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

Chapter 41d

written by kakashi
edited by LigayaCroft & Panda

He was so pale and still. How long had they been in this cave? She wasn’t sure. Waking - dreaming... knowing which state she was in was not always easy. Pinching herself helped, but that made her wake up at the worst moments. Was he getting thinner? Like he was losing substance and withering away... and was his hair getting grey? There was a faint hue of oldness there, as if he was losing his ability to give himself the appearance of the powerful god that he was. She traced the contours of his face with her finger, suppressing a sob that wanted to escape her throat. Tears had no use, they would only lessen her own anxiety and not help him at all.

“Stupid Celestial,” Shao Wan urged, “wake up already!”

But it was useless, she had tried many times before. She had shaken and even punched him, but does had not gotten even a hint of a reaction from him. The disappointment of still finding him so lifeless was bitter in her mouth; so certain she was that she had found him in her last dream! But the hand she had grabbed and held onto before waking up had less substance than a cloud.

“Where are you,” she whispered and put her cheek next to his. Even his scent was getting faint… In those rare moments she became conscious in her dreams, she pulled at the tether around their wrists to draw his dreambody near, but the connection had gotten thin and too slack to be of much help.

His body was cold. Should she make a bigger fire? Before settling down next to her, Mo Yuan had piled up firewood in one of the corners and a stack of herbs next to it. Dreamgrass, she knew its pungent smell well, some Demons chewed it for relaxation. Shao Wan was pretty certain it was poisonous for Celestials, but of course, this Celestial had not cared while preparing all this for her, like he never cared about things that could be harmful to him. He had also closed the cave with powerful magic - too powerful, she couldn’t get out. So it was either “wake up the Celestial” or “die with the Celestial”. Or - get her powers back.

With a deep sigh, Shao Wan sat up and took his cold, stiff hand into hers.

“You’re probably very pleased to make me work like this,” she scolded him softly, imagining a smug expression on his face. It wasn’t quite beyond him to plan it this way - to become seemingly dependent on her so that she had to come up with a solution… which in turn would please her and ultimately him.

Shao Wan settled into a deep breathing pattern. She had never been trained in sleep-magic. Hence, she had difficulties steering her dreams in any useful way. But desperation was a good teacher.

She had managed to dream about fighting him several times now. Only, quite contrary to real life, she had won every fight in her dream easily, which meant she had killed him over and over in rather gruesome ways.

Since that made her wake up in tears and much afraid, she had started to focus on sitting in her Obsidian Palace so that he had a place to come to. Well, he did come. In the strangest forms that she never recognized at first. And unfortunately, those dreams tended to end with her humiliating those unknown strangers in various ways. She felt quite ashamed for it, but she had no power over this strange need she seemed to have in her Dreamscape. Though by far not as unpleasant as killing him, it didn’t help with bringing him back to reality either, of course.

And now, lately, the dreambody didn’t come anymore.

Thus, a new approach was needed to lure him out. As she was sitting and breathing deeply, the first thought that popped into her head was wedding. She didn’t remember a thing about it, but he had often claimed they were husband and wife. If she dreamt of their wedding, he had to come for sure!

But… imagine all she might, she had no clue about weddings. She had never been to any, not even during her reign as Demon Queen. She had been too busy fighting wars and of course, her many enemies had never invited her to theirs. So, all attempts of dreaming a wedding led to dreadful, embarrassing failure. And no Mo Yuan dreambody.

Hence, she decided to settle for a thing stuck in her head like a haunting zither melody - Mo Yuan sitting on a mountain, teaching Taoism.

That notion even came with images and that surprised her. Yes, she remembered talking to Fuxi about Mo Yuan’s future. Actually, he remembered every single word as if they had been said just yesterday. He had said: “My son will move to Kunlun Shan, the axis of the worlds, to provide the stability the realms need. There, he will be a Taoist monk, a teacher, a shining example of virtue, for everyone to look up to.” And she remembered this: “He willingly offered to take a vow of celibacy in front of the Heavens, to accelerate and bless his spiritual growth.” And of course, the warning: “You and my son. I will not tolerate such a union.”

She snorted. Her stubborn, headstrong Celestial. She rubbed her flat belly with both hands. “My little ones,” she whispered, “your lives shall be blessed.”

For who could doubt that the union between the Golden Dragon and Fenghuang, the Queen of Birds, was one of the most auspicious things possible? In the mortal realm, were its temples not full of auspicious images of the Dragon and the Phoenix, the two opposite entities whose union brought the perfect harmony?

