Dramas, Nirvana In Fire, Translation

Nirvana in Fire Chapter 110 Translation

An email in my inbox last night had successfully convinced me to continue translating from where others have left off and return back to where I last left off later on. For any new readers, please note that my translation is by no means perfect not only because I have not had my wonderful (professional) friends edit, and also because I am an ABC using this as a means of improving my own Chinese skills as well. I try to do my best and avoid comma splices, but because of the speed of this translation, I’m sure I have missed a few here and there. I welcome (kind) suggestions and corrections. My translations may be slightly different from others out there, and not quite as good, but I love both the NiF novel and drama and would like to do what little I can to contribute to the English speaking fan community.


Chapter 110: Rising Winds, Coming Storms

In a fury, the Emperor left the Eastern Palace’s Changxin Hall, refusing a carriage and support from anyone. As he did so in a hurry, he suddenly felt his vision go black and fell straight backwards just as he arrived at Yongfeng Hall. Fortunately, Meng Zhi swiftly rushed over to support him, and no harm was done. Gao Zhan quickly pulled out a soothing incense box from his sleeve and blew some of the powdered medicine towards the Emperor’s nose. With a sneeze, he regained consciousness and could see clearly again through his slightly red eyes.  Continue reading “Nirvana in Fire Chapter 110 Translation”

Dramas, Nirvana In Fire, Translation

Nirvana In Fire Chapter 11 Translation

Rougher translation as my lovely friends have not edited and given suggestions! Feel free to give suggestions 🙂

Chapter 11: Xiao Jingning

When Xiao Jingning walked into the restaurant dressed in a pale blue robe with a brocade silk sash tied around her waist, jeweled shoes on her feet, and a fan in her hand that she occasionally used to block half of her face– she looked just like a dapper scholar. Unfortunately, other than herself, just about everyone else could tell that she was a girl dressed as a boy. 

However, the capital was filled with nobility and there were many eccentric habits of the nobles as well. Seeing the girl’s unmistakable air of nobility, it was evident that she was of high status, and thus everyone acted as if they did not see through her act. Even the waiter called her a “gentleman,” as if he could not in the slightest tell that she was a young lady.
Continue reading “Nirvana In Fire Chapter 11 Translation”

Dramas, Nirvana In Fire, Translation

Nirvana In Fire Chapter 10 Translation

Sorry for being away from translating, here is chapter 10!

Commander General Meng: 蒙大统领

When Xiao Jingrui arrived at the Snow Cottage, Mei Changsu was no longer playing the guqin, and was flipping through a book under a tree. Upon hearing the rushed footsteps, he looked up towards the doorway and broke into a smile. With the sun shining down through the leaves, the sunlight danced across his face making the smile seem especially lively.

Xiao Jingrui involuntarily smiled back, greeted him with a bow1 and asked, “Brother Su, did you sleep well last night?” Continue reading “Nirvana In Fire Chapter 10 Translation”

Dramas, Nirvana In Fire, Translation

Nirvana in Fire Chapter 9 Translation

Sorry for being away for such a long time! I am still planning on continuing the translation, it just takes awhile with so much going on!

The Princess Royal:长公主

To the several young Masters present, it was a surprise that the Emperor had allowed foreigners to contend for the honor of being Princess Nihuang’s husband. Xiao Jingrui was the first to ask: “Didn’t the Emperor consult with Princess Nihuang herself on how she felt about this?”

“Of course he asked, since Yunnan’s Prince Mu Qing came of age last month and will succeed the title, the Princess did agree, however, she added a few conditions. First, the one taking part in the competition must be the one asking for her marriage, and though she didn’t care about the written test, which was to be decided by the Emperor, in the martial arts test, she was to compete against the winner herself, not marrying unless she lost,” Yan Yujin drew out slowly.

After hearing this, the two brothers both let out a sigh of relief. Xie Bi cursed, “Stupid Yujin, you are deliberately teasing us! This way, it is much better; most of the martial arts masters from Da Yu and Northern Yan are ineligible since they are already married, and even the carefully selected ones from those who are not married– could they beat the only female martial arts master on the Lang Ya martial arts list?”

“They do not necessarily have to be beat her,” Mei Changsu interrupted again, “As long as the Princess takes a liking to them, then naturally, she would lose.”

“I think so too,” Yan Yujin smugly agreed, “You all know, the Princess has always liked me…”

Xie Bi spewed out all the tea he had just drank and coughed, “The….The Princess has always liked to scold you! Never mind frivolous people like you, Princess Nihuang, who has experienced the hardships of the battlefield, would most likely like a prudent, reliable man.”

“Ah,” Yan Yujin sighed, “Xie the Second, you are so cruel, can’t you allow one to dream…”

“Stop making jokes,” Xiao Jingrui gave him a shove, and continued, “This time, the Da Yu and Northern Yan have come with some beautiful dreams; even if they do not succeed, they will not lose anything, but if they do succeed…Think about it, not only would it be a marriage alliance, but to take the hand of a military genius… Their fame would suddenly increase quite a bit.”

