Fanfic: Mo Yuan and Shao Wan 2.0 - Chapter 54b (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 54b

written by kakashi
edited by Panda & LigayaCroft

“A Demon,” Jie Jing repeated to herself and a small smile made two dimples appear on her cheeks briefly like this discovery made her truly happy. She slid the doors shut behind her, her eyes fixated on his face with guarded curiosity.

Yu Dian realized he had gotten to his feet at her appearance. He also realized he was staring with his mouth open. He closed it - but he could not take his eyes from her however hard he tried to be more polite.

Her full, shiny hair was artfully piled up, held in place by expensive pins. Golden intricate ornaments with little dangling jewels flashed like little stars when catching the light of the candles. She was wearing a white silk gown, adorned with colorful birds and flowers, tightly hugging the outlines of a delicate body, tied at her waist with a golden belt.

But it was mainly her neck, her white, long, graceful neck that captured his eyes and would not release them, her neck and the base of her throat, and finally her collarbones, teasingly peeking out where the fabric of the gown was crossed to hide what most male hands longed to touch.

She stepped closer with light, gliding steps, her eyes on his face with an intensity that sent an expectant shiver down his spine.

“Please, my Lord,” she addressed him with a voice that was soft and feminine, but a little deeper and more resonant than what was normal for women of her stature, “let me serve you some wine.”

He sat back down upon an inviting gesture of her small hand, completely tongue-tied. Those Celestial maids had been more beautiful than anything he had ever seen, but this woman… this woman completely robbed him of his fabled skill to express what he was seeing and feeling with words.

She kneeled down beside him, enveloping him with her sweet scent. A mixture of perfume and natural odor. At this proximity, he noticed how carefully powdered her face was, how there was color on her lips that made them a hue redder than what they would be, how rouge on those elegant cheekbones made it seem like she was slightly blushing, how the gently painted arc of her brows was hiding a much more willful natural expression.

“Is it fate that directed your feet to this establishment?” she asked him with a carefully sculpted smile, “or has somebody sent you?”

He had not gotten back his ability to speak yet, pondering in silence how painted faces were like masks, a defense against invading gazes such as his, so he simply lifted the cup she had just filled to his lips and gulped down its contents to buy himself some time. Naturally, she would be wary of immortals coming her way. How was he going to pull his off? He did not feel in control at all and less so by the minute.

“Chance encounters may turn out to have been fated as time progresses,” he said gravely, “whereas what seems fated in the moment is of little consequence in the long run.”

She nodded and smiled at him full of awe, though frankly, his words didn’t make a lot of sense. But of course she would know how to flatter men - it was one of the most important skills of her trade.

“What news from the Demon Realm, Sir?” she asked.

His face must have shown some of his confusion, because she rocked back on her heels and folded her hands in her lap demurely.

“Forgive me my unseemly nosiness,” she said, her eyes downcast, “I may choose to reside in the mortal realm, but I am always eager for news from the immortal plains.”

And why does a Celestial highborn like you choose to be a courtesan?
he wanted to challenge her, because all of a sudden, the thought of mortal men using her for their pleasure, completely oblivious to what treasure they were touching, filled him with rage.

“The Demon Ancestor Shao Wan has returned,” was what he said though, finding his voice unusually raspy and unmelodic. He downed another cup. It was wine, he noticed a bit belatedly, of not too bad a quality, and he would probably need a lot more.

“She has!” the Celestial woman exclaimed in surprise. “And has she taken back her throne?”

“Not yet,” Yu Dian said cautiously. He knew almost nothing about this woman, and she knew nothing about him - why would she speak to him with such familiarity? Had she just longed to connect with another immortal? Maybe she was… extremely lonely.

“I have always admired women like her,” Jie Jing confessed, “she does whatever she wants and is as powerful as she is beautiful. I often wish I had been born a Demon, not a Celestial. Your tribe’s freedom is what I covet the most.”

“But it’s being a Celestial that makes you irresistible,” he bit his tongue, but too late. How plump! Yet she awarded him with another dimpled, excessively sweet smile. He downed a third cup. I think I’m in trouble, Yu Dian thought, feeling his heart pick up speed. I am going to mess this up royally and the God of War will kill me without mercy. Maybe I can at least die happy.

“What is your tribe affiliation, my Lord?” she asked next, her eyes roaming over his clothes, likely trying to find a hint. So she knew that Demons liked to wear emblems of rank and tribe on their tunics. Only, he had changed his clothing for the mortal world, wearing the elegant robes of a nobleman instead of his peoples’ attire.

“Green Tribe,” he answered her truthfully, before he could stop to think about whether such information should be divulged at all.

“Oh,” she said and her eyes grew a little larger and looked at him with even more interest. “I have never met anyone from the Green Tribe before. Are you…,” her eyes searched his countenance again, “you are… a prince?”

Yu Dian smiled. “Close enough.”

