Fanfic: Mo Yuan and Shao Wan 2.0 - Chapter 1 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 1

written by kakashi
editing/consulting LigayaCroft & Panda

“It’s been several days, Ye Hua.”

“Yes, Qian Qian, I know.”

“Then do something, Ye Hua!”

“What will you have me do, Qian Qian? Break into the cave?”

“Yes!”, Bai Qian exclaimed, sounding close to tears, “yes, you break into the cave and check on your Da-ge! It is your duty as his younger brother.”

Ye Hua’s sounded exasperated as he tried to convince his unusually emotional wife that it was better manners to let Mo Yuan reemerge from seclusion at his own convenience. Any man had a right to be left in peace if he wished for it, he added, especially after sacrificing so much for the realms. If Mo Yuan was free of the curse, he would come out - if not, he would stay in. “It’s as simple as that,” Ye Hua concluded, though he sounded somewhat doubtful as he said it.

Mo Yuan took a deep breath and opened his eyes. His brother and his wife had returned to Kunlun during the evening hours for the fifth day in a row and their ceaseless arguments outside his meditation cave had gotten more heated with each visit. Surely, they must know he could hear every word they were saying?

He could not bring himself to face them yet. He needed more time.

But he also knew he could not let this go on for much longer. They had come because they worried about him and it was not right that he let their worries continue.

“If you do nothing, I will get Zhe Yan!” Bai Qian declared. She had stepped much closer to his opaque shield - her voice sounded less muffled, almost as if she were speaking to him directly. His brave little Seventeenth. He dreaded their next meeting. The things he had said to her…he was so ashamed.

“That won’t be necessary, I am here already,” said a third voice outside. Zhe Yan had arrived. “Has he snapped out of it?”

“We don’t know!” Bai Qian said, “Old Phoenix, please go in and see how he is.”

Mo Yuan braced himself. His shields were strong, but if two High Gods plus one with almost High God powers set their minds to breaking it, it might not hold.

“Ah, but he’ll come out when he’s ready,” Zhe Yan said unexpectedly mild.

“That is what I also…”

“Ye Hua!” Bai Qian snapped at her husband, “we don’t have all the time in the world. Would you want to miss singing a lullaby to our little one? It’s soon nighttime… even though night is not something you people in the Heavens are graceful enough to provide to people like me who are used to and like the soothing dark.”

“But I…”

“Do not worry, Xiaowu,” Zhe Yan assuaged her, “I will keep vigil here and if the Master of Kunlun Mountains shows his serene face, I will check every inch of him to make sure he is alright. If he’s not, I will do everything within my powers to make him alright. How does that sound?”

“But Old Phoenix…what if...”

“Have faith in me, Xiaowu. I will handle all the what ifs while you and your illustrious husband enjoy the ever bright night at your palace. Mo Yuan will be alright. I vouch for it.”

Zhe Yan did not risk anything making that promise: Of course, Mo Yuan would pretend he was alright, because that was expected of him. But in truth... he was certain he would never be alright again. For how could he be?

Shao Wan was gone.

And it had been him who had killed the only thing that could make him whole with his own hands.


There was a scathing pain at his back, then a light tickling as liquid ran down his skin.

The first thing that returned to him was his sense of smell. The cave, it smelled like rock and wax. When he opened his eyes, there were colors again too. The faint light of the candles, the golden shimmer of the shield at the entrance, its rippling reflection dancing across the cave walls.

Then the memories followed.

All of them, at once.

Followed by his emotions.

All of them. Freed at once.

He wasn’t prepared for it at all.

To scatter into the forget everything...this time for was it done?


Ye Hua and Bai Qian had left a while ago, but Zhe Yan was still there, waiting, clearing his throat every so often, steadily increasing the volume.

Mo Yuan wasn’t ready to face people from his old life at all, but maybe he would never be. Cowardice was not in his nature though and it was beginning to look even to himself like he was hiding.

“Come on in then,” he said with a voice hoarse from being unused for so long and took down the shield with a flick of his wrist.

Zhe Yan came rushing in immediately, his face showing concern. “Are you back?”

“I was never gone.“

“Oh, you have no idea,” his old friend said and peered into his face with a frown. “Never do anything like this again, you hear me? Even if it means losing.”

“I cannot prom…”

“Oh, shush,“ he was rudely interrupted. “Enough is enough. You should finally retire, like me and Donghua. We don’t need a God of War anymore. Nobody will ever go to war against us again, you scared them all for good. Undress, please.”

