Fanfic: Mo Yuan and Shao Wan 2.0 - Chapter 56 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 56

written by kakashi
edited by LigayaCroft & Panda

*A lot of years ago*

“Father, if I may, I have another question” Mo Yuan said politely.

“Of course,” Fuxi replied, “however busy I may seem, never think that I will not take the time to answer all your questions, son.”

“Thank you, Father Lord,” Mo Yuan replied.

Mo Yuan let his eyes wander back to Fuxi’s desk and the artifacts on it. So the bright blue bracelet was a key to an unbreakable prison, but what was the Demon artifact used for? It was a curious thing, an empty mirror, but he found it most intriguing.

His father who had watched his eyes shift and settle on the object picked it up and turned it in his hand. “This mirror? You want to know what it’s for? Hm. You see, I cannot use it, it’s beyond my powers.”

“That cannot be true, Father,” Mo Yuan objected.

Fuxi chuckled. “Thank you for being so filial, Mo Yuan, but it is the truth. It was given to me by a friend, a very long time ago. He believed it to be broken and asked me whether I could fix it. I studied it for a long time, but I could not determine what was wrong with. That there was magic in it, that I could see clearly, but it did not reveal its secrets nor did it react to any of my attempts to cajole it into action.”

Fuxi held the small, silver mirror up towards Mo Yuan. “Take it!”

Cautiously, Mo Yuan reached forward and took the object from his father’s hand. It was surprisingly warm, and the metal felt like a bit like the skin of a reptile.

“Can you see anything?” his father asked.

Mo Yuan lifted the mirror in front of his eyes. Where his image should have been, there was nothing. But it was a nothing with substance, an emptiness with meaning, though it was ungraspable.

“No, Father,” he said, “I see nothing, but I think… there is something where there is nothing.”

Fuxi nodded. “Very good. Well, those who can use this mirror can see into Hundun with it.”

Mo Yuan frowned. Hundun… the formless, uncreated. “How… how can it be seen if it does not exist?” he asked.

“Hm,” Fuxi said and stroked his beard for a bit. “It does not exist and yet it does. It is all things and nothing. It is of infinite possibilities. Those who can see into it… can see the future. Or at least… its possibilities.”

Mo Yuan squinted. The future? How was that even possible. He knew that in some of the human tribes, shamans would tell fortunes by looking at a mirror, but he had always been told that was superstition. Everything was always forming, only the natural order in the Universe was constant and unchangeable.

“Does it only work for Demons?” Mo Yuan asked. He didn’t want to try and use magic on this object, he was afraid he would make a fool out of himself in front of his father.

Fuxi moved his head from side to side thoughtfully. “It seems so. But let me show you something.”

Father Immortal summoned his sword from the corner of the room. “You remember what I have told you about Xuan Yuan, have you not. About its special abilities.”

“Yes, Father!” Mo Yuan agreed excitedly. “It can destroy immortal spirits entirely if the wielder so wills it.”

“And where do these souls go?”

“Into the Nothingness. They scatter. Then they cease to exist.” Oh. Was it possible that… “They… do they go back to Hundun?”

“Yes, it is what I have come to believe,” Fuxi nodded. “Watch.”

Fuxi unsheathed his sword. The power it radiated was, as always, awe inspiring and a little frightening. Mo Yuan had been allowed to train with it since he was a little boy, so it was very familiar to him at this point but he always felt a chill when it was unsheathed, like a door had been opened to a very cold place. Opened and closed again just as quickly.

Father Immortal directed the tip of the sword towards the mirror in Mo Yuan’s hand. For a brief moment, the object felt burning hot, but before Mo Yuan could drop it, it transformed between his fingers. It became… nothing. And where there had been nothing, ethereal and like ghosts, little lights came forward, almost as if they had been called forth by Xuan Yuan.

“The souls of those it destroyed,” Fuxi said, with no sentimentality at all. “The sword calls to them. Why? I can only guess,” Fuxi said and sheathed the sword. Instantly, Mo Yuan held the empty mirror again.

