Yun Zhong Ge Chapter 5: Stars On The Ground

Reading Yun Zhong Ge, the devil is in the details and the conversations. So many shifts of expression, passing glances, things not said, which add layer upon layer to this story. My Ling gege finally makes his first adult appearance in this chapter, but sadly he doesn’t get to meet up with his Yun Ge yet. This chapter is just SO cute, and sweet, and sad in this little things we learn about everyone. I actually cried translating this chapter, because having finished the novel, this chapter was absolutely so amazing with how happy these five friends are that re-visiting these moments just made me bawl like a baby.

Chapter 5: Stars On The Ground

To thank Yun Ge, and as a farewell to Meng Jue, Xu Ping Jun took Yun Ge and Meng Jue out to eat. When Da Gong Zhi heard it, he didn’t care that he wasn’t invited and boldly tagged along.

A hillside outside of Chang An, the sun just set and the stars have not yet appeared. The tarp used in Qi Li Xiang was washed clean and Xu Ping Jun placed it on the grass. She took out one plate after another of food from a basket.

The utensils are all rough and simple, so Xu Ping Jun was candid but still a bit ashamed “Because the house….the house isn’t suitable to entertain, so I took Yun Ge’s advice and decided we should eat outdoors. These are all foods common on the farms, and my cooking is poor, so I hope you both won’t mind.”

Meng Jue sat on the tarp and smiled when helping Xu Ping Jun set the table “With the sky as our dinner location, with the stars as our light, the aroma is the clean wind and the fragrant grass. How could this be considered skimpy? Dining is all about the intention of the host, and friendship is the best ingredient. “Traveling a thousand miles to give a feather, the gift is light but the thought is great”, how can Ms. Xu worry about the insignificant things?”

Da Gong Zhi initially hesitated while looking at the unfamiliar tarp, but when he saw the normally clean Meng Jue sitting down, he looked a trifle chastened and immediately sat down. People say Da Gong Zhi was the unrestrained one, but in truth it was Meng Jue who truly didn’t care about the little things.

Da Gong Zhi’s wildness and carefree was all a surface act, whereas underneath Meng Jue’s gentle and elegant demeanor was the genuine unrestrained soul. Xu Ping Jun could see Meng Jue meant what he said and was truly enjoying the moment. Her anxiety went away and she smiled and took out more dishes “My cooking may not be good but my wine will definitely get your approval.”

Da Gong Zhi mimicked Meng Jue and helped Xu Ping Jun set the table, laughing “Where’s brother Bing Yi? Didn’t he leave before us? Why isn’t he here yet? Did he get lost? What an odd thing.” As he spoke, he stared straight at Meng Jue.

Xu Ping Jun smiled and shook her head “I don’t know, I was busy cooking so I paid them no attention. All I know was Yun Ge and Bing Yi chatted for some time and then both left the house. Bing Yi is more familiar with Chang An than his own house, he won’t get lost.”

“Oooooooh…….” Da Gong Zhi drawled and smiled at Meng Jue “They are together, then they must not be lost.”

Meng Jue appeared not to hear what they were discussing, finishing what he was doing and sitting there quietly. He had a slight smile as he looked up at the stars. Two people happily chatting were walking up the hill together. Xu Ping Jun waved at them. Yun Ge hopped over “Xu jiejie” and her eyes were merry with happiness,

“Sorry we’re late.” Yun Ge carefully put a bag down. She ran over to Xu Ping Jun and grabbed some food “I’m so hungry.” Xu Ping Jun used her chopstick to hit Yun Ge’s hand and she pulled back.

“Where did you two go? Seeing you covered in leaves with your clothes all wrinkled, it’s like you hiked through a mountain to get here?” Yun Ge looked at herself and didn’t answer, only sticking her tongue out at Xu Ping Jun.

Liu Bing Yi sat down on the tarp and poured himself a cup of wine. He smiled at Yun Ge but said nothing. Da Gong Zhi’s eyes were twirling, looking at Yun Ge’s clothes and then Liu Bing Yi’s clothes, smiling like he knew something.

Yun Ge got busy eating and didn’t answer Xu Ping Jun’s question, but when she saw Da Gong Zhi’s knowing smile, she startled and her face turned red. Thank god it wasn’t visible in the dark, but she glared at Da Gong Zhi “Do you want to eat your dinner tonight in peace or not?” Da Gong Zhi was about to laugh at her and then remembered Yun Ge’s tactics. He grabbed his belly and then sat up straight.

Liu Bing Yi’s eyes flitted past Da Gong Zhi and met Meng Jue’s eyes directly. After a brief moment, the two of them casually looked away with a smile. Yun Ge grabbed a dish from in front of Meng Jue and took a bit before making a face and drinking some water “So bitter!” Xu Ping Jun took a bite “My mom was so busy she forgot to soak the bitter vegetable first.”

As she said it she put the dish back in the basket with a forlorn expression. Bitter vegetable is a common farm produce but needs to be soaked in water for a day first before cooking. Because it was so common, how could Xu Ping Jun’s mom forget to soak it? Clearly she knew it was for Liu Bing Yi and his friends and did it on purpose.

Yun Ge looked at the dish which was half eaten and then pointed at Meng Jue in shock “You….. You……” Da Gong Zhi quickly interjected “His taste buds are heavy……. He…..” Meng Jue smiled and casually said “Since I was small I’ve eaten very heavily flavored foods.”

