Fanfiction: Moyuan and Bai Qian, Book 2 - Chapter 18 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)


Chapter 18 - Ironfeather

written by LalaLoop
edited by Kakashi  
consulting by Bunny

Bai Qian’s whole arm began to hurt.

Like a wild horse being forced under a saddle, the fan in her hand shook with every strike; it was unstable, almost beyond her control. But there was no questioning its power. Through the fine metal, her magic was strengthened beyond her expectations. Silver waves of force each metal tip emitted swept through the enemy’s lines.

Men and beasts fell, they fell so quietly and quickly that it made her shudder every time.

A power too proud and mysterious to submit to any individual’s will.

With a single goal in mind, Yehua had found himself face-to-face with Luoji, theirs was a battle that no man in his right mind wanted to be in the vicinity of. They took up a large perimeter in the center and fought without regard for their surroundings.

Nearby, Luoji’s standing supporters did their best to keep help away from Yehua for as long as possible. Especially…

“ARGHHHH!”

Bai Qian winced and glared around for the source of that piercing scream. She didn’t have much trouble finding it.

A snow leopard as large as Pojing in his true form was fastening its jaws around Nalan’s leg and dragging him across the field, leaving a brutal trail of blood behind. The soldier fought furiously but his leg looked like it was about to be torn off.

Bai Qian didn’t need to be told who that snow leopard was. She had seen that savagery too many times and would recognize it no matter what form it was in.

The fan firm in her hand, she flew to them and landed atop the white creature’s neck. With an angry turn and before Bai Qian could deliver the rear blow like she’d planned to, it released Nalan and threw her off his back.

Sufeng’s eyes were as ruthless against the white fur as they were on his human face. Curling robust tail that was almost as long as his scarred body, he took a few steps back, perhaps contemplating before pouncing again.

“Queen of Qingqiu…” Nalan gasped as he lay bloody and battered on the ground. “Just… run…”

Ignoring the plea, Bai Qian glanced around for any Kirin Rider available to remove Nalan from danger, keeping her eyes on the monster snow leopard at the same time.

The creature bared its teeth, bent its forelegs, but then suddenly jerked back.

“Nalan!”

Pojing arrived beside them, his eyes swept over the terrible state of his lieutenant as he briefly got down on one knee.

“You are done,” he said with a tone of finality. It was then that Bai Qian understood anew why Xunzhua had given their king such loyalty.

Nalan put up a feeble protest. “I have to help…”

“No.”

On his feet again, Pojing sent a red jet of light up into the sky. The snow leopard had not backed down, but it was eyeing them with newfound caution. Not a second later, a Xunzhua rider descended from the clouds. Without waiting for an order, the man quickly took hold of Nalan and mounted the Kirin again, swooping out of sight.

“This is going to be his last battle,” Pojing said to her with his eyes on Sufeng – as an indication that this was his own fight – and strode ahead. “Don’t come close.”

Before Bai Qian could ask why, he leapt into the air. As Pojing transformed, his armor morphed along. What occurred afterwards happened in a blur and Bai Qian only knew to throw out a shield to protect herself and others in the vicinity from the showering rocks and debris when she heard the familiar roar. The next second, they were looking at two giant creatures clad in armor, white and amber, prowling and ready to clash, ready to rip each other apart.

Sufeng’s last fight, Bai Qian could well believe that. With two ear-splitting roars and movements as fast as arrows, they crashed.

Not wasting any time, Bai Qian looked towards Yehua and sprinted. Her friends were holding their grounds. The massive army they faced was as bloodthirsty as they had been from the start, but the lightning rod was conjuring power that tore through their lines and their confidence; the Demon Goddess – not too different from what Bai Qian had been told – moved and fought like an all consuming fire that frightened her own brother; Fuze – whatever his true intention was – was doing his part to hold the fort; and Luoji’s most powerful fighter was no longer on the way.

Bai Qian was only a few steps away from joining force with that sword of Balance and destroy Luoji once and for all when Yehua suddenly bellowed: “GET AWAY!”

The blazing light that surrounded their duel was so overwhelming that Bai QIan could not make out anything clearly.

But she saw the black figure of Yehua move. That speed…

They were going to clash. A final clash.

She jumped back a distance, casting as many shields and barriers as she could with the single second she had left before the collision to protect the clueless around her.

It was too late for some.

The crash was not unlike an eruption of an ancient volcano.

Where Yehua and Luoji stood, pushing their swords against one another, golden waves more blinding than ever poured out in all directions like angry streams of water.

Sweat rolled down Bai Qian’s face as she fought to maintain her shields.

Both men held their ground. Yehua was considerably weaker yet his sword of Balance prevailed. And then…

A thunderous explosion nearly deafened them all. It was as if the sky itself was splitting open, as if Pangu himself was sentencing the universe to death.

Bai Qian was knocked to the ground, it was as if one of those golden waves had punched her in the face.

When she was on her feet again, many others weren’t, shock seemingly preventing them from forming a response. She shook her head to clear her vision and squinted through the smoke and the fire.

