Fanfiction3: A-Li's Three Lives, Three Worlds - Chapter 52 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 52

written by kakashi
edited by LigayaCroft/Panda

“There’s nobody here,” said a male voice outside.

Gun Gun shot up. His disorientation lasting only a brief moment - her body fused into his, the heady smell of their lovemaking still lingering. Soft and warm and so alluring… he very much regretted he couldn’t pick up right where they had left off.

“Mei Lin,” he whispered into her ear, inhaling the sweet scent of her hair, “Zūzu, wake up.”

It was light outside and judging by the sounds, the fair was starting. They had badly overslept.

“That man played a prank on us, obviously,” said another male voice and somebody walked around the wagon.

“That is unlikely,” said the first, “how many men with silver hair would they have seen before?”

“There is at least one other apart from Gun Gun’s venerated Father!” the second pompously said, “The High God Xiao Yu, whom I have met once when he came to visit my Father Lord."

After cursing himself for forgetting to change his hair color, Gun Gun exhaled quietly. Of all people, did it really have to be these two who caught them?! This meant trouble of the sort he really did not want. If they told their parents… he went groping for his pants in the mass of fabric down at their feet.

Mei Lin stirred. One of her breasts brushed against his arm and the soft touch sent liquid fire down his body. “Be quiet,” he breathed into her ear. “Hmmmmmmm,” she murmured and snuggled closer. He immediately grew very hard because this was how it was with her: He wanted her again the moment they disengaged. There was enough light underneath their cover to reveal her soft, relaxed features. She was smiling in her sleep. Seeing her face like this, so innocent and unguarded, made his heart overflow with emotion.

“They have started to unload the goods,” said voice number one, “look.”

“Maybe they went to get something to eat?”

As if it had needed the reminder, Gun Gun’s stomach growled. They had not eaten anything last night. He was famished.

Mei Lin opened her eyes. He put his hand on her mouth and signalled to her that someone was outside. Her eyes grew round… and then angry when she realized who it was. Gun Gun vehemently shook his head, but when had he ever been able to stop her? Hissing foul insults under her breath, she dived down to fetch her clothes, in the process banging against some jars.

“Did you hear that?”

“Is there an animal inside?…”

There followed an agitated discussion on what to do. Before the two man outside could make up their minds whether to lift the cover of the wagon to check what was inside or beat whatever it was with sticks first, Gun Gun had managed to put on his pants and his shirt, and scrambled forward to do some damage control.

“Da-Ge!” the two young men outside exclaimed in wonderment but also with considerable delight when he poked out his head.

“A-Xi, Mei Shui,” Gun Gun greeted the two cousins. Dressed like scholars, the most conservative and unimaginative immortal guise for visiting mortal worlds, they looked even more bookish than they normally did. Though both were undeniably handsome - anything else was impossible with their set of parents - they were far from realizing how to use their good looks to their advantage. Spending every second of their free time together, they were convinced life was lived to the fullest by endlessly discussing weapons, great battles, tactics and strategy.

“What a coincidence to find you here!” A-Xi exclaimed with a huge smile. “Yesterday, we met a man at an inn outside of town and he told us about a silverhaired man of great handsomeness that had helped him with his horse. He said you were travelling with a woman of exceptional beauty. Could it be Mei Lin?”

Gun Gun was about to deny everything when Mei Lin came shooting out from underneath the covers. She pushed against his back so that he almost fell and jumped down right in front of the two young men before he could stop her. She looked furious, her long hair flowing in unruly tangles all around her and her twin brother quickly took several steps back, his eyes growing wide as he took in her tattered, slightly crazed look.

“I don’t believe this!” she hissed. “Who sent you?”

“N…. nobody!” Mei Shui stammered. “But Father has been so worried about you, even though he’d never admit it, can’t you come ho…,” he clamped his mouth shut when she made a threatening gesture in his direction.

“We just wanted to visit the fair, cousin!” A-Xi explained and halfway wedged himself between his friend and his sister to provide Mei Shui with bodily protection if necessary. “It is a mere coincidence, but a very fortuitous one, I should add, that we learned of your presence here!”

