Fangirling Chinese Novels

Hua Xu Yin (华胥引) – Chapter 5.3



Ahhhhh Surprise Post! THis is the finale to Song Ning’s story. The original schedule would have had me finishing this this week anyway, and I really didn’t want to hang on to this anymore. This is one of the most heart rending stories, and I really wanted to finish it quickly and move on to the next part. 😛

Here’s a picture for you all, of what could have been happier times for Song Ning and Shen An.

It was a warm autumn day. I used a scarf to cover my face because I could not allow anyone to see Song Ning appearing here. A guard at the entrance of the camp had gone off with my letter to look for Shen An. I had forged Song Ning’s handwriting, and invited Shen An to meet me alone at the the hill rise where hollyhocks bloomed.

He surely would come.

The hill was covered with hollyhock flowers swaying in the wind. I had never been to this place but have heard a lot of stories about it. The most famous story of them all was about how since the previous dynasty, this has been the burial ground of heroes; it was their blood’s righteousness that gave life to the spread of hollyhocks. If you uprooted one, you would still be able to smell the scent of their bones on its roots. I thought that I had found an appropriate place for Shen An.

The rustling of footsteps against dry leaves came from behind. I turned and smiled at him. This is the illusion that Song Ning loved so dearly her entire life, the illusion that she could not let go even if it meant death.

Large black boots trampled on the hollyhocks. He hugged me tightly and his low voice sounded in my ear, sighing, “Ah Ning. I’ve missed you.”

The scent of blood that wafted to my nostrils grew stronger. I pulled out the dagger that had pierced into his heart from his back and gently whispered into his ear, “I’ve missed you too.”

It was the 14th day of the ninth month, in the 18th year of the reign of the Duke Lizhuang. The Jiang army had fought a victorious war, but no trumpets and fanfare greeted their return to the capital because their general had been assassinated. In the wake of the fall of their war hero, the entire country fell into mourning.


The General’s Mansion was decked in the white banners of mourning. Xiao Lan and I snuck in amidst the throng of mourners coming to pay their last respects and saw a spirit tablet and incense placed on a high altar, flanked by a pair of white glazed vases holding bouquets of flowers I could not name.

The flames of the burning white candles surrounding the large uncovered ebony coffin that occupied the main hall cast a lonely shadow. Song Ning clung to the side of the coffin, and quietly stared at the person lying within the coffin. Someone would come up to her from time to time to offer their condolences and consolation, but received no reaction from her.

“This is the good dream that you’ve weaved for her?” Xiao Lan asked me.

I could not understand him. “Do you think that this is a good dream. This is obviously a nightmare.”

I have purposefully destroyed the loveliness in order to allow Song Ning to see reality. In this world, there is a type of loveliness that could take someone’s life. Most people will first think of women, but why would a woman make life difficult for another woman? What I was referring to was not women, but this Hua Xu Realm.

I wanted to explain this to Xiao Lan, but he had already changed the subject, “When you accidentally killed Liu Qiqi, you were so distressed. I never thought that you would have the courage to kill someone with your own hands.”

“Because I have developed. You must look at the problem from a developed point of view,” I replied.

Night fell and all the guests had departed. Husband and wife were left alone in the main hall, only that one has departed while the other was still alive. Song Ning’s pale face rested against the coffin, her soft voice carried by the night wind into the corridors before dispersing in the candlelight, “We’re finally alone together again.”

Her long fingers caressed the surface of the coffin. Just as if they were having a pillow talk, she said, “I had wanted to personally tell you the good news when you return. They wanted to write to you about it but I had stopped them, because I had wanted to see your happiness with my own eyes. You do not know… how long I had waited for this day. I wanted to see you, I had missed you so much.”

The birds outside the hall cawed suddenly and the candles flickered. She covered her eyes with her hand, and her calm voice suddenly choked out, “Shen An, we are going to have a child.” She said it so softly and gently before his spirit tablet. She spoke the words to him, but alas – he could no longer hear them.

I entered the hall just as she finished speaking. The large white banner flapped in the night wind. She looked up suddenly, “Shen An?”

I stepped out from behind the white banner and walked towards the candlelight so that she can see me.

Her teary eyes recognised my red dress and her raised spirits dimmed. Her expression became empty once more.

A draft blew into the hall, rustling my skirts. I looked at her, “I am not Shen An, Song Ning. I’ve come to lead you out of this illusion.”

A confused expression appeared on her face, “Illusion?” Her confusion only lasted a second before reason returned, “I remember you. I’ve seen you in the snow mountains at Canglu Ye. You are…”

I walked closer to her and smiled, “The first time we met was not in the mountains at Canglu Ye, Song Ning. All of this is just an illusion I created for you.”

I did not notice when Xiao Lan appeared by my side, calmly taking in the surroundings of the hall.

I continued walking towards her, “In this illusion, your husband has died and has this grand funeral. But in reality, he is still alive and well. He has mistreated you, married another woman and had children with her. You used your life to enter into this bargain with me, for me to create this dream where the two of you can spend your lives and grow old together. In this illusion that I’ve created for you, he truly did fall in love with you. But all this is just the manifestation of the demons within your heart… they’re not real.”

As I spoke these words, I saw her face slowly turn from white to ashen gray. Fear crept into her eyes. This is not the Song Ning from seven years later that I was familiar with. She took a step back and knocked into the white glazed vase behind her. It fell with with a crash and a sliver of porcelain flew up,  slicing her long fingers.

“Song Ning, you don’t believe me?” I asked.

Time seemed to still and the air grew heavy. I’ve told her everything. Shen An’s death has broken her heart and caused her so much grief; surely she would now be unwilling to stay in this hopeless illusion. There is nothing more terrible than the death of your lover. After experiencing such pain, the pain from the fact that Shen An did not love her in reality surely cannot compare. Song Ning’s illness is that of the heart. As long as she is able to let go and return to reality, she would surely be able to recover quickly.

