Sunday, February 10, 2013

Introduction and Prologue to Hua Xu Yin



Hua Yu Xin is my favorite of all Tang Qi Gong Zi’s novels. Though I enjoyed Three Lives, Three Worlds, but it wasn’t really memorable for me. Hua Yu Xin was gut wrenching and I have no idea how many tears I shed for this novel. When I heard it was going to be adapted into a drama, I was ecstatic, only to be disappointed. Unlike most people, I have no problem with the cast. Kevin Cheng has proven his acting ability in Bu Bu Jing Xin, and Yuan Hong is, as always, awesome. Plus it will be a reunion of our Eight prince and Thirteenth prince. What I am disappointed with was the storyline. The only thing which remains the same in the drama’s synopsis is the main concept. I read the spoilers and I think that it would make a great stand alone drama. I just wished they didn’t buy the exclusive rights to the novel, because I really want to see a true adaption made. In order to get over my disappointment, I decide to translate the novel so people can see its awesomeness.
Now, Hua Yu Xin is not a happy book by any means. Forget about the fluffy romance in TLTW. There is romance, but only memorable, heartbreaking ones. The novel is divided into four stories, each with its own couple. My favorite is perhaps the second story, with Rong Yuan and Ying Ge. I truly believed that Hu Ge, Liu Shi Shi, and Yuan Hong, would be perfect the play the Rong Yuan/Ying Ge/ Rong Xun love triangle. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Our main couple's story unfolds slowly throughout the novel, interweaving with the others. Note that there are no traditional happy endings. Though, to me, the endings aren’t really that sad. It just depends on how you look at it. I’m not a fast or efficient translator by any means, so updates might come slowly, but I do plan to finish it. There might be parts where I summarize a bit, but on the important/good parts, I will translate word for word. 
Like I said before, I don't really mind the casting of the drama, though I can't exactly picture Kevin Cheng as Mu Yan. If I have my way, however, this would be my ideal cast:

Ivy Chen as Ye Zhen/Jun Fu


Roy Qiu as Mu Yan


Chen Xiao as Jun Wei


Wallace Huo as Shen An


Tang Yan as Song Ning


Hu Ge as Rong Yuan


Liu Shi Shi as Ying Ge


Yuan Hong as Rong Xun


Nicky Wu as Gongyi Fei


Jiang Xin as Jiu Jiu

So I'll be using their pictures in the chapters in which they appear in. Now onto the prologue.




