Fanfiction: Mo Yuan and Shao Wan - Chapter 40.75 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 40.75

written by Miniorchid
edited by kakashi and Chimera

Ever since the day she became a disciple of the High Demon Goddess, Yan Zhi had been training from the early morning hours until late noon, while Qiao Er had her daily numbers lesson with 4th disciple; her unofficial “Shifu”. Although Yan Zhi’s recovery had sped up due to Kunlun’s energy, she knew she didn’t have time to waste: enemies were still after their lives and she would soon have to leave the sanctuary of this Mountain to face them. So, she took every opportunity to train at the top of the secluded waterfall when she was not training with the Demon High Goddess or Li Ying.

Yan Zhi had loved archery since she was a child. The bow was her favorite weapon, especially on horseback. Her archery skills far surpassed her brothers’ — even at a young age, they had to admit they couldn’t compete against her. Hitting a moving target while keeping control of her beast brought her a sense of accomplishment and control. To diversify her skills, she had taken up other weapons at Kunlun, but she still saved the first part of the day for target practice. Fruit and flower trees were abundant on Kunlun Mountain. They all had a medicinal purpose according to 7th disciple, however, Yan Zhi had decided to use them as targets. She aimed at the stems of a red spiky fruit and with each arrow, a fruit fell to the ground. She planned to collect them later as offerings for the disciples who watched Qiao Er today.

Although Yan Zhi had been reluctant to train under the High Demon Goddess initially, she now felt fortunate to have taken her offer. Demons and Ghosts were similar, but their history was full of enmity. Yet, despite her rough demeanor and crude language, the High Goddess was a talented instructor. She did not hold back in her attacks and Yan Zhi was glad she didn’t. She hadn’t trained like this for thousands of millennia, and returning to harsh training condition was regenerative. Ghost Tribe members were warriors, women and men alike, like Demons. It was in their blood to become soldiers and serve their Lord. They built their cultivation through battles as well as dark magic.

The current training regimen reminded her of her past, when her father had trained her and her brothers. He had started to harshly mold his children at a young age, even allowing soldiers to attack at random times, increasing their alertness to unpredictable opponents. Their royal status had not meant they had the privilege to be pampered, quite the opposite: It meant they had to rise above their subjects, so their authority would never be questioned.

Although Yan Zhi was forever grateful for her father’s attention, she knew what the real reason behind his treatment of them had been: his children got their value from being his cultivation vessels. There were many ways one could cope with the reality of such an existence. Embrace the idea, but pray there never would come the day they would have to serve their purpose. Or escape the concept altogether, by finding other pleasures in life. For her part, Yan Zhi had supported her family without question, as was the way of the Ghost Tribe, to respect one’s elders will unconditionally. However, much had happened since the Ghost War … her entire family was gone now and she had realized, she too had been blind to her reality. Craving harmony and closing her eyes from why she and her siblings existed, she had deluded herself into believing familial love existed within her family. She had ignored the hatred her brothers had had for each other, because she didn’t want to face the truth.

If she had faced the truth earlier, would things be different? Did her behavior kill her brothers? If she had not run when obstacles appeared before her, would her family still be alive? To atone for her sins, she had done all she could to revive Qiao Er, even damaging thousands of years of cultivation to do so.

Qiao Er was her hope but also a reminder of guilt. Yan Zhi had devoted her life to protecting her niece and daughter, the child who was never meant to exist. Qiao Er had become the color in her life, her only blood relative left in the world. And yet, she had failed her in so many ways. Because of her stubbornness and pride, she had caused additional trauma to her innocent child, who was too young to experience the hardship before her. If only she had listened, things may not have escalated to this point.

Though she had failed, she would not let her past failures defeat her. She was her own worst enemy. And for Qiao Er, there was nothing she would not do. Qiao Er may be her weakness but she was also her strength. Strength that motivated her to train diligently each day. She had to become stronger if she was going to keep them safe from the enemies in the shadows.

