Fanfiction3: A-Li's Three Lives, Three Worlds - Chapter 64 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 64

written by LigayaCroft
edited by kakashi & Pandy

It was a simple wedding by any standards but what it lacked in pomp and pageantry, it made up for intimacy at a grander scale. The whole village was part of the festivities not as spectator but as family— the women there to give Huo Zheng away and the men also did the same for A-Li.

The village was non-traditional so there was no priest invited to solemnize the wedding but Huo Zheng and A-Li still did their bows to the Kitchen God. The party went into full swing afterwards as tables were set up in and outside the Huo courtyard. Wine was free-flowing which came from merchants A-Li had contracted two months ago, and in what is a rarity in the village, meat was a-plenty from the livestock that have been brought over and paid about a month ago.

Men were already deep into their cups when A-Li was snatched from going to another table by his bride himself. Huo Zheng had thrown off her red veil before joining the women right after the ceremony, stating it was hypocritical to pretend she was still a blushing bride.

“I had thought of what to give to you as a present,” she said as she pulled him inside the tool shed.

“You have?”

“I have,” and in the dim afternoon sunlight that filtered through the shed’s wooden slats, she smiled and pulled him close for a kiss, which left A-Li completely breathless. “Close your eyes and hold out your hand.”

A-Li did as told and something that felt and smelled like peaches dropped in his palm.

“Open,” she commanded and he did. “Peaches. It’s just right in season. I was happy to find them in the market yesterday.”

"So you snuck me out of the festivities just to give me peaches, Qīzi?"

"I like that."

"Like what?"

"How you called me just now. It sounds... familiar."

“I do hope not!" He barked as her statement immediately erased the teasing smile from his face. If it was a joke, it was not a funny one.

"You worry too much. I've never been married before, I promise!"

"Well, you better not be because I like the knowledge that you're mine." He leaned closer so he could nip her left ear lobe and whisper at her ear, "Exclusively mine.”

Her left hand cupped his chin as she aligned her body for another kiss. “Don’t be too cocky. You're mine, too."

Satisfied at how languid she looked by the time their lips parted, A-Li straightened up and juggled the two peaches between his hands.

The sound of the ongoing festivities could be clearly heard from inside the tool shed. Men sang bawdy songs on top of their lungs, clanking metals could be heard, and did someone just try to tie a ribbon on Weixiao’s tail?

A-Li refocused his attention on his wife, whose eyes gleamed at him as she swayed with her hands on her back. He cleared his throat in an attempt to disregard how endearing she looked at the moment. “We can start with the peaches. What was so special about them?“ he asked.

"Well, firstly," She snatched the peach from his right hand and bit into them. The sweet and juicy scent of peach wafted in the air between them, instantly refreshing the tool shed's musty smell. "I was looking for persimmons but they were out of season. So I got peaches instead."

"Persimmon is an autumn fruit. Of course you won't find any. Why would you look for them in the first place?"

"Because I dreamt it. And it was such a pleasant dream."

"Did you take advantage of me in that dream?"


"That’s too bad. It was not a pleasant dream then."

"Maybe it was pleasant because you weren't taking advantage of me, as you were oft to do?"

"I vividly remember our very short courtship to be full of scenarios wherein you were taking advantage of me.”

"I beg your pardon!"

"Do you want to test my theory and see who compromises whose honor tonight?"

"There's no compromising involved. We have a village we're celebrating with right now. We will be too tired for other activities tonight."

“Then pick up that peach and keep your hands to yourself, lady.”

Her hands had been tracing a warm path on his chest underneath his outer robes, one finger teasing his left nipple erect. Instead of following his command, Huo Zheng kicked the dirtied peach and it rolled further down the dusty floor.

“The door is locked.”

“Smart girl. I remember you had made sure of that when we came in earlier. You were hopeful, I see.”

“We don't want a flying pig to attack you again.”

“Weixiao does have the worst timing. We should have cooked her for the wedding banquet—”

“Hush. She has very sensitive ears. Now sit down on that garden stool.”

