Fanfiction3: A-Li's Three Lives, Three Worlds - Chapter 80 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 80

written by LigayaCroft
edited by Kakashi

One year ago.

“Still no leads as to where these immortals have been disappearing to?” Li’s gaze lifted from the paper that he was reading and scanned the immortals gathered inside a private room of this mortal world’s tea house. Eyes shifted and tried to avert his gaze, which caused him to sigh.

He had resorted to meeting his informants in mortal worlds. The Sky Kingdom was no longer a safe place to meet, and he didn’t want to bring his burden to the Ghost nor the Demon Clans by meeting there either. Demons and Ghosts might have their own kind of in-fighting between clans. Yet they would never fully align themselves to a Celestial agenda, especially one that involved believing Celestials of pure lineage reigned supreme above all.

It was already too bad that in the recent hundred or so years, Demons and Ghosts had reported the same mysterious disappearance of their kind. Since the occurrence first emerged with the Celestials, the Demon and Ghost Kingdoms had reached out to the Celestial Emperor to see if these disappearances were tied.

What did those disappearances mean? It was a question, a mystery that had always irked him. Were they being used for an arcane experiment? If so, what for?

He was taken from his thoughts when he felt the ward he had placed over the place quiver when somebody tried to enter… and did enter, without breaking it.

He disappeared from the meeting to reappear at the point of entry and found Gun Gun standing there. A warm feeling flooded Li at the sight.

“For a moment there, I thought it was Shūshu who had come, but I am just as happy to see you, Gun Gun.” After a quick hug and a firm pat on Gun Gun’s shoulder, he stepped back and ran his eyes up and down Gun Gun’s form. “Are you well? It has been a while.”

“I have been busy,” Gun Gun replied. “But enough about me, Lian Song Gēge asked me to come here to tell you that Mo Yuan High God has awakened.”

“He has?”

“Yes. The God of War has moved back to Kunlun, and worshippers have begun to gather. Mei Lin is on her way back as well.”

The return of the God of War meant he could finally hand off part of his duties. Li felt the weight of the worlds on his shoulder lift just a bit.

Gun Gun’s dark expression didn’t miss his notice, though.

“Is everything well?” He asked and was about to put his arm around Gun Gun’s shoulder, but he changed his mind. He tried to tease him instead. “Are you worried Mo Yuan High God will find out about you and Mei Lin?”

“It has been twelve thousand years since she and I parted ways. So many things have happened since then. Who still remembers?”

Clearly still a touchy topic for both, and not wanting to be part of the former lovers’ dilemma, Li chose to back away.

“Let’s have some tea first before we leave,” Li offered, and while Gun Gun remained quiet, he followed Li inside the tea house.

A lot of things had indeed happened these twelve thousand years.

Mei Lin had opted to remain in Qing Qiu if she was not out traveling the mortal worlds and serving mortals in honor of Huo Zheng. Her medical practice in the immortal realms continued to flourish. She served as a small-time doctor in the service of immortals who needed her skills no matter which clan they were from.

With Mei Lin in Qing Qiu, Gun Gun had wisely kept his distance and assisted Li instead as a diplomatic envoy. For the past hundreds of years, he had lived among the Sea and River Tribes.

The owner jumped to serve them as they walked in, glad to see a new face enter his tea house. He looked upset as he set the serving pot and two cups on the table, his eyes darting toward all the empty tables inside the shop. When Gun Gun asked him about it, the man said business had been unusually slow today and concluded that he might need to offer some prayers to drive away his bad luck before it festered. He worried he might have done something wrong that must have offended the gods.

“Don’t worry, I plan to make it up to him after we leave,” Li promised while pouring tea into each of their cups.

He watched as Gun Gun ceremoniously swirled his cup then ran it right under his nose to take note of the drink’s aroma. Gun Gun then took a cursory sip, his jaw moving slightly as he let the liquid tickle his taste buds.

“This is an excellent tea,” Gun Gun concluded, before drinking more from his own cup. “No wonder that mortal is very concerned.”

Li nodded, and together they sat quietly to stare at how the mortals outside went about their days like ants.

“I heard about the ambush that took place when Mei Lin went to your Granduncle’s Palace in the North Sea,” Gun Gun remarked, setting down his cup on the table. “She was not seriously injured, I suppose?”

“I did not let you know because the information was of no consequence. Zūzu had been able to hold up well on her own.”

Gun Gun turned his head toward the street view outside. No matter how many years had passed and how much he tried to look disaffected, there was no way that Gun Gun had stopped caring for Mei Lin.

However, Mei Lin had been doing her best to distance herself from her ties to Kunlun and Jiuchongtian to follow the Emperor’s directive. Being cut off from one side of her family didn’t stop these crazed supremacists from painting a target on Mei Lin’s back. She was, after all, a powerful Princess of mixed-blood heritage. Taking her down brought with it some level of prestige. Thus, the opportunistic attacks gained frequency as time went by.

“Mei Lin moves alone and unprotected, but it’s her choice. She craves the practice.”

“How foolish.”

Li stared at his best friend. The years had turned Gun Gun’s face to begin to look like Dong Hua Dijun’s.

Indeed, a lot had happened these past twelve thousand years.

After breaking up his meeting upstairs, Li and Gun Gun set off for Kunlun. It was not that far of a journey, but Gun Gun looked like he had a lot on his mind and he stayed quiet the whole while.

Upon arrival by the worship hall entrance, Gun Gun stopped and turned toward Li, holding him by his arm.

“Promise me again, the only thing that you have ever promised me. ”

The gods who had gathered at the worship hall entrance recognized the new arrivals and set toward their direction. There was no time for Li to catch up on what caused Gun Gun to be sentimental.

