Fangirling Chinese Novels

One Life, One Incarnation: Beautiful Bones (一生一世美人骨) — Chapter 10.3



As a few of you pointed out already from last update, Zhousheng Ren is no ordinary youth. We learn more about him and the Zhou/Zhousheng family.

Chapter 10.3 – Like Your First Adornment (3)

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. 


She was somewhat innately perceptive, especially in regards to people’s behaviours and attitudes.

If there was even a slight, subtle hint of something, she could detect it.

And so, she was thinking, Xiao Ren’s sudden appearance here to visit this future sister-in-law of his was definitely not simply as he had described, that it was “on his way.” Xiao Ren was quite a bit more particular than Zhousheng Chen about his food and lodgings, perhaps because he was the only son of Zhousheng Chen’s uncle and, even though he had been given over in adoption to Zhousheng Chen’s mother, he was still very much doted on and pampered.

His very gestures and expressions more or less emitted a sense of self-importance from being spoiled and loved.

However, he truly seemed to be fond of Shi Yi, or at least, she could not sense any sort of unfriendliness.

This little brother had brought with him a trunk of clothing, which was moved into the room Shi Yi and Mei Lin were staying in. The people who had moved the trunk had just stepped out of the room before Mei Lin immediately opened up the unlocked trunk. The entire trunk was filled with clothing. From layering garments that were to be worn next to the skin to outer garments, everything that she could need was all there.

Shi Yi had previously worn clothing made by the Wang family, and she knew they liked to sew two pearls on the inner edge of the sleeves.

Therefore, she only needed to rummage through a little before she knew that these clothes had been made by the people of the Wang family.

While Mei Lin was still looking through the clothing, someone had moved a whole box of water into the room.

“Big Brother mentioned that you heard some strange noises last night,” Xiao Ren explained to her simply, “so, if possible, these next couple of days, we will try to avoid drinking the water or eating the food from this place. The people who came with me will take care of all that for us.”

“That cautious?” Shi Yi could not suppress her laughter.

Xiao Ren also laughed with her, and in a half serious, half joking tone, he answered, “Whether it’s ghosts from hell or ‘ghosts’ among the living, the people of the Zhou family have encountered many of them, so of course we have learned to be more careful.”

Shi Yi merely treated his words as a joke and teased him, “Have you ever encountered any?”

But contrary to expectations, the boy did not reply.

From his facial expressions, she could not perceive anything unusual, but Shi Yi still seemed to feel that she had said something she should not have.

<>Please support this translation by only reading it at its actual site of posting, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com.  Thank you very much.

That evening, when she was having her phone call with Zhousheng Chen, she mentioned this incident. Zhousheng Chen paused slightly before telling her, “Xiao Ren’s mother died in an unexpected event, and furthermore, the reason for her death was somewhat unique. Hence, at times, his words and behavior may be a little peculiar.”

Zhousheng Chen’s explanation was very vague.

To be honest, Shi Yi did not understand what he was saying, and in a seldom seen occurrence, she pursued the issue. “What was the reason?”

He did not answer.

Shi Yi thought for a moment and then spoke again. “Sooner or later, I will need to find out about these things.”

“The Zhou family is rather unique. 96% of its assets are held internationally, and it has some business and friendships that are hidden from the light of the law,” he said. “Although the family of Xiao Ren’s mother was a longtime friend of our family, the reason for she chose to marry into the Zhou family was primarily because they wanted to investigate some matters pertaining to the Zhou family. Later… she died by accidental means.”

Shi Yi leaned against the edge of the window, listening as he continued to clarify this event of the past.

Approximately eight or nine years ago, when Zhousheng Ren was still a young child, he had gone onboard a gambling ship with his father and mother. This gambling ship belonged to the Zhou family. At the time, the Zhou family had been taking the lead to coordinate the business transaction of allocating the rights to an ore deposit for which ownership had not yet been claimed. And it was on this ship that, after her intentions had been discovered, Xiao Ren’s mother was given her punishment of death by the family clan.

At the time, in order to not bring about a negative effect on Xiao Ren, the illusion of a “death by accidental means” was created.