Lian Song had gleefully filled him in about her past in the days he had spent at his palace. About how the God of War’s marriage to this woman had been prevented by Shao Wan’s awakening. The scandal during the White Rock Sea Festival, involving the late Yellow Demon Lord Cheng Yin, leading to the complete annulment of the marriage arrangement. How she had been disowned by her Father, Lord Xinhu and had fled to the mortal realm before any more severe punishment could be dealt. There had been rumors of a mortal lover, but they had never been substantiated. About how the God of War had made a deal recently, one that had taken Lian Song quite some time find out about: The runaway daughter’s prestigious marriage for a bracelet the Creator Fuxi had fashioned and given to Lord Xinhu’s family for safekeeping. A bracelet the God of War needed to imprison a dangerous traitor.

A disgraced woman, shunned by her Tribe. It made her so much more alluring to him.

“Have you been to the Demon Realm, Chun Ying?” he asked, using the name the Madame had called her by, noticing suddenly that there was a cut on the back of her left hand, almost healed, a mere trace of a scar. It looked like it was from a very sharp knife.

“Sadly, I have not,” she answered, lifting her eyes. “But I do want to go there. Very much.”

Yu Dian felt heat rise in him as those black eyes bore into his pleadingly. Like his inner fire needed any more stoking, it was already burning much too high.

“I can take you,” he heard himself say. In trouble. In a lot of trouble.

“Is this a promise?” she whispered fervently.

“I promise,” he said. “By my soul and the souls of my ancestors.”

Slightly taken aback by the gravity of his vow, she moved away from him a fraction. Was she afraid? She did not trust him one bit, he realized, in fact, she must be certain he meant her ill. Why else would a Demon immortal come to see her?

“Will you sing to me?” he asked breathlessly to lessen the tension that suddenly filled the room, and that inside of him. It was like he was sliding down a steep mountain on an icy slope, with no chance of stopping, with the certainty of shattering into a thousand pieces upon impact.

“Certainly, my Lord,” she agreed smoothly and moved over to the zither that was positioned there for just that purpose. His eyes did not leave her for a second and hence he noticed the faintest of limps, a fleeting expression of pain on her face when she kneeled back down.

I will rip whoever hurt you to pieces, he vowed, feeling the hate against all the men who had touched her before blaze up again. How lost and lonely she must feel, a Celestial noblewoman, alone in the mortal world, earning a living by selling her body. How could any parent be cruel enough to cast out their child like this and leave her here for so long?

Given how pity already made his heart swell, the song she chose to sing for him moved him to tears. He had never heard it before, but it was about a lost soul wandering through the ages, trying to find its home, a home that had been destroyed millennia ago. A lonely death, a heart that shattered, a sadness that drowned out all hope.

“Are you crying, my Lord?” she asked in shock when she lifted her head to look at him after the last note faded away.

He was - and it wasn’t going to stop soon. I am here to take her away. I am here to betray her. She wants freedom? She will never have it.

But maybe it was because he himself felt lost - far from home, with a longing in his heart he had not fully recognized was there. Maybe it was not pity, but self-pity he felt, or a mixture of both. He was homesick, he understood that, but he also knew he could not go home anytime soon. He wanted his sister back like she had been before she had joined the Cult, he wanted to laugh and play with her like they had as children. How close they had been, how estranged they were now. He wanted to hug his younger sisters and see no worry on their faces. He wanted… he wanted… peace and prosperity for his people, his tribe. Why was there so much suffering?

Jie Jing had moved next to him again. She looked confused and a little frightened because of his emotional outburst, and he could not blame her. To burden her even more when she was already burdened so much - it was very cruel of him. And yet, he did not stop her when she leaned forward, put her hands on his shoulders and touched her lips to his forehead.

It was a chaste kiss, one meant to offer comfort but sometimes, all it took for the dam to break was the removal of a seemingly insignificant piece of wood from the pile.

No, his head flashed a warning, stop.

But he was weak. Basic Demon nature, it took so much cultivation to control it. For days, his lust had built up, he had no chance to contain it. But had she not lain with one of the most powerful and cruelest of his kind, probably even lost her innocence to him? Surely, she could not be surprised that Demon men knew little restraint. It overcame him fully, the lust of his kind, powerful, dangerous, merciless. Like the hungriest of ghosts, he took what she offered - and much more.

He grabbed her head and pulled it towards himself forcefully, pressing his own lips against hers in a bruising kiss. Her lips parted willingly, as if she knew that resistance was futile, like they were expecting to be assaulted like this. His mouth and tongue needed no further encouragement to devour her. As he loosened her hair, his sex rose to its full length, throbbing painfully.

He ripped the gown off her like a madman, even feeling a grim sort of satisfaction when the expensive silk ripped with an ugly sound. His hands wanted to possess her just as much as his tongue and mouth had. His skin was rough against the smoothness of hers, her neck was so slender he could have snapped it with a single movement. With a growl he pushed her down so he could see it all. She had small, white breasts that rose and fell rapidly with her quickened breath, unusually dark areolas, nipples that hardened under his gaze, and a tiny, round belly button above the neatly trimmed hair of her sex. Not yet satisfied with the view, he pulled apart her knees, exposing the pink folds of her womanhood that he was going to invade in an instance.

He grabbed her around the hips and pulled her towards him… he would take her here on the carpet, once, twice, maybe even a third time. It would be quick.

