Fanfiction: Mo Yuan and Shao Wan - Chapter 50 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 50

written by kakashi

Shao Wan shuffled after Mo Yuan, out of the room and into the dark hall, trying in vain to feel triumphant that she had succeeded. Now you know, Mo Yuan, that I am good at finding out where to hurt someone the most and go for it. Why did you have to tell me of your deepest fears?

They only got as far as the weiqi board before voices were heard outside and hasty steps drew closer. Mo Yuan stopped walking and waved his hand to light the candles in the hall. Several of his disciples appeared on the stairs ahead and came rushing in.

“Shifu!” one shouted, “you are awake? Oh, Shimu too.”

“What trouble?” asked the God of War and gestured to his disciples to rise from their bows.

The one who cooked threw Shifu a furtive look before explaining: “It’s Fong Hung, he…”

Mo Yuan pressed his lips together and scowled. His disciples ducked instinctively.

“... he caused havoc in the elixir room,” another disciple quickly finished the sentence, “but it’s nothing we cannot fix, Shifu, only a few broken vials, some ingredients on the floor. Please don’t be angry.”

“How long to restore it?” Mo Yuan asked.

“Two, three incense sticks?”

Another disciple nudged him from the side and whispered in a very low voice: “I’m sure it’s much more.”

“Have I taught you no better?” the God of War said, raising his voice, a little was enough, “you come here behaving like bluebottle flies and cannot even tell me what the damage is?”

“Shifu,” they implored and bowed deeply.

Mo Yuan threw them another objurgatory look and continued on his way. Shao Wan followed behind, feeling apprehensive. This was not exactly a good time for Fong Hung to misbehave...

They all reached Kunlun’s elixir chamber shortly and when Shao Wan saw what her toad had done, she gasped. “Only a few” had been a huge understatement. There was not one container that hadn't been broken. Every single ingredient ever used or stored at Kunlun to make an elixir was on the stone floor. In the middle of the mess sat her mount, croaking nervously, his throat working as if he was trying to form words. A thick coat of red cinnabar powder stuck to his skin like badly dried paint.

Shao Wan wanted to rush to him, but Mo Yuan was faster. At one flick of his fingers, Fong Hung was sealed into a blue bubble, lifted into the air, and thrust into the hands of the disciple who cooked.

“Seeing how Die Feng had to leave, you’re in charge of throwing Fong Hung out,” Mo Yuan told him.


“Did I not make myself clear? I want him off my mountain. Now. Put him outside the gates.”

“Yes, Shifu,” the disciple bowed, throwing Shao Wan another furtive look, and scurried away. She thought it better not to say anything. She had wanted this after all.

“You, you, and you, clean this mess up. I want this room restored to its proper state as soon as possible,” Mo Yuan said, pointing at the three disciples in the front.

“But Shifu…”

“Since when is the use of ‘but’ appropriate when talking to me?”

“Apologies, Shifu. Please advise.”

“Advise? You all know how to use magic, do you not?”

The disciples nodded their heads, throwing each other disturbed looks.

“As soon as you’re done, come get me in the meditation cave. I need to use this chamber tonight.” And with that, Mo Yuan walked away, leaving everybody in a state of great agitation and puzzlement. Shao Wan looked at his retreating back and felt an odd mixture of annoyance and relief. A few incenses more on Mount Kunlun then. It wouldn't matter.

“I must apologize for the behavior of my mount,” said Shao Wan and bowed to the dejected students. “Let me help you.”

“No, Shimu, by no means, you are our honored guest,” said one of the disciples, a very pretty one, and blocked her way, determined not to let her get any closer to the dirty mess.

The others whispered to each other, pointing to the wreckage. She noticed that not one had gone back, they all stayed to help each other. Soon, the one who cooked rejoined the group and consulted with his juniors. They first fixed all the boxes and vials and ceramics, but then, they seemed unsure what to do next. What seemed to be the problem? They must know how to clean something like this up?

“Why do you not just make all of this disappear?” Shao Wan asked, gesturing at the mess.

“Shimu,” said the one who cooked, “there were a few particularly rare ingredients in this elixir room, some of them of unfathomable value and some irreplaceable. We need to salvage them. Some of it was in powder form.”

“Sort everything by its yin and yang energy pattern,” Shao Wan advised. “What is sullied can be thrown away later, but this way, you will not lose anything.”

“Shimu…how?” the one who cooked asked politely, though as if he were doubting her wisdom.

“Unfortunately, I cannot demonstrate to you.” She thought briefly about how to convey this technique in words. “Take a sample into your hand-,” what was the boy’s name again? “-Chang Shan,” she added.

His face lit up and he bowed again, quickly doing what she had advised. He picked up a piece of calcite crystal, a wise choice for practice. “Can you sense its specific energy pattern?” Shao Wan asked. “It’s...a sparkle, a sort of color, only you cannot see but only feel it.”

