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?"




   Lian Song Jun purposely closed his fan and hit his palm, he cried, "Talking with you is not as fun as talking with Ye Hua, "He saw clouds flying by, "The few kings that are free must have reached, the royal Bai family must have also already reached. I will go find Ye Hua and sit with him. It's also about time for you to go up and sit, so that the rest of the gods and deities would not see you sitting here and not even dare to sit down." His gaze swept the people seating above and laughed, "According to rank, even Feng Jiu's Grandfather should sit below you. Ah, since Feng Jiu actually had the courage to pursue you, indeed she will have no need to fear a stage like this."

   Below the viewing stage, beyond the thirty levels upon thirty levels of gods and deities, were the little gods of the Eight Realms. Bai Qian High Goddess' Weapon Coronation was already long past and the gods who viewed it were largely old, the new generation of little gods could only flip through the history annals and read the few records of it. These little gods were hugely excited to see this ancient ceremony and three days before the ceremony had already rushed to reserve a space on Tang Ning Mountain. The little gods looked at the grandness of the stage which was made up of auspicious clouds and immediately gave a satisfied sigh in their hearts - to reserve this space was truly not a waste. Then, viewing the three gods who had arrived early, their looks were peerless and unparalleled and yet each had their own unique beauty. Again, the little gods gave a satisfied sigh in their hearts - to reserve this space was truly not a waste. Even before the ceremony started, it was already so exciting, they could hardly imagine how good the Coronation would be. Again, they excitedly gave a sigh of anticipation and felt that to reserve this space was truly not a waste.

    As it was still early and there was some time before the start of the ceremony, the gods and deities started to chatter idly with each other. For example, a small god from outside the valley asked the small god from QingQiu next to him, "May I ask if you are a god from QingQiu? Would you know of the three gods that came early, who is the god dressed in dark black and the god dressed in white?"

   The small god from QingQiu blinked and then said proudly, "The god in dark black is QingQiu's son-in-law, the Crown Prince of JiuChongTian, YeHua Jun. But, I don't know who is the person dressed in white with the fan. Since you asked me about the those two gods, do you know who is the god dressed in purple robes with silver hair? That god has such extraordinarily good looks and yet all the gods that passed him have to bow to him. Although he looks very young, I think he must not be of small rank?" He excitedly added, "To think heavens above also have such a character, just like our Queen Feng Jiu, she is young but also not of small rank!"

   The small god from outside the valley swallowed his saliva, "That grand god is much higher than your Queen Feng Jiu, although I've only bowed to him once to ask for offerings, "He swallowed his saliva again, "But he was once the ruler of all heaven and realms,  Donghua Dijun from the Dawn Palace, his cultivation is equal to the heavens, his stature as grand as time, your Queen Feng Jiu..."

    Even before he could finished, the small god from QingQiu looked stunned and interrupted, "He... he is Donghua Dijun? Donghua Dijun in person?" His hands agitatedly squeezed into a fist, "Truly... truly it was not a waste to reserve this space!"

   Historically, when QingQiu held a ceremony, they would not give out invitations. If any god in the Eight Realms wanted to come and was free, they were treated as guests, if they had no intention and were busy, they would not be compelled to come, this was QingQiu's rule. Although this was so, it was still easy to predict the rank of gods that would attend which kind of ceremonies.

   But, today, even QingQiu's Bai Royal Family could not understand why Donghua Dijun would be here at QingQiu's Weapon Coronation. Bai Zhi King Emperor (Feng Jiu's grandfather) asked his good friend, the Immortal Zhe Yan, who was most well-versed in gossip, but even the Immortal Zhe Yan was surprised and could not figure it out himself.

   Lian Song Jun who was sitting next to Ye Hua could hardly keep the secret within himself. He humourously asked Ye Hua, "Why don't they ask me?"

   Ye Hua held the tea cup and raised his eye brow, "I heard from Qian Qian that the one thing Cheng Yu (the girl Lian Song likes) hates the most is people spreading gossips about other people."