“Where have you been, Da-Ge?” he then addressed Gun Gun, who was trying so smooth out his clothes and suddenly become aware of the fact that his own hair was in disarray too. “We looked all over for you and Li-Ge, but you just disappeared from the face of the earth.”

“Well…,” Gun Gun began, trying to come up with a lie that wouldn’t too obviously sound like one.

“It is none of your business,” Mei Lin yelled at the boys, “leave him alone.”

Having her of all people taking Gun Gun’s side was so unusual that both young gods frowned in confusion. Just be quiet, Gun Gun fervently wished and frantically signalled her with his eyes, or else they...

“What were you two doing in that wagon?” Mei Shui asked suspiciously.

“Well….,” Gun Gun began again, his cheeks starting to heat up, but Mei Lin was fired up and there was no stopping her.

“Looking for your brain, you donkey,” she snapped at her brother, “what else?”

“G...getting ready for the fair,” Gun Gun quickly added. A quick look around told him that he had been right before, the fair had begun, all the merchants around them were ready, only they were not. Far from ready.

Nǎinai would be furious. And she was not somebody to cross if one cherished one’s life.

“Oh, then it is true, you are selling something? It’s what we fathomed!” A-Xi said, seemingly very proud about his deduction skills and poked his head into the wagon. He sniffed. “What is this smell?”

“Tea,” Gun Gun coughed. “We are selling teas.”

“Ahhhh, you’ve always been quite the expert!” A-Xi said all happy that their big brother was putting his many talents to the right use, “it sounds like fun! Can we...”

“No, you are not allowed to help,” Mei Lin interrupted him, “the mere sight of you two will scare away all our customers. By the Gods! So annoying.”

“Actually, you can help us,” Gun Gun added. “We had to find a very special jar and lost a lot of time so we have not yet had time to eat breakfast. Could you fetch us some hot buns? And some tea?”

“Of course, Da-Ge!” Mei Shui and A-Xi beamed, “with pleasure. Is Li Da-Ge not here?”

Gun Gun shook his head, deciding that not saying anything was by far the safest route to take.

“You should have lifted off the cover to search for that jar though,” Mei Shui added with a frown. “It’s quite dark in there.”

“Ah, yes…,” Gun Gun said slowly... “but we decided to use our noses instead of our eyes. It is a tea that can easier be found that way.”

“That is amaaaaazing,” they said, growing large-eyed from awe. Mei Lin just stood there, rolling her eyes almost to the back of her head. The pair happily sauntered off then to fetch their big idol something to eat. Gun Gun heaved a big sigh of relief when their bobbing heads had disappeared down the lane.

Without another word, Mei Lin got busy unloading the wares from the wagon. He went up to her and took a big, heavy looking jar from her hands. “Let me do it.”

She looked at him from narrowed eyes. “Do you think me weak? I have been lifting heavy things quite without my powers for months.”

“No,” he said and smiled at her, resisting an impulse to kiss her, “but I don’t want you to do any work. Just sit down and relax.”

She snorted. “You are a strange man,” she said under her breath, but stepped aside. He reached out his hands and detangled and smoothed out her hair. “I will go buy a comb,” he murmured. He liked touching her hair. Would she let him comb it? He had helped his mother when he had been young. He knew just the hairstyle he would like Mei Lin to try… His breath stopped when her hands reached up to his hair, detangling and smoothing it out too.

“Leave it open,” she said, “and don’t change the color. It’s going to attract many more customers this way. It’s spectacular.”

He could not do anything else but stare at her. His heart was hammering in his chest and he wanted to say something, but could not form words. Her fingers briefly travelled over his face. “We better get ready to put this to good use,” she said in a husky voice. “We have to make Nǎinai proud. But please, put on your shirt the right way first.”

I really don’t want it to end, Gun Gun thought, I want to be with her every second of my life. By the Great Ones, I think I am in trouble.


Mei Lin’s mood was not exactly good. It had little to do with the silver-haired, broad shouldered, long-limbed man next to her, though admittedly, her bad mood made her feel increasingly annoyed with his blatant inattentiveness toward their important task. Instead of luring in customers with his good looks or shouting out what they had to offer like the other merchants, he mainly stared at her. In addition, he had positioned his stool very close to hers and whenever nobody was in immediate sight, he leaned over to kiss her, letting his tongue dance around hers, making her pulse quicken. He would even let his hands wander up her skirts whenever he could, as if they had an impatience of their own and no other use than to fondle her skin.

