Da Mo Yao Chapter 5: Shadow in the Window

Waaaaah, Xiao Huo is back! And back for good, with chapter 4 being pretty much the only time he’s not around to tease, annoy, and confuse the heck out of Jin Yu. From chapter 5 onward, Da Mo Yao is full speed ahead without looking back. Strap on your seatbelts, folks. Since DMY takes the real life historical annals of the politics and court intrigue during a ruling period of Han Emperor Liu Che and weaves Jin Yu into the story (and taking liberties where necessary), I’ll try to provide some context as required so the whys are clear. I’m thrilled that so many people are joining along in this read, which truly is a labor of love on my part (Sleep, wherefore art thou? My fingers, they be numb and hurty. My neck needs to be permanently placed in a brace now). It’s worth it, because Xiao Huo, Xiao Yu, and Xiao Jiu are such well-written compelling characters that I want to spend more time with them.

Chapter 5: Shadow in the Window

On the 6th day of performing “Hua Yue Nong”, the prices have tripled and all the seats are sold out for days already. I’m paying the girls not only their wages, but also extra depending on their character performance on stage. Everyone is happy, even Fang Ru, who has rocketed to fame and can vie with the top dancers in the city on her fees for spending time with a customer [just chatting and drinking in a private box, not anything salacious].

The performance hall has a common area seating below, but also private boxes up top where the ladies or more high class clients can watch the performance in privacy. I bring the Li siblings to one private box. They protest such kindness but I tell them this is my box which I never rent out so they can use it. Li Yan gives me a look, wondering who I am keeping this room for? I smile at her, telling her to guess.

A maid comes running in and tells me Hong Gu desperately needs me because some very important guests have arrived. I stand up but then sit down to calm myself. Li Yan asks “Is the person you are waiting for finally arrived?” I nod “Most likely? Hong Gu grew up here and knows everyone. She won’t need me unless it’s urgent.” She asks if I need this room but I tell here there are other empty rooms. I sip my tea and fix my skirt before heading out, having calmed myself.

Outside I see Hong Gu leading two men down the hallway. She sees me and her face immediately relaxes. Xiao Huo, no, Huo Qu Bing, hair finely combed and adorned, with elegant and lavish attire, wearing a somber expression, is right there. The moment he sees me, his footsteps stop. I have a small smile on my face as I walk up to courtesy to him. “Young master Huo has deigned to visit our Luo Yu House, what an honor it is.”

He looks at me for a few moments, and then his face lit up and he smiles “You really came to Chang An!” Hong Gu looked at me and then looked at Huo Qu Bing, her face registering her confusion. I initially want to mess with him a bit, but when he smiled so openly and didn’t seem to feel bad at all, I got a bit annoyed. I shifted and gestured for him to keep going.

Suddenly another maid comes running to tell me tha Wu Ye is here, with someone he calls Third Master Shi, and there is also someone else in the back of the carriage. I let out an “Ah!”, pulling my skirt up and taking off. I suddenly remember and quickly run back to Huo Qu Bing and gave him a bow “I have an urgent matter to handle, will the young master please excuse me.” I tell Hong Gu to bring him to his room before running outside.

Jiu Ye is pushing his wheelchair with Wu Ye, Tian Cao, Shi Feng following behind him. My happy voice arrives first “Why didn’t you send someone ahead to tell me?” He laughs “It was a last minute decision to come see what has been keeping you so busy that you didn’t even come home last night.”

I wrinkle my nose and laugh, walking beside him “I wasn’t busy last night, I was admiring a beauty. Later I’ll let you meet the beauty.” He smiles and doesn’t respond.

At the end of the hallway, I tell the others to climb the stairs. They don’t move until Jiu Ye tells them to go. I take Jiu Ye into a very small room, the size of a large box really, fitting only me and Jiu Ye inside. I can’t even fully straighten my body, needing to crouch down next to Jiu Ye. I apologize “Because of safety reasons, it couldn’t be built any bigger.” The door is closed and I pull a bell. Soon the room starts to lift. Jiu Ye quietly asks ” Did you build this on purpose?” I nod a yes.

In the darkness it’s extremely quiet, so quiet it’s like we can heart our thumping heartbeats. The candle is within reach but I don’t move to light it. Jiu Ye doesn’t mention it either. We just stay in this cramped space in silence. The light fresh scent from his body slowly drifts over to me, and his scent seems to enter my heart.

When we arrive, the performance has started. I make tea for Jiu Ye while Wu Ye urges me to go back and find Hong Gu, who is left with a mess to handle. Jiu Ye also tells me to go do my job.

When Hong Gu sees me, she shoves the tea set at me “I can’t stand it anymore! Young master Huo’s face can freeze a person. Since he stepped inside, I feel like it’s Winter descended again. I tried to be pleasant, saying a million things, but he doesn’t even raise an eyebrow. I’m frightened out of my wits, wondering if our performance, having not offended the Great General, has instead enraged the city’s most arrogant young lord. But when you show up, he starts to smile. I don’t know what’s going on between you two but I’m not going to be a part of it anymore. I’m afraid I’ll lose my life.”

I ask her to stay but she tells me to handle it as the head of the house. I sigh and take the tea set, walking slowly to the room. The servant opens the door for me and I walk in. The young master Huo who supposedly has the power to change the weather in this city is watching the performance with a poker face. I put the tea set down and place a cup before him. He doesn’t look at me so I also don’t feel like speaking. I turn to watch the show. He picks up the cup and takes a sip, which is when the performance arrives at the scene when the dancer Qiu Xiang appears while dressed as the Great General. She takes a fake sword and dances around the stage, raging at the Xiong Nu.

