Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Fiction: The Princess Who Cannot Marry (Chapter 13)



Dear readers,

Thank you so much for your well wishes and support. It really touches me that there are readers for my story. I know it must take a lot of faith and patience for readers to follow my story and I am ever so grateful.

I'm having a lot of fun now that we are at the second arc. A lot of new things to explore even as there are old secrets to unravel. The thing that pleases me the most I think is watching Yu An grow into herself - even without knowing her identity. 

I think all three male leads have their own connection with Yu An in the past - so all could be considered childhood connections. What's important as the story continues is who will live with her in the future. 


love,
decembi

Chapter 13: You and the Deep Blue Sea 

(i)

       The Dark Prince An Hun brought Yu An to an island. They landed on the edge of the island which faced a horizonless blue sea. Yu An had never seen anything like this before. She had seen paintings of ponds, lakes and rivers - but nothing ever like this - as if they were at the point of infinity.

      By the time they reached this island, dawn had broken. So, the sea was lit with a light golden shimmer as if the stars had fallen from the sky and were swimming.

  Wordlessly, they stood at the edge, the waves rising and falling, rising and falling, its own beautiful rhythm. She took off her her shoes and her feet pressing onto the sand - leaving an imprint, an impression as if to say she was once here. And, then the waves rose up and everything was a smooth sheet again. She liked to think that the smooth sand was pure like her mind, that the absence of memories was only just a beginning, because she would find them again - they were waiting out there for her, beyond what her eyes could see, but she knew that they were out there.

  With her feet planted firmly, her heart comfortably in her chest, she held the golden flute in her hands, raised it to her lips and started playing.

(ii)

    He could not see her face clearly. She stood right under the rising sun. The rays lit up the edges of her body, sparkled off the gold, and lit the musical notes that floated melodically from the flute.

  The salt of the sea. The sand under his feet. The ascending and descending waves. They were achingly familiar. 

    With every strong wave that reverberated from the sea, he thought he could hear his mother's voice. 

Monday, 7 December 2015

Fiction: The Princess Who Cannot Marry (Chapter 12)



One of my favourite chapters in The Princess Who Cannot Marry so far. It's always fun to reveal the thoughts of a different character. Enjoy! 

Chapter 12: The Dark Lord's Mission


(i)

   The Dark Lord chuckled deeply to himself when he heard the report on Yin Hua from his trusted ward. It was believed in the mortal realms that the famous Courtesan Yin Hua had been successfully redeemed by a travelling merchant. However, the truth was that one of Crocodile Prince Xie's men had forcefully abducted Yin Hua whilst brainwashing the truth of this incident from the mortals of the Golden Peony Mansion. 

    Nothing seemed out of the extraordinary except his ward had also discovered that Crown Prince Xin Yang was tracking Courtesan Yin Hua's movements and will soon trace her to Crocodile Prince Xie, despite Crocodile Prince Xie's attempts to silence the news about Dark Prince An Hun taking her away from him at his birthday feast. 

  The Dark Lord could tell that his ward, clever and savvy as he is, had not made the connection. His instincts had been true - the Yin Hua in the Dark Realms was likely not the real Courtesan Yin Hua. Crown Prince Xin Yang's only ties to the mortal realms was his god sister, the now mortal, EmpressYue of the Yan Kingdom. The current Yin Hua must have some links to the Royal Yan Family, which would explain the faint traces of gold in her soul. Not all royals will have gold in their soul of course, but the royals linked to the Great Yan Emperor, Hsiao, likely would. 

  Could it be? The Dark Lord's eyes crinkled at the sudden thought that struck him. 

  If it was true, things would get very messy, the Dark Lord thought to himself, but he did always like a bit of chaos. 

  He ordered his ward to call Dark Prince An Hun to see him immediately. 

  (ii)

   An Hun could never tell what his father was thinking, but this was the first time he felt a huge pressure overwhelming him when he stepped into his father's private study. 

   He bowed and greeted the Dark Lord, "Your humble son greets the Dark Lord."

  The Dark Lord didn't tell him to rise but asked, "Do you really want the throne?"


Friday, 4 December 2015

Translation: You Owe Me Your Draft! (拖了稿兮你要還) by Li Mu Cuo (林無措) (Complete) (5 stars)




Dear readers,

Apologies for the hiatus! Fell very sick in November and had to take a leave of absence from my blog.

Will slowly get into the groove again.

As a present, I have translated this perfect short love story between a lazy genius type male writer and a hardworking female editor!

Enjoy! 


love,
decembi

Summary


Can a draft be eaten: Did you order the takeout to my house? Thanks.

Selective blindness: Draft!

Can a draft be eaten: Next time order the beef brisket noodles. I don't like sour vegetables.

Selective blindness: Draft!

Can a draft be eaten: Oh, can you help me hire a household helper? My clothes are still soaking in a pail of face-wash like substance.

Selective blindness: Draft!

Can a draft be eaten:... this must be automatic reply. When you return and see this, also call a mechanic for me. My washing machine at home has been spoilt for a long time. 

Selective blindness: Can you be even more shameless? Can you can you can you? Draft you jerk!

Can a draft be eaten: How difficult is it to make a telephone call. I need to concentrate on writing my draft.


The story


   Mister Lu is a mystery novel writer who never checks his mailbox. He is also a household idiot and naturally missed the notice in his mail informing him that his editor had changed. 

  Miss Cai is an easily irritated workholic magazine editor. She is also a household skills genius who loves to stay at home. Thus, she naturally became the sacrifice to chase for the drafts.

   Above is what is called the narrative background.

  Below is a chat log. From Mister Lu's computer. 

  This was a day in which passions started brewing. 


  [9.30 AM]


 Selective blindness: Master Lu, have you returned from your work trip? Please send this week's draft and personal column to my inbox.

Selective blindness: AFK (away from keyboard) is also no use. I know that you are there. I want to see a draft in half an hour.

Selective blindness: ...... An hour has already passed!

Selective blindness: Two hours!

Selective blindness: Draft you jerk! Do you want to miss your deadline for the second time this year?!

......

   Recently in these few months, such angry howls will appear every half an hour, from Monday to Saturday, no matter the weather. Mister Lu felt a little guilty and was considering if he should change his nickname.

  It looks like he may have gotten too used to dragging his drafts, if not why would Editor Little C who only used to chase him for his drafts three days before the deadline suddenly be so hardworking until it caused his hair to stand? Mister Lu stretched his lazy waist and decided he will first stop the continuous howling from that side. 