But as Xiao Ren gradually grew older, he naturally came to know some of the truths.

And so, on the topic of “ghosts among the living,” he had chosen to remain silent.

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

Shi Yi was stunned by Zhousheng Chen’s description of his own family, but she chose not to delve much deeper.

When she linked up in her mind all the things of his past, she increasingly felt that the environments in which they each lived were completely different worlds.

“In some aspects, I do not belong to the Zhou family,” Zhousheng Chen stated. “When this whole matter is done, everyone and everything will return to their original trajectory.”

“So, you actually don’t want to inherit the control of the Zhou family?”

“I have absolutely no intention of doing so.”

Near him, someone was saying something in a language she did not understand. It sounded like it was work-related.

Shi Yi did not speak again, and they ended this conversation.

Outside the window, the wind was blowing rather forcefully, creating swirls on the surface of the waterways and whipping up the clothing of passengers inside the fishing barges. The subsequent sounds of laughter and loud voices rang out.

She thought to herself, she understood what he meant.

If it could be said that in both lives, Zhousheng Chen’s belief and desire were to reverse the course of development so that there would be fewer families that would endure misfortune, then hers could be summarized much more simply: she believed in him, and she would always stand by his side.

<>The translator sincerely asks that you only read this at its actual site of posting, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. If you truly do wish to share, please post a link to hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com.

The next evening was the last round of the competition finals.

Xiao Ren had said that he wanted to watch, and Shi Yi had told him in a completely serious tone that he would not receive special treatment. For instance, he could only come by himself into the competition area and sit in a corner in the seats reserved for the media. She had thought that this proud boy would not want to comply with those terms, but contrary to her expectations, he still came, alone and even carrying a book. Since Shi Yi was sitting at the judges’ table, most of the time, she could not watch or take care of him, and only when the competition was over did she finally have an opportunity to check on him.

She had not expected that a quick glance at the book in his hand would discover teaching material written in a foreign language.

She did not look through the content of the book in detail, but her eyes swept over familiar formulas. It was physics.

“You want to study physics in the future?” Finally, Shi Yi could see in him traces of an ordinary person.

“Mm-hmm.” Xiao Ren nodded his head, closed the book, and set it down flat on his lap.

“That’s great,” she agreed quietly. “With these types of subjects, the further you pursue your studies, the more blurry the boundaries become between the individual fields and disciplines. Maybe one day you can even be better than your big brother.”

“It’s not possible. I cannot possibly exceed him.” Xiao Ren laughed, and, in a seldom seen moment, he was somewhat shy as he explained, “He’s a genius. At age twelve, he was receiving invitations from universities. Age fourteen, he entered university. Age nineteen, he received his PhD in chemical engineering. I’m already fourteen, but I still have not entered university.”

She had heard these words before, spoken from the mouth of Zhou Wenchuan.

But when Xiao Ren said them, he truly was extremely proud of these facts, and there was even an obvious sense of worship in his tone.

“Oh, is that so?” Shi Yi deliberately pretended that she had just learned this information, and in accordance with the act, she gasped in surprise, “That’s amazing.”

“He is very amazing.” Xiao Ren looked at her. “Otherwise, why would my second sister-in-law still love him?”

“Second sister-in-law?”

“Tong Jiaren.”

“Oh,” she smiled. “I heard they used to be engaged.”

“Yes.” Xiao Ren did not attempt to conceal this. “Tong Jiaren is also the older sister of my birth mother. Anyway, the relationships are very complicated. At the time, because my birth mother married Fath–… Uncle… she took it upon herself to break off the engagement.”

She had been the one to do it of her own accord?

Shi Yi gave another “oh” in response.

“But this is all just what I heard. I hadn’t been born at the time yet.”

Perhaps because their topic involved Zhousheng Chen, this was actually a rare moment in which Xiao Ren had much to say.

Shi Yi chatted with him for a while and also carefully browsed through his book, but she could not really understand what was written. In some ways, this boy appeared to be very similar to Zhousheng Chen. She pondered, if Xiao Ren had the chance to study under Zhousheng Chen, the arrogance and finickiness that had been produced as a result of his family’s coddling could be completely polished away.

