So, I have just finished Heavy Sweetness, Ash Like Frost by Dian Xian. Overall I enjoyed the book and would recommend anyone wanting to try a xianxia Chinese Novel.
I now leave you with the 3rd epilogue, which closes the main characters’ stories. I decided to translate this because it leaves a lovely sweetness behind and it ties up the main characters’ stories so prettily.
The disclaimer is that chinese is not my first language, and I have taken some artistic liberties with the translation. In other words, it’s not verbatim (and I might have gotten some parts skewed) but I think the important bits are all there. If you see any inaccuracies, let me know and I will correct them.
While Phoenix is still a bit moody, he always grants my every wish. No matter how much lingli I shamelessly ask for, he will give it to me without a single complaint. Sometimes, after receiving so much lingli, I ask myself, “Do I really like lingli that much? What do I want to do with so much lingli? Since I’m neither a soldier, nor hold political power, having so much lingli is truly a waste.”
One day, I awake in the middle of the night, having suddenly figured it out. I concluded that actually, my asking Phoenix so shamelessly for lingli is just a way for me to prove that Phoenix actually loves me; that he loves me as much as the lingli he gives me – an infinite amount of love. After that, something happened to prove my conclusion.
That day, I took our baby to fish in the River of Forgetfulness. Umm… let’s just treat it as fishing (After hearing from the Demon Realm’s First Highness that there are many souls of beautiful ladies at the bottom of the River, I thought that it would be quite good if we could fish a pretty lady mermaid to be my son’s child bride).
After half a day, we still had not managed to catch a single fish. However, we caught sight of another type of fish .
I suddenly caught wind of a strong xianqi. I raised my head and saw a group of immortals riding the clouds across the River. The white clothing of their leader billowed in the wind, his carriage elegant – who else could it be but the Heavenly Emperor himself? Just as I was thinking of whether I can pretend not to have seen anything, he looked down and met my gaze. He stared for a moment before turning to speak with the other immortals. He then flew down to land beside the two of us.
He looked at me and I looked at him, both of us not knowing where to start; the atmosphere was a little awkward. Finally, he opened his mouth but did not speak to me. Instead, he bent down and touched Tang Yue’s chubby cheek, smiled and asked, “What are you doing here?”
Tang Yue blinked his eyes and answered, “Fishing for a wife.”
His Majesty stilled for a moment before laughing, “Surely this must be your mother’s idea.” He then asked, “What is your name?”
Tang Yue is at times just like his father (having inherited his arrogance at a young age), and will sometimes refuse to answer when questioned. He fares just slightly better than his father in that unlike his father, he will not embarrass the other person by blatantly ignoring him. He will just change the topic. In this case, he fiddled with his hook and asked, “Why don’t you join us fishing?”
I was afraid he would hurt himself on the hook, so I rushed to take the rod away from him. I instructed him, “Call Bó Bó (uncle)”.
“Bŭ bŭ.” Tang Yue looked up at His Majesty.
I suddenly realised that when Old Carrot first visited us, he was still little and could not speak well. I was afraid he could not pronounce Old Carrot’s name, so I taught him to call Old Carrot “Bŭ bŭ” from “hú luó bŭ”. Now, my son has confused bó bó (ie “uncle”) with bŭ bŭ (from the word “carrot”).
Xiao Yu Xian Guan, who probably did not know that my son has equated him with Old Carrot in his heart, only stretch his hand out to rub the top of Tang Yue’s head before looking at me and asking, “Are you happy now?”
After that, he smiled a small smiled and answered himself, “You surely must be happy.”
I opened my mouth, but did not know how to reply. In the end, we stood together by the River for a while, looking at the clouds and water; the clouds were very far and the waters, very clear.
After a while, I finally said to him, “You must also be happy.”
He smiled a little smile, and without replying, flew away on a cloud. I thought, he must also be happy. What he has always wanted was ultimate sovereign power, the position of the Heavenly Emperor. Now that he has obtained that position, and the two Realms having sworn never to wage war against each other again would only further strengthen his position as the Heavenly Emperor, he no longer has any worries.
I kept the fishing rods and took Tang Yue’s hand, “Let’s go home.”
Tang Yue looked at me questioningly, “But we haven’t managed to catch a wife yet.”
I pinched his cheek and said, “We fish like Jiang Tai Gong, that is, let he who is willing take the hook .”
Tang Yue looked half confused. I bent down and whispered my secret of many years into his ear, “In the past, your father is the one who willingly bit a straight hook and reeled himself in!”
I dragged my son’s hand but before we took two steps, we saw Phoenix rushing urgently towards us on a dark cloud, as if a crisis may erupt with each step. When he saw Tang Yue and myself, his body seemed to tense up. His momentary fragility caused my heart to hurt a little.
That night, he did not sleep well. He tossed and turned twice before he sat up to look at me. After a moment, he asked me, “Is there something you want to tell me?”
Phoenix’s eyelid twitched. I rethought carefully, “Really, no.”
He looked angry and asked me brusquely, “Why aren’t you asking me for lingli?”
I was surprised. So the reason why he could not sleep tonight is because I haven’t asked for lingli? But even in the past, I have not asked him everyday for lingli. But seeing his angry face, I thought I should just agree with what he wanted. After thinking for a while, I asked him for 500 years of lingli.
After he transferred the lingli to me, he promptly lay down and fell asleep.
I lay down for half the night and finally realised we both have the same problem. I kept asking him for lingli to prove that he loves me. He waits for me to ask him for lingli to prove that I love him. One goes to commit robbery while taking a bucket of gold with her, the other is willing to always open his purse to be robbed.
Love can sometimes be so simple. The mortals have a common saying which is apropos here: “One is willing to hit and the other is willing to be hit!”
 This is a pun on the Heavenly Emperor’s former title, Xiao Yu Xian Guan, which has the character ‘yu’ meaning fish. Jin Mi still sometimes refers to him as such after he ascended the Heavenly Throne.
 姜太公钓鱼—愿者上钩. This is a very popular idiom refers to Jiang ZiYa, a strategist and advisor who was instrumental in assisting King Wen and King Wu in overthrowing the Shang Dynasty. He is a major character in the Chinese classic, Creation of the Gods or also known as Feng Shen Bang.
It is said that JZY would fish by hanging a straight hook 3 feet above the water. A fisherman said to him that he would not be able to catch any fish if he used a straight hook. JZY replied that he is not there to catch fish, but to catch a king: “Fish, if you are desperate to live, come and gulp down the hook by yourself.” This story eventually reached the ears of King Wen, who was looking for talented man to serve him. King Wen sent emissaries to invite JZY to join him, but was refused. King Wen finally went in person, bearing many gifts, to meet JZY. After that meeting, JZY agreed to serve King Wen.
The idiom is often used to describe a willing victim or someone who does something regardless of the result. Also, it is also used in the context that in some things, one should not “fish” by crooked means (hence the straight hook rather than the traditional curved hook).