“No, Xiăohŭ. Sit down on the edge of that table, lift your skirts and open your legs for me.”

“Exactly why you need to sit on that garden stool, A-Li. You should know by now that I hold the reins in this marriage.”

“I am not a horse, Xiăohŭ.”

“When I am riding you, you are.” She said matter-of-factly as she gently pushed him toward the stool. “Let’s not argue over the details as long as we both enjoy the ride.”

A-Li wrapped his arms around his wife to pull her close. With their lips hungrily seeking redemption from the other, he started walking backwards leading their direction.

She worked fast under his robes and had his trousers pooled around his ankles by the time the backs of his boots hit the side of the garden stool.

Not to be outdone by her dexterity, his fingers had loosened the sash that had tied her dress together at the waist, and had lowered her inner garment thus freeing her beautiful breasts, the rosy nipples so aroused that even the skin around her areola raised in tiny bumps begging for his attention.

He sat down and pulled her by the waist to join him. She lightly swatted his hand away and pushed him by the shoulder to settle down. Then with a feminine grace she wasn't oft to show, she raised her skirts halfway up her creamy thighs as she moved to put his legs between hers.

Her smile curved in such a way that made her upturned eyes look more mischievous. Heat seared A-Li’s belly as his hand snaked up a bare leg all the way up to its apex where his fingers met her wet warmth.

He muttered a low curse, filled with wonder at this very lusty woman he now called his wife and by all the High Gods that roamed the Thirty-Six Heavens, he loved it.

“Ah, Xiăohŭ, wherever did you get your ideas?”

“I will tell you but Zūzu said my source is too embarrassing, she will hurt me if I tell anyone.”

“You and your friend — so you won’t tell — not even your dear husband?” He asked and then he couldn’t think as she started to lower herself, the honeyed, musky smell of sex permeating the air around him.

“Mmm, move your hand aside,” She pressed a kiss on his forehead’s hairline as her tight heat slowly enveloped him. “Oh, gods, you feel good, husband. And you smell good. Have I told you before that you smell like a baby?”

Pleasure shot through A-Li as she seated herself to the hilt. Then, as if having her lover inside of her was the most normal thing in the world, Huo Zheng started arranging the cloths between them.

“These cloths rumple so easily,” She sighed. “We must take extra care. I don’t want to be the center of ribald comments when we face the village again.”

Care? When she felt this good, this perfect, around him? A-Li hissed under his breath and he tried to relieve the desire to move on his own by moving his face so his lips could suckle at her right breast, a victim of proximity. With his right hand, his finger thrummed a rhythm along and around her left nipple while his left hand cupped her bottom and tried to lift her up.

“I will die if you do not move,” He mumbled against the fullness of her flesh, looking up at her. But damn it, his wife kept pushing him down. “Xiăohŭ—” His right hand cupped her other buttock to help her move along. Still, no luck. Her thighs clenched around his, locking him further. “I thought we were going to live happily ever after? The way you're not moving, it makes me think you want me to die miserable and early.”

“Do you want to hear about my dream or not?”

“I want you to move,” he pleaded, trying to lift her up.

She squirmed in objection and that slight movement rubbed him at just the right spot that was enough to drive A-Li mad.

“Kiss me,” She whispered breathlessly, just right before her mouth covered his.

A-Li did, and he did it well.

The sound of the festivities, of loud music and boisterous laughter, rose from the courtyard outside. It covered the whispers of supplication and gasps of pleasure that escaped from their lips while the full haze of lust descended upon them, narrowing their truth to just the two of them joined bodily, wanting, needing. The dragon in A-Li took over, owning her then following her as she drove a merciless rhythm. Flesh slapping against flesh, her skin over his felt like they were on fire, as were her pads of her fingers that now pressed hard against his crown and nape. Her breasts bounced before him with the force of her movements as she took them both higher and higher; her head thrown back in such ecstasy that A-Li could only stare at her in wonder, as if he was a puny mortal staring at a powerful goddess as she meted out her justice on his kind.

