Fanfic: Mo Yuan and Shao Wan 2.0 - Chapter 36 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 36

written by kakashi
editing by LigayaCroft & Pandy

“Si Ming!” Yi Mei Niang jumped to her feet and ran towards her favorite Celestial. Such behavior was untoward given her status, but she didn’t care: She hadn’t seen him in forever but now that she did see him, she realized just how much she had missed him. She slung her arms around him and squeezed his delicious body as hard as she could.

“Hmmm, you smell so nice,” she whispered into his ear. Flowers and sunbeams. Did it smell like this in the Heavens? She assumed so, because only Celestials emitted this type of scent and as much as she had tried, she had not managed to manufacture a perfume that was even half as alluring.

He said nothing and from the way his body stiffened at her show of affection, she realized things were not as they had been. Reluctantly, she unknotted her arms and stepped back.

He cleared his throat. At least, he looked unhappy as he bowed ceremonially: “Demon Overlord,” he said in his deep voice that was so well suited to whisper scandalous things in the dark of the night, “I have come with a royal decree from Jiuchongtian.”

“Yes, Starlord,” she replied, bowing deeply, her heart starting to beat very fast because anything from up there was bad news, “I am ready to receive it.”

He unrolled a bamboo scroll. “Ruler of Demons,” he read gravely, “receive Tianjun’s decree. One of your subjects has used magic against a member of the Royal Family. Celestial Law demands the swift resolution of this crime. If you do not deliver the culprit within 30 days for questioning and execution, we will take our own action. End of the decree.”

“What?” she gasped.

“It’s the Crown Princess,” Si Ming said, his voice dark, “it’s very serious.”

“But… who would dare?” Yi Mei Niang felt like she had received a blow to the head. Quickly, she went back to her throne and sat down, gripping the hand rest hard.

“I only know very little,” he admitted, and it was clear that irked him, “but the Crown Princess secretly went to the Demon Realm in order to help the God of War. When she came back a few days ago, she had been assaulted by Demon magic.”

“How… how is she?” Dread was making her nauseous. This… this was why she had not wanted to be Demon Overlord. If worse came to worse, she would be executed too and with her the whole Tribe. Celestials knew no mercy, especially not when it came to the Royal Family.

“She claims she’s well,” Si Ming replied with a frown, “but she has lost a lot of her powers and the Crown Prince… is furious.”

The Crown Prince was young, but never hesitant. Yi Mei Niang knew he had not had many qualms to slaughter a whole tribe to send a message. The God of War might be considered ruthless or merciless by many, but the truth was, the Crown Prince was probably worse.

“And it’s Demon magic without any doubt?”

“Without any doubt,” Si Ming sighed. “It even lingers.”

“I don’t believe this!” she groaned, “could they not have waited until Shao Wan was back?”

From Si Ming’s facial expression, Yi Mei Nian realized how eager he was to hear more about this particular matter.

“We don’t know where she is,” she sighed, “she disappeared with the God of War, it’s been more than a week. Rumors have it they went to a mortal world.”

“So she is really back!”

“Well, someone claiming to be her.” She shrugged. “Though I’m more than ready to believe she came back again like most other Demons. Heck, I’m so ready to believe it I already stopped putting on the Overlord’s insignia. See?” she pointed at her plain gown.“I want my old life back, Si Ming.”

His eyes caressed her body in a way that made her warm all over. “I’m afraid there is no time,” he then sighed. “I need to return.”

“Wait!” she cried. “Thirty days? I get thirty days only? And then? What happens?”

“Well…,” Si Ming said. “If the Crown Prince gets his ways, it’s Celestial troops next. The Demon Territory will be occupied. I’m hoping… I’m hoping the God of War will be back soon to reason with him.”

Yi Mei Niang blinked nervously.

“Why?” Si Ming asked alarmed.

“Is he… is he considered royalty too?”

“Oh no,” Si Ming said and got several shades paler, “what happened?”

“They…” but she shut her mouth in resignation. How to say this to a Celestial Messenger without causing an instant war? There was a reason nobody had reported anything... The Nüwa Cult, they wanted to sacrifice him to bring her back… they bled him until he almost died... and he had endured all of it because of one person, one person she too wanted back so desperately she was ready to pray to the Old Gods on her knees.

“They will both be back,” she said after a loaded silence, “soon.”

She had to believe it for her sanity. But what if they did not come back?

After Si Ming had left, his promise not to add to the Crown Prince’s anger by talking about his elder brother a very welcome gesture, she swallowed down her fears and regrets and called for her advisors to assemble immediately in the Red Room.

