Fangirling Chinese Novels

One Life, One Incarnation: Beautiful Bones (一生一世美人骨) — Insert Chapter 1.2



Between Mother’s Day and packing, I was only able to get this chapter ready ahead of time, so unfortunately, I will have to miss Friday night’s post. Back from holidays in a week.

The girl in the cover pic is Eleven, and it was drawn by Mo Bao Fei Bao herself.

😭😭😭😭 I need a shoulder to cry on. 😦

Insert Chapter 1.2 – Beautiful Bones (2)

This story was translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com only. All forms of reproduction, redistribution, or re-posting are not authorized. If you are not reading this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the copy is unauthorized and has been taken without consent of the translator.

Please do not re-post this anywhere. 


Late into the night, she wrote a letter, pleading to her mother to break off her betrothal.

Mother sent a letter in reply. Not a single word mentioned breaking the betrothal, and instead, what she spoke of was some of the rumors that were circulating among the ordinary people.

A rumor amongst the common folk was that Xiao Nanchen Prince and the crown princess had illicit relations, paying no heed to their relationship as teacher and disciple and disregarding ethics and social order[1]. A rumor amongst the common folk was that Xiao Nanchen Prince had intentions of raising an army to change the ruling surname and declaring his sovereignty. Another rumor amongst the common folk was that the Cui family of Qinghe had already joined with Xiao Nanchen Prince’s manor, offering up both its beautiful daughter and the world for the purpose of being granted a division of the land so that the family clan would be made a line of kings.

My child, guard your words and your actions. The entire family line in Qinghe is held in your hands.

She folded the letter, removed the glass cover protecting the candle of the lamp, and placed the letter in the flame until it had completely burned away.

Imperial edicts from the palace expressing goodwill were frequently received, and the crown prince, as the heir apparent to the throne, personally visited the manor and sought to appease Xiao Nanchen Prince. The lord and his ministers were so harmonious in their relationship, as if to proclaim to the world that the rumors were strictly rumors and that the relationship between the imperial household, the line of the Nanchen Prince, and the Cui family of Qinghe was close, strong, and unshakable.

<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com onl . Please do not repost this anywhere, including, but not limited to, on Wattpad, on personal blogs, as distributable electronic files, etc.

On her seventeenth birthday, by her mother’s orders, she was to leave Xiao Nanchen Prince’s Manor and this city, Chang’an that she had lived in for ten years, yet had never once seen the bustling of its streets and marketplace.

That day was also a brilliantly sunny day.

It was a seldom seen time when Teacher was in the manor with no matters to attend to, and he was sitting and leaning back in the bamboo chair in the study. When she entered to bid her farewell, sunlight was shining in through the window, casting blotchy shadows upon him and causing him to be partly in the light, partly in the dark. His eyes were clear like water as he raised his head and quietly gazed right at her.

Eleven very carefully and properly paid the ceremonial respect of a disciple to her teacher, kneeling down on both knees and pressing her forehead against the bluestone slabs of the floor. “One who is teacher for one day is regarded as father for a lifetime[2].” Her bow was to bid farewell to these ten years of his loving kindness, raising and teaching her.

“The empress dowager has issued a decree that I adopt you as my daughter. Eleven, would you be willing to have this pass?”

She rose back to her feet and very gently shook her head.

That bow from a moment ago had already concluded their relationship as teacher and disciple. She did not want to still have anything binding her to him after she stepped out of the prince’s manor.

He gave a small smile. “Then this prince[3] shall, for this once, defy the decree.”

Eleven walked up before him, and leaning up against the side of the bamboo chair, she bent her knees slightly. She looked carefully at him. There was a touch of weariness between his brows. Unconsciously, she reached out her hand, wanting to touch his face.

Just this one time. After this one time, she would leave Chang’an and return to Qinghe.

He sensed her motion and raised his eyes a little to look directly at her. She was frightened, not knowing whether she should pull her hand back or forthrightly touch his face. In that brief, still moment, he had already leaned forward slightly and, complementing her action, placed his face gently into her hand.

Her fingers had a slight tremble, but they still stubbornly held their course and slid from his brow down the bridge of his nose.

Beautiful bones.

She thought, what about these bones was so special that even the imperial household would be wary of them, that they would be on the lips of everyone in the land?

Beauty is offered, a soul is given in return. This was describing a woman offering up her beauty and a man giving his soul in return, but with her plain, unremarkable appearance, how could she possibly merit the words, “beauty is offered”?…… She quietly pulled her hand back. He suddenly gave a little laugh and asked her, “You have been in Chang’an for ten years, but Eleven, you still have not seen the true Chang’an city, have you?” Eleven nodded, and after thinking about it, she could not refrain from giving a rueful smile.

“I will bring you for a look.”

