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!"





(ii)

   When Hsiao entered the back garden of the Premier's residence, his older brother, Qing, was already there. He sat there under the moonlight, aglow, at peace. 

  Has it already been twenty eight years? Hsiao thought to himself. 

  Tonight, Hsiao was not wearing any robes that indicated that he was the Emperor. In fact, he wore a simple clean white robe, his favourite style in his youth. Tonight, he was only a man meeting his long lost brother. 

  "Elder brother," Hsiao greeted respectfully as he bowed his head. 

  Hsiao raised his head after a moment when there was no response. When he met Qing's eyes which were lit with a smile, his anxious heart became at ease. 

  Qing nodded to a side and there was a guzheng at the side as if in preparation for Hsiao to play. Qing raised up his jade flute and said in a soft voice, "You left the palace with only one jade flute and became famous for your skills in playing the flute. But, how many know that you were really skilled in playing the guzheng in your youth? It was I who played the flute. I resented you, thinking that you were again trying to outdo me in another one of my preferences. Only... only many years later, I remembered that I was the one who gave you the jade flute for your birthday."

  "How many years since us brothers have played together?" Qing asked, his eyes tinged with light wistfulness.

  "Too many years," Hsiao replied as he sat down before the guzheng.

  Wordlessly, they played. In the music, all those years of distrust, suspicion, vengeance and loss quietly disappeared.

   Tomorrow, Hsiao will remain the Yan Emperor and Qing, the Grand Prince who left and took a monastic vow. But tonight, they were only brothers. 



(iii)

   After Yu An had returned to the palace, she slowly realised something with increasing dread which was once you tasted freedom, you could never be happy being locked again. She had once flown free in that wide sky - how could she be satisfied being a caged bird?

  She had always longed to travel but was forbidden by her father. Yu An vowed in her heart to get her father to allow her to travel again, perhaps as her present for her eighteenth birthday. She resolved to speak to her father after the grand funeral for the Grand Yan Emperor was completed.

  As Yu An practised for the final day of ceremony where she would be performing before the whole Capital, sometimes her thoughts would become distracted - she would think of the Mo Tribe in the desert, she would think of where Master Lang and Drifter were roaming, she would think of Hu Zi's preparations for his naval expedition. Sometimes, she would also think about her mother, the most excitable person she knew, and how much she loved traveling - and what her mother must have sacrificed in order to be with her father.

  The place she wanted to visit most of all was the Wu Kingdom. Often, she would ruminate over the scroll for the Heartbreak Song night after night - she could understand the notes, but there were scribblings and notations that were completely foreign to her. She could not understand the scroll, but she felt like her life would completely change if she did - and without even knowing why, her heart thirsted for that change. 

  So, it was with those thoughts and convictions that Yu An passed the days till it was the final day of the Grand Yan Emperor's funeral. 

  On that day, Yu An was transformed into the Royal Princess Yu An. She was dressed in pure white silk robes with a light shimmer of lavendar. A veil across her face to shield the princess' appearance from the citizens. 

  There was a platform outside the Grand Capital's temple. Thousands of citizens and travelers have paid their respects to the Grand Yan Emperor, whose body laid peacefully in the temple, as the prayer rites were undertaken to ensure a smooth restful journey into the afterlife.

  Although her face was never seen, all the citizens still talked about that day when their beautiful Royal Princess rose on that stage and played a guzheng piece for her grandfather. She first played a song of victory that echoed all the great achievements of the Grand Yan Emperor... but it was the second piece that pierced into everyone's hearts.

  It was a simple song but it was that sudden soft chord that pierced through the melody, like the light that burst through a small crack of darkness, that reminded everyone of the pain that accompanies the bittersweet remembrance of a loved one. Of the irremovable, uncuttable, shadow of one that has left you.





    Royal Princess Yu An's performance became famous that day. But, it truly became legendary years later, for no one knew then that it would be the Royal Princess' only public performance.

(iv)

   After the performance, there was a final private ceremony in the temple where the close royal relatives, the most senior officials and the foreign royal visitors, paid their last respects to the Grand Yan Emperor. 

  Yu An kept her head low and downcast as important person after important person bade their prayers to her grandfather. She did raise her head a little when she saw the sixth Prince from the Wu Kingdom walked by - Yu An was slightly surprised to see that he had a frail pretty face and was astonishingly slim. 

  But, the one that stole her attention was a royal announced as the First Prince of the Xue Mountain Tribe, Bai Wu (雾 - fog). His arrival caused ripples even among the other royals, and especially the females, Yu An noted. Yu An knew that the First Prince was infamously reclusive and known to be... extremely ill, but this man that strode with great ease down the centre of the hall towards the shrine, displayed no symptoms of physical weakness.

