Fanatical

Fangirling Chinese Novels

Life: A Black and White Film (一生一世,黑白影画) — Chapter 1.2

27 Comments

Never has Wen Han been so terrified of someone. Can’t blame her…

Chapter 1.2 — They Meet Again in Nepal (2)

Once again, his lips crushed hers.

And he cared not that muffled protests were streaming desperately from her, that she was struggling and kicking frantically.

From her lips and teeth to the tip of her tongue, he sucked ruthlessly, extracting away the last traces of oxygen that were in her throat, until there remained not even the slightest bit. The fingers that were squeezing her throat from both sides seemed to loosen their hold slightly, but it was only to allow her to inhale some air with all her might and then have it cruelly sucked away by him again.

This area was a foreign tourist enclave. This was Thamel[1].

There were backpackers from countless different countries here. There were inns everywhere spaced tightly next to each other, one after the other. Outside the window, there was even someone singing loudly in the local language. There was Indian music. She could even already hear Agnesa’s laughter echoing up from downstairs…

And there was also the top floor. The sound of speaking voices could be heard from the laundry room on the top floor.

They were all so close, so clear.

But there was nothing she could do.

In this room, amidst the kisses of this man that were practically plundering, in this world where oxygen was gradually slipping away from her, she was even beginning to hallucinate. Her body’s fierce reaction to lack of oxygen caused her chest to ache dully—the pain of suffocation.

Her tears streamed ceaselessly, following her cheeks and jaw to fall onto the back of his hand.

Warm. Sticky.

Cheng Muyun could feel that the back of his hand was completely drenched. Suddenly, his interest waned. “I do not like forcing people. This should be something that pleasures us both.”

All the shackle-like strength holding her abruptly disappeared.

He had finally released his hold on her. He refastened his belt that had been half undone but could not be bothered to tuck his button-up shirt back into the waist of his pant, leaving it hanging loosely on the outside, like a man who had just finished indulging in his sensual pleasures and had hastily dressed again.

Air, air.

Wen Han knew only to breathe with all her might. However, because she was too desperate and rushed, coughs racked her body fiercely as she leaned her back into the door. Never before had she known that being strangled for so long was so terrifying. She watched as the person before her retrieved that brightly-coloured, beautiful shawl from the floor. Right as he was straightening back up, she threw out her arms ferociously, with the intention of shoving him away, opening the door, and fleeing.

But it was as if she was facing a wraith. This man had extraordinary reaction speed.

Before her hands could even come in contact with him, the shawl was already wrapped around them, binding them.

“You really are… very unique. Is it because I was too rough just now?” He still emitted a languid air as he pressed her arms up high against the door. “Or is it because I am different from other customers that you have had, and you want to leave a deep impression with me?”

“You—” Throbbing pain was coming from Wen Han’s wrists, but she finally understood why this terrible calamity had suddenly befallen her. That feeling of terror just a moment ago, like she was approaching the depths of hell, was instantly replaced by a sense of degradation. She was so infuriated she could not even put together a complete sentence. “Let go of me! I’m not a prostitute.” Her voice was a little raspy from coughing and rage.

Held in a posture like she was being crucified on a cross, she glared furiously at that man.

“Shh… Do not be angry.” It was apparent that he was not taking her seriously and viewed her cries as a different form of flirtation and teasing. “I am a very generous person, and the price I will pay will not disappoint you.”

Cheng Muyun’s gaze slid downward to unabashedly take in and appreciate the view of her chest. The blouse had pulled open there, and her bosom rose and fell in rhythm with her furious breathing.

“Let go of me.” Wen Han’s body was trembling. “Let me out…”

She swore, she must have been mad in order to have thought, when she first met this man in Tibet, that his eyes contained the purest and most unadulterated look out of all the lamas she had seen in Tibet.

“What if I say no?” He bent at the waist and moved in close to her.

When he spoke these words, there was absolutely no laughter in his eyes.