There was a place and a time for such things and it wasn’t like she did not enjoy lying with him - but that place and time was definitely not now.

“Can you not concentrate on what we have come to do?” she asked after the next time his tongue had invaded her mouth and she had broken their kiss by pulling back.

“I have come to do this,” he said quietly and his eyes captured hers with their fiery intensity.

“If we do not sell these teas, we will be in big trouble,” she scolded him, trying to sound stern despite the butterflies in her stomach. “Have you not realized how ruthless Nǎinai is?”

Gun Gun slowly shook his head. “She cannot really harm us.”

“You!” Mei Lin exclaimed. “She transferred our curse to Qian Ling! And A-Li’s to Xiaohu! I am quite afraid of her.”

“We can always just call our parents if she gets too cocky,” he said stubbornly, “no mere mortal, however skillful she may be, can look eye to eye with four High Gods.”

Mei Lin exhaled angrily. “I am not going back to the immortal realms and you are seriously angering me.”

“I do not want that,” Gun Gun said quietly and took her hand. “I want the opposite. Mei Lin...”

She pulled her hand away forcefully. “Then please! Do something to attract customers already! It’s almost noon and we have sold close to nothing!”

Reluctantly, Gun Gun got up. “Like… what exactly?”

“You could take off your shirt, shake your head so that your hair flies around and catches the sunlight and then sing about the lovely teas we sell. I bet you every woman in this town will flock to you. Why else do you have such good looks if not for this?”

He looked down at her with a frown. “That is very embarrassing.”

“It is far more embarrassing if my annoying brother and his appendix see you with your hands up my skirt!”

Gun Gun sighed. “Leave them alone. They do no harm.”

“Yes, they do!” Mei Lin said with anger, “the mere sight of him makes me want to destroy things.”

Of course Gun Gun didn’t mind her brother, because he and the second offspring of the Heavenly Emperor idolized Gun Gun. If they could, they would live in his lap and worship him day and night. Gun Gun and A-Li thought it was adorable that XiShui - as they called the two - were so into studying. She remembered that Gun Gun had been rather studious himself when he was more little - and for A-Li, it was the perfect opportunity to slack off and tell his parents how lucky they were to have a willing A-Xi take over all Heavenly duties.

But Gun Gun had not grown up with Mei Shui. So he did not know the half of it. Even her Father Lord had occasionally shown irritation at Mei Shui’s ways and nobody could accuse him of studying too little.

“Mei Shui, you must not neglect your martial arts,” he had said to his son more than once. “Mind and body are one thing not two, you cannot favor one over the other.”

Since her brother always tried to impress their Father, he had nodded eagerly and taken up his sword, even struggling to hold it properly… upon which she had beaten his ass down the Mountain until he had cried for their Mother.

“Go easy on your brother, Lin Lin,” her mother would say while brushing away his tears as he clung to her like a barnacle, “he is not whom you should measure your strength against. Find someone better than you, only then can you become better too.”

Mei Lin had often wondered who was the more skillful martial artist, their mother or their father. The history books seemed to favor their father overall, unless they were written by Demons. She had realized quite quickly that none of the records were to be trusted and had often sneaked up to Mount Cangwu to watch them fight and find out for herself. But of course, they had always sensed her a few minutes into their fight and had scolded her for trying to spy on them.

Only after reading her mother’s Mr. Mo books did she understand why they had wanted privacy up there.

For Demons, fighting was a means to gain cultivation. In addition, fighting made her mother very… Mei Lin shuddered to even think that word. But what use was it to deny that her parents seemed to have a very active bodily relationship? She was just glad it had not resulted in more of the Mei Shui kind.

For the time being, her brother and A-Xi had gone to find a mortal swordsmith who they claimed was very famous for his fine blades. He was supposed to be in town and exhibiting here at this fair. Their excited chatter about sword making techniques had given her the creeps, so she had zoned out completely, settling on watching Gun Gun smile benevolently at them.