She scrambled to gather the flowers that have spilled across the floor. I was about to get down to help her but Xiao Lan stopped me. Halfway through, she suddenly stopped moving and looked at the pale autumn flowers in her hand. After a while, she finally said, “Do you know, all this time, I kept having this dream, this terrifying dream. And when I woke up, I would be so afraid until I could not stop shivering. All along, that dream… all of it…” She looked up at me in a panic, “All that, was real.”

Two large tears rolled off the corner of her eyes. She asked me, “The things that you have not told me about the reality, is there also… my son? I had a son, his name was Shen Luo. He passed away… from a cold?”

I did not reply her. She looked steadily at me for long time, before finally giving me a small smile amidst the tears, “I want to stay here.”

My heart dropped.

She lowered her head to look at her fingers, her tears falling on the palm of her hand. She looked away towards Shen An’s spirit tablet. “You say that all this is just an illusion you created for me, that all this is false. And what I saw in my dream is actually real. But such a reality is too cruel. Between the reality I dreamt and this illusion I’m in now – which is more painful?

That reality, even without experiencing it firsthand, I was already shivering and unable to withstand it when I was just from dreaming about it. If it is as you say it is, that there was really that seven years, how could I have survived that? When I think about it, I feel that Shen An’s death is not so difficult to stomach after all. At least we had wonderful memories together and I will have his child. I think I can survive this. Yes. I will be able to survive this. He would also want me to carry on. But if you want me to return with you to what you call reality – to that unbearable situation. The Shen An in the world doesn’t even want me to live, why would I want to continue living?”

I had no response to her speech. The only sounds were that of the whistling of the wind and tree branches rustling against each other.

I wanted to save her, but ultimately failed to do so.

She leaned on the coffin to help her stand and planted the flowers in her hand within the other white glazed vase. Because her back was to me, I could not see her expression. I could only hear her say softly, “From what Miss has said earlier, I had used my life in exchange for Miss creating this illusion. Have I died already in reality? If that is the case, please cremate my body and take my ashes… back to the State of Li and give them to my brother.”

I opened my mouth and only uttered a single word, “Alright.”


Five days later, Xiao Lan and I left Song Ning’s Hua Xu Realm. During the time in between, we returned to the mountains at Canglu Ye because due to the tight timeline earlier, Xiao Lan had been not finished two of his maps. Coincidentally, we learned that Liu Qiqi had not died after all. She was rescued by a hunter and to repay his kindness, she had married him.

Even Liu Qiqi got a decent husband.

I told Xiao Lan, “I should not have killed Shen An. I did not think that it would end like this, that Song Ning would refuse to leave this dream. I wanted to save her, that was why I killed Shen An – but I ultimately caused her to suffer.”

Xiao Lan looked at me for a good while before he gently said, “This is truly a good dream. Lady Shen wish was for him to spend his life loving her, and never betray her. General Shen died at a time when he loved her most. She will have his heart that never betrayed her love, and live on. After she passes this period of grief, she will truly have a lifetime of happiness that is free from worry. If you did not kill General Shen, then that may lead to endless troubles. Could you guarantee that within this illusion, he would never betray her love his entire life?”

I expressed my surprised, “You can actually reason all of this out with me. Isn’t it that you men hate to talk about this kind of lovey-dovey matters?”

He cast a glance at me, “Is there such thing? If there is truly such a thing, then the entire country’s brothels will have to cease business.”

I reflected on that and felt that he had really struck the nail on his head.

I held Xiao Lan’s hand and prepared to leave Hua Xu Realm. He extracted his hand out of my grasp and held my hand instead and gently said, “An illusion is but an illusion. You cannot take these illusions too seriously.”

He actually said such a thing. A pair of geese flew high in the sky.


Although half a year had past within the Hua Xu Realm, it has only been one day in the mortal world. Once we escaped the dreamscape, a rush of warmth suddenly travelled through my body into the place where the Pearl resides; even my blood is heated up from the experience. That was the Pearl absorbing Song Ning’s life essence. In the backdrop of this lonely sunset, she passed away quietly without anyone knowing.

The servants still stood by the water pavillion. Jun Wei and Xiao Huang was napping lazily nearby the pavillion. Everything was so quiet and peaceful, it was as if nothing had happened.

Zhi Su saw Xiao Lan and cried out in happy surprise, “Gongzi!” That woke Jun Wei and Xiao Huang up. Both man and tiger bounded up to me to make sure that I was not injured.

It was at this moment when a spark suddenly appeared within the pavillion which quickly turned into a fiery blaze. Jun Wei stilled in shock, “Isn’t Song Ning still inside?” With that, he made to enter the pavillion to save her but I pulled him back.

“Looks like she had already made her final decision in advance,” Xiao Lan said quietly.

I quickly told Jun Wei what had happened in brief. I watched the pavillion burn and suddenly remembered that she had asked me to cremate her body. This is exactly what Song Ning would do. Without my lifting a finger, she had already made all the preparations before she even entered the dream.

Screams of shock and horror came from the other side of the pond. A few loyal servants tried to rush into the fire but was forced back by the flames. Song Ning has always been careful and the fire had probably spread to every inch of the pavillion. She wanted to burn her body to ashes, for the ashes to be placed in a porcelain jar and returned to her homeland she had bid a final farewell to seven years ago.

The fire burned brighter and stronger in the wind and lit the sky a fiery red. A burning beam fell from the room into the pond; acrid smoke poured out in place of the extinguished flames. The pillars of the pavillion suddenly collapsed and one could see the rattan bed burning with Song Ning in it. She looked as if in a peaceful sleep.

In similar folktales, the story would usually end with a bout of heavy rain. But in this story, the pavillion slowly burned itself out. Old Heaven did not even shed a tear. The cool evening breeze blew and the blood-red setting sun shed light on the ruins and the servants kneeling before it. None of them dared to move Song Ning’s remains.”

I told Xiao Lan, “Let’s go and collect her remains.”

He looked past me and said, “No need. The person who has come to collect her remains has arrived.”

I turned my head curiously and saw the person Xiao Lan spoke off standing by the paved pathway. The person who has come to collect Song Ning’s remains, the person who pushed her to her death in the first place.

