Fanfic: Mo Yuan and Shao Wan 2.0 - Chapter 24 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 24

written by kakashi
edited by Panda/LigayaCroft

“You agreed.”

Mo Yuan nodded.

“Without negotiating.”

Mo Yuan nodded again.

“And he’s going to choose all your adversaries without letting you know who or what they are.”

Mo Yuan nodded for a third time.

“There are no rules. Or rather: the rule is there are no rules.”

They would most certainly cheat. Mo Yuan took a sip of the tea they had been served. It was mixed with camel milk and honey, a very welcome refreshment. It was scalding hot outside, but the house had thick walls and this little guest room they had been invited to use for their leisure was facing northwards so that the temperature was bearable.

“Excellently played, old friend,” Zhe Yan said with a snort and sank deeper into the cushions.

“We are not to interfere?” Donghua yawned. He began to chew on some dried orange fruit one of the maids had offered him with a big, expectant smile that Donghua had expertly ignored.

“No,” Mo Yuan said. “If you interfere, I am disqualified and we achieve nothing.”

“Then why are we even here? Though I must say, this town is interesting. As are its inhabitants.”

“He,” Mo Yuan pointed at Zhe Yan, “because he’s my physician and you,” he pointed at Donghua, “to tell me what a fool I am.”

“Ah, thank you for giving me the easy task,” Donghua said, “Mo Yuan, you are a fool. Did Shǒu appear friendly to you?”

Mo Yuan shook his head.

“Exactly. Maybe you haven’t noticed, but we Celestials … yes, I am saying 'we', because they clearly consider me in the cahoots with you and I guess I did play a role during the first Demon War ... are not exactly loved in these parts.”

Mo Yuan sighed. He even understood why they were holding such a grudge against him. Being on the losing side of battles was nothing he had a lot of experience with, but he could well imagine how unpleasant it was. Besides, Demons had a lot of pride.

“Fine,” Donghua said and lazily waved his hand in the air, “you had little choice, I am willing to admit that. You want to make sure those Soulswappers need to do your bidding once we establish contact. Let’s try.”

“Thank you,” Mo Yuan said.

“Are you allowed to drink again?”

Mo Yuan shook his head. “My disciple says she needs to use the healing ritual a few more times to remove all the poison. It’s more tenacious than she expected.”

“How dreary. Let’s make sure we celebrate the day you’re poison free. If you are ever poison free,” Donghua threw Zhe Yan a look.

“I hear the fighters here use all kinds of substances to enhance their fighting performance,” Mo Yuan informed them.

“That’ll make it more fun for you,” Zhe Yan replied. “Because I’m sure you are not actually thinking about…”

“No. The one ‘tea’ I had the pleasure to experience was fully sufficient to teach me all the lessons I needed,” Mo Yuan said.

“You will win, of course,” Zhe Yan said, “but I am still feeling somewhat uneasy about the whole thing. Why does he want you to fight exactly?”

To make money, I’d say,” Donghua said and took another slice of dried fruit. “I hear he’s primarily a business man before he is a rebel leader. No wonder he doesn’t like the current Overlord. She is his biggest rival.”

“Her liquor is good,” Zhe Yan chuckled.

“I am much more concerned about their knowledge that Shao Wan has returned,” Mo Yuan told them.

“I think she’s safe in that… body,” Donghua said and pulled a face. “It is very cruel of Fate, it really is.”

“Safe if she doesn’t throw a fit,” Zhe Yan agreed.

“If you know it’s her, it’s really quite obvious,” Donghua nodded.

“It’s probably best to keep her away from the fighting pits,” Mo Yuan sighed.

“Hmmm, and how are we supposed to do that? Chain her up?”

Mo Yuan nodded. “Lock her in, if necessary,” he added quietly. “I do not want her near. It might get ugly and she is…”

“Emotional,” Donghua finished the sentence.

“She loves as she hates,” Zhe Yan smirked.

“I do not want her to worry,” Mo Yuan said. “She isn’t well. Those souls… demand a lot of energy.”

“Have you… found out what kind of souls they are?” Zhe Yan asked cautiously.

Mo Yuan shook his head. “We… we did not have enough time to… talk.”