Prologue:
1. Martyred Princess
Storytellers in teahouses and older people everywhere have heard of the story which occurred in the Kingdom of Wei 67 years ago
The exact details of this story are not known by anyone, but, though there are inconsistencies in the contents, the main gist of the story remains still the same.
It was said that, one year, Wei King had offended the Chen King. Four years later, Chen devised a trap to annihilate the entire Kingdom of Wei. Chen’s Crown Prince, Su Yu, personally led the battle, attacking directly into Wei’s capital. The cowardly Wei King decided to surrender. However, the youngest princess, Ye Zhen, refused to accept this dishonor. She dressed up beautifully and went up to the city’s wall. As she stood there, the princess berated the King from high above to the officials below. Afterwards, she bowed three times in the direction of the Palace, and then jumped off the wall, wishing to perish along with her kingdom.
Historians listed the story as a legend. Later generations’ monarchs would later write that Princess Ye Zhen demonstrated the last bit of dignity of Kingdom Wei, definitely deserving to be called a noble woman.
In the 67 years, the Nine Provinces had divided and joined, divided and joined. Soon, the story became one of the past, so much that when people thought of it, it was like remembering an old fairy tale. Princess Ye Zhen’s sacrifice was remarkable but, after all the glamour and thrill wore off, it was not as memorable as the love affair between her and Chen’s Crown Prince, Su Yu. Though, like the one of Wei Kingdom, the details of this story were not known.
Even the history book of the Nine Provinces mentioned the love story of the couple Su-Ye, but only briefly. It only recorded one small incident. When Crown Prince Su Yu accepted the Wei’s King’s surrender in the Palace court, he had said,
“I heard that Princess Wenchang of your country is the most accomplished woman in the world, an expert in zither, chess, calligraphy, and painting. She is especially a talented painter. I don’t know if I have the fortune today to ask Princess Wenchang for a painting?” Princess Wenchang was the title of Ye Zhen, with the implied meaning of virtue and prosperity.
The history book only had those few words. People who knew the exact story had already became ashes in the changing times of 67 years. That touching and tragic romance had too turned into dusts. Though many were curious, it was like chasing a shadow, unable to know the truth. If one wanted to know the story, then we have to go back to that spring 67 years ago.
2. Kingdom Lost
The spring of 67 years ago, there was a severe drought in the northern half of the Nine Provinces. For half a year, the Heavens refused to grant a single drop of rain. Kingdom Wei, though was situated next to a river, had only enough water so the people wouldn’t die of thirst. All of the flowers and greeneries had wilted and died.  After two seasons, starvation spread throughout all of Wei, the situation incredibly dire.
Wei King, useless for half his life, was motivated by the natural disaster and, for the first time, quickly rose to action, ordering officials everywhere to open up the food storage and help the victims. Though that was able to calm the situation temporarily, but the resentment built up from long ago could not be stopped. Orders had been made, the storage had been opened, food had been passed out, the rice slowly made their way out, but when it reached the hands of the people, it had become nothing more than tasteless porridge.  Countless people lined up to receive the rice, not knowing that when they did received it, it would be nothing more than a handful, barely enough to make porridge, let alone saved for the future.
With nothing in front of them but despair, the people rose up. They wanted to dispose the King, but needed a reason. They then said that the Heavens wouldn’t grant rain because the Wei King had no morals, angering the Gods. Therefore, to appease them, the people had to take that immoral Wei King off the throne.
The rumors spread to the Palace like wind. Wei King, flustered by all the accusations directed toward him, hurriedly ordered for the officials to think of a way to stop the rebels. The officials, used to the way of Court, only sent meaningless words of praises for the King, Only one official who had just inherit the post from his father and didn’t have experience, honestly reported, “The entire world had all said that Master Hui Yi of Yanzong Temple in Mount Hui is wise beyond words. If we asked him to come, he might have some good plans without having to deploy troops.” Yanzong Temple was Wei’s national temple, whose main purpose was to pray for the Kingdom’s well being, with Master Hui Yi as its leader.
Perhaps the fate of Kingdom Wei was at its very end. The very night which Wei King sent an ambassador to invite Master Hui Yi, the master, 82 years in age, took his last breath and died. Before he passed away, Master Hui Yi left behind an embroidered pouch, and in that pouch was a piece of paper with eight words on it: “In 60th year, Disaster will come from East.”Wei King held the paper in his hand for an entire night. The guards standing outside his study heard heartbroken sobs coming from within.
Hui Yi’s prediction was indeed accurate. Just after the ninth day of the ninth month, Kingdom Chen, coming from the East, attacked Wei. The reason was that in the year before, at an alliance meeting, Wei King, while hunting, had purposely shoot at and tore Chen King’s clothes. This showed that Wei King looked down upon Chen King, insulting their whole Kingdom. Ten thousand Chen troops flew through like a storm, seemingly encountering no obstacles. In just less than two months, they had already reached the Wei’s capital.
 The rest of the world saw this war as a joke. Several Chen citizens even laid bets as to see how many days the useless Wei King would be able to endure. Crown Prince Su Yu coincidentally walked by and spread the jade fan in his hand, “The latest is noon tomorrow.”
Near noon the next day, with the sun hiding behind the dark clouds, passing through only a slant of light, Wei King was like a jar of crickets, hanging in the air. Three quarters ‘til noon, a white flag was raised on the city walls. The legacy of Wei from 86 years ago had finally come to an end. Officials welcomed Su Yu into the Palace, showering him with endless praises. They were students of Confucius and understood the way of the world. Smart birds knew to choose a good tree.
Passed noon, the sun was completely hidden by the clouds, without a single stray light. The drought had been going for a while, the Heavens seemingly only noticed and suddenly allowed rain to come. Crown Prince Su Yu, wearing a leather cloak with his fan in hand, stood in Court, accepted the Wei King’s surrender, and asked about Princess Wenchang; exactly as the history book recorded.
Only, Crown Prince Su Yu didn’t have the fortune to receive a painting from Ye Zhen. The moment he asked that of Wei King, Ye Zhen had already climbed on the city wall. The talked about first meeting between Su Yu and Ye Zhen was that afternoon when the Kingdom of Wei was lost. They were separated by the high wall, between life and death. He couldn’t even see the graceful beauty of Ye Zhen, though he had long heard the rumors. They said that a hundred days after Ye Zhen was born, Wei King dreamt of a crazy monk. The monk declared that although she was born into royalty, the princess was one of poor fate. The aura in the Palace was too strong, if the princess was raised here, she would definitely not live past her sixteenth birthday. It was rumored that the Wei King believed the monk’s words and sent the baby princess to Yanzong Temple, swearing not to see her again until she reached sixteen years of age. It was also rumored that two years ago, during the birthday of Wei King, Ye Zhen had painted a painting of Mount Ju as a birthday present for her father, gaining the admirations and praises of all who saw it. Wei King was exulted.
In the pouring rain, Su Yu, standing below the wall, suddenly remembered the words that his sister, Su Yi, told him before he left for battle, “I heard Princess Wenchang of Wei is astoundingly beautiful, and exceptionally talented. She is an accomplished lady with both beauty and talent. After you claimed victory in the battle, are you going to bring this Princess Wenchang back to be my sister in law?” Ye Zhen’s dress fluttered in the wind. Suddenly, her body dropped from the high tower to the land below, looking just like a white bird. The dress was stained red as she laid on the ground, in the surroundings, cries of grief rose from all of Wei’s citizens.
Su Yu stared at the body in the pool of blood from afar for a long time. Finally he closed the fan in hand, and said, “Prepare her funeral like that of a princess.”