She was taken aback, but when she remembered her mother’s letter, she hesitantly shook her head. Only after he had ordered someone to bring her a hat with a black gauze covering and her entire face was hidden, with only her eyes showing, did he finally take her out of the prince’s manor. Under the bright sun shining high in the sky, in the noisy streets, he and she rode together on a single horse as he softly told her the name of every place and explained what was unique about each of them.

<>The translator would sincerely appreciate it if you would read this translation only at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the actual site of posting. Thank you.

The places where his long whip was present should have been battlefields of life and death, of fighting and killing.

But that day, it was merely there in Chang’an city’s pavilions, terraces, towers, wine shops, and streets. He did not wear his princely robes, and she was covering her face. He was no longer her teacher, and she was no longer his disciple. From a distance, all that anyone could see was simply a girl, with bright, limpid eyes, sitting on the horse and the extremely graceful, poised man who held her in his arms in front of himself.

This was the city of Chang’an where she had lived for ten years.


Ancient Zhousheng Chen taking Eleven for a final ride through Chang’an before she was to leave. Drawing was done by a Chinese online artist for this specific scene from the novel. (Her Weibo page is found on the bottom of this drawing.)

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The day she left the prince’s manor was also the day he once again led troops out into battle against enemy armies. After ten years of wars and fighting, the border areas had been purged of threats, and neighbouring countries were terror-stricken by simply word of his presence. This battle was merely a warning to all the lands and did not have any risk to his life.

She believed as such.

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Ten days later, she arrived at the ancestral manor of the Cui family of Qinghe, and under the personal tutelage of the crown prince’s childhood wet nurse, she began to learn wedding etiquette and rituals. The wet nurse seemed to have heard much about her various errors and wrongdoings, and her words and countenance were harsh, deliberately finding fault in every aspect. In silence, she remembered each important point and disregarded the mockery and scorn in her words.

Until an emergency request for aid came from the borderlands.

His Imperial Highness, the crown prince, personally went out to battle, bringing reinforcement troops to Xiao Nanchen Prince. It was then that she felt that there was something amiss.

From the time Xiao Nanchen Prince was sixteen years of age and had mounted his horse to enter the battlefield, he had never once been defeated. Where his sword pointed would surely be a billowing sea of blood, and he would unquestionably return in triumph. What virtues or abilities could a crown prince, who had spent all his days in rest in the imperial palace, possibly have that he would dare to lead the reinforcements out to battle?

There was no one for her to pose her questions to, for the people surrounding her were either her father and brothers or were those belonging to the imperial family.

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She remembered, in her ten years in the prince’s manor, if she had fallen asleep, Zhousheng Chen would always carry her back to her room himself, for fear that she would be affected by cold and fall ill. With even the slightest sickness due to invasion of wind-cold[4] in her body, she would be in his room drinking a tea brewed from purple perilla leaf. In contrast, now that she had returned home, even on days when snow was falling thickly, she would still need to stand barefoot on the bluestone tile floors and learn how to climb onto the daybed to wait upon the monarch.

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Half a month later, Mother came to watch her as she practiced over and over again the proper movements and posture for seating oneself.

After a long while, Mother finally wordlessly handed her a note.

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The words were few and the handwriting seeming as if it had been hastily composed, but so familiar it caused her heart to pound in fear.

Chen, in this life, never forsook the world and has only forsaken Eleven.

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In her bare feet, she stood on the bluestone tiles and listened to her mother, one word, one sentence at a time, describe to her how, on that night three days ago, Xiao Nanchen Prince had, just before the battle, turned in rebellion and seized the crown prince in a futile attempt to usurp the throne and become emperor himself. Fortunately, Shi Yi’s father and elder brothers were present and protected his Imperial Highness. The nearly successful rebellion finally failed, and Xiao Nanchen Prince was granted the punishment of death by deboning.

What was meant by deboning? It was for the lone reason that his beautiful bones were widely known in the land.

The crown prince, therefore, before all the people of the land, scraped out the beautiful bones from his body to serve as an example and warning to the people.

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Mother’s eyes avoided hers. Her eyes wide, she fixed her gaze upon her mother.

Her mouth opened, but words would not come forth.

This life, she possessed a mouth and tongue but yet was unable to produce speech. She was not even able to ask how he had left this note behind.

Who had forsaken whom?

As Eleven held that piece of paper, she could not prevent her body from trembling. She remembered how, that day, before she had departed, her fingers had felt over every feature of his face, not wanting to forget even the smallest detail about him. But now, what remained in this reunion was merely paper and final words written before death.

His one statement that he had never forsaken the world was clearly telling her he had been set-up and the accusations against him were falsified.

Her father and elder brothers had wronged him, the imperial family had wronged him.

As for her, how could she remove herself from this matter?

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Eleven carefully folded up the note and placed it inside her garment collar, beside her heart. She then continued to silently practice, over and over again, how to sit down properly.

Eleven, in this life, did you ever have someone whom you would like to be with, to share that person’s ending?

The answer to this question, she had known already long ago.

