Fanfic: Mo Yuan and Shao Wan 2.0 - Chapter 5 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 5

written by kakashi
Editing by LigayCroft & Panda

“Virtue (de 德), is cultivated through sincere practice and acting with high integrity throughout one’s life. The cultivation of de is what creates the foundation upon which all other cultivation depends. Without de, ascension is not possible.”

“But how?”

“Ah… this is the simplest yet the hardest question a student can ask the teacher. How to walk the right path, always? You must practice sincerity with every step, with every breath you take… you must make it your only state of mind.”

She sighed deeply. “I wish it could simply be purchased and drunk like wine. Pure de for sale! One bottle every night to optimize your cultivation! But, dammit, I’m not even allowed to drink alcohol here. The things I do for you...”

He chuckled. “Still lazy, I see. But you always had it in you, my little phoenix. You are a virtuous, compassionate and pure being by birth. You just always wanted to be contrary…”

His soft caress along her brow was so gentle. She sighed languorously. This. Could this never end? His hand moved to her stomach. “Here. Don’t you feel it? It’s waiting for you. Stop fighting and come to rest. Surrender - you will discover the dao within you. If we trust and surrender to the Life Force, the Life Force will flow into our body-mind.”

“Rest? How can I rest? Dammit, Celestial. You make it sound so easy.”

“Come to me. I will lend you my lap to put your head in. Let go. Close your eyes. Breathe… can you feel your qi?”

His hand spread its warmth and its energy throughout her body. Soon, everything tingled, even the tip of her nose. “Yes,” she breathed, “I feel my qi. Oh… I remember your lessons.”

“I knew you would,” he whispered into her ear, the warm air causing a reaction of goosebumps that quickly spread all over her body. “You’re my favorite student… you’re such a quick study. I feel so proud of you.”

“You like it when I call you Shifu, don’t you,” she whispered back and edged a little closer.

His breathing got heavier. “Oh yes I do…”

Shifu… I miss you so much…”

“Whom are you talking to?”

Shao Wan opened her eyes in shock and blinked at the white-clad students staring down at her. Their eyes were full of menace. Fear rose in her. Her flight instinct told her to jump up and run for her life, but that would have been useless.

“N… nobody,” she stammered and scrambled up from her comfortable bed of grass into a sitting position. Her heart hammered like crazy.

Prince Toot-toot from Hoop-hoop or whatever his name was was a handsome lad, with broad shoulders and skin like silk. But the cruelty in his eyes easily gave away what kind of man he truly was. Moving everywhere with his posse of retainers, he spent every free moment making sure everybody at “the best Taoist School in the world” followed his command. He was the fifth son of some lowly King, but he behaved like he was the Emperor of the whole world.

“Are you crazy?” he asked, squinting at her with disgust screwing up his features. “Orphan boy… just leave. Your stench is making me want to vomit.”

His cronies laughed, always eager to please him. The ugly, echoing sound helped her to remember whom she had been and what she would be again...soon. She had seen men like them a thousandfold and had always made short work of them. Unfortunately, Fate was paying a lot of attention to making her bodily weak else she would have beat them up on the first day.

“Careful,” Mo Yuan whispered into her ear, “they’re too many. Look at yourself. So tiny with no powers. Back down. Walk away.”

What? No. To hell with it.

“You know what, I don’t care anymore. If they kill me, I'll just come back again and find a better school. This one sucks.”

Prince Toot-Toot stared at her. “What did you say?”

“Leave me alone,” Shao Wan said, raising her voice, “or I’ll cut things off you that you value.”

“D… did you just threaten me?” he squealed. His cronies stepped closer, building a protective ring around him, puffing up like blowfishes. She laughed at the sight. “By the Gods, you guys look so ugly when you tense your muscles like this.”

She moved into a defensive stance. There was surprise in their faces. Screw it, she thought, and changed it to an offensive one. Instantly, she felt strong energies flow through her. Where had they come from?

