Da Mo Yao Chapter 37: Chance Encounter

Woo hoo, the penultimate chapter of Da Mo Yao is here! I have to confess – I never thought I would finish the project. Not because this book isn’t awesome all the way through (it is), but because translating a novel into another language is a daunting and time-consuming endeavor. Paired with my usual crazy busy life and sundry other interests, I thought I would end up dropping the project midway. And yet here we are. So close to the end, and boy will the ending be a doozy. I really wish the drama casting didn’t disappoint me so, because I would have loved following along with the filming and eagerly anticipating watching one of my favorite C-novels onscreen. Alas, it’s not meant to be, but I’ll always have this wonderful novel and this incredible experience of translating it to look back fondly on.

Chapter 37: Chance Encounter

A hunting trip organized as a relaxing event concludes in the most devastating of ways. The Duke Li Gan was killed by rampaging deer, and Consort Li was so frightened by what happened she collapsed. Liu Che had no desire to continue and ordered everyone to depart Gan Quan Palace and return to Chang An.

Huo Qu Bing became unusually quiet, sometimes saying not a word for an entire day.

Blood is thick with affection, and is something I value greatly and he’s always had his entire life. But it is weak when stacked against power and the throne. I don’t know how to console and counsel him, so I just quietly stay by his side. I hope that when he turns around and sees me nearby, he’ll know that he’s not alone.

Spring quietly arrived in Chang An and before anyone realized it, all the flowers had bloomed and Spring was perfuming the air. I strolled with Qu Bing in the peach blossom trees, and he plucked a peach blossom to tuck in my hair. He whispered in my ear “Want to go see our son?” I startle and ask “Not the one in the Palace?” He lightly nodded his head.

This matter can never be revealed. It concerns not just our lives, but Jiu Ye’s and the people close to him. So Huo Qu Bing and I have a silent understanding to never discuss it. But how could we not miss our son? We are just too afraid to think about him. I embrace Qu Bing and with my face buried in his chest, I say a muffled “Yes.”

He laughed and tweaked my nose “Oh! Oh! Look at this! We haven’t even said our vows and you’re already embracing me in public. Don’t worry, even if you don’t seduce me, I’ll do my best.” I was angry and embarrassed so I turn and leave. He started laughing behind me and I feel this sense of happiness despite my outwardly angry expression. He’s slowly turning back to his old self.

After dinner, Qu Bing summoned Huo Guang to the study and they conversed for a long time. After leaving, Huo Guang had a very determined look on his face, almost like he grew up in a matter of hours.

“Did you encourage Guang to leave Chang An and go home?” “No! Every man must pick their own path in life, and have their own dreams. He decides his own life. I merely told him exactly what the political situation in Chang An is like today. I told him I might not be able to protect him in the future, and he might even face trouble because of me.”

Seeing Huo Guang’s expression, I knew what he had decided “So Guang still wants to stay in Chang An?” Qu Bing smiled and nodded, looking pleased and proud of Huo Guang’s conviction.

In this March Spring time, the peach blossoms are blooming wildly but it turns out the political battles in court are even more eye catching than the most vibrant of flowers. Li Gan’s burial, Huo Qu Bing did not attend, while Wei Qing and Gong Xun Aou and those folks went to pay their respects. Princess Pingyang plays matchmaker for Li Gan’s two daughters. Liu Che feels sorry towards Li Gan, and also wants to keep splitting up Huo Qu Bing and Wei Qing, so he has Li Gan’s two young daughters named as consorts for the Crown Prince.

Despite all the men folk dying in succession in the Li family, leaving only women and children, the family has been powerful since the Qin dynasty. They still have supporters in court and in the populace. Li Gan’s nephew Li Ling, despite being young, has already demonstrated astounding military potential. He gains Liu Che’s notice, and Liu Che intends to make him a Imperial guard. Huo Qu Bing was eighteen when he got that title, which means Li Ling is already looked upon to be the next great general.

The Wei family’s gesture in this case pulls the Li supporters toward them for showing kindness to the remaining Li family members. It also draws a clear and obvious line between the Wei family and Huo Qu Bing, who everyone knows shot Li Gan.

Huo Qu Bing shooting Li Gan continues to be discussed and more and more people support the Li family. In the past they all opposed Wei Qing, but now they find Wei Qing’s courteous exterior more palatable than the coldness of Huo Qu Bing. On the surface it looks like the Wei family is opposing Huo Qu Bing and trying to take care of the remaining Li family members, so everyone starts to like the Wei family again and turn their frustrations to Huo Qu Bing.

Despite Liu Che protecting Huo Qu Bing, the appeals contain to pour in from ministers begging the Emperor to follow the law and not let Huo Qu Bing off. Liu Che has no choice but to send Huo Qu Bing away to the border city of Xu Fang under the pretense of guarding the city, to let things cool down in Chang An.

That day, there were only few people present when Liu Che was questioning Huo Qu Bing, and all information was supposedly sealed. So how did it spread until the entire court knew about it? Why are there so many people daring to directly oppose Huo Qu Bing at this time, especially knowing Liu Che is favoring Huo Qu Bing?

