Monday, 30 December 2013

落花时节又逢君 by 蜀客 (When Spring Ends, I'll Meet You Again by Shu Ke)





       I decided to read this after seeing Peanut's blog entryI think out of all the ancient c-novels I've read so far, this c-novel has probably the most debatable "happy ending". I thought this would just be a "filler" read, when you feel like reading something but don't want something too great or overwhelming as it becomes too addictive and paralyses the other parts of your life. But, this was incredibly addictive and I could not put it down till - I finished it.

    Hong Ning, is a red camellia sprite, who falls in love with Jin Xiu, one of the greatest gods in heaven. He was the former king of Central Heaven, but was demoted to be the Flower God temporarily, before he ascends again to his rightful place. In front of everyone, she announces that she wants to be his queen, and so he tells her to "cultivate" and become a god.

   In his heart, he knows the gap between him and Hong Ning is too wide (because he can only marry the gods of the royal bloodlines) - but he thinks that cultivation for Hong Ning and becoming a god will be good for her regardless. So, this starts their fate.




   In order to become a minor god, Hong Ning goes to the mortal world to pass a trial. There, she meets Gong Zi, an extremely rich handsome nobleman, who longs in his heart for someone to give him true love. She becomes a red camellia flower in his field which is about to be removed - so she takes human form at night and pleads with him to spare the field. She recognises that Gong Zi is not happy despite having all the material wealth he could ever want - Gong Zi thinks he has finally found someone who knows him, and promises to spare the field if she appears before him every night and gives him her heart.



  Hong Ning tells Gong Zi that she likes someone else already - but Gong Zi says he only wants a few decades, because he is human and won't live so long. She can fall for her god after he is dead. Lots happen in between - Hong Ning realises that she could never be Jin Xiu's queen and she feels tricked, another flower deity pretends to be her and meets Gong Zi - making Hong Ning think that Gong Zi did not really love her - Hong Ning's trial comes and Gong Zi sacrifices his life for her.



   Hong Ning realises that it was a trick by a flower deity - which Jin Xiu did not reveal, hoping she will stop the foolishness of feelings and focus on cultivation to be a god. She's incredibly devastated by Gong Zi's sacrifice and asks Jin Xiu to turn her into a mortal so she can repay Gong Zi's sacrifice.



   This starts everything - Jin Xiu to fulfill Hong Ning's wish - has to experience divine punishment (which Hong Ning does not know) and he takes great pains to give her some precious water from some spring so that she has the chance to cultivate to become a god again. Hong Ning goes through ten lifetimes in the world - in one lifetime, she marries Gong Zi and returns his sacrifice (<3).

  


Saturday, 28 December 2013

Three Lives Three Worlds, The Pillow Book 三生三世, 枕上书 - 唐七公子 (Book 2, Chapter 18) (Part 3/3) (Completed)



   A late Merry Christmas to everyone! I had to take a break from ancient C-novels for a while after summarising 3L3W 10 Peach Blossoms (haha), and it's nice to finally finish my translation for Chapter 18 of The Pillow Book <3. As usual I have translated to keep the reading flow smooth and its spirit intact, it is not 100% literal and accurate. 

   Thanks everyone for the support and your sweet words. It's been a very busy period for me (finishing up work and packing up to move to Hong Kong for 2 months!) but I'm also looking forward to starting on my official translation project for Heavy Sweetness Ash-Like Frost. 

   I hope you enjoy this chapter as much as I did (I have read this chapter almost twenty times hah!) 




   Lian Song Jun came to Tang Ning Mountain for two reasons, one to follow Cheng Yu, two to check out the crowd. 

   Because his purpose was clear, Lian Song Jun truly gained a lot from today's event. 

   For example, when he was changing the position of his fan in his hand, he saw a flicker of interaction between the little fox and Dong Hua. None of the other bystanders noticed, but Lian Song Jun's eyes were sharp, and he naturally saw Feng Jiu raising her gaze instantly after breaking through the formation. And, sitting on the highest position, Dong Hua Dijun moved his left hand and placed it under his cheek, he faced Feng Jiu and lightly mouthed out the words, "Beautiful fight". The little fox's mouth naturally broke out into a proud smile, thereafter she made a great effort to subdue the smile and changed to a serious gaze as she kept the He Xue Sword. While her father made a grand speech, Feng Jiu's gaze swept the crowd to see if anyone noticed them. 

  To make such flirtatious moves with your lover in front of such public space, Casanova Lian Song Jun paused and realised that even he himself have never done such a thing. For a moment, he felt that he did not live up to his name as the Love Saint, and unconsciously gazed at Cheng Yu's figure in the audience. Ever since Cheng Yu sat in the audience, she had been discussing with Si Ming Xing Jun who sat next to her regarding the various ways to eat the pit of the peach, she had never turned back to look at him once. 

   Lian Song Jun dazedly watched her back for a while, a little down-hearted, a little dejected. 

