Monday, 29 December 2014

Drama Recap: 追鱼传奇 (Mermaid Legend) : The Love Story of The Crown Prince & A Fishing Village Girl (Part 11 of 12)


                                


  After a drunk Zhan Feng angrily proclaims that Tang Xin cannot expect a Crown Prince to change for a simple fishing village girl, Tang Xin breaks off their engagement in a letter and heads back to her fishing village. Will Zhan Feng be able to win back her heart? 

   These few episodes were really swoony for me!  


Saturday, 27 December 2014

Drama Recap: 追鱼传奇 (Mermaid Legend) : The Love Story of The Crown Prince & A Fishing Village Girl (Part 10 of 12)




                              


    I've found a really good link to watch The Mermaid's Legend (see here). It's high quality! Woohoo. It's amazing how fast links get out-dated though. If you ever have problems, email me or leave a comment. If not, googling the chinese title in this entry always works for me!

  I'm still experimenting with how I can write about dramas. Recapping takes a lot of time and effort (so hats off to all the hardworking recappers!). Finally, as we end 2014, I shall finish my recaps for Mermaid Legend!

   What has happened to Zhan Feng? Yikes! 


Thursday, 25 December 2014

Fiction: The Sun's Dark Love (Chapter 19)




   Merry Christmas, my dear readers! This isn't a particularly festive chapter (haha), but I do hope you will enjoy this christmas present from me. I think this is one of my favourite chapters. We are getting really close to the end! 


Chapter 19: The Emotional Ties That Bind

(i)

  When Yan Zun brought Wang Huan out of the Dark Realms, three individuals immediately felt her absence - the Dark Lord, An Hun and Xi Yang. 

  When Xi Yang arrived at Wang Huan's courtyard, the Dark Lord and An Hun were already there. Xi Yang heard the Dark Lord order An Hun to arrest the Spider Demon Tribe in the purple deserts and to try and trace Wang Huan from An Hun's guards who were already there.

  An Hun gave a respectful bow to the Dark Lord, a swift nod to Xi Yang and quickly left.

  Xi Yang had never been intimidated before in his life, but even he had to admit that the Dark Lord's present aura was oppressive. 

  The Dark Lord silently presented a parchment to Xi Yang. 

   Xi Yang held the parchment in his hand. Although the writing was hurried, the words were indisputably written by Wang Huan, "I am eloping with Yan Zun - Princess Wang Huan."

  Xi Yang lifted his eyes into the Dark Lord's own opaque ones. It was difficult to discern what the Dark Lord was thinking.

  "If you allow, I will burn this," Xi Yang said calmly.

  "Oh?" The Dark Lord answered lightly.

  "This parchment is worthless," Xi Yang answered, "I don't know how but Wang Huan was forced to write this... she is waiting for me."

  The Dark Lord gave a slight nod and the parchment in Xi Yang's hand turned to ashes, "There isn't much time before the auspicious hour. Even if you believe in Wang Huan, the fact remains that the bride is missing. And not only the bride, her personal maid, Xiao Mi and her childhood friend, Yan Zun, are also gone. An Hun will try and trace Wang Huan from his men in the purple desert, I have also sent my own men to check for traces in the Dark Realms... you should return to the Heavenly Realms to prevent the situation from escalating."

  "I placed a very strong tracking seal on Wang Huan," Xi Yang said, his brows furrowed, "I don't know why I can no longer sense her presence anywhere..."

  "She's still alive," The Dark Lord said calmly, his eyes clouded with a distant expression, "Her mother's divine heartstone was placed with hers, and will remain so as long as she is alive."

  The Dark Lord frowned, "It's likely Yan Zun practised the forbidden arts like his father and have placed an even stronger shrouding spell over Wang Huan..." He shook his head, "He has taken Wang Huan with him at the cost of shortening his life. For what, even I cannot fully discern yet."

  Xi Yang's eyes turned slightly frosty. Neither the Dark Lord nor Xi Yang broached the topic of love.

