Fangirling Chinese Novels

One Life, One Incarnation: Beautiful Bones (一生一世美人骨) — Epilogue 2



I had originally written a character discussion about Zhousheng Chen on the backend of this post because there had been several comments on him that I had said I would respond to later when more information was revealed. However, I’ve removed it because it was just tooooo long and distracting. Sorry. If there was a question or comment you specifically wanted me to address, let me know and I will do that.

I love Xiao Nanchen Prince. ❤

Epilogue 2 – Ordinary Chimney Smoke

“Halt! Those two children over there!”

Eleven jumped in fright, blinking her wide eyes at Third Brother, who was holding her in his arms.

“Don’t be scared. Third Brother is here.” Third Brother patted her back.


More than a dozen horses had stopped near them, snorting quietly from their nostrils. Warhorses that had experienced the battlefield did indeed exude a fierceness about them.

Clutching tightly to the front of Third Brother’s robe, she tilted her head to look up at the people on the horses. Behind the two of them, that man, with reins held in his hands, was framed against a background of sunlight, and he surveyed them, two still-growing children, rather carefully.


Those dark, luminous eyes bypassed the four guards and in silence, looked straight into her eyes.

Eleven cautiously returned his gaze. Quietness surrounded them… So quiet that all that could be heard was her own heartbeat.

Several sharp, ringing sounds echoed out. Their four guards’ swords had been drawn from their scabbards. Four gleaming blades sheltered Third Brother and her within their protective circle. Although they were facing more than a dozen war horses, facing generals whose entire beings emitted an air of ferocity that could not be washed away, and facing even the Xiao Nanchen Prince, the one whom the crown prince still needed to behave carefully and courteously toward, the four of them would still defend the young miss of their household.

Never before had she seen such a situation, and she shrank herself back into Third Brother’s embrace. However, her eyes still could not refrain from flickering over to peek at him.

At last, Zhousheng Chen pulled his gaze away, and the hand holding the whip gave an offhand wave. “There is no need to make things difficult for two children. Let us go.” Upon saying this, he gave a shout at the horse, turned, and galloped away first. Behind him, his generals still had apprehensions but dared not say anything. Each also shouted at his own horse and quickly followed after Xiao Nanchen Prince, whose outline had long since vanished at the end of the road.


This was her teacher.

As Eleven stared at the dust that had been churned upwards and that white figure, her heartbeat became slower and slower. She knew that in three days, she would going with her father to formally enter into a discipleship, and he would be the man she would be following hereafter…


This unexpected initial meeting had been buried away in her heart for seven years now.

Seven years ago, she had needed the aid of Third Brother’s arms before she could lean atop the city walls and  see Zhousheng Chen. Seven years later, she could stand in any place to look at the “him” she wished to see.

But, he was always leaving and returning in haste. In these seven years, even during the New Year or other festivals, most of his days would be spent in the borderlands.

And even if he did return, her senior brothers and sisters would often be accompanying him. It seemed, aside from in the library tower, she could only look upon him from afar.

Several days before the eve of the New Year, the Cui Manor sent someone to bring her home, but she stated that she was ill, having been overcome by wind-cold and it was not advisable that she embark on a long journey. She took the liberty of making the decision to remain in the prince’s manor. Upon hearing this news, Third Brother was genuinely panicked and brought with him one of the imperial physicians from the imperial palace to perform a pulse diagnosis on her. The old physician’s brows creased together for a great amount of time, but he was unable to provide any explanation, causing Third Brother to pace around anxiously.

Her eyes sparkling, she burst into giggles.

“Why are you laughing?” Third Brother was utterly bewildered, and he stretched his hand forward to touch her forehead. “Has the illness really caused your mind to go silly?”

She shook her head and extended her index finger to write something in Third Brother’s palm. However, for a long time, she made no movements.

Third Brother had doted on her ever since she was young. For her, he had willingly given up a life that could have been free and unconstrained, instead choosing to assume an insignificant post in the imperial courts for the sole reason that he could remain in Chang’an and keep watch over her. In this world, if there still might be a person she could speak the truth to, then that person could only be Third Brother.

She hesitated, but in the end, still wrote out the words: I want to wait for Teacher to return.

