Da Mo Yao Chapter 7: Background Identity

It’s getting good, isn’t it? I can say that the second time I’m reading Da Mo Yao to do this translation, I’m getting a much deeper insight into the story, characters, and conflicts. My impressions haven’t changed, but they have grown richer, more nuanced. I cried a lot more the second time around, in scenes that I initially felt bad for but not emotionally engaged. I get people’s concern that Hu Ge and Liu Shi Shi aren’t exactly the passionate and wild type in their previous performances. I’m inclined to think they can do it, and even harness chemistry that didn’t exist in their past dramas together. I find both of them always improving. As I HongShi shipper I would love if Yuan Hong was Huo Qu Bing, but it’s not meant to be, and right now I just hope he doesn’t somehow get cast as Jiu Ye. The reuniting if HuYuanShi would be a dream for me, just not in this case. While I am clearly fanatical about Huo Qu Bing, I’m also completely in love with Yu Er and Jiu Ye’s relationship as well. For once a story has a genuine, believable, heartwrenching love triangle that continues to build and intensify until I just feel like bursting inside.

Chapter 7: Background Identity

I’m playing with the inkbrush in my hand when Xiao Tao swoops in from outside and directly lands on my hand. I tried to pull back but the ink still spills on my sleeve. Xiao Qian lightly lands on the window and gives Xiao Tao a knowing look, and shoots me a sympathetic one.

I angrily grab Xiao Tao’s neck “What number outfit is this? What number? Today I’m going to turn your snowy cuteness into a black crow.” I grab the inkbrush and get more ink to brush on Xiao Tao, who flaps his wings and cries desperately. Xiao Qian appears torn, not sure if he should help so he coo’d a few times, then put his head under his wings so he doesn’t need to watch anymore.

Xiao Tao appears to understand that I am genuinely angry this time, so he stops struggling and allows me to brush ink on him. I painted a large part of his body black before releasing him.

The sound of clapping comes from the door “What an exciting show, picking on a pigeon.” Huo Qu Bing stands by the door and is thoroughly amused.

I angrily reply “I pick on him? Why don’t you ask him how he picks on me daily? Food and clothing, there is not a single item he hasn’t destroyed.” As I was complaining, Xiao Tao suddenly spread his wings and gave his body a big shake before flying outside. When I react and lean my body backwards, my face feels this cold splash like a thousand drops of ink sprayed on my face.

“Xiao Tao! I’m going to braise you!” My raging screams are accompanied by Huo Qu Bing laughing. Flying out the window, that “crow” has become a black spot in the sky.

I turn around and use a handkerchief to wipe my face, with Huo Qu Bing behind me still laughing “I’ve seen it all, trying to hide is a little too late.”

I hollered “Get out! Who said you could come in?”

He laughingly walked out, and I thought he was leaving, but from the yard came the sound of water being fetched. In a short while, he comes back in and hands me a clean handkerchief. I silently take it from him. Once I felt clean, I turned around “Thanks.” He looked at me and pointed to his ears. I grabbed the handkerchief and wiped there. He then pointed to his forehead and I wiped, then he pointed to his nose and I wiped. I suddenly stopped and stared at him. His shoulders were shaking with silent laughter. I threw the handkerchief at him and stood up angrily “You should go hang out with Xiao Tao, you two would suit perfectly.”

He asked with a laugh “Where are you going. I haven’t discussed with you the serious matters.” I shot back “Going to change.”

When I return to the study, he’s flipping through the books on the shelf. When he hears me, he turns “Ms. Jin, are you looking to become a female general?” I snatch back my hand copied “Sun Zi War Tactics” and return it to the bookshelf. “Touching things without an owner’s permission is a shady thing to do.”

“I’m not a gentleman, and you’re not a lady. We’re a perfect match.”

I’m about to retort when Li Yan arrives, but she turns when she sees I have someone with me. I ask her to come, and when she walks over, Huo Qu Bing stares at her but doesn’t say anything. I give him a glance “Do you need a handkerchief to wipe your drool?” He keeps staring but his lips turn up in a smirk “I can control myself still, no need.”

Li Yan gives me a courtesy but looks questioningly at me. Before I can speak, Huo Qu Bing coldly orders “Take your veil off.”

She gives him an icy look while I hurry to explain who he is. The name Huo Qu Bing flows from my lips when she gives me a shocked look and turns to assess him. She gives him a courtesy and gives me one last look to see if I’m making any movements, before taking off her veil. Huo Qu Bing stares at her in an extremely rude way and then says “You can leave!” She puts on her veil, gives him a courtesy, and leaves.

