I took a short break to Hong Kong this week and am rather sad that the small respite is already over. Ah, it is always wonderful to take time away from the bustle and habit of the everyday, and have some time to wonder and wander!
Speaking of habits, funnily enough, translating Heavy Sweetness has become a habit for the year. I am rather happy that the end, though still some distance away, is finally in sight. You can really feel the story moving and Dian Xian is really putting effort in the chapters - not only in length (gosh, each part of the chapters that I break into smaller parts would equal the length of two full chapters of other internet novels) and the ever increasing complexity.
Although the events in Heavy Sweetness are extremely dramatic, these events always swiftly and lightly move by due to Jin Mi's handicap in assessing emotions. But, chapter 19 slowly shows us that even if everyone thinks Jin Mi's heart is a rock, that does not free it from becoming emotionally tied.
Chapter 19: The Emotional Threads are Deep and Mysterious (Part 2 of 4)
Night slowly became more and more busy. Although he did not say anything, I was able to decipher this from the space between his brows. However, his visits to me also steadily increased, often he would guard at the head of my bed the whole night.
Before I closed my eyes to sleep, I would see him sitting elegantly and pure as the clear moonlight on a bamboo chair, sipping tea. When I opened my eyes and awoke from a dream, he would still be sitting on a bamboo chair, untainted, pure as the clear moonlight, but in his hand was no longer a teacup but a poetry book. He lifted his head and gave me a smile, his smile was always just nice - just the right amount of warmth to make my whole body relax in comfort.
One or two nights, I was not able to sleep and we talked about the art of magic. At the break of dawn, I felt my whole body feeling lethargic and uncomfortable, as if I had drank too much alcohol. I was full of admiration for how Night could stay awake the whole night, always rushing to visit me in the Flower World after hanging the stars in the night. He gave a soft smile, "Why would I be tired? Seeing you sleep sweetly is my best rest, more effective than ten days of sleep."
No matter how many tasks Night was busy with, he was still able to be gentle and considerate to everything - every flower, every grass, every person, every animal.
Old Carrot Immortal was afraid of rabbits, so Night borrowed a thunder drum from the Thunder God. The thunder drum was only the size of a palm and could be carried at the waist. When Old Carrot Immortal met a rabbit, he only needed to lightly pat this drum and there would be the rumbling sounds of thunder. Rabbits were not brave and would be frightened by any disturbances, so they would always run away in fear. The Old Carrot Immortal was so happy that he praised Night to the skies and sighed that he had mistaken him previously.
Lian Qiao had low divine energy and was often sad at being restrained in the Water Margin. She always wanted to see living creatures besides flowers and grass. So, Night gave her a mirror that allowed her to see all kinds of creatures and living things. This satisfied Lian Qiao's curiosity and she chased after me to ask if Night would like a concubine, she wanted to recommend herself.
Inevitably, the Head Flower Leader and all the other twenty three other Flower Leaders were also won over by Night's thoughtfulness and ability to discreetly and perfectly handle everything. In a short time, all the grass immortals, flower sprites, butterflies and bugs, even the bugs the size of a rice grain, knew that the most elegant and harmonious god in the six realms was Night.
Night soon became the hot topic of the sprites in the Flower World. For example, even now as I was strolling along the tombstones, I heard a grasshopper sprite and a Jasmine Flower sprite gossiping.
"Ah.... how shall I describe the Night Deity? Yesterday night, outside the window, I saw Night covering Tao Tao (this is Jin Mi's nickname and a pun on grape in chinese) with a blanket, that action, that gaze, ah... that gaze will make anyone willingly evaporate.." The grasshopper sprite said in a reminiscing tone.
The Jasmine Flower Sprite did not agree, "That does not even count. You have not seen the Night Deity play chess with Tao Tao. Tao Tao's chess skills is so bad that it would go against the rules of heaven for Night Deity not to win. But Night Deity has the patience to slowly play with her, and to always lose or win perfectly within two or three pieces - allowing Tao Tao to be dignified and happy regardless if she wins or loses. But it is like playing music to a cow, from my years of experience, Tao Tao is only a rock that looks quite pleasing to the eyes, but you cannot grow a flower from a rock. To see the perfect dragon Night Deity be ruined in her hands... ah, what a tragedy."