Mo Yuan shrugged out of his robe without another word. He noticed with disgust that some black substance had sullied the garment at the back. It must be from the poisonous ink leaving his body earlier. Looking at it, he shuddered. Retire? It sounded very tempting.

Zhe Yan looked him over, touching him rather roughly here and there to measure energy flows, checking his tongue, his nails, his eyes, then used soul search to check on the status of his soul essence.

“As good as new,” the physician nodded, sounding somewhat surprised. “I made a special elixir, but you don’t seem to need it. You’re brimming with cultivation. And you remember everything?”

By the Old Ones, he did. In horrifying detail.

“Good. I will get Donghua now.”

“What for?” Mo Yuan got up from the platform and went to the cabinet in the corner to get a new robe. He would burn the old one, tonight. It probably was only his imagination, but it emitted a smell that reminded him of the piles of poisoned bodies on the battlefield. He chose a light yellow one, the closest color to white he possessed. He also chose a simple wooden headpiece to bring his hair into order.

When his eyes fell on the glittering rainbow flask on one of the shelves he braced himself by grabbing onto the cabinet’s wooden frame. Not a moment too soon: His inner Dragon‘s grief that instantly flooded his senses like a tidal wave made him stagger and almost lose his footing.

“To appreciate the proper length of your regrown hair... No, actually, to drink with us.” Zhe Yan took three bottles of peach wine from his sleeve pocket. “You can thank me later.“

Mo Yuan managed to nod despite the blinding headache, but he had to grit his teeth against an urge to moan in pain.

“I will give you the elixir after all“, Zhe Yan frowned and pointed at Mo Yuan‘s face. Blood trickled from his nose. He brushed it away with the back of his hand. Pretending to be alright wasn’t going so well.


As soon as the curse was lifted, Golden Dragon crawled out from underneath the earth magic that had so brutally subdued him for one hundred years, shaking and crying. He was weak, so very weak and so incredibly sad. His Fenghuang had given her life for the realms, she had died for all of them.

She had tricked him.

“You bloody fool,” he shouted at his higher form, “she knew exactly how to use your stupidity for her heroics.”

Yes. She had used him.

“I smell her! I smell her!” Golden Dragon cried, trying to make him transform. But he had no powers at his disposal.

It was the rainbow flask that agitated him. It lay next to the meditation platform on the ground. It had been put in the cave by someone, but when Mo Yuan had come here after the Purple Queen’s coronation ceremony, he had simply brushed it away, not knowing what it meant to him.

Now, he knew what it meant to him, but the memories were too painful.

Suppressing his Dragon’s howling agony, Mo Yuan stowed the flask away into the cupboard. Before closing the door, he hesitated. Cautiously, he touched the bottle with his spiritual sense. There was something about it… there was…

“My Fenghuang!” Golden Dragon sobbed as he lurched forward. Instant pain made it feel like his head had been split open by an axe. Quickly, Mo Yuan slammed the doors shut and established control over his true form.

It was tempting to let himself drown in sorrow. A man could lose all reason like this. But that would not bring her back either...there was no point.


It was the middle of the night and Kunlun Hall was dark and deserted. Everything looked so familiar and yet felt so different. Of all his old disciples, only Second remained here. Kunlun was his only home, Changshan had sobbed on his knees when Mo Yuan had declared the School closed forever, and he would stay until the end of his days.

“If you find students to teach, teach them,” Mo Yuan had told him impatiently, “I do not care.” He had only wanted to take off his borrowed armor, lock the cave behind himself and never come out again.

On the students’ desks in the hall, he saw scrolls and writing utensils. Mo Yuan gazed at the dark dais, and at the crane screen behind. It no longer felt like he had a place there. It was good he had found a worthy successor.

“Let’s sit outside,” Zhe Yan announced and gestured to the low table they had often sat at for festivities. “It’s particularly mild today and I get a feeling we need to keep you from moodily staring at things in here.”

As soon as they had sat down and Zhe Yan had set a bottle of peach wine in front of Mo Yuan with a mumbled “here you go, it’ll do you good”, Donghua Dijun materialized in a cloud of silver smoke not far from them and strolled over.

“Am I late? Oh…look who has gotten his soul back already. I must say, it’s a huge improvement from the 70,000 years it took you last time.”

