(translated by xia0xiao1mei)
(edited by anniaxx)
A Nan Ke Dream
Pang Wan makes the firm decision to never pass on pick-up skills to Gu Xi Ju ever again, this person really is a plank of decayed wood that cannot be carved.
But she still wishes to continue discussing about Sang Chan with Gu Xi Ju, after all, only by getting a clear idea of what finer details the men here likes about girls, would it be more advantageous to her ‘Mary Sue female lead training program’, in the days to come.
Today she is currently looking in the mirror as she turns her face left and right, thinking of being able to spot a trace of heavenly poise like a “fragile willow trembling in the wind”, when she suddenly hears maid B call out from the doors: “Supreme Chief will be setting off to the banquet soon, are you not going to hurry up?”
She hastily holds up her skirt and heads out, maid B glares at her from the doors, not saying anything.
Pang Wan obviously knows what kind of a look that is, that is an ‘I really don’t like you, but cannot do anything about it for now’ feeling of abomination. Very soon does she find the cause of such an expression —— receiving special treatment once again, everyone else rides their own horses, only she alone has been arranged to sit inside Gu Xi Ju’s carriage.
“Why aren’t you speaking?” Gu Xi Ju sees her sitting in the carriage, looking all around without saying a word, and could not help saying something.
Pang Wan casts a glance at him, softly saying: “Aren’t you the Supreme Chief of Wu Lin, why do you still need to sit in such a pampering horse carriage……?”
Gu Xi Ju had not yet gotten the chance to open his mouth, when maid B’s ice cold voice had already intercepted from the outside: “Supreme Chief is from a distinguished family, a body of precious gold, not someone that any commoner can compare to!”
Pang Wan does not say anything, and only turns her back on maid B, straightening her face as she bares her teeth and waves her claws (imitating a fierce beast-like gesture), silently repeating maid B’s words, when she mouths up to the word “commoner”, she had even deliberately rolled her eyes, pointing to her own face.
Gu Xi Ju bursts out laughing, his hand reaching out to knock onto her forehead: “Nonsense.”
Pang Wan pouts, obediently climbing to the carriage window side.
The journey to the banquet is very long, Gu Xi Ju did not speak to her anymore after that, and has only been skimming through the letters in hand, presumably from a long time ago, all those papers had already yellowed.
He looks at them very seriously, also very focused, as though he wants to have all those words and sentences imprinted in his heart.
Pang Wan observes him from the corner, inwardly thinking, this truly is an extremely charismatic man, magnanimous, tolerant, reasonable and understanding, proud but not conceited, his appearance included, all is perfectly right —— it is only unfortunate that it just so happens, he had already been taken by senior first.
As she keeps thinking about it, she truly feels unwilling to give in at heart, suddenly blurting out a line of question: “Does Supreme Chief perhaps have a younger brother, a paternal or maternal younger male cousin?”
Who knows? She may be able snatch over a male lead belonging to solely her.
Gu Xi Ju raises his eyes to look at her, a lock of black hair hanging down from his forehead: “No.”
Pang Wan’s heart was hit with disappointment, she thinks a little before adding: “A nephew will also do.”
Gu Xi Ju shakes his head: “I’m the family’s only child, no brothers or sisters.”
It took great difficulty to come up with a way out, only to have it completely blocked off, Pang Wan mopes and sigh, her numbed body lazily plops onto the soft seat like a snake.
“What made you suddenly ask that?” Gu Xi Ju places down the letters in hand, quietly gazing at her.
“If, if……” Pang Wan buries her face into the seat pad, grumpily huffing and muttering, “If you had a younger brother……”
“What if I did?”
In the next moment, Gu Xi Ju had already got up towards the soft seat, both his arms propped onto the sides as he looms over, his sculpted nose moving down towards her.
Pang Wan was not willing to raise her head, her speech unclear as she says: “I will, I will……”
In the end, the other half of her words were not heard, and so Gu Xi Ju inches his head even closer, it comes to no surprise that his lock of black hair would brush onto the girl’s round shoulders. Casually pushing away that lock of annoying hair, he once again pursues her words: “En?”
“Supreme Chief, we’re here!” The ice cold voice sounds from outside.
At the same time, maid B pulls open the curtain with the suddenness of lightning speed, but sees the two people inside the carriage with a calm Bodhisattva-like face, each sitting at their respective sides in a civil manner.
Tch, she inwardly scoffs, snappily saying to Pang Wan: “Get off!”
Each and every lantern is lit inside the hall, the maid permitted to follow Gu Xi Ju into the banquet was only Pang Wan alone, so Pang Wan very clearly senses maid B’s temper instantly setting ablaze.
