Fanfic: Mo Yuan and Shao Wan 2.0 - Chapter 28 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 28

written by kakashi
edited by LigayaCroft and Panda

It started with a cautious tap-tap-tap, a sound that steadily quickened to a reckless, drunken rhythm, like rowdy little devils gaining increasing pleasure from dancing on the rooftops. A gush of cool air passed down the corridor, bringing with it the smell of wet dust and sand, caressing sweat-soaked bodies like a gentle lover.

“The rainy season has started,” Yue said quietly. It was more than just a statement of the obvious. It felt like the eagerly anticipated end of a long story ... and the beginning of a new one. He sounded tired, but as if to defy it, he straightened his back and smiled at her, his dark eyes reflecting the dancing candle light.

They were eyes to get lost in, but that was better done another time, another night.

Tian Gu stood up straighter too, copying his stance: legs slightly apart, knees bent just a little, hands relaxed by her side. Did one get used to standing guard with time or did it always remain difficult? Did his legs and lower back kill him as well? All she wanted to do was lie down and sleep, sleep for days. In her bed at home if possible, where the temperatures were pleasant and she could take a hot, steaming bath infused with aromatic oils, where the servants would massage all the aches in her body away, wrap her in the softest of garments and bring her all the delicacies the Horse Tribe knew how to make.

“You are doing very well,” the Demon Guard said, still smiling. She liked that he smiled more often now, though she did not share his good mood.

Her Shifu had not returned.

No, Golden Dragon had shot across the pink morning skies after the fight to claim his prize. Where was he?


*Earlier that Day*

The God of War was alive, the other High Gods assured her, they would have felt his passing throughout the Realms, like that time he had given his Soul as a sacrifice to the Bell. It was just that he must be greatly weakened from his fight with the Monster, whose passing they had indeed felt, and was therefore unable to return at the moment. It helped little to calm her down and soon after, the High Gods took their leave.

“He gave you instructions, yes?” the High God Zhe Yan asked before his departure. “Follow them. We do not know when we’ll be back.”

“Or if,” the Rock added gravely.

Follow her Shifu’s instructions? She was but one woman with mediocre powers and there were thousands of potentially hostile Demons around her. Feeling her legs and arms shake from a sudden swell of fear, she had drawn her sword and positioned herself in front of Shao Wan, shielding her haphazardly with her body. She could have cried from joy when Yue joined her, his solid, warm presence next to her an unexpected comfort.

The Abomination had left death and destruction in its wake. Many spectators had been thrown through the air when it had scrambled up the ranks to get closer to Golden Dragon, their grotesquely twisted bodies horrid to behold. Shǒu’s men were slowly making their ways up the arena, shouting instructions at each other as they checked the still figures for signs of life.

It had been the first time that Tian Gu had seen her Shifu in his True Form. He was so magnificent, he hurt the eyes that wanted to gaze upon him for too long. The thought of him lying hurt somewhere… Tian Gu wanted to cry.

“Careful,” Yue whispered.

The Green Lady Yu Fen was walking in their direction.

“Stay away!” Tian Gu growled at her, maybe a bit too ferociously, but she’d rather not leave anything to chance and this person scared her. The woman looked eerily like her brother, but her eyes burnt with the fire of a fanatic. Tian Gu had seen such eyes before. There was no reasoning with people who had them.

The Green Lady lifted both her hands in a sign of peace, but since she wore a haughty sneer, it did not look sincere at all. “I see you’re not a little girl anymore,” she laughed, “but you’re wasting your time on that mountain,” she added with a contemptuous wave at Tian Gu’s Kunlun garb.

“Do not insult my Shifu!” Tian Gu yelled at her.

“Insult? There’s nothing to insult. But clearly, he shouldn’t have started his vigil up there either,” Yu Fen sneered, “what a waste.” She craned her neck to establish eye contact with Shao Wan, who was rather and unusually quiet behind them. Tian Gu had seen how tired she looked. In fact, she looked ready to topple over. They had to make sure she took one of Zhe Yan’s cultivation pills soon.

“We have a deal,” Yu Fen said coldly. “So you better rest. We leave in the morrow.”