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Heavy Sweetness Ash-Like Frost : Translation (Epilogue 1: When Jin Mi was a Book Boy (Part 1))



Dear readers,

Thanks for all the Heavy Sweetness love. Most of all for the well wishes and prayers for my illness. I'm still rather sick but I was so touched that I cleaned up the translation for the epilogue. There are actually only four epilogues - counted five, because one of the epilogues are in two parts. 

This is reminiscent of the earlier pure funny times between Phoenix and Jin Mi!

love,
decembi


Epilogue 1 - When Jin Mi was a Book Boy (Part 1)

Time: In the hundred years when Jin Mi first went to the Heavenly Realms and was Phoenix's book boy

  "What is that?"

  "Ah?" I had fallen asleep while grinding the ink slab when I immediately opened my eyes wide at Phoenix's sudden question. I gave an impression full of energy as I looked at him but I saw that his brows were slightly furrowed as he looked at the lower right. Following his gaze, I saw a small book being squashed by one leg of the table, its weak and thin appearance radiated a pitiful feeling. Of course, it was a little familiar. 


  
I suddenly remembered that I had tried to transform the book table this morning and originally wanted to turn it into a turtle... but who knew that after I chanted the incantation, not only did the book table fail to transform, it leaned on one side and became lame in one leg! Luckily, the limp was not too bad so I placed a few books under its leg such that it immediately returned to its usual straight stable self. Who knew that Phoenix's eyes would be so sharp and he would immediately spot it from one glance......

  A thief need not have a guilty heart. A guilty heart need not necessarily be a thief. So, I very boldly said, "Naturally, it's a book. It's more stable with it."

  Phoenix looked at me with a raised brow and with a lift of his finger, the books flew out from below into his hands. I saw the brushes and ink slab immediately fell down from the book table as it slanted to one side - luckily my eyes and hands were fast and I quickly caught the table to stabilise it.

   Although seeing this heavy book table was about to break my slim wrist, the poisonous bird Phoenix did not care. He flipped one of the books and read out loud, "A Courtyard Full of Amorous Spirit?" His face darkened and he lifted his head to look at me, flipping a few more pages in the book, his expression continued to become heavier... finally, he slammed the book on the table and stood up, "You used such a book to support my table?"


Sunday, 25 October 2015

Sick!


  Sorry! I had planned to update The Princess Who Cannot Marry and a Heavy Sweetness epilogue this week but I'm really too sick. The worsening Haze in Singapore is also not helping a single bit! Will rest well and try to update next week.

love,
decembi

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Fiction: The Princess Who Cannot Marry (Chapter 11)



   The above picture is how I imagined Dark Prince An Hun's palace to look like! 

  I hope the perspectives are not too confusing but when we are in An Hun's head, Yu An will be written as Yin Hua as that is how he sees her. When we return to Yu An's perspective, I write her as Yu An. 

Chapter 11: Secrets


(i)

   "Dark Lord," An Hun knelt and greeted his father who had comfortably settled himself in the main seat in his main hall.

   As An Hun rose, a light smile played on his lips, "Father's visit is unexpected. What wind has blown Father here?"

  "Curiosity," The Dark Lord replied as he ordered the servants to bring out more wine, "Curiousity to meet the maiden in the eye of the storm."

  "Storm?" An Hun echoed in a tone of jest, "Only a gift from the Crocodile Prince Xie."

  One of the servants bowed low towards the Dark Lord and Dark Prince An Hun, and announced the arrival of Lady Yin Hua. With a brief nod from the Dark Prince, two other servants entered first and set up a guzheng in the middle of the hall. 

  When she entered, in robes of pure white and a translucent silk veil over the bottom half of her face, An Hun noted again her poise. An Hun had participated in Crocodile Prince Xie's birthday banquet with an agenda - although An Hun was said to be in close contest with Prince Liehun, his victory over Liehun was largely inevitable after several strategic and costly mistakes made by Liehun. Crocodile Prince Xie, previously an ally of Liehun, had thus been making advances towards An Hun in order to avoid a full fall-out in the event An Hun gained entire control of the Wrath Tribe. 

  An Hun appreciated Crocodile Prince Xie's flexibility to maintain his tribe's strategic interest in the Dark Realms, but also disdained such blatant disloyalty. He was waiting throughout the banquet for the opportune moment to cut Crocodile Prince Xie down - not completely such as to sever ties, but enough to display that he would not be a a kind merciful lord. 

  He toyed with the idea of usurping the specially prepared courtesans at Crocodile Prince Xie's banquet by bestowing them to his men instead. However, when the earlier two courtesans performed, he disdained them as being too inferior for even him to look at. He decided that leaving halfway through the banquet would be insult enough, when she arrived.

  As a dark prince born in one of the seven royal tribes in the Dark Realms, he was destined to fight with his blood brothers for the throne. Weaker men may fall apart, but An Hun thrived - he would tell you that he ate fear for breakfast. Still, her fear - was completely different.

  She was no beauty, An Hun had judged her harshly based on his own standard of perfection. He could tell, with slight amusement, that she was scared. However, she held it all within her and walked elegantly onto the stage as if the guzheng was both her shield and weapon. He thought then, yes, maybe I will pick her. Give her to Hei Xing.

  He was troubled by her song. The way her fingers flew over the musical instrument as if the battle in her song were her very own thrusts of the sword. The abrupt staccatos that didn't seem possible from the guzheng as they slowly dissolved into a landscape of peace and beauty - why? Why at this moment did he remember the ocean? The sound of his mother's voice? The music that abandoned - no he abandoned?

  And yet, when the last note was struck, An Hun stood up and said, "Xie, this girl - I will take her." Even he had forgotten, till much later, his original goal of giving her away. 

  

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Fiction: The Princess Who Cannot Marry (Chapter 10)




Dear readers,

  Thank you for all the love you have given me in the last two chapters. It made me so happy! This work week has been so overwhelming and I have perennial headaches. But, everytime I read a comment, I feel really revitalised. Thank you. 

  I really hope you enjoy the second arc! 

love, decembi


Chapter 10: New Beginnings


(i)

   "Xie, this girl - I will take her." 

  The moment the beautiful man spoke those words, Yu An felt like her heart may burst at the hope that was filling inside of her.

  Suddenly, everyone else fell down on their knees at the sight of the man standing. They called him, "Your Highness". Except of course, another figure with a strong presence, sitting on a raised throne-like chair, was still in his seat.

  Glances were exchanged between these two powerful figures and Yu An was mildly horrified at how her life hung in the balance as two men looked at each other. Could she be more pathetic?

  But, suddenly, the figure on the chair stood up as well, a false smile on his lips as he raised a goblet of wine at her, "Come and serve a toast to his Highness."

  Yu An guessed this must be Prince Xie of the Crocodile Tribe. There was a bloodthirsty edge in his eyes as if he wanted to suck her blood dry at this very moment. 