Then why didn’t Meng Jue notice that my food is normally very light? Yun Ge was so confused and wanted to ask him. But Da Gong Zhi changed the subject and shook his wine jug “With tomorrow’s parting who knows when we will meet again. Let’s all get drunk tonight! Ms. Xu, your wine is indeed good wine, does it have a name?”

“No name, all my wine are sold to Qi Li Xiang, so everyone calls it Qi Li Xiang’s wine.” Yun Ge took a sip and thought “Xu jiejie, let’s call it Zhu Ye Qing (bamboo leaf blue)! If we use higher quality ingredients, this wine can even be presented to the Palace.”

Da Gong Zhi clapped “Good name, elegant and light, sounds just like a wine suitable for a gentleman.” Xu Ping Jung smiled “I didn’t learn to read but you are all learned people, whatever you guys say.”

Even though the food was simple, but the five of them happily chatted about everything and the food was really satisfying. Everyone was starting to get tipsy, and they are also people who don’t care too much about etiquette, so they started to relax.

Da Gong Zhi laid down on the tarp and admired the stars. Meng Jue had his back to the tree and a jug of wine in his hand, smiling as he watched Yun Ge and Xu Ping Jun doing shots. Because Da Gong Zhi took up most of the tarp, Liu Bing Yi laid on the grass with one arm behind his head and a jug of wine next to him. He drank when he wanted to, and he was also smilingly watching Xu Ping Jun and Yun Ge.

Xu Ping Jun and Yun Ge were playing a drinking game of “plant battle” where they searched for plants and tied them up and pulled, the loser would drink. Yun Ge’s plant knowledge was nowhere near Xu Ping Jun and she lost eight out of ten, leaving her drinking double the amount of wine by now.

Yun Ge got more anxious and bent down to find more plants. She was muttering under her breath “Heavens help me” and then “Flower fairy help me” and finally she even wrangled a “God of money help me”. She pretty much dug up every single god, fairy, spirit out there to help her.

Xu Ping Jun sat on the tarp and laughed “Yun Ge Er, you drink and then bother all the spirits and gods, no wonder they can’t wait for you to pass out drunk so they can get some rest.” Liu Bing Yi searched in the grass around him for a moment and then pulled one “Yun Ge, use this one.”

Yun Ge happily yelped and ran over to get it. Xu Ping Jun stood up yelling “No fair, that’s cheating.” Xu Ping Jun wanted to grab it from Liu Bing Yi but Yun Ge anxiously yelled “Throw it to me, throw it to me!”

Liu Bing Yi put a bit of wrist strength in and tossed the grass, which flew past Xu Ping Jun. A tree branch zipped out from the side and knocked the grass astray from its trajectory towards Yun Ge.

Xu Ping Jun smiled to Meng Jue “Thank you.” Meng Jue smiled, indicating Xu Ping Jun to go find that grass. Yun Ge could only glare at Meng Jue once before also flying forward to find the grass.

A dazed Da Gong Zhi laying there looked up and saw a blade of grass fly over his head, instinctively reaching out and grabbing it. Yun Ge rushed to his side and grabbed his arm “Give it to me.” Xu Ping Jun arrived on his other side and grabbed his other arm “To me.”

Under a sky full of stars, two beautiful faces right in front of him, both smiling with their different auras. Because they were all at the peak of youth, so they were blooming like the most vibrant of flowers. Da Gong Zhi looked left and right, his face full of satisfaction. He said in a low seductive voice “My beauties, I’ll give you whatever you want.”

Yun Ge and Xu Ping Jun simultaneously rolled their eyes and reached to snatch the grass from his hand. As they were tugging, Da Gong Zhi also pulled, and the grass split into three. The two girls stared at their piece and then started laughing.

Yun Ge turned to Meng Jue and angrily put her hands on her waist “Humph! Helping Xu jiejie be mean to me. And to think I spent all that energy to capture……” Xu Ping Jun grabbed Yun Ge’s shoulder “Didn’t Bing Yi help you? Just because you drank a few more cups you’re a sore loser now?”

Yun Ge turned around “Who’s a sore loser? I’m not! I was just…..just a little anxious is all.” Everyone laughed at her and Yun Ge snuck a peek at Meng Jue, who was also smiling at her. Thinking that he was leaving tomorrow, she felt a bit empty inside. All her annoyance went away.

After the plates were cleared, Yun Ge asked everyone to sit down in a circle and then brought over the bag to the side. Everyone looked at the bag quizzically, not sure what Yun Ge was up to. Xu Ping Jun’s over eager personality asked “What is it?” Yun Ge smiled and opened the bag slowly.

Light peeked out from the bag, like little moons had been captured inside. In a few moments, little specks of light flew out of the bag. Little by little, bit by bit, it was like stars had fallen to earth. The stars flying out of the bag grew more and more until everyone was surrounded by the fireflies, as if they were situated in the Milky Way.

The stars in the sky, the stars on the ground, it was so beautiful it was like a dream. Yun Ge reached out and gently captured a firefly in her hand. The light flickered so that her smile was alternatively bright and dark. The fireflies flitted in and out of her hair, twirling around her skirts.

With all the light fairies dancing around her, she was also as ephemeral as a fairy. She kissed a firefly “Fireflies are the messengers for the stars. If you make a wish to them, they will bring the wish to the people living in the stars, and your wish will come true.”