Shen An, her husband.

He wore a white coloured brocade robe with black patterns decorating his collar and sleeves. It looked like a luxurious mourning gown that was so apt for the occasion. He slowly walked towards her, his white robe matching his pale face. His face remained cold but his voice was shaking, “She… Where is she?”

I pointed towards the ruins in front of the pond, “Have you heard that she had died, so you’ve come to collect her ashes? She told me that she wants them placed in a large porcelain jar, a porcelain jar decorated with white-blue glaze. Have you brought the jar?”

He opened his mouth but did not say anything. Instead, he turned to hurry towards the destruction, but tripped and almost fell. The servants kneeling in front of the pavillion quickly moved to clear a path for him. I carried my qin and followed him in time to see his body sway before kneeling heavily in the ruins. The setting sun behind him cast a long shadow.

I walked around him and saw Song Ning’s remains. Just this morning, I saw her with her hair done up in a high bun, her cheeks reddened with rouge – such beauty that is difficult to describe.

And by dusk, all that is left was a pile of bones.

Time stood still and I saw Shen An quietly kneeling in this piece of frozen time.

A charred crossbar broke off with a resounding ‘pa’. As if awoken by the sound, he fiercely and suddenly grabbed hold of her remains but his voice was gentle, “Didn’t you say that even if you die, you would first want to see me dead before you? Didn’t you say I had betrayed you, so you want to see how the Heavens would punish me? You hate me so. I haven’t died, so how can you die ahead of me?” He received no reply.

He hugged her tightly and carefully, as if she were a rare and precious treasure. His face pressed against her skull, and as if speaking to a lover, he said, “Ah Ning, say something…”

The smell of smoke and ash still filled the ruins. Even the ground was still hot.

I saw all of this, and suddenly felt the emptiness of life. I asked him rudely, “What do you want her to say? She can no longer say anything, even if you now wanted to hear her speak. But there is something she once told me, that on the night of her wedding, she had wanted to speak sweet words to you. She had just come to Jiang and was unfamiliar with the way of life here but her eyes and heart were filled with you. She did not have parents or sisters. No one taught her how to make her husband happy. But that night, she had truly wanted to tell you, “Husband, I am giving myself to you, please treasure me well.” Alas – you never gave her to opportunity to say it aloud.”

He suddenly raised his head.

I lowered myself and looked into his eyes, “You said that Song Ning hated you. She actually never hated you. There should be no woman in the world who would love you the way she did.”

He gazed at me intently. It was as if some invisible thing had hit him hard, his ashen face lost all colour. After a long while, he laughed and mumbled to himself, “She loved me? How could you say that? She never loved me. She had looked forward to me dying in battle.”

I found a place to sit and placed my qin on my lap. “Those were not words from her heart.” I looked up at him, “Shen An, I heard that you have not seen Song Ning for two years. Do you still remember her face? Why don’t I let you see the her from years ago one last time?

I did not wait for his reply before starting to play the last part of her Hua Xu Melody. By playing the Melody, the dreamscape I created for Song Ning will appear in this mortal world. I never needed him to reply. Regardless of whether he wanted to or not, there are some things that he must come to know.

In the weak light of dusk, in the middle of the ruins, the scenes of the past that appeared in thin air was reflected in the pond’s waters.

It was the snowstorm in the desert, Song Ning lying flat on the horse’s back as they cross numerous sand dunes. Her hand was scratched by a piece of sharp gravel that was blown by the strong wind. She licked the wound with her tongue, hugging the horse’s neck and hurrying the tired war horse, “Run a little faster, I beg you to run a little faster. Shen An can’t hold on for much longer.”

It was the battlefield at Canglu Ye. She got off the horse and teetered over to the mountains of corpses. Her face was red from the strong wind blowing snow at her and her entire body was covered with dirt and dried blood. She reached into the mountain of corpses in front of her and turned over the bodies one by one. From dawn to dusk, she finally found the person she was looking for. She used her sleeve to wipe the dirt and blood from his face and hugged him, crying, “Shen An, I knew that I ought to come.” Before she finished speaking, she had covered her eyes and her tears fell like rain.

It was the mountain cave near the battlefield. He was covered with her winter velvet cloak to ward off the cold. Over and over again, she fed him water by forcing it past his lips, forcing him to swallow mouthful by mouthful. There was not a star in the sky and the cold winter wind whistled outside. She trembled and fell on his chest, “Why haven’t you woken up. Are you never going to wake up again? Shen An, I’m afraid.” She held him close and curled up next to him, “Shen An, I’m afraid.”

It was the three days they spent in the mountains. She was carrying him on her back when she tripped and fell down the slope. There was a wooden spike at the bottom of the slope. She used her entire strength to protect him. The spike grazed her waist as they rolled past. She gasped in pain, “Lucky.” She kissed his eyelids and supported herself to sit up. She held his face, “I will save you. Even if I die, I will save you.”

The Melody suddenly stopped. I asked him, “Have you ever seen Song Ning like this?” Before I finished asking, he had already cut me off, “That is not real, I don’t believe it.” Shen An had one hand on his chest, his forehead had already broken into cold sweat. His body shook violently, but he kept his gaze on me and said, one word at a time, “All this that you’ve shown me, I don’t believe it. It is not real, I do not believe it.”

I found it funny so I really laughed aloud, “Shen An – whether it is real or otherwise, you know it best deep in your heart. Once upon a time, she had wanted to tell you all this but you never gave her the chance.”

“Shen An, do you know how did Song Ning die? An illusion. She indulged herself in an illusion, and paid for it with her life. In this illusion, you finally fell in love with her and spent your lives together. It is actually not a problem for her to lose herself in this illusion. After all, one always desires what one cannot have – that is the way of humans. But you died in battle later. Even after you died, she was unwilling to leave the illusion. She would rather bear the pain of losing you forever than to live with the pain you give her in reality. She ordered for her body to be burned because she was unwilling to leave anything for you. She had originally loved you so much. Shen An, you do not know, but she had loved you for seven years.”