Zhe Yan threw Donghua Dijun a bottle and uncorked his with his teeth. “A special vintage. I kept it for the birth of my children, but I don’t think Zhen Zhen will give me any. Mo Yuan’s recovery is almost as important as the birth of a child I will never have - so here is to you, Mo Yuan. May Fate leave you alone now.”

“To think everybody was always so jealous of him…” Donghua tilted his head a little and squinted at Mo Yuan.

“She gives and she takes,” Zhe Yan nodded.

“She always was a bit cruel,” Donghua agreed. “On the upside, you still have us, Mo Yuan. Gānbēi!”

Zhe Yan’s special vintage tasted bitter and Mo Yuan pulled a face at the first sip. He thought it must be one of the Phoenix’ usual pranks, but the liquid had a strong and immediate intoxicating effect anyway. It was very unwise to drink it on an empty stomach. Without hesitation, Mo Yuan emptied the whole bottle without putting it down even once. The liquid burned its way into his stomach and he shivered violently. Mild? It wasn’t mild at all. It was very cold.

His two friends looked at him in silence.

“What do you want me to do? Cry?” he asked them bitterly.

“Yes. If you feel like crying, cry. We won’t tell anyone, won’t we, Donghua.”

“I want nobody’s pity,” Mo Yuan growled.

Zhe Yan sighed. “You certainly won’t get mine. It was very well played by our Meimei. But you can’t deny you gave her a huge opening. She manipulated you expertly.”

“She always knew how to do that like no other,” Donghua nodded and sipped elegantly from his bottle. “Remember that one time she challenged you to sit in a nest of fire ants with her? Epic. What was it…’whoever gets up first, loses’? You fools were in such agony and neither budged.”

Zhe Yan chuckled. “Or that one time you two were sent on a mission by your father and she managed to talk you into dressing up as a woman? What humiliation. She laughed at you for weeks afterwards.”

“Ah, I miss her and her horrible temper,” Donghua said. He lifted his bottle. “To Shao Wan! Savior of the realms. Troublemaker, Queen, laziest student that ever was.”

“I should have let her have that title of ‘First Phoenix’”, Zhe Yan said, looking thoughtful. “She did cultivate in that egg of hers for a very long time after all.”

The effect of the alcohol made Mo Yuan’s head swim. Slowly, he let it sink into his hands.

“How could I,” he whispered, “the woman I love. I wanted to marry her, to spend the rest of my life with her. I even thought...of…a family...I-”

He choked on his own words. The feeling of loss was overwhelming. How could he have looked at her on that battlefield and not known what she meant to him? How could he have only seen that her fire was destructive, concluding she needed to be stopped? He should have found another way. There always was, one only had to look hard enough.

“I am very sorry,” Zhe Yan said and put his hand on his shoulder. “It will be hard for a while, but time will heal all…”

“Don’t even say it,” Mo Yuan said and looked up, feeling unspent anger rise. “You were not there. She gave her life for us and you did not even witness her sacrifice from the safety of your homes. Time will heal nothing. Her sacrifice will always be our shame.”

His two oldest friends had the decency to let their head sink and stop their incessant teasing. Mo Yuan knew he was being unfair - it was his responsibility as the God of War to ensure the peace of the realms, not theirs. Her death was his failing, his burden alone. And yet, the overall Celestial conduct during the war and its aftermath was entirely unpalatable to him.

Suspecting Cheng Yin had deposited his poison in the Heavens as well, Mo Yuan had sent Ye Hua and a full battalion of soldiers up to find and remove it. Found it his brother had, but the removal had not gone so well. It had taken Shao Wan’s firestorm to purge the Thirty Six Heavens of the deadly substance. When he had been forced to pay the Heavenly Lord a visit to report, Mo Yuan had seen the destruction the poison had brought before she had stopped it. And yet, the Heavenly Lord had argued for punishment of all Demon tribes, of complete subjugation and smashing of their ruling clans. Thanks to the curse, Mo Yuan had not held back one bit when telling the Heavenly Ruler what he thought of that idea.

“You are not wrong,” Zhe Yan said quietly. “But I hope you won’t say it as bluntly at your upcoming trial. There are a few who cannot wait to punish you severely for your conduct.”