I ask “As pretty as the Empress when she first met the Emperor?”

He touches his chin lightly “I don’t remember Aunt’s looks during her prime, but it’s likely on par. This is less important though. What’s rare is her demeanor was right on point. She was elegant even in a disadvantageous situation, when I was rude to her she didn’t grow shocked, angry, or anxious. She was steely within her femininity. Stronger than you actually!” I coldly huff without responding.

He wonders “When are you planning to send her into the Palace.”

I shake my head “I don’t know. I have some doubts in my mind. If she can’t give me an acceptable response, I don’t want to get involved in her business.”

He laughed “You slowly think it through. Be careful not to get your trump card stolen. Her looks are extraordinary, but the world is vast. First there was Chen Ah Jiao (one of the Great Beauties), next came Empress Wei, and after the Empress Weil is her. You can’t predict that there isn’t another woman in Chang An as beautiful as her.”

I chuckled then ask “You said you came here to discuss serious matters. What?”

“What happened between you and Shi Enterprises?” I answered “We went our own ways.” He reminded me “Shi Enterprises may not as be powerful as it used to be, but it’s still prominent in Chang An. If you are a lone tree now, be careful that when a tree grows too large it will attract the wind.”

I smile “That’s why I want align with the Princess!”

He asks “How big do you want to grow the business?” I thought and then shook my head “I don’t know, one step at a time I guess.”

He shared some information with me “Meng JIu of Shi Enterprises is an interesting person. Supposedly his mother was a good playmate of the Emperor when they were kids. The Emperor has even held him as a baby. But now he refuses to enter the Palace. Every time he is summoned he refuses. There are few in Chang An who have seen him. One of these days I’l like to meet him.”

My heart felt odd and I opened my mouth, but then closed it and swallowed what I wanted to say. I looked outside and didn’t continue the conversation.

After I walked Huo Qu Bing out, I went to see Li Yan. Along the way I pass Fang Ru’s residence where she is playing the flute, and as a newbie she’s already better than I am. Suddenly the flute stopped playing. From Li Yan NIan’s residence came the sound of the lute, and then the flute started back up. I looked between the two residences and smiled.

Li Yan welcomes me and asks for an explanation. I wanted Huo Qu Bing to see how she stacked up with the Great Beauties, then I ask her to explain to me about her past. If she wants to enter the Palace and needs my help, I don’t want to be used and fooled. She pretends not to understand me, so I laugh and ask to see her hand because I understand a bit of hand reading.

I take her right hand “Lots of lines, a very complicated mind prone to overthinking. The criss-crossing pattern shows the mind is often conflicted, but one line goes ahead, revealing the desire to pursue a goal at all costs. One of your parents is likely Han…” She tries to pull her hand away but I continue “Pursuing a lonely path, vengeance in the heart, the turn upwards to fly high.”

She asks “How did I reveal myself?” I point out “Your eyes are beautiful with lush lashes that are naturally curly, with very white fair skin, and a dance that has its unique flavor.” She doesn’t think it’s that odd. I tell her that only people who grew up in the desert appreciate green nature, which is a life source in the desert. It’s all my conjecture, of course.

I continue – she knew I set up “Hua Yue Nong” to make friends with the Princess and she purposely came here for that, which means she wants to enter the Palace. Her brother doesn’t seem like the greedy type to sell his sister to the Emperor for riches. The Palace is a horrid place with thousands of women vying for the Emperor’s attention, and she is clearly not stupid. Why would she single-mindedly want to go there? She doesn’t appear to covet riches either. So the only answer is “vengeance” But I can’t understand why she, with her intelligence and thoughtfulness, she can’t work this out in her heart. At the age of sixteen, she is at her first blush of beauty, but her eyes are so cold. I found out from her second brother Li Guan Li that her father pampered her but her mother was strangely very strict with her. That means she grew up relatively happy, so where did this vengeance come from?

She explains that her mother was a Han, and they grew up in the Central Plains, but her mother never thought of herself as a Han, and made Li Yan also feel the same way. She gives her real last name, which is a Luo Lan last name. She asks if I am familiar with Xi Yu territory and it’s kingdoms. I nod, Xi Yu has 36 different kingdoms and tribes, including Luo Lan, et. al.

