Chapter 19

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Written by kakashi & panda
Edited by JoAnne

On the fifth day of the peace talks, Mo Yuan felt like he had lost thousands of years of cultivation to diplomacy. His head constantly hummed from suppressed tension and his patience, usually one of his fortes, was running out. The Demons had easily filled two full days with empty, pointless assurances of good-will, likely to wear him down.

On day three, he had become more demanding and more threatening, pressuring the Demon kings and queen to commit to upholding the peace, telling them clearly what the consequences of disobedience would be.

On day four, Mo Yuan knew that while the Demons were afraid of him and the military power of the Celestial Tribe, they were also weighing their options.

Good, reliable information from the demon realm had gotten really scarce ever since Yan Chiwu had stopped providing it to Si Ming (likely because he did not want to be seen as traitor in case things turned sour between Demons and Celestials). They had to go by rumors, and if said rumors were true, Cheng Yin's army was growing bigger by the day. Much bigger than could be mustered by the Celestials. It seemed the Yellow King had successfully instigated some of the leaderless Ghost Generals to join him.

The prospect of having to go up against a combined demon and ghost army was a source of worry for Mo Yuan. They might lack discipline and tactical knowledge, but sheer numbers were never a threat to take lightly. If he could control the time and place of the confrontation he could be relatively sure of victory even with a much smaller army, but the more Mo Yuan interacted with Cheng Yin, the more certain he became that the Yellow Demon King was too well-prepared. Lying low while all eyes were on the Ghosts, he had planned his revenge for millennia.

Cheng Yin played this game perfectly well. He was polite and soft-spoken in front of other immortals and magnanimous in front of other demons. He only betrayed his true feelings at strategically opportune times, barring a few unguarded moments. Whenever he could Cheng Yin would provoke Mo Yuan with masked insults, and his eyes were always ablaze with hatred when he looked at Mo Yuan. When he looked at Shao Wan, which he often did, the Yellow Demon King leered in ways that made Mo Yuan's skin crawl.

From what had happened earlier, Mo Yuan already knew that Shao Wan and her sky-power ability played a role in Cheng Yin's plan. He did not fully understand how the spell worked, but he knew that if Cheng Yin got his hands on Shao Wan, whether she followed him willingly or not Cheng Yin had a weapon at his disposal that would decisively change the odds in the Demons' favor. The mere threat of activating the sky powers had weight in an upcoming confrontation. Mo Yuan had experienced the damage Shao Wan could bring even after he'd severed the sky-power link. He could only guess what would have happened had he not been able to deactivate it.

Undeniably, the fate of the realm depended on what Shao Wan would decide to do.

Mo Yuan knew with certainty that if she added her influence and power to the combined Ghost and Demon cause, he would not be able to guarantee a Celestial victory. On the other hand, if she was ready to accept Celestial help in the form of troops, that would likely sway the other Demon Kings to side with her against Cheng Yin, and then victory was possible.

He also knew that of all the immortals in the realms, Shao Wan was the one he was least equipped to handle. She made him lose his reason, his temper, and his control. She sat in these talks and confused him with the intoxicating scent of phoenix fire sage that weaved through the closeness of the room. In contrast to someone like Cheng Yin, who was an expert in hiding his true emotions, Shao Wan was like an open book. She never hid anything. She would always say what went through her head with brutal honesty, and she would always act on her whims.

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