Fanatical

Fangirling Chinese Novels

Life: A Black and White Film (一生一世,黑白影画) — Chapter 10.4

14 Comments

What Cheng Muyun has been trying to avoid still ends up happening. However, does the last little bit of this chapter bring a smile to your face?

Chapter 10.4  — To Gaze Down with Compassion Like Bodhisattva (4)

Wen Han stood before Fu Ming, her chest heaving violently.

Just a moment ago, she saw, with her own eyes, Fu Ming feeling for the gun at his waist. In that instant, when her mind was still in a blank state, she had torn over. She had not even had the time to grab a chair and could only do that one action.

And then what? … She had not even thought about it.

Fu Ming’s eyes narrowed, the look in them dangerous as he glared at Wen Han and leapt abruptly to his feet. Wen Han was so terrified she took a couple of backwards steps. Cheng Muyun grabbed Fu Ming’s arm and twisted it, pinning Fu Ming down fiercely into the floor with a thud.

In the candle’s light, he saw the gun at the back of Fu Ming’s waist. Without a word, he yanked it out and flung it far away.

Thunk. The gun hit the wall.<>This is an UNAUTHORIZED copy, taken from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com

“It is no use killing me. You should know clearly that even if I were to die here, there are still others who will continue watching the four of you until the mole is found.” He leaned forward, stating this softly by Fu Ming’s ear.

Fu Ming wanted to struggle, but was utterly unable to move. “I know. You arranged everything a long time ago.”

“If you know, then keep your silence.” There was no warmth at all in his voice.

“I really had not thought that, ten years later, the first thing you would do when you came back was to place me within the boundary of the ones you are hunting.” Fu Ming’s face was pressed against the ice-cold floor. “Cheng Muyun, how many times have I been through life and death with you?! How many years has Chen Yuan willingly protected you?! Xiao Zhuang is only nineteen!” As he spoke, he twisted his head around. “I don’t know who that Zhou Zhou is to you, but Zhou Ke, who died in Nepal, was only twenty-two! You suspect us? You suspect the few of us?!”

Fu Ming’s voice had already become scratchy.

“Yes, I suspect the few of you,” Cheng Muyun very straightforwardly answered.

Yes, everyone unconditionally trusted Cheng Muyun. And he had personally, from amongst those brothers who gave him their unconditional trust, pulled out four suspects.

Could this be considered another form of betrayal? He did not know.

He was not a saint.<>Please support the original translation at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead

He knew only that a small minority had to be sacrificed in order to protect the large majority—even if this small minority was all from his core group, his closest brothers.<>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.

From downstairs, there was a flash of firelight.

It was not certain what those sadhus were doing. They had lit a fire and begun chanting sutras.

This sudden bonfire in the deep hours of the night, as well as those mantras of a foreign land that she could not understand, caused the atmosphere in this place to feel even more eerie.

Wen Han was trying with all her might to digest what they had said.

Each sentence had contained important information.<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com 

Four people had made their appearances here: Zhou Zhou, the one who had chased after Cheng Muyun’s footsteps from Kathmandu all the way to here and who very much bothered her heart; Xiao Zhuang and Fu Ming, the ones who had helped her on the train; and also Chen Yuan, the one who had exchanged banters with Zhou Ke in the middle of that night in the valley…

She had thought these four were Cheng Muyun’s closest friends.

But now, Fu Ming and Cheng Muyun’s dialogue told her, one of these four people was a traitor, someone who had betrayed Cheng Muyun.

Cheng Muyun’s purpose for this trip was to find that person?<>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.

Cheng Muyun lifted his gaze to look at Wen Han. His eyes took in the turmoil roiling in Wen Han’s eyes.

Perhaps this girl in front of him was feeling that, after learning of some things, she was suddenly seeing the light, but she did not know that that layer of fog that had once protected her had now dissipated.

Fu Ming did it intentionally. He had intentionally let Wen Han hear these things.

It was a form of revenge. Fu Ming, the brat, had always been very vindictive.

A lot of his words had not been necessary to say aloud after Wen Han came upstairs. Hence, with each word he spoke, Cheng Muyun had tried to be brief and direct.

Still, she had heard all the key information.<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead

Cheng Muyun was contemplating over the possibility of whether he could send her away right now. After all, now that she knew all these things, it would be too difficult for her to continue behaving like a blank piece of paper and put on an act with those four people.

But it was obvious the probability of this was zero.<>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 uttering a word, Cheng Muyun loosened his hold on Fu Ming and, in passing, gave him a kick. “If you have gotten the answer you wanted, then go back like a good boy and keep putting on that act for me. Prove to me you are not the one who betrayed everyone.” Although his tone was relaxed, his eyes were cold.

Fu Ming’s anger earlier had not been a pretense.

However, Cheng Muyun’s manner was also clearly stating that, as of right now, he did not believe anyone.