Mo Yuan chuckled. “Your recklessness has always been very attractive. You can beat the one on the left by going for his left leg, he has a weakness there. The one with the large nose… go for the nose. The one...”

Flashing him a thankful smile, she charged forward with a scream. Now that she needed to, she remembered all the moves. There may be not strength behind her kicks and punches, but she would make sure to hurt as many as she could before they overpowered her.


“Lay low!” Mo Yuan commanded her with a sharp whisper as she lifted her head to peek over the ridge.

She glared at him angrily. Who did he think he was?

With a high-pitched scream, she charged forward over the dune they had chosen as their look-out. The sand on the other side was plentiful and to her annoyance, what she had planned as a lightning-quick surprise attack turned into an agonizingly slow stumble down a slope that was much more extensive than she had foreseen.

The bandits below were so surprised when she appeared, they just stared with open mouths… at least for a few moments before they all drew their swords in unison. Screaming seemed a bit silly under the circumstances, so she continued wobbling towards them in silence.

Suddenly, something swooshed passed her… it was the Celestial Bastard. Flying. Why had she not thought of that herself? She joined him quickly, her white robes elegantly whipping behind her in the wind. Much better.

“You reckless fool,” he hissed at her, “what do you not understand about ‘lay low’ and ‘let’s scout them out until we know how many they are’?”

“My foot was falling asleep,” she hissed back, “and I know exactly how many there are. Can you not count? It’s one hundred and twenty four men.”

She must have misunderstood what he said next, because the golden son of Fuxi certainly did not know how to curse like this, or did he?

They reached the men simultaneously and almost as if they had practiced it, they came to stand back-to-back, an optimal position to defend against a large force coming from all sides. It was a warm back the Celestial bastard had, solid and strong.

One hundred and twenty four men were at least fifty too many for the two of them, she soon learned. At least the Celestial bastard kept his mouth shut - because he forced it into a thin line of displeasure - as they were thrown onto a cart, bound tightly and painfully on hands and feet.


Xingming Zhuangxiu (性命雙修), spiritual-nature and life-fate cultivated together. Stillness meditation, internal alchemical meditation, ritual, martial arts, life nourishing through diet, qigong and living in harmony with the seasons and calendar... the hallmark of Taoist cultivation. All taught in this school for wealthy scumbags.

“Well, well, well,” their Shifu hiccuped. He was a surprisingly round man who started drinking from the moment he opened his eyes until he closed them again at night. Maybe he had been a good master when he was younger, but now, he definitely did not deserve the title “Best Taoist Teacher”. There were many legends about him in this world, how he was able to fly like a bird beyond the trammels of the base material world into the realms of aether, and how he nourish himself only on air and dew.

Shao Wan had only ever seen him fly down the stairs and he certainly ate all kinds of things that were impure, but if this was the Best Taoist Master and he had the Best Taoist School in the World, it was whom she needed as her teacher in this life.

She had run away on the day her parents had announced her wedding to the butcher’s third son. That had become a routine in every life of hers - the thought of marital duties did not agree with her. Dressing as a man was her usual defense in all the lives she had lived through too, so she had become rather apt at the breast-binding and the monthly blood-hiding. Her biggest problem, as usual, was money. The school cost a bloody fortune and she had not a penny at her disposal. Of course, Fate wasn’t kind enough to send her next reincarnation to even remotely the same place she had lived in before, so that the money she usually hid underneath a tree at the end of one life never came into her possession in the next life.

“Well, well, well,” Shifu said again and stared into empty space.

“Shifu,” Prince Toot-Toot said tearfully, “he attacked us. Look, I’m bleeding!” He pointed to a gash on his face with a dramatic and rather ridiculous gesture. Shao Wan snorted. He was lucky he still had all his limbs, because she had discovered a wondersome blood-frenzy that came with her new-found martial arts skills.

“Aha,” Shifu nodded, “that’s remarkable.”

“Isn’t non-practice related fighting forbidden on school grounds?” the Prince continued tearfully.