When I finished, I saw his trembling fingers touch the jade bracelet on her wrist. He held on to it tightly until his fingertips turned white. His body jerked suddenly and he vomited a mouthful of blood. The red blood spilled on Song Ning’s ribs. He cried out her name, as if his pain and grief can no longer be contained, “Ah Ning!” But she can no longer reply.

I carried my qin, “She has asked me to bring her ashes back to Li. From here onwards, the two of you are no longer related in anyway. General Shen, three days from now, I will come for Song Ning’s ashes.”

He ignored me, bent over and carried her remains. Step by step, he left the pavillion, looking as if he could keel over any minute.

The servants on the ground still sobbed quietly.

I said coldly, “This is also good. Then would General Shen please realise her last wishes, that is to place her ashes in a porcelain jar decorated with blue-white glaze and pass it to her brother with your own two hands?”

The silence cut like a sharp knife. After a long while, he finally asked in a hoarse voice, “Did she have any last words for me before she died?”

I stared at his back, “None. Not a single word. She had nothing more to ask from you.”


Not long after this incident, we heard that the States of Jiang and Li were once more at war. The Li army was led by the Great General Song Yan whilst the Jiang army had the Zhenyuan General, Shen An. At that time, we were sightseeing near the border of Jiang.

On the seventh day of the fifth month, in the rainy night, Xiao Lan brought news that Shen An has died at Canglu Ye. He had the perfect opportunity, and ought to have won this battle handily. Nobody knows how he ultimately lost the battle and died in the process.

We heard that just before he died, he ordered his subordinates to bury him in the wilds of Canglu Ye. When they were about to bury him, they discovered a small porcelain jar which contained some unknown white powder. When his concubine heard that he had died in battle, she committed suicide by hanging herself in the main hall that night itself.

Xiao Lan asked what I felt about it. I smiled at him and said, “If the Princess Jingwu, Song Ning were still alive, then I believe Shen An would not die. Because in this world, there would have been a person who would love him and save him without having a care for her life. Unfortunately, she has already died.”

He kept quiet for a while, before he said, “So it is because Song Ning has died, that he is dead too?”

I asked, “Is it’?”

He remained silent.

I watched the rain outside the window and said quietly, “I don’t believe it.” I lowered my head and asked Xiao Huang, “Do you believe it?” Xiao Huang who was contentedly gnawing at a roast chicken, raised his head to cast one look at me when he heard me call him, before lowering his head to continue gnawing.

We sat opposite each other in silence for a little while. I finally asked him, “Why haven’t you been wearing blue clothing recently?”

“Why must I wear blue clothing?” he laughed.

“Because you’re called Xiao Lan,” I replied.

He raised a perfect eyebrow, “I was always curious why you never asked my name. Isn’t Xiao Lan something that you gave me……” He stopped and looked as if he was thinking hard of the appropriate word to use, “Isn’t it a nickname you gave me?”

I thought back and realised that that was truly the case. I started to pour myself a cup of tea, “You must already have a name. Errr… Actually, I feel that a name is just something to refer to you by. I’ve gotten used to calling you Xiao Lan, so I forgot you real name. What is your real name?”

He clearly said, “My name is Mu Yan[1].”

My hand slipped and the teapot crashed onto the floor.

Translator’s Notes:

[1] What he actually said was, “慕言,思慕的慕,无以言对的言,我的名字。” He basically explains that his Mu is from 思慕, meaning admiration, and his Yan is “words” from the phrase without words. But all this is quite difficult to explain if you don’t know know chinese – I’m not even doing a good job here. At the end of the day, the takeaway is that his name roughly means “words of admiration”.


I actually don’t have much to say because I’m still melancholic from translating this in one sitting. Perhaps it would have been easier if I had broken it up.

The ending someone reminds us that there are no real villains in this story. I had been very harsh in Shen An in one of my previous posts. At that point, I was re-discovering the story – the intensity of it – but Shen An’s reaction in this chapter proves again that he was not a bad man. He had fallen in love with the girl who rescued him – whom he believed was LQQ. If Song Ning was there when he woke up, the the tragedy would not have happened, because he loved the girl who rescued him so unreservedly that he would love her even if she was his enemy’s sister.

And LQQ may not necessarily be evil. She just fell in love with a young handsome general. Perhaps she really never thought that Song Ning will come back. She was cowardly and selfish, but all these are human failings.

And Song Ning – perhaps in the comfort of the dreamscape, she has the happiest ending of them all. That as Xiao Lan / Mu Yan said, she can now live her life happily and without worries. She will have her son, and a family, and the undying love of the man she loves as well.

I don’t know. I’m still stewing in my reflections. Feel free to drop a comment with your thoughts. With the story at a close (and Xiao Lan’s real identity revealed), we should be able to discuss this first sub-story freely now!


62 thoughts on “Hua Xu Yin (华胥引) – Chapter 5.3

  1. I remember how much I cried for this sub-story when I first read HXY. I pitied Song Ning so much and was so annoyed with LQQ. But mostly I blame Shen An. Even at the end, I’m still skeptical about his feelings. I still don’t like his character, even at the end. In a way, I was kind of evil and happy he deserved that ending for the way he treated Song Ning.

    Anyways, my favourite couple and sub-story in HXY is actually Shi San Yue! I love, love, love, loveeeeeeee Ying Ge x Rong Yuan. It’s just so beautiful lol they are just so beautiful =P Too bad they didn’t get a more in-depth story. I would have love to read it. It’s too bad the drama is a wreck….

    • Hahhaah… About how likeable Shen An is, the jury’s still out on that I think. Unlikely to have an unanimous agreement on him. Even I am still flipflopping on my opinion all these time. But I think majority is with you on Shen An. Lol.

      I think 13 Yue is the happiest story out of the lot already. I’m quite happy that it’s the next sub-story. 🙂

      Don’t talk to me about the drama. D: Such a horrible mess. It’s not even a hot mess like Perfect Couple… it’s just faints. We might detest Shen An and Song Ning’s story, but I think Jiang Xin and Yuan Hong is the ONLY saving grace in the drama cast. Yes Kevin, you’re not in the list.