“Both the Da Yu and Northern Yan have been rather politically unstable lately; both have groups that are vying in a cutthroat competition to become the Crown Prince. At this time, whichever Prince marries Princess Nihuang, it would be pretty much the same as taking the position of the Crown Prince.” added Mei Changsu in light tone.

“Brother Su’s words hit the mark. Even though they know that our imperial court of Da Liang is unlikely to allow Princess Nihuang to marry abroad, but they are still willing to bet an arm and a leg to try. If they somehow manage to succeed, then they would be sure to win when they return to their country. “Yan Yujin agreed, “I wonder who it is that gave them this idea; and to think they’ve actually mustered enough courage to come”

Mei Changsu eyed him with interest and asked, “How are you sure that someone else suggested this idea?”

Yan Yujin shrugged and said, “I don’t like randomly analyzing; this is only my intuition. Think about it, two countries have both thought of this idea, and put this idea into practice at the same time, is that really coincidental?”

“Who cares if it is coincidental or not, as long as Princess Nihuang doesn’t marry abroad, it will be okay.” Xie Bi waved, and turned toward Mei Changsu, “Brother Su, in your opinion, who will win this competition?”

Mei Changsu laughed, “I’m not a fortune teller, how would I know? Even if I had the money to go buy the answer from the Lang Ya Hall, it is too late to do so.”

“Earlier, you could guess whatever it is Yujin asked; I thought you could actually predict the future.” Xie Bi laughed aloud.

“I’ll tell you the truth,”Mei Changsu smiled, “Actually, I didn’t guess it.”

“You didn’t guess?” Yan Yujin’s interest was immediately piqued, “Brother Su, do you really know how to predict fortunes?”

“The mysteries of life, how could an ordinary fool like me predict it?” Mei Changsu replied, as he pulled out a silk document from his sleeve, “I didn’t guess, I knew about this beforehand. It’s all written on here…”

Yan Yujin curiously took the silk scroll,and when the three huddled around it and looked, two of them shouted out in surprise.

“This is written by the ruler of Da Yu himself, the letter of credence asking for marriage!” Xie Bi said with his eyes open wide, “Why is it in your hands?”

“Ah, that day in the restaurant of the county town… The diplomatic emissaries really did lose their letter of credence….” Yan Yujin tilted his head and looked at Mei Changsu, “Brother Su, do you have nothing better to do but steal their letter of credence?”

“You are correct, I have nothing better to do, so I stole it.” Mei Changsu smiled in his usual manner, light as the pale clouds and gentle as the breeze, “At the time, I was told to go out and catch some fresh air, and was very bored. It just so happened that the Da Yu emissaries were staying at the inn and restaurant that are the property of the Jiang Zuo Alliance: the shopkeeper told me they had a sandalwood box that was heavily protected, so it must’ve been something important. In a moment of curiosity, I sent Fei Liu to bring it to me to have a look. I didn’t expect it to be a letter of credence. Such matters have nothing to do with us people in the Jing Hu, and I was not very interested; I originally wanted to put it back where it belonged, but I didn’t expect them to find that it was missing so quickly–so I could only ‘not return’ it.”

The three of them had all seen the astounding abilities of Fei Liu, and were not surprised that it was Fei Liu who took it, what they were amazed at was the Jiang Zuo Alliance’s absolute power over their domain. They were indeed worthy of their reputation as the world’s largest alliance. Yet after some careful thought, the largest alliance was still in want of a sense of responsibility, since they had allowed their Chief to be ‘kicked out’ like this. Leaving him to wander around bored, to flip through other countries’ letters of credence…Weren’t they afraid he will stir up some trouble?

“By the way, are there any conditions or limitations on who is allowed to participate in the competition?” Xiao Jingrui brought the conversation back on topic.

“Of course, they have to have a clean family background, an appropriate age, be handsome in appearance, and are not yet married…”

“That’s it?”

“That’s it.”

“Ah,” Xie Bi cried out, “Then my brother can participate as well!”

“Me?” said Xiao Jingrui, shocked. “Even though I respect Princess Nihuang, I have never thought about…”

“I’m not telling you to go because you will win,” Xie Bi pulled at his sleeve and continued, “The more people of Da Liang who participate, the less chance there is that Da Yu or the Northern Yan will win. You are so talented, you could definitely eliminate a lot of opponents, and help Princess Nihuang filter out unqualified candidates.”

“But…”

“What is there to hesitate about? I barely know anything about martial arts, there would be no point for me to sign up; you at least are considered a martial arts master, and Brother Su gave you pointers during the journey. You can even consider it gaining some experience.” Xie Bi, allowing no further arguments, said, “Yujin, tomorrow you go sign him up.”

“No need to worry about that, I have already signed him up earlier.”Yan Yujin happily replied.

“Hey…You two…”

“Don’t be nervous,” Mei Changsu comforted him, “I am very clear about your martial arts skills, to win would be impossible, but what is the harm in competing in a few rounds?”

“You consider this comforting me?” Xiao Jingrui didn’t know whether or not he should cry, “Am I the easiest person to bully?”

