Da Mo Yao Chapter 14: Stargazing

Can one girl be in love with two guys? Sure she can. Can one girl think she loves one guy and not realize she also loves the other one? For sure. Yu Er effectively gave Huo Qu Bing a sucker punch in the last chapter of Da Mo Yao, but luckily General Huo is made of teflon stuff. For every push and pull where Jiu Ye dances around Yu Er, Xiao Huo takes a singleminded path to her heart by just engaging her fiery personality each and every time. I like Jiu Ye, but frankly I forget about his scenes with Yu Er (in volume 1 at least, he’s much better in volume 2) the moment it’s done. I never forget a single interaction between Yu Er and Huo Qu Bing, where I feel like she’s free to be herself, always matching wits, temper, and subconscious feelings with him.

Chapter 14: Stargazing

“Bam!” I slam my chopsticks on the table “What is this? A perfectly fine steamed bun, why are you putting weird things in it?”

Hong Gu gave me an odd look and continued to eat her steamed bun “An acacia flower scented steamed bun is very fragrant, and I purposely told the kitchen to do it. A few days ago you got mad when I used acacia flowers to brew some tea. And today this steamed bun has offended you. What did the acacia do to you that the moment you see it, you flip your lid?”

I sit there in silence and stew while Hong Gu keeps eating and ignores me.

It’s not the acacia that offends me, it’s that I don’t want to think about the person standing under the acacia trees.

I lay in bed for a long time unable to go to sleep. I put on a robe and open the door. There are stars outside, and I see a black shadow figure standing next to the Lover’s Vines. I startle for a moment before immediately recognizing who it is. I am momentarily speechless.

Huo Qu Bing turns around and looks at me for a few moments before saying “You didn’t keep your promise. You said you would come find me in a few days, and til now you still haven’t come.”

I walked up to him in silence because I don’t know how to respond. I look at the Lover’s Vines, where one flower is starting to bloom. In excitement I yell out “Look! That flower is blooming, the first flower of the year.”

Huo Qu Bing gives the flower a side look “It appears that I’m the first person to see the flower bloom.”

I take a deep breath “It smells lovely, can you smell it?”

Huo Qu Bing answered “I missed the flowers blooming last year because I was in Xi Yu. But at least they are considerate, allowing the first flower to bloom for me.”

I smiled “I’ve never seen anyone as full of himself as you, assuming flowers would open just for you! It was just a coincidence is all.”

He stared at the flower, like there was a lot on his mind “Sometimes timing is everything. Some things, if it happened one step earlier, everything would be different.”

“One, two, three….” I bury my head in the flowers and count the buds. He was so amused he laughed “You aren’t planning on counting all those buds, are you?”

I laugh back “If I can’t count them, that would make me happier, because it means they are working hard to bloom.”

Huo Qu Bing asked “Why are they called Gold Silver Flowers? I see the white which looks like silver, but where is the gold? I play coy “I won’t tell you now. Come back in a few days to look at the flowers and you’ll see why.” He smiled “I’ll take that as an invitation then, an invitation from a beautiful woman is one I will definitely not miss.” I gasp “You are such a……”

He suddenly grabbed my elbow and steered me outside “Tonight there is a sky full of stars, I’ll take you somewhere fun.” I hesitated but noticed that he was in a good mood, so I don’t have the heart to say no. I quietly follow behind him.

We went to Shang Lin Fan, an Imperial retreat with thirty-six different pavilions and residences on the premises. I ask which one we were going to, and he is amused that I’ve not been scared out of my wits to be here.

I tell him “If I get in trouble, I’ll be taking you down with me.” He stared at me “So are you staying we will live together and die together?” I scoff and ignore his crazy talk.

He takes me to Shen Ming Tai (The God’s Tower), the highest building in Shang Lin Fan. On top of the tower, one can see the entire Shang Lin Fan and half of the city of Chang An. Stargazing up there is likely comparable to watching the stars in the desert. I think about how the view doesn’t have any obstructions and a wide expansive vista, and immediately my heart is intrigued. We flip over walls and safely arrive there. Because no one lives there and it doesn’t house any valuables, there is no guard on duty, just the occasional guard walking by on his rounds.

I climb the stairs in the darkness with Huo Qu Bing. Before we arrive at the top, we heard the sound of two voices from above. We both stop and he whispers angrily “Now which bastard is that?”

I laugh “So only you can come here, but no one else can enjoy it? Since there is already someone, let’s go back!” He tells me “You find a place to hide while I go see which bastard it is and then kick him out.” I pulled at him but he was already at the top.

What a overlord! No wonder there isn’t a single person in Chang An who dares to piss him off. I look around and want to hide outside the window when he quietly returns. He takes my hand and immediately pulls me down the stairs. I want to ask him “Who is that upstairs that would make you hurry up and leave?” He replied “The Emperor.”

I smirk “So it’s that bastard the Emperor.” He gives me a warning look but I can see he’s trying hard not to laugh. I pull his hand “Let’s go up and check it out.”

“What is there to check out? If you get captured, I won’t help you.” He refused to move, so I tugged at his elbow and pleaded “It’s impossible to eavesdrop on the Emperor, so can we go up and listen. Plus he’s…..he will surely not notice us.” Huo Qu Bing looked at me and then sighed, pulling me up without another word.

Just like I suspected, Li Yan was there. Under a sky full of stars, Li Yan was sitting on Liu Che’s lap, and Liu Che used his cape to wrap Li Yan tightly. He was casually sitting on the ground and the two of them were snuggled together, not saying a word.

Huo Qu Bing whispered in my ear “There is nothing to overhear, but perhaps there will be a peep show to see…..” I glare at him and give him a pinch. He grabbed me and then bit my ear. The two of us were tightly pressed against each other. I can’t yell out or struggle, so I just reach for his hand. Initially he thought I was going to try something so his hand was tense and on guard. Seeing that I just held his hand and lightly shook it, he was silent for a moment before the strength in his hand went away. He tenderly kissed my ear lobe and released me. I lightly tripped because my body was tingling, so in that moment I felt weak-kneed. When I gathered my wits and wanted to get him back for that, I heard Liu Che tenderly say “The Palace residence is higher than this. After you give birth and can move about freely, let’s go up there and look over the entire Chang An city.”

I hurry to hear how Li Yan responded “That Palace is where all the hundreds of ministers pay fealty to my lord husband. As your wife I dare not go.” Li Yan and Liu Che’s privately converse like they are a normal husband and wife couple. He does not refer to himself as the Emperor, and she does not call herself his consort wife. Huo Qu Bing, who is pressed tightly behind me, lets out a long sigh. I lightly squeeze his hand.

Liu Che laughs out loud “If I say you can go, you can go. Who dare object.” Li Yan wraps her arms around Liu Che’s neck and kisses him “Your majesty taking your consort wife here to look at the view, your consort wife is already very happy. The most important thing is that there is just the two of us. You are my husband and I am your wife. Oh, and your child. Our entire family is here and that is all I ask for. The Emperor may want to make me happy, but I don’t want your majesty ever to frown. I don’t want people to use my visit there as fodder for political conversation. I don’t want you to be unhappy, I want you to always smile.”