“My guess is that Xuan Yuan does not fully destroy the souls. My guess is that a tiny part of them, of all of them, gets absorbed by the sword and stays there.”

Did that mean…

“It doesn’t mean they can come back,” Fuxi said resolutely. “What you just saw are just tiny fragments. Some of them are drawn to their echo in the living world, but that is all it is. And this is all I found out. The mirror does not obey me and I have given up. As I told you, I will give it back to the Demons, admitting I have failed to fix it. If it was ever broken.”

Much later, after reading countless books of good and less good reputation, Mo Yuan learned that glass in alchemy represented spiritual excellence. The thing that made glass special was its transparency. Due to its transparency, glass could be turned into an instrument between the worlds that could and could not be seen and in turn help to see. Mirrors were never just reflecting their environment. They were always also reflecting qi, the cosmic energy governing matter, time, and space. At the moment of creation, the cosmic energy had undergone a transformation so that it became differentiated into dual elements of yin and yang.

Some mirrors were older.

Some did not obey the laws of this creation.


*Present Day*

“You have pieces of my…” was this some strange and rather misinformed romantic confession?

“I am sorry, Shao Wan,” Mo Yuan said. “I did not take them from you deliberately.”

“Oh, good,” she said, because she really did not know what else to say. Did everybody suddenly have pieces of her soul?

“Before you get angry, let me explain,” he said.

It was so typical of him to come here unannounced, be all mysterious and quiet, and then spring big news on her like this. Did he enjoy being sneaky that much? Shao Wan looked up to the fragrant red blossoms in the tree above her and took a deep breath. Well, obviously, Mo Yuan had always been like this. Maybe she better get used to it.

“I will sit down,” she said and pointed to a rock not far from them.

“Are you tired?” he asked with concern.

“Yes, Mo Yuan,” she sighed, “I am always tired these days. I have no energy for anything, I cannot eat what I used to like and on top of everything…” she stopped herself. She had sworn to herself she would not tell him anything that could lead to those typical overreactions on his part and if she told him about…

“You were saying?” he insisted when she did not continue.

“I missed you,” she just said, which was the truth, but also a diversion. It was sufficient to render him quiet and he took her arm to help her over to where she had indicated she wanted to sit. He even conjured up a purple cushion and placed it on the stone carefully.

How attentive.

Shao Wan seated herself and took some time to arrange the folds of her dress into a regular pattern. Of course, he just patiently waited even though she took a rude amount of time.

“Alright,” she said with a sigh. “So how did you come about the pieces of my soul.”

“You remember when I dreamwalked…”

How could she not. She did not remember everything, since dreams were fleeting, but what she did remember wasn’t particularly nice. Today, she would not apologize again though. He had paused as if he expected her to, but when she said nothing, he continued without ado, “...the main reason was to find out where the missing pieces of your soul are.”

Shao Wan nodded. She knew that. Dreams were like mirrors, showing the sleeper aspects of her life from below the surface of her waking memory. The sleeper… and those who managed to intrude into the dreams.

“I found out,” he said. “I just never got around to tell you yet.”

Was he expecting her to be grateful? Shao Wan studied that face of his but of course, there were no clues on there.

“I am dying for you to tell me,” she sighed.

“I needed to verify,” he explained, obviously thinking he needed to justify himself, “it took longer than I thought it would. I had to read a lot about dreams and their meanings. The knowledge about this is at best… inconclusive.”

Even more sneaky than she thought. Where had he found those books and when? She remembered that time they had spent together in the mortal realm and he had studied like one of those young men sitting for the imperial officer exam.

He knelt down in front of her then and conjured up… the rainbow flask.

“One is in here,” Mo Yuan explained and pressed the flask into her hand.

She felt nothing, but it made sense. She had poured her everything into this object, no wonder something had gotten stuck. “Did I dream of the flask?” she asked, turning it in her hands.

