Princess Agents: Sweet Lin&Zhao interactions and Season II status

I’m slowly picking up the recap after a long break since the Chinese new year and a super busy spring. Though the whole story has already been concluded by NINJA REFLCTION following the link Ninja Reflction: princess-agents-novel-ending-translation-last-part.  Other parts can be easily found on Ninja’s own site.  I would probably fill my following recaps with the other elements rather than just Xing&Yue romantics.

Before the recaps, here are something I recently came across and found lovely between our leading actor Lin Gengxin and actress Zhao Liying. It was a conversation on WeChat during the Chinese new year of 2017, i.e., three month after the film warping up and before the drama broadcasting. Zhao Liying posted several screenshots of a conversation between an anonymous and herself on her Weibo. That  didn’t caught much attention as the drama was not aired yet, that not much people got the clue of the counterpart in that conversation. Now we know who would call Zhao Liying “Xin’er” and whom she would call “Gongzi” (Master). Seeing the two interacts like this after a while somehow gives a more mixed feeling, and now:



About the season II: there had been rumors that the screen play was ready and is under review of the expected casts. Zhao Liying recently announced through her official Weibo that she would take a long vacation after warped up Ming Lan. Lin Gengxin is also on a half resting status after filming Di Ren Jie film.  So in principle our two leading roles have the time slots available for the drama after the summer of 2018, it all depending on whether or not could the producers win them back. The producers seemed to be determined on the project due to the record breaking success of PA I, so, let’s hope for the good news in a near future.

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Princess Agents Novel Recap Vol V (Part 13)

The dowry that Li Ce prepared for CQ has arrived from Biantang over a month ago. According to the guards of the Zhenhuang city, there has been more than four hundreds carts of cargos, several tens of etiquette officials, and a guarding troop of 50 000 soldiers arrived in Zhenhuang from Biantang. While the soldiers must be settled outside the Zhenhuang city, the etiquette officials had settled in the embassy of Biantang in the city. Everything from Biantang has clearly declared to the world about the royal status of the marriage between the Grand Princess Xiuli of Biantang and the Sima of Daxia.

The status of the whole Zhuge clan has been raised by their affinity relationship with the royal member of the Biantang state. Yue’s father, Zhuge Muqing has come back to Zhenhuang from the home territory of the Zhuge family for the ceremony of the wedding. Furthermore, Yue had invited some remote relatives of the Jing family to the wedding, who presented deep sensations to CQ during their first meetings with each other. Despite her ill impression on those relatives, Yue had settled them in the mansion of Sima and ordered a well treat to them, and CQ has to listen to those old ladies in the following days teaching her about those rituals and rules of being a proper bride.

As the date of the wedding is coming closer, CQ is getting more and more perturbed as the whole worlds’ attention has been attracted to this wedding, and she has felt invisible winks of hidden blades. Yue has tried to calm her saying that it was only an overexcitement before the wedding, and CQ herself has also wished that instead of some ill-starred sixth sense, this is just a premarital anxiety. Yet her anxiety gets stronger after Yue’s leaving for border inspections in the west and the incitements to attack Yanbei of war hawks raised in Daxia.

According the traditional custom, the bride must be received by the bridegroom from her own home on the wedding day. Since CQ does not have any home in Zhenhuang, she has to move to the old mansion of the Zhuge family before the wedding. Yue, as the bridegroom, will receive her with his escorting group, and the two of them will return to their own home, which is the Sima’s mansion. Therefore, CQ has moved to the old Zhuge mansion a week before the day of the wedding. Thanks for the help of Yue’s snowy owl, CQ and Yue are able to exchange letters to each other.

Five days before the wedding, CQ receives a report from a servant that Yue has arrived back in Zhenhuang, and he has visited his father at the old Zhuge mansion. Following the customs, the bridegroom and the bride are not allowed to see each other before the wedding, so Yue has left after meeting the elders of the Zhuge family. On that evening, a young maid hands over to CQ a letter from Yue. In the middle of the paper, there is just one line of his handwriting: “I’m back, will come to receive you five days later.” During the midnight, after putting some developer on the paper, a full page of small characters emerge in front of CQ, describing all his concerns and counter-strategies. CQ’s finger tips lost blood due to her hard press on the page, and the old sounds of weapons and fighting return to her ear, like a touching melody.

On the night before the wedding, He Xiao is assigned with a secret mission and left from the old Zhuge mansion. All the assistants of makeup and dressing sent by the Zhuge family have been send back by CQ, and there is only Meixiang left by her side. Piece by piece, Meixiang has put the splendid jewelries and the vivid red wedding dress on CQ, which make a gorgeous look of CQ as a bride. While the always brave and tough girl finally breaks with tears, Meixiang smiles to CQ with her most resplendent smile. CQ reaches her face and erases her tears, then she holds the girl who had been following her for so many years deep in her chest, and Meixiang tightly hugs CQ in return, hardly saying anything except constantly repeating “Miss, Miss, …”.

Finally, it is the day of the wedding. As was planned, the bride’s carriage, along with the whole escorting group, has left from the old Zhuge mansion in the morning. The group has dropped by the embassy of Biantang, received the official congrats and good wishes on the wedding from Li Xiuyi, the emperor of Biantang. The whole group then left from the embassy, crossed the main streets, and approached to the Sima’s Mansion. If everything would be as planned, Yue would be waiting for her on the Peacock Bridge that is not far away, where the bride’s carriage will be hand over to the bridegroom by the etiquette officials of Biantang.

While the group just reaches to the Yueliu Lake a few hundred meters away from the Peacock Bridge, the bride’s carriage suddenly stagnated then stopped, and CQ’s heart jumps a harsh beat. Right at the same time, from the royal Shengjin palace comes a melodious sound of an ancient bell. For fourteen times has the solemn bell ringed, five long and nine short, which announces the death of an very important royal person.  All the busy sounds of the walking, the standing, the watching has stopped. For a while there is just silence between the heaven and the earth, even birds on the sky seem to have stopped flying. No one knows who has come back with conscious at the first, but everyone follows, to kneel down on the ground and to bowed towards the direction of the Shengjin palace. Then there is a loud sound of crying from the Ziwei square roaring to the sky. It is until now, that CQ realized what has happened — the emperor of Daxia is dead.

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Princess Agents Novel Recap Vol V (Part 12)

While CQ is a bit worried that Yue might be upset for being laid off from the political center, Yue seemed to be happy for being able to peacefully enjoy a whole new year’s fest together with CQ. He has resumed the old daily routine of Qingshan Yard, sleeps early, gets up early, and carefully rehabilitates his health strictly following CQ’s plan. He uses his spare time reading and taking care of his plants and flowers. Every morning, he practices martial arts with CQ. They play against each other, with all kinds of weapons, which attracts the servants gathering to watch and applause. The days passed in quiet and peace, as if in the center of a storm, with a flustering calmness.

CQ has chosen a bright red dress for the New Year’s Day. The reflection in the mirror tells her that her cheek becomes pinky bringing out by the red dress, like a flower blooming in spring. Behind her stands Yue, wearing a long gown in smoky blue, thin and straight like a bamboo, breathtakingly handsome. He picks up a pearl hair stick, skillfully twisted her long black hair into a bun, and places the stick in the bun. Her own reflection in the mirror has put CQ into a light trance. Never had she thought herself can be such pretty and feminine. She has insisted from a very early age that it is extremely vulgar for women dressing vivid colors and wearing jewelries. Later, she became even less spirited on dressing up herself due to the years of toil. But now, she feels a comfort warmth and joy with the warmness of the splendid dress.

Looks into the mirror, Yue smiles and says “What a gorgeous look!” Which makes CQ a bit embarrassed and blushed. She pushes him slightly and says, “Nonsense, don’t be exaggerated!” Yue looks back on her and grins,” I’m just talking about myself, don’t you think too much!”… and that begins a joyful New Year’s fest of Xing&Yue. The doors of Sima’s mansion are closed, all the visitors are blocked outside. Zhao Che has sent two jars of good wines during the midnight, and that’s all the disturbance they’ve received during the whole fest. In the evening of the New Year’s day, a super drunk CQ has loudly announced in front of all the family members that: “Zhuge Yue, I love you!”

