Fanfiction: Mo Yuan and Shao Wan - Chapter 88 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 88

written by MiniOrchid
edited by kakashi and Panda

Monsters come in many forms...

Most are made up, of course. Parents, grandparents, and elders told us these stories when we were children, often to keep our behavior in check. Monsters will come to get you....they often said…

Like folklore to remind us not to lie, to steal, or wander off with strangers; these tales are used to control the unfavorable habits in our youth, because Monsters will go after those who stray away from the rightful path.

There are other stories, we learned, like those about the unknown dangers lurking in the shadows. Stories that were passed down through generations, becoming folklore that never goes away, no matter how ancient it may be. These oral stories, some of which never had the chance to be written down can change over time, but never their core: the lessons remain the same.

What all these dark tales have in common, is the emotions they instill in the listeners. An emotion unlike any other, because it causes one to flee, to hide, or in the worst case…to freeze.

As one matures, these stories, tales, or folklore have less powers over the mind. We dismiss them with logic. But despite rationality, reasoning or wisdom, the same unsettling emotion will rise when we are most powerless. No...not just powerless...but vulnerable, so that who once was powerful can only quiver. A feeling that cannot be rationalized. Like when you look into a mirror, and believe you see a dark shadow from the corner of your eye. The same intuition that causes one to tremble during childhood, because of the invisible lurking monster at one’s door.

Fear… an instinctive emotion, a survival instinct of humanity, beasts, and immortals alike.

The most powerful sensation, which can cause anyone to cower in fright yet can cause others to rise beyond and above one’s capability.

If anything, he wanted it to be the latter, as they faced the Monster that was after them. The Demon who came to terrorize the innocence of the night. Ruthlessly, savagely, it killed whoever dared to block its path. It was powerful, with a killing aura that was unlike anything he had known. The heated dark cloud of vibrant red and black glowed, like a demonic shadow capturing the host within its grasp.

It was was petrifying...but the most frightening thing of all was not the victims or the blood pooled at its feet. It was the Monster’s murderous ferocious eyes. Eyes that certainly contained killing aura, yet the joy and satisfaction that appeared with each torturous kill set him apart from other common savage beasts. It relished the blood on its hands, tasting and smelling the fresh life essence of its victims. The Monster had no soul, no humanity.

They tried, desperately, to escape, away from the Monster that left countless deaths along its path of destruction. He knew what it wanted, but he couldn’t let the Monster have what it desired.

Never would he allow it to have its way, not unless he took his last breath. Though he himself had no fear of death, his distress stemmed from his lack of power to protect what he held dear. He could not let those who had sacrificed their lives to let them escape die in vain. Their cries would forever haunt his soul. Yet, there was no one left to block its path. The Monster had caught up with them. He was at a disadvantage, because he was powerless in this realm; but he couldn’t, he wouldn’t back down, nor would he cower in fear.

“Take her to safety!” He yelled at Fiery Qilin. The terrified beast fled as fast as its flames could take it, with the precious cargo on its back. He had to buy them time.

He turned to face the predator, his sword rose, directed at the Demon, the very evil that passed across this land to slaughter its people. She had told him this day would come. It was his destiny...his fate...
He flew up high to attack, but was held back by the invisible magic shield. With a wave of the Demon’s hand, he was blasted with magic, fell back on the ground. Undeterred, he immediately stood up to run at his opponent again, but the Demon pivoted back, grabbed the blade with his fingers. With ease, the sword was broken in two by the Demon, his hand quickly caught his neck, choking him. With the broken sword, the Demon stabbed his chest, making him cry out.

He was dropped to the ground. Unimaginable pain pierced his body as blood oozed from the wound. Yet, he would not yield. Though fear could paralyze, strength could emerge when protective instincts took hold. He would never let this Monster near her. He grabbed the other piece of the broken blade and tried to attack the Demon, but he saw him coming and kicked away the broken blade in his hand, then cruelly removed the embedded blade from his chest. Falling to his knees, he coughed up pools of blood. Despite knowing his end was near, he refused to give up. With all the strength he could muster, he stood up again, ready to continue to fight the Demon before him.