I paused, I could not understand how Night was ruined by me? It's fine, I am generous, I will not be calculative about this.
The grasshopper sprite continued, "Speaking of Night Deity, I am reminded of the Fire Deity who has also been visiting the Flower World a lot recently. I heard that he once taught the arts of magic to Tao Tao and can be considered her master. His physical appearance is perfect with nothing to criticise, truly befitting of the title of the most beautiful male in the six realms. Compared to the Water God who used to be the most good looking god, he even wins the Water God by a little. But, that gaze.... it is an intimidating icy gaze. I heard him speak to the other gods before, his words are rare like gold, once he says something, he will never do another thing. His divine essence is also high and strong, all the gods who had fought with him before fear him. I wonder how two completely different gods, the Night Deity and Fire Deity, can both come from the Heavenly Emperor."
"You are wrong, how can you describe them as totally different? At the end of it, they are both equally desirable," The Jasmine Flower Sprite laughed.
"That is true. Actually, instead of Tao Tao ruining the Night Deity, she should be with the Fire Deity, a stubborn rock against a strong wall of ice, hard against hard, it seems matching."
"You better not speak nonsense, Tao Tao must call his Fire Highness Little Uncle in future!"
The sprites in the Flower World were slowly becoming like the female immortals and goddesses in the Heavenly Realms. I shook my head and returned to the pavilion.
Before I reached the pavilion, I could see from far the Phoenix, who was reportedly very compatible with me, comfortably leaning on the stone pillar of the pavilion. His hand was holding a half opened parchment and his head was bent down looking at it. Seeing the back of his neck, I was suddenly inspired and transformed into a snow flower and coldly slid down the back of his neck, icily sticking on his skin.
Who knew that not only was Phoenix not surprised, he actually burst into deep laughter. Had I accidentally pressed onto the vital point that causes him to itch? My heart was not pleased and I threatened, "Quick hand over your internal essence! Or else..."
Phoenix teasingly raised his mouth and I could see his dimples deepen, "Or else?"
"Or else, I will bite you!" I said fiercely.
Phoenix placed his parchment down, turned around and transformed me back to my original state. He held tightly onto both of my arms and laughed more happily, "That is exactly what I would like." Immediately after he spoke, he leaned down and pressed on both of my lips. His brows covered my eyes - covered the bluish sky that caused one's heart to itch, as if a swan's feather had fallen into the middle of the lake, and a pool of ripples slowly very slowly languidly very languidly started to move outwards. I closed my eyes and bit his soft lips to respond to him, he paused, and suddenly his lips were hotter, stronger, as if he wanted to incinerate me, just like the rising red lotus fire.. his tongue stretched in, the breath invading straight into my lungs, not leaving me any inch of space...
Out of breath, we parted, and I only felt like my soul was coming out of my body, I felt hot and uncomfortable all over. I tried to fan myself with my hand to relieve the heat from my face. But under his steadfast gaze, I closed my lids and lowered my head, my two cheeks started to heat up, it was so hot that water droplets could turn to steam on them.
Phoenix reached out his hand and stroke my cheek, as if calming a cat's fur. His finger tips slowly slid down and lifted up my chin, "I like your embarrassed and shy expression the most. Don't lower your head, won't you let me see?" It was always like this, in these almost three years, every time he saw my face redden, his mood would become very good. The more anxious I got, the happier he became.
I moved from side to side and said, "I will not let you see, I will not."
Phoenix laughed and placed me into his embrace, "Fine, I will not see, I will not see." After a while, he continued, "Don't speak only of the internal essence, whatever you want, I will give you. Even if you want the flow of the heavenly river to reverse, for fishes to fly or birds to swim, I will help you accomplish it."