Yet the joy of spring fest cannot even cover the cruel reality of the severe natural disaster and the famine. While the state of Daxia is still suffering from the aftermath of the famine and the riots, the situation in Yanbei is even worse. Back in Shanshen grassland where CQ used to live, thousands of herds of sheep and cattle were frozen by severe snow storms. The whole Yanbei is fallen in famine, which threatens Yan Xun’s ruling over the state. The schadenfreude of Daxia is soon teared apart by the news that Yan Xun had assembled his elite troops and attacked the state of Biantang. The objective is thousands of tons of grains stored in the border city of Biantang, and all the troops had successfully retreated to Yanbei after robed the grains. Although she is the grand princess of Biantang, CQ somehow feels lucky for those kind nomads of Shanshen and Huihui, by considering those grains as a relief from Biantang to the people of Yanbei. All in all, she has to confess that she don’t want to seeing Yan Xun to fail. Probably, Zhege Yue is the only one in the world who can rival Yan Xun, but it is still hard for CQ to see any of them been defeated.

The long holiday of Yue is ended by March and he returns to the political swirl of Daxia. Yan Xun had send a letter to Daxia requesting a negotiation on border trade between Danbei and Daxia. Such a letter at this time equals to a beg-for-mercy, which prompted a wave of calling for attacks on Yanbei from the war hawks. Knowing Yan Xun so well, both Yue and CQ realize that he must be planning something big, and this kind of weakness showing is just a small trick to begin with. Then there is the news about a small conflict at Yanming Guan (The most important border city of Daxia, which Yan Xun finally abandoned to conquer in order to support CQ who was defending the city of Beishuo) between the soldiers of Daxia and Yanbei. Some tens of drunk soldiers of Daxia had rushed outside from the Yanming Guan and attached the nearby Longyin Guan of Yanbei, which caused a slight casualty of Yanbei soldiers. But Yanbei didn’t fight back, which confirmed Daxia’s hawks that Yanbei is too weakened by the natural disasters to fight against Daxia. The whole state is incited by the hawks and many are enthusiastic on starting a war against Yanbei, and Yue is assigned to the western border to inspect the real situation just in half month before their wedding.

ddmcmc: it’s always the busiest time at the year ends. Thanks for your patience, and I’ll try to manage to conclude the whole Vol 5 by the end of 2017.

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Princess Agents Novel Recap Vol V (Part 11)

Zhuege Yue who had been very drunk is not anymore on the bed when CQ returns to the yard, instead, she finds him in his study in front of his working desk, pretty sober and writing a letter. She stands there in silence, watching him finishes his writing and seals the mail, then she slowly approaches to him, she keels down, and quietly leans her head on his lap. He combs her long hair with his dry and slender fingers, “Xing’er,” he calls her name, in a deep fatigue and exhaustion, then there is nothing. But she answers him with her voice soft as a roll of gentle waves, “I understand.” His knees slightly quivered with her words, then he grips her hand tighter.

Yes, she knows all about it. Understands his hard work, understands his tiredness, understands his disappointment over this country, and understands his profound disguise of everything around him. The emperor’s drowsiness, the princes’ fight over thorn, the officials’ corruption and inability, all made this old empire paralyzed to collapse. Experienced the suffering of the war, witnessed the tragedy of the grass-root people, as a man who has returned from the desolated barren land, how could he stand such a rot country and shameful nobles? Moreover, he is one of them, one that is essential in this battle over the thorn. He had hold the naïve hopes that everything can be changed once Zhao Che steps on the thorn, but now he is quite suspicious. He doesn’t even know that once all their enemies are defeated, what else can be left in the world when they stood on the top of the bones of people. With civilization destroyed, people slaughtered, army strangled, and country destructed, what is the meaning for them to be the only survivors? If everything must be destroyed to win the fight, can they really afford such price?

“Xing’er, I’m really NOT a good person.” That’s the only sentences from him until dawn arrives.

Five days later, the state of Daxia, perhaps the whole continent of Ximeng is shocked by an outrageous riot of the refuges in the west of Daxia. The devastated refugees finally violently broke into the mansions of the nobles and robed their money and grains. The unarmed civilians opened the heavy doors of the riches with stones and woods, and the violence was soon expanded and lost control. The local defenses of the west was fragile as paper, countless rich households were robed, burned, and countless people dead. Despite the constant urgent reports about the rebels, the central government lacks any response. Those central cadres who had just reported the countrywide harmony and peace were reluctant to eat their own words in front of the emperor, thus, they would prefer to secretly send military force to stop the riots.

“What riots?” asks Zhuge Yue, the head of military defense, “our country is full of peace and prosperous as usual, how could there be riots in the west? That’s nonsense! ”

The military intervention on the riots is therefore postponed and postponed, until one day, a wounded messenger from west dead in front of the royal palace, half way to the royal court. The emperor is shocked to furious, Zhao Yang, who is in charge of the matters of the west is deprived with his titles, and all the officials who had neglected the famine and the riots of the west has been punished. Zhuge Yue is also punished for not being able to send the military force to stop the riots in time, the emperor asks him to take a long holiday and to conduct self-reflection on his mistakes at home. Zhao Che, who has attempted to plead for him, is rejected by the emperor for several times.

Yet CQ knows exactly who was behind all this. The civil unrest has caused great casualties of the rich families in the west. Almost seventy to eighty percent of the noble families had experienced great jeopardy, also nearly 80 000 civilians died in the violence. However, as Zhuge Yue said, with the riots, the casualty is 80 000, without, it would be millions, so it is a good deal. Yes, it is indeed a good deal. The refugees of femine received the governmental aids finally. The two biggest supporters of Zhao Yang in the west, the family Mu and the Duke Ling were severely weakened due to the riots. Zhao Yang was punished and also weakened on the military power. And, the only cost from the other side, is Zhuge Yue himself being laid off and unpaid for several months.

Everything has developed as he had planned, but CQ recalls it clearly how he had been worried and kept sleepless when the news about the slaughter of people, the suffer of the normal riches, the damage to the cities, and the loss of the soldiers arrived to him one after another. Had there been any single bias, had his secrete forces lost the control of the rebels, had they failed to protect some of the local defenses, the whole west of the state will be submerged in wars and the results will be hard to imaging. For those who had slandered him, one thing from them about him is correct, he is insane.

ddmcmc: This is where we learn more about Zhuge Yue, as a great leader, instead of just a good lover.

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Next update will come in Nov.

I’m on a field trip and is occupied by works, there is no chance for me to sit in front of the laptop and type words in these days.

I’ll try to manage the next update by next week after returning from the field. Thanks for your patience.

ps. I put my answers to Kiki Dawson’s question about the reasons for such many different versions at here, so that it it visible for others who might be confused by the same inconvenience.

Q: why are chinese novels very complicated,version this ,version that,cut and uncut,i mean what is going on.

A: Most of the novels were published online in installments. Authors usually need to update as much and fast as possible to attract readers and to keep them. Therefore, the quality of those original installments cannot be promised in the rush of the authors. Furthermore, the installments can last very long, e.g., several years, and authors might change their minds on the story lines, which may also reduce the consistency of the novel.

e.g., Yan Xun was set as the man lead of the PA novel from the beginning, but the author realized that the characters had been so real with the development of the story that she cannot force Yan Xun to change his appetite on power, thus, it is impossible for him to share the value and the vision of CQ. On the hand, Zhuge Yue had developed to a great leader who has a great sympathy on people and a deep respect on human life, which was exactly what CQ had expected from Yan Xun. The author herself was surprised that, in the end, Zhuge Yue had become the hero in the novel.

For those good novels that have the potential to be officially published, the editors of relevant publisher/websites may contact the authors and require certain editing on the coarse installments before the novel get published. Some authors (e.g. PA’s author) may revise the previous chapters during the installments so that the previous chapters can be in line with the future developments of the stories.

In summary, different version come from: 1) authors own editing during the online installments for better development of future story lines; and 2) editing requests from the editors before official publishing.

For PA, it has both. The most commonly seen version on web is the one after the author’s own editing, and before the final editing for the publishing. Those omitted chapters are from the most original version during the online installments.

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Princess Agents Novel Recap Vol V (Part 10)

ddmcmc: this recap is modified on 17.Oct, which is enriched with the aspect of the emperor, who is actually determining the development of the whole famine rescue issue. It is now easier to understand why Zhao Yang and the other central officials can be such bold on their dirty businesses, and why Yue is confronting huge obstructions for doing something for people.

