Fanfiction3: A-Li's Three Lives, Three Worlds - Chapter 55 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 55

written by LigayaCroft
edited by Panda & kakashi       

Another dream.

The scroll on Shao Wan’s lap fell on the grass-carpeted ground. For a moment, she had to squint her eyes against the bright sunlight that hit her face. The shade offered by the gazebo Mo Yuan had built for her so many years ago had already moved. Had she really been asleep for hours?

Shao Wan pushed herself to sit upright from her reclining chair and stooped to pick up the fallen scroll. Dong Hua had retrieved several Celestial Library texts from the pre-Shuǐ Zhǎozé era and although Shao Wan was not an avid reader, she had ploughed on as fast as she could, trying to search for clues on her identity.

It was frustrating, especially when your genesis boiled down to, “Some time after the four Primordial Gods who had ruled Heaven and Earth created the Second Creation, the Great Phoenix Shao Wan escaped her egg.”

And that was it.

There was even no clear mention of how she became the ruler of the Demon Realms, of how she became the Demon Ancestor. Yu Dian, her right-hand man and chieftain of the fascinating Green Demon Clan had held on an interesting theory for years about how her mere existence had coincided with when the Demon Clans were on their peak strength, and how her absence also coincided with moments in history where the Demon Clans were at its weakest and subdued by Celestials. The timing was truly suspicious, but why?

Where was her history? Where was her mythology? She couldn't very well have been a queen of suspiciously questionable origins.

It had long bothered her how her mere existence had all began from an egg. No family, no tribe. And truly not as dramatic as how Dong Hua or Zhe Yan had first appeared. She had learned to shrug it off eventually especially after her twins were born: two perfect, golden phoenixes who were born in their human form with no need for eggs.

But these dreams— so vivid, so lifelike— she was pretty sure they were a recollection and not a figment of her imagination. Today's dream had been no different. Shao Wan closed her eyes and tried to replay it, her eyes tearing up a bit because once again she had felt embraced by pure love as her Mother had held her in her lap.


Once again the dragons had made their appearance in her dream, flying over the mountain range of Kunlun, all so big that the smallest was three times the size of Mo Yuan’s dragon form. She was flying in her human form astride one horn of Fuzanglong, Mother’s Dragon who expelled combustible, poisonous gas, when they heard Mother’s four-note whistle. Whistling was Mother’s form of communication when calling out to her and her dragon-siblings, as the sound effectively carried through valley and mountaintops.

Siblings? I had dragons for siblings?

Mmm, what mischief have you gotten into, Little Phoenix? Mother is looking for you again, Fuzanglong breathed, his tone annoyed.

Little Phoenix? Shao Wan took a longer look at the hands wrapped around Fuzanglong’s golden horn and noticed they were small, that of a mortal three or four year old’s.

Didn't you tell us you asked Mother to let you come play with us? A female voice said from her left and when Shao Wan turned, she saw Yinglong’s gray scales shining against the bright sunlight.

I did, she said in her defense, suddenly recalling how she had kissed Mother on the cheek before she ran out of the door and transformed into her phoenix form. It vexed her when her siblings teased her like this. I promise I did!

So adorable, another female voice sounded from behind her. Her back soothingly scratched against silvery scales as Shenlong passed by her before it flew to her right, black orbs glistening, the dragon’s eyelids fluttering. When you start tearing up like that, lah, my heart always feels like it is going to melt.

It reminds me of the time she first crawled out of her egg and started chirping so lustfully until Mother picked her up, Yinlong added and Fuzanglong’s scales vibrated under her in assent.

They approached the small Peach Garden in Kunlun where Mother sat on a bench, alongside a beautiful woman with artful braids.

Our Aunt is here! Her dragon siblings shouted in unison and everyone raced to be the first to reach their Aunt, who stood up and faced them, arms open wide.

