Fanfic: Mo Yuan and Shao Wan 2.0 - Chapter 32 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 32

written by kakashi
edited by Panda & LigayaCroft

“Shifu!” Bai Qian cried and grabbed him by the arm when he stumbled.

“No matter,” he said and resolutely removed her hand as he straightened himself. “I’m alright.”

Bai Qian pressed her lips together in mounting annoyance. He was doing it again. In many ways, he was even worse than his brother when it came to keeping up appearances, putting up that impenetrable facade to make it seem everything was fine, never letting anyone near enough to help.

The had left the pandemonium of the caves behind them a while ago. That they had won was to a large degree thanks to Tian Gu’s support and the diversion of the Purple Queen’s elite guard that Demon Guard had fetched, but she was still the one who had engaged with the Cult Members and their eerie magic the most. She felt proud that she had fought so well, despite the odds and despite a certain fear she might be out of practice - and despite much of it being a strange blur in her memory, as if she had fought in a dreamstate. Had to be because of the special energy there, she told herself.

Everything had had to happen very quickly afterwards, since many of the Cult members were at large, so she had not even had time to worry too much. But now… since her Shifu’s cultivation was depleted so much, they were very slow. She had not been able to check his body for further injuries after the rescue, though it was certain he had them. This was corroborated by the fact that he was in no condition to cloud jump. Not that he had told her that … she just guessed it because they were walking like mortals and on top of that, like those of advanced age.

They had barely spoken five words. Once safe and in full command of his senses, he had acknowledged their presence and in particular her efforts to free him from the clutches of that Cult with a nod and a very formal “thank you”. He had then turned his face away to pull up his hair into the usual tight topknot - the hair was artfully braided in Demon style, but that did not stop him from forcing it into a Celestial knot - and had taken the robe Fong Hung had offered him without a word, putting it on on top of the leather clothes he was wearing.

It seemed to Bai Qian that he was upset, but it could also just be the exhaustion he had to be feeling.

She also realized how much she hated his silent stoicism, now more than ever. When she had just been a starry-eyed disciple, she had endured it out of respect, but now, she was no longer that person.

“So we are going to…?” she tried to start a conversation.

“... a mortal world,” he finished her sentence and shut his mouth again.

He looked a bit different to her than before. She wondered whether it was the lingering Dragon Power, the shimmer that went over him like a shiver from time to time. How long had he been in that state between true form and human form? She wondered what it felt like. Due to their size, Dragons were nothing like Foxes. Their transformation took effort and immense powers, which made them a danger to their surroundings if they lost control. That was the reason why the Dragon Family restricted transformations and always checked on their members, Ye Hua had once explained to her. His brother had inherited his Father’s form - of all of them, the Golden Dragon was the most powerful, but also the most difficult to control.

But maybe it was not the Dragon Power at all, she pondered as she looked at him from the side. It might also be that his face was less full than it used to be in the past. Or the faint black circles under his eyes. Or the way his lips tightened with every step, likely because he was in pain.

“Shifu,” she began sternly.

He stopped abruptly. Surprised, she stopped too.

“I did not know Shao Wan would involve you in this way,” he said, facing her with furrowed brows. “Or I would not have allowed it.”

So he was upset.

“No matter,” she said with a shrug. “I am strong enough.” No need to tell him that she herself had been very boldly tricked into this. She would give the Demon Woman an earful for sure once the situation was resolved, but she understood she had been very desperate - and to see and feel the other woman dying right next to her had made her lower her resistance.

Her Shifu still looked at her and she was getting more and more confused. Why exactly was he upset? Was he not just glad his wife was back, and in fact, would soon be back for real? She wanted to ask him that but did not dare to. They were not in that kind of a relationship.

He continued looking at her with displeasure for a while. Then, he briefly shook his head and continued walking. What did it mean? Did he think she wasn’t strong enough? She hurried after him, suddenly feeling a bit faint.

True, it had been a very strange sensation when Shao Wan’s soul had entered her body through her mouth, guided by Fong Hung’s magic. But the Demon Queen’s soul had settled inside of her quietly. Clinging to it tightly were two other tiny souls. They were far less quiet, and had immediately started to drink from her soul essence. She had let them, amazed and somewhat fascinated by their hunger.

They drank for quite a while until they were sated. No wonder that frail body that had hosted Shao Wan now lay dead and soulless back in that cave. Whose shell had it been before the Demon Queen had ascended? Had someone fashioned it for her? Bai Qian had many questions, but nobody to ask them.