In a small wood from a-far, CQ watches the plain carriage of Zhao Song and Xiao Ba slowly vanishing at the horizon. She is deeply sorrow for the two loved ones to whom she owe the most, yet she must continue to carry on her own duties and to guard those she must protect. Turning the horse head, CQ heads back to the magnificent ancient city of Zhenhuang. Times ago, everything there had been extremely disgusted for her, but now she is willing to step into that huge cage, just as Xiao Ba had volunteered to be registered as a slave of Zhao Song, this is the choice of their own. But she is not alone in that city, now her battlefield, because in the middle of that cage, there is one person, waiting for her.

Another year end is approaching, the city of Zhenhuang is prosperous and harmonious as usual, at least on its surface. It actually has been a very severe winter, and the northwest provinces are suffering from a vast snowstorm, plus a poor grain harvest in the southwest, one third of the territory in Daxia is threatened by a critical famine. All the disaster relief allocated from the central government had been exploited by the local officials and the noble families that nothing reached to the civilians. Being the real ruler of the western part of the empire, Zhao Yang is so eager to satisfy those local powers for the political favorite over Zhao Che, that he connived the open corruptions of his subordinates and the local nobles.  More than 200 000 people starved in less than half a month, millions of people were flocking to all directions, even to the west where Yan Bei locates. Outside the cities to the west of the state, hundreds of thousands of refugees were collecting, starving, freezing, and dying, yet those in the capital would rather throw immense on renovating the palaces and flourishing the coming spring fest, just to please the emperor who had been sick and weak since long.

Yue has written more than a dozen reports to the emperor, but all his efforts had been ignored. The emperor, who despite his poor health still holds firm on the political authorities, is too old and weak to hear anything bad. At this critical moment of power transferring, even Zhao Che is not dare to annoy the emperor with any single bad news. The central officials, who are flattered by the bribes and praises from the locals, are more than glad to hide the bad newses from the emperor, and to keep blind to the real jeopardy of the disasters, thus, they had allied to refute Yue’s arguments about the worrying situations. While Yue reported about the casualties, the refugees, and the risks of riots, they responded that the people of Daxia were enjoying a peaceful life. They’d even framed Yue of being exaggerating the disasters to taking advantage of the relief measures for his own benefits. While the morning assemblies in the royal court flooded by the saliva, people are dying at any time in the remote west. In the end, they’d asked from Yue for evidences of the great famine.

“Evidence?” CQ heard Yue furiously cursed those dumb busters in his study. Hundreds of people are dying everyday, corpses are lying everywhere, yet they are asking for evidence of the casualty! That night, before sleep, he has whispered to the ear of CQ that he would prefer to kill those borers one by one with his own knife. He has said it in such a depression, that CQ feels her back covered by a layer of frost. She holds him from his waist, his muscle is tight and skin is cold, frozen as a piece of hard ice. After all, he is just saying it. CQ knows that even he is superior, even he holds the military power, there are things, peoples and responsibilities that he can never ignore. Zhao Che is not in Zhenhuang for the time being, so Yue has to manage the reliefs all by himself against the hindrances from the others. He has squeezed all his resources and arranged some relief to the west. However, his efforts are minor comparing what is needed (in a better phrase from pinayatsunshinestate: “yet his contributions are but a drop of water in a bucket because of the sheer numbers of the needy”).

Even such efforts are not necessarily appreciated. Since the available reliefs are limited, the porridge for the refugees at the Yaoguan city was made thin. A soldier has argued back when some refugee complained about the porridge, which triggered a riot between the soldiers and the refugees and produced several casualties on both the sides of the soldiers and the civilians. The incident has provided an excellent excuse for those central officials to criticize Yue in front of the emperor, blaming Yue of being arrogant, peremptory, and disrespectful to the emperor. While among the refugees, it has been rumored that all the governmental reliefs had fallen in control of Yue and been exploited by him, and that was the reason why the porridge had been kept thin.

CQ is accompanying Yue in his study when Yue Qi comes to report. As a tacit understanding, CQ has never intervened any of Yue’s business and Yue has never hid anything from her. Yue asks Yue Qi to report thoroughly regardless how bad the situations and the criticisms have been. He has listened quietly, expressionless hearing about all the slanders of the officials and the curses of the refugees. After Yue Qi finished reporting and left, he sits there still, sipping the tea, as if nothing had happened. The afternoon sun projected a slight blue light of coldness and brightened his skinnier cheeks, then, as CQ sees, the white jade tea cup in his hand is cracked and the water inside has leaked.

It is fine whatever the political rivals would like to say about him, but it is hard to be misunderstood by the people. For those who’re cursing him of providing them the thin porridges, they could never know that every meal for them had come from Yue selling his own properties. Proud as he is, must lower his head and please those merchants in the capital city, just to ask them to give a hand to support the refugees to survive from this severe famine. He is extremely exhausted, yet he continues his efforts on rescuing people despite all the rumors and curses. He has got to sleep more and more late, very often almost worked through nights, the look on his face is getting worse and worse, but his back is still straight like a beautiful javelin.

Finally, Zhao Che comes back to the city. On that evening, CQ heard a hearty laugh of Yue approaching from outside, then she saw Zhao Che coming in following Yue. This is the first time CQ met with Zhao Che after the breaking out of Zhenhuang with Yan Xun, and he just politely greeted her as usual. They had enjoyed a great night together, especially for Yue, who has finally got someone to chat and drink with. CQ listened them recalling the old days of them being students of Shang Wu Tang, how they had looked down on each other, and how they had finally get along with each other until the state of Daxia fallen apart. They also vented their disappointments on the political situations, cursed those heartless selfish bores of the corrupted empire. Seldom has CQ seen Yue in such a good mood and high spirits, and first time has she seen Zhao Che with ease and free.

Soon, both got extremely drunk. Yue is not a good drinker, but he has a good self-discipline, so he rarely gets drunk. He is totally relaxed in front of his only friend, and he is too tired. That night, when CQ sends Zhao Che away, the also drunk Zhao Che suddenly looks at her in a sober gaze and says: ”get back, take good care of him.” CQ looks back at him, silently. Then he seriously says to her: ”Lao Si (the 4th, Zhuge Yue’s nick name by Zhao Che) is a good man, don’t let down of him.”

“So are you.” Answered CQ, who had narrowed her eyes to a line, and the wave of light flashed in them is as sharp as sword.

Zhao Che understood that, it is a warning.

ddmcmc: sorry for the delay, but this is a chapter of very intense political flavor. However, this is a part I personally loved, cause it is where readers could learn more about Yue as a respectful leader, not just a good lover.

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Princess Agents Novel Recap Vol V (Part 9)

ddmcmc: I would like to remind my dear readers with the collective efforts by Sue Lee, Angel Chua and myself on PA translations, you are kindly directed to an open letter on Sue Lee’s site (, saying exactly the same what I would like to share to you guys.

Now, please enjoy:

After so many years, Xiao Ba has become a total stranger, and she had used her best talent to irritate CQ with her sharp tongue and cynical tone. CQ is deeply downhearted by Xiao Ba’s resentment at being demoted to the humble. She tries to keep the conversation in calm and asks the intention of Xiao Ba’s visiting. Xiao Ba reveals to CQ that due to his actions of protecting the mansion of Sima during that night of riots, Zhao Song had enraged Zhao Yang and was exiled to watch the stud farm. While Xiao Ba is registered as a royal slave, she is restricted from leaving the capital and following Zhao Song. What she needs from CQ (aka. Yue) is a decree of release, so that she is free to go wherever she wants and to keep accompanying Zhao Song. The things Xiao Ba is asking for are clear but the way of her expressions finally nettles CQ. Everyone had suffered a lot during the past years, and there is no excuse for Xiao Ba to just think of her own misfortunes and blame everything on CQ. After warning Xiao Ba to watch out her attitudes, CQ tells her that she will take care of Zhao Song and asks her to leave.

Despite her anger towards Xiao Ba’s attitude, CQ is deeply sorrow for what Xiao Ba had been through. Yue comes back and apologies to CQ of being the main cause of Xiao Ba’s eccentric temperament, and for not being able to find a chance to talk about Xiao Ba with CQ earlier. Since they already decided to looking forwards, things in past are past. CQ shifts the topic from Xiao Ba to Zhao Song cause this is more urgent. Yue explains that it is actually a good option for Zhao Song to leave from Zhen Huang at this moment of turmoil, therefore Zhao Che and he did not prevent the exile, instead, they’ve only changed the destination from the stud farm to Qianghu, a rich and warm place that is close to the eastern border where Zhao Che holds the authority. As Zhao Song is soon leaving, Yue asks CQ whether she would like to farewell with Zhao Song in person. CQ denies saying that everything has gone and Zhao Song should not be bothered with meaningless groans.

