Fanfiction 2: Moyuan and Bai Qian - Chapter 9 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 9 - The Dragon Ascends

written by LalaLoop
consulting by Juls
Editing by kakashi

It was dark. Yet the air was pleasant. It felt like he had been here before, long before.

As he opened his eyes, he could see he was sitting under the shade of a stone arch and the outline of a pond in front. Clouds were floating freely around. Rubbing his eyes, he stood up, feeling strangely well, the pain from his injuries was gone. Slowly he walked to the pond and leaned over to see his reflection on the water surface. A few white lotus were floating back and forth in the pond. He took another few good looks around as recollections of this place started to come back to his blank mind. There was a sort of warm feeling around his shoulders and a faint flowery smell that was lingering.

“Welcome home,” said a familiar voice from behind.

He turned on his heels, hoping to see again the face he had known too briefly before everything had gone dark. But to his disappointment, it was not the God of War, but instead an old man with white hair and a long silver beard he’d never met in his life. The man was tall and proud looking, dressed in a simple white robe. At the moment, he was standing with his arms behind his back, looking at him as though they've known each other for a long time.

“This is not the Nine Heavens,” he frowned. It was Kunlun.

“Indeed it is not.” The old man paid no attention to his confusion, but simply approached and joined him at the pond. “How are you feeling?” the man asked, as if he somehow knew.

Still staring at the old man, he began to recall what had happened. When he had gotten close to the Bell, the strange power source that had been disrupting his balance, the very power that had resided inside him ever since his return from the slaying of the four Beasts, had gushed out, as though it had been waiting for a chance to do so. He felt as though his spirit had been ready to leave his body while the foreign force had held it back. Indeed, his brows furrowed, if the spirit had left his body, as it should have, if the Bell had engulfed his soul, why had he still been able to see and talk to them after the Bell had exploded?

Turning back to the old man, he wanted to ask “who are you?”, yet he had the strangest feeling he already knew the answer.

“I feel…” he paused, contemplating, “undamaged.”

“Of course,” nodded the old man. “Of course.”

The voice suddenly forced him to look blankly into the distance. He started to feel as though all of this was a dream: The man’s voice, the way he looked, all was exactly as he had always imagined. Perhaps all of this was what he wanted to see, not what really was. Yet it all felt so real, and it made him feel he might want to stay for a while.

“I had hoped that he would treat you well, and protect you with his life,” the man baldly changed the subject, a gentle smile on his face. “Has he?”

“Yes,” Yehua nodded, surprised at himself for being able to understand instantly what the man was referring to. “He has done so. And much more.”

“I see. So chances are you will return after all,” said the man matter-of-factly.

“Return?” Yehua repeated, he did not fully grasp the old man’s meaning and a large part of him didn’t want to leave this peaceful place in any sense.

“It is in your blood,” the man turned to look at him with a proud smile. “You never give up on the people who rely only you. He has never given up, and neither will you.”

“He had a reason to keep fighting to return. Do I?”

“I have heard what the young High Goddess said. If you leave, they will all collapse.”

“I believe she a said they would all forget about me.” Yehua laughed, bemused.

“Ah, quite an amusing one, isn’t she. But you know, in here,” the old man stepped closer, pointing at his heart, “you know what she really meant.”


“There is nothing I need to hear,” the man held up his hand. “Whatever it is, tell it to yourself. After all, that is what this has been about.”

“Would you tell me who you are?” He couldn’t help asking.

The man gave no answer but only smiled again.

“Let Zheyan know,” said the man. “Zheyan and Donghua. Find a way to let them know. They will know what to do.” With that, he turned around and started to walk away, disappearing into the clouds, his white robe floating behind him.

Suddenly, the warmth around his shoulders vanished and he felt as though someone had just let go of him.

You think you’re so glorious, don’t you? Bai Qian wiped tears off her face with her sleeve and straightened herself. You think it’s such a great thing to die and leave all of us here crying over you. It isn’t, it really isn’t. Her mind was a blank piece of darkness. She could not think of Yehua anymore. The only way to numb the pain would be to throw herself out there and kill as many ghost assassins as she could. The pain would come back later, she knew it. But she would deal with it when it came.