Xie Bi thought of another problem, “Not only the nobility of the capital know about this right? The masters of the martial arts Jiang Hu may come and participate as well?”

“Of course they may come. This kind of news, even if they wanted to hide it, they may not be able to. Even more, the Emperor has taken this as a chance to find her the best husband, also to help comfort her in the loneliness of battle. On the way back to the capital, have you all not noticed the many warriors who have been coming to Jinling?”

The three of them thought carefully, and slowly seemed to remember; it was only because there were so many people entering the capital that they had not noticed.

“Okay, I am done chatting with you guys,” Yan Yujin stood up and took a stretch lazily, “I need to go home and rest, I will prepare to show off my abilities after three days, defeat all the heroes and masters of martial arts, then mount the Lang Ya martial arts masters list…”

Xie Bi glanced sideways at him, “This person, not even asleep and already dreaming…”

“It is time to leave, we do not want to disturb Brother Su’s rest,” Xiao Jingrui said, “Fei Liu has already been sleeping for a long time.”

Everybody turned around to see Fei Liu, still dressed, lying on the bed, without even closing the drapery. His eyes were closed and he was already sleeping soundly.

“Even sleeping he looks like an ice cube…” Yan Yujin had just finished making his comment when Fei Liu’s eyes suddenly flew open, scaring Yujin so much that he pointed at Xiao Jingrui and cried, “He was the one who said that!”

Fei Liu’s open eyes didn’t seem to find anything to focus on, and thus instantly shut them again.

“Rest assured, he already recognizes your voice,” Mei Changsu smiled, “If it were a stranger’s voice, Fei Liu would wake up immediately.”

“Good, good,” Yan Yujin patted his chest and said, “Then we shall take our leave, Brother Su, please rest early.”

Mei Changsu rose and watched them leave from the door, then returned to his room.

The ten o’clock drums sounded just then; Mei Changsu paused in his steps and wordlessly listened for a moment while gazing at the silent Marquis’ Prefecture in the dark night. After a long time, he slowly shut the door.

The city of Jinling had always been known for its excitement, and naturally the center of it was where the Da Liang emperor’s palace was situated. From the south gate, there was a winding, red brick path, that connected to an exquisite mansion that was independent, yet also a part of the palace.

The layout of the mansion was not considered large, but if one were to use the size of the mansion to determine the identity of the owner, they would most likely be seriously mistaken. The main entrance of the mansion was not open throughout most of the year, on the lintel there hung a black plaque with an intricate gold trim. On it was written, in the official script style reserved for government officials, perfectly and neatly: “The Liyang Prefecture.”

The Princess Royal Liyang, the current emperor’s only living sister, the Marquis of Ning, Xie Yu’s wife.

Anyone in the capital who was a little bit older, still clearly remembered all the commotion from the year that the previous Emperor married off his beloved daughter. The newlywed couple who looked down over the commoners from the lofty Yingfeng Tower, were the perfect definition of a beauty and a hero. Twenty-six years flew by, and the two were still in-love as ever, respectful towards each other, and had three sons and one daughter. All were highly educated and polite–to the people, they were the shining model of a perfect family.

Originally, by royal conventions, after Princess Liyang married Xie Yu, Xie Yu would have had to change residence to the Princess’ Manor, and would be called the Prince Consort instead of the Marquis. Due to the wishes of the Princess herself, and in addition, the late Empress Dowager was always against the daughter being in a more exalted position within the husband’s family, which she believed would hinder her from experiencing the true joys of having her own family. After the wedding ceremony, Princess Liyang moved to the Prefecture of the Marquis of Ning, and was respectful to her in-laws. As the Princess was naturally virtuous, she ordered all to call her “Lady,” when inside the Ning Prefecture, and furthermore she strictly kept the servants she brought from the Palace in line. After Xie Yu achieved meritorious military service, and became ever more elevated and due to the Princess purposefully maintaining a low-profile, the government officials and the public gradually became accustomed to viewing the two as the “Marquis” and “Marquise,” rather than the “Princess,” and “Prince Consort.”

The Liyang Prefecture was built when the Princess came of age at 15, but ever since her marriage, the prefecture had been vacant. The Princess thought it would be a pity to leave the prefecture idle, and thus had a garden full of exotic flowers and plants planted, which was fragrant all year round. The consorts and nobility often asked to tour the sight, and it was one of the top sceneries to view in the capital. When the Princess fasted, worshipped, or when the Grand Empress Dowager came to visit, the Princess moved back to her prefecture for a few days.

When Xiao Jingrui and Xie Bi returned, their mother just so happened to be staying at the Princess Prefecture.

It was an early morning, and the brothers, as per their father’s orders, headed towards the Liyang Prefecture to wait. As they arrived, the Princess Royal’s sedan chair had already been prepared, and was at the side door. Obviously, the arrival of the brothers did not need to be announced. They made their way directly into the main hall, where they saw their mother, who had finished dressing and was being led out by her maids. The brothers quickly bowed and greeted her.