Fu Ming climbed back to his feet and moved his arm about, completely ignoring the chance that Cheng Muyun was giving him to back down gracefully. “I’m here because I wanted to advise you to think this all through carefully. Zhou Ke’s death is Heaven’s warning to you. If you are so stubborn, in the end, the four of us may all die here just to fulfill your desire.”

Throwing a long, meaningful look at Cheng Muyun, Fu Ming did not speak anymore and strode toward the stairs.

In that instant when he walked by Wen Han, she was struck by the hostile air he was emitting and stepped back half a pace.

She had many questions she wanted to ask, but she did not know how to even open her mouth to ask them or from where to even begin inquiring.

When only she and Cheng Muyun remained in this place, Wen Han finally calmed down slightly. In a small voice, she asked, “Are you okay?”

Straightening back up, Cheng Muyun picked up his shirt and began fastening the buttons one at a time. “What did you understand from what you heard just now?”

What did she understand?<>This is an UNAUTHORIZED copy, taken from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com

Wen Han’s heartbeat was a little fast as she quietly replied, “You guys have been apart for ten years. This time when you returned, you had the four of them come here because… you want to catch the mole. One person amongst those four is a traitor.”

“Anything else?”<>Please support the original translation of this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead

“Fu Ming and you know each other from very far back, and the two of you had a very good relationship. His older sister was publicly prosecuted and sentenced to the death penalty because of you. That Chen Yuan is the person who has been protecting you all this time. Also,” she said softly, while piecing together in her brain all the things Fu Ming had said on the coffee plantation grounds and inside this room, “he is very angry because you suspect the four of them, so he came here tonight to debate this with you.”

She tried as much as possible, using the word “debate,” to brush over their earlier conflict.

“Anything else?”<>Please support the original translation of this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead

Still more? There did not seem to be anymore useful information.

“You… committed some sort of offense when you were young, and served some time in prison. It should have been when you were somewhere between fourteen and sixteen years old?”

She remembered, in Moscow, anyone under fourteen is not held criminally responsible, while those who have reached the age of sixteen begin assuming full criminal responsibility. The two years in between are a gray area, and the crime has to be very serious before the offender will be prosecuted, but there is discretion on the severity of the sentence.

Thank you to those few troublesome teenagers who lived next door for helping her know about this stuff.

Through that man called Fu Ming, Cheng Muyun’s past was slowly becoming clear before her. Committed a felony when he was young, served time in prison, and later, observed the Buddhist precepts to atone for his crime… Had once studied in university, although it was not certain whether he had completed his studies. Since he had saved the eldest son of this manor, that would mean, since university, he had already begun to live this lifestyle in which death was always an imminent risk.

Ten years ago, he took up the monastic life; ten years later, he came back… to find the traitor.

Right before they came upstairs, he had still been telling her about India’s rat temple.

When they passed through the corridor of the entire first floor, he had still teased her by talking about the sadhus.

But now, this man had suddenly become real and three-dimensional to her. Where he had come from, what he had experienced, and what he was going to do now…

She knew all of it.<>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.

Wen Han felt, though, that Cheng Muyun would not be so completely devoid of emotion about everything. Fu Ming was right. Out of the four, only one was a traitor. That meant there were still three who were innocent. If these were brothers who had risked their lives for one another, their hearts likely were chilled with bitter disappointment for being placed under suspicion like this. She could even understand Fu Ming’s outrage earlier.

Cheng Muyun walked over.<>This is an UNAUTHORIZED copy, taken from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com

The candlelight in the room and the light from the bonfire outside interwove with one another in this space.

“The way you are looking at me”—he took her right hand in his, bent his head down, and placed a light kiss in her palm—“is as if you are looking at an injured stray cat.”

She curled her fingers inward. “Do you… need me to do anything?”

“Pretend you do not know anything and protect yourself, just like how, in Kathmandu, you were able to fool everyone. I know this is something you are very good at doing.” His voice was soft as he told her, “I have said before, I would not be able to bear it at all if your body became cold and stiff and lifeless.”

The last time he said this, it was to persuade her to flee out of that inn alone, to flee, alone, for her life.

Now…<>Please support the original translation of this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead

Hearing such words, Wen Han instinctively grew uneasy.<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com 

But just as Cheng Muyun had said, her greatest strength was putting up a placid front. She thought, the best way to comfort him and support him was, as he had said, to play well her role of an unsullied piece of white paper.

Wen Han blew out a long breath, lightly patting her own chest. “Just now, when I hit him, I scared myself to death.”

Cheng Muyun refrained from replying. Even rats could terrify her.

She looked again at the light outside the window. “I’ve never interacted with a sadhu before. Last month, when I was here in India, they were all really scared of the sadhus. Would you be able to take me downstairs for a look?”

Cheng Muyun shrugged. “That is not a problem. I am very well acquainted with them.”

