Liz: I had intended to only resume posting of the next chapters once I’m done retranslating the old ones… but that was under the premise I could finish it before the second semester starts. Classes start tomorrow, and I’ve only managed to retranslate up to Chapter 23 _(:з)∠)_
At the rate I’m going, I might end up not posting the next chapters until a few more months… which I’d really like to avoid. I don’t wanna keep you guys waiting for long either, so I’ll gradually post the chapters here on the site.
I just hope that, for now, no new reader picks up the novel while I’m not yet done retranslating.
When Hua Yi was a mercenary, he was a very difficult person to deal with. Once he took a fancy to something, it was rare of him not to get it.
Silver Fang liked treasures and beauties. It could even be said he was greedy and lecherous.
But although he was greedy for money, he could never keep anything in his hands. They always dissipated more quickly than they would accumulate. Even if it was something that he loved so much, even if it had only been in his hands for a couple days and hadn’t warmed enough, he would pass it on to someone else.
He was lecherous, but also very “disciplined1洁身自好 – shuns evil influence, exercises self-control to avoid immorality, living an honest and clean life..” He understood sensuality, but he wasn’t passionate. Even if there was a need, it was nothing more than a consensual love affair, a simple and direct transaction.
Hua Yi was like a bear breaking open corn2A reference to the Chinese parable of a little bear breaking corn. The Chinese story tells of a young bear who plucked a piece of corn, then saw a watermelon and thought that was better. So he dropped the corn for the watermelon. Next he spotted a rabbit and thought that was better so he dropped the watermelon and chased the rabbit. (source). He’d break it seriously, but after breaking it open, he’d put it aside. Sometimes he was so greedy, he’d want to take all the good things in the world into his arms. But when he’d take a look at them, he’d feel that they wouldn’t last long in his hands, so he’d hurriedly send them away as if holding onto some hot potato.
That night, Hua Yi sat outside the cave for the most part of the night. In a few moments, the cold wind blew him awake, and he couldn’t be more awake.. He gently wiped his nine-inch saber with a piece of leather and sat in the snow to mull over the matter.
Hua Yi always felt that he shouldn’t have reacted so strongly. The man was young and had just started to have romantic feelings. He knew only a limited number of girls. A’Lan, especially, was very nice to him when she was alive, and even that didn’t really mean anything. Hua Yi even thought that perhaps Chang An just couldn’t tell what he felt for A’Lan.
It was just because she died in front of him, leaving a deep impression on Chang An.
But Hua Yi was uncomfortable. His stomach felt heavy, as if it was blocked by something.
“What more do you want?” He questioned himself in the ice and snow. “Do you want to lord over him his whole life, keep him from getting married and getting close to others?”
When Hua Yi closed his eyes, cold snowflakes fell onto his eyelids. His fingers stroked the spine of the nine-inch saber, his knuckles frozen numb.
“Even if you get him, how long can you keep him? Two years? Three years? Five years? What if one day he becomes sensible and likes someone else? People change all the time… What are you going to do then?” As Hua Yi thought about this, the hand holding the spine of the blade suddenly tightened, his blue veins bulging, and in that instant, he actually had a killing intent.
But this small whiff of shallow killing intent was soon dispersed by the cold wind. Hua Yi laughed at himself and thought that he was somewhat unreasonable.
That was his good brother who had saved his life and gone through life and death with him several times. In a life-long friendship, there was no such ungrateful bastard principles3忘恩负义 – to forget favors and violate justice (idiom); ingratitude to a friend; to kick a benefactor in the teeth.
After an unknown length of time, Hua Yi moved his stiff arms and legs and quietly returned to the cave.
The next day, Hua Yi, who’d been sitting out most of the night, was actually so thick-skinned, he didn’t have a scratch on him. Chang An, however, caught a cold.
He caught a terrible cold. First, he was coughing so hard, it would tear his heart and split his lungs up. After a while, he even started to burn. He was so hot to the touch that he couldn’t even open his eyes.
Chang An was half-asleep and half-awake. The sounds around him could only be heard roughly. Although it was usually cold, it was only ever cold outside. Just lighting a fire could disperse it. This time, the chills came from the depths of his bones. His temples were also throbbing, occasionally making him feel like vomiting.
He didn’t even have the strength to do anything, so he could only keep totally silent as he held on.
Vaguely, someone seemed to have embraced him and tightly wrapped him in a blanket. Strong arms held him in place, preventing him from flailing about. Chang An’s body was already uncomfortable, and being firmly confined in one place was even more uncomfortable. He frowned, but then he heard someone whispering softly into his ear, “Bear with me. Don’t move, just bear with me.”
The voice was so familiar. It was a bit like his Shifu’s, but also a bit like Zhe Yan’s.