“Rise.” Princess Liyang smiled, and extended her hand to help them up. She had always been rather reserved, and even the servants who had served her for many years had never seen her lose her composure for even a second. Xiao Jingrui had not returned for many days, and even though she missed him and had worried about him often, she did not show it on her face. She only gazed upon him for an extra second, and did not anxiously ask about his well-being.

“Father ordered me to accompany mother back to the prefecture.” Xie Bi had grown up around Princess Liyang longer, and compared to his brother, seemed more close, but still far from the affection of the families of commoners, where children could jump into hugs and be spoiled. Though he stepped forward to hold the arm of his mother in support, it could only be described as respectful.

“Jingrui, are you doing well lately?” Princess Liyang asked.

“Thank you mother for asking, all is well.”

“Your father has gone to attend court?”

“Yes.”

After this short exchange of words, the three did not say anymore, went out and climbed into the carriage.

After entering the prefecture of the marquis, the carriage came to a stop outside the door, and the two brothers, one on the right, and one on the left, accompanied their mother out. Since the Marquis’ parents were both deceased, there was no need for them to greet them, and so Princess Liyang instructed that they return directly to her own quarters.

Following the corridor they passed the side courtyard, where alongside the wall only osmanthus trees were planted. As the blooming season was not yet over, a lingering fragrance hung in the air. Princess Liyang slowed down her pace slightly, as if she were enjoying the fragrance of the wind, and a touch of a smile surfaced upon her lips. At the same time, the sound of a guqin1; drifted across from the other side of the walls. Although it could not be clearly heard due to the distance, it’s ethereal resonance evoked a desire to cleanse one of worldly stains.

“Who is playing the guqin? Such an extraordinary ambience.”

Xiao Jingrui carefully listened for a bit, then responded, “This is a friend of mine, his surname is Su and is named Zhe, I invited him to Jinling for a short stay while he recovers; he is staying in the Snow Cottage right now.”

“Would mother like to meet this person?” Xie Bi hurriedly asked.

Princess Liyang smiled faintly, “Since he is Jingrui’s friend, the two of you should just take care of him, why would there be a need for me to see him?”

“But you cannot clearly hear the music from here; why don’t I invite Brother Su to the inner courtyard, to play for mother, but separated by a curtain?” Xie Bi suggested.

Princess Liyang knitted her eyebrows slightly, but her tone remained calm and soft, “Bi-er 2 , Su-xiansheng has come as a guest, not as a musician to entertain us, how could he be at our beck and call like that? With good luck, I will be able to hear him play again in the future, and if not, it cannot be forced.”

Xiao Jingrui, upon first hearing his second-brother’s suggestion, had had the same thought as Princess Liyang, and was rather unhappy, but seeing that his mother had refused the offer, did not say anything more. Xie Bi’s intention was not to be rude, but it was due to habits that he had had since he was young, he had always felt that his mother had an exalted status, and should call upon whomever if she enjoyed their playing, and did not think much more than that. He was reproached as a result of this, and his face flushed bright red.

After they reached the inner courtyard, Princess Liyang sat on a long couch near the window, and once the servants had left after serving tea and pastries, motioned for her sons to sit at her side; the atmosphere was not as formal and cold as it was before, and they began to converse more casually.

In the morning, Xiao Jingrui had been to the Snow Cottage already, but at the time, Mei Changsu seemed not to have risen yet, and with Fei Liu guarding outside refusing to let anyone in, he had not seen Mei Changsu. Although he was now chatting with his mother, the thought that he had not gone to greet his guest yet felt inappropriate, especially since he’d only just arrived a day ago.

Princess Liyang had always been intuitive–how could she not see how absent minded her son was? Thus, she gently said, “Both of you must still have your own things to do; there is no need for the two of you to stay here with me. Reading quietly by myself is a better past time for me as well, you two may go.”

“Mother, what are you saying?” Xie Bi quickly said, “Of course your sons should accompany and entertain you”

“What fun is there in being accompanied by you two boys? It would be better for you to marry a virtuous and filial wife so she could accompany me, that would be true filial piety. There is no need for you two to dawdle around here anymore, you are free to leave.”

Xie Bi had much business to take care of both in and out of the household, and Xiao Jingrui wanted to go see Mei Changsu, thus the two did not say anything more, bowed, and left the inner courtyard.

“Father will be going to the Commander Hong’s manor to celebrate his birthday, and I need to arrange the birthday greetings and gifts. I must trouble you to tell Brother Su that I will not be able to go greet him today.” Xie Bi hastily explained to Xiao Jingrui outside the second door, and the two departed on their separate ways.