Tian Gu, who had fallen unconscious, Fong Hung, the Turtle Army and the two Demon men had gone to the current Overlord’s palace - Shifu had given orders for them to stay put until his return. Bai Qian had left them only reluctantly, but worry for them was ill-advised at the moment, since they had their own important mission to focus on. Besides, she wanted to return to the Heavens as soon as possible.

“You mean to walk to the mortal world?” Bai Qian asked the man before her, since she was quickly losing her patience with him.

He stood still again. “No”, he answered without looking at her, “but this place suppresses my powers. Unless you mean to carry me, this is the only way to get anywhere.”

Bai Qian snorted, but realized quickly it had been no joke. “Rest a while, Shifu,” she pleaded. “We are in no immediate danger anymore. We can spare a few hours. I will guard over you.”

He turned his head now and there was a strange expression there to see, one that made her stomach flutter in an almost painful way.

“I will never forget this,” he said. “Dìfu (弟妇), I will forever be in your debt.”

Bai Qian was slightly taken aback to hear him call her Sister-in-Law. But she was indeed the wife of his younger brother. No longer Master-Student... but this.

“We are family,” she said quickly, to hide her discomfort, “there are no debts.”

Mo Yuan sat down rather abruptly after this exchange, briefly showing her a face contorted in agony before he got back his bearing and moulded it into its usual calm demeanor she knew so well.

“Let me tend to your wounds,” Bai Qian said and got on her knees beside him.

“It’s nothing,” he claimed, but she was quite done with these sort of lies. She grabbed his robe before he could protest or push her away and pulled it apart over his breast. He was not wearing the usual layers of robes underneath, as she knew, but a leather tunic that she associated with Demons. It was colored red from his blood.

“Oh Shifu,” she said and tried to find the straps to open it, “take off your robe.”

His arms were shaking so much he could barely comply and despite the sympathy she felt for him, Bai Qian also not help getting very angry. “Why is it, Shifu,” she said accusingly, “that in all those years I have known you, you were never just… safe? Why is it that I see you hurt all the time? Worse, that I had to hold your corpse in my arms, crying my eyes out? Ah, I do not want to hear you say it is Fate, because that is just an excuse for not taking responsibility for one’s own decisions.”

As soon as these words had left her lips, Bai Qian felt a wave of guilt wash over her. How dare she! Her Shifu was exhausted, they had taken away more than half of his cultivation and on top of that, he was quite badly wounded. She had no right to scold him like this, such a respected personality, a man so much older than her.

But he did not even have the energy to get angry. Her heart contracted in sympathy when he let his head hang tiredly and said: “I just wanted to protect you.”

She did not say another word afterwards, and neither did he. She helped him undress, found the leather straps and took off the sullied tunic. The state of his body was so bad she could not hold back a sob, but she would not let that deter her. She ripped part of her undergarment into pieces and went to soak it in a nearby creek, carefully cleaning his wounds with the cloth afterwards, then using the meager healing magic she possessed to heal the worst of his wounds.

He had his eyes closed and did not stir.

But something else stirred.

It took her breath away and made her hands shake and her mouth go dry.

I just wanted to protect you was a simple statement. And yet, it came with layers upon layers of meaning. You, he had said. You as in “all of you”, but in that all of you, there was her as well. He had protected her with his life, more than once - moments she often revisited in her dreams. And she knew with absolute certainty: he would do it again. He would go on to protect people with his life, bearing the consequences, swallowing the pain - alone, because that was the nature of a protector. Even when he was surrounded by family, by students, by people who loved him and people he loved - to protect them meant to be able to leave them at any time, without regret, without guarantees to ever see them again.

Maybe for the first time, she fully realized what burden he was carrying.

The emotions she felt threatened to choke her. Without a moment of thought, she put her arms around him and buried her face at his neck, her heart overflowing with sympathy, with pity - with the knowledge that because of him, they would be safe, but because of them, he would never be.

His body, it was warm, it was familiar, he smelled… different, yet the same and just when she realized that he was rigid like a piece of wood in her grasp, she became aware of a spinning sensation, as if the world was tilting on its head.

“Oh no,” she whispered, right before she blacked out.


He was very weak, he did not possess even half of the powers he usually had at his command. And yet, he managed to throw her off, using magic for emphasis and then he glared at her as she lay there in the dirt with his dark, beautiful eyes, so angry and so alluring.

