Thursday, January 24, 2013

[Fanfic] Bu Bu Jing Xin II Chapter 2

                                                                                       Poster credit to owner

Chapter 2: The Self Same Mark
The next day, I made good on my promise and went straight to Peking University right after work. Since graduating, this was the first time I came back to visit the school. It haven’t changed that much, still big and formidable on the outside, bustling with students inside. As I walked through the campus, memories of my days as a student here started coming back. Though being a student from Peking University meant a guaranteed job after graduation, it also meant the four years you spend here will be filled with hard work and hours spent at the library instead of partying like you would at another college. Especially if you still lived with your parents, one of whom taught at the school. Though I had had wistful thoughts of what going to another, easier, college would be like, I didn’t regret my time here. It was where I learned many things, some of which helped me survived those years in ancient time.

Shaking out from my thoughts, I realized that I’ve already reached the history wing. Like Ge’ge said, the building had doubled in size since the last time I was here. With Peking’s prestigious reputation, this didn’t come as a surprise.  The trouble was, the wing was so huge that I could easily lose the entire afternoon searching for the exhibit room.
“Excuse me,” I said to a couple walking by, “Do you know where the new exhibit room is?”
“Yes,” the girl answered, “We’re going there now. Why don’t you come with us?”
As I expressed my thanks, I noticed that the guy’s eyes flashed with annoyance, as if he was resenting the intrusion to their date. Sure enough, as soon as we started walking, he reclaimed the girl’s attention, talking in a low voice, clearly wanting to exclude me. Granting his wish, I purposely waited until they were a short distance ahead before following. It wasn’t long before we reached the exhibit room. It was indeed impressive, comparable to the museum exhibit I saw. I took in sight of these familiar items. Chairs, ornaments, paintings, cups, plates; all which had been held, touched, caressed, and even loved, were now destined to stay forever in glass boxes, sealed off from the world.
 “Da Hong Pao? What kind of tea is that?”
I glanced over. The girl who showed me the way was reading the description for a displayed tea container.
“You don’t know?” the guy said, “It’s really famous back in ancient China. It was Kangxi’s eighteenth son’s favorite tea. That prince died when he was only seven. When he was on his deathbed, he asked for that tea, so Kangxi personally brew it and fed it to him.”
“That’s so sad,” the girl gushed
“And completely made up,” I muttered
“What did you said?” the guy asked, glaring at me
I must have said that louder than I intended. I shook my head, not wanting to get in a fight.
The guy sneered, “These kinds of girls, just because they had some education, they act like they know everything,”
Though he pretended to whisper to his date, his voice was loud enough to ring through the near empty exhibit. A spark of anger flared up within me, igniting a fire I, for many years, had to quell down. But this was not the Qing Dynasty, and there was no Emperor to fear.  I turned to him, my eyes flashing.
“Da Hong Pao was a famous tea in the Qing Dynasty. In fact, it was named the King of Tea,” I stated, “However, it was a tea known for its bitterness and bold aftertaste. Emperor Kangxi’s eighteenth prince was just a little boy, how could he prefer such a tea? Also, Eighteenth prince died during the summer of 1708. At that time, Emperor Kangxi was on an expedition in the grassland and only learned of his son’s death on the journey back. It was impossible for him to have been there to feed his son tea.” 
I gave him a once over before continuing, “These kind of guys, just because they watched a few dramas, they believed themselves to be an expert in history. I suggest you not to believe everything you see on TV and spend some more time reading actual books. You wouldn’t want to be humiliated by the kinds of girls like me, right?”
The guy stared at me, his face flushed with anger and embarrassment. At the end of my rant, he muttered something incoercible and stormed out of the exhibit. His companion, who had been staring at me, wide-eyed, all this time, hurriedly followed him.
I let out a breath I didn’t realize I was holding. For the first time in so long, I felt…alive. I laughed shakily; Death-defying Thirteenth Sister lived on after all.
“That’s quite an impressive display of historical knowledge.”
I froze, the laughter brewing within me quickly died down. I knew that voice, I knew that voice! My head looked up instinctively. The face which greeted me was not a perfect mask of calm that it had been centuries ago.  His eyes were clearer, no longer needing to hide their master’s every emotions. Yet it was still him, still Eight prince. His face blurred as tears blocked my vision.
“Are you alright?” he asked, taking a step toward me, genuine concern coating his voice. Genuineness; it was something that was often lacked in his voice before. He was not him, not him.
I looked away, blinking back tears and struggling to get my emotions under control.
“I’m fine,” I managed to answer, “Just got something in my eyes.”
I could tell by his face that he didn’t believe me, but also that he would not push the issue.
“Are you a student here?” he asked
“Was,” I replied, grateful for the change of subject, “I’m just visiting today.”
“Let me guess,” he said, smiling, “History major?”
I shook my head again, my own lips curving in response, “Accounting.”
His eyebrows lifted in surprise, “Really?” he asked, “I thought with your knowledge of the Qing Dynasty, you would be history major, or something similar.”
I shrugged, “I just have a special interest in that era.”
He laughed, “That’s quite an understatement.”
I basked in his laughter for a second, so familiar, so different.
“Are you a student?” I asked, before my emotions would get carried away again.
 “No,” he answered, still smiling, “I’m actually a professor; Chinese Literature.”
It was my turn to be surprised.
“You don’t look old enough to be a professor.”
 “Looks could be deceiving,” he said, his tone teasing
Yes, they could. I have decades of experience to prove that.
“But,” he continued, “I was actually a professor’s assistant. Unfortunately, the previous Chinese Literature professor suffered a heart attack, so the university offered me the job until he gets back.”
“I see,” I replied, “So it turns out that though looks could be deceiving, people are much more so.”