“Spare us the details,” Donghua chuckled.

“No, we…”

“Why would she eat souls though?” Zhe Yan asked.

Something in his voice made Mo Yuan pause. He had always thought it had to be her need for extra cultivation that had driven her to do it - if she had planned for him to kill her at the end of the War, her only chance to keep enough of her soul essence was to stock up on cultivation to the brim.

“Survival?” he suggested cautiously.

“Probably,” Zhe Yan murmured.

There was something Zhe Yan knew and did not want to tell him. What could it be?

“I will spend the time before the fighting starts in meditation,” Mo Yuan informed his friends. “My room will do. I will put up magical shields so that nobody can disturb me. If there is trouble…”

“We’ll make sure to knock,” Donghua said. “Zhe Yan, I advise you to put up a shield too at night. I have a bit of experience with, erm, Demon women. They’re quite persistent.”

“Oh, I’m not afraid of the women,” Zhe Yan chuckled. “Zhen Zhen wouldn’t mind those.”

“Then configure your shield to keep men out in particular,” Donghua snarked. “I wouldn’t want your Fox to hear anything different or he might go on a prolonged journey again. Too much drama.”

“I hear you, I hear you,” Zhe Yan said. “I really wouldn’t want to return from this trip and find an empty house.”

“They do know how to punish most cruelly,” Donghua nodded in agreement. “I never knew how to be fearful of punishment before I met Bai Fengjiu.”


“You are really well educated,” Tian Gu beamed at Shao Wan upon realizing she already knew everything about being a taoist disciple there was to know. “I knew you were some royal offspring in disguise. Shifu knows who you are, right?”

Shao Wan thought it prudent to nod.

“I knew it!” Tian Gu hit her thigh in delight. “And how did you convince him to take you as a disciple? In my case, my father said he was impressed by my skills with the horses!”

“He… liked… my…”

“Actually, no need to tell me,” Tian Gu hastily said, “it’s between a Shifu and his Disciple. But you know, I am very glad I’m not alone anymore. I longed to discuss things… hmm…. with somebody! But the other men....” Tian Gu pulled a face.

Yue appeared at the door.

“Oh, here is one of them,” Tian Gu snorted. Shao Wan was not fooled though. She heard the excitement in the girl’s voice and it made her smile. Yue was most certainly a very handsome man. He was very loyal too and overall capable. He would also make sure the Horse Woman would not have time to think about Mo Yuan in any untoward way.

“Princess,” he greeted politely, “Immortal. I am here to tell you that the God of War has ordered you to stay inside this house the entire time. You are not to set foot outside, under no circumstances.”

“What?” Shao Wan exclaimed. “How da…”

“Shhhh,” Tian Gu cautioned her. “We are to obey. Without questioning him.”

“But it is outrageous!” Shao Wan yelled. “Are the fights not going to start tomorrow?”

Yue nodded. “Yes, tomorrow is the first day.”

“I need to see it!”

“He says you are not to see it,” Yue said stubbornly.

Oh that annoying, infuriating Celestial!

“I need to see him then,” she fumed.

“He is in meditation,” Yue said and positioned himself so he would be able to easily hold her back if she wanted to push past him.

“It’s going to be dangerous for him, isn’t it,” Tian Gu addressed Yue.

He nodded grimly.

“So he means to protect us,” Tian Gu surmised. “We are targets.”

“He always does that,” Shao Wan fumed. “He thinks he needs to protect people and then it goes all wrong. Every single time!”

Tian Gu threw her a curious look and Shao Wan thought it better to shut up.

“Yes, we will stay inside,” Tian Gu informed Yue, putting on a haughty tone.

“If something happens to him, I’ll make you responsible!” Shao Wan lashed out at Yue.

The guard’s face took on a worried look. “I know High God Mo Yuan is very capable… but…”

Shao Wan’s heart dropped into her stomach. “There are rumors on the street…”

“What rumors!” Tian Gu demanded to know.

“That something big is going to happen,” Yue said unhappily.

“I’m going to rip his annoyingly perfect hair out, one by one!” Shao Wan murmured, “ohhhh, I hate him.”

“I will assist him to the best of my abilities,” Yue added. “And if I fail, the other High Gods will intervene.”