Xu Ping Jun stared at the fireflies and then tightly shut her eyes, sincerely making a wish. Da Gong Zhi shook his head with a smile, but still closed his eyes “I don’t believe anyone can make my dreams come true, but…..it doesn’t hurt to make a wish.”

When Yun Ge was talking, she kept staring at Meng Jue with her eyes bright. He stared back at her with his eyes twinkling as well, but he made no move to make a wish. In the dancing lights all around them, the two of them looked at each other.

Yun Ge stared intently at him, and the light in her eyes was as warm as the fireflies in the dark. Meng Jue finally closed his eyes and Yun Ge smiled and also closed her eyes. A second later Meng Jue opened his eyes and looked at the fireflies around him.

Liu Bing Yi opened his eyes at that moment and so happened to see Meng Jue flick a firefly from his arm. In that moment the firefly’s life was extinguished, it fell silently into the grass below. Meng Jue’s eyes met Liu Bing Yi’s, who just smiled and acted like he saw nothing “What was brother Meng’s wish?’

Meng Jue smiled but didn’t answer. Da Gong Zhi looked between Liu Bing Yi and Meng Jue and then turned to smile at the girls. The two girls asked each other what each wished for, and both turned red and refused to answer.

Da Gong Zhi said “Why don’t we write down our wishes today and if in the future we are fated to all get together again we can come read our wishes and see if any of them came true. The person whose wish didn’t come true has to treat the others to dinner.”

Yun Ge laughed “The person whose wish came true ought to be treating! Why are you always the opposite of everyone else?” Da Gong Zhi shook his money bag “Receiving and giving are the proper behavior. It is about time I treated everyone.” Meng Jue and Liu Bing Yi both had slight smiles and didn’t say anything.

Xu Ping Jun lowered her head in shame “I don’t know how to write.” Da Gong Zhi told her to find someone to write it for her. Xu Ping Jun looked around red-faced and then grabbed Yun Ge to the side. Xu Ping Jun whispered to Yun Ge, who smiled but underneath was some sadness.

One person, one handkerchief, everyone wrote down their wish. Da Gong Zhi collected it and handed it to Xu Ping Jun and sincerely said “I can’t do the rest.” Xu Ping Jun grabbed a waterproof tarp and securely sealed all the handkerchiefs. Yun Ge ran to the tree where Meng Jue sat and tried to dig a hold in the tree trunk, but after some time it still wasn’t done.

Meng Jue handed her a small knife “Use this!”, and in a few moments a small but deep hole was dug. Yun Ge smiled “Good knife!” Meng Jue looked at the knife and said “If you want, you can have it. This small thing is intended for a woman anyway, I have no use for it.”

Da Gong Zhi heard it and his face changed, turning to stare incredulously at Meng Jue. Yun Ge fiddled with it, it was small but sharp, perfect for carrying and she could use it to collect different plants and bark. She smiled and accepted it “Thank you.”

Xu Ping Jun put the bundle in the tree trunk and then used the bark to seal it back. From the outside, it looked like the tree had a small hole in it. After some time when the bark grew back, it would look like a scar on the tree. People who don’t know won’t think something is there.

Yun Ge shot a warning look at Da Gong Zhi and made a mark on the sealed bark. If anyone tried to sneak a peek, they would disturb her mark. Meng Jue and Liu Bing Yi shot a smile towards Da Gong Zhi, who dejectedly looked at Yun Ge.

Da Gong Zhi wasn’t interested in wishes coming true, he just wanted to know the reason those two girl blushed, and what was going on? Xu Ping Jun looked at the guys and was confused, not sure why Da Gong Zhi suddenly looked so disappointed. She shot a confused look at Yun Ge, who smiled back, indicating Xu Ping Jun need not bother with the oddity that was Da Gong Zhi.

No matter how happy the gathering it must disperse eventually. It was already late into the night and everyone knew it was time to leave. Xu Ping Jun laughed “Next time when we come to read the wishes, hope no one treats and everyone goes home hungry.”

Yun Ge sadly nodded her head while Liu Bing Yi and Meng Jue continued to smile. Da Gong Zhi teased “As long as I’m around, no one will go hungry.” Xu Ping Jun and Yun Ge didn’t understand how someone living as carefree as him could possibly have a wish that couldn’t come true?

Da Gong Zhi bowed to Xu Ping Jun “I’m a lazy person, with no patience for saying fake niceties. Tonight is the happiest and most reassuring meal I’ve ever had in my life. Thank you.” Xu Ping Jun shyly smiled. The fireflies around them gradually dissipated.

Yun Ge looked at the fireflies as they flew higher and higher, as they flew over her head and past the trees, flying far away. Flying towards her wish that she had already decided to give up on…………

……………………………………….

Sheng Ming Tai (God’s Light Tower) is the highest building in the entire Lin Fang (the Imperial gardens). Because the entire Palace is so big, looking out from there, an end in sight could not be seen.

The layers and layers of Palace walls made the dark night even darker. In the daylight the Palace appeared glittering and lavish. But in the dark of night all the splendor was gone, and this Palace was only one wall after another, every corner was like a dead end.

Thank god the walls could not cover the expansive sky. Liu Fu Ling stood next to the railing and looked up at the Western sky. His lips were tightly pressed together, his figure solitary, cold and resolute.

Tonight is again a night full of stars, just like that night. A few fireflies flew over and started dancing around him. His eyes strayed to the fireflies and he reached out his hand. A firefly landed on his hand, and then flitted away.

