Fanfiction: Mo Yuan and Shao Wan - Chapter 52 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 52

written by kakashi
edited by Panda

Mo Yuan woke up on his bed, Zhe Yan’s worried face hovering above him. The God of War quickly closed his eyes again, even knowing there was no point in doing so. He wished for a few more moments of peace, but he was awake and that meant he had to face people like Zhe Yan, who would pry and question and tease and give opinions he did not want nor need.

“I see you’re finally awake,” the Old Phoenix said, no hint of teasing in his voice, there was only concern.

“Yes, I obviously am,” Mo Yuan answered, opening his eyes anew.

“May I inquire about what in Pangu’s name you were thinking?”

Mo Yuan sat up. “Too little,” he replied and swung his legs out of his bed. Someone had undressed him down to his breeches and shirt. The peach blossoms on the table were withered, pitiful shriveled shadows of their previous glorious beauty. Shao Wan’s gowns were no longer on the clothes stand in the corner. Mo Yuan silently thanked whoever had been this thoughtful.

“She could have killed you,” Zhe Yan said, his voice serious, his brow furrowed, “you were in a critical state.”

“She didn’t kill me,” Mo Yuan, stating the obvious, summoned one of his robes and started to get dressed. His arms ached. “Would you mind leaving me alone now? I am thankful for your concern, but I am rather busy.”

“Mo Yuan…what happened?”

The God of War pressed his lips together. It was shameful. “Cheng Yin got the better of me. It’s the first and the last time.” He felt like cursing but that wouldn’t change anything.

Mo Yuan got up and strode out into the hall. The truth was, he wasn’t feeling well at all, but it was nothing a bit of meditation and one of Zhe Yan’s special elixirs would not fix.

“And Shao Wan?”

“She’s gone,” Mo Yuan said, “and she will not come back.”

Saying it out aloud was surprisingly easy.

“She found her Feather here,” he explained after a few more steps and succeeding quite well in suppressing all emotions.

Zhe Yan stopped in his tracks, flabbergasted. “How…”

Mo Yuan stopped as well and turned back to him. “Is Cheng Yin known to use blood magic? My blood was on Shao Wan’s feather. It must have been the reason I could not sense it before I unsealed her powers and it reacted to her.”

Zhe Yan repeated: “How…”

“I do not know for sure how he got it here.”

Zhe Yan looked extremely worried. “You know how important that Feather is to Shao Wan,” he said, “it contains part of her soul.”

“I know. I said she won’t be coming back.”

“Did you not defend yourself? She couldn’t have believed-”

“Oh yes, she believed it immediately. I made a mistake. I misinterpreted…”

I offered her my heart and she did not want it. She never wanted it. Just like Si Yin never wanted it. I am glad she made me see that before I could fall for her...fall for her even more. I can close this book now and concentrate on what is important.

“ was necessary to clarify things anyway. It is good the way it is. Things are indeed entirely clear now.”

“Good?” Zhe Yan echoed. “But you two…”

“There is no debt between us.”

“Should I get Si Yin?”

Mo Yuan stopped again. “Why would you get Si Yin?” he asked, puzzled.

“Xiaowu was always able to talk to you the best,” Zhe Yan said.

Mo Yuan’s eyebrows shot up. Now that was one of the oddest statements he had heard in a long time.

“The Crown Princess’ place is in the Nine Heavens. She is welcome at Kunlun anytime if she misses her old school, but I would prefer no courtesy visits at all in the next days and weeks. I will take a few days to meditate, but after that-”

“Shao Wan will be in grave danger, alone in the Demon Realm. We should-”

“Do what you must but leave me out of it.”

“But you…”

“She will go up against us, Zhe Yan, so be careful. Plus, she is extremely powerful now. I taught her how to control her powers. She can defend herself against Cheng Yin.”

Her soft skin under his hands, the sweet moistness of her desire, the feeling of ecstasy that no Taoist practice could bring, the peace he felt when she was lying in his arms...he bit his lip and swallowed down the bitterness that rose in him like the spring tide.

Zhe Yan looked even more troubled now. “It sounds like you have a problem,” he quietly said.