Huo Qu Bing continues to ignore the ripples in court and does whatever he pleases. He appeared to be encouraging those who oppose him rather than trying to placate them, letting matters grow to a frenzied state. Before he leaves for Xu Fang, Huo Qu Bing makes his first official request in court, to the shock of everyone. He asks that the three princes, with Liu Bo as the oldest, be made Infante Dukes.

When a prince is made an Infante Duke, he must leave Chang An and go to his newly designed territory. On the surface he gets to rule over his own territory, but in reality it’s to take the princes out of Chang An so they cannot vie for the throne with the Crown Prince. Huo Qu Bing’s actions cause massive ripples in court from both factions, while Liu Che does not agree or disagree with Huo Qu Bing’s request at that time, leaving everyone even more nervous. A few days later, some of the pro-Wei family high ministers all submit their requests, backing Huo Qu Bing. Liu Che still does nothing.

Days later, the same high ministers, now with even more new supporters, continue to inundate Liu Che with requests to grant Huo Qu Bing’s proposal. Still Liu Che makes no move. Huo Qu Bing stands to the side and watches all of this unfold. He can see this matter is heading towards success, but he appears even more concerned “How did my uncle let things get this way. He probably can’t control people eager to make a name for themselves. The pressure is so great now that even if the Emperor agrees, he will grow wary of the strength of the Wei family supporters.”

I reply “The Wei family was propped up by the Emperor initially, and now he can’t even control them. It’s no surprise the Great General Wei also can’t control them. The Empress, Princess Pingyang, the Crown prince, generals, dukes, there are so many people who gain from this family. Their power is so great now there is bound to be internal strife. Compared to the mess of the Wang family and the Bao family years ago, the Great General Wei is already doing a good job keeping control.”

Qu Bing laughed sadly “Yup! Everyone has their own greed and wants. I’m a perfect example. Even knowing the Emperor will be wary of the Crown Prince if his backers and support grows too quickly and too strong, so I don’t want that to happen so I bring up the other princes in order to oppose him. The Emperor knows that I’ve placed him in a difficult position.”

Everyone in court waits for the final decision, this matter having become a taut bow. If Liu Che doesn’t agree, then the future of the political tide in court will be dangerous indeed. I think that right now, there are very few royals and nobles who are resting easy in Chang An. The unusual activity at the brothels and dancing houses reflect the people meeting to discuss what to do.

It is during this critical time that Consort Li suddenly asks to see me. It’s so unexpected that I tried to figure out what she wants. Huo Qu Bing looks at the summons and tells me “Nothing to come of it, just feign illness and decline, I’ll cover for you.” I think about it some more “I hear she’s been sick lately, I want to see her. If I hear what she has to say, it’ll give us a better understanding of what the enemy is thinking.”

Huo Qu Bing must think it’s not necessary, but he doesn’t object. “Whatever you want. Since I was planning to see the Empress, let’s visit the Palace together then.”

Before I arrive I can already smell the thick scent of medicinal herbs. Within the curtains I hear Li Yan ordering a maid “Tell Jin Yu to come in.” The maid look uncertain but she opened the curtains and let me in. Li Yan’s face was almost completely white, but her cheeks were unusually red. I don’t know medicine, but I can tell she’s very very sick. She smiled and pointed to her pallet “You sit closer, I don’t have the energy to talk too loudly.”

Her smile was different than usual, it was like when we first knew each other. It was peaceful and kind, without any distance or wariness. I sit down next to her and she smiles at me for some time before saying “You are still so beautiful and healthy. Still blooming, but I’m already wilted.”

I assure her “Don’t say these negative things. There are many doctors in the Palace. If empty your heart of worries, you can recover soon.” She smiled wanly “I know my own body. I don’t have much time left. Every step I have been plotting, fighting and scheming, in the end losing more than I have gained. Jin Yu, do you still hate me?”

The memories of long ago flashed through my mind: that masked face, the girl with the bright and intelligent eyes, the face that could topple an empire, the girl with a heart full of troubles, the one who taught me how to play the flute, the girl laughing under the lamplight…….

I shook my head “I don’t want to hate. I learned a lesson these last few years. Hate will destroy a person long before it destroys the opponent. I want to forget and let it go. I want to only remember the happiness in my life, and put the unhappiness behind me. I want to keep walking forward. A person’s life is but a few short decades. Even if we rush it along, there are many interesting things to watch, see, and do. If we have the energy to hate, why not use it to appreciate the existing happiness.”

She turned and coughed. I quickly handed her a handkerchief, and when she tossed it aside, I saw it was stained red with blood. My heart fell but she didn’t seem to mind “Xiao Yu, you were lucky in life so you can say this. There are some hate in this world that cannot be forgotten. For example, if someone hurt Huo Qu Bing, can you forgive? Can you forget? Can you let it go? You will surely give your life to seek revenge.”

Before I could answer she waved her hand “There is no need to debate this. Today I asked you here to beg you for one more favor and to ask you one question.”

