Chapter 154: Suddenly Two Sets (Part 2)
Hello readers! New update! Please always read the NOTES for each update. They will definitely help with your understanding, as they are specific for each update.
If you didn’t read the post “not an update, BUT STILL IMPORTANT“, I would kindly ask that you do so because it really is important. Thanks!!
[September 19, 2017] So I didn’t really want to make you guys wait soooooo long, so I decided to post up what I’ve already translated of this chapter (it’s actually almost 2am here already and I actually have a midterm tomorrow but look at my dedication haha). I’m actually almost done translating this chapter, except I have midterms this week and next week BUT DON’T WORRY because I will have this fully completed by Sunday. I haven’t really proofread this but please enjoy anyways~
[September 22, 2017] If you read this post prior to September 22, 2017, then please scroll back to where you left off to continue reading. If you are accessing this post after September 22, 2017, then simply just read the entire update. Thanks for reading and please enjoy!!
*****IMPORTANT: Original novel is set in some made-up dynasties in ancient China. However, I think China probably has some sort of rule where production teams can’t historical dramas being set in non-existent dynasties (because it does not accurately represent Chinese history or something like that), so the production team changed it and adapted everything into the Wei/Liang dynastic era. The surname of Yuan was the actual last name of Wei rulers, and Yuwen was also the surname of a minister family during that time.
Please use the following as a key (some of these places have not yet shown up in my translations, but will soon show up):
Wei = Xia (for those who know Chinese history, this Xia is does not seem to be the same Xia as the one in Chinese dynastic order)
Yanbei = Yanbei
Liang = Biantang
Yuan = Zhao (so instead of Yuan Chun/Yuan Song/Yuan Che it is now Zhao Chun/Zhao Song/Zhao Che)
Yuwen = Zhuge (so instead of Yuwen Yue it’s Zhuge Yue)
Xiao Ce = Li Ce (Li Ce is the ruler of Biantang)
Qinghai = new place in the book created by Zhuge Yue and later ruled together by Zhuge Yue and Chu Qiao
Huaisong = place in book, not in drama
*****NOTES (to help with your understanding of this chapter!):
- Hui Hui Mountain = mountain in Yanbei
- Ping An & Qing Qing = I’m sure yall remember Ping An from the drama. In the book he also has a younger sister named Qing Qing.
- Read the footnotes for more clarifications if needed.
The stuff happening in this chapter occurs after a two-year time jump.
Duo Ji frowned. He was already sixteen. His father had already married his mother at his age. I’m no longer a child anymore, Duo Ji thought.
“Come and sit down. Try some.”
Duo Ji politely sat down, picked up a piece of pastry and looked at it carefully, not really wanting to eat such a pretty pastry. The pastry was delicately made using white sugar cake and red jujube lined the center of the flower, making the pastry to look like a plum blossom.
“Try it!” Chu Qiao urged him. Duo Ji nervously put the pastry in his mouth and swallowed it in one go, almost choking on it. Chu Qiao quickly poured a cup of tea for him and Duo Ji drank a huge gulp of tea before finally swallowing the pastry down.
“Does it taste good?” Chu Qiao asked. Tears almost dropped from Duo Ji’s eyes as he whined: “I didn’t really taste it.”
“Hehe,” Chu Qiao smiled as she pushed the entire plate of pastries towards him and said: “Here, have them all.”
Duo Ji started to eat the pastries one by one, and continuosly praised: “Master, you’re incredible. You even know how to make such tasty things. Who did you learn these skills from?”
“When I used to reside in the palace, I would learn from the cooks in the palace kitchen. Duo Ji is very lucky; the emperor fo Xia eats these types of pastries too.”
“Ah?” Duo Ji blankly asked. It seemed as though tonight he was much dumber than normal, always being stunned by random information.
The pond outside suddenly made a gurgling sound. The wind blew inwards, blowing upon the other window. Chu Qiao stood up to close the window, only to see that the old plum blossom tree had already grown to be as tall as the room itself. Her hand stopped in midair as she stood there blankly, lines of moonlight shining onto her wrist in spots and patches.
In the blink of an eye, two years had already passed. The then newly planted plum blossom tree was now as tall as her home.
Time is truly the most heartless thing in this world. It will never pause its steps for any form of happiness or sadness. Once time hurriedly leaves on its own way, any previously intense emotions will also slowly cool down.