He was not worthy.

But she’s mine.



His head fell on the space between her breasts, and with a prolonged groan that he could not hold back, he emptied himself inside of her — a tangy taste filling his mouth as his ears popped with the force of his climax, dimly aware that for the first time in his life, he had gone first in a woman.

And then she was shaking as she followed him over the precipice, her tight, warm flesh clenching even tighter around his, bringing him both pleasure and pain which exerted several groans from him as he tried to hold her down and keep her still, her teeth biting down on his left shoulder to contain her scream.

Outside, the celebrations gained noise and notoriety. The music became louder, the laughter gayer, and several jars broke as they were slammed together.

“Xiăohŭ,” He whispered against her coiffed hair as soon as his breathing had calmed down. When he got no response, he gave her a little shake. “Xiăohŭ? Are you sleeping again? Xiăohŭ?”


How nice it would be to just let her sleep but the toolshed was dusty and they could not remain in their position for much longer. It wouldn’t be long before their absence was noticed by the rest, and she certainly wouldn't be happy once the ribbing started.

“Xiăohŭ, we need to get up.”

Huo Zheng grumbled something but still the side of her face against his shoulder remained heavy.

Maybe we can afford to be gone for a few moments more.

A-Li wrapped his left hand around the nape of her neck to better support her as she slept while his right made soothing circles all along her back.

If his heart could burst with happiness and pride, it would have done so by now. An entire village was outside celebrating their union, and here inside this shed, he held the woman whom he loved, in his arms, married to him in this lifetime.

A-Li felt her take a shaky breath before she pushed herself to sit upright on his lap.


His hand slid from her back to let the fingers trace the side of her face. “Did you have a nice nap?”

She looked around the tool shed and it was only then A-Li noticed her eyes were glazed as they tried to focus on him. Her pupils widened in alarm, as if she saw a stranger instead of her husband.

Then she looked down at her exposed breast down to where they were still joined, and shot out from his lap.

“Where are we?” She demanded, pulling the top of her robe up to its proper place. She backed away until she hit the wall. “What is this place?”

A-Li stood up, his mind racing as he took in her erratic behavior. He pulled his trousers up and made quick work at tying the belts, keeping one eye on her as he did so.

“A-Li, what were we — “ her eyes followed his hands and just as fast, she looked away. Her hands fixed her belts and smoothed the fabric of her clothing. “Why were we —”

“Xiăohŭ, you're acting strange —”


His heart thudded dully in his chest while his mind went on overdrive. He finished fixing his attire while his wife, a stunning vision in her red wedding hanfu, trailed her hands along the tool shed’s walls until she stopped by the door.

“Why is it noisy outside?”

“The sound are coming from revellers, celebrating our wedding day.”

She turned, and gasped, “Our wedding day!” Her eyes widened further as her hands shot up to her hair.

A-Li had enough. He closed the remaining distance between them in two strides but not before she had savagely torn at the combs that held her hair in place.

“Xiăohŭ,” He covered her trembling hands with his and tried to tug it down. “Xiăohŭ, what is happening—”

She stunned him by pushing him away.

“Stop calling me by another woman’s name!” She commanded, holding out both her hands in front of her to ward him off, her eyes wild as they roved from him to her surroundings and then back to him again. “I'm not losing my mind,” she said, running her hands through her hair again. “You're real. I'm wearing red. But where am I?

“You're wearing red because we just got married,” A-Li explained, feeling helpless at the turmoil that racked his wife’s face. Their lovemaking hadn’t been too rough earlier, was it? So what was happening to her? “Xiăohŭ—”

“I said stop calling me by that name!”

They had talked about new pet names a while ago so A-Li reverted to his initial suggestion — “Qīzi?”

Her hands covered her ears. “Stop doing that! I have a name or have you forgotten?”

She had lost her mind.