  Yu An took in a deep breath and stood up from the guzheng.  She slowly and carefully walked through the still kneeling audience towards the man who said he would take her. 

  Very gently, she controlled the expression in her face as she took the goblet of wine from Prince Xie. She bowed down towards the man they called your Highness. It was as if her mouth knew what to say when her mind didn't, "Your humble servant pays her respects to his Highness."

  "Rise," He said calmly and repeated it in a deeper tone permitting for everyone to rise. 

  When he took the goblet, Yu An's deliberately calm exterior almost broke. His eyes, she thought, they were so dark, as if they could never be lit by any light or warmth. 

  Suddenly, Yu An did not know if she had picked the wrong side - which was safer? The crocodile or the abyss?


Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Fiction: The Princess Who Cannot Marry (Synopsis/Character Chart/Casting)


    Dear readers, I've been asked here and there on who I would cast as the characters, and I honestly don't write the characters with actors/actresses in mind. However, sometimes I do come across actors/actresses that really do look like how I envisioned the characters!

   So, I thought I would share some thoughts (feel free to share yours):



The Princess Who Cannot Marry

The first daughter of the Great Yan Emperor, Princess Yu An, was prophesied by the oracle to never be able to be married if she did not marry by the time she was nineteen. Since Princess Yu An's mother, Empress Yue, prided herself as the Royal Matchmaker of the Yan Kingdom, she never thought that would be a problem... but who would have thought that her daughter, beautiful, intelligent and talented, would be impossible to matchmake? 

Undaunted, Princess Yu An sets out on a journey of self-discovery to learn more about her true love, music, but along the way, she realises that there are three special men in her life and love is far more complicated than she could ever imagine...... 

Comment: Yu An takes after Yue but she has Hsiao's eyes and I think a more matured air. Haven't came across any actress that reminds me of her yet!

The order of the characters below are not in order of importance! 
SPOILER WARNING: Please don't read Drifter/Bai Wu's character description (after the page cut) until at least after Chapter 8.

Hu Zi

Hu Zi (护子 - the Hu meaning protector) is the son of Hong Meng and Hu Jun (Head of the Yan Emperor's private guards).  However, rather than rising up the ranks of the private elite guards, Hu Zi surprised everyone by joining the military instead. He was one of the most outstanding young officers and is currently the youngest Captain and most likely to be promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel. From young, he has been silently accompanying Princess Yu An as both protector and childhood friend. As Yu An and Hu Zi grew older, their relationship has grown more complicated. 





Comment: This was rather surreal because I didn't even know who the Korean Actor Kang Dong Won was! But, I came across his photoshoot with Song Hye Kyo and I was like, eh, he looks like Hu Zi. Or should I say Hu Zi looks like him? Haha. 

An Hun


An Hun (暗魂 literally translated as dark soul) is one of the royal princes in the Dark Realms. He belongs to the Wraith Tribe. However, since princes are a dime a dozen in the Dark Realms and the rule is survival of the fittest to claim the throne, his life is fraught with conflict and internal killings. 

His mother was a mermaid who left the ocean for the Dark Lord. But a mermaid who leaves the ocean will soon die. An Hun has inherited the beautiful looks of his mother and is said to be so beautiful that the flowers will hide their faces from him. However, his eyes are ferocious and his energy so dark that even his closest kin, Wang Huan, gets afraid of him. 









Comment: From the previous character chart, I already listed Matsuda Sho as looking like An Hun. I find his looks rather versatile with the inclination towards darkness.


[SPOILER WARNING - Do not continue if you haven't read until Chapter 8.]


Monday, 5 October 2015

Fiction: The Princess Who Cannot Marry (Chapter 9)



Dear readers,

Sorry about those who saw the post get published before it was ready! I had "scheduled" it for Sunday posting but hadn't finished getting it in order. 

This week has been overwhelmingly busy and exhausting in the physical and emotional sense. But, I do get a surge of positive feelings whenever I see a supportive comment. It reminds me that this journey I want to go on has fellow travelers!

Unfortunately, my mental state is not as well-rested and happy as I wish I could be in whenever I am writing or translating (I do believe that a writer's own inner state does have some kind of effect on the product). But, I think life is also not always perfect and sometimes you can't wait for everything to be in order, to pursue something. Sometimes, you have to pursue it and hope that things fall in place.

So, I have been working really hard to reach the end of the first arc. And, it really took me effort to reach this point. I think every new project I embark on, I try to find something that is a little bit further out of my comfort zone - hoping that with each project, I will learn something new. Sometimes, I wonder if I have been too ambitious with this story, but I suppose I can only try and find out?

I hope you enjoy the first arc! The last chapter is especially long as I combined chapter 9 and 10 for what I hope is an exciting end to the first arc! 

love, decembi

Chapter 9: Change

(i)

   With a few quick brush strokes, a beautiful figure had came alive on the parchment. It was a maiden with a heart shaped face with startling clear eyes. But, when Drifter's eyes fell upon the figure, he immediately thought, it did not look like her. A silent figure did not look like her.

  Drifter recalled Princess Yu An with a mixture of amusement and irritation. From the start, he knew that she was the first daughter of Empress Yue, the sworn sister of his mother, and originally meant to be betrothed to him... and when he had first seen this poorly disguised maiden in gentleman's clothing, her eyes that could not stop drinking in the world and a mouth that could not stop talking, he was relieved that he had long abandoned his identity as the First Prince. 

  When Master Lang rather gleefully informed him at the tea house that he was waiting for Princess Yu An to join their journey, his defenses had immediately heightened. He knew his Master too well. He was more cunning than anyone he has ever met in the jianghu (pugilist world). Master Lang had extremely reluctantly taken him in as a disciple due to a debt Master Lang owe his father, General Tie, but Drifter only knew too carefully that Master Lang loved making things difficult for his disciples. One need only look at the conundrum Master Lang had put even the great Yan Emperor, his first disciple, in. 

  So for all intents and purposes, Drifter had seen Princess Yu An as a trap. 

  Every time she tried to come nearer, he would move back. 

  Drifter closed his eyes as if in memory of a song. But, he would admit that she played a nice tune. He remembered how she would sometimes improvise a song based on the sounds in nature or an imaginary duet based on the clashing sounds of Master Lang and Hu Zi's swords. And, sometimes, she remained in silence.

  The silence was what he liked best.

   There was once he wanted to tell her, Don't get entangled with me. But, even that, he thought, might be too much of an entanglement.

  Let's keep this distance, he thought, let's be two points that pass each other, too swift to leave any traces.

  Still, as if to resolve any residual guilt he might have in his past, he sent out an order to men under his command in the jianghu to get a copy of the scroll of the Heartbreak Song for her. The one thing he hated the most was a debt.