“Not today,” Shifu said, “you can all go outside and fight until you drop. All other lessons are off!”

They were off every other day. That was one of the reasons why she had worked on creating an imaginary Mo Yuan. He stood over at the window, his arms folded in front of his chest and smiled at her. She smiled back at him. How supportive he was! Exactly what she needed.

“Shifu,” said First Disciple, who had been watching her suspiciously from the shadows in the corner, “for attacking a Prince, severe disciplinary action is in order. Throw him into a solitary room for a few weeks. There he should learn the necessary manners.”

Why First Disciple, a tall, haggard, sour looking man, hated her with a vengeance was beyond her, but it could have something to do with the fact that she, as only student at the entire school, was not paying 50 silver taels a year to study here. No, she had “saved” Shifu’s life and because he was so grateful, he had allowed her to study for free. Maybe First Disciple suspected she had had a hand at the emergency situation in the first place? He was the kind to smell such things indeed. First Disciple was an ambitious man, constantly driven to prove to the world that he deserved more than he already had. Of course, he wanted to be Headmaster one day, so he sucked up to Shifu every chance he got. Since Shifu was lazy beyond belief, he usually let First Disciple have his way.

Now though, Shifu frowned. He turned his gaze upon Shao Wan and for a moment, she felt something emanate from him, something that made her feel like she stood in front of him naked. Imaginary Mo Yuan moved towards her in alarm. But Shifu just smiled at her warmly. “A few weeks? Make it months, First Disciple. Orphan Boy, it will teach you to find your grounding. You can practice your inner smile. The key here is simplicity…”

First Disciple looked askance at his Master, but since he himself had asked for punishment, he could not object now.

Imaginary Mo Yuan, now back at the window, clapped his hands. “Excellent. Let your true teaching begin. We will have you ascension-ready at the end of this life if you listen to me.”

Listen to him? Really, the things she did for him these days… But this version of Mo Yuan was so much more agreeable than the real version, it would be a pleasure to spend time with him.


“With her?” she had never before heard Mo Yuan shout like this. It even made her turn her head and blink in confusion. His face showed an emotion! Was it anger? Despair? Because of her? What an honor.

“Mind your manners!” Father Immortal bellowed and Mo Yuan immediately fell to the ground, remembering his filial duty. “Forgive me, father, I meant no disrespect…”

“If you can frolic half naked in the snow in front of the Demon Ancestor, you can go on a mission with the Demon Ancestor.”

Mo Yuan, his head still on the floor, sucked in his breath. Maybe she should have told him his father had watched him sit in the snow, shaking his head at the sight? Or maybe not. Mo Yuan was always so haughty, but not in front of his father. Quite obviously, he was afraid of him and she couldn’t help but feel a little bit satisfied at seeing him so distressed. Since she had been caught staring at his half-naked son, she had explained to Father Immortal that day that Mo Yuan had gracelessly lost a bet and that meditating in the cold was his punishment. At the time, Fuxi had chuckled. But apparently, he thought it highly improper after all?

A mission it was then. It didn’t exactly feel like punishment, but her excitement about it was instantly dampened by Mo Yuan’s sour expression when they stepped out of his father’s study. After their little mishap down that crevice and the subsequent snowman incident, he hardly spoke to her anymore. She had tried to challenge him to a fight a few times and even waited for him after class, but he always found a way to steer clear of her.

She had even asked Zhe Yan what was going on with Mo Yuan, but her Phoenix brother just laughed. “The usual. I’m guessing somebody beat him at his favorite subject. Or did you ruffle his feathers a bit too much?”

“Feathers? Scales more like,” she murmured, “the dragonborn sure are moody. Is he such a sore loser?”

Zhe Yan nodded. “Oh yes. He never forgets. Very vengeful. I’m sure he’s plotting how to get back at you. Be wary!”

Wary she was. They set out quickly together, each carrying only the most necessary things with them. Father Immortal had ordered them to gather intelligence about a group of bandits, most likely vagabond mercenaries from the previous war, that were causing trouble at the border to the Ghost Realm. They seemed to be a particularly bloodthirsty lot and it was unclear how they had managed to avoid capture for so long.