Fuzanglong had the sense to drop her off into Mother’s outstretched arms before he too joined the fray. Her tiny arms wrapped around her Mother’s neck as she watched her siblings envelop their Aunt until with a bright burst of light Aunt transformed into her dragon form.

Aunt was much bigger than Jiaolong, and her scales, dark as the blackest of nights, moved in perfect contrast against the other dragons’ scales. For several moments, the dragons were at each other in a tumble of muscle and scales until with pealing laughter, Aunt returned to her human form and stepped away from the mass.

“Children,” Mother called out at the dragons still nipping at each other, “your Aunt and I need to talk. Can you take your play away from here?”

Nobody really responded but the mass that formed from Shao Wan’s nine siblings floated away, bickering at each other, until they eventually detached and started chasing one another through clouds and mountaintops.

“They are still children, you are right,” Aunt concluded to Mother and reached out a hand to ruffle Shao Wan’s hair. “And you, Dǎodàn, how pretty you have become.”

Her arms around her Mother’s neck tightened, “My Mother is the fairest in all the realms. It is only natural that I take after her.”

Aunt’s eyebrows raised at her childish boast. “You are so adorable. I should visit more often.”

Yes, I’m adorable! Shao Wan wanted to shout but she could only feel herself burrow tighter against her Mother, her hand playing with her Feather that hung from a chain down her Mother’s fragrant neck.

“No wonder your Mother wanted to give you playmates,” Aunt cooed as Shao Wan’s cheeks got stuffed between her hands and pressed together, causing Shao Wan’s lips to fold into a pout. “So adorable.”

She wanted to bite her Aunt but showed wisdom in her young age by instead suffering under her Aunt's ministrations.

“Mother, you are giving me playmates?” she asked as soon as her Aunt released her face. “Where are they?”

“Soon, Dǎodàn. We will make the Second Creation soon. Do you want to help out?”

Second Creation? Young Shao Wan wasn’t sure what it meant but she had seen her Mother, Aunt and Uncles conjure something out of nothing many times before, especially when they were trying to entertain her. Helping out sounded exciting.

“Yes! How can I help out, Mother?”

Her Mother's smile beamed at her brighter than the ever bright light that surrounded them.

“Do you remember where we hid your egg shell?”

She nodded.

“We'll need it. All of it.”


The dawn of the Second Creation.

All her long life, Shao Wan had believed that like the rest of the worlds that currently existed, she was part of the Second Creation.

Now her dreams— nay, her past— seemed to tell her otherwise.

Could the woman she had called Aunt be none other than Mo Yuan’s mother, Nüwa? While texts were rich of praise at Nüwa’s Creation powers, there was no clear picture of her. Further, there were no clear indication of what color her dragon form had been. In Shao Wan’s dream, her Aunt was a dragon so fathomless black in color, it ate the light that attempted to go through it. Ye Hua was a black dragon with shiny scales while Fuxi was a yellow one — could it really be possible her Aunt was Nüwa?

All this time of being both feared and reviled by Celestials because she came from an egg, and now knowing the possibility that she was of the First Creation and a daughter of a Creator like Nüwa — had this been revealed many, many years ago when she was younger, Shao Wan would have gloated at the knowledge. But now, having experienced motherhood herself, all she could think of was what she could have missed by not recalling that she had a family and a mother who had obviously doted on her.

She shuddered as she remembered how desperately she had struggled to bring her children back to her body, and wondered if her Mother had felt just as desperate to return too.

But know that if things do not go as planned, I will return to set things right again. Then I will come back for the two of you, my yīn and yáng, my Daughter and my Son.

Was her Mother about to return? Was this the reason why despite the fact that she could not actively remember, she had begun remembering her Mother once again? But why her? Why couldn't Zhe Yan remember? Was he really her Brother? How? And more importantly, how did her Mother die? These history books were of no help.