On the contrary, maid A is very calm, she stands at the doors with her head proudly raised, and even deliberately lends Pang Wan a supporting hand when she walks by, frightening Pang Wan into inspecting if there is anything off on her as soon as she steps inside, in the end, she finds that she was being too narrow minded, thus giving up.
The atmosphere of this banquet is exceptionally grand, with around a hundred or so people participating, each and every one displaying the lofty bearing of martial arts specialists, Pang Wan feigns docility with her head bowed as she follows after Gu Xi Ju, whilst her eyes looks past her lashes as she quietly observes her surroundings.
“No need to guess, all are leaders of different sects.” Someone says above her head.
Looking up, she sees a smile in full bloom, a body of fluttering white, Bai Xiao Sheng.
Gu Xi Ju had already taken a seat at this time, his table situated at the very top of the steps, Pang Wan and Bai Xiao Sheng stands behind at the left and right side of him respectively, just like the youthful door gods, Golden Boy and Jade Maiden .
Taking advantage of the moment everyone else were taking a seat, Pang Wan asks Bai Xiao Sheng in a very quiet voice: “Is it a Wu Lin meeting?”
Bai Xiao Sheng shakes his head, answering Pang Wan with the same voice level: “No, it is a seasonal report summary.”
With just one clear sound of Gu Xi Ju clearing his throat, the entire site instantly falls into silence, a bearded man below the left seat is first to rise as he wraps his fist in greeting: “Heng Shan’s (Mount Heng) Xu Rong here, greets Supreme Chief!”
“Duan Zhi Qiu of the Dali Kingdom here, greets Supreme Chief!” Yet another handsome gentleman rises as he wraps his fist in greeting.
“Tang Men’s (Gate of Tang) Tang Fei Feng greets Supreme Chief!” “Song Shan’s (Mount Song) Ding Huai Li greets Supreme Chief!” More and more people rises from their seats as they report their names, many of whom are much older than Gu Xi Ju, their expressions and tones are all greatly respectful.
The round of reporting names finishes, with approximately over thirty sects attending, Gu Xi Ju nods his head, asking: “Has all been going well for everyone lately?” His appearance and bearings looking rather in tune with that of a Emperor attending imperial court.
All sects very quickly begins to report back, the majority of them claiming credit to spread their names for matters such as, how many bandits and scums of the society their disciples had eradicated, and what kind of treasures they have seized. Instead it is that Lady Fei Feng from Tang Men of Shu who reported something rather interesting, when it came to her turn, she says she had newly developed a type of spring drug, it is able to have the one poisoned to see any other person as the one they love, thus ridding all guilt and burdens to engage in having an affair.
(Of Shu or shǔ zhōng / 蜀中 refers to today’s province of Sichuan where Tang Men was reportedly located)
(Spring in Chinese – chūn /春 can also be used for various different meanings such as romance/love, life, vitality, youth but in the case of the spring drug mentioned here, it carries the meaning of lust)
Spring drug has never been something that can be openly put out on the table, so before she had even finished speaking, within the hall, there were already people issuing sounds of “pei-pei” as they spit out their contempt.
“Does everyone by chance know, the world’s most unfathomable thing is but the obstacle that is love?”
Tang Fei Feng was not peeved, and only turns to look at everyone with a beaming smile.
“Even if it is the most powerful spring drug, those with deeply cultivated internal energy can still grit their teeth and forcedly channel it out, just that, should the opposing figure be the one they love, then that……” Speaking up to here, she presses her lips, and takes a pause, the suggestive meaning in her eyes sparkling, “They all say spring drug is a lust stimulating drug, as to such ruthlessness, what stimulation causes this?”
The implication of her words is that the spring drugs available up to now can only control the body but cannot control the mind, making them all unworthy drugs of the lowest quality.
Gu Xi Ju had yet to comment on her report, only asking: “For what reason did Sect Leader Tang tell us this today?”
Tang Fei Feng grins: “May I ask of Supreme Chief to name this drug?”
Gu Xi Ji thoughtfully furrows his brows, saying: “Since it is able to control people’s minds, let us call it Nan Ke then.”
(Nan Ke refers to the Chinese idiom Nán kē yī mèng/ 南柯一梦, which is also the title of this chapter, the idiom refers to a grand dream, one that obviously didn’t happen in reality, or it can be used to refer to getting all happy and excited for nothing)
Tang Fei Feng’s smile deepens: “Supreme Chief is talented and refined! I had originally wanted to simply call it Bliss, after all, those who take this drug will enter a world of bliss, upon deeper thinking now, so what if one is to go to Wu Shan together with the one they love? (Refers a Chinese idiom meaning sex) What’s false cannot become real, in the end, it is no more than a Nan Ke dream!”
“This lady is a formidable one.” Bai Xiao Sheng whispers to Pang Wan, “Is a tigress just like you, fierce and tough.”