Luo Lan is situation right outside the Yu Men Gate, which makes it at a critical juncture. If the Han want to attack the Xiong Nu, or the Xiong Nu want to attack the Han, passing through Luo Lan is a must. The culture of Luo Lan is closer to the Xiong No so it has always aligned with them. But the current Han Emperor refuses to allow Xiong Nu to block the Han’s westward expansion so has set out to align with the Xi Yu kingdoms, with Luo Lan being the first to be persuaded to change sides. Papa used to tell me the exploits of the Han Emperor and how he set out to make new allies one by one and succeeded. Papa would get excited and say that the Han conquering the Xiong Nu was just a matter of time.

The same story as told by Jiu Ye turned into something more. In passing through Luo Lan, there was a very dangerous and deadly desert region. The Han Emperor demanded the Luo Lan King provide assistance to the Han conveys. But the Han conveys constantly abused their Luo Lan guides, so the Luo Lan King decided to refuse to comply with the Han Emperor’s request. In a fury, the Han Emperor had the Luo Lan King assassinated. Stuck between the Han and the Xiong Nu, Luo Lan was between a rock and a hard place, If either side got angry, Luo Lan would suffer. In order to keep the peace, Luo Lan even had to send one of its princes to the Han dynasty and another to the Xiong Nu as pawns.

The other Xi Yu kingdoms all have the same fates, trying to survive while stuck between two warring giants. One wrong move and they are wiped out. When Jiu Ye told me this story, while he acknowledged the Emperor’s vast conquering strategy, in his voice was more pity for the Xi Yu kingdoms.

Li Yan tells me she knows what she is doing. From the moment she was born, she came with her mother’s hatred of the Han. Her mother’s master, and also Li Yan’s birth father, was a Luo Lan man who once refused the unreasonable demands of a Han envoy. In rage, the Han envoy had her father whipped and then tortured to death. Her mother escaped, though she was pregnant with Li Yan at that time. She met a traveling musician and married him, becoming his second wife and mother to his sons. When Li Yan was small, her mother took her back to where her father was tortured and died to pay their respects to him.

“She pointed to a spot in the desert, telling me this was where father was whipped, and this is where father was buried alive. How father slowly died, mother will never forget the image of father buried in the sand by the Hans. A handsome young man who eventually shriveled up into a dried up human being the size of a child. Her descriptions were vivid and I felt like I could see what happened back then. I had nightmares every night and would wake up in tears. Mother laughed and said that was father’s vengeance. Year after year, mother took me back to Luo Lan, telling me never to forget.”

While Li Yan’s eyes fill with tears, she’s smiling and I tell her not to smile. “Mother would not let me cry. Never cry. Mother said that tears would not save me. I can only smile, I can smile.” I asked if Li Yan Nian knew her background, She says they don’t. When her mother married her step father, she lavished all her love on Li Guan Li as an outlet for the guilt she felt towards her birth father.

I paced, wondering what to do. We all have hate, but my Papa only wanted me to be happy, whereas Li Yan’s mother only wants her to get revenge. The sun is setting and the birds are returning, accompanied by the sounds of the lute playing, I lean against the window and look outside.

“Li Yan, I suggest the smartest thing is for you to forget this all. Your mother is your mother, she cannot force her vengeance on you. She was not a good mother, using her pain to torment you. If your birth father was a good man deserving of a woman’s love, then he would want what brings you happiness and not for you to struggle your entire life in hatred. If you choose revenge, then your life is over before it even begins. Because the target is the Han Emperor, so by default it is the entire Han Empire. The price for your revenge is your entire life, you will never find your own happiness.”

She thanked me “It isn’t just for revenge, I am also the daughter of Luo Lan, with love towards Luo Lan. I am proud of being a Luo Lan person. We may not have the riches and etiquette of the Han, but we have our plains, laughter, and warm embrace.”

I continue “We don’t have warm houses but we can see where the sky and earth touch. We don’t have wide streets but we can race our horse anytime.”

She responds “The world is so vast, and we just want a piece of land where we can herd sheep and sing songs. Why won’t the Han dynasty stop tormenting Luo Lan, give us a chance to live?”

I tell her that the “Tao Te Jing” (Ethics and Morality Manual) tells us that there is no permanence in this world and things will disappear in time. One day there will be no Han dynasty or Luo Lan.