She looked at the disciple expectantly and after a while, he nodded very pleased. “Yes! Yes, Shimu! I feel it!”

“If you concentrate on its particular essence, you can draw all the ingredients with the same energy together,” Shao Wan explained. “Start with the bigger ingredients, the stones, the minerals, the dried fruits and plants. Then, move on to the finer particles - powder is much harder.”

Chang Shan tried to summon only calcite crystals to his hands and did quite well. When he tried yellow gold, the result was less spectacular. “It takes practice,” she nodded, “it is very delicate and advanced magic.”

It would take all night, she realized. At least.

“Our profound thanks, Shimu,” the disciples bowed. She looked at their bent backs and a great sadness washed over her. How many of them would not come back from the war? All of them were Celestial Generals, to lead their own armies.

“Shimu, I am sure Shifu will let Fong Hung back on the Mountain again soon,” Chang Shan said, “I put him right outside the gate. He is well protected in Shifu’s cage.”

She nodded, to make it seem like this was what she was sad about.

“Did Shifu…,” Chang Shan swallowed and looked at her, taking courage when she showed no disapproval, “did he receive bad news? I have not seen him like this before.”

She nodded again. “It’s the war,” she said quietly. “He will be alright though, do not worry.”

Chang Shan seemed grateful for her encouraging words and turned back to his juniors to continue to practice the magic she had told them to use. After watching and advising them for a while longer she excused herself and received so much gratitude from each of them that she felt quite flustered.

The night outside was pleasantly cool after a cleansing thunderstorm earlier and a million stars shimmered above her in the sky. She did not return to the bedroom but went and sat on a ledge above the waterfall, facing in the direction of the Demon Realm. She sat and watched the stars move in the sky above her, saw them fade slowly when the firmament turned from black to purple and to a faint gray mixed with pink. The mountain tops around majestic Kunlun slowly appeared in a sea of morning mist, island cones of snow and rock as far as they eye could see.

On very clear days, it was possible to see Kunlun from the tallest mountain in the Demon Realm, they said. She had never bothered to check. It shimmered golden when the God of War was present, they said. That must be a legend, she thought, because if true, would she not have to see the golden shimmer herself now?

She welcomed the morning sun that brought some warmth back to her body and she looked at the rainbows dancing above the waterfall with wonderment. Had the world always been this beautiful? Had she just never stopped long enough to see it?

The sun was already halfway to the zenith when the God of War came to pick her up. For a brief moment, her treacherous heart jumped with joy when she saw him standing there, until she remembered she could no longer have his affection. Mo Yuan said nothing, just looked at her with his most cold and arrogant expression and pointed in the direction of the school. She got up and brushed off her gown. When she looked up, he had already turned around and was walking away briskly.

The elixir chamber looked sparkling clean and she felt quite proud of the disciples for finishing this difficult task in such a limited amount of time and in such a thorough manner.

“I will unseal your powers now, Demon Queen,” Mo Yuan said without the slightest emotion and gestured to a specially marked spot in the middle of the chamber. She had wondered why he insisted on doing the unsealing in this room, but now she understood: he feared a power surcharge and the elixir chamber was the only place at Kunlun that was built to withstand such extreme energies.

She had thought she was prepared, but her heart started to hammer in her throat when he stepped in front of her. She sought his eyes, but he looked down as he drew energy into two of his fingers in his right hand. When the air around him shimmered from it, he lifted it up. Their eyes met for a very brief moment, but there was nothing there for her to hold on to.

When he touched her Agya Chakra, she felt a fierce, head-splitting pain - until he withdrew his hand and stepped back. Instantly, Kunlun’s divine energy hit her like a fist of steel. With a shout, she fell to her knees - the Mountain tried to crush her Demon essence down with its might. A thousand needles assaulted her brain, a thousand knives cut her body, until her own powers adjusted to their freedom. They surged, joyous to be unbound and answered Kunlun’s challenge. The air in the elixir chamber crackled with static discharge and deep below, the mountain rumbled as she came back to her feet.

And now she saw it: the God of War did shimmer golden.

But she also saw something else.

Or rather, she sensed it, on one of the shelves to her left. As soon as it felt her attention on it, it cried out to her in agony, for it, too, suffered greatly under the Mountain’s divine energy and it did not belong here at all.

Mo Yuan, who had turned to leave, froze in his tracks and whirled around, moving towards the energy source at lightning speed just like her. They both reached for it simultaneously, but because of his longer arms, he got to it first. His fist closed around it mere moments before her nails left three long bloody scratches on the back of his hand.

He jumped out of her reach.

“Did you think I would not be able to sense it?” she asked him, surprised at how calm she sounded, “you are way more arrogant than I thought possible.”

Mo Yuan opened his fist and looked at what it contained. And then, he laughed. It was the most cheerless and the most infuriating laughter she had ever heard.