I hid in his arms and comfortably laughed, I gave a sincere assessment, "How obedient."
Phoenix reach out his hand and lightly flicked my forehead, his expression was calm and arrogant, "Who do you say is obedient?"
I said coquettishly, "Little Uncle is very obedient."
Phoenix held my shoulder and forcefully pulled me apart from his embrace, his long eyes narrowed and he threateningly raised a brow, although he was still smiling, his dimple had disappeared. He lowered his voice and spoke slowly in a tone that was neither cold nor warm, "Little Uncle? Who are you calling Litte Uncle?"
My heart shook, seeing how coldly he smiled, had I touched a sensitive spot? I decided to push the blame, "They say I should call you 'Little Uncle'".
"I didn't know you still heartlessly want to marry Night?" Phoenix let me go, stood up tall and looked down on me. That aura was extremely overwhelming, just as I was trying to think of how to respond, Phoenix continued, "Recently, you must be very happy to have Night to accompany you nightly?"
I swallowed to moistened my dry throat, "Please don't say such words to hurt my heart. Whether I am happy or not, don't you know?" I declared grandly,"Why would I want to marry Night, I only want to marry you."
Phoenix's expression froze.
"But... the Heavenly Emperor's marriage edict... that cannot be changed..." I gave him a depressed glance.
Phoenix returned a smile and flicked my forehead, "You don't have to worry about this. I have my own plan. But, you will have to first tolerate during the wedding ceremony in a month's time..." He clutched his palm tightly, as if there was something he could not bear but was forcing himself to tolerate.
One by one, I loosened his fingers and saw that they had squeezed out traces of blood. Seeing this, a bug started to go wild in my chest as if eating something up and leaving me feeling uncomfortable. My brows furrowed as I blew on his hand.
Phoenix's expression softened and he lowered his head to gaze at me, "Jin Mi, in times of danger, between Night and me, who will you help?"
I did not lift my head and answered, "Naturally, I will help you!"
Letting out a huge breath of air, Phoenix appeared to have gained fifty thousand years of divine energy, "With these words from you today, it will not be a waste of me..." The last part of his voice was too soft, as if he was murmuring to himself, but his face reddened.
Before he left, he passed a painting to me, "I drew this when I was free, you can take it."
I opened the painting parchment and saw a lustrous growing grape stem. In the foreground, there was the back of a girl, she appeared faint as if she wasn't really there but at her hair was a dazzling hair pin. I praised, "Your painting skills have improved. This goddess' figure is like the willow, not bad not bad, only that she is a bit skinny."
Phoenix pressed his forehead and spoke as if he was trying to calm himself, "You are that goddess."
I froze for a moment then looked even more carefully. Ah, I saw that the hair pin was the Great Phoenix Feather Treasure, and I answered, "Ah, no wonder it looks familiar."
"Whatever whatever..." Phoenix started to laugh.
Three years, as short as a flash, no more than the time it takes for a bead to pass through the Buddha's hand.
The seventh day of the third month, the night before the Wedding, Night following the customs, was not allowed to see me.
I knelt before Daddy's tomb, the night sky was full of fireflies dancing. I took out the hair pin, my thick hair flew down, the grape stem changed into a knife blade. I lifted up the blade quickly and cleanly cut off a part of my hair. I wrapped the token of hair in paper and called a messenger bird, placed it on its back and commanded the bird to send the package to the Fire God.
The little messenger bird seemed to understand my order and in a blink of an eye disappeared into the deep night.
"Daddy, I once said I would be filial to you. I have not forgotten this, I don't know if you have already forgotten?" I kowtowed* three times towards the tombstone, stood up, and lifted my head and smiled.
Emotional threads, emotional threads, I sighed.
*Action of bowing the head to the ground.
Comments: What a long chapter! Reading it the second time while translating it, I think I love the quiet turmoil of these scenes even more and can appreciate the nuances better. Now, readers, hold on to your heart, what will happen at the wedding? Will Phoenix really reverse the flow of the Heavenly River?