Huo Qu Bing spits out his tea and bends down, with one hand on the table and the other on the tea set, his body rocking gently. I hurry before him and take his cup and put it on the table, moving to wipe the table dry. He tempers down his laughter and points at Qiu Xiang on the stage. “If the Great General Wei looked like that, clearly it would be the Xiong Nu who kill him, rather than him killing the Xiong Nu.”

I recall the fierceness of the Xiong Nu and I also force myself not to laugh. I get up to go back to my seat when he grabs me. I look at him and he says “This performance, other than the one playing the princess, doesn’t have anything worth watching. Sit down and talk with me. I have something to ask you.”

“Yes, young master Huo.”

“Xiao Yu, I couldn’t tell you who I was back then, but you can still call me Xiao Huo”, he said with a touch of exasperation.

“You believe I’m a Han person now?”

“I don’t know, your appearance was inexplicably mysterious, you knew the Xi Yu territory intimately. You call yourself a Han, but you are not familiar with the Han world. If we weren’t on guard, would that be normal of us? After traveling with you a bit, I knew you had no ill intentions. But I was disguised on that trip to Xi Yu, so I still couldn’t tell you my real identity.” I keep my head lowered, knowing that what he said is true.

His softly asked “Xiao Yu, can you accept my explanation?”

I raise my head to look at him “I know the Xi Yu territory because I was raised in the wolf pack. We have the ability not to get lost in the desert. I never lived in Han territory which is why it’s foreign. I call myself a Han because I see myself as a Han here” and I point to my heart. “But maybe I don’t resemble anybody, and I belong in the wolf pack. This is all I can say for now. Can you believe me?”

He stared into my eyes and nodded his head “I believe. As for the rest, perhaps you’ll tell me one day.”

Only trusting someone will a person stare directly into the eyes, and Huo Qu Bing is that kind of person. After our eyes meet, I quickly turn away. I don’t want to probe into his thoughts, and don’t want him to probe into mine.

He asked “How long have you been in Chang An?” I replied “Half a year.”

He was silent and then asked “Since you deliberately prepared this performance, you must already know who I am. Why didn’t you come find me? What if I heard about the performance but still didn’t come?”

So he misunderstood that this performance was for him. He’s so self-absorbed and I smile mockingly at him “When I wanted to find you, I didn’t know where. And when I knew where you were, I thought it didn’t matter if I saw you again.”

He looked at me, and then his voice turned cold “What is the purpose of this performance?” His hands fisted suddenly “You want to enter the Palace? I thought you were an exotic desert bloom, but turns out you are yet another who wishes to become a Palace phoenix.” [Phoenix here means one of the Emperor's concubines.]

I shake my head with a smile “No, I’m perfectly fine so why do I want to go to that godforsaken place?” His expression relaxed and he looked towards Fang Ru. I shake my head again “She’s innocent and just looking for a way to make a living. I doubt she’ll survive there.” He wondered “So it’s not this and it’s not that. What exactly are you thinking?”

I look at Fang Ru, playing the Princess, and confirm my target. He raises his eyebrows “Your idea is right on target then. The Princess has heard of “Hua Yue Nong” and asked me if I’ve been here and seen the person who choreographed the performance.”

He returns to watch the performance so we sit in silence. I move to excuse myself when he says “In this performance, everything is calculated and each lyric is well thought out. Yet earlier you left me and rushed outside to welcome the Big Boss of the Shi Enterprises. Aren’t you worried about upsetting me?”

I knew I was rash back there but I don’t regret it. “He’s my Big Boss, there is no reason I shouldn’t go and welcome him” He shot me a glance “Really? My position doesn’t measure up to a boss?”

Hong Gu enters and apologizes profusely to Huo Qu Bing, explaining that the Big Boss is quite angry and berating Wu Ye. I need to run so I shoot an apologetic look at Huo Qu Bing “I have to go. I can see you’re not a petty person, so don’t make it difficult for me right no. I have to go accept my punishment, so my situation is pretty dire as is.”

He replied “No wonder the Princess was confused as to why the Shi Enterprises was doing things differently. You are a bold one, without getting the approval of you boss, you put on a performance about the Imperial family’s private life.” I don’t respond but merely stand up. He suddenly said “Do you want me to accompany you?”

I startle and feel a soft warmth inside. I shake my head. He sends me a lazy smile and says with some teasing “Don’t bend over backwards. If Shi Enterprises doesn’t want you, my estate will take you.” I shoot him a glance before walking out.

I tell Hong Gu not to be afraid, I’ll take full responsibility. Xiao Feng lets me through and humphs at me “You need to think about how to explain yourself to Jiu Ye. No wonder Master San teaches me that a woman is hard to keep around.” I rap him on the head and scowl at him “You little rascal, you better not get married someday then.”

When I enter, Wu Ye is kneeling on the ground while Jiu Ye doesn’t appear upset. I walk up and also kneel. Jiu Ye sends Wu Ye away to await his punishment. He bows and tearfully tries to explain that he was raised by the family and just wanted to raise the prosperity of the family business.

Jiu Ye looks at me “You really surprised me. If you have such cunning, this Luo Yu House isn’t good enough for you. Instead of running a business, you decide to pander to the Imperial family. What are you getting at?” Wu Ye tries to explain that I am young and just want to attract more customers, and it’s his fault for not restraining me. Jiu Ye huffs that the performance is calculated in each and every lyric. If I wanted to grow the business, any old narrative will do. I chose such a big risk clearly because I had a bigger purpose.

