Saturday, 17 May 2014

Once Promised (曾许诺)by Tong Hua(桐华): Translation for Chapter 9 (Part 2)

  The picture above belongs to another novel (it looks quite interesting, and no I have not read it before haha), but I liked it because the male looks like a real Emperor. In Chapter 9, we finally have the grand entrance of the Yan Emperor, who is my favourite Emperor of all in Tong Hua's mythology (even after including Zhuan Xu from Lost You Forever). He is a kind-hearted but shrewd man, whose heart was cleaved into two for his kingdom and family.

Chapter 9: Heal the world but not one's self (Part 2 of 4)

  Gong Gong looked liked he was put into difficulty, "I must tell the great Zhu Rong first."

  Chi You laughed, "Zhu Rong must have already commanded you to be in charge of Sheng Nong Mountain, if you must tell him first then go, anyway I have nothing to do, I can afford to wait, but can your soldiers afford to wait? Do you plan to watch your soldiers cry themselves to death?"

  Gong Gong hesitated and looked at Hou Tu. Hou Tu had gentle and refined looks like a maiden, he spoke gently, "I will listen to the great Gong Gong," he paused, "Although the Yan Emperor commanded that he would not meet anyone, Chi You is the Yan Emperor's only disciple."*

  Gong Gong looked at the soldiers surrounding them who was sobbing furiously, he let out a sigh of air, and told Chi You, "I can only promise to bring you up to the Purple Golden Peak to seek the Yan Emperor's audience, whether the Yan Emperor will see you or not, that is not for me to decide."

  Chi You gave a respectful gesture to Gong Gong with both hands, "Gong Gong's promise is worth a thousand gold taels!" He caught Ah Bi's sharp ears, and whispered some words, Ah Bi's eyes slowly started to brighten, his crying sounds suddenly stopped. Ah Bi arched his head towards Chi You, Chi You very seriously said, "I promise!"

  Ah Bi's mouth curved upwards and became a happy crescent moon.

 A'Heng picked up Ah Bi's other sharp ear and with pain in her heart said, "Why are you so silly? You believe everything he says?"

  Ah Bi gave a cry and pasted his head on A'Heng's body, his bushy big tail swished back and forth, he looked towards A'Heng, his eyes were smiling like two tiny curved crescent moons.

  A'Heng could only helplessly shake her head.

  Since Ah Bi has stopped his cries, Gong Gong used his divine force and gave out his own cry in the mountain valley, all the soldiers were shocked by the divine force and stopped crying.

  When A'Heng heard Gong Gong's cry, her heart was inwardly shocked, she couldn't help examining this man who had the same stature as Zhu Rong but has always led under the shadow of Zhu Rong, she suddenly understood why Chi You said, "Gong Gong's promise is worth a thousand gold taels".**
  Gong Gong and Hou Tu escorted Chi You and A'Heng to the Purple Gold Peak and sought an audience. The white bearded old man who was sweeping in front of the palace, lifted up his head, he spoke without expression, "The Yan Emperor says Gong Gong and Hou Tu will remain, Chi You will go to the Little Moon Peak to see him."

  Gong Gong and Hou Tu's expression changed, Chi You bade them farewell.

  A'Heng saw that it was quite a distance away, she asked in a low voice, "Is there anything special about the Little Moon Peak?"

  There were some heavy emotions in Chi You's eyes, "The only thing special about the Little Moon Peak..." He suddenly gave a furious cough, he had coughed out a mouthful of black blood. Although he had not used a single strand of divine energy just now, but to maintain his usual composure and aura in front of Gong Gong and Hou Tu was extremely difficult, " the fact that none of us have ever gone there."

  A'Heng spoke softly, "You should rest for a while."

  Chi You tiredly smiled, he leaned his head on A'Heng's shoulder, A'Heng reached out her hand, wanting to push him away, but she retracted it again, and only sat silently.***

  In a while, they reached the Little Moon Peak.

  It was an extremely ordinary mountain peak, there was no palace, no attendants, there was nothing, but the grass and vegetation were extraordinarily lush and luxuriant. A sika deer stood at the utmost peak, under a pine tree, and looked at them. It started to sing as it welcoming the guests.

  Ah Bi happily started to sing along with the sika deer, in a moment, it seemed like the mountain and rivers had broken out into smiles.

  The sika deer lifted up his head and gave them a long cry, it then quickly and lightly gave a front hop, as if saying, "Guests, please follow me."

  They followed behind the sika deer, there was a small mountain path that was strewn with flowers and willows, after a bend, they entered a mountain valley.

  In a moment, one only felt that the blue lights were flickering in front of the eyes, and the feeling like one was stepping on the blue sky.

  There was no other colour in this mountain valley, it was filled with all kinds of blue flowers, the Indian Azalea, lilies, lily magnolias, hibiscus, roses... all were blue in colour, the serene blue matched the moist mist covering the mountain valley, there was an inexpressible yearning between lovers, as if this was the start of spring, it was still cold even as it has just started to warm up, there was the light feathery rain, the sky was still blue, there was even the light sunlight reflecting through, the moistness emanating from the lover's heart. 