Dark eyes narrowed, the Demon gave a sinister laugh, amused by his stance. “Persistent, heroic, you’re definitely one of his. Has the Monk taught you nothing but to seek your own demise? What purpose does self-sacrifice even serve?”

Inhaling deeply despite the pain, with a renewed sense of purpose, he spoke in a clear concise voice, ignoring the throbbing pain in his chest. “Shifu taught us plenty, but giving up was never among these things,” he answered coolly, “You have to kill me first.”

“ you do seek your own end, how amusing…,” the Demon smiled, raising his brows at his prideful stance, his eyes lighting up with the passion of a predator once again. “But death will be too easy...boring for the likes of you. I don’t normally leave witnesses, but given the amount of loyal dogs I’ve killed, I will make an exception tonight.”

Before he could catch what the Demon meant, a hand flew towards him like a whip, his neck was caught. He fought against the hold, but as he struggled to break free, the grip only tightened. He was pushed back until his body slammed against a tree, leaves raining down from the impact. Their bodies almost touching, their heads side by side,the Demon turned to stare into his glowering eyes. He tried to attack, but his body was held in place with magic.

A dangerous gleam came into the Demon’s eyes, like a predator who was ready to devour its prey. “Let me show you what’s worse than death,” the Demon whispered.

Eyes widening in shock, he couldn’t comprehend what the Demon wanted, but he knew it would not be pleasant. As if on cue, he felt an agonizing stabbing pain within his body, making him groan in distress. His body tried to react like an animal caught in a snare, to fight for its life, but he couldn’t as he was held in place. It first started with the tip of his fingers, then grew, as the magical attack traveled through his body. The world around him was gone and he was surrounded by nothing. He heard nothing, knew nothing, but only the fire, which burned, and intense blinding agony. Unable to withstand the torturous torment, his consciousness began to slip.

But he tried to hold on, to keep himself awake despite the horror he was subjected to. Once finished, the Demon let go of his magic hold. The world began to spin, his body collapsed on the dimly lit forest floor.

Lying with piercing pain, then becoming numb, immobilized, the last frightening image before he descended into darkness was the Monster heading towards her. His mind roared with fury, but he couldn’t utter the words, no sound came out.

He had failed to protect her after all...he was fated to never see her again.


He must have gone to the underworld…

But why...what had he done to deserve it? He didn’t remember being sentenced to the depth of hell. His rational mind told him it must be a nightmare, a nightmare he couldn’t wake up from, no matter how much he willed his mind.

Within his dark dream, the Monster appeared once more. Next to him was a child who was sobbing, begging. What was she begging for? What was she crying about? He didn’t know, because he couldn’t hear. He tried to get closer, but his body wouldn’t cooperate. They started to move away...desperately he screamed her name, but no voice came out.

He had to save her...he had to protect her...they were getting away.

He had to go after them! But he couldn’t get any closer….their image became distant. He realized he couldn’t move, why? Had the Demon cast a binding spell?

His mind continued to scream against the magic that took hold, but it was too late. They had completely disappeared before his eyes.…it couldn’t be! He couldn’t be too late...he had to save her...

He had to move!

“Qiao Er…Qiao Er…,” Shang Ling murmured, his eyes fluttering open. Zi Lan, with a concerned look, stared down from above. “16th?” he gasped.

“Senior, you’re finally awake.” 16th sounded relieved, yet a pained expression remained.

“Where’s Qiao Er?” Shang Ling asked, then he remembered what had happened. “Zi Lan…you have to save her! The Demon King...he...he…,” he tried to rise, but his breath was short. 16th laid a comforting hand on his chest.

“So it was the Demon King…,” 16th expression changed to dread. “Senior...calm down, you’re still in shock,” 16th pleaded.

