Tuesday, 15 November 2016

#talk 38: Hello, I am here.

Dear readers,

I am genuinely surprised that it has been more than six months since my last update. I wonder where I should start!

I'm alive and I'm doing very well. I'm actually living in America for a while, for professional and personal reasons, and am enjoying my time here very much. Of course, the move, the transition and all the necessary things that I have to do has really filled up my time and left me with little to translate or write.

I wanted to thank all of you readers who still come to my blog, read my translations, read my stories and most of all, leave me comments. It is all these small notes of love that keep reminding me that I need to return, I need to come back.

Being here in America, right now, during such a divisive period - really makes me appreciate the common beautiful things that we can all share regardless of where we come from, or what language we primarily speak.

I've actually a few ideas for quick, short one-shots and may post one or two first. My heavier stories and work will require much more effort, and I can't really promise when I will have that length of time. 

But, I promise to always be here. Thank you so much for coming here.


Thursday, 5 May 2016

Heavy Sweetness Ash-Like Frost : Translation (Epilogue 4: Tang Yue)

  After my hiatus, I have actually re-read the translations from the start again and there were parts I got embarrassed but also parts that I was really emotionally touched. Most of all, I really remember each and every step of this story's translating journey.

  I feel very lucky to have been able to translate this story and am really glad that even after re-reading it months, and maybe years later one day, it still leaves me feeling so full in my heart.

  I hope you will enjoy this epilogue, which is particularly sweet.

love, decembi

Heavy Sweetness Ash-Like Frost: Epilogue 4 - Tang Yue 

  Since the previous time when I failed to go for the pill testing, Phoenix had completely grounded me. It has been half a month since that fateful day. No! I should say it has been fifteen days, a whole fifteen days, he really is too domineering and I am really too pitiful. Those who can see will be sad, those who can hear of it will weep.

  I was in the study and grinding till my face was about to drop into the ink slab when I heard a small demon announcing from outside, "The Moon God requests an audience with the Great One's Mistress. May the Great One give his directions."

  One phrase and I became furious. Why was the Moon God finding "the Great One's Mistress", why did the demon seek "the Great One's directions?" This was truly overlooking my presence! Of course, I could only be angry in my heart... habit was indeed a frightening creature.

  "No audience," The Great One cleanly spat out two words. His head did not even raise up and he continued writing. 

  "Yes," The little demon retreated. Quickly, he returned, "Reporting to the Great One, the Moon God said...said... there needs to be a reason for not being able to see......"

  Phoenix steadily paused his brush, he still did not raise his head and said, "Mistress is pregnant and needs rest." The little demon received his instructions and left.

  I was actually dozing off when I suddenly stood up in shock, "When did I get a baby?"

  Phoenix raised his head, lightly looking me in the eye and replied, "Soon." I suddenly felt my forehead turn black. 

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Heavy Sweetness Ash-Like Frost : Translation (Epilogue 3: Testing Pills)

 Dear readers, apologies for the long hiatus! I had a lot of things to handle in my personal and professional life, and so didn't have enough capacity to reply to comments and update my blog. Most of my things have been settled and I think this means I will have more personal time to write.

  I have actually read quite a bit doing my hiatus as well and should have a few reviews coming up. Unfortunately, I have not actually read another book that has moved me enough to want to seriously start a translation project again. I will probably have to continue reading, finish the epilogues for Heavy Sweetness (I think there's two more!) and the Princess Who Cannot Marry ;)

  This epilogue is especially cute and sweet! 

  Thank you for your patience! There's going to be a few more goodies coming up this week. 

love, decembi 

Heavy Sweetness Ash-Like Frost: Epilogue 3: Testing Pills

  "Where are you going?"

 With the Moon God's arm warmly round my own as we headed out, I suddenly felt cold sweat break out from my back from an icy cool voice. 

  As I turned my head back, I saw Phoenix standing behind me with pressed lips, the Phoenix who was supposed to be in his study. In that moment, I suddenly felt an awkward lightness in my heart. After hawing and hemming for a while, I suddenly remembered that I have not done anything wrong - only that I often felt shorter by about a three inches by his stature, so I raised my head and patted my chest and said, "How scary! I thought I was 'caught cheating in bed', scared me to death......."