But there was time to renew his promise.

“I won’t hold back.”

Gun Gun’s features became slack, and he let go of Li’s arm. After giving Li a small smile, Gun Gun retreated to the side and left, his head of white hair bobbing in and out of the predominantly black-haired crowd.




Mei Lin stopped a servant carrying a tray of osmanthus cakes for the guests gathered outside the worship hall, giving the tray a once-over before sending the maid on her way again. Taking a deep breath, she sighed and stretched her arms. With Kunlun back to its livelier state, her mood had turned festive, even though she hadn’t seen her Father yet.

Or she had been avoiding it. The years hadn’t removed her regret at every hurtful word that she had ever directed toward her Father. It brought with it some degree of shame, and so, she rationalized since they had the rest of their long lives to make it up to each other, what was the point of rushing their reunion?

She stepped back when she saw a couple of lords approach then pass by with dejected looks.

"Where are they going?" she called out to the servant who followed behind them.

The servant stopped and bowed. "Your Highness, they were sent out by Mo Yuan High God because he needed a break."

Her brows furrowed. There were too many guests outside, waiting to give their greetings. Her Father wouldn’t trouble everyone’s patience unless he was feeling poorly.

Mei Lin’s heartbeat raced. Once again, she felt like she was back in Zhuxian Terrace, seeing her Mother fall and her Father transform to follow.

No, she gave her elbow a sharp pinch to help bring her back to the present even though both of her hands were trembling uncontrollably. Father is alive, here and now. Get a grip of yourself, and go check on him.

Mei Lin rushed toward the corridors that led to the private wing where her Father’s study and bedroom were located. When she was about to turn toward the central passageway to her Father’s bedroom, her eye caught a glint. She turned in time to see a white-haired man walking fast with his back toward her.

“Bai Gun Gun?” She called out, and her breath caught when the man stopped.

And turned.

He had been good at keeping his promise of staying away from her, yet here he was, in Kunlun's secret passages.

“Mei Lin.”

“What are you doing here?” She asked, biting her lower lip from snarking about how he must be chasing down a naughty fairy.

His lips curved on one side, as it always did whenever he was up to no good. “If I tell you I was here to see the God of War, would you believe me?”

She had never seen Gun Gun speak to her Father directly. Even though he would often come with Li-Ge to bother her, he would go out of his way to avoid her Father during their visits. When he couldn't, he would be too much in shock-awe to even utter a single word in his presence.

She shook her head.

“Then Mei Lin, you should know better than to ask. You might not like the answer.”

Her breathing grew faster as his words triggered unpleasant memories of walking into questionable locations to fetch him and Li-Ge after they had been gone for several days.

Of course, he hadn’t changed.

She glared at him, and he responded back by tilting his head to one side and giving her a mock salute.

So beautiful. Mei Lin regretted that she hadn’t scratched his face real bad when she had the chance.

She turned on her heel with a huff and went down the corridor to her Father’s bedroom.

She found Mo Yuan seated with a scroll laid out before him, his profile blank as he stared out the window.

“Bàbà, I just met Gun Gun on the way here,” she announced, proud that her voice remained steady even as her face itched with the urge to cry. “Did he come to see you?”

Her Father’s hair was already back in its usual tight topknot, which made him look like the familiar God of War.

His face opened up a bit, a tiny smile drawing itself on his lips as he motioned for her to sit in the space next to him. Mei Lin complied and took up space, arranging her skirts into orderly pleats out of habit that only applied whenever she was at Kunlun.

When her eyes lifted, she gasped at seeing her Father look at her with such intensity.

Then his gaze slid down to her neck. His eyes widened as he looked back at her eyes, frowning.

Mei Lin caught the chain in her fingers and pulled it along until it met its pendant's resistance.

“Is that...” Her Father choked, scooping out the vial pendant from her hand.

“I had a problematic Feather—“ she proceeded to explain but stopped because her usually stoic Father’s eyes now brimmed with tears.

He reached out for her hand, and she held it, putting their linked hands on top of her lap.

”Second mentioned you’re a healer now.”

“I have been incompetent,” she apologized, biting her lower lip. “I tried to heal you, but it didn’t work.”

He squeezed her hand. “My illness cannot be healed by potions, Lin’er.”

She stared at her father, amazed at how he looked so much older now. Or was it because he was still too weak?

“We are phoenixes. Māma will come back as she has done twice before.”

Her Father rewarded her reassurance with a small, sad smile.

Together they stared outside the window for quite a while. The skies were clear, and the sun shone brightly. Blessed birds chirped their songs from their perch in the trees that adorned the garden below her Father’s window. It reminded Mei Lin of a childhood memory, sitting on her Father’s lap nibbling on a cake as he read a scroll while her Mother and Mei Shui tried to fly a kite.

“Father, I will prepare a concoction that will help you replenish your cultivation.”

“You have matured a lot.” He looked back at her, eyes bright. “What sparked your interest in healing?”

Maybe Second hadn’t updated him yet of her trial, of Huo Zheng and the scroll her friend had left behind. Or of the forbidden scrolls she had asked Gun Gun to steal for her from the Celestial Library. Or how she had she Shui’er and A-Xi to secretly translate them for her, only to burn the copies after she had the translation memorized.

But oh, how she had wanted to tell her Father all this time. And now was her chance.

“I had a Teacher—“ she began, but the sound of loud footsteps interrupted her. She craned her head toward the door, and moments later, Fifth Disciple barged in.

With a hasty bow, he announced, “Shifu, we have trouble.”

Chapter 81

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