His eyes following the departing firefly and his lips turned up in a slight smile.

“Even the fireflies know Your majesty is a wise and good ruler, landing without needing to be captured.” The just arriving eunuch Yu An saw that scene and remarked.

Liu Fu Ling didn’t respond and Yu An immediately kneeled down. “Your servant I deserve to die. I was lippy again, I deserve to die. But it’s dark and I need to be lippy again. The chill is arriving and tomorrow morning you have to attend court. Your majesty needs to rest now.”

“The order to pardon all the prisoners in the nation, how is it being discussed in court?” Liu Fu Ling’s eyes were still watching the departing firefly and he remained standing still.

Yu An knew no one was here, but he still checked around to make sure. He scooted forward on his knees three steps “Your servant I heard that the Biao Qi General Shang Guan An complained that there is no precedent for pardoning the nation every year. Since the fourth year of your majesty’s reign and you left the Palace that once, every Summer you order a nationwide pardon. He believes you’re causing mass chaos in enforcing the rule of law. He complains that his dad Shang Guan Jie should not have relented back then and let you leave the Palace. Since you returned, you are always discussing how the punishments are too heavy and the people are suffering too much. And now you are always discussing reforms with Huo Guang.”

Yu An scoffed inwardly. Relenting to let the Emperor leave the Palace that year? Ha! It was more like the three Regents were inwardly fighting and the Emperor got lucky. Back then Shang Guan Jie coddled the Emperor and agreed with everything he wanted, hoping to get closer to the Emperor, and hoping that by agreeing to the Emperor’s unreasonable requests, the Emperor will be painted in the light of a useless and flippant boy. Too bad he misjudged the Emperor.

“Your majesty, even though some ministers are complaining, others are supportive of your decision. Many criminals are poor citizens who have no means to survive and turn to crime. Even though the punishments are being lowered, it remains quite harsh.”

Liu Fu Ling looked towards the Western sky and said nothing. Yu An stared at the Emperor’s back and his heart worried. He was starting to understand less and less of what the Emperor was thinking.

His majesty was like a person who had almost no emotion. Nothing could make him smile, and nothing could anger him. He appeared always calm to the point that he barely had any emotional response.

Since Yu An was ten years old he started serving Liu Fu Ling, who was only four at that time. Back then, his mother Consort Zhao was still alive, and was the favorite of the former Emperor. Back then the Emperor was just a little kid who was so smart that it caused the entire court to be stunned into silence. But he was also so mischievous that he gave everyone a headache.

When did it happen that the child of then became this man of today? Cold and reticent, even refusing to allow people to get close to him. Even the Shang Guan family’s pipsqueak of an Empress has to stand a distance away to talk with the Emperor.

Because the former Emperor killed Consort Zhao? Because some infantes are eyeing the throne? Because the three Regents have control over power and the Emperor is brushed aside, so he needs to be cool and calculating in order to step-by-step deal with them? Because the people are suffering, and the border regions are not secure?

Yu An stopped overthinking. Regardless of whether he can understand what the Emperor has on his mind, his sole duty is to be loyal. The only thing he needs to do now is counsel the Emperor to go to bed.

Liu Fu Ling shuttered his gaze and turned to leave. Yu An quietly followed behind Liu Fu Ling. In the dark silent night, only the sound of robes rustling could be heard.

Before returning to Wei Yang Palace (the name of the Emperor’s personal residence), Liu Fu Ling suddenly asked very casually “Did you investigate?” Yu An carefully answered “Your servant I would not dare to forget. Every few days I send someone to ask if there is a girl with a hair rope looking for a man with the surname Zhao or Liu.”

Like before, the Emperor made no response, only silence. Yu An guessed that the person the Emperor was waiting for was the person the Emperor has been seeking before.

A few years ago, when General Zhao Puo Nu retired and went home to the countryside, the Emperor personally escorted him out of the city. Zhao Puo Nu was so touched and honored by this imperial gesture he was crying and sobbing. But when faced with the Emperor’s question, whatever it was, General Zhao Puo Nu continued to give the same answer “I do not know.”

Yu An couldn’t tell if the Emperor was sad or happy with this answer. But Yu An knew in his heart that this person was of vital importance to the Emperor. So each time he answered the Emperor he would shiver.

A few Palace maids on the night shift were bored and were chasing fireflies using their fans to play with them. The dark night was like water with the fireflies dancing on the surface. In the silent night came the sound of girls moving, as pretty as a painting.

Liu Fu Ling walked down the corridor without even glancing over. The maids were shocked the Emperor wasn’t asleep yet and all knelt down and bowed in fear. Liu Fu Ling’s expression didn’t change and he just walked past them.

With the passing of the fireflies, his figure quickly disappeared into the dark depths of the Palace. Only the few fireflies remaining in the front corridor would flicker its light to shine on the eerie desolation.

……………………………………………………..

Liu Bing Yi, Yun Ge, and Xu Ping Jun got up early the next morning to send Meng Jue and Da Gong Zhi off. Meng Jue held the reins of his horse and walked beside Yun Ge.

Da Gong Zhi was sprawled in the carriage and a red-robed girl was presently cutting fruit and feeding it to him. Even though this is a parting, everyone was young and the future is filled with many more opportunities to see each other, so the sorrow in the air was light.