“Tell me. If I can do it, I will try my best.”

“Xiao Yu, my heart is dead, I no longer care about anything else. But I cannot stop worrying about the people I’ve dragged into my own vengeance. I’m not worried about Buo Er, as long as the Emperor agrees with Huo Qu Bing and sends him away to be an Infante Duke, then he will leave Chang An and be safe. I worry my brothers cannot avoid it, especially my second brother. His desire for power grows stronger every day.”

“I know what you mean. But Li Yan, you know that Li Guang Li chooses his own path in life. If he doesn’t control himself, he’ll be in trouble sooner rather than later. As for Qu Bing, don’t worry. I think……I think if the Emperor agrees with his proposal, that is probably the final thing Qu Bing will ever do for the Wei family.”

Li Yan didn’t understand my meaning “Last thing?” She saw I wasn’t going to explain so she smiled and didn’t push further. “I will continue to warn my second brother, and it’s up to him if he wants to heed my warnings. The Emperor will miss me and I hope he will be lenient towards my second brother. The rest is up to the Heavens.”

Li Yan silently stared at the incense burning and didn’t say anything for a long time. I was also silent, waiting for her question. “Li……….Li Gan. What did he say before he died?”

This was one of the two things Li Gan wanted before he died, I believe he must be resting in peace now once he knows she asked about him. I sigh and take out the bloody cloth from my robe and pass it to Li Yan. She stared at it, her eyes starting to mist with tears. Finally one tear after another falls, almost like pearls as it hits the cloth.

She bit her finger and used her blood to finish the “Li” character. One blood was long dried and black, the other was still bright red. The black and red created a contrast that made it appear that their lives were destined to be fated but never reach a resolution. She looked at the cloth for awhile longer before handing it back to me “I have one more favor to ask of you. Please burn this in front of Li Gan’s grave.” I nod.

She smiled and grabbed my hand. I grab her hand back. She gave me a brilliant smile, as beautiful as a flower. It was like when we first became friends “Xiao Yu, you can go now! I will beg the Emperor to return Tan Er to you. But with General Huo’s current position……..the Emperor will likely not agree. I pray you don’t hate me. If there was one day when the Han army is outside the gates of Luo Lan, I pray you can remember our friendship when we first met and beg General Huo to spare the common people and restrain his soldiers from killing more.”

I help her fix her hair and help her lay back down on the pallet “Your illness is from worrying too much. Stop worrying now. If that day arrives, I will do my best. Don’t forget that Xi Yu is also partially my homeland.”

She closed her eyes and her voice was tiny, almost like she was talking to herself “I’m tired, I’m so tired. Soon I will be able to rest at last. When my mother sees me, will she berate me? I tried my best. I wonder if she saw my father. I want to listen to the herding songs by the banks of the Kong Que River. The most expensive wine is not as delicious as the water from the Kong Que River. Actually all I ever wanted is to dance around a fire at night out in the plains, to go herding with the man I love, to give birth to a brood of children so my body loses its shape, to have coarse hands from plucking lambswool to make a cloth…….”

I lightly rise and walk outside.

Many of the maids are outside so inside her room is just Li Yan. She has been and always will be lonely in her entire life. I always wanted to ask her if she regretted entering the Palace? But now all our debt and vengeance is at an end. I hope that she departs this world peacefully. For her, she really did more than a woman could possibly imagine. If all the Luo Lan girls were like her, then Liu Che wanting to conquer Xi Yu would be facing depleting his treasury and a heavy loss of life.

I tell the maids to go back in. As I’m leaving, her personal maid stops me “Ms. Jin Yu, can you please counsel her highness to please see the Emperor.” I looked confused so she explained “Since her highness got sick, she has refused to see the Emperor. Every time he visits, she will only see him through a curtain. The Emperor is furious, but every time he wants to barge in, he worries about her illness getting worse.”

I think and look towards her room. Li Yan, are you doing this so that you can carve yourself even deeper in Liu Che’s heart? What can’t an Emperor possess in this world? But he is about to lose you, when you are at your most beautiful, when he longs to see you one more time.

I bow to the maid “I cannot help” and then quickly leave. In the carriage, Qu Bing watches my silence and doesn’t disturb me. He lets me zone out and then I suddenly say “The Emperor is about to agree to let the princes be Infante Dukes.”

Qu Bing raised an eyebrow “Consort Li is giving up so easily?” He then realized “Her body is in that bad a shape?”

“Yes, she’s always been weak, but now her heart is dead as well. To protect her son, she will use her dying breath to get the Emperor to agree to the Infante Dukes. With the Crown Prince supporters begging the Emperor, plus adding Li Yan, he will agree.”

Qu Bing didn’t look happy and instead sighed. He pulled me into his embrace and I tightly hugged him back. I suddenly remember that I didn’t answer Li Yan’s question, but I do know the answer and she does as well. I tighten my arms around him “Qu Bing!”

“Yes?” “You have to be with me forever!”

