Friday, 18 April 2014

The Emperor's Strategy (Original Title: The Tale of Su Ji's Coffin Shop) by Qing Yao (天子谋 (原名:苏记棺材谱)-青垚) : Scene 5

    I thought the picture above was perfect for Mu Tou! A vagabond type of swordsman. Heehee. This is a very short cute scene. It comes right after Scene 4.

Scene 5: Don't Carve My Name

   Falling straight asleep upon hitting the pillow, she had a dreamless night, she only awoke when the sunlight had reached the third stem of the window sill. Su Li Li felt that she had slept an extremely deep sleep, when she awoke her whole body felt lethargic, she straightened her clothes and headed to the toilet. 

  Walking under the eaves of the roof, Mu Tou walked face-on towards her, and greeted her with a "So you awoke". Su Li Li's body may be awake, but her brain wasn't, she numbly replied, "Yes", and brushed by his shoulders. 

  On her way back, she saw that early in the morning the yard was already stacked with waste wood material, one floor full of wooden shavings. Su Li Li's hair unkempt, she gave a yawn, and pointed to the floor and said, "You carved these all this morning?"

  Mu Tou made a sound indicating yes.

  Su Li Li carefully looked, one block had the word "longevity" carved in it, another block had the word "prosperity" carved in it, these were commonly used words on a coffin. But there was still one block, it had the word "Su" carved it in. 

  Su Li Li was alarmed, "You definitely cannot carve this on a coffin. We don't carve our names as a marking in this trade. In case the people who lie in it are too comfortable and they come thanking us, we won't be able to handle it!"

  After speaking finished, Su Li Li didn't even wait for Mu Tou to reply, she drowsily washed her face, pulled up her hair, and went to the kitchen to forage for food. Uncle Cheng was sitting on the table drinking soya bean milk. Su Li Li grabbed a piece of fried dough, tore a piece and threw it in her mouth, she heard Uncle Cheng say, "This kid, even before the morning arrived, he was already in the yard working, I don't think he even slept last night."

  Su Li Li idly replied, "Maybe he drank too much tea last night and couldn't sleep." But her lips couldn't help being pulled up into a curve.

Comments: Ahahahah! How cute. How cute. Like a young boy feeling the first pangs of love, he carved the name of the girl he likes on a wooden block... just like lovers carving their initials on a tree trunk. At least, that's what I like to think :) 


  1. Oh my god I can't handle the feels I get reading all the Emperor Strategy scenes. Why are these two so cute gah.
    I was wondering though, since they clearly (but subtly) like each other, who acts on their feelings first? I don't think it would be SLL since I imagine she doesn't think she deserves or has time for affections right now. And also, how long has MT and SLL known each other now? and how many years does the book span in terms of from her first meeting with both men till the end of the novel?
    Sorry for bombarding you with questions haha. I'm just so obsessed with this book but don't have the guts to open up the txt file because I can't afford to be distracted right now .
    Thanks so much for the updates decembi! Reading these translations make my day (and also relieve the stress of finals ~).

    1. Hello Karma,

      All the best for your finals :)!!!

      I'm glad to hear that people are also experiencing the same FEELS i get when I go through all my favourite Emperor Strategy scenes. I wasn't really sure if people were following these translations haha.

      They are both quite young now, Su Li Li is 15 and Mu Tou is 14, so their feelings are both companions with pangs of teenage stirring. That's what I think haha. It's very hard to say who acts on the feelings first, but Mu Tou gives Su Li Li a promise before he leaves. As of this scene, they have known each other for a year, and will probably be with each other for half a year or a year before the separation. I think the novel spans two to three years before it ends. :)

      Bombard away! I love questions.

    2. 14 and 15? Oh man, they are so young... Wait, so how old is Feng Yu? Is he a teenager too?! So young, and already he's out murdering people in graveyards in the middle of the night...

      I prefer my characters to be a bit older, haha. But then again, this was back in the ~olden days~ so I guess they were forced to work earlier and grow up quicker.