1. Guqin: a plucked seven-string Chinese musical instrument of the zither family. It has been played since ancient times, and has traditionally been favored by scholars as an instrument of great subtlety and refinement, as well as being associated with the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius

 

2. Bi-er: “Er” added at the end of a name is used as a term of affection

 

Dramas, Nirvana In Fire, Translation

Nirvana In Fire Chapter 8 Translation

Chapter 8: Entering the Capital

From Fu Zhou, they traveled for ten or so days via the main waterway of the River Fen till they docked at Ling Gorge. From there it took another ten days or so, over land passing through Hui Zhou, before the walls of Jin Ling came into sight. On the way, all of Mei Changsu’s time was basically split between the two brothers; while on the boat, all of his time was spent with Xiao Jingrui, giving him advice on his martial arts and pointers on handling challenges, eventually moving on to the strategies and the art of war. After they moved to land, all of his time was spent with Xie Bi, who sought advice on economics and politics. Mei Changsu was always occupied and barely ever had a moment of free time. So it was not until the smokey willow trees of the capital appeared before their eyes, did the three realize that the long and distant journey had come to an end – it had felt so short and indolent. Continue reading “Nirvana In Fire Chapter 8 Translation”

Dramas, Nirvana In Fire, Translation

Nirvana In Fire Chapter 7 Translation

Chapter 7: Different Ways

To Note:

Noble/Gentlemen: A title for a young man from a noble family, usually the son of an official.   Translation from 公子 (GongZi)

Magistrate: A civil officer charged with the administration of the law, in this case a a minor judicial officer, who tries minor criminal cases and to conduct preliminary examinations of persons charged with serious crimes. Translated from 知府

Prefecture:The residence or housing of a prefect (a chief officer, magistrate, or regional governor), government official, or member of high social status.

xiao: An endearing, affectionate term added to the front of a person’s name, literally meaning “little.” Please note the difference of xiao, meaning little, and Xiao, a surname; Xiao will always be capitalized, and xiao lowercase, despite its position in the sentence.

ge-ge: A term for older brother, used either alone, or after a name.

Jiang Hu: The martial arts world where people join sects and fight each over and perform heroic deeds. Literally meaning among the rivers and lakes.


 

“Fei Liu, come out and meet these three gentlemen, we will be intruding upon them for quite a while.” said the Chief of the Jiang Zuo Alliance.

The second time they looked around, the trio suddenly felt a chill down their spines. Just a few seconds ago, in what had obviously been an empty room, suddenly stood a little boy dressed in blue clothes; and like the other side of the wall, he stood there silently, without the slightest trace of movement. Mei Changsu had said that after crossing the river, he would always be nearby, and it now made sense. This boy not only had astonishing skills, but after careful examination, it was seen that he was also a very handsome boy. It was too bad he looked so icy and isolated that it seemed as if he were partially frozen, causing no one to dare befriend him. His cold stare only warmed slightly as he gazed toward Mei Changsu, as if that were the only person who he would ever care for in this world.

The naturally warm-hearted Yan Yujin was most scared of this type of person, and thus shivered, hiding at a side.

“Fei Liu, come here,” Mei Changsu said, and before the words were fully out of his mouth, Fei Liu was already at his side, putting his hand in the one Mei Changsu extended towards him. “Fei Liu, look clearly at these three people; they are my friends, and sometimes they will joke around with me, but they will never hurt me. So if you see them making physical contact with me, that’s okay, and do not attack them alright? If I ever want you to attack someone, I will let you know, understood?”

Hearing him say this, the three gentlemen originally thought it was funny, but seeing the serious look on Fei Liu’s face as he earnestly nodded, sent a sudden chill through them.

This young boy, a master at martial arts, seemed to have a mental deficiency.

“Dear Fei Liu is still only a child,” Mei Changsu said, as he held Fei Liu’s hand, affectionately patting him. The warmth in Fei Liu’s eyes was an immediate reaction to Mei Changsu’s affection, and Fei Liu crouched down, resting his head in Mei Changsu’s lap. “See, he even likes being babied. Sometimes he can’t tell the difference from what’s real, and what is not, so just remember that when he is present, be careful not to be too rambunctious .

With Mei Changsu as the chief of the Jiang Zul Alliance, paired with his irresistible charisma, the three noble gentlemen had never planned on being rambunctious with him, but after hearing him say this, they quickly moved away and created a larger distance between themselves and Mei Changsu.

“You need not be so nervous, dear Fei Liu is quite good-natured.” Mei Changsu laughed, seeing the uneasy looks on their faces, “When we were in Lang Zhou, he was the most likable person in our alliance!”

This icy boy? Most likable? The three questioned this. What a lie, they would never believe it in a million years.

At that moment, came the sound of rapid footsteps coming down the hall. The magistrate breathlessly walked in, bowed towards Yan Yujin and said, “ Respected gentlemen, the horses and chariots are prepared for you, I have personally picked one hundred soldiers, please rest assured, we will protect your three friends, and ensure their safety back to the capital.”

“Oh,” Yan Yujin casually responded, “The plans have changed, I will be leaving too.”

“Ah!” Fei Xin cried out in surprise, “If the honored gentleman will be going too, one hundred soldiers is not nearly enough, allow me to…”

“It’s fine, too many people would be unnecessary; once we get to the capital, the Yan prefecture would need to be in charge of their food and accommodations too. What would we need so many people for? No need to worry about that stuff; I’m hungry, are you going to take us to eat?”

His words shocked Fei Xin, who hurriedly bowed and said, “My apologies, a banquet has been prepared for you in the back garden, may I seat Noble Yan and your honored friends?”