  Drifter moved away from the table and indicated for Bai Yan to follow him, "Come. Let's see how much your skills have increased."

  Bai Yan groaned, "All you think about is martial arts!"


Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Fiction: The Princess Who Cannot Marry (Chapter 8)



  I confess that I was motivated to finish up Chapter 8 faster because of an anonymous comment describing the little bits she liked from the three male leads. It really touched me! And this is an important chapter for one of those male leads! 

  We return to the palace and Yu An realises that things are never the same again.

Chapter 8: Secrets Revealed


(i)

     Hu Zi and Drifter were waiting outside the cave when Yu An and Qing exited. Hu Zi immediately knelt down and greeted Uncle Qing, "Captain Hu Zi pays his humble greetings to Grand Prince Qing."

   Qing gestured for him to rise and shook his head, "No need for formalities, I am only a monk. I do not recognise the title you greet me."

  Drifter remained aloof on his steed. Qing gave a whistle and his horse sprinted towards him. The quartet made a smooth and silent ride back to the Mo Tribe headquarters.

  "Aunt Mo and Uncle Lang," Qing nodded his respects to Grandmother Mo and Master Lang upon reaching the Mo Tribe camp. 

   No further words were said under the deep veil of the stars. It seemed like all was finally at peace. 

(ii) 

  The return journey was without any obstacles. Hu Zi was much more willing to be trained by Master Lang on the way back and Drifter remained his silent self. Qing seemed to enjoy the silence and he often went aside by himself to meditate. Sometimes, Yu An and Qing would converse about her childhood and her younger brother, the Crown Prince Hsiao Yang. Yu An remembered Qing's face when she informed him that her brother was a reluctant prince and his dream was to wander the cities as an artist. Qing had a face of wistfulness before he said, "Like his father."

  The night before they returned to the Capital, as usual, Qing had went off to meditate, Master Lang and Hu Zi went away to duel, and there was only Drifter and Yu An left at the campsite.

  As Yu An fed the camp fire with more firewood, the only sound was the flickering of the fiery tongues of the flames. No, she realised, there was also her heartbeat. Faint but pulsating. She turned to look at Drifter, who was sitting on top of one of the tree branches, as if he was a bird, longing to be released to the sky.

  "Drifter," she called out. Her voice wasn't loud but she knew he could hear her. 

  "Thank you for accompanying me on this journey," Yu An said sincerely. She paused then continued, "I don't know why you called yourself a sinner, but the fact that you hold whatever past sins so close to your heart tells me that you are definitely not heartless."

  "And in fact," Yu An said with an almost wondering voice, "You probably have the most gentle heart of all." She thought of Drifter always silently waiting in the background - not because he didn't care, she was sure, but because he wanted no credit in his protection.

  Drifter didn't reply, and Yu An didn't need him to. For someone who loved to make music, she found herself comfortable listening to the flames and her heartbeat in the silence. 

(iii)

   Yu An calculated that it had been about twenty three days since they left the Yan Kingdom on the third day of the Grand Yan Emperor's funeral. Thus, when they finally returned to the Yan Kingdom, it was already the twenty-sixth day.   

At the city gates of the Capital of the Yan Kingdom, Master Lang and Drifter remained outside as if indicating that this was where they stopped. 

   Qing nodded his appreciation to Master Lang and Drifter then turned to Yu An, "Tell your father I will meet him tonight at our garden." With that, Qing rode off. 

  Yu An rode her horse closer and whispered towards Master Lang, "I just have one last thing to say, Master Lang. My grandmother goes to the main temple in the Capital twice a month to pray, on the eighth and on the twenty-eighth. She has done this for every month since I've known her. I followed her once and it was strange, for on the twenty-eighth, she prays while looking very far away. As if the person she prays for does not belong in the Yan Kingdom."

  Yu An moved her horse back, her eyes twinkling, and then she bowed low on her horse before Master Lang, "If fate decrees, we will meet again."

  She gave a smile and quick nod towards Drifter, and then turned towards the city gates with Hu Zi. Master Lang and Drifter watched as their backs disappeared into the gates, into the crowd, no longer to be seen. 

  Master Lang inclined his head towards Drifter, "Now that you have met the princess you were supposed to be betrothed to, would you like to return to your real identity?"

  Drifter's face remained impassive and Master Lang shook his head, "Your cold expressions don't fool me." Master Lang pointed to afar, "Your brother has arrived as representative for the final ceremony of the Grand Yan Emperor's funeral. Go see him. You can't run from your past forever. I will see you again on the final day." 


Sunday, 27 September 2015

Fiction: The Princess Who Cannot Marry (Chapter 7)





Haha I have to confess that I am suffering from food coma due to copious consumption of mooncakes. I've fallen behind a bit on my wish to finish arc 1 by the weekend but we should get there in 1 or 2 chapters. And, oooh when we do, I have so much to say!

Chapter 7: The Heart's Answer

(i)
 

    At Yu An's words, Hu Zi opened his eyes - they were bright but had traces of faint red lines. Yu An shook her head as she sat down next to him, "Wait till I tell your father about how much alcohol you drank!"

  Hu Zi gave a tiny shrug in his shoulders as if he didn't care. Yu An's head turned slightly towards him, her eyes carefully, very carefully, observing his side profile. He inherited Uncle Hu Jun's handsomeness - but it was an austere handsomeness, all cold hard edges. The only softness were his eyes that resembled Auntie Hong Meng, or perhaps the only softness were when Hu Zi occasionally relaxed himself with Yu An.

  "I'm sorry," Yu An said finally, "I feel like I pulled you selfishly into my adventures again." She paused, as if finding the right words, "I couldn't think of anyone else that I could trust...... but I forget that you have your own dreams and ambitions."

  Yu An felt Hu Zi leaned back against the tent. She waited for him until the silence was no longer comfortable and she prodded him on his shoulder, "You are not going to say anything?"

  It was then that Hu Zi's gaze connected with Yu An's own, and she felt like something was trapped in her mouth because he looked at her with an intensity she was not expecting.

   "I was afraid," Hu Zi said, his voice so low that Yu An had to move forward to listen, "that if I was too honest, I would frighten you."

   Hu Zi shook his head and laughed, "Last night, the Grand Tribe leader led you to Grand Prince Qing?"

   Yu An nodded, "I have to give him an answer tomorrow night to convince him to return to the palace."

  Hu Zi paused and then said, "When we return to the palace, we might not be able to see each other for a while... I've signed up for the naval expedition led by General Jiang... it will be a long journey into the Western Seas." 