“How dare you,” he said coldly.

“How dare you be angry!” she snapped back and crawled closer, overcome by her need to touch him, to kiss him, to make love to him, to feel alive after being half-dead for too long. She needed this, she needed the reassurance that she had overcome another hurdle, that she would be able to live again. The Fox Woman’s body was warm, soft and comfortable and even though she was a strong minded person, she was much too surprised to fight back. For the moment.

Mo Yuan got up and put on his robe, binding the belt tightly, transforming back into the immaculate, hateful Celestial Noble instantly.

“How dare you,” he repeated, “how dare you use her like this.”

Shao Wan stopped in confusion. She had been certain he wouldn’t mind. He liked the Fox Woman, did he not? It was the perfection solution to their problems. The power and the body of a High Goddess. She had freed him with relative ease and now they were going to fetch her real body, after which…

“You are possessing her, Shao Wan,” Mo Yuan accused her, “this is unforgivable!”

He was using big words. Unforgivable? Shao Wan felt the Fox Woman struggle to gain the upper hand again. Yes, obviously, she wasn’t happy. But did he not realize this was only temporary? She waited for him to see reason. But no… he wouldn’t, the stubborn man.

“She was feeling you up!” she gave back angrily.

His anger was not waning. In fact, it seemed to only grow.

“After everything you’ve been through,” he said with disdain, “I would have thought you learned to be more compassionate, at the very least.”


“You are endangering my brother’s wife, Shao Wan,” he said. “Do you even know what multiple souls can do to an immortal?”

“Yes of course I know! It’s completely sa…” her voice trailed off. Truth be told, she did not know. Now she remembered that Fong Hung had looked unhappy when she had told him to put her soul into the Crown Princess’ body.

“A body should be empty when another soul is put in,” he had mumbled.

“It’s only for a short time,” she had said, “and it’s just like carrying someone who weighs nothing on your back. What’s the big deal?”

He had continued to look unhappy, but had not contradicted her.

She glared at Mo Yuan. So why did he not tell her what could happen, the annoying know-it-all? Fine, maybe she had been too greedy. Maybe she should have sat in that body quietly even when this Fox was hugging what she had no right to hug.

“I only wanted to see you,” she finally said. “I missed you. I wanted to make sure you were fine.”

“It’s a crime punishable by death in the Celestial Tribe,” Mo Yuan said. “She is the Crown Princess. My brother will know no mercy.”

Shao Wan swallowed. Ah, yes. Use magic against a member of the Royal Family and be punished severely. She had heard of this law. But their laws were not her laws and she wasn’t hurting the Fox at all.

“Are you going to tell him, this brother of yours?” she challenged the Celestial.

“If you do not leave her body very soon, he will find out by himself. Any possession leaves traces, Shao Wan. You… why are you always so reckless.”

“How am I reckless!” she shouted at him. “I had to improvise! I was running out of time and you were not available for consultation!”

“Are you trying to convince me you did not plan this from the very beginning?”

Well. It had been one of the possibilities she had toyed with, of course. She had known about the excessive Yin energy in the Fire Lands since her first visit there. They needed a powerful woman to help. And how many High Goddesses did she know? Exactly one of them.

“You lied to me.”

Hm. Shao Wan sat down on her backside and tried to assess the situation. Lying… was it lying if someone kept something from somebody else? She did not think so. He had agreed to be the bait for the Soulswappers, he had agreed to put himself in danger, while she pretended to be a traitor to win Yu Fen’s trust. He had agreed to using Lian Song to alert his brother and to make sure the Fox Woman would come to the Demon Realm. Maybe it was a bit lying that she had not said anything about using her as a carrier... but it certainly was not fully lying, was it?

“I did not lie,” she said stubbornly. And wasn’t he generally smart enough to guess what people were planning?

“You told me to trust you. I did trust you. But I’m afraid I won’t trust you again.”

He looked very pale as he said these cold and hurtful words. Was he swaying on his feet? The Fox Woman clamored to take back command and maybe it was her previous feelings that surfaced, but all of a sudden, Shao Wan felt an almost overwhelming need to protect him.

“You must sit down,” she said and got up in alarm, “you are not well.”

To her surprise, he did sit down, but most likely not because he was done fighting with her. He simply was too exhausted to stand and glare at her.

“Let me rest a bit,” he said, then coughed for quite some time. “I will be strong enough afterwards to go to the mortal world alone.”