I have a strong suspicion that we have been lied to all this time, Dong Hua had whispered the idea even though there was no safer place for him to speak out save for the confines of Shao Wan’s Obsidian Palace. Remember how Mo Yuan was able to erase a chunk of your memories when you were younger? What if his Father — our Father Immortal — did the same to everyone?

If Dong Hua was right, Shao Wan still had no idea how Father Immortal had been able to pull off a memory erasure of such a grand scale. Could it be because as subjects of the Second Creation, they were all technically under Father Immortal’s feet? The theory still held no water however because if her most recent dream was true, she should not have been subjected to it given she was of the First Creation.

Shao Wan’s head throbbed as her thoughts held her hostage, only to be broken by strong, warm arms wrapping around her from behind.

“Māma, I am home, like you asked me to.”

Shao Wan’s heart expanded in her chest as she received the affections of her sweet, sweet boy. Although they were twins, Mei Lin and Mei Shui could very well have been born years apart, so different were they in skill and temperament. Mei Lin was a warrior while Mei Shui was a scholar. Mei Lin was also innately motherly with her brother, who ended up growing up and finding nothing wrong whenever her sister babied him. It naturally followed that Mei Lin was more feisty while Mei Shui was more calm, albeit both twins were innately curious and adventurous.

“Mei Shui,” she said, cupping her child’s face. Once again, she was awed at how this beautiful creature actually came from her. This made her think about her own Mother and made her feel sad all over again. Mother in her most recent dream looked just about Mei Shui and Mei Lin’s age; had Mother aged terribly by now? Or much like her, was Mother still able to preserve her own youth and looks?

“Māma, why are you tearing up?” Her sweet boy’s thumbs wiped away her tears even as he asked. “What has made you so sad?”

She had engaged with her children as if grown-ups since they were young and had let them go off with their uncles to learn by exposure to the real world , much different from Mo Yuan’s staid upbringing guided by tutors and books. It now made sense why despite Mo Yuan’s initial objection she chose the vagabond lifestyle for her twins; it was because she had also lived her younger life that way. School had not been her teacher; life was.

Shao Wan shook her head. “How are you, Shui’er? How were your latest adventures with Yu Dian?”

“I was in Nanking when you called for me to return, Māma. I met Zūzu and Gun Gun there.”

“Oh? And where was your cousin?”

“We were there several mortal days but I haven't seen Li-Gē. Māma, Zūzu and Gun Gun were selling mortal teas!”

They were? Shao Wan mulled over the tidbit, wondering how bored Lian Song’s wards could have been to do something so tedious.

“They also kept disappearing on A-Xi and I. It was so annoying.”

They did? This time, Shao Wan grinned as she thought of how Mo Yuan was going to respond to this new development. She had always liked Dong Hua’s son, and as her best friend from back when they were young—

Right. Shao Wan shook her head and returned her focus on her son.

“Oh, Mei Shui, I have a favor to ask you.”

“What is it, Māma?”

Shao Wan looked into her child’s eyes. Words yet to be spoken itched to be released by her tongue. She wanted to hold him and tell him about what needed to be done and yet—

Now Shao Wan understood why her Mother never told her of whatever she had needed done. The punishment alone was immense.

“I'm sorry, Shui’er.”

And with that, Shao Wan touched Mei Shui’s forehead and rendered him unconscious.


It was a secret not known to many in the Realms that the foremost expert in blood magick also happened to be a Celestial. Dong Hua Dijun possessed a demonic aura known only to a few, and he was able to conceal this from most Celestials by practice and intricate blood magick.

Shao Wan fondly remembered their days together before Shuǐ Zhǎozé. She and Dong Hua had always found themselves in spots of trouble, or rather they had both gone looking for trouble. The now-acclaimed scholar used to be unable to read but he was very good with his fists. Shao Wan considered the warrior as her equal, and had always felt a sense of pride and affection at the fact that even after her first Death, Dong Hua still kept the scar she had once inflicted with her whip on the scalp right above the top of his right ear. He had been, and always would be, her dearest friend— and Shao Wan did not have many friends. He and his disdainful, beautiful face was the first face she saw whenever she found herself in trouble, and his name was the one name she would call when she needed help to get out of a tight spot.