I concede “I am purposefully trying to attract the attention of Princess Yangping so I can make a connection with her.” I explain my guesses for why the Shi Enterprises have fallen in recent times. It rose to prominence with the Bao family gained the Imperial favor. But with the fall of the Bao family and the rise of the Wei family, the business went along with it. I just want to build ties with the Wei family, currently the reigning power in court, to build the business back up.

Jiu Ye looks at me “Ms Jin Yu. The Shi Enterprises employ thousands of people who don’t have your cunning and wits, nor your ambition. I can’t afford to take this risk with you. From now on, I’m selling Luo Yu House and it will no longer have any ties to the Shi Enterprises. How you want to run it is your business. Tian Cao, let’s return home.” He looks calm but distant, acting like he doesn’t care a whit.

I stare in disbelief but he doesn’t give me another glance. Because we are kneeling in his path, he asked us politely to move aside with a voice as cold as ice, ice that can freeze a person’s heart. I stand up and rush out. I suddenly remember that he needs to get downstairs but hates letting others assist him. I turn back to find someone to show Tian Cao and Shi Feng how to operate the lift.

…………………………………………….

I’m reading the classics and thinking back to what Jiu Ye said to me. His words are true, but if I’m careful, there ought to be only positives to come of making ties with the Princess and the Wei family. Li Yan comes in with some wine, asking how long I plan to stay locked up inside. She wonders what I have in store for the Li siblings, they can’t just stay here doing nothing. I decline the wine she offers, finding in it a temporary solace that I have no need of. Li Yan takes a drink, appreciating how the drink can take a person away from their real life for awhile.

I tell her “I don’t know, originally I was intending to change the fortunes of the Shi Enterprises by getting the pieces ready, but then I discovered that no one wanted me to do so. It was all my unsolicited offering. Li Yan, did I do something wrong?”

Li Yan replies “Jin Yu, how can you say such stupid things. Life is a river and we are always fighting to go upstream and not get swept away. You can’t even hope to maintain Luo Yu House with the competition out there.”

I compliment her for being so observant despite being new here. She grabs my hand and asks to be candid with me. She knows my intention behind the performance and that is hers as well. She asks for my assistance. I tell her that even without my help, with her beauty and brains, she’ll achieve whatever she sets out to do regardless. Li Yan looks down and takes a drink of wine, looking deep in thought and solemn. Her beauty is astounding but now it comes with a downcast aura.

Fang Ru comes to ask if it’s true that we’ve been cut loose. Hong Gu enters and reveals that Shi Enterprises is planning to divest from all the dancing houses managed by Wu Ye, who is so distraught he’s inconsolable. Anyone with money can buy the dancing houses, and supposedly the money will be used to start a herbal business. Hong Gu is thrilled, because this means one less overseer.

I look down and ask if they are sure they want to follow me. Who knows where I will lead them? Hong Gu is sure. If we get in trouble and it’s off with our heads, mine is the first to go and they can all plead innocence or as accomplices. If we earn rewards and riches, I’m sure to share with them. She’s decided to stick by me, especially since I’m not stupid and is clearly not looking for trouble. Fang Gu revealed that she rejected a customer’s request to drink with him, but the man didn’t dare get angry with her, knowing that all the Wei family officials have been by to watch Fang Ru perform and even praised her. All Fang Ru knows is that she can say “no” now to customers, and that is because of me. I tell everyone that we should keep going forward then, keep trying to make money.

Hong Gu reveals that we’ve made so much money since I took over that we have enough to buy Luo Yu House. I don’t respond, and ask Li Yan to take a walk with me. Li Yan asks if I’m going over to the Shi Estate tonight? She finds it odd that the Big Boss doesn’t want to operate a steady business like dancing houses, and instead wants to venture into herbal medicines with lots of market pricing risk.

We walk by the lake where some girls are playing, breaking off branches from the willow tree to go make waves in the water. Li Yan looks momentarily displeased before excusing herself to go back. I ask the girls if the branches will grow if it’s planted in the soil. They explain the planting season has passed for the willow tree. I suggest having a gardner try, and explaining that breaking off healthy branches to play with is a waste of a it’s beauty. These girls grew up here and don’t understand and appreciate the verdant beauty of nature.

I think about Papa, about Xi Yu, about the desert, sitting by the lake and looking out in a daze. I recall Li Yan being unhappy about the broken branches, but she doesn’t appear to be someone who is maudlin about nature. Her background is a mystery, and then I suddenly have a clarity about who she might be. I let out an “Ah”, and then there was also a shout from behind me. I turn around and Huo Qu Bing is behind me. I turn so quickly that I almost collided with his chest, so I jumped backwards. Then realized that the lake was right behind me, so I tried to turn again but couldn’t find a spot.

Huo Qu Bing reached out to grab my hand, but since I jumped so far back, our hands barely touched each other before I fell into the lake. I learned how to swim from Brother Wolf, which is what might be termed the “wolfy paddle”. It’s the exact opposite of elegant, stylish, and beautiful. I swam towards the shore while Huo Qu Bing stood by the banks and laughed at me. He was laughing so hard he was clutching his belly and almost toppled over. “You really were raised by wolves. This stroke, this stroke, hahahahahaha, all you need to do is stick your tongue out……..” The rest of what he was saying was drowned out by his laughter.