“Nothing I cannot handle,” Mo Yuan brushed it aside, “where are my disciples? They must be quite worried about me. I need to assure them all is well.”


Mo Yuan received his disciples’ greetings in the hall. Indeed, they were very worried, but despite his intention to ease their minds, he found himself speaking empty words, assurances that sounded hollow and meaningless. They wanted explanations, but he was unable to give them any.

“Please accept my apology,” he said instead, “for any improper conduct on my part.”

All of them wanted to be the ones to serve him tea afterwards or at least give him one of the treats they knew he liked: chestnuts, sesame cookies, dried peaches. He tried to smile at them, feeling deeply sorry for how he had treated them over Fong Hung’s mishap, but it would have been a forced smile and he did not like to lie to them. Unbidden, he thought that not so long from now, most of them would have left him. It was the fate of every teacher - to see disciples come and go and be the only one to never leave. But this flock was particularly dear to him...maybe because they had gone through exceptionally tense moments together. Maybe because they showed much more than just respect for him.

He had to dismiss them soon after to catch up on all the reports he had missed during his three days of sleep. He had not even gotten halfway through the pile of scrolls they had brought him when he developed a fierce headache that had him massage his forehead with one hand. Chang Shan, the only one lingering, attentive as always, brought him some special herbal tea, but the headache only got worse.

“You are not well, Shifu,” the worried Chang Shan said. “Should I get High God Zhe Yan again? I think he is still outside, speaking to 7th.”

“By no means,” Mo Yuan said quietly, “he has already given me an elixir. I will go into the meditation cave shortly. I will be fine.”

Chang Shan looked at him in sullen silence. He knew very well how to express his displeasure without words.

Mo Yuan sighed. “Chang Shan…”

“Yes, Shifu?”

“Have I ever thanked you for everything you do at Kunlun so tirelessly?”

Chang Shan bowed deeply. “It is my duty and my honor, Shifu. It is the least I can do for you. All I wish for is for you to be comfortable…and happy.”

He added the last bit quietly, as if he knew he was overstepping, yet he said it with determination, as if he didn’t care that he was.

Happy. Not long ago, Mo Yuan had stood on the terrace outside Kunlun, waiting for his bride to arrive, thinking about how everyone around him was happy and what it meant that it mattered to him that he, alone, was not. He had felt lost on that day, apprehensive, troubled by emotions he had not allowed into his life before. That had been the day High Goddess Queen Shao Wan, long dead Ancestor of the Demon Tribe, had returned to the realms.

A sentimental person might have thought her arrival and his inner turmoil on that day were connected. But he was not sentimental and had never been. He knew that his inner turmoil had been the result of many things happening after his return from the Nothingness, that his sacrifice and his promise had shaken his balance. Shao Wan had nothing to do with it, but she had returned when he had been at his weakest and least like himself. As a consequence, she had made him lose his balance even more.

Everything was a matter of balance in the universe, Mo Yuan had known this from the moment he was able to form coherent thought. Not much later, mastering balance had become his primary goal in life. He knew well that any extreme emotion brought imbalance. Being happy simply meant unhappiness had to follow. Therefore, it was not desirable to be happy. What he had to do was to restore his balance. It was a matter of willpower and rigorous exercise, a matter of time. And if he had anything, it was an abundance of time.

“I will go into seclusion now, for as long as I can be spared,” he declared and got up swiftly. Sudden dizziness made him stagger and Chang Shan caught his arm, looking horrified.

“Shifu! I will get Zhe Yan, even against your will! You must go back to bed!”

Feeling quite devoid of strength all of a sudden, Mo Yuan sat down again in the lotus position.

“Why has Shimu hurt you so much,” Chang Shan lamented, “why would she do such a thing?”

“Do not blame her. I should not have kept her here for so long,” Mo Yuan said quietly. “She did not belong here.”

“Shimu won’t come back to us?”

“No, Chang Shan. Please tell your juniors to keep her in good memory, but she is no longer your Shimu. She is High Goddess Queen Shao Wan, Ancestor of the Demon Tribe and if you meet her on the battlefield, fight bravely but know there is no shame in retreat.”

“...or even better, just run,” said Zhe Yan, who had approached silently.

