Fanfiction 2: Moyuan and Bai Qian - Chapter 7, Part 2 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 7 - The Bell of Donghuang

Part 2

written by LalaLoop
consulting by Juls
editing by kakashi

“Xiaowu, will you please get down here?” Bai Zhen’s voice came from below.

Bai Qian opened her eyes. Out of boredom, she had lain down on a large branch of the big oak tree by the gazebo near Qingqiu’s lake. She hadn't been sleeping. She had simply closed her eyes, hoping a solution would come to her.

There was no denying it - it had been days and she missed being at Kunlun. She missed walking up and down the corridors, helping Changshan and Zilan with the daily tasks and most of all, she missed their company.

Whether Bai Qian missed the master of Kunlun, she could not be so certain. Since their last encounter, in which one of them had done their best by shouting and throwing things around while the other had purposely carried out the conversation in the most infuriating manner possible, she had decided it was best to put off their next meeting.

Despite the fact that Moyuan had given quite an obvious answer, she felt decidedly uncertain about what to say should they come face to face again. It was peculiar how she had managed to unravel the puzzle herself, yet was extremely difficult to admit to him that she had.

Understanding him was one thing. It was completely another to sit and talk to him about something that didn't involve books, weapons, or Taoism.

Somewhere between her string of thoughts, she had ventured to imagine him cooking and painting portraits and writing love poems, only to find she would never in her lifetime want to see Moyuan doing any of those things. As her stomach clenched in pain at the mental images, she quickly put him back behind a zither.

Before her talk with Yehua, she'd thought that facing him would be the most difficult thing she would ever have to do. But now, the prospect of a serious conversation with Moyuan about the future was terrorizing her so much she felt she'd much rather lock herself in Qingqiu and wait until after his meditation session, however long it might be.

Then, immediately, Fengjiu’s voice came to her mind.

Go and talk to him right now. You don’t know how long the meditation will last. The longer you wait, the more confusing it will get! That would likely be the little fox’ reaction. The optimistic and stubborn fox could never stand vagueness and the idea of not knowing. Fengjiu, who had gone to great extent to show Lord Donghua she did not care what ‘fate’ had planned, regarded avoidance as a weakness in general, setting a standard that she expected everyone to live up to.

Of course, that would be the most obvious thing to do - walk to Moyuan’s study and ask him her questions directly, which would not be the worst solution. But how would she even begin the conversation?

I know you are very busy but would you mind telling me exactly what you intend to do? That was more or less what she wanted to ask. But she didn't need to say the words out loud to know they sounded utterly absurd.

She then thought of Zheyan, who had stated a solid opinion regarding the matter and would always be more than happy to answer any of her questions. But truth be told, she couldn’t bring herself to bother him more than she already had. Furthermore, she did not want to give him another reason to keep entertaining the idea that the queen of Qingqiu needed a step-by-step guide on how to speak with someone.

Though that wouldn’t be a terrible idea, Bai Qian thought. Zheyan should start writing books about how ‘great minds’ like Moyuan and Lord Donghua operated so less people would have to cut off their enchanted fox tails and smash valuable pottery whenever they needed something explained.

Zilan - she gasped. Bai Qian realized she didn’t need any sort of explanation or guidance from anyone, what she needed was someone whom she could talk to with ease, who could laugh with her in even the most unlikely situations, who also had no idea what he was doing.

Zheyan and Bai Zhen had been extremely kind and helpful, but they were no substitute for Zilan, whom she had grown up with and confided almost every silly little secret in. It wouldn’t matter if he could not offer any advice, having him as company would be enough to cheer her up.

“Xiaowu,” Bai Zhen called again.

She slowly sat up and descended from the tree branch.

“What is it?”

But Bai Qian didn't need an answer to know what was going on.

Standing next to Bai Zhen was a young girl Bai Qian had not met before. She was a head shorter than her brother and dressed in light green. Her long hair was loosely put together in a braid. Although she was keeping her head down, Bai Qian could tell that she was quite beautiful. She did not have Fengjiu’s mixture of royalness and mischievousness, nor the mysterious and deep eyes that held stories Yanzhi possessed. Her face was clear and delicate with dainty features and sad eyes that reminded you of falling leaves.

“Gugu of Qingqiu, my greetings,” said the girl in a small and nervous voice, curtsying, playing with the tip of her hair strand.

“I apologize for intruding,” she continued. “I’m… I’m here to see Migu. I was going to wait for him at the bridge, but…” The girl looked up at Bai Zhen, her face going pink. Bai Qian could tell she originally had had no intention of meeting her and her brother here.

“You are the Willow maiden,” Bai Qian said right away, scanning the girl from her simple wooden hair ornaments to the elegantly curved eyebrows and the plain dress.