  Xi Yang gave a deep bow to the Dark Lord, "I swore I would protect Wang Huan, and I will fulfill that promise even if I must pay for it with my own life."


Monday, 22 December 2014

Fiction: The Sun's Dark Love (Chapter 18)




  I have not written a chapter in the first person narrative in a while. But, this chapter definitely needs to be written in Wang Huan's point of view. I hope you enjoy it! 

Chapter 18: Love is Madness


(i)

Wang Huan 

  "Did you agree to marry Crown Prince Sun so I could return to the Dark Realms?"

  I looked at the gentle and delicately carved handsome face before me. Very long ago, there was a moment when I thought I would never be able to see his face again - see what would this face be like when he grew up. When he grew old.

  When I saw Yan Zun, I saw my childhood. Those days when he came to play in the courtyard - I have not met An Hun yet - those days when we fantasized what it would be like when we grew older, became more powerful, and could roam the world together. 

  When I saw Yan Zun, I saw our young innocent childhood days - untouched by death.

  "Crown Prince Sun did promise to bring you back to the Dark Realms if I married him," I answered simply, "But, that was not why I agreed to marry him."

  Yan Zun took the bottle of wine on the table and swung it up high, pouring all the liquid into his mouth. He placed the bottle back down when there was no more.

  "You can't..." I started to say when Yan Zun rose up to leave. 

  "I know I can't walk out the front door," Yan Zun's words barely hovered in the air, when he vanished. 

  I realised then that I could no longer send letters to Yan Zun anymore. For, there were questions I could never have answers for.


(ii)

  The days passed uneventfully until finally it was the day before the engagement ceremony. I was positively beaming for my solitude in the courtyard was beginning to feel like imprisonment.

   Perhaps because the courtyard was especially heavily guarded, the day went by undisturbed. I woke up, washed up, ate a sumptuous meal - displaying no signs of being a blushing bride. 

  As I was about to head to bed for some attempt of a "beauty" sleep, Xiao Mi shyly suggested that she combed my hair as a slight modification of the tradition where the mother combs the daughter's hair on the eve of her wedding day.


  Xiao Mi made me put on simple but lovely red robes. I never even knew I possessed such a piece but Xiao Mi said that it was part of the gifts Yi Mei had sent over.

  She took a jade comb and started to recite softly as she threaded the comb through my hair:

  一梳梳到尾
  With the first comb, the couple will be together till the end 
  二梳梳到白发齐眉
  With the second comb, the couple will grow old together till their hair and brows turn white
   三梳梳到儿孙满地
  With the third comb, the couple will bear many children and grandchildren
  四梳梳到四条银竹尽镖齐
  With the fourth comb, the couple will enjoy great happiness and fortune.

  
  When Xiao Mi finished, she solemnly declared, "Mistress, to have served you in this life, I have no regrets or complaints."

  I reached out my hand to hold hers, "I've always thought of you as a sister."

  Our reflections smiled at each other in the mirror. 


Sunday, 21 December 2014

Fiction: The Sun's Dark Love (Chapter 17)





   Dear readers, I'm sorry I haven't been updating as much as I wish I could - I have been very blessed in my real life to have people celebrate my birthday one after another - and I've just been swimming with cake and dinners! 

  But, honestly I am looking forward so much to present to you my entire vision of The Sun's Dark Love! I even get emails asking about Yu An's story, oh gosh, I can't wait to properly start on that one. But, trust me, you will rather I finish this story before we start on the other one (which I'm not sure if it will start shipping wars - cos it's hard enough to only choose one when I plan the story). 

  Without further ado, here's chapter 17! I will try to get chapter 18 up very soon too (about half-way written) and I think we stand in good stead to finish the whole story by chapter 20/21?


Chapter 17: A Thousand Years Too Early

(i)


   Wang Huan stood overwhelmed for a long moment as Xi Yang's words slowly started to weigh on her. There was so much she didn't know --- so much she misunderstood. She felt a space in her heart being filled up by something substantial - it was heavy, with the burden that only duty can bring, but it was also light, with the buoyancy of something that felt very much like joy.

