Fanfic: Mo Yuan and Shao Wan 2.0 - Chapter 41c (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 41c

written by kakashi
edited by Panda & LigayaCroft





Being caught in between waking and dreaming, unable to move, unable to see, unable to speak. No longer fully existing, but also not quite gone. Like a kite in the wind he wants to be free, to be carried away by the currents to the end of time and space - but there is a promise, a body in a cave, a dangerous yearning and ancient magic that ties him down.

The cultivation of millennia dissipates in the blink of an eye until only a weak, crumbling shell is left.

To go into the Nothingness…

To be gone...

This is not then, a feeble thought struggles to the surface, I cannot be defeated, a stronger one follows.

But what was he even fighting?

Mo Yuan tries to wake up, but the immobility and the darkness remain. He feels a throat-tightening feeling take a hold of him.


No. He knows no fear. He is one of the most powerful Gods alive.

He must breathe. Breathe slowly and deliberately. Count: Four. Seven. Eight. In. Hold. Out. And again. Again. Again.

The familiar pattern spreads calmness to his limbs. He remembers... He is not dreaming, but has entered someone else’s dream. The dream has crumbled around him, he has felt its fragments cut his skin like sharp blades.

Shao Wan, he knows his predicament.

He has entered her Dreamscape, willingly. Now she has left and he is still here… but where is here? What feels like the Nothingness is something else, a void almost as absolute, but even more menacing.

He has been left behind in the void between dreams. Is he lost?

She was so mean to us, Golden Dragon laments, does she not know the extent of our love for her?

He does not know. He hopes she knows, but she is not whole. He is here to make her remember their complicated history and to find the fragments of her soul she has lost because of him. He cannot feel offended about her not knowing him, he cannot want anything but to help her.

But he needs to make sure he remembers who he is. Dreams have a dangerous magic. They do not like intruders.

Mo Yuan transforms.

Golden Dragon feels tiny. Like a speck of dust. He flies around for a long while, but there is nothing. Nothing at all. It’s so dark.

He is a speck of dust in the fathomless void.


If Wuming had been ordered to freely name the one thing he hated the most about this place, he would have said “the rustling of feathers” without even a moment of hesitation. But sometimes, the things we can name easily are not really the things that plague us the most. Had Wuming had the leisure and freedom to reflect for a bit longer, he might perhaps have been able to recognize the thing that bothered him much more: It was a question he was carrying around with him, as yet unasked, simmering inside his body like an illness that had yet to break out.

But he had no leisure and no freedom. Wuming had to work from the moment he opened his eyes to the time he collapsed for sleep. Yet, though it was always strenuous and difficult, he didn’t mind the routines. Get up in the middle of the night. Wash. Brush and tie his hair. Go get firewood. Help with cooking. Serve meals. Clean everywhere. Eat something he couldn’t digest well. Prepare tea. Serve tea. Clean everywhere. Get more firewood. Help with cooking. Serve another meal. Clean everywhere. Eat something he couldn’t digest well that made him nauseous. Help with the fire in the cauldron. Sometimes cut herbs and other ingredients into tiny shreds. Prepare tea. Serve tea. Clean everywhere. Get more firewood. Help with more cooking. Serve another meal. Clean everywhere. Eat something that often made him throw up. Prepare various concoctions for the night. Clean everywhere. Clean again. Go to bed way after dark. Sleep like a stone. He also took quiet pride in getting scolded less and less every day, though without hope for one of the little rewards he had sometimes seen given to others for tasks done well. They were not like him. Or rather: he was not like them. Someone like him got no rewards.

He even had something to look forward to: the evenings. If he were ever caught sneaking behind the wooden panels when he should have been cleaning the stairs instead, he would probably be executed on the spot. The knowledge of this was not sufficient to stop him though: catching even just a glimpse of her in the throne room was intoxicating. Her magnificent beauty made his stomach buzz and his heart swell in ways no alchemic substance had ever been able to.

The Queen of Birds.

Sometimes, when a day had been particularly hard, Wuming imagined being one of the lucky ones chosen to bring her the night goblet with the Phoenix Fire Sage concoction. He knew how to keep his eyes glued to the floor demurely when approaching his Masters, but just the thought of her eyes grazing the top of his bowed head was sufficient to made him deliriously happy.

Of all things wonderful about her, it was her belly that drew his attention the most. It had grown as round as the moon already, but it did not seem to want to stop growing yet. With quiet wonderment, he had seen it stretch the fabric of her magnificent gowns further and further, until her tailors had to make her new ones to give enough room for this miracle of immortal life.