“Wait for Xiao Nanchen Prince?”

She nodded lightly. Looking back, in this half a year, reports of victories would frequently be received but Teacher had never once returned to the prince’s manor. Hence, she had anxiously longed for his return from the early summer to deep into autumn to today, the eve of the New Year.

She surmised, it should be time for his return.

Third Brother fell into a long silence, and with eyes that seemed filled with deep meaning, he stated, “His disciples have all long returned to their own families to celebrate the New Year. If he does not return, that would mean you will be alone at night for the New Year’s vigil.[1]

After pondering this briefly, she smiled and nodded again wordlessly.

If Teacher was not here, then she would stand vigil in the prince’s manor over the arrival of the New Year on behalf of him. It could be regarded as a moment of tranquility.


In the end, Third Brother ceded and allowed her to fulfill her wish. Filled with happiness in her heart, she saw Third Brother out of the prince’s manor. Snow had fallen the previous day, and now, the red plum blossoms in the manor were covered in snow. All around, red and white interspersed together. It was extremely lovely. After she saw Third Brother off, she strolled leisurely back to this place. Suddenly, she halted beneath a twig of plum blossoms, crooked her finger, and flicked the tip of the branch.

The twig swayed and quivered, dropping the snow that had been on it and revealing its damp flower petals.

On this same day one year ago, he had also performed the same action.

She smiled, closing her eyes and remembering how he had looked as he stood beneath the red plum blossoms. The Xiao Nanchen Prince, whose heart lay with the country and the people, had stood beneath the plum tree and carried out such a meaningless action. So very whimsical and so very astonishing to others watching. Last year, she had been beside him, and when she saw this, she could not hold back a laugh. He had detected this and turned to look at her.

In those gentle, glistening, deep black eyes, there were only her and red plum blossoms.


“Young Miss? Shall we prepare for dinner to be partaken?” The maidservant beside her interrupted her thoughts.

Eleven pulled her mind back, and as if her thoughts had been seen into, her ears instantly burned red. She shook her head over and over.

Seeing her suddenly so playful, the maidservant had felt that Young Miss’s illness seemed to be somewhat better and she could breathe out in slight relief. When Young Miss shook her head in refusal to have her meal, though, she again felt rather anxious. While Eleven returned to her room to read, she still went to prepare a lavish dinner. Even though it could not be considered a “family reunion dinner[2],” the evening meal for New Year’s Eve should still be more elaborate.

After all, Eleven had a very honoured status and should not be treated poorly.


However, after the meal was prepared, Eleven continued only to hold her scroll in hand, reading from when the golden sun was set high in the sky until the lamps and candles were burning throughout the room. Only when she had reached a point of extreme hunger did she rise from where she was, select a plate of small refreshments, and then return back to the desk, where she began to lay out a game of chess.

Very late into the night hours, she still did not feel fatigued.

The black and white chess stones before her had managed to blur time. With one hand supporting her chin, she would stare at the game for a long while before setting down each stone.

The entire time, her shadow cast on the window was noiseless, just like its owner. Ever so patient…

“Warm some wine.” A voice suddenly broke the quiet. Her head whipped upwards. Her dark, shining eyes were filled with his silhouette… He came near, lowering his eyes to look at the chessboard.

For a moment, all that could be heard were voices from behind her, one after another paying ceremonial respects.

He seemed to have thought of something else and casually added, “Tonight is the eve of the New Year. Bring out some [Sichuan] peppercorn also. Eleven, you are engaged in a game of chess with yourself?”

She nodded, coming off the daybed to personally pour some tea for him.

The tea was hot. She had instructed very early on that once the tea had become lukewarm, it should immediately be replaced. Because, she knew he would return.

Seeing that Young Miss was finally willing to move from where she was, the maidservant joyfully instructed people to warm up the food again and prepare for dinner. When Eleven saw the table laden with food and Teacher sitting beside her, smiling cheerfully, she suddenly felt her stomach rumble hungrily, and at last, the idea of eating entered her mind.

Zhousheng Chen picked up the warm wine ewer and poured a small sip into a cup for her before turning his hand to fill his own cup. Eleven looked at him in surprise. All these years, this was the first time he had asked her to drink wine. He appeared to see directly through her uncertainty and explained gently, “On the night before the New Year, one must drink a cup of pepper wine[3] with one’s family before the New Year’s vigil can be considered as begun.”