  He was, Yu An admitted, extremely handsome. Yu An remembered seeing Queen Bai Ying once, and he closely resembled his mother. His face appeared as if it was sculptured to precise and perfect angles, high cheekbones, a tall aquiline nose... but it was his eyes. Those eyes, cold, aloof, like a blizzard storm, that pulled at Yu An's heart - those eyes, those eyes, Yu An thought, but it couldn't be?

 There was no denying his imposing bearing. He held himself apart from the rest, even slightly cold to his younger brother. Bai Wu, Yu An thought with a light smile on her lips, like a thick fog, impossible to discern clearly. 

  After the ceremony ended, Yu An went to a quiet courtyard at the back of the temple. Hu Zi had arranged to meet her here. Since her return to the Royal Palace, she had not seen Hu Zi. Yu An had only heard Aunt Hong Meng's cries to her mother, Empress Yue, for she was worried about Hu Zi embarking on such a dangerous journey into the Western Seas. Aunt Hong Meng had lamented, but you cannot stop your son from growing up.

  When Yu An reached the courtyard, Hu Zi was already there. Those two words, already there, weighed in her heart, reminding her how she had always taken for granted that Hu Zi would always be there for her. 

  Before she said anything, she felt Hu Zi placed something cold in her hands. The object was cold, but the touch of Hu Zi's hands were extremely warm. Hot even. She looked down and realised that Hu Zi had placed a jade piece in her palms. She recognised it immediately, it was the jade piece he had worn since they were young. His family heirloom!

 "Safekeep this for me as I go on my journey," Hu Zi said as he looked at Yu An with a steadfast and intense glance, "I promise to return home to take it from you."

  Yu An thought that Hu Zi was quite sly, quickly giving her a reason which she found impossible to reject. She shook her head at Hu Zi in mock annoyance, "I can't promise this jade will still be in one piece when you return!"

  Hu Zi smiled, "Then promise me you will wait for me."

  Yu An arched her head up to look at Hu Zi more clearly. Her brows furrowed lightly as if not fully comprehending Hu Zi's request, "Where else would I go?"

  Hu Zi said in a firm tone, "Wait for me to return home before you get married. I promise to return before your nineteenth birthday."

  Yu An wanted to break into laughter. She wanted to tease Hu Zi. But, something in the way he held her hands, the slight nervous edge in his voice, stopped her. So, she closed her fingers around the cool, extremely cool, jade piece and nodded her head.



  Yu An wanted to say something more but with a pull of her hands, Hu Zi had pulled her into his embrace. She heard his words in her ear, "You can hit me for being rude when I come back. I'm leaving on the first military ship before the sun falls --- I will be gone, Yu An. Don't forget me, because I will always remember you."

  And with that, Hu Zi had used his martial arts and swiftly went away. It was then that the tears fell down on Yu An's cheek, for her grandfather, for Hu Zi, she did not know - only that Hu Zi had left, and there was now no one whose heart would ache so much when she cried that she would have to hold back her tears. 

(v)

   After the sun fell, Yu An knew that in this Yan Kingdom, there was now no Hu Zi. At first, she was slightly depressed but she soon broke out of it. This sadness, this stillness, is not like her, Yu An chided herself. As Hu Zi fulfils his ambition, shouldn't she too?

  So, Yu An quickly changed into her favourite set of grey male robes and decided to finish what she had set out so long ago to do. She instructed Xiao Qing to tell anyone who came to find her that she was very tired and did not wish to be disturbed. With that, Yu An snuck out of the palace to visit the Golden Peony Mansion. Previously, she wanted to exchange music knowledge with the great courtesan Yin Hua from the Wu Kingdom, and even more so now with the gift of the Heartbreak Song scroll!

  However, when Yu An reached the Golden Peony Mansion, she was disappointed to hear that Yin Hua was not receiving any customers that night. Perhaps it was the fullness of the moon that night but a particular streak of adventure seemed to bloom in Yu An's heart so she decided to sneak to Yin Hua's bedchambers. 

  Even before Yin Hua had came to the Golden Peony Mansion, Yu An had came a few times incognito since she enjoyed the musical performances here. So, she relatively knew the layout of the mansion and bribed a maid along the way to confirm where Yin Hua resided. 

   After taking a deep breath, Yu An knocked on the door of the bedchambers. An annoyed voice cried out as the door opened. She saw a pretty maiden and although Yu An had only seen Yin Hua with her face veiled, she had a feeling that this maiden was not Yin Hua. The maiden scowled at Yu An, "How many times have I said? The mistress is not well and won't be receiving customers tonight."