Liu Che was silent for a few moments before saying “I feel the same way about you” before pulling Li Yan tightly into his embrace.

Li Yan, Li Yan, this man cherishes you without any reservation or hesitation. Can you protect your heart? Is this real or playacting? I can’t tell, so how can you be certain yourself? Are you plotting a battle with each step, or stepping ever deeper into the abyss with each step?

I want to listen more, but remembering Huo Qu Bing, decide it’s enough. I pull his hand to indicate that we should leave. As we are turning, my skirt gets caught and the sound of ripping renders the silent night.

Liu Che roared “Who is it?”

I was frantic and looked at Huo Qu Bing, but he shook his head indicating I needn’t worry, he was here. He pulled me up on the tower roof.

“Your servant I wanted to come view the stars on this clear night, and didn’t realize we would be thinking the same thing. Apologies for interrupting your majesty’s and your highness’ enjoyment. Your majesty did not bring a servant, so you must have snuck here alone as well?” Huo Qu Bing bowed to the Emperor with a twinkle in his eye.

Huo Qu Bing brushed aside the sneaking into Imperial grounds, and made it seem like running into the Emperor here was just coincidence because they both had the same idea. Liu Che has no way to response other than let it go. He smiled when he saw me, then said to Huo Qu Bing “I haven’t chastised you, and here you are asking me questions. Looks like we have other ideas in common as well tonight, in addition to what you just said.”

I bowed deeply to the Emperor and then went to stand behind Huo Qu Bing. Liu Che lets go of Li Yan, who stands up and gives me a dead eyed stare, and then looks towards the ground. I sigh inside, thinking of how to explain this to Li Yan.

Liu Che addressed me “Since you are here to stargaze, don’t just look at the ground, boldly look around. I heard you were raised in Xi Yu, so at least you should be more carefree.” I lower my head and answer yes, then look up at a distance, despite not really seeing anything.

Li Yan tenderly says “Your majesty, we have enjoyed the views, we should be going now. I am feeling tired.” Liu Che looks at Li Yan’s protruding belly and quickly got up “It is time to go. You guys can have this spot.” He smiles at Huo Qu Bing and then picks up his lantern, leaving with Li Yan.

Huo Qu Bing and I kneel to send the Emperor off. When Liu Che reaches the staircase, he suddenly turns to Huo Qu Bing with a smile “I’ll let you off the hook this time, but you will come explain everything to me in a few days.” Huo Qu Bing smiled “Your servant will obey.”

Li Yan suddenly mentioned how she’s going to view the lilies in the pond in a few days and wants me to accompany her. I quickly answer that I will obey her request.

After they leave, Huo Qu Bing pulls me up “When you see the Emperor, you are more docile than when a rabbit sees a tiger.”

I walk to the edge and lean on the railing “How should I behave when I see the Emperor? Talk freely?” He leaned on the railing next to me “This is good. There are lots of docile women in the Palace and the Emperor is sick of them. Li Yan retains a woman’s tenderness but has some steel in her backbone and a bit of wildness, which is what attracts the Emperor.”

I ask if he’s alright and he smiles “I am constantly in and out of the Palace, and it’s not that I haven’t seen the Emperor close with one of his wives. But for you, an unmarried girl, to see this….” I glare at him “You know I wasn’t asking about this.”

He looked out into the distance “Like I said, I’ve seen the Emperor with many women. But this is the first time I’ve seen him sitting silently with a woman, just embracing each other. Nothing more. And this is the first time I’ve heard the Emperor talk to a wife in in first person without the honorifics. I was just shocked initially.”

He sighed “The Emperor is just a man, and sometimes he needs a woman to just see him as an equal, because so many people revere him. My aunt isn’t bad, but her personality is much too gentle and docile. Years ago, under the control of Dowager Queen Bao, the Emperor didn’t know if he could retain his throne. And his first Queen had a bad temper, unreasonable and spoiled. With his frustrations back then, he needed a woman like my aunt, someone who worshipped him with her very being. But now the Emperor is full of power and strength, at the prime of his rule, now he needs a woman who he can sit and laugh with, and who will sometimes give him a bit of temper.”

I laugh “You always speak up for the Emperor, no wonder he values you so much.” He laughed “How many Emperor’s were faithful in history. This my aunt already knows, so it’s not a big deal. Today there is Consort Li. In the future there will be Consort Wang and Consort Zhao. So why get upset about it.”

Like he said, there is no hundred day flower in the Palace harem. If it wasn’t Li Yan, another woman will catch the Emperor’s fancy. If Li Yan doesn’t interfere, then no one will mind her. But if she gives birth to a boy, she will want to stop the Han encroachment on Xi Yu by putting her son on the throne. At that time, the battle between the Li family and the Wei family will surely be unavoidable. For the first time, my head hurts and I sigh.

“What’s wrong?” he asks.

I shake my head and look at the stars. Tonight we sit side by side stargazing, will we one day become enemies? If this tenderness will one day become a shattered memory, then I want to treasure this very moment.

I laugh and point “Do you know where the milky way came from?” He scoffed “Even though I don’t like reading, but I have heard the story of the cow herd and the weaver girl. That is the cow herd star. Can you find the weaver girl star?” I look carefully and point, but he shakes his head. I point at another and he shakes his head again. I point at a third and say this must be it, otherwise he’s mistaken.

He bops me over the head “You’re the stupid one and you question me? In the army we need to use the stars to determine our position. Before I could even walk I was sitting on my uncle’s lap recognizing the stars.”

I rub my head and ask “I’m stupid? You’re not smart either. Only when an idiot looks at another idiot do they like each…..” I don’t finish and just shut my mouth. I’m like a fat pig running into a butcher’s shop, looking to be slaughtered. Why did I mention that?

Huo Qu Bing leans on the railing and looks at me, with a half smile. His staring is making me nervous so I pretend to be calm and look back up at the sky “What about that one?” He lightly laughed “Your face is red.” I retort “It’s the Summer right now, and I’m hot, okay?”…..

The beautiful scenery, with stargazing such an enjoyable experience. Our two voices appear to be drifting under the sky full of stars, with the stars twinkling as if it is secretly smiling.

…………………………………………………..

I walk with Li Yan by the lake shore and tell her that my saving the Grand Duke in the desert was by coincidence and I didn’t know his identity. And running into her stargazing was also a coincidence. There is nothing going on between us. She has a slight smile “You may not have something going on with him, but he clearly has something going on with you. Everyone knows his temper, with his eyes on the top of his head. But when he looks at you, his eyes stay right where they are.” I try to explain that I saved his life and he’s just polite towards me.

She looked at me “I heard you hired a teacher for my second brother. Even though you don’t hold a contract to Fang Ru’s life, but she feels indebted to you, and will not leave until you say so. If she doesn’t leave, then my big brother will keep waiting for her. Plus the Princess, and Li…. Everyone appears to be a chess piece for you. Jin Yu, what exactly do you want?”