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

After the two of them had talked for some time, Shi Yi gave Mei Lin an excuse and first took Xiao Ren out for dinner by herself.

This was the last night of the contest finals, and by tomorrow afternoon, everyone would be leaving this place, returning to their own respective cities. It was unavoidable, therefore, that Shi Yi would need to spend some time with the group, drinking tea and carrying out casual dialogue.

Xiao Ren insisted on staying with Shi Yi. He did not say much and would occasionally answer with a word or two when faced with Hong Xiaoyu’s curiosity as she tried to strike up a conversation with him.

Later, when the older voice actors had all retired for the day and only the younger people remained, everyone began discussing what they could do to entertain themselves. Somehow, their topic turned to pai gow [Chinese dominoes][1].

“I didn’t bring anything for that,” Mei Lin laughed as she curbed their enthusiasm. “I’m afraid we won’t have enough time to go out and buy a set now, right?”

“It doesn’t need to be so serious. We can just find something here to use as a substitute.”

Everyone was in high spirits. Shi Yi did not really understand the game, so she simply listened and observed.

Xiao Ren, on the other hand, in a low voice summoned a girl who was standing not far away and quietly gave her a few instructions. The girl, who was one of his accompanying attendants, quickly left, and when she returned, she was holding a long box.

“What is that?” Shi Yi asked inquisitively.

“Pai gow. Also called ‘bone tiles’.”

Shi Yi looked at him in surprise.

Beside them sat Hong Xiaoyu and Du Feng. Hearing their conversation, Xiaoyu’s interest was aroused. “Someone really brought some. Perfect. Open it so everyone can play.”

The young girl simply looked at Xiao Ren, and only after he gave a slight nod of his head did she open up the long, narrow box and place it on the table.

Lustrous, smooth ivory domino tiles that were slightly yellow in color were stacked in towers of four, but very swiftly, they were laid out into eight rows.

The young girl appeared as if she did not intend to leave and in fact, stood there in front of the table with the solemn look of a dealer. A quiet had settled over everyone. Initially, they had all assumed that this little brother of Shi Yi was simply a pampered, spoiled child of an affluent family, and the young girl accompanying him was surely there to wait upon his daily needs and wants.

But seeing the tiles on the table as well as watching the girl’s fluid motions a moment ago when she had stacked them… If they had not known better, they would have thought they had stepped into a gambling hall of the olden times, and they were esteemed patrons who had been given their own separate game table.

“My family’s elders are fond of this, so to please them, everyone more or less has learned a little bit,” Xiao Ren kindly explained to them. “This big sister here often accompanies Father when he plays, so she is very familiar with it.”

This explanation was rather curious but not difficult to understand.

<>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.

Now that there were tiles, those who earlier had eagerly wanted to play turned their attention over in their direction and approached the table to place their bets. Because they were only playing for fun and Mei Lin had strictly prohibited everyone from using real money, the young girl, who had taken on the role as the banker, divided up some gaming chips to every person as their wagers.

Their private room soon grew very lively. Shi Yi, though, was curious and quietly asked Xiao Ren, “Your fath–… your uncle really likes this game?”

“The people in the family all like it.” Xiao Ren looked over at Shi Yi. “Big Brother never told you?”

She shook her head.

“Your family is so interesting.” Hong Xiaoyu found this boy’s words and demeanor very entertaining. “Do you know how to play?”

Zhousheng Ren nodded. “Yes.”

Hong Xiaoyu burst out in a laugh. Tugging on Du Feng’s arm, she asked him, “Want to give it a try? In a moment?”

“If we’re not playing for real money, then I’ll play a bit.” Du Feng also seemed amused as he looked toward Xiao Ren. “Never thought a little boy would know how to play pai gow. Are you good at it?”

Zhousheng Ren returned his gaze. “I’m not very adept in it, but my skills are more than adequate to play with all of you.”

“Oh.” Du Feng laughed amusedly. “That’s some pretty big talk. When I was in Macau[2], I did not lose very often.”