“Yes,” she nodded, blushing.

“You know her?” Bai Zhen asked, surprised.

“Migu did mention her to me,” Bai Qian replied, smiling to let the girl know there was nothing to be afraid of. “That is quite all right, what is your name?”
“Qiu'er (秋儿), my name is Qiu'er.”

“Very fitting,” said Bai Qian, completely honest, though she immediately regretted giving the compliment for the girl’s face was now crimson in color.

“You can wait for Migu here, he should be back any moment.” Bai Qian gestured at the wooden table under the roof. And while Qiu'er was standing still, not daring to take a seat in her and Bai Zhen’s presence, Bai Qian took him by the arm.

“You must excuse me, I have business to attend to.”

Qiu'er curtsied again. Bai Zhen gave her an assuring smile as Bai Qian pulled him away.

“You scared her,” she accused him when they had walked out of earshot.

But Bai Zhen took no notice of this comment, he simply shook his head.

“Can you believe him?” he gleamed. “He's been hiding such a lovely young lady from us.”

“She does seem lovely,” Bai Qian agreed, glancing back at the Willow maiden who was now sitting on one of the benches, fixing her already perfect hair.

“And what good eyes that brat Migu has - quite a beauty, I daresay.”

“I'm sure it's her sweet personality that caught Migu’s attention.” Bai Qian took several large steps ahead of her brother. “Looks aren't that important.”

“Not to High God Moyuan, evidently,” he said. Bai Qian spun around to see him smirking at her.

Grunting, she drew out the Kunlun fan and threw it directly at Bai Zhen. He caught the thing with his hand and winked.

“Practice more, Little Sister,” he said, tossing the fan back to Bai Qian and taking rapid steps to catch up with her.

“By the way, Migu’s friend is not the reason I was looking for you,” Bai Zhen began in a more serious tone, “Zheyan said before he left today that maybe you should pay a visit to Kunlun. At least let your seniors know it isn’t them you’re angry with, hmm?”

“I’m going there today. I want to see Senior Zilan.”

Bai Zhen nodded approvingly, looking pleased to see she did not protest.

“Where has Zheyan gone?” Bai Qian suddenly remembered when the two of them had reached Qingqiu’s entrance.

“He's left for the Nine Heavens Palace. Urgent business.”

“Urgent? Has someone fallen ill?” She asked. Though Zheyan held many occupations, he was, most of the time, desired because of his skill in medicine.

“Possibly, Tianshu didn't say much,” Bai Zhen replied with a shrug.

“Tianshu?” Bai Qian tilted her head. Being one of the best celestial warriors and Yehua’s most trusted subordinate, Tianshu almost only received orders directly from the Crown Prince himself and was hardly assigned any task that didn't concern his master.


Kunlun was as quiet as it should be when Bai Qian arrived. And as she stood in front of the hall, trying to decide which route would be the fastest one to her room, a familiar voice shouted her name.

“Seventeenth!” Zilan rushed out, ran towards Bai Qian and seized her by the shoulders, beaming with glee. Clearly, she wasn't the only one who was desperately in need of someone to talk to.

“Where have you been the past few days?” he asked, scanning her from head to toe. “Is everything alright?”

“Yes…” She stuttered. Zilan rolled his eyes, indicating her expression didn’t match her answer very much. “In a sense…” she added.

“I'm not particularly happy, either,” he said mockingly.

Knowing this was not the right time nor place to engage in personal conversations, Bai Qian looked around and asked, “how is Second Senior? Does he need help with anything?”

“He's just tending to Shifu. He was a bit unhappy the other day when he cleaned up Shifu’s study but I don't think it was anything serious.”

Bai Qian swallowed, averting her eyes.

“But I do need a change of environment,” Zilan sighed, looking up at the sky, “I suggest we make a trip to the mortal realm when Shifu has gone into meditation.”

“The old teahouse?” Bai Qian raised her eyebrows, smiling. The thought of the two of them roaming in the mortal realm again like the old days cheered her up significantly. Zilan nodded with a grin.

“Oh… you need to greet Shifu,” Zilan reminded her. And before Bai Qian could utter any form of agreement or refusal, he continued, “but let’s make it quick. He isn’t very well today.”

“Isn’t well?” Bai Qian asked in mild astonishment, “what happened?”

“Nothing Shifu couldn't handle - intense headache, pain, temporary instability of inner powers. He still hasn't fully recovered from the soul sacrifice so I suppose that's normal. He said so himself. I was a bit confused when he kept insisting on going to the Nine Heavens today. But of course, Second Senior didn’t let that happen. I’m really thankful we have Second Senior here.”

