Fangirling Chinese Novels

Life: A Black and White Film (一生一世,黑白影画) — Chapter 12.3


Cheng Muyun’s past…

Chapter 12.3 — This Avici Hell (3)

The bonfire gave off a crackling sound. The wind blew a glowing ember toward them and nearly singed her hair, but he blocked it with the back of his hand. Several claps of thunder pounded the air. Wen Han lifted her head. The moon could still be seen. There should not be rain, then. Besides, the wind was also blowing so strong.

However, these rumbles of thunder successfully managed to startle awake the peafowls in the straw shed. In the middle of this night, some blue peafowl leisurely strolled out, pausing every couple of steps. They were several peahens surrounding one peacock. From a distance, they haughtily surveyed these human folk.

With her arms encircling her knees, Wen Han watched these peafowl that were raised even more carefully and meticulously than the little masters of this manor estate. They were, after all, the national bird of India. As she gazed at those blue-hued feathers below these blue peafowls’ necks that were illuminated by the blazing flames, she all of a sudden remembered how, that day, he had crouched down and teased that peacock. It seemed he was very familiar with this particular creature.

“Were you ever in India before?” This was a harmless topic, she thought.

“I have been to many places,” he said in an even tone. “The Ajanta Caves, Hawa Mahal, the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Amber Fort, Sri Meenakshi Temple… and also the deserts, beaches, and rocky deserts here. Many places.” This was Cheng Muyun’s first time telling her about his past experiences.

Even if they were only a series of place names, they were still like pictures of a black and white film unfolding, one by one, in front of her eyes.

His fingers stroked over her hair that was tied up. Applying only a slight force, he undid it, allowing her long, black tresses to spill down. “I also raised peafowls for half a year.”

No wonder… he knew so well how to bully peafowls.<>Please read this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com

That was ten years ago.<>This is an UNAUTHORIZED copy, taken from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com 

The Cheng Muyun back then and the one now were two completely different people. Or perhaps it should be said, the “he” that Wen Han saw in Nepal who enticed and seduced her was a pared down incarnation of the Cheng Muyun of ten years ago. He had grown up living his life in gray areas. In his adolescent days, he had committed too many evils, and to allow his heart to feel less uncomfortable, he began observing the precepts from age fifteen. Then later, because of an old monk’s questioning that cut to his very soul, he had at last suddenly and wholly awakened from his ways.

Afterwards, he had turned himself in, purely as a form of self-punishment.

It was in prison that he had met Fu Yiming.<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead

Fu Yiming at that time was acting undercover and was squatting in a jail cell to investigate a case.

In that darkest of prisons in Moscow, Cheng Muyun had looked on as Fu Yiming fraternized with an imprisoned drug lord, being “brothers” with him, and found out about a shocking smuggling line established along a very long stretch of border. And when Fu Yiming’s true identity was detected and he was nearly killed as a silencing measure, it was Cheng Muyun who had rescued him.

“Interested?” At the time, the injured Fu Yiming had helped Cheng Muyun get an early release from prison. “I need someone to help me continue investigating this. I can’t. I need to keep away to avoid suspicion and conflict of interest. My older sister is involved in this.”

When Fu Yiming made this request, he had already clearly known that Cheng Muyun’s pre-prison identity, background, and connections could help him complete this assignment.

So, Fu Yiming had solicited his help.<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead

Later, Cheng Muyun had agreed to it.<>Please support this translation at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead

His agreement to help Fu Yiming investigate this case had come with a stipulation: Fu Yiming’s entire operations team had to be turned over to him and fully cooperate with his orders, with a time limit of three years. Three years later, the case was solved within the agreed timeframe. The other side launched a mad pursuit of vengeance, trying to completely purge and annihilate this underground ops team that was specifically in charge of transnational cases.

In that cruel incident of “being purged,” Cheng Muyun had actually been targeted as one of the ones to be killed. Countless brothers had given their lives in order to protect him and send him to a safe place.

Before he left, it was his own family who had forced him to take the vow, that he could be in any country he so pleased, doing whatever to squander away and enjoy his life, but for the rest of his life, he could not return to Moscow. That city had already become too dangerous for Cheng Muyun.

He really did take that vow. Of course, it had been made to God.