  Yu An bowed apologetically, "I don't know if your mistress Yin Hua remembers me. I played a guzheng duet with her in the great hall on the day of her arrival. I could not forget the beauty of her playing and had came to ask about her techniques in guzheng..."

  The maiden seemed to give a disgusted "tsk" and skeptical look to Yu An but an elegant voice called out from the room, "Let him in."

(vi)

  Xiao Hua looked worriedly at Yin Hua as she led the grey robed gentleman in, but Yin Hua nodded assuredly back at Xiao Hua. Yin Hua remembered the guzheng gentleman, no, she corrected herself, guzheng gentle lady, she smiled as she indicated for the guest to take a seat. 

  At first, Yin Hua had been surprised by the excellent playing of the gentleman across the hall from her, but she could tell immediately from her instincts that the gentleman was actually a maiden in disguise. 

  The gentleman smiled brightly at Yin Hua as Yin Hua poured a cup of tea for the gentleman, "Please drink."

  Without hesitation, the gentleman gulped down the cup of tea. Yin Hua smiled at the gentleman as she got "him" to share "his" purpose of visit, but before the gentleman could say more than a few words, "his" head fell down on the table. 

  Xiao Hua cried in surprise, "Mistress!"

  Yin Hua placed a finger on Xiao Hua's lips, "Quiet. I drugged the tea before you brought her in."

  "What bad timing!" Xiao Hua shook her head at the gentleman, "Who asked him to come and find you on the night of our escape."

  Yin Hua smiled at Xiao Hua, "Can't you tell that this gentleman is a girl?"

  "We must as well make use of her sudden arrival," Yin Hua said calmly, "Dress her up as me and place her asleep in my bed. This would delay the discovery of our disappearance."

  Xiao Hua nodded and they quickly took action. In less than the burning of a incense stick, Yin Hua and Xiao Hua had placed the maiden carefully on her bed. 

  Yin Hua stroke the maiden's forehead and said apologetically, "I'm sorry to use you, but you appear to be from a rich background, so you shouldn't have any trouble even after I am gone."

  Yin Hua took one last look at the bedchambers. She had taken great pains to leave the Wu Kingdom to the Yan Kingdom to move on from her broken heart and start a new life here. She didn't set out with much hope, but heavens was kind and she had met a traveling merchant who offered his heart to her and asked her to roam the lands with him. She didn't know if she could trust a man at her age, but a big part of her felt like escaping herself and becoming someone new.

  The merchant had great respect for the Grand Yan Emperor so they had made arrangements to leave on the night of the last day of his funeral. She placed a few gold ingots on the table which should be enough to pay off her debt to the Grand Peony Mansion. She knew it was never about money, but her fame and identity made it difficult for the bosses to allow her to leave - so she decided to take off in the cover of the night. 
 
(vii)

    Yu An was shaken awake. Her head felt extremely heavy and her mind was in a state of confusion. She saw a heavily made up middle age woman pulling her out of a bed, "Yin Hua, where is Xiao Hong? Ah, it doesn't matter. There is a very important guest! Very important guest that demanded to see you."

  The middle aged woman directed another young maiden to dress her up. Yu An groggily touched her face and felt a white veil. Her mind got confused - was it for Grandfather's performance?

  Yu An couldn't think clearly so the maiden placed a grand cloak around her and then led her to another room. 

  The room was ornately decorated. But, it was dimly lit with only a few candles surrounding a grand guzheng in the middle of the room. There were all sorts of questions burning in her head as she was sat down before the guzheng.

  However, when Yu An's fingers touched the guzheng. She felt a sense of peace, like she was coming home. 

  There was a sharp command, "Play."

  The sharpness of the person's tone stabbed into her mind and cause her great pain. To prevent the person from speaking any further, Yu An played. It was no particular song - merely the strains that resounded in her heart.

  After she finished, there was a moment of silence. She suddenly smelt a very strong scent - thick, musty... and she blacked out once again.

(viii)

   She could only hear crying sobs. She wanted to sleep for a longer period, but the wails were too heartbroken, and thus her eyes blearily opened. 

  It was a foreign room with foreign sounds. Where was she? Yu An thought, her heart beating in panicked, Who was she?

  Yu An couldn't remember anything except a throbbing pain on her head as if she had been clobbered. A kind voice greeted her, "You finally awoke? I was so scared that you would sleep forever."

  Yu An realised that she was in a room with three other maidens. Three other extraordinarily beautiful maidens. 