“Oh?” he asked, raising an eyebrow, “Was that directed towards me?”
“Of course not,” I answered, a faint trace of sarcasm in my voice.
We grinned at each other and it struck me how comfortable our raptor was, too comfortable for two people who have just met. And that, for some reason, made me uncomfortable, and I felt the sudden need to escape.
“I have to go,” I blurted
He seemed taken back by my abrupt change, but I didn’t give him a chance to respond before hurriedly walking away.
“Wait!” he called, easily catching up to me
“I wanted to ask you something,” he said quickly, “The next novel I’m lecturing about refers a lot to the Qing Dynasty. I’m not really familiar with the era so I was hoping to ask for your expertise.”
I refused to meet his eyes, “I don’t know that much,” I muttered. It was a flimsy excuse, I tried for another, “I just remembered I have an appointment. I’m late.” Another lie, but at least it would explain my behavior.
“Oh,” he said, sounding disappointed, “Maybe you can give me a call and we can talk when you’re free.”
He reached in his wallet and handed me a business card. I took it numbly. Li Kai Ming, Literature Department. Li Kai Ming, not Eight prince, not Bei’le. A different name, a different identity, a different person. I needed to remember that.
I looked up to see him watching me expectantly.
“I’ll give you a call then,” I replied hastily. I couldn’t give him my number, not when I was still unsure whether I wanted this connection or not.
“Alright,” he said easily, “It’s nice to meet you…”
“Zhang Xiao,” I answered
“Zhang Xiao,” he repeated, “I’m Li Kai Ming,” he extended his hand, “Nice to meet you.”
His hand was warm, as warm as it had been that snowy day when it first held mine. I quickly let go.
“I have to go,” I muttered, needing to make my exit before my emotions spilled over again.
“I’ll wait for your call then,” he said
I nodded and quickly left, not daring to look back. I didn’t stop even as I got outside, making my way out of the campus.
Why? Why does this keep happening to me? Eight prince, Li Kai Ming, how are they related? Was it merely my imagination and longing that superimposed Eight prince’s image onto Kai-Ming? No, that wasn’t it. I knew in my soul that voice, that face, him. And yet, it wasn’t him. Kai Ming was not Eight prince, not matter how much he looked or sounded like him. There was peacefulness in his eyes, a carelessness in his personality, a contentment in his aura.  All of which Eight prince could never attained.  So, who was he then? Eight prince’s reincarnation? Does such a thing exist? Though, I supposed if time-traveling existed, then so could reincarnation. But then, if that was truly the case, why did I have to meet him again? What does Fate have in play?
I was so deep in my thoughts that I didn’t pay attention to where I was going. It wasn’t until a hand yanked me back that I realized I was about to walk out in the middle of the street, onto incoming traffic. My heart was still beating furiously from the near accident when I turned to thank my savior, and then it stopped altogether.
“Are you alright?” he asked
I started laughing deliriously. How many times have I heard that question now? More concern filled his eyes.
“Maybe we should take you to the hospital,” he suggested
I shook my head, still laughing, and removed myself from his grip
“I’m fine,” I said, trying to control myself
I was surprised at how normal I sounded. No tears came, no feeling of heartbreak. Was it because my heart was shattered to the point where it couldn’t break anymore? Perhaps I had reached my limit. After all, there was only so much grieve a person could handle.
“Are you sure?” he asked, clearly not believing me, “You look like you’re in shock.”
Maybe I was in shock, but it definitely not because of the accident. I smiled at him reassuringly,
“I’m fine,” I repeated, then feeling a burst of courage added, “We’ve met before.”
He looked at me searchingly.
“At museum?” I prodded, “In Shenzhen?”
I watched as recognition lit up his face, followed by a look of apprehension. He took a quick glance at the street then back at me.
“You know,” he said slowly, “there aren’t any problems that can’t be solved. No matter how desperate the situation seems, there’s always a way out. You shouldn’t lose hope.”
Lose hope? What was he talking about? Suddenly it hit me. No wonder he looked apprehensive. He thought I wanted to kill myself. I bit back another laugh. It had been 300 years, yet his first impression of me hadn’t changed. Not that I could blame him. The first time he saw me, I was crying my heart out, and the second time, I was about to walk into moving traffic.
“No…it’s not…” I struggled to think of a logical explanation, “I was thinking about something so I didn’t watch where I was going.”
He was silent for a moment, “I see,” he finally said.
He didn’t, but there was no other explanation so I offered none.
“Well,” I said after a few seconds, “I should get going. Thank you. For saving me.”
“Wait,” he said, “Where are you going? My car is near here. Why don’t I give you a ride?”
I was caught off guard. Why would he…? No, it doesn’t matter. I couldn’t handle being in such an enclosed space with him right now.
“That’s alright,” I looked around, trying to find an excuse, “I’m actually just going to that café over there.”
I nodded in the direction of the café sign I just saw. He followed my gaze.
“What a coincidence,” he said, smiling at me, “I was just getting thirsty. Maybe we could go together?”
There was no way I could decline without sounding rude, so I merely nodded.
“By the way,” he said, “I’m Wu Zhenqing,”
Wu Zhenging. I tucked away that name for a later, more private time.
“I’m Zhang Xiao,” I replied
He nodded his greetings and we began walking. Perhaps it was because people in modern times weren’t as good at hiding their thoughts, or maybe I had became an expert in reading people after those years in the Palace, but I realized I knew exactly what he was thinking. His offer had less to do with his desire for my company and more with his fear that I would run out in the street the minute he was gone. He was being nice, protective. It was sweet. It was also something that Fourth prince would never have done. My Fourth prince loved passionately, but not easily. The man walking next to me was not him. The thought sobered me up, the giddiness from the shock completely gone.
“We’re here,” he said, opening the door for me
I looked up at him. In his eyes, there was concern and a bit of unease, but no fire burning beneath an icy façade, no love. He was not my Fourth prince.
“Thank you,” I replied
