Fanfic: Mo Yuan and Shao Wan 2.0 - Chapter 63 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 63

written by Kakashi
edited by LigayaCroft and Panda

Shao Wan dreams.

She is in a strange and eerie place. She turns in a full circle to orient herself and for a moment, everything tilts on its head - she is floating in the clouds, looking down at her lonely figure in this vast, vast land. She notices there is not even a trace of a cloud in the sky… which is not really the sky, it’s a blue dome that seals the world off from what is outside, a thin membrane separating the Created from the Uncreated, the Everlasting Chaos.

I’ve been here before, Shao Wan realizes.

She notices spirits this time, unimaginably large beasts that observe her warily from the earth and the sky, hidden by a veil that cannot be pierced unless you have Fuxi’s sword. Their sadness is so heavy it threatens to break the pillars of the sky.

“I cannot lead them home,” the Old Presence who is the present ruler of this world weeps, “I failed them.”

Home… is this home?

Not hers. She is a stranger here, invited to visit only briefly.

Nonetheless, Shao Wan feels the tears gather in her eyes. When truly Old Ones scatter, a part of their world dies with them. And scatter they all must … not even immortality is forever. All things must end, to make room for new beginnings. The death of one world means the birth of another.

Shao Wan waits for the Old One to appear. Like a cloud she manifests, ephemeral with no substance, all the color faded from her spirit body.

Hard to see, but Shao Wan knows it immediately by the way the air tries to keep its distance from the cloud body: The woman does not belong. The order of the Universe has not interested Shao Wan in the least until now. But she is changed now: She bears the future within her and for that future she would do everything.

“Old One,” she addresses the shaman, “the Universe attempts to create balance. You are
un-balance. It is high time you leave.”

“So are you,” the old woman whispers. “You are un-balance too.”

“No,” Shao Wan says resolutely. “Not anymore.”

She is no longer a destructive force whose fire has the power to rip apart the fabric of the world, she left that existence behind when she died. Change is possible on a large scale. Fire and water can merge when they try hard enough. The Dragon and the Phoenix can unite when they set their mind to it. She is living proof: Inside of her, she bears two halves of a perfect one. A dragon. A phoenix. A male. A female. Children of a union that is not bound by any rules.

When she gives birth, a part of the old world will give way to a new one, it will be another step towards the end, starting with a beginning.

The reason why the Creator of worlds did not want to allow this union.

“Help me,” the old woman weeps.

But the shaman is no friend. She tried to kill the Dragon to bend the rules in her favor, does she think Shao Wan does not know or has forgotten?

“I cannot help you,” Shao Wan says with a firm voice though there’s a lump in her throat, she's not immune to sympathy even when she feels this vengeful. “I want to remain by his side. He is the being that complements me.”

“Do you really think you can step outside the web that Fate has woven for you two and not get caught up in it again? Have you not tried before and failed miserably?”

Failed? She has not failed even if the web is tenacious. Anyway. Fate? Shao Wan smirks. She will go and talk to the Universe directly. Fate is but a lackey she has no inclination to humor anymore.

“Why did you not take his help when he offered it to you? His blood. Why not agree to the deal he offered you?”

“He should have come in person instead of sending one of my own,” the old woman snarls. “His arrogance is unacceptable.”

Stubborn and prideful, it’s what the Old Ones are. It's why they fail eventually.

Shao Wan realizes something monumental at the tail-end of that thought: “You never wanted to get Nüwa
back, am I right?”

The Old Woman remains silent, the Beasts shudder. Shao Wan understands, Nüwa has no substance anymore, she is only thought, a life-force that still shapes the infinite possibilities of worlds. But she has left traces of matter behind, a string of worlds that lead into the everlasting night, held together only by the yearning for what once was.

“You want to go back into her creation,” Shao Wan mused.
Home. It is home to some. Mo Yuan’s blood is the key. But where is the door?

Shao Wan feels the fading. Time is running out.

“You once told me I am powerless because of him,” Shao Wan tells the Old One because this has irked her for so long. “You were wrong.”

“I was,” the old woman nods. “But I was not wrong about the state of your soul. His sword destroyed it. You are half scattered, there is no salvation for you.”

“I will get all the pieces back,” Shao Wan protests. She manages to sound like she means it. “Will I not?”

But no answer comes. The old woman is no longer there. The dream begins to fade. The grass world disappears. 

Mo Yuan? Mo Yuan, are you there? Mo Yuan… I think I understand something important. Listen, my love… Listen…

“I’m listening,” the Dragon whispers. “My love, I’m here.”


“Here is a good place to wait,” a somewhat out-of-breath Shao Wan declared and sat down rather abruptly.

