Last Updated on September 2, 2020 by Lizonka
I previously translated 姑娘 as “miss” (to refer to a young, unmarried woman), but I think I prefer its pinyin (gū niang) more, so I’ll be using that instead when it’s used in dialogue.
Hua Yi rolled his eyes. He knew that although Chang An’s hands were black1Refers to a fierce person, he was fond of peace and quiet and was very unwilling to have conflicts with others. So he raised his voice and asked, “What about the young lads who intend to court A’Lan-guniang? All dead? How come you haven’t acted?”
As expected, after these words were said, a young and handsome beastman came. His upper body was bare; pounding on his chest, he declared to Chang An: “Me! I want to challenge you! I’ll win my beloved girl!”
As soon as this statement was uttered, several people came out. No one knew if they really wanted to pursue A’Lan or was just there to kick up a fuss.
This was how men in the northern tribes fought for girls when they were young. Dying was nothing. When a man died, they’d simply scoop out water from a big wooden basin to wash the ground. On top of that, everyone would still have wine, meat, and play. No one would make a fuss at the sight of blood.
Anyway, so many people were willing to duel for A’Lan. She had finally gained face, but her eyes were still looking at Chang An, waiting for him to answer.
But Chang An couldn’t understand these men’s passionate feelings at all. He managed to catch a step down and said with pain and joy: “No need to duel. I’m no match for you. Help yourself ba.”
He didn’t even have to think about it. These beastmen, who had seen him kill, and who, in their childhood, had been instilled with the idea that “honor is greater than everything,” came up blank. Ka Zuo of the Black Eagle tribe, who had been looking on from the sidelines, laughed out of place. He made his way through the crowd and grabbed Chang An by the shoulder, smiling as he said: “You boy have ideas. I like it! Come, come to our side for a drink!”
A storm thus ended in confusion.
Hua Yi looked at Ka Zuo’s back, narrowed his eyes, and said, “What is ‘our side’?”
Suo Laimu, however, came out of nowhere. He accompanied him to the high platform and said softly, “Why, you want them to come in and blend into the Jushan tribe, enjoying themselves like the aborigines? These ‘outsiders’ separate their food and slaves. They came with dozens of bachelors. Sooner or later, they’ll want to settle down and get married. When the moment comes, more fights cannot be avoided. They will have to fight each other.”
Hua Yi hummed an “en” and said nothing.
Suo Laimu suddenly stopped talking and smiled. “Seems like you understand, so I won’t say more.”
The conflicting views between the eagle tribe and the aborigines was a good thing, as far as Hua Yi, this new chief, was concerned. It was naturally advantageous. Only when these people were pinning down each other could the chief show his ability to balance the situation, to become a man of his word.
Hua Yi soon had a plan in mind.
However, at this moment, a word from Suo Laimu’s mouth came to his ears like a flying immortal descending from the sky, and the burst of it nearly made Hua Yi jump to his feet.
Suo Laimu kept his voice like a whisper and asked, “Say, what improper thoughts do you have about that child? When you spoke just now, your expression didn’t look right.”
Hua Yi said angrily: “Fuck your mother’s ass! That’s my xiongdi. You think everyone’s like you, mind full of filth all day long?”
Suo Laimu spoke oddly. “Ha? Did I mention which child I was talking about just now?”
Hua Yi paused for a moment before finally reaching the end of his patience. Pointing at him, he said, “Scram!”
Suo Laimu hummed and toothily grinned at him. His face was unclean, yet his teeth were snowy white. It looked very funny.
Hua Yi strode onto the high platform. Out of sight, out of mind2眼不见为净 – what remains unseen is deemed to be clean; what the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve over (idiom). He sincerely hoped that Suo Laimu could scram a bit further.
Too bad Suo Laimu didn’t realize he was so annoying. On the contrary, he sat below the platform and hummed a folk song. Then, he leisurely took out his incense, straightened his hat, and started muttering incantations as he burned the incense.
On top, the new chief took over the old chief. Below, Suo Laimu routinely did his daily three small bows3拜 – to pay respect, to worship, to salute. This time, he wanted to pay respects to the Sky God who bestowed him a tall hat. Thus, his worship was especially grand.
Echoing all around, it was simply a marvel.
However, the new and old chief acted as if they hadn’t seen him. Other people, aside from glancing at him a few times, dared not say anything.
Everyone knew that this plain-looking sub-beast, despite seeming like he had no more than a bone and two flesh on his body, and looking like he could be trampled to death with one foot, was actually a genuine mercenary.
It had been said that he could control the clouds and the rain. From the vast land to the sky above, and in the deep sea, he knew of all that had happened. The “envoy of the gods”4使者 – I first translated this as “messenger,” because I thought Suo Laimu was a mere prophet or something… but seeing his “power” being described here, he’s more like a representative of the gods instead. And so, I deem “envoy” as more appropriate was not at all deceiving others.