“No, it wasn’t that easy,” he said and she had to smile because he sounded a little smug. “But all your dreams revolved around you being pregnant and…”

“That shouldn’t have come to a surprise to anyone,” Shao Wan murmured, stroking her huge belly.

“ wasn’t a surprise, no, but how you dreamt about it was.” Mo Yuan explained. “Like you lost a piece of yourself in the process. You were… are… not the same.”

Shao Wan pondered that statement of his. Not the same… no, she was not the same. Nor did she think she would ever be the same again.

“How do we get it out?” she asked him and opened the flask to check whether she could see or feel anything inside of it. But of course not. With her powers diminished and messed up because she was a Celestial now, she could only faintly feel the power this artefact radiated and nothing in it or about it stirred anything inside of her.

“That I do not know,” he said and sounded dejected. “But at least it’s safe there. Until I do find out how to get it out.”

Yes, at least.

“Keep it close,” he advised. “Just like your Feather. That’s where a second piece is, but not one you recently lost.”

Shao Wan nodded and her hand traveled up to touch the chain around her neck. Putting it on had not changed as much as it should have. It was like her body was deaf to the powers that her Original Feather contained. Something to do with her meridians, as Zhe Yan had said. Or something to do with her being a bloody Celestial. Her Feather was probably as confused about this as she was.

“One piece is inside the Crown Princess,” Mo Yuan informed her, sounding discomforted despite his best efforts to hide it. As if she would begrudge him talking about that Fox Woman still. She did not. She had been a passenger in her body and she would never again feel anything but grateful to her.

“I know that,” Shao Wan said. “She was in my dreams and I remember her in them!” Fondly, actually. Shao Wan thought she would really like to see the Fox Queen again soon. And that Little Fox that had tamed Donghua. Would her cultivation levels be high enough for her not to feel any discomfort in the Demon realm?

“Yes, she was there. And I think it was the fragment of her inside of you that often called an image of Ye Hua there too.”

That made sense, Shao Wan thought. Why else would the Crown Prince have been there so often, she hardly knew him. “I think she should definitely be the Godmother of our children,” she added, since it had been her help that had saved them. “And that brother of yours can be the Godfather, even though maybe, Donghua will feel left out. Oh. And Zhe Yan!”

That was going to be a problem. Unless… was she crazy? She pushed the thought of more little brats as far away from her as she possibly could. Luckily, Mo Yuan was too preoccupied with feeling guilty about this mess to catch on.

“One piece is… I think is in Yu Dian,” Mo Yuan pressed out, now sounding very discomforted. What was it even with the young Demon and Mo Yuan?

“That makes no sense at all,” Shao Wan said and shifted a little on her cushion because her bum was beginning to hurt. “I think you’re wrong.”

“He was there. In every single dream,” Mo Yuan replied stubbornly. “It must be the reason.”

Maybe I just like him, Shao Wan thought but decided it was better not to say it out loud. Of course, Yu Dian was important in the larger scheme of things and she was quite sure he hadn't revealed everything he knew to them yet.

“Could his sister have given him a piece of my soul after the ritual?” Shao Wan surmised. “But why would she?”

“I will find out,” Mo Yuan said, “don’t worry.”

Not worry? That was a rather strange statement. Of course she was worried. It wasn't like she hadn't worried since coming back to the immortal plains.

“There’s more?” she asked because Mo Yuan did not look like he was done and he had mentioned several pieces in his possession.

“Yes,” he agreed and cleared his throat. With one swift move, he unsheathed Xuan Yuan, which he carried on his back again today.

There was no sound that ears could hear, but it still was like the pure Celestial Power the sword radiated grated against the Demon essence around them jarringly, like it was dragged against the rocks with force.

“When I… killed you,” he said, like these words gave him physical pain, “when I pierced your heart with my sword, I… I was the one who destroyed your soul. It would have scattered completely, if not for the magic you had woven, the magic tying your existence to the existence of our children. But it was I who condemned you to endless mortal cycles of suffering and misery that way. It was I who did not look for you, who did not search all the mortal worlds tirelessly. I left you alone when you needed me the most. I am the one… the one to blame for everything.”