A miracle.

It was what the Demons called it. Of all the known species, Phoenixes were the most enduring ones. They were able to rise from the ashes because of their powerful ability to gather the fragments of their scattered souls. But since the Universe demanded balance, and too much power had to be paired with a crippling weakness, Phoenixes were not known to procreate.

In fact, there were very few true Phoenixes in the second creation. Whether there had been more in the beginning of this age and they had left the Realms, or whether they had died despite of their powers, nobody knew for sure.

Wuming knew the Queen of Birds had searched for her tribe for as long as he had been here, but apart from one Old Phoenix who liked to drink and do nothing, she had not found another. He sometimes came to visit the Palace from another realm, made a few jokes, ran after a few women, and disappeared again with a rueful smile.

Wuming resented him for it. He saw the yearning in the Lady Phoenix’s eyes when he was next to her. Someone like her. An equal. Not one of those lesser birds like that Peacock Wuming had to bow to who strutted around and wanted to catch her eye more than anything. She clearly wished for the Phoenix to stay near and give her the company she desired, but he never did. It was a special kind of cruelty that made Wuming very sad.

And a bit angry.

Very faintly, he remembered he had had a lot of anger when he had first been brought to this place, but they had taken it out of him. They had put a seal on him, suppressing his true form until he couldn’t even remember what it was. He had forgotten his anger with time and out of necessity, but sometimes, when he saw the Queen of Birds unhappy, a fragment of that anger came to life like the dying embers of a fire that got revived by the wind.

A fragment it was - until that one night the Queen of Birds did not receive her ministers in the throne room before retiring for the night as she usually did.

Feeling worried, Wuming decided to leave his usual hiding place to look for her. That was not well advised, he knew it. But sometimes, the brain knew one thing and the heart wanted another. He knew she was present at the Palace, since he had been there this afternoon to brew her concoction and had prepared one of her favorite dishes for dinner. Could she be ill? That thought was too painful.

He knew a lot of secret passageways in the Palace - he had discovered them out of need, because when you sneak to one place you need a way to sneak back too. There always were a lot of guards afoot, since the Demon Realm was never at peace.

That day, Wuming ventured into areas he had never been to before. The Inner Palace. Her chambers.

His heart was beating so fast, he could feel its vibration in his throat. Swallowing compulsively every few steps, he tried to calm himself. Quiet. He had to be absolutely quiet. Her bodyguards were known to be vicious and ruthless and exceptionally well trained.

The further he got, the more fragrant the air became. The source of this scent was her, of course - he would be able to pick her out of a crowd of thousands with his eyes closed. The last few twist and turns to her chambers took him the longest because he slowed down to a crawl, almost stopping to breathe in order not to give his presence away.

The Queen of Birds was in her bed, but she was not alone. A man was with her, with long black hair, a serene, handsome face with fierce dark eyes and an angry red scar over his heart - like the wound had just closed recently. He held her in his arms like she belonged there. And she looked blissfully happy, wrapped around him like she wanted to never part again.

Wuming froze. This man… he had seen him before. Many times before.

His face and ears started burning. He closed his eyes, blocked his ears and fled, no longer caring about being caught. He was shook. So shook, something was shaken awake inside of him. It blossomed very suddenly from a seed buried deep underneath the surface, shot forward like the head of a snake striking to kill.

It was a question that he suddenly remembered to ask: Who am I?

Terrified, Wuming tried to swallow it down, but now that it had come out, it would not go away again. Who am I? it resonated in his head with an echo. What am I doing here?

His flight slowed down. What was happening to him? In the wake of the question, anger stirred. It was so massive, it was going to swallow the whole world if he let it out. But why even try to stop it? Let it swallow it. End it all. You don’t belong here! a voice screamed in Wuming’s head, you must remember!

Remember what? She took my memories from me!

He stopped. Everything around him felt brittle and unreal, as if he were looking through a milky glass. Maybe he was losing his mind. It happened to Demons quite frequently, and even though he was no Demon, maybe it was contagious, this sickness of theirs. Maybe it had something to do with their horrible diet he abhorred so much.

“... must try and get the sword this time,” someone whispered nearby. “It is very important to our Queen.”

Instantly, Wuming crouched low. Someone was in the secret passage in front of him!

“He is too powerful,” somebody whispered back. “How can we even get near?”

That second whisperer was, undoubtedly, the Peacock. His anger grew.

