cheap and unworthy, and I do not hope for anything when I am sent over to the Xiao family.
But life is like this, whether I am alive or dead, I will have to carry on.
I just could have never expected that Sixteenth Master would be so sincerely good to me from the bottom of his heart, never treating me like the unworthy person that I am with such a background……”
“When I was sick, he would take care of me without even changing his clothes.
He was punished by Lao-tai-ye, kneeling in the rain for the entire night, but he said not a single word to me, nor did he ever get angry at me.
I had lived a harsh and poor life, without any goodness nor virtue, so I cannot ask for anything in this life.
I only want to spend the rest of my life with him.”
Kou Yu Jun looked at him, without getting angry or frustrated.
He only sighed in the end and covered his face before saying,
“This is life……”
Thinking about it now, those words had been wrapped with too many emotions.
Normal commoners, with no reputation or money at their side, falling into an illness in the middle of the snowy ground would have already frozen to death.
Burning with such a high fever, Qin Ming Yue’s entire self felt cloudy and hazy, almost burning to the point where his throat was damaged.
But inside his heart was burning an even greater fire, burning and burning until all his organs were in pain, which never stopped and gave him the strength to overcome that wintery day.
Washing everything away, revealing that cold and icy face, Qin Ming Yue hid the fan in his sleeves.
Stepping out of Sheng De Lou, the night was just descending, and underneath the cobblestone steps glowed a faint, icy light.
Right beside a Chinese tallow tree was a man dressed in white, lazily hanging about, as if he was napping.
Qin Ming Yue cleared the expression off his face, and rested the hand holding onto the fan behind his back.
His eyes were ice cold as he walked over.
With his body in great grace and form, the movements of his robes were extremely beautiful, as like an angel from the heavens.
“Sixteen Master, why did you toss your fan over? If I did not remember incorrectly, this is a beloved item of yours.”
A flower petal dropped onto the tip of his nose, making Xiao Feng Wu sneeze.
He opened his eyes and, seeing that cold smile on the other’s face, he paused in shock.
Then his eyebrows raised dramatically and he climbed back up from the floor.
Without any hesitation, he grabbed onto the other’s hands and exclaimed with great shock,
“Ming Yue?! Is it really you, Ming Yue?! How long and arduous has it been since I tried to find you, I can’t really believe it is you!”
He tugged onto Qin Ming Yue’s hands, taking the time to cry like a river in a few moment’s time.
Those who heard him would almost cry with him from the pain he was emitting.
Thankfully it was around dinner time and there were not a lot of pedestrians on the streets, as otherwise there would be a crowd around them to see the spectacle.
Hearing this, Qin Ming Yue’s face slightly changed and he tugged his hand back.
The smile on his face could not be held up anymore and he coldly said,
“Sixteenth Master, what is the meaning of this?”
Xiao Feng Wu was still crying, crying so much and so pitifully in a way that wasn’t even present when his own grandfather died.
He held tightly onto Qin Ming Yue’s hands, saying words that could not be discerned as truth or lies.
He pressed on,
“Ming Yue, it was me who has harmed you.
It was me who was too useless.
When I fell into a heavy illness, I had been locked away by my grandfather, and I had no knowledge that he ordered servants to kick you away.
I tried finding you over and over again, but I never could.
I even thought you had died wu wu wu……”
The droplets from his tears were softly falling onto Qin Ming Yue’s torn and scarred hand, feeling so boiling hot that it could burn the hearts of those who could feel it.
Qin Ming Yue pushed him away, shaking from the anger rising in him and he yelled out,
“A ton of useless lies!”
His feet, however, would not take a step away, and his eyes were beginning to redden.
Xiao Feng Wu covered his face with his sleeves, hiding his expression.
After a short while, Xiao Feng Wu seemed to have calmed down, stopping his cries, and he wiped the tears off of his face.
He picked his fan back up from the ground to pass it over to Qin Ming Yue and said to him,
“I know that you still harbour hatred for me in your heart, but I still have a heart of sincerity towards you.
At this time, my grandfather has passed away, and the Xiao family is no more.
The only thing I have on me that is of some worth is this fan.
It is something I held beloved for many years, and I only ask that you take it away now.”
That fan was pushed into his hands, and it felt like it weighed a thousand pounds.