Qu Bing’s arms also tightened around me and he vowed “I will!”

When the peach blossoms fell, it danced in the wind and blanketing the entire ground in red. With a thousand emotions, an beauty who shook an empire was like the flowers, also falling and disappearing in the wind.

On Li Yan’s last day, the Emperor finally agreed to make the princes Infante Dukes. Li Yan passed with a smile on her face,

Li Yan, she left a legend for the ages about her beauty. She left a legend about a poor girl who became the Emperor’s most beloved concubine. But her true background, her struggles and her heartache, it disappeared without a trace in this world. And me, the only person who knows her secret, I bury it deep within my heart for all of eternity.

…………………………………………………………….

Huo Qu Bing takes me away from Chang An and we head towards Xu Fang. Before we left, he asks to take Tan Er with us, but the Emperor says Tan Er is sickly and the weather is cold in Xu Fang so doesn’t let him go.

Zhao Puo Nu tells me that Wei Kang, Wei Qing’s son, asked the Emperor to join Huo Qu Bing on this outing and the Emperor agreed. None of us understand what Wei Kang is planning. I don’t want to think about the unpleasantness, only anxious to leave Chang An and see my son soon. I remember his birth and how quickly he was taken from me, and my heart hurts. It also hurts because I know that seeing my son means seeing Jiu Ye again soon. It has been almost a year since I saw him. Is he well?

Despite Qu Bing’s foray being called “protecting the city”, but Xu Fang is well guarded and with the Xiong Nu out of the Desert South region, it in truth needs no protecting. So this trip out West, Huo Qu Bing is very carefree and leisurely. If he sees something I’m interested in, he stops and lets me explore before continuing. In truth I’m very anxious but I don’t want to reveal it so I try my best to be normal not to arouse the suspicions of others.

Wei Kang has his father’s adherence to rules and structure, but lacks Wei Qing’s ability to accept others. He instead has the brash arrogance of the young nobles. He see Huo Qu Bing’s casual behavior and is very upset. Every time Huo Qu Bing wants to stop for a day or to, he objects. Huo Qu Bing completely ignores him and Wei Kang looks more and more pissed. He realizes that no matter what he says it doesn’t matter so he shuts up. But he shoots more and more dirty and hateful looks at Huo Qu Bing behind his back.

Stopping and playing along the way, we finally arrive at Xu Fang. After Huo Qu Bing settles everything, he takes me out to play some more. With Xu Fang filled with Wei Qing subordinates, Wei Kang is even more aggressive when he arrives at the city. But since there is nothing to do, he doesn’t have any opportunity to find conflict with Huo Qu Bing.

The temperature differential in the desert is so vast that the days are hot enough to boil a person but once the sun sets its immediately cold. Huo Qu Bing and I often ride horses and roam the desert all night long. Sometimes I think that we can live here in Xu Fang forever and never step foot back in Chang An., But I know that wish is impossible. As the Wei family faction grows stronger with those supporting the Crown Prince, Huo Qu Bing is the only one who can temper Wei Qing’s power in the army. For that reason alone, the Emperor will never let Huo Qu Bing go. And if the Emperor doesn’t let him go, then it places Huo Qu Bing in ever greater danger as he opposes a powerful faction.

Huo Qu Bing takes me to places we’ve been before. From a distance I can see Ming Sa Mountains. With a round moon perched in the sky shining over the entire desert, my heart leapt and I raised my head for a long howl. I immediately jump off the horse and start running towards the Yue Ya Spring. In Chang An I can never behave this way. I finally feel like I’ve left Chang An behind.

Huo Qu Bing sees that my happiness differs from my pretend act during the trip out to Xu Fang and he starts laughing out loud. “Yu Er, do you know what the biggest regret in my life is?” I take off my shoes and dip my toes in the water. I think and say “Having an opportunity to fight Yi Zhi Xie directly? Allowing Wei Qing to confront the Shan Yu’s forces face on and not you?”

He took off his shoes and also put his foot in the water “Success in battle does not depend on one person’s will and courage, but requires the will and coordination of many people. My uncle faced the Shan Yu, I faced the Left Sage King. Who defeats the Shan Yu is not what is important, the importance is we cooperated to bring victory.”

“Li Gan’s death?” He shook his head “If it wasn’t me, he still can’t avoid his fate. A man must be willing to accept the consequences for his actions and I was the one who shot him, despite the reasons. I may feel sorrow but there is nothing to regret.”

I kick the water and laugh “Nothing is right, then I’m not going to guess anymore.” He was silent for a few moments and then stared at the water “My biggest regret was years ago, the moment we said our farewells at the Yue Ya Spring. I knew you were coming to Chang An, but I never told you who I really was.”

I was playing with the water but when I heard what he said, my expression froze but I continued to play with the water. My initial cheerfulness dampened. In truth, at this Yue Ya Spring, the first person I met, the first person I said goodbye to…..wasn’t him.