Of all birds, Wuming hated him the most. It had been instant and mutual as far as he could remember, certainly not helped by the Peacock’s apparent adoration for the Queen of Birds. And as ridiculous Wuming’s jealousy was given his lowly status, that Peacock’s presence was the one thing he could not quietly accept.

He crawled forward and strained his eyes to see who it was in the semi-dark. Two people. Indeed, one the Peacock. Looking irritatingly splendid as always, his robes of the finest cloth, adorned with gems and feathers of his true form. Wuming pulled his lips into a silent snarl. But whom was Peacock talking to? It was a woman, not very tall, wearing a simple, turquoise robe, her hair open and flowing down her back, wearing a silver hairpin in the form of peach blossoms.

She seemed vaguely familiar, but the more Wuming racked his brain where he could know her from, the more the memory slipped away from him.

“There’s an intruder,” she said sharply then and before Wuming could do anything, his body was lifted into the air and drawn forward, into the open. Strong bonds wrapped themselves around his feeble body. Motionless, he stared up at her.

I know her well, he realized with a pang. In a previous life… a different life… what...

“Who are you?” she quizzed him, her brows knit together.

“He must die!” the Peacock snarled and lifted his hand to strike.

“Wait!” the woman said and lifted hers in a commanding gesture that stopped him. She was very powerful, but what tribe? Celestial? Wuming’s curiosity won over his fear and he held her eyes. She was very beautiful. Almost like the Queen of Birds.

“Extraordinary,” she observed, peering back at him. “He looks just like him when he was young. Where did you find him?”

“They caught him in the plains,” the Peacock shrugged, “he’s trash.”

“He’s not a Demon,” the woman observed.

“Why do you even care, High Goddess,” the Peacock complained, “who knows what he heard - he must die. Nobody will miss a servant boy like him.”

But the one called a High Goddess shook her head. “He must be a relative of his Highness, looking like this. Boy,” she addressed Wuming directly, “who are your parents?”

“They are dead,” Wuming answered sullenly. At least that’s what he told himself. He had no recollection of any parents, so he assumed there never had been any.

“What tribe are you from?” she continued.

“No tribe,” Wuming gave back. Being part of a tribe meant belonging somewhere, but he belonged nowhere. Everything here was foreign to him, the longer he stayed. Intruder. Indeed… that’s what he was.

The High Goddess lifted her hand and performed a spell and something inside of him reared its head and came awake.

“Dragon,” she whispered in awe. “He’s a dragon.”

It’s what he was.

He was no servant boy of lowly status pining after a Queen he could only admire from afar. He was one of the sons of Father Immortal. A powerful Dragon. He had almost forgotten.

Mo Yuan transformed.

There was a sound like ripping cloth. Instantly, the dreamscape started to crumble and disintegrate all around him.

No! he screamed. I haven’t even spoken to her yet!

But the fragments of Shao Wan’s dream fluttered sickly around him like dying butterflies.

Darkness descended. It was absolute.


How many years has he lost? How many dreams has he walked through? There are fragments of memories, many of them… but he cannot hold on to them, they scatter like specks of dust.

She sealed me in! Golden Dragon laments, I died! I died! I died!

No, Mo Yuan answers sternly, it is not real. Nothing is real here. We cannot believe any of it. We must get out of here.

It was Ye Hua, Golden Dragon says angrily. She dreamt about him in her bed.

No, Mo Yuan disagrees, maybe a bit too quickly, because such a thing cannot be true, he doesn't want to think it. The man in Shao Wan’s dream has carried his scar, not Ye Hua’s scar. The scar he has gotten from giving her his heartblood in Zhe Yan’s peach garden.

Seventeenth was there, Golden Dragon observes. At least she knew us. She is reliable.

Always. Bai Qian is always in Shao Wan’s dreams. Each and every one of them.

And that other man...

Mo Yuan is pretty certain he understands why Bai Qian is always there, But Yu Dian?

She is doing it to vex us, Golden Dragon huffs angrily. He feels hurt. His Fenghuang is behaving strangely. She dreams and doesn’t remember him. Or she does and then tortures him.

“He must have a piece of her soul,” Mo Yuan whispers into the void. But how?

Then, he understands. There are clues. In each and every dream he walks through. He has to remember. He has to remember all of them, everything! But even more importantly: he has to wake up with her next time. Because if he doesn’t… already, his dream manifestations barely remember who he is.

A body in a cave... but if the mind cuts all ties, they will break for sure.

Chapter 41d