Saturday, 28 February 2015

Heavy Sweetness Ash-Like Frost: Translation (Chapter 21.5: The Male Phoenix and the Female Phoenix)




  It really feels like a semi achievement to finally finish Chapter 21. I have a lot of love for all the characters in Heavy Sweetness - yes, they are all flawed in their own ways - but those flaws are also why I love them. 

Chapter 21: The Male Phoenix and the Female Phoenix (Part 5 of 5)

   Looking at how close Phoenix and the demoness' bodies were, I felt my abdomen being filled with sourish air. It also felt like water was boiling within me, with all the five flavours being combined at once, and I could not tell what was the exact taste. 


  I heard the demoness fawn over Phoenix again, "The Great One is so distinguished and esteemed, ruling over the six realms, if only the Great One can give me one night..." 

  Just as the demoness was going into the vital part, I saw one of Phoenix's brow being raised, "Distinguished and esteemed?"

  The demoness hurriedly added, "Indeed! The Great One is truly distinguished," she pointed at me right in the dark corner, "Even a rabbit demon that has not yet gained a human form already knows to admire The Great One!"

   Phoenix's sharp gaze quickly followed, I did not even have time to catch my breath as I felt myself under his scrutiny. Although he was only calmly looking at me, I felt like I was being wrapped up in a golden glaze that immobilised my movements and I could only stare back at him with my two red rabbit eyes.

  He slowly opened his mouth and spat out the words one by one, "Ah? How can you tell that this rabbit admires me?" 
  
 The demoness cleverly answered, "The moment it entered, it hid in the corner and its eyes have been staring at the Great One unblinkingly."

  To increase the persuasiveness of what she was saying, she added an unnecessary detail which was akin to adding legs to a drawing of a snake, "Previously in The Great One's residence, I would often see this rabbit, always quietly staring at The Great One."

  In that moment, I had the urge to strike my head into a pole. I always thought I was good at hiding so that I was never discovered, but I finally realised that the demons and demoness had long saw me but just could not be bothered with a mere rabbit.

  "Ah? I have never seen," Phoenix spat out each word slowly.

  I couldn't help being relieved and let out a mouthful of air. Luckily, he had never seen me, then I suddenly thought... but now that he has seen me, would he recognise me? My heart was thrown into confusion and I quickly got up to hop away to escape.

  However, the demoness quickly caught me in one hand, "The Great One has grander matters to consider and naturally cannot see such lowly creatures."

  She pulled me up with one palm and lifted me before her eyes and cried surprisedly, "The Great One, look at how beautiful the rabbit is? There is not a single stray dark hair on it... its fur is as pure and beautiful as the night frost. If not for the fact that there is no heavenly aura, I would have mistaken it for Chang Er's moon rabbit." 

 Phoenix raised his brows and stretched out his hands, "Pass it to me."


Thursday, 26 February 2015

# talk 31: Ahoy! Europe!


    Dear readers, sorry for the lack of updates because I am in London for work. Hahaha. I over ambitiously thought I would be able to finish (I have half a translation entry done, and half of chapter 3 written) the entries while I was in London - but despite gaining 8 more hours when I arrived in London, I unfortunately could not transcend the physical limits of my own body. 

   I'm going to fly back today (so not looking forward to the long haul flight though Singapore Airlines is the way to fly) and will update hopefully at the end of this week (pray for me, the turbulence on the flights are crazy!). 

  I would just like to add a 'hello' to all my awesome European readers. I will be back in Europe again in April for a personal holiday with my family. It's quite a short trip - we will be going to Munich, Prague and Budapest. I would be so grateful to any (you don't have to be from Europe!) readers who could share things to do or visit when I'm in those cities! The last time I was in Munich was in 2008 or 2009 for Oktoberfest (I feel old). To be honest, I have been so busy, I haven't planned the itinerary beyond booking my accommodation and train tickets! Help me, so I have more time to translate and write ;)? Haha.

  Lastly, I'm doing a shoutout for Little Winter! She wrote to me telling me that she's going to write an Ancient East Asian Fantasy fiction. I think it's great that our rather niche community is growing in so many ways! Because, I have been so busy, I'm not as familiar with the blogs in the translation/fiction community as I used to be - feel free to drop your link in my comments to share your blog. 

  Enjoy! 

Much love,
decembi 

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Fiction: The Princess Who Cannot Marry (Chapter 2)



   Happy Chinese New Year Eve!

   Dear readers, thank you so much for the warm response to Chapter 1. I am so incredibly excited to share this story with you. Honestly, sometimes I get overwhelmed with how much I want to share, but every time I read someone's comment, my heart gains in strength and somehow I manage to overcome my insecurities and try my best to forge on. 