  Half of Phoenix's face immediately turned dark. 

  The Moon God was so frightened that he loosened his grip on my arm and said, "We are innocent. Whiter than the egg white! Nephew, you have to believe me!"

 The other half of Phoenix's face also turned dark.

  The Moon God and I nervously watched Phoenix as he took in a deep breath, as if managing to control something, then he slowly opened his mouth, "Jin Mi, I once said that you can avoid using phrases that required four words (*chinese sayings like proverbs)".

  “But....." I looked at the tip of my toes and murmured, "But, I feel, I feel that if I use more of those four word phrases I'll... I'll appear more learned, elegant, and people will respect me......"

  Phoenix stretched his hand up and pressed his forehead, he said very seriously, "I don't think 'caught cheating in bed' can express elegance".

  "Then how about 'Red Plum Over Wall' (meaning a wife being unfaithful)? Or 'Planting Flowers and Grass' (means to mess around with love)?" I felt that since we were husband and wife, naturally everything can be negotiated, this would reflect our harmonious relationship, thus I spoke in a humble and conciliatory tone. 

  Who knew that once he heard my words, the green veins in his forehead started to throb and he coldly said, "From now on, you are not allowed to use any four word phrases! You will be allowed to speak only after you figure out their meanings!" 

  Sigh, a man's heart is like the needle on the ocean floor. I really could not understand and gave him a recriminatory look. At my glance, his face immediately softened and he coughed before stating, "If you want to, it's not impossible...but when there's outsiders, you should refrain from it a little, ok?" After he finished, he seemed to deeply regret his change of stance and lightly furrowed his brow. 

  "Outsiders?" The Moon God's face turned gloomy, "Phoenix, are you saying I am an outsider? Ah, men turn unfaithful when they age. To think that you used to be a little bird whose first coat of feathers have not yet shed and how you loved to play in my manor. Now, you draw the line so clearly, I am so sad... so very sad!"

  I immediately felt that these words were very familiar. 

  Phoenix just acted like he did not hear anything and interrupted midway, "Where was Uncle planning to bring Jin Mi?"

  The cold desolate tones of the Moon God's complaints immediately stopped. His ability to emote and then stop was amazing. Phoenix narrowed his eyes and slowly lengthened his query, "Yes?"

  The Moon God immediately replied smoothly and honestly, "Tai Shan Lao Jun has prepared a new pill. It was just completed today! I'm bringing little Jin Mi to take a look."

  "That's right," I added, "Tai Shan Lao Jun and Moon God has invited me to go test the pill today."

  "Test the pill?" The ends of Phoenix's eyes lifted, "Test what pill?"

  I suddenly realised something and so became silent.

  But, who knew that Moon God would happily answer, "The Unfeeling Pill." Ignoring Phoenix's expression which immediately turned completely dark, the Moon God continued to add firewood to the fire, "You know that Lao Jun is completely addicted and mesmerised by the process of making pills - he believes that there is no pill in the world he cannot create and no pill in the world he cannot resolve. However he never knew that there was a pill that could cause someone to destroy all emotions - he immediately felt that this was a huge blemish on his reputation, so he gave his all to create a pill like the Unfeeling Pill. Who knew that he has finally produced one! He does not know yet if it works so he has invited Jin Mi to try it."

Monday, 22 February 2016

Fiction: The Princess Who Cannot Marry (Chapter 14)

     To be honest, I'm quite nervous starting the story again after the break. I fear that my writing is too rusty and I can't do my own story justice - I know it sounds a bit ridiculous - but I haven't been in the best physical and mental state. But, I also feel like the story has been living and breathing inside me and just bursting to come out for so long already that I must, no, I need to write it out and hopefully it will get better and better as we reach the end.

  As you know, I've already mapped out the whole story from the start as is my normal style. I've a very clear idea of how I want to finish the second arc, which will end around Chapter 17/18. But, I do feel like I might have to take a step back when the second arc completes to really consider the third and final arc and what will make best sense for the overall story. 