The memories of Zhe Yan were from too long ago. Chang An sometimes felt like he’d forgotten him a bit, yet now he remembered the man with immense clarity.
Zhe Yan was always unhappy. Chang An’s experience with him was that the more he spoke, the more mistakes he made—perhaps it was his nature, or perhaps he was just too young at that time. In short, he could never figure out what Zhe Yan was thinking. Chang An never knew which of his words offended him, so he slowly got used to the habit of not talking too much and not asking too many questions.
However, Zhe Yan would get up in the middle of the night to tuck him in the quilt. Chang An was often sick when he was young, and sometimes, it was so bad that he’d think he was going to die. But after a while, he’d open his eyes to find that he didn’t die, and that he’d always been in Zhe Yan’s arms.
There was also A’Yan. At the thought of her, Chang An squirmed hard again but was quickly held down.
A’Yan had taken care of him for a while. How was she now? All across the continent, people were fleeing, and everywhere, there were burning forests and crumbling mountains. Was she able to run away? Was someone taking care of her?
Hua Yi waved to Ka Zuo and told him to take the men out himself.
A mermaid from the depths of the oceans was swept ashore. Hua Yi and Suo Laimu talked over it and decided that no one should be allowed to go out to sea for the time being. They only sent people to find out what was going on. If the weather kept getting colder, then perhaps even the sturdy beastmen wouldn’t be able to leave the cave. They would have to prepare in advance.
There were no more medicinal herbs, but there were still some left to drive away the cold. A’Ye soon came over with a bowl of herbs and touched Chang An’s forehead with a worried look.
Hua Yi took the herbs over and said softly, “I’ll take care of him. You can go and do your work.”
A’Ye sighed. “Chief, winter hasn’t passed, and we have no more herbs. What are we going to do?”
Hua Yi raised his eyes, smiled at her and said, “Don’t panic. With so many fish in the sea, there should be some things you can use as medicine. I’ll tell them to keep an eye out for you.”
A’Ye was still worried. “I grew up on the continent, and even my teacher had only little knowledge of the things in the sea. How could I just give it to anyone?”
“It’s fine. If you’re unsure, then we’ll take turns to test the medicine for you. You’ll also have to be lenient4手下留情 – I think Hua Yi is asking her to lower her standards a bit on the medicine, but not too lenient. Just as long as the medicine doesn’t kill us.”
As he said so, Hua Yi gently blew on the bowl of medicine on his hand. He took a small sip to test the temperature, then helped Chang An up and carefully fed it to him.
Chang An swallowed mindlessly, not at all resisting the strong taste of the medicine. He didn’t look for trouble when he was awake, and he was so honest when he was sick that he didn’t move when told to, and he ate whatever he was fed.
A’Ye sometimes suspected that his heart was made of stone, letting him endure anything.
“You go ahead. This isn’t any trouble.” Hua Yi didn’t even lift an eyelid, all his attention seemingly on Chang An’s body. With an inattentive tone, he said, “It isn’t too bad yet, and it won’t be too late for you to worry later.”
A’Ye took a look at him, then brought another layer of animal skin blanket and covered Chang An with it. In passing, she also brought out Luda and Qingliang, then went to take care of Luo Tong, who had broken his leg.
Chang An seemed to have sobered up a bit by the stimulating taste of the herbs, and he opened his eyes in a daze.
Hua Yi lowered his head and asked softly, “Does it hurt?”
Chang An wrinkled his brows, then nodded his head very slightly.
Hua Yi sighed. If he said anything else, Chang An wouldn’t respond.
He was awake for merely a short moment before passing out again. Hua Yi looked at him for a while, then stretched out his hand and placed the towel in the basin of cool water onto Chang An’s forehead. Then as if testing something, he lowered his head and gave Chang An a gentle peck on the bridge of his nose.
Chang An still didn’t respond, so Hua Yi got bold and went all the way down, kissing him on his chapped and warm lips. He tasted a bit of terrible sweetness in the medicine, and he felt like he was holding a great treasure5宝贝 (bǎo bèi) – It means “treasured object,” but it’s also a term of endearment often translated as “baby” or “darling.”.
But this treasure was a person. He could run, jump, and could talk in an annoyingly straight face. If he said he’d watch your back, then he’d really watch your back. Even against thousands of horses and soldiers, one wouldn’t see a trace of fear in him. At the thought of that young man looking back at him with a calm face in that chaotic battle in the mountain, Hua Yi liked it to death.
But he was also uneasy to death.
Perhaps only when Chang An was dying of illness and lying obediently in his arms could Hua Yi feel that the man was completely in his hands.
And this made him both happy and distressed.
Chang An was in a coma the whole day and only woke up sweating all over in the evening.
