Fanfic: Mo Yuan and Shao Wan 2.0 - Chapter 58 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 58

written by kakashi
edited by Panda & LigayaCroft

We're back!!!!!! If you want to refresh your memory where we left our protagonists, read the last three chapters.

Fenghuang’s joyous cry reverberates from the very foundation of the universe. Higher and higher she flies, faster and faster, suddenly parting the veil of time. Before her startled eyes, present, past, and future collapse into synchrony. Distances become infinite and yet are contained in a speck of dust. Her presence spans the universe and yet she feels tiny and insignificant.

She stares at the frightening beauty of worlds around her, all there ever was, is, and will be, turning in a never-ending dizzying dance. Can eyes behold such grandeur and not bleed out? Can brains understand even a fraction of what this is?

Fenghuang feels fear so great it presses down on her like a mountain. It is a fear of losing the tiny insignificance that she is in the infinite void. In her ear, the evernight beckons: Shaper, life-giver, stay!

Careful now.

The temptation is great, for who doesn’t want to be a God above Gods? But those who stay cannot be bound by a body - when her body and the miracle it contains is everything to her now.

Flee, Phoenix. Flee and forget this place.

She folds her wings and shoots down, head first, pirouetting around herself faster and faster, like an arrow shot from the bow of the Heavens. Her familiar world captures her eagerly, pulling her back into its warm embrace. It’s where she belongs because
he is here too.

“Come, come, come!” she sings, yearning to see him, to tell him before she forgets that all will be well, that of all possible worlds out there, theirs is the best.

Fenghuang flies around the realms once but she doesn’t see him nor does she feel him.

“Golden Dragon!” she shouts towards the pillar of the sky, settling down on the peak of her own mountain, “where are you?”


She doesn’t want to wait. Fenghuang sets to making a nest on her mountain even though that’s
his responsibility. She collects twigs, feathers, wool, flowers, wondering when or where she acquired such knowledge as she weaves it all together in an ancient pattern. Fenghuang wants her nest to be the prettiest there ever was, so she gets more flowers. The mountain is offering her a sea of red azaleas on its southern flank, her favorite color, the color of joy.

After some time, she is happy with her work. The nest looks beautiful and sturdy at the same time and she made it comfortable enough to sit in. Then, she gets awfully excited about what will follow next.

Laying eggs.

She feels them in her belly, heavy, hard, round, a miracle of lifetimes.

Fenghuang begins to press.

It is incredibly painful.

Fenghuang stops. Is it supposed to be this painful?

She remembers cultivating in an egg. She remembers crawling out after millennia of seeing nothing but a white, tight space, feeling lost and scared when it crumbled, not sure how to speak or how to use the limbs stuck to her body.

Her children should not be born from eggs. They deserve a better fate.

“Golden Dragon, you must come!” she shouts, but he either has no ears or is in trouble, a thought she pushes away as fast as it pops into her bird brain.

Afraid she might accidentally press again and lay eggs after all, Fenghuang transforms back into human form.

Shao Wan finds herself naked and sitting in a nest on a very high mountain. It is cold up here, so cold her teeth start chattering. She snuggles underneath some of the wool and feathers for warmth, holding her large belly protectively.

“Are you ready to come out?” she asks her children. They seem to be, their kicking is restless and she feels eagerness from them. Is she ready though? Not yet. Not quite yet.

“Mo Yuan,” she moans. “Where are you?”

Why can’t she remember how she got here?


With the Crown Prince’s ascension trial drawing closer, the nervousness in the Heavens mounted to unprecedented levels. A while ago, details had spread about how the God of War’s trial had been sabotaged by their enemies. And that right before a war with the fierce Demon clan! The calamity that could have followed was horrifying to imagine and now, it seemed like such a similar situation. Even the most disinterested inhabitants of the Thirty-Six Heavens had heard about the current unrest in the Demon Realm. All of them had very recent traumatic memories of poison spreading in the sanctuary of the Heavens. Given these special circumstances, shouldn’t Celestial Soldiers be sent to watch over the Crown Prince during his ordeal?

Even after debating for weeks, the community of Celestial scholars remained sharply divided. One fraction believed it was unproblematic if they did not interfere with the trial itself and just stood by watching, but the second fraction was adamant that even just sending soldiers into a mortal world with the intention of interfering was going to make the Crown Prince fail his trial. Since the latter equalled dooming the entire Celestial Tribe in such difficult times - the worst case scenario being the loss of the Crown Prince’s powers for millennia - the risk was judged very high. But was it indeed too high? Since they could not find anyone among them ready to make such a judgment, they looked to the Heavenly Lord for guidance - but he was reported to be pondering all the pros and cons with his closest advisors.