  The kind voice belonged to a maiden who didn't look like she belonged in this world. Her skin glowed as if she was translucent. She had a pair of long lashed gentle eyes and a perfectly proportioned face. She looked like how Yu An imagined a goddess or higher being would look like. 

  "I am Ling Xing," She smiled as she touched Yu An's head, "Yin Hua, I'm afraid the people who brought you here might have drugged you too heavily so you are not feeling yourself."

  Yu An frowned, Yin Hua? My name is Yin Hua?

  Ling Xing gave a half sad smile, "You are now in the Dark Realms - believe it or not, a realm of dark immortals and demons. You and the two other girls are famous courtesans from the mortal world and kidnapped from the mortal world as gifts for Prince Xie's birthday."

  "I am one of Prince Xie's concubines. He is the head of the Crocodile Tribe," Ling Xing narrated calmly as if she was speaking for a third party. 

  "Prince Xie is..." Ling Xing paused for a moment, "He can be cruel. With a vicious love for beauty and destroying beauty. So, I come here to help all of you dress up for the performance tonight. Make him happy and you can live."

  At Ling Xing's words, the two other maidens started to cry even harder. But, Yu An was too dumbstruck to react. Courtesan? Dark Realms? Why were these words familiar and strange at the same time?

  Maybe it was because Yu An had no recollection of her past identity that she was the calmest out of the three maidens. Yu An learnt later that the other two maidens were Courtesan Mei Xia famed for her dancing and Courtesan Ge Yao beloved for her singing. Yu An thought then that it would be perfect for all three of then to perform together, but Ling Xing had instructed them to perform alone. 

  Yu An had shrugged at this - she didn't think she had much chances of survival. When she looked at herself in the mirror, she saw someone with a sweet enough face, but definitely no beauty to change a tyrant's heart. She doubt that she would be able to survive Prince Xie's clutches. Thus, she even volunteered to go first because the other two maidens were so terrified, but Prince Xie had ordered for it to be dancing, singing then playing of the musical instruments.

  Of course, no one dared to defy his orders. So, Yu An waited in silence in the room after one by one the petrified maidens had left. 

  She looked at a scroll for a guzheng musical piece and a jade pendant before her. That was the entire of her personal possessions. She touched the jade pendant and felt a twinge in her heart. She decided that she would try her best to stay alive - she did not know who, but she felt that someone out there must be waiting for her. 

   Yin Hua, she heard someone called her and she stood up. She was ready. 



  She was dressed in white robes layered with red silk sashes and red silk roses adorning her hair. She hugged the guzheng given to her as she walked up to the stage. Her eyes were always looking towards the sky, she never once looked at the audience. She was scared she would lose her nerve if she did - dark immortals and demons? She didn't even dare think what the audience looked like.

  She started to play - a fierce song of battle, of war cries, of horses running wildly - and then at the peak of the crescendo, the horses ran towards an oasis, an utopia, there was no more massacre, no more blood, only beauty.

  At first, when she had walked onto the stage, there were lascivious cries and even booing. But as she played, the jeering softened and when she ended, there was silence.

  The silence was broken by a laughter. A laughter that belonged to one person. Unknowingly, Yu An raised her head because the laughter was deep and enchanting. Her gaze met a pair of powerful almond-shaped eyes. 

  She felt her breath being taken away from her. He was beautiful. Beyond this world. Beyond this light. Aquiline nose, elegant lips. But, there was such strength and authority in his gaze that made one wanted to bow down in subservience. 

  He stood up and her eyes watched the tip of his lips raised, "Xie, this girl - I will take her."

  She was so transfixed that she didn't hear or see the rest of the crowd fall down onto their knees as they cried, "Your Highness."

  She was only cognisant of the chant in her heart - this man, she had definitely seen before.





Author's note: Whew! This chapter was really long and really took a lot out of me. I'm really satisfied to finally finish the first arc though! Heehee, in this chapter, we have the presence of all three male leads - Drifter, Hu Zi and An Hun. YES, An Hun fans, An Hun has finally arrived. 

I know some readers may have tons of doubts and questions! Feel free to leave your questions and I will answer them if they are not too spoilery. 

I can't wait to share with you guys the second arc! Haha, yes, and when I mentioned Yu An will go on a journey of self discovery - now you know what I meant!





The Princess Who Cannot Marry
Chapters: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

36 comments:

  1. What happened here? Chapter is not there

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    1. Apologies! The chapter got published before it was ready. Fixed!

