Fanfiction: Moyuan and Bai Qian, Book 2 - Chapter 5 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 5 - The Fallen Immortal

written by LalaLoop
consulting by Bunny
editing by kakashi


“Has he failed, Spinner? Why is he not here yet?”

“Patience.”

“Suppose we’re in the wrong place. Suppose he is lost.”

“I said --” the Spinner glared at the Demon spy who had just spoken. “Patience!”

The crowd was quiet at once.

They had been standing here for hours. Zhongyin glanced all around him. Men in dark robes, Demons spies and warriors that had pledged allegiance to this ‘Master’, outlaws who had chosen to walk away from their own tribe, formed a thick circle around him and the Spinner in front of their dwelling where they had been taking their kidnap victims to.

Zhongyin had come to this forest well prepared. But still he was scared. The silence and the smell of damp grass weakened his body. The prospect of a long dead immortal returning to the realms by not cultivation, but ancient forbidden magic, unnerved him like nothing else. True, he himself was seeking to do the same for his sister; he would break every single law of the eight realms to do so. But his sister was not the same as this Dark Immortal whose every thought, every action, was unfathomable, who was capable of brutality beyond imagination. Once in a while, he had questioned his choice, had wondered if his sister would approve of the measures he had taken to bring her back.

But, Zhongyin inhaled sharply, if this man’s return was successful, that meant there was a chance for his sister to see the light of day again. It would mean there were methods other than those the God of War had utilized to carry out this task. Therefore, Zhongyin had determined to witness this with his own eyes, no matter how unnerving it might be - the marvel of someone whose body and soul had been shattered by the most powerful form of magic, perhaps much more powerful than the fire that had burnt his sister, coming back to walk the realms once again. The God of War had refused to disclose any information concerning his own return. Every word that came out of him reeked of hypocrisy and pretense. A coward who simply could not admit her importance to him, would not dare face her should she be back.

Having realized there could be no cooperation with such a person, Zhongyin had then turned his attention to the Dark Immortal, who had found ways to communicate with the Spinner even when he had been a bodiless and fragmented soul, who had given him hope that his sister would be here again.

He did not care if Luoji wanted to rule the Nine Heavens. He did not care if war broke out between them and the Celestials or if he himself would meet with severe consequences. He had determined not to ascend the throne because he knew she would be back, would rule the Demon clan and lead them to glory. Only she had the right to sit on that throne.

Too deep in thought, Zhongyin did not realize there had been whispers among the spies for quite some time now. A whooshing sound above caused his head to whip up. Before he could make out what was happening in the night sky, something shapeless plunged down and hit the ground.

Then from the area of the impact, mist started to rise. Black mist with streaks of silver.

The circle of Demon spies widened as they all took several steps back. The mist soon ceased, revealing the shape of a tall man dressed in a long dark robe.

Zhongyin held his breath, hand gripping his whip. Though he knew if a fight broke out for any reason, he would stand no chance against this immortal and his line of supporters.

The man did not address any of them right away but instead took a long minute to examine their location. Not a single word was uttered but it felt as though fear was rising among the spies, among them all. Finally, the man turned around and stared at Zhongyin and the Spinner.

It was a face that reflected every bit of the sadism, the madness, and despotism Zhongyin had heard about. His face was as pale as ash, his dark hair let down, his eyes blank and without a single trace of emotion. The skin of his face and neck was covered in criss-crossed lines that were grey in color that made him look almost like a broken vase that had been put back together by a pair of unskillful hands. Something that looked like the remain of a once deep scar ran from the top of his forehead, passed his left eye, to the side of his face.

“Master,” said the Spinner, his voice like a child who was about to enter a feast after days of starvation. He dropped on his knees. The rest of the Demon spies did the same.

Luoji paid them no attention and continued to examine his newly regained body.

“Too long it has been,” spoke a voice colder than the deepest layer of ice in the Arctic Prisons, sending rounds of shiver across the crowd and into Zhongyin himself. Luoji raised his hand to the moonlight, fingers spreading. “Has it not, Old Man.”

“Master,” said the Spinner again, standing up, fright apparent in his voice now. But it was the kind of fear that mingled with excitement. “Please tell me… let me know you if are strong enough. Indeed… we cannot move on with the plan if you…”

Luoji looked down from the sky. This sudden movement from his ‘Master’ silenced the Spinner at once.

To Zhongyin, Luoji said quietly, “did you acquire what you have promised?”