   He hesitated for a moment and then took Yu An's hand into his, "But, I will come back before your nineteenth birthday and then I will tell you what I wanted to say."

   If they had still been children, Yu An would have squeezed Hu Zi's hand and forced him to say what he wanted right now. But, there was something in Hu Zi's grip, something in the pressure in which he pressed into her palm, which made her think that the words he were saving were something heavier than any she had ever borne before. 

Friday, 25 September 2015

#talk 35: Dreaming about my New Translation Project!





      The twenty-seventh day of the September will be the fifteenth day of the lunar moon. The day of the Mid Autumn Festival! Where we eat mooncakes, carry paper lanterns and admire the moon's beauty with our families. 

     The Mid Autumn Festival has a peaceful feeling of reunion, and of completion. It feels perfectly apt since after about a year and eight months, I've finally finished the translation project for Heavy Sweetness. I've been asked these a few times and I want to state clearly that "yes, I will translate all 5 epilogues!". 

   I'm currently deciding my next translation project, and in that time, I will be writing The Princess Who Cannot Marry and finishing the epilogues for Heavy Sweetness. For my 2 projects which have been put on hiatus, Once Promised and The Emperor's Strategy - I must confess, I love The Emperor's Strategy to bits, and I do feel like taking it on full haul as a translation project, but I also feel like I need a fresh start. 

  Translating is organic in the sense that the translation grows with the translator's perceptions and emotions. I've been very busy this year and my output is about 30% of what I published in 2014 (crazy productive!). The last few chapters for Heavy Sweetness were emotionally draining and I had to take a break - and found some sweetness (ironically) in Our Second Master - it was a very pure story that arose from troubled circumstances, and somehow it gave me new found momentum in my translations.

  So, I'm in search for that something new, hopefully something special, to give me a new perspective on translating. I do plan on continuing Once Promised and The Emperor's Strategy, but now not.  When my schedule clears out (and I always pray that it does), I plan on doing one proper translation project, one side project and one of my own fiction. I hope it's not too selfish, but I feel like I've grown from the decembi that translated one year plus ago and I'm interested to see how I would approach a completely new translation project. 

  I've actually read lots of chinese novels along the way, but I don't think I've met anything that really grabs me and makes me want to translate it. The top of my translation list in 2014 was The King/Prince is Here (shusheng link), but I don't feel as passionate about it as I first felt when I read it in 2014. It's also around 100  internet chapters, and not a length I'm particular excited about (for comparison, Heavy Sweetness is about 68-70 internet chapters). The other top pick was Three Marriages (shusheng link/review link), but again, it's a novel I read very long ago and don't feel as strongly about. 

  So, do give me any suggestions you might have! It can be book titles or genre preferences - for eg xianxia like Heavy Sweetness, or you want wuxia, or palace novels, or you like modern university romances, first love or traveling back to the past! Mystery, violence, etc! I'm curious what people might be interested in. I've no specific preferences for modern or ancient c-novels as a translation project - I've done some modern c-novel translations when I do book reviews, and I do find I translate them faster. I think it just needs to be a book that grabs my heart!

  Oh, I want to add that I will not for my next translation project take on another translator's project that went on hiatus. I did that for Heavy Sweetness and was very grateful to xiaoyuer for letting me continue the translations, but I do feel like starting something completely new. 

much love,
decembi

Update on 27 Sep 2015: Thanks everyone for the suggestions and recommendations! Do keep them coming in. I have added a few of the suggestions on my reading list. I will also check out new c-novels based on some of the suggested genres. I think this will expand my usual reading and who knows what I would find? Haha. Even if some of the suggestions don't become my new translation project, I may still write a review for it if I really like it. 

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Heavy Sweetness Ash-Like Frost: Translation (Chapter 24.2: The Tears of the Deep Blue Sea & Final Chapter) *COMPLETED*




Dear readers,

I feel incredibly touched to have people following this story from the start - it has taken me a year plus to finish this! Thank you for your patience and most of all, thank you to Dian Xian for creating such a beautiful story.


Chapter 24: The Tears of the Deep Blue Sea (Part 2 of 2)

   Today when I just opened my eyes I saw that everything was shining. It was so dazzling that my eyes spouted gold stars. When I finally stabilisied my consciousness and looked carefully, I was truly shocked.

  Wasn't the person in front  Grandfather Buddha? How could he be so easily seen? This host of mine must come from quite a big backing.

   "Xu Feng greets the Buddha." Xu Feng? So his real name is Xu Feng.

  The Buddha was sitting cross-legged on top of the lily platform, his lowered eyes lightly looked at him, in one glance it was as if he saw through everything, "You do not need to ask, what can be done, even without asking will be done, what cannot be done, even if you ask a hundred times, it will also end up empty."

  I felt the body of my host pause, his breathing froze for a moment then I heard him speak lowly, "Xu Feng understands this logic. I will have to face the consequences of what I caused, but..." He paused for a long time before continuing, "I just want to see her again, even one glance is fine... if not one glance, even hearing one word from her....."

  Although his looks were ugly, his voice was nice to listen. I did not know why but today his voice was hoarse and broken, like a brokenhearted child with choked sobs. 

  After a long while, he continued, "Her soul has not completely dispersed, I can still feel her presence but I do not know where she is. I don't ask for anything else, I just ask for some guidance."

  Grandfather Buddha let out a breath and said, "Before your eyes, at the heart of your eyes, only your heart can see."

Monday, 21 September 2015

Fiction: The Princess Who Cannot Marry (Chapter 6)



Hello! I was actually really in the groove when I finished chapter 5 yesterday, so I wrote as much as I could - and think I should have enough till Chapter 8. Just need to clean up the text before posting. Hopefully, I can finish the first arc by this week (I am so ambitious) - the first arc will be completed around Chapter 9. Due to the break I took from writing this, the narrative of this story may be less clear - especially since it takes less of a typical romantic novel structure. The general narrative of the story should become clearer once the first arc finishes and most of the background is established.

I'm actually very excited to finish the first arc because I've been dying to write about the second arc since I started! Oh my goodness, have to stop myself from spoiling - I can only wait till Chapter 9 to squeal. 

For those anxious Heavy Sweetness fans, do not worry because I've also largely finished translating the last two chapters and will have it published by thursday. If you like Heavy Sweetness, do check out my other works!

much love, decembi

Chapter 6: A Riddle


(i)

   Yu An immediately sensed that this man before her must be Uncle Qing and she respectfully knelt down before him. She answered his questioning eyes in a half nervous tone, "Uncle Qing, I am your brother's daughter, Yu An."

  Yu An saw a light wave ripple through Uncle Qing's gaze and she gently took out the painting in her bag that her father had entrusted her before she left and passed it to Uncle Qing.

