been a close call... the mirror deflected any kind of harmful energy directed at it, but only up to a certain degree - and now, another priceless artefact had been broken because of him. The Heavenly Emperor would not be happy. He put it back with a sigh, to try and fix it later, and turned around to the two Demon prisoners.

Yu Dian was as white as a ghost. Mo Yuan squinted at him, thinking it would be bad to lose this man, however little he liked him, but apparently, he wasn’t mortally wounded, just… scared.

“He won’t harm anyone anymore,” Mo Yuan explained, pointing to his sleeve. But that did nothing to stop Yu Dian’s quaking. He was afraid of him, Mo Yuan suddenly realized with a frown. Over his display of unbridled power? All the better. He bent down to untie the two Demons, not expending any effort to be careful or gentle, and then sat down on a rock to wait for them to get back a semblance of bearing, which took a while.

“High God Mo Yuan,” Yue said and bowed down fully, “I am in your debt.”

Mo Yuan waved at him to get up. The sullen looking Green Lord had regained some of his color, but pressed his lips together stubbornly as he healed the worst of his wounds. No thanks from this one then. Since Mo Yuan decidedly preferred honest men to those sneakily plotting against him behind his back, he decided to let it go.

“What business have you following me around?” he asked them.

“We want to bring back the Lady Shao Wan to the Demon Realm to protect her,” Yu Dian pressed out. “Kindly back off, God of War. She is ours.”

Mo Yuan laughed. “Yours? Now that she is back, you want her again? But where were the Demon armies when she needed you the most?”

“We knew she was back but…”

Here it was, the confession he had been waiting for.

“Bring me that Mirror.”

Yu Dian clamped his mouth shut. He had always denied all knowledge about the Demon Mirror of Soul’s whereabouts, but Mo Yuan knew rather well how to get the information he wanted. All the better if it was offered to him freely. With that mirror… he would be able to locate all the parts of Shao Wan’s soul that were missing.

“I said bring me that mirror,” Mo Yuan repeated.

“Yes,” Yue said in place of Yu Dian, “we will bring you that mirror, High God.”

Yu Dian shot him a murderous look, but said nothing.

“Well then,” Mo Yuan said and got up, “I hope you can hurry, since I don’t mean to stay here for years. And preferably, don’t bring any more people, since I am somewhat short of patience.”

“High God Mo Yuan,” Yu Dian said, “if you harm her…”

Mo Yuan looked at the dishevelled man in front of him with wonderment. “You dare to threaten me?”

“He wouldn’t dare!” Yue scrambled to say and now it was him who shot Yu Dian a murderous look.

Mo Yuan decided to let this go too. Vanquishing the renegade Star Lord so easily had put him in a rather good mood. “Ah,” he said, suddenly remembering he had two important sources of intelligence in front of him, “has my brothers moved our troops yet?”

Both looked at him somewhat puzzled. “No, High God,” Yu Dian said, “but they sent a decree. Our Overlord has thirty days to deliver “the criminal” who harmed the Crown Princess. After that...”

“There will be no war and no occupation,” Mo Yuan said decisively.

“How?” Yu Dian laughed, dropping all honorifics, “how will you pull this off?”

Well, Mo Yuan thought, that was indeed the question. But had he not always found a way to resolve difficult situations to the benefit of all?

“My brother is a reasonable man,” he answered.

But how well did he actually know his twin, the Celestial Crown Prince?

Not well enough, you fool, a voice whispered in his head. He is not you, never forget that. Not you - and maybe not even like you.

Chapter 41a