      Thanks again for the translation. Your hard work has allowed us non-Chinese readers to enjoy these wonderful stories as well. I do check your blog daily for updates, and I've read every entry (although I do not always comment). I am sure there are many other lurkers like me too. Your translations are much appreciated! =)

    3. Oh, Feng Yu is much older. I think he is about 3 to 5 years older than Mu Tou, there's this scene flashback in the novel where Feng Yu remembers how he had "tied" with Mu Tou despite Mu Tou being about 5 years younger! So, I think Feng Yu is about 18 to 20 at this time. :)

      I know it's a bit strange, so I don't really think about the ages when I read the story since they sound sooo much more matured. It's a bit like manga where the characters are supposed to be 13-15 but look practically 18-20. Hahaha.

      Thanks for your comment! :) It makes me happy to share the joy. I know there are quite a few silent readers, it's just that I wonder if anyone reads the Emperor's Strategy translations since they are a little abridged haha.

  2. thanks decembi for the translation. Im wondering - SLL always dress as a guy (up to this point in the story), right? So did Uncle Cheng knows she is a girl (I may have missed it in past translations)? Besides MuTou, QFY and YanHuan (the ex-maidservant), who knows she is a girl?

    And where do you get all these hot guys' pictures :) ?

    1. Yup! Su Li Li is always dress up as a guy up to this scene. Uncle Cheng knows that she is actually a girl because he is one of the loyal servants from her father who tries to protect her. Hmm, I don't think anyone else knows she's a girl at this point :)

      Oh! Random c-blog surfing? Heeheehee

    2. Haha I was surprised when I saw a picture of Hijikata (Hakuouki) here! Thank you so much for translating, I started out with only following your OP translations, but now I follow Heavy Sweetness and this one too :D

    3. Oooh! Hijikata. What manga or anime series is this? I thought he looked like a super cool version of Samurai X (hahahah). Thanks for following my translations :) it's my pleasure to share the love!

    4. He's from the anime Hakuouki Shinsengumi Kitan, it's... okay. My favourite characters are Hajime and Souji, you should share yours too, If you decide to watch it that is!

      I have to add that you're super sweet for replying to every single comment :)

    5. Aww thanks! But I really enjoy replying the comments. It's why I started writing this blog in the first place, so I could discuss c-novels with like-minded people :)

      Oh I have never heard of this anime! Will check it out if I ever have the time, or just the lovely photographs hahahahah

    6. I'm not one to comment much, but because of your sweetness I'll try to be more active :D

      Haha I'll look forward to you checking it out then!

  3. Ha, now that I look at the pic closely, the outfit looks japanese.

    I do enjoy ES scenes. I think at this stage I may be liking it more that Heavy Sweetness.

    Love the photos, btw.

    1. Hello Escapism Fanatic :).

      Heehee I kind of cheat with my photos because it's not always easy to find an image that fits!

      I think Su Li Li is much more likable than Jin Mi! But, I also think it's because ES you get all the "choice" scenes, no filler at all! I'm going to speed up Heavy Sweetness soon so the story gets going to the climax.

  4. I'm reading the novel (thanks for the recommendation!!) and love your short reviews on the memorable scenes. Like this one! I never thought that deeply about Mu Tou carving "Su" in the block of wood! It's like, carving Li Li into himself (MU Tou)!

    I'm not very comfortable with the age of Li Li and Mu Tou and find it odd for them to have rather jaded views of the world at their age. But then again, back in ancient China people get married when they are adolescents and have kidS by the time they hit 20. I'll just have to keep reminding myself of that! :^)

    The political backstory is not getting interesting and I feel tempted to skip it all. Will that affect how readers read the actions and motivations of Qi Feng Xiang?

    1. Awesome! Which part are you at now? Qi Feng Xiang!Omg, I just realised I have been translating his name wrong, I mistook his "Xiang" for "Yu". Hahaha. Ok, I shall go edit all the back entries now.

