Saturday, 8 March 2014

Once Promised (曾许诺)by Tong Hua(桐华): Translation for Chapter 4 (Part 2)



     When the Pan Gu Bow appeared in Chapter 4, my tingly Chekov senses started to ring. In case this allusion is a bit too obscure, Anton Chekov is one of the most brilliant playwrights (ever) and he is often quoted as saying, "Remove everything that has no relevance to the story. If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it's not going to be fired, it shouldn't be hanging there."

   Tong Hua certainly follows this principle in her novel - simple objects start to gain emotional depth and deeper plot resonance as the story goes on and that's Tong Hua's genius.


Chapter 4: If You Have The Intention, Please Admire The Beauty (Part 2)

   With a traitorous expression on Chi You's face, his head floated above the water and said anxiously, "Good fiancee, if you are unlucky, no matter what you must not get me involved!"

  Xi Ling Heng huffed, "Get lost!"

  Seeing that the soldiers were rushing over, Xi Ling Heng surreptitiously sneaked a look at the water and only gave a sigh of relief when she saw that Chi You had vanished. Although she felt a strange sense that something was not right, she was already surrounded by the soldiers and decided not to dwell on it - better to delay the soldiers!

  The next day, everything appeared to be the same on Jade Mountain, but all the guests could sense there was a difference.

   Yun Sang ordered her maidservant to find out what happened. She submitted, "Yesterday night, a divine weapon was stolen from the Jade Mountain Ground Palace."

  Yun Sang was so angry that her eyes almost spouted fire, she glared at Chi You and was about to erupt when her maidservant continued, "But, apparently the thief has been caught."

  Yun Sang's heart relaxed and she gave a sheepish smile to Chi You and scolded her maidservants, "Next time, don't break when you speak, say it in one go."

  The maidservant was just ordered to follow Yun Sang and weren't used yet to her outwardly cold but inwardly warm personality, she nervously replied, "Yes!"

   Yun Sang asked, "Who is so brave to dare offend the Jade Mountain?"

   "I couldn't find out because apparently the Emperor Mother interrogated the thief for half a night but still could not find the stolen weapon, so they have grounded her.. but..." The maidservant could not finish speaking in one go, her face turned red.

   Yun Sang said exasperatedly, "Take a breath before continuing to speak."

   The maidservant was helpless and looked like she was about to cry. The instigator of all this, Chi You, laughed, "But what?"

   The maidservant took a deep breath and quickly replied, "But the Emperor Mother said she was the only one present when the theft happened and has the greatest suspicion, if she could not prove her innocence, she will be forced to stay on the Jade Mountain for one hundred and twenty years."

  Chi You fell in deep thought, "Grounded for one hundred and twenty years?"





   Yun Sang waved her hand to indicate the maidservant can leave and said lightly, "That's already very light. When one does something wrong on Jade Mountain, what's most frightening is not the Emperor Mother's punishment but that she does not punish. If she hands over the thief directly to his or her tribe, the tribe must answer to Jade Mountain, answer to all the people in the land, the punishment will only be heavy and not light."

  Chi You stared at the mountain spring outside the window, the peach blossom flowers that bloom for a thousand years, and was silent.

   At nightfall, the Peach Blossom Banquet begun, the seats were situated next to the mountain spring, inside the pavillion, the cushion and tables were arranged in what appeared to be in a casual way, but were actually carefully thought out.

   At the host table, four seats were arranged - Emperor Mother sat at the main position, on her right was Gao Xing's Prince Ji Li, on her left was Sheng Nong's Princess Yun Sang, and next to Yun Sang was Xuan Yuan's Prince Chang Yi. Near them were the representatives from the Four Great Clans, and further away were the guests from the other tribes.

   Chi You sat in the seats for Sheng Nong, as he slowly appreciated the wine, he examined the surroundings for Xi Ling Heng, but did not discover her. She must have been grounded because of the mistake.

