Friday, 27 March 2015

Heavy Sweetness Ash-Like Frost: Translation (Chapter 22.2: Love and Hate Changes in an Instant)




  I know the wait for Jin Mi and Phoenix to finally meet has been excruciatingly long - but sometimes I think that gestation period is so very important, because sometimes we forget what an impossible position Jin Mi is in. She longs for a man she killed - she longs for a man she thought deserved death for killing her father. If she was a noble idiot (which she is not, perhaps just an idiot?), she would have locked herself far away and tried to repent herself out of existence - but no, she goes back to the Demon Realms again, ignoring that he just tried to kill her by burning her with samadhi flames. 

  You can see why all the sane rational gods around them (if they existed and knew) would be like - Run, girl, Run. And, Jin Mi, does run - just not in the direction you might expect. 


Chapter 22: Love and Hate Changes in an Instant (Part 2 of 4)

  The candlelight in the room emanated a low glow and flickered over his face, leaving it half in light and half in darkness. Because he was drunk, his lips were moist, and there was a layer of weariness in his brows. The place between his brows in which I had bit him - there was no longer any trace of that. 

  I lowered my head and seriously examined him, hate him? Love him?

  If I didn't hate him, why would I personally kill him? But, why was I in such pain after I killed him - an unbearable agony that was worse than death? Was this because of a voodoo spell? But, if I loved him like what the others say, why would I kill him? We accompanied each other day and night for a hundred years but I never sensed any other feelings, in the hundreds of years after when he spoke deep words of longing to me my heart also did not move, he kissed me, he kissed me many times, that time when he was really drunk, we even mutually cultivated... but, I have never placed him inside my heart. 

  How could I have fallen in love with him immediately after his death? What's more he is engaged to Sui He already...

  He suddenly opened his eyes, those dark pupils stared at me. Not a glimmer of the light in the room was reflected within his gaze. I was so shocked by his sudden movement that I couldn't move. But, he only looked at me and thereafter closed his eyes. Suddenly, I recalled that he acted like this too when he was drunk in the mortal realms, he was only unconsciously blinking and wasn't really awake.

 His lips moved and lightly opened, as if he was saying something. I became curious and leaned my ear closer to hear his words. After a moment and after carefully observing the shape of his mouth, I thought he was trying to make out two words... "Water... Drink..." He must be thirsty after drinking so much alcohol.

   Before I realised what I did, I had already transformed a cup of tea in my hands. In one hand, I held on to the back of his neck, in the other I brought the cup of tea towards his lips and lightly leaned it towards him.

  But who knew that his thin lips would tightened and the tea dripped down his lips. I repeated the process a few times but nothing could go in. I became rather anxious and finally placed the tea into my mouth, leaned towards his lips and transferred the water, drop by drop......


Sunday, 22 March 2015

Heavy Sweetness Ash-Like Frost: Translation (Chapter 22.1: Love and Hate Changes in an Instant)



    I really enjoy reading and translating Dian Xian because not only does she plot her story well, she writes with a great sense of feeling for her characters and builds on the metaphors and ideas she has already established in the earlier story. I think it's great that it's Night who finally pushes Jin Mi to face the real nature of her feelings - not to push her away, but in hopes that in learning about her heart, she could find a space inside for him. 

Chapter 22: Love and Hate Changes in an Instant (Part 1 of 4)

  Night sat at the bed edge. He lowered his head and was applying medicine at my wrist. Suddenly, he held my arm and pulled up my sleeve all the way to the top. My whole arm was completely exposed to his gaze. I was shocked and wanted to pull down the sleeve but he forcefully held on and I could not move.

  To be grabbed so forcefully by him, my arm started to hurt even more and I took in a deep breath, "Ah----"

  I never knew Night had a violent side and I could not helped being frightened into a daze. But, he did not lift up his head, his eyes fixated on the burns I had suffered from the samadhi flames. His brows deepened, the edge of his mouth tightened, and he did not apply the medicine as gently as before. It was as if he was taking revenge and using the medicinal cream to roughly abrade the burns. The pain caused tears to well up in my eyes but I did not dare to make a single sound.