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Historical records stated:

Zhousheng Chen, the Xiao Nanchen Prince –– a life of unceasing fighting and war, exemplary of whole-hearted loyalty, but in the prime of his life, was marred by fame and glory and gradually developed desires to rebel against the state. The Cui family of Qinghe, fortunately, saw through and thwarted his scheme. Xiao Nanchen Prince was captured. The crown prince’s hatred ran deep into his bones, and he bestowed the punishment of death by deboning upon him.

The sentence was carried out for a full three shichen [six hours][5], but there was not a single cry or howl of anguish. Even to death, he refused to repent.

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Throughout his life, Xiao Nanchen Prince took no wife and had no offspring, but repeated allegations of his secret, illicit relationship with the crown princess were circulated. Four days after Xiao Nanchen Prince’s death, the crown princess also departed this life. There were rumors that she had hung herself from the rafters of one of the ten zhang [approximately 32 metres][6] tall towers in the prince’s manor, while other accounts said she had thrown herself from the city walls of Chang’an. Opinions differed and there were no conclusive arguments. All that remained, within the library tower of the prince’s manor, was the crown princess’s writing, written with her own hand the entire poem of “Rhapsody of the Imperial Park.” This story was passed down the ages until it became one praised and passed on by the people.

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His life of magnificence, of greatness was, with these few words, completely buried and forgotten by the world.

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In this life, twenty-six years had passed already.

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Shi Yi leaned against the window, looking out beyond the car window at the street signs that were speeding by. She could not help giving a heartfelt sigh over the good weather. There was not even a trace of a cloud in the azure sky, so even one’s mood was pleasant because of this. The taxi cab’s whole journey had been flowing and unimpeded, and even after she was out of the car, her check-in procedure was smooth. However, inside security, both times she passed through the metal detector, the alarm had sounded loudly.

The most frustrating part was, the alarm over in the other security line next to her was blaring incessantly as well. She wondered who was having the same wretched luck as her and had encountered an unreasonable metal detector. “Miss, would you mind taking off your shoes. We need to check again.” She nodded and sat down on one of the chairs off to the side. As she was lowering her head to remove her shoes, she saw the backside view of the man in the adjacent security checkpoint.

Very tall, his back very straight. When she noticed him, he was picking up his laptop computer.

On the other end of the security checkpoint, the long queue wound back like dragon.

And on this end, it was only the two of them being inspected.

“Mr. Zhousheng Chen?” The man guarding the security checkpoint was holding the passport he had left behind. “You forgot your passport.”

“Thank you.” He turned around.

Sensing her gaze on him, he lifted his eyes to look over at her.

That instant of eye contact seemed to suppress all the chaos and noise surrounding them. Nothing else concerned her anymore. Shi Yi stared deeply at him, unable to move her gaze away. She wanted to laugh and at the same time, wanted to cry, but either way, she could not speak, not even half a word.

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He had come after all.

Zhousheng Chen, you have come after all.

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[1] 纲常伦理 “gang chang lun li.” 纲常 “gang chang” is the simplified name for 三纲五常, the Three “Gang” [Mainstays] and Five Chang [Norms]. 伦理 “lun li” is referring basically to the principles behind the “five norms.” The “three mainstays” are the three relationships between ruler and subject, father and son, and husband and wife. The “five norms” are these previous three relationships as well as the relationship between brothers and friends. The principle behind this is that proper social order is maintained only when these relationships are carried out appropriate in society. In Eleven and Xiao Nanchen Prince’s case, the relationship between “father and son” is what applies to them. (see footnote [2])

[2]一日为师,终身是父. An idiom meaning, even if a person has only taught me for a one day, I shall regard him as a father for the rest of my life. This is to show the degree of respect one’s teacher deserves in one’s life. However, it is also regarded that your teacher is your elder, and a teacher and student/disciple should never be in a romantic relationship because it violates the natural order that one you should not be in relationship with your “father”/elder.

[3]本王 ‘ben wang’. A form of self-address that means, “this prince.” In front of subordinates, this is how a prince of Zhousheng Chen’s status should address himself. It is more formal as his status is being stated plainly and separates himself from those below him. In this case, the formality is being used because he, as the Xiao Nanchen Prince, will, for Eleven, defy an imperial decree, something that he, a man loyal to his ruler, has never done before.

[4]风寒 “feng han.” In traditional Chinese medicine, there are six climatic “evils” that can enter and are detrimental to the body. “Wind” and “coldness” are two of them. These climatic evils can act in combination. Wind-cold is when external “wind” is accompanied with “coldness.”

[5] 时辰 “shi chen.” Historically, a day was divided up into 12 two-hour periods called “shichen.” Zhousheng Chen’s punishment was carried out for three shichen, or 6 hours. 😦

[6]丈 “zhang.” A Chinese unit of length. The exact measure of a “zhang” has changed throughout history. In the 20th century, it was standardized so that 1 zhang = 3.33 metres, but prior to this, it ranged anywhere from between 2.3 to 3.6 metres. (No historical era has been specified for the ancient parts of this story, and ancient Zhousheng Chen and all his “history” is definitely fictional. You can probably make the assumption that 1 zhang is approximately 3-ish metres and the aforementioned tower is 30-ish metres tall.)