Qin Ming Yue pursed his lips, his wrist trembling, as if he wanted to ask something, but he could not utter a single word.
He stared at Xiao Feng Wu, not moving an inch, as if his eyes were trying to look all the way into his heart, as if wanting to see if he was lying.
Xiao Feng Wu was a man with a body who easily succumbed to illnesses.
Since he was a very young child, he would get sick every couple of days.
Only because he had practiced martial arts since his youth could he stand not eating for two days.
After his bout of crying, he felt a weakness settle over him, and with a face so pale that his body swayed, he fell onto the ground.
Seeing him like this made Qin Ming Yue panic and he subconsciously reached out to hold Xiao Feng Wu up.
His palms felt ice cold as Xiao Feng Wu lay on the ground pitifully.
When he spoke, he sounded very weak, calling out only Qin Ming Yue’s name over and over,
“Ming Yue……Ming Yue……”
His voice slowly began to trail off, as if he had fainted.
Qin Ming Yue silently gritted his teeth with his mouth closed.
His eyes were lit up with something, but whether that be hatred or something else, it was unknown.
After a moment of hesitation, he finally took Xiao Feng Wu home and invited a physician over to take a look at him.
“There is nothing to be worried about.
He only has a deficiency in blood and in strength, and he will recover by drinking a lot more water and eating some food.”
Lying on the bed and separated by a curtain, Xiao Feng Wu lifted his eyes up to take a look outside when he found a ball of blue light jumping above him.
His pupils dilated from the sight and his face slightly changed.
That ball of blue light began to speak.
[ Ding! My host, your body has been healed.
Please remember to repay your healing fees in three days, or otherwise……]
It never completed its words.
[ Heh heh heh, the galaxy’s strongest self-sufficient system, is happy to be at your service ]
We made it!!!! It was very close to not being able to be released today (as some of you may have seen from the status page), but Plum and I powered through and just kind of called it because we needed to stop somewhere.
Hopefully, it reads with some sort of a flow (we were proofreading between footnotes, which as you may have seen have been quite a bit).
And actually in that regards, as you might have seen on the status page or by the wall of footnotes below, this chapter was a pain to translate.
Purely speaking of the translation process, this first chapter took me a little over 2 weeks (albeit with me not being the greatest upkeeper to my schedule).
I did not anticipate the sheer amount of historical references, in particular the opera piece, and a lot of idioms which are toss out like they’re money lol (you wouldn’t believe it, but we’ve already taken out some footnotes we had so this is a shrunken list…).
To research all these historical references (which AHHHHHHHHHHH please excuse me as I let a helpless scream for one second), the amount of work that is needed to be put in is way over my head.
I, and Plum, thought I was (or we were) prepared like with volume 2, but even with the amount of liberty I gave myself to try and summarize as much as I could instead of blasting history note after history note (and not comprehensive ones at that, so I don’t go on an endless research spree), this is pretty much unfeasible for the schedule I had before.
So what I’m going to try and do to the schedule is make this a chapter every 2 weeks, on probably Saturday, and kind of see where this takes me, if it is doable to keep this schedule.
I’m (and Plum too) hoping that I won’t need to extend that to something like once a month (which Plum and I are dreading if true as right now, we just want this historical genre to be done and over with haha… (how do all the amazing historical genres translators do this???) and hopefully with future chapters, it will lighten up the historical references (I’m giving this chapter a pass as it was trying to set up the scene, but still… T____T) which may mean that I could up the release schedule (hopefully…)
So for now, I will say tentatively, our hope is that the next chapter will be released on Oct 16, but if it looks very unpromising, I will probably have to change the schedule later to be something a lot more feasible in what I can work with and with the time that I can do this with (and also for Plum (who I know has gotten very tired of seeing the wall of footnotes haha, thank you so much Plum <3)).
If there are any other changes to the schedule or the next chapter release, I will update the status page, and hopefully I’ll also have a better answer in the upcoming weeks for a set schedule.
And away from these walls of text, thank you, as always, for all your kind and warm support, and I hope to see you all Galactic Judges in two weeks! : )
*1 Lao-tai-ye: this is a term to address a man who is basically a grandpa in more ancient/respectable terms and is also a term reserved usually for the oldest/previous head of the family (most of the time they also still have the highest say in things).