A deal? Tian Gu did not like to hear that in the least. But what did it mean? She quickly shot Yue a look, but his facial expression was unchanged and just like a freshly strung bow string, he remained ready to spring forward.

“I will be ready,” said the Lady Demon Ancestor behind them. She was trying to make her voice sound commanding and steady, but it was rather futile. Exhaustion made it thin and croaky.

“Where can we sleep?” Tian Gu asked Yue after Yu Fen had walked away again.

“Shǒu’s house, like before?” he suggested, though he sounded as doubtful as she felt. “We will just have to guard her chambers really well?”

Tian Gu nodded, though she felt extremely uneasy. Just the two of them against the mass of Shǒu’s men if he decided to attack? They would be slaughtered within seconds if they wanted to make a move on them. If only they had some allies here!

She had barely finished the thought when about fifty ferocious looking warriors with gigantic helmets and spears materialized in their midst and quickly secured the parameter around Shao Wan. Tian Gu’s heart beat a rapid frightened staccato in her chest, but the new force showed no hostility towards her, only to whoever stood outside their circle. She saw more of them appear all around the crater too, viciously eying Shǒu’s and Yu Fen’s men.

A small man approached her, his armor made from tortoise shells clanging softly as he walked through the sand. He bowed when he stood in front of her. “At your service, General,” he said, his voice sounding muffled through his large helmet, “we have come to assist you in protecting the Little Lady and await your command.”

“ … command?” Tian Gu stammered, looking at the little man like he had just made a very strange joke she did not understand.

“Are you not He-Who-Knew-Our-Ancestor’s earth power disciple? Yes, you are. We were told to follow your lead.”

“Who?” Tian Gu now felt like she often had when her brothers had played a prank on her.

“He-Who-Once-Lived-In-Yinguang-Palace!” the small man declared, though still patient and polite.

“Yinguang… what…. is that in the Heavens?” Tian Gu asked.

“Yes, it is. The Golden Dragon,” the man helped her, “he sent us.”

“Shifu?????” Tian Gu yelled in surprise.

“And we bow to our Savior, too,” the man said and bowed deeply.

“I am very glad that you have come,” Shao Wan said behind them and stepped forward a few steps, “Turtle Leader, it must not have been easy for you to leave the Heavens.”

“Oh,” the turtle-shell clad man said, waving away all concerns anyone could have, “not at all. We just walked out the front gate and dropped down to this realm on some fluffy clouds. There were guards present, but they do not stop anyone from leaving the Heavenly Plains of Infinity now that the Gates are open again, only sometimes from entering.”

“I will be damned,” Tian Gu murmured to herself, even if such language was forbidden at School and would have earned her a side eye from her father too, “he really planned this quite thoroughly, did he.”

“He has many faults,” the wrong-bodied Shao Wan replied, “but planning thoroughly has never been one of them.”


*Present Time*

Soft footsteps approached. Yue made a clicking sound with his tongue and Tian Gu shot up, realizing she had fallen half-asleep, aided by the luling sound of the heavy rains outside. But it was nothing dangerous, only two of the Turtle Clan warriors, kids almost half her size, with spears so long, they almost touched the ceiling.

“Yes?” she asked gruffly, trying to shake her tiredness.

“General,” one of the boys said, “it is high time we get to guard our Savior too.”

“Ah,” Tian Gu said and suppressed a yawn, “it’s quite alright. We’ve got this.”

The boy looked at her with his head tilted slightly to the side. “You are only half awake. How are you a good guard like this?”

“You…,” Tian Gu bristled.

“Princess,” Yue softly interjected, “the Turtle Clan members mean well. Why don’t you go rest until we set out. The Demon Ancestor will be safe with us.”

“But my Shifu ordered me…”

“A good leader knows when her strength needs replenishing,” Yue insisted. “Turtle Clan Members, please take position. I will accompany the Princess to her chambers and shall shortly resume my post.”

The turtle boy who had spoken before bowed. “Demon Guard, you, too, should rest. Leave the guard duty to us! We will not let anyone past, I assure you. We are brave and strong, even if we have not left the Heavens before this.”

