(translated by xia0xiao1mei)
(edited by anniaxx)
Credit to https://eastasiastudent.net/china/classical/li-bai-purity-peace-1/ for the translation of this chapter title, which comes from one of Li Bai’s poems, Song of Peace (set 1 of 3), for full poem translation, please follow the link above 🙂
SPECIAL CHAPTER TWO
The Spring Wind Sweeps Dew From Her Balustrade, Splendid And Dense
At the age of six, a renowned fortune teller told my parents, I will become a beauty rare to the world. (The fortune teller mentioned here is more specifically one who reads someone’s destiny by feeling their bone structure)
I still remember my parent’s expressions at the time —— my father was overjoyed, yet my mother was rather worried.
I ask my mother: “Why are you not happy ah, is it not good to be born beautiful?”
My mother wipes away her tears as she replies: “My child, you think about it, amongst the legends since ancient times to this day, what kind of ending do those peerless beauties have? Burned in fire, strangled to death, abandoned in the wild, and even bear the infamy for thousands and thousands of years to come ah!”
I think of Su Da Ji, think of Yang Yu Huan (Yang Gui Fei), and immediately nod in seeming earnestness.
Seeing me be so understanding, my mother pulls me into her embrace, breaking down in tears as she says: “Good child, listen to mother’s words, in future, find someone who is rich but does not hold greedy ambitions to marry, stay at home every day, absolutely mustn’t go out.”
Since then, I have resolved my teenage aspiration —— marry a rich, but not greedily ambitious person.
Years trickles by, and by the time I have officially reached the age of fifteen, knowledge of my beauty had already spread far and wide —— these words are not exaggerated at all, of those that have approached my family in asking for my hand in marriage, the furthest one came from Ji Zhou, that is no less than four hundred li of distance from the Capital eh!
Oh, I forgot to say, I was born in a fairly well-off family from a suburb outside the Capital, my father is a physician, running a little medicinal clinic.
And so at the age of fifteen, for a long time I have spent my time on attending marriage matches —— those asking for my hand in marriage would sit in the main hall, mother would order people to hang a piece of fabric in front of me, so that I can look on from afar through it.
The questions my parents would ask the people proposing, are only the same few over and over again, their family and hometown, interests and what they are learnt in, as well as what they do for a living. Frankly speaking, those that were willing to come to our doors with marriage proposals, have more or less weighed out the worthiness of their own background, although there are no great nobles, they can still ensure I can live the rest of my life comfortably without worries. So there is only the final question that I am concerned about.
My mother would ask the person, what is your lifetime aspiration?
The answers were naturally all kinds of strange things, there was one who wished to become a First Ranked Scholar, one who wished to become overwhelmingly rich, one who wished to rise through the ranks of officialdom, one who wished to master peerless martial arts.
So many young talents, all tumbling on this one question.
They of course thought, the answer should be the more magnificent, the grander, the better it will be, but did not think, in fact, my mother and I are only hoping for a simple word: “Peace”.
Beautiful women are the source of chaos, I need to stay far from this rule, I do not wish to become the source of chaos.
In a blink of an eye, a year had past, I am already sixteen years of age, yet the destined man for me has yet to appear.
In fact, this is not strange, in this troubled world of the weak standing as easy preys to the strong, the majority of the rich hold great ambitions, those who doesn’t hold great ambitions are not rich for most part, wanting to find one who is rich but not ambitious, tends to be much more difficult.
Just when I had practically fallen into despair, He Shao Xin appeared. He was like a bolt of lightning, zapping in front of me with the suddenness of a thunderbolt, lighting up my future.
He claims himself to be a trader, suddenly appearing within the little town, carelessly throwing out money, carelessly drinking big bowls of wine, carelessly eating big mouthfuls of meat, looking just like an uneducated hero from the mountains, yet he just so happens to be born with an extremely handsome face, an extreme contradiction.
I observed him for a very long time, until one day I caught news of him fighting someone in the streets, with his face beaten black and blue, when he pushes all efforts to roar out: “Yes, I am a good for nothing! I just want a wife and children to warm up the bed for me!”, my misted heart of spring finally feels an upsurge.