By the time the Water of Oblivion was prepared for the Crown Prince, no decision had been made. But Five Star Lords had gone over the script for his trial three times to be sure nobody had meddled with it. They agreed that nobody had - but since only the setting and overall gist of an ascension trial was scripted and never the details, it was also clear that there were countless opportunities for outsiders to interfere once Ye Hua began the trial.

“They are fools if they think I won’t go down in person to make sure he’s alright!” Bai Qian bristled, watching the Star Lords put their heads together nervously. It was so typical of the Heavenly Lord to drag his feet. To Bai Qian, even though she knew not to say this out loud, he was nothing but an old coward, incapable of leading the Celestial Tribe.

“Xiaowu, don’t do anything rash,” Zhe Yan who stood next to her cautioned, “we do not even know anybody plans a move against him.”

Such a powerful God reduced to a powerless mortal for a lifetime? Indeed, they would be fools not to make a move. Whatever they wanted with the God of War, it had failed - was it not only natural they would try with his defenseless twin brother next? If she didn’t know it was impossible, she would even have suspected the timing of Ye Hua’s trial was of their enemies’ making. The God of War was still busy finding solutions to too many problems, the Celestials were weakened and divided over everything, and the Demon Realm sounded like a powder keg waiting to blow up.

“Besides, you cannot live down there for the entire duration of his trial,” Zhe Yan added with a stern look on his face.

“Says who?” Bai Qian replied stubbornly.

“That’s sixty or so years, Xiaowu. Would you not miss your children?”

Right. Her children.

“I will take them with me!”

“When you’re sure there will be a strange cult trying to get their hands on Ye Hua and his blood?”

Okay, maybe not.

“Do you know where my Shifu is?” she asked the Old Phoenix. She wanted to consult with Mo Yuan desperately. Would he not think his brother’s wellbeing was the most important thing, more important even than ascending to High God rank? She was certain he would know what to do. More, she was certain he already had a plan.

“You keep asking me this as if you expect me to have gathered information from thin air,” Zhe Yan sighed.

But the Old Phoenix was hiding something from her, Bai Qian could almost smell it. Her Shifu had to be doing something idiotically heroic again, potentially involving her and that fragment of Demon in her head, and had given his friend clear instructions to keep quiet about it. It was driving her insane!

“Maybe I should go and look for the Demon Ancestor,” she mused.

“That’s not the worst idea you ever had,” Zhe Yan said, taking her by surprise. Was he saying she should go?

“Do you think she’d lend me some Demon soldiers?” Bai Qian continued her train of thought. “They don’t even get magic biteback in the mortal world. Maybe Fate would overlook them.”

“Little Fox,” Zhe Yan said sternly, “I will not stop you from doing what you think you have to do. But you must know that Ye Hua might be extremely indignant if your meddling is the cause for the failure of his trial. That's putting it mildly.”

“Pah!” Bai Qian scoffed, though she was feeling far less confident than she pretended to be, “I told you I already played a role in Ye Hua’s life the last time he was on a trial.”

“You know exactly that an ascension trial for High God is of an altogether different caliber.”

Yes, she did. Not many were considered strong enough to pass one, that’s why there were so few High Gods around. Okay, maybe she had a bit of empathy for the Heavenly Lord after all. This was an extremely tough call. Go and potential doom Ye Hua to fail his trial; not go and potentially doom Ye Hua to be kidnapped or worse.

An exhausted looking Si Ming signalled her from across the room.

“It’s time to say goodbye to Ye Hua,” she said, eyeing the door behind which she knew her husband waited for the Water of Oblivion with apprehension. Should she throw a coin to decide?

But leaving things to Fate… the mere thought left a very unpleasant feeling in her mouth.


The moment Shao Wan gained back her Demon Powers, Mo Yuan was struck by a sensation that resembled Celestial lightning in its painful intensity. It was so unexpected he fell to his knees, clutching his head. The whole world was humming with her song. Incredible longing gripped his heart.

I am coming out, Golden Dragon yelled with urgency, Fenghuang is calling!

Too preoccupied with trying to transform against his human form’s will, Golden Dragon forgot to watch the Passenger for a moment. Quick as a flash, the evil presence exploited the situation. Mo Yuan barely managed to fortify the mind room before the parasite could break through and establish control.