For a moment, Yue hesitated, but then he smiled and nodded. “Very well. You are right, we need our strength for the journey ahead. There will be many dangers.”

He bowed to the turtle boys and then grabbed Tian Gu’s arm gently. “Let me escort you safely to your chambers,” he said.

“A… alright,” Tian Gu stammered, suddenly feeling her heart pick up speed. They started walking and he let go of her arm, yet carefully matching his speed to hers. Even though Shao Wan still wore the garbs of a Kunlun student, Tian Gu knew that sharing a room with someone of such status was inappropriate, so she had quietly taken her meager belongings out of the room they had previously shared and had asked the head of maids for another.

It was not too far, but still far enough for an awkward silence to descended upon them. Should she maybe apologize to him? She felt she had been rather mean to him in the past, doubting his abilities and making snippy remarks many a time. But how did one apologize for something like that without bringing up a topic likely to embarrass the other? Her tired brain was frantically trying to find a less inauspicious topic when Yue cleared his throat.

“Yes?” she asked, her heart gaining speed again.

“Princess,” he began. “I would like to…”

But he stopped speaking rather abruptly and tensed up when he saw that somebody waited for her in front of her room. That somebody happened to be Yu Dian, hastily getting to his feet when they approached.

“Princess,” the Demon Lord greeted her and bowed, “I need to speak to you.”

“Y...yes?” Tian Gu said.

“Alone,” Yu Dian added and shot Yue a dark look.

“A… alright,” Tian Gu stammered, feeling embarrassed that she sounded so immature, “why don’t you come in?”

Only the sharp intake of breath from Yue told her that this was probably not an appropriate thing to say, but Yu Dian had already nodded and pushed open the door, waiting for her to enter.

“She’s safe with me,” Yu Dian snapped at the Guard, who looked sullen and deject, so much so that Tian Gu thought it necessary to reach out to him and pat his arm.

“I will see you in the morning, alright?” she said. “Make sure to get some rest. And feed the Dais! I hope we will take them on the journey?”

With some regret, she turned her back at him and walked passed Yu Dian, who firmly closed the door behind her.

“It’s really late…” she frowned.

“It cannot wait,” the Green Lord said with urgency and pulled her over to a divan in the corner.

She sat down, looking at him with a bit of puzzlement. He looked quite haggard, more so even than when she had first noticed his altered look. She caught herself thinking that despite of everything, he looked even better this way. A bit wild and rather exciting.

“Have you been able to greet your sister properly?” she asked to get her mind off his looks.

“My sister!” he exclaimed. “She is the reason why I am here.”


“I have indeed spoken to her. And now…” he faltered.


“I… I need to warn you,” he whispered.

“Oh,” Tian Gu said and looked at him with big eyes. “Why?”

Yu Dian took a couple of rapid breaths. Tian Gu reached out to take his hand. It was on impulse, really, but he grasped it like a drowning man.

“She and the Demon Ancestor, they have made a deal.”

Tian Gu nodded. This was not news, though still not something she felt comfortable with.

“The Demon Ancestor promised them “Nüwa’s son” and in return, she will get a new body,” he continued.

“What are you saying?” Tian Gu explained, “Lady Shao Wan would never betray my Shifu!”

“This is not the information that I have,” Yu Dian continued rapidly. “Now that they have him, they want to kill him to resurrect Nüwa. They need all his blood.”

Tian Gu felt faint all of a sudden. “I… cannot….. believe it,” she murmured. But why was she so sure? In fact, she knew all the stories of the God of War and the Demon Queen from the books and they were not pretty. Being polar opposites, they were each other’s destruction, inevitable enemies for all eternity. Had he not killed her twice already? Maybe she wanted to take revenge for what he had put her through.

“We cannot let this happen!” she exclaimed.

“It is not all,” Yu Dian continued, “please listen.”

Tian Gu nodded.

“The head of Jiàopài Huàn Zong, the Soulswapper Cult. It is… it is your mother, Princess. And they want to use your body for the Demon Ancestor’s new home.”