The Celestial bastard managed to not look at her and avoid all conversation. Well, being in such a bad mood took some skills, she acknowledged. But she knew how to be vengeful and disagreeable too. If this was the kind of game he wanted to play, fine with her. Because she would win it.


“Why did I not think of you sooner,” Shao Wan whispered.

“Everything in the Universe has its time and its place,” Mo Yuan answered. “But destiny is not a fixed or predetermined path. There is only the effortless spontaneous unfolding of each moment (‘wuwei’). The Supreme Mystery (‘wuji’) that births the Life Force will always remain unknowable and unpredictable.”

“I’m astonished I know such things,” she murmured to herself. Well, she had gone to school for a long time previously... 25,000 years? Something like that. And even though she mainly remembered sleeping a lot and fighting the Celestial, it seemed her ears had picked up all the useful things anyway, and her brain had stored it somewhere for her to access in times of need. It was wondrous.

She looked at the ever-smiling Mo Yuan next to her and snorted. She actually preferred his true disagreeable self: the one who challenged her constantly, the one who pointed out all her faults and nagged, nagged, nagged at her. For reasons not quite clear, imaginary Mo Yuan just wouldn’t fight, however much she tried to anger him. Also, imaginary Mo Yuan was lacking considerably in the sexual compartment. Sleeping with thin air didn’t work too well. Plus, it must be their differences that made the difference in real life: opposite sides of the Universe made for excellent bedfellows.

“I can’t wait to get back to you,” she whispered to Mo Yuan. “I will tie you up in bed and use you until I drop.”

“Then practice harder,” imaginary Mo Yuan lectured her and sat down in lotus position. “You want to ascend? You are far from ready!”

Shao Wan laughed. Solitary? No, she was not solitary. She would voluntarily stay in here for years. And when she came back out, she would make sure Prince Toot-Toot would never hurt somebody weaker than him again.


They were thrown back and forth on that cart after the bandits set a swift pace to where ever they were headed on a very uneven road.

“Ouch,” she complained when she was thrown against him again, “why are you so hard everywhere?”

“I am sorry I do not meet your standards,” he growled, “I never knew I would have to serve as a cushion for your ladyship.”

On cue, she was thrown halfway on top of him when they went over what seemed to be a boulder in the road. He grunted in pain upon impact. “Not too bad a cushion after all,” she grinned and tried to grab part of his gown with her bound hands to keep in that position, even pulling herself up a little more. It was much more comfortable like this.

She only noticed the closeness when the warmth of his body registered as very pleasant in her brain. Peering down at him, she found his face only a handwidth away from hers. It was a goddamn handsome face even if it looked so furious. Or was it possible it was even more handsome when it was so furious? The way his eyebrows moved close to each other over his nose… had she been able to move her hands, she would have touched that little crease that formed there.

Not for the first time she noticed his scent. A bit flowery, like all the Celestials, but also a good deal masculine. Hmmmm. She inhaled deeply. Fine, she couldn’t actually deny any longer that at least since sharing her blood with him, she found him extremely attractive.

“Celestial,” she told him with sincerity, “sometimes, I have premonitions.”

“I’m sure that happens especially when it suits your agenda,” he pressed out. She moved a little so he could breathe with more ease. Attractive? Feeling his full body against her made her covet more. Much more. Forget about being disagreeable and vengeful. This was someone she needed to conquer.

“Hmmm, yes, you are right,” she said in wonderment that he would know such things. “They very often serve a purpose. Just now, I had one.”


“Yes. It just came to me that you will
beg me to be yours one day.” How about tonight? She thought.

She watched his eyes go from angry to amused. “Beg? Me? I never beg, Demon Queen.” He had the gall to laugh at her? “No…,” he added, and suddenly, there was something else in his eyes… something much more feral. “I will have
you beg me.

How… dare he? She furrowed her brow and looked deep into his eyes. “Is this… a challenge?”

