Fanfiction: Mo Yuan and Shao Wan - Chapter 76 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 76

written by Panda
edited by kakashi

Dawn met him by the waterside. Ever since she left he could hardly stand to be in his meditation cave. He had tried shifting his meditation practice to other rooms at Kunlun but soon realized he needed a distraction, but one that was not too intrusive to help him concentrate. The sounds of the waterfalls calmed him, numbed him and made it easy for him to empty his thoughts, to focus. He had meditated from midnight till shortly before daybreak. After meditating, he had remained in his lotus pose and started to reassemble his previously emptied thoughts. He pulled up various threads of information and re-arranged them in his subconscious, planning strategies and ruthlessly analyzing who to use in what ways and who was of no use in the impending war.

Satisfied with his progress, he stood, unfurled his hair from his bun and plunged into the ice-cold water. Submerging for longer than he ought to, he stayed horizontally suspended, enjoying the weightlessness of being in the water. Here, for a short moment, he was free from his responsibilities, floating in a state of semi-consciousness where he could attain a small measure of peace. His lungs started to burn but he pushed himself harder and refused to open his eyes, willing his isolation to last just a little bit more, selfishly trying to steal a few more moments of calm for himself. He needed it more than ever today, because what he had spent the last days mulling over had finally been taken out of his control.

When he lifted his head from the water surface, his lungs greedily sucked in air. He looked around the site of his favorite waterfall and briefly wondered whether he might be seeing the sights for the last times. Reluctantly, he pulled his entire body from the water, dried himself and packed his hair back into its bun and finally put on his tunic and dark blue robe. Instantly, memories wanted to crowd his head but he shook them off resolutely. He had a busy day ahead.

Kunlun had all but emptied out he mused as he walked back to the hall. There had not been much encouraging news from the wars between the Water Kingdoms but the tide should turn today. He noted a few things he had left to tell Chan Shan as the said disciple hurried towards him bowing in greeting.

“Shifu,” Chang Shan bowed and started walking by his side as Mo Yuan continued into the Weapons room, “I have done as you directed yesterday and cleaned the Elixir Cauldron.”

“Good. I will put a seal on it later this evening.” Mo Yuan continued walking as he examined the weapons and observed with satisfaction that they had all been properly oiled and honed. He turned to his disciple and nodded with approval. “You have done well,” he said quietly, his hands sweeping over the displayed weapons. “Regarding the Elixir Cauldron room, remind me before nightfall to give you the scroll with the information of how to unseal it.”

Chang Shan bowed: “Yes, Shifu.”

Mo Yuan’s eyes drifted to the weapons one final time before he swept out of the room and towards the entrance of the Hall. “Chang Shan, there are other scrolls that I will give to you, including those for Potions and Healing. You can start going through them this night. If you have any questions, I would like to clarify them before heading to the battle-front.”

Eyes clouded, his disciple slightly hesitated before bowing in acquiescence. “Yes, Shifu.”

Mo Yuan knew his disciple had questions about all the information he was being entrusted with but he saw no need to answer them. He had decided that Chang Shan would stay behind to guard the Mountain and there was no further discussion to be had. Mo Yuan turned and was about to go back inside when Chang San stiffened and looked into the distance intently.

“Shifu, there are people at the gates. And it seems they are all on beasts. I will go stop them.”

Mo Yuan held up a hand. “Yes, I’ve noticed. Leave them, I have an idea as to who it might be, even though the timing is a bit of a surprise.”

He could hear her before he saw her, the ground vibrating from the steady rhythm of her horse’s hooves. She finally burst into sight and once more he marvelled at her skill with the horse. She was bent extremely low with her face almost at the animal’s ear. From a distance she appeared to be merged with the horse, her dark brown tunic almost the same hue as the rich glossy coat of the horse. At the instant she became aware of him waiting in front of the Hall, she slowed the horse down and straightened in the saddle. Once she got to a walking distance of him, she halted the horse, jumped down and after rubbing his flank and giving him a pat down, she hurried towards him.

“Shifu,” she said and dropped to her knees whilst also bowing her head.

Chang Shan gave a small start beside him but he focused all his concentration on the Horse Princess Tian Gu. Once again, he noted her distinct blue eyes which were now filled with wonder and excitement as she quietly but joyously surveyed her environment. When she finally noted he was patiently waiting for her to focus her attention on him, she hastily dropped her eyes and put her head back to the ground, a pale flush creeping from her neck onto her cheeks.

“Shifu, forgive me, I have been impertinent,” she whispered.

“No matter. An eager heart is a great vessel for learning as long as the heart is both prudent and cautious.” He paused. “What brings you to Kunlun so soon? What about your men?”