  "Father wanted me to tell you that the Yan Grand Emperor had passed away and he is requesting for you to return to pay your last respects to him," Yu An said in a soft tone, as if she was afraid that to speak any louder would offend this calm yet almost too withdrawn man before her.

  Uncle Qing did not seem affected by the news of the death. She could not guess if it was perhaps he had forgotten this father of his, or he had already heard of the death. She guessed the latter was more likely. 

  After a long quiet moment, Uncle Qing untied the ribbon entwining the painting and the long parchment unravelled before their eyes. 

  Yu An immediately recognised her father's style in drawing, but there was something much younger, purer and innocent in the strokes than any of his later works. It was a beautiful garden - she felt like she had seen it, or even played in it before, but it was not in the palace. In the late evening, the moon hanging full in the sky, a pavilion, two handsome youths, their faces exactly alike - one playing the flute, the other playing the guzheng, and an almost ethereal girl dancing in the middle. All their faces were lit up by the moonlight and happiness.

  Another long silence, finally, this man with the same face as her father spoke, "Yu An - An from An Wen? (安稳 - meaning safe and secure)"

  Yu An nodded and she saw a faint smile play on Uncle Qing's lips. 

  For a moment, Yu An thought that Uncle Qing's gaze became extremely soft, but that flicker of vulnerability vanished so fast that she wasn't sure if she imagined it.

  Uncle Qing spoke in a calm, melodious voice, "I left the palace because of a riddle. If you want me to return, you shall also answer my riddle. You cannot tell anyone else of this riddle."

  "Do you know about An Chi?"

  Yu An nodded, "My mother told me." She added silently, I was named after her.

 "Tell me - who did An Chi love as a man? Your father or me?" 

  Yu An's eyes widened slightly, she never thought that Uncle Qing, especially as a monk, would ask her such a question. 

  Uncle Qing suddenly smiled warmly, "I will hear your answer back here in three days." 

  Uncle Qing nodded at Yu An and then turned back to the tombstone. 

  "Can I offer some incense to Grand Aunt Jin?" Yu An asked softly.

  So, Yu An offered a humble prayer to Grand Aunt Jin before she walked out of the dark cold cave. Her head and heart in turmoil from Uncle Qing's request.

 She did not realise until she got on her alpaca that there was another person outside. She raised her head in surprise to see Drifter. 

  His eyes had no emotion as usual as he sat stone-faced on his horse. 

  "Master Lang was afraid you might meet desert thieves," Drifter said in his usual monotone way, as if he was merely counting the number of grains of sand underneath their feet.


Sunday, 20 September 2015

Fiction: The Princess Who Cannot Marry (Chapter 5)





Dear readers, apologies for the break in The Princess Who Cannot Marry updates. Writing my own fiction takes at least twice (or even thrice) as long as translating a chapter! Although I've already sketched out the whole storyline, it's still a pretty tough endeavour fleshing out each event into a chapter! 

But, the emails from all you readers in support of Yu An's story really touched me so much! Honestly! I'm going to try my best to update as fast as I can. My writing is quite rusty but hopefully it will smoothen as the story progresses. 

I came across the picture above and I was like "oh gosh, that is so adorable" and seriously this story had nothing to do with alpacas... but since this is a fictional kingdom in a fictional timeline... I'm going to imagine that the people in the Sand Kingdom travel on camels and alpacas (haha). 


Chapter 5: Memories from Childhood


(i)


    Yu An had brought a simple green maiden robe in case she needed to change her attire. Although Yu An had never travelled beyond the Capital, she had often joined Empress Yue in her "incognito" matchmaking adventures in the Capital and thus there were no lack of more ordinary "peasant" clothes in her wardrobe.

  However, this was the first time Yu An had dressed up as an ordinary maiden outside the palace since she usually dressed as a male. Yu An realised that without Xiao Qing's assistance and no mirror, she had absolutely no idea how she was supposed to tie up her hair.

   "Yu An?"

     "Yes," Yu An answered slightly glumly.

  Thus, when Hu Zi had came to check on Yu An who had changed behind the cover of several thick trees, Yu An saw that his expression was slightly frozen upon his sight of her. Yu An sighed, she must really look a sight with her hair!


  But, Yu An did not know that Hu Zi had never seen Yu An in ordinary maiden clothes - and the sight of her, unadorned, pure and simple - as if she was just a maiden walking down the street, someone on his level, someone he could touch - his heart had lurched and his mind had completely blanked out.


  Yu An flushed and gave several loud coughs and she glared at Hu Zi. Hu Zi seemed to regain his composure and the edges of his mouth tipped upwards when he noticed how Yu An's hair was in disarray.

  "Did you bring a comb?" Hu Zi asked as he got Yu An to sit down on a clear spot and knelt down behind her.

   Before she could answer him, Hu Zi was already carefully and gently untangling some of her hair that got entangled. She had never noticed it before when Xiao Qing did her hair but the touch of someone's fingers through her hair was somewhat... intimate. She was glad that Hu Zi could not see her face as she felt her face heat up and the fine hairs on her neck started to prickle.

  She hurriedly passed him a small jade comb.

  "Don't fidget," Hu Zi said calmly as he threaded the comb through her hair.

  "I'm not fidgeting!" Yu An replied in annoyance as she willed herself to stay still. She reminded herself that this was just Hu Zi. Yes, just Hu Zi, who I watched grow up. 


  Just as Yu An had cooled down, Hu Zi bent forward to look at her. Yu An tried to avoid his gaze but the edge of her eyes saw that he was scrutinising carefully if the hairstyle looked fine from the front as well.


  Hu Zi was concentrating on Yu An's hair so intently that he did not notice that his face was just a breath away from Yu An's face.

  After what seemed like an eternity for Yu An, Hu Zi moved away and smiled, "It's done."

  There was no mirror so Yu An could only gingerly touch her hair with her fingertips. It seemed proper. Yu An looked curiously at Hu Zi, "How did you know how to comb a girl's hair?"

  "Because I'm not stupid," Hu Zi said with a hint of mocking. He smiled at Yu An and walked off, "The rest are waiting."

    What Yu An did not know was that Hu Zi had often watched his father combed his mother's hair when he was young, and already at that young age, he thought, one day, I would do it for my wife.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Heavy Sweetness Ash-Like Frost: Translation (Chapter 23.4: No Door For Redemption & Chapter 24.1: Tears of the Deep Blue Sea)



    To make up for the delay, I've combined two chapter updates into one. I will also combine the last part of Chapter 24 with the final ending chapter. To be honest, translating the last few chapters were so emotionally heavy that I am spent and have nothing much to add --- let Dian Xian tell you everything!