Another war - she did not think it unlikely if things spiraled out of control - would be an absolute disaster. After so many years, the Demon Realm had opened up its borders to the outside. There even was trade between them and other Realms, the one thing she was very proud of having accomplished. There was the occasional Celestial visiting the Demon Realm now and with more exposure came the slow realization on both sides that neither were heartless monsters or uncultured ruffians.

“Do we know who did it?” Yu Dian asked with a voice that trembled ever so slightly.

The Purple Queen had never had reasons to doubt his loyalties, even less so after he had come back bleeding and heartbroken after turning his back on his sister and her Cult. She had no doubts, but a lot of pity: She knew how close the siblings once had been, how much his heart must ache.

“If you don’t know, who would?” she asked back. “Of course it was the Cult. Are we even strong enough to make a move against them?”

“Not at the moment,” Yu Dian murmured. “We need time. Definitely more than thirty days.”

They first had to locate the remaining members. They had fled, including their leaders and they had some suspicion where to, but no confirmation. What she was most afraid about was that a large percentage of the Demon population was sympathetic to their cause. If that got known in the Thirty-Six Heavens...

“Yes, Yue?” Just returned from another mission concerning the Cult the night before, her head of guards seemed tired. At her question, he had scowled and looked unhappy, but he did seem to have an idea.

“The Princess of the Horse Tribe should know more about the matter of the Crown Princess,” he said, “my Queen, she was much closer than any of us.”

“Oh, excellent!” Purple exclaimed, “yes, go get your lover.”

Yue blushed deeply and almost fell over his feet when he shot up and left the room.

“Really,” Yi Mei Niang laughed after him, “why even blush! It’s no secret to anyone, and you two aren’t particularly quiet either.”

As they waited for the Horse Tribe woman to join them, Purple pondered her options. A public decree, promising a reward if her people helped her find the culprit? Or would that backfire… infiltrate the Cult again… but that took much time, all her other agents had been slaughtered. The Princess… a Kunlun disciple and Horse Tribe… was it possible to make an alliance with that Tribe? Their lands were adjacent, their customs far more similar to Ghost or Demon customs than Celestial. If Celestial wrath was to descend on them soon, should she not make sure others would stand by them? Marry her to a Demon Noble. that would be the best option. It was also fairly clear who that Demon Noble should be.

Yi Mei Niang sighed deeply. “Somebody find the Demon Ancestor! We really need her here. Now!”

If they started looking systematically, they would certainly find her. It was impossible to disappear without a trace, unless one scattered into the Grand Nothingness. But Yi Mei Niang was certain, the Lady Shao Wan was not done with the world yet. Quite the opposite - she would make an impact again, one that would change their Fates in decisive ways.


Just head for the biggest commotion.

Some people made the fabric of the world reverberate with their presence. However lightly they trod, with every step, they created an impact, with every breath, they made the air a little sweeter.

After taking Xiao Yu’s cultivation pill, Mo Yuan saw her. He saw her shine in this world like a small sun, he saw the air billow like clouds from her energy and the gentle winds gather to caress her brow. And he felt her, a presence that made the earth shudder in delight, sending out waves of energy.

She is safe for now, he thought with relief, but what other things will follow this invitation?

Immortals learned to dim their spiritual powers in the mortal realm the very first time they ever visited. Mortal worlds were full of ghosts and spirits, weak and strong, sad and vengeful. Like water that always flowed down, they were drawn to power, seeking to fill their hollow existence with lifelike substance for just a little longer. He knew stories of ghosts trying to leech soul essence off young immortals, though he was not sure they were told to the young as a warning or because any ghost would be stupid enough to try something so audacious.

Not quite feeling strong enough yet to cloud jump, Mo Yuan ran for a day and a night until he finally reached the town Shao Wan was at.

There she stood, in the middle of a clearing amidst a large sea of people. Her beauty took his breath away, her spiritual energy made him thirsty to taste her. He scanned the environment, but she was too bright, bathing everything in her fiery light, or if any other spiritual beings had come, they were too weak for him to see them.

“Who’s next?” she bellowed.

A tree of a man stepped forward, letting his long sword zip through the air. The crowd roared and Mo Yuan’s breath caught in his throat. No! She wasn’t…?

But of course she was. Gripping the sword in her own hand more strongly, she positioned herself in an attacking position and waited until someone gave a signal to start. Mo Yuan tried to make his presence known, but she was too focused on the fight to look left or right. Hands went up to cheer the fighters and as she charged forward, the noise becoming a deafening roar.