   Deep in his dejection, Lian Song Jun raised his head to the sun, calmly and slowly a big patch of thick cloud floated by. When Lian Song Jun realised who was on this thick cloud, he immediately stop being depressed. To think he could see such a scene today, he waved his fan and leaned back in his seat, and started to feel interested again. 

   At this moment, Feng Jiu was placing the He Xu sword in the sacred mountain. Before she could place it properly, she saw the thick cloud move closer and instinctively paused. During this pause, a laughter came from the thick cloud, "This is truly a great gathering of all the various gods. However, in Nie's humble opinion, Feng Jiu Highness' Weapon Coronation is lacking one step." Out of the shadows, came a man wearing a coat of mink holding a heated stove. He was carried by a group of servants onto the cloud's centre. 

   There was only one person in this world who Feng Jiu could not help feeling hot for whenever she saw him. This person was the Dark Demon Lord Nie Chu Yin. To appear at this scene and to say such a thing, Nie Chu Yin was clearly here to start something. But since the elders of the Bai family were all here, Feng Jiu felt there was no need for a junior person like her to speak out, so she kept her sword scabbard and raised her gaze to her dad, Bai Yi. 

   Out of all the elders of the Bai Family, the person who was best at preserving face and social niceties was her dad. The music on the stage stopped, her Dad said pleasantly, "I have long heard that the demon tribe did not bother with rules and ceremonies, but who knew that the Dark Demon Lord Nie Chu Yin respected rules so much. We are truly ashamed to need to have troubled Dark Demon Lord to come all the way to our home to remind us on how to conduct our ancient ceremony."

  Nie Chu Yin's eyes slightly reacted but his face maintained a smile, "Bai Yi High God's words are a little inaccurate - I did not come to remind, today I came to the Weapon Coronation, only with a heart full of respect. I especially remember that there is one step after the sword is tested, a competition is held where persons of the same rank are permitted to challenge the Monarch in order for everyone to truly respect the Monarch's abilities. But why after Feng Jiu Highness's Weapon Coronation, the sword is immediately being hidden after it is tested?"

   What Nie Chu Yin was planning, there were those in the audience who were still confused, but they were those who already understood. 

   Previously QingQiu's Weapon Coronation indeed had a step where the Monarch had a competition with those of the same rank and generation. If they lost to the Monarch, nothing would happen, but if they won, they gained a wish from the Monarch. It was spread that Bai Zhi King Emperior had set these two stages - to test the sword and then to compete with the sword, first to encourage the Monarch to improve, but also to inspire the people in the Bai Family of the same generation to also work harder. All of Bai Zhi King Emperor's Four Sons passed through these two stages, but when it was time for her young daughter Bai Qian to go through it, the Queen Empress could not bear it and cried to the King Emperor. After crying to the King Emperor for two months, the King Emperor finally removed the competition stage from the Weapon Coronation Ceremony for Bai Qian. It was silently recognised that any female monarch after Bai Qian Qian would also not need to go through the competition stage. 

   Immortal Zhe Yan moved slightly to face Bai Zhi King Emperor who was sitting beside him, "As the Weapon Coronation is an important traditional ceremony for the new Monarch, if there is a change in the rules, this has to be recorded in the rule books of QingQiu for it to have effect in the Eight Realms. Did you forget to change it?"


Monday, 23 December 2013

Three Lives Three Worlds, Ten Thousand Miles of Peach Blossom (三生三世,十里桃花) Review & Analysis (4.5 stars - HE)



     In my previous summaries (gosh, I really need to learn how to summarise briefly), I highlighted some of my favourite parts and what I thought was pivotal moments for me as a reader.

     Actually, what really struck me while I was reading 3L3W, 10 Peach Blossoms was that it used one of the well-loved conventions - couple parts due to some misunderstanding, a child is born out of the relationship and stays with a parent (usually in secret), they re-unite again usually because of the child, and get together! I've read a few modern c-novels using this convention and they are usually more fun than usual because of the child - who is usually extremely cute, intelligent and usually solves all the obstacles that riddled the couple previously, eg, misunderstandings from miscommunications or parental objections. 

  So, the story uses the couple meet again with child convention but in a fantasy construct and this actually is more imaginative - because the child is from the female lead's past life! Also, it was more novel in this case because the child is left with the father and Ye Hua is truly a doting and adorable father. 


   What I really liked about Tang Qi Gong Zi is how she subtly weaves in details or the emotional states of the characters in their actions or seemingly throwaway lines. Rarely, does she explicitly say why the characters do a certain action or how they feel directly through the characters themselves, and the side characters then usually act as the chorus and provide the exposition - for eg, Immortal Zhe Yan coughing or making some awkward action when Mo Yuan acts out of character with regards to Bai Qian Qian's news of her engagement or Little Dough when Ye Hua acts out of character because he is jealous. 