Xiao Ren contemplated for a moment before he spoke. “Do you know of the saying, ‘pai gow that risks a city[3]’?” He seemed to remember someone or something, and a trace of a smile could be heard in his voice. “The life-or-death, win-or-lose instances of pai gow are such that in a single night, you can lose an entire city. And so, do not heedlessly enter into this game, especially when you are acting impulsively and based on feeings.”

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

[1] 牌九 “pai jiu.” Literally, it means to “make nine.” A Chinese gambling game that uses a set of 32 Chinese dominoes.  “Pai jiu” is the Mandarin pinyin for this game, but in English and casinos, they have transliterated it as “pai gow.”

[2] Macau is known as the “Monte Carlo of the Orient,” with an economy that is highly dependent upon gambling tourism.

[3] 倾城牌九 “qing cheng pai jiu.” 倾城 “qing cheng” is what I often translate as “downfall of a city.” However, the word 倾 “qing” can also mean “to throw in”, “to risk” or “to lose” something. The saying, “pai gow that risks/loses a city” is saying that the risks in the game of pai gow are so high, and if your skill is not good enough, you could lose everything, even an entire city, in a single night. Therefore, if you have not fallen into the allure of the game, don’t let yourself, but if you have, you must as soon as possible learn the skills (and cheating skills) that will decrease your risks to the lowest possible and increase your chances of winning to the highest possible.

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:

Just a little tidbit: This gambling ship incident had been mentioned earlier, and I had told you before that the first book, 一生一世 (also called突然想要的地老天荒), of the series describes the event, including the death of Xiao Ren’s mother, in detail. In that very last bit about “pai gow that risks a city”, Xiao Ren is actually quoting the someone from that first novel, who had said these same words onboard the gambling ship. The “someone or something” that Xiao Ren is remembering here is likely the female lead of that story or possibly the (awesome) scene at the gambling table the male lead of the story had created that time, when he also stated those very words.<>Please read this only at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the actual site of posting. Thanks!

P.S. Next update begins chapter 11, and I have an inkling that many of you will like that entire chapter. 🙂 Don’t miss it.


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53 thoughts on “One Life, One Incarnation: Beautiful Bones (一生一世美人骨) — Chapter 10.3

  1. Thanks for the chapter !! 🙂
    Wow! I’m surprised that Xiao Ren actually knows how to play… the mysterious overtone is definitely thickening! 😀
    I hope the next chapter will have more OTP time!

  2. Let me guess, we’ll get a consumating marriage/bed scene for next chapter.

    • Keep a log of your predictions and see if you’re right. 🙂

      By chapter 11, I mean the whole unit of chapters 11.1 through 11.3. I’m not referring to just one individual scene or moment.

  3. oh my! xiao ren seems very confident…..the entire zhou family is very interesting…all the mystery and past…
    poor xiao ren…to lose his mother at such a young age must have been very hard on him…

    Thanks for the update! 🙂

    • He’s a doted on and a little arrogant, but he has a kind heart. Yes, he took the loss very hard. 😦 But Zhousheng Chen is such a good big brother/cousin so that probably helped his childhood.

      You’re welcome!

  4. Thank you for the chapter.

  5. Looking forward to Chapter 11.
    Thank you very much for your prompt updates.

  6. Recently I have been translating parts of a novel to de-stress (just for the process, probably will never come out of my folder) and realized that ancient and better written novels are much harder to translate well. Thanks for all your efforts. I’ve been a silent reader for a while and think you capture the feel of the original most of the time–to the point where I can recall the original wording at times!

    question – is the first novel worth reading/would you recommend it?

    • Ah, the process of translating. Readability, author’s intent, honouring original, literal words. The fun internal debate that happens. :p Yes, it’s been a while since I did an ancient novel now, but this one is pretty close sometimes (and at times, even more ancient than some ancient novels.) Ancient novels come with their own set of things, like maintaining that ancient atmosphere without sounding corny. Thank you. 🙂 Peanuts regularly hears from me about how I feel like I’m crazy for choosing this novel to translate. It’s probably been my most technically challenging translation to date, and I know so much is lost in translation. Therefore, thank you for the encouragement.