“He killed you. His sword destroyed your soul. Do you not know what power it holds?”

The old Horse Tribe woman had told her almost every night.

Blame? He wanted to take the blame for it, still, after all the conversations they had had? He still thought he should have known not to get himself cursed? He still thought he should have been able to stop himself when piercing her heart was the only thing he could do to prevent her fire getting out of hand? When she had urged him to do it, had even guided his hand?

Very carefully, Shao Wan extended her hand towards the humming sword. But before she could touch it, Mo Yuan pulled it away.

“Don’t…,” he said.

Mo Yuan, she thought when she looked at the pain in his eyes, the grief and the guilt. Do not let this stand between us. It has to end.

“The fifth piece of your soul is inside Xuan Yuan,” Mo Yuan said quietly and he looked at his sword with an expression of such despair, her heart contracted. “And Xuan Yuan… has never ever given back what it took.”

Shao Wan knew what he must be feeling. It was like his Father’s ghost was extending his arm from his grave, shaking a warning finger in front of their faces. Did I not tell you? she almost heard his voice. I told you, stay away. All that will come from your union is misery and death. How can something from the different corners of the universe be joint together?

“Then let’s force this Xuan Yuan to do it for the first time,” Shao Wan said and got up. “I really want my soul back, Mo Yuan.”

It wasn’t like he did not already know what they had to do. He just feared what it meant.

“You have found the one person who knows how to make me whole again. I am ready to go see him. Well, almost ready. After a toilet break and a change of clothes.”

Better face that man from the past looking her very best. Weakness was not something she could allow to show, so she better hid it behind an impeccable facade.


The path to the sea cloud prison was always the same, and Mo Yuan had tread it before several times, not caring much for its precariousness. A passage bathed in dark blue light - a winding, narrow path that extended upwards, an abyss of infinite proportions, darkness of the blackest black to the left and the right - but seeing Shao Wan walk next to him, so close to the brink, Mo Yuan felt vertigo from fear for her. He held her hand very tightly as a result, trying to tell himself calmly that she would not fall, because why should she?

“You do not need to hold me this tightly,” Shao Wan said and smiled at him. “I’m not going to fall.”

He had not had a chance to tell her how much he liked her hair the way she wore it today, no braids, no hair ornament, just a hair pin to hold up some of it, the rest tumbling down in a glorious, shimmering cascade of black velvet. The pregnancy only made her more beautiful, if that was even possible, so beautiful he wanted to look at her and do nothing else, all day long.

Mo Yuan felt a need to rest. To go back to Kunlun and stay there, if possible forever. Have his children and his wife with him. See the little ones grow up, spend his days and nights with her.

What imaginary bliss. Why not have it?

“This feels like that other place,” she suddenly said, the sound of her voice being swallowed unnaturally quickly. As if they, tiny beings, were walking within the folds of a large, black cloak.

“What place?” he asked cautiously.

“I think I dreamt about it,” she said and frowned a little.

“We’re in the thin veil between this Creation and the Uncreated,” Mo Yuan explained.

“Hm,” Shao Wan said, “maybe not a dream, could be a memory too… I still get a bit confused sometimes whether… oh, we’re here!”

They had arrived in front of the gigantic gate that was the entry and exit into the prison.

“Your father made this?” Shao Wan asked, putting her head very far back so that she could see the top of the gate. It was shrouded in shadows of a cloudy substance, a billowing fog that looked alive.

Mo Yuan nodded. “He told me he built this prison in case an old enemy of his would return.”

She made a doubtful face. “Did he say who that was?”

“He did not,” Mo Yuan answered. “I guessed it had to be one of the other Primordials. But they have all left this creation, he never said why he thought any of them would ever return.”

“Primordials?” Shao Wan frowned. “No thank you. Imagine Pangu asking for all his body parts back. ‘Hey, you there! You were made from a tiny particle of my toenail! I want it back!’ What would happen to us?”