She retorts “I won’t argue these principles with you. Let me ask you. If a young man is about to be killed, will you say to him ‘If you don’t die at 40, you’ll die at 50, if you don’t die at 50 you’ll die at 60. Since you’re going to die anyway, why struggle, just let yourself get killed now.'”

She asks for my help. I tell her she’ll get into the Palace regardless of my help, but she believes going through me is the best way. I agree, though I don’t know what she is thinking, If she tries to assassinate the Emperor, it doesn’t solve anything since there is already a Crown Prince, plus we would all get punished along with her. She smiles, that is not her way. She doesn’t know martial arts and this is not a long term solution.

I shrug “I suppose it’s curiosity. I don’t have a side I stand with, so I can support whatever I want.” She can tell I have agreed to assist and her eyes grow red-rimmed. She has never shared her thoughts with anyone, and thanks me for listening to her, it made her feel much better.

I ask her what the heck is going on between Li Yan Nian and Fang Ru, and she laughs, blaming me since I asked them to create a new song together. She goes to peek but I don’t follow since I don’t want to be a third wheel.

I go back to Hong Gu’s quarters and she hands me a handkerchief, needing to talk to me. The handkerchief is worn after many washes, and instead of being embroidered with the usual flowers or leaves, instead it has a vine along the side that formed the character Li. It was beautifully done and seductive.

Hong Gu explains that the third young master Li (name Li Gan) found it in the courtyard and wants to know who it belongs to. She knew it was likely Li Yan’s but didn’t know what I was planning so told him she would find out,.

Hong Gu follows with more “The third young master Li is the son of General Li Guang, one of the highest officials in court. Even though he was born of such high standing, he’s nothing like young master Huo. He has no arrogance, but his martial arts prowess and scholarly learnings are one of the most accomplished among the young men of Chang An. With the war with the Xiong Nu, he has a bright future ahead of him. Just by looking at a handkerchief with the word “Li” embroidered on it has made Li Gan head over hells for Li Yan, if he ever saw her face, he might as well give his soul to her.

Initially I wanted to return the handkerchief to Li Yan and tell her what happened, but I changed my mind and kept it, telling Hong Gu to find some random girl named Li and tell Li Gan that the handkerchief belongs to her.

Hong Gu stares at me “I can’t figure out what you guys are doing. Your actions towards Li Yan indicate that you want to make her famous, but thus far you haven’t done anything. And if the third young master Li isn’t even good enough for her, it’s hard to find a better option in Chang An.” She proceeds to eat but keeps staring at me “You two….you two….”.

It’s late and Xiao Tao and Xiao Qian still haven’t returned. I’m about to get impatient when suddenly Xiao Qian returns bearing a cloth wrapped around his leg. I smile and take the cloth where small characters are written on it.

“What mess did Xiao Tao get into? How did he become a black crow? You guys fight and I’m the one who suffers. I wore a white robe today and Xiao Tao landed on me. Even though he was half dry already, he was still dirty and my white robe was completely ruined. Now it needs to be thoroughly cleaned. I heard your throat wasn’t feeling well yesterday? Did you boil water accordingly to my recommendation?”

I take out an already cut handkerchief and write “Don’t spoil him, he’s not even afraid of me now. The littlest infraction and he’ll run away. My throat is much better. It’s just that the medicine is bitter so the second time around I didn’t put as much in.” I secured the cloth around Xiao Qian and sent him flying into the sky.

I look down at the ceramic jar in front of me, with gold and silver flower vines intwined that seem especially pretty in the lamp light. I take a drink of water and take out another cloth to write “After researching in a book, I learned that the gold and silver flower have another name of “Yuen Yang Teng” (Lover’s Vines). The flowers first bloom white, and then turn yellow, which creates this gold and silver contrast. The flowers always remain intertwined, never leaving each other. I decide to help Li Yan, because her mind is set and she’s going to do it regardless. Until I am certain of your [she is addressing Jiu Ye in this diary entry] real identity and intentions, why not have Li Yan owe me one this time. In the future, our goals might be aligned, it might not. Neither of us gave each other any promises. I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing, but my feelings towards Li Yan are complicated. Some grudging respect and some sympathy. And perhaps some disgust at myself. Like someone said to me, she is more capable than me.”

My heart hurts and I finish writing. I put the cloth away and see that I’ve already accumulated so many diary entries. Xiao Qian has returned and I remove another cloth where Jiu Ye has sent another detailed medical recommendation, this time with honey in it to alleviate the bitterness. He tells me Xiao Tao refuses to come home, so likely Xiao Qian will go back to spend the night there. He tells me to go to sleep early.