After the last arrow was released and the red fruits blanketed the forest floor, Yan Zhi placed her bow down, and switched to the sword. Yan Zhi thoroughly enjoyed the serenity of sword practice, even without an opponent. Above the waterfall of Kunlun, the mountain breeze brought peace and tranquility to her state of mind, further enhancing her ability to focus on her stance and movements. It was no wonder so many had begged for the privilege to train here. Kunlun power suppression aside, she could feel her speed and stamina increase daily. Whether it be the healing powers or the cultivation energy, being at Kunlun was more beneficial than she had previously thought.

As Yan Zhi continued to practice, a shadow flew in front of her. A blade was thrust towards her side — she blocked, retreated and distanced herself from her attacker.

It was Zi Lan.

She noticed that his color had returned; he seemed much better. He was wearing dark gray training garb, his hair tied up with black silk. She had always liked dark colors on him. His white garb reminded her of purity, virtuousness and righteousness, but even more so of the invisible physical shield between them. They hadn’t seen each other since that night she’d left his room. Though she was happy to see he had recovered, she was surprised by his attack.

“What are you doing here?” Yan Zhi asked.

Zi Lan smiled at her as he spun his sword in a circular motion. “I thought joining your training is a good opportunity for me to stretch. I’ve been recuperating in my room for too long.”

Her brows furrowed at the idea. “You can train with someone else.”

He shook his head. “That won’t be wise, considering I’m still not yet fully recovered. Would you want me to take on my Shifu like this?”

“Then go back and recuperate,” she scowled at him.

“That won’t do either, I don’t want to be an invalid. Your powers are suppressed here. That should give us equal footing.”

Insulted by his suggestion, she glared at him. “Equal footing?”

“To practice our martial arts skills.”


His gaze turned dark, but not sinister, something much more unsettling. “If not martial arts, we can try other physical activities.”


“Perhaps an activity more pleasurable?” he slyly suggested, as he strolled towards her. “We can move to a more comfortable location.”

Outraged by his innuendo, Yan Zhi swung her sword at his chest, but Zi Lan met her blade with his.

Pressing her blade against his, she said, “I won’t hold back.” She glowered at him.

Glancing at their crossed blades, he grinned. “I never thought you would. Although…” he continued as his eyes danced over her body, “I would much prefer that more pleasurable activity.”

Further enraged by his gibe, Yan Zhi didn’t back down from the duel he provoked. She kicked forward so he would back away. When their swords clashed again, she realized they had never fought before. Even though she had seen his skills many times, they had never once practiced together. There never was a reason to, he had always protected her like his damsel. She now realised it was necessary for them to duel after all: She was no longer a damsel for him to boost his pride.

After over ten rounds of marital moves, he managed to spin behind her, grab her waist with his left hand, and pull her back against his chest. He caught her by surprise when his head tilted to the right side of her neck and she felt his breath against her, almost touching, nearly tasting. She elbowed him, but he moved backward quickly and blocked with his left palm. His gaze locked with hers.

“What are you doing?” she accused him.

With a nonchalant tone, he explained, “My apologies, your scent is too captivating, I couldn’t help myself.” To prove his point, he leaned in to smell her neck again.

“Stop that!” She kicked her leg back, but Zi Lan grabbed onto to her left shoulder and used her body to anchor himself as he backflipped his body over hers.

Yan Zhi leapt forward with her sword thrust at his back, but he pivoted around, countering and pressing forward. Zi Lan was strong, despite his injuries, had this all been a ploy? She attacked his calf, but he blocked her sword with his own. He leaned in, his dark eyes studied hers. Flustered, she pushed him away, but he quickly caught her waist. Pulling her close, their lips nearly met. Completely disarmed, she instinctively closed her eyes.

But the kiss never came. Her eyes opened and she found Zi Lan’s eyes staring into hers. “Beautiful eyes…like ravens of the lovely,” he whispered huskily. “What I would give to gaze into them everyday.”

Although Yan Zhi blushed at his alluring words, she was furious at this underhanded tactic. She bent a knee to kick his side, but he fluidly dodged to the side.