  But Tang Qi Gong Zi also has a lot of rather tangential plot lines that are often unsatisfying because they don't serve the main plot as effectively as perhaps the reader will like. For eg, the synopsis talks about Bai Qian Qian having five peach blossoms and you get this strange misconception (well I did haha) that the female character will go through several intense relationships but this is not true at all - in fact, the only other viable male lead, Mo Yuan, to Bai Qian Qian besides Ye Hua is not even listed as one of the five peach blossoms. So, I thought that plot was rather redundant - and even the romantic sub plot with the Demon King Li Jing was rather... half-baked. 

  The other tangential plot with Bai Qian Qian going down to the mortal world and Ye Hua looking after her... was also rather weak. Although, it does have some relevance down the line with The Pillow Book - I thought it was weak because it did not serve as an emotional engine or catharsis to Bai Qian Qian and Ye Hua's relationship... which just kind of meandered during these sub plots, when I wanted them to explore more interesting things because gosh, their relationship angst had so much more potential!

  But, at the end of it all, I really loved this c-novel which was largely unpretentious, of relatively good length and kept its spirit from start to end.


Saturday, 21 December 2013

Three Lives Three Worlds, Ten Thousand Miles of Peach Blossom (三生三世,十里桃花) Full Summary (Part 4) (Complete)


 Although this summary and review project for 3L3W, 10 Peach Blossom, has the least interest out of my 3 current "to do" things for this blog, I am glad to have undertaken it. Certainly, it has led me to re-read 3L3W, 10 Peach Blossoms, at least five times, and I am also happy to say that it actually improves on further reading and is a work I likely will always enjoy. Since this work and Heavy Sweet Ash-like Frost is often compared, it would be interesting to do a comparative review at a later stage. Till then, enjoy!


Chapter 19

  Bai Qian Qian's Fourth Brother visits her at the West Sea King's palace and enlightens her about her feelings. Bai Qian Qian realises that she likes Ye Hua romantically!

 That night, when Bai Qian Qian arrives at Ye Hua's room, there are many bottles of alcohol at his feet, but he does not appear fully drunk. When he sees her, he is a little unstable but gets up to takes the Jie Po Lantern for her. He passes it to her and tells her to place it by Mo Yuan's bed for three days and to watch it carefully. Bai Qian Qian looks surprised because she would have watched it carefully regardless, Ye Hua ruefully comments that he should have known that she was always careful where Mo Yuan is concerned.

  Bai Qian Qian offers to give Ye Hua something in return. Ye Hua says he does not want anything. Bai Qian Qian asks if Ye Hua is sure. Ye Hua says that from start to end, the only thing he wanted was her.

  So, hilariously, Bai Qian Qian asks Ye Hua if he wants her. Before Bai Qian Qian can escape, Ye Hua hugs her and they embrace for the night.

  In that night, Bai Qian Qian sleepily remembers hearing Ye Hua say one thing, "If in this lifetime I can have you completely one more time, even if it is only this night, even if it is only for the Jie Po Lantern, for Mo Yuan, I have no more regrets."

  (Aww, he says these knowing they could be his possible last words.)

  The next morning, Bai Qian Qian wakes up in her own room. Ye Hua has left the West Sea King's palace. Bai Qian Qian sets up the Jie Po lantern by Mo Yuan's bed and watches over the West Sea King's Son's body for the next three days. After the three days, she goes back to her bed and sleeps for several days. When she wakes up, she realises the Immortal Zhe Yan has waited for her for 2 days.

   He passes her a special pill made from the special heavenly grass and with his heavenly essence. He tells her to use it because if she uses her own heavenly essence, which she has so little of, she would become unstable. So, she gives the West Sea King's body the pill and she watches as Mo Yuan's soul becomes complete and leaves the body.

  (As an aside, there was a funny gag going on about how the West Sea King's Son liked men and Bai Qian Qian was actually in male form when she was taking care of him - but the Son wakes up and is actually worried Bai Qian Qian is in love with him as she is not his type. Bai Qian Qian realises that the Son likes Ye Hua and so warns him that Ye Hua does not like men. Haha)


Thursday, 19 December 2013

Three Lives Three Worlds, Ten Thousand Miles of Peach Blossom (三生三世,十里桃花) Full Summary (Part 3)


   I don't think I have actually stated this but Mo Yuan and Ye Hua actually look alike! Haha. When Bai Qian Qian first met Ye Hua, she was stunned at how much he looked like Mo Yuan. So the picture above is what I imagine Ye Hua and Mo Yuan to look like.

   I wanted to summarise faster but I loved Chapters 16-18 so much that I went into greater detail of Ye Hua's angst. I know that many people don't actually like Ye Hua, but I love him to bits (more in my review) and I think the following chapters beautifully show how Ye Hua loves a woman who he thinks loves another man.



   Chapter 16


  The chapter starts with Bai Qian Qian in Ye Hua's palace in Jiuchongtian. Nainai, Bai Qian Qian's personal servant when she was still Susu, sees Bai Qian Qian and is extremely moved as she recognises her and says she has finally returned. Ye Hua stops Nai Nai as Bai Qian Qian is confused by Nai Nai's reaction.