Donghua had taken her place next to Yehua while Zheyan continued to heal Fengjiu. Bai Zhen himself had left the shield to help contain the ghost soldiers outside.

Then, standing inside the protective shield, she took a good look around: the Golden Lion was battling more than ten celestial soldiers at once. Thunder crashes exploded above their heads. Looking upward, she knew a ferocious battle was going on between Moyuan and Qingcang. If there was one thing she could do to help, it would be getting rid of Qingcang’s most loyal and dangerous subordinate before more harm could come to the celestial soldiers.

Gripping her fan, Bai Qian looked back to where Zheyan was sitting.

“Xiaowu,” said his concerned voice. “You’re hurt.”

Bai Qian lifted up her hand. It was surprising and almost scary to her how in the face of all that had happened, she found herself more sound and tranquil than ever.

“I know,” she said calmly to Zheyan. “It's fine, I can deal with this.”

Then without any more delay, she flew out of the shield, leapt upward and descended in the middle of the fight between the Lion and the soldiers, preventing it from attacking any more of them. Among the men, Bai Qian furrowed her brows in frustration, was Sujin, who looked like she had been trying to get closer to the shield.

What are you still doing here!” Bai Qian snapped.

“I wanted… a… a glimpse of Yehua...” Sujin whimpered.

“Leave now! I won’t be saving your worthless life a third time!”

With that, Bai Qian turned her attention back to the Lion without a care if Sujin had gotten out of there or not. She decided not to risk losing any more of her power just to remove this stupidly stubborn and malicious woman - who probably never deserved to be saved in the first place - from the fight that was about to break out.

No longer feeling any fear in the world, she took one step forward, her eyes staring intensely into the Lion’s.

“How do you want to do this, beast?” Bai Qian jerked her head at the Lion. “In your true form?”

The creature gave a loud roar and launched at her.

With one deafening blast from her fan, the Lion was thrown back a considerable distance. Bai Qian leapt into the air and hurled down at the creature, her sword-turned fan pointing downward, aiming for its head. It dodged and sprang aside.

After one brief second, the beast lunged again, striking with its sharp claws, Crimson flames shooting out from its mouth. Swiftly, Bai Qian flipped herself in the air, landed on the Lion’s back and with her whole strength, plunged her sword down on its neck. Choking and bleeding, the beast shook, throwing her off its back, thundering its feet on the ground, shrieking in pain.

Bai Qian flew at it, retrieved her sword and quickly conjured a shield as it rose on its rear legs and attempted to strike again. She lifted herself and with a side kick at its chest, slammed the creature back to the ground. Then, pulling out a dagger from her boot, she pelted toward it. And with one last stab into the side of the Lion’s neck, blood poured down its fur onto the ground. The lion gave a terrible shriek, its limbs striking blindly then quickly dropped as it breathed its last breath.

Bai Qian staggered, brushing her hair out of the way. A pair of hands grabbed her arm. She wheeled around, ready to strike when she recognized the person.

“Sixteenth Senior!” She gasped, lowering her weapon.

Just then, a series of thunder erupted, reminding them of the fact that Moyuan was up there somewhere in the dark clouds above the forest of trees on the other side of the river. Bai Qian jumped onto her sword at once and zoomed away, followed by Zilan.

Though as soon as they reached the battle site, they immediately realized how naive they had been for thinking they could help or intervene. The God of War and the Ghost Lord, both seeking vengeance, were charging at each other with full force. Every blow they threw at each other shook the area, making both Bai Qian and Zilan tremble. And it was certain death for anyone who was caught in between or came too close.

Qingcang’s black armour was in a terrible state. It seemed he had been injured and was worn out. Though, turning to look at Moyuan, they were terrified as they admitted to themselves he did not look any better, if not to say he had been hurt more. Neither of them knew how strong Qingcang was at the moment and what the Bell had done to enhance his powers, but they knew Moyuan was significantly weaker than usual. His robes had been torn in several places where blood from the fresh wounds had spread, a line of red running down from his lips, down his chin. But Moyuan didn’t seem to care. And the sight of Xuanyuan not being used to defend its wielder or the people he protected, but to kill, injected endless fear into Bai Qian.