I was so mad that I paddled and stuck my tongue out at him like a wolf. I’ll let him laugh himself to death. He let out a yelp and then covered his eyes, crouching on the ground with his head lowered, just laughing.

I reach the shore and he reached his hand out to help me up. Initially I wanted to ignore him, and then changed my mind and grabbed his hand. But then I took a deep breath and fell back into the water. Surprisingly he didn’t resist, and his hand only tightened before his body followed mine into the water. Once I got my evil way, I wanted to let go of his hand, but instead he held on tight. Underneath the water, we stared at each other. His hair billowed out around his face, making his smile seem even more carefree.

I kick the water and head towards the surface. He holds my hand and swims up as well. As we reach the shore, he still hasn’t let go of my hand. I use my free hand to pinch him but he grabs it, now holding on to both my hands. I decide to use that momentum and kick him down there. He notices my devilish look and looks down, letting go of my hands “Why are you so evil, woman! If you actually kicked the target, I’d be through with this world.”

I hold on to the edge of the shore and heave myself out of the water. My clothes are plastered to me. I can hear him chuckling in the water. I rush back to the house without looking back. As I was changing clothes, I told the maid outside “Inform the entire house that if the young master Huo’s servant asks for clean clothes, no one is allowed to give it to him. You can say this is my orders. All the male clothes are being washed, but we have plenty of female skirts. You can give him one or two of those.” She quizzically agreed and ran off. I brushed my hair in the copper mirror and started to smile. Daring to make fun of me in my territory, let’s see who is the embarrassed one now.

At dinner time, Hong Gu asks me “Today the young master Huo entered the house with a frigid expression, didn’t even watch a single performance and promptly disappeared. His servant asked for clean clothing, but since you already gave the order, we were all torn. Afraid he’d get so pissed he would smash the house down. The entire Chang An city knows that upsetting the Great General Wei is no big deal, but pissing off the young master Huo, one ought to get ready to for a funeral.”

I smile and give Hong Gu some vegetables “So did you give or not?” She made a sad face “Didn’t give, but I almost died of fright. I don’t care how you two play around, but don’t get us random people involved. A woman can’t be frightened, we’ll age really fast.”

I muffled my laughter “So did you see the young master Huo?” She responded “No, later his servant ordered a carriage out back and told everyone to leave. Since he left….but…..but….” I asked “But what?”

She started laughing now “But….wherever the young master Huo walked is like that area has been rained on. The room he stayed in, the entire pallet is soaked through, and the seat cushion as well.” I tossed my chopstick and put my hand on the table, holding my stomach shaking in laughter.

The current Han Emperor is a devotee of Confucius, especially in the learnings about “etiquette.” So says “Morals stem from etiquette. Clothing is the basis”, one’s clothes becomes the most fundamental requirement of every citizen in Chang An. Since Huo Qu Bing is always perfectly dressed and groomed, looking dashing, this time he must be in a bind. If any of the rich and powerful in Chang An accidentally saw him, he would become the laughingstock of the court.

I recall his always fearless gaze, and then feel like it’s wrong of me to laugh. Would he care? No, he wouldn’t. He’s not a man who would be constrained by his clothing. He’ll avoid being seen, but if he is, he’ll just put on a poker face and act like he doesn’t see the other person. It’ll make the other person wonder if he’s dressed incorrectly himself, and that a “wet, damp look” is suddenly en vogue in Chang An. Or he’ll just laugh it off, letting the other person realize it’s just not a big deal.

………………………….

The wind whips through my ears, this is the first time I’ve run full speed since arriving in Chang An. I’m almost tempted to let out a long howl. Arriving at the Shi Estate, I loss a rope and climb over the walls. The second my feet touch the ground, two men are on me. I try not to hurt them but they are not weak, pining me against the wall. I call out “Shi Buo, it’s Yu Er.”

He called off the guards and asked me why I didn’t use the perfectly good front door. I took off my face veil and pouted, but didn’t answer. He sighed, not understanding us youngsters. He told me to go find Jiu Ye, who is likely still awake. I tease that I came to see him, causing him to laugh, but he begs old age and needing sleep, taking off.

I take off towards the Bamboo Forest, where a flute is playing. The light is on in the residence and his shadow is inked on the windows, seemingly lonely and cold. I stand outside and finish listening to him play. I’m right outside the window where his shadow is on the paper panes. I reach out my hand but then lower it, back and forth, until finally my fingers lightly brush his shadow face. This is your eyes, this is your eyebrows, this is your nose, this is….this is your lips. I lightly touch it and my heart flips. I quickly move aside and touch between his eyes. I can’t see, but I know this area is filled with worry. Can I be the wind, and blow that worry away? You are his shadow, you must know what he’s thinking about? Please tell me what worries him so? Tell me!

The window softly opens and his face appears before me. My hand is suspended in mid-air, but so close to his face. So close that I can almost feel his body heat, but in the end I still don’t make contact. I have this indescribable feeling in my heart – happy or sad? I sheepishly smile at him and pull my hand back, putting it behind my back. He smiles “How long have you been here?” “I just arrived” I say.

He invites me in since it’s foggy outside. I got inside and he puts his flute down on the table. I see the oil lamp flickering a warm light, taking out my silver hair piece and I tamp down the extra specks of popping oil to make the light calmer. I ask why he’s using oil rather than wax, is he learning to be like commoners? He replies “There is a saying “Oil popping, Happy tidings arriving”. My heart leaps but I pretend to be calm “So is it true or not?”