   Bai Qian Qian plays with Little Dough and before Ye Hua leaves he reminds her not to let Little Dough have too much of the fruit wine. As Bai Qian Qian comes from a tradition of drinking alcohol when young, she thinks Ye Hua is being too strict and so lets Little Dough drink more wine than Ye Hua had allowed. Before Ye Hua leaves, he takes Bai Qian Qian's fan and says he will paint a line of poetry on it and asks her to find him later in his study.

  Little Dough has drunk a bit too much and is unconscious. Bai Qian Qian ask Nai Nai to let him sleep it off. She goes to find Ye Hua in his study. When she is there, she realises two women are already there - Concubine Su Jin and the princess that had bugged Ye Hua earlier. They are begging Ye Hua to let the princess stay as a maid. Bai Qian Qian realises Ye Hua is especially angry and wants to chase the princess away because she had drugged his soup with a love potion (I think the connotation is to make him amorous and want to have intimate relations with her), but Ye Hua found out the soup was drugged before he drank it.

  Bai Qian Qian tells Ye Hua he should not have let the princess come be a maid at the palace in the first place when he knew she was in love with her. Bai Qian Qian kindly advises the princess to return to her kingdom and gets up to leave to return to her residence. Ye Hua goes with her.


  As Ye Hua sends Bai Qian Qian back, he asks her why she advised the princess to return to her kingdom. Bai Qian Qian said it was because Ye Hua had expressed his intention to send her back. Ye Hua is disappointed that Bai Qian Qian had only said it because he had said it and not because she was jealous.


  Bai Qian Qian sees he is disappointed and immediately clarifies that she will still find a mistress for him and he can marry whoever he wants. Ye Hua is silent for a long time and finally says cooly that he knew he should not have asked her that question or tried to make her jealous by asking her to come to the study.

   He says, "I have no weight in your heart. Bai Qian Qian, can your heart only store one person? How long do you plan to wait for him?"

  Bai Qian Qian feels a reaction in her heart. Ye Hua leaves with a dejected expression. They part.


Monday, 16 December 2013

My Wife, Come Follow Me Home by Jiu Xiao Qi (老婆,跟我回家吧!-酒小七)



    I've returned from my weekend getaway and will be returning to my summary and translation work! As a mini update, I highly recommend this modern C-novel, My Wife, Come Follow Me Home. Peanuts first recommended this to me and you can find the shusheng link here.

    It's really cute and light the whole way through, and the emotional angst that comes later is narratively earned and does not feel overly manipulated. Essentially, the female lead Guan Xiao Yan is a simple girl who does not believe in love and romance anymore. However, as her mother is always bugging her to get married, she goes on matchmaking dates. On one of these dates, she meets the male lead, Jiang Li, who proposes that they get married on the day itself. So, they do and this starts their hilarious contract marriage! Where the male lead claims he is gay and they both deny that they like each other... until it is....too late? :) 

  The site where I read the story has this cute introductory which I will translate:

*I will try and explain the hilarious Chinese puns. This is written in the perspective of the female lead, Xiao Yan.

   Jiang Li: Miss Guan, let's discuss the problem of 房事 (fang shi - the private marital affairs of a married couple, eg sexual intercourse).

  Me: There is risk in 房市 (fang shi  - housing market), one have to invest carefully.

[Haha died laughing]

  Jiang Li: Very good, so shall we discuss our marriage?

  Me: ...


   On the first day Jiang Li and I met, we received our marriage certificate. Both of us married for the sake of marriage, there was no ulterior motive.

   My best friend He Zi scolded me for treating my marriage like child's play... But, to me, marriage is child's play.


   One day, I realised my feelings for Jiang Li were not innocent anymore. So I told him, "Let's divorce."

  Jiang Li: Why?

  Me: Because I don't want to be trapped#.

 Jiang Li: No, you have to be trapped.

  Me: Why?

  Jiang Li: Because I'm already trapped!
  
 # - The chinese phrase used is 沉沦- which has more the connotation of sinking into a world you rather not be in, which is a lovely funny way of showing how they both view falling in love in this contract marriage as a trap! <3



Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Official Translation Project: Heavy Sweetness Ash-Like Frost



      I will be officially translating Heavy Sweetness Ash-like Frost. It's quite a heavy undertaking and I'm both nervous and excited. Thanks to Peanuts, I've gotten Xiaoyuer's permission to continue where her translations left off. I have not read through her translations yet, but from the document Peanuts sent me, it looks epic. Xiaoyuer even has footnotes! I have to confess that I don't think I will be that detailed. I will try my best to convey the spirit and understanding of the book and try to highlight certain concepts rooted in ancient Chinese mythology, but I'm no expert myself and I'm going to go for ease of reading more than accuracy. 

  Xiaoyuer will hopefully be fixing her tumblr soon! I won't be posting her translations here, because I think respect should be due to all her hard work previously. I will provide a detailed summary of the prologue and first 7 chapters and my first translated chapter will be Chapter 8. 