She finally comprehended, remembering that Du Fu had indeed written a poem that said, New Year’s vigil at brother’s home; over pepper wine we sing[4].

However, the Cui family did not observe such a tradition, and here in the prince’s manor… it would seem he had never before done so either. But, she could not remember.

While he spoke, he took a pinch of peppercorns from a coloured liuli-glass[5] cup and placed it into her wine cup, then added some into his own as well. At the table, there was only him and her, and hence, the cups they were using were also a pair. Shi Yi gazed at the pair of jade-colored wine cups, blinked her eyes, and smiled.


Sichuan peppercorns, which actually are the outer husk of the fruit of the Chinese prickly ash. Known for the numbing sensation it causes in the mouth when consumed. Photo credit

Family reunion dinner. A night for New Year’s vigil.

This was her first New Year’s Eve spent with him. A New Year’s Eve with only her and him.


And, this was also her last New Year’s Eve spent together with him.

Three years later, she departed the prince’s manor and returned to the Cui family to learn the proper rituals for her grand marriage ceremony, and he, by imperial decree, had ridden into battle to purge the border areas of threats.


On the return journey home, they encountered a snowstorm.

There, in a place she had never before set foot, she spent a night and stepped into another New Year.

By imperial orders, she was soon to marry and her position would become even more exalted. Along the way, the various government officials had all attended her respectfully and even offered up their entire manors for her lodgings. The person who came to meet her was Third Brother. Mother seemed to know that Third Brother was the only person who could set her heart at ease. In the vast prince’s manor, only Xiao Nanchen Prince could cause her to fall into true, heartfelt laughter, and in the great Cui family, only before Third Brother could she abandon herself to weeping.


That night, she asked only for a writing brush, ink, paper, and inkstone as well as an ewer of wine and a plate of [Sichuan] peppercorns.

Even Third Brother was not allowed to enter.


In her ten years in the prince’s manor, she was most adept in chess and painting.

She enjoyed holding a brush in hand to paint, but even during the times when she had been alone, she had still never dared to openly paint his countenance, instead, only hiding him amid the painted sceneries of flowers, grass, and landscape. Painting after painting. She had left them all in the prince’s manor, hanging on the walls of what had once been her bedchambers. She surmised, she would not be the only person who understood those paintings. The person whom she had concealed within them would undoubtedly understand them also.

Upon his triumphant return, when he saw the entire room of paintings…

She halted the motions of her brush. Tears fell like rain. They stained the paper, the ink, and also the man painted on the paper.


After two cups of wine, she could already feel drunkenness upon herself. She flourished her brush and fluidly began to paint, but it was no longer lotuses, flowers, or grasses. Behind him, she added mountains and flowing streams, common dwellings, and smoke spiraling up gently from kitchen chimneys — stretching continuously back for thousands of miles.

The land he held in his mind and heart.

Not one built upon outstanding military achievements. Not one of mountains of corpses and bones. But one of ordinary people and common dwellings amongst mountain streams and flowing rivers.


The ordinary chimney smoke of mankind. The smoke of battlegrounds.

In his life, he took no wife and had no offspring, choosing instead to place himself amid the hundreds of miles of smoke of battles, solely as an exchange for thousands of miles of unbroken stretches of ordinary chimney smoke.


And she, after having studied painting for ten years, at last, on this night, painted a man.

Those features, the unparalleled manner demonstrated in each gesture, belonged only to him.

The scroll of paper was completed without pause. In the end, the painting took form and became him.


[1]守夜 “shou ye.” Literally, this means “to guard or stand watch over the night. “ It is often called 守岁 “to guard or stand watch over the year” and basically means to see in the New Year. This is a Chinese tradition that dates far back into antiquity. The family gathers to enjoy the blessing and happiness of a family in union, and together, they stand watch over the arrival of the New Year. I will refer to this as “New Year’s vigil.”

[2]团圆饭 “tuan yuan fan.” The “family reunion dinner” is the dinner, usually on Lunar New Year’s Eve, in which the family gathers together to celebrate the upcoming New Year. Often, after dinner is done, the family members will sit together and wait for the arrival of the New Year, i.e. New Year’s vigil.