  Looking far off, on top of the hill mound were three tombstones, silently resting in the blue sea of flowers.

  A'Heng did not follow the sika deer, she suddenly climbed up the hill mound, ran in front of the tombstones, separated the blue camellias which were half the height of a person, she saw that engraved on the tombstone were these words:

   My Loving Wife Sheng Nong Ting Yao's grave, Husband Sheng Nong Shi Nian set this in tears.

   My Loving Daughter Sheng Nong Nu Wa's grave, Father Sheng Nong Shi Nian set this in grief.

   My Loving Daughter Sheng Nong Yao Ji's grave, Father Sheng Nong Shi Nian set this in sorrow.

  For the first time, A'Heng realised that the Yan Emperor who has tried hundreds of herbs was called Shi Nian, she stroked the words engraved on the tombstone, these words were not carved on, these were written using one's heart blood and essence, to use countless of one's precious internal heart blood and essence for the tombstones, the person who wrote this was using his life to grieve.

  The Yan Emperor only married one wife. A thousand plus years ago, the Yan Empress had passed away. In these thousand years, the many tribes, each with their own motives, tried to give beautiful and virtuous women to the Yan Emperor, but they were all rejected. The people guessed all kinds of reasons, the one they believed the most was that if there was another Yan Empress, it would cause one tribe's power to grow very large, and the Yan Emperor did not want to break the balance between the tribes, hence he had left the position empty.

    A'Heng gazed at the words on the tombstone, she guessed in her heart, maybe everyone understood the wrong reason, the Yan Emperor's reason for leaving the position empty may be the simplest reason of all.

  The sika deer seeing that they did not follow, gave a cry of confusion to hurry them, A'Heng stood up and turned around, she saw Chi You standing in the centre of the mountain valley, he lifted his head to watch her, his gaze gentle but determined, as if no matter how long she stayed here, he would always wait.****
 In this spread of turbulent blue grief, he appeared to be the only radiant light.

  A'Heng's heart skipped a few beats, she did not dare to look directly at Chi You, she came down the hill mound, Chi You broke into a smile and gently said, "Move slowly, don't fall down."

  The sika deer led them through the mountain valley into an open field, the colours started to brighten, stretches and stretches of fields which had many different kinds of medicinal herbs planted in them.

  An old person wearing a short jacket with his pants rolled up was walking in the fields, when he heard the sound of the deer, he straightened his waist, carried a hoe and smiled waiting for them.

  At first, the old person in front of them appeared to have ordinary looks and attire, but once you looked again you realised he had the feeling of the high mountains and the flowing waters, the naturalness of the sky and land, A'Heng's heart was struck as she realised this was the Emperor who reigned supreme of the Three Emperors, the Yan Emperor. 

  The Yan Emperor said, "Who would have thought that Chi You would have brought a guest."

 Chi You immediately said, "Antidote, two dosage!" Before he could finish, he became an old tired horse, he weakly sat on the fields, at the edge of his mouth was black blood.

  The Yan Emperor gave one antidote to Chi You, "There is only one serving of this poison, hence there was only one antidote prepared." He told A'Heng, "Little maiden, let me look at you."

  A'Heng stretched out her hand for him, the Yan Emperor examined her pulse, he smiled and said, "Why did you place the poison in your own body?"

  A'Heng glared at Chi You, then told the Yan Emperor, "It was not for the reason you are thinking, I am his creditor."

  Chi You split the antidote in his hands into half, he swallowed half and gave the other half to A'Heng. The Yan Emperor said, "Even though you are naturally gifted with extraordinary talent, this is already your limit, you should resolve your poison first."

  Chi You ignored him, and only looked at A'Heng. 

  The Yan Emperor's eyes flicked with some surprised, he looked at A'Heng carefully, "The Little Maiden's poison will not have any problem for now, I will immediately prepare an antidote for her."

  Chi You thought for a while, then placed the remaining antidote into his mouth.

  A red bird landed on the Yan Emperor's shoulder, the Yan Emperor took down the jade message carrier from its claw, after reading finished, he bitterly laughed then asked, "You released the fire on Zi Yi?"

   Chi You closed his eyes and did not answer, he placed both his hands in the ground, the colour in his face started to improve, the divine flowers and herbs growing on the hill mound and even the ground started to rapidly fade in colour, as if all the glory of the ground was being absorbed by Chi You.

  A'Heng watched in shock, the Yan Emperor said, "He has naturally understood the ways of Nature, his powers are his own and not something we can understand."

  A'Heng asked slowly with some hesitation, "Was the Lang bird captured?"

  The Yan Emperor lightly stroked the bird on his shoulder, it stretched out its winds and flew away, "I have commanded Yu Wang to take care of the Lang bird, Zhu Rong would not touch it."

  A'Heng finally released the stress in her heart, "Thank you."