He lifts a corner of his lips but doesn’t answer. “There is also a saying that the oil lamp can avoid ghosts, shining a blue light on the spirits to identify them. When the lamp turned blue is when I opened the window, and you were standing there. Did you feel anything next to you?” I laugh “I hear ghosts love handsome young man, sucking their yang essence dry. You ought to beware.” His reply “So it’s true that you aren’t afraid of anything in this world. Is there anything you are afraid of then?” I almost say “You!” but I was afraid to, not wanting to ruin this teasing mood under the lamp.

I tease that Xiao Feng revealed he knew medicine, asking if his services can be used if anyone in my house got sick. He laughs that being a sick child he saw so many doctors he naturally learned their craft just by observing. I feel a bit sad to hear this and look at the window. If someone was looking at us from outside, they would see two reflections in the window, close together. He asks why I’m smiling and I say no reason, I just want to. I ask why he’s smiling, and he answers the same thing.

We quietly sit next to each other. I take the flute and try to play a few bars of poor tune. He looks slightly odd and I realize that the flute is still damp from his playing. I feel a sense of happiness and put the flute back on the table. After some time, he tells me to go to sleep since it’s late. I’m surprised he still wants to let me stay here, and he responds that that room has always been empty so keeping it for me is no big deal. Running my business simply means it’s not convenient for me to stay here all the time.

I ask again why he doesn’t want to run the dancing houses, and whether he would object to me buying the dancing houses he’s giving up on? He doesn’t care, as long as I can afford to buy it, once it’s sold it will have no further ties with the Shi Enterprises. We will each run our own business. I angrily stare at him, the more he wants to clearly define the boundaries between us, the more I’m going to make it as complicated as possible. I ask him to lend me money. He agrees to lend me money enough to buy Luo Yu House, telling me to be satisfied with just that.

He smiles “Yu Er, the waters of Chang An are deep, and I’m already forced to carry that bucket of rancid water. But you can live clean and free. So if you want to run a business, just be satisfied with running Luo Yu House.” I pout “It’s not that easy, if I don’t encroach on others, others will encroach on me. Will Tian Xiang House let Luo Yu House survive?” He promises that he’ll make Tian Xiang House leave me alone.

I realized that he could still help me. I tell him “Jiu Ye, I don’t want to be the silk growing on the tree. The silk can only survive because of the tree, which blocks all the wind and rain for the silk. But won’t the tree grow tired, or if the rain is too strong the tree needs some help too. The silk can only watch and do nothing. I don’t want to survive needing to rely on the tree. I also want to be the tree that can help the other trees nearby block the wind and the rain, then enjoying the sun together, admiring the beautiful rainbow that appears after a storm.”

When I finish, I wonder if what I just said was akin to saying I wanted to accompany him, causing my face to burn up. The look in his eyes is so conflicted and he keeps looking at me. My heart does flip flops and I lower my head. After a few moments he said “Yu Er, you do what your heart tells you to do.”

I raise my head in happiness and stare at him. He smiles “But I will only lend you the money to buy Luo Yu House. If you want to be a tree, you’ll have to use your own capability to battle with the rain and winds.” Since he won’t lend me all the money, I tell him I’ll find a way. He is looking forward to what I’ll do.

When I ask why he decided to enter the herbal medicine business, he tells me that since we’ve drawn our boundaries, from now on neither will inquire into the other’s business. My warm heart suddenly dropped a few degrees. I stare at him, wondering if I asked something wrong? He gives me a look of mild exasperation “Yu Er, you are not the same as me. What I’m doing is what is best for you, And what is best for those dancing houses.”

“What is different between us?” He doesn’t answer and tells me to go to sleep, he’s tired as well. He does look tired and I quickly get up “I’ll be going then.” He takes the lamp and puts on a new candle wick for me. I take it and bow to him, walking back to my room with the lamp in my hand.

© 2012, ockoala. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Da Mo Yao Chapter 5: Shadow in the Window — 70 Comments

  1. wow I totally picture that lake scene and that shadow/behind the curtain scene….so great… I really hope they do those justice in the show (if they put them in)… thank you so much for the translations!!

  2. Thank you!! I’m already addicted, I can’t believe how you spoil us! Jin Yu is such a feisty and bold heroine — I love that she’s tough and intelligent, but not hard; optimistic, but not blindly so. I cannot wait to watch her relationship with the general unfold — talk about chemistry! Thanks again for all the hard work!

  3. Thanks so much for the incredibly fast translation koala!
    This story is already so addicting *o* the lake scene was so easy to imagine, I can’t wait to actually see it in the drama!! so much chemistry between xiao yu and xiao huo! <3

  4. i opened my laptop JUST to check if u’ve posted Ch 5 and u did!! omg, thank u thank u thank u, that despite ur busy schedule ur still doing this for ur readers. we can’t tell u how much i appreciate this !

    hehe, and everytime i see u’ve posted a new chapter, i go in my head *i love you koala, i love u so much* haha, gettin obsessive now, but it’s soo worth it

  5. Thank you for translating this. I’m enjoying it so much!

    Just to clarify, I didn’t miss anything right? We aren’t supposed to know yet what exactly happened in the Xiong Nu tribe that got her father killed and ran her off to the desert? I understand that Yi Zhi Xie led a coup and took over, but it seems there’s more to the story that we don’t know yet. At some point, I’m assuming that we meet up with the Xiong Nu again?

    Thanks again!