Mo Yuan signalled Chang Shan to stay quiet and put on his most inscrutable blank face.

“Mo Yuan, you have visitors,” said the Phoenix High God. “Two demons are waiting at the gates.”

“Demons?” Mo Yuan stilled his heartbeat.

“Royalty. A man and a woman. Dazzling, both of them, but not that boring bland beauty you often find in Celestials. An exciting, forbidden beau…,” he suddenly fell quiet.

“They can come up,” Mo Yuan said, even though he would rather have nurtured his aching head in a dark corner and came up with a thousand ways to punish Zhe Yan. “Chang Shan, please get some of my wine from the cellar to serve our guests.”


Two Demons had made the long way to Kunlun. It was the Purple Queen Yi Mei Niang and the Blue King Yan Chiwu, once described as a “boorish brute” but “extremely handsome” by Si Yin’s outspoken niece Fengjiu. Yan Chiwu was a good friend of Donghua Dijun, even though he had not struck Mo Yuan as particularly smart during their brief encounter at the White Rock Sea Festival.

Mo Yuan had let them keep their weapons and their guards, because he knew that Demons cared a lot about martial appearances, and because Kunlun’s power suppression was affecting them quite considerably so that they were no threat at all. He sipped wine with them, much more than he should have, mainly because it seemed to ease his raging headache. Zhe Yan, who had stayed, probably curious to hear what they had come for, shot him several concerned looks that he completely ignored.

“I always thought Kunlun would shake Demons off forcefully,” the Purple Queen said. “At least, that is what we tell our children.”

“The air is very pleasant here,” said Yan Chiwu and took a deep breath, “so clear and fragrant! And even though the energy is a bit much, I do think I could get used to it.”

“Why, are you thinking about brushing up your knowledge of the scriptures?” the Purple Queen quibbed.

“I am easy to teach,” the Blue King replied, “but first, I would have to learn how to learn.”

His eyes had darted back and forth all throughout the exchange of pleasantries, trying to take in every small detail. Mo Yuan knew, he was the Demon with the largest intelligence network and Donghua relied on it quite heavily. It seemed to be his second nature to be curious. He also seemed to have a nonchalant attitude to life that Mo Yuan recognized as somehow similar to Dijun’s, explaining why his friend would volunteer to spend time with the Demon King.

The Purple Queen on the other hand was much harder to read. Mo Yuan found her eyeing him several times when she thought he would not notice. He had assessed her powers as mediocre during the White Rock Sea Festival. He still had limited knowledge about how Demon society worked, but he understood that someone who led a Clan had to have some kind of strength that went beyond the capabilities of others. If hers was not fighting power, then it probably was the power of her brain.

“Everybody with good intentions is welcome here,” Mo Yuan said and filled his cup again.

“That we have. We have come to offer you an alliance, God of War,” said the Purple Queen. “The Demon Realm is too deeply divided, it will be impossible for us to set aside our differences. We hope we can come to an agreement with you about how we will be compensated if you win the war with our help.”

It was not at all unexpected, this offer. Dijun had worked towards it and Mo Yuan had been fairly optimistic he would succeed. And yet, he was slightly surprised Shao Wan’s return to the Demon Realm had not changed these two warlords’ strategic calculations. With Shao Wan’s regained powers, getting Cheng Yin in line should have become a real possibility, without having to team up with the enemy.

“What is it that you want?” he asked them, fighting an urge to rub his forehead again.

“The complete annihilation of the Yellow Demon Clan. The complete submission of all the Clans who fight for Cheng Yin - submission or execution.”

“These are internal Demon matters,” he nodded, “we would not interfere.”

“We two have agreed to split the territories equally in half and not to challenge each other’s rule. We want your promise to leave Demon matters to us alone and we would promise you to not challenge Celestial rule ever again.”

“I will need to discuss this with the Crown Prince and Tingjun in the Nine Heavens, but I do not think you are asking for too much.”

“In addition, you would have to kill the Demon Ancestor, High God Mo Yuan. As soon as possible. You are the only one who can.”

The Purple Queen looked him straight in the eyes when she said this, part challenge, part test. Mo Yuan blinked… and realized he was missing a crucial bit of information to fully understand this request.