I silently think to myself that I don’t want riches or power, what I want is more simple than anything out there. I just want to be with Jiu Ye. If Jiu Ye is willing to leave Chang An, then I can throw everything here away and leave with him. But he won’t, so I have no choice but to stay here, and do what I can to be a big tree and help block him from the rain and the wind. I don’t want to be a flower seeking shelter under his branches. If the flower is a woman at her most seductive, then I still would rather be a stolid tree. That way I can alleviate some of his burdens.

Li Yan knows that I run the dancing houses but always come up with new fashions and hairstyles that the ladies want to copy. Plus I’ve opened some salons for only the rich ladies and wives to sip tea, and it is there I’m likely the recipient of all the salient gossip in Chang An about the political tide. I see that Li Yan is aware of what is happening outside the Palace, which means she is starting to get support inside the Palace to pass her this information. I commend her on seeing through what I thought was a very subtle plan of mine.

Her eyes twinkle “It’s because you are Jin Yu, and I always need to be wary of you. What do you really want?”

I promise that whatever I do, our goals will not be in conflict. She used to think so, but seeing me with Huo Qu Bing, she’s not so sure anymore. While everyone is a chess piece for me, why does it seem like I’ve purposely ignored the largest chess piece – Huo Qu Bing.

“I….I….” I cannot explain, having no reason that Li Yan would believe. This is the first time I’m realizing that as I am planning, he’s completely slipped by. I really forgot about using him. I give a bitter laugh “I don’t have a good reason. Perhaps it is because this chess piece is too valuable, so I won’t use it lightly.”

I tell Li Yan that the Yue Ren Ge she taught me before she entered the Palace, I learned it to play for the Big Boss of the Shi Enterprises. Does she believe now that nothing is going on between me and Huo Qu Bing? She looks at me and then asks me to make an oath to her. I refuse, I cannot promise I will never become her enemy. What if she hurts me first? That was not the oath she wanted. She wanted me to swear on the life of the person I love that I will never ever divulge her background. I am angry, but I agree to swear an oath on life of the man I love that I will never reveal her identity. She points to the sky, that the Gods have heard me.

She tells me not to hate her. She is walking an exhausting road. Empress Wei controls the back Palace harem, with General Wei and General Gong Xun on the outside, and now added to it is Huo Qu Bing. Li Yan might have the Emperor’s favor now, but who knows how long that will last. While Empress Wei seems benign and gentle, she can afford to be because other people do her dirty work for her. We walk until suddenly a man calls out a greeting to her highness Consort Li.

We turn and see Li Gan. Third master Li might not be as flashy and radiant as Huo Qu Bing, he’s still the ideal catch for all the ladies in Chang An. Huo Qu Bing’s aura is too bright, too strong, making it hard for people to get close, having no clue where he’s headed. Li Gan is like a mountain, giving ladies a feeling of security.

He smiles to see me, asking if I remember him from last year when Huo Qu Bing brought me to the army barracks. I tell him I remember, and that I am here today at the summons of Consort Li. Li Yan tells Li Gan that I am the owner of Luo Yu Fan. His eyes sudden turn dark and ominous, shooting daggers at me. I avoid his gaze and turn to see Consort Li, who makes it clear she isn’t always going to be manipulated by me, it’s time I tasted my own medicine.

I glared at her and decided to pretend to be clueless. We both notice that Li Gan’s sleeve has the same “Li” character embroidered directly on it. While Li Gan looks like he is furious, Li Yan has tenderness in her eyes, while I plaster on a happy smile.

Huo Qu Bing’s cold voice rings out “Li San (Third Li), what are you looking at?” From his angle all he can see is Li Gan staring at me, but he can’t tell the look Li Gan is shooting me. He can only see my happy smile, but doesn’t know my internal struggle with Li Yan right now.

Li Gan wants to explain but can’t, how can he explain that he hates me right now because of Li Yan. Huo Qu Bing’s expression grows colder, wondering what it is that Li Gan can’t explain, likely thinking really far off conjectures.

The situation is so ridiculous and awkward that Li Yan and I have no choice but to collapse in laughter against each other. Even Li Gan has no choice but to shake his head and laugh, leaving Huo Qu Bing watching us laughing oddly.

Liu Che and Princess Pingyang arrive and ask why we are all laughing. Li Yan looks at me and says that I told a funny joke. I punt the ball and say I was merely retelling the joke I heard from Master Li, who should be the one to tell it now. Everyone looks at Li Gan while Huo Qu Bing stares at me with icy precision. I wrinkled my brows at him, that silly idiot. How could I have had any opportunity to hear a joke from Li Gan.

Li Gan thinks for a moment and then tells the joke, which does meet with enjoyment. Though his joke was really a jab at me, discussing how crafty people who want to achieve their own selfish goals will sacrifice others for their own gain. When Li Gan is talking, Li Yan keeps looking at his sleeve and shooting me pleading looks. She feigns tiredness and is escorted by the Emperor off to rest at the nearby pavilion.

We follow behind, with the Princess talking with Huo Qu Bing, while Li Gan and I take up the rear. Huo Qu Bing shoots me a deathly glare and I give him another brow wrinkle and ignore him. As we neared the pavilion, I slip right next to Li Gan and reach for him. He is adept at martial arts and has a great reflex, immediately avoiding me. But I was expecting his move so I went the other way, and since I also know martial arts, my hand is able to grab onto his sleeve. With a loud rip, the sleeve tears and everyone turns to look at us. The expression on Huo Qu Bing’s face could not be more furious.

Li Gan angrily points at me while I profusely apologize. I drop his sleeve on the ground and step on it during my apology, until the Li character is no longer recognizable.

Huo Qu Bing suddenly hollered “What are you two doing? Is this a place for you guys to be pushing and pulling?” Li Gan finally understands why I purposely tore his sleeve, and he and I immediately get on our knees to beg forgiveness from the Emperor. Li Yan wants to ask for us as well, but the Emperor is in a good mood and chats with the Princess about his mishaps in his youth. Liu Che looks from Huo Qu Bing to me to Li Gan and tells us to get up, and tells Li Gan to go change. Li Gan gets up and smoothly picks up his sleeve before leaving.

Princess Pingyang laughs that the Emperor is totally biased towards Qu Bing and got rid of Li Gan so quickly. Liu Che laughs and looks at the stone-faced Huo Qu Bing “If I don’t get rid of Li Gan now, should I wait until they start fighting. At which time I can’t punish them, and I can’t not punish them.” The Princess laughs that with Qu Bing’s temper, he’d totally do that.

A potentially dangerous situation is averted and I’m tired. Li Yan looks odd so the Emperor has her sent to rest and we are all excused. Huo Qu Bing walks next to me but doesn’t say a single word. I am thinking about what I discussed with Li Yan, and with a mind full of worries, I’m also stone-faced.

Once we exit the woods, I bow to him so that I can leave, and he angrily says “I’ll take you home.” I tell him it’s not necessary, I’m headed somewhere else first. He jumps in the carriage and orders me inside, with a look that brokers no argument. I laugh and jump in, knowing I have no choice. “Don’t be mad at me, I’m going to General Li’s estate.”

He glared at me and ordered the carriage driven there. I look at him and put myself in his position, feeling a tinge of pain for him, so I softly explain “I am not close to Li Gan. I met him for the first time when you brought me to the Yu Lin Army barracks, and this is the second time we’ve met.”