“But… Demon Ancestor?” Bai Qian replied cautiously. “Wouldn’t Shifu want us closer?”

She craned her neck, but the Demon Tower could not be seen from their position. Shao Wan had claimed it was just around the corner, but who would know where they were in a stone wasteland such as this one? Bai Qian wasn’t entirely sure about the timing of their arrival either - mortal-immortal world time conversions were very tricky. In her younger years, she had often carried a Duǎnmìng flower with her during her escapades because of it. These flowers that grew in the vicinity of Mount Kunlun always withered in a time span of one immortal hour, even in the mortal world. Without it, she didn’t know whether they were massively early, massively late or just right.

“If he wants me closer, he can come fetch me,” Shao Wan said and pulled a face, looking down as she wiggled her toes. Oh, her feet hurt? Bai Qian felt a lot of sympathy. Of all things, she remembered the pains she had had during her pregnancies the best. Hurting breasts, hurting back, hurting bladder, hurting knees, hurting feet. Hurting everything.

“You were right, here is a good place,” Bai Qian therefore nodded, not wanting to cause the Demon Queen any more inconvenience. She selected a slab that looked buttock-friendly and sat down too, trying not to slump or let her mood be fully ruined. Not only was the weather rather dismal and grey for the immortal plain, she was also feeling tired, which wasn’t exactly fitting for a High Goddess, but it had taken them many particularly rough cloud jumps to get to the Demon Realm and then to the Lost Demon Tower.

That she hadn’t been able to see Ye Hua and verify that he was alright with her own eyes despite her many attempts filled Bai Qian with a lot of anxiety. She had even begun to wonder, was it Fate making sure she could not? If so, she should have felt honored to matter this much, but she’d rather not matter at all and see Ye Hua instead.

“One of his disciples died here,” Shao Wan suddenly said. “He must have been your senior. It was his death that drove Mo Yuan to… do that stupid thing with the curse,” she ended the sentence. “And I couldn’t… I couldn’t even be there for him.”

Foolish, brave Zi Lan. Before her wedding to Ye Hua, Bai Qian had met with Yan Zhi and they had cried together. With him, Bai Qian had always joked about heroes in white swooping in to save ladies in distress. That he had died as such a hero was ironic but also a strange source of comfort. Zi Lan’s was a death that mattered. It was a small consolation, but it helped to fill the void that his passing left in their lives. No death of a dear person could ever be fully forgotten... but with time, the sharp pain gave way to a dull sadness, and even later to fond memories tinged with a faint longing.

“His body was never retrieved,” Bai Qian sighed. “The Tower collapsed completely.”

“It’s why Qing Quan is forcing the Soulswappers to remove the rubble right now,” Shao Wan nodded grimly. “There’s an underground passage to his laboratories that he needs access too. Let’s hope your friend’s ghost will not scare them too much.”

How did she know about what the Soulswappers were doing?! Again, Bai Qian craned her neck once more, but there was nobody and nothing in sight and no sound that would speak of anyone’s presence.

“We will wait until they have moved underground,” Shao Wan explained. “And then move in after them.”

“Demon Ancestor,” Bai Qian asked, “do you know what Shifu is planning to do? I know you two know each other very well, but he wasn’t able to brief us sufficiently?”

“He dreamwalks,” Shao Wan sighed. “I told him to stop it, Celestials cannot control dream worlds well. But does he listen to me? No, he does not. So… yes, I know what his plan is, he keeps telling me all about it over and over. No wonder I’m so tired. He talks much more in my dreams, it’s so annoying.”

Bai Qian wasn’t sure whether to laugh or feel embarrassed about this image of her Shifu babbling in someone’s dream. But of course that image was far less disturbing than what she had read in the Mr. Mo books…

“That old woman isn’t coming,” Shao Wan murmured, “which is going to be a big problem, but I am not sure he understood that point? I am getting better at controlling my own dreams, but I always feel so murderous towards him, whatever form he’s in.”

“You… you… kill him in your dreams?” Bai Qian gasped.

“Oh, before I do that - or rather, try not to do that - I usually enjoy him in other ways. He’s much more subservient in my dreams,” Shao Wan said with an expert mien.

“Oh,” Bai Qian coughed. “Okay.”

“How well do you know that Horse Woman?”

“You mean Tian Gu?” Bai Qian guessed.

“Yes, that one,” Shao Wan agreed.

“I don’t know her well at all,” Bai Qian said. She had seen her a few times and had eyed her with much doubt. Not everyone was fit to be the God of War’s disciple.

“She’s very young,” Shao Wan said. “She should never have been Eighteenth. It’s quite insulting he made her my senior.”