Within the morning light laughter rang out. Suddenly a carriage thundered up and stopped right in front of the gang. A servant got off and looked over everyone before stopping at Meng Jue. Initially the look was assessing, but when he checked out Meng Jue, it turned complimentary “Is this Mr. Meng?” Meng Jue bowed “I am.”

The servant handed over a parcel to Meng Jue “This is my la……..little young master’s gift, asking you to please enjoy on the trip.” Meng Jue looked at the parcel and the embroidering on the side of the bag, his eyes flashed recognition and then he smiled “Thank your young master for the care.”

“Mr. Meng have safe trip” the servant gave one more piercing look at Meng Jue before getting on the carriage and returning back to Chang An. Meng Jue handed the package to Da Gong Zhi, who opened it and started to laugh. He wanted to say something, but then he looked at Yun Ge and swallowed his words.

Finally it was time to bid farewell. Da Gong Zhi waved from inside the carriage, poking his head out “Here is fine! Thank you three for sending me off, and thank you also for the hospitality. I hope in the future I can boldly return to Chang An and treat you three.”

Yun Ge and Xu Ping Jun said “Who was sending you off? Who wants your treat? You’re so full of yourself!” Since Da Gong Zhi was born he was surrounded by woman and beloved. This is the first time he’s met a woman who doesn’t fall at his felt, and it’s not one, but two at the same time.

He looked really hurt and shrank back into the carriage “You have all been hookwinked by Meng Jue and his act. That bastard, if he decided to be bad, even on a horse I wouldn’t be able to catch up to him.”

Xu Ping Jun humphed at him. Meng Jue smiled and bowed to Liu Bing Yi and Xu Ping Jun “Thank you both for the hospitality. This trip to Chang An, meeting you both was truly a rewarding journey. With this parting, both of you take care, and the next time I return we shall gather again.”

Yun Ge pointed at herself and said in annoyance “What about me? Why are you only saying goodbye to them?” Meng Jue smiled at her and said in a drawl “You and I, we’ll have to slowly sort out the debt between us.”

[“Sorting out debt” also has the meaning of “figuring out what is going on between us”, so Meng Jue clearly wasn’t talking about him having loaned Yun Ge money.]

Yun Ge pulled Meng Jue aside after shooting a glance as Liu Bing Yi and Xu Ping Jun “I’ve already lost count of how much money I owe you, so you keep track. I will work harder and earn the money. I’m learning how to make wine from Xu jiejie and making a new blend. It’ll surely be a hit, and Uncle Chang has agreed to sell it for us.”

“Yun Ge” Meng Jue suddenly cut off her nattering. “Huh?” Yun Ge raised her head to look at Meng Jue, who said nothing and just stared at her.

Yun Ge felt like his gaze was swallowing her up and she had nowhere to hide, grasping her tighter and tighter. Her face turned red and her heart started thumping. She released Meng Jue’s sleeve and wanted to back up, but Meng Jue grabbed her shoulder. Before Yun Ge could react, he kissed her on the forehead “Will you think of me?”

Yun Ge didn’t even understand what Meng Jue just said before he had already swung on his horse and took off after giving Liu Bing Yi and Xu Ping Jun one final wave. Yun Ge’s body turned into a rock as she stood here with her mouth open.

Long after Meng Jue disappeared from view, she dumbly reached up to touch her forehead where Meng Jue kissed her. Then she immediately pulled away like that area was hot to the touch.

Xu Ping Jun was stunned by how bold Meng Jue was and stood there for a good long while before saying “I was wondering why Meng dage, who is so elegant and refined, was friends with someone as brash and carefree as Da Gong Zhi. Now I understand.”

Liu Bing Yi had a could-care-less smile on his face, but in the depths of his dark eyes there reflected everything and yet nothing. When Yun Ge met his eyes, she suddenly was afraid to look at him, immediately lowering her head and walking away.

Xu Ping Jun smiled and said to Liu Bing Yi “Yun Ge is embarrassed.” Liu Bing Yi stared at Yun Ge’s back and said nothing. Xu Ping Jun looked at Liu Bing Yi, then looked at Yun Ge, and for no reason whatsoever, she felt a sense of unease.

Liu Bing Yi turned around and smiled at Xu Ping Jun “What is it?” Xu Ping Jun felt fine again “Nothing. Oh right, Yun Ge wanted to tweak my wine recipe and use the name she coined and sell it all over Chang An….”

…………………………………….

The carriage had traveled for some ways before Da Gong Zhi pointed at Meng Jue and started guffawing “Lao San (number three), you….. you……. you are really a piece of work! Playing the zither in the moonlight, you managed to lure that little lady out, but then after a few words you took off so fast you even left your zither there. After a few months hard work, you wait until today to steal a kiss. And you did it right in front of Liu Bing Yi. Why do you even care about Liu Bing Yi? He has a Xu Ping Jun already!”

The red-robed girl wrote something on Da Gong Zhi’s palm and Da Gong Zhi started laughing “Xu Ping Jun is already engaged to someone else? She doesn’t belong to Liu Bing Yi? Ay! Sad, sad!”

Even though he said “sad” but his expression wasn’t sad in the least. And who was he sad for – Xu Ping Jun or Meng Jue? Meng Jue glanced at Da Gong Zhi who immediately stopped giggling. After some time, Da Gong Zhi spoke up again in mirth “Wily fox Meng, what exactly are you thinking? What is the deal with that parcel? The person you are intending to hook refuses to bite, then how the heck did you manage to lure Huo Guang’s daughter?”