   Lian Song Jun immediately sat up straight, "Ah, I was only wanting to be helpful. Looking at them now, I think they don't really need my help."

   Leading Little Dough, Bai Qian High Goddess who had came late looked suspiciously at the two, "What are the two of you talking about?"

   Lian Song Jun gave an unnatural smile, "Ye Hua is bitterly trying to chase the memory of you during your Coronation."

   Bai Qian sipped a tea and said slowly looking at the little goddesses down the stage that were gazing at Crown Prince Ye Hua intensely, "Ah, I was a bit smaller than you, but my posture was not as ostentatious."

   Little Dough immediately tried to act serious and added, "Ah, Dad, you are truly ostentatious. It is not good. It is not good."

   Lian Song Jun raised his eyebrow smilingly, "The peach blossom of both of you can run ten miles, each has five miles, I think it is about equal, no one can complain about the other."

   Crown Prince Ye Hua said lightly, "For Chen Yu's ten miles of peach blossom, may I ask third uncle how many miles you occupy?"

   Lian Song Jun laughed dryly, "Today, nothing I say is right..."

    The sunlight passed through the levels of cloud and bathed everything on Tang Ning Mountain in a wash of golden glow, showcasing to a greater extent the majesty and divine essence of the mountain. There were a few light notes of lyrical sound and a grand formation appeared on the cloud stage, made up of ten gods carrying swords. Their purpose was to test if the sword was fit to be buried in this sacred mountain. 

    In other words, Feng Jiu had to carry her just moulded He Xu Sword and pass through this grand formation. Only after passing it, she can start to rise on the hundred grass steps towards the peak of this sacred mountain to bury her sword. If she did not pass, a new date had to be divined, another wait of a hundred years before the Weapon Coronation could be carried out again. Not only would it destroy all the hundred years spent moulding this sword, it would be incredibly embarrassing, hence Lian Song Jun guessed that today Feng Jiu must be very nervous. Thus, the Weapon Coronation was so grand and even more important than the matrimonial ceremony for the new Monarch because it treated the new Monarch strictly. 

   The Master of today's ceremony was Feng Jiu's father, Bai Yi. Feng Jiu hid in mid air on a cloud at the back and saw her father on the cloud stage talking longwindedly, only after her father finished could she make her entrance on the stage. She was standing too high to be able to discern what her father was saying, although she still heard his murmurings. 

    Migu hugged Feng Jiu's sword scabbard, and was worried when he saw the grand formation of ten men behind Bai Yi, he cautioned, "Your Highness must be calm later. Actually, even if your Highness cannot pass the formation, it is ok because no monarch had ever passed this ceremony at your age before. Even though it is not appropriate for me to say this, but the King has indeed rushed this for your Highness..."

   Migu's words went in Feng Jiu's right ear and went out her left ear. Her gaze was fixed on her grandfather and Donghua Dijun on the viewing stage, suddenly a thought enlightened her heart. Her grandfather was QingQiu's most senior member, if he approved her marriage with Donghua Dijun, she won't have to convince her grandmother or mother, her grandfather was the key! But how would she convince her grandfather? 

   Her grandfather did not like artificial formalities, perhaps it would be better to be direct, "Grandfather, I have found my husband, and he is the one who is sitting above you today, Donghua Dijun, please approve of our marriage," But to say it this way, was it a bit too blunt? 

   Previously, her Aunt had taught her how to convince people. What did she say? Ah, Aunt said to convince a person, it is best if you first make a connection with him, for example to recall some of his better memories, and most importantly to let him have a sense of closeness, and then before you end to show that you are faithful to him. Thinking of this, Feng Jiu modified her previous speech, "Grandfather, I have found a husband, and he is the one who is sitting above you today, Donghua Dijun. I heard that when he was studying, he was in the same batch as you, and you even fought a war under his command previously!" Good, there is a connection, memory and sense of intimacy, but for loyalty... "We will definitely be filial to grandfather, so please approve our marriage!" Yes, loyalty has also been achieved.