The great sword and the demon halberd clanged on one another, silver and black forces blasting out, creating continuous explosions around them, throwing rocks and dust in all directions. The ground trembled every time they descended from a duel in midair.

Zilan grabbed Bai Qian’s hand, pulling her away as they both painfully admitted by exchanging looks that there was nothing they could do. If they barged into the fight, chances were they might get crushed before they could offer any help. No magic they could conjure could interfere with the forces flying out from these two men who were determined to end the other’s life.

A massive collision of the two weapons threw Moyuan and Qingcang away from one another. Then, as barbarically as the Golden Lion, Qingcang leapt upward and hurled himself down at Moyuan, who was struggling to regain his footing after the blow, making the latter fall flat on the ground with a violent hit, Xuanyuan flying out of his grip into Qingcang’s hand due to a summoning spell.

And before Moyuan could regain his power, Qingcang slammed him again with the halberd’s force.

Zilan gasped in horror and Bai Qian’s hand flew to her mouth to muffle a scream, feeling as if life itself had been knocked out of her.

Qingcang vanished and reappeared again right next to Moyuan.

“What is the matter, Moyuan?” he laughed, bending down, pinning Moyuan to the ground with his knee, one hand holding the sword, the other pushing the halberd handle against his throat. “Too long since you last fought?” he laughed again at his own joke as Moyuan struggled to stretch his arm to retrieve Xuanyuan. The sword vibrated in Qingchang’s hand, desperate to go back to its master.

“I’ve never seen you this furious before, God of War. Quite an enjoyable sight, I must say. I believe the last time you were in such a rage was when your demon friend burned to ashes. Well, not just you; the phoenix, and the parentless silver-haired one as well. You were all too late to save her, remember? Just like you are now,” Qingcang leaned down, his eyes gleaming red, “powerless, incapable, forever unable to protect those you care about. “Not that it bothers me,” he pushed down his halberd.

Bai Qian frowned at Qingcang’s taunting. But there was no time to ponder over his usual nonsense. From across the site, they could see Moyuan’s hand clenched up in pain. She turned to Zilan, “don’t go in, one of us has to stay out here.”

Then, without waiting for a response, she flew out from her hiding place, waved her fan and aimed a force at Qingcang’s hand, which knocked Xuanyuan out of his tight grip. Her magic made the Ghost Lord bark in astonishment and anger. He sprang up and before Bai Qian could react, an invisible rope had tightened around her neck as Qingcang shot his palm forward, pulling her towards him with speed.

“You never learn, do you?” he hissed, seizing Bai Qian’s throat as she arrived in front of him.

But in an instant, Qincang’s eyes flashed. He unexpectedly released Bai Qian and raised his halberd to shield himself from what seemed to be a wave of fire, which was growing in size and surrounded Qingcang as well as forming a ring where they all stood.

Dropping to the ground, Bai Qian turned to see Moyuan was on his feet again with Xuanyuan in his hand and Zilan standing by his side. He waved his arm sideway, throwing Zilan backward, away from the scorching fire. Then, pointing his sword at Bai Qian, he conjured a force that lifted her up and flung her across the field to where Zilan was.

Bai Qian scrambled back up. Spitting grass and dust out of her mouth, she saw and dashed over to Zilan. Qingcang, for once, had stopped attacking the uninvolved and instead focused on his target. The fire had quickly subsided. With a force from his Qingcang’s halberd, Moyuan was slammed backward and into the nearest tree. Regaining his ground, the latter hurled toward his enemy and with a brutal kick on the chest, crashing him down.

Though against all that, Bai Qian and Zilan knew their Master were far from winning.

Moyuan stood still with his sword pointing down for one fleeting second.

“No…” Bai Qian gasped as she realized what he was doing. Golden sparks were swirling around Moyuan. Waves of forces emanated from him, making trees around them quake. "DON'T!"
But to her horror, the transformation had taken place.