This story was translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com only. All forms of reproduction, redistribution, or re-posting are not authorized. If you are not reading this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the copy is unauthorized and has been taken without consent of the translator.

Additional Comments:

Anyone catch the couple of parallels of the ancient life to the modern times? I love the details…

There were a few comments last update about being hesitant about Eleven and ancient Zhousheng Chen’s relationship in that it was the forbidden romance between teacher and student. So, now that you have had a glimpse of their lives in the ancient times, what do you think of their relationship?

I would not use “romance” to describe their relationship. I don’t feel that their relationship is like one of those relationships often portrayed in dramas where the two are with great difficulty suppressing their feelings for one another, which may be sometimes ignited by an unintended brush of fingers or something along those lines. This brief glimpse of their past life is for us to have insight into the man that ancient Zhousheng Chen was, how his bones were truly beautiful. Shi Yi’s love for him was not simply because he was the teacher who cared for her when she was alienated from everyone, and was something much more than the heart-racing feeling a young girl gets for the man she likes. She had a deep, heartfelt respect for him and, despite having never left the prince’s manor, knew how great a man he was, how his heart was bigger than just the romantic love between a man and a woman.

I had mentioned that “beauty is offered, a soul is given in return” also describes a love in which no words are needed to express it for it is mutually understood. How appropriate that is for a mute Eleven and for them. Their love for one another would forever be mute, never to be expressed or even thought upon, because she was the crown princess, he was her teacher; it was never to be. They knew of the other’s love, as evidenced by Zhousheng Chen’s final note to Eleven, but it would forever stay only in their eyes and never be spoken, not a passionate, doe-eyed look of forbidden love but one of mutual understanding.<>Please read this only at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. This is the only place that the translator has authorized the posting of her work.

Love without an outlet can go nowhere but become deeper and deeper, and when Eleven realized it was her family’s treachery that had brought about his death, how could she remove herself from the guilt?

That last historical account of Xiao Nanchen Prince’s life makes my heart ache every time. The unfeeling words of the history books stating the “facts” — committed treason, allegedly had an affair with the crown princess — is more callous than outright rebuking him, for it so coldly writes off his entire life of loyalty, military achievements, dedication to the people and country, and all his talents. And then, when you begin truly reading into the words and imagining his hours of torture and people on the streets rebuking him… 😦


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79 thoughts on “One Life, One Incarnation: Beautiful Bones (一生一世美人骨) — Insert Chapter 1.2

  1. I can’t describe the sadness I’m feeling after reading this. So, it was the treachery of the family of the Crown Princess that did the ancient Zhousheng Chen in. Perhaps, this was the reason that they reincarnated, to right the wrong and for their love, which was muted in the past, to blossom!

    • Thank you for your translation! I really look forward to the next translation on the rest of the story. Have a wonderful vacation!

      • Yes, indeed. Eleven’s family definitely played a significant role in the ultimate tragic death of ancient Zhousheng Chen. 😦 The guilt Eleven must have felt over that must have been overwhelming. Can you imagine hearing the news and not even being able to express it? I would imagine a normal reaction when hearing the news would be to cry and confront her mother about it, but she could only internalize that. The pain must have been immense. 😦

        Thank you! Back from a wonderful vacation and ready to update soon. 🙂

  2. So tragic, but I am greatly relieved that the past betrayal was by her family and not her; that presents the current relationship with fewer issues.

    • Indeed, she did not personally play a role. However, with the thinking in ancient times that a father’s debts are to be repaid by the son, Eleven felt she could not excuse herself either. And, as you’ll read later, there is another layer to the story of their past lives…

  3. “… In that brief, still moment, he had already leaned forward slightly and, complementing her action, placed his face gently into her hand.” Awww, the ancient couples did the same thing as the modern couples. How sweet…

    It’s quite a sad story but since the writer only wrote 2 inserts about the ancient couples, I’m not getting the vibes about the ancient couples. I’ll stick with the modern couples’ love story. Hehehe…

    As always, thanks for the translation, Hoju! I always enjoy reading it.

    • Was the other parallel the time when he took SY & friends in xi’an in modern time & when he took Eleven around chang’an in ancient time?

      • I don’t ever get the “couple-y” feel from their past incarnations. You don’t root for them, but you feel for their tragedy. 😦 The thing that gets me the most is Xiao Nanchen Prince’s entire life and everything he did, stood for, accomplished was completely written off by a stroke of the historian’s brush and he was forever forgotten. 😦 And the guilt Eleven must have felt.