Chapter 23: No Door For Redemption (Part 4 of 4)

"Indeed!" With one hand, Phoenix grabbed me tight, his white lips at my ears, I felt the thinness of his lips lightly swept pass my ear lobes, "So it turns out, your goal for today... ah, the Water Goddess is held hostage by the Great One, the Heavenly Emperor breaks out in fury, to save the Water Goddess, he has no choice but to attack the Demon Realms, to be the hero of justice and right all wrongs!"  

"Look at how perfect an excuse it is! Everyone's heart will follow this wave of justice. I can only say that I cannot reach such a level, I am far beneath......" He held my earlobe in his mouth, the tip of his tongue continuously grazing it, finally, he bit it and a drop of warm blood slid down my neck. 

  "Pity, I have to disappoint you. I have long prepared for this, there are one hundred thousand demon generals ready for battle, only waiting for this moment!" He lifted his head, a smile stained with blood broke open on his perfect face. His fresh red lips cleanly spurted out, "Fight!"

  The River of Forgetfulness has no boundaries, the water no traces, the souls no end. The black clouds were so heavy that they could destroy cities, the armours overwhelmingly shining from the sun rays.

  At one side of the River of Forgetfulness, the Heavenly Emperor stood tall in his robe of white, his arms behind his back, behind him were the thirty six heavenly generals from the Heavenly Realms and innumerable heavenly soldiers. The sharp blades of their weapons reflecting the heavy rays of the afternoon sun such that one could not look directly at them. 

  At this end of the River of Forgetfulness, Phoenix stood on the ferry, his fiery red robes flying wildly, the dark clouds falling behind him, even the afternoon sun appeared dull next to him. The ten kings of hell personally came forward, commanding their own battalion of ghouls and demons. 

  Besides the passing clouds and the wailing wind, there was not a single trace of sound, not a single movement. In the silence, there was a heavy ferocious energy slowly spreading, slowly brewing. 



  I was placed on a wide ebony chair. The surrounding decorations were elaborate and grand, a very long threaded tassel slid down the back of the chair, very much like a lady's elegant long mane, rising and falling gently with the wind. I reached out my hand to grab it, staring blankly as the threads fell through my fingers, the touch was smooth, but the tightly gathered threads pierced through my almost numbed heart. 

  I was only two steps away from Phoenix, but it felt like the distance between us was further than even the entire River of Forgetfulness. I watched Phoenix, Phoenix watched Ren Yu (Night), Ren Yu watched me. How hilarious, what a strange round of glances. 

  "Ren Yu came today not for battle but only to bring back the Water Goddess," the Heavenly Emperor finally spoke first. His pair of clean untainted eyes were fixed on me. What was actually hidden in those eyes? There seemed to be a trace of anxiousness and loss, but how was this possible? Forever, he is impossible to read. 



  Phoenix gave out a light air of disdain, his long narrow eyes lifted slightly, his voice like a qiang di (musical instrument) that resounded between the flags, "What if I don't release?"


Saturday, 5 September 2015

Our Second Master (我们家二爷) by Twentine (HE) (Chapter 7) (Part 4 of 4) (THE END)



We have come to the last chapter and it has so many of my favourite moments. I wish Second Master and Little Monkey - the greatest and simplest of happiness. 


Chapter 7: The End


But I told him, "Second Master, I cannot stay."


  Second Master's hand was always covering his eyes. After hearing my words, he did not open his mouth, he did not lower his hand.
 
  I said, "Second Master, you should tell the housekeeper all that needs to be done. If not, I'm afraid he would not be able to take care of you properly."

  Second Master did not move. So, I acted on my own accord to call the housekeeper over. The housekeeper's hands laid weakly by his side as he stood in one corner. I told him, "Housekeeper, you must remember what I am going to tell you."

  The housekeeper nodded his head, "What does Miss wants to say?"

  I said, "Second Master's leg is about fully healed, but his leg will hurt on cold and rainy days. You must prepare a hot towel in advance to press on the leg. There's a medicinal shop called 'Return to Spring Hall' on the old street we lived, although it's a small shop, but the practitioners there are very skilled. All these years they have been taking care of Second Master's leg, if there are any problems, you should go there."

  "The bamboo pole for the leg has to be changed every three months. The carpenters in the city know the exact measurements. You cannot use soft silk to cover the leg because it won't hold, you have to use rough cloth. For Second Master's clothes, the left robe sleeve needs an additional layer, I have already left the pants' measurements to Old Mistress."

  "......"

  "Second Master isn't picky with food but he likes strong flavours. For health reasons, he should not eat spicy food. You have to tell the kitchen to minimise putting chilli when cooking."

  "You have to be more conscious at night - when Second Master can't fall asleep, he likes to drink alcohol in the yard. But, you can't let him drink too much. Don't disturb him, secretly hide behind the house to watch him, don't let him get too sad...... housekeeper?" I just said a few words and saw that there were lines of tears on the housekeeper's face and he was kneeling down.

  "Miss --" I did not know what happened to the housekeeper. Previously when Old Master Yang was around, I never realised that he liked to cry so much. I turned my head and was thinking of getting the Second Master to say a few words to comfort the housekeeper but Second Master was still in the same position and unmoving. 

  I suddenly felt like I had returned to a few years ago, when Second Master just returned home after his injury, that image of him not being able to live and yet not being able to die. I shook Second Master and asked, "Second Master, what happened to you?"


#talk 34: Writing & Friends



Dear readers,

       Can I say thank you for all the emails sent to me about my fictions (Little Moon's Matchmaking Mission, The Sun's Dark Love and The Princess Who Cannot Marry)? Thank you for telling me how you enjoyed my works, thank you for telling me you are still waiting to read Yu An's story. I would like to say - it is not done, and I will continue! I've actually planned the whole story out long ago but I've been suffering from a lack of time. I'm very grateful to everyone's patience. I've been asked questions about it here and there, and I thought I would address it as a whole - yes, The Moon God will have his own story (his story will be the last in this universe)! There's supposed to be a story for the Destiny God and also another story for the Dark Princess Lan Ye (from The Sun's Dark Love) as well, but I don't know if I will ever have the opportunity to write it. I do hope I will get to write the Moon God's story one day - because he really is the beginning and end of the universe I planned. 

  I do have some modern stories planned and some other one-shots. Would anyone be interested in reading modern stories? Any preferences? 

 For all the love for my translations, thank you! I've been overwhelmed with work, but will work hard to finish the last chapter this weekend for Our Second Master. I'll return to Heavy Sweetness thereafter, and promise not to cheat on any other translation project.