——ah! Is this not the ideal husband I have been longing for all along?
Rich, but unpromising, the crucial point being, he does not hold any greedy ambition.
And so that night, I stole my father’s precious medicine, creeping into his room at the inn.
That dear He of mine who I’ve been yearning for day and night ah, half of his face had already swollen up like a pig head, an unbearably pitiful sigh, however, this cannot possibly extinguish the stirring flames of love in my heart —— he is so unpromising, so delicate and pitiful!
He Shao Xin turns and sees me, appearing quite shocked.
“Ey, isn’t this Physician Jin’s precious daughter? What are you doing standing there?” He was putting a dressing on the wound at the corner of his eye, using the remaining eye that can freely look around to lock eyes with me.
“I heard you were injured, so I’ve brought you some medicine.”
I glance at him with reddened cheeks, quietly passing him the little porcelain bottle in my hand.
He Shao Xin accepts that bottle of medicine, and instantly bursts out laughing: “Young Lady Jin, do you know what medicine this is?”
“This is my family’s most valuable medicine, usually, we don’t even let others touch it.” I look at him filled with expectations, “I’ve heard my father say to my mother, this medicine works ten out of ten times, guarantees you will revive your lost glory!”
He Shao Xin sucks the air between his teeth, perhaps due to touching his wound, causing him to jump from the pain.
“……you quickly head back.” He covers his injured area, painfully muttering, “I appreciate the thoughts, you quickly take this medicine away, if not your parents will be chasing after me with a knife once you get back……”
“No, that won’t be, as long as you come with a marriage proposal tomorrow, my parents will not be angry, and would even treat you like an honoured guest.” I shyly look at him with nervousness, sweetly smiling, “Jin Bu Yao always keep true to her words.”
He Shao Xin freezes, he raises his head, even though there is only one half of his face in good condition, I can still see him reveal a look as though he’s just seen a ghost.
He looks at me, eyeballs practically about to fall to the ground regardless of eye socket standing as barrier.
“That’s right ah, marriage proposal.”
I patiently look at him, blinking with my long eyelashes.
——hand on heart, it is very rare to see me be this so gentle, my parents and fortune teller have all said, I am a beauty rare to the world, beauty! Beauty! Beauty!!!
What is a beauty? It is the ridge a hero from the mountains can definitely not go across. I don’t believe he would reject me, not knowing what’s good for him.
There has never been anyone rejecting to me, it has always been those people chasing after my skirt, they throw flowers at me, gift me fruits, every day, weeping as they shout: “Yao Yao my love!”
He Shao Xin’s expression returns to normal within a moment, he looks at my complacent self, slightly raising his brows.
“Apologies, Young Lady Jin, I reject.”
I blink my eyes.
I believe I must have heard wrong, in fact what he said is: “Young Lady Jin, this young man in front of you is in tears with gratitude, hating that I cannot go through boiling water, step across fire and be beaten till my bones are broken for you, Yao Yao my love.”
“No need to feel bad, I understand, I understand it all.”
Shyly and timidly placing the medicine bottle back into his hand, I leave behind a fragrant handkerchief, and drift away as though treading on flowers.
I unwaveringly believe, he will definitely come find me tomorrow.
Sure enough, on the early morning of the next day, He Shao Xin paid me a visit.
“My dear, why must you be so hasty?”
Seeing him frozen into a shivering state by the morning mist, I cannot resist to show my concern —— this is what they call “cold inflicted on the husband’s body, freezes the wife’s heart” ah.
“Your father has already tracked the scent of the medicine all the way to my inn, how could I possibly not pay you a visit?!”
Unfortunately, my dear does not understand how to play along with affectionate feelings, putting on such angry expression.
“Ay, I have indeed told Father, the precious medicine has already been gifted to the one I admire, so why must you, my dear, be so anxious to be acquainted with each other?”
I considerately brush away a drop of dew on his shoulder, pretending to carelessly inquire.