  After he roughly finished applying the medicine, his expression seemed to become worse. He opened his mouth a few times as if he wanted to say something, but he was not able to. Finally, he turned his head and walked off.

  When I realised this, I quickly stretched out my hand and grabbed his sleeve, "Night..." I called him back but I did not know how to continue. I already did not know what I wanted to say when I pulled him back.

   He did not turn his head back at all. With his back rim-rod straight and his head unturned, he coldly said, "Do not speak. Do not say anything to me." In half a moment, he lightly let out a breath, so light it was like an immediately passing cloud, "Some things... it is better not to know. The clearer it becomes, the more it hurts."

  He lowered his gaze to my grip on his sleeve. He appeared to hesitate but he finally said in a calm tone, "Let go of me."

  I did not know what was this feeling in my heart, but I complied and let go of his sleeve. A long time passed but he did not go. Silently, I turned back into my room. With just two steps, I heard a light wind behind me, Night had turned around to hug me, "Jin Er..."


Saturday, 14 March 2015

#talk 32: Moon Poems



  Dear readers, I'm not sure if I will finish the Heavy Sweetness translations by this week as I spent most of my free time collecting and translating poems for my friend's wedding album.

  Here's a snippet:

 范成大 《车遥遥篇》 愿我如星君如月,夜夜流光相皎洁。月暂悔,留明待月复,三五共盈盈。

Translation: How I wish I were the stars and you the moon, nightly our lights will illuminate each other, 
                    And, when the moon temporarily darkens, the stars will glimmer and wait for its return,
                    On the fifteenth moon, we will reunite and shine together once more. 

  Hope you guys have a lovely weekend!

love, decembi

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Fiction: The Princess Who Cannot Marry (Chapter 4)




  Thank you everyone for your kind and sincere feedback. *Does tiny head bows* Hope you will enjoy chapter 4!

Chapter 4: A Test

 (i)

  Yu An clutched the painting her father, Hsiao, had bestowed upon her closely to her chest as she sat on Hu Zi's horse that rode towards her palace. She was a thousand emotions at once - excited for the journey that was to come, anxious for the lack of time to prepare properly and fearful for the unknown. 

    "Pack light," Hu Zi said curtly when they reached. He looked up upon the mid-day sun and frowned. 

   Yu An looked thoughtfully at Hu Zi, "Do you think I should travel as a girl or a boy?"

  Hu Zi's eyes widened slightly at Yu An's question. Yu An could imagine Hu Zi's thoughts as Hu Zi's brows creased into deeper furrows - Yu An's appearance as a girl may attract attention but Yu An's appearance as an ambiguous boy may attract even more attention.

  After what seemed like a lengthy moment of silence, Hu Zi gave a sigh and said, "Dress as a boy."

  "Quick," Hu Zi added as he instructed a servant to prepare Yu An's horse, Midnight Star. 

   Yu An hid a smile as she hastily left to prepare for the journey ahead. She could tell Hu Zi seemed to dislike the idea of the journey ahead more than her father, Hsiao.

  Just as she was about to turn the corner and walk out of sight, she called out to Hu Zi. 

  Hu Zi turned and saw Yu An beaming at him, with a glow of happiness that recalled the golden moment in his youth when he first saw the princess. 

  "We are going on an adventure!" Yu An cried, her eyes glistening with excitement, even though she did not know what laid ahead. 

(ii)

   The Lavender Tea House was a popular tea house in the Capital - but it was known more for the particular tastes of its owner than any of its tea or dishes. The owner of the Lavender Tea House was Mister Hua (画 - chinese word for drawing), an eccentric successful businessman who opened the tea house to support his artistic passions of calligraphy and drawing. 

  At the Lavender Tea House, one could drink and dine entirely for free if one could produce a beautiful painting or calligraphy to be displayed in the tea house. Thus, it would be fairly accurate to say that the Lavender Tea House often gathered the talented artists in the Capital. 

  Yu An frowned slightly when Hu Zi and Yu An arrived outside the Lavender Tea House. It was already the hour of the goat (1 to 3 pm) and it was, as usual, packed with people. Yu An had absolutely no idea how Hsiao's teacher looked liked and Hsiao was only willing to describe his teacher as "extraordinary and unpredictable". 