“Isn’t that a bit extreme?” Zhe Yan asked in his stead, “I am quite sure she could be made to see reason.”

“That is unlikely,” the Purple Queen said, “now that the Demon Ancestor has joined forces with Cheng Yin.”


Zhe Yan’s loud exclamation bought Mo Yuan time to make sure his face still showed nothing. Slowly, he lifted his cup and downed its contents.

“Why...why would she do that?” Zhe Yan stuttered and threw Mo Yuan another, deeply troubled look.

“Because she is ruthless and would do anything to regain her powers,” Yi Mei Niang shrugged. “We have feared as much. She came back and after seeing me briefly for a business matter, she went straight to her palace. She threatened to kill the Yellow scum, but he was able to save his life by offering her his armies. He has thousands upon thousands of well-trained soldiers and they are hers to command now. Who would have resisted such an offer?”

Until this moment, Mo Yuan had felt blissfully little else but pain in his head and the slight buzz of alcohol in his blood, but that was fast beginning to change.

“They have been meeting every day to discuss the details of their arrangement,” Yi Mei Niang continued. “It is only a matter of time, my spies assume, until she will let him back into the palace and into where he wants to be the most - her bed.”

“The boy is smitten,” said the Blue King with a grin. “Who can blame him, Demon Ancestor Shao Wan is by far the most beautiful woman the realms have ever seen. Someone who has once tasted her will be unable to find pleasure with anyone else, they say. But you know this already, God of War, don’t you,” he added with a smirk.

The blood sang in Mo Yuan’s ears and he did not quite know how he managed to smirk back at the Demon, but manage he did and halfway convincingly at that. He also managed to refill their cups and drink more wine, even though it no longer numbed the pain at all.

“I understand that killing High Goddess Shao Wan is necessary in this arrangement,” he heard himself say sometime later.

The two demons nodded gloomily.

In which lifetime had he said I will not kill you! Never! Shao Wan, you mean too much to me, you mean the world to me, without you, there is nothing, only the prospect of spending immortality missing you with every breath, with every thought, with every fiber of my body. Or had he never said it? He was suddenly unsure, it all seemed like a dream now, a dream that did not fade as dreams did, but a dream that tormented him during his waking hours, a dream that seemed like reality but could not be.

They agreed on signing an agreement as soon as Mo Yuan had discussed the outstanding issues with the Nine Heavens.

A coughing fit overcame him then, but he managed to make it seem like he had simply drunk his wine too quickly. Zhe Yan, knowing him too well, succeeded in ushering the two Demons out and off the mountain, claiming they had an important meeting in the Nine Heavens soon and needed some time to prepare for it.

As soon as Zhe Yan had left to escort them out, Mo Yuan got up and walked to the meditation cave at a brisk pace. He erected a strong barrier at the entrance and took a deep breath.

It was like she had never left. The brush he had given her, her favorite hair ornament, a small bottle of perfume, some undergarments, a sock, her favorite boots...scattered everywhere, waiting for her to come and pick them up. And above it all, there was her scent, so strong he could almost taste her.

Collecting his rage, his anguish, and his pain into a spell, he burnt everything that had once belonged to her to ash. He then collected the ash into a heap and made it disappear. The fine residue that remained, every particle that carried her scent - banned into the nothingness. All the cushions, everything she had ever touched, he got rid of it. He would have destroyed the meditation cave itself had his powers been great enough to go up against the Mountain itself.

Last, he stripped down to his breeches and looked at himself in the mirror. The scar on his clavicle - he made it disappear. The one on his ribs - gone. Another, a bit higher up - as if it never had been there. The most recent one on his back - erased. What did he need memories for at all? These scars, they had served no purpose at all, except highlight his own vanity. One by one, he made them disappear, returning his skin to a state of untouched smoothness.

Finally, he went and sat on his bare meditation platform. With iron will and utter mercilessness, he forced his mind into submission. He was the God of War and the God of War had no weaknesses, he had no emotions and he had no desires. He may have strayed from the right path, but his failing had been short and would be of no further consequence. He was the strongest God in all the realms and there was nothing he could not do. First and foremost, he had a war to win.

Chapter 53