After leaving Yun Bi during the New Year, she had walked for half a month straight until she arrived at Bei Shuo. The next morning, as she walked along the quiet streets of Bei Shuo to exit through the main gates of the city, she was met with thousands of Yanbei citizens.
Amongst them included the local residents of Bei Shuo, but many of the citizens had rushed to Bei Shuo all the way from the inland Yanbei towns of Shang Shen, Sunset Mountain, Lan Cheng, Chi Du, Hui Hui, and Mei Lin. As soon as the civilians discovered that she was about to leave, they all paired up together and rushed their way to catch up to her. On her way here, Chu Qiao had met many of these groups. But she didn’t know or recognize any of them. They didn’t try bothering her either. Everyone simply silently followed her, all the way to this place before finally grouping together in front of Bei Shuo’s city exit. They quietly gazed at her, wanting to send her on her way at least one last time.
Amongst the large group of civilians were white-haired elderly persons, young and naive children, as well as people from the state’s borders and also business merchants from the east. There were also a large number of civilian soldiers from Chi Du, who had formerly been her comrades in their battles against Xia Army. There were hundreds of Bei Shuo civilians as well; these people had only survived due to her persistent protection of their hometown and its citizens. There were also her colleagues who had helped her fulfill her dreams of constructing infrastructure and business, and lots of herders and shepherds who lived at the bottom of Hui Hui mountain had come as well.
These people had woken up bright and early to leave the city and had quietly formed two lines on each side of her, leaving an open pathway for her in the middle. When they saw her walking towards them, they all orderly lined up to look at her.
To this day, Chu Qiao was still unable to forget the looks in their eyes. Those eyes held feelings of reluctance, sadness, retainment, heartbreak, worry, and fear. And yet all these looks melted into one of silence. Even the youngest child did not make a single noise, only standing there to gaze at her, silently gaze at her.
In that instant, Chu Qiao wanted to cry from sadness.
She knew that she carried a lot of responsibility. She had spent the past year traveling through Yanbei. She shared her ideas of freedom and equality to all corners of Yanbei. She led the citizens of Yanbei to reconstruct their homeland. In the midst of warfare, she struggled to bring their spirits back to life. They wholeheartedly trusted her and protected her. These people and their ancestors had been oppressed for centuries, but they had put all their hopes of freedom and a wonderful life onto her shoulders. And yet now, she was about to leave. She was about to throw away the promises she had made towards them. She was about to leave them, about to never intervene again on all the dreams that she had previously used her whole effort to fight for.
He Xiao had brought all nine-thousand members of the Xiu Li Army. They stood at the front in full armor and gear with their luggage readily packed, looking as though they were about to follow directly on her heels.
Nothing needed to be said. All she could do was blankly stand there, looking like a stone statue.
Suddenly, a small pair of soft hands wrapped around her waist. She looked down, only to see a young little girl, silently gazing up at her with her head stubbornly raised upwards. Tears started to form in the little girl’s eyes, ready to fall from her eyes in an instant. Ping An ran up from behind the young girl, and attempted to drag his little sister away, but was simply unable to succeed in doing so.
At that time, Ping An had just joined the army. His first task assigned by Yan Xun was to head towards the inland areas of Yanbei. At that time, little Qing Qing had already been living with Chu Qiao for a little more than a year.
“Jie Jie,” Qing Qing finally bursted into tears. Teardrops fell one by one, crying: “Do you not want me anymore? Do you not want me anymore?”
The young girl started to cry, and slowly, other people around her started to cry as well. The citizens were standing in straight lines. Someone suddenly kneeled to the ground and slowly everyone started to follow the action. The elderly civilians cried heavily and repeatedly asked: “Master, do you not want us anymore?”
“Master, if you are not here, then I will be taken away and forced to become a slave again.”
“Master, where are you going? Can I come with you?”
Cold wind blew towards her, causing bits of snow to rise up from the ground. Chu Qiao let go of her halter, raised her head and looked upwards. Her eyes saw a bright sun but tears fell one by one from the corner of her eyes, running down deep into the sides of her hair.
Such a heavy responsibility was resting on her shoulders, causing her almost unable to breathe.
She knew who was controlling the entire scene, and yet she was unable to escape. He understood her too well. He only needed to use such a small trick to trap her completely.