Across the field, it seemed Qingcang had started to transform as well. With crimson shimmers still surrounding him, he launched at the God of War with convulsive force, slashing his weapon savagely.
The two men soared into the air. It was difficult to see who was having the upper hand for all they could hear was the sound of metal clanging against the rocky mountains and lightning flashing from the collisions.

Then came a horrible screech from among the dark clouds.

Turning their heads to follow the battle, they caught sight of a Golden Dragon and a winged creature with crimson eyes and a fanged mouth, spikes protruding from its elbows, lining its back and tail, both viciously striking and snapping at each other.

"He's going to collapse..." Zilan's voice quivered. "He won't hold..."

Bai Qian felt sick in the stomach - ‘collapse’ was an understatement for what might happen.

Suddenly, there were sounds of people screaming from the other side of the river. Turning in their direction, it seemed something had occurred. A silver puff of smoke shot up from where the protective shield must be and dived into the river with a splash. Bai Qian’s heart jolted - what was a Celestial doing jumping into the river like that?
Moyuan and Qingcang, however, were completely unaware of what was going on, the pair continued to slash and throw savage forces at one another tirelessly.

Only moments later, the ground thundered. Bai Qian and Zilan held onto each other’s arms as the water of Ruoshui River started to stir and roll in waves. Then, before anyone could prepare themselves, something enormous shot up in the air. Zilan and Bai Qian turned away to avoid getting drenched by the vast sheets of water that were sent in all directions. And they looked back just in time to see another dragon soaring up in the sky with a loud roar. A black dragon.

An awfully long moment passed as Zilan and Bai Qian stood dumbfounded, turning deaf to all sounds. Then they turned to look at one another, at loss for words, both thinking they were perhaps dreaming

“The...” Zilan stuttered, his voice seemed to be coming from far away, “the Crown Prince…?”

Deadstruck still, Bai Qian didn’t answer. But she couldn’t remain in her current state for long because the battle was being continued among the clouds. The black dragon landed on the side of one of the rocky mountains, glaring around hungrily. Then, likely having discovered where the God of War and the Ghost Lord were, it thrashed its long tail, stretching its jaw in a roar and launched upward.

Lightning bolts started to shoot down and hit random places, torrents of fire shooting back and forth in the sky. More and more celestial soldiers had arrived at the site of battle on both sides of the river. Endless roars from the dragons and the Ghost Lord himself and occasional painful screeches went on for the while.

Then, Zilan wrapped his arms around Bai Qian and dragged her down as an ear-splitting explosion erupted, louder and more violent than anything they had witnessed that day, a final blow that told them the great fight had ended. They both frantically joined forces to conjure a large protective shield in fear of being hit by jets of light and flames that were showering down.

Horrified, they looked up after the last echo of the explosion had ceased. The black dragon was falling from the sky, through the clouds. Not a moment later, several silver jets of light shot to the area - celestial soldiers were cloud-jumping to where Yehua had fallen.

“The Celestials,” Bai Qian murmured as she and Zilan scrambled back up.

“Let’s go,” she decided.

But just as they were about to take off, the sound of something landing on the ground behind them made Bai Qian and Zilan jump.

Turning around, they saw Moyuan standing with one hand on the handle of his sword for support, the other clutching his arm, looking more disheveled than they had ever seen him in their lives. Though a savage look of satisfaction was spreading over his face. Slowly, he yanked out from his arm something that looked like a really large fang. The fact that Qingcang was probably dead for good didn't mean much. Nothing mattered to them now except that the Crown Prince had just collapsed from a deadly fight and that it seemed the same thing was about to happen to their Master.

“Shifu!” They both dashed forward and caught Moyuan as he began to stagger.

“I’m fine,” he said habitually, throwing the fang from him.

“I’ll go and make sure High God Zheyan knows,” said Zilan, looking green since just like Bai Qian, he had learned to tell when their Master was really ‘fine’ and when assistance was required. He darted away without another word.

“He’s alive…” said Moyuan’s slurred voice, which greatly alarmed her. Though his eyes were beaming in spite of himself.