That was the first half of his life.<>This is an UNAUTHORIZED copy, taken from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com

Cheng Muyun picked up a small stone and held it in his open palm, like he was weighing it. Suddenly, it shot out from his hand. In the dark night, a peacock let out an abrupt shriek and immediately unfolded its plume, eyeing Cheng Muyun with hostility.

“Dearest, do you know what these wild peafowls in India most like to eat?” Cheng Muyun rose, and in the chilling wind, he stared down from on high at that peacock. His voice becoming light, he told her, in Russian, an interesting fact. “It is the young form of that snake that strikes fear into man, the cobra.”

Nature always contains so many surprising facts.<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead

You may think that the cobra is the most dangerous thing and peacocks are noble and beautiful; hence, you will not imagine that one of the much-loved foods of the peacock is actually the immature cobra.

Just as, when Cheng Muyun first took over the leadership of that small operations team, everyone had believed that his background was complicated and, moreover, unclean, that he was a dangerous individual and would bring bale to the group. Yet, in the end, it was a person within that group, or perhaps a few persons, ones who had “clean” backgrounds, who had betrayed everyone.<>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.

How could the world’s ways ever conform to being if not black, then white; and when have they complied with being if not this, then that?

Who is a brother, and who is an enemy? Were it so easy to discern, there would never have been so much blood shed in vain and innumerable skeletons left behind. There would not be spirits that, even with one hundred thousand recitations of the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Sutra[1], could not be released out of suffering into peace.<>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 the early morning hours arrived, the two of them both squeezed onto that bed on the second floor of that small building. Long after he had closed his eyes, Wen Han still quietly opened hers several times to look at him.

The new day’s sunlight shone into where they were, dispersing both yesterday’s day and night.

Looking up diagonally from her angle at his chin, she could see his thick lashes peacefully blanketing down over his face. In a somewhat muddled state, she even had a fear that those eyes would never open again.

Why did she have such a foreboding feeling?<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead

Wen Han shifted her body slightly, her palm sliding over from his waist to hook her thumb through his belt, as if doing this would make her feel less uneasy, that she could hold on to him.

Cheng Muyun finally gave a chuckle. Light, unhurried Russian slid, a little at a time, from the tip of his tongue. “Darling, you miss my body?” He opened his eyes, his hands gliding to the underside of her thighs and lifting her up onto his waist. “Come.”

“I’m really scared to hear you speak Russian.”<>Please read this translation at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com 

“Why is that? Could it be that my Russian makes you feel uncomfortable?” He laughed lightly.

Words were at her lips, but she suppressed them. “No, it’s very magnetic.”

Did it strike fear in her? Yes, yet right now, it was also like a heavenly sound.

His gaze was like a spell that caused her to instantly lose her ability to resist.

Cheng Muyun. This name to her was still a mystery. Perhaps in this entire lifetime, he would never tell her about all the dark things he had experienced, the tortuous roads he had once walked, and the evil people he had encountered. However, there was no question that from the very beginning, she had never been able to evade him.

“When you first arrived in China, was your Chinese very good?”

“Not good at all. My foundation in it was basically zero.”<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com

Wen Han gave an uneasy laugh, feeling unsettled.<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com

It was as if he would not speak Chinese to her anymore. Since last night, he had begun more and more frequently to speak in Russian, and now, it seemed as if that man on the train who had flipped through his book had disappeared. Hurriedly, he had come, made an appearance, and then disappeared.

Did this signify that he was making some sort of decision? Or was he simply too grieved over the death of two of his brothers, and this had brought up memories of his days in Moscow?<>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 seemed to have seen through her thoughts, and holding her in his arms, he sat himself up directly. His tongue’s tip glided from her collarbone to her earlobe. “I remembered something. The dye that I used on you this time is rather special, and I foresee that even several months from now, the henna tattoo that is on you will still be very distinct. If you do not find it to be too much trouble, by then, you could find a tattooist to follow my design and tattoo it onto your body. Trust me, you will not find anyone in Moscow with art and skill better than mine.”

After agreeing to do so, Wen Han remembered that he had said he would send her back after three months.

“Here, henna tattoos are good things that are believed to bring good luck and happiness. On important occasions, a woman will purposely get henna done, for example, on her day of engagement, on her wedding day,”—his palm slid along her bosom and down, coming to rest firmly on her abdomen—“during her seventh month of pregnancy, and also for childbirth.”