In his struggle and confusion, Shang Ling was unable to remain calm. “Where is she? Did they take her? Did they…,” he was cut short due to uncontrollable coughing.

16th’s eyes closed briefly as he forced himself to say the dreadful words in answer, “I’m sorry, Qiao Er isn’t here...she...Senior, the Demon King took her.”

How could that be? She must be frightened, terrified. The Monster now held her within his palms. Shang Ling hadn’t been able to protect her. It was his fault.

“We have to get her back! He’s a Monster! He’ll kill her!” Shang Ling cried again, trying to move but he still couldn’t. “We have to save her!”

“Senior! You’re still injured! We will get her back, I promise you that,” Zi Lan told him reassuringly, but they both knew it wouldn’t be easy. The Demon Realm was not a place they could easily enter. The Yellow Demon King was too powerful, even their Master had yet to defeat him.

“I should’ve protected her...I came back...I tried…,” he groaned, his breath remaining labored.

“Senior why are you here?” Shang Ling heard 16th ask. “You left days ago...Qiao Er warned you to leave Ghost Realm for your protection.”

Indeed, Shang Ling had left. She had warned him about her visions. Qiao Er had begged him to leave that very night after she had seen his fate. Images that had haunted her, visions that had made her cry in his arms. She had told him that as long as he stayed away from her, he’d be able to live. But every cell in his body knew she would be endangered. He couldn’t sit quietly in his realm knowing she may be endangered.

“I couldn’t...I couldn’t leave her alone. I knew her visions, but even if I were to die, it would be my destiny.”

“Did you try to change your fate?” Zi Lan asked, his voice careful, his mysterious eyes hardening with an unrelenting glare.

“It was not my intention. I only wanted to protect her,” Shang Ling tried to shake his head but realized he couldn’t. “The Demon King decided to spare me, but he said he wanted to show me what’s far worse than death.”

Zi Lan brow furrowed at his words, but he remained silent.

“16th…?” Shang Ling rasped.

An unsettling feeling began to creep through his nerves, despite the numbness that lingered. It was eating at him, all the signs were there. He had tried to rationalize, to explain away the obvious symptoms. Shang Ling realized the truth, even when his mind attempted to conceal it upon his first awakening.

Should he dare ask? To be made aware of the evidence before him? But he had to know...

“Zi Lan, why can’t I move?”


“Your Highness.” Xiu Tao, the third Xiu sister, bowed just outside the private quarters. “The Generals have arrived, they are waiting at the battle arena with the rest of the warriors. Everything is prepared.”

“Tell them I will be there soon,” Yan Zhi said curtly, as she started removing the amor she had worn for over two days. She had not slept, no one had. Changing to royal garb, she could hear the heavy commotion from the distance. Her warriors had indeed all gathered today. matter what society, culture or era...had always been entertainment. Nothing drew more people to the front row seats than watching another member of society at the last moment of his life. It had been highly encouraged by the past authorities for the people to watch, to witness how the lives of those who broke the laws were ended in the most dishonorable way.

Today’s execution was no exception, but it also was special. Si Ma Zhijie (四马支解, Four Horse Dismemberment) was a rare occasion to behold, but what made this event like no other was the sheer number of those sentenced to death in this manner. Ropes tied to their hands and feet, the ends attached to horses, they would be torn apart into four quarters. Without an intact body, their souls would forever be damned. It was an excruciating and painful death and others who were also sentenced were made to witness.

Scheduled for the early dawn, the war horses were gathered within the battle arena. The prisoners had been stripped off their armor, because traitors did not have the right to die in their glory. No...they would die in shame for their actions - actions against their own kind.

