Fangirling Chinese Novels

Life: A Black and White Film (一生一世,黑白影画) — Chapter 11.2


Happy birthday to Peanuts! Everyone send her your love. 🙂

Cheng Muyun has so many skills. Who knew that you can get a peacock to help you woo women? LOL. And it looks like some pretenses are being taken away in the group now.

Chapter 11.2 — Persons Who Exist in Jambudvipa (2)

They were like a couple who had just started dating. When they returned from that obscure little town, they even brought back a bag of mangoes.

While Cheng Muyun was selecting the fruit, she had actually turned her back to him and curiously pulled out the object inside the embroidered protection amulet pouch, taking a look at it. It was about the size of a fingernail and rather irregular-looking, similar to the dried rootstalk of a plant. What was this thing? So bizarre.<>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.

They arrived back in the manor. The servants had let all of the peafowls out, and upon a quick count, she discovered there were five or six of them, three of them peacocks, the males.

“Too bad they haven’t spread their feathers,” she sighed.<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com

Cheng Muyun could hear the disappointment in her voice. Walking up in front of one of the peacocks, he lowered himself into a half-crouch, scratched out a small stone from the dirt, and rolled it between two fingers.

Wen Han thought he would attack the peacock with the stone.

To her surprise, he made no motions that carried any form of attack, merely staring intently at that peacock with a dangerous type of look that was filled with threat and showed he was poised to strike at any time. The peacock halted its sauntering steps, motionlessly staring back at him as well.

Without any warning, he made a hissing noise at it.<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com

The peacock’s plumage fanned open with a whoosh, and then, screeching, it fled.

“See, it also thinks you are very beautiful.” Holding the stone in his open palm, he smiled and straightened back up. “He spread his plumage for you to express his besotted admiration of you.”

Wen Han had a wry expression. “It’s obvious you frightened it.”

Regarding this point, Cheng Muyun’s words were unable to mislead her.

Back when she was in university and writing a paper for social science, she had studied many different animals. At the time, she had felt that peacocks were very interesting creatures.

Only when either of two feelings is present, when it is enamored by you or when it feels you are threatening its life, will it display its most fascinating and beguiling self to you.

In this moment, she realized, this also seemed to be Cheng Muyun’s trait.

It appeared that Cheng Muyun did not intend on continuing to stay in that austere, little building that lacked any modern facilities. He went back with her to the white, modernly furnished, two-level, European-style villa.

On these estate grounds, there were many similar standalone villas like this one.

The servants and the several thousand workers responsible for the preparation work were busily getting ready for the manor lord’s monastic induction ceremony that was taking place in a few days. There were simply too many guests. No one would pay any special attention to them.

To pay attention to this particular building’s one, two, three, four, five, six—

Six guests.<>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 changed into some clean clothes and went to the second-level terrace, where she saw the several of them laughing and sitting together around a stone table. On top of the table were the small, bright red mangoes that Cheng Muyun had brought back.

“Monk, why’d you buy mangoes? What’s so fresh about these? Are there any of those amla fruits that you talked about on the train?” Xiao Zhuang peeled one and wolfed it down. “I got the name right, didn’t I?”

“You actually believe what the monk said?” Fu Ming picked through the mangoes. “That thing does not taste good, nor does anyone eat it. He just talked about it on the train for fun. Here, you give this a try, too. India’s most famous fruit is the mango.” Fu Ming tossed one to Chen Yuan. Chen Yuan caught it and set it on the table, not eating it.

“Doesn’t India have a type of mango that you can just eat directly through a straw? I don’t want to peel it with my hands.” Zhou Zhou could not be bothered to use her hands to peel off the skin and then have her hands covered in juice.

Happy and harmonious.<>This is an UNAUTHORIZED copy, taken from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com

Like a gathering of old friends of many years.<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead

Although many times these people were working on the same thing, they had actually never told one another about themselves

Now, it seemed everyone had loosened up.<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead

Wen Han pulled off her shoes and curled herself up at the edge of a sun chair. She lowered her head and, in a well-behaved manner, peeled off the skin of the mango in her hand. Not far away, two Indian boys held plastic hoses and gently hummed a tune as they watered the garden. Their spraying water even created a rainbow.

As she slowly ate her mango, she watched them.<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead.