“Shifu, my father got word about the fighting between the Water Kingdoms and prophesied that the main war would start very soon. I therefore requested to come be under your tutelage now. He also sent along half of the men he promised you with their horses. I told them I would come alone to see you and send word to them about where to set up camp.”

Mo Yuan nodded and signalled to Chang Shan who was still looking slightly dazed at the new disciple that had just joined their ranks. “Chang Shan, this is your new junior. Her name is Tian Gu but she will henceforth be known as Eighteenth. Take her to the Gate and give her men directions to the Camp grounds. When you get back, take her to Seventeenth old quarters and get her settled in.”

Chang Shan nodded and with a reassuring smile at the slightly nervous Tian Gu, signalled to her to follow her to do as he had requested.

After they had left, Mo Yuan stood looking slightly pensive at their recently vacated positions near him and wondered what the Horse Princess’ presence would change in their lives. If they survived the war, would it be disruptive to their routines? Maybe, he thought. But as he had come to realize, sometimes disruptions were good.


“A-Li, remember not to disturb your Uncle’s disciples with too many questions. Note that although this trip is a reward for your progress and good behavior during your lessons, you still have to behave at Kunlun,” Ye Hua admonished A-Li as they arrived on school grounds.

“Yes, Father,” A-Li replied.

Next to him Bai Qian laughed. “Ye Hua, I am sure my seniors do not mind A-Li’s antics. Second Senior even told me he likes having him around as he asks intelligent questions.”

“Mother, that is true,” A-Li said excitedly. “I love Kunlun as I get to learn so much from all the various disciples here. And all the disciples adore me, they tell me so.”

“Yes, who wouldn’t love you, my little dumpling,” Bai Qian said and swooped and pulled on his cheek.

Squirming, A-Li proclaimed: “Mother! I am not a dumpling any more. Cheng Yu said I have sprouted like a beanstalk.” A-Li proudly drew himself to his full height and some more as he stood on his tiptoes. “Look, I am almost as tall as you are.”

Teasingly, Bai Qian stopped walking, stood and eyed him comprehensively. “Hmm, although the Prince has gotten taller, he still has a way to go to catch up to me.” Crouching beside him she drew him into a hug. “And no matter how tall you get, you will always be my dumpling.”

Slightly favoring his left side, Ye Hua stood looking at the two of them, his heart full of love and gratitude that he got to have such joy in his life. Preserving this joy was the reason he had come to Kunlun today.

** Last Night **

As had become a tradition of sorts, in the evening, Ye Hua came to Kunlun mountains to see his brother. However tonight, the atmosphere was different than the preceding days. As soon as he sat down, Mo Yuan handed him a dagger.

Examining it carefully, he asked his brother: “Da-Ge, is it who we suspected?”

“Yes, Ye Hua.” Mo Yuan said and gave a short laugh that had no traces of humor. “It is Cheng Yin’s - apparently, it has some fame, this blade. It is also far too convenient that it turned up so fast in the hands of the Ghost Tribe.”

“I will report to Tianjun once day breaks tomorrow. The cogs of the wheel will be set in motion. He will regret his plans, Da-Ge.”

“Yes,” Mo Yuan absentmindedly turned the knife in his hand, looking at the demon markings on the hilt and blade before the dried blood made him throw it on the table in disgust. “I will send it by messenger to the Eastern Water King before their foolish civil war records any further casualties. And we will have to prepare for the war.”

Ye Hua nodded in agreement. “We have all the support from the other clans and our men are ready and eager to go to the camps, Da-Ge. We will crush the Yellow Bastard and all who stand with him.” With a glance at his brother, he continued. “We will also grant mercy to those Demons who have not taken part in his terrible acts or who are ready to surrender.”

Mo Yuan knew Ye Hua was trying to subtly tell him that Shao Wan might be spared despite her participation but he knew her well enough to be certain that she would never surrender nor submit. He had tried his best to prevent this war, but it had been altogether futile from the start. As always, a higher power had other plans for him and in this case, somebody among the Demons had made sure the evidence that would start the war had turned up in the right hands quickly.

Eyes bleak, Mo Yuan turned to his brother. “I am afraid I am not in the mood to spar tonight, Ye Hua.” He shook his head resolutely before Ye Hua could talk. “I am not in discomfort, I just feel I would be more aggressive and I wouldn’t want to hurt you.”

His brothers eyes flashed. “Da-Ge, I knew you were not sparring with your full strength before! If this is practice for a war, why would I want you to hold back?” His voice rising slightly from his suppressed excitement. “Please, Da-Ge, let’s spar.”