  6. Ms koala, I was strictly a kdrama and jdrama viewer until i started to read your site last year. Ever since u introduced bbjx last year (which is my fav drama of 2011) I started watching cdramas as well! Thank u for introducing me to my new addiction! Cant wait for dmy, and thank u for the book recaps!

  7. Huo Qu Bing found a match for him in Jin Yu who does not seem to be afraid of him.
    She sure is bold. Looking forward to more interactions between these two.

    I am really enjoying this story. Thank you!

  8. Earlier today i checked, but no new post. A few hours later, I’ve been rewarded with TWO new chapters. Thanks a million, Ms. K. I hope and pray you’ll keep up your strength to carry on with your great work which gives so much pleasure to people all round the world. I’m going to look up Huo’s biography in the Wikipedia. Please just don’t kill him off at the end of Vol. 2, even though historically he died at the very young age of 24. This is fictionalized history: so let us all enjoy Huo’s love story and his happy life with Yu.

  9. Thanks for the translation Koala! While I do feel it’s high time ShiGe get to act as OTP, honestly, I don’t think they have as much offscreen rapport as LSS other pairings, like with Kevin Cheng, Nicky and of course YH. When she’s with Hu Ge at an event, he can be substituted with a stranger and her expression/actions will be exactly the same.

  10. I literally gasped and stopped breathing for a few seconds when I saw that the Chapter 5 translation is up. This is why I hit refresh on AKP every hour. You spoil us!! Thanks so much Koala unni! Now on to reading. ^^

  11. So happy!!! 2 chaps in 1 day! I am so very excited about the fact that HQB is back for good.

    This chap was tons of fun to read. I love how HQB has so much joie de vivre. Also, I am finally warming up to Jiu Ye. I like him. Although it is not full on love like HQB, but HBQ’s personality description by the other characters and Jin Yu & his first meeting was so fantastic that he is still at the very top for me. However, I actually enjoyed the Jiu Ye interactions today! Yay! I feel positive about the love triangle now.

    Lastly, Ms Koala you have no idea how thankful we are to you for all the hard work! You are wonderful for providing us with these amazing chapters at such a quick rate. Thank you so much!

  12. Thank you for the translations! It got me really interested in the story, and I couldn’t wait to know the rest so I just found the Chinese version and finished reading it in two days. I must say I like Da Mo Yao better than BBJX, the ending is so much happier and even the process isn’t as depressing.

  13. Gosh I’ve been so obsessed since you started this translation! So much so I’m now listening to the Chinese audio book while reading the Chinese text! But your English translation is really the cherry on top! Love your work! Keep it up! I’ve run out of exclamation marks but I really wanted to comment to let you how much we appreciate you :)

      • Mei, thank you so much for the awesome, awesome link! Now I can listen to DMY in my car! I kind of wonder what the narrator’s tone of voice will be during the hot-and-heavy scenes … ;)

      • You’re welcome!

        V – my daily commute is only 10 minutes otherwise listening to DMY while driving’s definitely my first instinct! As it is, I don’t know what -else- to do while listening to audio books… I can’t be watching television… and I’m definitely not going to be knitting lol.

        Haha sunshower3…listening and reading is exactly what I’m doing when I get to the intense parts… somehow reading the words seem to make the story more impactful… I guess I’m a visual kind of person.

        I think the narrator is doing great with all the voices so far.

    • is it in mando or canto? i can only understand cantonese…. but it would be awesome if i can just listen to the audio book and let my imagination do the rest!

  14. Thank you for your chapter translations, Koala. Without them I wouldn’t know the clear meaning of the chapters. I can read chinese but DMY’s level of chinese kind of makes it hard for me to understand it. Your english translations help me a lot. Get some rest. It’ll be ok even if we don’t get your chapters quickly, the main thing is we appreciate how hard you work to translate all these chapters so rest well and take care of your health.

  15. Dear Koala, may your rewards in heaven be great! Your hurty fingers bring a lot of joy to many people. :). Thanks so much for these treats!

  16. I somehow feel there is a meaning at last paragraph.. Where Jiu Ye past on a wick lamp to Jin Yu although I couldn’t fathom what is the author trying to convey. Is it just a senseless feeling?

    • Was it just that he was trying to chase her out of the room? The fact that he had conflicting emotions in his eyes meant that he loved her but being a noble idiot, he was trying to push her away at the same time.

  17. Thank you so much for the fast updates!!!

    I can’t wait to read more. I love HQB’s personality and the banter that goes on with him and Xiao Yu

  18. Oh gosh… Hu Ge as HQB! Plus Shi Shi as Jin Yu! Super best! I can’t wait.I love Shi Shi and I’ve just become a Hu Ge fan (just by hearing his voice in “persistent thought”)…The drama should be coming out in the later half of the year isn’t it?

  19. Thanks so much for another chapter!!

    The scenes are so beautiful, somethimes I get a glimpse of how exactly it would look like in drama.

    Can’t wait to read more about HQB, Jin Yu and Jiu Ye.
    Cheers to you!