His face soften but his voice is still cold “The second time you’ve met and you behave this way?” I reply “There was a reason. To me, Li Gan is a small peanut. When my eyes are tired, I wouldn’t be able to pick him out of a crowd.”

He has a slight smile on his lips “What about me?’ I hesitated and answered “You’re like a big doofus, is that okay?” He didn’t smile and immediately followed with “What about Meng Jiu?” My face froze and I turned to look outside, two piercing eyes staring a hole in the back of my head.

When we arrive at General Li’s estate, Huo Qu Bing just walks in, clearly used to being here. I ask why he’s following since I’m going to see Li Gan. Huo Qu Bing replies “It looks like you are following me, not me following you. If you want, you can return to the front door and have a servant announce you.”

I glare at him and follow him silently. He finds out from a servant that Li Gan is practicing archery in the practice yard, and Huo Qu Bing heads over there without needing any directions.

Li Gan is shooting arrows in the archery field. His every release is powerful, the arrow thundering into the center of the target. I marvel at his prowess, clearly a descendant of a great military family. Li Gan turns and sees me, and he points the arrow in his hands towards me.

In that moment I know Li Gan is not just trying to scare me. His face is thunderous and cold, with deep hatred within his eyes. He really wants to kill me. My body freezes and I can’t move and can’t talk. I’m afraid that the slightest movement will upset him and his arrow will come flying towards me. The world famous archery skills of this family, I doubt I can avoid it. Huo Qu Bing makes a quick move and he’s blocking me. His attitude is cold and he faces off with Li Gan.

Li Gan’s hand shakes for a moment before he turns and sends his arrow flying into the target, hitting dead center. The force is so strong that the arrow passes clean through the target, leaving only a bit of white feather remaining on the board.

I finally release my pent up breath and my body grows weak. I am a lowly person, and to these rich and powerful people, I am like an ant they can easily extinguish if they wanted. I kept using my mind to strategize, but I forgot that one arrow can easily end my life. All my tactics are nothing in the face of this situation.

Thank god Huo Qu Bing followed me here today, or else…… I wasn’t scared during that moment, but now I’m scared. Did Li Yan anticipate Li Gan’s response? Was this her warning to me? Or perhaps she wants me dead? Who can keep a secret better than a dead person?…………..

The more I think about it, the more scared I become. Huo Qu Bing turns and supports me, and this is the first time I have reached for his hand. His hand tightly grasps mine. Because he’s practicing martial arts and riding a horse year round, his hands are calloused. The rough feel gives off a sense of security and comfort. My heart calmed down and my hands stopped fidgeting.

He saw that I was back to normal and shook his head with a smile “Now see if you dare come here to find Li Gan?” I can’t even smile so I whisper “Why won’t I dare? But next time….do follow me again.”

Li Gan walked up to her and acted like nothing happened. He bowed to Huo Qu Bing “I apologize for earlier, but you suddenly walked in front of my aim and caused me a fright.”

Huo Qu Bing coldly answered “Third brother, we grew together in the Yu Lin Army. When I was small First brother taught me archery. We have had a great friendship. I don’t want to let any misunderstanding turn us into enemies. So I will tell you today – if you ever treat her this way again, my archery skills are no worse than yours.”

I stare at Huo Qu Bing in shock, this indescribable feeling in my heart, knowing that he’s protecting me without reservation. Li Gan is also shocked but quickly understands, turning towards me with a bitter smile “I lost my temper a little today, and it won’t happen again. Will Ms. Jin please forgive me?”

I almost smirked. Can I understand him? Let me try to stick a knife to your neck and then ask for your understanding. I lightly murmured “I came here to say a few words.” Huo Qu Bing considerately walked away to give us some privacy.

I looked at Li Gan “Consort Li came from my dancing house, and everything I do is to protect her. I think you can see this after what happened today. You must believe me. I know you like her, but does she know how you feel?”

He was quiet for awhile and then shook his head “She doesn’t know. She is already an Imperial Consort. I am just an official in her eyes. And I don’t want her to know. What I feel for her is just some of my private feelings.”

Just like I suspected, Li Yan is pretending like she knows nothing and pushing all the blame on me. I think and then say “I promise that I will not tell Consort Li.” He coldly huffed “Years ago, you concealed what you should have told her, so I can trust you on doing this. But I met her before the Emperor did, but because of you, I ended up late to the party. Being late by even one step means a lifetime’s regret, do you know that?” His sadness was mixed with rage once again.

I was afraid to continue his words “Since I concealed it from you, how did you know that Consort Li was the woman you were looking for?”

He looked pained yet also happy “In the Palace, one day I accidentally saw her using the same handkerchief. It was a different color, but the design was the same. I was stunned and kept staring at her. I realized how silly I was, other than her, there could not be another woman with the same beauty. I was initially just stunned by her dancing on the lake, and impressed with how she engaged the Emperor’s attention. Back then I refused to acknowledge my feelings, until I saw the handkerchief and realized my missed opportunity. You caused all of this to happen. Ms. Jin Yu, why did you purposely lie to me? If the Heavens wanted me to see the “Li” character again, why did it have to be too late. How can I not hate you?”

My body is cold. I didn’t dare tell him the truth back then so that this would not happen. Any beautiful woman, having a chance with a man like Li Gan who adores her wholeheartedly, would have picked him over the Emperor and his thousands of women. But Li Yan is not an ordinary woman, she would never choose Li Gan. But things moved in a circle and fate brings it all back to the same spot. I’m afraid to look into his eyes and I murmur “Things are what it is and is impossible to change. I beg of you, please don’t hurt Consort Li. Do you know that the “Li” character on your sleeve today could have caused what havoc? It’s a very distinct “Li” character that once seen will not be forgotten. I don’t know if the Emperor has seen it. You cannot ever put Consort Li in such danger.”

He sounded despondent “I won’t hurt her. Today it was just my carelessness and I wore the wrong outfit. I will go and burn all my clothes embroidered with this “Li” character. From now on, the character will live only in my heart.”

I hurry and bow to him before running towards Huo Qu Bing. He asked “The both of you looked ashen back there. What did you do to piss off Li Gan?” I forced a laugh “Just a misunderstanding, which has been cleared up.” Huo Qu Bing stared at me and didn’t say anything. His dark eyes remain deep in thought.

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Comments

Da Mo Yao Chapter 14: Stargazing — 65 Comments

  1. Thank you very much for the translation!
    Thankfully I have you. Been trying to read DMY, but with my limited chinese, I misinterpret things. like during the “I can’t even smile so I whisper “Why won’t I dare? But next time….don’t follow me.” I thought she said instad “but next time, i would want you to come with me” a totally different meaning -______-“”” LY is really something isn’t she? well I guess that’s why YE liked her in the first place. Chinese stories are really good at those conflicted friendship stories.
    anw, I’m on book 2 right now and it’s sooooo good!! and HQB like you said really shows who is the hero, but at the same time, my heart hurts for JY so much. T_T he truly missed an opportunity with such close timing too. and that scene in the carriage with hqb. KYA.