His eyes were cast downward, examining her with absolutely no remaining hints of the toying lust and passion from earlier. She still remembered his strength, where merely two of his fingers could control her in their hold, and she knew that in a moment of displeasure, he truly would… Moreover, he had a gun.

She was on the brink of breaking down. Those eyes did not belong to a human. There was no light within them at all. It was all darkness, like a whirlpool. And they seemed as if they could devour her at any time.

……<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. If you are not reading this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the translation has been taken without consent of the translator.

Without any warning, a knock sounded on the door against her back.

“Excuse me, is someone here waiting for a beautiful Russian woman?” The voice belonged to a woman and had the very distinctive flair of Moscow.

Wen Han stiffened. His hand immediately stifled the cry that she let out.

With an “hmm,” he replied in Russian to the person outside, his tone lazy. “Darling, wait a moment. There’s one more in here with me, putting her clothes back on.”

Wen Han’s eyes widened. Her body pinned by his, she was unable to move. She could only glare furiously at Cheng Muyun. See! I’m not the one! It’s not me!

As if understanding what she wanted to say, Cheng Muyun kicked up with the toe of his boot the shawl that was on the floor, and he wrapped it over Wen Han’s shoulders. In a voice that was barely audible, he told her, “What a shame that you’re not the one.”

And then, the door was opened.

He had not given her the opportunity to cry or lash out in fury at all before he exposed all the suggestiveness of this scene to the now open space. In this moment, Wen Han’s mind was completely blank. She knew only to clasp the shawl closed tightly, bite down hard on her lip, and glower at him.

The young girl outside the door was taken aback for a moment. Holding down her French-style sun hat with her left hand, she murmured in Russian, “Oh, my dear God.”

Wen Han could clearly hear the suggestive tone in the girl’s voice.

And she also realized at last that he had not been lying. He truly had been waiting for… “special services” from a girl who spoke Russian. The man behind her set his hand on the doorframe and lightly thrummed his fingers against the door. “Do not take offense, love. I am willing to make it up to you.”

Waves of heat were rolling over Wen Han’s body, but her hands and feet were cold. She threw a fierce glare at him.

He shrugged.

With weak steps, Wen Han walked toward the stairs.

The girl let out a cheery laugh. Then, the door was shut behind her.

Wen Han heard the door’s lock sliding into place. Running downstairs until she was in front of the door of her own room, she tremblingly dug out her room key, wanting to open the door.

That silver key, though, was quivering incessantly in her hand. After finally managing to stab it into the keyhole, she shoved open the door and rushed inside. And then, she fell back hard against the door, gasping heavily.<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. If you are not reading this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the translation has been taken without consent of the translator.

Why was it, no matter where she went, she would still run into that person?

Even if this incident had been a “misunderstanding,” there was still that eerie identity that he had once had in Tibet, as well as that scene in the Himalayan Mountains where he had raised a gun… Wen Han wanted to take a shower, but as she removed her clothing, there was an unspeakable feeling of shame and humiliation.

She wanted to somehow ease this awful feeling, yet she was unable to repress it.

Her mind would always turn back to that person and his actions.

Her legs felt limp, and she had no strength to continue standing. She wanted to walk over to the bed and lie down for a while.

How should she tell her friends who were travelling with her about this incident? How should she say it? If she let them know about it, would they go find him for retaliation? But he had stated clearly that it was a misunderstanding…

And anyway, it was too humiliating for her to speak about.

While these thoughts were whirring through her head in a confused jumble, the female owner of this inn unexpectedly arrived at her room. After Wen Han opened the door, she discovered rather belatedly that that shawl was still wrapped around her shoulders. Beneath the shawl, naturally then, was her blouse that had been torn earlier. Inviting the innkeeper into her room first, she slipped into the bathroom and changed into a cotton, short-sleeved t-shirt.

This female innkeeper was also ethnic Chinese. Back then, it was because of the innkeeper’s ethnicity that Wen Han had booked this inn online.