Bai Qian’s eyes opened wide, staring at Moyuan wordlessly, tears threatened to spill out from her eyes. He’s alive. The confirmation made her heart skip a beat.

“He needs healing…”

“I saw the Celestials going to him. He’ll be taken care of,” Bai Qian assured him as she snapped out of her trance. She, too, was dying to know what in heaven’s name had happened with Yehua and how he had managed to come back after sacrificing his soul to the Bell. But Moyuan’s severe condition and the fact that many Celestials were already rushing to their Crown Prince’s side, she decided her questions could wait.

Then, made nervous by the fact that Moyuan might collapse any moment, she quickly asked, “Zheyan will be here. Can you hold on?”

“Yes,” answered Moyuan, who didn’t look like he could hold on at all.

“Shifu,” Bai Qian closed her eyes briefly then opened them again, swallowing back tears. Clenching his arms more tightly, the words that had been hanging over her head came out of her. “You don’t have to be the God of War all the time.”

“But I do,” Moyuan let out a faint laugh, more likely at himself than at her.

Though against his firm remark, he promptly fell against her shoulders not two seconds after. Unprepared and shaking all over, Bai Qian dropped to the ground and Moyuan with her. She pushed against his left shoulder in an attempt to straighten herself, but a sound of anguish from him made her stop. He plunged his sword into the ground and hoisted himself up.

“What…” she stuttered. But seeing that Moyuan was injured all over, she didn’t bother finishing her question but simply removed her palm from his shoulder. The blood from his wounds had gotten onto several places of her dress, also staining the handkerchief on her wrist, leaving red marks on the embroidery that was supposed to be a scene of snow.

With the both of them being unable to cloud-jump directly back, the only sensible thing to do was to wait for Zheyan, which, thankfully, would not be long.

Bai Qian looked around and spotted a boulder a few steps away. She pulled Moyuan’s arm around her shoulders, heaved him up on his feet and to the boulder. Stumbling down as they reached the spot, Bai Qian felt extremely thankful that the distance had not been further, for she was now all out of breath for having to bear his weight.

“Moyuan!” Zheyan’s shaking voice rang behind her. The Old Phoenix darted forward, sank on his knees and grabbed his friend's arms. And without performing the usual procedure, Zheyan declared, “you need healing immediately!” His voice quavered and there was visible concern on his face. Though before Bai Qian could ask if there was anything to worry about and if the fang that had splintered Moyuan’s arm was venomous, Moyuan spoke.

“Zheyan…” he said. “We need to make sure that Yehua…”

“Yehua is fine,” Zheyan repeated what Bai Qian had said with more confidence. “They have the medicine king and an army of physicians tending to him. I’ve also instructed Donghua to explain his condition to them. But I will need you to please...”

“Have them bring him to Kunlun…” Moyuan cut him off. “The mountain’s divine energy can help with the… the healing process…”

“Moyuan,” Zheyan’s voice was loud and firm. “You’re not the only one who cares about Yehua. Donghua knows what to do. Now, please stop draining your energy and let me get on with the healing spell!”

“I don't want… her…” murmured Moyuan in extreme exhaustion with his eyes shut tightly, his face clouded with pain.

Bai Qian’s mouth fell slightly ajar. Though, far too concerned to feel anything including the ripple of irritation deep down, she remained silent.

“Xiaowu,” Zheyan turned to Bai Qian after a frustrated sigh. “You go back first. Go back with Zilan and tell them to get the Kunlun cauldron ready; we’ll be needing it tonight. I’ll be there after I’ve rebalanced Moyuan’s energy.”

“But is he going to…”

“Trust me, Xiaowu,” Zheyan gripped her arm, his hands slightly trembling. “Trust me. He is fine. Just leave. I will take care of him.”

“Go,” said Zheyan again, gesturing her to leave. It was true the Old Phoenix’ presence had brightened up the miserable situation, yet his breathless voice did very little to ease her anxiety.

Though, as Zheyan’s order was clear, Bai Qian turned around, hopped on her sword and flew out of sight.

Chapter 10