  I've put more thought into the military hierarchy and changed Hu Zi from General to Captain in Chapter 1. Age-wise, Yu An is just on the cusp of turning eighteen and Hu Zi is about a year younger, so he is seventeen. It's a bit too unrealistic (teehee) for Hu Zi to already be a general. Even the great Huo Qiubing (of Da Mo Yao) was only a Captain at eighteen and was made a General around twenty. 

  Generally, the Emperor has his own private elite guards (this is headed by Hu Zi's father Hu Jun) and the military. The military hierarchy will briefly flow like this (from bottom to top): Soldier - Lieutenant - Captain - Lieutenant Colonel - Colonel - Lieutenant General - General - Second in Command - Unit Commander. 

    Now, on to the story! 

Chapter 2: The Fox Meets the Wolf

(i)


  The Grand Yan Empress had called for a carriage and Yu An's own private maid, Xiao Qing (小青 - little green) to fetch Yu An back. So, when Yu An was led out of the Grand Yan Empress' palace by the servants, she was surprised to see his long tall figure leaning on a large pine tree, his head towards the moon in the clouds. 

   Before Yu An could say anything, Hu Zi had already turned his head towards her. She did not know what had given her away. 



   She did not know how long she had already been at her grandmother's residence, but she knew it must have been long, for she had sat until her feet had gone numb. She had stayed till her grandmother stopped wanting to speak, and could hardly open her eyes. That was when she knew the Grand Yan Empress would be too tired to think of anything else anymore. That was when Yu An decided to leave. 

  Yu An had exited the Grand Yan Empress' palace slowly because her feet were all pins and needles, but suddenly, upon seeing this stubborn boy waiting outside in the cold, she felt the soles of her feet being instantly warmed. She hopped step by step, entirely unbefitting of a princess, towards Hu Zi.

  Even though Xiao Qing looked in mild horror at the princess hopping like an awkward chicken towards Captain Hu Zi, the man himself had a calm imperturbable expression. 

   Yu An almost fell and she steadied herself by holding Hu Zi's shoulder, a familiar action she always used to do as a child. Sometimes, she felt like Hu Zi was intentionally distancing himself, but every time when she needed someone, he would be there. When Hu Zi turned fourteen, he asked to join the military - a step surprising to everyone since his father was the Head of the private elite guards. But, his innate maturity, sense of integrity and the excellent martial arts skills he inherited from his father, led him to rise very quickly within the military and silenced the naysayers who thought he would get by based on his connections. In fact, he was the most highly praised captain and considered to be the most likely captain to be promoted to lieutenant-colonel soon. 

  Yu An smiled at Hu Zi, "I haven't seen you stayed so late in the palace again ever since you joined the military." 

  Yu An knew that once Hu Zi joined the army, he no longer wanted to make use of the private elite guard's privileges in remaining in the Royal Palace after the sun sets. But, still, she liked teasing Hu Zi. 

  "Since you are here," Yu An continued, her eyes clear and determined, "Why don't you bring me to see my father?"

  Xiao Qing felt her head go dizzy as she cried, "Princess! It's so late already. The Grand Yan Empress ordered me to bring you back to your residence."

  Yu An smiled sweetly at Xiao Qing, "Xiao Qing, why don't you close both your eyes so you didn't see me at all? If you didn't see me, then you have no need to bring me back."

  Yu An turned her head eagerly at Hu Zi. Hu Zi said nothing but he gave a short and sharp whistle. Yu An saw a beautiful dark grey horse galloped from afar, like dusk arriving on the evening wind. 

  Without an additional word, Xiao Qing watched the Princess disappear with Captain Hu Zi on his dark steed. No, Xiao Qing shook her head, she never saw the princess.


Sunday, 15 February 2015

Heavy Sweetness Ash-Like Frost: Translation (Chapter 21.4: The Male Phoenix and the Female Phoenix)




   Present for my ever loyal readers who have stuck with me regardless of my schedule! Chapter 21 is too long though, I still had to split the last part into 2 halves. Personally, I find this part satisfying in seeing Jin Mi's emotional growth come very close to full circle. 

Chapter 21: The Male Phoenix and the Female Phoenix (Part 4 of 5)

  Today, I came late, I did not know if he had already went to sleep. I searched continuously within the residence but I could not find him. Just as I was about to leave, I was almost stepped on by a demoness who was rushing. Luckily, I jumped away and managed to avoid her.