  I will be finishing up the summary and review for 3L3W, 10 Peach Blossoms and finishing up Part 3 of Chapter 18 of the Pillow Book soon as well. December and early January will be transitional periods with a lot of moving, work and trips - and I will likely be sent to Hong Kong for 2 months. But, after that, I hope to settle in a good regular pace. I will aim to get a translated chapter out a week, or at least half a chapter, because I like to read things at a regular pace (haha). So, look forward to it. Look forward to the awesomeness of Phoenix Fire Deity vs Dragon Night Deity <3 (P.S. When I first read it I was a total Phoenix Fire Deity, but after it ended and I started to reflect, I might have converted to a Dragon Night Deity shipper!) 

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Three Lives Three Worlds, Ten Thousand Miles of Peach Blossom (三生三世,十里桃花) Full Summary (Part 2)



   Ok, part 2! I actually first read 3L3W, 10 Peach Blossoms through Hamster's translations first, then I went to read the original C-novel. Hamster's translations capture the spirit of the book very well. She skipped the Mo Yuan parts though (which are my favourites). I'm summarising this from the original C-novel.


Chapter 8

   The chapter starts with Bai Qian Qian relating about how Ye Hua forces her to take a walk around her Fox Cave every morning, and she's happy because it is raining this morning so they won't have to walk. But, she wakes up and Little Dough bounces on her while she is on bed. They are going to walk in the mortal world today!

   Bai Qian Qian learns that it is Little Dough's birthday today. She changes into a male form and asks Little Dough to call her, God Father. Ye Hua remains as his usual self when they go down to the mortal world. As they were walking down the streets, a horse goes mad and the carriage nearly knocks down Bai Qian Qian but Ye Hua saves her. They are locked in embrace and Little Dough embarrasses Bai Qian Qian by crying out loud that lucky Bai Qian Qian fell into Ye Hua's embrace, if not if Bai Qian Qian fell to the floor, Ye Hua's heart will hurt. Ye Hua agrees and Bai Qian Qian is very awkward since they are now two men on the street (haha). 

   They go to a tea house to drink and eat, and one of the nuns that was saved from the horse carriage sits at the table and thanks Ye Hua. Ye Hua and Bai Qian Qian is surprised because the nun is able to tell that Ye Hua is a god. The nun subtly asks for Ye Hua's name to thank him if one day she becomes a deity but Ye Hua declines. Bai Qian Qian is surprised again at how Ye Hua is able to attract admirers everywhere, even a nun!

   Ye Hua asks Bai Qian Qian to take care of Little Dough as he needs to settle some things back in heaven. So Bai Qian Qian brings Little Dough to watch a performance... but she falls asleep, and when she wakes up Little Dough is gone. Little Dough turns out to have gone into a brothel! Bai Qian Qian freaks out because if Little Dough gets subversive (haha) thoughts, his god essence which is young and vulnerable, can become contaminated and he can become a demon. Luckily, Little Dough doesn't realise anything. Bai Qian Qian tricks Little Dough that the couple was doing mutual cultivation (hahaha). 

  As they were leaving the brothel, a gentleman starts to flirt with Bai Qian Qian and grabs her arm. Bai Qian Qian is about to react when Ye Hua hugs Bai Qian Qian and magicks the gentleman away into a haunted forest. Ye Hua chastises him for teasing his wife before he magicks him away (and I like how Ye Hua always calls Bai Qian Qian his wife subtly). Little Dough comments that the gentleman is a genius for being able to make Ye Hua so mad. Ye Hua asks Bai Qian Qian why she did not do anything and she laughed that it was only being touched. So, Ye Hua kisses Bai Qian Qian on the mouth and says lightly, it was only being kissed. 

   Ye Hua comes back and they all stay at an inn. There is only one room. They order supper but it's not to her taste (she has been spoiled by Ye Hua's cooking) and decides not to eat. As Bai Qian Qian falls asleep, Ye Hua is doing work on the table. In the middle of the night, Bai Qian Qian feels someone hugging her as she sleeps and hears a voice saying faintly, "I have always known your temper, but I never knew you would be so cold. You have forgotten everything in the past, I hope you remember, yet also wish you will never remember."

   When Bai Qian Qian wakes up, Ye Hua is already at the table doing work. Little Dough asks her to eat porridge that Ye Hua cooked. Ye Hua says he cooked because he was afraid Little Dough would not be able to get used to the food. Little Dough protests that that is not true because Ye Hua never cooked when they visited the mortal mountain and he wasn't used to the princess' food. Ye Hua coughed and Bai Qian Qian lowers her head and eats the porridge. 


Sunday, 8 December 2013

Three Lives Three Worlds, Ten Thousand Miles of Peach Blossom (三生三世,十里桃花) Full Summary (Part 1)



  Above is my absolute favourite picture of Three Lives Three Worlds, Ten Thousand Miles of Peach Blossom ("3L3W, 10 Peach Blossom")! I've decided to do a full summary & review to entice my sister into the world of C-novels. I think 3L3W, 10 Peach Blossom is probably the best book to entice people since it is fully translated by Hamster with the epilogue translated by peanuts.