[3]花椒酒 “hua jiao jiu.” Drinking pepper wine, containing Sichuan peppercorns, was a tradition during Lunar New Year and was drunk during the New Year’s vigil to warm the body.

[4]守岁阿戎家,椒盘已颂花. A line from 杜位宅守岁 “New Year’s Vigil at the House of Du Wei”, written by Tang dynasty poet, Du Fu.

[5]琉璃 “liu li.” Liuli, sometimes called liuli glass or liuli crystal is the art of creating ancient Chinese coloured glass, with roots stretching back thousands of years. The art form was considered very sophisticated and would not be found within ancient common households.


Additional Comments:

One of my favourite things about Mo Bao Fei Bao’s writing for this novel is the character of ancient Zhousheng Chen, the Xiao Nanchen Prince. Though there actually are not many explicit scenes of him and many of them were found in Shi Yi’s memory, his presence seems to be a thread that carries through the entire story. He truly was righteous and selfless. In his entire lifetime, up to his death at age 31, he took no wife and had no offspring. While the romantics in us want to think it was because his heart belonged to Eleven, keep in mind, when Eleven became his disciple at age 7, he was already 21, well within marrying age.

So why did he not marry? Perhaps, he believed, 匈奴未灭,何以家为, a saying from the historical figure, General Huo Qubing that approximately means, “The enemy invaders have not yet been vanquished [and the common folk are still in suffering], so how could I [as a general fighting for the people] think about building my own family? “Or perhaps, it could simply be, he did not want to burden any woman with the weight of having to worry about and possibly even lose a husband on the battlefield. Regardless of the reason, he truly showed through his actions that he chose to set aside all of his personal goals, feelings, etc. and make only the good of his country and people his goal and priority. There were comments before by readers that, they weren’t sure why, but they did not hold it against Xiao Nanchen Prince that he chose to give up Eleven. May I propose that it was because we saw that he would give Eleven what love he could — in the form of care, in the form of gathering teas for her, in the form of pouring out all he knew into his teachings to her — so that everyone knew that she was special to him, but he never once made her a promise of being able to be with her? I believe he drew a line in the sand and kept their relationship pure not simply because of their teacher-student relationship. He cared not for power, fame, or wealth, so he easily could have ridden away with her on horseback that day and never turned back, finding a place where no one knew them and living the rest of their lives. But he knew that he had to choose the common people because their suffering and need for a defender was greater than the love between two people. And Eleven knew that was his choice as well.

His righteousness and selflessness are traits that our minds have grasped, but because we see him through Eleven and Shi Yi’s fragmented memories, we are also exposed to his caring, his strictness as a teacher (e.g. Eleven’s punishment for wasting tea), his gentleness… just enough to make him not seem like a figure that is unreachable, to see him as a real person with emotions and feelings, but not enough to pull him off of the pedestal.

Simply brilliant to me. 🙂



1 of 1 Prologue
56 of 56 Main story segments
2 of 3 Epilogues

40 thoughts on “One Life, One Incarnation: Beautiful Bones (一生一世美人骨) — Epilogue 2

  1. Thank you so much!! 😘😘😘

  2. While the present day SY & ZSC always bring this heartwarming sweetness when reading about them … reading about Eleven and Xiao Nan Chen Prince always give me a bittersweet feeling *sniffs* …

    Thanks so much hoju!!! One more epilogues and I can do my marathon. Looking forward to the new novel too. ❤

    • me too I’m looking forward to doing the marathon too =)

      • anki, please let me know also how you feel when you marathon the novel. 🙂

        • Oh absolutely!
          Ps are u gonna release ur character discussion on ZSC? I always love reading ur thoughts!! 🙂 there’s always an aha moment for me wen u point out certain things.
          Would love to hear ur thoughts!!

          • I really don’t mind releasing it, just that I don’t know where I would post it. It was really long, around 2500 words. :p I don’t know if too many people would read a post dedicated to just my thoughts.

          • Oh wow hw abt wit this last post on one life!? A nice way to tie it all together??

          • This last post is really long, too. You’ll see why very soon.

