Hello dear readers of Once Promised, xia0yuer has started translating Chapter 6 and she has decided because every scene is so important to the novel that she will do full translations. However, she can't predict how long she will take for each chapter since the chapters are so long, so it's hard for us to do the round-robin translations. We have decided that she will translate Once Promised, while I will continue my style of summarising and translating. But, readers interested in reading the full glory of Once Promised can head to her side for more details afterwards.
So, I will be returning to my weekly "recaps" of Once Promised haha. I'm actually halfway through Chapter 7, so I had to bounce back to Chapter 6. Chapter 6 is one of my favourite chapters in Book 1 because you get Chi You, A'Heng and Shao Hao all in one chapter. It's pretty epic and probably marks a turning point in all their relationships.
Hu Ge looks so good in his soon to be broadcasted Nirvana Fire drama (the original c-novel is actually on my reading list and I may bounce it up if the drama is reallllyyy good) and in my mind's eye, he is Shao Hao.
Like Maira at SSB's Lost You Forever, I've actually started reading up on the inspiration of each of Tong Hua's chapter titles. The chinese title of Chapter 6 is 《辜负当年林下意》, which xia0yuer has translated as "Unfulfilled Intentions Beneath The Tree, All Those Years Ago". The chinese title is probably inspired by this chinese poem, 《满江红·怀子由作》 which goes, 孤负当年林下意，对床夜雨听萧瑟, "孤负" (gu fu) and “辜负" (gu fu) actually have the same sound and meaning, which is to wrong or not live up to a promise you had given to someone. Though, the connotation of 孤 is also alone. Literally, the line speaks of not being able to fulfill a promise you had given to someone, such that alone in your bed, reminiscing this past promise, even the night rain sounds desolate.
My chinese competency is limited so I can't say I fully understand the whole poem, but the emotion and scenes it evokes makes one see a white-haired person thinking of his or her promise to his once lover.... and feeling immensely alone. The whole poem is actually very sad, as the person recollects about all the memories between the two, and cries alas that they have always been separated... but then the person softly rejoices because it seems that they will be reunited soon (although when I read it, the implication seems to be a reunion in the afterlife but some suggest that the person is going to retire back to his hometown hence the reunion. I suppose that's the beauty of poetry, full of interpretations?). We can discuss why Tong Hua chooses this title after you read the chapter :)
Chapter 6: Unfulfilled Intentions Beneath the Tree, All Those Years Ago (Part 1)
Again, another Peach Banquet*. At this Peach Banquet, Prince Chang Lin came for Xuan Yuan tribe, Princess Yun Sang came for Sheng Nong tribe, and Prince Yan Long came for Gao Xing tribe.
As per Yan Emperor's instructions, Yun Sang gave all the governmental matters for Chi You to handle and she was very free. She came to the Ao Tu inn and met A'Heng who was listlessly looking at the sky. Yun Sang was surprised and that's when she realised that A'Heng was the "thief" at the peach banquet sixty years ago and had been grounded by the Emperor Mother at Jade Mountain. Yun Sang shared that she has been communicating with General Nuo Nai of Gao Xing since the last time, and in Yun Sang's huge grief at the loss of her older sister (the second princess), she actually went to General Nuo Nai's camp and they had consummated their relationship in grief and passion. However, Yun Sang is at a loss of what to do because Nuo Nai still thinks she is *gasp* A'Heng, the princess of Xuan Yuan and fiancee of his prince, Shao Hao. After that one night of passion, they have stopped communicating and they even treated as that had never happened... Yun Sang does not dare to tell Nuo Nai the truth because she is scared Nuo Nai will lose all trust in her.
The Peach Banquet was as lively and crowded as before, guests gathering at the sides of the mountain stream, full of conversations and laughter.
Chi You sat for a while then left the banquet to look for Xi Ling Heng. With quick steps he passed the thousand floor long corridors, the hundreds of towers, one floor passed one floor, one tower passed one tower, little by little as the distance towards her narrowed, Chi You slowed his pace.
At her residence, the courtyard was empty, the light winds made no sound, only the windchime made out of the monster's teeth hung on the roof's eaves rang "ding ding dang dang", as if it was singing an old folk song.
Chi You dazedly listened. At that time when he made the wind chime, it was as white as jade, after sixty years of blowing in the wind and sun, it had already yellowed.
Passing the house, walking towards the Peach Blossom Forest behind the mountain.
Under the moonlight, the grasses were vibrant, the trees full of peach blossoms, they were blooming ablaze, from afar under the rays it was glorious, from near the petals fell beautifully.
A white bird stopped on the tree branch above, a black huge fox laid on the grass, a girl in green robes lied on its body, as if she was in a deep sleep, many flower petals had landed on her back.
Suddenly Ah Bi raised its head and warily looked ahead, a tall strong red-robed man has appeared in the midst of the Peach Blossom Forest. Lie Yang opened his eyes for a moment, then boredly closed it again.