  Without further ado, let's return to the Island on which An Hun and Yu An are...... 

P.S. I think this might be the most favourite chapter I wrote so far for this story. 

Chapter 14: The Heartbreak Song 


    They had flown across the starry night and landed in a mist of snow. Is this home? Yu An thought to herself as An Hun led her down his large silvery bird. This was the Royal Palace of the Wu Kingdom, the residence of the Royal Princess of Wu. 

  But it felt so unfamiliar, so foreign - the way the winter winds chilled her bones, the way the gusts brushed past the thistles and the snow off the pagoda ledges - the way the powdery snow mixed with the snow from the sky, and everything was just white. 

    Yu An watched as with a flick of his hand, An Hun had disarmed both the soldiers guarding the door of the Princess' bed chambers. Yu An nervously touched her face, no, a foreign male face - An Hun had even transformed her body. She was a tall distinguished man, a classic elegantly handsome face with eyes like the break of dawn - only the eyes were her own. 

  An Hun took out a small pipe from inside his robes. With a swish, the pipe lit up and a thick syrupy scent flowed out of the pipe. An Hun pierced the pipe through the silk paper inlay in the doors. Suddenly, Yu An felt An Hun's other hand over her nose. 

  "What's this?" Yu An asked. Her voice was smooth and masculine.

   "A scent that blurs a person's perception of dreams and reality," An Hun said as he retracted the pipe and eliminated the scent with another swish.

   Then An Hun's lips turned into a rather cunning smile, "It's your turn."

  Yu An felt herself being pushed towards the doors. She pushed the doors open and was met with a question from a beautifully sweet voice, "Xiao Ling?"

  Yu An did not answer and continued to step into the bedchambers. She saw that at the side of the table was a grand wooden guzheng with precious golden inscriptions. She sat at the guzheng and started playing.

  In the midst of the notes, she heard hurried footsteps. 

 There was a gasp.

  Yu An lifted her head - she knew she must look like the Yan Emperor right now, a distinguished elegant man, playing the guzheng, a lift of his head, he smiled at her. Her, the Royal Princess of Wu.

  "Hsiao? Gentleman Hsiao?" She asked, her eyes widening as if not quite believing the sight before her.

  Softly, every so softly, she added, "Is this a dream?"

  Yu An felt a slight pang of guilt in her heart but she decided that if she could, she wanted to weave a beautiful dream for this elegant Royal Princess of Wu. So, she smiled, "Qin Xia, I've come to hear you play the song you wrote for me."

  She took a step back as if not quite being able to handle the weight of what was before her. And, then she gave a slight nod, "So, the song I wrote... it has finally reached you."

Sunday, 21 February 2016

#talk 37: my very warm hello to my readers, Once Promised project & life!

   Dear readers,

   I'm honestly very sorry about the lack of regular updates on my blog. But if you knew how hard I've been working in my regular life (3-5 am nights or should I call them dawns almost daily), I feel like you would understand and in fact give me a good hug and make me tea (yes, I fantasise about tea all the time haha). I finally had a short break over the Chinese New Year as I flew overseas with my family and will be flying overseas again next week for another family trip. Hopefully, work will fully settle down by March and I can update onesecondspring regularly again.

  I want to say thank you for all the lovely comments left on my blog and personal emails asking about my well-being. I've fallen sick on and off again (who won't with such unearthly hours) and often do become rather introspective as I wonder if such a hectic lifestyle is sustainable! I'm still figuring things out - between everything I love, this finite time I have, and what will bring me the greatest fulfillment and meaning in life. Tough life questions indeed - and thankfully, I have my family, friends and you, yes, you, this wonderful voice from across the world - who I feel share that kindred joy and spirit over beautiful thoughts and sweet wishes in a foreign language but - everyone can appreciate love right?

  That first few sparkles of feelings - that growth into something beautiful and enduring. Ah, this is why I read, this is why I write, this is why I translate.

  I'm going to try my best - really, taking out as much time as I have from sleep etc - to provide some more updates. I honestly feel so bad for The Princess Who Cannot Marry - after finishing this very entry, I'm going to try and finish up Chapter 14. I'm so sorry my readers for making you wait so long - I'm sure An Hun wants to give me a good kick in my butt to push me along as well. He is on a mission!!! 