When had he become so bold? Had his head become damaged when she slammed him against the wall? Yan Zhi continued her attack, now no longer caring that he was still injured. She charged forward with her sword, only to be met by Zi Lan’s blade. Their swords clashed at a standstill. Both leapt away, with their swords pointing downward, their postures mirrored as they circled each other. He was studying her movements, as she was studying his.

She spun forward to continue her assault as Zi Lan dodged to the side, dropping his sword, grabbing each of her wrists, pressing her body against his. He subdued her movement again, his head arched to the side of her neck. Her body shivered when she felt him breathe in her scent. Infuriated, she tried to kicked him, but he released his hold and slid away.

With casual ease Zi Lan magically recalled his sword. “If you can give me the recipe for the fragrance, I no longer have to take further liberties.”

Scarlet at his words, she shouted, “There is no recipe!”

“How fortunate…” he drawled, his gaze dark as he strolled towards her, ”...for me.”

Before he got too close, Yan Zhi spun her body with her sword swinging outward. He retreated as he blocked her continuous slashes. She wanted to take Zi Lan by surprise and somersaulted behind him, aiming her blade at his right shoulder, but he quickly turned and dodged her blade again.

He could anticipate every move, with the ease of an assassin. Had Zi Lan always been this agile? Celestials were known to use their cultivation in fights, but he hadn’t used any to his advantage yet. Then she remembered, he had always fought with his martial skills only when the assassins had attacked them. She had thought it had been because they were in the mortal realm and he had to keep his magic hidden, so as not to draw attention from the Nine Heavens. But it was not necessary now.

Zi Lan swiftly flew to her side, now being the one to attack. As Yan Zhi continued to block the thrust of his sword, she found herself retreating towards the cliff and suddenly found herself cornered at the edge of the waterfall, unable to retreat further. She nearly slipped, but Zi Lan seized her by the waist, maintaining their balance as he pressed her body against his. A moment of stillness followed, as they both caught their breaths at the edge of the cliff. Ascending mist from the waterfall surrounded them, his heated gaze locked into hers, the smell of sweat and masculine arousal engulfing her senses.

“Yan Zhi...” he whispered, but before he could capture her lips, she turned her head to the side and his lips only grazed her cheek. Undeterred, Zi Lan breathed against the sweat on her neck, causing her body to shudder again. Yan Zhi felt the tip of his tongue tasting the bottom of her earlobe, his lips tracing the edges, and a gasp escaped her. Her senses were consumed by the passionate heat of his mouth that continued to ravish the back of her ears. Nibbling, licking, tasting…the slow deliberate strokes of his tongue sent waves of pleasure through her. She whimpered when his teeth clamped down on her earlobe, then sucked on the delicate flesh. Instinctively she arched against his hard aroused body, but Zi Lan’s groan broke her trance.

Embarrassed by her response, Yan Zhi pushed hard against him with her free hand. But instead of holding on to her, he released her… over the cliff’s edge of the waterfall!

Yan Zhi found herself falling down the side of the cliff. Utterly surprised by this turn of events, she tried to cloud jump, but fear struck her when she realized her magic was still suppressed. Helpless, she continued to descend at rapid speed. Suddenly, Zi Lan materialized next to her, caught her in his arms, and cloud jumped back to the edge of Kunlun waterfall.

“I got you,” he told her, his smug radiant face smiling above her. Infuriated again by his obvious ruse, Yan Zhi scrambled out of his arms.

“You did that on purpose!” She accused him, putting more distance between them.

Unfazed by her reaction, his tone was as calm as before. “I assure you, it was not my intention. I was not certain you wanted a hero.”

“You’re no hero,” she shook her head.

“Good,” his eyes became dark, predatory, and with a deliberate stride, Zi Lan moved towards her like a tiger ready to pounce on its prey. “Because I never wanted to be one.”

Instinctively, she backed away from him. There was something about his tone that unsettled her very core. “We… we’re done here,” she found herself stammering.