  I will post the first part of the summary first, then the second part, and then the review. I thought I could do it in one whole entry but it's gotten much longer than I expected!

  First, a spoiler-free introduction:

  Bai Qian Qian is a High Goddess and the current female monarch of QingQiu, one of the old respected kingdoms of the Heavenly Realms. Ye Hua is the current Crown Prince of JiuZhongTian and engaged to be married to Bai Qian Qian. Little does Bai Qian Qian knows that in her past live as mortal, she had once married Ye Hua before... the story will detail their star-crossed fate, Bai Qian Qian's five Peach Blossoms, and their final destiny.

 Now, my detailed summary:

  The story, except for Ye Hua's epilogue, is set out in the perspective of Bai Qian Qian/Susu (her past mortal self). I've summarised the main plot points and love story of Bai Qian Qian and Ye Hua so my review makes sense later on.



  Prologue

  It starts with Susu in JiuZhongTian. She is pregnant and already married to Ye Hua in the mortal world, but not officially recognised in heaven. Susu is now blind because Ye Hua has taken away her eyes. He tells her, we will get married and I will be your eyes. Susu, who has always loved Ye Hua, has turned her heart cold. Apparently, Ye Hua's concubine, Su Jin, had tricked her to go to Ju Xian stage and Su Jin had timed it such that it looked like Susu had pushed Su Jin down the Ju Xian stage - to fall down is deadly for both humans and gods - their soul and essence will be destroyed. Before Su Jin jumped down, she told Susu that Ye Hua had named Susu after the "Su" in her name and the love between Su Jin and Ye Hua was ruined because Su Jin was ordered to be the Heavenly King (Ye Hua's grandfather's concubine). Ye Hua had arrived the moment Su Jin fell down and saved her - so she only lost her eyes. Susu had to be "punished" for pushing Su Jin and Ye Hua had taken her eyes to give Su Jin. Susu gives birth to a son for Ye Hua, Ye Hua is not around at the birth. Susu thinks Ye Hua is with Su Jin. Susu tells Nainai (her personal servant) to take care of her son, she names him A'li. She makes her way alone to the Ju Xian stage - Su Jin had told her before that if she jumps down, she will be able to return to the mortal world. Susu says goodbye to Ye Hua one last time through the golden mirror he gave her and jumps down the stage. Ye Hua cries for her to stop but she jumps down anyway.

  At the end of the prologue, it is realised that Susu was the mortal self of Bai Qian Qian. It was her "mortal" trial to become a high Goddess. She returns to QingQiu and asks the powerful Immortal Zhe Yan to give her his forgetting potion so she will never remember her past life as Susu.


Thursday, 5 December 2013

Three Lives Three Worlds, The Pillow Book 三生三世, 枕上书 - 唐七公子 (Book 2, Chapter 18) (Part 2/3)




    Part 2 of Chapter 18 really builds up the excitement for Part 3 which is the absolute grand climax!

      The scenery and fighting descriptions were particularly painful to translate! I've simplified some terms when translating to aid understanding. Actually, 八荒 is technically Eight Wilderness, but I find that phrase a little strange so I have translated it to Eight Realms instead.

         The 君 (Jun) in Lian Song Jun actually refers to Prince - a nobility rank. I got used to referring to the Third Prince as Liang Song Jun instead of Prince Liang Song. For Ye Hua, when Tang Hua Gong Zi refers to him as Ye Hua Jun, sometimes I will place it as Crown Prince Ye Hua, if not I will just place it as Ye Hua. Ye Hua Jun somehow looks unnatural to me. Haha. As explained in Part 1, Dijun is 帝君 which is King Emperor/ rank of Emperor. I will refer to Donghua as Dijun and not King Emperor so as not to be confused with the other kings.




02

    Outside the Eastern Sea, in the middle of the Great Wilderness, lies the country of QingQiu. 

     The last Weapon Coronation in QingQiu was tens of thousands of years ago when the High Goddess Bai Qian was crowned the monarch. According to the annals of history, the ceremony was held on top of the Tang Ning Mountain at Dong Huang,  the grass steps towards the ceremony were made up of hundreds of special flowers, all the way up to the highest peak of the sacred mountain. At that time, the young High Goddess Bai Qian was dressed in all white, both hands raising high the sword case as she rose up the grass steps towards the sacred peak of Tang Ning Mountain to hide the Tao Zhu sword. The legend of her beautiful grace and form was still spread among the deities. 

    Tang Ning Mountain was truly Dong Huang's sacred mountain, even after hundred thousands of years, the greenery was lush and rich, and had no signs of aging. The peak of the mountain which was the stage of the Weapon Coronation would be the first point lit up by the first rays of the sun as it rose, the wide and high stage were made up entirely of clouds, clouds which were pure and had no trace of any other colour, it was truly befitting to be the place for the ceremony of the gods. The viewing stage for the audience that faced the peak was made up of precious old wood, while grand it faded in splendor when compared to the stage made up of auspicious clouds.