  The Yan Emperor sighed, "Zhu Rong hates Chi You, if he was here, Chi You definitely would not have been able to go up the mountain so easily, but once his greed is stirred, he will be made used of by Chi You."

  A'Heng became more confused by this, shouldn't the person who set the poison stop Chi You from seeing the Yan Emperor? How come it sounds like the Yan Emperor intentionally ordered people to guard Sheng Nong Mountain?

  "When will you make the antidote for A'Heng?" Chi You stood in front of them, his gaze was filled with power, it was obvious that his wound had started to heal.

  The Yan Emperor turned towards his bamboo house, "The antidote will be ready by tomorrow, both of you will have to stay for a day."

  A'Heng and Chi You followed the Yan Emperor into the bamboo house, the Yan Emperor took out a tea set to make tea, Chi You sat cross-legged under the window, A'Heng was too embarrassed to let the Yan Emperor make tea for her, "Let me do it, I have often made tea for my mother."

  The Yan Emperor smiled and nodded his head, he passed the palm leaf fan to A'Heng and sat in front of Chi You, but he did not speak, and stayed silent.

  Chi You suddenly said, "I had once suspected Zhu Rong, Gong Gong, Hou Tu, I have even suspected Yu Wang and Yun Sang, but I have always believed that you did not know anything of this. But after reaching Sheng Nong Mountain, I suddenly realised that the most likely person to set the poison is you, only you who have tried all the herbs and well-versed in all the medicinal properties will be able to create such a powerful poison. Why? Shi Fu (Master/Teacher)!"

  Chi You's cry of "Shi fu" was cold and frosty, it caused the entire room to feel like it was about to turn into ice. A'Heng held her breath and stole a look at Chi You, but saw that he was facing outwards of the window, one could not see the expression on his face at all.

  The Yan Emperor silently watched Chi You, the silence was suffocating. 

*Yes, you finally know who Chi You's shi fu/master is. :) 
** I can see why Xiang Liu liked his god-father, Gong Gong, so much. For a demon who found it hard to trust anyone, Gong Gong is an honest to goodness real and solid man. 
*** This pretty much summarises their courtship. Haha. 
**** I really really really love this and this is why I love their relationship so. Because, seriously, Chi You has a life-threatening condition here and A'Heng runs to the tombstones? Part of me didn't really find that logical, but I felt that Tong Hua had something poetic she wanted to say, and she wanted to set it up before the Yan Emperor even arrived. For me, the part where Chi You just waits silently for A'Heng even if each second is literally his life passing through his fingers, he does not care - he will live and die just as he pleases.

Comments: Isn't the Yan Emperor epic? As the greatest of all the three Emperors, he makes his appearance as a farmer. :) 

I love this confrontation because since Chi You seems to be the manifestation of nature, the Yan Emperor is as close to a father figure as he has. This chapter and the next are really some of my most favourite parts of Book 1 --- when you get to see the heart of a person, no matter how great he is, his hidden sorrows, worries and concerns for a future so vast that even the great Emperor cannot control. 


  1. "no matter how long she stayed here, he would always wait." - Double meaning here, this implies Chi You will wait for A'Heng as long as it takes, doesn't matter how many thousands years have pass, he will still wait her. <3

    Sort of reminds me of the phrase from the lastest update you did on "The Emperor's Strategy"
    where Mu Tou says "If I can fly away, I can also fly back!" even though it's not the same but it feels the same to me :)

    1. Yes! I love all of Tong Hua's subtle touches. :) I super super super like Chi You. Teehee, I suppose in the Emperor's Strategy context, Mu Tou is asking Su Li Li to wait for him always instead. :)

  2. thanks decembi very fast translation:) have nice weekend :)

    1. welcome hanny! :) have a great weekend tooooo

  3. -he lifted his head to watch her, his gaze gentle but determined, as if no matter how long she stayed here, he would always wait.- ah... this line also left a deep impact in my heart. how come tong hua is so good in wringing our hearts with words like these? chi you, i hope you would not have to wait for a long time for a'heng. hang on there my chi you!

    1. Me too! One of my favourite lines. :) Tong Hua is so good at writing these heart-wrenching moments!

  4. It was a bit of a surprise that the legendary Emperor is actually a farmer. Sometimes, I wonder how much 'Shen Nong' is a surname as compared to a title meaning 'Godlike' (Shen) and 'Farmer' (Nong). The chinese civilization was different from the other early civilizations like the Xiong Nus because they are an agricultural society and not nomadic in nature. A good farmer who could yield the most food from the land would be an ideal candidate for Emperor. If it is true, how apt then that Shen Nong Yan Di, is actually a farmer. Although he seems like a bad person if he poisons Chi You.

    1. Oh that's a very good point, I've almost forgotten the original words of Shen Nong. :) In the next part, it will be revealed that the Yan Emperor wasn't his father's original choice to take over the throne, but Tong Hua does not reveal more why the Yan Emperor was his father's final choice. I love the Yan Emperor a lot - and his multiple identities and responsibilities will really be delved upon in this chapter.