  "Quick! The Great One wants to find the special cloak that the Second King of Hell had given to the Great One as a tribute! Go and quickly find it!" I heard the demoness shout at the soldiers along the way.

  In one moment, all the soldiers in the residence was running off - they must be heading to the storage huts to find the item. Very quickly, one of the ghost soldiers carried a beautiful ornate jade box and seriously handed it over to the demoness. He could not hide his curiosity and asked, "The Great One has never given a single look to the tributes, why did he suddenly think of this cloak today?"

  "What would a small rank ghost like you know?" The demoness sniffed disdainfully, "Today, The Great One has arranged for a grand banquet at Yu Qiang*'s Palace to celebrate the birthday of Princess Sui He, Head of the Bird Tribes. At the very least, you should know this?"

  The ghost soldier nodded his head.

"This cloak must be the present the Great One plans to give to Princess Sui He. You should know what kind of person Princess Sui He is?"

  "Didn't you already say? She is the Head of the Bird Tribes?" The ghost soldier scratched his forehead and answered confusedly.

  "Stupid!" The demoness poked the horns on his head, "She saved the Great One's life! She is also the Great One's cousin!"

  The ghost soldier's face suddenly had a look of realisation. He asked in a low and sleazy voice, "Do you think the Great One will use his life to repay the debt of saving his life? (The connotation is to marry Princess Sui He)."

  The demoness gave him a look of 'you are hopeless', "If it is to give one's life, it will also be Princess Sui He giving her life to The Great One. But from what I see, if the Great One is willing to marry anyone, it will have to be the Head of the Bird Tribe. I have no time to talk to you already, I must go." She then left.

  I followed her from behind, but very quickly I could not keep up with her. Sadly, my bunny feet were short and I could only hop. Luckily, I remembered the smell of her demoness aura and followed the scent to Yu Qiang's Palace.

  Just as I was about to try and enter the palace, I saw rows of people rushing out. At the head of the rows were Phoenix and Sui He.

  They stopped outside the palace and the rest of the people stopped a distance behind. Sui He lifted up her glistening eyes towards Phoenix then lightly cast her lids down, her eyelashes were long, black and thin, they lightly moved in the evening light and stirred one's heart. "It is fine if you send me out to here. Today, I am very grateful and overjoyed for the Great One to hold a celebration for my birthday."

  Phoenix lightly waved his hand and an accompanying attendant quickly opened a jade box in his hand. That was the jade box I had seen previously. When the jade box was opened, immediately the multi-coloured flashes of dazzling light burst out of the box causing looks of shock from the surrounding demons. Sui He's eyes slightly widened. Phoenix took the cloak out with one action and personally put it on Sui He. He even gently tied the two cotton strings around her neck, "The night wind is freezing, Sui He must not catch a cold."

  Ignoring the shocked looks on all the surrounding demons, he took a step forward and leaned towards Sui He's ears to speak in a low voice.

  When he finally moved away, I saw that Sui He's face was flushed entirely red. I could not tell if it was shyness or joy, but tears actually fell from her glistening watery eyes. She lightly stirred and bit her lips as she looked at Phoenix, it even looked like she was pouting slightly. In half a moment, she recovered her usual composure and informed the surrounding demons, "May the surrounding guards remain as Sui He will leave first. I thank all of you for the invites today." Finally, she left in a sea of polite cries of 'it is nothing! You don't have to be so polite!".

  I did not know if the others heard, but the night wind had sent Phoenix's words into Sui He's ears cleanly into my own, "Since we are so close, why do you call me The Great One?"

Friday, 13 February 2015

Heavy Sweetness Ash-Like Frost: Translation (Chapter 21.3: The Male Phoenix and the Female Phoenix)



   Early valentine day's present from me! 


Chapter 21: The Male Phoenix and the Female Phoenix (Part 3 of 5)

  I suddenly recalled how everyone said that his looks were unparalleled in the six realms. Previously, I never had that feeling, but suddenly today I realised that he was indeed unfathomably good looking.

  But, I should hate him, hate him very deeply. I should feel that he is the ugliest person in the world, shouldn't I? His parents murdered my mother, he killed my father, even before he died he did not forget to put a voodoo spell on me. Yes, I should hate him, grit my teeth, beat my chest, hate him with my all.

  "Beauty, you really did a great deed! He deserves to be killed! Truly deserves to be killed!" Master Pu Chi's brainless words brought me back from my thoughts, "All the men more good looking than me deserve to be killed! After having been revived, his looks cannot be tolerated! All men and gods are infuriated!"

  I was rendered speechless.