“Oh, he probably didn’t mean it that way,” Bai Qian smiled awkwardly.

“As if,” Shao Wan snorted. “You know how much he secretly enjoys these little power games. You know I’m older than him? Instead of showing me the proper respect, he always wanted to prove to me that he is better in everything. Pah! That smug expression on his face every time he won! But you know…he was the only one to pull his punches. Until I forced him to stop because he would have lost otherwise. Ah...”

Shao Wan sighed heavily.

“I miss him.”

“And I miss Ye Hua,” Bai Qian pouted.

“Miserable fools that we are,” Shao Wan remarked with a lopsided smile in her direction. “Pining after men.”

I really like her, Bai Qian thought unbidden. And I doubt it’s because a fragment of her got stuck inside of me.

“Once that Horse Woman gets here, which I hope is soon, I will tell her I’m Eighteenth from now on,” Shao Wan declared.

Bai Qian couldn’t help it, she burst into laughter.

“Age of a disciple doesn’t matter,” she explained to the frowning Demon Queen, “it’s by order of entry. That’s why… poor Zi Lan. Zi Lan was Sixteenth and I only accepted that back then because Shifu gave me the Kunlun Fan as consolation.”

Bai Qian grabbed for her Jade Kunlun Fan and opened it with a flick of her wrist.

“I wish I had a weapon too,” Shao Wan sighed, looking envious. “I miss my Demon Tongue. Swords are just so… male.”

Bai Qiannodded solemnly. She could only imagine what the loss of one’s magical weapon would do to one’s state of mind.

“You could ask Shifu to make you a new one?” Bai Qian suggested but then felt very stupid. A Celestial weapon for a Demon? That wasn’t going to work.

“Once the children are here, I will have to go in search of a new one,” Shao Wan shrugged. “Sadly, they don’t grow on trees. But I have come across records of magical weapons that have always interested me a lot. Especially the one under the biggest iceberg at the North Pole. It’s a chain whip!”

“The… North Pole?!” Bai Qian echoed. “But that’s very far away! It could take you years to retrieve it.”

“Hm,” Shao Wan mused, “I fear as much, yes. It’s well protected by Beasts and spells. Very dangerous.”

“But… the children?” Bai Qian asked.

“I will take them with me?” Shao Wan said and looked at Bai Qian for support. Not finding any, she added regretfully, “I see the weapon has to wait. Or who knows, I might take up weapon making myself!”

“That’s a great idea!” Bai Qian beamed. She could almost imagine her Shifu proudly showing his wife how it was done while balancing two babies on his arms.

“Excellent, I will start to design a weapon in my head as we wait. Ouch.” Shao Wan rubbed her belly with a pained expression.

“Are you not well?” Bai Qian asked in alarm.

“Ah, just more of those practice contractions as you called them. It hurts a little more now.”

Not good. Not good! In alarm, Bai Qian sprang up from her slab of stone and rushed over to grab the Demon Ancestor’s wrist.

“I’m not sure they’re still practice contractions,” she almost sobbed, “sister-in-law, can you breathe very deeply and stay very, very calm?”

“Calm?” Shao Wan asked flabbergasted. “But Fox Queen, being calm is decidedly not one of my strengths!”

Shao Wan got up hastily.

“Let’s finish this before they come out then. I hope they’re done with making that tunnel over there. I’m going in.”

Tackle and stop her? Bind her to a… Bai Qian threw furtive glances around… stone? Use chain magic? What should she do, what should she do? Wringing her hands, Bai Qian got ready to cloud jump away. “I will go fetch Zhe…”

“No!” Shao Wan exclaimed and grabbed Bai Qian’s arm. “No, I need you with me. Just like that time when you came to my rescue in the caves and I possessed your body. Let your calm be enough calm for both of us.”

I’m not calm! Bai Qian wanted to shout. Shifu’s babies wanted to come out! Now! Of all times!!! They were about to face what she was to believe was a dangerous enemy! Nobody would be calm in such a situation, not even the God of Calm!

“This is crazy, absolutely crazy,” Bai Qian murmured, grabbing her Fan a little more forcefully. She was crazy too… because a part of her, one which she had forced to be dormant for very long, was so excited, she could not help but look forward to the confrontation ahead of them.


It wasn’t like there was no doubt in Qing Quan. But when he gained access to the Celestial’s vast, detailed knowledge about magical artefacts with almost no effort, he pushed all the doubts away and out of sight with a triumphant chuckle. The God of War had forged magical mirrors himself? It was like a treasure trove of information that Qing Quan had not even known he lacked.