Zhou Zhou was Zhou Ke’s girlfriend and also Cheng Muyun’s younger cousin-sister[1]. Even Fu Ming did not know her true identity. These were things Cheng Muyun had told her just earlier.

“You’re not going to eat any?” she asked Zhou Zhou.<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead

Pursing her lips in a smile, Zhou Zhou shook her head.

It seemed, besides Xiao Zhuang and Wen Han, everybody was not very interested in the mangoes that Cheng Muyun bought. So, while they were eating away, Xiao Zhuang and Wen Han also detected that only the two of them were being gluttons. Exchanging a grin, they both felt a little sheepish.

Wen Han genuinely felt in her heart that this teenage boy was a good person.

But she did not dare influence Cheng Muyun’s judgment.

When Wen Han set her mango peel on the table, Zhou Zhou yanked out a moist towelette and stuffed it into her hand. “You absolutely cannot copy what those men do and just wipe your hands on your pants. It’s so disgusting.”

Wen Han smiled. “Thanks.”<>Please support the original translation at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead

Immediately, Xiao Zhuang turned his eyes to Fu Ming.

Holy crap! The monk’s skills are just too good. He’s got his own Ehuang and Nüying[2]. He’s living the good life of having more than one wife, eh.

Fu Ming, seeming utterly as if he had not drawn a blade or pulled out a gun and fought Cheng Muyun the previous night, was acting uninterested in everything. “What are you looking at me for? Eat your mango.”

Everyone laughed.<>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.

The sun was sweltering.<>Please support the original translation at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead

Standing up, Chen Yuan dragged two large patio umbrellas over and set them beside the stone table to provide some covering from the sunshine for everyone.

Fu Ming gave Xiao Zhuang a kick, sending Xiao Zhuang to go grab some poker cards. They were going to start a game and gamble. Since they all were not carrying much cash on them, they told Zhou Zhou to take a notebook and keep track of the money. Supposedly, after they all left the manor and went their separate ways, whoever lost anything would transfer the money into an account accessible by everyone and the winner would withdraw it.

After they went their separate ways?<>Please support the original translation at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com

For a moment, Wen Han’s heart felt stifled. Even she, someone who had interacted with them for only a few days, did not dare think about what would happen next, let alone… Cheng Muyun.

Xiao Zhuang brought some playing cards back. The game began.

They were all carrying out casual dialogue, someone griping that they were unable to eat meat, someone complaining that the streets outside were too filthy, someone commenting that it was unimaginable that in a few days, there would be more than a hundred thousand people here to attend the manor lord’s monastic induction ceremony…

Though they treated Wen Han politely, she was still, after all, an outsider, and after not even a few sentences of chitchat, the conversation with her would be unable to continue. Wen Han also noticed that her existence here was a hindrance. Cheng Muyun was far away, squatted down and looking at the flower garden, so after sitting for a short while, she left.

The instant Wen Han’s backside disappeared from sight, all the complaints evaporated as well. Those several people who were in the midst of a game of gamble also began to fall into wordlessness.

Liveliness had returned to cold silence.<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead

“Fu Laoban.” Chen Yuan rubbed the three cards that he held, then slowly, ever so slowly, lifted them to take a look and check his hand. “You came back with injuries last night?”

Fu Ming lifted his brows, not speaking.<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead

“Huh?” Xiao Zhuang was surprised. “Didn’t you go to drink and catch up with the monk? What gives with injuries?”

Fu Ming gave an insipid smile. “Let’s not talk about me. Chen Yuan, you’ve been his shadow for so many years. It’s the first time being exposed beneath the sunlight. Is that quite a peculiar feeling?”

Zhou Zhou continued shuffling the cards as she gave a faint sigh. “So you actually all know?”

Xiao Zhuang looked at the other three people, not making a sound.

Every person here seemed to know what that man who right now was bent over in a half-crouch out in the scorching sunlight, looking at flowers while talking to the young Indian boys watering the plants—Cheng Muyun—was doing.

Only this boy, the youngest amongst them, still seemed not to understand.<>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 returned to the guest room, drew the curtains shut, and threw herself into the softness of her quilt. Before long, she had slipped into slumber. The incense in the room was too sleep-inducing.

Something cool was sliding along her wrist.<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead

One. Another one.<>This is an UNAUTHORIZED copy, taken from at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com

She let out a couple sounds of “mm,” her brows coming together. With her eyes squinted, she blearily watched as Cheng Muyun toyed with the string of inexpensive bangles on her wrist. Resting her hand against the back of his waist, she curled herself up and leaned her cheek against the side of his leg. “May I buy some incense to bring home? My mom really likes those.”

