Hi everyone. As Peanuts would be quick to point out, nobody knows me now so I must reintroduce myself. I am hui3r, the shadowy landlord of this blog who disappeared into Real Life for far too long. But now I am back, in bits. And I thank everyone for supporting this blog. And definitely to Peanuts for keeping it alive!
The C-Novel bug has once again bitten me, which led to my resurfacing (among other factors). After much discussion with Peanuts (and much wiffy-waffing around on my part), I have decided to continue translating Hua Xu Yin by Tang Qi Gong Zi. As some of you might know, I had originally translated some bits and pieces and Chenguang had picked up the translating project. However, seeing that she had been on hiatus for quite a while and I have not received any response from her regarding this project, I am now continuing this project alone.
Peanuts has done a brilliant job so far of summarising the sub-stories for everyone’s enjoyment. So what we have decided to do (again, after much discussion with Peanuts and wiffy-waffing around on my part) is to translate the main story which relates to Jun Fu and Mu Yen. We will link up with the sub-story summaries and add scene translations where appropriate. We decided to this so that we can hopefully make faster progress on completing Jun Fu and Mu Yen’s story first.
The story so far…
I did not grow up like a princess,
But I died like one.
I died in the early winter months,
Accompanied by the mournful song of Wei country:
Sinking stars and bright moon, my family is faraway,
Send me home when the plum blossoms fall.
The prologue and chapter 1 focused on telling the folktale of how Ye Zhen, the Princess Wenchang, martyred herself to protect the dignity of the fallen State of Wei, and her childhood spent at Yanzong Temple. She first meets the masked Mu Yan during her time at Yanzong temple, when he saves her from a snakebite and again from assassins sent to kill him.
You can read the prologue and Chapter I at Chenguang’s blog here:
Ye Zhen, the Princess Wenchang – the youngest princess of the State of Wei
Su Yu, the heir to the Duke of Chen
Chapter 2 – Part I
After I died, Su Yu, the heir of the Duke of Chen, ordered that I should be given a funeral befitting a princess. The plan to send My Royal Father and Royal Mother to the capital city of Chen under custody was delayed by one day on account of my funeral.
On the day of my funeral, the royalty and nobility were requested to attend to pay their last respects and write their reflections thereafter. None of them dared to be absent. The remaining citizens of the Wei Capital crowded the streets along the route of the funeral procession; the crowd was so thick that one could not even cross from one side of the street to the other for a bowl of noodles.
Of course, I knew nothing of this at that time – I only found out later from Master Jun. When he received news of the siege on Wei, he had immediately set out with Jun Wei to rescue me. However, he had not expected that I would sacrifice myself to protect the dignity of my country. It was the day of my funeral when he finally arrived and I was already lying in my coffin, pitiful cries following in my wake as heavy snow fell from the skies.
“In the 68 years since the forming the of the State of Wei, I have never seen such an elaborate funeral procession in honour of a princess,” Master Jun said.
But I thought that the ceremony was not in honour of me; rather, it was a ceremony marking the death of a state; no ceremony is too elaborate for such an event.
Master Jun is a man of extraordinary talent; I just never expected that he was so talented that he could revive the dead. Of course, this went against the laws of nature – imagine, you expend a lot of effort to kill your enemy but he comes back alive for you to kill again, how would you feel? However, as this did indeed happen to me – to refute the fact would be to refute my existence.
It was a cold winter’s night when I was revived; I felt as if I had awaken from a deep sleep.
I recalled that I fell from the high city wall – modern medicine is truly miraculous to have been able to save me in such circumstances. Master Jun sat opposite me, perusing a roll of ancient scripture while Jun Wei had dozed off against the table.
I raised my eyes and saw the white lotuses on my curtain around my bed. I asked, “Am I still alive?”
There was a moment of silence before Master Jun finally put down his book on the desk and asked, “Ah Zhen, is that you speaking?” The commotion roused Jun Wei from his sleep and raised his hand to rub his eyes.
I opened my mouth and croaked out a single word, “Yes.”
Jun Wei’s hand stilled in midair and he slowly looked towards me. He asked hesitantly, “Ah Zhen?”
I ignored him because Master Jun had already approached my bedside to check my breathing and pulse. After a while, he said, “the Pearl is truly a miraculous object. Are you hurting, Ah Zhen?”
I shook my head, “No.”
He smiled sadly, “Such grievous injuries and yet you are not in pain. While I may have revived you, you are, nonetheless, dead. You will never feel pain again. I had acted without consulting you, but tell me: do you want to come back?”
I looked at him, smiled wanly and nodded my head, “I do.”
This was not true resurrection; Ye Zhen was truly dead. You reap what you sow and this is the fruit of my actions.
According to the legends of the Nine Provinces, when a person dies, his soul wanders between Heaven and Earth before finally ceasing to exist. I had always thought that this was just a legend until I personally experienced death and realised that there might be some truth in the legend.
Three days after my burial, Jun Shifu snuck into the Royal Tombs in the dead of the night and brought my body back to Mount Junyu. At that time, my soul had yet to leave my body. He placed his Sect’s holy relic, the brilliant Holy Pearl in my broken body to prevent my soul from leaving. While I can move and think, my body is still that of a dead person’s. It will never grow or age, I did not breath, I did not have any sense of smell or taste, I did not need to eat to live, nor did I feel any pain. I no longer had a warm and beating heart in my chest; in its place, I carried an icy cold Pearl, which made me especially sensitive to the cold.
But it was still good that I could open my eyes to see the world. I was no longer some princess and carried no burden on my shoulders. Jun Shifu gave me a new name: Jun Fu, with the hope that I would henceforth lead a fleeting life. I thought, what a tragic and meaningful name it was.