    • Also, when yu er talked about only an idiot would like another idiot. I totally didnt understand the expression she used. lol. I thought it was along the line of like attract like or something but i’m not familiar with chinese expressions. so complicated. that’ll teach me to not read chinese for a couple years. you forget so much. >.<
      anw, I have a question, I know LY is based on a real person but Li Gan as well?

      • All the major characters are based on real historical figures other than Jin Yu and Jiu Ye (and the Shi family folks).

        This chapter had a foreshadowing about Li Gan and Huo Qu Bing, which is just great writing on Tong Hua’s behalf.

      • *waves back* Hi yeisha!! long time no see! 🙂
        I honestly am swamped right now so that’s why I’m not on here much but this dmy thingy is not being forgiving. It’s not letting me leave it. sigh. lol.
        I think I still have you as a friend on soompi no? Do you still keep in contact w/ pkers?

        @Ms. Koala
        Thank you for your explanation. A story can be compelling, fictitious characters or not, but knowing that the characters exist definitely gives more weight to it. I like that Tong Hua did her homework. Of course, it seems that she takes some liberty with the story (at first, I didn’t want to spoil myself for your DMY recaps so I decided to give yunzhongge a go instead… sigh. I should have seen that spoiler coming. ^^”””) but I like it when an author has a solid frame to work with. It happened to me at times when a “historical” novel is so unrealistic that it detracts me completely off but tong hua (and jin yong) seems to like to use history for more than just a pretty setting and that their knowledge of the period they are writing about is substantial enough that they can afford to make liberties to enhance their stories and still give them an impression of reality.
        And like you said, Tong Hua’s foreshadowing is great. A good writer is one who doesn’t need to spell out everything, while still giving out detailed yet subtle hints throughout their story so that when things come to conclusions, the reader doesn’t question how things ended up that way, without the need to take away any excitement from it. 🙂

      • @yeisha
        just read your other reply and i can’t believe you never watched any c-dramas before bbxj. for some reason, i had in my head that you were chinese. lol. anw, there’s about hundreds of compelling c-period dramas (historical, or wuxia) to watch out there. definitely give them a try.
        The good ones are much more substantial than korean sageuk dramas (/gets bricked).

    • I hate Yun Zhong Ge. God, I want to talk about it but can’t until I’m done with Da Mo Yao, because even talking about it would spoil the ending of DMY.

      Honestly, YZG is Tong Hua’s version of fictional hell. It’s like she’s aping 匪我思存 novels in how much she wants to torture the heroine and mind screw all the characters. I spent the entire time wanting to airlift Ling Ge Ge out of there and take care of him. He was the only major character I even remotely like in that novel.

      I could have spent the entire novel hanging out with Yun Ge’s hot hot sexy Third Brother, though. Hhhmmm, yuuuuummmy.

      • LOL. I love how strongly you express your dislike for the book, bold characters and all. I never made the connection with FWSC, but now that you pointed it out, I’m totally seeing it. fwsc has her fans but her stories are a bit of what i would call maybe “makjangism” (for lack of better word).
        I think the problem with YZG is that she was trying to “top” bbxj and dmy in terms of emotions, and raise up the stakes and conflicts or something, and ended up making it what you accurately called “fictional” hell. The novel was depressing, to put it mildly. Everybody’s life was screwed up. POOR POOR ling ge ge. yg gave him such a hard time and the ending. :O dont even get me started on meng jue.
        and haha. San brother was hot. I’ll give it to tong hua, most of her male characters are to die for.
        Off I go.

  2. Your translation is beautiful! Thank you!

    >>She wanted me to swear on the life of the person I love that I will never ever divulge her background. I am angry, but I agree to swear an oath on Jiu Ye’s life that I will never reveal her identity. She points to the sky, that the Gods have heard me.<>He saw that I was back to normal and shook his head with a smile “Now see if you dare come here to find Li Gan?” I can’t even smile so I whisper “Why won’t I dare? But next time….don’t follow me.”<<

    If I recall correctly, Jin Yu said "Why wouldn't I dare? But you'll have to come with me!" or something to that effect. It's actually the opposite of your interpretation here and I thought it was cute that she acknowledged that HQB protected her on this day and wanted him to do the same if there was ever a next time.

    I've finished marathoning through the Chinese novel with the help of the audio book but I still refresh your page many times a day because I simply love your translation more! It's almost like I read the original for the plot but come to your translation to slowly savour the words. Can't wait for you to start on volume 2!

  3. Your translation is beautiful! Thank you!

    == She wanted me to swear on the life of the person I love that I will never ever divulge her background. I am angry, but I agree to swear an oath on Jiu Ye’s life that I will never reveal her identity. She points to the sky, that the Gods have heard me. ==

    Here, Li Yan actually asked JY to repeat her oath using the phrase “the person I love” instead of “Jiu Ye”. I think Li Yan already suspected that JY may love HQB more than she (JY) realised. At the very least, I thought this was a nice clue to readers that Jin Yu’s affections would move to someone else other than Jiu Ye in future 🙂

    == He saw that I was back to normal and shook his head with a smile “Now see if you dare come here to find Li Gan?” I can’t even smile so I whisper “Why won’t I dare? But next time….don’t follow me.” ==

    If I recall correctly, Jin Yu said “Why wouldn’t I dare? But you’ll have to come with me!” or something to that effect. It’s actually the opposite of your interpretation here and I thought it was cute that she acknowledged that HQB protected her on this day and wanted him to do the same if there was ever a next time.

    I’ve finished marathoning through the Chinese novel with the help of the audio book but I still refresh your page many times a day because I simply love your translation more! It’s almost like I read the original for the plot but come to your translation to slowly savour the words. Can’t wait for you to start on volume 2!

    • do you mind sharing the audiobook link? It would help me so much more!
      I haven’t touched chinese characters for years and I’m kind of drowning in them reading the book. ;A;

      • Thank you so so so much!!!
        I caught up on the dmy bandwagon late so all i did was skim through the earlier posts, and not the comments. that’s probably why I missed your comment. 😮 I’m so glad you mentioned the audiobook again. haha.
        I’m worse in oral chinese than written but I’m so rusty with my written chinese anw, the audio will definitely be a tremendous help.
        I’m in the middle of book two right now and I’m SOO caught, hook, line and sinker.

    • The oath itself aside (which I have issues with but agree that it was smart of Li Yan to ask for it), I like the subtlety that Li Yan insists that Jin Yu make the oath on “the life of the person whom I like”, even though Jin Yu starts off by using Jiu Ye, whom she equates with “the person whom I like”.

      One issue that I have with JY and and that I had with RX in BBJX is that Tong Hua writes them as unfailingly nice, good people. Actually, I take more issue with JY than with RX; RX at least attempted to avoid embroiling herself in palace conflict, but here, JY is portrayed as actively intriguing and scheming. Thus, it’s frustrating that Tong Hua doesn’t dare take JY further and make her more of a double-edged sword; in fact, even when other people harm her, JY never attempts to retaliate. She does take steps to defend herself, but as for mounting an offense? Apparently Tong Hua thinks that heroines can’t do anything mildly “bad” lest they no longer qualify as “heroines”. Basically, the Cinderella trope is something that I wish Tong Hua would let fly to the wind and make her heroines more realistic and gritty. Then the reader can find them much more relatable.