“Are you insane!” she shouted at him. “Do you not remember what happened the last time when you cast that magic down there? You almost died!”

“I will not die,” he replied. “But I do not want you to come.”

“Who is the reckless one here,” she grumbled, “you are not going there alone, you fool. Fine, I won’t disturb you and that Fox Woman anymore. Even if she paws you again. I promise. I will be quiet.”

He buried his head in his hands. “I should never have listened to you,” he said. “I knew it was a bad idea. I should not have let myself be swayed by your frailty. What am I going to do with you?”

“I am doing this for you!” she said, feeling offended, but the moment those words left her lips, she knew she should not have spoken them.

“Not like this,” he said. And there was not a trace of warmth in his voice. “Shao Wan, unless you change your ways, this will get very difficult.”


When Bai Qian came to, she felt disoriented and frightened. Had she fainted? Agitated and confused, she looked for her Shifu and there he was, not two arm-lengths away, in lotus position, resting. That calmed her down considerably. If he was meditating like this, they were not in any imminent danger and she had probably just fallen asleep. That had often happened to her when she was younger, especially when she was out in nature like this.

She caught herself staring at his tranquil face. He had always looked exceedingly beautiful in this state.

Had she just thought of her Shifu as beautiful?

Turning deeply red, Bai Qian turned her face away to stare at the scenery. She forced her thoughts on another subject. The colors of the mountains were quite spectacular. They were lucky it wasn’t raining, she had heard a lot about the misery of the rainy season and they had no rain capes with them.

Staring at the scenery became a challenge after a while as her thoughts became all jumbled and her eyelids were closing at their own volition. She yawned deeply and turned around to look at him again. Still meditating. Only his breathing gave away that he was not a statue. Should she use the opportunity to meditate a bit herself? Not that she had ever acquired a taste for it, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt.

She arranged her legs in the lotus position and yawned again, this time more deeply. Why not take a nap instead, she thought, that was just as good as meditating. The ground she was sitting on seemed comfortable enough, and they were in the shade, so she lay down, watching some clouds in the sky above, thinking that even though she was far from home, she was feeling quite at peace.

But was she? Something inside of her seemed to disagree and she remembered that she was not quite alone at the moment. So Shifu would be a father soon? That thought made her smile fondly. He was very good with children, she had seen it on many occasions. His children were lucky to have chosen such a father! As for the mother…

“We will have a talk, Demon Queen,” Bai Qian whispered, “and finally put aside our differences. I will tell you everything I know about being a mother, it will make it less difficult for you, I…” The feeling of being kicked internally took her by surprise. “Fine,” she snapped, “if you do not want to, then we won’t. I cannot wait to have you out of me, you rude person!”

After that, it was quiet. Bai Qian settled down again and let her thoughts wander. During Ye Hua’s upcoming trial, she had been planning to take her two boys and go to Qinqiu. But what if she went to Kunlun instead? She had not stayed there for more than a few hours in so long and truth be told, she missed it. The serene atmosphere, the fragrant air, his benevolent, tranquil presence…

Right. If he was not at Kunlun, would she even like it there? Kunlun without its Master… she had experienced it once and never again wanted to feel this kind of desolation.

She sighed. Her Shifu did make them worry all the time. Maybe the Demon Queen would help to change that. Maybe he would retire for good once the children were here. Maybe…

Bai Qian’s dream was a happy one. They lived at Kunlun together and their twins were the most lovable, talented children the Realms had ever seen. The boy mastered the Seven Headed Turtle Technique at the tender age of 20’000 and the girl was able to use her Phoenix Powers to heal even the most horrible illnesses. In the evenings, when the children had been brought to bed by their disciples, they spent a lot of time reading and talking together. But the most wonderful part was their artful lovemaking. When it was known that immortals at their age were often want to lose interest in the carnal desires, they were the opposite. Maybe it was because he had abstained for so long during his life and she had known too many deaths not to grasp every opportunity to bath in the pleasures a considerate lover could award. Or maybe it was because they were made for each other - yin to the yang and yang to the yin.

Tonight, she was ready for hours upon hours of it.

“Mo Yuan,” she whispered… and jerked awake at the sound of her own voice. Had she just called him by his name? To her absolute horror, this was not all. She lay snuggled up to him, her leg and arm embracing him, a million stars shining above them.

She muffled a squeal and carefully edged away so as to not wake him.

But his eyes were already open. And they were fixed on her. Dark pools of mesmerizing beauty reflecting the night.

Chapter 33