I paid a high price for my act of martyrdom. Not only had I lost my life, but my body had suffered serious internal injuries from the fall. As a result, it became very weak thereafter. Although I felt no pain, it was not uncommon for me to cough up blood – it happened so often that I did not even bother to wash my handkerchief.
Jun Shifu used Mermaids Silk to reconstruct my face. Under his skilled hands, all that is left is a long scar that ran from the middle of my forehead, between my eyes, to my left ear – he had actually made me better-looking than I originally was. When Jun Wei first laid eyes on my new face, he fell silent for a long time before he said, “Too wicked – this face looks too wicked. Didn’t you like your old face?” I replied, “In my opinion, my features haven’t changed much except that I looked a little more wicked and savage. It’s alright – let’s just treat it as a failed face-lift.” However, the long scar was still an eyesore, so Master Jun crafted a thin silver mask that covered half of my face.
I thought I would be able to live a carefree life thereafter, but my life did not go as plan. Worldly cares and sorrows are born from the human mind; therefore as long as we have the ability to think, we could never escape this burden.
Master Jun had his reasons for expending so much effort in reviving me. He wanted me to perform a task that was more difficult than getting Jun Wei to bear a child for me.
He wanted me to go assassinate the Duke of Chen.
The Pearl he had placed within me contained the ancient secret manual, the Hua Xu Yin. If someone – the subject – drinks my blood, he would absorb the Pearl’s energy and I will be able to see the Hua Xu Melody that is most suited to him. By playing this Hua Xu Diao, I can create a dream  of the subject’s past. Whether the subject can escape this dream to come back to reality depended on whether he can overcome his own demons. Sadly, very few ever successfully escape from a dream induced by the Hua Xu Melody.
Master Jun wanted me to kill the Duke of Chen in this manner.
From my personal point of view, even though it was the State of Chen that caused the downfall of the State of Wei, I did not harbor any hate for the Duke of Chen. After all, in this time of turbulence when human life is worth so little, it is the law of nature that the victor takes the crown. However, I did think that it was worth it to kill the Duke of Chen in exchange for my freedom for the rest of my life. I wanted to kill him not because I was the princess of Wei, but because I still desired to live.
Master Jun told me, “The assassination of the Duke of Chen can wait a while. The Hua Xu Yin has just been placed within you, so you will still need a while to adapt to it.”
I thought to myself that I was truly in no great hurry to complete this mission.
Master Jun observed my expression, guessed my thoughts and added, “But you also do not have all the time in the world. The Duke’s health is deteriorating. He probably has only two to three years left on this world. You must hurry or he might die before you manage to kill him.”
“Isn’t that good?” I asked.
He looked towards the mountains with a blank expression, “Not good. If so, my revenge would be meaningless.”
I wanted to remind him that if the Duke of Chen was currently suffering the torments of illness, ending his life might actually be doing him a favor. Wouldn’t my assassination then even be more meaningless? But upon further thought, it is good to help people in need and it will also help Master Jun accumulate good karma – so I kept silent.
Half a month later, Master Jun took Jun Wei with him to search for medical herb that will heal my injuries. Before he left, Jun Wei comforted me, “Looking at you now, surely no one will want to marry you. It’s alright – I will marry you if no one else wants you. In all circumstances, do not commit suicide by taking the Pearl out and waste all of our effort.”
I replied, “But your family will have no descendants if you marry me.”
“How can that be? If I marry you, I will surely also take in a few concubines,” he laughed as I chased him down the mountain.
6 months passed in the blink of an eye and spring arrived. I was unearthing a jar of superior plum wine when Master Jun and Jun Wei finally returned, with Xiao Huang in tow.
The story goes as such: Master Jun had a little white rabbit, which he used to test poison. Xiao Huang ate that little white rabbit, which led to him being poisoned. Due to the severity of his poisoning, even Master Jun was unable to cure him. So Master Jun sent Xiao Huang to the Saint of Medicine, Baili Yue to see if the Saint could cure him.
When Xiao Huang saw me again after my facial reconstruction, he could not recognize me. Not only did he ignore me when I tried to feed him rabbit meat, he bared his fangs aggressively at me. Jun Wei finally went to stroke his ears and gently explained to him, “She is your mother. You shouldn’t forget your mother who carried you for 10 long months and gave birth to you just because you have been spending a lot of time with your dad lately.” Sure enough, Xiao Huang came to nudge me affectionately after that.
I retorted, “You are the one who carried him for 10 months and gave birth to him. In fact, you carried his entire family for 10 months and gave birth to all of them!”
Jun Wei pointed a finger at me and said shakily, “And I was kindhearted enough to consider marrying you.”
I replied, “I will only consider marrying you if you can give birth to another tiger for me.”
He paused for a moment before instructing Xiao Huang, “Son – bite her.”
But Xiao Huang only came up to lick my hand.
 鲛珠 [jiao zhu] – A pearl transformed from a mermaid’s tear (http://baike.baidu.com/view/3082774.htm)
 “意思是我这一生，轻若尘埃，一拂即逝” – This is the original phrase, which translates to something along the lines of: “meaning for me to lead a life that is as weightless as dust, to pass with a single stroke”.
 What the Hua Xu Diao creates is more of a hallucination, ie a sensory experience of something that does not exist outside the mind. However, to preserve the tone of the story, I have opted to use the word “dream” as a substitute.
 The rank they used is “侯” (hou) which actually translates to marquis. However, from referring to the character as a marquis seems inappropriate to me as he actually the ruler of the State of Chen. Having recalled that the rulers of some parts of Europe are/were referred to as dukes, I decide to use the title “duke” as it better describes the character’s position in English.