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  2. Thanks decembi!❤️ The story just keeps getting better and better! This chapter gave me a lot of feels because I just love all 3 male leads. It's one of my favorites so far and I'm really looking forward to the next chapters! Do you already know how long this story will be?

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    1. Dear Mylinh Luong, awww thank you for reading and commenting ♡ am very happy to hear that you love all 3 male leads!

      I write in arcs more than chapters since sometimes I combine two chapters into one like in Chapter 9. There will be three arcs and it's tentatively 24 chapters :)

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    2. Great! :) I just recently discovered your blog but I marathoned through all your transaltions and now I'm planning to do the same with the fictions <3 You're a wonderful writer!

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    3. Awww thank you ♡♡♡ your support touches me

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    4. No problem❤️ Glad to hear that

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  3. Oh my, when you said self-discovery journey, you really meant it literally(if taken that way). And.... yes! An Hun has arrived <3 You can see who I'm rooting for. I find their nature much more dynamic out of the three because it's the world of demons! But, I won't be 100% on the An Hun/Yu An ship, haha.
    Thank you for the chapters, I'm finally up-to-date with your story :)
    I hope your mental state replenishes/heals itself.

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    1. Hahaha! Yes, I've been hinting at it metaphorically, but it's literal plot wise as well :). I had to keep it a secret while writing but it explains why the first arc was more set-up (though personally I loved writing all the Hsiao and Qing parts)

      It's nice to see that An Hun still has his fans! It's super fun to finally write his entrance

      Thank you for your kind words ♡ nourishing in its own self!

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  4. An hun!!! >< Cant wait for the next chapter. Surely, he recognizes her?

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    1. Hahaha are you an An Hun fan? Very gd question but too spoilery so I can't answer. Haha hopefully the second arc will satisfy you. Very excited about writing it and pushing myself beyond my comfort zone

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    2. Im rooting for Hsiao, but I think that given how she was kidnapped against her will, its best that she be in An Hun's good graces. >< I guess you can say that they are related by two marriages, after all, he is her uncle's in law? lol

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    3. Hsiao? Do you mean Hu Zi? Hahaha. Heehee related by two marriages! Heehee I guess that's true. But importantly, not blood relations!

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  5. Squeal!! So fun! I like the surprise ending... somewhat cliff-hangery and great entrance for An Hun! Hope this next week is more peaceful!

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    1. Dear Atz, thanks for the well wishes! I love your squeal and am so happy that you are having fun! That's my aim really - to write something heartfelt but fun. Teehee, it was a long planned entrance of mine... though i try to be fair to all 3

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  6. Dear Decembi,
    Thank you so much! I would say that things do fall in place and your ambition is surely gonna pay off :D This chapter was wonderful: we got all 3 male leads, had meaningful scenes with them, had a serene reunion of brothers, and we got a super-exciting plot twist/development that I hadn't seen coming.
    Hehe, ah, Drifter, you may begin to miss her chatter. I was really moved by Hu Zi - the scene was so perfect but I just have a feeling that it won't work out - asking someone who hasn't yet developed romantic feelings for you to wait... And the end of this chapter/arc - AWESOME - I almost jumped up: I can't wait to see what happens when Yu An, who has lost her memory, spends time with An Hun. Also, *giggle*, can't help but wonder whether it means something that it's Yu An and An Hun.... :P

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    1. An and An, fated to be?

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    2. Dear Ivy, I read your comment a few times because it was so sweet. Really happy that you liked Hu Zi's part. I geniunely like all the characters so much!

      Ooh gd point- will probably clarify that Yu An's An (安) means peace and An Hun's An (暗) means dark :). They sound alike but have different tones

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    3. @anonymous - heehee can't comment but AnAn couple does sound cute as a nickname

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    4. Aww :D Thanks for taking the time to write these sweet replies. It feels so coool to have a conversation with the writer of fiction you enjoy ;)
      The characters are very likeable each in their own way :3
      Oooh

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    5. It's very fun for me to converse with readers too! It's like my imagination has come alive ♡

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  7. omg. super egggciting plot twist we have here =DDDD and yes an hun is finally back. But my poor Hu Zi T.T Actually one thing i am not v sure about is how Yu An loses her memories? Doesn't sleeping drugs just make you knock out?

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    1. Oh probably my bad, I didn't want to make it too explicit but maybe it's not clear. She was clobbered on her head at the mansion!

      Heehee thanks for the excitement <3

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  8. Decembi! I love the chapter, although i think there's quite a number of mix up of Yu An and Hu Zi as Yu Zi (the moment when HZ and YA were having final meeting) and Yu An as Yin Hua (the paragraph when Yu An was about to enter Yin Hua's room. Other than that, I am completely content with this chapter.