  She felt the warm and firm touch of Xi Yang's fingers on her cheeks, wiping off her silent tears.

  She looked at Xi Yang and asked rather innocently, "Am I very young and ignorant in your eyes?"

  The end of Xi Yang's lips lightly tipped up, "Then, am I very old and wise in your eyes?"

  "You always answer my question with another question," Wang Huan sighed.

  "Because you ask hard questions," Xi Yang smiled, but his smile faltered a little as the sky turned dark with the falling of the sun.

  Wang Huan knew then that Xi Yang needed to leave. Xi Yang looked into Wang Huan's eyes, "I have to return to the Heavenly Realms - I left Heavens in a rather chaotic state and there's a lot for me to resolve before our engagement ceremony." He paused, with a slightly worried look, "Tradition is such that we are not allowed to see each other in the days before the ceremony."

  Wang Huan nodded, smiling ruefully at the purple dust on Xi Yang's robes, "You do need a bath."

   Xi Yang shook his finger at Wang Huan and his smiling eyes turned stern, "Although our sources point to Princess Mei Yan being the one who ordered for your food to be poisoned in the Heavenly Realms, we don't have any substantive proof. The rules of the Dark Realms are also tricky - it allows in-fighting and killing between the tribes, 'survival of the fittest' as you call it. However, since the Heavenly Realms and the Dark Realms have a non-conflict treaty, the only way we can catch Princess Mei Yan is if she tries to sabotage your engagement to me again... in this regard, An Hun and I have spoken to Yan Zun about acting as a spy for us with Princess Mei Yan. To be honest, I still don't completely trust him and I have my concerns if Princess Mei Yan will - even though the Spider Demon Tribe has long been allied with the Envy Tribe - he could double cross us both. But, at the end of it all, it doesn't matter - I just want you to be safe. I will do anything to make sure the ceremony goes through successfully and that no harm ever comes to you. So, Wang Huan, don't do anything rash - just wait in your courtyard till I come for you."

  Wang Huan nodded as Xi Yang gently placed the loose strands of her hair behind her ear. She gave Xi Yang a soft smile, "I promise to wait for you."


Saturday, 13 December 2014

Fiction: The Sun's Dark Love (Chapter 16)




  I've been feeling dreadfully under the weather! But, I really want to update The Sun's Dark Love even if it's only a short chapter. Chapter 17 will be much longer!


Chapter 16: The Wishes We Plant

(i)

  As Xi Yang lifted his head, Wang Huan's eyes followed the slight ascent of his face. She was caught between joy and embarrassment. 

   "I haven't agreed," Wang Huan protested, her face reddening at the memory of the kiss and Xi Yang asking to make the engagement real. 

  "Oh," Xi Yang looked thoughtful, "Then, I guess I will take my request back."

  "A request?" Wang Huan narrowed her eyes, "It was more like a command."

  Xi Yang laughed lightly, "Indeed, since it was a command, why must you agree?"

  "I'm sorry," Wang Huan smiled politely, "You may have misread the situation. This is the Dark Realms. I'm the Princess of the Dark Realms and you have no jurisdiction here."

  Just as Wang Huan was going to turn around in frustrated annoyance, Xi Yang gripped her wrist and halted her motion.

  "I was teasing," Xi Yang said lightly, "Only teasing."

   "Which part?" Wang Huan turned her face and looked pointedly at Xi Yang. The kiss? Those words?

  Xi Yang furrowed his brows, "Now you have got me confused."

  "Then, imagine how I feel!" Wang Huan said sharply.

  With a quick stroke of his hand, Xi Yang inserted a hairpin into Wang Huan's hair.

  Wang Huan raised her hand and touched it. It was cool and comforting - she could sense that the hairpin was made of wood and at the decorative end of the hairpin were soft lustrous flower petals?

  "Don't take it out," Xi Yang said softly, "This was my mother's hairpin. Those petals were the petals she shed when she achieved goddess-hood - the true petals of the camellia flower that would never wither. The wood of the hairpin is from a branch of the sacred tree of Mother Nature." 