      I realized I still haven’t replied to you on SSB. Mid-June to mid-July is always very busy for me, so I’ve barely been able to keep myself on top of the translations. My apologies!

      The first novel was written early in MBFB’s career as an author. At the time, I personally feel she was still finding her style. It is more a plot-driven type of novel and less a character development or atmosphere type of novel. I think in MBFB’s later, more mature writing, her strength lies in being able to connect the readers emotionally to her stories, whether they be to the characters and their stories, like in Healing Sunshine, or the fun of the 2-D world, like RRMY, etc. In 突然想要的地老天荒, you feel more like an observer, watching the characters and what happens, not that they’re uninteresting, but you as the reader are a step removed from their world, not immersed into it like I feel with the later novels. Good story, I like it, will keep you reading, touching romance, especially with the male lead and what he chose for love, but just missing some of those later MBFB touches that I think pushes her writing to the next level for me.

      • Yea I think it’s pretty amazing how you can catch the feel of ancient times and have it feel nostalgic/ancient as opposed to corny.

        ah, thanks. I guess I shall hold off on reading that for now. Been in a semi reading slump since I found that ding mo’s next novel will be about lin mo chen. Hopefully she starts that soon!! I hope she starts before September.

        • Lin Mochen! If you’ve read my SSB review on Glamorous Time, you will know my love for him. Did you ever read the preview for that next novel? I’m so excited, yet nervous for that story. Lin Mochen is so awesome, but part of it is because we don’t have tons of info on him. I’m nervously anticipating what will happen when we see his romance and hoping he doesn’t lose that awesome aura. Ding Mo mentioned that the girl he loves may not necessarily be better/smarter than him (still TBD) but she is definitely more righteous than him. The start date of that novel is slipping me right now… I’m getting confused whether it’s in September, too. I know MBFB’s new novel will begin Sept 1.

        • For some reason it wont let me press ‘reply’ to your post below–but SUMMARY???? what??? where??!?!?!? I’ve been stalking her weibo and even *tried* to make a weibo to better stalk (but making weibo account from outside china is difficult!! at least technology is not agreeing. In one of the steps I cannot ‘choose subscription topics that I like’ so it wont let me complete setup….). Did you read about a start date somewhere? From the comments I’ve been reading on her weibo, her readers are super confused and want the book asap. I mean, who doesn’t want more Lin gege? September is soooo far awayyyyyy.

          Another book I really hope she writes eventually (unlikely though..) is about Bo Jian. He’s too cute! And has so many good lines in the few scenes he has been in. Would make for great male lead. I LOVE the scene where he tells Lin Qian that he was just pretending to be fooled. And also when he tells his daddy that uncle was lying to his mommy.

  7. Thank you Hoju for this beautiful translation of this equally beautiful novel. At first I found this book is kind of boring but as I persevered I began and eagerly waiting for another translation from you.

    Thanking u wonderful Hoju. You have a relaxful weekend.

    • I’m glad you are enjoying the story. Now that we’re more than halfway through, I can confess to all of you that I was nervous at the beginning about losing you guys. The pace is not fast in this story but steady. However, in the beginning, because you’re not sure where the story is headed yet, I was definitely worried that only 2 updates a week would make this appear too slow at the beginning. When I read it, since I had the whole text, I was just curious enough every chapter that I couldn’t put it down and never found it boring, but I know if I had to wait for chapter releases in that first bit, I would not be as interested. :p However, I’ll just use that to encourage all of you to read it from the very beginning when it’s all done and you don’t have to wait for my updates. See if that changes your opinion. :p

      Thank you!

  8. Thank you so much Hoju!! 😘😘😘

    Can’t wait for next chapter.