Da Gong Zhi grabbed a biscuit from the parcel to eat and then tossed one at Meng Jue “The Huo Estate chef is pretty good. Xiao Jue, you should at least sample that little lady’s offering.”

Meng Jue was riding his horse and made no move to catch the biscuit, letting it fall on the ground and trampled on by the carriage.

Da Gong Zhi tossed the parcel aside and said “What is the deal with that Liu Bing Yi? The last time I saw the Emperor was three or four years ago. When I saw Liu Bing Yi that first time, how come I thought he resembled the Emperor?” Da Gong Zhi slapped his knee “No, that’s not quite right! I should say that Liu Bing Yi and the Emperor both look like that damn old bastard Liu Che. Could he be one of our Liu family by-blows from fooling around with a commoner?”

Meng Jue lightly answered “He’s a fish in the net that got away.” Da Gong Zhi suddenly realized and he looked somber “The Wei royal grandchild? Lao San, are you certain? Back then, the number of people looking to kill him littered the entire court.”

Meng Jue smiled “I was worried it was a mistake, but I personally examined the jade that Xu Ping Jun pawned.” Da Gong Zhi lightly sighed “Then it’s not a mistake. After Emperor Qin Shi Huang united the six kingdoms, he ordered the world treasure jade to be made into an imperial seal. The remaining pieces he had made into two identical jades that can only be owned by the Emperor and the Crown Prince. There is no way to duplicate an identical one.”

[The jade Ling gege has is the one he got from Liu Che after he ascended the throne (the Emperor jade). The one Liu Bing Yi has was passed down from his grandfather the former Crown Prince Wei (the Crown Prince jade).]

Da Gong Zhi was in a daze and was talking to himself “His eyes are identical to that damn old bastard’s eyes. Even the Emperor’s eyes are only similar. Of all the numerous offspring that old man had, it’s hard to believe that only the Emperor and Liu Bing Yi look like him. When those two meet each other in the future, plus all the nasty business behind them, wouldn’t that be hilarious? In truth, the throne really ought to belong to Liu Bing Yi.”

Meng Jue smiled but said nothing. Da Gong Zhi looked at Meng Jue “Xiao Jue, how many businesses do you control in Chang An now? It must be more than I know of. Right now the treasury of the Han empire is empty, and you have wealth to equal a nation. But do those uncles of yours approve of you using the money to create political ripples? Your adoptive father also seems worried about you, and he hasn’t even given you his Xi Yu businesses……”

Meng Jue turned around and glared at Da Gong Zhi, who immediately shut up. Meng Jue stared for a few minutes and then turned away “Don’t talk about my adoptive father again.” Da Gong Zhi suddenly looked tired and then shouted “Go slower, I want to sleep.” He immediately laid down and the red-robed girl quickly took out a blanket and covered him.

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Comments

Yun Zhong Ge Chapter 5: Stars On The Ground — 39 Comments

  1. Oh JY is mentioned! I’m so happy 🙂 Does that mean that JY is still alive and well? Most likely not married right?

  2. Thanks for the update Koala!

    The scene where the five of them had dinner and made their wishes was really touching. If only time will stop right there and let them continue to live their happy lives.

    Oh Ling Gege…where to begin? The scene with him looking up at the sky within the walls of the palace was very ominous and sad. Kinda remind of 4th prince in BBJX at the end when he watched Ruoxi leave. It’s very touching that he’s still waiting for Yun Ge after all this time. Hopefully they will meet up soon.

  3. Meng Jue is so mysterious with his intentions. What does he want with Huo Guang’s daughter? and when is Yun Ge going to recognize who Meng Jue is? lol.

    • I don’t think is a big spoilet since ms.koala has refer to this in his introduction of Yun Zhong Ge. Meng Jue is aiming for political alliances (?) so he want to seduce Huo Guang’s daughter. Since Huo Guang is one of the regent. For exactly what purpose, we still need to read how the story pan out. But my guess is that this has something to do with his parent death and the subsequent suffering he endured.

  4. thanks for the wonderful translation koala! does anyone know where I can buy the complete simplified chinese version of yun zhong ge? (I’m currently in New York) I’ve tried amazon.cn but i’m confused because they only have yun zhong ge 2! Is yun zhong ge 2 the 2nd edition/2nd volume/2nd version?

  5. many xoxo to you! another great chapter and am quite nervous to what comes.

    It must just be me but I am having a bit of hard time to connect the Emperor and the hidden royal grandson. How are they related again? Sorry if it was asked and answered.

    So Ling gege is Liu Che’s youngest son who was the emperor during DMY right? with a younger consort?

    So is Liu Bing Yi also a great grandson of Liu Che’s too? but his great grandmother must have been the Empress Wei?

    Therefore, Liu Bing Yi is Ling Gege’s grand nephew?

    I was just as shock with realization as sir playboy.

    • You just answered your own question. 🙂

      Liu Che (daddy generation)

      Liu Fu Ling (son generation)

      Liu He/Da Gong Zhi (grandson generation)

      Liu Bing Yi/Liu Xun (great-grandson generation)

      Four generations of Lius populate DMY and YZG.

      • I did ?! Ahaha my brain was hurt trying to analizing the relationship. Must be all the names and nicknames.

        Full of intertwined fate just like the lovers vine in DMY.

        Until next chappy. ;D

        Thanks.

      • Koala, I’m confused about their age. How old are they at this point? And is Ling Gege and Liu Bing Yi close in age for Yun Ge to think that they are the same person?