*2 an “actor” back then is what we would probably consider as Chinese opera singers now (of course, like all terms, also mostly depends on the dynasty but in this particular case, it mostly refers to something like kunqu).
In most references to “actor”, it’s a pretty derogatory term as the profession back then was not seen to be “great”.
In fact, it was part of the lowest tier of “class”, similar to prostitutes (actually sometimes considered to be even lesser, because they don’t have the freedom/the chance to “get out” of this class (in some periods of time, they were not allowed to even marry anyone outside of their class (even “normal commoners” as those would be higher in class than them)). They were also forbidden to take part in exams, were at the beck and call of “higher ups”, and had restrictions on how they could dress (even more limitations than a regular citizen or even beggars).
*3 a “family house” is technically like a mansion separated into different sections with each son of the head of the family in their own “house” – recall the footnote/pictures from volume 2 : )
*4 family punishment: briefly this really means being punished according to how the family rules are set (so different actions have different kinds of punishments; here it most probably means flogging with an instrument like a heavy stick.
Family rules are what sets what you can do (like laws that must be abided if you belong in the family – this is different from the “laws” set up by the royal court/what lawful people have to follow, and the set of rules are different according the family you are born in, so naturally, the more higher up you are/the more “rigid” your family is and the more “rigid” the rules are of what you need to do “for the family”.
*5 Old maiden: you may have already guessed by the name, but it means when a girl has not married by a certain age (i believe the western equivalent is like a spinster).
Depending on the period, the age varies, but for most that I’ve read, it’s usually between 13-14, sometimes going as low as about 10 or up to about 15/16 (references debatable so I’ll just leave that as a consideration here) – so after that “perfect” age for marriage, usually about 20 or so, a girl would be considered an “old maiden” if they have not married yet.
As time passed, and as it got closer to the modern age, the “perfect” age for marriage (mostly aided by laws) moved up a bit to around 14-16, then about 18ish.
*6 Tai Shou: depending on the dynasty, it had different names like Governor, General, Grand Protector/Administrator and they basically kind of do more administrative duties (with both military and civil responsibilities).
They are considered to be on one of the highest ranks to have the ability to use/order soldiers, issuing military commands, etc.
– you can think of them as super super high officials.
*7 The “Da” in this title means big as you may have seen already from previous volumes, but in ancient eras, it also usually references the oldest main son or the one who inherited the position of the head of the family.
*8 unprocessed opium: back then, opium was allowed, but the imperial court would have set regulations and the maximum amount of what people could have.
*9 Zhang-gui: Mentioned in volume 2, this is a term to call a shopkeeper of a store.
It encompasses many meanings however beyond just a shopkeeper.
It can be referenced as the manager, the accountant, a physician/doctor, the front of the house, and so forth.
They are basically a caretaker of the shop for everything and can be either an owner of the shop or reporting to a higher boss.
Sometimes referenced as just for one store or also a district/an area of places/shops.
Here, it is referenced as the “head” or the manager of the entire family business as they would be the ones to take care of the books.
*10 Bao Xin Dan: this should be something like a pill that is like a family treasure, one that would have been passed down by their ancestors as a life saving medicine.
In a more literal translation, it means to “save the heart” kind of medicine/keep the heart alive.
*11 Teahouse: Kind of like the one mentioned at the end of volume 4, where it is basically a place for rest and conversations.
There are different categories of teahouses such as one that teaches the art of theatre, or one that functions as a tea shop/restaurant on the bottom floor and up top for more private matters like prostitution.
It can also be referencing a restaurant (although I believe that’s normally referenced as alcohol-tea-building, but depends on the dynasty), or something like a buffet where there would be jars of tea on display and the customer could bring their own tea, or use the shop’s, and basically buy water to enjoy their own cup of tea.
Most commonly however is the kind that is like a resting place for guests and they would have oral storytellers, kind of like library read out louds.
*12 “Lang”: a reference call (dependent on the dynasty) for a young man.
Take this call as something less than a higher ranked reference call, especially considered with “-ye” which is like Sixteenth Master.
*13 Elaborate pattern: this is actually supposed to reference a specific pattern that’s basically saying “mountain”, “teeth”, “ocean”, “water” which looks something like this:
It supposedly means using the beauty of the ocean to convey a good blessing such as the country will always be here, never ending goodness, unite the entire country as one, etc.