Clearly, Fuxi had been mistaken. It was true that their love was not an easy one - there were many things about Mo Yuan that annoyed her greatly - but there was nobody but Fuxi’s son in all the Realms, nobody she had ever met and nobody she could ever imagine meeting, whom she would choose to be her companion for life.

“Thank you,” she told Mo Yuan’s still form on impulse. “Thank you for defying your father.”

The tenderness she felt towards him at this moment was quite overwhelming.

“You must wake up soon,” she ordered him. “I want to tell you that I love you. I have to make sure you know what you mean to me before you do the next stupid thing and die for real.”

The Monk on the mountain… What had she been doing during that time he had cultivated to become what his father wanted him to be? Had she looked at him from afar, pining away, not able to have what she wanted the most?

“Come, meet me on your mountain,” she told him and closed her eyes to go into her Dreamscape once more. “Mo Yuan, I need you to come back to me.”


“Virtue, virtue, virtue!” Seventeenth exclaimed angrily and gave the scroll in front of her a push that almost sent it flying off the low table.

“Hey!” Eighteenth laughed, “what has it ever done to you?”

“It gives me a headache! ‘The cultivation of virtue is what creates the foundation upon which all other cultivation depends’,” Seventeenth rattled off part of the scripture at high speed, “I have read and copied this a million times, but I still don’t understand!”

“Psssssst,” Eighteenth cautioned, a finger to her lips, “not so loud.”

Seventeenth ducked her head as her eyes darted from left to right. “Our seniors are out having fun,” she then observed, relaxing, “nobody is checking on our progress.”

“Are they fighting with Shifu, you think?” Eighteenth excitedly asked, “should we go have a look? Nineteenth, what do you say?”

“Huh?” Nineteenth jerked up, “did something happen?”

“What were you daydreaming about again,” Eighteenth laughed, “I was asking whether we should sneak to the training grounds to watch our seniors train?”

“Shifu’ll certainly see us,” Nineteenth shook her head, “we’ll get punished again. I’m sick of it!”

But in truth, thinking of their Shifu’s quiet anger made a shiver race down her spine. Of the pleasant kind. What would the next level of punishment be? Copying scrolls was getting old. Kitchen duty. Cleaning. Oh, maybe cleaning his room? She liked being in there, it smelled so nice.

She smiled, imagining how he would sit there reading while she dusted all around him. Did his head need dusting too? Sometimes she thought so. But a rumbling sound was interrupting these pleasant thoughts of hers and a sharp pain went through her midriff.

“By the Gods, I’m so hungry,” she moaned. She never got enough food at this school and what she got was way too bland, “I’d rather go steal food somewhere. Let’s go to the mortal realm?”

The other two gasped.

“That’s much worse than sneaking to the training grounds!” Seventeenth exclaimed, “I like it. Which mortal world are you thinking of?”

“One that has meat,” Nineteenth salivated, thinking of the cracked skin of a piglet and the tasty fat dripping down her chin as she bit into it.

“Somewhere where there’s a mid-autumn festival!” Eighteenth yelled, “I want mooncakes!”

“There will certainly be a wedding we can sneak into during that auspicious time,” Seventeenth added and clapped her hands, “there will be meat, Nineteenth! Plenty!”

“Let’s do it!”

All three of them got up as one. Feeling exhilarated, Nineteenth kicked her table with force, toppling it over with a bang.

“Quiet!” Eighteenth squealed. Giggling, they rushed outside and cloud-jumped away before anyone could apprehend them… and before they could lose their courage.


Mortals might have hard lives, but they certainly knew how to make the best of them. Even the air seemed drunk in this town. Meat, wine, lanterns, orgies, cake, acrobats, weddings… everything to be had in abundance.

“I love it!” Seventeenth laughed as she downed the contents of another bottle of sweet wine.

“It’s delicious!” Nineteenth declared as she ate her fifth meat skewer. Her tummy was finally content.

“We should go back,” Eighteenth said nervously, but the other two chose to ignore her. They had only been here for a few hours, mere minutes had passed up in the Heavens!

“Relax,” Nineteenth smiled a toothy smile at her, “what about a handsome, broad-shouldered man for you? It’s time you lost your virginity.”

Eighteenth choked on her noodles, spluttered food parts all over the table and turned deeply red. “I’m waiting for the right one,” she pressed out.

“That being Shifu?” Nineteenth laughed, though suddenly feeling a tad less merry than just a moment ago.

“Shhhhh,” Eighteenth hiccuped, “shut up.”