Yan Yujin felt obligated to walk in front, as he was the only one who revealed his true identity, that he was of noble status, to Fei Xin during the journey. Once they reached the garden, an extravagant feast of all sorts of drinks and dishes awaited them. It was too bad that they were all tired of eating such delicacies, and did not have any praise for the prepared feast. Only Mei Changsu warmly gave a few compliments, and Fei Xin sighed with relief.

Naturally, Fei Xin tried to get Noble Yan and his friends to stay the night at his prefecture. Though Yan Yujin declined at first, Fei Xin persuaded him to stay. They stayed in an independent guest residence detached from the main prefecture, which had a courtyard, as well as elaborate indoor decorations. The four each chose their own rooms, naturally with Fei Liu staying in the same room as Mei Changsu. Yan Yujin even specially requested the servants to add an extra bed into the room for him.

It was a tiring day, so when the sun had just barely set, everyone exchanged “good nights,” and returned to their rooms to wash, change, and prepare for bed. At this time, Fei Xin unexpectedly showed up again, and seeing Yan Yujin appear at the door in cotton nightwear, startledly asked, “Why, you are preparing to sleep already?”

“What else would I do at this time?

“Which gentleman of Jin Ling city sleeps this early? I was going to ask if you would like to go listen to some songs, or watch a dance?The girls of Fu Zhou are all so talented, and highly gifted in all the arts, whether it’s dancing, singing, playing instruments…”

“Don’t rush to tell me all their talents yet, let me ask you, are they as good as Miss Wan Bo from the Qin Huai River?

“Miss Wan Bo is well known for her beauty and talents, and she has made it onto the Lang Ya List; of course they can’t compare with Miss Wan Bo…”

“In that case, there is no need for me to go, but I’ll ask the others if they are interested.” Yan Yujin then proceeded to call out, “xiao Jing, xiao Jing’s little brother, are you guys in need of some lady company tonight?”

Xiao Jingrui pushed open his room window and scolded, “Stop being so frivolous, you will make a joke out of us in front of Brother Su!”

Yan Yujin turned his head, and saw Mei Changsu who had unknowingly come out, and was standing in front of his room door. Dressed in clothes as white as snow, with no belt, and his black hair loose on his shoulders, made him seem paler, and more frail than usual.

“Brother Su, it’s very windy today; you should return to your room, Mister Yan is just up to his nonsense again, there’s nothing good to see” Xiao Jingrui called out.

Mei Changsu smiled and said nothing, turned around to return to his room, and closed the windows tightly. Within the blink of an eye, he blew out the candle, and no more sounds came from his room.

“Looks like no one is interested,” Yan Yujin sighed, “Maybe next time we come we’ll meet the ladies of Fu Zhou. I think we will go to bed now; Magistrate Fei need not worry about us, go ahead and return to your house with your wife.”

Fei Xin realized that he had not quite pleased the gentlemen the way he wanted to, thought for a while and couldn’t come up with anything else, so he smiled, said a few kind words, and left.

The next day, Mei Changsu and Xiao Jingrui went to the east city gates to see off Yan Yujin’s departure. The one hundred soldiers in their distinctive armor composed a  nice squad, and it was evident that each soldier had been carefully chosen. Since they were on a journey to the bustling, flourishing city of Jin Ling, the soldiers all had exuberant spirits due to the fact that they were guards for the son of the Marquis, would be payed well, and also that they would be able to experience the “big city.” The lead of the squad was a robust, vigorous looking military official with the surname Huo; as he greeted Yan Yujin, he spoke loudly and clearly, much to Yujin’s liking. The four guards Mei Changsu had mentioned also arrived on time, all looking rather ordinary in appearance, and even after changing into military uniforms, did not seem outstanding at all. Xiao Jingrui, who was worried about the safety of his good friend, secretly went to test the skills of one of these guards. When he secretly snuck out again, Yan Yujin laughed at him for doing so.

Naturally, within the crowd seeing off the departure, was none other than the Fu Zhou Magistrate Fei Xin. He had been busy taking care of all the details of the trip the entire morning, and had even brought a box of “native products” as a gift, hoping that Yan Yujin would “kindly accept this small gift for his father, the Marquis.” Yan Yujin opened up the box and looked in, then shook his head and laughed. Fei Xin dared not insist on it, but proceeded to take out another well-sealed old wine together with a basket of mandarines, that are the local specialty, and asked the young gentleman,  “Please bring this to my Great Teacher, your honorable grandfather ’s grave, to show respects and admiration of his student to him.” This time Yan Yujin accepted it without any hesitation.

Since it was only a temporary goodbye, and the one parting was very carefree, there was no lingering sadness; as soon as everyone was ready to leave, they waved good bye and left. Xiao Jingrui stood in front of the city gate for quite a while; it wasn’t until all the dust had returned to the ground that he returned back to the city with Mei Changsu. Fei Liu, who was busy amusing himself, appeared and disappeared often. Mei Changsu bought a little candy figurine, then called for him, and of course he appeared at his side within the blink of the eye. After eating his candy figurine, he disappeared again.