In a cold and quiet morning after a heavy overnight snow, Zhao Song leaves from Zhen Huang in a plain carriage, with only one horseman sitting in the front. Outside the city, there waits Xiao Ba on the way, dressed up in her prettiest winter outfits. Being the youngest of the Jing siblings, Xiao Ba was too young to remember anything about the golden days of a noble Jing family, and when the family failed and she was sold as slave to the Zhuge family together with other kids, the oldest among them cannot even remember all of their names, therefore, after Zhi Xiang and Lin Xi, there are just Xiao Liu (literately the 6th, CQ, also called Yue’er. Compare to the formal names as Zhi Xiang and Lin Xi, Yue’er is much more like a nick name, only to be a bit better than Xiao Liu), Xiao Qi (the 7th) and Xiao Ba (the 8th), which simply are sequenced upon age. Then she was saved by Yue and given another name, a name that was meant to hide her real identity and to protect her sister who was living in the Yingge yard together with Yan Xun. One thing that she cannot forgive herself is that she had cried for him to her own surprise when the news of the ice lake arrived.

She had cried for a man, who had caused the death of her brother and sisters, who had confined her for so many years. She can still clearly remember that day, when the Qingshan yard was ruthlessly raided. Countless accusations had been slandered on that proud, glamorous man, but no one, except Zhao Che who had also been exiled soon, would even say a word defensing him. His corpse humiliated, name stained, and all his properties, including the servants in the Qingshan yard, confiscated. Along with the other young maids, she was sold to brothel. He had educated her with reading, writing, martial arts, horse riding, and some warfare strategies when he was in a good mood during their staying in the Wolong Mountain. All had been useless under the drugs and rude boors. She had cried out that name at the final moment when her body trembled with that sharp pain. “Zhuge Yue, save me!” she had cried loudly. But she was mocked while she had cursed those busters in his name, because he had already dead as they repeated to her. It was at that moment she finally realized the fact that she had always been protected in the past years, as a helpless orphan at a very young age, she had been given a peaceful roof, even though it was just a corollary of his emotions to another person. But that man was dead, dead in the freezing ice and snow in Yanbei for her sister, that he would never come again to rescue her as he had done many times before.

After that night, unlike the other girls from the Qingshan yard who had committed suicide or deceased due to sickness, Xiao Ba decided to be the best girl in the brothel, and soon she made it. Two month later, she had revenged herself by trapping the two busters who had raped her in that night. Looking at the two dying in front of her, she had felt an indescribable joy like going crazy. She thought that this would be how her life ends, continuing in the smelly dirty of corrupted sewage, until another day, when she met with Zhao Song. That was in early May and Zhen Huang was still cold, ice on the lake just broken, and she was on a boat tour accompanying a wealthy merchant at his fifties. That exhibitionist had torn her clothes in public on the boat and her upper body was exposed in front of everyone. She had scratched his face while hastily hiding herself, and was threw in the lake by that fury fat merchant. She cannot swim, her clothes turned extremely heavy, soon she had given up on struggling and let herself sinking.

When death was coming she thought would this be the same for Zhuge Yue? Had he also had the same feeling that all surroundings had been freezing, except for a slight warmness in heart remaining, that in the end, the final warmness was also fading. Suddenly someone had hold her from her waist and she had been dragged upwards, until she rushed out of the water. Right beside her there was Zhao Song standing, and he was surprised when seen her face, then he smiled and said:” Such a coincidence, you looked very much like an old friend of mine.” He said it in a smile, but she sensed the desolation and the melancholy in his tone. His eyes were in peace, but there was also something hidden, cool and sad. He had set her free but she preferred to stay as his maid, and years had passed in a blink of eyes.

Xiao Ba might be confused about her emotions towards Yue, as it had been too complicated for various matters, but she is clear about her feelings for Zhao Song. It has nothing to do with gratefulness or compensation, she just hoped that she could be together with him, that he can see her from his eyes, that he can remember her. She is determined, regardless his and her own past, so she receives him with her shinny smile on his way of exile. Zhao Song is reluctant to take Xiao Ba with him, but Xiao Ba ignores his resistance saying that as a free citizen as she now is, she can decide wherever she would like to go, and no one can stop her from following him on her own expense, if she is not allowed to share the carriage of him. Zhao Song is defeated by the calm yet stubborn girl acting like a piquing kid, or a wayward gambler, his heart is suddenly soothed by a sore sweetness, for the first time, the figure of the girl in front of him becomes clear and sharp, that the other likely figure finally fades away. “Did you know that I am not a prince anymore?” he asked her in a calm low voice. “I don’t care who you are. It has nothing to do with me.” She answered. Then a thin but powerful hand grasps her at wrist and pulls her on the carriage.

ps. Finally, the part of Zhao Song and Xiao Ba gets concluded. There were just two big events left in Vol 5, hope those can be finished with maximum 4 more recaps. I’ll continue with Vol 6, until all main characters get their stories concluded.

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Princess Agents Novel Recap Vol V (Part 8)

The riots downtown were due to the fights among soldiers of different military theaters of Daxia, instigated by the supporters of Zhao Yang. The rivalry between Zhao Che and Zhao Yang in a military term, is the confrontation between the armies of Zhao Che’s Northeast and Zhao Yang’s southwest theaters. While Zhao Che’s military power is reinforced by the Qinghai army of Yue, Zhao Yang is strengthened by the powers of General Mu and Duck Ling. Now that the emperor is close to death, the competition between Zhao Che and Zhao Yang over the throne gets boiled, thus, all the local forces are gathered to the capital area standing by their own masters, which is against to the military rule. All those local armies will be obligated to return to their own region once any trouble is made, and this exactly is what all those riots meant for.

The privilege of Zhao Yang is that besides his own southwest army, he is also commanding the royal troops that are guarding the capital. The 30 000 solders of the royal troop may be insignificant for a warfare, however, once all local armies are sent back to their own region, these elite solders of the royal troop become the only remaining military force in the capital area. If Zhao Che stays in Zhen Huang without his and Yue’s armies, he would definitely fall into Zhao Yang’s hand, and if Zhao Che leaves the capital together with his armies at this moment, there would be no chance left for him for the throne without bursting another civil war.  Veteran as CQ is, she has pictured everything with just a few sentences from Yue and gets extremely worried. Yue calms her saying that such a small trick from Zhao Yang is far from doing any harm to him and Zhao Che. As the tensions between Zhao Che and Zhao Yang will soon come to an end, Yue tells CQ that the day of them getting back to Qinghai is not far away anymore.

A day later, CQ receives an unexpected visitor. The young servant of Zhao Song whom CQ had seen on the mid-autumn fest, tunes out to be Xiao Ba, the youngest sister of Jin siblings. Back to 15 years ago, CQ had planned to run away from the Qingshan yard together with Xiao Ba after the avenge for Zhixiang by killing the old master (Yuwen Xi in drama) of the Zhuge family. CQ prepared Xiao Ba with the necessary belongings and asked her to wait for her on a small hill outside the Qingshan yard.  When CQ arrived to the meeting point, she found a disgusted killer instead of Xiao Ba. Not to surprise that the killer was sent by Yue, and Yue confessed to CQ later that he had hand out Xiao Ba as a substitute of her as the criminal of Yuwen Xi’s death (The whole scene was filmed in the drama just missing the conversations regarding Xiao Ba, and that scene marked an fifteen-year separation between the two). CQ had taken Xiao Ba of being dead ever since, and together with the death of Lin Xi, the debts are counted for Yue. Now that Xiao Ba is alive, there must be something new that CQ should let known.

Yue had replaced Xiao Ba with some other criminal before her execution and kept her as his maid during his eight-year studies at Wolong Mountain. He was cool and indifferent to her normally, but sometimes he’d be nice to her, and that was, as she was clear about it, when he had thought about CQ, to whom she had shared a similar look. She had been the only maid beside him when he had studied in Wolong, then followed him back to Zhen Huang and remained at the Qingshan yard until the news of the ice lake arrived and the Qingshan yard was confiscated. Xiao Ba was then sold to brothel, and after countless resistance in vain, she decided to be the best, if destined to be a prostitute. One year later, she had met Zhao Song and attracted his attention for the similar looking as CQ, and that’s how she ended as a maid of Zhao Song.

ddmcmc: this is something produced in a rush, still, better than nothing, isn’t it?