        The purple perilla leaf. Not exactly a parallel, but little things of their past life appear in the present one. Chang’an/Xi’an means a lot to Shi Yi…

  4. I think ZSC in ancient also loved Eleven. It was sad of them to have this kind of ending but if I were Eleven, I also would not continue to live as well. ZSC, you better make it right this life. You forsook her once for your country.

    • Definitely, he loved her. They both were very clear-headed and knew it was not to be. This is not a story about two young lovers scoffing at the shackles of Confucian principles and pre-arranged marriage and abandoning everything for love. Their love, they knew, was forever to be “mute” but that line of the poem said it all for them. My heart twinges when I think about Eleven and how she must have felt when she first read that final note. With no outlet of expression — unable to speak, no one around she could trust to cry with — death was in a way, her only release. 😦

  5. Thanks a million for the update. Its just too sad. It really does leave a mark on one’s heart.

    • You’re welcome! 😦 My heart really twinges every time I think about the punishment chosen and the final word in the history books.

  6. Did Eleven kill herself because she couldn’t live on after Xiao Nanchen Prince had departed this world or because of what her family did to him? Are there only these two chapters on their ancient lives? Sigh of relief. I have nothing against the “forbidden romance,” but I couldn’t bear to read any sad and tragic stories. So, I was actually thinking of skipping all the ancient parts.

    “He had come after all.
    Zhousheng Chen, you have come after all.”

    But those two lines reeled me back in. It’s amazing that both of them preserved their names from the past.

    Have a great holiday, @hoju. This is another beautiful translation. 🙂

    • This is all my personal interpretation, of course. But I think, both. If she had married the crown princess and then Zhousheng Chen later died an honourable death on the battlefield, she would have been grief-stricken but probably would not have accompanied him in death. The combination of knowing that he had been framed, his entire life of accomplishments and his pure values being completely buried and his character being defamed in history books, the horror of the death that was bestowed on him, and the overwhelming guilt that her family had played a principle role in causing all this to happen (in a society that believed that a father’s debts are to be repaid by the son) was too suffocating for her. She chose to follow her heart and be true to herself and the man she loved this once, and so, she chose to accompany him in death.

      Hehe, when I first read the novel, I set it down for several days right before this part and steeled myself for the tragedy. In some ways, thank goodness MBFB did not write out too many details of their past life or I don’t think I would have been able to handle the anguish. However, in other ways, less is more, and as I read into those words carefully and think about the significance of what the historical records stated, then put myself in Eleven’s shoes, it’s almost even more painful to reflect on it that way.

      Two “proper” chapters on their relationship in the ancient times. There will be little flashbacks here and there as well as a few more scenes set in the ancient times that provide alternate viewpoints.

      The next update should make you feel much better. 🙂

      Thank you!

  7. Thanks again for your time and diligence – I’m looking forward to the rest.

    • And thank you very much for taking the time to comment. It makes the effort very rewarding to hear from readers. 🙂

  8. I wish they had gotten together in the past but at least they’re together in this lifetime

    • Don’t we? But the tragedy of the past only serves to make this present life’s love story more beautiful. 🙂

  9. its a sad story .thank u for traslation.enjoy the holiday.

  10. Thank you, Hoju for the translation. Have a wonderful vacation!

    I think what I enjoyed about the ancient setting was that their relationship was also slow and calm like their modern relationship. There was no crazy passion or improper conduct. They were simply two people enjoying each other’s company while it lasted. Shi Yi had her moment of wanting to call off the betrothal, but she was sensible and cautious after her mother’s warning. Zhousheng Chen was ever the gentleman. Although their little randevu might not have been “appropriate” during that time if people have seen them and found out, but it really was a sweet and innocent gesture, the last thing he could’ve done for her. They never crossed the line, she still consciously reminded herself that she was engaged, and he never desired more from her. They knew from the beginning that they were not fated to be. Although it was an unspoken romance, but his last note to her told it all.

    I also thought it was really cute how the old Zhousheng Chen also moved his head to accommodate her action of wanting to touch his face just like the modern Zhousheng Chen wanted to feel his forehead when he was sick. But I also liked all the other changes from their ancient identity to the present: Shi Yi was a mute, but now she’s a voice actor; she wasn’t beautiful, but she was still beautiful to the eyes of the beholder. Zhousheng Chen was handsome, skin and bone; now he’s average, but still has his beautiful bones. It was really sad how he died. 😦 I can see why Shi Yi was so willing to grasp any opportunity to have that second chance again.

    In a previous chapter, I remember it mentioned that once Shi Yi opened up to her parents, she poured out her longing for familial love. Looking at her past life, she didn’t really have much familial love since she grew up in the Prince’s manor. It seemed like the only person who cared for her was only her mother. At least her mother was honest to her and was kind enough to forward the note to her.

    • “There was no crazy passion or improper conduct.” Exactly! Not even an improper glance of suppressed love or anything. This is not about abandoning everything for love, regardless of the consequences; it’s two people who saw the bigger picture and knew that it was never meant to be so they never even entertained the idea. It in no way undermines the depth of the love they felt, but it makes you respect their character.

