Based on my past experience, I have already stocked up on boxes of tissues for any unexpected nosebleeds you may have. In case you are starting to feel faint, I have paper bags and expuery10 is kindly providing smelling salts. Now that we are sufficiently prepared… :D
Chapter 11.2 – Your First Adornment was Like You (2)
Shi Yi stared back at him, her eyes sparkling, perhaps a little too brightly for it seemed as if something was going to spill over from within them.
In the end, she lowered her head slightly. “Why did you deliberately look at D. Wang like that?”
“Me?” Putting his arm around her shoulder, Zhousheng Chen led her away while joking, “I was paying respects to the one who lost.”
For an instant, Shi Yi was startled by before, with a “pfft,” she burst out into laughter.
Seeing him right here, she had unusually lots to say because she could not suppress her good mood. From complaining about the strange noises of that night to describing to him the local culinary delicacies, the things to tell him were simply too many to enumerate. He seemed very familiar with the layout of this place such that, when they walked by an old-fashioned dyehouse set-up for vistors to view, he was instantly able to recognize where they were. Shi Yi found this rather strange. “This side was only recently constructed and it’s still not open to the public yet. How come you seem to know it so well?”
“Because you were staying here, I had someone bring me a plan layout for me to look over.”
She gave an “oh,” staring out at the dyehouse that stood there beneath the blazing sun.
Cloths had been hung very high up, and length after length of long, narrow deep blue fabrics were lifted up slightly by the breeze before floating back down.
This little slice of scenery, however, caused her to think of that twenty-day long siege she had once heard about. He had led his calvary of ten thousand. Day and night, unceasingly, they had fought to hold and defend Qing City. The enemy army had numbered one hundred and thirty thousand.
Twenty days later, the army of reinforcements finally arrived.
His retainers who had come had long since lost hope until they suddenly saw, on the city walls, several lengths of deep blue cloth that had been hung up high by several people. They were badly tattered as they rippled in the fierce wind.
Deep blue was the color of Xiao Nanchen Prince’s banner.
Those several strips of cloth on the city walls that whipped about in the air were declaring that the city had not yet fallen.
She remembered how greatly the emotions of the man who had been narrating this to her had brimmed over when he spoke of this part. The man had said, the two hundred thousand reinforcement troops had instantly let out a resounding cheer that shook the heavens and continued until their voices were hoarse.
She remembered, her heart had pounded loudly as she listened, as if she had been at the scene in person.
Together, they continued strolling past the dyehouse and through long, narrow streets until they arrived at the room that Xiao Ren had been staying in earlier. This kid was very strange. His arrival had been unexpected and his departure was also without warning, leaving only a single piece of paper as his farewell.
There was only a short row of words: I, then, shall not disturb the two of you.
Zhousheng Chen’s eyes swept over it quickly before he handed the note to Shi Yi and motioned that he was going to take a shower first. “It is too hot here, and I have perspired quite a bit. Wait a moment for me.” After saying this, he pulled some clothing other people had prepared for him out from the drawers and stepped into the bathroom.
With the remote control, Shi Yi turned on the air conditioning and then closed all the windows.
Because the windows had been open to ventilate the room, it was very hot inside, and much time passed before the temperature started coming down. When she finally felt the room was a comfortable temperature, she adjusted it back up slightly, worried that he would catch a cold when he came out from his shower.
While she was standing there with remote control raised and analyzing the temperature, Zhousheng Chen had already stepped out of the bathroom.
“What are you analyzing?”
“Temperature. Worried it’ll be too cold and you’ll catch a cold.”
Even from simply looking at her from behind, he could perceive her seriousness.
All of a sudden, his body started to grow hot. He wanted her.
This sort of feeling had come over him several times in Bremen, but each time, he had suppressed it. But although the person before him was dressed properly and modestly, there still seemed to be a force drawing him to her that he could not seem to break free from.
Perhaps, he did not need to break free of it.
As Zhousheng Chen walked over to her, Shi Yi had already finished adjusting the temperature and had set the remote control down on the desk. He stepped close to her, lowered his head, and caressed her neck with his lips. Shi Yi instantly froze but then the next second, her body softened and melted.
She liked to wear collared, cotton dresses because they were not overly revealing.
Zhousheng Chen hooked his finger onto the back neckline and pulled it down slightly, exposing some of the skin of her back. His kisses continued there. This unfamiliar sensation was somewhat torturous to her, and she shifted her body slightly.