He felt his whole body being hollowed out by this sweating, its heat and dryness receding along with the fever. A’Ye gave him another bowl of herbal medicine. This thing exhausted his appetite, but Chang An knew that herbs were precious right now, so he was unwilling to waste even a bit of it. After finishing it in two or three mouthfuls, he held out the bowl and asked for a serving of fish soup, which he then downed himself. Afterwards, he wrapped himself up tightly and lay down to sleep.
Chang An thought of how he had gotten sick at such a bad time, so he had to recover quickly.
The next day, the people who had gone scouting in the Eastern Sea still hadn’t returned. Hua Yi was still staying close to Chang An, holding him in his arms while he closed his eyes to rest. Suddenly, Shan Xi came over and whispered in his ear, “There’s a group of people coming over from the mountain.”
Hua Yi opened his eyes.
“Twenty or so people. All of them birdmen.”
Hua Yi frowned.
Chang An was stirred by Shan Xi’s voice, and he opened his eyes.
Hua Yi swept his gaze around the inside of the cave. He had sent out more than a dozen people. Right now, not counting the wounded, the sick, the women, and the children, only twenty people could be of use.
Chang An got up, coughed a few times, drank a bowl of water, then said in a hoarse voice, “Luda, bring me my saber.”
Despite the harsh living conditions, Luda had gotten much stronger than before. He would no longer be crushed by his saber. Hearing Chang An’s order, he eagerly ran to the saber placed at the corner of the room. Breathing heavily, he brought it over with both hands.
Chang An didn’t reach for it. He just nodded to the side and said, “Put it there.”
Then he said to Hua Yi, “You go ahead. I’ll guard the cave.”
Hua Yi hesitated for a while, but then Shan Xi reached out and touched Chang An on the forehead, fussing, “How could this do? You’re still sick, can you stand up?”
Chang An gave him a perfunctory smile. Don’t even mention standing, he couldn’t even open his eyes much. His red eyes were half-open and half-closed. Sitting curled up in the corner of the wall, he seemed thinner than usual.
“Well, even if he can’t stand up, he will stab you if he wants to.” Hua Yi quickly made up his mind. He told Shan Xi, “Call out our men and go!”
Then he turned around and gripped Chang An’s shoulders. Wrapping a blanket around him, he said harshly, “Keep an eye out, and don’t you freeze on me again, you hear me? You sicko!”
Although that last sentence was spoken fiercely, Shan Xi somehow heard a bit of unspoken intimacy from it. But before he could think more about it, Hua Yi took him away.
As soon as the lot of them left, the cave went quiet. After A’Ye took care of the others, she quickly came over. “I’ll make you another bowl of medicine. Quick, cover yourself well with the blanket. Don’t let any wind in.”
Chang An closed his eyes and shook his head at her. “Don’t make more. It’s a waste. I’ll be fine.”
A’Ye wasn’t polite in telling him off, “Forgive my clumsy eyes, but I really cannot see which part of you is fine.”
Treating her as if she were A’Lan, Chang An changed his tone from lukewarm to obedient6从善如流 – ready to follow good advice; willing to accept other people’s views, then corrected himself, “Well, you’re right. I am not fine, and me drinking medicine is not worth it.”
A’Ye wanted to say more, but Chang An suddenly opened his eyes and shot his eyes behind her as fast as lighting.
He heard Luda say, “Aiyo, this mermaid is awake!”
The mermaid was awake, but his eyes were still muddled. When he saw the strange environment and the strange people, his first reaction was to be scared. He sat up like a carp jumping out of water7鲤鱼打挺 – a martial arts move so-called because of its similarity to how carps jump out from water
, and with a hiss in his throat, revealed his sharp fangs. Instinctively taking an attack stance, he lunged like a beast at the nearest A’Ye.
With one hand, Chang An pushed away A’Ye8长安一抬手按下阿叶的脖子 – Actually, it says he pressed on her neck, and…. I’m not sure what that is supposed to be like. The first thing that came to my mind was a karate chop that knocks people out, and I’m pretty sure Chang An wouldn’t knock A’Ye out here…, and with the other, he grabbed for his saber. He swept out the spine of the blade right into the mermaid’s calf. The mermaid immediately fell to the ground, and when he looked up again, the blade of the saber was already over his head.
These series of mishaps happened so suddenly that the surrounding people immediately clamored and scattered.
A’Ye quickly stood up. With her back against the wall, she cautiously looked at the strange creature.
After a while, the mermaid’s eyes seemed to have cleared. Raising his head, he first looked at Chang An, who was holding the blade against him. Then he turned around and looked at the people around him. After that, he slowly lowered his body, his forehead touching the ground, a gesture of surrender.