“Fei Liu’s abilities are very unusual, I’ve observed him for quite a while, and I can’t seem to figure out what type of martial arts he does.”

Mei Changsu smiled and said: “Although martial arts runs in your family and you understand many types, it is not strange that you can’t tell what type Fei Liu’s martial arts is. Not only you, I’m afraid even your father, Zhuo Manor Owner, who is ranked fourth on the Lang Ya’s martial arts list, and well known for his knowledge of martial arts, may not be able to tell the origin of Fei Liu’s abilities.”

Xiao Jingrui was surprised and doubtful at first, but then after careful thought asked, “Unless… he originates from outside the central plains?”

There was a touch of approval in Mei Changsu’s eyes, who responded, “Jingrui is very intuitive, Fei Liu is from the coasts of Qin Zhou, and was taken by Japanese pirates as a child, where he was taught secret Japanese martial arts.”

“Secret?”

“Yes. Fei Liu was caught by a very mysterious Japanese organization. The leader of this organization buys children from the pirates who have great potential in martial arts, and cuts them off from all contact with the outside world. He uses drugs and poisons to control these children. When these children grow up, their mental capabilities cannot fully develop, and cannot tell good from evil, right from wrong. They lack common sense, but they are also highly skilled at the martial arts, and are controlled by the leader for acts of spying, stealing information, and assassination. What’s funny is that this organization, which had done many acts of evil, had not been punished. However, during one of their assassinations, they accidentally killed the crown prince of Japan, causing the downfall of the organization. In reality, the king of Japan knew about the existence of this organization, and did not interfere, but upon the assassination of his only son, he was outraged, and regretful that he hadn’t done anything earlier. These poor children had no ability to live independently, and after the execution of their leader, even those who escaped being captured or who were not hunted down by enemies, were not able to survive by themselves, and eventually died. Fei Liu was the youngest of the children, and had just been taught the tricks of their trade, but had not been released on any of their missions yet; he had no enemies, but was displaced from his home, left alone to freeze and starve to death. At the time, I had just so happened to go to Japan to to find a few medicinal herbs, and some other things, and coincidentally found him, so I brought him back with me.” When Mei Changsu got to the end of his sentence, he spoke in a sorrowful tone, still hurting as he recalled the condition the boy was in.

Xiao Jingrui had been born into nobility, had wandered among the Jiang Hu, but had never heard of such cruel doings by people. He was stunned, and took quite a while before asking, “Then…the poison in his body…..”

“The drugs and poisons are already cleared and cured, but the injury to his mind can no longer be fully healed. Fortunately, this practice has died out. I have tried some things to help, but…” At this point, Mei Changsu seemed to remember something, and the sad look on his face softened, making room for a smile while he said, “In the Jiang Zuo Alliance, there is someone who seems to not fear death, and enjoys teasing Fei Liu; the teasing helps him open up a bit too. Look, he is much more sociable now!”

Sociable? Xiao Jingrui tried for a long time to connect this word with this icy little boy. He could see that the belief that the one who has raised a child has a different perception of a child, was true, and did not exclude the Chief of the Jiang Zuo Alliance.

“Ah, look, this hair band looks good on my dear Fei Liu,” Mei Changsu suddenly said, and turned around, walking into the store. Xiao Jingrui was dazed for a second by the change, and at the next moment, he saw Fei Liu already standing next to Mei Changsu at the store counter. The store owner took the hair tie Mei Changsu liked, and turned to hand it to Mei Changsu, since he was fearful of the cold-looking little boy.

“Jingrui, doesn’t this look good?”Mei Changsu said after helping tie the hair band for Fei Liu, and admiring it.

“Yes, it looks good,” Xiao Jingrui sincerely answered, as the royal blue color looked good with Fei Liu’s fair skin.

“Then we’ll buy it. After we are done taking care of all our business, we will go back to show brother Lin Chen … Fei Liu, do you miss your Lin Chen ge-ge?”

“No!”

“Why don’t you miss him?”

“He’s mean! He teases Fei Liu!”

Mei Changsu laughed happily, but mid laugh, an imperceivable trace of sorrow drifted into his dark black eyes, and he dropped the hand that was gently stroking Fei Liu’s hair, softly whispering, “Actually, you probably do miss him, not only you miss him, I miss him too; it’s too bad that… we can’t go back yet…”

Xiao Jingrui stood at a side, and though from his angle he could not see the expression on Mei Changsu’s face, upon hearing these words, he also felt sad, and was about to comfort him when Mei Changsu suddenly smiled and said, “Well, we had better get a move on, Xie Bi is probably getting worried waiting for us.”

The three picked up their pace, walked through half the town, and arrived at the north city gates rather quickly. Xie Bi was standing before a large, beautifully decorated boat, dressed in rather eye-catching clothes, but he looked so sullen, he almost seemed hostile.

“Sorry, sorry,” Xiao Jingrui apologized before his little brother could say anything, “We did take a little too long, were you getting impatient? Do you have the boat arranged? All our luggage is on the boat? Do you need help leading your horse on board?”