It had been one of those perfect mornings. Bai Qian had had a strange but not unpleasant dream, in which she had been a student at Kunlun, listening to her Shifu's calm voice reciting from Yang Chu's Garden of Pleasure:

“Meng-Sun-Yang asked Yang Chu:
‘There are men who cherish life and care for their bodies with the intention of grasping immortality. Is that possible?’
Yang Chu replied: ‘According to the laws of nature there is no such thing as immortality.’
Meng-sun-Yang: ‘Yet is it possible to acquire a very long life?’
Yang Chu: ‘According to the laws of nature there is no such thing as a very long life. Neither can life be preserved by cherishing or the body benefited by fostering. When death comes, disregard it and let it come. Mark what it brings you, and be drifted away to annihilation. If you pay no regard to life and death, and let them be as they are, how can you be anxious lest our life should end too soon?’”

She had looked at her Shifu and how the the evening sun had bathed the upper part of his face in a soft, golden light. At his lips that spoke so soothingly of life and death as if it were nothing, as if he had never said “wait for me” and entered the big nothingness, leaving the Realms grieving and broken. Everything was alright in her dream, such horrible things had never happened. Her Shifu was alive and she lived happily and carefree under his tutelage, which would never end.

She had woken from her dream because someone had touched her belly, a gentle, warm caress... a hand that moved upwards to cup and fondle one of her breasts.

“Qian Qian, are you awake,” her husband had whispered into her ear.

“Not at all,” she had sighed, but his touch woke up her body and soon, her mind cleared as well.

“Ye Hua! The children!” she had whispered and had tried to get the hand to stop touching her in ways that made her crave for more.

A-Li had insisted on sharing a bed with them because A-Xi had developed a habit of crying until she took him to bed with them and A-Li claimed he needed to protect them all in their sleep, now that all three of them were in one room.

“It is dangerous, of course,” he had lectured her, “one intruder can end you all.”

He had showed her Xuanxuan, Tianyuan’s brush his Uncle Mo Yuan had given to him, and nodded gravely.

Her older boy was jealous of the younger one, because she spent so much more time with her second. Of course she had not had the heart to send A-Li back to his own palace and bed.

“They’re asleep,” Ye Hua had whispered, his voice thick with desire.

Bai Qian had gasped at the audacity of even thinking what he was thinking.

“Not here!” she had insisted, but her mind was already trying to find a solution. If not here, maybe in the back room? Where Ye Hua often studied documents?

“Come,” she had whispered and taken his hand, watching him as he carefully climbed over both boys, the sight of his long, open hair making her mouth water. And again, “come”, pulling him away from the bed, through the room, making sure not to stir any maids and certainly not the boys.

Ye Hua, his face flushed from desire, had locked the door behind them with magic and had had her naked with a flick of his hand.

“Qian Qian, are you ready too?” he had asked, covering her upper body with hot kisses, suckling her breasts with a hunger reserved to men, not babies.

It had been a perfect morning, warm, happy, full of pleasure and the excitement of sneaking behind a door to make love on top of important documents.

Who would have thought she would find herself eavesdropping quite by accident on her agitated and rather enraged husband just a few hours later? The perfect morning had turned into a far less pleasant afternoon and Bai Qian felt her heartbeat increase and resonate in her head like a war drum. What had her Shifu done this time?

“I am truly offended, Third Uncle!” Ye Hua exclaimed, pacing back and forth. “Did you really think I would not see through this rather poor attempt of yours to keep something important from me?”

Lian Song, who looked close to breaking a sweat, swallowed compulsively. “No, Ye Hua,” he said, fidgeting around with his tea cup. “I really just felt an urge to transform at the border between the Ghost and the Demon Realm, to find out whether it would feel different.”

Exasperated, Ye Hua threw up his hands. “Then tell me, where is my brother?”

“Oh,” Lian Song said, “he is still travelling through the Demon Realm, exploring their fascinating customs.”

“And you grew tired of the fascinating customs?”

“Ah, well,” Lian Song answered, so obviously lying, “to be precise, I just missed…. you. You! And some other people up here. The Demon Realms are so very foreign, I just wanted to come home for a bit.”

“So you forgot why you were sent there in the first place? I do not see you dragging a certain Celestial Traitor up here!”