   When Feng Jiu was about to think of the most important point, Migu who was by her side pulled her sleeve, "Your Highness, it is time for you to make your entrance."

   Migu reminded her, "If you can't pass, you can't pass. Don't be afraid of people laughing and don't force your way through!"

   Feng Jiu made a light answering sound, even though she did not agree with what Migu had said. Even though for the ancient classics and buddhist texts, she did not learn it well... when it came to fighting, she was at the top for her batch of gods in QingQiu. 

   Migu's worry was a wasted worry. 

   Bai Yi just descended from the ceremonial stage when a special sound rose in the air. The grand formation was arranged on the ceremonial stage and high in the air was a cloud - from the cloud came a dazzling silver light from the unsheathing of a sword. The sword slashed through a layer of gold clouds and a young girl in red robes holding a sword glided onto the stage and landed in the middle of the grand formation. 

    High above, Donghua Dijun who had been aimlessly playing with his box full of fox sweets changed his sitting position and lifted his head. 

   The grand formation had a clash of red and white. The sky was entirely quiet except for the clashing sounds of swords. Within ten strokes, the figure in red using the He Xu sword had created three chances of escaping the formation, but unfortunately always at the critical moment, the formation only made up of ten people will suddenly have the shadows of a hundred persons, creating an impregnable fortress and forcing the person back into the middle of the formation. 

   The little gods below the stage, especially the little gods of QingQiu, held their breath for their little Queen. 

   This special formation was created at the very start of the Weapon Coronation, Bai Zhi King Emperor personally used his own immortal powers to put a spell on Tang Ning Mountain, when the auspicious clouds opened, this spell would automatically be activated and created an unpredictable formation. Feng Jiu scrunched her brows, she had used fierce and sharp strokes with the plan to use a quick fight strategy to pass through the formation, however she never thought that the ingenuity of the formation did not lie in how the people in the formation used the sword, but how at every critical moment, there will suddenly be a hundred shadows appearing and blocking her from passing through. 

    What a finely balanced situation. 

   But, she could not slowly fight this battle and let the time drag, because since her Aunt's attempt at passing the formation, the ten gods of this formation have slept for hundred thousands of years, just to trouble her on this day. Naturally, their energy would be better than hers. It looked like Feng Jiu will have to find a way to destroy this spell in one strong attack. Grandfather's spell.... although every time the formation appears different, but essentially the formation was always made up of ten people, it did not make sense that for her turn the formation would be made up of a hundred people. However much her grandfather thought highly of her, he couldn't possibly thought that highly of her. Her eyes twitched...  the shadows of the hundred could only be an illusion. 

   Without knowing why, after she thought of this, she naturally gave a glance to the seat high above the viewing stage, and saw Dijun sitting on the highest position and returning her glance, a smile playing on his lips, the tips of his two fingers touched the ends of his eye lightly. When she got distracted, the formation of gods gave a concerted attack, she took a deep breath and took a few steps back. In her mind, an image appeared of her time in Fan Yin Valley when Dijun made the ice landscape in the yard for her to practise her sword, at the sides were a few old apricot trees, while she practised with her eyes blindfolded, Dijun would love to sit below the apricot trees and drink tea. Yes, eyes. 

   Feng Jiu's mother leaned towards Feng Jiu's grandmother, the anxiety in her eyes higher than the South Mountain and deeper than the dark blue ocean, "How come Jiu er has to face such an unlucky formation? Even I may not be able to pass through this formation, Jiu er is only this old, how much cultivation can she have. How can this be ok?"

   Feng Jiu's grandmother's eyes lit and had already come to a decision, "Not passing is better. I have never agreed with your father in law's view. Girls should be taken care of as if they were precious jewellery, marrying a good husband, taking care of a good family - not inheriting the ancestral line and becoming a Monarch! This is all because you let your father-in-law take care of Feng Jiu. If Feng Jiu was given to me, it would definitely not be like this. How many men would like a woman who can wield weapons? Bai Qian only married a good person recently because she stopped wielding weapons. If Jiu Er beat the formation today, who would dare to marry her in the Eight Realms?"

