a stone to break your soul, a song to save it

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Title: a stone to break your soul, a song to save it
Author(s): rikke
Date(s): November 15, 2018 – November 15, 2019
Length: 180,247 words
Genre: m/m, AU
Fandom: Mo Dao Zu Shi
External Links: AO3 link

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a stone to break your soul, a song to save it is a popular book-canon MDZS WangXian fanfic by rikke that was posted as a WIP to AO3 over the course of a year. It has 24 chapters and features canon divergence and arranged marriage.

Author's summary: When the entire cultivation world turns against Wei Wuxian, Jiang Cheng comes up with a plan to save him and arranges a marriage between his brother and the Second Jade of Lan, Lan Wangji.

As of August 2021, the fic is still the most popular MDZS book fanwork on AO3 by kudos.[1] It has 7544 comments, 23656 kudos, 7175 bookmarks, and 416403 hits.[2]

rikke set a stone to break your soul, a song to save it to private along with all their other works in January 2020 after a months-long harassment campaign. The fic was unhidden several months later. In August 2021 the culprit behind the harassment was revealed to be fellow fic writer Shinocchi.[3]

Fan Reactions/Reviews

Tumblr ask answered by baoshan-sanren, March 2020:

It’s pretty amazing, like I catch myself all the time thinking of some elements of the story as canon and then remembering it never actually happened in the novel or the show. I mean, it just blew my mind how she took the beast core element and ran with it; cql spent all this time coming up with the yin iron storyline and rikke was just like nope, my idea is more fitting to the genre AND it makes more sense, and she was right.[4]

From fail_fandomanon, November 2019:

What amazed me the most about this is how true to canon the characterisation and the writing felt. The humour, the liveliness, some of the angst, it all felt really true to the characters. The PoV sticks close to WWX as canon does, but the cast of characters is pretty wide, and everyone gets their fair due, overall and it's an excellent canonical A/U in term of following through the ramifications of the differences. It manages to what happens to most important characters; and explores some stuff that canon did not address deftly in some cases. I adore what they do with the consequences of demonic cultivation and how to fix it, it was pretty clever.

There are a few things I would nitpick. I felt - as is often the case in that sort of AUs - it followed onto plot events a little bit too closely. However, that wasn't all the time, just in a few key scenes where I thought it was a bit too close, and other times the differences were very logical and cleverly woven. I don't quite believe that Jin Guangyao would escalate things that quickly in that short of time (I think he needs a bit more time to convince himself that he didn't have any other choices). Also there's one plot hole that never ended explained (who sent the letter in a world where it can't be Nie Huaisang?). And I don't understand how Ah Qing can be that young.

Highly recommended overall.[5]

fancake rec, January 2021:

Since this takes place after the Sunshot Campaign war, it's mostly Everybody Lives (JC's parents are still killed at Lotus Pier). With the canon-divergence, other things must be addressed, including how WWX is going to prevent LWJ from learning he no longer has his golden core. I like the way the author took one small bit of canon and used it to create a unique storyline. It took her a year to write this opus and has been translated into eight languages. Isn't that worth a look? Enjoy.[6]

Related Fanworks

The fic has been translated into multiple languages, with some translations posted to AO3 and others posted to Wattpad. Languages include Brazilian Portuguese, Italian, Persian, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, and Vietnamese.

Various fans were inspired to create fanart:


  1. ^ AO3 MDZS book fandom tag, using the sort and filter sidebar, 29 August 2021.
  2. ^ a stone to break your soul, a song to save it, Archived version, accessed 29 August 2021.
  3. ^ google doc linked from rikke's tweet: Aug 27, 2021 tweet by yilingss, Archived version (Accessed 28 August 2021.)
  4. ^ tumblr post by baoshan-sanren, Archived version, 2 March 2020. (Accessed 29 August 2021.)
  5. ^ Re: Cnovels - last three fics you read, anonymous thread comment, 2019-11-20. (Accessed 29 August 2021.)
  6. ^ The Untamed: a stone to break your soul, a song to save it by rikke, Archived version, posted by magician113 in fancake, 16 January 2021.