And all hell would break loose. Another war? That couldn't happen. Her people would be obliterated.

“Fine,” she said, making sure it sounded like she meant it, “we will just sit in here and wait. It’s cooler here anyway.”

Tian Gu shot her a look, then she slowly nodded. “Yes. We will obey our Shifu,” she said sweetly and smiled at Yue whose face promptly turned red.

“And you take good care too,” she added. “I would hate to lose you.”

And quite unexpectedly but oh-so-cunningly, the Horse Woman stepped up to Yi Mei Niang’s Head of Guards and planted a kiss on his cheek.

The poor man fled their rooms as quickly as he could afterwards.

“So we’re in agreement?” Shao Wan asked Tian Gu after they were alone again.

“Of course!” she said, lightly tapping her fingers against her lips. “There is no way I’m sitting here while Shifu is in mortal danger!”

“Thank you,” Shao Wan said and smiled at her, feeling a surprising amount of fondness all of a sudden.

“You are not well,” Tian Gu observed. “Let me have a look? Maybe I can help you. I am quite a capable healer, I’ve found out. And my powers are getting stronger!”

Shao Wan shrugged. If Zhe Yan could not help her, this woman would not be able to help her, but what could it hurt? She sat down in front of Tian Gu, extending her wrists for her to take her pulse.

Tian Gu’s touch was like Celestial Lightning. Energy raced through her body, filling her up, making her feel light and happy.

“By the Mother of All,” Tian Gu gasped. “You carry unborn souls? You are... you are no mere Immortal. You are no man. You are … locked into this body by a curse.”


“High God Mo Yuan, you should get ready,” Yue said from the door.

Mo Yuan nodded.

“High God Mo Yuan, may I be so frank as to advise you to take off your robes in the pits. They will only hinder your movement.”

Mo Yuan raised his eyebrows questioningly.

“Please forgive me if I’m overstepping, but I asked Green Lord Yu Dian for a Demon attire. He is approximately the same size as you...”

Yue held out soft leather pants and a sleeveless tunic, reinforced with scales for protection. Mo Yuan had seen him wear it before.

“They’re made from the hide of a Pixiu and the scales of a Qilin,” Yue explained. “Since you did not bring any armor…”

Refusing them would be petty and nothing else, but the impulse to be petty was strong. Yue’s gaze wandered up to his topknot where it lingered.

“The hair stays this way,” Mo Yuan said resolutely and extended his hand for the leather clothing. Were all Demons obsessed with hair? They would not get him to braid it.

“If it comes loose…”

“It will not,” he said sternly and shot the Guard a stern look.

“You will be able to choose your weapons from a selection offered to you. Or you can use your own.”

“In case I should need a weapon, I will use my sword,” Mo Yuan said.

“If you need anything from me, just signal,” Yue said. “I have also bought a selection of performance enhancers, as you told me to do.”

Mo Yuan nodded. “I thank you, Yue.”

“High God Mo Yuan…”


“Good luck,” Yue bowed, “may you save the peace and be victorious.”


The crater was packed and more. Most seats had been sold twice, which led to fistfights between spectators. The result was broken noses, knocked out teeth and overall too much ruckus for the fights to begin on time. They were relatively safe from the tumult on their special seats next to Shǒu and his extended harem of veiled, bejeweled women, but that didn’t stop diverse objects from flying in their direction.

“Make it STOP!” Shǒu yelled at some guards of his, who then scattered throughout the stands to try and calm the masses down or threaten them with expulsion.

“Have you placed a bet too?” The Celestial Prince asked Yu Dian and stowed away a piece of paper into his sleeve after waving it in the air.

Yu Dian swallowed nervously. He wouldn’t dare.

All things considered, seeing Mo Yuan vanquished, maybe even killed, should have been Yu Dian’s pleasure.

And yet, he was praying to his Ancestors the Celestial would win - more, would win without a single scratch.

If the Heavens found out about this. If anything happened to the High God… he shuddered violently. It was utterly reckless of Shǒu to taunt the God of War this way and it was equally reckless of the High God to agree to play along. Or just very thoughtless.