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This week’s recap update is postponed to Fri.

Dear PA lovers, I’ve been occupied by a deadline on work in the past and this week.

The recap will be updated by this Friday (26.Sep).

Thanks for your patience!

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Princess Agent – pinayatsunshinestate’s translation of abolished chapters

ddmcmc: Our dear pinayatsunshinestate managed a wonderful translation of the abolished chapters that are not collected either in the Chinese/Vietnamese web versions or the Chinese print version. The chapters had been the preliminary version of the stories after the first reunion of XingYue in Xianyang and include intensive sweet/sour scenes of the two, but totally omitted by the author during a thorough revise of the novel. The link to pinayatsunshinestate’s work was originally added in a comment, and I’m horned to move the comments and the link of pinayatsunshinestate’s work in a separate post for better visibility of the audiences.

Below is the comments from pinayatsunshinestate regarding the abolished chapters and the link to her site for the translations:

pinayatsunshinestate:  I read the chapter again and wonder why the chapter was omitted. It’s a chapter that shows the versatility of the writer. This omitted chapters are actually sweet, hot, spicy 🌶 and melancholic. It shows the genius of the writer how s/he can carry you from hilarious scene to a scene of struggle between life and death and scenarios that can tickle different senses arousing desire then stiffening the desire and then go on into reflections.
This chapter is the chapter that describes how YWY dealt with a mighty blow in his own perspective and turn that blow into a glancing scratch. It is the chapter where CQ and YWY had their first heart to heart ❤️ talk. The first chapter where YWY kiss CQ and she made an effort to respond, The first chapter that tells about YWY’s happiness and insecurities and the chapter that describes how CQ render and give her loyalties to her man even in a just simple ways.
As a child there was this komiks book in the country of my birth with story about Barok, the words are short and truly the grammar is absent, I guessed I adapted to read such kind and understand the story. But thank you for sharing unto us the omitted chapter. I made the translation of Chapter 164 if others like to read it in English. Hopefully I can also translate chapter 165 and share it later I hope you’ll not mind that I paste the link here:

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Princess Agents Novel Recap Vol V (Part 7)

Put her deep concern on Yue’s health aside, life in Zhenhuang is surprisingly pleasant. Xiao Fei, Yue Qi’s wife would frequently drop by with her two kids. Mo’er is happy having Jingjing and Ping’an around, and He Xiao is now in charge of all Yue guards replacing Yue Qi who was occupied by his Qinghai troop. The mansion of Sima was granted to Yue as a reward from the emperor, and was extremely luxurious, that Yue had visited once before moving in and said “This can be sold with a good price when we leave!” Everyone who had been close to Yue would bring CQ some details on how Yue had always been devoting to her, showing that “Zhuge Yue loves CQ” has been such an irrefutable fact known to the whole world, yet it took CQ herself these many years to finally acknowledge. Luckily it is not too late, now that nothing could separate them, there is plenty of time to make it up.

On the mid-autumn fest, Yue proposed an excursion to a famous An’yuan temple on Xiangzhi Mountain outside the town coming by the conversations between Jingjing & CQ about the excitements of the fest, and sincerely suggested CQ to worship. CQ at first is surprised because as atheistic as he used to be, this seemingly is not something Yue would care, but is self-explained when seeing the statue of Song Zi Guan Yin (the Goddess of childbirth in Chinese Buddhism) standing inside the temple. Ignoring the teasing of Jingjing and other teenagers, CQ devoutly makes her three wishes following the same sincere Xiao Fei, first, may his health be blessed to be good; second, may there be no further separation between them; third, may there soon be a healthy baby of them.

After the worship, when CQ is accompanying Xiao Fei for a fortune telling, she gets a glimpse on Zhao Song who is passing by accompanied by a young servant. It has been six years since their last farewell when CQ escorted Zhao Song and Chun’er back to Zhen Huang. The handicapped prince of Daxia had vanished from the stage ever since and almost forgotten. With the childish fat on check shrunken, hair was greying at the temples of the young prince who is at his early twenties. As the thin figure slowly vanishes, CQ’s heart is replaced with a deep sorrow that she is about to step out and follow him, then prevented by Xiao Fei who has finished the fortune telling and is asking her to come back to join the others.

The encounter with Zhao Song is soon pushed aside by the news of the official proposal of the Sima of Daxia to the grand prince Xiuli of Biantang. The decree of proposal has been sent to Sun Di in Tangjing along with the first batch of the betrothal gifts, and the official admission of the proposal from the emperor of Biantang is now arrived back to Zhenhuang. When CQ raises to Yue that this might be inappropriate considering the recent political situation in Daxia, Yue scoffs about the political sensitivities and said to her: “I’ve been longing for it for so many years, dare you let me marry you just silently? I must broadcast it to the whole world, to everyone, that from now on, you are mine!”

CQ and Yue are busy with the wedding in the following days, but are interrupted by a critical illness of the emperor which summons Yue to stay in the royal palace to serve his majesty in sickness. In the same night, a series of severe riots burst at different locations downtown which caused a great panic in the city. While He Xiao and the Yue guards are protecting the mansion from its inside, another group of armed force arrives to safeguard the mansion from its outside. CQ thought it is due to Yue’s order, but when Yue eventually managed to come back later, it is revealed that those who’re outside the mansion are not following Yue’s order. With a second of consideration, Yue figures out that those people must be assigned by Zhao Song, the almost forgotten 13th prince.

ddmcmc: Blaming on another busy weekend, I’ve only managed to cover half of the rest stories about Zhao Song for this week. There had been quite many details about the XingYue daily life in these chapters and I think Sue Lee ( ) is working on a translation of those parts. So the PA lovers have something more to anticipate rather than this brief recap.

PS., I’ve come to another removed story line in the print version of the novel during this recap, which is about Su Wanwan, the first female with whom Yue had got some unusual feelings. Su was a remote cousin of Yue and come to live at Zhuge’s family due to her early orphanage. She had been smart and protective to younger Yue, which built up certain affection of the young boy to the older sister. But she had given up on Yue once there had been a chance to be the madame of the son of a famous Helian family. She was widowed after the Helian family fallen from the power and gotten punished,  started her pursuing to return to Yue ever since, no wonder that, without any success. CQ had encountered with her once (on a party at Zhuge’s mansion), and realized how lucky she’d been for the extreme patience of Yue offered to her.

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Princess Agents Novel Recap Vol V (Part 6)

ddmcmc: this recap starts from the scenes after the reunion and the first shipping* of Xing & Yue. For the details between the part 5 and 6 of Vol V, readers are referred to a complete translation at sueleesunshine’s site:

From PA Novel (Chapters 178 and 179): Before Yu Wen Yue’s Proposal to XingEr

From PA Novel (Chapter 180): Yu Wen Yue’s proposal 

From PA Novel (Chapter 181): After Yu Wen Yue’s Proposal to XingEr

Below is the text of the recap part 6 of Vol V:

Soon after, the group of people abandons the ship and enters the territoray of Daxia. The guardianship of the group is reinforced with a formal troop of elite soldiers from Qinghai, which is under the command of Yue Qi. Several days later, the whole group arrives in Zhenhuang, the ancient capital city of Daxia. Six years ago, CQ had left the city for a man, now she returns for another. Life if full of surprise and no one knows what would happen in next moments, what one can do is just continue. A warm arm holds CQ from her back, “don’t be afraid, I’m here.” said Yue in a calming voice. And she grasps his hand, as if never will she let it leave. This is how they reach to the new mansion of the Sima (the top commander) of the state denfence of Daxia, where Yue currently lives.

CQ is accepted as the madam of Yue and the mansion. After almost 15 years of separation, the Xing and Yue finally returned to a same household. Huan’er (the girl who had been nice to CQ back in Qingshan Yard, also portrayed in the drama) is still there being the charging maid at Yue’s place, and CQ heard from her a lot about the past years (mainly hard times) of Yue. Mo’er is also there, grown up a lot and nicely cultivated. Being the adopt son of Yue, he is the only one who dared to ask whether CQ is going to marry Yue SOON. Life becomes quickly normal , and it seems that everyone in the powerhouse of Daxia got amnesia on who CQ really was as well as what she had done to the Zhenhuang city, also it is so indifferent to them that the grand prince Xiuli of Biantang is residing in Daxia at the masion of its Sima. That must be a magic of power of that man who is deciding the safety of the whole state.