Pang Wan is aware this person is taking every opportunity available to mock her, and just casts him a murderous glare, pursing her lips.
After Tang Men’s turn, the reports once again grows completely dry and uninteresting, occasionally, there would be two sects bickering over some trivial matters, but would all be quickly resolved under Gu Xi Ju’s monitoring. Pang Wan counts with her fingers, the two words she has been hearing the most is still “evil sect”, and could not help inwardly sighing to herself —— should there be no unorthodox sects, how boring the Jiang Hu will be!
In a blink of an eye, an entire hour had already passed, those in attendance were still reporting back and exchanging opinions, from noon to now, Pang Wan had not eaten anything at all, and is already hungry to the point her chest is pasted against her back.
Gradually, nothing was going into her ears, her eyes were fixed onto that untouched plump fish meat on Gu Xi Ju’s table, also that whole bunch of sweet and fresh fruits and drinks.
“Gu-du.” Her bulging eyes intently stares at them, gulping down a mouthful of saliva, at risk of leaking out.
The entire while, Gu Xi Ju had been listening to Dali’s talk about the arts of cultivating camellia flowers in steps, once Duan Zhi Qiu had finished speaking, he beckons Bai Xiao Sheng over, whispering something into his ear.
Bai Xiao Sheng bends his waist to listen attentively, his eyes suddenly brightens, glancing towards Pang Wan.
Pang Wan does not know what exactly he is looking at, and also tilts her head, frowning back at him.
Her meaning is very clear —— big brother, I’m hungry.
But only sees Bai Xiao Sheng nod at Gu Xi Ju, quietly withdrawing, then very quickly makes an appearance again, bringing someone with him, maid A.
“Change shifts.” He pats Pang Wan’s shoulder, mouthing the words to her.
Pang Wan cannot be happier, pi-dian pi-dian she scuttles after him.
Maid A exhibits a type of “I just knew it will be like this” attitude as she once again stands in the spot that had originally belonged to her, an entire face of glowing vitality, mighty in spirit and heroic in bearings.
Pang Wan follows Bai Xiao Sheng into a little pavilion, already prepared inside, is an abundance of snacks to satisfy her stomach, and so, Pang Wan firstly takes on the swift and fierce attitude of a tiger coming out the mountain as she grabs a piece of drunken chicken (chicken cooked in wine) and tosses it into her mouth, then takes on the grand gesture of a flying crane spreading its wings as she gathers a bunch of osmanthus flower cakes into her arms.
“Keng-chi keng-chi” She sounds whilst awfully enjoying herself with eating, three pieces of sweet cakes goes into her belly one after another, before she notices there’s something off with the atmosphere —— Bai Xiao Sheng had not left, and is still standing there watching her.
Pang Wan feels ashamed and timidly hands him a pile of red bean pastry: “Would you like some?”
Bai Xiao Sheng shakes his head.
And so Pang Wan picks up a piece of red bean pastry and places it into her mouth, relishing the taste as she munches on it: “Directly say whatever you want, it’s not good to keep it all in.”
Bai Xiao Sheng cracks a smile, before meaningfully saying: “Lady Wan Wan, do you perhaps know, Supreme Chief sure treats you extremely well?”
Pang Wan did not even need to think and vigorously nods: “He indeed treats me extremely well.” Presumably, this table of snacks and drinks, had also been specifically arranged by him, having heard her grumbling belly, indeed a very attentive person who stands above the rest.
Bai Xiao Sheng looks at her, the smile at his lips starting to expand inch by inch: “Then, has lady ever thought about, why Supreme Chief would treat you so well?”
Pang Wan’s bats her eyelashes, placing down the snacks in hand, and sighs.
——thought about it, how could she not have thought about it?! She, who possesses the sensitive quality of Mary Sue, has of course thought about this countless times! But deep down, she understands that no matter what the answer is, it will never be the one she hopes for, so she simply does not think about it anymore.
“Supreme Chief’s talent-loving heart weighs very heavy.” Only after a while does she bitterly say the correct answer, blaming the brutal reality.
Bai Xiao Sheng presses his lips together, he is originally a handsome fair faced man, with this one expression, he instead exudes a few points of evilness.
“Lady may have a pampered personality……” Speaking up to here, he deliberately stops to cast a glance at Pang Wan, seeing her emotionless face show no signs of being offended, he continues, “But you are also a rational one, with the addition of lady’s internal energy and martial arts skills being far above the ordinary people, Supreme Chief indeed requires the assistance of such a person.”
Pang Wan does not say anything, she believes that Gu Xi Ju’s martial arts cultivation had long been crowned above the world, why would he still need the assistance of others?