I tap Xiao Qian’s head “You have no backbone.” He cocked his head at me and I wave my hand “Go find your precious wifey!” and then he takes off.

………………………………..

I kneel and bow before the Princess who tells me to rise and asks why I am here. I explain I wanted the Princess’ guidance. There is a woman whose looks far surpass mine, with elegance in dance, intelligence and wit, and a melodic voice. The Princess laughs, knowing that I am running four dancing houses, so for me to praise a woman like this means she really is special.

I explain that she is the younger sister to the musician Li Yan Nian and has her brother’s talent. The Princess orders me to bring her. I bow and ask the Princess for more time, I am preparing a jade carefully before unveiling it. She naturally wonders why I told her this early then?

I tell her that a good war tactician needs to announce the battle in advance to prepare. I am just preparing the weapon, but it is up to the Princess to set the stage. She replies “You are so forthright, reminding me a bit of Huo Qu Bing.”

“Your highness is wise and thoughtful. I don’t need to beat around the bush and hide, which would only make the Princess think less of me.”

She thinks and asks “I heard that the money you used to buy the dancing houses, half of it was borrowed from the girls who work at the dancing houses. In your promissory note, you promised to repay it all – one year, with an interest of 20%, within two years with an interest of 50%.”

I reply that I couldn’t find so much money right away but couldn’t let this great business opportunity pass by, so this was my last resort.

She gives me an assessing look. “This last resort move was brilliant. Luo Yu House is doing booming business, and the other dancing girls who see this would be eager to bet their money on you. The word profit unites a pile of loose sand so that everyone is now aligned with you. Once you have everyone’s heart on your side, that is already half way to success. You can go now! Seeing how you handle things, I know you will not disappoint me. I wait to meet this beautiful jade of yours.”

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Comments

Da Mo Yao Chapter 7: Background Identity — 54 Comments

  1. This story is my obsession now. It’s nearly perfect so far. I really appreciate this translation. The setting breathes, and the characters already feel authentic and alive.

    • I also think she would make a good Li Yan! Not from her character in Gong but when she played Zhao Fei Yan in The Queens (forget the Chinese name but the lead was Yuan Li). She was stunning in that drama. Plus she’s a dancer by trade.

  2. Thank you so much for translating, I really want to hear your two cents as well, personally, I don’t think HQB really likes Ye Er just yet, he finds her interesting, sure, but not love. I also find the relationship between HQB and his aunt the empress interesting. Outward, they’re family, but HQB is no way under her control, nor does he side with her. It’s interesting to see how this relationship will work, given that historically HQB died so young, and by all accounts in the good grace of the Emperor

  3. Thanks for your hard work, koala! 🙂

    I truly feel sorry for Li Yan and her past, but ultimately a person’s choice determines her own fate. Her backstory with her mother reminds me a little about 4th Prince in BBJX and his mother, and I can’t help but feel sad for both of them. In both BBJX and DMY there aren’t really any strong, positive mother figures for the main characters, but father figures are aplenty.

      • Yes I think both girls had different parents who ultimately influenced their life choices – Li Yan had a mother who pushed for her to get revenge, but Yu Er’s father wanted her to be alive and happy. So their lives turned out vastly different. Not a matter of just luck or fate.

  4. What in the world is going on now? She’s entangled herself in other people’s machinations….Tsk. Tsk.

    Fly home little birdy…fly home before it’s too late.

    I just hope she does not cause Jiu Ye any trouble. It’s a good thing he divested from her business wise. 😉 The separation was a good move; he can still protect her if need be but she should not be so thoughtless. Or is she being selfish?

    Thanks for the chapter!

    • I don’t read Yu Er’s decision to help Li Yan as either thoughtless or selfish. It’s at most risky. Li Yan is going to get into the Palace no matter what, she’s that determined and that beautiful. Yu Er is taking no sides, and since Li Yan isn’t trying to kill the Emperor, she might as well have Li Yan owe her one for helping. In her mind she’s still trying to grow her business bigger so she can help Jiu Ye, even if he doesn’t want her help and rather she stay small and inconsequential. Ay ya, those two. Thank god Huo Qu Bing is out there questioning her every step of the way, bouncing ideas off of each other.

      • Li Yan did not state what route her ‘vengeance’ would take.