    Omona, An Hun is making his appearance. I hope YA was playing the mermaid song. And hopefully An Hun recognized the tune (oh my wishful thinking :P)

    Looking forward for the next chapter! Keep it up the good work!

    Cheers, hh

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    1. Herm.. when i read my comments all over again, i think i sounded pushy.. sorry, decembi.. =(

      -hh-

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    2. Dear hh,

      I love love love your comment and I'm always glad for such helpful feedback. Thanks to you, I corrected the errors! Not been the sharpest these days :) so am thankful for people helping me spot things I can correct.

      Thank you for the support. I love to hear from you! <3

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    3. hh, don't ever ever ever stop being you! <3

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  9. Hello Decembi,
    actually I wanted to wait until the end of the second arc so I could read your story at one go, but I just couldn't wait anymore as my curiosity got the better of me, and yesterday I read all the nine chapters at once. So, now I'm starving, erm I mean, eagerly waiting for the second arc.
    Yu An is such a nice princess, talented and understanding, adventurous and observant. She is already aware of the proximity she has had with Hu Zi, she feels that something has started to change between them not only physically as he is towering her but also because he has his own plans and ambitions; however, in the midst of all these, he's still there for her to lean on. He's a vulnerable character as he has to build himself up. As he sees the prowess of Drifter or the Mentor, he gets that he has a long way to go to attain such prowess to be able to protect his princess! Also, as he sees her on a golden pedestal but himself lower than her in status, he needs climb up higher in the ranks of military as to be worthy of her. I'm afraid until he'll be finished with project of polishing himself up, he'll lose her to someone else, as time waits for no one. My heart breaks for him! :(
    In Korean or mostly Asian dramas, where childhood connection, fırst love, or encounters in childhood count as the interference of fate or destiny, we can say that maybe in this story, too, Drifter and An Hun are on equal footing. Drifter was the once betrothed, and An Hun's words about the duet had an impact on our music loving Yu An.
    Interestingly, they (An Hun and Drifter) have similar entrances. Yu An didn't know Drifter's identity whereas he knew who she was. Drifter had the so called help of his Mentor in getting them together and having the chance to get to know each other during the journey. On the other hand, An Hun will somehow come to know her true identity first, as he's a really clever and cunning one. He was also fighting among those vicious siblings of his to get the throne from their father. So, I guess he'll be quick to read between lines and understand what must have happened behind the scenes. Also, he had an encounter with Yu An in her childhood thanks to Prince Sun, which makes also his connection a fated one. Hahahahaha :) An Hun may discover her identity but keep it to himself just to tease her. I can totally imagine that. :D
    As you can see, I started writing my own based on your story! So, Decembi, please hurry and post as many chapters as you can before my imagination goes wild! It is so entertaining!
    I didn't understand, though, how did Yu An lose her memories? I can see that it makes for an interesting plot point, but how does fit in with the logic of the story?
    Lots of love,
    Dedicated

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    1. Dear Dedicated,

      I'm SO HAPPY that you read the first arc. Always love hearing what your thoughts! Haha. <3

      I really really really like your analysis of Hu Zi because it really covers a lot about what I feel about him. You really capture it perfectly. Hu Zi's trajectory can't be changed in the sense that he loves Yu An, but wants to use his own strength to become equal to her in every single way. I think his secret thoughtfulness is his greatest appeal but also might become his greatest weakness.

      This is actually a secret giggle of mine - because in Little Moon, Hsiao had three golden threads, so when I planned this story, I thought it had a nice kind of symmetry for Yu An to have her own three golden threads that were 'linked' unknowingly or knowingly by Little Moon. It's the perfect consequence of being a daughter of a matchmaker like Yue right? :) So, there's Hu Zi, son of Hong Meng, Bai Wu, son of Princess Bai Ying, and finally An Hun, brother-in-law of Yue's Xi Yang! Hahaha.

      I don't really like love rectangles/squares/triangles though, so I try not to write it in a conventional way. I still start from the characters and try my best to be true to them (for better or worse haha).

      I really enjoyed reading your comparison of An Hun and Drifter. Teehee. Of all the characters, An Hun is the most intriguing for me to write, and I actually considered and re-considered the second arc a lot. I have a few varying paths though they all generally lead to one direction - it's a matter of how much I want to challenge myself I think, and what I will be comfortable in writing. I try not to write something I've written before - though I think I'm much better in writing fluffy romantic comedies, then in something more dramatic like this.