      I do think the general plot and the politics of everything is really humdrum. I only really liked it because of the small details Qing Yao puts in and the fact that I can tell she really loves all three main leads and they have such beautiful scenes developing their relationships! I think it's fine to skip the political backstory to be honest, I don't think it will affect much, because Qi Feng Xiang gets his development in the second third of the story.

    2. A third male is going to show up? OMG! What kind of character will he be, since you mentioned, and I see, that Qi Feng Xiang is actually a mix of Zhuan Xu and Xiang Liu, and Mu Tou is similar to Jing (tbh, I was surprised how similar the 2 are, and how similar the first meeting for Mu Tou, and Li Li and Jing and Xiao Yao were).

      Seems like Qi Feng Xiang is the main male lead since we've already seen quite a bit of the inner workings of his character now and there's going to be more development in the second third. I can't work out if he is good or just ruthlessly ambitious. Or maybe both.

      I'm at Chapter 7 (part 5 of the chapter based on the online source I'm reading from), and Chapter 20 seems so far away. I'm missing [s]Jing[/s] Mu Tou (I actually typed Jing naturally!) already...

    3. Oh no no, because I mistook Qi Feng Xiang's 翔 as 羽 (yu) when I started translating hence I have been accidentally translating Qi Feng Xiang as Qi Feng Yu. Oops! Luckily, you reminded me and I spotted it early, I've edited all the back entries now hahaha.

      It's interesting that you say Qi Feng Xiang is the main male lead. Actually, the fan wars for Qi Feng Xiang and Mu Tou are also quite heated. Haha. I shall probably write more about it when the translations end, because there was some fan reviews that were quite beautifully written and thought provoking but too SPOILERY to mention now.

      I think he is ruthlessly ambitious but he roughly still has his morals intact (haha), so he can be still considered a hero.

      That's quite fast though :). As compared to many other c-novels, it's a relatively quick book and yet it packs a punch!

    4. Maybe because till now I know nothing about Mu Tou except about his background and family feud? Nothing much has been revealed about his personality (other than being careful, attentive, and partial to Li Li?). I'm looking forward to more reveals!! Thanks for introducing this book yeah! Looking forward to more discussions in your future scene translations!

    5. I look forward to discussing with you too! :) The next scene is an EPICLY long one of Mu Tou and Su Li Li. One of my all time favourites! Mu Tou's personality does become more open in the later half of the book.

      I think what is interesting is that the chemistry between Su Li Li with Qi Feng Xiang is very different from her chemistry with Mu Tou. I look forward to translating those scenes too!

    6. As I read on, the Qi Feng Xiang = Zhuan Xu + Xiang Liu, Mu Tou = Jing comparison becomes more and more apparent! At this point it feels like she's given up waiting for Mu Tou (she prayed for him at the temple but after that continues let Qi Feng Xiang openly enjoy her company), and gradually falling for Qi Feng Xiang. >_< The plot is picking up with their "决裂"! Am thoroughly enjoying this book!

    7. I hope this is not too spoilery, but I find Qi Feng Xiang is like Xiang Liu in his chemistry with Su Li Li, but not so much in his mentality and attitude for love. Teehee, but the waiting part is so Jing right? :) I'm so glad you like this book. I don't think it disappoints.

  5. This was such a quietly poignant scene. We get to see the usually stern Mu Tou doing such a sweet and cute thing as inscribing the name of the girl he likes on a block of wood (but on a coffin? oh Mu Tou *shakes head*).

    I'm also giggling a little on the inside because of the play on words here. He wrote "Su" on a block of wood...and his name is literally 木头 "Wooden Block". =X

    I even find it so cute that he doesn't take offense that she named him thus which I find to be either affectionate or derogatory depending on how it's used. Thank goodness Li Li didn't name him 乌龟 or something as plain and common as 啊狗 or 啊牛. =X

    1. Heehee! I'm giggling too. I love the play on words. I like Mu Tou a lot, he can be so frosty and cold on the outside, but he really is such a softie when it comes to Su Li Li. I think Su Li Li uses Mu Tou in an affectionate sense :) :) :)

      Hahaha! Actually, Wu Gui is a cute name!