Mo Yuan shook his head at her, but had to smile. Only this woman had absolutely no reverence for anybody, not even the first living being and creator of all. But he turned more somber again quickly.

“Listen, Shao Wan,” he said and took her hand. “The man we’re going to see…”

“Ah, don’t worry,” she said and pressed his hand, “I have dealt with Qing Quan before. He’s a mean person, but he cannot hurt us if we don’t let him.”

Mo Yuan didn’t share Shao Wan’s optimism, but remained silent. In truth, what they suspected this Tower Engineer had done was something that defied all laws known to him. It made him shudder to think that he had been at the Soulswappers’ mercy not too long ago and that despite of all his powers, there was no remedy he knew that could prevent this kind of soul possession.

“I will open the gate now,” he informed Shao Wan and performed the necessary spell. Like always, the huge doors opened without a sound, revealing the circular, white platform in the infinite body of water.

“Oh,” Shao Wan sounding impressed.

Today, the sky above the prisoner was not blue, but stormy and the surface of the water mirror reflected its angry dark grey. The blue chains around the Prisoner’s hands glowed ever more brightly in contrast.

Uncle Ying Ming lifted his head to look at them, a crazy expression in his eyes.

“That’s the body of the Starlord who messed with your trial?” Shao Wan asked all interested.

Mo Yuan nodded. “He blames me for the death of his mother,” he told her.

“And Qing Quan lives in there too? How extraordinary,” Shao Wan observed. “Where is he?”

“I do not know how to call him out,” Mo Yuan said, “I believe he will…”

“What a surprise. It’s the Demon whore who turned a venerated monk into a sex craving maniac,” Starlord Ying Ming said viciously.

Shao Wan’s hand shot out to grab and press his before Mo Yuan could react and blast the horrid man as dead as he should be.

“Well done, Demon Ancestor! You did what I failed to do - destroyed the reputation he built up over so many millennia, forever tarnishing his good name,” Ying Ming sneered.

“I think he begrudges me that I almost swallowed him when you were sleeping in that cave and he was that small,” she said thoughtfully, indicating the size with her finger. “I do understand, it must have been unpleasant in my mouth, not knowing if… should we maybe repeat this?” she asked the prisoner. “Mo Yuan shrinks you and this time, I chew and swallow? I am so hungry these days.”

For all her light tone and biting reply, Mo Yuan could see that the Prisoner’s words had not missed their mark. How could they not when she had always felt unsure about how a Celestial like him could fall in love with a Demon like her.

“We’re not here to talk to you,” Mo Yuan said, trying to let his voice sound free of anger and managing marginally well. “Call the other one out.”

“Other one?”

Mo Yuan shook his head. “Spare me the hassle of having to torture you.”

“Let me,” Shao Wan said and stepped right in front of the Starlord. Mo Yuan’s heart wanted to stop, but of course, his father’s chains were unbreakable and Ying Ming could do nothing but pull at them frantically.

But Shao Wan did not hurt him. Very gently, she took the prisoner’s head into her hands and for a horrible moment, Mo Yuan feared she would kiss him. But she turned her head to the side and whispered something into the prisoner’s ear. Then, she stepped away and waited patiently.

The change did come over Ying Ming instantly. Like that time Mo Yuan had seen him in the Heavens when he had gone after Bai Qian and her children. The skin of his face began to move like something living was slithering around underneath it.

“The Demon Ancestor has come to see me,” he said. “Finally. I am so pleased.”

“I would be lying if I said I’m pleased too,” Shao Wan replied. “Qing Quan, you should have died that day.”

“Just like you should have died yourself,” he quipped lightly. “Several times, I hear. But some of us are hard to get rid of, are we not, God of War?” he shifted his eyes towards Mo Yuan, who found it hard not to pull a face of disgust.

“Did I not tell you you would be back,” Qing Quan in the Starlord’s body sneered at Mo Yuan. “Did I not tell you you would want to trade. You do not know me well, but learn this: I am never wrong.”