  Unfortunately, while Hsiao was known throughout the lands as being an emperor skilled in the arts of music and calligraphy, Yu An had inherited Hsiao's talent for music but it was Hsiao Yang, Yu An's younger brother, that had inherited Hsiao's talent for calligraphy. The fact that Hsiao's teacher had chosen the Lavender Tea House as the gathering place led Yu An to conclude that Hsiao's teacher was intentionally making it difficult for her. 

  For her calligraphy teacher had often lamented that Yu An's words were so ugly that he could hardly believe Yu An was capable of producing beautiful music with those same fingers.

  After settling both their horses, Yu An entered the Lavender Tea House determinedly with Hu Zi. Yu An had wanted to travel beyond the Yan Kingdom for ages and she won't let something like a lack of skill become an obstacle.

  Yu An asked the shop assistant to sit Yu An and Hu Zi at the central portion of the first floor of the tea house before the performing stage. This place was the most popular part of the Lavender Tea House because it gave a good view of the artists on the stage and was also an excellent vantage point to observe the entire tea house. 

  The shop assistant frowned for a moment at Yu An's request since this young gentleman did not have any prior reservation but at the sight of Hu Zi, whom he recognised as an extraordinary captain of the Emperor's military, the shop assistant gave a ready nod and led the two inwards.

  Yu An gave a smile of recognition at the parchment with the words "Lavender Tea House" placed at the front counter. It was Yu An's second time at the Lavender Tea House. She was brought here years ago when she was younger by her mother, Yue, with her younger brother, Hsiao Yang. She remembered how her mother had gleefully ate dishes upon dishes as she encouraged Yu An and Hsiao Yang to paint something. Yu An's painting was absolutely dismal but Hsiao Yang had copied down the name of the Lavender Tea House onto a parchment of paper and the owner had liked it so much that it still took pride of place at the front counter of the Lavender Tea House. 

  After being seated, Yu An scanned her eyes fervently throughout the Lavender Tea House. She had instructed Hu Zi to also look out for anyone with an extraordinary disposition or appeared to be a practitioner of martial arts from his knowledge and experience. Yu An saw that on the third floor there was a group of richly-dressed foreign travelers - the head of the group was a handsome man with sharp eyes and a powerful nose. But, there was something almost coarse and haughty about his demeanour that led Yu An to think that it could not be Hsiao's teacher.

  Hu Zi pointed out two men sitting at the side of the first floor by the windows facing the river. Yu An turned to observe them, their looks were plain and almost indistinguishable. Their clothes were simple and unrefined. But, Hu Zi whispered to Yu An that there was something about the way they breathed that suggested that they were top martial arts exponents, perhaps even more powerful than himself.

  Yu An closed her eyes to concentrate on the sounds in the tea house. But, it was too noisy and crowded for her to discern the pattern of breathing from the two ordinary men at the corner. 

  In fact, what she heard most clearly was her own increasingly anxious heartbeat. She could not lose this chance!

  Yu An took a deep breath and started to walk towards the stage to Hu Zi's surprise. She went to an empty table on the stage and started to paint boldly on the parchment. Yu An's strokes were so rough and unrefined that even Hu Zi winced.

  Finally, Yu An held the parchment boldly on the stage. She had painted three characters, 我来了  (I have come). Yu An saw that not all were paying attention to the stage, so she gave the table a sharp slap and in that moment, all eyes were on this young gentleman in simple light silverish-grey robes. 

  Yu An could hear the crowd started to twitter about how thick-skinned this gentleman was to showcase his 'unique' uncouth handwriting. 

  Yu An smiled confidently and pulled out a flute from her robes, "To commemorate my meeting with a special gentleman, not only have I wrote these words for him, I am going to play his special song..."

  As Yu An began to blow the flute, she was surprised that it made no sound. She lowered the flute and realised that someone had thrown a chopstick directly into one of the flute's holes. It was an action so swift and delicate that it had blocked the flute's hole without actually breaking it.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Fiction: The Princess Who Cannot Marry (Chapter 3)



   I'm still suffering from jet lag and traveler's brain haha! But, I wanted to keep up the momentum for the story so I've finished chapter three. I'm pretty excited with where the story is heading and I hope you will too. 