        Thanks! 😀

      • Liu He is the oldest, about 23-24, Ling gege is about 20-21, Meng Jue and Liu Bing Yi are about 18-19. Yun Ge is about 16.

        Liu Che started having kids when he was a teenager, and Liu Fu Ling is his youngest son which he had when he was in his sixties. This accounts for the huge generational gap (but no age) gap between the second cousins.

      • @Koala, thanksies! That explains a lot. Also, I am in love with all the boys at this point. I want Mr. Pretend Playboy’s soulmate to show up so he can have his OTP, too. I really love that scene of all 5 of them with the fireflies and I’m curious to know if those wishes will be brought up again in the future.

      • @yeisha: I think the girl in the red robe is the soulmate you’re waiting for. She’s mute hence she “writes something on his hand”.

      • @Peppapig, you are so right! Great catch! I was wondering when she was going to show up. And awww…how sweet is it that she was writing on his palm and that when he laid down she immediately covered him with a blanket.

        Please tell me that these two will have a happy ending. At least one pair should end up happy, right? I hope they will be like BBJX 10th Price and his fujin so its not so heartbreaking all around.

    • And is it just me or does Liu Bing Yi remind anyone of 13th Prince? They have that same aura and his relationship with Ping Jun also reminds me a lot of 13th and Lu Wu, that feeling of best friends or like an old couple almost.

      Ah, I’m obviously not over BBJX and I have a feeling that YZG will become yet another obsession. 🙂

      • LiuBingYi only resembles 13th on the surface… acting like he hasn’t a care in the world… yet in reality, he’s like that because he is avoiding certain issues.. and also because of his birth secret… 13th on the other hand.. is really a bird with his wings clipped and in a gilded cage..

        as to their relationships with their women, 13th and LuWu are really soulmates… but XPJ and LBY… well they may have been friends for a really long time.. but how well does XPJ really know LBY? a little further into the story she’s going to be acutely aware of her differences with LBY, her being unable to read and write, unable to understand the intricacies of chess etc… well.. just wait and see… some things aren’t as they seem on the surface ><

  6. Hi, Ms. Koala!
    Happened to see your bolg.^_^
    I have read all the Chinese novels you translated here. I love Yun Zhong Ge the most, which made me quite desperate for a few months after finishing it.
    Many Chinese novels are amazing, they are worth to be appreciated by more readers.
    Thanks to your hard work, now more readers can enjoy them.
    I am learning Japanese now, I hope one day I can translate them into Japanese!

  7. Reading your translation, I was suddenly thrown back to 10th Prince’s birthday celebration in BBJX. As it was then, how I wish everything had stopped at this carefree stage. Absolutely love the goof that is Da Gong Zi – beauty on each arm? Ha they are more likely make him mop the floor than take heed of his sweet nothings.

    I understand what you mean by getting more out from the second/third read of the book. I had missed so many naunces the first time, thinking them to be lengthly descriptions when they are in fact preludes to the future! Liu Bingyi’s expressions, his niceties to PingJun in contrast to Menjue’s coldness to Pingjun when they were searching for Yunge at end of book 1… This is really a good literature peice.

    • All the clues are there. Meng Jue is a 真小人, Liu Bing Yi is a 为君子. But I also missed quite a lot in the first read, mostly because I was speed reading like a freak to get to volume 2. Ha, the power of Ling gege.

      • Trivia – I think the dagger that Meng Jue oh-so-casually gave Yun Ge used to belong to his mother.
        When he was retelling his life story, he said that his mother passed him “..a dagger and biscults…”. Da Gong Zi must have known about the dagger somehow which was why he was so incredulous here.
        See, no descriptions are superfluous. At my first read, I merely thought that Da Gong Zi was incredulous that Meng Jue has gotten Yun Ge a gift (because MJ is not one who carries a girl’s dagger on him for no reason)

  8. i love the farewell picnic scene… everything and everyone seems so carefree and young…. yet there are alot of subtle glances and things playing just below the surface.. they may be best of friends now, but you just know that nothing is ever so simple with all the little undercurrents TH writes in.
    and that farewell scene with MengJue and YunGe, that stolen kiss. hahH. even though MengJue probably was doing it for the benefit of LiuBingYi, one cannot deny that it was cute… >< he pretends to be a gentleman, all princely like his god-father, but i love it that he has this dastardly side to him when it comes to affections for his girl
    after reading the end of vol1, where MengJue's motivations for initially meeting up with YunGe are made clear, i still can't help but smile gently whenever i re-read these little scenes with their interactions..

  9. Oh I love this chapter too…except maybe pitied Ling Gege. While the 5 of them picnic together, Ling gege can only watch the stars alone. While he waits patiently for YunGe, she has already started to fall for MengJue.

    And that they are still carefree and happy at the moment, it’s really quite touching, especially since I’ve also finally finished the books….and know everyone’s fate. Sigh.

    spoiler: I’m rather disappointed we never get to know what was written (YG and PJ). Although it’s not difficult to guess…

  10. Dear Ms Koala,

    Thanks for translating one of my favourite chapters in YZG. One of TH’s strengths in her writing is not only the fact that she writes about earth-shattering and mindblowing love between her characters, she also writes about touching and loyal friendships that her characters share amongst themselves. The premise of 地上星 begins simply with the idea of 5 friends sharing a beautiful dinner under the stars. The stars that shine upon them may be bright but the brightness of their hopes and dreams for the future (made through wishing with the fireflies) outshines even the twinkling stars. Sigh the beautiful narrative of this chapter held so much promise that contrasted greatly with the upcoming chapters though she does leaves many clues around the book. The scene in 掌中雪 was also very beautiful but alas it was not meant to be.