      Case in point: despite JY now being well aware that Li Yan happily anticipated that Li Gan would now thoroughly hate JY’s guts and perhaps even attempt to murder her, JY still maintains her loyalty to Li Yan and does what she can to protect Li Yan. I wish JY would’ve just told Li Gan that even if he had met Li Yan first, she still would’ve never chosen him because her ambitions have always been set much, much higher. Sometimes these people just need to be hit over the head with the truth, repeatedly.

      • I don’t find TH writes Cinderella heroines as all. I find RX and JY as very calculating ladies, with JY especially willing to do what makes herself happy despite potentially having far-reaching consequences.

        The only Cinderella heroine she’s ever written is Yun Ge, but that’s another discussion. Both RX and JY suffer the ramifications of their actions. I’m not sure why JY needs to retaliate at this point. Can you explain why you think TH needs to go there?

        JY can’t tell Li Gan that Li Yan will never choose him. She’s already sworn an oath to Li Yan that she won’t reveal her identity. To tell Li Gan that Li Yan would choose the Emperor would necessitate explaining why, and that would reveal Li Yan’s identity and that she is out for vengeance of some nebulous nature. Li Yan’s did not choose the Emperor because she had high ambitions (i.e. she wanted to be Queen for wealth and power), she chose him because of her hidden agenda. I suppose JY could make up that reason to Li Gan, but why bother. That’s just not her personality to explain everything.

      • Characterizing JY and RX as Cinderellas might be a bit extreme on my part, but I do believe that both characters share aspects of the “suffering without thought of retaliation” characteristic of Cinderella. I don’t necessarily want them to retaliate, but it sort of drives me nuts how they easily accept other people’s betrayals (especially the betrayals of loved ones) without feeling more hurt or incensed by it. Indeed, they then turn around and blame it on other people!

        For example, when RX learned that YT had been a spy for 9th prince all along, not only did she not blame YT one whit (which I can grudgingly accept – YT did treat RX as sincerely as she could, even though they were on opposing sides), she turned around and blamed 4th prince instead. Which I suppose by extension really just means that she was blaming herself.

        Similarly – spoiler ahead! I skipped ahead in the book and browsed some of the future chapters – when JY realizes that it was Mu Da Duo who had sent the assassins after her and not YZX as she had suspected all along, she nevertheless puts all the blame on YZX for MDD’s behavior/actions.

        I just get exasperated by this behavior. Just as RX and JY can exercise their free will and make their own choices (and accept the consequences later), these people have also made their own conscious decisions to betray their bosom friends (i.e., RX and JY). Not only are RX/JY not as hurt by their actions as I would certainly be in their positions, they go and put the blame on not the perpetrators but other people! (Which, again, one could argue is just a manifestation of their own self-guilt.) This kind of thinking is a little too saint-like for my liking/relatability.

        Now, in the cases of Yu Tan and Mu Da Duo, I can understand better the desire to forgive and forget as quickly as possible – RX and YT served together for years and years, and similarly, MDD and JY have a long, shared childhood together. But JY’s generosity towards Li Yan – whom JY is now very well aware wouldn’t hesitate to “borrow someone else’s weapon to kill one’s own enemy” – positively confounds me. JY jokingly calls LY her “bosom friend”, but in my opinion, JY just meant that she had met her intellectual equal in LY, not that she actually deeply cared for LY as a super-close friend. In fact, it seems to me that JY has always kept LY at somewhat of an arm’s length – and in LY’s words, “treated [her] as a chess piece”. So why be so forgiving for LY’s sake when Li Gan almost murders her? I’m not asking for JY to betray all of LY’s secrets right then and there (because she still wants to use LY to further Jiu Ye’s cause), but given what just happened, JY (in my opinion) is being overly charitable where LY is concerned. Or maybe JY just doesn’t care that much for self-preservation.

        As for Li Gan, I doubt anything JY could say would decrease LG’s ardent passion for LY, so that’s not what I’m after. Rather, my issue is that because JY doesn’t try to defend herself, LG is left with the impression that JY bypassed LG and plotted to get LY into the palace solely for JY’s profit and greed (which is true but only as a very minor point, as LY was still the primary driver in wanting to enter the palace). By leaving that misunderstanding to fester and grow, JY has got to know that LG could be a very, very dangerous person to her in the future. So why she doesn’t attempt to “cut off the weed at its source” just baffles me. Again, where did her instinct for self-preservation just flee to?

        At least if JY told LG that LY was the one who wanted to enter the palace and that JY only helped (and let LG believe that it was for riches and power, since ever other woman in the palace is there for that reason), it might decrease the hatred that LG feels for JY and make him a less dangerous opponent.

        Mostly, I just expect JY to have thought of these things beforehand, because she makes such a point of priding herself on having read strategy books and being so smart at scheming. At least if you’re going to brag about yourself, live up to the claim.

        Anyway, that was one long-winded dissertation! Hurray for book discussions! 😀

      • I think you combined two elements of RX’s reaction to YT being a spy. She didn’t blame 4th Prince because YT was a spy. She blamed 4th Prince for killing YT as a warning to 9th Prince and all future spy activity. He sacrificed YT, who was just a pawn. RX blamed 9th Prince for turning YT into a spy. These are two different reactions on RX’s part.

        As for MDD, I totally back JY’s reaction. Everything that happened to her was directly correlated to YZX stealing the throne from Yu Dan. Sure, she can fault MDD for trying to kill her, and she does in her own way by deciding then and there that whatever friendship between them is over. But she correctly throws the blame where it ultimately resides, on YZX’s shoulder for setting everything in motion. It really is all YZX’s fault on another level, for trying to find traces of JY in MDD and making that girl totally in love with him and then insecure that she’s just a replacement for JY, which she is.

        In a political game, JY and RX allot the blame on the chess players, not on the chess pieces, which to me highlights their understanding that those with power control the direction and everyone else is just reacting to situations beyond their control.

        I don’t find RX or JY blaming those in power is a saintly or Cinderella reaction. I just don’t see the correlation there. It’s purely a value judgment on their part. They see the weak being manipulated by the poor, and the weak in this case are women (YT, MDD) who love men (9th Prince, YZX) and then betraying their friends for love.

      • While the chess players do deserve blame for setting things in motion, their chess pieces are also not automatons; the people that they manipulate also have many choices of their own, and free will to choose. YZX’s infatuation with JY does indeed make MDD feel very insecure – but certainly no one held a dagger to MDD and forced her to send assassins after JY. At least with RX, I do feel that she has more of a “right” to not blame YT because YT was at least sincerely torn between RX and 9th prince and was reluctant to betray RX. MDD, on the other hand, actively chose to completely fling aside any feelings of friendship towards JY. So she definitely shares culpability with YZX.

        What I consider “saintly” behavior (can’t think of a better word at the moment – it’s Friday, and my brain is fried for the week) is that RX and JY don’t appear to feel the least bit hurt by their friends’ betrayals or at least they get over it very quickly and immediately pass the blame to others. And if they’re so rational as to blame the chess players rather than the chess pieces, well, why blame anyone at all? 4th prince killed YT because YT was poisoning the relationship between him and his son and had also been ordered to poison the relationship between 4th prince and RX, among other things. Seems like a very rational thing to do, to kill off your enemy’s spy and also send a warning to your enemy.