  Wang Huan felt her heart jolt slightly - this hairpin... it was too precious.

  "I don't know the right words to say," Xi Yang began, "I don't actually talk to people... I only command. It's likely I will never be able to say anything to please you. But, Wang Huan, be mine."

  "I can't be yours," Wang Huan said coldly. 

  Wang Huan's hand moved away from the hairpin. Her hand slowly started to rise higher and higher and then her hand started to fall downwards with increasing speed as if she was going to slap Xi Yang. Xi Yang remained undaunted - his eyes unflinching. Her hand fell on his face lightly... she pinched his cheeks. She laughed, "Why can't you belong to me instead?" 

(ii)

   Wang Huan brought Xi Yang to the furthest room in her courtyard. It was empty - there was only a golden door ring latched onto the wall. 

   Xi Yang followed Wang Huan silently as she walked towards the golden door ring. Wang Huan bit hard on her finger and she dropped two beads of blood onto the door ring. An immense light started to emanate from the ring and Xi Yang felt his body being enveloped in a warm light.

  When the light dissipated, he saw that he was in a field of flowers. He sniffed the air - he was bathed in a sea of lavendar. 

  There was a marble tombstone in the middle of the field. He saw that Wang Huan was already kneeling before it.

  She smiled, "Mother, I've brought the god I am going to marry."

  Xi Yang knelt down beside Wang Huan.

  "He is the son of the Jade Emperor. The Crown Prince of the Heavenly Realms. He is so arrogrant, opinionated, domineering, spiteful." Xi Yang turned to look at Wang Huan.


Monday, 8 December 2014

Reckless Marriage/ Don't Make Love A Thing (昏嫁/别拿爱情说事儿) by Bu Jing Yu (不经语) - Review & Scene Translation (HE) (3.5 stars)



    The last review I wrote was in August 2014. I can't tell if this reflects how busy I have been with life or the dearth in good c-novels I have read. Actually, I have read a few good novels from my last review (which was a Fei Wo Si Cun novel), but sometimes it's not necessarily a good novel that drives you to write about it, but an almost ineffable quality that turns a book into an unforgettable feeling that you can't quite put a finger on but know that ah, this book is certainly interesting. 

  This book will be especially interesting to people who have already read many love stories before. It is for those that wonder what will Cinderella look like in modern society? And, if love and its ideals will be able to survive in the cynical pragmatic realism of our times?

  The original title of the story was Reckless Marriage, but changed to Don't Make Love A Thing (the connotation is Don't Make a Love a Big Deal) when the story was published. The story's premise is simple - can a gold-digger find love in a contract marriage?


  The book synopsis I translated on SSB:

  Tu Ran sells medicine to doctors for a living. Her nickname is "Little Pharmaceutical Representative". Every day, she mixes with the doctors and pharmacists. Lu Cheng Yu is a young professor at the hospital, a rising surgeon in the field of heart surgery, his future is lit in gold. After a one night stand, they both parts ways - seemingly without a trace of emotion.

  Two months later, Tu Ran realises that she is pregnant. When she is at the hospital to abort the baby, she accidentally sees Lu Cheng Yu's very rich father drive a luxurious car to meet his son. After realising that Lu Cheng Yu has a wealthy father, Tu Ran suddenly decides not to abort the baby. On the second day, Tu Ran brings the ultrasound scan of the baby to find Lu Cheng Yu, with the baby as a bargaining chip, she proposes marriage. After a night of consideration, Lu Cheng Yu agrees......

  Can this secret in Tu Ran's heart be hidden? What will happen after Lu Cheng Yu finds out? How will two seemingly unrelated people pass their lives together? Can two people who had entered the hall of marriage for a ridiculous reason end up receiving happiness?


(This review will be very spoiler-filled!)

   Can a gold-digger find love in a contract marriage?  

   Except as the story unfolds, you realise that (i) the female lead is not actually a gold-digger and (ii) the male and female lead had met before in their youth, the male lead was a student tutor of the female lead (he is only 3 years older) and was always the crush she hid in her heart, the love letter she never dared to send out.