We both stopped talking and my hands playing with the water became the only sound in the desert. Huo Qu Bing used his toes to tickle the bottom of my foot. I’m ticklish there so I try to avoid him but he’s agile and I can’t find a way out. As our feet are tussling, my awkwardness goes away and I laugh “If you keep picking on me, I’ll retaliate.” I scoop up water with my hands and splash it on his face.

He splashed me back with a devilish grin on his face, and in seconds we are both drenched. I holler “We’re all wet! How are we going to head back, we’ll get sand all over us?” He laughed and jumped in the water “Since we’re wet, let’s not go back. We can spend the night here and dry our clothes in the sun tomorrow before heading back.” He took off his robe and tossed it to the side before giving me a knowing look.

I huff at him “You planned this!” He smiled and pulled me “Such a glorious place. If we don’t enjoy it fully, wouldn’t that be a waste?”

I act mad and refuse to get in the water. He happily pulls me while tickling my feet still. I try to duck but finally give in to his playfulness and jump in the water. He pulled me towards the center of the spring when I suddenly make a halt gesture to him. He stopped and then craned his ears to listen,

It’s the sound of a flute, coming from far away. But the sound was growing louder so it meant the person playing the flute was coming towards the Yue Ya Spring. In moments Huo Qu Bing has also heard it. He said in frustration “There are clearly lunatics in Xi Yu. Instead of staying at home in the middle of the night, this crazy person is out roaming the desert playing the flute.”

I laugh “The people of the Han dynasty or the Xiong Nu who have committed an offense often run to Xi Yu to get away. It’s a place full of random people from all over, so clearly Xi Yu has its share of lunatics.” I swim towards the shore and Huo Qu Bing follows me while still grumbling.

The sound of the flute changed suddenly, from joy to sorrow. It was like a person who was remembering a joyful memory suddenly realizing it’s all gone, and the transition from joy to sorrow was instantaneous. I realize how talented the flute playing was and I’m touched by the sadness of the tune. I crane my neck towards the direction of the music.

A round bright moon was overhead and a snow white camel was running on the sand. Its footsteps don’t even kick up any dust and its endurance can rival any prized stallion. It appeared to be the famed Sky Mountain Snow Camel that is prized as much as the legendary Blood Sweat Horse.

A person wearing all white was riding on the camel and playing the flute. His dark hair was billowing in the wind and his wide robes were dancing with the movement of the camel. Such a bold stance instead looked very elegant on him. The moonlight enveloped him but couldn’t take away his loneliness and sorrow. His flute appeared to suck the entire vast expanse of the desert into his sadness.

Huo Qu Bing complimented him “Yu Er, he’s not even riding the camel properly, he’s letting it run at will. He resembles the famed scholar Lao Zhi riding his donkey and traveling wherever the donkey takes him. But Lao Zi stayed within the Han borders, but he’s so bold that he treats the desert like his backyard to roam as he wishes.”

As the figure gets closer and closer, my suspicions are confirmed and I quickly turn my head and try to climb out of the water. The camel stopped at the edge of the Yue Ya Spring and Jiu Ye held his flute and stared at the water and the mountains. His face showed his longing and his isolation. It seemed like him and his reflection are the only companions in this vast expanse.

He raised his head and looked towards the mountain, as if remembering something. He suddenly smiled, but it was immediately replaced with a look of loss. I hide in the shadows of the mountains and shrink into the water. In two short steps I would be onshore, but my body cannot move. Huo Qu Bing silently stands beside me. In the silence I can hear a heart pounding, not sure if its him or me.

The camel snorted and kicked up the robe on the ground, then braying in our direction. Jiu Ye’s hand immediately reached for his bow and arrow and he smiles in our direction “May I ask which lofty personage is over there?”

I’m still unable to face him, but Huo Qu Bing cannot endure any longer and he walks out with a smile “Brother Meng, its just us, a married couple who was seeking you. Who knew we would be fated to run into each other tonight.” I can only quietly walk out beside Huo Qu Bing.

Jiu Ye saw Huo Qu Bing’s naked torso and his face immediately turned ashen. He momentarily was so stunned he didn’t move his bow and arrow directed towards us. His eyes glanced over me and quickly averted and pulled out a robe from his bag on the camel.

Huo Qu Bing was about to decline when he realized what it was for and he turned to look at me. My clothes were plastered on my body from the water. Huo Qu Bing reluctantly took the robe with a “thank you” and draped it over me. Jiu Ye lowered his bow and arrow and with a sad smile said “Last time, I also pointed that bow and arrow at you.” Huo Qu Bing turned to look at me but I just lowered my head and didn’t respond.

The three was us were so silent it was suffocating so I break the silence “Jiu Ye, we are here to see……..the baby.” The baby is over a year old now and still we haven’t named him. Jiu Ye smiled, this time with warmth, and replied “Without your permission, I’ve given him a nickname. The single character of “Yi” (means lightness). We all call him Yi Er.”

Huo Qu Bing said “The character of “Yi”, it can hide and evade, can also mean excellence. This name is very good. Let his real name be Yi as well. From now on, his name is Huo Yi.”