 Before I end this entry, I also want to say that yes, Once Promised is getting a drama adaptation. Oh gosh, this made me so excited and I feel like only the drama adaptation of Lost You Forever and Heavy Sweetness Ash-Like Frost could make me more excited. I'm probably going to start my Once Promised translations again - but please don't hold your breath, unless you can hold your breath for a long time, because I'm still trying to get back to regular blogging and Once Promised is a story I really love but find very hard to translate - all that heartbreak guys, my heart is too weak, too weak.

 Without further ado, Happy Chinese New Year! Happy Valentines' Day! And, thank you, 


Saturday, 23 January 2016

Heavy Sweetness Ash-Like Frost : Translation (Epilogue 2: Dragon Boat Festival/ When Jin Mi was a Book Boy (Part 2))

   My favourite parts of Heavy Sweetness are Jin Mi going on her endless quests for divine strength and happily trying to swindle divine strength from the world. And of course, Phoenix wrestling with his feelings towards a completely shameless and impervious Jin Mi. Enjoy! 

Epilogue 2: Dragon Boat Festival/ When Jin Mi Was A Book Boy (Part 2)

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

  We fruits also have backbones. Since Phoenix ignored my wishes and transformed me into a drum for eight days, I decided not to deal with him again. In the days where I no longer grind the ink slab for Phoenix, the sky appeared brighter, the water bluer, even the willow catkins that flew in the wind appeared cuter and more vibrant than before. When I was bored, I would watch the opera with the Moon God, hear him criticise the "spring books", the time flew by fast.

  There was only one thing that was not good. Although the days in which I did not have to watch the mood of Phoenix's face were perfect springtime, but I was no longer taught divine spells. My already low divine powers dropped even further than before, and thus I decided to abandon the dark and follow the light and come under the tutelage of the Moon God. I asked the Moon God to teach me some secrets to increasing my divine powers and he happily agreed.

  The Moon God very formally placed several different sizes and thicknesses of sewing needles before me, and said, "To thread needles is one of the basics of divine meditation. Think about it - if you can't even thread a sewing needle, how would you be able to properly use the heavy divine instruments? Thus, a good sewing needle is a necessary equipment for a successful god." Following which, the Moon God happily described all the sewing needles he treasured and kept, and very generously offered to let me pick one needle and would teach me how to thread it with red thread immediately tonight. 

  [The joke is that the Moon God's divine powers mainly lie in connecting lovers with a red thread, hence he would prize sewing needles so much!]

  I deeply did not understand - the Moon God's eyesight was originally not good, but he would choose to thread the red threads in the pitch black darkness of the night under the glow of a small lamp.

  When I asked him, the Moon God's eyes curved with his smile as he explained, "I feel more inspired by the night. The black night gives me a pair of black eyes, and I am fated to use it to catch illicit affairs!"

  However, divine powers were fated to have nothing to do with threading needles and illicit affairs. I learnt to thread red threads with the Moon God for a total of ten days - my divine powers did not increase even a little bit but my eyesight was really starting to go crazy, everytime I saw a place with a hole, it was like I was possessed and I tried to think how I could thread a red thread through it.

  Just as I was mulling over whether I should continue to learn under the Moon God, I heard that in two days Phoenix's palace would be having a celebration for the mortals' Dragon Boat Festival*. It was to celebrate some person's bravery for jumping into the river and rising to become a god. Phoenix had praised his literary skills and invited him to his palace and thus asked his attendants to celebrate as per the mortal customs of the Dragon Boat Festival.

  This was nothing extraordinary but I heard that there will be rice dumplings during the Dragon Boat Festival - the mortals' rice dumplings were made using banana leaves to wrap glutinous rice and fragrant meat or bean paste in a triangular shape, but the dumplings in the heavenly realms naturally could not be the same as the mortal dumplings thus Phoenix with a flip of his sleeve had declared, "We will wrap divine strength."

  Divine strength! Shiny dazzling divine strength.