That day, she felt as though she had cried all of her tears. Standing on the empty snow-covered ground, she felt like a stringless kite that had been tightly clasped in a person’s hands. Even though she wanted to escape, she had no idea where to escape to.
Thus, she helplessly decided to stay. She settled in the middle of Hui Hui Mountain, and continued to stay there for the next two years.
Within these two years, she saw him, saw him conscript troops and raise taxes, saw him capture cities and take over areas. He saw him initiate a military action even stricter than that of Xia state. She saw him remove anyone and anything that could threaten him step by step and finally sitting stably atop the state of Yanbei.
She sometimes thought that life was indeed a very intriguing thing. It always gave you hope during the times you felt most hopeless, and allowed you to continue persevering. And yet, right when you got closer to that piece of hope, life would pour a bucket of cold water and put out all the sparks of your dreams and aspirations.
Yan Xun finally succeeded. Under his constant pressure, Xia state could no longer raise its head.
After Zhuge Yue died, Zhuge family tried to hurriedly tried to cut off all ties with him. He was expelled from the family genealogy and kicked out of the family. Even his own corpse had not been buried in the familial graveyard. But even through such severe means, they were still negatively impacted by Zhuge Yue’s death. Their place in the ministerial world was definitely not as good as before. Zhuge Huai was also demoted one level after another. Even though Zhuge Muqing was still trying to redeem themselves, actively trying to hold up the children of his relatives, but it was obvious that the result was not well expected.
General Le Xing’s daughter Le Wan Yi also hurriedly rushed to cancel her betrothal to Zhuge Yue . She personally wrote a letter to the Xia Emperor, stating that Zhuge family was wealthy and powerful, and used their higher status to bully others, that Zhuge Yue had terrible character and coveted her beauty. She stated how unwilling she was, and how Zhuge Yue used his family’s power to threaten her and coerce her into agreeing to an engagement with him. But now that he has committed such an unforgivable crime, if she were to be his widow, than that would be such disrespect and shame to both the country and the emperor. She would rather become a nun than be the wife of someone so shameful.
Le Wan Yi’s determination and sincerity to follow the Buddhist path was deeply praised everywhere. Even though in the end she was unable to fulfill her wish of cutting her hair and becoming a nun, she still succeeded in drawing a line between an embarrassing criminal general and herself which thus allowed her to maintain her moral character and noble status.
Of course, being Zhuge Yue’s direct superior, Zhao Che could not escape the fate of being demoted. This prince who had risen and fallen multiple times was once again demoted to the northeast borders to be in charge of an unnecessary military building construction, and thus was now far away from Xia politics.
However, the most unexpected move came from the fourteenth prince Zhao Yang, who had decided to make an alliance with the Wei family. Under the support of Wei Guang, Zhao Yang became Xia state’s most powerful prince in one leap. The emperor gave him the title of Prince Zhou and Wei Shuye also used this time for his advantage and became in charge of all military affairs on Yan Ming border.
THERE’S MORE!! I PROMISE!!
—————————————-[SEPTEMBER 22, 2017] NEW UPDATE ————————————-
Xia state’s structure of power was shuffled once again. But it was not difficult for anyone to notice that the strength of Xia state had already slowly left the country. The Xia army looked more and more weak as they faced off against the powerful armies of Yanbei. Even though Wei Shuye possessed some military talent, Yan Xun was still much more talented than him. Increasing political interference slowly made Xia transition from going on the offensive to being on the defensive. Within the past year, the weariness and exhaustion of Xia state started to show more prominently.
Xi Meng was now split into four areas. In Biantang, Li Ce had already stabilized his position as Emperor. Huaisong’s eldest princess Nalan Hongye was in charge of the state’s politics. Yan Xun ruled over the north west area, with only a single river splitting it from Xia state. As of now, no single state was the strongest.
And yet even with this current state of the power struggle, Yan Xun still did not dare to rashly attack Xia state, because a new political regime had suddenly appeared south west of He Lan Mountain. No one knew how this political regime came to be, and no one knew about the situation or population that lived there. Merchants and travelers that passed through the area only knew that the leader of the new political regime had called himself “Qinghai King.”