After all, at the very core of her, the blood that pulsed through her was still Chinese. This sense of trust was innate.

The innkeeper’s long hair was casually swept up and held in place rather loosely at the back of her head by a wooden hair stick. A string of sandalwood prayer beads hung from her wrist. Smiling, she spoke in Mandarin that was out of practice but still could be considered good pronunciation, saying to her, “One of my regular guests has paid for your group’s entire stay here. That means you won’t need to pay any more for all your subsequent costs, including your costs here at the inn, your rafting trip, or your expedition to Mount Everest.”

Wen Han paused briefly in surprise, but then was immediately able to guess who it was.

“He said,” the innkeeper laughed, “you have enthralled his mind and soul, so… he is most willing to pay for these expenditures for you.”

“I don’t need it.” Even now, Wen Han was still unable to restrain the trembling in her body as she thought about his behavior, especially the look in his eyes when he had held her throat in his shackle-like grip. “He’s a regular guest here?”

“Yes.” The innkeeper let out a laugh. “He comes here often. The room on the fourth floor has been left for him for the long-term.”

“Do you know… what kind of person, like, what he was, before?”

“Yes, I know. He’s mentioned it before.” The female innkeeper did not really care much about this.

But he carries a gun on him.

Wen Han did not say this. She still felt residual fear, so much so that after the innkeeper mentioned that he was a regular guest, she was even more afraid. It was… the type of terror that came from the depths of her heart and continued to suffuse outward. It was very hard to explain. Never had she been so scared of a person before.

After saying a couple more sentences, the innkeeper rose to leave, but when she reached the corridor, she remembered something. Turning around, she said, “There are two men in your group. Since we are both Chinese, I’ll secretly tell the bellboy to bring guns that can be used for self-defense to them. You know there are a lot of anti-government militants in this place, and it’s just not safe. Gun control is bad, too. Take them to guard against the unexpected.”

Wen Han was taken aback.

The person in front of her had already stepped onto the curved staircase, and Wen Han could only hear the sound of lithe footsteps treading on the wooden stair steps.

Turning back into her room, Wen Han reflected on the innkeeper’s words. Then, as she once more thought back upon the series of impressions that she had of that person, uncertainy began to arise in her. Could it be that that person really was just a normal monk who had left the monastic life, and there was nothing strange about him? Based on what the innkeeper had said, gun control was really lax here and most guns were for self-protection. So, really, it was nothing to make a fuss about.

But…

Wen Han heart was still unsettled. After eating dinner in Agnesa’s room, she made up an excuse and told Agnesa to go down to the first floor with her. There were two computers downstairs that could be used to go online. In this city, this was already considered a very good amenity. The remaining two men in their party also came downstairs, saying that they were going to stroll around and check out Thamel’s scenery. Since there was not much for lights in this place when it was past nine o’clock, it was not very suitable for girls to go walking around. Leaving the two girls behind to surf the internet could be considered a safe plan.<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. If you are not reading this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the translation has been taken without consent of the translator.

When their group of four stepped downstairs, the Indian bellboy was in the midst of dozing off. Hearing the sound of their footsteps, he startled awake and stared at them.

Wen Han pointed at the computers. The boy caught on, and leading these two young women to the “cybercafé” that consisted of only two computers, he helped turn the computers on and enter the password.

“You’re anxious to check your email?” Agnesa did not have much of a dependency on the internet, and very boredly, she tapped on the keyboard.

Wen Han went onto a forum and found the thread that introduced and described this inn.

Without exception, all the posts praised the innkeeper for being friendly and thoughtful. Because this female innkeeper liked to sign off with “Hu” [胡 Hú] in her communications with guests when exchanging information during room bookings, she was often fondly referred to by the nickname, “Little Fox” [小狐狸 Xiao Hu Li].

“All Chinese people who go to Nepal should go to Little Fox’s inn. Absolutely a great quality place for a nice price, and it’s really safe, too.”