Side by side, the two of them walked downstairs together. Wen Han thought up all sorts of questions to ask him, such as, why were there sadhus here? Or such as, why was Cheng Muyun so well acquainted with them? Or such as… For the first time, Cheng Muyun felt she was quite adorable, especially the way she was pretending that everything was perfectly fine and peaceful.

He told Wen Han, the lord of this manor several years ago had already wanted to officially take up the monastic life, but all this time, his family had been stopping him from doing so. This year, he at last had persuaded all of his family and so was now beginning to make the preparations for the ceremony.

This was going to be a grand event unprecedented in history.

More than one hundred thousand people would be present, and twenty to thirty thousand workers would be hired for it.

And these sadhus who lived here were all gathered in this place specifically for this ceremony that would take place this month. In India, after all, sadhus were viewed as messengers of the gods, as holy people, and were very respected.<>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 they arrived downstairs, Cheng Muyun took a seat, cross-legged.

Wen Han stayed close by his side. Right as they sat down, a monk rose and came over to them and, in a friendly manner, applied a bindi, a red dot of auspiciousness, to her forehead. With awestruck reverence, Wen Han pressed her palms together in thanks. Then, giving a shrug of her shoulders, she beamed at Cheng Muyun and asked him secretly, “Hey, monk, does it look nice?”

A smile also came onto Cheng Muyun’s lips. Placing his palms together, he gave a slight bow of his head to her. “You could enthrall the hearts of all living beings[1].”

He, in this moment, had eyes that burned hotter than fire.<>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.

[1] 颠倒众生 “dian dao zhong sheng.” This actually most literally means “the minds of living beings are improperly reversed [confounded]” and is a saying that often comes up within Buddhist texts. In that context, living beings’ hearts and minds are confounded and view the things of the world as opposite of what they actually are, often mistaking things that should be harmful and painful as happiness, disorder as order, etc. Later, this saying came to be used to describe great beauty, one who is so beautiful the mind of any person who lays eyes on her is completely captivated and enthralled. Here, then, Cheng Muyun is taking a saying that is often heard and used in Buddhist contexts and using it to compliment Wen Han. (Note: this is quite similar to the words 神魂颠倒 that Cheng Muyun had once used on her in chapter 1.1, that she enthralled his mind and soul. The same characters 颠倒 “reverse/turn upside down, confound” were used.)<>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.

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

≪ Previous Chapter | Index | Next Chapter ≫

Advertisements

14 thoughts on “Life: A Black and White Film (一生一世,黑白影画) — Chapter 10.4

  1. So, is he the lord of the manor?

  2. going to be quite an adventure seeking the traitor out

  3. Thank you so much for the chapter. 😘😘😘

  4. Thank you. … 😊

  5. Thank you for the translation Hoju! This is where I ended in the raw when I needed to take a break and pick up something more lighthearted. I’m excited to read along with your translation and see how their relationship will unravel and how each of the people’s interaction will play out. Oh my heart. I hope my flight tendency won’t come again. I want the courage of Wen Han. She’s so “normal”, but she has this hidden strength about her. Even though it seemed like she grew up in a loving home, but yet she gained a lot of self-protection strength and instinct from the environment she grew up in. I wonder if it’s because she’s adopted or because Moscow is so dangerous that she knows how to handle scary situations.

    • The intense pieces that affected me most were generally resolved after chapter 10 (right here). While my mind could process what Cheng Muyun was doing was for Wen Han’s good, it was still intense standing in Wen Han’s shoes and feeling the uncertainty for her. While the physical danger and mental stress is still there, things have cleared and she emotionally can now lean upon him. She always trusted that he was doing the best for her, but there was a disconnect in understanding the reason why things needed to be kept secretive. Though she probably can process why she was safer before, there is some relief at not being in the dark about everything anymore. And I, as a reader, felt that same relief with her.
      (I never blamed Cheng Muyun for doing it, especially after reading all the way to the end, but the psychological tension was still there.)

      Personal take on Wen Han:
      A loving home provides a great place for attachment and security. However, it is not a bubble in which you are completely cut off from the hurt that others can bring. Rather, it is a firm foundation that you can build upon to learn to protect yourself. Wen Han was made fun of in her childhood for being adopted and 1/4 Chinese. It does not seem that she was emotionally scarred by it, and that is likely because she did have that safe place (her parents) she could run back to. She merely learned to protect herself from the hurtful words and actions that others could inflict.

      Happy to have you reading along. 🙂

  6. A good chapter indeed 🙂. Thank you.

  7. Thank you for updating us on the story, so exciting. Anyone knows if there will be a movie / drama ? I think Nepal and India and their journey will make a fantastic backdrop on screen, picturesque to the max + super cool couple = great drama, right ?

  8. A good but intense chapter indeed. Time to take a break. Thank you so much for the wonderful translation

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