  Finally, I met klutzyfeli for lunch today! Haha. My first time meeting someone I got to know online, and it was fun. Also, the funniest thing was that klutzyfeli was surprised that I looked much younger than she thought I would be. I think my heart kind of died laughing when she said I looked like a student. Still, we also bonded over having other halves who had baby faces and looked younger than we did. #sorrowsofababyfacepartner 

  Would be pretty cool if all the c-novel fans in Singapore meet up one day!

 love,
decembi

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Our Second Master (我们家二爷) by Twentine (HE) (Chapters 5 & 6) (Part 3 of 4)




  Something cropped up over the weekend so I couldn't post this earlier. Also, chapter 5 is incredibly long! But very satisfying.

*edit: I double-checked with the original text and realised I joined Chapter 5 & 6 haha into one long Chapter 5. Have separated them correctly.

Chapter 5: Our Second Master Succeeds!

  Because of that incident, Second Master was angry for a whole half a month. Later, he became too busy and so he forgot to be angry. Basically, I'm not able to see Second Master now - every morning, he leaves early and comes back late. Sometimes, he only comes back to sleep after two or three days. Second Master's originally fair face darkened quite a bit. But, there was one change that I thought was good - Second Master became strong. 

  Actually, Second Master's body wasn't considered weak previously. But, because of his injury, his whole body seemed to have weakened quite a bit. After these few months, Second Master's back became broader and his chest became thicker. Even his two arms became tougher by quite a bit. Once, Second Master returned late and called me to eat together. I said I would quickly set up the table but Second Master said there was no need, we could directly eat in the kitchen. 

  Second Master sitting on the small stool, holding a bowl of rice and eating with big mouthfuls - I looked at him dazed. Second Master placed the bowl down and said casually, "Why are you looking at me?"

  I quickly lowered my head. Second Master said, "Lift up your head." His voice was low, but it wasn't an angry tone.

  Second Master asked, "Why do you keep looking at me?"

  I felt my brain being pulled as I opened my mouth, "Your humble servant was looking... looking at Second Master's change."

  "Ah?" Second Master had eaten his fill and his whole demeanour seemed lazy. He looked at me and asked, "What change?"

  I said, "Changed from before."

  Second Master was dazed, casually placing his hand lightly on his leg, he said in a low voice, "Indeed, it has changed."

  I knew he misunderstood and forcefully shook my hand, "It's not... it's not because of that."

  Second Master looked at me and didn't speak. I was only concentrating on explaining, "The change your faithful servant speaks of... are... are changes in other places."

  Second Master said, "What place."

  I thought for half a day and blurted out, "Second Master has turned black."

   After speaking, I wanted to give myself a slap. Second Master was dazed for a moment and then he laughed. He touched his own face and nodded, "Yes, it is black." He touched his face until he felt a piece of dead skin. He peeled it off and said, "Rougher too."

  I looked at Second Master's firm chin and clear distinguished brows and eyes. He was wearing robes made of rough cloth, a waist-belt, just leaning his body a little and that thick and broad body will cause the robes to tighten on him. In that moment, I realised those loose silk robes of yesteryear, the man who embraced beautiful maidens and played by the West Lake only seemed to exist in a dream now. 


Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Our Second Master (我们家二爷) by Twentine (HE) (Chapters 3 to 4) (Part 2 of 4)



   After the tragedy that befall the Yang Manor and Second Master, Second Master really fell into the pits of hell. But in that hell, there is someone who forces him to eat, who takes care of his shit, pee, food and water, and who most amazingly, inspires him to stand up again.

Chapter 3: Our Second Master is bullied

  From that day on, I found the method to apply the medicine and to feed Second Master. Something to rejoice and celebrate. Later on, Second Master stopped scolding me and just acted as if I did not exist. Every day, he laid in the same position, staring with his eyes wide open at the ceiling. He ate, drank, shit and peed all on the bed. Speaking of eating, drinking, shitting and peeing, I suffered for the first two and Second Master suffered for the last two. 

  As he could not get down the bed, I had to enter the room and serve him at every few intervals. For peeing, Second Master could pretend he was a dead fish. I only needed to hold the urinal pot at the correct angle. But shitting was like taking his life. I had to carry him up to sit. Although I said sit, it was more like supporting the buttock and then placing the shit basin below. Because Second Master's right leg was completely removed, for the buttock to move even a little would touch the wound. But for shitting, you can't avoid exerting some force and once you exert some force, both sides will ache. Every time Second Master passed motion, it was 'heng heng ah ah duo duo suo suo' (sounds of pain and exertion). Shit, pee, cold sweat and tears - the atmosphere in the house was as terrible as terrible could be. 

  But the days passed like this. 

  After a month, Second Master's wounds became better. First Master and Yuan Sheng had not returned yet but the household was already almost falling part. I squatted at the yard and thought over this, if no money was earned, in about four to five days later Second Master won't even be able to drink sparse porridge water. Thus, I decided to make things to sell. What should I sell? After some thought, I decided to make some handicrafts. Don't just look at my monkey appearance, I actually have a nimble pair of hands. In the day, after I took care of Second Master, I would run to the fields outside the city to pluck flowers and ferns. Then, I returned home and made flower crowns, necklaces and bracelets.

  It was presently the good season of spring. Every day, rich gentlemen will bring out their maidens to play outside the city and so I stood at the city gates to sell my wares. I actually sold quite well. It was only a bit tiring. Because the flowers and ferns would wither overnight and they had to be fresh for them to look good, I had to run out every day. But, it was good that I had money to earn, I couldn't let Second Master starve to death after all. 

  I was feeding Second Master food again when Second Master suddenly said, "Open the windows". I quickly opened the windows. It was already spring, the weather was bright and windy, the birds were chirping, everywhere was aglow with life and vitality. I looked outside and for a moment, I relaxed. Second Master spoke in a low voice, "Close it." I swore I really didn't hear it the first time. Second Master may have thought I was intentionally disobeying him so he shouted, "I order you to close it!" I was shocked and turned around. I saw that Second Master had turned his head away, half hidden under the blanket.

   Suddenly -- in that moment, suddenly I felt that Second Master was a little pitiful. I didn't know where I got the courage but I told Second Master, "Second Master, let me bring you out to look around." Second Master ignored me. I walked forward and held Second Master's shoulders, Second Master tossed his shoulder. "Don't touch me!" In that moment, I was really possessed, I actually didn't listen to Second Master and pulled him to sit up. Second Master's injuries were almost fully recovered but he couldn't really rise up. To rise up so suddenly, he would immediately feel giddy and dazed. Taking advantage of his dizziness, using my hands and legs, I moved him onto a wooden handcart. When Second Master regained his bearings, he was already lying on the handcart. As he was about to unleash his fiery temper, he turned his gaze at the things next to him.