Ah Bi and Lie Yang had accompanied each other for tens of years, they had their unique way of communicating, Ah Bi became less wary and lazily buried its head in the grass, covering his eyes with both paws, as if saying, you can both treat as if I don't exist.
Chi You lightly sat next to Xi Ling Heng.
Actually Xi Ling Heng was always awake, when Chi You first arrived, she had sensed it, but had purposely pretended to be asleep. However, she didn't think that Chi You who always seemed impatient actually had lots of patience, and silently guarded her*.
Finally, Xi Ling Heng could no longer pretend, she half raised her body and asked, "Why didn't you call me? If I slept here the whole, will you wait the whole night?"
Chi You happily laughed and said, "Even if it's one life, my whole lifetime, I will wait. You are the daughter-in-law I have chosen."
Xi Ling Heng raised her fist to hit him, "I warn you, I am not your wife-to-be, don't speak nonsense."
Chi You grabbed her hand and looked at her, as if he was smiling but also not smiling, he said, "If you don't want to be my good wife-to-be, then whose will you be? I am the king of hundred beasts and I have picked you to be my female beast, if any one has the guts to snatch you from me, then we will have to have a fair fight."
Chi You isn't a man who is so good looking that he stands out from a crowd, but his eyes were like wild beasts - beautiful and cunning, and yet under its coldness there was a fierce unyielding beauty, it gave his face a strange demonic power, causing him to be unforgettable.**
But Xi Ling Heng did not know why, she did not have that previous indifferent feeling when she had teased with Chi You, but actually felt some terror. She shook off Chi You's hand, "We are not wild beasts, what's there to battle?"
Chi You heartily laughed, "Only a healthy beautiful female beast will have male beasts trying to battle for the right to mate with her, you..." He looked at Xi Ling Heng, made a tsking sound and shook his head, as if saying no male beasts will like her and want to mate with her.
Xi Ling Heng bashfully turned red, finally understanding why people called Chi You a beast, the way he spoke was too naked and direct, she covered her ears and shouted, "Chi You, if you continue to speak nonsense, I will not listen to your words in future."
Chi You gazed at the blushingly angry Xi Ling Heng, and felt his heart tremble, his most basic desire shook within him. He suddenly moved closer and quickly kissed Xi Ling Heng.
Xi Ling Heng was shocked and glared at Chi You.
Although Chi You's actions appeared cool and experienced, this was his first time kissing a girl, plus it was a girl that he had hid in the top of his heart, his heart in chaos, his heart that was calm even in the midst of life and death suddenly rapidly jumped, his eyes full of softness. Longing for that short moment of sweetness, he could not help himself and lowered his head to kiss Xi Ling Heng, clumsily seeking, as if seeking for more.
Xi Ling Heng finally reacted and heavily bit his lips. Chi You gave a cry and stepped back, he glared at Xi Ling Heng, out of embarrassment and confusion, as if he was an agitated little wild beast.
Xi Ling Heng coldly rebuked, "How's the taste? If you dare to do it next.... next... I will not be kind!"
Chi You raised his brows and laughed, as if he became a sly cold Beast King, his fingers wiped off the blood on his lips, he stretched out the tip of his tongue and lightly tasted it, staring at Xi Ling Heng's lips and as if reminiscing said, "The taste is very good!" Purposely twisting the meaning of her words.
XI Ling Heng was so angry she gnawed her teeth, but she couldn't scold pass Chi You, couldn't beat him either, so she stood up and ran into the Peach Blossom Forest, speaking with hatred, "I don't want to see you again, you shameless flirt! Our letters between us will stop now!"
"I couldn't ask for better! I was already sick of writing you letters!"
Xi Ling Heng did not turn around, but her eye rims suddenly turned red, and she didn't know why she felt so uncomfortable.
At night, Xi Ling Heng tossed and turned and could not sleep. The windchime on the roof's eaves chimed ceaselessly. She jumped off her bed, rushed to the window side, and snatched down the windchime and forcefully threw it away.
The whole world turned silent, and she became even more frustrated, as if the silence of the world caused her whole body to turn cold, if in the past tens of years there was no wind chime, the silence of the Jade Mountain would have suffocated her to death.
After a long while, she rose and her eyes glistened even more, it was only between 9-11 pm, how long was the night, but there was still sixty years, ten thousands of such long nights!
Wearily lying down, Xi Ling Heng forced her eyes shut to fall asleep, she turned around and suddenly felt something was amiss. She quickly opened her eyes, and saw Chi You lying by her side on her bed, one hand on her head, one hand holding the windchime she had thrown away, gazing smilingly at her.
Xi Ling Heng was too shocked and dazedly looked at Chi You. She quickly recovered and used all her divine essence to hit Chi You, just wanting to chop to death this incorrigible jerk!
Chi You didn't even raise his hand and easily resolved her force, he smiled, "Why is your murderous intent so strong?"
As he spoke, the bed suddenly grew several long green vines, tightly wrapping around Xi Ling Heng's four limbs.