“The Nepali tea in Little Fox’s place is so good.”

“I totally want to go back again. The last time I went, I actually ran into a man who spoke Russian. He had a really good sense of humour and was very likable. I heard that he even used to be a monk…”

Wen Han’s eyes paused right there.

She checked the date. It was posted three months ago.

He truly was an old, frequent guest here, and he never avoided talking about his past?

Her conjectures, her misgivings and suspicions—all those bad thoughts were one by one shattered by facts. She could not even find a dubious point that she could call him into question on and use as basis to tell her travel companions that she had once felt that he was a very strange, very dangerous person.

Behind her, the door of the inn moved, which brought about the tinkling sound of a bronze bell.

The wind that had taken this opportunity to rush in through the door caused the lighted incense sticks to quiver. At the time, one of the reasons she had chosen this place was also that the female innkeeper here was a devout Buddhist. The religious beliefs of this place’s owner could be deeply sensed in even the entire inn’s furnishings and decorations.

While Wen Han was still staring fixedly, as if in a trance, at that screen, an arm suddenly appeared and propped itself beside her. “It seems that a little bit of curiosity about me has arisen in you. Should I be happy about this?”

He had returned from Kathmandu, Nepal’s nighttime, and his entire body carried the characteristic aroma of this city.

Mysterious. Rough. Dusty.<>If you are not reading this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the translation has been taken without consent of the translator.

 

[1] Thamel is a touristy, happening district in Kathmandu, its narrow streets containing numerous shops, restaurants, bars, cafés, hotels, etc.<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. If you are not reading this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the translation has been taken without consent of the translator.


Additional Comments:

In case you’re wondering about the difficulty in getting online and why people don’t have smartphones everywhere, this story takes place approximately 15 years ago from present day. I will note the textual evidence when we get to those parts, but for now, just trust me.

Regarding Cheng Muyun’s actions in both this chapter and the last one (and, well, in general), there is truth, there are illusions, there are hidden intentions that have not been revealed yet, and there are things that are meant to be deliberately misleading. Can’t answer any more than that. I’ll just quote myself from my introduction post. “… then (sometimes much, much later) you realize why he did something and you understand…” Keep speculating away, but your impressions may continuously be overturned (at least mine were).

 

 

Completed:
1 of 1 Prologue
2 of 50 Chapter segments
0 of 1 Epilogue

 

≪ Previous Chapter | Index | Next Chapter ≫

Advertisements

27 thoughts on “Life: A Black and White Film (一生一世,黑白影画) — Chapter 1.2

  1. 15 years ago! I still remember when I was in Nepal there was civil war going on n dunno how many people lost their lives…people were living in fear in case they will be killed by maoists…no wonder she was told to carry gun for self protection!

  2. 15 years ago I was still 3 years old 😛
    Now, I’ve gotta run to take my SAT! Bye hoju!!! Wish me luck and pray for me!!! ❤ cf

  3. Oh how I hope there is a redeeming side to our lead. I like Wen Han already. She seems open and has a bit of an explorer’s heart, and who can blame her for feeling traumatized by what happened. Definitely I have to keep reading.

    • There is more than just “a” redeeming side to our lead. Yes, there are scary sides to him, but there is so, so, so much more. He is mesmerizing.

      Wen Han is one of my top favourite MBFB female leads. 🙂

  4. Hmm…things are getting interesting.

    15 years ago I was in college. I live in the US and didn’t get my first cell phone until 13 years ago. I can only imagine how uncommon they were in more remote places. Now I want to read up a bit on the modern history of Nepal.

    • It’s crazy how technology has changed in the last 15 years!

      I read up on Nepal’s modern history just for this translation. It’s fascinating, but also makes you think about the common people who experienced it firsthand from the ground level.