      Those changes from the previous to the present life, whether it be voice or outer appearance are all about the “skin.” I think MBFB is trying to emphasize that all those things, even something like the voice, really are much less important than the inner beauty. From Zhousheng Chen’s desires to fight a futile battle for the simple but grand reason of minimizing the impact to the economy and by extension, the common people, you can see that his beautiful bones as Xiao Nanchen Prince have not changed. And what about Shi YI? Logical, kind, values relationship. That hasn’t changed either.

      Yes, Shi Yi mentions later that in her lives, the number of happy moments she has had really is not many. 😦 Her ancient life was hard, she knew she was merely a tool for her family’s ambitions, and she found love and care in the Prince’s manor. That’s why Eleven’s love for Zhousheng Chen is so much more than just the passionate love of the boy-meets-girl type.

      • ““There was no crazy passion or improper conduct.” Exactly! Not even an improper glance of suppressed love or anything. This is not about abandoning everything for love, regardless of the consequences; it’s two people who saw the bigger picture and knew that it was never meant to be so they never even entertained the idea. It in no way undermines the depth of the love they felt, but it makes you respect their character.“ —> this is how I feel about their relationship too! You spoke my mind ☺️

  11. Such a tragic ending in their last lifetime…
    Thank you for this chapter. Now I understand how much she loves him

    • The tragedy in the past life makes us even more hopeful for their present life, doesn’t it? Thank you for reading!

  12. Thank you so much for this chapter! It is so beautiful and heartbreaking… My heart bleeds for ancient Zhousheng Chen
    Wishing this couple so much happiness in the now!

    • Ah, my heart bleeds every time I read this chapter. 😦
      I promise you that I only translate things with happy endings. 🙂

  13. That was such a sad chapter. I love their ancient love as well. Its so quiet and slow, yet it runs so deep to the bones. No wonder she still remembers him this life tim.

    • Quiet, slow, unspoken, developed through the little things in life. And then ended abruptly in tragedy. How could she not remember him?

  14. What a tragic story from their past life. And the more it will turn into a beautiful, happy love story in the present times.
    Enjoy your vacay hoju!

    • Yes, yes, yes. You can’t help but wish them all the happiness in this lifetime after you’ve learned about their past life.
      Thank you! It was wonderful!

  15. I just wanna say that after reading this chapter, I couldn’t sleep!

  16. uhmm!!!…no translation until you come back from your vacation so I think I will not read this chapter until I come back…that way I would not have to wait long when next chapter are translated after you are well rested from your holiday. Have a marvelous holiday wherever you are going and have a safe one for that matter….:D

    • Haha, alright. In the end, you still have to wait for a week, so you can choose your waiting period. 😉
      Thank you! Safe, wonderful, and restful it was. 🙂

  17. This is so hearth wrenching. T T

  18. Thank you for the translation! Wow, knowing about their past stories really made it more poignant. Your translation is also very beautiful. Have a wonderful time!

    • Good thing you didn’t skip that part. 😉
      It really gives you an understanding on why Shi Yi could not forget him and why her only goal was to find him again. She could take anything as long as it meant being with him.

  19. Thank you for translating this chapter. Have a safe trip and enjoy your holidays

  20. So heartbreaking! ;=(

    And such a beautiful drawing by the author of Shi Yi!! She’s so talented! Such pretty signature and handwriting too~~ Which shouldn’t be surprising seeing how the author’s interest is probably reflected in the book she wrote … calligraphy, ancient musics/instruments etc …

    Thanks again for your awesome translations! Hope you enjoy your break and have lots of fun~~ Can’t wait for more modern day ZSC & SY’s interactions next week.

    • 😦
      Mo Bao Fei Bao definitely is so talented. I think I read (but don’t quote this as the truth) that she had studied Chinese Literature, hence all her historical references, poetry, etc and just overall beautiful writing.

      Thank you! I am almost willing to bet that you will not be disappointed with the next update. Post back and let me know if I was right. 😉

  21. Aah, so heart breaking

    Thanks @hoju for the beautiful translation
    and have a nice vacation

    • Ah, I have successfully broken so many people’s hearts this update (including my own). 😦
      Thank you! I had an awesome vacation. 🙂

  22. beautiful.. i dunno.. at first, i thought of skipping some parts, lols.. but then, i started reading from the beginning to end of the chapter.. and .. teary eyes.. it’s sooo beautiful.. really! a drama adapted from this, i wont complaint.. 😀
    thanks hoju and happy traveling! yoohoo..

    • *gasp* Yui, how could you think about skipping any of my translation. Hmph! LOL. Glad you ended up reading it. Isn’t the story just beautiful?

      Alright, so have you settled on your actors/actresses yet?