“You don’t need to turn it up too high. We will be sweating later,” he told her in a low voice.
Shi Yi answered with an “mm” and closed her eyes tightly.
The whole time, he stood behind her, lingering between her neck and back. He called her name gently and did not try to hide the change that was occurring in his lower body as he held her in front of himself, pressed tightly to him.
Shi Yi could sense that this time, he really wanted it.
She grew even more anxious.
She wanted to give it to him, but she was also afraid.
Right on the brink of it happening, she started to fear. Fear that he would be disappointed with her body. Fear that she did not know enough about this and would cause him to feel that it was dry and uninteresting…… The more she thought, the more nervous she became until eventually Zhousheng Chen could sense it as well. “Is this not a good time?”
She answered quietly, “No…”
“Or do you not like this?”
She wanted to say yes, but thinking about it, last time in Bremen, they had already completely bared themselves to one another inside the hotel room, and that time, she had been the one who had initiated it. Why was she suddenly so scared now?… She did not know.
With both his hands, Zhousheng Chen took her dress by its hem and lifted it up from the bottom, taking the dress off of her. He tossed it lightly onto the desk.
He did not disrobe himself and instead, shifted so that he was against her skin and began to kiss her even more deeply, from her collarbone to her shoulder. Her face and ears glowed red as Shi Yi tried to keep away from the touch of her body to his behind her, but one of his hands held her, not allowing her to move away. Neither anxious nor impatient, only slowly taking things deeper and deeper. When his hand started to undo her undergarments, he asked, “Do you remember I told you I like to collect Wu songs?”
Shi Yi gave an “mm.” A very tiny, imperceptible sound.
She could feel the clasp of her bra being undone, and then the undergarment fell to the ground.
“Are you familiar with Wu songs?”
“No……” How could she be familiar with those sexually evocative poems for the bedchambers that had once circulated through the common folk?
Zhousheng Chen’s palm was somewhat rough, or at least, to her skin, the feeling of its presence was very strong. When his hand stroked over her bosom, she gasped lightly, and her eyes shut themselves even tighter so that even her lashes were quivering faintly.
Beside her ear, his voice was very soft, very low. “At morning, upon the terrace. At evening, resting in the orchid pond. Borrowing the light of the moon to pick the lotus flower. Night after night, I take the lotus seed.”
Vaguely, she could hear the suggestive overtones of romantic relations.
But her mind had already drifted away somewhere. This was her first experience being so physically intimate with a man, and her senses were very much heightened.
No matter where his hand slid to, she felt the urge to evade it. Whether this was intimacy or torture, she could no longer tell.
“In ancient texts, the ‘lian’ in ‘lotus flower’ [莲荷 ‘lian he’] is substituted in place of the ‘lian’ in ‘loving tenderness’ [爱怜 ‘ai lian’],” he told her in a low tone. “’Lotus,’ therefore, means love.”
There was perspiration on his arm as it rubbed against her body.
Sunlight passed through the window glass and fell upon her body, which no longer had any garments to conceal it.
Finally, he turned her around to face him. Lowering his head, he kissed her lips as he removed his own shirt and trousers.
In her hazy perception, he never ceased reciting to her in a quiet voice those poems she had never before heard and should be shared only between lovers. Most were too metaphorical, so he would explain them to her. His speech was low and quiet but focused and thorough as he took these sensual, amorous poems that were laden with sexually suggestive overtones and explained them like he would if he was lecturing in a college classroom.
Their bodies pressed up against one another, fitting together tightly.
He, however, still did not progress his actions to the next step. Shi Yi could already feel that her awareness was drifting away, and she did not know what she should do. For a moment, she even felt that this must be an hallucination, and she questioned herself whether she was truly here, together with Zhousheng Chen, skin against skin and nothing between them……
In a low voice, he told her, “I am going to start now. It may hurt somewhat.”
A flush spread across her body.
She did not even dare to breathe. It was something that she knew, but from his lips, it was seduction.
Serious, seductive lovemaking.
All of her senses seemed as if they were suspended. His slightest motions caused her to inhale lightly from anxiousness.
“When I was little, I recited ‘Master Lü’s Spring and Autumn Annals.’ The elders in my family all would say, ‘The charms of beauty; gleaming teeth; the music of Zheng and Wei — these are pursued for the pleasure they bring.’” Zhousheng Chen’s voice seemed as if it had been burnished, carrying in it a hint of huskiness due to thirst. “Beautiful women and music for entertainment purposes are both things that you should not allow yourself to become too absorbed in. Have you heard it before, this particular saying?”