“When is it ever not with you,” he murmured. “Yes, it’s a challenge. You have yet to find something to beat me at, don’t you. This won’t be it though, I assure you.”

Was he… not a virgin? No, she realized, looking at his galling confidence. He couldn’t be. And that meant… he wasn’t as uptight as she had always thought. Was it Yao Guang after all? The girl was all over him and her sighs at night kept the whole dorm awake. Or that Snake Princess? Her eyes went all bulgy whenever Mo Yuan was close. Or… - her breath caught - both? She wet her lips. When his tongue came out to wet his in turn, she felt heat rise inside of her. Kiss him? But if she gave in now, did that not mean he had won again? She stared at his lips. They were mesmerizing.

“You bastard,” she whispered.

He laughed, really satisfied, sending little shockwaves into her body. But BANG, their foreheads clashed together, so hard she almost blacked out. The cart had been stopped abruptly. They had arrived at their final destination. She was saved… for now.


She first noticed the change one morning when the world looked a little different. It had been so long, she had forgotten what it meant to have powers. On that morning, she remembered. She saw life. She saw the harmony, the three streams of vast flowing consciousness that harmonized all life: Yin, Yang, and Yuan, the neutral-stabilizing-primordial, the qi-field that was all-penetrating, yet remained neutral and paradoxically still even as it moved.

“Soon, you won’t need me anymore,” said imaginary Mo Yuan. He sounded sad.

“I cannot believe I am going to make it,” Shao Wan said. “Am I really going to see you again?”

Imaginary Mo Yuan remained silent. He looked frozen somehow. “I will miss you… a bit,” she said, now also feeling sad. Saying goodbye to old friends was always hard. But her sadness only lasted for a few deep breaths. All that was left afterwards was relief … and teeth-chattering excitement.

Not long. Not long to go. Another mortal lifetime, maybe until she would leave all this suffering behind her.


“Now is the time to break our bonds and flee!” she whispered to the Celestial.

“I can’t,” he sighed.

“W...why? Did I shock you too much?”

“As if. No, my powers are suppressed here. We’re in the Ghost Realm.”

Oh. Indeed, now she felt it too. Hers were as well, but not too much… Ghost powers and Demon powers were somewhat similar.

Before they could discuss any further, they were roughly dragged from the cart by their collars and thrown down in front of what had to be the bandit leader. He was an impressive figure, tall as a mountain, with many scars disfiguring his broad face.

“Well, well,” he drawled, “what have we here…”

“We’re from Shuǐ Zhǎozé! He’s Fuxi’s son!” Shao Wan exclaimed breathlessly, “he will fetch a handsome price!”

Silence followed her words.
I bet you’re shocked now, she thought, and flashed dead-faced Mo Yuan a triumphant smile.

“If you let me go,” she hurried to add, “I will be your emissary. Fuxi trusts me.”

The bandit leader squatted down and lifted up her head by her hair. “You little vixen,” he chuckled. “And how do I know you’re not lying? He could just be any smooth-faced Celestial. Fuxi’s son? That seems like too much luck.”

“It’s easy,” she smiled, even though the breath of this man smelled so revolting, her stomach did flips, “unbind him and give him a sword. We disciples always have to declare who we are before a fight so that our enemies know whom to deliver the bodies to should we perish.”

“Is that true?” the bandit addressed Mo Yuan. The Celestial sighed. He looked so deliciously annoyed. “It is. And I am. I’m Fuxi’s son. By my honor.”

The bandit leader laughed, his eyes wide with astonishment. “We struck gold! Unbind the vixen. Tell Fuxi we will kill him if he does not pay a fortune. How much should we ask for?”

“I don’t know… 50 gold teals?” Shao Wan suggested.

“50 gold…,” the man stood there slack-jawed as he tried to picture the amount of money that was.