Of course, owing her always helped.

“You have to stop pulling out the maid card whenever you need to risk my head,” Dong Hua complained as they met near the gates of the 33rd Heaven. “Do you have what I have asked you to bring?”

Shao Wan took out the vial of blood she had extracted from her son. Unwillingly. Because blood magick was the costliest of all forms of magick, most ingredients had to be taken without consent.

Dong Hua retrieved the vial and by magick uncapped it as it floated in the air between them. Mei Shui’s life essence then dispersed into minuscule droplets before it flew and landed all over her skin.

“How sure are you that this will work?” she asked as she felt tingles creep all over her body.

“Not sure enough but given you are so stubborn and didn’t want to engage Mo Yuan, this is the best chance you’ve got.”

“The guardians— are they really as deadly if they awaken?”

Dong Hua nodded, his eyes hard on her entire form.

“Tell me again where Fuxi’s memories are,” she asked although she had already memorized the layout since Dong Hua had given her the floor plans at her behest.

“Because you're bad with directions?”

Shao Wan rolled her eyes. “Not as bad as your wife and the females in her family are.”

At that, Dong Hua’s lips curved upwards.

“Why didn't I end up with you?” Shao Wan blurted out. Beauty, Power, Grace — Dong Hua possessed the same qualities that Mo Yuan had. Why hadn't she fallen for him instead?

“Because I am not Mo Yuan. You liked the challenge of turning stone into dust. Meanwhile, as you can tell, I have always been putty in your hands. I would have bored you out of your mind,” was her friend’s short and warm answer. He stepped back with an admiring gaze. “It helps that Mei Shui inherited half of your characteristics so the process was faster than I expected it to be. I think you are ready.”

Shao Wan looked at herself. She had already dressed in one of Mei Shui’s clothes before going to the Celestial Realms, hopeful that her illusion of her Celestial son’s form would be enough to ensure no alarm was set off by her arrival. But Dong Hua’s magick was stronger— an illusion that even she as wearer could believe in. Her hands looked liked Mei Shui’s hands, her breasts were now replaced by the muscular chest of her son, and there was no doubt when she touched her nose that it now looked like Mo Yuan’s from whom Mei Shui had inherited his.

“Thank you, Dong Hua,” she said, swaying her arms from side to side to test their movement. This body she had borrowed from her son didn't feel as strange as that pathetic Celestial creature’s body she had used to live in after the Second Demon War. Her voice now borrowed Mei Shui’s scholarly baritone, and she could only hope the most important characteristic of all— a copy of her son’s blood essence — now permeated from her so that the beasts guarding Fuxi’s tomb wouldn’t awaken when she walked in without permission.

“Shao Wan, I don't need to tell you that you need to take care out there, right?”

She murmured her assent, still fascinated by her disguise.

“Just in case you don't make it, do you have any message you’d like me to tell Mo Yuan or your children before the God of War chops my head off for assisting you in this harebrained quest?”

Shao Wan stilled. She had never considered failure but now remembered the Celestial Emperor had lost an arm when he once faced similar creatures. Ye Hua was an excellent warrior, too, so it was possible she might lose at least a hand or, worst case scenario, her life.

But what to tell Mo Yuan and her children? I love you, but they were not the ones who turned to mush at those words. I’m sorry, but what was the use of saying sorry when you’d already hurt the people you loved? Don't worry I’ll be back, but she had already come back twice and the Heavens might no longer find it amusing to make her return a third time.

She didn't have words for the three she loved the most but she did have words for one other person.

“You and Zhe Yan need to stop calling me Mei Mei. Tell him that,” she said with a pat on Dong Hua’s shoulders before she headed purposely toward the Wuwang Sea’s gates.

Chapter 56