      I briefly explained to klutzyfeli above. I didn't want to make it too explicit, but I wonder if it's too subtle. It should be addressed more clearly when we switch back to the mortal realms in Arc 2. Basically, the drug didn't make Yu An lose her memory (clearly cos she still remembered who she was just kind of blearily when she was asked to play in the mansion), but she got clobbered later by Prince Xie's henchman to kidnap her (hence when she woke up she had that clobbering feeling) - I didn't explicitly write out the clobbering but just said she blacked out. So, it's a mix of the shock of this strange environment, the drug and the heavy blow on the head which caused Yu An amnesia.

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    2. Decembi,

      thank you for your response. I really really really enjoy the story and your comments. Sharing my ramblings with fellow followers and getting a reply is the best thing in our small community. Decembi, you are spoiling us with your beautiful story and insightful replies. Thanks again.

      I see now, because of the heavy blow Yu An is suffering from amnesia. Hahaha. Even though she doesn't remember who she is, of course, she'll remember how to play the guzheng or the flute, as they are part and parcel of her identity, even in her subconscious she identifies herself with music. Besides, that's a motor skill, like riding a bicycle, once you learn and master it, you'll never forget it, amnesia notwithstanding. ;-)

      Hsao and Yue's story was so compelling, especially the part where he waited for her ten years, ten excruciating years without knowing if ever she would return and if so whether she'd return to him with her memories intact. That was the part he stole my heart, because he didn't crack under pressure, didn't get married, and waited faithfully for his love to come to him. In that sense, Hu Zi may have the same trajectory like Hsao. He told Yu An to wait for him by giving her that jade family heirloom, but I think he'll be the one to wait for her, for her to come back to her senses first and remember who she is, and then, come back to him. Hahahaha :-)

      I am curious about Drifter's sin. What sin did he commit that he had given up his status as the First Prince? For now, he seems intrigued by her and interested in her, given her beauty, thoughtfulness, vulnerability, protectiveness of Hu Zi in the market scene, boldness and courage in seeking her estranged uncle in unknown lands, and talent in music, it's a given. In addition, it's natural for him to feel a certain draw to her as her secret betrothed one. Will he claim his position to ask for Yu An's hand in marriage, or will he try to win her heart in cognito as Drifter?

      Coming to An Hun, he is such a mystery and a playful one. In my mind, he'll be the hardest nut to crack because of his reservedness. Remember in the Sun's Dark Love story, he kept his feelings bottled up inside as not to show any weakness in front of their overlord father and their competitive and dangerous siblings. It was only at the end, when Wang Huan was in grave danger, he came to the rescue and showed affection. I think it'll be the same here. I hope, it won't be too late for him this time and he won't miss his chance. Because in stories like this, timing means everything.

      I think, all the forces will come together in the second arc to find Yu An, and we may see some interference from Xi Yang, my favorite prince, as he has connections in mortal, heavenly and demon realms. So, we may see some marital bliss from Crown Prince Sun and Wang Huan, rıght? ;-)

      It was a smart of move of yours to move Yu An to the demon realms; otherwise, I don't know how you could have connected her path with An Hun's. :-)

      Also, last but not least, I wanted mention your foreshadowing in one of the earlier chapters. You wrote that this performance was Yu An's last public performance. So I though, this has three implications: 1) she'll be with Hu Zi and to match his status or to make him feel better, she'll give up her princess status; hence; her last performance in public as a princess; 2) she'll be with Drifter and like he's trying to master the heartless sword in repentance for his sins, she'll also give up playing the flute or the ghuzheng, because she'll want to give him strength through this sacrifice; 3) she'll be with An Hun and live in demon realms, she won't live in mortal realms and perform. I am curious about your take on this.

      I am looking forward to finding out more of your story. It is so entertaining! Thanks a lot for sharing your imagination with us.
      Lots of love,
      Dedicated

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    3. Dear Dedicated,

      You are spoiling me with your insights! Heehee, your reply made me so giggly with happiness that I made my husband read our exchange. And, he is all like "I cannot compare to your readers". Hahaha. I've been working on Chapter 10 - though with all the varied work commitments - I don't know if it will be as smooth as I want it to be. The 1st Arc is much easier to write for me than the 2nd Arc - literally and metaphorically heading into new ground haha. I'm trying not to fall into my usual style/pattern and trying to push myself a bit in terms of story telling.

      Yes, absolutely! I always wanted to play with the amnesia trope. Haha. I think it can be fun. I do love the idea of mistaken identities and people getting to know each other - their true self - even if they aren't "playing" the roles they are meant to be. And, the amnesia trope is more fun since Yu An's real identity is innate like her musical skills and I think it's a great way to find out who she wants to be.