Staying close to Yue, CQ discoveres that his physical condition is far worse than what he presented. The old wounds on the left chest would hurt when weather turns bad that he hardly moves his left arm. As winter approaches and it’s getting cold, he is suffered from intensive aches around body brought by the ice lake sequelae during nights, which even with his best efforts to bear and hide would be easy to be sensed due to his heavy breaths and his nightgown soaked with cold sweats. CQ must pretend to be ignorance on his real situation but she would also suffer along with him through nights. After the first of such a night, CQ gets busy in the following days to design and instruct the construction of a heating system for their bed room, so that it can be warmed like a sauna.

Doctors would order Yue to rest in exchange for an easier suffering, but rest is something he barely implements. Since Biantang is slow in recovery from the jeopardies of the chained political unrests before and after Le Ce’s death, YX is becoming more active with his attempts towards Daxia. While the health condition of the old emperor of Daxia became worse, the critical point of the tension between Zhao Che and Zhao Yang is approaching. Yue is kept busy with countless businesses politically and militarily, in- and out-side Daxia. He would insist on the daily routine to come back on time, dine and chat and get on bed jointly with CQ, but would sneak up and continue the businesses at the study when his suffering permits. Anytime when CQ asks about how he had slept in the mornings, he would reply a “fantastic” with deep dark circles surrounding eyes.

* In Chinese, the word “ship (Chuan, 2nd tone)” pronounces similar as “bed (Chuang, 2nd tone)”, therefore, “ship scenes” is commonly used replacing “bed scenes” on web to avoid sensitive alert. It was not an accident that the first “ship” between Xing&Yue took place on a ship, for it is indeed a “ship scene” as was highly required by the audiences during the novel installments. 🙂

ddmcmc: I’ve had a super busy weekend, so this is what I’ve managed for this Tue. Hope the whole Vol V can be concluded with two-three more posts.

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Princess Agents – A summary of differences between web/print versions

ddmcmc: This was supposed to be a reply to the comments of the previous post, then it went too long and I decided to make it a new post.

There’re several different versions of the novel and it might be confusing for some of you guys who are relying on google for reading. Hereby is a brief summarize on the main differences between the versions:

Generally speaking, two versions of PA novel are available in Chinese, i.e., the web version (about 292 chapters in total) and the print version (3 books, 109 chapters in total). The print version is condensed by eliminating some unnecessary characters and story lines, but some deleted scenes, especially those related to Xing & Yue were worth reading. Below is a list of removed story lines/scenes that I can recall without revisit the novel:

1. Zhan Ziyu & Zhan Ziming, more events occurred on Zhan Ziyu’s boat when CQ and Liang Shaoqin were sold as slaves to the Zhan family. It was revealed that the Zhan siblings had kept an incestuous relationship, which was discovered by the family, and Zhan Ziming was sent to the Jinwu palace as a candidate of Li Ce’s concubine.

2. Jin Zisu. At Zhan Ziyu’s place, CQ also had had a reunion with Zisu, the oldest sister of Jin family, who had followed CQ to Yanbei and had been taking care of CQ after the ice lake. During the two years after the ice lake, Zisu had married with a low rank commander in YX’s army, and was pregnant when Mr.Wu & Zhong Yu rebeled. CQ was under house arrest by YX after the death Zhong Yu, and Zisu’s husband was in charge of that. Zisu firstly tried to persuade CQ to forgive YX and stay, but was convinced by CQ’s arguments in return. She had lighted up a fire at their home and used the chance to set CQ free, but she rejected to leave together with CQ and chosen to stay and wait for her husband to come back. But her husband was busy with chasing CQ and neglected the fire at home, Zisu was left forgotten and buried in the burning house.

3. Le Wanyi. The daughter of General Le in Daxia, Zhuge Yue’s fiancée. It was after the separation with CQ in Tangjing (with the kiss and the desperate “I also need you, can you feel it?”), Yue was devastated and giving up on the love&marriage businesses. By then, he and Zhao Che consist of the main force to fight against YX, so pretty hot on the power stage and popular on the market of marriage. The Zhuge family was busy building political ties with other influential families using Yue’s marriage, and keeping arranging blind dates for him with various girls. Extremely annoyed and tired by the endless insults, Yue randomly picked up a portrait of some girl and agreed to engage, and this is how Miss. Le officially becomes the fiancée of Yue. That is also the reason why CQ gave congrats to Yue about his engagement when they met in the old temple and had the hotpot jointly. Miss. Le would like to go back with the engagement after the ice lack, pleading to the emperor of Daxia that she would prefer to go the the temple and be a non instead of being engaged with a shameful traitor of the state, which was admitted. But CQ won’t agree with such an easy end for that smart Miss. When CQ and a small group of her guys sneaked back to Zhenhuang and collected Yue’s body (the one faked by YX, that was wiped by Yue’s father and abandoned in wildness), Miss.Le was captured, shaved to bold, and thrown in a nunnery, so that at least part of her wish became true.

4. Yue’s tomb in CQ’s yard. As mentioned, CQ had brought Yue’s (severely damaged) body back (be sad or be glad, without too much efforts) and built a tomb for him in her small yard. She’d sit beside it and chat with him whenever her health allows. Time after time she’d revise the details of the ice lake, and propose different solutions to solve the strait, either one of them could have saved their life from YX’s besiege, but how could she being so stupid to kneel down there and plead from YX for a mercy? CQ would also update Yue with the news from Daxia which was deeply trapped by YX’s attacks, and she would assume that Yue might be happy for knowing the distress of Daxia after losing him and Zhao Che. Those words from CQ were somehow leaked to Yue who was recovering, then, fighting in Qinghai.

5. Duo Ji. A young boy who started to accompany CQ after the ice lake, who later had had a hidden affection towards CQ, his role is somehow duplicated with Ping’an, except for his feeling for CQ and a expressed affection of Jingjing towards him. The removal of this character does not harm anything in the novel.

6. Some abolished chapters in the early times of the online installments, which were not included in the complete web version either. After the Xing & Yue reunion in Xianyang on the lantern’s fest, Yue has brought CQ to his aunt’s who was settled in town. CQ was warmly welcomed by the aunt. After a happy spring fest, Yue mistook CQ (who actually went to bath) of being left quietly, and was deeply upset. After CQ reappeared to his surprise, Yue couldn’t help himself to grab her deeply in his arms, and he asked CQ to never leave him again. The scenes were sweet but it wasn’t fit to the main story line, it was a good decision from the author to abolish them to keep the development of the story in stream.

For those who might be interested, the abolished chapters (covers the stories after the reunion at Xianyang and the departure of Yue to Zhenhuang) are available in:
Simplified Chinese:

In case the above link fails for access, here is another link in traditional Chinese:

(Google will give same translations for the two versions)

ps. according to what was mentioned by pinayatsunshinestate, I would assume that the  Vietnamese PA was based on the complete web version of the novel.

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Princess Agents Novel Recap Vol V (Part 5)

A sound of heavy attack on the main city gate interrupts the stalemate at the Fengyou stage, accompanied by a tremor that shakes the earth. A signaler rushes in on horseback shouting:” The grand duke Jing’an’s army reaches the city! General Xv Su betrayed the State! ” The crowd starts to panic, and Sun Di’s face pales. The moderator is frightened and the seal of phoenix fall down together with the scared old man. CQ steps down from the stage, walks towards Sun Di, and hands him a namelist of central officials who clandestinely conspired the rebel of the Grand Duke. It should not be forgotten that CQ indeed is an elite commander of modern intelligence agency, while she appeared doing nothing but waiting, both Ping’an and He Xiao were kept quite busy. Sun Di stares at the lady in front of him, as if he just learns her for the first time. “I need to go and fight against Jing’an, the safety of the city and the emperor are all in your hands.” says CQ. Sun Di is stunned, seeing the lady throws her black phoenix robe away and under it, she is prepared with her silver armor, ready for war.

Inside the city, the Xiuli army led by He Xiao and the royal army led by Tie You, all fully armed, are waiting for their general to come. The young lady approaches on horseback like a phoenix rises from nirvana. “Open the gate!” she orders. The breathtaking beauty of her face brightens the ground like the first light of sunrise.  Sun Di watches from a-far while the heavy gate of the city slowly opens, a dim yellow smoke swirls towards the battlefield as tens of thousands of horseshoes speed by. This is the blade that everyone who has an ambition over the world desires, yet no one can keep unless it is out of its own will.