The sparring rounds had started the night after their trip to the Horse Kingdom. The third prince, loudly grumbling about a painful backside, had cloud-jumped back to the Celestial Heavens as soon as possible, while Mo Yuan and Ye Hua had enjoyed a leisurely ride back to Kunlun. Over a dinner that Chang Shan had put together, Ye Hua had mentioned that he found it hard to get quality sword practice up in the Heavens and Mo Yuan had suggested a brief sparring session. Both of them had enjoyed it so much that it had soon turned into a nightly ritual. Mo Yuan had always been careful not to use his full powers. But tonight, he was filled with such despair he was afraid he would take it out on the wrong person.

He glanced up at Ye Hua, who had stood up despite his words and had tied his robe more securely across his torso.

"No, Ye Hua.” He tried one last time to dissuade his brother, but he could tell it was a lost cause.

"Yes, Da-Ge." Ye Hua responded stubbornly and summoned his sword.

Mo Yuan stood up with a sigh and summoned his own sword, the weight a perfect heft in his hand and he felt the blood rush to his head. Maybe this was a good idea after all. He raised the sword up till the hilt was in front of his chin and with a small wave, motioned to Ye Hua.

Ye Hua charged at him, his sword flashing by his side as he ran and with a yell swung his sword upwards, where it was blocked, the two swords connecting tightly. Mo Yuan pushed Ye Hua back, their feet generating sparks from the friction on the ground till Ye Hua found a small opening and twisted away.

“Attack me,” Mo Yuan said, sliding into a defensive position and raising the sword’s tip slightly. “Use all of-“

Ye Hua moved faster than anticipated, lunged forward in the middle of his sentence and with this momentum, he managed to slip under Mo Yuan’s guard. He turned his brother’s blade aside easily, but slightly more hastily than he would have liked, and the move slightly unbalanced him.

The keen-eyed Ye Hua saw the opening and attacked once more, this time viciously swinging his sword low, with short jabs that were parried with equal force and fury. He suddenly shifted and leaped over Mo Yuan - but before he could strike, Mo Yuan struck him on his chest before leaping back.

Slowly, Ye Hua moved towards Mo Yuan, the two men stealthily circling each other.

Suddenly, Mo Yuan leaped in the air, twirling around with amazing speed, slamming his blade against Ye Hua who stumbled backwards slightly from the force of the blow. Mo Yuan pressed forward his advantage and feinted a strike to Ye Hua’s left before delivering a sharp blow to his brother’s rib cage.

The training session was over after that.

Mo Yuan crouched next to a winded Ye Hua in concern. “Ye Hua, I hope you’re not too hurt. Do you want me to heal you?”

Ye Hua waved his concerns away. “Da-Ge, this is minor compared to other injuries I have sustained.” He stood up slowly and Mo Yuan leant forward to help him up. “From now when we spar, I would not like you to go easy on me. That’s the only way I can learn.”

“Ye Hua, you are already one of the best swordsmen I have ever faced. You have tremendous speed and technique. All you need is is time and experience to hone your skills.”

Ye Hua bowed. “Thank you. Da-Ge-” he hesitated and then continued. “Could I ask for one more favor?”

** Present Time **

Ye Hua looked around surreptitiously as Bai Qian finished greeting and chatting with one of her seniors who already had an impatient A-Li tugging at his robes. This was not either of the ones Ye Hua was most familiar with but apparently his son was indeed on great terms with all of them. Finally, the disciple bowed and left the room, a chattering A-Li in tow.

Still smiling faintly in the departed boy’s direction, his brother asked him if he had delivered the message to Tianjun.

“Yes, Da-Ge. He is going to call a council tomorrow - a formality but the protocols have to be observed. I expect the war summons to be delivered to the Demon Overlord post haste once the agreement is reached.”

All traces of humor gone, Mo Yuan nodded. “So be it.”

Bai Qian turned to Ye Hua, eyes bright. “Finally it begins!” She turned to Mo Yuan. “Shifu, I can’t wait to be on the battlefield with both of you.”

Ye Hua drew her close and held her palm. “Qian Qian, I do not think you should go on this war.”

She drew her hand away and stared at him, a resolute expression on her face. “I am going.”

“Qian Qian-”

“You promised me Ye Hua.”

“Qian Qian, I know, but now things have changed...”

She started drumming her fingers on the table, a frenetic staccato beat that had Ye Hua wincing inwardly as the tempo increased. “Changed?” she asked, her voice deadly quiet. “I refuse to be treated like a child, Ye Hua.”

“Qian Qian, think of A-Li, think of the baby, your health-”

“Ye Hua!” She shouted and half stood.

Helplessly, Ye Hua turned and pleaded Mo Yuan with his eyes to intervene. His brother answered with a barely perceptible nod.