Qinghai was south of He Lan Mountain and west of Cui Wei Mountain. Rumour had it that the area was a desolate and barren piece of scorching hot terrain, with roaming wild animals and very few plants. Two thousand years ago, the area had served to be a place for people exiled from the mainland, and rumour had it that few people who came to the area could survive. If they were not consumed by wild animals, then they died from strange diseases. Thus, as years passed, “exiled to Qinghai” became a euphemism for “passed away.” People would rather die in Xi Meng than take one step into Qinghai. Throughout the years, the numerous criminals that had been exiled would rather commit suicide at the Cui Wei border than step into Qinghai.
However, it is in this area filled with poisonous insects, roaming wild animals, and plantless grounds that a new political regime was suddenly born.
On the seventeenth day of the seventh month of the year seven-hundred and seventy-eight, Yan Xun personally led an army of seventy-thousand soldiers to attack the southern gate of the Yan Ming border. Just as they were about to succeed in doing so, the trace of a new enemy appeared in the southwest area. The fighters from new enemy showcased vigorous skill and strong combat. They moved as fast as the wind, and were as aggressive as wolves. The fighters were like knives, plunging themselves into the left wing of the Yanbei forces, and crushing the Yanbei Army’s offensive attack. However, right when Yan Xun was about to hurriedly turn his forces around to counterattack, the mysterious fighters disappeared like thin air.
Until after a long period of time passed, were scouts able to find their trace at the Cui Wei border. But by then, Cui Wei border had already been claimed by a so-called “Qinghai King.”
For Yanbei, this was truly bad news because Cui Wei border was situated next to He Lan Mountain and west of Chi Shui. This meant that aside from the Quan Rong people by the Mei Lin border, another enemy called Qinghai King had appeared next to Yanbei. However what was worse was that Mei Lin border was controlled by Yanbei, but Cui Wei border belonged to Qinghai King.
This meant that Qinghai King could enter Yanbei and take a stroll whenever he wanted to and no one could do anything about it. Cui Wei border was the boundary between Cui Wei Mountain and He Lan Mountain. To the north of Cui Wei border was a large plain with no natural barriers and relatively no risks. The only way to block off enemies from Qinghai was to construct a great wall for a couple thousand kilometers along the Cui Wei border.
This, was a big joke.
But at least aside from that one time, Qinghai King never made an appearance again. It almost seemed that for the previous incident, Qinghai King was simply bored and wanted to come out and take a stroll outside to notify Yan Xun the existence of himself as his new neighbor. However, Yan Xun did not dare sit idle and do nothing about the situation. He continuously sent people to Qinghai in an effort to collect information and also made frequent visits to the Cui Wei border, hoping to come in contact with Qinghai King. Yan Xun also started arranging his troops to set up a defensive barrier in the southwest. Thus, these new military movements gave breathing space to Xia state for the time being.
All these happenings were relayed to Chu Qiao one after another by He Xiao and his comrades. These past two years, Chu Qiao rarely traveled down the mountain. Aside from going out to handle some affairs two years prior, Chu Qiao had never left her home again.
A small gurgle suddenly sounded near Duo Ji, causing Duo Ji to look around uncertainly, only to see a little pot gurgling atop of a small stove. Chu Qiao noticed it too, and hurriedly walked towards the stove. She put on her gloves and picked up the pot, and turned her head back to Duo Ji: “If you’re done eating, then go back to sleep. I’m going now.”
Duo Ji watched as Chu Qiao slowly walked away, not towards her own room, but instead walked around her room and towards the pine garden. Duo Ji did not follow her. He wrapped up the remaining pastries, not wanting to eat them just yet.
Wind blew across the pine forest, the leaves rustling against each other. Chu Qiao continued to walk before stopping in front of a tombstone. She put down her pot, opened the lid with the pot filled with oily-spicy lamb meat.
In front of the tombstone was a little table and stool, both of which had become very smooth. It could easily been seen that the stool was often used from how smooth the stool’s surface was. The tombstone was very simple and old-fashioned. There were only five words carved on the stone: “The grave of Zhuge Yue.”
Yes, two years ago, she had taken three hundred elite members of the Xiu Li Army and had headed to great Xia to take back Zhuge Yue’s corpse.
At that time, she had received news that Zhuge family still ended up kicking Zhuge Yue out of the family and had not even allowed his corpse to be buried into the Zhuge family graveyard. Instead, his corpse had been flogged, and then careless thrown into a random burial ground south of the city.