   On the practice stage, fighters started to compete with their divine powers and martial techniques, the winner will win a treasure prepared by the Emperor Mother. At the start, it was just a game to please the guest as they drank wine, but in the thousands of years later, it slowly became an excellent opportunity for heroes from the various tribes to compete on their skills and to gain attention from the rest of the wilderness.

   The Emperor Mother commanded her maidservant to open the treasure box. It contained a beautiful dazzling peach blossom. She said, "This is the Beauty Preserving Flower* that was nurtured from the divine essence of the Jade Mountain. It is not only a divine weapon, it can help its owner maintain her or his youthful looks without needing to use any divine essence."

   All the girls dream of preserving their looks and thus gave a gasp of surprise.

   Chi You had left the banquet with the excuse of changing his robes, but when he heard the gasp of surprise, he turned around to see the Beauty Preserving Flower, his heart moved and he stopped his pace.
 
   Chi You stood aside quietly watching the fights, until the last round when the champion was about to announce, he speedily dash onto the stage, within a few moves he caused the winner to decline and with lightning speed obtained the Beauty Preserving Flower. He turned to the Emperor Mother, "Many thanks!" and quickly jumped off the stage and calmly went off.

   The entire banquet was shocked!

   The soon to be winner was a hero from a famous god tribe, but was easily beaten by Chi You in a few moves. But, not a single guest recognised Chi You, all of them whispered in each other's ear, trying to figure out who he was.

   Deep in Yun Sang's heart she was scolding Chi You, but on the face of it she fully protected Chi You, and tried to find an excuse for his rude behaviour.

   But, the Emperor Mother did not mind and just lightly announced that Sheng Nong's Chi You was the winner.

   Yesterday when Chi You met with A'Heng, he appeared indifferent but when he held her hand, he was carefully examining her injuries and also left a mark on her. Following this mark, Chi You very easily found Xi Ling Heng.

   Deep in the night, Xi Ling Heng was holding a silk spindle and following the path of the mountain spring. As she walked, she turned around to check, as if she was checking that she was not being followed.

   Chi You noticed that her actions seemed strange so he followed her silently, hiding in the darkness.

  [Xi Ling Heng meets with Shao Hao's general, Nuo Nai, the one who had met Princess Yun Sang and mistook her for Xuan Yuan Tribe's Princess Xi Ling Heng. Basically, Yun Sang has a crush on Nuo Nai and so wants to learn more about him --- Xi Ling Heng passes word to Nuo Nai that the Xuan Yuan Princess (who he still thinks is Yun Sang) want to discuss architecture with him and this starts the writing of letters between Nuo Nai and Yun Sang. So A'Heng passes the message from Yun Sang to Nuo Nai General and they part.]

   Suddenly, she feels a light wet coolness on her face, she raised her head, and under the gleaming moon light, the sky full of snow white peach blossom petals swirled and danced around her. It was as if winter suddenly descended and the land was being covered by white snow, but it gave a sense of greater gentleness, a sense of soft beauty. 

   Xi Ling Heng happily raised both her hands, caught a bunch of peach blossom petals and lightly smelt them under her nose. The light sweet smell wafted in, this was not an illusion, these were real peach blossom flowers. 

   She couldn't resist and started to dance in the midst of the "snow flowers", sometimes lightly raising her long gown, sometimes rapidly retrieving her robe sleeves, her gestures were gentle and smooth, her steps light and swift, as if she was a flower demon.

   She laughed, "Chi You, is it you?"

   Chi You slowly appeared, in his fingers held the Beauty Preserving Flower, he smiled and stood in the snow of peach blossom flowers, as firm as the mountain peaks and as still as the valley rivers, possessing an extraordinary aura, it added touches of male strength to the soft beauty of the peach blossom flower. 

   As if she was in a dream, Xi Ling Heng stopped dancing and dazedly stared at Chi You. 