“That’s what they all say before they are, and then, they usually die,” Shao Wan shrugged. “So you have obviously learned how to soulswap without all the usual fuss the Cult needs, which is a horrible thing to do, though undoubtedly very impressive.”

“I am the only one who is truly immortal,” Qing Quan boasted. “And since I know he will now start lecturing me on the laws of the Universe, let me tell you this, Celestial: They all offer me their body willingly.”

Hearing him say this stirred unpleasant memories in Mo Yuan, of another Demon, another adversary, who had coveted what was not his. The Yellow Demon King Cheng Yin had planned to have him give him his powers. Cultivation transfer with no fungal grass… it had been what he had been after.
This one on the other hand… but the key was this one word: willingly.

Maybe it should irk him that his enemies seemed to know him so well.

“But not all bodies are capable of holding two souls for long,” Shao Wan said.

“Of course not,” Qing Quan agreed. “Most are not. Most start failing sooner rather than later. Yu Zong was already afflicted with the Demon Madness. I made him last as long as I could. How are you doing, by the way?”

His smile was almost amiable.

Shao Wan didn’t reply and it was her silence that confirmed what Mo Yuan had been most afraid of.

She had gotten much better at hiding things from him. Hiding things she knew would make him do things she did not want him to do.

Of course it wouldn’t just go away.

“See,” Qing Quan continued in his chatty tone, “it’s a most perfidious affliction as I learnt from studying it in much detail. Before it really gets out of hand, you feel completely fine. In fact, you feel better than ever before. You see things with more clarity, your mind performs miraculously well. Of course, there are signs, but you ignore them, because who wants to believe they are turning mad when they feel so hopeful?”

Mo Yuan wanted to see Shao Wan’s face to verify that it was not true, but she was standing with her back to him and he already knew that only a fool would hope this Demon was just bluffing.

“One day, you wake up and … goodbye to your former life, you will remember nothing. The beauty of it is, you will consider all the people you once loved your enemies. And if you get the chance, you will kill them. You know whom Yu Zong killed with the most pleasure? Slowly and giving as much pain as he could. His wife. After we had a lot of fun together, that was. Oh… and after that child was born. Or should I say children? One was dead when it came out of the womb, but that only gave me more reason to practice my skills. Now there are two.”

“You,” Shao Wan said quietly. “Are worth less than the lowliest worm in Tiryagyoni. When I kill you, you will be stripped off your immortality and sent to Diyu despite having been a God and will suffer in the Eighteen Levels for all eternity. I will personally go and see Yánwáng to make sure they triple the pain for you every single time you go through one of the cycles.”

“And yet, my dearest Demon Ancestor,” Qing Quan smiled, “you are both here because you need me. “You better repress your hatred and ask me politely.”

Now, Shao Wan turned to him. Did she really think they had a choice?

I will not let you go insane, Mo Yuan thought and wished for her to know what he was thinking, because nothing else made sense.

“No,” she said to him, her beauty touching his heart anew, like today was the day he fell in love over and over. “Lock me up. I will show you where the Tower used to stand. There must be some of the lowest chambers left. Lock me up, it will buy us time.”

“No,” Mo Yuan said.

“So touching,” Qing Quan snarked. “And what a dilemma. These chains are unbreakable. You know you cannot easily free this body.”

“No!” Shao Wan said and as the realization of what this meant hit her, she rushed towards Mo Yuan as fast as she could.

“I have to,” Mo Yuan said and lifted his hand with the greatest reluctance. Strong chains wrapped themselves around Shao Wan, immobilizing her on the spot.

“No!” she screamed, “no! Mo Yuan! No!”

He performed the spell to open the doors and gently placed her outside. He refused to look at her before he slammed the doors shut in her face.

Thankfully, Qing Quan remained silent.

“I am ready,” Mo Yuan said, though he wasn’t sure that was true.

His body as a host. Willingly. His body for the knowledge how to save the mother of his children. The love of his life. His everything.

It was such a small price to pay.

Chapter 57a