“Seventeenth, please calm down.”

Her Shifu’s voice had the expected effect. She nodded and sat back down, shrugging off Ye Hue’s hand as he tried to grasp hers again.

“Seventeenth, I think Ye Hua has a point. The two of you, going off to the battlegrounds together would be too risky. Where would you leave A-Li? And you also have to protect your health for your growing baby.”

“Shifu,” she said and bowed and then straightened, her back ramrod straight. “Shifu, I have heard your worries and I understand them. I have a question, if I was not pregnant would you have the same concerns?”

Mo Yuan shook his head. “No, you were one of my best students, you are very capable.”

“Thank you, Shifu.” She finally turned to an abject Ye Hua. “I am the former Gu Gu of Qing Qiu, the only High Goddess in the Heavens. Ye Hua, I can take care of myself. A-Li is going to be safe and Cheng Yu will be there to monitor him. Also, my being pregnant is not a disease. I still have 2 years of pregnancy to go! I will not sit in the Heavens and drive myself crazy worrying about you and Shifu on the battlefield away from me.”


Shaking her head she interjected. “Shifu, I am sorry, but my mind is made up.” Smiling a mischievous smile she continued, “and you know your little Seventeenth always gets her way.”

Ye Hua saw from his brother’s expression that he would not further press this point. That easily, the God of War was defeated? His wife sure was something. His heart still trembling, he lifted her hands to his lips. “Qian Qian, I was not trying to give you orders. I just want you safe.”

Her eyes softening, she stared deep into his eyes: “Ye Hua, I am safe wherever you are. Don’t you get that? Never again do I want you to be in danger while I pace and worry myself sick. I am not an egg.” She laid her second hand over his. “I love you so much, don’t deny me this.”

Ye Hua nodded in resignation, his brother’s words from the previous night ringing in his ears: I will try and help you dissuade her from going off to fight, brother, but I must tell you and I feel you know this - once Bai Qian makes up her mind to do something, she does not change it.

Yes, he thought, Qian Qian’s mind was made up. Fine. If this was decided, he would start planning the logistics of her trip. Better she went along properly, else she might sneak off and just follow them only half-prepared.

“Da-Ge, we will take our leave now. I will come back in the evening,” he told his brother, who nodded, his expression unreadable. Ye Hua was wondered where to find A-Li when he heard his voice chattering excitedly and soon enough he walked in the room accompanied by a woman in school clothes, whom he recognized after a short moment of confusion.

“Father Lord, Mother! I just met Uncle’s new disciple! Do you know she can ride a horse standing up? And she has gloves on both her hands! She fights with two swords at once!” Practically levitating with excitement, he clapped his hands together.

“A-Li,” Ye Hua said softly and instantly the boy recovered his poise.

“High God Mo Yuan, Father Lord I am sorry for bursting into the room unannounced,” he bowed.

“Shifu,” Ye Hua heard Bai Qian call his brother, “You got a female disciple?” she asked incredulously.

“Seve- Crown Princess, yes, I did. Please meet the youngest daughter of Horse King Tian Sun, ruler over the Xì Mǎ Yú clan, Princess Tian Gu, my eighteenth disciple.”

Ye Hua bent and whispered into her ear, “I will tell you all about it when we get back to the Heavens. Let us go.”

She shook her head. “Not yet,” she whispered back and stood up to examine the Horse Princess properly.

“Crown Princess Bai Qian,” Tian Gu bowed. “It is such an honor to meet you.”

Bai Qian nodded and looked her over intently. “When did you get to Kunlun?”

“This morning, Crown Princess. I have been shadowing second Senior and arranging my things in the East corner room.”

Ba Qian frowned. “I see,” she said as she snapped her fan closed. She turned to Mo Yuan. “Shifu, you put her in Seventeenth old room?”

Mo Yuan cleared his throat. “Yes. It is the most private room for her.”

Bai Qian turned back to the Horse Princess. “Then I hope you will feel at home here soon. No other place in all the realms compares to Kunlun.” After another moment of staring at the Princess, she turned to her husband. “Ye Hua, I am ready to go now.”

They all bowed to Mo Yuan and started to walk out of Kunlun Hall. Only A-Li ran and whispered something into Tian Gu’s ear before joining them again. Whatever he said, it caused the Princess to smile broadly, her whole face lighting up.

“A-Li, what did you tell the Princess?” Bai Qian asked, her eyes full of curiosity.

“I told her not to forget that I was the first here at Kunlun to ask to court her! Mother, I have learned my lesson from my experience with the Demon High Goddess.”


Ye Hua burst into laughter and gathered his family close as they cloud jumped back home.

Chapter 77