“You are free if you let me go!” the Passenger began to sweet-talk the confused Dragon. “You want to go to your mate, don't you? She needs you!”

Don’t listen! We need him right where he is! Mo Yuan urged the Dragon, I want to see her too but we need to be patient!

Unfortunately, patience was not a word that existed in Golden Dragon’s vocabulary.

Without him, she might be taken from us, Mo Yuan yelled at the frantic beast.

The Passenger’s laughter was cruel. “Just give up,” he snarled, “you know you want to. You must be aware I feel how exhausted you are and it’s only been a few days. How long do you want to keep this up?”

As long as I have to, vermin. What if I’m exhausted? I have been exhausted for millennia and I'm still much more powerful than you’ll ever be.

Would he be able to believe himself?

“High God Mo Yuan,” Yu Dian said next to him, extending his hand as if to touch him, his voice high-pitched from tension, “you must persevere.”

It was as simple as that indeed. He had to persevere. There was no other option. For how much longer? Could be days. Could be weeks. Could be years. Would he have the mental strength?

Gritting his teeth, Mo Yuan got up, closing his eyes briefly to find his equilibrium, his heart reaching out to Shao Wan. Would she understand what he was dealing with? Would she understand he could not give in, even though he wanted nothing else than to be with her?

“Let’s go to the mortal world now,” he told the Demon Lord. He had wanted to take care of quite a few more things before leaving, but now that Shao Wan was calling his True Form with such urgency, he had to put as much distance between himself and her as fast as he could.

“I thought we…”

“My plans have changed,” Mo Yuan said. Could the Green Lord not hear her? Apparently not. “And I mean now.”

Barely waiting for Yu Dian to acknowledge this, Mo Yuan took a deep breath and jumped, dragging the Demon Lord with him.


It isn’t painful anymore
, Fong Hung registered with some surprise as he shifted his weight to the left a little to prevent his leg from falling asleep. Pulling at the rough fabric of his tunic where he felt his skin was getting irritated, he let his eyes roam over the growing crowd below him dutifully. The smell of baked goods drifted up to his perch, making him realize how abominably hungry he was. But that, too, was a sign he was over the worst. His body was adjusting. It was returning to normalcy.

The scorching pain that was like all consuming fire after drinking Ling tea was horrible enough, but getting used to the connection to so many others that it enabled was much worse. Never alone again if they were near, one big family, all watching “over” one another. Or rather: watching one another.

The sensation of being interconnected and controlled was overwhelming. It was a feeling of entrapment, of struggling in the net of a spider that was always hungry. He knew that with time, some mastered to tone it out it more or less well. And there was one among them who did it really well. She stayed completely hidden until she wanted to be perceived, a presence with less substance than a shadow. And just as his thoughts drifted to her, he felt her near - because she allowed it. Fong Hung lifted his head, seeing Yín Shuǐ was almost upon him, climbing diagonally across the roof to join him.

“Hey,” she greeted him and smiled, letting her slightly crooked teeth show.

He nodded briefly in acknowledgment without really looking at her. He knew to be extra careful around her, fearing that even eye contact would give things away he did not want to share. Her ability to hide her own thoughts and presence also made her the best mind-reader in the Cult. Fong Hung had become convinced she was tasked to test him. Why else would she always be the one to head his missions? Why else would she always hover as close as she could, even touching him when it wasn’t necessary? Why else would she always try to get information about the Demon Ancestor out of him?

“Any development?” she asked and sat down next to him on the roof, so close he could feel the heat of her body.

Fong Hung shook his head, keeping his eyes straight ahead. Still, he saw it from the corner of his eyes, her hopeful face changed into what he preferred because it made dealing with hear easier: A mask showing no emotions.

“She is late,” she remarked.

She was indeed.

“Awaiting further instructions, Master,” Fong Hung said and bowed his head.

“It’s too early to change the plan,” Yín Shuǐ said with a tiny sigh at the end. “Getting meet-up times in the mortal realm right takes a lot of practice which she does not have. We can wait for a few more days, it’s no problem.”

Wait up here?!
Fong Hung wanted to complain. I’d like to sleep in a bed for a change!
“You must be hungry,” Yín Shuǐ said, throwing him a look from the side.

“No matter,” Fong Hung said curtly.