The interior of the café was simple, with a touch of elegance. The walls were painted sea green blue, giving off a vibe of being outdoors. There were no tables, only booths which were made to resembled tree trunks. I chose one near the window.
“What can I get for you two?”  A waiter came to ask as we sat down.
I looked at the displayed menu. Besides coffee, they have quite a collection of tea. Unfortunately, most of them were fusion tea, a modern twist to the ancient drink.
“I’ll have the Longjing tea,” I said. It was the only seemingly normal one they had.
Zhenqing seemed surprised at my selection but stated that he would have the same.
“Do you come here often?” he asked, after the waiter left
I shook my head, “This is my first time here.”
“Really?” he said, “I thought you were a regular, so I followed your order.”
I smiled, “Looks like we’ll both try something new today.”
He smiled back and a slightly awkward silence covered us.
After a while, he asked, “Are you visiting Beijing?”
“No,” I answered, “I lived here now. I got transferred from my job.”
He nodded and silence descended upon us once more.
“Do you live here?” I asked
“Yes,” he replied, “I’ve been here for the past five years or so.”
Five years. That was before I moved away. Could our paths have crossed before? Could we have passed each other on the street, our shoulders barely brushing, as we each head on to our separate lives, not knowing, not feeling?
“It’s a beautiful city,” Zhenqing continued, interrupting my wayward thoughts, “Very busy and crowded, but always full of life. Have you been able to visit the tourist sites since you moved here?”
I blinked, “Umm…no, not exactly.” I lived here since young so there was really no need.
As I was debating whether to mention that bit of information, the waiter arrived with our tea. As soon as he poured the drink out for us, I knew I was going to be disappointed. I took a sip. I was right.
“Was the matter?” Zhenqing asked, seeing my face
“This isn’t legitimate Longjing,” I answered, distaste coloring my tone
“Really?” he said, looking at his cup
“Look at the color,” I said, “It’s too dark. Longjing emits a lighter, almost yellowish green. The taste is also off. It’s almost gone as soon as you swallowed. Real Longjing lingers in your mouth. Not to mention, they brewed it wrong. The water temperature is too high and they used a porcelain teapot when Longjing’s delicate flavor can only be bought out by a clay pot.” I shook my head, “If this was served in front of the Emperor, many lives would be lost.”
He stared at me for a second, then laughed, “I’ve met many wine experts before,” he said, “but this is the first time I met a tea expert.”
I flushed, “I could barely be called an expert. I just happened to have a bit of interest in the subject, that’s all.”
He grinned, “Since this tea is unsatisfactory, let us ordered something else.” 
He was about to call the waiter over when I shook my head.
“It’s fine,” I said, “I doubt that the others will be any different. Besides, we don’t want this to go to waste.”
I took another sip and tried not to grimace. He chuckled but obliged. We drank in silence for a few minutes before I asked the question I've been holding in,
“Do you live here with your family?”
I waited for his answer with bated breath.
“No,” he replied, “my parents are in Shanghai. Since I’m the only child, I tried to get them to move here with me a couple times. But they refused to leave their hometown. I supposed stubbornness is in our genes.”
Only child. I was surprised at how much the answer relieved me. That meant that he and Kai Ming were not related to each other.
“Perhaps it’s better this way,” he continued, “I worked a lot so I proabably couldn’t spend much time with them.”
“What do you do?” I asked
“I’m an architect,” he answered, “I started my own firm around three years ago. We’re still pretty small but we’re expanding little by little. I had actually just finished a major project last time in ShenZhen, when I-”
He stopped suddenly and I realized what he was about to say. When I saw you crying in the middle of the museum.
I smiled, “That’s great,”
He nodded, taking another drink. Still feeling awkward, I finished my tea in a hurry and put my cup down.
“I really should go.” I said
He looked up, surprised, “Oh, well. Alright. Where are you going? Let me take you.”
I waved him off, “It’s alright. Stay. You haven’t even finished your tea yet.”
He was about to protest when I cut him off.
“Really. I’m fine. My house isn’t far from here and I could use the walk.”
He stared at me for a second and I looked calmly back at him. Finally, he nodded.
I smiled and was about to reach for my purse when he stopped me.
“Wait, let me pay.”
I frowned, “But-“
“Please,” he insisted, “Take it as tuition for the tea lesson.”
I knew he wasn’t going to relent so I acquiesced.
“Alright then,” I stood up, “It was really nice talking with you. Thank you for the tea…and saving my life earlier.”
He stood up too, “Hold on a second,” he patted his clothes, looking for something.
The scene was so similar to the one where we first met that I almost laugh. But this time he found what he wanted. He took out a pen from his jacket and looked around again. Finally, he grabbed a piece of napkin on the table and scribbled something on it.
“I don’t have my card with me,” he said, “but this is my number. If you ever need anything, or just want someone to talk to, you can call me.”
I stared at the piece of napkin in his hand for a few seconds before taking it.  It was another sweet gesture, another reminder that he was not Fourth prince.
“Thank you,” I looked at him and smiled, “Goodbye.”
I gave him one last smile, before turning around and leaving. This time, it was me who didn’t look back.
Later that night, I sat at my desk and stared down at the two pieces of papers in front of me. Li Kai Ming, Wu Zhenqing. Could it be my meeting them again was all a coincidence? Or perhaps, a chance to say goodbye? No, that couldn’t be it. When was Fate that kind? What then? What was their purpose in my life and me in theirs? As I stared at those papers, my determination grew and I realized that it doesn’t matter. Maertai Ruoxi had watched passively as Fate destroyed the lives of her and her loved ones, but Zhang Xiao would not do the same. Whatever Fate has in store, I would face it head on. I glanced down at the papers once more. No, I would not call them, but neither would I avoid them. If Fate wanted me to meet them again, along with any of the other princes, then so be it. Let her showed her cards first, and then, only then, would I make my move. I may have made a mistake once, but I would be damned if I allowed history to repeat itself.