   Tu Ran's family is poor, her father died of cancer during her university years. She has to help her brother cover his university fees, take care of her aged mother and grandmother. All she knows is that love is not enough.


Saturday, 6 December 2014

Heavy Sweetness Ash-Like Frost: Translation (Chapter 20.3: The Hurt of Honey)


 
    This chapter is one of the most beautiful chapters I have ever translated. Slowly, I stopped translating with my mind, but tried to translate with my heart --- because all these feelings, why they overwhelm...


Chapter 20: The Hurt of Honey (Part 3 of 4)

   On the second day, I waited till the early morning before I knocked on the door of the Dou Shuai palace. The immortal attendants who guarded the door led me inside. Lao Jun was in the elixir* making room watching the blazing fire boil the herbs and medicine. It was not convenient for me to interrupt so I silently waited outside and sweated from the heat, until Lao Jun had the interest to turn back and watched me coolly as he stroke his beard. I greeted him, "I wonder if Lao Jun had given thought to yesterday's matter?

  He shook his sleeve and brought me away from the elixir-making room. Once we were at the centre of his palace, he said, "Since the Water God had so sincerely requested, I cannot be stingy. But, there are only three of the Jiu Zhuan Jin pills, if the Water God so easily took away one, I am afraid that many of the other gods will come and request for the others. How will Lao Jun be able to handle all the requests?"

   My heart was struck and my fervour cooled by half.

   "But, today before the sun rose, the Heavenly Emperor personally came to Dou Shuai Palace to speak for the Water God. So, I decided I could give the Water God one of the Jiu Zhuan Jin pills," I never thought that there could be a revival in the situation. I suddenly felt my heart warmed and a sense of guilt rose against Night...

  "If so, I must really convey my gratitude to Lao Jun's generosity," I quickly lifted up both my sleeves to pay my thanks.

  "The Water God, please wait," Lao Jun gestured with his hands, he stroke his beard, "Although I can give you the Jiu Zhuan Jin pills, I must take something from the Water God as well in exchange, so I will have a reason to decline the requests from future gods."

  "As long as it is something I possess, Lao Jun may ask for it, for the Jiu Zhuan Jin pills, Jin Mi is willing to give her all."

  Tai Shan Lao Jun paused in silence for a moment then responded, "If the Water God is willing to exchange sixty percent of her divine essence for the Jiu Zhuan Jin pills, I will give it to you."

  "Fine! It's a promise!" I said in one go**.

  Lao Jun's expression was shocked, his mouth was left gaping open as if this was something unexpected. My heart became uncomfortable, afraid that he would say he was regretful so I quickly added, "Let's go to the elixir-making room - I will transfer sixty percent of my divine essence to Lao Jun's 'Ba Gua' furnace, is that alright?"

  Lao Jun's expression was incredibly regretful, as if holding in a great pain in his heart, he heavily nodded his head.

  It turned out that the Jiu Zhuan Jin pill was not made of gold (Jin), it was the size of a small dumpling and would go easily missing if you dropped it on the ground. But, this pill was more precious than gold, I carefully kept it in a silk handkerchief.


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

#talk 29: Happy birthday onesecondspring! #modernlovestories





    Last year on December 2 was the day I started onesecondspring. Happy 1st birthday, onesecondspring. I'm both amazed and happy at how much you have grown over the past year! I'm so grateful for all the love that has been showered onto my blog and as I'm writing this, we have hit 611,800 page views. The best thing of all is that all these page views are from readers all over the world! I wish I could reach out to each one of you - in all these countries that I can only dream about, but yet, at any one moment, we have connected through words about a foreign language we are both trying to understand.

  At the root of it all, I think our connection stems from love - an almost child-like notion of love birthed from fairytales - where princesses exist, even dragons and princes. But at this day and age, we know that princesses can save themselves and the prince, and at the heart of it all, we may all be dragons inside of us. And, if we want beauty, we must fight in pursuit of it.