          • Ohhh can’t wait 🙂
            It could be a special release then? 😉
            Ps I kinda really excited for ur next translation…its already got me hooked already 🙂

    • Yes, indeed. *sniffs too* But it is because Eleven and Xiao Nanchen Prince’s ending had been full of regrets and sadness that we long even more for Shi Yi and Zhousheng Chen to have a happy ending in their present life and are so happy for them when the get it.

      Let me know what you think when you marathon this. When I read it continuously, I never truly felt that power struggle parts played an extremely prominent part in the story, and the love story just seemed to carry through the whole novel. However, breaking it up into these slowly released segments made those power struggle parts much more in the forefront and dwelled upon. I know first impressions are hard to break sometimes, but do tell me if your reading experience changes reading it in one go. 🙂

  3. Thank you. So one more to go before it ends?

    Sighhh… your translation are excellent but how i wish i could read chinese.

    • Yes, one more to go until it’s officially all done.

      Thank you. The original Chinese text is just beautiful. How I wish all of you could have read it as well. 🙂

  4. Too beautiful!! 🙂

  5. yayyyy epilogues

    for some reason i still havent finished your next translation in chinese yet. every time i start it, i stop within the first few chapters. it just seems sad. but looking over it now, i think zhou sheng chen’s life is just as sad (at least xiao nan chen wang’s was) … so why cant i get through that one… i also got through the healing sunshine which wasnt a walk in the park either. welp, hopefully your translation will help me finally finish the first book of the zhi ci series 🙂

    i love your translations 🙂 thanks hoju!!

    on a different note, can you post a summary/review of the Mo Bao’s ancient book on Shusheng when you are done reading it? I would reallyyyy like a review before jumping in. ^_^

    • Yayyy.. and at the same time, I can’t believe it’s the epilogues! And the last one is being posted in t-2 hours!! OMG.

      Well, that means you just need to follow along with my translation. 😉 Really? I find Together Forever’s beginning a lot more light-hearted than Healing Sunshine. The hardships are only gradually revealed, so Tong Yan starts off like a typical uni student, whereas in Healing Sunshine, right from the beginning, your heart twinges for poor Xi Xi, who is so neglected by her parents and cast aside like a second class citizen.

      Thank you. 🙂 And thank you for the warm words. 🙂

      My copy of Yong’an Tune (MBFB’s ancient novel) should be arriving next week! I’m so excited!! I bought 6 books for my birthday present, Yong’an and Healing Sunshine being two of them. Haha… Okay. I’ve been so head down and focused on the translation that I rarely go to SSB lately. Usually, Peanuts has to tell me if I need to pop in over there to answer a question. I will be taking slowing down a bit soon to catch up on reading and post some books I had promised Peanuts eons ago I’d post, so I’ll slip in Yong’an Tune in there. :p

      • Yay that would be amazing! Hmmm i think i started together fotever before I read healing sunshine and there’s like a mental block preventing me from finishing it in chi at least. Maybe bc he can’t hear and she is a sad student from the start? Xixi at least liked her childhood days somewhat and we don’t really feel how terrible everyone is till the later chaps. Also Ji Cheng Yang doesn’t have health issues till end of book. Health issues are so sad…

        Have you started on her new novel yet? I stopped bc i want her to fin before continuing. The chaps are so much more physically intense than most of her other novels. My poor heart! I don’t particularly enjoy that much action in books haha. Wonder why she made beautiful bones so different (assuming first book in series was also action packed). Compared to her other male leads I think I’d choose Zhou Sheng Chen now (ah, sorry Toupai!). Maybe the lead from Yongan tune will be amazing too! From the Chinese synopsis I thought he’d be semi similar to Xiao Nanchen Wang. But that may just be bc they are both ancient haha.

        Happy Birthday!! (not sure when it is/was) 😊

        • Interesting. I feel the opposite. I feel like there is a melancholy that hangs over Healing Sunshine from the very beginning. My impression is very disjointed, though, since I haven’t re-read it since I followed it online when it was being written (and completely re-written). The e-versions were all over the place for quite a while and missed some or all of MBFB”s revisions, so I just decided to re-read it when I bought it… which took a lot longer to happen than Ithought.

