Fanfiction3: A-Li's Three Lives, Three Worlds - Chapter 91 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

 

Chapter 91

written by LigayaCroft
edited by Kakashi

Ye Hua’s Private Council, composed only of some of his most trusted advisers, had been meeting more frequently as of late. This time the new addition was the God of War, looking like his usual infallible self. Today was the first time he had stepped out of Kunlun since he had moved back after waking up.

The other elders bowed at Mo Yuan’s entry and congratulated him for fully recovering his health.

Then it was off to Kingdom business. The attendees expressed their concerns on whether this year’s annual title awarding ceremony to new immortals at the Thirty-Sixth Heaven’s Qīng Yún Hall should be postponed or not.

“If we push through with the event, it will be seen as a greater provocation to the dissidents.” Donghai Shuijin, the Eastern Sea King, pointed out. “But if we don’t, it will also be seen as if we are going soft.”

“It is tricky,” Zhong Huai, leader of the Junzi Clan murmured, his eyes darting toward Ye Hua. “Tianjun, please consider carefully.”

Ye Hua had already given the matter much thought.

“It is important that we do the right thing and make a stand for what is right. The annual awarding honors the memory and sacrifice of Nüwa when she changed the rules of Heaven to allow mortals to ascend. We will push through with the ceremony and I will be presiding over it.”

Ye Hua looked around the gathering but these old gods, they hid their reaction so well.

“Tianjun, the Crown Prince is still nowhere to be found. The Demon Princess just went missing again from Qing Qiu too,” reported Xu Lifen, the goddess who had purview to all communications that went around the Celestial realms. Prior to serving under Tianjun, she was the fourth princess from the Baimin Clan in the frigid realm of the North Sea. She stood out not only as the only woman in the Council but also with her white skin and hair.

“It is very suspicious indeed,” Daode Tianzun, one of the Three Pristine Ones and the only one among the three who had a seat in the council, remarked. He stroked his long beard while his eyes rested on Mo Yuan.

“The children have always liked to go down to the mortal realms to play,” Jia Yun answered in defense.

Daode Tianzun cleared his throat. “Yes, and one of them turned traitor. The other ended up learning knowledge from forbidden books. As to the Crown Prince… one should not forget that he reactivated the Mirrors in Diyu. They had been broken for so long even I forgot that they were still there.”

“The Crown Prince is indeed powerful,” Donghai Shuijin remarked. “So young and with so much in his abilities that are still unknown. He is just like Tianjun was in his youth.”

“The repair of the Mirrors was at my behest.”

All heads turned once again toward Ye Hua.

“I am surprised nobody even asked me about it. Or Xie Guchou, for that matter.”

Finally, a reaction. Everybody looked like they had questions but none was brave enough to ask.

Mo Yuan rolled closed the report that he had been reading, distracting them with the crisp sound of wood clicking against wood.

“I am grateful that Tianjun has stepped in to form this council while I was indisposed,” Mo Yuan said, looking around the room. “But now that I am back, there is no need to continue these meetings any longer. My disciples and I will resume handling strategies at Kunlun and your presence will be invited, as needed.”

Six pairs of wide eyes turned to Ye Hua, who understood why there were those who looked offended, and those who looked alarmed. These meetings had elevated these elders’ stature among the clans for the 12’000 years that Mo Yuan had been unconscious. Some had probably hoped that the arrangement would stay the same even after the God of War was back.

“Dismissed,” Ye Hua declared and looked at Jia Yun, who immediately jumped at ushering everyone out.

“The God of War, stay,” Ye Hua commanded, although his eyes stayed fixed on the door until everyone was out. Jia Yun was last to leave, closing the door behind him.

With a wave of his hand, a spell enveloped the room which prevented outsiders from listening in. Ye Hua turned to face his brother.

“Do you have a name for me by now, Da-gē?”

Mo Yuan nodded. “I have sent more spies to confirm, and the information is solid.”

“Their numbers?”

“A hundred thousand, but gaining more popularity by the day. We may have found the leader but the danger here is there is no way for us to identify all of their followers.” His robes did not even make a sound when he stood up from his low table. “You need to find A-Li soon, Ye Hua. A civil war is at our doorstep.”