    On this viewing stage sat three people. On the right sat the Crown Prince of JiuChongTian, Ye Hua, on his left sat the Third Crown Prince Lian Song Jun and DongHua Dijun from the Dawn Palace. Dijun leaned back in his seat, playing with a small carefully crafted transparent glazed box in his hands, he asked Lian Song, "I can understand you coming early to come and enjoy the crowd, but for Ye Hua to come so early, did he remember the timing wrongly?"

   Lian Song Jun laughed with especially deep meaning, "You are considered lucky to be able to personally see Feng Jiu's Weapon Coronation. QingQiu hardly have any grand ceremonies, and the most important ceremony will be the Weapon Coronation. It was widely spread that when the young Bai Qian High Goddess had her Weapon Coronation, her unrivalled beauty awed the whole audience of gods and deities. Ye Hua was drinking with me a few days ago and said he regretted not having a chance to see Bai Qian High Goddess' Weapon Coronation and can only imagine what she must have looked like from the words in the ancient records. For him to come so early, it must be because he wants to see the place of Bai Qian's Weapon Coronation".

   Dijun gave a passing glance to Ye Hua who was gazing at the cloud stage in deep thought and said suddenly, "... what do you think Xiao Bai looks like when she was just born?"

   Lian Song Jun choked on his tea, "You better not let Ye Hua hear you. I guarantee that he will think you are trying to make him angry and will definitely hold a grudge against you in his heart." Lian Song's attention was caught by Dijun's glazed box. He pointed to the box with his fan and asked, "What are you holding in your hand?"

   Dijun pushed away Lian Song's hand, "Oh you mean this? Xiao Bai made snacks for me to eat. She was scared it would melt in the sun and placed them in this transparent glazed box."

  Lian Song Jun felt himself being suddenly struck by lightning on a clear day, "Snacks? For you?" He moved closer to look at it, indeed inside the transparent light blue box held several sweets, shaped like a fox. Liang Song Jun gasped, "I've known you for so many years and never knew that you had a habit of snacking. Even if I ignored that, today is the day Feng Jiu carries out her important ceremony in front of all the gods and must be very nervous, yet you made her make snacks for you? Aren't you a bit shameless?"

   Dijun was still playing with the box and a smile spread to his lips, "Please don't malign me. She slept too much in the day and could not fall asleep last night, so she asked me to accompany her as she made them. The second time I saw her, she already dared to kick a flower pot towards my head, and confidently passed the blame to Migu," His eyes spread to the four corners of the stage which was being filled up by the gods from the Eight Realms, he said calmly, "On such a small stage like this, do you think she will be so easily nervous?"


Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Recommendations & Translation Requests



   It's quite interesting to see that the Pillow Book has such international fans! I think Tang Qi Gong Zi writes extremely long chapters - Chapter 18 itself has 3 parts and Part 1 was already very long. I hope to post Part 2 up by the end of the week and finish Part 3 by next week (cross fingers). 

   I've been looking for new C-novels to get addicted to and hopefully find my proper project to translate. But, I've not been able to really get into any new C-novels - I have tried a few (eg Piao Piao's Desire for Immortality (飘飘欲仙)) but stopped at Chapter 10 when the story felt hopelessly meandering. Some female leads are really awful - either too stupid, too cold or too selfish! 

    There have been a lot of raves for Hua Xu Yin (华胥引) and I've read Chenguang's lovely translation of the prologue. I was rather tempted to start to read it seriously and maybe continue translating it but the side stories and couples are so tragic! I don't think I have the heart for it. I will probably read it one day properly though because it has a tiger (haha). 

   The other one that caught my eye was Hua Qian Gu (仙侠奇缘之花千骨)and Peanuts posted an amazing summary and review. To be honest, the ending (without the epilogue) kind of makes me want to spear both the main characters because it sounds like they excel at ruining their own lives. But, the set up sounds good - future leader of the Demons and current leader of the Deities (I'm guessing or the forces of good) falling in love and being opposed and all that sort of delicious angst. I love Romeo and Juliet set-ups minus the contrived deaths and tragedy. I think Hua Qian Gu is technically happy ending if one clutches tightly onto the epilogue though I'm still hovering before I jump off the cliff and read it. 

    I've been saving up Who Gets the World (且试天下)because so many people have said the female lead is like Huang Rong, only my most favourite wuxia Heroine ever. But, from the summary, this one appears low on the fluff and romantic development (sigh, I'm such a fluff lover). It's also very long and may be too ambitious for my first translation project. 

     Does anyone have any good C-novels to recommend or translate? The main requirement is a happy ending! I also have a preference for books with more humour. I will probably still shop around and see if I can find something that suits my taste, if not I will probably go re-read Three Lives Three Worlds, Ten Miles of Peach Blossom and do a full detailed summary and review first. I wonder if anyone shares some of my pet peeves with C-novel blurbs - they are all definitely poetic, but they all sound the same and it's impossible to tell what the book is going to be about - except lots of mourning about fate and missed chances, insert sad line about a romance that fades in the wind. 