It was impossible to thank Jiu Ye for what he did for us. Huo Qu Bing never said thank you to Jiu Ye, but by using the name Jiu Ye gave our son as his real name, it expressed his gratitude to Jiu Ye.

[A son's name is paramount and can only be given by a male elder of the family. For Huo Qu Bing to allow Jiu Ye to name his son is an unparallel acceptance of Jiu Ye's importance in the life of his son.]

Jiu Ye looked towards me, as if he didn’t even hear what Qu Bing said, only waiting for what I wanted. I replied “I really like this name.” He smiled and didn’t mention the name anymore “I’ve asked for Yi Er to be brought from the Sky Mountains here. Do you want to see him?”

Huo Qu Bing and I exchanged a look and our hearts were thundering. Huo Qu Bing continued “The trip back and forth will take until the end of the day tomorrow. We’ll be delayed for too long. Yu Er, can you endure it for a bit longer. Other things can be messed up, but with this matter I don’t want to have a single thing go wrong.”

So close and yet I can’t see him yet. I force a smile and nod my head “I understand. One year I’ve waited, a few more days I can endure.” Jiu Ye and Huo Qu Bing exchanged a look and Qu Bing said “Yu Er, I promise you, you will be reunited with Yi Er soon.”

Jiu Ye smiled wanly, but his loneliness in his eyes grew deeper. He glanced over and then turned the camel to leave. “Then I will wait for your message.” Huo Qu Bing hurriedly asked “How can I find you when I reach Ha Mi?’

The Sky Mountain Snow Camel moved like the wind, in seconds Jiu Ye was far away. His voice travels back “When you enter the city, Yu Er will be able to find me.”

Huo Qu Bing turned to look at me but didn’t press further. These two men, whenever they see each other, it was like two martial arts experts sparring. The pain they inflict is impossible to see and I can only carefully duck here and there. But I can’t help but be affected by their intense auras.

I actually have no clue why Jiu Ye said that I would be able to find him when I entered the city, so I can’t explain even if Huo Qu Bing asked me. I can only smile and think about it while trying to change the subject. Then I actually chanced upon a genuine question “How did you know Jiu Ye was currently in Ha Mi?” Huo Qu Bing startled and then looked elsewhere “The closest large city from here is Ha Mi, so I guessed he was there.”

“Isn’t Ge Er Mu also very large?”

“Yu Er, when you see Yi Er, what do you want to do the most?” Huo Qu Bing didn’t answer my question and instead asked me one. He used something I’ve been thinking about for such a long time to divert my attention. I had my suspicions, but I figure he had a reason for not telling me the truth. I don’t press any further and instead answer his question.

© 2012, ockoala. All rights reserved.


Comments

Da Mo Yao Chapter 37: Chance Encounter — 38 Comments

  1. Gah, Jiu Ye breaks my heart every. freaking. time! Poor man. But I can’t feel too badly for him, since he brought his fate down on himself by not accepting her when he had the chance.

    Thanks, unni. I really enjoy reading this story. I might have to do a complete reread when the last chapter comes out. ^^

    • Oh dongsaeng, please take unni’s advice. Go buy a box of tissues tomorrow. I’ll have the final chapter out before I hop on my flight, and trust me when I say you’re going to need it. So happy you like it DMY. I think you might like Yun Zhong Ge as well, if not more. The writing there is exquisite. :-)

      • My reaction to your comment: Yeeeessss—noooooooo! Yesss that it’ll be up tomorrow, but a big fat Noooooooo~! to needing a box of tissues.

        I actually purposely did not start reading YZG, not because I don’t think I’ll like it, but because it seems so much sadder then DMY, and DMY is already sad enough for me. I need teh happy. Or more LSG/HJW being all hot and touchy-touchy. Can’t they hurry up with the whole engaged/married thing? ~is impatient~

      • Butbutbut YZG is sad that…..is soooooo amazing and OMG and you’ll never forget it type of story. But I know, I also want more happy. I think TH owes us to churn out fairy tales from now on.

        Anyways, I thought you were mad at no-longer-a-puppy Seung Gi for being an uber-ass in TK2H? So you want them engaged/married as much as I do? XD If TK2H turns into the exact same pile of shit Secret Garden turned into, I might go Nuclear Atomic Poison Needle on the “other” Hong Sisters.

      • thanks so much .. its been a really really really wonderful reading!
        my first reaction when u said we will need a box of tissue is it cant be ……. please not a sad ending :(
        in YZG, i sighed everytime LFL missed yet another encounter with YG

  2. first… wow its really ending. i’ve followed ur translation of Da Mo Yao since the beginning and i just want to thank u ms. koala. <3
    (p.s. how are u able to translate both chinese novels and recap kdramas/jdramas the day they come out. can u speak chinese, korean and japanese?)

  3. wahhh thank you so much =) my heart is pounding rapidly lol when Jiu Ye saw hou bing in lake with yu er =) also make me sad as well

  4. Koala-san, thanks a lot. It’s my son’s graduation day today (kindrgarten). After the event, I checked your site and Bingo! Thank you for the double happiness….I love DMY to pieces…

  5. I can’t believe the intensity of this chapter. So many important things happen and yet nothing is rushed nor are we catapulted from one event to the next without the most elegant transition. TH’s writing is masterful, indeed!