“Shifu said he wanted to go to the Nine Heavens?” Bai Qian repeated uncomprehendingly as they walked along the corridor towards Moyuan’s room. Moyuan’s status among the realms never required him to travel to the Nine Heavens. Even the Heavenly Lord and the celestial family would have to come to Kunlun should they desire an audience.

Zilan nodded, “the moment he started feeling unwell this morning.”

“For what?” Bai Qian exclaimed, not able to understand any of this.

“He didn't tell us,” he shrugged, leading her on. “I figured it was something very important - he seemed extremely worried, as if... ” Zilan paused, contemplating, “as if something had happened to one of us or something…”

Bai Qian blinked. It was true - in all her years at Kunlun, she had never seen Moyuan visibly worried about anything except when it concerned his own disciples.

Then it suddenly came to her - Yehua, the only one connected to him who lived in the Nine Heavens. Moyuan and Yehua had not had the chance to see each other since he’d come back.

But still it made very little sense. Why today? Bai Qian was still frowning in confusion as she and Zilan were nearing Moyuan’s room. Too occupied with the news Zilan had just disclosed, Bai Qian had forgotten she’d been trying to avoid contact with Moyuan. Her hesitation to enter earned her a baffled look from Zilan. But it was too late to think of an excuse now so she quickly followed him in.

Moyuan was sitting on his dais with his eyes closed and both of his hands squarely on his lap. Indeed he looked rather exhausted. His face was particularly pale, his forehead wrinkled. Changshan was kneeling next to the platform, pouring some sort of brown liquid into the cup on the small table to Moyuan’s right.

“I still think we should inform High God Zheyan, Shifu,” said Changshan.

Moyuan slightly shook his head, still unaware of Bai Qian and Zilan’s entrance.

“High God Zheyan is in the Nine Heavens Palace, Second Senior,” Bai Qian announced her presence. It was then that she nearly cursed at herself for overlooking something that obvious, something she and her brother had just discussed earlier - Zheyan was a physician.

Moyuan opened his eyes and turned to look at them. Bai Qian felt herself slightly blushing as memories of their last encounter kept intruding her mind.

She and Zilan bowed to him while Changshan stood up, looking quite pleased to see her. “He is?” he asked.

Bai Qian nodded, looking at Moyuan and thinking hard with her brows furrowed.

“The Crown Prince requires his service,” she said in a low and calm voice. Moyuan quickly glanced up at her, not in the least surprised.

“I see,” Changshan nodded, deciding to drop the subject.

“Shifu, are you feeling better?” asked Zilan nervously, looking at Moyuan as though he could collapse any time.

“Much better,” Moyuan nodded. Bai Qian had no idea if it was a truthful answer. Though knowing Moyuan, he would sooner stop inventing magical weapons than admit he was tired.

“I’ll be back shortly, Shifu,” said Changshan as he disappeared through the doorway. Zilan, who probably mistook Bai Qian’s unusual silence to mean she had something to discuss with Moyuan in private, hesitated for a second then briefly bowed and followed Changshan. Bai Qian didn’t bother to stop him, she stood where she was and watched the two of them leave, blankly nodding when Zilan told her where he’d be on his way out.

Yehua had given up part of his cultivation and inner strength to revive Moyuan - she recalled. Zheyan had told her once that the day he’d gone to Yehua’s palace to inform him of Moyuan’s return, Yehua had admitted that he hadn't felt so well. The Old Phoenix had joked with her that perhaps Yehua had been sensing ‘danger’ coming. That was the day Moyuan’s spirit had been stirring in the Eastern Sea’s palace and made its presence known.

So that was why Zheyan had been called to the Nine Heavens - Bai Qian nodded to herself. That was why Moyuan was also wanting to make a trip there. Though she didn't quite understand how it all worked, she now knew something must have gone wrong with Yehua, something extreme enough that Moyuan was feeling the effect of it, just as Yehua had once felt his brother’s spirit struggling to be released.

Bai Qian pressed her lips together - Yehua had just finished a trial, he should have gained cultivation and powers, not have lost any. And as dreadful as their last meeting had been, she did not believe it could have in any way physically influenced Yehua’s health. She had to see Zheyan to understand - Bai Qian shook her head. Waiting for him to come back from the Nine Heavens might be too long. She wanted to know now.

“Seventeenth,” Moyuan’s soft yet adamant voice made her shudder and abandon her thoughts.

He was looking at her curiously as if he knew what she was mentally planning. Though she could not help noticing an expression of utmost helplessness on his face.

“I need you.”

Bai Qian gazed at him for a brief moment. The frustration she had felt towards him that evening in the wine cellar once again gushed up inside her. Without waiting for Moyuan to say anything else, she turned around and dashed out of the room.

Chapter 7, Part 3