Chapter 79

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written by kakashi
edited by Panda

Ruoshui River. The place where he had sacrificed his soul for the realms, uttering those words - a promise, a sacred bond - that had compelled him to defy the Nothingness and to return despite the odds, despite the consequences. Also, it was the place where he had consoled a heartbroken Bai Qian over Ye Hua's demise, even though his own despair had been so great, living on had felt like a punishment. His brother, his unfortunate, precious twin, who had suffered so much already even before being born - he had failed to keep him safe, despite his promise to their dying father.

Below him, the dark water flowed unceasingly, caring nothing about the pain this place had brought him and so many others, having long since washed away all the blood that had been spilled at its shores in previous battles. If only he could be like the river, moving forever forward, unaffected...but since he could not easily forget the past, he should at least attempt to do better this time.

Indeed, he would not make the same mistakes again. He would make sure to protect those who were important to him at all cost.

"You look tired, Da-Ge," said Ye Hua beside him, his eyes resting on him with concern.

"It's no matter," Mo Yuan replied, "I just mulled over what Shao Wan expects from me and what concessions to make."

Both brothers gazed down onto what was going to be a battlefield soon. There was tension in the air, the excitement and fear of thousands of waiting soldiers, making their steeds want to stamp their feet, throw their heads, and bite the bit, their excited breaths making little white puffs in the cold air.

They had marched all of yesterday to be at Ruoshui River in time. The Demons? Nowhere in sight.

Of course she would make him wait.

His brother looked very fine in his dark armor, his signature color that was too somber for his age, yet carried so much meaning. As the future ruler of the realms, he had to appear stern, collected and capable at all times, but Mo Yuan knew how kind the heart was that beat underneath the black, deceiving clothes. His brother's open concern moved Mo Yuan, but it also worried him. It was him who had been tasked to protect his younger sibling, not the other way round. It was him who was tasked to fight the battles against their enemies, nobody else.

"Forgive me, brother," Ye Hua said resolutely, "but could you not have asked her?"

Mo Yuan took a deep breath. Could he have? There had been an angry demon army rushing towards him and the overly-anxious young disciple he had brought along. In addition, Shao Wan had called him her "most reliable enemy" and the fool that he was had felt proud to be called that. Truth be told, it had made him tongue-tied to see her. Once he had felt able to talk again, it had already been too late.

"All I know is she isn't expecting me to lose to her."

"Would she let you beat her?"

Mo Yuan laughed, that thought was truly amusing. "Never. She wants me to fight her, but beyond that? I am quite certain it has something to do with Cheng Yin... but you see, Ye Hua. She has always been much better at adapting her strategies to new situations. She is a natural born fighter, letting the battle itself guide her, whereas I...I am the opposite. I analyze, I think, then I act."

Ye Hua nodded.

"She knows me well, she knows my strengths and she knows my weaknesses like nobody else. If she wants me to go in blind, she does not want me to think too much. Which... had me think endlessly about why she would not want me to think too much."

Ye Hua chuckled. He lifted a gauntleted hand from the reins and put it on his brother's arm. "I imagine she is laughing somewhere right now because she knows."

Mo Yuan sighed but smiled. "This is the only certainty, yes."

"You have done all you could," said Ye Hua, more soberly, as always so reasonable and supportive. "You have instructed us all what to expect of the demons. How they fight impulsively and how we will have to be adaptive in our own fighting style. I am very eager for this battle."

Mo Yuan looked at Ye Hua. If he could, he would lock him away too. Him and Si Yin, together with Shao Wan, in the deepest cave of Kunlun. Even if they destroyed his mountain, he would give everything to know them safe.

"Will you promise me," Mo Yuan said to him, putting his own hand on top of his brother's, "to think of your wife first and of your unborn child first? And of the son that needs you? Do not jeopardize yourself. You hear me?"

Ye Hua looked away, his mouth a thin line. "And what will you think of, Da-Ge?" he then said quietly. "Will you make the same promise? You have died once for the realms. It is enough."

Mo Yuan did not answer. As the God of War, he was duty bound. He had little choice, if worse came to worse. And yet, it was the same conversation his thoughts returned to, over and over again:

"You will do what is your duty to do, I understand and honor that. But I want you to promise me this, Celestial: that you will not throw away your life wantonly."

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