  2. i cried. i cried. T_T

  3. sobs……sobs….
    this story is so tragic…only this ch make me belive that shen an had feelings for song ning other than hatred after all..the way he spoke to her remains just sad…
    in a way, i feel like a fu did when she coldly told shen an what’s the point of grieving n am glad a fu show him the past eventhough she did not have to..i love that a fu is on song sing’s side..i think that the reason why she showed shen an the past.
    alas…it was really tragic and too late for shen an to be good to song ning even if he kept her ashes by his side instead of returning it to her brother.

    now that xiao lan true identity is revealed, i wonder how will a fu convey her own story to mu yan.

    thx hui3r for the speedy translation 🙂

    • Sigh. He definitely had feelings. But he never manned up and acted on them. But then again, sigh, they’ve walked down this road of heartbreak for so long I don’t even think they even know how to behave otherwise. And Song Ning – as usual – will only say prideful words, no matter how much it goes against her heart.

      I like how Ah Fu fought for Song Ning even though Song Ning is gone. Hahah – actually, I am quite annoyed that he never treated her as his wife when she was alive. Only when she is dead that he wants to keep her by his side. And didn’t even honour her last wishes.

      • Perhaps it’s another lesson on human nature: sometimes we don’t value something until it’s gone. Either way — whether he ended up caring for her or not — being loyal to LQQ doesn’t give him a right to mistreat others.

        I’m obviously not a fan of Shen An. He could have easily tried to disprove Song Ning’s claim (that she was the one who had saved him) by asking her about what the girl wrote on him while they were in the cave or any of the details that only the girl and him would have known. Not to mention that he could have just asked LQQ’s grandfather/whoever at the clinic about what happened rather than make assumptions or verified LQQ’s whereabouts during the time he was in the cave. And although LQQ couldn’t talk, she knew sign language. They could have communicated through writing. He could have found out the truth easily.

        But, though I don’t want to side with Shen An, the author mentioned the size of jars for a reason, right? Ah Fu told him Song Ning wanted a large jar. But at the end, Shen An carried a small jar. But since a large jar was requested to carry all the ashes, a small jar surely wouldn’t have been enough. I thought that kind of meant that Shen An did fulfill the wish by giving her brother her ashes in a large jar, but he had kept a portion of her ashes in a small jar for himself. So many things are subtle in this story. So I might have just over-read some things.

        I was wondering though about the significance of the white-blue glaze. Song Ning didn’t mention it, but Ah Fu said she did?

        Song Ning’s story really affected my poor little heart. If it weren’t for you I’d never have known about Hua Xu Yin. Thank you so much!!!! Truly!!!!

        • “being loyal to LQQ doesn’t give him a right to mistreat others.” Exactly! That’s one of my biggest problems with Shen An, and if he DID love Song Ning as Tang7 said that just makes it worse. Because he has feelings for Song Ning and struggling with his loyalty to LQQ, he’s letting Song Ning take the blow.

        • My boss always reminds me that assumptions are dangerous things. The problem is Shen An assumed that the girl who saved her would have stayed by his side. Shen An is not my favourite either, but I think Tang7 wrote a piece defending him. It’s on mookie’s blog.

          No – but that’s how Ah’fu described the jar.

          I’m glad you like the story! It’s a good book, and this is probably why everyone’ss so affected by it.

  4. This was SUCH a pleasant surprise, thank you so much for putting up another part so soon!

  5. Song Ning and Shen Ah love story is so traffic.. it makes you go through so many emotions, you hate Shen Ah and QiQi but then when you get to the end you can’t help but think no one is really at fault. It came down to fate and timing.

    Thank you Hui3r for the another speedy translation. 🙂

  6. Wow~ I still hate LQQ. She’s selfish and she deserve that kind of death. She had the most tragic ending. In the end, the man she loves still found out the truth and left her. But I still hate the ending of this sub story. Song Ying deserves someone better. Thanks for your awesome translation!!! I love you ms. Writer! 😀

    • Ah. LQQ didn’t start out bad. She was kind and capable. But she became selfish and cowardly in the name of love. Sigh. This kind of love that changes people for the worst, is a terrible kind of love.

      Song Ning deserves someone better. Unfortunately, the heart wants what the heart wants.

      Tang 7’s awesome right? I think HXY is her best work thus far.

  7. Unni, fantastic job in finishing this emotionally painful arc! 🙂

    Surprisingly, reading it again didn’t affect me like the first time. Perhaps, I have made my own peace with it. I shall post my fanfic ending tomorrow 🙂

  8. xiao lan is Mu Lan yes!!! i was wandering wen ll tis guy come into play…. yea tanks

  9. I just posted a comment on the 5.2 part and when I refresh this blog I realize that you already post this part! Thank you so much hui3r.
    I remember I cried so much reading this part eventhough it’s a blurry translation from google. Now after I read your translation the pain becomes deeper 😦
    Actually it’s quite a happy ending for song ning. Given two painful choice, it’s obvious that she would choose to stay in her illusion. The reality feels like a nightmare for her. Lived in that nightmare for 7 years was more than enough. She wouldn’t want to comeback and live like that ever again!
    As for Shen an, I want a different ending for him. Death would be too easy to pay for what he had done to song Ning (I know it’s not completely his fault), buat i still hate him. I want him to stay alive with his grief for the rest of his life!
    Sigh….This story makes me feel depressed 😦
    I don’t realize that I just write my longest comment!

    • Ya, hui3r is your sadistic step-mum:P Peanuts pats Redhazel’s head. I’ll give you some sweets later to cure you, lol.

      • Hahaha, Hui3r and Peanuts complement each other very well!
        After hui3r give a bitter and sour dish, then here comes Peanuts offering sweet lollipop 😀
        Hurry up post your sweet and happy translation, Peanuts.
        It’s not good to keep too much sugar by your self :p

        • We run a soup and dessert shop. I’m responsible for collecting tears for our soup, and then Peanuts doles out sweets to earn smiles. 😛

    • What is real and what is fake. If I am Song Ning, I would choose to stay in the dream too I think.