        I also think that it’s rather simplistic to characterize chess players as not being themselves also manipulated by events out of their control, and even by their own subordinates/chess pieces. Definitely, they hold more power than most, but it’s certainly not total, absolute power, and again, all of us have free will and we all have a choice to act the way we do.

    • Ok, as much as I loved the ear biting/kissing JY received from HQB, I have to call out JY on accepting such intimate gestures from someone she categorizes as a friend without putting up a fuss. To me it’s right up there with kissing on the lips if not more. Or is it a wolf thing to accept ear biting from casual friends?

  4. almost there koala unnie! almost there to volume2!

    i love all her scenes with HQB! always with memorable quips and at once filled with mirth and yet so achingly honest with an underlying tenderness… jiu ye is so so repressed in his emotions.. and reminds me so much of 8th and maybe a tinge of 4th in BBJX… and while it’s a lovely drama, i got irritated with the wishy-washiness of the romance eventually… was totally in love with 14th and 13th prince… and while 13th with RX was impossible in the romantic sense of the word.. i loved 14th’s antagonism with RX…which probably explains why i love DMY so much in contrast.. cos HQB gets the girl in the end… what can i say, i like the man who acts on his feelings.. ^^

    • In my first post about DMY, I described Jiu Ye as a cross btw 4th and 8th, while HQB is a mix of 13th and 14th. Glad I’m not just seeing things.

  5. Thanks Koala unni,
    i am really infatuated with this story. Till now i was like, this story was OK …. but Today Episode was very calculative … amazing, political. For me too, Do Ma Yao is 100% more interesting, integrating, suspenseful , romantic, engaging, passionate, than BBLX … characters are so straightforward, interesting, beautiful, sexy, powerful, and also suspenseful. You never know what will happen next time …. Thank you for your Time and hard work.

  6. You are on a roll, Koala! Thank you. Its wonderful to wake up to this today. 🙂

    Just have a question, not related to this chapter but if anyone can answer, I’d really appreciate it. BBJX is the first C-drama that I watched so I haven’t seen Hu Ge in anything. I know they’ve acted together before, how was the chemistry between Shi Shi and Hu Ge? From the photos posted here, it seems like they are very well matched physically, both slender and elegant looking. Just curious because I’ve been burned by one OTP too many and don’t want to raise my expectations too high.

    • they’ve acted together several times before.. but never as a couple.. yet apparently they have a palpable chemistry onscreen that has yet to be harnessed properly as the OTP… but they DO look gorgeous together eh? I’m a HongShi shipper cos their interactions off-screen are just adorbs and who can resist the flirty cad that is YuanHong anw…
      but i think HG and LSS look good together too.. ^^

      • Thanks! And yeah, YH is definitely a force to reckon with. And I’ve only seen him as 13th prince so far. He’s just beautiful (hot), in that unconventionally magnetic way. 😉

    • Yeah, it’s weird, but there is a sizeable ShiGe shipping contingent even though they have never been an OTP in drama (yet) despite doing 4 together.

      TBH, I can’t say for certain because they were younger then and both have definitely improved as actors in the last few years, so I think they can pull off the chemistry even if it isn’t as naturally sizzling as HongShi.

      I’m stoked about the casting regardless, I think it’ll be a win.

      • i dunno about the sizzling part when they’re together- that we’ll have to wait and see ><
        but i know for sure that they're looking mighty sizzling individually for their new drama Scar of Heaven.. Goodness.. I thought HG was good looking before and totally loved his boyishness in roles in CP and LOCH… but in SoH.. *fans self* when did he grow up so hot… every bit the man now… as for LSS.. stills and BTS have her looking so sultry.. it's the eyes i tell yeh, the eyes… (rumour on the street credits this change to YH.. hoho)
        if i was a bit iffy about imagining them as beloved HQB and Yu-er before… the stills for this other drama just about upped the stakes. and my anticipation for DMY and their renditions of the characters just shot through the roof…

      • Ah, I see. So they haven’t acted as lovers before. That should be something to look forward to then. And they do look beautiful together, maybe that’s why people are shipping them.

        I guess I’m just cautious because I’m falling deeper and deeper in love with this novel and don’t want to crash and burn when the drama adaptation comes. But I know that won’t be the case because ShiShi had chemistry with all her BBJX men. 😉

  7. I’ve been too busy to catch up with this until now, but I love love love LOVE it! You are great at translating.

    Also, it’s sad how I can place every picture from which scene in which drama it was 🙂

    • Haha, I knew you’d recognize all the pictures. 🙂

      I find DMY very sweeping and emotionally expansive, whereas BBJX went for the deep emotional angst. Volume 2 is where all the good stuff begins, so I’m just chafing to get there.

      • I can sense the difference you mention – it seems fitting as Qing strikes me as a long more structured (especially since BBJX is pretty much 100% set inside the palace) than the Han, especially when a stpry involves battles and ‘wild’ tribes.

        (btw, I am literally in awe of your translation skills. Whenever I try to translate from Russian to English, it’s hard, and the two languages have more in common than English and Chinese).

      • I’m on volume 2 and I so cannot wait for your translations of volume 2. I’m just ready to blush while reading your recaps.

    • lol. it’s not sad it’s awesome. 🙂 I’m a hu ge completist, and also a lss fan and watched nearly all her period dramas aired after her appearance in the yang warriors so I also happened to be able to spot the pictures. To be honest, I wouldn’t want to miss any of those dramas so it’s definitely a good thing in my book. 😀

      • Yay! I am not alone! The pic for this chapter reminded me of how I wanted Hu Ge and LSS to get together in CP3 even though they were playing brother and sister! I kept hoping one of them was adopted or something 🙂 Nothing against Yang Mi, whom I do love, but I was wrongshipping that drama until the bitter end

        (Though since the ‘newer’ version of Hu Ge was a reincarnation of LSS’ brother, does that count as siblings? Reincarnation makes my head hurt :P)

      • haha. hi-5!
        Sigh. I was also shipping LSS and HG a bit secretly. I love Yang Mi too (ever since her condo heroes appearance) but I think CP is doomed for non-OTP shipping. I mean the story makes us want to ship the otps but the chemistry hu ge had with ady and lss was so potent. (let’s not talk about lyf. XP)
        Haha. Chinese stories and their reincarnation. I guess biologically, t wouldn’t be her brother, but spiritually, it would. the stairs scene. it definitely DID NOT feel like brother-sister.
        (btw, it’s SO cool you can speak russian. my father speaks/writes russian but i never learned it. All i know, is vaguely how to say hello. something like strasbutie or smth. and what’s your name, karhk varh sa vut or smth. and dasvidanie? ^^” anw. SO COOL.)

  8. By the way, this is off topic but I wondered if Tong Hua ever mentioned lian nichang (aka yu luo cha) from liang yusheng’s bai fa mo nu zhuan? I’m just curious if the fact that yu er was raised with wolves was a coincidence, or was inspired from LYS’s work. Even their names had jade “yu” in it. I really find the fact that they were feral children compelling. It makes it even more special how they learned the human language and culture so well. It’s not easy to be able to acquire language after a certain age.