   Both of them gazed at each other in the midst of the snow, both not making a sound, only the sky full of white flowers, lightly, softly, floating down endlessly, it was not known if they could not bear to break this moment of beauty, or there was some emotion in their hearts. 

   After a while, Xi Ling Heng lightly said, "I knew you would not listen to me and escape down the mountain."

  Chi You smiled and did not speak. 

  Xi Ling Heng slowly walked to his front, carefully examining him, "After you left yesterday night, I realised that even if you were a skilled person from Sheng Nong, not many could escape fully after stealing a treasure from the Jade Mountain Ground Palace. You saved me as well on Bo Fu Mountain, didn't you? Who really are you?"

  "I am who I am."

  Xi Ling Heng said furiously, "Stop lying to me, I want your real name!"

  "Jiu Li** tribe's witch sorcerers called me the Beast King, Sheng Nong's gods called me a monster, some called me a beast, Shi Fu (Teacher) and Yu Wang call me Chi You."

   While Chi You calmly said it, Xi Ling Heng's heart soured for no reason, she said lowly, "Your divine powers are not weak, I thought you were a famous hero of Sheng Nong, but turns out you are not famous at all."

  Chi You blew at the Beauty Preserving Flower in the middle of his fingers, and the flower slowly grew bigger, about the length of one chi***, the stalk started to grow full of flower buds, there were red and white, it was extremely beautiful and he passed it to Xi Ling Heng.

  No young girl dislikes a beautiful flower, Xi Ling Heng pleasantly received it, "You are giving this to me?"

  Chi You nodded his head. 

   "Thank you." Although Xi Ling Heng just gave thanks, she pouted her lips and gave Chi You a glare before turning around and walking, "Big Liar! You are so powerful but you bullied me in Bo Fu Country!"
  
   She reached the cliff top and sat on a flat rock, Chi You sat by her side and called lightly, "A'Heng."

   Xi Ling Heng turned her head aside and ignored him, just excitedly playing with the Beauty Preserving Flower, and watching as the snow fell heavier and heavier. 

  Chi You sat and watched for awhile, then he covered his mouth with both hands and gave out a few cries. In a while, two birds flew holding one stalk of peach over, the leaves were glistening green with drops of night dew, and in the middle was a luscious peach. One look and it was certain that it was extremely delicious.

   The god tribes can use their divine powers to control demon beasts and bird sprites, but to order normal animals to listen was not possible. Xi Ling Heng watched in utter shock and amazement. The two birds fluttered their wings in front of her and started to sing, as if inviting her to eat the peach.

  Xi Ling Heng could not restrain herself and swallowed a few mouths of saliva, she gave one look to Chi You and took the peach and bit into it. It was extremely fresh, its sweet taste rushing straight to her heart, it was even more delicious than any fruit she has ever eaten.

  "So delicious!"

   Chi You watched A'Heng, smiling without speaking, this was the most delicious peach in the entire Jade Mountain. Once, he did not understand why the red fox always gave the most delicious food away, but after watching A'Heng smiling eyes, he understood.

  A'Heng's heart gave an unknown flutter, and she did not dare to look at Chi You anymore. She lowered her head and quietly played with the peach blossom flower, ate the peach, and felt a sense of unknown alarm, fear, but also an indescribable sweetness.

  A sky full of flowers flying like the snow, they sat side by side on top of the rock cliff. Chi You lifted his head to watch the glistening moon light, only feeling a sense of quiet pleasure in his heart, as if in this deep mountain, he can finally be carefree and no longer lonely. 


Comments:

*Beauty Preserving Flower is translated as Face Forming Flower by Koala in Lost You Forever. Does your heart skip knowing that this special flower that has protected Xiao Yao was actually her parent's love token? :) 

**Jiu Yi (see Chapter 1) was re-named as Jiu Li Tribe as the Yan Emperor had improved their status because of Chi You.

***One Chi is about 30 cm. 


 Do you know why I love this chapter so much now? It's so unbearably romantic --- my heart was bursting with all the sweetness of the most delicious peach in such a quiet private moment between Chi You and A'Heng. 