      Ah Fu thought that Song Ning would choose to come back to a world with Shen An rather than stay in the dream. She did not think that Song Ning would choose to stay in a dream where Shen An once loved her than return to reality where Shen An treats her as a stranger. Ah Fu thought that Song Ning is strong enough, but if Song Ning was that strong inside, then she would never have entered into the bargain with Jun Fu.

  10. Eh, in the end, Shen An hasn’t really redeemed himself in my eyes. I got teary-eyed for Song Ning ‘tho.

    Although I wonder… would it have been possible for Jun Fu to bring Shen An’s soul into the Hua Xu realm to reunite with Song Ning? (The actual Song Ning, and not another illusion). Is it possible to trap two souls into the same dream? Although they’re both dead in the real world, it could have been a bittersweet ending if they were able to live together in the dream realm.

    As I was ranting on Decembi’s blog, I couldn’t care less for Shen An’s happy ending (he could go to hell for all I care), although Song Ning would’ve been ecstatic to have the “real” him. Jun Fu really missed her chance to ensnare a second person and increase her lifespan. It would’ve been the best outcome for the three of them, given what has already transpired.

    • Whether Jun Fu can bring Shen An into Song Ning’s dream is something I don’t know. Probably only T7 knows the answer to this! Jun Fu’s threat of leaving Xiao Lan/Mu Yan in the dream suggests that yes, you can trap someone’s soul in another person’s dreamscape. The question is whether Jun Fu can still access Song Ning’s dream

      Hahahaha. It would have been an ideal ending for them. But the thing is, does Song Ning want Shen An to bring all of their baggage from reality into her dream? And if Shen An goes into Song Ning’s dream, I don’t think Jun Fu gets his life essence? Hahah. It must be HIS Hua Xu Realm. It is entirely possible for him to buy a dream of reuniting with Song Ning, but that’ll be too good for him right?

  11. Sad, sad, sad for Song Ning. It would be better if Shen An keeps on living in regret,grief and hating that evil LQQ. Then became mad or something. What a horrid man.

  12. it is a wonderful surprise. thank you,Unni.

  13. “This is truly a good dream. Lady Shen wish was for him to spend his life loving her, and never betray her. General Shen died at a time when he loved her most. She will have his heart that never betrayed her love, and live on. After she passes this period of grief, she will truly have a lifetime of happiness that is free from worry. If you did not kill General Shen, then that may lead to endless troubles. Could you guarantee that within this illusion, he would never betray her love his entire life?”

    I’m actually really curious about this, would he always stay true to Song Ning? I’m actually inclined to think he would, especially since he seemed to love her in the end (in the real world).

    But does he love her as the person, or as someone who saved him? I feel like his “love” for LQQ was more of a gratitude and duty thing, rather than because of her as a person. Which would also be why he actually fell in love with Song Ning later (god knows how, I sure didn’t notice while reading). But then again the same would go for Song Ning had she saved him, or? I often pondered over this because of the little mermaid. I always wondered if the prince ”fell in love” with the princess because she saved him, and if his love was based solely on that and built up eventually because he learnt to love the person as well. Would it then matter if he got to know that the mermaid was the one to save him or would he still love the other girl? Was the person he loved interchangeable, as long as she had saved him? But then would it really be love, because the person doesn’t matter, as long as she saves him? Or if the other girl hadn’t saved him, would he still fall in love when he encountered her? I wonder if saving the prince was just a stepping stone, if it only opened up the opportunity for getting to know him, but then the love itself had nothing to do with that, it wasn’t dependent on saving him. Or if saving him was the determining factor.

    Did he ever love the little mermaid as anything but a little sister? If they were really fated, wouldn’t he have loved her anyway, regardless of whether she saved him or not? Kind of like how Shen An fell in love with Song Ning later on anyway (or did he subconsciously know she saved him, and thus fell in love?) Was it really because bad timing, or would he never have loved her to begin with? Or maybe he would, or did. I don’t knooow what I’m writing.

    Honestly, I really disliked Shen An at first. But now I don’t know anymore, do I like him? Probably not. Do I dislike him? Not sure.

    I don’t think I make any sense haha, I’m probably just rambling because it’s 2 am and I’m tired of studying. I’m sure I’ll regret this comment tomorrow.

    • I think he would have stayed true to Song Ning. I agree with you that in the real world, he is very attracted to Song Ning despite himself. So if he had known that she was the girl who saved him, it is very likely that he would love her forever.

      But Xiao Lan/Mu Yan was being logical in his reasoning, and I guess to some extent, trying to comfort Ah Fu. So many people are crazily in love at first… but things might change. His method is a surefire way. And in any case, I think Song Ning is brought up to be prepared for a loved one to fall in battle. The timing couldn’t be shittier though… he never knew she was having their child.

      OMG… Decembi and I actually once talked about how this story is practically modelled after the Little Mermaid. The Hans Christian Andersen version of course. I think he fell in love with Song Ning in the cave, because of her determination and sacrifice to literally drag him back from the gates of hell. He mistakenly transpose his love for Song Ning onto LQQ, and I guess he spent years with LQQ trying to capture back feeling. I mean, the LQQ from the past is very loveable – she was smart, caring and funny enough to make him laugh – way more feminine to Song Ning. But I guess ultimately, over time, he was still attracted to Song Ning’s mixture of strength and vulnerability.

      Shen An is actually very tragic. The period of time that he got with his true love Song Ning, was limited to 3 days. In a way, although perfectly justified and felt so good, Jun Fu was very cruel to him, as if to repay his cruelty and abandonment of Song Ning. Except that Song Ning had righteous anger of the truth on her side. Shen An had to live (however briefly) with the knowledge that it was his hand that ruined the Song Ning that he loved, that pushed Song Ning to her death and destroyed any hope of having a future together.

  14. Oh man I cried so hard reading this chapter. I’m pretty sure this is the only novel that I don’t feel rushed to read the entire thing in one go because I don’t think I could handle all the feels at once. I was so shocked this post came out so fast after the last haha.