  9. HQB is letting JY know in no uncertain terms his feelings while she continues to ignore her feelings/reactions for him. It’s great to see a leading man make up his mind (about the girl) and continually pursue her. HQB is not waffling on his choice or running hot and cold like the wishy-washy Jiu Ye. So awesome!

    Thanks for the latest chapter & for hosting this discussion of DMY. Looking forward to more!

  10. Urgh, I feel like this chapter is setting everyone up to be really unhappy later on…Noooo, please not! Why am I already feeling sad? And urgh, Li Yan, wanting to kill Jin Yu? That makes me seriously dislike her. Well, and Li Gan, just blaming it all on Jin Yu. I wish she’d just run off with HQB, never look back and just live a happy, secluded life somwhere far, far away, never to think of political intrigue, lying, or any of that, ever again!

    Thank you so much for you wonderful translations! ^^

  11. Thanks for the superb translations once again. I must admit I was tempted to read Yun Zhong Ge after completing Da Mo Yao but is now kinda aprehensive after seeing the comments about it above. Nonetheless I probably take it up after we have finished dissecting DMY (there still lots of time to kill till the drama airs next year). Regardless, I think DMY is still going to be my fav out of all of Tong Hua novels. It seems to be the most light-hearted & cheerful one too!
    Rumours are swirling that the delay in official announcement of the casting news is due to the fact that nobody is keen to take up the role of Jiu Ye (similarly BBJX had the same issue with the 4th prince being the unpopular role to play). I personally find it sad coz I do prefer Jiu Ye & understand why Jin Yu likes him so much. He was the one that sought her out when she was in need & gave her comfort. He was also meticulous & attentive to her when she felt unwell. I do adore HQB but one must understand that given the age of the characters, it’s understandble that he’s more carefree (and by carefree I mean “daring”) & libertine in his actions. I mean come on we’ve all done crazy things when we were 19/20s! Hence, I’ll take a gentle & caring soul like Jiu Ye anytime & my heart bleeds for hime esp. in bk 2!

  12. “Huo Qu Bing answered “I missed the flowers blooming last year because I was in Xi Yu. But at least they are considerate, allowing the first flower to bloom for me.””

    Can he be anymore adorable? This is as far as I got and had to stop. He’s ripping my heart out….

  13. Ouch! Talking about JY’s handkerchief action/decision coming back to bite her! And I can totally see the beginning of a rift between Li Gan and HQB… pity that since he seems to be a friend that HQB can be at ease with.

    Anyway, thanks for the chapter! ^^

    • It’s sad to know how their friendship will move downwards because of women! Hopefully Li Gan can see Li Yan’s nature and understand it’s not entirely YJ’s fault.

      • Sad considering that Li Gan is probably the other man I have read HBQ talking easily with so far in the book! Sigh… poor men. They are quite similar in how extreme they love their women though.

        But seeing how infatuated Li Gan is, I don’t think he is going to make things easy for HBQ/JY or HBQ/LG’s friendship.

  14. Love how something like the acacia can make JY think about HQB. Also loved how he defends and protects her everytime, but specially from Li Gan… not necessarily when he steps in front of her, but when he makes a threat at him.

    I really like Li Yan as a character. She is not 100% good nor 100% bad… and she’s smart. I’m amazed how the intrigue is invisible but still recognizable. JY never saw Li Yan do anything against her, but by Li Gan’s actions and her own knowledge of his feelings, she can guess what Li Yan’s up to.

    Thanks for translating another amazing chapter!

  15. HBQ FTW!! I am glad to see how much HBQ has started to affect her and her being more aware of him (her guilt re acacia flower and realising that he wasn’t happy thinking she was close to Li Gan) and also starting respond (reaching for him for comfort). Sigh, JY, grab this guy while you can… he obviously loves you and cares for you. Otherwise, with all the shenanigans you come up with, you will be in big trouble!

  16. So I was initially apprehensive about HG playing the part of HQB because I think, like some here, I found him looking too boyish/fresh…..BUT…..*ahem*…..have folks seen these pics yet?

    http://chinesepaladin.org/images/huge/huge_112.jpg
    http://chinesepaladin.org/images/huge/huge_111.jpg
    http://chinesepaladin.org/images/huge/huge_120.jpg

    …….I’m going to happily eat my words and say I can *totally* see it now. Can you just imagine the crackling chemistry that he and LSS are going to cook up? When is this drama going to to start airing? *starts counting down the days*

  17. thanks again ms. koala!!

    this just keeps getting better & better. though, as another commenter mentioned, it does seem that JY herself, is giving mixed messages to HQB by allowing him to be so close to her person without being upset by their interaction. maybe she thinks this is normal behavior between friends? i dunno…

    • True but I think JY is also starting to be more aware and considerate with HBQ’s feeling, starting with feeling guilty at the start of the chapter and feeling pain seeing him upset about LG and explaining that she does not know LG well… A few chapters ago, I don’t think JY would have thought of explaining.

  18. Though I like Jiu Ye as a partner for YJ, I think personality-wise HQB is more suitable for her in the long run. With Yiu Je, she’s trying to adapt herself to become someone she “thinks” he would like. With HQB, she doesn’t have to be other than her real self — carefree, risk-taking and straightforward, saying what she likes and doing what she likes. She has no need to make herself appear more learned or more “civilized”, shall we say? It’s better for YJ to be with HQB as he apparently accepts her at her face value and also never hesitates to show his interest and feelings for her; whereas, Jiu Ye, for some reason, is blowing hot and cold, and making her confused and uncertain. In fact, she seems to lose her self-confidence when she’s with her protector, With HQB, she’s cocky and saucy and naughty, and I prefer her to be that way. Sadly, with YZX too, she never needs to be anything than herself — wild, tomboyish and charming in her utter innocence at the same time. Too ba YZX has to marry for political reasons before she even grows up. By the way, how come YZX is able to be in Chang An? Or is there a lull in the ongoing military conflict between the Hans and the Xi Yu?

    Millions of thanks for the daily feasts we’ve been given by Ms. K. I’m looking so forward to your translation of Vol. 2, which promises to be hotter, and maybe more tragic.

    I wonder how much Jin Yu will be damaged as a consequence of her role in helping Li Yan into the palace as Consort Li seems to be quite ruthless in getting what she wants and she may not think her “friendship” with Jin Yu as sacrosanct when she wants to do away with her friend if occasion arises. Right now, our heroine has earned the enmity with Li Gan, and poor HQB is the loser in the spat between two strongwilled women.

  19. This is totally a random find on YouTube when I was looking for old LSS and Hu Ge vids as I’m new to C-ent and never seen them together before. Thought I should share this here because they look…sooo HAWT.

    If HQB looks like this…whoaaaa! *fans self*

    http://youtu.be/PwTZxg_cd50

  20. :gush!: HXB is to die for! Gah, how in the hades world the JY hold out so long? I would have been a puddle of goo in a millesecond. I’m not liking Li Yan…girl’s a fox through and through. Thanks, Ms Koala.

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