It was when he moved back just a fraction to shed his clothes in haste that he heard a soft, frightened whimper escape her mouth. She clamped her lips shut, as if she wanted to take it back, but the effect on Yu Dian was like a bucket full of ice cold water was dumped on him.

He froze.

The beast in him raged and urged him on, but now he saw… she was trembling, though she was trying to contain it, her eyes were large and frightened, though she had them fixed on the ceiling with grim determination, probably readying herself for just another man abusing her body for his short-lived satisfaction.

Horrified, he scrambled away from her. Balling his hands into tight fists, grinding his teeth he tried to regain control over his body.

Confused, she lifted her head to look at him, then got up to a sitting position by using her scrawny elbows.

“My Lord,” she said with a shaking voice, “am I not to your liking?”

“Get dressed,” he ground out.

“My Lord,” she began again, “I…”

Her clothes were tattered, he realized, watching with a sinking feeling how she tried to comply with his wish by pulling the remains of her robe over her nakedness, throwing him a half frightened, half puzzled look. He took off his own outer robe and went over to drape it over her shoulders.

“Here,” he said, “take this.”

“I do not understand, please,” she said, pulling the fabric around her obediently while searching his face, “have I done something wrong?”

“Yes,” he said viciously, bringing a safe distance between them again, “yes, you have.”

“Tell me what to do to please you,” she said, kneeling, looking like a child in his clothes that were much too large for her, “you have paid a large sum of money for me.”

“Do you have no self-respect?” he yelled at her. How utterly unfair of him, but his head hurt and his heart hurt even more. He wanted to blame this Celestial woman for tempting and seducing him instead of facing his own guilt and the disgust he was feeling for himself.

Her eyes hardened. “Self-respect?” she gave back, “what does it matter to you?” She straightened her back and shook back her hair. “Only a foolish man would look for self-respect in a brothel, my Lord. But surely, you know this. Why have you come? To taunt me? To humiliate me? To…” suddenly, her eyes grew large. Yu Dian’s hand came up to touch the part of his body she was staring at. The base of his throat.

She bowed down, touching her head to the floor. “You should have said,” she murmured almost petulantly. “Stop playing with me. What is your command, Master?”

What now? Again, he touched his throat. What… no.

“Have you come to test me,” she said, her voice muffled between her hands, “I did not do well, forgive me. Tell me what my punishment is.”

His tattoo? She recognized his tattoo?

“I also know I failed my last mission, Master, and I am ready to face the consequences. I was convinced my plan would work, but my target was too smart and too quick. He got away. I apologize.”

By the Gods, what had he walked into? Yu Dian covered his face with his hands, wishing he had never come here.

“It’s good to know one’s failings,” he said haughtily after pulling himself together, looking at her prostrate form with much foreboding, “and you will have to come with me to face your punishment. But first, eat something.”

“Master?” she asked and lifted her head off the ground.

“I told you to eat,” he repeated, pointing at the food on the table. She must weigh as little as a ten year old child, he guessed, being all skin and bones.

Furrowing her brow a little, she moved over to the table on her knees and sat down.

“What should I eat, Master?” she asked.

“Whatever you like,” he replied, moving a bit closer. “That dish,” pointing at one.

She did as told, eating slowly, throwing him furtive looks from time to time.

“Who hurt you?” he asked, pointing at her hand and her body. There were no marks on it, but he was certain she was in some kind of pain.

“The target,” she said, letting her head hang, “my martial arts is lacking. I am very sorry.”

Yu Dian did not want to think about what this meant, but it wasn’t like the situation afforded him this luxury. This Celestial woman knew about the Soulswapper Cult, worse, she had received commands from them before, including commands to kill people.

He would let her eat as much as she wanted, and then, he would take her to Tian Gu. She was the one with the Celestial shackles, he couldn’t touch them.

“Are you not hungry, Master,” she asked him, the chopsticks idle in her hands. “There is a lot of food.”

Well, he was. Thinking he could trust himself, he went over to join her at the table.

“Let me serve you,” she said timidly.

“No, I told you to eat,” he said angrily and grabbed another set of chopsticks, eating and watching with some satisfaction how she continued to help herself with growing appetite. After a while, he took the bottle and filled a cup for her. “Here,” he said, “drink.”

Her eyes were full of wariness when she extended her hand to take the cup from him. Why have you not returned to the Heavens a long time ago? Yu Dian thought angrily, why do you let yourself be treated like this?

She drank prettily and turned her beautiful eyes on him again afterwards. “Your promise… was it a lie?” she asked like somebody who already knew and hated the answer to her question.

“No,” Yu Dian replied.

She smiled, but it was a pained, sad smile.

“Do you want your robe back, Master?” she asked.

“No,” he said again, but then he remembered what was in his pocket just as her hand, who had moved over the fabric stilled… and pulled out the glass jar, which was glowing merrily.

Jie Jing turned white as a ghost.

“No,” she whispered. “No.” And more forcefully. “No! I will not go back. Never!”

Chapter 54c

She was at his throat faster than an arrow, a small but very sharp knife cutting painfully into his skin.