Shao Wan rubbed her wrists and ankles once the tight leather bonds were off. It hurt. Quickly, she surveyed the surroundings. They were at the bandits’ main camp it seemed… many of the houses looked permanent and she even saw women and children. There was a small stream running through the village. Around them was a shield of magic, expertly hiding this encampment from prying eyes. Was it possible the Ghost Lord was lending these bandits protection? It seemed just like him. Shitstirrer.

The bandits wouldn’t lend her a horse, so she set out on foot, cursing under her breath. She hated walking. She noticed that a few men followed her. Unbothered, she walked on. Only once she no longer felt their presence, she stopped.

What now?

“What would you do, Celestial?” she asked the thin air … and screamed in horror, when an answer came.

“Look around you. See the plants here?”

She turned around in a circle, but of course, Mo Yuan wasn’t here.

“Who… is it?” she whispered. The Celestial chuckled. “Are you inside me head?” she asked nonplussed.

“You must desire me a lot for this to happen,” he answered gleefully. The damn bastard, now she was even imagining him? She looked at the plants around her. Devil’s Snare! “What’s it do again? I forget,” she asked imaginary Mo Yuan.

“If you wouldn’t snore in Alchemy class you’d know: ‘Hot as a hare, blind as a bat, dry as a bone, red as a beet and mad as a Phoenix Lady in heat.’”

“That’s… not how it went,” she laughed. But now she remembered. The poison in the plant turned people into raging lunatics who shat all over the place.

“Use some of your magic to mask the taste,” imaginary Mo Yuan advised her.

Very well. Carefully, she picked leaves and harvested the seeds from hard, spiny capsules. Taking off her outer robe, she put it all inside and sneaked back to the bandit’s encampment, expertly avoiding the sentries. Grinding it all up with a stone was laborious and she had to curse a lot, but finally, the mash was ready to be released into the camp’s water resource. It was in the afternoon… they would cook dinner soon.

It took a lot of what she usually did not have (patience) until the poison took effect. It wasn’t pretty to watch. As madness descended upon the camp, she made her way in unbothered and looked around until she found a locked hut.

“Are you in there, Celestial?” she whispered through the crack between door and wall.

“I am,” came the curt answer. She was somewhat relieved he had not been given any water. Some of the people out there had behaved like crazed monkeys. She would have been embarrassed to see him like this.

Busting open the door was easy. He stood against the back wall, frowning at her.

“And, did you know I was just playing them? Or did you believe I sold you out,” she asked with a grin as she unbound him.

“The second, of course,” he replied, but she saw the faint smile on his face. It gave her a sudden warm feeling. He had trusted her?
Me, beg you? She thought hungrily. Dream on, Celestial. I will have you on your knees in front of me. I will...

“You did well, Demon Queen,” he told her quite unexpectedly, rubbing his wrists, but still smiling, “I will not object to going on missions with you again.”

It made her much too happy to hear his praise. The warm feeling grew and it took her some effort to glare at him. He just smiled more broadly, as if he liked her displeased face. Damn bastard, so handsome.

“The next time, I will let you rot until you cry,” she declared as they made their way out of the encampment. Celestial forces would find everyone in the thralls of the poison for at least two more days. It would be easy to capture them all without resistance.

“Next time, it will be me who protects you,” he replied and slowed down so that they could walk side by side.

“I can’t wait!” she retorted. And dammit, it was the truth. It was a strange sensation, but all of a sudden, it felt like the future opened up for her like a Mandarava flower in bloom. And if she was not mistaken, it smelled a bit like the Celestial did.


So many years had passed. When she opened up the room and stepped outside, the school had completely changed. There were no rich scumbags anymore, but only a few, devoted worshippers... come to pray to the xiān (仙) in the solitary room. The ancient Shifu, now thin and hairless, smiled a toothless smile at her and lifted his hand for a last blessing. He took a few more breaths and then stopped breathing.

It was the 4th of May.

When Shao Wan’s soul ascended, her mortal shell crumbled to dust. The wind picked up and carried it away, scattering it all over the world in which Shao Wan’s mortal suffering had finally ended.

Chapter 6