A-Li was no longer entertained. His wife looked almost feral with her teeth bared at him, kicking clouds of dust against the packed earth floor.

“Huo Zheng,” he said authoritatively this time. “I need you to calm down.”

“Calm down?” She shouted. “You want me to calm down? How can I calm down? You're a stranger to me!”

A-Li forced a watery smile on his face, in hopes that this could help his wife find her way back to herself.

“Li-Gē!” Incessant pounding ensued from the other side of the door and his wife jumped back, pressing herself as tight as she could against a corner of the shed. “Li-Gē, open the door!”

“Where are you going?” She demanded, taking a step to stop him before realizing what she was doing and running back to her corner once again.

A-Li showed her his empty hands. “I’m just opening the door for your closest friend, Xiăohŭ.”

“Friend? I don't have female friends.”

“Yes, you do, and her name is Mei Lin.”

Her eyes blinked rapidly and A-Li took the opportunity to lift the latch and throw the door wide open.

His wife had plastered herself against the wall as Mei Lin stormed in, followed by Gun Gun and Huo Mao.

“Bai Gun Gun!” She cried out as she flung herself into Gun Gun’s arms, her fingers a pale contrast against Gun Gun’s blue sleeve. “Help me. Where am I? And why is my hair long again?”

Somebody could have taken a large wok and slammed it on his head because A-Li’s ears now rang with a pitch that restricted him from hearing the words being exchanged between the tool shed’s four other occupants. Their movements were slow too, as if they all treaded through water flowing from the opposite direction. His wife was crying, holding the ends of her hair to Gun Gun and pointing back at A-Li. Huo Mao stood to the side, calmly listening, while Mei Lin hovered about.

He had hoped and then after thousands of years, he had stopped. He had moved on and had given himself the chance to love again but this time with more awareness, consideration, and expressed in actions to show how much his woman was loved.

Then it turned out she was the same person?

“Jia’er,” he sighed, the name that had already been a prayer after 5’000 immortal years.

His mention of the name caused Huo Zheng’s hysterics to momentarily stop, and this gave Mei Lin the clear opportunity to use pressure on her neck from behind.

Huo Zheng… Xue Jiaolong … no, his wife — then crumpled unconscious in Gun Gun’s arms.


The night had turned quiet as the last of the revelers left the courtyard to sleep their drunkenness off, calling out their goodbyes from below Huo Zheng’s window. A-Li would stand up every now and then to show his face and acknowledge their felicitations, accepted various herbs that were handed out to him with the best intentions, and endured the jokes about making sure to keep his stamina high during the first couple of months.

In between, he would sit down by the bed where his wife lay, looking over her sleeping form as it created a stark contrast to the red covers and quilt that they had bought together in Nanking specifically for their wedding night.

What a cruel joke the Heavens had played on him this time around. Trained by thousands of years of mourning and disappointments that had viciously chipped away every piece of hope he had left on ever finding her again, A-Li had lost count of how many times he had discarded the notion that the woman in front of him was the same woman he had loved in the past. He had forced himself time and again to look beyond the physical, to acknowledge the differences in their characters, until one day he found himself in love again but this time with Huo Zheng.

And yet she had been Xue Jiaolong all along.

She was returned to me, and the mere thought both humbled and frightened him. What would have happened if he didn't allow a side trip to Huicūn? Would he have missed her for another 5’000 years? And how many times had he missed meeting her in the past?

“A-Li,” so lost was he in his thoughts that he had failed to catch it when she first opened up her eyes. “What happened? Why are you over there?”

My wife. She is my wife, A-Li repeated the fact over and over again in his mind as he moved from the window and approached to sit by her bedside. It didn’t matter if she was Xue Jiaolong or Huo Zheng. She was his wife.

“Did—” she sat up just as he sat down by her hip on the bed. “A-Li, I had meant to tell you. The ritual… my past lives… you must have met one of them. I—”

His fingers stroked the right side of her face. “Zūzu already briefed me. And yes, you were right. I have met one of them this afternoon.”