  I told my husband a few days ago when I saw that old Human of New Yorks post - that it gave my heart so much feels, it was almost as if I was experiencing that first free fall of love all over again. And, sometimes, I get readers' feedback that reading the translated stories or my fiction feels like that (and I feel all these happy butterflies inside of me).

  Thank you.

  December is both the blog's birthday month and my real birthday month - hence my pseudonym, decembi. But, it has long become a part of me.

  I hope to continue writing and translating and sharing about all the wondrous things in the world. I hope you will continue to grow up with onesecondspring! I have so many little dream projects I would like to do! Perhaps one of them is #modernlovestories, where people share about their real life love stories (not necessarily romantic)  and we can all bask in that warm afterglow. So, please do share about your own stories either through my email at onesecondspring@gmail.com or through comments (hashtag #modernlovestories). I will do entries about it and maybe write short one chapter fiction inspired by these #modernlovestories.

  December is a season for giving and sharing! Do look out for more birthday goodies! ;)

love, decembi

Monday, 1 December 2014

Fiction: The Sun's Dark Love (Chapter 15)


    This is a particularly favourite chapter of mine. ;) I shall squeal with you at the end of the chapter. Above is a couple picture of Wang Huan and Xi Yang - I thought this looked so perfect! 

   Additionally, I've been getting feedback about how people can't wait for Yu An's story to start. Hahaha. Don't worry, I'm quite sure that you will get chapter one of Yu An's story soon. I foresee that Xi Yang's story will end around Chapter 18/19.


Chapter 15: Why?

(i)



    An Hun and Yan Zun both looked over the fortress wall of An Hun's own palace.  This was only a part of the lands that An Hun wanted to conquer. An Hun observed the quiet but undoubtably extraordinary Yan Zun beside him, he was always enigmatic and silent. Almost like a fresh sheet of paper that had never been written on - yet, so much blood had already been shed in his tribe, almost as if murder lived in his veins.

  One thing has always puzzled An Hun about Yan Zun - which was his own lack of bloodlust and ambition. Why would he return from exile? An Hun naturally distrusted using anyone who did not have clear desires and wants - they would be too uncontrollable. But, An Hun could tell from how Yan Zun immediately went to see Wang Huan that the bonds Wang Huan and Yan Zun shared in their childhood over their sick mothers had carried over......

  Xi Yang had seen Yan Zun as a bait to lure Princess Mei Yan in, because the Spider Demon Tribe had long roots with the Envy Tribe Princess Mei Yan belonged to. But, An Hun wondered if a man like Yan Zun would so easily fall in line with their wishes. 

  But, the deed had been done. They had travelled to the exiled purple deserts and invited the Spider Demon Tribe to return to the Dark Realms. Yan Zun had returned first with a few of his key followers... the Dark Lord had announced a temporary protection order on the Spider Demon Tribe to allow them time to settle back in the chaotic battleground of the Dark Realms.

  Yan Zun turned aside and gave a light nod to An Hun, "Do not worry. I will keep my promise to Prince Sun. To want to punish Princess Mei Yan for poisoning Wang Huan - on that point, our interests are aligned."

  With that, Yan Zun lightly swiped up one of his sleeves and walked away. 

  An Hun watched as Yan Zun's back receded away. Women, women are weaknesses. An Hun decided that he would never let a woman be his weakness.

(ii)

  There were only three princesses in the Dark Realms - the beautiful and sensuous siren, Princess Mei Yan of the Envy Tribe, the little heard of and little known hermit, Princess Wang Huan of the Greed Tribe, and finally, the eccentric and poisonous, Princess Lan Ye of the Apathy Tribe.

  Of all the princesses, the most feared of was Princess Lan Ye. Her only interest was in experimenting with poison and in creating the most deadly venoms known in all the realms. She would poison people without fear or favour. A less apathetic dark immortal you could not find. The dark immortals always said that Princess Lan Ye would poison the Dark Lord without batting an eyelid - if not for the fact that the Dark Lord was so much more immensely powerful than her.

  Everyone knew where Princess Lan Ye resided - it was even unguarded. But, no common immortal or god would dare tread into her palace, for fear of no return.