On her horseback rushing towards the battlefield, CQ recalls how Li Ce had exhorted her with his final plans:” There must be series of severe unrests after my death. The Zhan siblings are just paper tiger, as the real wolves are those tycoons of the royal clan. Do not listen to Sun Di because he can be outrageous. The ring I gave you is a token, with which both Tie You and Xv Su will be under your command. Make good use of these chances the cleanup those who dare to grab the throne taking advantage of my sudden death. As for Zhuge Yue, whose IQ can be forgotten once it is related to you, just let him come with his troops to snatch you back, so that he can do me a favor to deter further betrayals, also we can antagonize him a bit. Qiaoqiao, I won’t rest in peace if your steps would be hindered by my death, so you must go ahead, don’t let me down. ”

General Xv Su’s betrayal to the grand duke is a fake as planned with CQ, aiming at encouraging the rebel associated by the most influential power seekers of the royal clan that is led by the grand duke Jing’an. CQ’s admission on the ghost wedding was stimulation of their actions for once the Xiuli General officially takes the office, there would be no chance left for them to grab the throne. The rebels are soon defeated by the armies of CQ, Tie You and Xv Su, and the grand duke Jing’an is beheaded by Xv Su at an age of 57. CQ returns the seal of the phoenix to the young emperor, and rejected the decree of being the empress of the previous emperor, which is admitted. Out of his majesty’s great gratitude, CQ is granted with the title of The Grand Princess Xiuli (literally “the Xiuli King”) of Biantang, whose noble status can be inherited by her offspring.

Knowing that CQ is leaving, the young emperor asks whether CQ is abandoning him, with CQ answering that she’d be always on his side to support and to protect him, but as an emperor of the state, there are responsibilities that can only be taken by himself and there should be no other replacement. The kid agrees that he would try his best to be strong and brave, as an emperor should. CQ then farewells with Sun Di in front of the Jinwu palace, to whom she has given a full authority over the governance of the state as the guardian of the young emperor. Sun Di wonders why she would still trust him after all the things he had plotted behind her back, which CQ replies that she would trust him because, first, he is just a governor without any military power; second, he lacks the prestige to appeal another unrest after the suppression of the rebels from prince Luo and grand duck Jing’an; and last, he is the best friend of Li Ce. Before her departure, CQ hands over to Sun Di the letters from Yue and Zhao Che committing their ally with Biantang, so that Sun Di’s guardian of the young emperor is not only empowered by the grand princess Xiuli, but also the most powerful forces of Daxia.

Sun Di watches CQ leaving together with Ping’an and He Xiao. The young lady jumps on horseback, and flies away like an eagle that is freed from the chains on foot. Eventually, Sun Di understands the deeply hidden affection of his old friend towards the girl. The cheerful smile of that old dude emerges again, and asks in a disgraceful voice: “Guess, that third daughter of Minister Hu, is the skin on her body shinier than that of her face?”

ddmcmc: In the following chapters, CQ reunions with Yue, and it’s time for the sweet moments after all the political anxieties. Thanks to sueleesunshine, PA lovers are referred to a full translation of those chapters at:

From PA Novel (Chapters 178 and 179): Before Yu Wen Yue’s Proposal to XingEr

From PA Novel (Chapter 180): Yu Wen Yue’s proposal 

From PA Novel (Chapter 181): After Yu Wen Yue’s Proposal to XingEr

I’ll continue the recap after those translated chapters.

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Princess Agents Novel Recap Vol V (Part 4)

Sun Di,  the best friend of Li Ce and the think tank of his governance core, is waiting for CQ in front of a newly built mansion that is supposed to be part of CQ’s trousseau. “Have you thought through clearly?” He asks, before presenting the mansion. “Cannot be clearer!” CQ nods. “The night roads are risky, use this lantern to light the way a bit.” Sun Di hands his lantern to CQ, which she ignores. “Light of candle can be extinguished by wind, not that of heart.” CQ answers in a low voice while passes by from Sun Di and enters the splendid mansion, “From now on, my eyes would be my lantern, with my heart being the light.”

During the past two years, Li Ce had seriously prepared CQ with her wedding. The mansion and everything else are nothing but accessories. What CQ really needs is a noble status which would empower her to be equal with Yue in their marriage, so that no one in Daxia could even be able to argue on the marriage using CQ’s opponent status of Xiuli Gernal in Yanbei or her slavery background in Daxia. Inside the mansion, Sun Di hands over to CQ a half accomplished royal decree declaring CQ’s noble status, with only the exact title left in blank.  Li Ce was not satisfied with the titles proposed by the Ministry of Rites, and the issue was since been postponed. No one, including Li Ce himself, would expect that there would be no chance anymore to accomplish the decree. Since it was not officially announced, CQ asks Sun Di to take the decree back and forget about it. CQ moves in to the mansion with Ping’an, Jingjing and Meixiang. Yue’s letter arrives, but CQ doesn’t open it. Confronting with YX and Zhao Yang simultaneously, there is no room for Yue and Zhao Che to make any imprudent move. Meanwhile, the state of Biantang will soon be swept by another political storm. CQ must wait, in a sober mind.

The old empress dowager has committed a suicide and dead after Li Ce’s death. She’d revenged for the husband and the son whom she loved with the life of the husband and the son who loved her the most (She’d also poisoned Li Ce’s father to death after twenty years of plotting). Who should be responsible for such a tragedy? Li Ce’s father? Maybe. He might have paid his debt with his own life, but who should pay the debts owed to Li Ce? As all the relevant persons passed away, those loves imposed and concealed, hates burned and hidden, debts paid and unpaid are all buried in the glorious tombs in the royal mausoleum.

The six-year-old Li Xiuyi, Li Ce’s oldest son, has become the new emperor of Biantang. Both the empress dowager Yuan (his biological mother) and the empress dowager Zhan (Zhan Ziming) were assigned as the guardian of the emperor, but because Li Xiuyi’s own mother was originated as a low class maid, the power falls in the hand of the empress dowager Zhan, and behind the scene, her brother Zhan Ziyu has turned to the real ruler of the state. All of Li Ce’s men, including Sun Di, have been put in jail in the name of being allies of prince Luo, thus, wiped out from the political stage. The influential tycoons of Biantang remain silence, except few scholars stand out and publicly resist the ruling of Zhan Ziyu, which have been soon suppressed brutally. Finally, someone proposed Zhan Ziyu to be the king of regent, which he unsuccessfully refused, until one day, to his reluctance, he is forced to step on a grand seat that is about the size and height of the imperial seat. Just three days later, the gate of the Jinwu palace is broken by the Xiuli army led by CQ in her military armor, the palace is soon taken over, and Zhan Ziyu’s political ambition bankrupts.

It was Zhan Ziyu who had schemed the assassination of Li Ce, and when the assassination failed, he had informed Li Ce’s mother for the following step. Since Li Xiuyi was actually held hostage by the Zhan siblings, the actions of eradicating them must be cautiously planned to avoid alarming their nerves, and be completed in a flash blow of surprise. Lack of the military support, Zhan Ziyu’s dream is smashed by the Xiuli army. Before his own death, Zhan Ziyu pleads a mercy for his younger sister from CQ, but CQ declined, for there would be no mercy to those who had harmed what she deeply cares. CQ promises to Zhan Ziming that her son, Li Qingrong, will be taken in good care, and commands her a suicide, which the later accepts without any objection. It turns out that Zhan Ziming has already been overwhelmed by her own guilty towards Li Ce whom she secretly loved, thus, the death is rather a relief than a penalty. Something out of CQ’s expectation is the suicide of the empress dowager Yuan, and with their mothers all dead, Li Ce’s both sons are left in orphanage. While Li Xiuyi has already had an intimacy built with CQ during her staying in the Jinwu palace, and Li Qingrong is but an infant of barely six month, CQ is destined to protect the two sons of Li Ce.