India was the birthplace of the incense culture.<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead

If she brought some home, her adoptive mother definitely would like them.

“That will not be a problem.” Saying this, he drew the heavy, white bed curtains lining the edge of the bed.

As if pre-arranged, some servants pushed open the door and walked into the room. They had tacitly accepted that this female guest was already asleep, and working quietly, they began to tidy the room.

Smiling, Cheng Muyun carried on running his fingers over the bangles on her wrist.

Occasionally, when those accessories collided against each other, silvery tinkling sounds could be heard.

Wen Han pulled her hand back, which triggered a series of clinking and jangling…

Wordlessly, she removed that group of bangles and stuffed them under the quilt, temporarily covering up the source of the sounds. After all, right now, she was his sister in name, and if people saw them in this suggestive setting, alone together on the bed with the bed curtains drawn, their imaginations certainly would fire with all different ideas.

Cheng Muyun narrowed his eyes, smiling because of her way of dealing with this.

These little gestures and actions from Wen Han reminded him of a wild cat that he once saw in a temple. The entire time, that creature had wandered back and forth on the eaves so gingerly and carefully, lest someone discover signs that it was there. However, that little wild cat had not known that the sound of its tiny footsteps was so extremely clear in his ears.<>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’s quiet calmness caused her to relax her guard as well, and sprawling beside him, she smiled. But her bliss did not last more than three seconds before, without any warning, the man beside her pulled her underneath himself. Once she was pressed fiercely beneath his body, his hand slid to her soft bosom and, one button at a time, began unfastening her shirt. Her struggles were unable to budge him. After her shirt was forcibly removed, she saw Cheng Muyun pull out several tubes of dye from the pocket of his pants.

He had brought those in with him?<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead

She looked at him in astonishment. And in the gaze that Cheng Muyun returned to her, there was a faint smile.

Spreading his legs apart, he knelt one knee on each side of her body. Bent at the waist, in a position that was nearly a form of torture to him, he picked up one of the tubes of dye.

The moment the dye came down on her, a picture was conjured up from Wen Han’s memory.

She could still remember how the sunlight had slipped through the gaps between the leaves and fallen down, and she, her head tilted upward, her face toward the light, had been utterly unable to open her eyes… It was at that time that he had said he would paint another henna design for her again.

Throughout the first half of the henna application, the two servants were chatting in quiet tones outside the bed curtains.

Perhaps they had seen the silhouette of the man kneeling on the bed, or perhaps they had not, for the sounds of their conversation were too low and no one knew what they were talking about.

Half an hour after the servants left, he completed painting this design. During the time when they were waiting for the henna to totally dry, he finally told her that the picture on her back was one of the designs found on the walls inside the Taj Mahal.

The Taj Mahal. A mausoleum built by one of India’s former emperors for his wife. Legend has it that after his favourite consort died, this emperor’s hair overnight turned entirely white, as if with the death of his beloved wife, the life within him was also wholly exhausted.

During her last time in India, Wen Han had gone to that famous destination. Photographs were not allowed inside, but outside, the brick-red designs incised into the walls were very unusual, and she had taken pictures of them.

Unfortunately, she had lost her camera.<>This is an UNAUTHORIZED copy of the translation

“Why are you so good at henna tattoos?”<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead

“During that period, there was nothing particular for me to do, so I learned a lot of random, senseless things.”

She mulled for a moment. This period in time he was referring to was likely the period when he was a monk.

While they were having this casual conversation, the door was unexpectedly pushed open. Zhou Zhou’s reddened eyes caused the warm, suggestive atmosphere that had been hovering in the room to instantly dissolve.

“I want to talk to you alone.” Zhou Zhou quietly gave this request in Russian, not showing any of the rage that was a result of being suspected but, rather, the mental and physical exhaustion that came after disappointment.

Without speaking, Cheng Muyun gave a nudge on the back of Wen Han’s waist.

She comprehended his meaning. Getting off the bed as quickly as she could, she did not even have time to put on her shoes, and carrying them in her hands, she sprinted outside. In the hallway, the servants were talking in whispers. When they saw her come out looking like this, startled expressions came over their faces, but then respectfully, they bent at the waist and withdrew from there.