“I brought some food,” Yín Shuǐ coaxed him, pulling a fragrant paper wrapped package from her belt.

“Isn’t it against the rules to eat on a stake out?” Fong Hung asked, hoping his stomach wouldn’t growl too loudly. All these days, nay weeks without proper food… now his body demanded compensation.

Yín Shuǐ laughed, but then realized he was serious. “What must I do for you to trust me?” she sounded sad as she said it.

Trust? Why would she even want him to trust her? Of course he could not take the food she offered. Of course she knew that.

“You look a lot better today,” she added, looking at him again. He refused to be tempted to shift his eyes though he was dying to find out what her lashes looked like. Their apparent colorlessness was a source of endless fascination to him and he often wondered about the intensity and angle of light that was necessary to make them shimmer red like he had once seen it.

“I think your transformation is complete,” she said, sounding strangely sad. “Though I never doubted you would be strong enough.”

“Thank you, Master,” he said formally and touched both hands to his forehead.

“Shame you’re not of the Horse Tribe.”

Fong Hung pressed his lips together. Why in the world would she say that? She knew he was a Demon and he would never want to be anything else.

“We might soon leave these plains,” she added almost compulsively.

Please! Leave! Fong Hung’s first reaction was, but then, he felt something much more conflicting. Leave? that probably meant he would not see her again.

“Have you spotted or sensed any Celestials?”

Fong Hung shook his head.

“Strange,” she said, frowning.

That it was. If they had been sure about one thing,it was that the Celestial Tribe would do everything to protect one of their most valuable members in a highly vulnerable situation.

“Maybe it has something to do with their beliefs,” Fong Hung offered an explanation. “No other Tribe has this type of ascension trials. Maybe an outside interference is considered problematic.”

Yín Shuǐ nodded. “You have interacted with them quite a bit,” she said, “you may be right. But we must stay vigilant. They might suspect us.”

“I am aware, Master,” Fong Hung said, trying not to sound too cynical. He was nothing else but vigilant all day and all night. He really did not need to be reminded.

Yín Shuǐ pulled some documents from her tunic. Fong Hung threw a look at them, finding them to be the trial script that he had learned by heart a while ago. He was quite sure she had too, so why was she consulting it again?

“Do you think they might have changed it?”

“Hm,” Fong Hung said with a frown, “you believe me too knowledgeable of their customs. I really do not have any insights into how those Star Lords' plan trials. I never understood how they know what Fate wants or how Fate communicates with them.”

“Are they like our Shamans?” Yín Shuǐ asked. He made the mistake of looking into her eyes then and found himself quite lost for what could easily could have been hours, but was probably only moments.

“Did I say something wrong?” she asked, sounding insecure.

“No, no, not at all! Maybe they are,” Fong Hung replied, feeling how he blushed as he was pulling his eyes away forcefully, “that is a very intelligent way of putting it.”

She seemed pleased to be praised by him like this.

“It is possible that just as we find it hard to time meet-ups in the mortal realm well, they find it hard to decide on an exact time,” Fong Hung mused. “Especially since time is only of importance to those who eventually die. A true immortal would not have a conception of time.”

This time, he avoided looking at her, but what good did that do if he felt her excitement through that dreaded Soulswapper link? Before he could stop himself, his mind got curious about how it would feel like to make love with someone so connected to oneself. Being a mind-reader with such tremendous ability, she inevitably picked up his impure thoughts.

But she did not scold him, rather she took his hand.

And as she bent forward, her face coming closer and closer, with his heart wanting to stop in his chest, they missed the man and the woman running one after the other below in the street, even though he had waited for this moment for several weeks already.

The man was pursuing the fleeing woman, who ran fiercely, more frightened than she had ever been. It was broad daylight, but nobody stopped what they were doing to help her.

Just as Fong Hung and Yín Shuǐ’s lips met, a child was conceived through violence in an alley very close to them. His name would be Pin Kuì (貧溃) and his life would be as violent as his conception and as desolate as this place.

Fong Hung and Yín Shuǐ missed it. Almost as if the universe wanted them to notice only each other and nothing else.

What Fong Hung did not miss though was the sudden presence of someone he knew very well. Someone he knew must have come to protect the Crown Prince of the Celestial Tribe, How he managed not to think his name and give his presence away, he had no idea. Maybe it was because kissing Yín Shuǐ was like losing himself completely. That he also managed to distract her enough to make her miss the arrival of such a powerful God… it only struck him as strange much, much later.

Chapter 59