          Nope. I’m not going to start until it’s nearly done. Yes, the first book was definitely full of guns and blood and killing. I actually had to stop reading it halfway through and take a break because it was more intense than I liked. The love story is beautiful but the violence is not my style.

          Toupai still has my heart and is challenged only by Gu Pingsheng. But Zhousheng Chen is simply awesome. I like Little Uncle Ji, too.

          Thank you. 🙂 It’s been a few weeks, but I delayed spending my birthday money, deliberating whether I wanted new books or to replace my overly loved Beautiful Bones and Together Forever. 😉

          • I think my first time through healing sunshine was through the audio book since I like listening while running erramds. Maybe the songs/voices made it seem happier… Agreed violence is not mine either. I read about a gun fight and all I could think about was how it was so much more tame in beautiful bones!!

            I actually love listening to most of Mo Bao’s audio books bc they have great Mandarin accents. Ie guy who read 念念’s voice *sigh* I can just listen all day. I grew up with Mandarin though so it’s likely not the same experience for you since there is no Canto audiobook.

            Have you read her left hand series? I’m not sure if it’s worth reading about appledog. I do want to know what happened to gun in the first two novels but not sure if it’s worth reading for just him. I wasn’t super into gun as a male lead compared to Mo Bao’s others and i was wondering whether it’s bc i didnt read the first two books.

  6. Thanks for this chapter. What a sad love story between Eleven and ZSC.

    • You’re welcome. It is so sad, isn’t it? 😦 But that’s why it is even more wonderful that Zhousheng Chen and Shi Yi end up together in this life. ❤

  7. reading this, now i know, who’s gonna be SY in drama or movie adaptation. LIU TAO!!! she has a great voice and so beautiful. reading this ancient chapters, really make me imagine her as SY both in the past life or in modern life. And.. for ZSC, bring Yuan Hong or Nick Wang Kai (my prince Jing in NIF) haha.. they would be fit the character hehe..

    ah.. this novel is soooo beautiful. if only i have a lot of money,im going to be the producer, lols

    thanks hoju ^^

    • You know what? I agree with you. Liu Tao definitely can create that gentleness and inner strength and resolve that Shi Yi possesses, and the way she carries herself definitely makes her already beautiful appearance even more attractive. In the past life, Shi Yi is not supposed to be pretty, though. 😉

      OMG, are you a Prince Jing fan, too? I like Mei Changsu a lot, but in the drama, I feel like Wang Kai’s portrayal of Prince Jing is exactly as I imagined, like he’s walked out straight from the pages of the book. He is actually quite handsome, but on first glance, you’d say he was good-looking but not jaw dropping. He grows quickly on you. A more average hairstyle on Wang Kai could make me suspend my disbelief and accept that he was the average-looking Zhousheng Chen since he carries that commanding but gentlemanly aura well.

      I thought for a while this story might not be your cup of tea, with the sad past life, so I’m glad you like it. 🙂 I’ll pray that you win the lottery, then, but you have to promise to be faithful to my novel and choose an awesome cast. :p

      You’re welcome!

      • Yups.. even she rarely appears in NIF, but she has the persona that makes us still want to ship her with MCS. YAASSS.. im a big fan of Prince Jing too.. i cant stop reading the spoiler in avirtualvoyage haha just to find out the new episodes and him – mcs. i ship this bromance too 😀
        and you describe him so well, totally agree. actually, in NIF, i really want to ship Prince Jing and Nihuang too, since we know that MCS is having an illness, hehe.. but then.. they are just friends, so i wish to see a drama when my fave being the main casts haha.. so, beautiful bones.. ah.. cast this two juseyooo haha 😀

        at first, i was lazy, like.. ah.. i could imagine the sad ending.. but then, since im now so into NIF and could expected the bad ending so.. here i am.. and i need to read the last epilogue 😦 sad it’s over..

  8. Too bad people are easily tainted: only remembering a person’s evildoing and forgetting their good deeds.
    Although he doesn’t seem to care of history tarnishing his reputation, the injustice.