It was interesting, he really did seem like the ideal Big Brother sometimes. But he also knew how to lie quite expertly, which wasn’t something she had been aware of before. He had come up with some lengthy explanation why he and Mei Lin were here at this fair and it involved 1) an experiment and 2) special teas they had to sell to mortals and 3) A-Xi and Mei Shui being incredibly impressed with their Da-Ge (as usual, over nothing). Quite some time ago, her brother and his friend had come up with this ridiculous conviction that Gun Gun was a spy for the God of War. Knowing about this, Gun Gun simply had to feed this strange obsession of theirs with an adventurous story that fit their expectations and they could be sure the two idiots would keep this meetup at Nanking a secret.

So many thoughts….and Gun Gun had still not taken off his shirt! She was just about to start getting seriously angry at him, when her eyes came to rest on an elegant person standing in front of them, already commanding Gun Gun’s fullest attention.

The person had not come for tea though.

“Uncle!” Mei Lin cried. One leap and she flew into her favorite Demon’s arms.

“Ouf,” he made upon impact and laughed, “not a little girl anymore.”

He put her down after squeezing her heartily and looked her up and down with appreciation. “By Pangu’s Egg, you have to stop becoming more beautiful,” he said almost breathlessly, “or there will be men going to War over you in the future.”

Suddenly feeling a bit shy, Mei Lin giggled and pulled back her hand that had started to travel upwards, to tug at her favorite Uncle’s beard, like she had always done as a child.

“What are you doing here?” Gun Gun blurted out so rudely that Mei Lin’s mouth formed a surprised “O” as she stared at him.

“Ah, Donghua’s son is here too,” said Yu Dian is his most blasé way, acknowledging Gun Gun only with an arrogant look and tiny nod.

Gun Gun deserved more of a reprimand for his rudeness to an Elder, but Yu Dian was being generous, it seemed. Mei Lin frowned at Gun Gun with great displeasure. What had gotten into him? Didn’t he know exactly how much Yu Dian meant to her? He had laughed at her many times because of it too.

“Don’t be sad, Zuzu,” he has slurred at Yu Dian’s first wedding, putting his arm around her shoulder and patting her head, “we will find you a much better groom, A-Li and me. We will look out for you!”

“Cousin,” A-Li had added, turning a bottle upside down to check whether it was really empty, “put to rest any romantic notion of love you might have. We get to marry who they choose for us! Nowadays, nobody is allowed to marry for love anymore.”

Maybe they had meant well, but Mei Lin’s heart had been hurting too much that day. She had looked at the pretty young bride in her fine clothes and had hated her with all her might. But she was no fool: Her head told her the Demon Lord and her could never be together - but she had still wished for it in secret, often imagining how she would travel the Demon Realm with the beautiful and funny First Advisor of her mother.

It wasn’t only that he was much older than her. No - it was her Father Lord whose face turned to stone at the mere mention of the Demon Lord’s name. When she had been little, she had never understood it. What was it about this man that could move her normally so stoic Father to such anger?

More recently, she had heard rumors in those taverns in the Demon Realm they frequented, about how the Demon Ancestor preferred living with the Green Lord to living with the God of War. Maybe there was some truth in that, Mei Lin pondered, because her mother spent much more time at her palace than with her father at Kunlun. And at the palace, there was Yu Dian, her mother’s most trusted and loyal vassal.

“Why are you sitting around when you could enjoy the fair with me?” Yu Dian currently smiled at her, “he can watch your goods. And while we walk, you must tell me how you come to be here in such…” he eyed her, “shabby clothes, selling teas in the company of... him.”

“With pleasure, Uncle,” Mei Lin beamed as she flicked back her hair.

“Mei Lin…,” Gun Gun said sharply.

“I will be waiting a bit further down for you, Mei Lin,” Yu Dian said and walked away.

“I do not know what got into you,” Mei Lin snapped at Gun Gun once Yu Dian was out of earshot, “do you not know how to greet an Elder? I feel very offended at your treatment of someone from my family.”

“He is no family of yours,” Gun Gun replied, the tight thin line of his lips speaking of his own anger.

“I hope you will have sold at least half of all this until I’m back,” she said viciously, dismissing the teas and him with an angry wave of her hand, “because I would much rather spend time with him than with you when you’re like this.”

And with that, she stalked away to catch up with whom she had always considered one of the most perfect men whom she had ever met.

Chapter 53