Qiao Er, the young Ghost Princess, had been taken during the night. Not only had it been unanticipated, they had been taken off guard. The enemy had help from the inside. While her warriors were distracted by a new attack, the Demon King himself had used the opportunity to kidnap Qiao Er, and had left a bloody trail of destruction in his wake. Qilin had yet to awake from his injuries, while 4th Disciple Shang Ling was left paralyzed. The Demon King had not only used but also double crossed his own puppets. His people had retreated soon after he had gotten what he had come for, leaving the decoys at the mercy of Yan Zhi’s forces.

Yan Zhi had known this day would come...but this time, there was no silver lining. Fate no longer tolerates inference.

Their many attempts to change events had caused a chain reaction of unprecedented consequences. Predictions became harder as destiny was steered in directions that were not intended.

This time, they had been unprepared.

“Yan Zhi, you have to stop this!” Zi Lan, with a distressed expression, stormed into her quarters as she was about to depart for the arena. Though understanding his agitation, she was not fazed by his outburst.

“Why? I was the one who ordered the execution,” she responded calmly, “If not for them, Qiao Er wouldn’t have been taken.”

“There are better ways to end their lives, why Si Ma Zhijie?” he asked, apprehension in his eyes.

“For millennia, this has been the execution method used on traitors in our realm.” Yan Zhi shrugged coldly. “Si Ma Zhijie is more lenient than what my people would prefer. They already suggested feeding the prisoners to our beasts.”

Yan Zhi walked passed him, but Zi Lan grabbed her arm.

“If you need to execute in this manner to appease your people, then execute the leaders, the followers are innocent!” he tried to bargain, to justify. “We both know Cheng Yin manipulated them!”

Yan Zhi turned to face him, her cold eyes glowering. “Are they really innocent?” A cynical chuckle escaped her, her expression soon turned to resentment. “Were they threatened to join these so called leaders?”

“No…but they surrendered…and gave us their intel,” he countered. “We should show leniency.” Yan Zhi snatched her arm away, cutting him off.

“Everyone makes their own choices in life, and they chose the wrong person to follow. But no one forced them to carry those weapons and to help the enemy invade the land of our people, and to take my child!” She roared, visibly quivering with rage that she could no longer suppress.

“Zhi’er, I’m sorry I did not protect her like I promised.” Zi Lan was blaming himself, as he always did. But him taking responsibility couldn’t lessen the anger within her. In fact, it infuriated her even more. His noble righteous act only inflamed her senses, heightening the dark emotions that were ready to burst forth.

“Zi Lan, you’re wrong. I am not executing them to appease my people...I’m doing this because I want to.” Her ruthless statement took Zi Lan by surprise. His body tensed, he staggered back, but she wouldn’t let him. With his collar caught in her hand, Yan Zhi pulled him towards her, fiery eyes locked onto his, wanting him to understand the choice she had made.

Her tone was fierce yet passionate, underlined with velvet iciness that could chill a person’s soul. “I want to hear their cries when they beg for mercy. To see the fear in their eyes before they are torn to pieces by the horses. The battle arena today will be bathed in the traitor’s blood.”

“Yan Zhi, this is not you…,” Zi Lan shook his head in disbelief. “Please don’t do this,” he implored.

“Me? Who am I really?” Yan Zhi demanded to know. In his eyes, she had always been pure. Zi Lan did not want to see her flaws, nor her strengths...nor the darkness within her wholesome appearance. Grasping his collar, she tightened her hold. “I may not be her real mother, but she took her first breath in my arms,” she whispered. At the memories, hot tears threatened to swell, but she blinked them away.

Swallowing hard, her voice quivered with the visions of the unfortunate child, who had become her whole life. “The first time her tiny hand grasped my fingers. Her first walk. Her first words...the first time she called me mom. She’s mine, and they helped that Monster take her!” she thundered, releasing her hold.

Yan Zhi turned to leave, but Zi Lan caught her hand in his, from behind. He squeezed lightly, a grasp of wistful yearning, his silent way of begging her to change her mind. was too late, there was no mercy left within her. “There will be no clemency to those who betrayed our people.” Her misty eyes closed briefly, yet there was no regret for the words spoken, “I will make them pay...a thousand times more than the suffering they put her through.”