“Are you still fantasizing about him with his hair open?” Seventeenth asked curiously. “You’re in so much trouble.”

Eighteenth had been ready to faint after she had seen their Shifu with open hair by accident. It had taken days for her to go back to normal. That was years ago, but apparently, silly Eighteenth was still not over it.

“No, he’s in trouble. Serves him right for accepting female disciples,” Nineteenth said and wiped her mouth. She could very well imagine what he looked like with open hair: dangerously handsome, of course. How dare he even tempt them all! The Heavens had given him a face to swoon over, but celibacy was celibacy - and 20,000 years of studying under this man should have made it clear to that infatuated Eighteenth that he would never, ever, break his vows.

“Have you ever heard the tragic love story he was in before becoming a monk?” Seventeenth tilted the bottle, but it was empty. She waved at a waiter for more.

“Yes, of course,” Nineteenth answered, “you have told us a hundred times already.” That story his pupils loved to recount so much just made him so much more handsome. A tragic hero. His heart broken, his lover dead, his fate not his own. Whether it was all true, she had her doubts, but there was a certain sadness about him that smacked of a crushing loss in his life.

“Having to marry someone you don’t really want cannot be much fun,” Eighteenth retaliated, feigning sympathy. “I’d rather become a nun too.”

“He’s alright,” Nineteenth defended herself. “And it’s not like my non-existent father can ever make me marry someone I don’t want to marry.”

“My father would never do something like this!” Eighteenth snapped.

“Are you two fighting?” Seventeenth frowned, looking from girl to girl. “Will we ever get to meet that Demon Lord of yours, Nineteenth? Is he as handsome as they say?”

Was he? Yes, he was probably considered handsome, yes. He certainly took a lot of care of his looks and was dressed very expensively. But that was not important. That he had a sibling whom she needed to win as her ally, that was important. Because it was either that … or kill her, but that would be a waste and not very easy.

“No, you won’t get to see him,” she decided. Would Shifu even allow such a visitor? Surely not. Not that she had asked… but actually, just the thought of having to do it made her anxious. Wouldn’t he just look at her with that unreadable expression and then say, with his soft voice: “If it is important to you?”

“We’ll miss you,” Seventeenth said and pulled a face.

“It’s not like I’ll be off this world,” Nineteenth scoffed. “The Demon Realm isn’t going to eat you people up when you come visit.”

Now her mood was ruined. She looked at Eighteenth angrily; she really didn’t appreciate being reminded of how soon she was going to leave school. All those Celestial highborns and their carefree lives… they knew nothing of the hardship people like her had experience since they were young. It was always like this: she never felt like she fully belonged.

“If you want to go back, go back to your precious Shifu,” she said to Eighteenth and got up. “I want to have a look at the goods in the marketplace, I’ve been looking for something I need for a long while. See you!”


But she didn’t wait. She walked fast, even broke into a jog so that they wouldn’t even think she wanted their company.

Upset, she started to browse through the goods on display in the marketplace. It was getting dark now, and many lanterns had been lit. Normally, she liked how their soft light made everything look desirable, but today, her mind was not ready to see beauty.

Earlier, she had thought about nesting.

So lost had she been in the consideration of what kind of material one could use to build a good nest that the chatter of her friends had pearled off her like water. But why would she think about nesting? Was she ill?

As she was looking at some colorful shawls, something tugged at her wrist. Frowning, she looked down. Was a loose threat of her gown caught somewhere? She couldn’t see anything, but the tug was repeated. A ghost? Or had her friends played a prank on her like that time they had bound red string around her and Seventh’s ankles when they had fallen asleep in a heap after training.

“Have you forgotten something, Young Miss?” the salesman asked her politely.

“Excuse me?” she frowned. Her hand went to her purse that she carried in a well-hidden breast pocket. All there. The strange salesman had already turned away and was speaking to a customer.

The marketplace felt strange all of a sudden, almost like a very thin, invisible layer of magic had been thrown on everything. She whipped around, scaring everybody, but there was no discernible threat, only throngs of people having a good time.

I better go back, she thought with a shudder, suddenly feeling vulnerable and alone.

But you’re looking for something… a voice said in her head.

It was true she was looking for something, but she couldn’t for the life of her remember what it was? Nest material? She snickered.

“You’re such a silly bird,” she heard her Shifu’s voice, “why would you lay eggs? You have gained human form! You can give birth like a human!”