“Yehua!”

As she made her way to him, the battle quickly picked up its space. Screams and thumping footsteps around made her head spin.

“Yehua…” she lifted him to a sitting position, horrified as blood poured from his wounds, his lips, down his temples. It was as if blood was being squeezed out of him. And — Bai Qian’s stomach churned — one side of his face had been terribly burned.

His eyes were half open but he didn’t answer her when she shook his shoulders, his whole body trembled still, and the sword in his hand…

Its core no longer glowed. The dull blade looked like a spare piece of metal.

If the sword of Balance has shattered, then Luoji’s weapon…

From the chaos of the battle around, her two Seniors emerged and appeared to be sprinting to their aid. Opposite of them, Luoji was regaining his footing. He stumbled and hunched over, robe battered, weapon nowhere to be seen. But he was standing.

That devil thing is gone, Bai Qian rejoiced silently.

It’s just him now. Just him…

She let go of Yehua and lunged ahead, seizing Luoji by his bare neck; and before he could react she cloud-jumped.

Away from the battle and through the cold mist they went. Bai Qian didn’t know where she was heading, but she believed the man she was trapping along did. Or at least she trusted that he – with a considerably better sense of direction than her - would take care not to crash them both into some mountain or plunge to the bottom of the ocean. He had no choice but to use the rest of his energy to steer and avoid any accident, and she would take care to move this last duel as far away from the innocent as possible.

But they did crash into something. Perhaps a stone wall, a sharp edge of a boulder… Bai Qian felt pain rippling through her but – struggling among the clouds at such speed – she couldn’t tell where she had been injured.

CRASHH

It was pure agony. Bai Qian almost thought her ribs had been broken when she finally hit the ground. But after another few seconds, she realized that it wasn’t any of her ribs, but her sword hand.

She bit back a cry of pain as tears shot out of her eyes and rolled to her side, summoning the fan with her other hand. They had landed on top of a treeless mountain somewhere.

No, not just any mountain. She blinked several times. Mount Cangwu.

Hard, large rocks had broken their fall, they felt like needles against her back. Opposite of her, Luoji had risen. He was as battered and covered in as much blood as Yehua.

Blood – on the Dark Immortal. They had finally stripped down his last suit of armor.

With one look at her, he struck. Just as Bai Qian feebly raised her arm to shield herself, she recognized the source of energy she was dealing with – Phoenix. Zheyan. Perhaps he had no weapon, but Luoji was by no means defenseless. Pushing back the wave of attack with her own, she realized the inevitable – back there, at Xunzhua, that might as well have been the last time she would have seen her friends.

Neither of them got the upper hand. They fell backward as a result of the other’s assaults.

Bai Qian tightened her fingers around Ironfeather, gathering what was left in her, knowing only a few seconds stood between life and death.

Bai Qian aimed for his chest and shot forward as Luoji propelled himself to meet her halfway, her fan colliding with the magically conjured shield around his crossed upper arms. Defensive magic radiated from him, formidable yet inconsistent.

“If you die here today,” he said between ragged breaths. “Will Moyuan mourn?”

A pang of pain raked through Bai Qian as she mustered her strength to push the fan through that shield. The taunting — He knew… He knew how that sword of Balance had been made.

“Will your mother mourn for you?” she gave back, realizing that her own voice was barely audible.

Their eyes locked, hatred and rage enveloped them both. Then, seemingly with all his strength, Luoji knocked the fan out of her grip, sending it flying upward.

Bai Qian shot a spell after it. The metal slats merged and lengthened in midair in an instant. A sword – as beautiful and deadly as it was in its previous form.

As her transformed weapon came down again, Bai Qian caught the handle, swung the blade in one circular motion and, as Luoji lunged, plunged it through his chest.

The world stopped moving for a second.

Her broken arm felt numb. The emotions that were coursing through her also stopped. It felt like the Void. Or how she’d imagined it would be.

Once again, they stared at each other.

There was no more hatred or anger on Luoji’s face, either. Only confusion and perhaps a bit of genuine shock.

A heart no longer immortal beating its last.

He gazed down at the blade that was buried in his chest, then again at the girl wielding it, making no attempt to remove the weapon. And he chuckled.

An admittance of defeat.

Bai Qian let out an exhausted breath and slowly let go of her sword. It was there for her to summon, there to carry out her commands. But no command was needed any longer.

A warm ray of light touched her cheek and Luoji’s gaze then turned towards the East.

The sun was rising.

With staggering steps he moved away from her. His eyes was ever on that distant sphere that was slowly dyeing the horizon golden, as though he had only seen dawn for the first time. His lips moved and she heard calms words laced with ancient bitterness.

“Once -- a man with a silver beard told me there was hope.”

For a long minute, Bai Qian said nothing. She closed her eyes and reminded herself of the cost at which hope had been brought to them today.

There was a mundane thud and Bai Qian knew she was now the only one facing sunrise atop this mountain.


Chapter 19 Part 1