“Hand it over. Right now,” she said, no longer sounding calm.

He looked at her then. The God of War had eyes as black as the moonless night, but sometimes, they showed the Heavens’ wrath.

He closed his fist again.

Her fury rose inside of her like a giant wave. He had played with her, to see how far he would get her to submit to him? Her poor Fong Hung … he had tried to warn her all along! What a fool she had been. Almost, almost, she had been willing to lose herself to this Celestial. She had been ready to believe he had come to care for her, despite everything that has passed between them before. And she had been stupid enough to even feel sorry for what she had said to him - when he had just lied to her repeatedly, expertly, coldly. The God of War had shown his exceptional strategic skills once again: she was the stone on his chessboard that would ensure his most important victory and crush the Demons for good this time. For he held fragments of her soul in his hand with which he could make her obey him, fully and mercilessly.

But he was mistaken if he thought she would just accept his cunning machinations without resistance. Feeling her newfound powers rush through her veins, she took good measure of him. Father Immortal’s offspring had gotten mighty strong since the time in Zhe Yan’s orchard. There was nothing sickly or frail about him anymore. He was her most formidable opponent, but today, she had to beat him.

Deep below, the dragonbone shuddered when Shao Wan opened up her sky-link. The heat around her rose, but not in her body. She had learned how to control her powers under his sly guidance, and now she would be able to use them against him, like she had never been able to use them before. What irony.

Mo Yuan’s facial expression changed from arrogance to alarm. At least, he seemed to take her seriously. She lifted her arms.

“Do not harm my disciples,” he said.

They were approaching, she sensed them coming as well. Quickly, she sealed the entrance to the elixir chamber with a powerful, opaque barrier. “Yes. This is between you and me,” she answered.

She began to move slowly and he matched her movement, keeping a considerable distance between them. What was he planning? She opened the sky-link a little more and started to draw energy into her arms. The air in the chamber began to crackle and small flames started to dance on all the objects around them. Mo Yuan’s golden shimmer increased as he adjusted his powers to protect his body against the heat.

She wanted to end this quickly.

She slammed him with her full powers. He shielded, but it was not enough. His body was thrown against the wall of the chamber with considerable force. He came back to his feet immediately, but there was a line of red trickling down his chin. Before he could collect his own powers, she slammed him again with what she could muster so shortly after the first attack. He withstood the second attack, but she saw him stagger under the assault. When she hit him a third time right after, a minuscule flicker of pain went across his face.

She gathered her powers for another hit and…

The bastard. Why was he not attacking?

She lowered her arms, power humming in her fingers, and waited - and indeed, Mo Yuan did not even try to attack her. He simply stood there, leaning against the wall for support, shimmering golden, looking her way with his burning, black eyes.

“You bastard,” she hissed. “Fight me!”

He shook his head.

Her fury knew no bounds and she screamed out her rage until she ran out of breath. He would not even give her the satisfaction of a real fight! You promised to fight me! she wanted to scream at him, but of course, those promises were null and void now, like everything else, every gesture, every touch, every feeling between them.

“You really fooled me,” she said quietly, so quietly he would not hear - and went right at him.

He didn’t bother to move away from the wall to gain more maneuvering space when she attacked. Her hands rained down on him relentlessly and being the pompous bastard that he was, he soon gave up his defense entirely. Kill him, a cold voice whispered in her head, kill him and free yourself.

Furious, she gave a massive blow to his heart chakra and he fell to his knees. With a sanshou kick she slammed his body to the ground. And still, he clutched what was hers and hers alone in his fist, as if he had a claim to it. She stepped on his wrist with force, but he still did not open his hand. She put her foot on his jugular and pressed down. He closed his eyes - almost as if he were welcoming death. What are you doing, you promised, you promised! As soon as he seemed to have lost consciousness, she released his throat. She went to her knees beside him and pried open his bleeding hand, finger by finger.

Her Feather looked small and vulnerable in there, much smaller than she remembered. Curiously, she looked at the tiny bronze fragments that stuck to where her sacred artefact was sullied by some red substance that looked a bit like blood. Where had he kept it?

When she took her Feather into her fingers, a tremendous thrill went through her body. Beneath her, Mount Kunlun started rumbling again, this time more forcefully and the force of the tremors increased. The Mountain was trying to shake her off for good.

Shao Wan looked at Mo Yuan’s still figure in front of her - it didn't shimmer golden anymore. Hastily, she extinguished the fires in the room. The damage was already considerable…the disciples would curse her. For the last time, she touched Father Immortal’s son’s tranquil face - his eyes, his nose, his lips, his chin...but their opposing energies crackled and sparked painfully and she quickly withdrew her hand. It was a welcome reminder for a fool like her how dangerous he really was, her beautiful enemy. She got up, opened up the barrier at the entrance and cloud-jumped away.


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Chapter 51