Biting down on her lip, she gave an “mm.”
“I once regarded those as below my consideration, believing that neither was worth becoming absorbed in. Now, though, I do not think that.”
He was trying. Her body quivered from the pain.
Beads of perspiration trickled off his body and fell on hers. Zhousheng Chen did not dare make any hasty movements. When the pain subsided and grew faint, she summoned her courage and arched upward to meet him. Zhousheng Chen was somewhat taken aback and paused momentarily. Looking down at her face that had turned slightly pale, he saw it was slick with perspiration…… “Shi Yi?” he suddenly called her.
Shi Yi’s eyes fluttered open.
In her mind, this was where it had all began.
Many memories, both from her past life and this present one, all seemed to surge up, one upon another. Memories of swirling sand and dust, of the smoke of beacon fires surrounding on all sides, of him sitting alone in the library tower, of him riding with her as he spurred the horse across Chang’an…… If, that day, they had not reined in the horse and halted the direction they had been headed in……
Zhousheng Chen was very patient and would continually ask her softly, “Are you still okay?”
In the beginning, she would answer him, but later, she could only give a disjointed “mm” as she gripped tightly to the bed sheet beneath her. Her hands would clench and then loosen. The numerous, jumbled images in her mind were far from her now. The real person, the person who was here with her, was him. Yet, it also was not him. Shi Yi’s palms were covered in sweat. She stretched a hand up to his face. “Zhou––… sheng Chen.”
His voice was low as he answered her.
“I love you,” she told him in a hoarse voice.
He answered with a quiet “mm.”
Her hand caressed his face. It was covered in perspiration. Their two bodies pressed down upon the bed sheet. It was hot and damp.
At last, he held her in his arms and rolled to his back so that she could lay atop him to rest. Grabbing the thin, cotton blanket, he pulled it so that it covered most of their bodies. Exhausted, Shi Yi could not open her eyes as she rested her face against his chest and listened to the beat of his heart.
There was very long period of quiet, so quiet that she nearly drifted off into sleep.
Her fingers, though, could not resist and moved to stroke the skin at his waist. “Before, did you ever… with someone else…”
With eyes closed, he chuckled, “No.”
Shi Yi also gave a little giggle, and in a sleepy voice, she quietly stated, “And you aren’t ever allowed to either.”
“Yes, it won’t ever happen.” His hand was on her back and lightly slid over it.
“If I end up dying first, then I’ll trouble you to suffer through for a little while. Next life, I’ll make it up to you.” Shi Yi felt she was being overly sentimental and melodramatic, but she still could not hold back the words. It was only in this time that she dared say these things to this great scientist.
He let out a slight laugh and then, lightly, he answered with an “mm.”
Satisfied, Shi Yi lifted her head and placed a soft kiss on his lips. Then, she carried on with gently caressing the skin around his waist until gradually, her breathing grew steady. There, lying on top of him, she fell into a contented slumber.
Alright, you’ve all waited for this. My first boating translation. Of course, it had to be with Zhousheng Chen, who somehow managed to make it poetic, sexy, and geeky (with his lecture style explanations) all at the same time… Actually, this scene is really quite different from other ones I’ve read. While I don’t doubt there was passion, this scene almost felt peaceful — still, if I might say — even with the nervousness. It’s the considerateness, the gentleness, and the poetry that all seemed to come together to weave a quiet, yet oh-so-sensual atmosphere..
I tried not to break up your reading by keeping the Wu song explanation within the body of the text and not footnoting it. I think it’s pretty clear now, but if you don’t get it, drop me a comment and I’ll try to explain it better.
I know the highlight to all of you is very likely that scene, but I must LOL at the “respects” Zhousheng Chen paid to D. Wang. And that story about the blue cloth that declared that Qing City had not fallen and Xiao Nanchen Prince’s troops were still valiantly guarding the city. I teared up. Twice. When I was translating it and then when I was reading through to do my edits. He doesn’t even really make a physical appearance, but that image of the tattered cloth whipping in the wind and the tenacity of Xiao Nanchen Prince and his army touches me.
Anyways… I’ll just head back to the corner I was squealing in last post and continue to hand out tissues and paper bags. *singing* Row, row, row your boat…
1 of 1 Prologue
35 of 56 Main story segments
0 of 3 Epilogues