  9. Thanks for the chapter! Poor XR, good thing he has such an amazing brother to take care of him that he can look up to despite all the darkness. I’m looking forward to the next chapter. *^O^*

    • Yes, poor XR. That’s what I was trying to allude to last update when I said sometimes, life can just mature a person. Xiao Ren has seen too much, more than a fourteen year old should have to see, and he saw it when he was 5-ish and then had these 8-9 years to process it. 😦


  10. So, Zhou family is like the mafia is it? They kill those who don’t suit them….Zhou Ren’s mother is killed by the family, right?

    • Basically. I don’t think they would call themselves the mafia. I’d suspect they consider themselves higher and “classier” than that, but like Zhousheng Chen says, they have “businesses and friendships that are hidden from the light of the law.” As for Zhousheng Ren’s mother, the details are in the first book. While the family did not kill her directly, it was basically because of them that she died. (And it was a horrible death… It’s shocking Xiao Ren wasn’t scarred more.)

  11. where is zhousheng chen….I want to read about zs chen and shi yi. i don’t want to know about the other;<

    • Patience… 😉 He’s hanging out with us by phone right now. I definitely agree, the highlight is their romance, but the ugly backdrop of the family serves to emphasize even more how pure and beautiful their relationship is.

  12. Thank you for this chapter! XR acts like a 20+ yr old guy and is so charming!

    • Isn’t Xiao Ren awesome? Sadly, one of the reasons why he acts so mature is because he’s seen some pretty nasty things in his days, and he is still so young! But I love the confident air he displays that makes me feel like he is capable of protecting Shi Yi when his big brother isn’t there.

  13. Thank you…thank you…and thank you again😃
    looking forward for the next chapter 😊

  14. Thank you! I’m eager for chapter 11!

    • Ah… the pressure is on. I really hope chapter 11 lives up to the expectation I created. I personally love it. 🙂

  15. Thank you!!! 🙏

  16. this family is very unique. i couldnt find any word to describe it. everyone seems to have ‘secret’ and they look so mysterious.. even this little ren has his own secret. it’s not easy marrying into this family, lols.
    thanks hoju, cant wait to see our lovely man!

    • I like to describe the family as “eerie.” They seem so clean, prim, proper, everything perfectly in place and following all these rules but underneath, they are shady, dirty, freaky. That contrast is just eerie because everything looks so fine on the surface, but even before you knew all this, when Shi Yi was in the manor, you can sense that things aren’t quite right with them.

      I hope you love the way he makes his entrance this time!

  17. Interestingly when XR turns up and also mention that he had heard from ZSC about SY’s unsettling night there … I thought of how close they must be and must have kept constant contact for ZSC to have mentioned in passing to XR … I wonder if ZSC has a fixed time/day too that he calls XR too like he did SY … hahahaha … was XR’s visit really just to get to know SY? Or did big brother mentioned it to XR so he can come & check on SY first until he could get there in person himself? Whatever it is … it’s sweet how the 2 brothers/cousin look out for the beautiful SY. For some reason I feel that XR turn up to help ZSC look out for SY.

    Thanks as always for your hard work in bringing this lovely novel to us.

  18. HI! i’m a new fan of your blog ! Thankyou so much for giving your time for the sake of our pleasure 🙂 and i must say its 10 chapters in and I already love this novel so much! I feel like really really miss you is too sugary, too sweet (although toupai is exceptional, i feel like he’s too fictional since he’s being written as this really flawless human being) and I truly feel like this one has the perfect balance of everything. So thankyou once again! and I will definitely keep a close eye for the next chapters to come 😀

    • Thank you!! I love hearing from new readers.

      I purposely chose this novel after RRMY to demonstrate MBFB’s versatility as a writer. RRMY was not meant to be about well-rounded or even believable characters. It’s definitely an escapist type of novel, where you can just immerse yourself in a happy fantasy and… be happy. It was MBFB’s way of capturing her love for food and the 2-D world, so you are only supposed to feel pure joy and excitement when reading it.