  Master Pu Chi lowered his head and spoke to me in a soft voice, "I heard that it is the Sixth King of Hell that helped this person revive. It is said that he only trusts the Sixth King of Hell now. Presently, both of them control the Demon Realms, with one hand they can flip the clouds, with the other they can cover the rain."

  I watched as the carriage slowly pulled away and repeated Master Pu Chi's words mindlessly, "Ah, two people daily flipping the clouds and covering the rain (*it sounds like people tumbling in bed).

   But who knew that before my words finished, the surrounding demons and ghouls had turned their heads towards my head that was peeking out of Master Pu Chi's robes. Their expressions were shocked. Master Pu Chi forced out a smile towards the crowd, "My rabbit sprite likes to see spring palace pictures (*basically amorous pictures - the connotation is that the rabbit was saying a sexual expression), it only just learned to speak, just learned to speak..." All the demons' faces darkened and turned away.

  Far away, the carriage suddenly stopped and someone turned back his head. Master Pu Chi quickly lowered his head with the crowd.

  The person's gaze slowly swept through the throngs of demons, but luckily missed the spot that we were in.

  After a moment, he kept his gaze and suddenly broke out into a smile. The smile was truly bone-chilling.

  The carriage started to move away and it left into the far distance.

  Master Pu Chi carried me, and the Nightmare Beast followed after. He rushed out of the Demon Realms, as if he was rushing for reincarnation. Only after he crossed the River of Forgetfulness did he stop to take a breath of air.

  I jumped out of his robes and transformed back to my original state. I saw that Master Pu Chi's forehead was soaked with sweat.

  "Beauty, your phrase of 'flipping the clouds and covering the rain' almost got us killed," Master Pu Chi sat on the ground and fanned himself.

  I was stunned, "Weren't they your words?"

  Master Pu Chi's brows flicked, "I said, 'turn the hand upwards to become a cloud, turn the hand downwards for rain'. Your phrase is for mutual cultivation, my phrase is about power, they differ by far. Money can be saved, but words cannot!"

  I finally stopped my addiction towards sweets, but started a new addiction.

  Since that day when I saw Phoenix again, I would frequently take the opportunity to go to the Demon Realms when Night was busy. I would always transform into a rabbit using those bunny ears to cover my heavenly aura. My disguise was never seen through by anyone.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Fiction: The Sun's Dark Love (Author's Note)



   Dear readers, thank you for the support for The Sun's Dark Love and The Princess Who Cannot Marry. Whenever I have free time, I have been editing the second chapter of The Princess Who Cannot Marry and translating Heavy Sweetness. Hopefully, my work clears up and I get to update more often!

  For the Author's Note for The Sun's Dark Love, I'm using a picture I didn't get to use in the main story - I imagine this is Xi Yang holding young versions of Yu An and Hsiao Yang (Yu An's younger brother in case you have forgotten haha). They are so adorable!

  In all honesty, The Sun's Dark Love was not a story I planned on fleshing out. While planning for Little Moon's Matchmaking Mission and writing it, I did think of what will happen to Xi Yang after the story and I imagined his other half to be a foreign princess. But, it was only after several cries of we want to see Xi Yang happy, that I seriously worked brain and heart together and wrote The Sun's Dark Love. 

  Since Little Moon's Matchmaking Mission played with the idea of matchmaking and the ideas of choice, fate and destiny, I always knew that the Sun's Dark Love had to be about contract marriage. Haha! There were two versions of how this could play out - one version would be that the story starts after they were "forcefully" married, they would squabble, hate each other but slowly through getting to know each other in the seemingly mundane but loving details of marriage, fall in love. I do like romantic stories where the couple falls in love after marriage - one of my favourite cliches actually! However, I discarded that version since hand to heart, I cannot ever see Xi Yang being forced into doing anything he does not wish to do. So, it would I think diminish his character to have him marry someone he doesn't love - I could write it such that he has given up the concept of love, and is jaded enough to marry for procreation and political purposes, but that just did not fit with my idea of Xi Yang, so I left the plot of characters fall in love after marriage for another day. 

  As you can see, The Sun's Dark Love is the second version. I think there is a kind of beautiful circularity in how Xi Yang goes to find the Dark Princess to get her to break off the engagement (it's really the gentlemanly thing to do right?) and it ends off with Xi Yang insisting that they marry, right here and right now, death, blood and injuries notwithstanding. 

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Fiction: The Sun's Dark Love (Chapter 20) (ENDING)


     Dearest readers, I would like to thank each and everyone of you for your support as I wrote this story. I had planned to end it around Christmas last year, but lost a bit of momentum from work and sickness. I actually re-read the whole story twice before finally completing the ending. There were parts of the story I really like and parts that I wish I could have improved on --- but I suspect story-telling is always a work in progress. I have very strong ideas but it has been a huge learning experience for me in deciding the best ways to convey these ideas and feelings, and I'm still learning! 