  Feng Jiu's mother's eyes blinked out two tears, "My husband said when father-in-law created this formation, it was to test the new Monarch and to encourage them to work hard after they ascended the throne. If Feng Jiu does not pass today, father-in-law will definitely think she did not work hard enough and heavily punish her. But according to mother's views, if Feng Jiu passes the formation, she would not be able to marry a man of fine character, this is a difficult situation, what should be done, what should be done..."

   Feng Jiu's grandmother waved her hand decisively, "If her grandfather wanted to punish her, all of you just need to persuade your grandfather otherwise. What can be more important than her marrying a good match?" Her head returned to the auspicious cloud stage and said with satisfaction, "Luckily, Feng Jiu has performed well today, she acted vulnerable quite well. Did you see how adorable she looked when she hid from those strokes? Seeing this situation, her defeat is likely..." But even before Feng Jiu's grandmother could say the word "inevitable", Feng Jiu's grandmother's frozenly pointed to the stage, her body trembling like a leaf in the autumn wind, "How... how did she pass it?!"

   How did Feng Jiu pass the formation? Feng Jiu's grandmother was too busy advising Feng Jiu's mother to pay attention, but all the small gods in the viewing stage saw it clearly. 

   Only just was the little queen forced to the edge of the auspicious stage, their hearts were in their mouth, when they saw her use the sword to cut a piece of her sleeve and using it to cloth her eyes. When everyone was confused, she decisively used her sword and dashed straight into the heart of the formation. Her movement was smoother than the flow of the water, within three strokes, she had created an open to escape, and when the shadows of a hundred figures appeared, she moved her sword slightly to the right, and even before the audience could react, she had already broken out of the formation. 
   
   The young little queen stood straight with her sword and took down the red cloth around her eyes. She raised her eyes high up on the viewing stage, her unadorned face awash with a red blush from the fight, her eyes shining brightly, glancing at one point and then quickly turning away. 

     Usually, the young queen did not seem impressive, but when meeting such a difficult formation, in front of all the gods of the eight realms, she did not reveal a single sense of fear, she knew when to charge and when to retreat with ease. Within a stage of silence, she stood tall with ease and calmly sheathed her sword. She lightly said, "Finally, I can showcase the sword scabbard I made this year."

   In the Weapon Coronation, the final stage was to go up the hundred grass steps to the peak of the sacred mountain to bury the sword. Only then will this brilliantly crafted sword scabbard come into play. If one could not pass through the sword formation, the sword scabbard would not even have the chance to appear. 

    Feng Jiu raised her hand and with one light stroke, a flash of golden light cut through the air, and steadily stopped in front of her. In the golden light lied a narrow and long sword scabbard. The He Xu Sword gave out a sound of resonation and the sword scabbard opened and the He Xue Sword immediately entered it. 

   Master of the Ceremony Bai Yi faced the sacred peak, "May the He Xu be buried in Tang Ning, legacy everlasting, protecting Dong Huang."

    With those words, a cave opened on the sacred peak, the red robed Queen raised high both her arms, her expression especially serious, she steadily carried the sword scabbard up, step by step up the hundred grass steps. The gods of Dong Hua slowly bowed and cheered, "Young Monarch has great merit and created this godly weapon. May the He Xu be buried in Tang Ning, legacy everlasting, protecting Dong Huang." 

   These words spread throughout the realms endlessly without stopping for a long time. 

4 comments:

  1. thank you so much for translating this chapter! I really appreciate it! your translations seem natural, and it seems like I'm reading the actual writing itself! looking forward to the 3rd part! again, thanks!

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    1. Aww thank you! Your comment really made my day! I try to stay as true to Tang Qi Gong Zi's language as I can, although sometimes that makes the sentence structures awkward. :) Will post the 3rd part before the year ends.

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  2. Thank you very much to translate this one. I love Feng Jiu and Dijun very much and really looking forwards to see their love mutual and dying to read for 3rd part. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you :). I hope to get part 3 up as a christmas gift for readers! Wish me luck :)

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