The corpse-retrieval process was conducted very smoothly; there was no one looking after those already useless corpses. When Chu Qiao finally arrived, the corpse had already been ripped to pieces by wild dogs, its face changed beyond recognition. If not for the fact that the corpse had been flogged, Chu Qiao would not have been able to recognize which pieces of the corpse to put together. With no other alternative, Chu Qiao had to cremate his corpse and then take his ashes back with her to Yanbei.
When she was in Zhen Huang, she finally heard about what Miss Wan Yi had done. For the first time, she could not keep her usually cool stance and felt so angry towards this shameless woman.
In order to fulfill her goal of converting to Buddhism, Miss Wan Yi spent a period of time traveling between her home and the temple. Chu Qiao had led a group of people and stopped her carriage, and personally cut off Miss Wan Yi’s hair for her, venting all her anger out by turning Wan Yi bald. Afterwards, seeing Wan Yi painfully crying and begging for mercy, Chu Qiao suddenly felt everything turn dull. It seemed as though only in that moment, did Chu Qiao suddenly realize that Zhuge Yue was truly no longer here as he had become the ashes in the pot she was holding. He was being shamed and insulted by everyone, and anyone could trample on his dignity if they wanted to. But as for herself, aside from beating up others, she could do nothing. She could not save him, could not allow his family to reclaim him, could not return his reputation, and could not even collect his full corpse for him.
She was unable to describe her feelings at that time. But she felt that the entire world seemed to suddenly turn gray. She led her people back to Shang Shen, and never came down Hui Hui Mountain ever again. She spent her days in her courtyard, and buried all her time into the place.
“Zhuge Yue, you must feel really cool about yourself now that you’re lying beneath the ground, right? I heard He Xiao say that Xia state lost a couple of battles at Yan Ming border. Wei Shuye is just not a match for Yan Xun. Without you, Xia state have suffered a big loss. You always pretend to not care about anything on the surface, but actually, I know that you like to hold grudges the most. Right now, you must be thinking: “These sons of a bitch; they deserve it! Without me, you guys are nothing.”
Chu Qiao used her chopsticks to stir the lamb meat in the pot as she slowly talked to herself. She lowered her head, allowing her hair to cascade down on both sides of her face. Streaks of moonlight shined onto her snow-like pale skin, mottled and cold.
“I didn’t dream of you last night, so tell me, did you not die? Or else why would you be so unkind and not even bother entering my dreams. Are you still sulking on the other side? Sulking that no one is avenging your death? But I mean, your popularity with people is seriously bad. The few people who are indeed loyal to you spend their entire day sharpening their weapons to come attack me. But thankfully they’re kind of dumb, because I bet they wouldn’t have survived if they had attempted to attack Yan Xun instead.”
The pot slowly started to warm up, and the sheep oil had solidified together. She continued to say: “I burned paper money again yesterday. You received it, right? You treated me pretty well before but I never really repaid you for your kindness, so now that you’re gone I can only burn some paper money for you to use. You come from a wealthy family and probably have been spoiled since you were young. Clothes probably came to you as long as you reached out your hand, food came as long as you opened your mouth. If you arrived to the other side and didn’t have any money, how would you live? But don’t worry, you brought so many younger brother and comrades with you when you left. Even if you go to Hell, you can still continue acting like a tyrant.”
“Zhuge Yue, do you know where Mo’er went? I have already sent people to Zhen Huang multiple times to find him, but was unable to find out anything about him. People said he disappeared. Your father didn’t get rid of him, did he? Mo’er is still so young, and he’s had such a miserable life so far. Make sure to look out to see if he’s on your side. If you see him, then let me know. That way I don’t have to search for him all across the world.”
A gust of wind blew by and all the dew that had collected atop of tree leaves all slid down into the pot. Chu Qiao seemed to not have noticed. Her expression was calm and one would not have noticed how sad or heartbroken she was. She just quietly talked, her voice low but still clear in this silent night.