      Thanks! Back now from a fun vacation…

      • beautiful. i couldnt find any word to describe this. heartbreaking, heartwarming.. lovely.. sweet.. i dont think so.. so, the most suitable word should be beautiful.

        emm.. Eddie Peng or Yuan Hong. One of them. For the lead actress, emm.. i found angelababy and yangmi are both pretty, but too modern. perhaps, the power of makeup, but their facial structure are way too ‘plastic’.. no offense. So.. another name, emm.. Tong Liya. She has the pretty face, but also the ancient vibe, lols.. i should change my job as a producer, lols..

        • Beautiful. That’s the word I told you right in the beginning. :p

          I’m kind of liking Yuan Hong, with the only exception that he is quite baby-faced. While ZSC is supposed to look young like a student still, I also feel like he carries himself very maturely. I haven’t seen YH play something that commands that sort of respect the instant he so much as walks in the door. His Yelu Xie in Young Warriors was awesome and all, but it was his sexiness and bad boy that stole hearts.
          As for the girls, angelababy definitely seems plastic to me. Yang Mi is pretty and all, but for some reason, lately, I feel like she is suiting the melancholy roles.
          Haha. But this is all speculation. MBFB is a screenwriter herself, and for some reason, I get the impression she doesn’t want her stories adapted.

  23. No wonder Shi Yi is so compelled to meet him again in this life, as though she’s been waiting for centuries…such love of mutual understanding and not just of pure passion…it’s so beautiful yet sad… T__T
    See this is why I can never fully trust recordings of history, they provide such subjective views…I can’t exactly remember where I read/heard this phrase from but as they say “history is written by the victors” …so cruel T____T

  24. The first time I’m reading a ancient story…but it’s SE. Sooob

  25. Was this set in motion because she asked her mother to end the engagement or had it been planned because her family wanted to move themselves closer to the prince by discrediting her teacher? Was marrying a daughter to the crown prince not enough? I am a bit confused as to her family’s motive and when they devised this plan.

    • Marrying your daughter to the crown prince as a way to gain political power is not enough if the crown prince does not hold true power or if the hearts of the people lies with someone else. Xiao Nanchen Prince’s honoured reputation and admiration from the people is the threat to the Cui family. Empires have changed hands and rulers have lost their power because the hearts of the people and subjects were elsewhere (for example, the Song dynasty’s Taizu Emperor, Zhao Kuangyin).

  26. There is one thing though. There is no real betrayal that we can see yet. Not anything deliberate. So her fear that he wouldn’t want to see her if he knew who she was is really unfounded. His feelings might be different, he might be glad it is her.

    • Shi Yi’s memories of the past are fuzzy, and she only remembers pieces of it. She doesn’t have clear memories of all the scenes in the insert chapters. From what is described, the feelings associated from the memories are what are intense, like how she knew that no matter what, she had to find this man again. Her family members played a big role in causing his ultimate demise, and though she may not remember in detail, the feeling of guilt seems to still be intensely and deeply embedded in her, and that is where the fear stems from.

  27. Okay, I’m sobbing right now under my blanket 😭 The past life story is just so tragic. I can vividly imagining a certain scene inside my mind, and that just like fueling my wrenching heart.

    • The tragedy of the past life just seems to hang over the story. But that’s why you wish with all your heart that they can not just be together but live the ordinary, happy life they desire.

      There, there. *hugs*

  28. I still don’t quite get how she was able to recognize it was him the moment she saw him. He didn’t do anything to show her his “beautiful bones” at the airport. So Shi Yi has the same name from the previous life? I find that too coincidental. I really love the story of their past lives. So touching; it makes me feel for them and want to root for them more in this life!

    Thanks for your wonderful translations! Really enjoying this story.

  29. I had goosebumps while reading the historical fact. It made me wonder how much of that is true. Plus really they didn’t have to state it like that, the least they could do for him after he dedicated most of life to the country was a proper history including ALL his achievement and merits, then they can as well add the other details.

    OMG!!!! That part when she wanted to touch his forehead but he senses her movement and looks at her. That scene is just too beautiful, especially when one also remembers the deja vu scene.

    The crown prince is such a douchebag, what a coward!! He was just jealous of ancient ZSC, if not why would he decree such an excruciating punishment! If I were Shi Yi, the crown prince will definitely pay for that. I would make sure I do everything to perfection in other to be his wife and he’s going to pay dearly.

    • Well, as the saying goes, history is written by the “winners.” The crown prince was motivated by… *sigh* jealousy, which resulted in a certain degree of hatred. And a desire for respect. And if he couldn’t get it, the way to vent all that was through blemishing his name as well as killing him. As you’ve probably guessed, he wasn’t the most emotionally stable person (because of a really hard life… there’s more details later so I won’t say any more)

  30. Hot tears were streaming down my cheeks as I read this chapter. This is just too heart wrenching. Such a tragic end for both of them. Now it makes sense why Shi Yi refused to give up on the past memories after reincarnated so she can always remember what her family had done and the guilt she had for ZSC. He has always been the gentleman from beginning till the end. *runs to a corner to re-read and cries again* T_5

    • All the ancient scenes caused my heart to twinge, even the later ones about the secondary characters. That era was just a sad era to be living in for most. Of course, living in times of war and upheaval is usually just tragic anyway.