        I understand that Li Lan will go ahead with her plans anyway, but to help her is to take sides imo. I still see Jin Yu’s risk as a little selfish as she will need the aid of both men to get her out of whatever jam she gets herself into. Her abilities and reach are limited at this point and her calculations could be off. Also, she may need to walk on eggshells once Li Yan is in place or get blamed if something bad happens re Li Yan.

        Tides turn and people change, but that may not be in this novel….lol

      • I don’t see Yu Er’s action as selfish because she doesn’t ask the two guys to help her. She makes a decision and takes the consequences of it. And her decision here really is motivated by Jiu Ye in large part. He totally blames himself, but I think he’s over thinking it. The three of them are just completely entangled in a mess no matter what. Once Li Yan entered the Palace, whether through Yu Er or another channel, she is a force to be reckoned with. If Yu Er picks Jiu Ye it’ll be fine, but if Yu Er picks Huo Qu Bing, then all hell will break loose. Because Huo Qu Bing represents the Empress Wei’s side in the power struggle.

        Just my takeaway. 🙂

      • I will take your word for it because I have not read this novel (not in English) and am basing my comments on what I’ve read thus far.

        Jin Yu is doing her own thing true to form, yet she will need help whether she asks for it or not. She’s willing to go with the flow of things come what may, but that’s not how life works….If people care about you and can help they often times do and at times willing to stick their necks out in the process. She knows Jiu Ye cares about her and is banking on it based on when he told her he would sell the dance houses to her, etc. Her ‘self thoughts’ told us she knows he’s an asset and in her side or back pocket.

        I do not understand this comment about Jui Ye, “He totally blames himself, but I think he’s over thinking it.” I do not see a reference for this in this or prior chapters that you graciously translate for us. If it’s a reference to upcoming chapters, I look forward to the unraveling clue. 🙂

    • I don’t think Jin Yu is selfish. Naive yes selfish no. All the things she do now is to help Jiu Ye. She mistakenly thought that Shi Fang (Jiu Ye’s business) is no longer as strong because of Empress Wei’s family. And she thought all of Jiu Ye’s frowns and worries are due to this. What Jin Yu wants all of this is so that as her business grows and be strong and influential is she can help Jiu Ye.

  5. Thanks for the translation… it must take a lot of effort on your part.. really appreciated…

    I am now have a better understand the background of Li Yan.. i read the chinese version and I got a little bit confuse cos my reading on simplified chinese is just not as fluent… i am looking forwards to more translation and please do take some rest.. you have been working so hard!

    i am still waiting to see who got cast to be Jiu Ye…. i am still not very sure of the idea of Hu Ge to be HQB.. i thought he is more suited to be Jiu Ye… I will be happy to see Yuan Hong or may be Huang Xiao Ming to be jiu ye but i don’t think either of them will settle to be the no 2 guy.. there are also so many other interesting characters in the book… i will wait and see the final casting…

    • Baidu fans are suddenly discussing the possibility of Xiao Wa (Wallace Chung) as Jiu Ye. o_____O Oh god no. Please don’t get a block of wood.

      I don’t think it’ll be one of the other Tangren guys, Lin Geng Xing is so NOT a Jiu Ye, and Jiang Jing Fu is an infant age-wise compared Hu Ge, whereas in the novel Jiu Ye is older than Huo Qu Bing.

      We’ll just have to wait and see who is cast. The initial rumor of HuHuoShi was on paper nearly perfect.

      • oh please no… I love Jiu ye… so i am really hoping for a good casting.. i do like Daniel Wu.. but i don’t think he will do any drama.. just my wishful thinking.. Lin Geng Xing is actually tall enough and with the age range.. but I think he is too goofy and green to be in the role of Jiu Ye…. may be should bring 8th prince back.. but i think he is a little too mature.

      • The casting should be announced anytime now. The filming has been moved back from end of Feb to early March due to Yumama poaching Wallace Huo. Director Li has announced that the new Jiu Ye is NOT a newbie and will be an experienced solid actor.

        God, if it’s Yuan Hong, I don’t know if I’ll laugh or cry. Probably laugh and then cry. T___T

    • i’m one of those who couldnt really imagine HuGe as HQB.. until i saw the stills for Sword of Heaven.. (link here: http://cfensi.dramaddicts.com/forum/blog.php/2011/07/01/scar-of-heaven-stars-chinese-paladin-3-cast-and-newcomers/#more-16718)

      nowwwww i’m sorta kinda convinced.. he’s looking really different these days compared to my memories of him as jing ge-ge in LOCH.. that 3rd and 4th picture-definitely shades of HQB there…

      ahhh when are they EVER going to release the list of names of the cast…

      • OMG, that’s hot, i mean it. that’s smoking.