   I will post an author's note reflecting on my plans and thoughts for this story later. I have no plans for any epilogues for The Sun's Dark Love since Yu An's story, The Princess Who Cannot Marry, starts a few years after The Sun's Dark Love's timeline. But, if you have any wishes regarding this story and possible epilogues, do feel free to add in the comments below and I will consider -if there is still enough story to tell! 

  Before, we go into the chapter proper - I would like to thank the following readers for their support: 

  To the many wonderful anonymous commentors, Diandra, samie, uw_maulida, sut3kii, bingu, macopaleaf, lemonsalt, Lola, hanny, Hanako, ChocolateCosmos, fangorn, Super-latte, Dedicated, Unknown, afngrl247, Elaine Teo, kiyo, Atz, Nightflower, dree, CL, Julianne Lin, hh, ginny hale, mango, marie st claire, inno, cha, Harley, nur_hanis, Rox, aimey, Nan, Summer, Lily, Miche, Bella, AMM, klutzyfeli, saire, Waranya Teokul, Kaddict4ever, Karol and Jennifer. 

   Thank you so much. Without your comments, it would have been so much harder writing this story.  

Chapter 20: The Sun's Dark Love

(i) 

    Xi Yang had already lost count of the steps he took as he followed the golden thread plunged deep into his heart. His only concern was that the sun was setting... for his powers were always strongest when the sun was dominant. 

  Xi Yang suddenly felt the golden thread cut deeper into his heart - like a sharp blade being forced in by a ruthless hand. Except, the ruthless hand was himself, as he tried to speed up his steps. Xi Yang spat out a pool of brilliant red blood - in all his years as a Great God, he had never been injured, he had never seen the colour of his blood. He smirked - so it's true, gods will still bleed. 

  But, he felt no physical pain - because the emotional turmoil of not knowing where Wang Huan was, whether she was alive or sound, overwhelmed everything else. For a Great God who never thought of anything beyond his own invincibility, Xi Yang finally realised fear. 

(ii)

    Far away, in an underground lair, Wang Huan had been brought out of the room Yan Zun was recuperating in by two stone-faced maidens. They were cleaning her up and dressing her in new red marital robes with golden embroidery.

   As Wang Huan's pressure points were immobilised, she could not move but could only stare at the two maidens as they dolled her up. As they clothed her, Wang Huan tried her best to sense where the crystal bead Xi Yang gave her or the icy blue bead Princess Le Yan had given her was...

  To her surprise, one of the maidens suddenly waved both beads in front of her eyes, "Trying to find these?"

  The other maiden laughed coldly and placed a sharp scabbard at Wang Huan's throat, "You better forget any wicked ideas you may have and obediently go through with the marriage ceremony or only death will befall you."

  As one of the maidens was about to take out the wooden hairpin Xi Yang had given her, Wang Huan gave a pitiful cry, "It's a gift from my mother. Please let me wear it for the marriage ceremony... to denote my parent's blessings for the marriage."

  The two maidens exchanged a glance with each other but they left the hairpin alone. Wang Huan's heart loosened a little as the two maidens started to carry her back to the previous room.

  Wang Huan was placed carefully on the bed in the room and the two maidens quickly left. Wang Huan turned to observe Yan Zun who was meditating on a cushioned day bed at the side of the room.

  Wang Huan thought it was strange that even now, she could not hate Yan Zun or even be angry with him. She only felt a huge sense of loss, even grief, that Yan Zun had betrayed the trust underlying their entire relationship. It was all gone now... that innocence from their childhood. No more golden memory from the past, only the taste of the present betrayal.

  After what seemed like an eternal moment, Yan Zun's eyes flickered open. His face was still pale and there appeared to be no trace of blood in his face, but it only seemed to add a greater sense of fragility to his delicately handsome looks.

  "I wish I could say I was sorry," Yan Zun started to say as his eyes looked into Wang Huan, "But I'm not."

  "You... can hate me," Yan Zun continued, "Hate every fibre of my being. But, I will love you, Wang Huan, I will love enough for both of us."

  "It's painful," Wang Huan replied, "The immobilisation of my pressure points is painful..."

  Something seemed to ran through Yan Zun's eyes, but he rose and walked towards Wang Huan. Wang Huan held her breath as Yan Zun bent down and released her pressure points. 

  One of the maidens had returned. She bowed towards Yan Zun, "Leader, the ceremony is ready."