  20. The first thing I did when I woke up this morning was coming onto your site, and surprisingly, “DA MO YAO CHAPTER 5″ was out! THANKS SO MUCH!
    Whereas in BBJX, I find it hard to fall in love with 8th prince (second lead), my heart totally goes out to Jiu Ye in DMY. He’s so selfless (noble idiot syndrome), kind, endearing, sweet, and almost everything I like in a man. I wish he was a bit more selfish and allow things to develop between him and Jin Yu. Despite drawing boundries and pushing her away, I’m still pinning for him and wishing they were the OTP.
    So far, Xiao Huo’s appearance was quite interesting. The relationship between Jin Yu and HQB is fun, but feels too short. I like reading their scene, but not as much as her scene with Jiu Ye. I can definitely tell that HQB’s interested in her, but I see where her heart lies… and it’s with Jiu Ye.
    Anyway, I’m still leaving room in my heart for HQB, since he’s the fated male lead and you’ve been singing praises about how great he is. *sighs* My heart’s so gonna be broken because of Jiu Ye though. lol.
    Once again, thank you for posting another great chapter. You’re definitely spoiling us! :D

  21. What is up with Jiu Ye? I don’t get him, he’s weird. Does he think she wouldn’t be happy with him or something? Or maybe he just has issues.

    And it seems HQB is really attracted to her, but then why didn’t he look for her? It seems as though he wouldn’t have cared if he hadn’t met her again after the desert, which is weird.

    Thank you so much! ^^ This is so great, and I love reading your wonderful translations, but your health definitely takes precedence! All the best.

  22. Thank you, Captain Koala! Please get some rest and rest your poor eyes and fingers and neck. You do so much for us already! We are immensely grateful!

    I’ll admit, I started DMY off by shipping Jiu Ye, if only because I am such a sucker for the gentle, sacrificing type who will do anything and everything for his loved one yet is too unselfish to claim her. But then HQB really burst onto the scene with this chapter (you might also say the same for his first scene together with Jin Yu, but there they were still somewhat guarded around each other), and now I’m torn. I can only anticipate that future chapters will either make me more torn, or convert me to the HQB ship.

  23. I loved the part where Xiao Yu falls into the water and he laughs at her swimming. I can imagine that playing out in my mind already, and strangely if that scene were to be written into BBJX it could probably happen between Ruoxi and 14th. I suddenly wished that they’d pick Lin Geng Xin and Shishi for the OTP in this drama.

    When i first read this chapter I initially didn’t understand Xiao Yu’s reasons for staging her show like that. I knew she made a calculated move and was trying to get at something, but like Huo Qu Bing, I got it all wrong. I was surprised when Jiu Ye had in turn sold her Luo Yu Fang. I think because the novel is written from her point of view we don’t get as much insight to Jiu Ye’s personal reasons. That’s also why I can’t really sympathise with Jiu Ye’s noble idiocy. There should be more beyond his disability and his background that is holding him back from Xiao Yu. So no, standing firmly on the side of Huo Qu Bing who at the very least, has always been frank about his feelings for Xiao Yu.

  24. Like others have mentioned, I can really imagine the lake scene! I can’t wait to see it in drama form :) Also, I just skimmed through Legend of the Condor Heroes just for LSS and YH, and I really wish he was the lead, or at least Jiu Ye < And personally, I think HuGe would fit better as Jiu Ye, but that's just my opinon. Also, I'm so excited for the next episodes! I'm so glad and thankful you're doing all this- I was so intrigued about Ballad of the Desert when you posted about it, that I even thought about taking the online version through google translate, even though I know that wouldn't really work, haha… Thankyou, thankyou!

    • yeshHHH hu ge would be perfect as jiuye.. or rather, more perfect as jiuye than HQB.. he’s got this “wen yi shao nian” air about him and somehow that doesnt quite translate to how i imagine HQB…. i hope tangren ladyboss pulls off another BBJX casting fiasco and switch the castings around last minute.. please please please i would just love love love seeing YuanHong as HQB.. especially after reading the second volume of DMY and those…. scenes between HQB and Yu-er. YuanHong and his eyes! that lazy teasing gaze that makes ladies blush! even though i said earlier that LSS would be kind of too reserved, i would totally LOVE to see her casted as Yu-Er just so I can watch some epic Hong-Shi action, in the name of good honest work, on screen…

      • Yes, my thoughts exactly! Although I doubt Hu Ge would be placed as second lead, my fingers are crossed > < I can really imagine YuanHong as HQB… It just looks so perfect in my mind <3 Plus, LSS and YH get along so well, and look so cute together

    • with regards to the second lead in this story.. in retrospect, it somehow feels like in the first volume, jiu ye is the lead.. it was only in the second volume that qubing totally took over yu-er’s (and the reader’s probably :P) heart. I don’t think jiu ye feels like a second lead, if i look at it from a purely objective level (or as objective as i can get seeing my obvious bias towards HQB).. although I do personally feel that his entire noble idiot countenance is really, the most extreme i have ever read/seen..
      even though it seems that most speculation is running around TR’s usual stable of artistes.. it seems highly plausible that they may include artistes from hk/tw… although i shudder to wonder who it could be…wallace huo is fine because he’s been in enough period pieces.. but has anyone seen those images of tw actors/actresses like ming dao and qiao en trying to act in period garb.. horrendous i tell you… IF andie an yi xuan were younger, i’d say she’d make a good yu-er.. there’s something feral about her countenance that’s qt suitable..