#

The beast who had been inconsiderably called Pet was an animal who woke up a human during what was an unremarkable day in Huashan.

Back then, Pet had found himself naked, alone and terrified with the awareness that he had assumed the same form of what had been his prey. He was immediately fearful of other beasts of his species, afraid now that he, too, would be devoured. He was also unsure of how to walk on legs and feet, how to use the long limbs they called arms and hands, and shivered uncontrollably because he had lost his fur.

Then he came. The god called Youchao.

Suddenly, Pet had a name to respond to, a master to belong to, and houses to go home to. Pet learned very quickly that a regular place to stay in didn’t matter before when he was still an animal, but as a human, it mattered a lot.

The feeling of belonging mattered a lot.

Since Pet’s craving for hearts never dissipated even after he took a human form, Master chose Pet’s diet well. Master also trained Pet, and gave him others that he could play and train with. Master was also generous to let Pet eat them after Pet got tired with them. Master had thought and worked hard to help him increase his cultivation and he soon became an immortal. He was even able to become a high immortal after going through a lightning bolt trial that Master had kindly arranged.

Master’s forms of discipline could be harsh but Pet also knew that those were for his own good, because it made him stronger. Thus, he was indebted to Master as much as he was afraid of him.

But this one, his new playmate, the immortal whose name was Bai Gun Gun, was not afraid of Master.

Bai Gun Gun looked as formidable as snow-peaked mountains, but he was also very kind.

Pet had never realized what kindness was until Bai Gun Gun had shown it to him and to the rest of Master’s troops. Pet had never had anyone stand up for him or protect him before, but Bai Gun Gun always had.

While everyone around them was wary or scared of Pet, Bai Gun Gun never wavered. In fact, he once had called him Friend.

Bai Gun Gun had patiently explained literature to him— scriptures that Master had given him before but also told him he was too simple-minded to understand the richness of its wisdom.

Bai Gun Gun was also the first to ask Pet what his name was, and what his dreams and aspirations were. Pet had never even asked himself those questions before. When he couldn’t come up with a response, Bai Gun Gun took out a mirror and showed him his face. It was the same bewildering face he had woken up to thousands of years ago, shown as his reflection in one of Huashan’s streams, after years of seeing the face of the hideous beast he had been.

“You are no longer just an animal, Pet.” Bai Gun Gun had told him. “You are a sovereign creature with only the heavens above you. At the very least, you should have a dream.”

It was after that conversation that Pet started to think without Master’s voice crowding out his thoughts. And strange enough, he started having actual dreams.

Of fire, of floods, of blood, of gore. He dreamt of people crying and dying, of powerful displays of spells, of battles with faceless gods.

The violence in his dreams made him happy when he woke up the following day.

His experience of things when it happened to him changed too. The punishments that he used to think had been Master’s kindness began to hurt. Master’s words that he had once thought had been blessings given by the most powerful god in this Creation, began to sting.

It was visceral, like the animal side of him was slowly taking over all reason and appealing to flight or fight. Something boiled within his blood, an ancient calling, which made him afraid that he even had the gall to think it.

“Do you finally have a dream?” Bai Gun Gun asked again one day, during a break from reading scriptures. Master had commanded Bai Gun Gun to put more focus to help Pet achieve further enlightenment.

Pet nodded.

“Good. Do you mind sharing it with me?”

The words scratched against his dry throat. He ended up mumbling then covered his mouth and looked around, his heart beating fast inside his chest as he wondered if Master had heard him.

He wondered if Bai Gun Gun would turn on him and report him to Master.

“Don’t worry. I dream the same thing too.”

“Freedom?” Pet asked, staring at Bai Gun Gun.

Bai Gun Gun usually had a disaffected air about him but something about the way Bai Gun Gun looked right now reminded Pet of how he felt when he was told not to eat something that he had already found delicious.

Like that Phoenix from Kunlun.

Or that mortal Master had taken care of and then later killed.

Oh, what Pet would give…

“Yes.”

Pet felt a lightness in his chest but wasn’t sure if it was out of excitement or fear.

“When?”

“Soon.”

* * *