Fanfiction3: A-Li's Three Lives, Three Worlds - Chapter 92 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 92

written by LigayaCroft
edited by Kakashi

Wei Xiaolian woke up in a strange room in a strange house that had giant bamboo trees gently swaying in the low afternoon light from outside her bedroom window.

The serpents.

Bai Li.

Had she just dreamt everything?

The strips of cloth that helped relieve the incessant discomfort from her chest told a different story. So did the herbaceous smell of a salve over the self-inflicted wounds on her bow arm, also covered with salve-stained cloth.

Wei Xioalian’s hand flew to her breasts. Her face heated up as she thought of Bai Li wrapping these pieces of fabric around her skin while she was unconscious. He had even had the gall to change her clothes into a clean pair of tunic and pants!

How dare he!

Determined to give Bai Li a piece of her mind, she pushed through her pain while rolling from the bed to get back on her feet.

But first things first.

She was thirsty.

The only liquid inside her room was that in a pot that contained bitter tea. Her nose wrinkled at the unappealing scent. So, with small steps that took extra care not to further stretch her torso, Wei Xiaolian found her way to the kitchen to fetch herself a cup of water.

What greeted her was the delicious smell of something steaming under the covered wok over the stove. Beside it was a sweet-smelling pot of what could only be cooked rice. Having only eaten dried fruits for breakfast, a pool of saliva quickly formed inside Wei Xiaolian’s mouth. She lifted the wood cover. When the steam dissipated it revealed a large fish in a sauce with onion, ginger and scallion.

Bai Li can cook?

Wei Xiaolian pushed air out of her nostril. As if Bai Li needed another attractive quality to add to his merits!

Her stomach growled, much louder this time.

Wei Xiaolian returned the wok cover. She was by the sink to search for a bowl and chopsticks when she heard voices outside. One of them was male, low and familiar, whom Wei Xiaolian immediately identified as Bai Li’s. The other was female, which made Wei Xiaolian’s heart race inside her chest and caused her to peek through the wooden slats that made up the kitchen door so she could see who it was.

Wei Xiaolian had to rapidly blink before openly staring at Bai Li’s companion, who had to be the most beautiful woman she had ever seen in her entire life.

The woman looked just about her age. Even from this distance, Wei Xiaolian could see how the woman’s small face held the features that would make any man desire her— from the expressive eyes, the high-bridge of her delicate nose, to those lush rose lips. It made her recall the very old story of the most famous courtesan in the whole country who once lived in Luoyang, who had held all men, even the Emperor in thrall. In her mind, a woman that had caused men to compose songs and poems and lose their minds must have looked like the goddess in her sight.

“I have done the best I could with her injuries but the state of her ribs concerns me the most. She had broken three ribs in the front and four in the back, and it will take time for her to heal. If she is as active as you told me she was, this will be like a death sentence for her because she has to stop moving.”

So this was the healer Bai Li had promised her during the fight with the serpents? Wei Xiaolian felt her tension release, now that she had an inkling who had seen her naked while she was unconscious.

Only to be replaced by a burning sensation in her already hungry stomach when she saw the woman put her hand on Bai Li’s arm and the fact that he didn’t recoil from the touch like he often did with the women of Lijiang.

“You showed her who you really are. Mortals… they are flimsy. And cautious of us. She might not take it well when she wakes up.”

“I had no choice. She was already wheezing and blue so I had to finish the fight fast.”

“In that regard, I agree. She had a punctured lung and could have died. Thankfully, I got to it in time.”

“Thank you.”

“I have to go back to Qing Qiu now.” The woman conjured two vials which appeared on each palm. “Make her choose. One will heal her bones overnight but she will be in hell with agony. The other is a gentler process that can heal her within nine days.” Bai Li waved his hand and the vials disappeared. The woman folded her hands together. “Can I expect you to be back in Qing Qiu with us within the next few days? Zhe Yan has been showing more signs of consciousness and it would be lovely if you were there when he wakes up. ”

Wei Xiaolian stopped peeking and put her back against the door. Her fingers came up to her chest, gently feeling its way along her ribs, noting which ones felt sore and which ones didn’t.

She had almost died.

She had been treated by an immortal healer.

And she finally recalled how Bai Li looked that day with his back toward her, his white robes washed in serpent blood.

Bai Li was also an immortal.

Wei Xiaolian sneaked back to her bed, her heart beating fast inside her chest, making it quite difficult to breathe.

Qing Qiu. She remembered passively listening to a storyteller a couple of years back talk of the place where the mythical nine-tailed foxes lived.

Foxes.Weren’t they monsters? Demons?

Wei Xiaolian closed her eyes and wished she had been more attentive at that time because she couldn’t remember. Tales of gods and goddesses had always bored her. She had long rationalized that gods were nothing but works of fiction, the irrational fantasy of humans who tried to make sense of their miserable world.

It had to be or else why would they exist except to play with mortal lives? How cruel could they be if a human’s story was already predestined? That by the lucky whim of a god, some were given lives of plenty while some had been cursed to live in suffering like most of the members of her sect?

But how should she explain all that she had witnessed at the swamp when Bai Li saved her?