“Yan Zhi…” her name left his lips like an enchanting spell. She would have frozen by the magic he had deliberately cast, if she hadn’t been so afraid of what she might do.

“Don’t follow me,” she ordered.

Thankfully, Zi Lan stopped before he could reach her. Yan Zhi turned and ran as fast as her feet could carry her. Away from danger of the cliff’s edge, away from their unfair duel, away from the man who continued to taunt her. Yet, she knew those were excuses. The heart in her chest continued to hammer, not because of the exertion, but because her heart was betraying her. It was wavering.


Flashback with Si Yin/Bai Qian

Despite his initial reluctance, Si Yin’s stories about her brothers and their spouses were entertaining to listen to. Given that he had secluded himself for so long, including from his favorite and only junior, he was happy they could talk like old times. Their bond had never broken despite years of separation. When Si Yin asked about their time in the Mortal Realm, he told her in detail.

She shook her head about how he had become her shadow for years, and how Yan Zhi had kicked him out after his recovery. When Si Yin spoke, her words were deliberate and concise, but hit directly and bluntly to the core.

“Unlike other women you pursued in the past, you treat her like an untouchable porcelain vase. No wonder she said you only see her as a woman who needs to be rescued, you have an affinity for damsels in distress.”

“No! I-”

She held her hand up to stop him. “Don’t even deny it.”

Zi Lan wanted to refute her claim, but it was true, he had to concede. “I didn’t know I made her feel that way.”

“16th, a woman won’t know she is desired by you if you never make an advance towards her. You love her so deeply you worship her like a Goddess from afar. But she’s not a statue nor a vase, no matter how beautiful she is in your eyes.”

“She is beautiful,” he responded immediately.

“But she’s also a living, breathing, passionate woman. There are moments when she is flawed and imperfect. If you can’t acknowledge them, how can she know you have fully accepted her?”

“I’ve already accepted everything about her,” he continued to argue.

Si Yin closed her eyes briefly, as though she was losing patience. “Then treat her like a real woman.”

End of Flashback


Si Yin’s words still echoed in his head as Zi Lan watched Yan Zhi’s hurried departure. She had left her weapons behind, so he began to gather her gear, knowing she wouldn’t be back any time soon to retrieve them. When he picked up her fallen sword, he had to grin at her frustrated anger from earlier. Her blade had intended to injure him, though she had hesitated at first. Her eyes sparked with rage. Her moves were merciless and ruthless, yet elegant and graceful. Watching the fire in her eyes as she wielded her sword with the intent to kill was addicting. His Goddess, his Queen, his Woman. Who knew she could be so ravishing when she fought. She had become more beautiful before his eyes and his body had responded eagerly.

Zi Lan had finally seen what lay hidden beneath the shy and calm demeanor. He had not known the real her. Si Yin was right, he had never looked beyond Yan Zhi’s perfection. Even worse, he had not known her as the warrior princess she had used to be. The only part of her he knew was her facade he saw in his years of spying. As he picked up her bow, Zi Lan finally understood why Yan Zhi had pushed him away. Because of his desperation and self-loathing, he had not taken into account what her words really meant. She did not speak of them as lovers because he had never treated her as one. His will to draw a line between them had made her believe he did not desire her, even though he had previously confessed to her.

Now that he knew she required confirmation of his love for her, he would not let her run from him. Confessions would no longer work, because she did not believe him. Yet, her body responded each time he held her in his arms, even when her will to deny her feelings persisted. Yan Zhi had bared her soul to him, but back then, he hadn’t had the courage to accept her. Now, he would not cowardly wait for her to take the first step, as he had in the past. The days of uncertainty would end. He would show her how much he wanted her, as a woman. His woman.

Meeting Yan Zhi was his fate, protecting her was his choice, but falling in love with her was beyond his control. He did not need fate’s sympathy, because she could no longer escape his embrace. No…he would not let her go. He would have her tremble beneath him, whisper his name, long for his touch. He would chase her, capture her, until she was ready to see the real him; the man who loved and desired her, for all eternity.

Chapter 41