“With the time you took, I could lead my horse on and off board forty times! What took you so long? I thought something had happened, and was beginning to worry!” Xie Bi angrily replied.

“So sorry, it’s my fault we walked slowly, and rested along the way. Don’t blame Jingrui, he tried hurrying us along.” Sir Mei of Jiangzuo smiled softly, like a light breeze, taking away the thin clouds, leaving the sky to the sun and its gentle warmth.

Xie Bi glared at his brother once again, saying “Brother Su is unwell, why would you rush him? Look at his sweat, and pale skin, it’s all your fault for hurrying him! I thought you used to be a considerate person!”

Xiao Jingrui was not sure whether he should have laughed or cried, and realized that it was not always a good thing to be so kind, look at the situation he was in, it seemed that no matter what, it was his fault…

“It’s okay, let’s board the boat now.” Mei Changsu wisely avoided further quarrel, and boarded the boat. The boatman welcomed them as they boarded.  

The boat Xie Bi had arranged was beautiful, but old, and the head of the boat had a sign saying “Lang Teng League.” The boatmen were very polite, and the cabin furnishings and refreshments were quite exquisite, probably because they often had officials aboard.

After leaving the dock, the boat trip was very smooth. Mei Changsu leaned against the bench, and looking out through the decorative window, enjoyed the shoreline autumn scenery. He felt content, and sighed, “Even though it is a longer route by boat, it is definitely more enjoyable. Too bad Yujin is probably busy on the road right now.”

“As long as it’s not dangerous, I don’t mind him having a little more arduous journey.” Xiao Jingrui then quickly added, “But he has the four guards Brother Su invited, so there should be no trouble at all.”

Mei Changsu glanced at him, and said, “Is it still bothering you?”

“Not really…” Xiao Jingrui reluctantly denied, but then admitted, “…It does make me feel uncomfortable, I thought that I…”

“Thought that even if you couldn’t make the top ten on the Lang Ya List, you were still considered very skilled at martial arts?

“Yeah…”

Mei Changsu shook his head and smiles, “No need to be depressed, the martial arts of the Tian Quan Manor is top notch, and with your hard work, you can’t go wrong. Actually, whether inner force, or movements, the four of them are not as good as you, but what you lack, is experience.”

“Experience?”

“That’s right, the experience of actual combat. If you think about it, other than if you yourself initiate the challenge, how many other times has your sword come out of its sheath? After all, practice is not the same as actual combat. Even though you had once defeated the head of the Qian Lei Guild, in a match between life or death, the one surviving would not be you. When one has enough experience, you will learn how to predict the next move of your opponent, and thus be more prepared, on the other hand, when you lack experience, every move is unexpected, and it gives your opponent the upper hand. If there is a large gap between the skills, then experience is not important, but if there is little to no gap, then the difference between experience becomes very obvious,” Mei Changsu said, and after taking a sip of tea, continued casually, “These four people are masters of the golden rank that the Yang Wei Guard House lent me, and have had many years of experience among the Jiang Hu; you are already at a disadvantage against them.”

Xiao Jingrui froze for a moment, and looked down, a little discouraged.

Engage in actual combat? With his social status and personality, to engage in actual combat with others, how would that be possible?

Xie Bi had never liked practicing martial arts, and reassured him dismissively, “Martial arts is for self-defense, you do not need to rely on it for a future, plus you have your older brother Qingyao from the Tian Quan Manor to stand up for you, why do you want to be so skilled at martial arts?”

“Xie Bi is right, you shouldn’t mind too much,” Mei Changsu smiled again, “Even though the route by boat is smooth, the scenery doesn’t change much, and is a little boring. If you have nothing to do along the way, I’ll teach you a few moves.”

“Really?” Xiao Jingrui was overjoyed to hear this. Even though he didn’t know what Mei Changsu’s martial arts was like, he knew that if the Chief of the Jiang Zuo Alliance could help him out, it would have unimaginable benefits! Upon a closer thought, his smile lessened, he couldn’t help but still be worried, asking in a low voice, “Are you feeling well enough? Whether or not I improve my martial arts skills is not that important; I don’t want you to tire, and get sick!”

“I can help you without engaging in combat, so it’s not a problem. Actually, even though I know a lot about martial arts, I cannot practice it. Have you ever heard about me engaging in combat on the Jiang Hu? It’s just that I’ve observed a lot of combat, have a lot of insights, and can give you pointers. To really engage in combat, I probably couldn’t even beat Xie Bi!”

He had just finished speaking, and Fei Liu immediately glared at Xie Bi icily, who shivered in fear.

“Don’t worry, I’m just using him as an example, I won’t really fight with Xie Bi,” Mei Changsu reassured his little guard, “Don’t glare at him, come eat some pastries…”

Fei Liu held up his gaze a bit, till he slowly averted his eyes, and appeared at Mei Changsu’s side to sit down next to him.

“Whew…”Xie Bi sighed, and complained, “Please Brother Su, do not use me as an example again.”