Silk shoes: technically, the description is something closer to “cloud” shoes which references that the silk material is like clouds that are never ending and never breaking.
*14 Gong-Zi: Like as mentioned on volume 2, this is a respectable reference call for men, usually of “higher” stature
*15 “peach blossom debt”: (not the novel if you’re searching this – 桃花債), is basically to say a love (or I guess to be more accurate, a crush/infatuation) born from a situation, usually referenced in historical genres as a guy saving a girl from a terrible situation like being kidnapped or being raped, and the girl falls in love with the guy who saved her.
I can’t really find an official reference, but it’s usually not a good thing for the guy (sometimes also used in reverse as well but a lot less), as it’s kind of like a burden (as most of the times it’s usually when the guy already has a wife/fiancee and he gets into this situation, and the girl saved is now a plotline, but I digress.
Just know that it’s meant for a girl to have fallen in love with the guy after being saved, usually, or multiple girls even.
*16 Falling flower has the will, but flowing water is emotionless: a poetry line that symbolizes an one-sided love – where one person has the thought and the other doesn’t (sometimes has the variation that the water is coldhearted as well).
*17 Fu-jun: a name for husband, respectfully in a way? Just putting “Husband, I have …” felt a bit weird and awkward and searching up names on google for husband just made me laugh in anger (in all honesty, so many issues there… but anyway).
Perhaps something like “Honey”, but less intimate, and more in line with like Gong-Zi or Gong-Ye kind of call.
*18 Fu-ren: a name for wife.
Adding the surname of the husband she married is the way others called married women in these times.
It is something like Lady or Mrs., but the first I’ve kind of used for just young ladies/unmarried women, and the latter’s a bit out of the suspension of belief, so pinyin it is!
Depending on the dynasty, the call for wife and man is different, but in most cases, the wife reference call is kind of like hello wife of so and so family/man while the husband call is just for the wife or his mistresses to call him but as there are also different tiers of mistresses, their calls can differ too.
*19 Sesame bun (芝麻餅): usually has a black sesame filling inside.
I call them buns, but they’re kind of like a hybrid cracker, bun, cake kind of thing and depending on the dynasty/area, they are a bit different but here’s something to give a reference: (here I picked a nicer looking/more modern picture)
*20 Wares: It’s technically referring to two baskets hanging on a stick but they can have like actual cooking things (like below):
*21 Lao-ban: Boss, but also like the head of something (also Sheng De Lou = a building called Sheng De).
*22 Peony Pavilion: basically about a scholar and a woman from a respectable family(?) falling in love and their ups and downs.
There’s quite a few videos on youtube if you are interested (search for 牡丹亭 which, uh most opera pieces are like more than a few hours, so they’re usually separated into different acts or more commonly by their songs so you may see drastically different times for videos.)
Very brief summary, a lady hears a poem, wants to fall in love, dreams about meeting a scholar and then dies from her depression from dreaming about the scholar she fell in love with (like waking up and too sad that she can’t be with her loved one in her dream).
Her dad buries her under a plum blossom tree and creates a monastery to guard her grave before leaving for his appointment to oversee a place.
Her soul goes for judgement after death and the judge finds that she shouldn’t have died as she was fated to have a marriage and so let her go back up to the human plane.
Then comes a scholar rushing for the imperial examinations, and he stays at the monastery and meets her wandering soul.
They fall in love.
Then she gets revived by the scholar digging her up and opening her coffin and the two marry and then the scholar goes to the examinations.
On behalf of the lady, the scholar goes to find her dad but her dad doesn’t believe him and tortures (to make him tell the “truth”) and kind of almost kills/executes him.
And then right at the most tense moment, someone who knows the entire situation tells her dad it’s real and he’s actually the top ranking examinee so you can’t kill him.
Her dad suspects that he’s something like a monster and tells the Emperor who then investigates the truth and finally the scholar reunites with the lady and the dad also gets along with his son-in-law and they end up living happily ever after.
(maybe not brief after all haha)
*23 Phoenix eyes: they have the characteristics where the inner corner of the eyes are pointed downward while the outer corner is pointed upward, kind of like a hook, and usually characteristic of characters that are seductive and mesmerizing.
*24 Flower Stands: I’m calling them flower stands, as I don’t really have a better word for them haha, but it’s like well wishes for a celebration.