“Don’t know if dear He has come with a marriage proposal today, have you brought enough betrothal gifts?”
He Shao Xin’s face instantly reveals a flabbergasted expression as though he just swallowed a fly.
“Lady Jin, I have very clearly told you yesterday, I re-……”
“The specific number of betrothal gifts has yet to be counted, but this valuable horse and precious sword can be proof of your feelings for now, is that right?” I take matters into my own hands and cut off his words, helping him round up the next half of his sentence.
He has indeed presented himself simply today, one black horse, one precious sword, not even bringing a bundle with him, I can only forgive him for not treating me properly for now.
My dear’s eyes widen, just about to open his mouth, but hears “congratulations” “bless you” sound one after another, some servants and workers of the medical clinic suddenly come out from everywhere, “Congratulations to Lady Jin and Gentleman He, wishing you a harmonious union lasting a hundred years, hearts forever tied together as one”.
The expression on He Shao Xin’s face instantly looks like he had only swallowed half a fly, the other half still squirming between the gaps of his teeth.
“Well said, well said, there won’t be any shortage of wedding candies for everyone.”
“How could such a lady like you……” Just as I see dear He’s face flush red, about to erupt with swears and shouts, all that can be heard is a sound of “zhi-ya”, and the main doors were completely opened wide. Stood at the doors were a smiling pair of elders, a man and a woman.
They are precisely my father and mother.
“Oh, is this the Young Hero He who had taken away our precious family treasure?” Mother’s tender and loving voice is heard, like the gentle sound of nature, “Good child, so you’ve come to propose marriage now, how sensible and polite indeed.”
The nosy neighbours who were attracted by the noise, all reveals a type of “ah~ so this brat had long received the token of love la~ so this must be the truth ah~” expression.
“Not bad, to be capable of receiving the Jin family’s lady’s hand in marriage……”
“From what I see, other than being slighter fairer skinned, there’s nothing particularly great……”
“Exactly, look at his frail appearance……”
Within a moment, all sorts of sour air diffuse, each and every word targeting dear He’s self-esteem.
I look at the him who keeps his silence, my heart unable to help but feel a trace of sympathy —— ai~ having to endure the scolding now huh? Having to endure the harm now huh? But who told you to marry such a peerless beauty? Enduring a few shouts right now, is actually going easy on you.
Seeing a fist, the size of a bowl tighten inch by inch under dear He’s sleeve, blue veins suddenly popping up, his blood rapidly pumping, I could not help but grow slightly worried, worried that my beloved cannot bear this ecstatic feeling and pass out.
However, contrary to my expectations, the fist is suddenly released.
He Sha Xin straightens his back, like a jade tree amongst the wind, he stands with dignified bearings, just like a triumphant scholar that succeeded the government examination in first place.
“It was only by the grace of Lady Jin’s wrong love.” He starts to respectfully gesture towards the neighbours in all directions with a wrapped fist, as though saying, “I appreciate your blessings.”
The I who had originally prepared to face a difficult battle, just felt a whole body of fighting spirit in me fly away with a swoosh sound.
“What’s going on, this isn’t like what you had said?” Whilst tenderly maintaining the smile on her face, Mother shoots me doubtful eyes.
“I don’t know either.” Silently batting my eyes, I calmly look at He Shao Xin, wanting to see exactly what kind of act he’s playing out.
However, just like a rightful son-in-law to be, He Shao Xin takes it into his own hands to accept the blessings of the neighbourhood folks, not revealing the slightest of discomfort nor hesitation at all.
——if this person isn’t a natural born acting master, then he must have been beaten into his senses, suddenly realising the unceasing flow of love for me that had been buried deep within him.
I am more willing to believe in the latter.
——I am but a peerless beauty of a generation ah! For me, someone had once dragged betrothal gifts here whilst riding on a donkey for four hundred li during winter.
I smile with happiness, because under such warm sunlight, my beloved gives me the thumbs up, spitting out four pure lotus-like words: “One of a kind”.