Bai Xiao Sheng seems to have seen through her thoughts, and speaks in a neither hurried nor slow manner: “Supreme Chief may possess a set of peerless martial arts skills, but he has ascended to such a highly respected position at such a young age, such outstanding achievement, also results in the many difficulties he is to face in future.”
Pang Wan was originally planning to remain silent, she thinks that being the Supreme Chief of Wu Lin at twenty years old is nothing out of the ordinary, in the land of Mary Sue, there is an entire sea of people who have become the supreme leader of the universe at only sixteen years old, just that, upon seeing Bai Xiao Sheng’s bright and earnest eyes, she could only take on the unpleasant task of saying a few words of flattery: “Such talent like Supreme Chief, I’m afraid, is a rare figure that wouldn’t even show up once every hundred years.” Even though in the land of Mary Sue, such figures are a thriving population.
Bai Xiao Sheng nods, before continuing to speak: “Just as lady sees it, today, the many sects appears to be full of respect towards Supreme Chief on the surface, but underneath all that, there are also those harbouring the intent to betray.” Speaking up to here, he cannot help knitting together his brows: “Take the Kunlun and Shaolin sects for example, although their mouths acknowledges Supreme Chief, they have never sent for anyone to attend these gatherings, always finding excuses to evade it every time……” He hatefully grits his teeth, “Deliberately subjecting us for ridicule!”
“Supreme Chief is able to sit in this position with his real capabilities, yet there are many who are waiting to see him as a joke, and even those who are placing bets, betting on when he will resign from the supreme seat.” Bai Xiao Sheng bitterly laughs, “After all, the Supreme Chief of Wu Lin needs not only peerless martial arts skills, but even more so needs to display the ability to skilfully acquire outstanding achievements, to be able to suppress the thousands and thousands of evils and vicious demons in the Jiang Hu.”
Pang Wan now understands —— turns out because of his young age and lack of experience, Gu Xi Ju’s current position as Supreme Chief is not stable, and even has many people eyeing his seat!
Only concerned about the thief eating meat, but has not seen the thief get beaten. Thinking how, for several months, she has only took notice of Gu Xi Ju’s leisurely attitude, a hundred responses to his one call, such gloriously glossed over surface, yet has never thought about the suffering behind his brilliance, Pang Wan’s heart instantly softens.
“Isn’t it fine to just have Supreme Chief perform several huge tasks that can shut everyone up?” She suggests to Bai Xiao Sheng.
“Indeed so,” Bai Xiao Sheng sighs, “Just that in the current situation, Supreme Chief can only perform two huge tasks to be able to thoroughly shut them all up.”
“What two tasks?” Pang Wan curiously looks at him.
“To bring in Solitary Palace’s forces under command, or……”
His eyes reveals a hint of viciously firm resolution: “Thoroughly eradicate the evil Bai Yue Sect!”
 Door Gods or mén shén / 门神 is a Chinese custom in which images are stuck onto the doors of homes and temples to bring in good fortune and chase away evil spirits. Door Gods may vary but will always come in pairs, whether they are of mythological characters of heroic historical characters, the Golden Boy and Jade Maiden pair are just one of the many Door Gods.
Golden Boy and Jade Maiden or jīn tóng yù nǚ / 金童玉女 are one of the most famous Chinese Gods or immortals, also known as the Golden Couple (Golden Boy and Jade Maiden can also be a term to describe a perfect couple). They are often depicted as disciples serving by the left and right side of Guanyin Bodhisattva, and their pictures are also often seen on the doors of Chinese households as they are believed to be good omens that brings fortune and happiness to the family.
 The Dali Kingdom or Dàlǐ guó / 大理國 was an existing kingdom established in the year 937, situated in the centre of where Yunan Province of China is today. The kingdom was established and ruled by the Duàn 段 family. Some of you may also recognise the Dali Kingdom and the Duan family name from Jin Yong’s Semi-Gods and Semi-Devils 天龍八部
 To go to Wushan with a lover or gòng fù wū shān / 共赴巫山 refers to the Chinese idiom wū shān yún yǔ/ 巫山云雨 which literally translates to the clouds and rain of Wu Shan. It comes from a story about King Chu Huai who grew tired from touring in and thus fell asleep. He dreamt of a stunning beauty, who said she is the Lady of Wu Shan (also known as the Goddess of Wu Shan), she was willing to give her pillow and mat for the king to enjoy using. King Chu Huai understood the underlying meaning, and immediately engaged in a pleasurable moment with the Wu Shan beauty. After that, the Wu Shan Lady tells King Chu Huai, should he wish to find her again, he must remember that in Wu Shan, there are clouds in the morning, and rain in the evening.
 Trivial matters in Chinese is referred to as – jī máo suàn pí / 鸡毛蒜皮 – which literally translates to chicken feathers and garlic skin, which refers to needlessly getting down to the littlest detail.