It’s similar to, if you have been around Chinese business shops and their grand openings, where they have these flower display stands gifted by a friend/important guest to celebrate their grand opening and to give them well wishes (also kind of like the flower wreaths for funerals, but in a much more positive way of course).
*25 Silk robe here is like the footnote below which references a part of a scene of the act, as well as the song part.
*26 These two verses were taken from “The Peony Pavilion: Mudan ting, Second Edition by Tang Xianzu; translated with a new preface by Cyril Birch; introduction to the second edition by Catherine Swatek.” It’s a long title, but in regards to the Peony Pavilion (more info about the play itself in the previous footnote) translations, I used this version because firstly Cyril Birch as far as I saw was the first person to translate it in English (although note that what I quoted was from the second edition), and it was pretty hard to find the source on this (had to find the actual physical copies to quote because online sources were so varied and so hard to find for the particular verses I was looking for, because idfiasjdpajdpoajpkjgokjwrf it was almost impossible to correlate which verse it was speaking of especially as literary poetry is really not my forte).
The original raws of this novel didn’t actually complete the verses (chopping off a part and adding a “……” at the end to say that they are singing the verses in Chinese opera style, but given the way it was translated to English, to have the stop point was pretty much impossible on my part so you get the whole verse with the indents and everything as exact! : ) ).
The other reason was that between the two physical copies of the translations I had, Cyril Birch’s version just matched a lot more in terms of what I “read” as a more literal translation (not exactly as I’m no literary scholar here lol), and it overall just felt like it was better in a reading “singing” format (although that’s only my personal preference here).
In any case, if you are interested, here is another version from “Dream in Peony Pavilion by Tang Xianzu; translated by Xu Yuanchong & Frank M.
A riot of deep purple and bright red,
What pity on the ruins they overspread!
Why does Heaven give us brilliant day and dazzling sight?
Whose house could boast of a sweeter delight?
At dawn on high
Rainbow clouds fly;
At dusk the green
Pavillion is seen.
In misty waves mingle the threads of rain,
The wind swells sails of painted boats in vain.
For those behind the screen
Make light of vernal scene.
I also must give credit to this version as their book was so much easier to look back and forth as they included the reference of which scene was from which part, which made it substantially easier to find the specific parts I needed.
*27 This is a call to a specific part of the scene, I believe as the song names the eyebrows part, and the first line is “how bewitching is spring this year!”, although spring is more than likely a symbolism for love (but again not a literary scholar here, and I did not read the entire << Peony Pavilion >> translations (either of them), although some scenes of her reminiscing about her beloved scholar was uh, imaginations, I guess uh, which were definitely… symbolic for a lot of love and skinship haha : ) ).
In either case, I took this part from “Dream in peony pavilion by Tang Xianzu; translated by Xu Yuanchong & Frank M.
Xu”, instead of Cyril Blake’s version as I could not for the life of me find the same part (although I didn’t really look that long as the other version was just so much more organized to find the sections).
*28 Cut-Sleeve: (mentioned in volume 2 ) a cut-sleeve is a phrase that means a man likes to partake in/has an inclination of homosexual activities/is a homosexual.
*29 Su Fan: A specific type of fan known for their folds.
Something like this:
Fu is also the character “福” which is basically good blessings/fortune.
*30 The Shangyuan Festival (title from Wikipedia) or perhaps more commonly known as lantern festival (different from the late autumn festival that is also apparently called lantern festival as well) is basically now the celebration of a new year.
It has a lot of roots with the common people lighting up lamps and praying for good blessings and then it transformed into a more general celebration for the first lunar month (the fifteenth day to be exact) with a lot more festivities added like lantern riddle guessing, sweet dumplings, lion dances, etc.
Leisure Ship: IDK what to translate this to, so I guess we’ll go with leisure ship… Basically this is a really well/lavishly decorated boat specifically for leisure activities such as playing near water, looking at the scenery, or for gatherings, etc.
*31 Stamps: they are basically carved seals used to stamp on things as an official approval/reference that it was from the person of the stamp – like a signature.
*32 Body deed: It’s like a deed to the body, to the person, that someone signs to give the “owner” of the deed absolute authority over them.
It’s usually one of the more common contracts you’ll see for servants and it encompasses beyond just servants.
As you can see here the troupe that Qin Ming Yue is in as well as other professions like a server/waiter at a restaurant, etc.
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