      MBFB said she poured her heart into Beautiful Bones. And you can tell. I’m so glad you love it! I really appreciate her writing in both stories, obviously :p, so it makes me happy when either one resounds with a reader. 🙂

  19. How very ruthless – and also somewhat chilling to have ZSC relate what happened in such a matter of fact way, as if pronouncing a sentence of death on someone was somehow normal. It’s things like this that make him such a hard character to puzzle out – he clearly does not want to remain a part of such a shady enterprise, but to remain in his current position as the head of the family I feel that he has to have participated in some less than savoury business himself. He might not have directly dirtied his hands, but I can’t help feeling that he’s still pretty complicit. Don’t get me wrong! I like a hero that is conflicted and ambiguous!

    • In regards to Xiao Ren’s mother’s death, Zhousheng Chen was not even present when it happened. My memory is foggy… I think he was still studying or away and had rushed to board the gambling ship after the fact. He most certainly is aware of all that they do and, as we saw with his marriage to Shi Yi and the 4 passports, he will use those connections that are “outside of the light of the law” to do things. How much Zhousheng Chen has tried to stop any actions that he believes are not right, we will never know. However, I believe that he would never do anything that he believes violates his morals and principles, but, especially in the past when he had no true authority in the family since he had not come of age yet, he may have stood off to the side and allowed things to happen without interfering.

      Interesting thought. I never pondered this before… food for thought for me.

      • I agree that he definitely has a strong set of personal morals. ShiYi certainly feels him to be the same righteous and upright character that he was in ancient times (down to his bones). But I still think it is very interesting to think about how even someone with the most rigid ethics can have them chipped away at, piece by piece. He must have had to walk a fine line as he was growing up – and as a young man – as I would not put it past the family to “remove” anyone that was too problematic or unwilling to push their agendas.

        • Absolutely. We can only imagine how he managed to keep himself strong enough so that, as the future heir of the family power and fortune that was currently being controlled by someone else, he would not be disposed of early in life. I think his indifferent front as the boy/man absorbed in science only might have helped along the way, convincing others that he had no intention of going back to take his rightful position.

  20. Ehm, in the previous chapter when SY saw zhou Wen Chuan with a girl name, Wang Man, acting like they were lovers. Is this the same girl that makes SY’s dresses from the Wang family? It’s just dawned on me & I can’t remember her name. Why on earth, this girl, Wang Man, works at the recording studio SY always goes to for her work?

    I’m surprise that Xiao Ren grew up somewhat “normal” considering that he knew the people that killed his birth mother was the same people that he called family. 😂

    I give it to Tong Jia Ren for breaking off her engagement when her sister married ZSC’s uncle considering how much she loved (still loves) ZSC. It’s kind of weird though. The Zhou family found out about the Tong’s family bad intention. That’s why they killed Xiao Ren’s birth mother but yet they still allowed ZSC to be engaged to the other Tong sister. And this Tong Jia Ren ended marrying ZSC’s younger brother. How weird is that????

    Thanks for the translation!

    • Exactly what I’m pondering about too. And how old exactly is Tong Jia Ren for her younger sister to be the dead mother of Zhousheng Ren? Wouldn’t it make more sense if the one that married Zhousheng Cheng’s uncle was Tong Jia Ren’s elder sister? The age gap and inter-generation thing is just weird.

      • Sorry, Sian, this must have been one of your comments that I never got to.

        Kate, sorry for the late reply. I’m on semi-break right now, so it took longer than normal. Okay, let me get back in my Beautiful Bones head space for a bit.

        (1) Regarding why Wang Man was at the recording studio.
        First off, in the narration in chapter 8.2 regarding a new grad at the recording studio who was reprimanded everyday until Zhou Wenchuan stepped in is not about Wang Man, i.e. she was not the new grad. In that chapter, Mei Lin only said she recognized the man, i.e. Zhou Wenchuan.
        As for why Shi Yi saw them there, they were just in the open space in front of the building Shi Yi’s recording studio is in. The recording studio is on the 10th floor of a building situated in a busy place, since there was “hustle and bustle of throngs of people” when Mei Lin and Shi Yi spotted Zhou Wenchuan and Wang Man. We don’t know why they’re there having a little date, but it’s a busy public space so it’s not unthinkable that that they would be there either.