  5. Thanks for the chapter – I like our heroine but I’m not so sure about Mr. Monk.

    • I love Wen Han. As for Cheng Muyun, as I said in the intro post: “Don’t let your early opinions of him deceive you. You may be shocked by this character in the beginning, even turned off, but there is much more to him.” 🙂

  6. Thanks for the chapter!! It’s getting so interesting!!!

  7. Thank you so much Hoju!! 😘😘😘

  8. I remember cheng muyun was on guard the first time he met wenhan as a monk.. so maybe wenhan has a story too?

    • You mean with the knife he was carrying? Or it kind of gives you a hint what kind of life Cheng Muyun had lived that he would need to be on guard at all times…

  9. Interesting, very interesting chapter, ensnaring us into the story. I am loving every bit of it.
    Thank you Hoju! by the way, will you also be translating Don’t be so proud?
    15 years ago, cell phones were around but very basic ones and the internet was erratric, esp. up in the hills. I visited Nepal several times in the early 90s , more than 15 years ago. 🙂 Beautiful place!

    • Yay! Glad you’re loving it. Can’t you just feel the tension and mystery?

      I’m subbing in for Proud, so I will try my best to make weekly posts, just not committing to them.

      I’ve never been, but I’ve been looking up a lot on Nepal for this translation, and the pictures look amazing.

      • Thank you for your faithfulness in completing what you start. I hate half told story *half translated novel *
        You get a chance to visit Nepal or India, do so. You won’t regret it being the adventurous person you are. Politics will always exist between countries, more so between neighbouring countries. But do believe it the nationals are very friendly and can co exist peacefully. Nepalese and Indians are very hospitable and warm people, as all Asians are. I am very proud to say that. hehehehe! I welcome you to India. Would love to meet up with you if we get the opportunity.

  10. CM seems to conceal himself pretty well with other guests with the exception of WH

    • How do you know he’s not concealing himself with Wen Han? Or how do you know he is concealing himself with the guests? 😉

  11. Dont think my last comment posted successfully, but I also stopped reading somewhere mid book so super excited you’re translating this!! Thanks! 😘

    • Nope. I didn’t see it. 😦 I even checked through spam. I’m wondering how many other comments I’ve missed??

      It’s just so different, but it’s honestly not scary. It’s… intense. If you’re not ready for the intensity and just want an escapist novel, you won’t be able to get into it. I can honestly say this one fascinates me… Follow along! I honestly don’t think you’ll be disappointed, so long as you aren’t looking for fluff or escaping into a romance. The romance is… true and deep.

      • Probably only one more from a while ago since I remember getting an error from phone, so it’s all good. I love how you add insight to the novels since I don’t understand everything sometimes if I read novels in Chinese.

        Will do! Goodness it’s been a while since I’ve read something new. I started medical school so haven’t had much free time. Would love for you to dedicate a future post to your favorite novels since you seem to find the best books 🙂 As always, super thankful you dedicate so much time to translations 😗

  12. I am soooooo late but welcome back Hoju! I now have something to look forward again! I was actually hoping that you’d be translating this book ever since I read it in My Darling because it sounds so interesting. Add to the fact that you and MBFB have never disappointed us.

    And here am I hopelessly gripped in this very fascinating and intriguing characters!! Don’t even get me started on CM. He’s such an enigma that enthralls people. And I totally like the girl too.

    You and MBFB are the best!! 😊😊

    • Haha, thank you! I’m glad, as well, to see you back. 🙂

      “Interesting” is only the beginning. “Mesmerizing” is the word that always pops up whenever I think of Cheng Muyun and this story.

      Thanks for the vote of confidence. Hopefully the translation can properly express what MBFB wanted to express in her writing.

      Gah, Cheng Muyun is not my type (Hello, Gu Pingsheng. Hello, Toupai.) that I go gah-gah over, but gosh, I cannot help but be drawn to him. He is… mesmerizing. LOL

  13. Hmmmmm he definitely sounded dangerous and scary but I trust Hoju so no judgement for now…. 😂 thank you Hoju. Indeed a mesmerizing read I must say so far

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s