Zhongyin held his breath as the man approached. He had no idea what result the honest answer would bring him. He had heard of Luoji’s ruthlessness with followers who failed to carry out their assigned tasks. But, he reminded himself, this was not a task. This was not something he was charged with. It was a bargain. Yes, a bargain. And he was not a follower. Even if he could not hold his end of the deal, Luoji had no reason to harm him.

“No,” breathed Zhongyin. “Someone else was there to… to get it too.”

“Someone else? Who?”

“An immortal girl from… somewhere… I never asked.”

“A girl? How old?”

“I… I don’t know.”

“Did she succeed?”

“No, she did not get it either,” said Zhongyin, hoping this piece of news would please the man. “I saw her come out of the maze without it.”

“Well then, Zhongyin, a deal is a deal. You have nothing to bargain for the item you asked from me.”

It seemed Luoji was not going to kill him after all. At this, Zhongyin gathered his courage and pleaded, “forgive me, but why, why must it be this fan? You are powerful, Master. Any weapon you wield would be forced to obey you. It is a mystery to me why...”

“The only mystery here is how Shaowan could have an incompetent fool like you for a brother. I need no reason to want that fan. I need no reason for anything at all. But no matter, no matter. The business concerning the fan of power has always been more about you and your wish than about me. I have no need for it now.”

“But Master…”

Zhongyin was met with a cold, pitiless stare. His mouth snapped shut and he trembled from head to toe, both from fear and anger - he despised it when his sister’s name was so casually uttered. His hand unconsciously moved to clutch his chest where he had received the painful kick from the girl in the maze - he had been so close. Yet because of that insolent and arrogant little twit he had to suffer this humiliation. His blood boiled in anger, his face could not help contorting in disgust every time her triumphant look flashed through his mind.

“But heed my word,” Luoji drawled. “What you want may be accomplished sooner than you think.”

“I don’t understand...”

Ignoring him, Luoji swept back to the center of the circle, where he took a moment to glance around at the spies.

“Spinner.”

“Yes, Master.”

“Where is it?”

“Master?”

Luoji quietly turned to face the Spinner. None of the muscles on that face moved yet murderous intent spread from him steadily, filling their air around them. Even the usually well composed Spinner seemed nervous to the point of acting like a frightened fool.

“Oh… yes, of course, Master.”

The Spinner mumbled something in his mouth with an arm raised high. The area remained quiet. Next, he dropped on one knee, fist slamming onto the ground. Still, nothing happened. But the Spinner did not look anxious in the least; instead, he smiled triumphantly. The sound of something tearing through the wind hit Zhongyin’s ear. The next instant, it appeared before them. Long, thick, heavy in appearance, floating in midair.

It was a sword - a sword of unusually large size.

The Spinner cautiously held the sword with both hands and presented it to Luoji with his head bended deeply.

“It has been well hidden, Master.”

Luoji made no comment and simply took the blade by the handle.

He lifted the sword, slowly turned around and pointed it at the crowd. Sounds of panic broke across their ranks. Though before any of them could react, with a flash of light and a sound like an arrow being shot into a wooden board, a Demon spy at the front dropped flat on his face.

“Worry not,” he said in response to all of their stunned faces. “He is not dead. I never mistreat those who come to me with loyalty.”

Caressing his sword with exultance, Luoji slightly turned in Zhongyin and the Spinner’s direction again.

“Those are quite impressive scars,” he lifted his head at the Spinner’s face, looking more entertained than sorry. “Whose work is it?”

“Some wretched boy with steel claws as weapon, Master,” said the Spinner shamefully. “Possibly from Xunzhua since I used to hold their princess hostage.”

“Xunzhua,” Luoji’s mouth twisted into something that resembled a smile. “Yes, that does ring a bell. But --,” he scoffed -- “look at you both, beaten and maimed by the younglings. What a humiliation.”

He paused, as if to savor the effect of that statement, then went back to trace his fingers along the blade.

“Master…” said the Spinner, “dare… dare I ask… if we have a plan for when we face the God of War.”

“Ahh,” the pale face lit up. “Of course. The protector of the realms with a heart of gold who embraces emotions like a fool. But I admit, without this one factor, the game would be very dull.”

“I… I don’t understand, Master.”

Luoji gave no response, as if the subject no longer held his interest. His pitiless eyes constricted a fraction as he stared into the distance.

“Summon them. I am ready.”

Chapter 6, Part 1