14 comments:

  1. wow. so interesting i hope u will continue. can't wait

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi! Great translation! I also started translating bits of HXY (which can be found here: http://hui3r.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/hua-xu-yin-first-meeting-part-1/). But since you're translating the book, then I probably won't continue. If you think the itsy bitsy part that I translated is ok, I don't mind you incorporating and editing it into your translation (to save a bit of time) - anything to spread the HXY love.

    Do you mind if I link to your translation here? Also, do you mind if we link to your translations from ShuShengBar? (http://www.books.shushengbar.com/?p=87)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just read your translation. It's really good! That was one of my favorite scenes, though I almost die of secondhand embarrassment. Thank you for allowing me to use it. I'll incorporate it in and credit you when I get done with that part. But I hate for you to stop translating just because I'm doing it. Maybe there's some way we can do it together? It's completely up to you though.

      And please, link it from wherever you like. I don't mind at all :)

      Delete
  3. Hahaha... I realised that it is actually really hard to translate A'Fu's internal monologues... They tend to be so rambly and random, and so funny because it's stated so matter of factly. Am I even making sense?

    I think I didn't even catch this part the first time I listened to the audiobook. Maybe it was really too much embarrassment - even second hand. lol.

    Oh don't worry about me. I never intended to translate the entire book - I thought I'll just flit around and translate whatever I feel like, ie my favourite scenes. If you don't mind me picking around first, I'll continue translating bits and pieces and you can incorporate them into yours as you go along?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Speaking of which, I sent you a g-chat invite to keep in touch. From Jessy.

      Delete
    2. I know what you mean about her internal monologues. HXY is easier to read than other TQGZ books (esp TWTL) since it doesn't have the "flowery" diction, but it's hard to translate the monologues and actually makes them make sense.

      Oh, and I don't mind you picking. Just translate whichever parts you like and I'll put them in :)

      Delete
    3. I linked your trans from my blog, where i've just posted the next part of the first meeting translation. :)

      Delete
  4. Are the actors and actresses above really going to be featured in the drama? It would e great if they were and also, do you have any news of this release date for this drama?

    ReplyDelete
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