Chi You, is that you? 

I am who I am. 

When I read this, I had flashes of a chinese mythological version of Romeo and Juliet - except Romeo never cared about his background, and Juliet didn't know yet about what the world could contain.

Chi You won the Beauty Preserving Flower --- not for any mythical properties, simply because it was beautiful, and he wanted to give it to the most beautiful flower in his heart.

19 comments:

  1. Thank you, this is a beautiful chapter.

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    1. Thank you for reading :)! I've re-read this chapter so many times and still swoon heehee

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    1. Thank you, Yasmin for always reading :)

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  3. omg thank you so much for your summaries and translations!! ;)

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    1. You are welcome! :) Thanks for reading

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  4. Thank you, now we get to know Xiao Yao parent story

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    1. Yay! I hope people can realise how much Chi You and A'Heng loved each other. Thanks for reading :)

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  5. I love, love this story!! Thank you for sharing..

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    1. Oh that's so nice to hear! I love this story so much too! Thanks for reading :)

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  6. thanks alot for translatin OP i am so hooked oh how much i wish that Tong Hua to publish her novel in english..... but i am so glad to follow u and koala ...... i hope to see more chap :) thanku

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    1. Heheh it would be great if Tong Hua wrote in more languages, but some of the things she says doesn't seem able to be captured in any way other than Mandarin. :) I will update more soon. Chapter 5 is awesome.

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  7. oh thank u i am refreshin ur page all day long hope to read it soon thanks again.

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    1. Part 1 of chapter 5 should be up by tonight!

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  8. Aww, so that's where the face changing flower came from! QY would do anything to make AH smile and that just breaks my heart to know their fates! They were just so sweet in this chapter and I'm glad AH now knows that he protected her from way back when!

    When QY answered AH's question of "who really are you?" and he answers "I am who I am", that reminds me of XL's response to XY's question to FFB "who do you want me to be"...

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    1. Omg! Good point! I actually find QY and XL very much mirror images of each other, all such heroic warrior men.

      Yes, QY would waste a lot of effort just for a beauty's smile. My kind of man! Heehee. Although their fates are a bit sad, I find it unbearably romantic and happy in the end (I know this sounds twisted, but I will explain after finishing all the translations).

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    2. decembi c,

      Right?!? QY's response shows that he knows who he is, a man that loves AH without reservation, whereas XL wants XY to be the one to determine who he will be and whether or not he should act on his feelings for her. It's her decision to make, not his.

      I totally understand, although they might have ended tragically, at least they lived their life loving each other and having the person they love, love them in return. What more can one ask for, just look at how lonely SH is now in comparison. Can't wait to read your take on this.

      Some question also came up as I was re-reading some chapters and wanted to ask it here before I forgot: when QY and AH were in the inn and they heard the old man play that musical instrument and talking about SH, why did QY suddenly say he had to go home and left AH by herself? Also, I'm not sure if I missed this but why is it that the Flame Emperor treasures QY so much and seems to want to protect him?

      Thanks again for the translations, I look forward to chapter 7!!

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    3. Heehee, I agree! I think because Chi You is literally a manifestation of nature, he is just so bold and confident! There's no one like him before, and there will be no one like him again. I also think it never struck him at all that A'Heng the female "beast" he chose would not like him back haha.

      Oh, I totally agree. SH is really sad actually. He got everything he thought he wanted in the end, only to realise that he lost the only few good things in his life. Although he lucked out, since Ah Nian is a pretty good daughter to him.

      Oh, blame my own unclear editing, Chi You suddenly left because he heard Zhu Rong (the fire god) coming and he wanted to save Ah Heng. I think he left to distract him or something haha!

      Oh, this will be revealed in the later chapters in Book 1. Shan't spoil it first haha!

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    4. Thank you for answering my questions! :D

      -Vy

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