“Ah… no, no, your brother has that covered. He is travelling through the Demon Realm in pursuit of the Celestial Traitor.”

Ye Hua stopped in front of his Uncle, his back to Bai Qian who had stopped behind a screen with the tray she had meant to bring to her husband still in her hands. “Then you won’t mind if I go travel around a bit too, right? My Ascension Trial is coming up and I am thinking I should take a quick holiday before I have to drink the Water of Oblivion.”

“Crown Prince,” Ye Hua’s aide had come in and bowed, “the two Celestial High Gods Zhe Yan and Donghua Dijun wish to enter.”

“And I suspect they have come to back your story,” Ye Hua growled and faced his two additional visitors after sending his aide for more tea.

“Crown Prince,” they both said and dipped their heads, “Third Prince, how have you been?”

“How’s your lovely wife?” Zhe Yan added and shot an amused look in Bai Qian’s direction. He would always be the one to rat her out, even at home in the Fox Den. It was like he picked up her scent even though he wasn’t a fox at all.

“I am fine,” she said, thinking it an opportune moment to step forward and put the tray on Ye Hua’s desk. One look at Ye Hua’s face and she could confirm that he was not only agitated but also rather furious… and afraid. She stepped up to him and put her hand on his sleeve for comfort.

“Lying to us is no use,” she said sternly to the High Gods in front of her, “I know the God of War too well and I also know when people are lying. We Foxes can smell it.”

That wasn’t true at all, but one needn’t use magic to see that Lian Song was fidgeting around because he had a bad conscience. The appearance of the other two High Gods seemed a relief to him, but in truth, it just made it all the more clear that this was not just a lovely coincidence.

“Fengjiu tells me you went travelling for a bit too, Lord Donghua?” she addressed her niece’s husband.

“Ah, well, hm, hm,” he said.

“And my brother recently complained that you, Old Phoenix, felt the urge for some adventures in far away lands?”

“What a talkative little fox,” Zhe Yan murmured.

“All of you went with him?” Ye Hua exclaimed in disbelief. “And did not stop him from… from whatever he is trying to keep from me?”

“Well,” Zhe Yan sighed, “let me tell you that keeping him from things is impossible. In addition, our lovely Phoenix Lady Shao Wan is back and really needs his help.”

“What?!” Bai Qian and Ye Hua shouted simultaneously. Bai Qian felt joy rush through her, much greater than she would ever have thought possible, since she couldn’t exactly claim to like that woman much. But she had never forgotten how pitiful she had been that last time she had seen her, when she had given that flask to her, shortly before she had sacrificed her life for the Realms. It moved her heart, to this day.

“And this time, he will not put his life on the line,” Zhe Yan declared with a secretive smile.

“How can you be sure?” Bai Qian asked anxiously, “if saving her means giving his life force, will he not do it?”

Zhe Yan thought for a bit. “Yes, let me correct myself. He will not easily put his life on the line this time.”

“If those Demons harm one hair on his body…” Ye Hua made an aggressive movement with his hand, but Bai Qian shook her head at him.

“I think I understand, Ye Hua,” she quietly said. “You cannot go there to help him. None of us can. Did you not say that the situation there was ready to explode before Shifu went there to mediate? If the Celestial Crown Prince appears…”

“I will not hesitate to go to war for my brother,” Ye Hua said vehemently, “that Realm means nothing to me.”

“Please reconsider, Crown Prince,” Donghua Dijun said in his languid way, “it means a lot to the God of War.”

Lian Song nodded eagerly. “It’s a lovely place,” he added, “I hope you can come see it one day, Crown Prince.”

“So you are all saying we should stay up here and be worried senseless?” Bai Qian asked.

“My preferred option would be you stay up here and drink my wine while your husband prepares for his trial,” Zhe Yan said, no longer smiling. “Both of you. You cannot go there.”

“I will take your advice under consideration,” Ye Hua said sharply, “but as soon as I feel anything that indicates he’s in pain…”

His unfinished sentence hung in the air between them, filling Bai Qian with increasing dread… and resolve. Her husband had to prepare for his trial. He could not leave. But she, she could.

Chapter 29