“Don’t push!” people yelled at him, but pushing towards the front row was the only thing he could do, unless he took a risk to escalate things by using immortal powers. But this world had always been swift in its punishment of even the littlest transgressions by him, maybe because his - and her! - fate was so closely interwoven with it. He could not risk any more magic biteback. He would need all his strength going forward.

He pressed forward mercilessly, taller than most and not shy to use his hands and elbows to clear a path. He broke through the front ranks of people at the very moment Shao Wan rammed the hilt of her sword into her opponents throat and he went down like he had been struck by lightning.

“Victory!!!!” she screamed and lifted both her hands up high. “Victoryyyyyyy!” the crowd echoed her, everybody clearly on her side. Yes, she had always had this ability to win people’s hearts. When she fought, when she masked nothing and gave everything, she was irresistible.

“There’s another, there’s another!” an excited boy screamed and pointed at Mo Yuan. Shao Wan turned. When her eyes met his they grew large in surprise… and then, a huge smile spread on her face.

“Celestial! You have come! I am so glad.”

“Fight! Fight! Fight!” the crowd demanded with mounting excitement, because they were thirsty for a spectacle and it was likely his immortal powers showed themselves too.

“Give the man a sword!” Shao Wan shouted.

“I don’t…”

“Don’t be such a spoilsport,” she pouted. “I’m making good money here!”


Someone pressed a sword into his hand and even though he had no inclination to fight her, his hand instinctively came around the hilt, testing the balance.

“Make your bets!” someone shouted and people hastily moved forward towards a small table off to the side.

“Shao Wan,” Mo Yuan said, “you cannot fight.”

“Cannot fight? Ha! I’ll beat your pretty face up and down this market square, just you wait! Cannot fight, my ass.”

“No,” he said with more urgency, “I mean to say it’s too dangerous.”

“Don’t you know I live for danger,” she grinned, “this has been so much fun.”

“Why did you run away?”

“Oh.” She wrinkled her forehead, “I… I’m not sure. It’s a rather unfortunate thing. I remember wanting some quiet to think, then I got terribly lost. It’s quite strange and discomforting, Celestial, I keep forgetting things.”

“I am so glad I have found you,” he said with a deep sigh of relief.

“Pah, I can care for myself,” she scoffed, “but not having money in the mortal world is no good.”

“Please dim your aura,” he advised her. “You’re shining like a beacon.”

She must have regained quite a bit of cultivation herself, he suddenly realized, if her immortal powers showed like this. And indeed, Demons most quickly gained theirs by fighting. How many rounds had she done?

“I did hope you’d find me…” she said, “I didn’t know any other way.”

“Start!” the bookmaker shouted.

“I won’t fight you,” Mo Yuan said.

“Then you’ll bleed,” she grinned and jumped forward.

A strange sensation came over him as he parried her attacks, slowly walking backwards, drawing her around in a circle. This felt… good. Though her technique had always been messy at best, her battle instincts made up for the lack of discipline. There was not a single opening had he wanted to counterattack, just ceaseless attack. And yet, he realized quickly that something was different from before.

She… was holding back.

He deliberately gave her an opening for attack and a hit - his arm, rather inconsequential if she went for it. But she narrowed her eyes at him.

“No such shenanigans,” she barked, “fight for real!”

“I told you I won’t fight you. I’m here to protect you.”

“Haha, that’s funny,” she laughed, but he was certain now, she, who had always so viciously bled him every chance she got, hesitated frequently and let opportunities pass, careful not to hurt him. It made him… deliriously happy. But then came the realization that such consideration came with new dangers. He couldn’t let her do something stupid because of him. At the same time, he knew she would never let herself be protected easily. Here was the woman who had moved her own body before his to catch a curse meant for herself. Just like him, she had seldom been given the luxury of showing vulnerability in front of others… because trusting anybody came with such a high price.

Being a strategist through and through, he knew now there was only one option how to get what he wanted, which was her and what she carried safe, even if it meant deceiving or manipulating her in some manner. He was well aware that a storm had to be brewing in the immortal realms, but for the time being, they were here and they could stay here a bit longer - had to, until he had figured out what to do.

A protector, that is what you are.

But what if he took a break from that?

When he next charged forward, he made sure her sword cut him. Not too deeply, but still deep enough to look serious and deep enough to elicit a grunt of pain from him. “Victoryyyyyy!” the crowd roared as he dropped his sword and clutched his wound, falling on his knees and bowing his head, surrendering himself to her entirely.


“Oh Xiao Wu,” Zhe Yan sighed, “was that really necessary?”