Were Bai Li and the woman both nine-tailed foxes? Didn’t nine-tailed foxes eat humans? Could it be possible that Bai Li had only saved her to devour her at a later time?

Or could it be… Bai Li had been interested in the Dog Beating Stick from the very beginning. Did he plan to steal it? Wei Xiaolian felt her heart beat even faster as she thought of a lifetime of running away from monsters without her Wàigōng and the staff to help protect her.

Wei Xiaolian brought a shaky hand to her forehead but immediately put it back down when she heard movement come from outside her bedroom door. She turned her head to the side, away from the door, and tried to calm her breathing when she heard it squeak as it slid open.

Where were her daggers when she needed them?

Her ears became her guides as to what Bai Li could possibly be doing as he moved about. He had something with him that he placed on the table beside her bed. Then the bed creaked as he sat beside her. His warm hand touched her forehead, which he took back right away.

“You are awake.”

Of course, he knew that she was awake. Immortals rarely missed mundane things such as when mortals were faking it. Faced with no choice, Wei Xiaolian turned her head to the other side and opened her eyes.

Suddenly, the room felt smaller as she tried not to be self-conscious with Bai Li’s gaze on her.

She still vividly remembered how those eyes had been golden when he saved her from the serpents but now they had gone back to their usual black, making him look human. Her eyes traced his jawline which made her suddenly remember how addictive he smelled when he had held her very close.

She had known it before, but hadn’t realized it until today that Bai Li was beautiful.

She frowned. Didn’t the stories say all foxes appeared as beautiful men and women, and they set out to the mortal world to prey on weak humans?

Bai Li cleared his throat and his finger came up to wipe invisible dirt off his nose.

Well, if he thought she would have the decency to look away, like how all those simpering Lijiang misses did every time he caught their eyes staring, he was about to be disappointed.

“How long was I out, Shidi?“ She asked, deliberately calling him her junior, as she tried to sit up.

His hands were immediately there to help her, gentle and warm— one on her left arm and the other around her to support her back. Wei Xiaolian bit hard at the soft skin behind her lower lip to stop the heat that threatened to spread over her face, and thought about mutilated serpents.

It must have done the trick because when they were face to face again, his expression remained its usual sedate self like all the other times that he had looked at her. Come to think of it, in the almost three months that he had been with the Sect, he had never, not once, smiled at her. Yet, he looked softly and even smiled at the beautiful woman that he had been talking to a while ago.

Wei Xiaolian’s jaw clenched. She tugged at the collar of her clothing then swatted Bai Li’s hands away.

“You were in the kitchen earlier.”

She gasped. “How did you know?"

“The wok. The cover was a little bit askew when I left it.”

“I was hungry.”

His head tilted to one side. “It’s no surprise that you are. This is the third day since we defeated the serpents.”

“Th-, th-“ She stammered, thinking of her rapidly failing mission. “Third day! How could you let me sleep that long, Shidi!”

He reached toward the table beside her and picked up a covered bowl and a soup spoon. When he lifted the cover, it showed rice topped by fish meat as well as the glistening sauce she had seen a while ago.

“To be fair, I wasn’t even sure you were going to make it, Shixiong.” He explained as he split a portion of the fish and dug the spoon in so when it came up, it had along with it both the fish and rice. He opened his mouth and motioned for her to do the same.

Wei Xiaolian felt her stomach flutter but she scoffed at the sensation. It had to be nothing but her hunger and the after effect of all of her injuries. Later on, she would become this fox’s supper so she might as well get the royal treatment now and be attended to hand and foot before she became dinner herself.

She opened her mouth and received the food he offered her. It was as scrumptious as it smelled. The herbs and spices elevated the savory sauce. The fish had been delicately steamed, the flesh retaining its moisture. It had a sweet taste to it which told her the fish had been caught fresh. If she hadn’t known who Bai Li was, Wei Xiaolian would have wondered how, considering the hut was obviously up in the mountains.

“Did the woman you were with a while ago cook this meal for us?”

Bai Li’s posture became rigid, starting with his stiffened shoulders.

Wei Xiaolian leaned away. Should she not have mentioned the woman? Was it supposed to be a secret, and now that Bai Li knew that she knew, would he kill her?

“So you saw her.”

“Yes, from the kitchen,” She replied, slowly moving her head from side to side as she observed him.

“Mei Lin.”


“Mei Lin, that’s her name. She healed you.”

Even the woman’s name was beautiful. Wei Xiaolian’s brows tried to lift but she consciously put them down with an exhale.

“I have to give her my thanks.”

He shook his head. “She already went… home.”

Wei Xiaolian already knew that. Bai Li put the bowl and the spoon down, and without meaning to, she flinched when his hand came close.

The action did not miss Bai Li’s attention.

“Did you think I would hurt you?” He asked, brows raised.

Wei Xiaolian swallowed, suddenly unsure of what to say.

He tried to smile but it died right away. His gaze dropped to her hands.

“I could never.”

Those were such simple uttered words but to Wei Xiaolian, it felt like the most sincere vow she had ever heard in all her twenty summers of existence.

* * *