“Zhuge Yue, I actually did not fall asleep last night. I stared at the room ceiling with my eyes open for an entire night, repeatedly thinking about that day’s incident. I actually should have had a chance to rescue you. First, I should have told He Xiao to cut off the rear as I left with you. And then we could split our forces up into twenty directions and we could pretend to leave but not actually leave and then secretly return back to Yue Gong and wait for the news to pass before finding a way to escape. Second, while we were on Qian Zhang Lake, I should have led my troops from the rear and attacked the larger army from the right wing. That side was filled with bowmen and would have quickly dispersed if I just ran some of my cavalry back and forth between them. That way, you would have time to leave the broadening crack in the lake. Third, how could I have begged Yan Xun then? I should have just directly kidnapped him. If I had happily walked over to him, he wouldn’t have been suspicious. Had water entered my head at that time? Also, in the end, why did you have to push me upwards? I had a blade in my hand. We should have swam underneath the ice for a couple hundred meters, and then barge through the ice and climb out onto the surface. Even though it would have been freezing cold, but we wouldn’t have frozen to death in that short amount of time either, right? Jack from the Titanic was even able to hold on for a long period of time, so the two of us trained in martial arts would definitely be able to do so as well.”
Chu Qiao muttered in frustration: “Why hadn’t I thought of all this at that time?”
The night was so quiet that the barking of dogs at the bottom of the mountain could be heard. Everyone had gone to sleep, except for her. She simply sat there quietly and continued talking to herself. Chu Qiao suddenly stood up and knocked on Zhuge Yue’s tombstone, loudly complaining: “Hey, I’m talking to you. Did you hear me?”
A clear echo reverberated through the pine forest. Chu Qiao stood stunned in place after saying that. She knelt down in front of the grave, her face darkened. She lowered her head, allowing her hair to fall down on the sides, covering up her face.
Her muffled voice quietly asked herself: “I clearly had so many options, but why couldn’t I save you?”
The night was as cold as water and light wind blew across her clothes. She leaned against the tombstone, and did not move for a long time and looked as though she had solidified in place. The leaves of the pine trees had slightly turned yellow due to the autumn season. Wind blew past their leaves, brushing back and forth.
It felt like many years before, when they had leaned against each other in the dark of the night. Enemies surrounded them on all four sides, but they had stood back to back, fighting alongside each other as one person.
“Zhuge Yue, this is our fate……” Chu Qiao whispered. A flock of crows loudly cawed as they flew across the sky, their wings scratching the sky as they slowly faded in the distance.
Chu Qiao thought that her life would continue onwards like this. But when she woke up the next day, a sudden piece of news struck her life like a thunderbolt, immediately shattering the last bit of tranquility from her life.
 Zhuge Huai was killed by Chu Qiao on her way escaping Wei state in the drama, but he is still alive in the book (at least for now I think?).
 So I don’t recall exactly who this girl was but she is basically someone who was betrothed to Zhuge Yue.
 Xi Meng is kind of like the entire area where all the states are situated in. So as for a simple analogy, think of it as Xi Meng as one huge country, and then Xia, Yanbei, Biantang, Huaisong, as the small states that make up the country.
 Zhen Huang is the imperial capital of Xia. It is like Chang’An in the drama.
 The part here was “一群王八蛋”. The phrase “一群” is equal to “a group.” The phrase “ 王八蛋” translated literally is “son of a bitch” so I just ended up pluralizing “son of a bitch.”
 Remember that this is a time-travel novel, and Chu Qiao is technically from modern times. Surprising but funny insertion of Titanic, right?
[September 19, 2017] Thank you all for waiting so patiently!! There is quite a bit more left of this chapter. I swear I am almost done translating this chapter. I have midterms this week and next week, but I will definitely have the rest of this chapter posted by this Sunday!! Check back then!! I will also make another post reminding yall to check back when I have fully completed this chapter.
[September 22, 2017] As promised, I updated this translation with the rest of this chapter!! Look how sad our Chu Qiao feels over Zhuge Yue’s death. 😢 How do you all feel about this chapter?? Leave some comments please because I need energy LOL and of course let me know your thoughts!!
I know I haven’t gotten around to replying to everyone’s comments on previous posts but I do read them!! And I will definitely reply back as soon as possible so please bear with me.
If you found any part of this translation confusing, leave your question in a comment and I will reply to it as soon as possible. I will also look at this again and edit it to make the reading hopefully more smooth. Leave any other questions/suggestions in the comments below; they are greatly appreciated!! Share with other fans/friends as well. Have fun!!😊