    I was listening to 手掌心 by 丁噹 and I thought some of the lyrics and the tune really fit this last chapter and their story as a whole. These two were just not fated to be ahh.

    Thank you for all your translations!!

    • You’re welcome!

      I’m actually so emotionally exhausted from translating the last chapter in one huff. So not starting on the next substory just yet. I think we all need a break from the tears.

      But then at the same time, I really need to translate it in one huff… otherwise i’ll stew it in because i know what’s coming.

  15. My gosh. Shen An totally deserves it. Completely understand why Song Ning would choose to stay in the dream realm. reality just hurts too much for her. Her husband has a concubine(not to mention the two kids), which he loves more than her. Her son, her last source of happiness, was no longer with her. Her husband hates her. She’s a loner in the country of Li… If I were her, I think I would choose to stay in the dream realm too. I feel so sad for Song Ning. Crying my eyes out for her and her kid. Shen An shouldn’t have anything of hers(her ashes), he totally destroyed her and her will to live – at least just give her her last wish. he should have given her a chance to explain or given her a chance to get to know her or possibly just get to know her but I guess if that were to happen the story wouldn’t be as heart wrenching and memorable as this.

  16. I still wonder how Shen An knew about her death.
    I feel he does not deserve to hold Song Ning at the end. He is totally a jerk.
    LQQ has no principles sigh…it is a truly heart wrenching one. Only when Song Ning burns herself, he came after 2 years!!

    Anyway, does Mu Yan sense that Jun Fu is the same one whom he rescued years ago?

    • The book doesn’t mention. But I wanna write a fic to explain everything away. D;

      The last scene is a bit… disgusting if you think about it properly. Song Ning chose such a horrible way to die, but in a way fitting.

      I think LQQ threw away her principles in the name of “love”. But my guess is that she became someone she hated too.

      I don’t think Mu Yan realise that it’s Jun Fu yet! Because Jun Fu had plastic surgery and she’s wearing a mask to hide her scar.

  17. I cried… at my office.
    Thank you very much for translation.

  18. Thank you for this… was a good cry.

  19. Fine job hui3r~~ !

    As heart-wrenching as it goes, I keep rereading 浮生尽 in entirety whenever I come across you posting another chapter of your translation and marveling at what a unique, thorough. even extreme pov Tang7 has gifted us, provoking so much discussion within ourselves and with other fans.

    I may come across yet again as a SA sympathizer. the novel is brilliantly set on SN’s vantage point but the entire relief of SA is there between the words. Their hate and hurt is controllable and applicable in their free will, but love is beyond their control, all encompassing. Often we heard in angsty love story when you can not experience the love you desire, you’d rather get a bearing feeling the pain it evokes, at least it is a twisted substitute of an intense feeling taking over. Love in this story is like a dreamscape itself, you can pay everything most precious without abandon and still can you control a dream and what will trespass? Not really.

    I do not think it is out of repaying kindness that SA falls for 677, she has other desirable attributes as a woman as well, and most important of all, Tang7 is emphasizing love is without reasons, beyond a mortal’s manipulation. SA has a list of why he finds 677 the most suitable wife, but we know it is not love in essence. What SN and SA has was an attraction at first sight, this is not what he has with 677. It fate has dealt them a much kinder hand they would enjoy a enviable intense romance, happily married, all the happiness in a match made in heaven, and the angst is a missing stone in place…all falter. SN fell in love with him without abandon, risking it all, saving him and that was slowly eroded, replaced by heartbreak and hatred. SA must have found SN stunning and attractive at first sight, but he was not given time to cultivate that love, and by their next meeting all the minute shreds of attraction he has for her is awaken, but that is surfaced as intense hate because he has already promised his hand to 677, and SN is the culprit of cruelly breaking them up, forcing him into a marriage with her, it is really unreasonable of us to ask him to hear or listen or understand her in any possible way, the boat has sailed. However, if he just has hate for SN, he won’t show moments of wavering, where he softened against his will, where he showed tenderness and care for her from the deepest vaults of his heart yet his self-control, his discipline would not allow him to act upon those impulses he has towards SN. It is as it what started out as abiding hate he put up as a guard for his heart against SN crumbles a heartbeat by slowly another heartbeat here and there. When the time it culminates to a point he can’t ignore he has feelings for SN, on top of the hate he has stubbornly harbored, there is no longer a SN who loves him so left in that shell.

    • Arh. Sorry that I am so late in replying. Real World ate me up and spat me bones back out. 😦

      To be honest, I have mixed feelings everytime I read this sub-story. I mean, I’m so angry at Shen An, I guess how I would be angry at a good friend for doing something bad, knowing that he is capable of being better? I don’t know, I guess it’s a case of good people sometimes – wittingly or unwittingly – doing bad things. So I don’t blame you for being an SA sympathiser – it is just that I veer between two states – one of pitying him and the other of thinking he deserved it. 😛

      But yes, it is fitting that in both a dream and reality, one could do everything and life may still choose to sail its own course. I think that amongst all of the couples that feature in HXY, SA and SN are the most intense, in that they just… feel too much. There is no middle ground for these two. If they had met at the right time without the misunderstanding between them, the dreamscape shown that they could have been the happiest, most perfect couple in the world, basking in the warmth and security of each other’s love. But reality is too harsh, and I feel pained in that except for those three days in the wilderness, they never had the opportunity to walk the same path together at the same pace. I think this is the reason why i think they are the most tragic couple.

      SN is a fascinating character – a mixed bag of pride, determination, stubbornness and vulnerability. Hahah… I would venture that on some primal level, she is exactly the type of woman that most men would want to both master and protect? Oh well, could just be me. But I would guess that to Shen An, she’s like the black widow. He knows that she’s dangerous to his heart but I think he can’t help but admire the beauty of her deadliness (metaphorically speaking). All the qualities that he knows he should hate probably still appeals to him.

      I don’t know about LQQ. I find that she is a fascinating subject to write a POV fanfic for, which I’m doing but haven’t finished. But I would imagine that in the end, she got her comeuppance in knowing that in the 7 years they were together, Shen An’s heart was never truly hers.