Chapter 3: A Difficult Choice

(i)

   When Hsiao lifted up his head, he recognised the amused glint in his teacher's eyes. Although at least thirty years have passed since they last met, besides a faint dash of white in his hair like a comet blitzing through the dark skies, his teacher did not appear to have aged. 

  His teacher gave a short whistle and in the blink of an eye, another tall figure landed cleanly next to them. He had an elegant tall figure, like a solitary willow tree. He wore a silver mask that obscured his face, except for his eyes, which Hsiao thought, were as cold as a blizzard storm. 

  Hsiao recalled his teacher always rueing what trouble it was to have a disciple, so Hsiao observed this tall figure with mild surprise. 

  "Greet your elder disciple brother," His teacher remarked lightly and the tall figure bowed down towards Hsiao. 

   "Shi xiong (elder disciple brother)," Hsiao observed that the tall figure had a polished way of speaking, very unlike a person who moved in the jiang hu (martial arts world).

  "And, how shall I greet you?" Hsiao asked. 

  "You can call him Drifter," His teacher said with a light laughter in his voice. His teacher shook his head at Hsiao, "Is this the hospitality of an Emperor?"

  Hsiao laughed and gave a light clap. A throng of servants suddenly appeared in the bamboo garden to set up a table, chairs, food and wine. 

  Hsiao knew his teacher could never be prodded to speak, and one could only patiently wait till his teacher was ready to discuss the intent of his visit. Knowing his teacher's free wandering spirit, Hsiao knew that his teacher was definitely not here to console him regarding his father's passing. Hsiao was quite sure that if not for a particular reason that only his teacher knew of, his teacher would gladly not ever meet any of his disciples again - connections, in his lone wolf teacher's view, were unnecessary.

  After several rounds of alcohol, his teacher gave a nod towards Drifter and he disappeared. Hsiao did not know whether to laugh at how easily the security of his Palace has been breached - but Hsiao knew better than to expect anyone to be able to stop his teacher. He knew this best since he was his teacher's first disciple.

  "Hsiao Er," His teacher begun, "You have changed." His teacher smiled, "Although I tried my best to impart you the skills of my lone wolf sect, ultimately, you are someone who is tightly knitted to your family."

  "Don't hold on too tightly," His teacher said languidly as he looked towards the sky, "You think you are keeping them with you, protecting them, but that will only cause them to break away."

  His teacher turned towards him, "When have you listened to the words of oracles? Do you believe it is their words that make you the greatest Yan Emperor or your own actions?"

  Hsiao felt coldness prickling down his spine for he knew where his teacher was heading towards.  No one had dared discuss this matter with him, but for his teacher.

  "I have heard about what they say about your daughter," His teacher stated, looking straight into Hsiao's eyes, "You are very clever to hide the real prophecy with the half-truth - but, I know that Shen Suan had an additional part to his prophecy, Princess Yu An needs to travel beyond the Yan Kingdom in order to find her true half, but she may not live pass her nineteenth birthday if she did so, but if she stayed in the Yan Kingdom, she would live pass her nineteenth birthday but never marry."

  "One should not tempt the fates," Hsiao said in a very soft but firm tone.

  "Who are you to choose?" His teacher crinkled his eyes at Hsiao, "You, most of all, should know the tragedy of a caged bird."

  "I came to repay a debt," His teacher declared, "Not to you, not to your mother, but to Jin, Qing's mother. I know where Qing is, and if you want him to return to pay his last respects to your father, there is only one way - Princess Yu An will bring him back in time for the grand ceremony."

  His teacher lifted up a jar of alcohol and cleanly finished it up, "In three days, I will wait for Princess Yu An at the Lavendar Tea House in the Capital during the hour of the goat. If she does not find me within that hour, then it can only mean that we are not fated. She can bring one person to accompany her, though you don't have to worry, Drifter is practising the heartless sword and does not, I suspect, even have the capacity to love."

  Before Hsiao could even make a slight rebuttal or bid goodbye, his teacher had vanished, leaving only a few drops of alcohol on the table to mark his once presence.