She whipped around again, her heart in her throat, but of course, he wasn’t here. It must be the fatty meat in her stomach that made her feel so unwell, she decided. Shaking her head at her own silliness, she walked on. Give birth like a human… how did that even work? She had to ask Seventeenth once she was back at the Mountain, she knew these things.

Her thoughts returned to her Shifu. The first time she had seen him standing in front of the Grand Hall with his straight back and long limbs all in the right place, she had not believed that a man could have such a face. Only knowing Demon men until that point, she was used to a type of masculinity that was expressed through extreme strength, sometimes brutality… but never gentleness and wisdom. The Monk on the Mountain had a face that invited anyone to get lost in the study of its its harmonious features. But stupid were those who mistook the gentleness for a sign of weakness. Those eyes could get stormy like the sky before a lightning storm very quickly and only a fool didn’t feel afraid when they did.

In the meantime, she had walked to the end of the stalls, she suddenly realized. It was very dark in the alleys beyond, as if all the light had decided to gather only in one small area in this world and shun the rest.

Without hesitation, she stepped forward. Her feet seemed to know where to go, so she let them. Her Demon eyes were well suited for the dark and she had never feared it.

The stall was at the very end of the dark alleyway. The salesman had a white face and red eyes looking at her from underneath a dark hood. A Jiangshi! They lived in the caves of the Black Mountains. Well, had lived there before she had chased them away to build her Obsidian Palace. Her hand went to her weapon, but it wasn’t there.

“Demon Ancestor,” the Jiangshi growled, “step closer.”

“Do you think me stupid?” she laughed at it, but her feet did what they wanted by themselves.

“We are experts in nesting,” he said.

That was undoubtedly true. They made very elaborate, beautiful nests from which they frequently ventured forward to torture people.

“Feel free to use one of ours to put your eggs in,” he invited her. “There’s one that’s particularly special. We put your Feather there!”

What a friendly Jiangshi this was. She didn’t trust it one bit. But something in his display had caught her eye. She bent forward. This is for you, her Shifu whispered in her head, take it at all cost. It was a beautiful jade ornament… a belt hook, she realized. There were nine dragons on it, playing with what seemed to be an egg?

“Do you recognize this?” the Jiangshi asked in a low voice.

She did.

But before she could touch it, the Jiangshi threw a spell on the object. It didn’t stop her from catching a glimpse of what it hid anyway.

“You must go,” he growled. “Now!”

Others were closing in. Their killing instinct was very strong, battering her senses from all sides.

“No, I need this!” she said loudly, but she felt like a weight was pressing down on her, even making breathing difficult.

Entire lives were hiding behind it. Faces, places, things. Calling to her. His face was among them.

“Come and help me,” she begged.

“I’m here,” her Shifu said. The sword in his hand named Xuan Yuan emitted a strong light, so bright she herself had to close her watering eyes. The Jiangshi howled in pain and she might have howled with them, she wasn’t sure. He drew a glowing pattern into the air, forming dancing letters of fire that spun around them at ever greater speed.

“What are you waiting for, take it already!” he urged her, but she felt frozen, heavy, unable to move. It was the sword that did this to her, there was something inside of it that hurt her, ripped at her with tiny sharp teeth.

“I cannot move…” she gurgled, seeing glowing threats of her life essence being sucked out of her, into the sword and from there into the Universe. It had this ability, Xuan Yuan, to destroy souls and banish them into the Nothingness.

“Don’t kill me,” she begged this terrible God in front of her, “I need to live.”

“Then live!” he yelled.

With a huge effort, she moved her hand and grabbed the belt-hook. The moment she touched it, she was carried upwards at ever greater speed, into the starless void. She tried to grasp her Shifu’s outstretched hand, but his fingers slid from hers with a sort of inevitability she recognized as final.

This has happened before? She wondered. I will find you again!


This time, Shao Wan did not hold back her tears after waking up next to his lifeless body.

So close. She had come so close! Why was he so hard to hold on to!

“Are you waiting for me there?” she asked him. “Please. I’m coming back.”

And then she realized what she had seen.

Her memories.

They were locked away behind that belt-hook. And that belt-hook… it was the one Mo Yuan had given her on that day they had first made love, high up in the mountains, in a nest made from his scales and her feathers.

It was nearby, she sensed it.

Feeling rather agitated, she began looking for it with her spiritual sense. Rather than finding the desired object, however, she found something else inside of Mo Yuan’s sleeve pocket. A human the size of a chickpea, bound tightly with a spell.

Who was this?

Frowning deeply, Shao Wan bent forward to get a better look.

Chapter 41e