“Zhi’er...I beg you, don’t let darkness take away your light,” he pleaded in despair.

“My people rose on this land from fire and smoke. I need no light. Don’t forget, I am the future Queen of the Ghost Tribe. I’ve been more than patient with the likes of them. All we’ve been doing is defending our borders. It’s time we stopped playing the prey. I may not have started this war, but in the name of my Ancestors, I will end it.”

Snatching her hand away, she strode passed him, pausing only at the entrance. “Zi Lan, they took Qiao Er...our soul no longer matters. Please don’t interfere.”


“The Yellow Demon Lord wants us to swear fealty to him,” General Yang announced loudly, with the letter in his hand, delivered by the demon warrior that morning. “Despicable, using a child as a hostage,” he seethed under his breath as he handed her the letter.

The Generals and Senior warriors were gathered within the Ziming Throne room, discussing their next course of action. The execution the day before had done nothing to improve their spirit, except for satisfying their bloodlust. Their beloved young Princess had been taken, and no one could breathe comfortably knowing they had failed to prevent the kidnapping of their royal.

General Yu shook his head, his face hardened. “Time again and again, they lost, despite the reinforcement they had. The Yellow Demon King must have lost his patience. He must have come to the realization that the incompetent puppets could not take control of the Ghost Realm. It was a drastic measure from an unstable man.”

“What he can’t have, he will destroy,” Yan Zhi stated quietly. She knew the kind of man Cheng Yin was. He was just like the men she grew up with, the ones who would rather see rivers of innocent blood, than to lose. Men like her father, who would take any measure to be on top, even throwing away kinship and humanity.

“Luckily for us, we came across a valuable intel.” General Yu said and handed a scroll to Yan Zhi fto read.

“You know where the Princess is kept?” General Zhao asked the older man.

General Yu gave a heavy sigh. “Yes, but that was the only positive news.”

“What is the bad news?” General Zhao asked cautiously.

Hands tightening on the opened scroll, Yan Zhi couldn’t controlled her body so as to not tremble. “The Demon King has sealed Qiao Er at the Diushi Mogui Ta,” she announced, hardly believing her words.

“Diushi Mogui Ta…,” other warriors gasped in agitation, and their reaction was warranted.

Diushi Mogui Ta (丢失魔鬼塔, Lost Devil Tower), was the prison of Demon Immortals who lost their sanity and self control when their cultivation became imbalanced - either by practicing dark arts they were too weak to handle, due to lack of understanding of cultivation energy, or when they chose to break a taboo to gain cultivation. Those who could not regain their senses were imprisoned there, away from civilized society. Qiao Er was now surrounded by those who were worse than monsters, with nothing left of their humanity, with no sanity.

Her child, her only kin...her weakness...

As long as they both lived, Qiao Er’s life would always be threatened by those who wished them harm. To submit to that Monster would do nothing to change that fact. To pay fealty to a Tyrant would never protect those she held dear, just the opposite. She may not be powerful, a High God…yet she would never give in to threats.

Never submit...that is the true warriors way

“We will not swear fealty to the Demon. There will be no negotiation. We are not letting the Princess of our Tribe remain there as a hostage, we will get her back. The Demon Lord has made a grave error by crossing us. He has waged war upon our people,” she declared. “General Yang will remain behind in the Ghost Realm as our backup. The rest of you, ready your best warriors. You are all dismissed.”

“Yes! Your Highness!”

As the warriors left, Yan Zhi gestured for General Yu to remain.

“I have a matter to discuss with you,” Yan Zhi told him quietly.

The General Yu bowed. “At your service, Your Highness.”

“Place a seal over Zi Lan’s quarters,” she ordered.

“Your Highness…?” his eyes widened with uneasiness, but quickly changed after she narrowed her eyes. “I will do as you asked.”

Chapter 89