        My first HuGe was also LOCH, but I went back (from the 2008 pov) and saw some of his earlier, earlier works, and i got to say he’s definitely improved loads, haven’t seen a lot of his newer dramas, but if he was improving as much from his first drama to LOCH, I think he can pull this off. Chinese Paladin had him in a similar teasing personality, though more lovable rogue kind of way.

    • Too bad it’s basically too late for Yuan Hong to be HQB 🙁 I just got back from a LOCH marathon, with Liu Shi Shi and Yuan Hong together, and I have the BIGGEST crush on him now (he’s so hot!!). And I totally ship them as a couple, especially seeing how cute they are offscreen, haha.. And I agree, Wallace Chung as Jiu Ye = NO! gah! > < It just… doesn't.work. Oh well, I'll settle for Hu Ge and Liu Shi Shi 🙂 especially after you mentioned their chemistry in Paladin(was that the one?) despite being siblings

      • By the way, does it feel like the chapters are getting shorter and shorter? I think someone mentioned that before, but I hadn’t noticed at the time, and now I’m freaking out cuz I want MOAR > < So addicted… How many chapters are in here?

  6. thank you for your hard work, it helps me to understand the story better.

    i am very confused, and it’s all my fault and my own inclinations. i thought HQB is the main male character, but Yu er is interacting a lot with Jiu Ye. although her interactions with HQB leaves a more lasting impression on my mind.

    there was no doubt that i prefer HQB to Jiu ye BUT! why is so much of the novel spent on her and Jiu ye!

    also through the comments i read from others here (who’s read further than me) it seems to suggest she’ll be with Jiu Ye…. i am not sure i can bring myself to find out. at least without knowing i can delude myself into thinking she got together with HQB…

    i think because i am overly concern with who she’ll end up with, the political intrigues at the moment is so call “slowing” me down from finding out!! urgh… i really should let go and enjoy the novel.

  7. It feels like Christmas morning when I come across another chapter posted. Thank you for ch.7. I am completely sold on all three main characters, thanks to your fine translations. Which begs the question, if the english translations are this good, what must it be like to read the novel in its original chinese language?

    I daresay, I don’t have a good feeling about JY helping Li Yan avenge her father’s death. As in “curiosity killed the cat.”

  8. “I am no gentleman and you are no lady.”

    Anyone else getting Gone with the Wind vibes? 😉 Dashing Rhett is HQB, gentle Ashley is Jiu Ye, and vivacious Scarlett is of course Jin Yu.

    I’m still not sure I see the reasoning behind Jin Yu’s decision to help Li Yan. It seems like she’s playing with fire. Historically, Li Yan becomes a concubine of Emperor Wu and even bears him a son. So where is she going to take her vengeance? On the Wei family? Any woman who wins the Emperor’s affections is going to find herself automatically at odds with Empress Wei. Perhaps Li Yan hopes to bring the downfall of the Han conquerors by starting with the destruction of the family of the great general Wei. But then, ironically, that would also pit her against Princess Ping Yang, who is the wife of General Wei and the woman who will be bringing her into the palace.

    And what does Jin Yu get out of this? Even if she assumes that Li Yan will be lucky enough to gain the Emperor’s attention, that automatically pits her (Jin Yu) against Empress Wei, who she is well aware is the aunt of HQB. Although I guess at this point she doesn’t yet care enough about HQB to be concerned that she’ll be helping the woman who will be his aunt’s adversary in the imperial harem.

    I obviously have no brain for political intrigue.

    I do feel rather sorry for Empress who is stuck between a rock and a hard spot: To secure the Emperor’s affections, even she has to present her own husband with youthful beauties, yet the woman that she helps in this way is more likely than not to bite the hand that feeds her.