A/N: I promised a lot more actions and I hope I delivered. Now that we have the first (and second) meeting with our two main princes, be rest assured that we’ll see them pretty regularly from now on. Also, they’ll be introducing us to some of the other characters, remade in modern attires J
Just a note, I did do my research on the teas, so I'm probably sure what is stated above is right regarding taste, temperature, etc. On the history side, however, I went by the events in the drama, so it's may or may not be accurate.


  1. Hi I'm so glad you updated your story! Please keep writing! I'll really love to know what story you would like to share with all of us bubu fans! ;)
    Keep up the good work!

    Lots of love from SG

  2. God!I love your fanfic. Please, keep writing. Can't wait for the next chapters.

  3. the story is updated! yeah! I really like your modern story of BBJX. Nice and thoughtful.

  4. Thank you for the stories, very much appraciated!!
    - girl living in a cold west searching for warmth in the east

  5. Thank you for the stories, very much appraciated!!
    - girl living in a cold west searching for warmth in the east

  6. Well done for all the hard work.. You are really talented.. Do you know that they are making Bu Bu Jing Xin 2 now? It's too bad that they do not film based on your novel.. As a big fan of BBJX, I must thank you for writing this story..

  7. Oh wow Zhang Xiao is showing her guts when she told the guy off in that exhibition.! and then meeting the 4th prince (reincarnated) saving her again and meeting up again, is even better!! I'm definitely keeping an eye on this story!!