Xi Ling Heng knew that her divine strength had a huge disparity with Chi You and she couldn't beat him. So she immediately changed strategy, and started to shout at the door, "Save me! Save me..."
Chi You supported her head, and laughed at her, as if waiting to see how stupid Xi Ling Heng will be, to realise that if he had dared to come so late, he was naturally fearless.
Xi Ling Heng realised he had set a boundary so voices could not travel and stopped shouting. Her face was wintry cool and she asked coldly, "What do you plan to do?"
Chi You laughed and sat up, he started to remove his clothes, Xi Ling Heng could no longer pretend to be calm and her expression change to one of alarm, "You dare!"
"Won't I dare? Won't I dare? In this world, there is only things I don't want to do, there is nothing I don't dare to do!" He immediately stretched his hands to remove Xi Ling Heng's clothing, there was no expression on his face, his eyes revealing cold cruelty.
Xi Ling Heng's eyes was full of disappointment and pain, she spat out word by word, "Presently, it's true that I have no way of stopping you, but remember this, unless you kill me today, or I will make sure you will incinerate into ashes one day."
Chi You broke out into peals of laughter, his expression immediately softened, he patted Xi Ling Heng's cheeks, "You are so fun to play with, one tease and all seven emotions will surface. Do you actually believe I will treat you that way?"
Xi Ling Heng was already dizzy from his ever-changing expressions and could only dazedly watch as Chi You helped her tighten her belt and laid by her side. He smiled at her, "You always think that wild beasts are fierce and barbaric, but when a male beast woos a female beast, he will never compel her to mate with him, their hearts must be willing."
Xi Ling Heng glared at him as her cheeks redden, "You, you... then why do you barge into my room deep in the night?"
"I am going to take you away."
Xi Ling Heng did not understand, Chi You said, "Didn't I said I was already sick of writing letters to you? Since I won't write, naturally I will take you down Jade Mountain."
"But I still have sixty years of punishment."
"I thought you were long sick of it. Unless you are addicted to staying at Jade Mountain?"
"Of course not, but..."
"Why do you have so many buts? Even if the god tribe people have long lives, it's not meant to be wasted this way, don't you miss your carefree days below the mountain?"
Xi Ling Heng was silent then asked, "What will happen to Ah Bi and Lie Yang?"
"I've settled it with them, they will first cover for you. After we are down the mountain, Lie Yang will bring Ah Bi to find us." Chi You stroke A'Heng's hair, "A'Heng, I don't care if you agree or not, I have already decided, I will knock you unconscious and hide you in my troop, after saying goodbye to the Emperor Mother, I will bring you down the mountain. Even if anything happens later, it will be Chi You's doing, nothing to do with Xi Ling Heng."***
Xi Ling Heng coldly said, "If you had such capacity, why didn't you do it sixty years ago?"
Chi You smiled and did not answer, "Thank you for the robe you gave me."
"I asked my fourth brother to buy it, if you want to thank, thank my fourth brother." Xi Ling Heng glared at him then closed her eyes.
Chi You said, "Go to sleep, I will knock you unconscious later, and won't call you."
No matter how you listen, Chi You's words sounded strange and Xi Ling Heng did not know how to answer him. Chi You lightly pressed his finger tips, and the twines that bound Xi Ling Heng bloomed a white flower, it gave off a clean drowsy scent and put Xi Ling Heng to sleep.
Xi Ling Heng fell into a deep sleep in the midst of the flower scent.
When she woke up, she realised she was no longer on the bed, but inside a rich golden jade carriage.
Although she knew Chi You must have set a boundary, she still subdued her essence then quietly opened the carriage curtain and looked outside.
Most of the tribes have been sent off by the maidservants, only the three big god tribes were personally sent off by the Emperor Mother, and now she stood in the big hall and bade them goodbye.
The Emperor Mother said farewell to the Sheng Nong tribe, the Gao Xing tribe, the Xuan Yuan tribe, they were about to embark on their journey, when a few clear cries from a bird sounded, as if someone was knocking a door, and broke the silence on the Jade Mountain.
The Emperor Mother's smile subsided, it has been thousands of years, no god nor demon had dared to arrive without an invitation, "Who dares to encroach on the sacred land of the Jade Mountain?" The Emperor Mother's stern voice rang through the clouds, it rang as if the sky was hit by the spring thunder, causing the land to tremble as if it was shaking.
The surrounding tribes could not handle it and closed their ears in pain and fell to the floor, now everyone understood the terror of Jade Mountain.
"I am the younger generation, Gao Xing's Shao Hao, rashly seeking an audience with the Emperor Mother of Jade Mountain."
* How can A'Heng not think Chi You is patient? He wrote her love letters for sixty years!
** Xiao Yao inherited Chi You's eyes.
*** Sorry, but *squeals* I am a total Chi You fan girl.
Comments: I usually only translate the Chi You-A'Heng parts (haha), and only after finishing this that I realised that this chapter was so full of good and gushy Chi You-A'Heng moments. Hope you enjoyed it! Now for the big face-off.......