Each word he spoke seemed, one by one, to strike her heart.

“I shouldn’t be…” Shouldn’t be pregnant.<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead

“No.” Cheng Muyun spoke with certainty as he told her, “Trust me, I will not leave any trouble for you, nor, even more so, will I allow you to bear any pain or hardships that should not be yours to bear.”

Having the child of Cheng Muyun was not any sort of lucky thing. Being an object of revenge, being the target for cruel, purge-like killing, being used—this fate did not suit her.

There was a slight upheaval in Wen Han’s eyes.<>Please read this at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead

She remembered the wish she had said in her prayer to Buddha on the banks of the Ganges, after she gave a dying, old Indian man money to buy wood to cremate his own body.

So, it turned out that regardless of whether he fell in love with her or not, the final outcome still would not change.

Cheng Muyun unexpectedly changed the topic, asking her if she was fed up with Indian dishes that had texture like paste and if she wanted to have some Western-style food or something else. Before Wen Han could catch up with the cadence of his thought process, he had already turned over and gotten out of bed. As if their embrace and kisses had not even existed, he left that wooden bed, which only just now had still carried a brief moment of tenderness and affection, pulled on his black hiking shoes, and, with seldom-seen seriousness, put on a clean, button-up shirt and his hiking jacket. He then felt his slightly prickly-to-touch, short hair. “I will go have someone prepare some for you. Just look. There is not even a servant here, so I can only make a trip out myself.”

Smoothing a hand over her own hair, she burrowed belly-down back into that bed, which still carried the warmth of his body, muttering, “How can you just say you’re getting up and then you get right up?”

With a tilt of his head, Cheng Muyun chuckled and went downstairs, his steps light and relaxed.

However, Wen Han did not know that after this man, whom she was waiting for to bring back breakfast, left the building, what he faced were numerous armed special police, some of them Indian officers, some from other countries. They had all been ready with guns in hand to go upstairs and make the arrest, so when they saw the subject of their mission come down of his own accord, they were surprised.

Meng Liangchuan stood rather powerlessly among these people. In a low voice, he stated that he wanted to have a few words with Cheng Muyun. Within the group, there was someone who was a relatively good friend of Meng Liangchuan, and as a result, he was given what was considered an exception.

Walking over, Meng Liangchuan wanted to put an arm around Cheng Muyun’s shoulder, but when he stretched his hand over and discovered that Cheng Muyun was too tall, he cleared his throat and pulled his hand back. “This place is not the same as Nepal, where I could keep things under wraps for you. Someone died without any cause or reason. An investigation is necessary, especially since… you and your identity are so special.”

No matter how you looked at it, if this type of conduct of unofficial “mole catching” truly had caused the loss of a life, it was a homicide case.

If that life were an innocent one, an explanation and appropriate resolution even more so would be required.

Cheng Muyun did not speak, which could be considered his unspoken agreement.

“Your ears are so sharp. And here I had been worried that if they really did go up, it would scare your woman.” After saying this, Meng Liangchuan thought for a moment, then asked, “Be honest and tell me, you weren’t the one who killed Zhuang Yan, were you? If it really was you, it doesn’t matter which country’s laws we’re talking about. You will need to pay for that with your life, Cheng Muyun.”<>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]本愿经, referring to 《地藏本愿经》Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Sutra, also known as The Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows or The Earth Store Bodhisattva Sutra. Complete translations can be found at and<>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 of 1 Prologue
35 of 50 Chapter segments
0 of 1 Epilogue

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9 thoughts on “Life: A Black and White Film (一生一世,黑白影画) — Chapter 12.3

  1. aiya WH’s foreboding is way too accurate

  2. Interesting! Thank you for the chapter 🙂.

  3. Thank you for the update 😉

  4. The story is getting darker:(…thank you

    • It is… and it isn’t. It touches on the complexities of humans. Won’t spoil you. Keep reading!
      You’re welcome!

  5. So, is he 32 years old? He met that Yiming at 19 plus 3 years or so resolving the case and then 10 years as a monk… Maybe he’s 34 if there are some period of time missing.
    Was that older sister the famous ex-girlfriend?

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