  25. koala unnie! i can’t believe i just marathoned through both volumes of DMY in original chinese after reading this chapter of yours… and can i just say how much of a crush i’ve got on HQB! the scenes with JY are decidedly beautifully written in a lyrical way.. but the scenes with HQB even at this early stage of the book above, are already sparking.. not to mention in the second volume.. *fans self* DMY isnt an easy read as it was the first chinese novel i read (over the computer too! my eyes!) in many years and tonghua’s prose while beautifully written, sometimes takes some getting used to.. anw HQB! *spazzes incoherently* what am i to do while waiting for the drama version! (prays to the dramagods not to mess this up!) hu ge as HQB, i’m still having problems imagining.. havent seen his newer dramas lately.. my impression of him will always of xiaoyao gege in CP and guojing in LOCH… not exactly the masculine type whilst HQB is… woww.. for want of a better word.. definitely one of the most memorable male protagonists in any drama/book in any language that i’ve had the pleasure of coming across…ok i’ll end here *wipes drool off dashboard*

  26. Thank you so much from non-chinese speakers like me ^^
    I have a great time reading all 5 chapters in one day! heee
    making me to search back and polish my little knowledge on Han Dynasty especially
    the people..

  27. You’re AMAZING. I cannot believe you translated so fast. The only explanation would be your intense love to DMY. Take care of your health, tho. We can’t let you get sick, lest we don’t get chapter 6 (and you don’t do other more important things in your life…).

  28. Never knew anything about DMY until your intro. Just finished reading all 5 chapters at a go! Looks like my fav BBJX really does have a worthy competitor! Am looking forward to more chapters. Thanks sooooooo much! Take your time to translate and take care ok!

  29. Hmmm, the plot thickens.

    I like Jiu Ye. He’s a good man and may be good for her, but she’s so playful like a wolf cub that he seems to get tired of her actions wanting her to grow up and be someone who can be by his side….He may be too serious for her being a leader like brother wolf and she wants to have her way like what we read about her interactions with him being the leader….Xiao Huo on the other hand plays the straight/serious guy but is playful on the inside as well as a risk taker. When he “howled” at her swimming, I could totally envision these two during that scenario. I can imagine what happens in the wolf world is what is happening here with these two. The female wolf is leading the way…..

    I have no idea where this is going, but let the games begin.

    Thanks for another wonderful chapter, Ockoala.

  30. I’m not sure I quite understand Yu Er’s reasoning for wanting to meet the princess. If not for expanding and protecting her business, what else is there?

    • Since her father taught her strategies and the wolves taught her, well everything else, I wonder if fixating on the princess as a target may be Jin Yu’s way to see all of the “powers” reveal themselves.

      She is new to Chang An. She still thinks like a wolf ruling the desert and everyone else has to bow down to her. It seems that she thinks like a wolf re the princess and a wolf has to know who is stronger and the target’s weakness. I think Jin Yu is enjoying and presenting herself in “wolf like fashion” that others may not quite understand or misunderstand her motivations…..Her vista is much wider than they know.

      The whole wolf mixed with humanity may get her into some serious scrapes…

  31. am i the only one dreaming this way? as i am not very familiar with c-actors, i was wondering who i would like to see as HQB if this was done in korea?!

    guess what? i would like to see SSH (hand towel) as HQB *LOL*

    • *ahem* I’ll join your fantasy casting for Korean actors. Won Bin would be perfect as HQB. Just the right mix of brooding and cheekiness if he wants to. Alas, it seems like this hot ahjusshi has no plans of returning to dramaland any time soon. So, koala’s love Jun Ki would be my second choice. ;)

      As for Jin Yu…this is a tough call. The only one I can think of is Ha Ji Won.

      • I think Jin Yu might be played well by Song Hye Kyo or Han Hye Jin. haha :) maybe. So is HQB the main character? Because I want Jin Yu to end up with him. He’s a lot more playful and I like that.

  32. Aww koala! thank you so much for your hard work its really appreciated by us obessesive stalkers! i am totally hooked! the lake scene – i found it smoldering even without the kissing and initmate positions!its like foreplay!

  33. thanks so much!!!

    ditto moomooye – i’m a little confused myself. anyone care to explain or will it be revealed later on? can’t wait for the next chapter!

  34. Oh dear! You’ve got me totally hooked to this novel. The story is amazing. Thanks for all your hard work. Please don’t get tired sharing with us your translations. You are a Star Ms. Koala.

  35. anyone ever watched the Young Worriers of the Yang Clan (Hu Ge was also in it) but the guy that played the general for the other side by actor Yuan Hong. I think he would have made a great HQB. His character basically is the definition of HQB!!! hot, smoldering and totally devoted to the girl he liked even when she rejected him and tried to kill him…

  36. Khamsahamnida K unnie!! Woaaah …. I am soooo in love with this novel – it’s not funny!
    Yeah – I was going to comment that as well – look how many participants join in already!
    I love JIn Yu’s character and love both Jiu Ye & Xiao Huo – one is calm and warm and the other is cheeky and bold.
    As of now, I am voting for Jin Yu & Jiu Ye – purely because if both are cheeky and bold, they will soon crash each other’s personality. I mean you can see your reflection in that person and things that you wish to change in you but couldn’t – you could lash it out on the other person – whereas if you are in a bad mood – you need a calm person to put you back to perspective – and that’s Jiu Ye for Jin Yu … that’s my thought anyway ….

    I might grow very fond of Xiao Huo as the time passes …. :)

  37. Thank you so much for this beautiful addition. Gosh, Xiao Huo is so playful and the complete opposite of Jiu Ye. I can’t wait to see what other tricks Xiao Huo has up his sleeves to steal away his lady love’s heart. He’s got some catching up to do, as Jiu Ye already made heady progress. I love JY’s tenacity, btw, of coming out on top of the world in whatever she puts her mind to. Looking forward to reading more.

  38. so I’m kind of behind on reading, but OMG, I absolutely CAN NOT WAIT for the underwater holding hands scene!!! Thanks again for the translations, Koala!

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