Mo Yuan snorted in disdain. Of course, Ye Hua’s father Yang Cuo would come hounding him soon. He who was so diligent when it came to the enforcement of the Heavenly law had dared order Mo Yuan to appear in front of Tianjun of Jiuchongtian immediately after the unconditional surrender of the Demon forces. Mo Yuan had ignored him and, when Yang Cuo had followed him around, chattering in agitation about the law and how it also applied to him, had stared him down until the First Prince had shut his mouth and lowered his eyes.

But now, news of his recovery would get to the Heavens very soon and a Celestial messenger was due any time. They would leave him the option to take punishment for using forbidden magic himself - it would be heavy punishment because it was seen as a serious crime - but knowing them, they would strongly suggest he blame it on the Horse Tribe and let them be punished in his stead. Let them try their usual underhanded tricks, he would not bend.

“You are not thinking about refusing the summons, are you?” Donghua asked, bending forward a little, an excited glint in his eyes. “Considering how many people you scandalized up there before you went into seclusion, it would be a seamless transition.”

“‘Degenerate wimps’, was it? Yes, hearing you tell people to their faces what you thought of them was the amusing part of this curse interlude.“ Zhe Yan clicked his tongue.

That had been for the Celestial Princes, Ye Hua excluded. Him, he had called ‘would-be Tianjun’. Another person he owed an apology to.

“I don’t care about punishment,” Mo Yuan shrugged. “I did break the law, so I will do penance.”

“One would think you would have reached the limit of your tolerance for punishment by now,” Zhe Yan sighed, “but apparently not.”

“Do you think I would let an innocent tribe take the fall? I chose this. They can punish me.”

“Innocent tribe? I am not so sure about that,” Donghua said. “Mo Yuan, I did some investigating. I do think you reaching out to them ultimately secured our victory, but...they are a strange lot and...”

“Shifu! Shifu!”

Right on cue, in a whirl of white robes, Tian Gu came running towards them at an astonishingly high speed. Almost falling on top of him in her haste, she grabbed Mo Yuan’s hand and pressed it to her forehead as she bowed deeply.

“I dreamt I heard your voice but then I realized it wasn’t a dream but that you were really talking outside my window! Oh Shifu...are you alright?”

Mo Yuan felt her soul probing like a strong physical slap. Quickly, he drew his hand away and put up his inner wards. Zhe Yan jumped to his feet. “Girl! How dare you! Put your witch magic away or you will end in a Celestial prison.”

“I am sorry!” Tian Gu stammered in horror, slamming her head to the ground and staying down.

Mo Yuan looked at her bent back and sighed deeply. “Eighteenth, have you been well?”

Every single day during the last century, this girl had come to the cave and had talked to him. About her home, her people, her vow. About how sorry she felt that her tribe knew such curses, about how sorry she was he had used one to win - though she wasn’t sorry about the winning - , about how sorry she was that Golden Dragon had lost his Fenghuang. She had told him about her lessons with Changshan and the new pupils, how so many things were very difficult for her, including the vegetarian diet, how strange it was to be the only woman on this mountain, how she missed her home...

It had been endless, completely meaningless chatter to him. And yet, in the darkness that enveloped him, with the memories of his life fading further every day, her voice had been an anchor, a tether keeping him rooted in the Here and Now. She had kept him sane. He should probably be grateful for it.

“Shifu…are you drinking?” the girl asked in horror after peering at him from the ground.

Mo Yuan looked at the empty bottle in front of him and lifted his eyebrows.

“You are not allowed to drink alcohol after the curse!” she said in horror. “You can only drink the purest of water and eat the purest of food. You need to purge yourself of the Chìbǎng poison completely or very bad things can happen to you! Like…” she wrinkled her forehead in deep thought, but did not seem to remember what the consequences could be.

“I can take care of myself, Eighteenth,” Mo Yuan said, “your concern is misplaced.”

“Forgive me,” she murmured, “but please don’t drink anymore.“

Zhe Yan laughed. “As Donghua said, a strange lot.”

“How fitting that she is your last proper disciple,” Donghua remarked with a smirk.

Mo Yuan suppressed another shiver. 70,000 years, 100 years… it didn’t matter how long he turned his back on the realms, when he came back, he started doubting whether he should be here at all.


Somewhere in one of a million mortal realms, she who had once been known as Shao Wan, Demon Ancestor and Savior of the Immortal Realms, spoke her first words with vehemence and clarity when she was only a few months old, scaring her parents greatly. They were: “By Pangu’s hairy balls, not again.”

It was her 551st mortal life and she was thoroughly sick of it already.

Chapter 2