“More light,” he snarled at Ling Dao who obeyed immediately by pouring more of her spiritual energy into lighting up the underground chamber for him. Drawing power from her was easy, she was so willing to die for him it was almost disgusting. In contrast, Yu Fén was resisting with all her might, the unfilial trash. She must certainly know by now that he was her father, if not in bodily sperm than at least in spirit? Without him, she would not exist. It was only fitting that through him, she would cease to exist now.

Her hostility grated on his nerves. Simply kill her?

Can’t yet.

Was he sure?

No. But she carried the mirror, what if a part of her soul got sucked in and I need to sacrifice her the right way later?

The Demon Mirror of Souls between his fingers had stubbornly refused to change back into its true form, remaining small and dead like any normal glass pendant. If it weren’t that critical to him, Qing Quan would have smashed it into pieces and stomped it to tiny particles a while ago.

You did it all wrong, he now knew. It didn’t react to force, it reacted to coaxing, like the most difficult of women. What Celestial stupidity, but it seemed to work. The piece of glass was starting to feel warm and alive, almost like the skin of a reptile.

Why have I never succumbed to the Demon Madness?

Strange how some thoughts just disappeared in one’s head unbidden and out of context. Why indeed. He had lost so many pieces of his soul, he had pushed the limits of magic like nobody before him, had broken every law there was to break.

Maybe because I have swapped my soul more than any other living being?
The very founding of this Sect had served one purpose. Be the means to his everlasting immortality. Their powers, their knowledge, their tools… his doing, his ultimate escape from these dimensions.

If you break apart a dangerous object again and again, you create splinters so small they appear insignificant and nonthreatening to even yourself.

Ah, but the risk was tremendous. A being less powerful than him would easily have lost itself and scattered many millennia ago. It was very hard to keep track of all the pieces of one’s soul.

I could never have kept them tied together without the Mirror.

A chance discovery, in these very laboratories. He had taken the Mirror from his brother’s possessions, he had always had a very good eye for talent and artefacts. He had made a copy of it, one that performed some of the basic functions of the mirror quite well. The real one, he had used for his experiments.

Like most magical tools, it could be used for two opposite functions. Splitting souls and pulling together souls. And because it was combining splitting and putting together, it could also be used for transferring souls - like the Soulswappers had been doing.

But maybe most importantly, the Demon Mirror of Souls made it possible to peer through the veil between the here and the not-here. Those who stupidly believed mirrors were there to reflect their environment knew nothing. They were doors into other worlds, open only to the initiated.

This mirror… it was the way out of this hateful Creation.

He would be finally free of its shackles. He would make his own world. His own rules. And he would make sure this flawed Creation ceased to exist.

Between Qing Quan’s fingers, nothingness began to twirl. Quite impatiently, he pulled on the string with which he had connected the fragments of his soul. Gently now, gently! The thread was very fragile.

All around him, his power boxes began to hum. He felt his hair trying to stand on edge, but it was bound tight by the Celestial’s distasteful neatness.

Were there other fragments trying to slip out? Qing Quan pushed a few back into the Nothingness, but it was difficult to keep them away. Did it matter? Probably not. Fragments of souls lost with no home. Maybe they would flock together and become a ghost to haunt the Tower. Maybe he would have time and energy after all this to forge a raging Beast from them, to destroy parts of the immortal plains.

There was resistance.

Qing Quan cursed and stopped pulling.

Had something attached itself to his soul-string? What soul could be this aware though? It was probably only a knot that had formed.

Fiddling around with the invisible string, Qing Quan tried to speed up the process again. Liquid dropped onto his hands, triggering a defensive mechanism until he realized it was sweat. His sweat.

Looking up, he saw that Ling Dao was pale as a ghost and only Yu Fén’s support was the reason she was still standing.

How late was it?

What was that other presence in the room? Ah, that strange man among Ling Dao’s troop of females. A Demon like him. What was he doing here?

For a short, but very discomforting moment, everything wavered in front of Qing Quan’s eyes. He was exhausting his own powers! Even the Celestial’s reserves were not enough for this kind of task?

Qing Quan began pulling at the string again, forgetting everything else. So many fragments. But he could not miss a single one.

Just as Qing Quan pulled out the end of the soulstring with a triumphant howl, a regal voice behind him said: “Xuan Yuan, to me!”

There was one weapon in this universe that had the power to destroy primordial spirits entirely if the wielder so willed it. Why was it in the hands of the Demon Queen?

Oh, but Qing Quan saw very quickly that despite the weapon being here in inexplicable ways, he had nothing to fear from her.

She was one tiny step away from the Madness. All it took was one more use of her tainted powers.

Chapter 64a