    • Hi, I have read the novel. From what I understand, Jin Yu initially helped Li Yan because
      1) She feels sorry for Li Yan’s sad background and she and Li Yan recognised a sort of kindred spirit in each other.
      2) Li Yan is determined to get inside the imperial harem. And she told Jin Yu that she wouldn’t try to kill the emperor.
      3) The main reason is I think Jin Yu wanted to grow the dancing business because she thought if she could have a outstanding enterprise, she would be able to help Meng Jiu. So if Li Yan, who is from her dancing house, can enter the imperial harem, the dancing house would be more famous and this will be good for business. *Spoiler* But as the story progresses, it is revealed that this is not what Meng Jiu wants.
      4) Jin Yu didn’t consider the consequences of her actions carefully because she is still young and had a strong desire to grow the business. Morever at that time, HQB and her wasn’t that close so she would not consider that it may bring trouble for Empress Wei.
      *Spoiler* Later Jin Yu starts to realise the consequences of her decision and what Li Yan intends to do.

    • i don’t know what Li Yan intends to do. my best guess is she’s plans for her son to inherit the throne (thereby ousting Empress Wei and her son) and stop the invasion of Xi Yu.

  9. This is getting epic! Thank you for another one of your wonderful translation. I can already see the webs that JY will entangle herself into. The whole message-passing-through-pigeons and her diary entries to Jiu Ye are so poignant and they already left a stamp in my mind – like the newly-reared bird of paradise imprinting on its master. Can’t wait to read omore. Thank you, Ms. Koala.

  10. My ideal Yu Er is actually Ady An. At least that was what immediately popped into my mind while I was reading the novel. She just looks so “Xi Yu” to me. ShiShi comes off as very “Han”. If you get what I mean. I LOVE ShiShi though & I trust her abilities so I’m sure she’ll give us a good interpretation of Yu Er.

    Hu Ge is just perfect as Xiao Huo. Yuan Hong would be nice too. But meh, like you said, it’s not going to happen. I still hope Yuan Hong participates in this day. I think he suits Yi Zhi Xie! Just saying ^^

    As for Jiu Ye… I would be disappointed if they casted Lin Geng Xin as Jiu Ye. If anything, Lin GengXin is more suited for Xiao Huo. But he doesn’t having enough acting chops for any of the lead roles yet. But I’m sure TangRen would shove him a role. Maybe as Li Yan’s brother or the Emperor? *scratches head* Wallace would actually make a good Jiu Ye. *cough* His image of White Tofu in CP3 is forever stuck in my head. One thing for sure, he looks good in white!! 😀 But when reading the novel, I imagine Jiu Ye to be Raymond Lam xD Again, not going to happen ):

  11. can’t wait for the next chapter, keep up the good work! Your translations have managed to capture the gist of the novel, written beautifully in english 🙂

  12. Again and again thks a million captain K!
    When I read yr comment I have this feeling dat she will end up with Xiao Huo – I guess I’m happy either way though I’d prefer it to be Jiu Ye – there’s this calmness and protective aura abt him dat I just love …
    So – they haven’t found d make cast for Jiu Ye?
    Our Nicky Wu wud be great I think though dat wud just break my heart further if she didn’t end up w/ him! I don’t know dat many C actors so … I had a peek on Nicky Thks to u – I also love BBJX … It suits someone who doesn’t talk much n has a charisma – a bit like Chow Yun Fat – too bad he’d passed his time …
    Anyhow – waiting for chptr 8 – I kinda wish d drama wouldn’t start till we hv finished d 2 books since I enjoyed tr translation so much – dat way I get to fully compare the books w/ the drama … One can wish right ?
    Have a gud day n don’t forget to rest !! Ciao !!

    • She will end up with HQB. There’s actually lots of pretty steamy scenes between them. TBH I didn’t actually feel the steam between Nicky & LSS in BBJX TV adaptation as I imagined from the book, but they made up for it in their expression of pure adoring love 😀

  13. Thanks so much for the fast translation!! 🙂 It’s getting super interesting, can’t wait to see how Jin Yu’s decision to help Li Yan will affect the future events in the novel..

  14. Hi i just started reading the novel and i’m already hooked with it. I always check f there’s a new chapter posted.
    I have just question if anyone is kind enough to answer…
    will she ever see the old family she was with when she was young? or they all die during the ambush??? how about YU Dan? and the other guy named Yi Zhi Xie, will they ever be mentioned again or it’s just part of her life growing up? no reunion in the future?
    thanks for those who are willing to answer….

  15. I have a dillemma reading this supah long story or being creative myself…time is really something we cannot turn back once we lose it it’s gone…. 🙁 if only I can turn back time!

  16. Are they guys ever going to find out about each other? I mean, they probably are, but it’s taking quite a while. Jin Yu is into Jiu Ye at the moment, so she should kind of tell HQB that she’s not open for courtship or something? Thank you so much, I love reading this ^^

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