Mo Yuan had walked quickly back to his tent, feeling quite frustrated and quite a bit anxious. His friends might annoy him with their teasing but they were right: he was too slow and that had already caused him enough of a headache. Once inside he quickly peeled himself out of his robes, throwing them into a corner. They were stifling and restricting; he hated them. He donned a much lighter robe with only two layers made for exercising and then went to check on his two disciples. They, too, were not in. He grabbed a wooden exercise sword that one of them had put on the bed - they wouldn't mind him borrowing it - and headed out towards the secluded coves of the Western Sea. Not that he truly hoped she would be there - but at least, the place reminded him of Shao Wan.

***

Shao Wan came across Mo Yuan some distance from the palace, near the coves. He was practicing the 32 Taijiquan Sword Forms with a wooden stick. Immediately full of joy to see him, she wanted to jump forward but remembered in time that they were not in a relationship where she could simply join him for peaceful sword practice. In fact, she had never officially practiced with him - they had always aggressively fought each other. She frankly didn't remember why. Had she truly believed she hated him? She never had. Confused, she held back and just watched him, dimming her own aura so as not to disturb him.

He was in deep concentration and every stance was perfection. As soon as he reached the end of the routine, he would start from the beginning, falling even deeper into his trance with every sequence. He was the same pretty boy he'd always been and decidedly not her normal type, but tonight, she could have lost herself in the study of his posture and his face. He was heavenly beautiful.

It was then she realized that her heart ached. She thought about this unfamiliar feeling and realized it was because she couldn't be with him. What was she to do? She had never felt this way about anyone before.

She fell into a trance of her own, watching him, until he stopped and stood still, the tip of his practice sword pointed upwards, eyes closed, breathing deeply. When he turned to leave, he noticed her standing there - and took a step towards her. Just one.

"God of War," she greeted cautiously, quickly undimming her aura. She hoped he didn't mind being ogled in secret too much.

"Demon High Goddess," he replied, not betraying any anger. In fact, he looked thrilled to see her.

They looked at each other in silence and Shao Wan felt her breathing quicken. He took another step in her direction, and then another. Her heart started to race. In her fantasies, she had always been in full control. Now, the opposite was true. Her pitiful insides were in a painful knot. Her throat was dry.

"Are you leaving tomorrow?" he asked her, slightly raising his voice against the noise of the waves.

She nodded.

"We won't be seeing each other again for a while," he added. It wasn't a question, she noticed.

"We won't," she agreed. All things had been sorted, it was unlikely they would meet again soon. She felt a lump in her throat that threatened to choke her.

They stood there, a distance between them, each holding the other's gaze.

We only have a short amount of time left, Shao Wan thought. If I walk right up to him, will he think I am attacking? Will he back away? How many steps are there to take? Five, six?

They both started walking at the exact same time; one, two, three steps and he was right in front of her.

"Shao Wan," he breathed, and her insides turned to liquid. Damn Celestial.

Mo Yuan and Shao Wan (三生三世十里桃花) - Vol. 1 [COMPLETED]Read this story for FREE!