Her eyes closed shut and her hands covered her face. A-Li’s throat felt thick as in his eyes, she was merged with who she had been.

Xue Jiaolong.

And once again, the guilt set in. How he must have broken her heart that last night that he had seen her.

Would you save me if I asked you to?

He should have never left her because the nightmare that had happened to her afterwards, only she as Xue Jiaolong knew.

“They have been out of control but Zūzu and Nǎinai have been helping me get them under,” she murmured between her hands while shaking her head. “I had asked them to keep it a secret because I was hoping we would be able to get it under control before the wedding but—” her eyes peered between her fingers before her hands fell off. “A-Li, why,” a hand touched his cheek. ”Why are you crying?”

We’re two stars found at the opposite ends of the sky. Now that we’ve met, there’s no need to linger.

And yet they were able to meet again, weren't they?

“Xiăohŭ,” he said gently, cupping her hand that was on his cheek. “Tell me the truth. Have we met before Huicūn?”

Her eyes. Suddenly they drifted to the left while her chin dropped to her chest. A-Li’s chest tightened as he wondered just how much she knew. With his other hand, he tipped her chin up and saw her wet eyes. Why was she looking at him with so much shame?

“I seem to always be at a disadvantage with you, A-Li,” she finally whispered, chin trembling. “One would think I was deliberately braving the winds and the billows whenever it came to you.”

“Why would you think that?”

Her hands closed upon his wrist, their grip tentative.

“The way I have come into your life. First, as an unmarried non-virgin farmer whom you ended up marrying because you got me pregnant.”

“That’s not true,” he reminded her, heat rising behind his eyelids. “I’ve gone to Dìyù for you. The baby might have hastened things along but like I told you before, I would have married you a long time ago.”

“Exactly. What mortal deserves to have a god lay his life down on the line for her?”

“A mortal who has a god who loves her, that’s who.”

Her grip tightened and both her hands led his to go back to his own lap.

She shook her head.

“I was overreaching like the first time I have met you.”

A-Li’s heart clenched.

“I didn't know until during the ritual but we have met once before. I was a… courtesan who had fallen quite in love with you. I had nothing to offer you and yet I was very bold. I— I even wrote a love confession to you.”

“Wang Ling,” he breathed and her eyes snapped right back to his face.

“Was that my name?” She asked, her hands twisting at her own fingers. “So you do remember me?”

“I have never forgotten you. Wang Ling was your stage name but your given name was Xue Jiaolong.”

A-Li’s chest felt like almost bursting, his vision blurring through his tears as he watched her lips silently move to repeat the two names.

Was this how his Father Lord had felt when he first met his Mother’s high goddess form at the Eastern Sea King’s party so many years ago? A-Li had been too young then but it had been such an eventful day that the way his Father had looked, how his Father’s eyes had brimmed with tears as his hand reached out to touch his Mother’s face— his Father’s shock and sorrow at seeing his eternal love alive after years of living, thinking, believing that the woman Ye Hua had called Susu was dead— had been forever imprinted in A-Li’s mind.

A-Li touched his wife's face, amazed at how every nook and cranny of her features had stayed the same throughout two lifetimes. How could he have deluded himself so bad to not see it? Fortunately unlike what his Mother had done to his Father at that time, Huo Zheng didn't swat his hand away. Instead, she leaned into his touch.

“Thank you.”

“For what?” he asked, surprised at her gratitude.

“For acknowledging that I have existed. For not forgetting about the past me.”

“How could I?” he asked as heat radiated through his chest. “When the past 5’000 years I have loved no one but you? Prayed to no one but you?

Her head jerked back, eyes wide.

He nodded to confirm her silent question.

“You have heard about Xue Jiaolong before. Xue Jiaolong was Jia’er, whom you know as my departed wife. And you came back to me.” The words came out in unrestrained sobs. He cupped her face in his hands, the tip of his nose rubbing alongside hers. “You came back.”

Chapter 65

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