   Anyway, hope you have enjoyed the translation for Chapter 18 and I will really appreciate any recommendations <3. 

    

Monday, 2 December 2013

Three Lives Three Worlds, The Pillow Book 三生三世, 枕上书 - 唐七公子 (Book 2, Chapter 18) (Part 1/3)




    I've been dreamily re-reading Chapter 18 of Three Lives Three Worlds, the Pillow Book again and again! It's my favourite chapter by far because it showcases Dong Hua Dijun and Feng Jiu's personalities perfectly. I don't plan on translating the Pillow Book since Hamster is doing a phenomenal job, but I've decided to translate Chapter 18 since I've been re-reading it every day (heh). It also provides a love antidote to all the angst in the earlier parts! 

  It would have been better if I did a series review with complete summary before translating specific scenes since this presumes you have knowledge of the background of the book already. However, I am a bit of an anal type (if it isn't obvious haha), and I will need to re-read the whole series again and think about it before doing a proper series review. 

  You can try the shusheng bar links (1) and (2) for a summary. Also, go to Hamster's blog of course for her awesome translations of Book 1 and parts of Book 2! 

  So, a brief context with spoilers: 

   Bai Feng Jiu is the future female Monarch/Queen of QingQiu. She is the only nine-tailed red fox in the Heavenly Realms. She is a very young goddess. 

  Donghua Dijun (Di Jun is literally translated as King Emperor) is one of the 5 Great Gods, he used to be the Heavenly Emperor. He is worshipped by all the deities. His trademark is his silver hair and purple robes. He is almost as old as time itself. 

  By chance, Donghua Dijun saved Feng Jiu's life and she was indebted/in love with him since. To repay this debt/pursue her love, she worked as a maid in his palace for 400 years, changed into an ordinary fox to be his pet and even became a human to follow him when he reincarnated as a human for experience. It is a pursuit of 2000 years and he never knows that she loves him. But at the end, which is where the novel starts, Feng Jiu decides that their love has no fate and will never blossom. She gives up on him. 

  But they meet again <3 and through some adventures, their destiny starts to tie themselves together. This chapter comes at the later part of the book, after Donghua Dijun saves Feng Jiu from Aranya's Dream - basically, a dream landscape where Feng Jiu got trapped when she was trying to steal a special fruit which will allow her to give a heavenly body to a mortal soul she owes a debt to. The awesome part in the dream landscape is that Donghua Dijun tells (lies) to Feng Jiu that they are married and she wakes up, planning how to get her grandmother to agree to her marriage to Donghua Dijun (because she thinks her grandmother will only think he is good looking! Haha). 

     So, chapter 18 is full of love, because Donghua Dijun and Feng Jiu's love is finally mutual! Although there will be troubles later, since Donghua Dijun modified Feng Jiu's memory of what happened in Aranya's Dream so she won't know that he had tricked her. This is because he had learnt that they actually had no fate, but because of something in Aranya's Dream, they started to have a weak, very weak, thread of destiny together. So, in order to protect this weak thread of destiny, he blocked parts of her memory. 

  Chapter 18 thus starts after they wake up from Aranya's Dream... 

  [I had taken certain liberties with the Chinese text to maintain the original spirit but also make it understandable and easier to translate!]


The English World of C-Novels


   After the harrowing experience of 步步惊心(Startling By Each Step/Scarlet Heart), I had avoided the world of C-Novels which is a minefield of broken hearts. However, I had recently came across a few blogs which wonderfully and generously shared about Happy Ending C-novels! They also had tantalizing english translations of scenes which caused me to dive truly into the world of C-Novels. 

   As is obvious from my recommended completed reading, I am Happy Endings only. Although the definition of happy ending is probably debatable, because it also depends on which male lead you root for. I am allergic to unfruitful angst - I can angst as hard as the author wants, but it needs to pay off in the end. 

  After some thought, I've decided that I would try my hand in translating C-Novels into English to share them to a broader audience! I'm still deciding which C-Novel to translate though since my favourite C-Novels (3L3W series) are being/have already been translated by the amazing Hamster and Heavy Sweetness, Ash-like Frost had been translated by xiaoyuer in part. 

  I contemplated translating Two Ex Husbands on a Stage but it doesn't really intrigue me enough for me to go back to re-read and study it in depth, since what I would like to do is a detailed summary/translation of favourite scenes with analysis. So, I think I will probably read more and consider first. 

  Still, a directory for beginniner C-Novel readers like me: 

Hamster is such a talented translator!
This is such a great blog which translates Come & Eat, Shan Shan and provides awesome summaries and scene translations for chinese novels. Quite pivotal for me because I won't read anything which ends tragically. 
Koala's Playground is my favourite books/drama/movies/everything blog. She has translated Da Mo Yao and quite a bit of Yun Zhong Ge. 
This is a wonderful directory of great C-Novels, and my go-to place to find the next C-Novel to read. The comments are hilarious and have saved me from a lot of heart break. 
I do not know why her site always crashes on me, which upsets me because I really want to read her entries! The bits that I have read were very beautiful.