    Friendships always play a vital role in TH’s novels and YZG was no different. Yun Ge’s loyalty to her friends to the end may be her only saving grace. (I’m still not a fan of adult YG & much prefer Xu Ping Jun & Hong Yi) Liu Fu Ling had Yu An & Liu He while even Meng Jue has his Lost Lonely Boys (Da Gong Zi Liu He & Yue Sheng) and his “calender girls”. The novel’s main antagonist Liu Xun sacrificed his relationships with all his friends in order to obtained power and ended up being all alone in the end.

    The other 2 chapters that I love in YZG are 绿罗裙 and 一年之约. The opening chapter showed the budding young love between Yun Ge and Ling Gege. Their interactions were cute yet sweet and remains one of my favourite in all of TH’s novels! How I wish they could time travel back to the past and remain like their childhood selves living in desert for all eternity. In your character descriptions for YZG, I smiled when you mention Yu An. He is the highlight for me in 一年之约. The scene where he utters “里面的是我侄子” made me LOL & it showed one of the few lighthearted (why TH why) moments in YZG.

    You mentioned earlier in DMY that Yu Er loved with both HQB & Jiu Ye equally. I couldn’t agree more with you. Yu Er understood both men so well in her bones that she could read their minds and feel what they felt. In YZG however, eventhough both Liu Fu Ling and Meng Jue loved Yun Ge very much, the OTP was always Ling & Yun from the get go. As mentioned in the blog, while Ling and Yun were soulmates whose hearts and minds were interwined, Yun Ge never really knew what was in the depths of Xiao Jue mind and neither did he really understood her as well as he thought he did. In the end, Yun Ge’s heart had only her LGG while her mother had both HQB & MXM.

    • “. As mentioned in the blog, while Ling and Yun were soulmates whose hearts and minds were interwined, Yun Ge never really knew what was in the depths of Xiao Jue mind and neither did he really understood her as well as he thought he did.”

      You took the words right from my mouth. Ling and Yun understood each other so well, even without words. The perfect “soulmates”. They trust and love each other explicitly and unreservedly. It’s no wonder he stays in her heart long after he’s gone.

      However, I do think that MengJue’s love for YunGe is as much if not more than Ling Gege. His problem, unlike his adopted father, was not timing. Initially, it was his preoccupation with revenge that blinded him from what he really wants and needs, and when he finally realizes it, it’s too late. He kept too much of himself, and revealed too little to YunGe. His problem, for me anyway, was he thinks too much from HIS point of view and too little from HER point of view. The end might not always justify the means, as he finds out rather belatedly. I don’t doubt his intention, just his methods, which is sadly what ultimately drew them apart.

    • I found DMY lacking in the friendships thread that BBJX had and which YZG took to a new new level. In some ways, the friendship element inherent in the idea that people change was even more heartbreaking than the love story(ies).

      I think there is no “antagonist” in YZG, because the antagonist is politics, its fate, its everyone always wanting to satisfy their own pursuits of power and validation. Ling gege’s fate was not decided by Huo Guang, by Liu Xun, or by any one in particular. It was decided when he ascended the throne. I almost can’t hate anyone, because I see everything from Ling gege’s point of view. He was willing to give everything up for Yun Ge, but he couldn’t give up his love for his people. So instead of picking a safer choice, he picked the better for the country choice.

      While YZG is Meng Jue’s story, and Liu Fu Ling and Yun Ge’s love story was just one aspect of it, ultimately it’s the moments between them that I read and re-read. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a soulmates love story presented exactly as I envisioned it in my head. No words are necessary, because they understand each other implicitly. This is why Xiao Jue is always going to be #2, because he and Yun Ge is attraction, is even love, but it’s not like they are two halves of one whole.

      I honestly can say that I cried for every single character. I cried for Huo Guang’s desperate anger over losing his idol of a brother, I cried for Huo Cheng Jun’s discovering too late that nothing was ever hers, I cried for Da Gong Zhi wanting nothing but longing for so much, I cried for Xu Ping Jun steadfast devotion and lifelong fear that she just wasn’t good enough, I cried for Hong Yi having no voice but her Da Gong Zhi always knew her thoughts, I cried for Liu Bing Yi and his final walk down to the tree where they left their wishes, I cried for Xiao Jue and his “did she really forget all this and found the happiness she is looking for?”, I cried for Yun Ge and her final realization that the past could be a part of her future, I cried for Shang Guan Xiao Mei and her decision to NEVER use the final imperial decree that Ling gege left for her, I cried for Ling gege out of happiness because he met Yun Ge and his life was worth enduring it all for her.

      • *sigh* sooo nice. if there is an english translation …i will definitely read and re-read it till i get old and not be alone.

        thank U msK *xoxo*

  11. Btw, Mrs koala, I think I remembered you saying that Tong Hua wrote a letter to one of her characters after finishing YZG….who was the letter directed to and where can I find it? Is it only included in the book?

  12. I couldn’t wait for the end so I wiki the emperor’s history. Now I know why it’s going to be so sad but i’m even more interested in how everything play out. Thanks Koala.

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