“Don’t fret,” Lian Song said friendly and patted Yu Dian’s shoulder, “he’s our best. I don’t think he has ever lost in his entire life.”

The Celestial Prince had started to befriend him, clearly to anger the God of War, but since he enjoyed their conversations a lot, Yu Dian did not care much about the reason. He liked the man. That it was possible to truly like Celestials was a new experience for him, one he considered useful - educational, even.

It also made his life quite a bit harder.

Nervously, he scanned the sea of faces in front of him. He knew his sister would come. She had to. Shǒu was making a statement, he was challenging their agreement. He gave her no choice. Yu Dian was praying she would come quietly and tread lightly. Only… that was absolutely not her style.

“Here, have something to drink!” Lian Song said and offered him a cup of the brew they sold here. Yu Dian declined politely, because he knew it would only make him more agitated. The Celestial was not shy to try everything this place had to offer. So far, it had resulted in making him very happy. When Yu Dian had cautioned him, he had laughed. “You do not know how boring the life in the Heavens is. This is living! I should have come here much earlier. You know what? I’m looking into buying a house. Maybe even in this town! Never have I been anywhere where there was so much… energy.”

The other High Gods were sitting a bit further down, both seemingly unmoved by the turmoil around them. They were the God of War’s best friends, Yu Dian had heard a lot about them… and read a lot in the history books too. The very tall one with the spectacular hair had been Heavenly Emperor during the First Demon War, but he was known to have many friendly relations with several Demon Lords and had been the Demon Ancestor’s best friend. The other was the best Healer the Realms had ever known and he was the one who had made special elixir pills for the frail Immortal in the God of War’s company. The Immortal who had become a second disciple quite unexpectedly.

Why were they here?

It could only mean the God of War was planning something big.

There was movement in the arena below and the audience quickly scrambled to their seats. Those who had none just squeezed in wherever there was some space left. After some jostling, shouting and scrambling, everything fell quiet.

It was the Celestial, stepping out onto the sand, Yi Mei Niang’s guard closely behind him. He was wearing Yu Dian’s best fighting attire. Seeing it made Yu Dian feel very strange.

If he wanted to or not, he and this man - they were closely connected. And the longer he thought about it, the clearer it was that that strange Immortal had a big role to play in everything.

He thought it very strange that he had felt a strong impulse to protect him from the first time he had seen him in the Obsidian Palace.


When Mo Yuan had been a small boy, he had been given his Father’s sword to practice. It had filled him with immense pride, even if he could barely lift it.

To impress his father, he had practiced way beyond the hours assigned to martial arts in his study program, sometimes throughout the night. When he had dreamt, he had dreamt of sword practice. His body had ached so much he had cried into his pillow often, but he had continued until the pain disappeared and until he could wield the weapon with something resembling proficiency.

“Don’t forget to practice your mind, son,” his Father Lord had said one day, “because without it, any victory is brittle at best.”

Little Mo Yuan had not quite understood his Father’s meaning, but he had sat down to read all the texts the library of the Heavens held. It had taken him millennia, but one day, he had finally understood the lesson.

A sword wielded without the mind was nothing but an instrument to kill. A sword wielded with the mind behind it however was a means to an end.

There were not many Gods around who could even try to beat him in a fight. There was Donghua. There was Bai Zhi, the Fox King. There was Zhe Yan, whose skill in musical instruments were unsurpassed. And there was Shao Wan. Remembering the first day he had ever fought her and, to his great surprise, had almost lost, he smiled a little.

Naturally, given his long history of victories, Mo Yuan was fairly confident he would win the ten fights prepared for him, even if his opponents cheated. There was one thing he expected having to face, however, and it would make things a bit difficult: a device similar to the one the Celestial Traitor had used against him.

The evidence was all over Shǒu’s house: he had access to Celestial artefacts, some of which should never have made their way out of the Heavens.

The thousands of eyes on him as he stepped out onto the sand at the bottom of the pit made his skin prickle. The energy in this place was almost palpable. The heat made the air ripple, the roar of the people shook the ground.

Behind him, Yue uttered something like a prayer.

In front of them, there were two gates and they began to open slowly.

“Step back,” Mo Yuan ordered Yue, and got ready to fight what would charge at him any second now.

Chapter 25