  20. I cried buckets the very first I’ve read The Little Mermaid. Naturally I’m referring to the original Hans Christian Andersen fairly tale, and not the the Disney version. As much as it pains me – it still remains a favourite of mine. So I will have to say Song Ning and Shen An are my favourite couple. I know many people didn’t like Shen An but it was truly a case of mistaken identity (even if it was stolen) and Song Ning didn’t make it easy for him – that darn pride of hers. It could have been avoided which makes it even more heart-wrenching.

    Hui3r – a big and personal THANK YOU for the fantastic translation. I absolutely love this couple and I’d enjoyed even more when it made sense! I think I was a little lost in translation with Google Translation, but mind you I can’t do without it…

    Anyhow, to end on a lighter note – the romantic part of me dreams that they are united in heaven 🙂

  21. I’m so happy to have found these translations here! Thank you so much! I’ve been waiting forever for the series Hua Xu Yin to air and have just been rewatching trailers, etc. I didn’t even know it was based on a novel and I’m glad to have found this site. Thank you again for the translations!

  22. Thank you for the translation! Omg, I cried so many times just reading Shen An and Song Ning’s story. I’m glad that Jun Fu showed Shen An the truth, the one that he knows in his heart but denied it. Perhaps Song Ning may get her a more deserving husband or love in her next life.

  23. Before I even notice I started crying…OMG…this is sooo depressing but good…I just love how the news was broken to Shen An. I thought that it was justified how he totally broke down and lost his will after finally being told the truth, and coming to regret everything he did. I thought it was a bitter sweet ending for someone like him, and totally well deserved.

  24. so ssad !!! I had to cry !! its all LQQ fault !!!! she Tool advenge of the Situation and Made Song Ning suffer so much in a loveless and love- hate marriage just beceause she didn’t want to let go if the attention of SA and im sure she hanged herself out of guilt beacause she was the reason for all that tragedy ! i get she was happy when SN’s sin died and when she would have a fight with SA and that she suufferd. she Played the innosence woman that was Kind and without faults ! she manipulated SA love !!!! she could have toll the truth by writing the truth !!! god i hate her soooooo much !!! and SA is a fool !! the biggest fool of all he never realized of recongized the love that SN felt for him !!! soo soo tragic !!!!
    please update more! !!

  25. I am very interested in this book

    When will 6.2 be out?

    Thank you 😃

  26. Oh my goodness, after hearing the brouhaha about Tang 7’s plagiarism accusation in 3W3L Peach Blossom, I decided to read this novel even though I knew nobody would probably finish the story. I finished Song Ning & Shen An’s story last night & was emotionally drained. I wasn’t bawling my eyes out because I already prepared my heart for the tragic story. But I didn’t think it would affect me so much that I couldn’t sleep last night. It was such a sad story & I couldn’t really blame anybody for the tragic ending of these two couples. Yes, SA was stubborn & it was easy to blame him but the guy fell in love with the woman who rescued him without knowing her face or her voice. When he saw LQQ, any normal person would think that she was his rescuer. It’s not LQQ’s fault for falling in love at this handsome general. Anybody in her position would do the same thing to try to keep the secret considering Shen An already believed 100% that she was his savior. As for SN, she wasn’t that typical innocent female lead either. She did some bad things to LQQ. I think her action that caused LQQ to have a miscarriage was pretty bad. How exactly SA should react when he found out she technically “killed” his unborn child. All in all, these whole things that happened to the three of them were so crazily tragic. The only person that I can probably blame is Tang 7 for writing this very emotionally & awesome novel so very good. I’m so surprised after reading the first arc of her novel, how good Tang 7′ writing is. I love 3W3L & Pillow Books but they’re not even comparable in term of quality of her writing. Is this really the same person that is being accused to plagiarize somebody else’s book? What the heck was she thinking when she decided to take quite a few of things from the other author’s novel.

    Awesome job in doing a translation!!! I bet it was very difficult to translate this tragic story. I’m glad that I read this story even though it was so sad & caused me a sleepless night. 😭

  27. I just started reading Hua Xu Yin and Shen An/Song Ning’s story gave me several rounds of shock. I’m not sure if I interpreted the scene correctly, but did Shen An literally first stabbed Song Ning’s right hand, then sexually assaulted her while her right hand was bleeding badly throughout the whole intercourse before finally “willingly” let himself be stabbed by Song Ning in the ribcage area in the morning? This is a truly tragic storyline which makes it completely understandable why Shen An is considered the hated villain. Truthfully, Song Ning might have been a bit too clingy for Shen An’s love because it is definitely better to let go of a one sided love instead of blindly holding on in the hopes of a miracle to happen. Song Ning was basically building a house after house with her blood and sweat in the hopes of living in one with the person she loves but ended up having to tear down each one with her own hands. She can always give him another chance, but better yet, she could of forgot, let go, and given herself a better chance.

  28. Thanks for the translation it gave me a better look at SA and SN’s characters 🙂 after watching the drama ver. SN and SA’s arc was so amazing in the show (but my gosh did I struggle through the rest of the drama) I had to know the original ver.

    But I honestly, feel that the writer shouldn’t have killed off SA in SN’s dream world. Though I know it is to make a point that SN would rather live w/o SA, then come back to reality. But I feel that she deserves to be happy for the rest of her dream world life, if only Junfu could turn back time in the dream world and not kill SA.

    And I’m calling bullcrap on what Xiaolan said about, not being able to guarantee that SA will never betray SN. Knowing SA he would have stayed true to her… just my opinion

  29. I wanted to like Shen An but he is complete trash! He deserved the ending he got, how dare he treat our girl Song Ning like that. This and Ying’ers story is by far my favorite. I watched the drama first and I felt so angry with Shen An, in the novel, he is still an ass.

  30. Thanks for the chapter! The one I dislike the most is LQQ, she allowed this misunderstanding to happen. Still don’t like Shen An but I’m curious what he was thinking that he came in such a rush once she died.

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