It had to be a rhetorical question, because Bai Qian knew Zhe Yan would have gone to his friends help too, if he had let him. As things were, Zhe Yan was still very bitter since he had found out that the God of War had manipulated him and Donghua into leaving the Demon Realm to have them out of the way. And now, he was also very much concerned, because he understood the extent of what had been planned and the extent of trouble a few decisions had caused.

Even if it was very much like the God of War to act like this, it still hurt if you were the one being deceived. Bai Qian wasn’t looking forward to the next meeting between Mo Yuan and Lian Song either - Ye Hua’s Uncle was probably even more angered than Zhe Yan. Only Donghua had shrugged, yawned and taken his leave, to go back to his family.

“She got her body back, Old Phoenix,” she said again, “it’s all that matters.”

“It does and it doesn’t,” he said sternly, “you know this as well as I do.”

Ye Hua had played along with what they had assumed was his brother’s plan at first, keeping people alarmed about his readiness to go to war against the Demons again. But that had turned much too real much too fast. His eyes, every single time he looked at her, spoke of a rage so destructive, it scared her.

She had lied to him.

She had told him she did not know who had possessed her after her return. That she had no recollection of what had happened during the battle at the caves. That she only remembered successfully reuniting Shao Wan with her body later.

“Where is my Da-Ge?” Ye Hua had demanded to know and his tone had sent shivers down Bai Qian’s spine.

“They’re still enjoying their time together in the mortal realm,” Bai Qian had quickly answered. Hopefully, this was true. His continued absence could mean bad things. She kept counting mortal days, one, two, three… how long would it take him to find her? To gain enough cultivation? To come back?

“It is not like him to send you back in this state all by yourself,” Ye Hua had continued his interrogation. He did not believe her. He did not, whatever she told him, because things did not add up indeed and he knew his brother well enough to be sure that even at his most enamored, he would not endanger anyone in his care.

“I wasn’t by myself,” she had explained, “my Love, did I not say the High God Xiao Yu escorted me back. Mo Yuan trusts him with his own life.”

“I want to speak to my brother,” Ye Hua had repeated stubbornly. “This High God Xiao Yu is no acquaintance of mine.”

She was not lying when she said she had no idea where that mortal world was she had come from, because the journey with Green Eyes had been lightning quick, he had not cloud jumped, but rather had used a different means to get from A to B. He had thankfully been quiet all the way until they had reached the Heavens, dipping his head politely to her before taking his leave. Ye Hua had sent men to look for Mo Yuan immediately, but finding one High God among a gazillion worlds… it was unlikely they would get so lucky.

Zhe Yan had examined and prodded her after Ye Hua had urgently called for him. He had given her cultivation pills, a list of dietary requirements and the task to bath in the Lord of Numinous Treasure's Heaven's Spring every day. “Her cultivation will be back in no time!” he had assured Ye Hua.

But there was this other matter.

Using magic against the Royal Family was punishable by death, though there were cases where sentences were lighter. Su Jin, for example, had not been executed, not even tortured, even though she had created a wooden simulacra to influence Ye Hua during his mortal trial.

Only, the current situation was much worse. With a piece of Demon soul stuck to her own, Bai Qian continued to be influenced by Demonic forces, adding to the enormity of the crime with every second that passed. She could not pass the Heavenly defenses herself for the time being. She was a prisoner here, unless Ye Hua accompanied her.

“I could probably remove it,” Zhe Yan whispered to her in confidence, knowing the walls had ears here sometimes, “but I do not know whether I could capture it and if not, where it would go.”

“She needs it!” Bai Qian implored him, grabbing his sleeve for emphasis, “she is suffering. Do not remove it!”

It had no direct influence on her health, Zhe Yan had assured her, so this decision was easy. But there could be other side-effects, he said. “I am worried about those,” he sighed, “and I don’t mean the mental state of your husband.”

“I will beg him again to be lenient,” she said, “he cannot rush things. How is this even a thing that concerns the entire Demon Tribe?”

“Mo Yuan is the only one who could probably reason with him,” Zhe Yan said, “but if Ye Hua finds out what role he played in this…”

“He didn’t know,” Bai Qian repeated, “he was tricked by the Lady Shao Wan too.”

“Do you think that makes it any better?” Zhe Yan laughed bitterly. “And do you not think he will protect her with all he has if worse comes to worse? There are many bad things I have seen in my long life, my Xiao Wu, but the worst … the worst I can imagine would be these two brothers facing each other on a battlefield.”

A chill took a hold of her then that went through skin and flesh and settled in her bones. No, she thought in horror, no! But she knew that Zhe Yan’s words, spoken with so much sadness, would haunt her sleepless nights. And... what if it was a premonition?

Chapter 37