      I… have left my thoughts all over about Shi Yi’s feelings for Zhousheng Chen and how I love ancient Zhousheng Chen. My heart just aches for his ultimate demise… 😦

      • I know what you mean. I can’t even imagine the pain and agony ancient Zhousheng Chen went through before his demise. Just cruel. *Sniffles*

  31. I want to say something a bit more meaningful to convey what I felt after this exquisite chapter, but all I can say is….tears are streaming down my face right now and I’ve already used up 3 tissues….And I think this is where I’ve officially fallen in love with MBFB’s writing….I mean I first read Really, really miss you, and it’s just adorable and I got a sense of what she could do in those bittersweet moments where toupai announces his retirement, but still this novel is just so….beautiful

    • ❤ Her writing is absolutely beautiful and really shines in this novel. Ancient Zhousheng Chen's fate never fails to make my heart ache.

      I'm so glad you are enjoying the novel. 🙂

  32. Deep!!!!
    Is there any explanation on her death in past life?
    Here the rumors are mentioned, plus one scene in later chapters just mention her getting pale imagining blood in library tower. But nothing clearly mentioned right? Or am I missing it?

  33. Wow! So sad…

  34. They really did him dirty those son of @$$&$_$🖕🖕🖕🖕 I read it many times but each times I still cry 😭😭😭😭
    My tragic 11 and her prince😭😭😭😭

  35. So sad! But I found myself focusing more on the parallels and “changes” between the past and present lives, and hoping that those changes mean only good things for their present lives. Eleven was voiceless, literally and figuratively, but Shi Yi now has a voice people are desperate to hear. I can’t find a good way to describe the changes in ZSC’s situation…but it feels like in the past life, though not without power, he was still a leaf going where the ripples in the water took him. In this life, I feel like he is more akin to the stone causing the ripples than the leaf being borne away.

    I know it’s years after the fact, but thank you for then translation!

  36. I know this is fiction but it makes me rethink the history. Zhousheng Chen was through and through loyal to his land and people. He fought and won so many battles but at the end just because of that conspiracy he was labelled as someone who betrayed his country. I feel so sad 😦

    Both ancient shi yi and Chen had the chance to level up their relationship but they didn’t act upon it but at the end *sigh*

    Just thinking about that punishment makes me sad 😦 How excruciating pain he must have felt!

  37. I had to sit for a while before I could comment on this chapter. It hit deeply for me. He led an exemplary life and for it to end this way, more than love not realised, this was the real tragedy. He had devoted his whole life to the country and this was how he was repaid.

    A line was mentioned about the rage of the crown prince. That is telling. Is it jealousy because ZSC is so popular? What exactly is he angry about when so far as we’ve seen he has not interacted with either SY or ZSC aside from that one time he visited to calm the rumours. (still wondering where the emperor is in all this)

    Which is another telling thing. How did those rumours even come about? SY has never left the manor and ZSC has been away for half the time she lived there. So where would rumours about their so called impropriety originate from?

    Was this all some elaborate plan just to get him out of the way so his perceived threat would be gone?

    This chapter was very heavy and I really hurt for their past lives.

  38. This part in the novel and in the current cdrama had me in tears. Can you tell me if this is a real person in history, or is this just pure fiction? My heart hurts for the pain they both must have felt.

  39. He knew, she knew and both of them buried that feeling in their heart. They have a proper conduct but still can’t avoid people’s misgiving..

    2 chapters glimpses their ancient lives and my tears run down. A beautiful story indeed.

    Thank you

  40. Tears streaming.. Your translation is so beautiful. Thank you so mcu.

  41. Reading after watching one and only makes me a sobbing mess. 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭 .

  42. Thank you for the lovely translation that allows us to fully appreciate a story. I saw the drama first, then decided to read your translation to see how the drama veered from the book because I feel most of the time- dramas don’t do justice to the book. But I think this time, the drama kept the essence of the original book story. I thought I share on 2 areas:
    1) Reading your translation, I realised ancient Shiyi is the one with only internal beauty (美人骨) as she is average looking and ZSC is the one with both internal and external. It is the reverse in modern times- Shiyi has both and ZSC has internal. A reverse! How clever is the storyline. So can it mean- in ancient times- Shiyi offered her internal beauty or ZSC offered his external beauty, thus moving the soul of the other party?
    2) Dramatising ZCS in Forever and Ever drama seems different from book ZCS. The book ZCS seems more confident and more in control of himself- which I prefer.
    However, the drama could come up with a touching story of ancient Shiyi and ZSC based on what’s little written about their ancient lives in the book.
    Thank you for the beautiful translation and providing us with a good read.

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