    Koala, MANY THANKS for sharing this novel with us and for your superb translations. If this novel is ever printed in English, I’ll be the first in line to get a copy. The way each character lives and breathes, you get the sense that their story continues long after you’ve closed the book. Know what I mean? Now that we’re nearing the end, I’m reluctant to part with these characters who’s story (and backstory) practically jumps off the page (computer screen ;-P ).

    It’s comforting to me that many chapters of YZG still lie ahead. The glimpses into YE & HQB’s life and family after DMY let us know that their story did continue. As all epics do.

  6. Ditto I feel so bad for Jiu Ye – can’t begin to imagine the eternal regret he must feel and will continue to feel for the rest of his life for losing his chance to be with Yu Er!

    Ms Koala – Thank you so much for doing such an awesome (and super quick) job of translating this novel and am really looking forward to reading the final chapter!

  7. Thank you for seeing this to the (penulimate) end, Koala. I would have died if you stopped somewhere in the middle, since I can’t read Chinese. Box of tissues, here I come!

  8. I hope to read the final chapter tomorrow before I leave for JFK airport to catch the 8:30 pm plane to my home country Burma. It’ll be very difficult to continue reading your posts as my country is still under semi-military dictatorship. As I may be lucky to read the last chapter of this novel in US, I left a request to one young friend to keep sending me new chapter of YZG by email as even though lots of websites will be blocked I would be able to get access to email. Thanks, Ms. K, for your wonderful writings that have brought so much pleasure to a non-Chinese viewer of Taiwanese and Chinese dramas, as well as Korean and Japanese.

  9. Thank you Koala! If you need any help with the translation of YZG, I’d be happy to help. I devoured all 6 volumes (the taiwan edition has 6 volumes instead of 3) this past week in a matter of days and promptly started re-reading them again :)

  10. This is a sad chapter. Poor Jiu Ye, my heart goes to him.
    At the same I’m eager to read the next one, finally…a reunion with their son.
    I really want to know if Yi Er got his father features plus I’m more excited on
    HQB reaction when he sees him.
    Thank you so much…. Ms K.

  11. Awwww…this is so bittersweet. Koala, I can’t thank you enough for taking on this project and sharing with us the beauty of Tong Hua’s novels. I am truly, truly grateful.

    That said, my heart really goes out to all 3. HQB and Yu Er may be together but Jui Ye will always be a presence in their relationship. Not just because of Yu Er’s love for him but because of everything that he has done for both of them – saving HQB’s life, saving Yu Er, taking care of their baby.

    And I feel for Jui Ye the most because he’s the odd one out, although one can’t argue that he had his chance before and he didn’t take it. On the other hand, perhaps love is its own reward. For Jui Ye to have loved that deeply and unconditionally, maybe that’s enough. It will have to be.

    *sigh* I am getting really emotional about this. Dang, I will need tissues tomorrow. And if I am this way about DMY, can you imagine what a mess I will be with YZG? Already, I am way more invested with YZG and its only the beginning.

  12. Thanks Ms Koala. I look forward to the final chapter. Wonder if JY gave the Sky Mountain Snow Camel to second brother, who then gave it to Yun Ge?

  13. My heart hurts terribly for Jiu Ye, but like other have said, he missed his chance with Jin Yu – even though it was out of unselfish reasons that he pushed her away. I’m just a little shocked about the fact that Qu Bing didn’t know Jin Yu met Jiu Ye first because in the chapter when Jin Yu ripped the Lao Lan dress up he asked whether Jiu Ye gave it to her. I mean if she was already wearing that when she met Qu Bing for the first time, doesn’t that imply that she met Jiu Ye first? Anyways,t his chapter was a wonderful read and I truly enjoyed it. I thank you for your hard work and not dropping this project midway because I would be devastated T___T;!

      • Oh that might be it. lol thank you for clarifying :) I think you’re right cause I just referred back to the text and she did specifically say at Yue Ya spring and not just meeting in general. ^_^;;

  14. My heart break for Jiu Ye. When he appeared, I couldn’t believe it was happening because he chose the worst possible time to do so. I know HE’s the one that rejected her, but I could never think that he deserve this. The price he pay for his mistake is too great and that made me think Tong Hua has a sadistic streak in her. Why make the guy suffer again and again this way? Cuz everytime he appeared, I feel like Tonghua is telling us, “It’s your fault you let her get away.”

    I just wished that he could find his own happiness instead of pining over Yu-er this way. And it’s better for his character development too. I always felt Jiu Ye rejection of Yu-er’s affection own of fear. Because it’s his first time in love and being loved that he doesn’t know how to respond to it. Couple with his baggage, it isnt exactly a walk in the park for him. He made a mistake and lost the girl of his dream, but rather it being a lifetime of regret, I hoped it serve as a life lesson for him so that the next time, he will have the courage to chase after his own happiness. However, that’s probably just my own wishful thinking

    • see I think with this kind of story though, there probably isn’t ever going to BE a “next time” for Meng Jiu.

