Chapter 23

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written by kakashi
edited by JoAnne

Mo Yuan was relieved to have reached the last day of the festival with his wits intact. The festivities had been torturous, the mass of immortals staring at him like he was some golden statue tiring, and the constant teasing about the slow progress from his friends, who took nothing seriously anymore at their age, annoying.

At least, he could be quite certain the Demons would keep away from Cheng Yin out of fear of a Celestial military intervention. It had taken some resolve, but he had decided he would trust Shao Wan to handle the Cheng Yin problem alone. She was certainly capable enough when it came to fighting ... if only she were less rash. Still, he would trust her not to fall into Cheng Yin's hands. He was quite certain she would not go willingly: She hated the Yellow Demon King and whatever had been between them was in the past. That's what he told himself, at least.

He could not look at Cheng Yin without his blood beginning to boil, as much as he tried to keep his calm. For that reason, he had felt pleased when the Yellow King threw a fit and left the negotiations. Time had been opportune and of the essence afterwards and he had tirelessly met with all the Demons individually, until he had nudged every one of them into a corner. He had started to feel more respect for the Blue King and the Purple Queen the more he got to know them and he now knew to be very careful of the Black King, whose character was not noble at all.

He had met with all of them over the last two days but had not spoken to Shao Wan alone again. Even if she was the only one he wanted to spend time with.

He wasn't quite sure when things had changed. Maybe when he took her to his tent and had another civil conversation with her. Maybe when she put her hands around his waist during the cloud jump. Maybe when she almost created a scene in front of his bride, but managed to somehow keep her jealousy in check. Maybe when his body told him to stop pretending he didn't want her.

Or maybe he had just been too slow once again to realize that he had always been more than ready to get to know the Demon goddess better, even back at school. He had thought she was a threat, but truth was he had simply been afraid of losing control when control was what defined him.

Being scattered for 70'000 years had changed his outlook on immortal life. He had many duties, but nobody in all the realms could tell him what to do with his life until he had to meet his final calamity. Thus, from the moment he had acknowledged Shao Wan meant something to him, he had stopped thinking about how it wasn't possible to be with her and had begun to think about how he could make it happen.

It might be true that it was time for him to get married like everybody said, but marriage was no longer an option under the current circumstances. He would have to talk to Jie Jing's father as soon as possible and cancel the engagement. It most certainly meant losing his honor and smearing his name, but he would gladly live with the consequences of shame rather than make a lovely woman and himself eternally unhappy. Ye Hua had taken care of continuing Father Immortal's family line already; the realms would certainly survive even without Mo Yuan's offspring.

What would happen between him and the Demon goddess could not be fathomed. She was as unpredictable as the wind, but he knew he could not go on living without stepping into her path and holding on to her for however long she would tolerate him. He needed to talk to her again, alone. Tonight, since tomorrow she returned to the Demon realm and he to Kunlun; it was uncertain when they could meet again.

At sundown, the official festivities had ended. He had wanted to have a word with her then to tell her to meet him at the coral wall, but there had been so many people queuing up to pay their respect to him that he had lost his chance. When he had finally been able to leave the palace Shao Wan was nowhere to be seen. He even went near the Demon encampment to see whether he could sense her aura, but she wasn't there either.

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