Xiao Zhuang was standing at the corner of the stairs, seeming as if he had chased his way up here. Seeing Wen Han’s slightly awkward appearance, he also gave a sheepish grin and scratched the back of his head. “Sorry about that. She was dealing the cards and then just all of a sudden ran off. I wanted to chase after her but couldn’t catch up. We didn’t interrupt you guys getting cozy, did we?”<>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] 堂妹 “tang mei.” Younger female patrilineal cousin. Cheng Muyun’s father and “Zhou Zhou’s” father are brothers. In Chinese culture, cousins who share the same surname (i.e. their fathers are brothers) are closer in blood than others and are called 堂 “tang” siblings. They address each other not as “cousin” but as brother or sister.

[2] 娥皇女英. In legends, Ehuang and Nüying are two sisters who married the same man. The Emperor Shun is a legendary emperor of far-ancient China. Emperor Yao heard Shun was a man of integrity and married his two daughters, Ehuang and Nüying, to Shun. Later, when Emperor Yao passed on the rule to Shun, the two women became empress and imperial concubine. Because they were virtuous wives who aided Shun significantly and were also sisters who harmoniously shared the same husband, the term “Ehuang and Nüying” became a saying to describe the (happy) situation of a man having two women.<>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:

“Zhou Zhou was Zhou Ke’s girlfriend and also Cheng Muyun’s younger cousin-sister.” There! Surprised about this piece of info? 😉 See, I told you. No melodramatic, TVB-esque third party in the relationship. LOL.

I love the poker game setting. It’s so still, but it’s quite cinematic. You can imagine how chill and relaxed everything was, but the instant Wen Han disappears from sight, a blanket of tension falls down with the silence that suddenly floods in. I can imagine how everyone’s smiles instantly evaporated, and for the first time, the masks that had been worn are tossed away. They lay out in the open that “everyone knows” (except for young Xiao Zhuang), and hence you can extrapolate that they are all watching Cheng Muyun and each other closely. Such a brief scene, but the tension is tangible.


1 of 1 Prologue
32 of 50 Chapter segments
0 of 1 Epilogue

≪ Previous Chapter | Index | Next Chapter ≫


18 thoughts on “Life: A Black and White Film (一生一世,黑白影画) — Chapter 11.2

  1. Like a survivalship, everyone must be on high alert of the other party

  2. Happy bday peanut!!!!

  3. Happy Birthday Peanuts! May the Lord bless you with another fun and blessed year.
    Thanks again Hoju for yet another chapter.

  4. Thank you so much for the chapter!! 😘😘👍🏻

  5. Yeah. I thought Zhou Zhou and Zhou Ke were dating since they seemed to have a promise ring, but didn’t expect that she is Cheng Muyun’s cousin. All these people have stories with Cheng Muyun. Fu Ming who he knew the longest and fought alongside with and eventually leaving his team for him to leave, Zhou Zhou who is his younger cousin, Chen Yuan who is “Cheng Muyun’s shadow”. I really wonder what ties Xiao Zhuang has with Cheng Muyun and how old he was when he joined the organization or if he was even in it when Chen Muyun left. I forget how old he is. Sixteen?

    Thanks Hoju again! And thanks for the reminder that this was set in the early 2000s. I tend to forget that.

    • From chapter 10.3: “Each one of those four people in the manor shared a different story with Cheng Muyun. Yes, it was true. With each one, there had been an opening up of one’s heart and an offering up of one’s life to each other.”

      Xiao Zhuang is nineteen. Fu Ming said that in chapter 10.4. Cheng Muyun left the ops team ten years ago.

      I mentioned in my intro post that the character are what fascinate me in this story. I remember saying in Beautiful Bones, “everyone has a story.” That theme is even more prevalent in this novel.

      Thanks for reading!

  6. Thank you for the update 😊

  7. Thank you for the chapter 🙂. Wonder what significance the object in the amulet would have 🤔…

    Happy Birthday, Peanuts!

  8. Happy bornday Peanuts!
    Thank you for the chapter Hoju…

  9. Happy birthday peanuts. May u have many more☺☺☺
    I am loving this novel. The relationship between the leads is way beyond my comprehension.

    • The relationships in this story are much more complex than a simple boy meets girl story. There are so many things and factors that have to be considered, not just attraction or feelings. I love the complexity. 🙂

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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