        (2) Tong Jiaren’s sister — I answered this question in a couple of other chapters, too, so perhaps you already got your answer? I’ll just copy the answer that I wrote. 🙂
        “Xiao Ren’s mom is Tong Jiaren’s younger sister. The gambling ship incident where Xiao Ren’s mom died took place when Xiao Ren was 4-5 years old and Zhousheng Chen was only ~ 20 years old. So, Tong Jiaren is a similar age to Zhousheng Chen, so what that means is that her sister was at most 15-ish years old when she had Xiao Ren with Uncle Zhousheng Heng! Gross… but for the bizarre and old-fashioned Zhou family, which still believes in concubinage, not a stretch of the imagination. >_< " Remember, even the pregnant Tang Xiaofu who was murdered was said to be less than twenty years old. Yeah, the family is just weird.

        • Ah yes, I read the whole story and realised. Thanks for the translation and explanation! I’m just peeved that they never explained anything about Tang Xiaofu’s murder. Or was something implied about it?

          • Thank you for reading. 🙂
            No explicit explanation. In reality, while a murder is a drastic thing, I believe the author intended it to be simply a detail that showed the ruthlessness of the family and the obstacles that Zhousheng Chen faced. The end result of Tang Xiaofu’s death was that it was improper for Zhousheng Chen and Shi Yi to hold an engagement, and hence, Shi Yi did not get formally recognized. So, therefore, that delayed when Zhousheng Chen could formally take over leadership. Clearly, it was someone who did not support Zhousheng Chen as leader. I, personally, think it was masterminded by Zhou Wenchuan, but it doesn’t have to be.

  21. We are finally getting some insights into ZSC’s family.

    I just want to recap some few things just to be sure I understand the family tree. So who’s the second master ZSC’s granny was referring to? Zhousheng Heng or someone else? Tong Jiaren’s younger sis married Heng, and they had Xiao Ren. But she got ‘killed off’ because she was snooping around. So is the breaking off of the engagement between TJ and ZSC in anyway related to what happened to Xiao Ren’s birth mum?

    • Grandmother’s words are intended to be cryptic. Obviously, she would not be referring to her grandchild, i.e. Zhou Wenchuan, as Second Young Master. Therefore, that only leaves it to be of a previous generation. If Zhousheng Chen’s father is Eldest Young Master, since that must be so in order for his son to bear the surname, then Second Young Master must be…

      Yes, breaking off of engagement is directly related. Think of it this way: Zhousheng Chen was heir in name only. The true power was held in the hands of Zhousheng Heng, who had over the years, probably accumulated his own alliances. The Tong family is obviously one of those wealthy families who was trying to secure an alliance with the Zhousheng family, first through Tong Jiaren in engagement with Zhousheng Chen, then later through younger sister in marriage to Zhousheng Heng. While everything was calm on surface, the Tong family’s choice of whom (Zhousheng Chen or Uncle) they aligned with would be obvious by which marriage they allowed to go through. Given what type of family they are, do you think they would choose the “rightful” heir who had no power whatsoever or the one who held the true authority? Now, remember the discussion about highborn ladies at the end of chapter 3.3, the ones who were born and bred simply to wed off in a marriage of alliance? Tong Jiaren was one of those, so when her family chose the other side, she obviously had no choice but to break off the marriage of her own accord.

      • Thanks for the detailed explanation. I figure this out after reading further hehehe!!

        This hard being born into a family that seeks only wealth, reputation and power.

  22. I’m looking forward on learning more about Zhousheng Ren hehe.
    Thanks for the translation, hoju~

  23. Love love love this book! Thank you for your hard work.
    I am just a bit confused if Tong Jiaren is older sister of XR’s mum (same age as ZSC) . Then how old was his mum to be married to his father that was at least 14 yrs ago? 😣

  24. Ok so this basically settles the confusion I’ve had about his family: they’re a mafia. Did not expect that. All the pretty manners and strict rules are there to cover this fact, it seems. Wow.

    This whole time I thought ZCR’s mother was TJ’s older sister. First Tang Xiaofu and now ZSR’s mother. The lives of these young girls being sacrificed in these families. Smh.

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