    • It is awful, isn’t it? I read “The Black Cauldron” by Lloyd Alexander when I was 10 years old, and to this day, I still remember one scene. A formerly good person turned evil and a formerly evil person turned good both died, and they were both given a respectful burial. I don’t remember the names of the characters anymore, but I remember, in the novel, one of the characters posed the question, why would they honour the guy who had given up his morals and turned evil. The answer was something along the lines of, “We honour one of them for the man he used to be, and we honour the other for the man he became.” That concept left such a lasting impression on me.

      Even if Xiao Nanchen Prince went into history books as a traitor, it is so sad that every good deed he did was completely written off, that no one at least honoured the man he used to be and all the things he had once done for the people. And it makes it worse that we know the truth that he was framed. 😦

  9. Thank you 🙂

  10. Thanks for the chapter!

  11. thank you the chapter. ahh the last line “Not one built upon outstanding military achievements. Not one of mountains of corpses and bones. But one of ordinary people and common dwellings amongst flowing mountain streams.” What a wonderful person he is

    • I LOVE that line. And then, combine it with “In his life, he took no wife and had no offspring, choosing instead to place himself amid the hundreds of miles of smoke of battles, solely as an exchange for thousands of miles of unbroken stretches of ordinary chimney smoke.” If I dwell too much upon these lines, I start tearing up again. Such a wonderful man, indeed.

  12. Why are the generals always the perfect men, yet why is it also the generals that always get killed off despite the honour and peace they bring to the country, it’s so unfair T__T

    I know this is a chapter based on Xiao Nanchen Prince but I think Shi Yi’s third brother here deserves some love too, the amount of doting love he holds for his dear sister is just so adorable, it’s also nice to know there was someone else who dearly loved and cared for her like he did too

    Thank you Hoju 🙂

    • Probably because it takes a certain type of person to willingly risk their life time and again to serve their country? They don’t belong in the imperial courts because, while they understand the tactics of war and the mobilization of troops, they don’t deal with the complexity of the human hearts on the battleground to the extent that officials do in the imperial courts. In some ways, they are very simple: to serve their country, to serve the people. But the easily invoke envy if they are successful generals because the people will be singing their praises, not that of the ruler or high level officials. *sigh*

      I think Third Brother is a wonderful brother. What brother would give up his chance to live unfettered and take up a low position, not an exalted one like the rest of his family, in the imperial courts, just so he could stay near his sister and make sure she is being taken care of?

      You’re welcome!

  13. Thank you, hoju! I really enjoy the author’s writing style and how you tried to express it in your translations. Zhousheng Chen has such a huge presence even though he barely talked. It’s so sad that the history records had distorted facts. Sigh. One more epilogue to go. So sad but also excited to have seen through the whole translation with you. Thanks again for your dedication and research (footnotes) to make us understand and enjoy the translation to its fullest.

    • The distorted history regarding ancient Zhousheng Chen always makes me sad to even think about. I love the way that MBFB wrote about him. We never get to understand him directly, it’s always through someone’s narration or recollection of his actions, yet we still get to know his character and righteousness.

      Last epilogue is a happy one. 🙂 I usually have a hard time saying bye to my projects. I’ll be terribly sad to officially say goodbye to Toupai and Sheng Sheng, but for Zhousheng Chen and Shi Yi, I feel like, they deserve to have this, that there is nothing interesting left in their life to fill a book, and they can finally live the life of just ordinary people.

      Thank you for your kind words. 🙂 You’ve seen through both Really, Really Miss You and Beautiful Bones with me now, and I always appreciate your comments.

  14. I have been a silent reader.. So glad I stumble across this blog which opened up a whole new world for me… Chinese novels.. Thank you, this story is so beautiful…

    • Thank you for coming out and not being silent. We love hearing from our readers. 🙂 Welcome to the world of c(hinese)-novels. You’re going to have fun discovering this new world!

      You are very welcome. I am happy you enjoyed it. 🙂

  15. “In his life, he took no wife and had no offspring, choosing instead to place himself amid the hundreds of miles of smoke of battles, solely as an exchange for thousands of miles of unbroken stretches of ordinary chimney smoke.” This line makes me even sadder that a few hundred years later, Xiao Nanchen Prince is only viewed as a traitor…
    I can’t believe I’m almost done reading this novel.
    Thank you, thank you, hoju~

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