      I got all swoony with your description of all three male leads. I actually think you describe them more swoony than they actually are in my story hahaha. Really. Absolutely, absolutely, it's just incredibly rewarding to have someone read your stories and feel for the characters! I think that is why though I'm constantly battling with my inability to meet fit my ideas with my storytelling skills (still far below the story I want to tell), I struggle and try - because this community is so wonderful!

      You are very sharp about the foreshadowing! I always plan my overall story arc in advance so I can plot little details here and there, then I map out my plan in each arc. Haha, that detail was deliberate - but it's also as you can tell, ambiguous enough such that you won't exactly know where it ends.

      So much wonderful bits to answer! Indeed, Wang Huan and Xi Yang would enter this story. This is why I didn't write any epilogues for The Sun's Dark Love, since this story is set six years after The Sun's Dark Love. Actually, sometimes when I think about it, it's incredible that the world has expanded and the story has reached here! I only ever planned to write Little Moon and the story for the Moon God, but here we already kind of have a trilogy. Haha. Well, I'm kind of nervous the most for The Princess Who Cannot Marry, but really grateful for such supportive readers.

      THANK YOU <3 Hugs.

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  10. Thank you for the chapter! I absolutely love your works. I've been following the Little Moon Universe for a while now. Finally An Hun made his appearance in this chapter <3 I've been shipping for An Hun for a while ever since his first meeting with Yu An in Sun's Dark Love. I have a soft spot for him ever since his first appearance though. I think Yu An is perfect for him. They are both clever but in a different way. Yu An has this bright cleverness while An Hun more dark cunningness. An Hun really needs a little brightness in his life after all he has gone through. I don't want him to always be in the dark. It's heartbreaking to hear him said to Wang Huan (right after she asked about her mother's death) about letting him be the one to deal with all the dark feelings.
    I love other male characters too. I think you do very well in developing their characters. I'm not usually a fan of childhood love but I feel for Hu Zi. The reason why I'm not usually a fan of this pairing is because it's easy to mistake familial feelings for romantic feelings and it's difficult to discern whether or not you love the other as something else or you are just unwilling to leave the comfort zone of having someone you are already familiar with.
    Drifter is the most mysterious out of the 3. We still don't know why he is absent as a prince and why he was no longer engaged to Yu An. It's interesting how the two even got engaged. I mean, did Yue see any red threads connecting the two in the beginning?
    And even more mysterious was the reason why Yue seems so desperate trying to find Yu An a match. By sending Yu An paintings everywhere makes it seem to me like she is unable to see who is her other half. But then, why the engagement with Drifter if she couldn't see red threads?
    Anyways, I can't wait for Yu An's adventure in the dark realm. Should be very exciting. After all, not many human has chances to experience adventure in the dark realm. This must be the most exciting event ever happened in Yu An's usually calm and uneventful days.
    This will also be the first time for her to be free from the burden and expectation of others as a Princess. The first time she is without anyone she is familiar with. The first time she is without restrictions from her parents or Hu Zi. So I am looking forward to see how she will behave without any of these. Will she behave as usual or will we see a different Yu An?

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    1. Dear Non2,

      Your comment made my very dreary busy work day AWESOME. Thank you for brightening up my day.

      I think my favourite part of your comment was the part about Yu An's bright cleverness and An Hun's more dark cunningness. I kid you not but in my draft sketch, I had actually described Yu An's energy as bright/positive before so I really liked that comparison.

      The part where An Hun says he is cold-blooded because he has mermaid blood is also one of my favourite bits in writing! <3

      I love all your questions and hope the Second Arc will answer them in an emotionally satisfying way for you. Personally, I have a HUGE soft spot for Hu Zi. But, I try my best to stay neutral to all three characters. I just feel like I can totally understand Hu Zi and his decisions.

      I feel like Drifter as a character will probably work better in film/television than writing, because it's more about observing how he is in the sidelines/background. Then again, if I don't write his thoughts - no one will ever know what he is thinking! Hahaha

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  11. Noooooooooo Author-nim, how will i choose????? Each male character when set as the main lead of a story is definitely my best, but when put together like this i dont know who to ship. I was sure An Hun is my choice, but then i remember Drifter and how much i want Yu An to be his one true love....but then it comes to mind that there's a certain loyal and caring bodyguard in the background, complete with childhood memories *sigh* . I don't think I can bear the thought of two of them becoming 'second ' leads......*sigh again*

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    1. MY FEELINGS EXACTLY <3 and i'm writing this hahaha.

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