      I mean.. just like Mulan, you don’t meet a girl like Ju Er in every dynasty…. =P
      Or… ever really. I mean a girl raised by a wolf pack? Good luck finding those!

    • I actually see growth in Meng Jiu’s character. He went from being afraid of admitting his feelings to being totally open about it to Jin Yu. Although, it was too late – he did confess to her and asked her to return to him. That was something he probably wouldn’t have done in the past. Furthermore, although I agree that it is agonizing to see Jiu Ye suffer such heart break his happiness is only present if Jin Yu is happy. When Jin Yu almost died after giving birth to Qu Bing’s son he was saying all he wanted was for her to be happy. Additionally, at the end of the first volume he swore he would make up for his mistake for pushing her away by giving her a lifetime of happiness. Though this was not he had in mind at time, he is doing everything in his power to make sure Jin Yu is happy.
      Anyhow, I do agree I do agree that my heart goes out to him…especially after spoiling to myself his last sacrifice to help ensure Jin Yu’s happiness. I believe its even sadder that even after many years, in Yun Zhong Ge it was revealed subtly that Jiu Ye was still in love with Jin Yu…well my take on it at least because of the Lover Vine on Meng Jue’s instrument. In my opinion, the lover vine, came to symbolize the missed chance he had with Jin Yu.

      • So I guess suffering can also be happiness for some people if its for the one they love.
        @misachan: I agree. She;s like a mona lisa, one of a kind :)
        But I don’t mean he have to love her like he love yu-er, or that she has to be anything like Yu-er.

        I donno, Jiu Ye’s suffering remind me of how I felt when i read romance (manga/novel) when i was little. I was upset that the rejected guy eventually moved on and felt this betrayal feeling even though the heroine never chose him. Maybe it;s just me but i felt that Jiu Ye’s unending love for Yu-er kind of serve this unconscious selfishness of mine as a reader. Because even though Jiu-ye is not with yu-er i still felt he ‘belong’ to her in the sense that she always have his ‘heart’. And if he move on, it feel like he ‘betray’ her.
        So sometime I wonder if Tong Hua wrote Jiu Ye this way because she also unconsciously feel the same.
        P.s. But i want jiuye to have his happiness because he’s such a good guy and i have a brotherly vibe toward him more than anything.

    • Yet again, I feel the pain for Jiu Ye….Whatever contact or involvement he had in YE’s life is about to come to an end with the taking away of their son I would imagine. His last link or thread of hope to being with her. Poor man.

      So he’s not going to get a happy ending based on the need to have a box of tissues to read the final chapter?….Selah

      I dislike Wei Kang….He’s intentional disregard and/or hatred for Qu Bing makes me indifferent to his fate in the final chapt….Leave our wonderful OTP alone. :)

      Thanks Ockoala! You are a treasure!

  15. Thank you! I haven’t read the chapter yet but I know it will be awesome as we are approaching the end of this journey. I’ve just come home from a birthday party. It’s 2.00am now but I am ready to read your chapter before I call it a night. Thanks!

  16. Koala-jie…. thank you for introducing and translating DMY…
    Now I’m more familiar with Tong Hua and Chinese history…
    anyway I love how Qu Bing and Yu Er are going to see their baby Yi Er
    he is the Second Brother with a single character Yi in YZG isn’t he?
    reading YZG after reading DMY is a treat to know that HQB and Yu Er are living a happy family

  17. Ms. K,
    I dont even know how to thank you for doing this kind of charity job for us translating. Do you realize that you are a blessing to us non-Chinese speaking . Another wonderful chapter.. HQB and YE are together no matter what. One of the best thing about Da Mo Yao is, the main couple strong hold for each other, no matter what difficulties and obstacles they have, HQB and YE always stay or support each other in the most difficult situations. That’s the beauty of QB and YE relationship. They remained loyal through thick and thin and through all obstacles and difficulties. About Jiu Ye, I dont what to feel about him, but if QB was in his shoe, that would be a major heartbreaks for me and probably I wouldnt be reading Da Mo Yao and wouldnt be considering it one of the best.

  18. “One may go a long way after one is tired.” ~French Proverb

    Thank you for persevering to the end with Da Mo Yao. Enjoy the day.

  19. There goes the shattering of my heart again. My bias has and always been Jiu Ye. I can’t imagine anything worse that could happen… in fact I just don’t want to!!!! At least not to my Jiu Ye!!! Anyone but him!!!!!

    Can’t wait for the family reunion. I bet it’s gonna be a touching reunion. Too bad Tan Er is sick. I bet he and Huo Yi could be best buds growing up!!!

    I can’t believe it’s ending. I don’t want it to… but it seemed that the longer DMY is, the more pain I have to witness Jiu Ye in. Double edge sword. Once again, thank you so much for translating his wonderful novel!!!!

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