Standing in the center of the dark Jinwu palace, sword with dripping bloods, CQ stares at the remote north, as if looking at someone whom she cannot reach. All her naïve wills of the world and unrealistic fantasies of the future have been burned out by the wild fire of the fate. From now on, all the weaknesses, the griefs, the useless kindnesses must be left behind, and she must stand strong to protect everything that she cherishes. Anyone who would dare to offend with a single step would pay an unaffordable price. Sun Di and all rest of Li Ce’s supporters are released from the jail and returned to their original occupations. Li Xiuyi sits on the seat of the throne and accepts the respects of the high rank officials, with CQ standing beside. No one knows to whom the respect is presented, the six-year-old emperor? Or the lady who held firm with the royal military and the Xiuli army?

However, CQ’s custody of Li Xiuyi lacks the legitimacy. Those who are entitled with the legit right to look after Li Xiuyi, i.e., the side branches of the royal clan, are competing over the official custody of the young emperor. Among them, the Grand Duck Jing’an wins the highest preference from the officials. Furthermore, the military supporters of the Grand Duck are making their moves already. There is one way to justify CQ’s custody of Li Xiuyi, and Sun Di is trying his best to sell it to CQ: The half accomplished decree, though blanked in the title of the noble status to be granted, has already been affixed with Li Ce’s imperial seal, therefore, valid and legal. The only thing needed is to fill in a proper title on the decree to empower CQ to be the guardian of Li Xiuyi, and that title can only be the empress of the previous emperor, Li Ce. If CQ is granted by Li Ce to be his empress, she would be the real empress dowager after Li Ce’s death, and her custody of Li Xiuyi as well as ruling over Biantang will stand in no doubt.

CQ is annoyed by the suggestion and asks Sun Di to leave. Tie You (Li Ce’s right hand man, general of the royal military, also appeared in the drama) has come to Sun Di and the two begin to argue about what Sun Di had plotted behind CQ’s back. Tie You reveals that Li Xiuyi’s birth mother, the empress dowager Yuan has committed suicide following the suggestions of Sun Di, so that a stronger and more powerful person is enabled to protect her son in a better way. Sun Di explains that his ultimate target is to keep CQ in Biantang, for no one else in the world has the willing and the capacity to protect Li Xiuyi without coveting his throne. While Tie You argues Sun Di’s plan of being too selfish by sacrificing CQ’s personal life and fortune for the goodness of Biantang, Sun Di asks in return what else they could do to safeguard the kids and the state of their old friend, Li Ce? Tie You is left with no further argument.

Li Xiuyi is awakened from his nightmares again and is soon comforted by seeing CQ lying beside him. CQ holds the kid tight in her arms until he falls back to asleep. She gets up and sits beside the window, holding a stack of unopened letters in her hand. Sun Di’s suggestion flashes again in her mind, then, she recalled what Yue had said to her under the rosy twilight of the sky: “There is still a long way to go, and accidents may burst at any time, are you afraid?” And she rememberes clearly how she had answered him. But too many eyes are taking close watch on her moves. Slowly, she burns all the letters into ashes. CQ summons Sun Di and, to his excitement, agrees with his suggestions. She orders him to arrange the following issues, including the wedding of her ghost marriage with Li Ce, and warns him with “This is the last time!” as a conclusion of their conversation. Soon, the testament of Li Ce granting CQ to be his empress is declared to the world. The decree was dated and sealed in three month before Li Ce’s death, and the handwriting was from Li Ce himself. No one could doubt the authenticity of the decree, and the wedding, following the previous emperor’s will, is dated in three days. The news of the wedding arrives to Yue who is hurrying towards Tangjing. “Remember, I’m waiting for you.” whispers CQ in a tender voice beside his ears while he urges his horse faster.

The day of the wedding arrives, and CQ is dressed up with a special phoenix robe in black. The parade of the empress (dowager) has passed all the main gates of the Tangjing city and reached the grand stage of Fengyou that was built for the ceremony, where CQ steps out of the carriage and walks towards the recently built high stage. The moderator announces the title of the new empress dowager in a solemn voice and holds the seal of phoenix representing the authority of her highness. CQ stands on the stage that is the highest in its surrounding, a huge crowd is kneeling down there on the ground, and among the gazes, there is jealousy, hatred, fear, suspicion, and some hope, but nothing is warm. One step forward, a quarter of the Ximeng continent would be under her ruling, and she would be on the summit of power. But what she sees is just a pair of eyes, cool but embedded with fires. “Wait for me!” written by him, in a dark, bold, ink.

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Princess Agents Novel Recap Vol V (Part 3)

While Yue returns to Daxia, CQ continues her trip to Tangjing for a proper farewell to Li Ce before she leave for Qinghai. “There is still a long way to go, and accidents may burst at any time, are you afraid?” asked Yue while the two of them sitting shoulder by shoulder waiting for the twilight. “No, I’m not!” answered CQ. It is so clear that their withdrawn to Qinghai won’t be easy, but they’re determined once decided.

Just as CQ worried, on her half way to Tangjing, the rebel of prince Luo becomes real and the crowds of refugees are flocking to the capital. CQ has to camp outside the Hanshui city together with the other refugees and wait for further developments. According to Li Ce’s life story (mostly revealed in Vol III), prince Luo shares a miserable kinship with Li Ce for being his uncle and older brother. Li Ce’s mother, the current empress dowager of Biantang, had been one of the concubines of Li Ce’s grandfather, the emperor of Biantang by then, and their son, prince Luo, is the youngest brother of Li Ce’s father.  When prince Luo was just about three month old, Li Ce’s father stepped on the throne by plotting the death of his own father. He also forced Li Ce’s mother to stay as his concubine by threating her with prince Luo’s life. A year later, there comes Li Ce, the only son of his father, and the only heir of his father’s throne. Prince Luo and Li Ce had grew up together as brothers. Very early at his age, without understanding the reason, Li Ce realized the fact that his mother had a great hatred towards him and all her love was dedicated to Luo, through which he learned to hide his real emotions under a cover of playful indifference. Then, there is A-Fu, an orphan of the great Murong family who had sacrificed the whole clan defending Biantang from the invasions of Daxia. About the same age as Li Ce, A-Fu was granted with the title of Princess due to the magnificent contributions of her family to the state, and was raised in the royal palace by Li Ce’s mother. The love triangle of prince Luo, princess Fu and Li Ce was destined. When Li Ce turned to 17, his status as crown prince was declared, and A-Fu was pointed to be his wife. The preparation of his wedding with A-Fu had been the happiest time in Li Ce’s life, for his best wish was soon becoming true. On their wedding day, the great joy had turned to a bitter suffering while Li Ce found A-Fu had hung herself and dead.

Li Ce had blamed himself as the principal of the tragedy, because he had not been capable to recognize the affection of A-Fu towards Luo. But when CQ pictured the full story out of the pieces of puzzles, she’d assume that the main cause of A-Fu’s suicide should have been her disappointment towards Luo. CQ was not defending Li Ce with an excuse. In fact, neither A-Fu nor Luo had confessed to Li Ce about their love, and when the engagement was planned, none of them showed any resistance to the decision either. If at any point before the wedding that Luo or A-Fu had expressed his/hers disagreement on the marriage, there would have been chance for Li Ce to prevent the wedding from happening. The most possible reason for such absurd silence can only be the ambiguous attitude of Luo. Did he really love A-Fu as she loved him? If he did love her, would he stand out to defense A-Fu and their love? Based on the fact that there had been no effort from Luo in preventing the engagement and the wedding, there must be a negative answer for either of the two questions. Smart, proud and staunch as A-Fu sounded, a “No” for any of those two questions would be nothing but a death penalty for her. Anyway, the more matured as they grown, the more clear it was for Li Ce and Luo that they were born enemies of each other. Life had been such an ironic that both possessed what their counterpart had been longing for: for Luo, it’s the power and the throne; and for Li Ce, it’s the love of their mother and A-Fu. After A-Fu’s death, prince Luo had been exiled by Li Ce’s father to Mei Shan Mountain in the south of Biantang, for apparently his existence in Tangjing meant a great threat to Li Ce. When prince Luo left from Tangjing, his rebel had been decided, all he needed was the patient and the time to prepare for it.

The violence of the rebel had lasted for more than one month, ended by the suicide of prince Luo after losing a vital battle. On the other hand, the price of Li Ce’s victory had been huge. Biantang had almost been teared apart and the prosperous south had been scorched. Although Li Ce had remitted the tax in the south to support the reconstruction, it is clear that the state of Biantang was weakened and required a long time to recover. CQ’s small hotel in Xuefu was also burned, so she decided to stay in Tangjing while waiting for Yue. Li Ce seems to be unchanged with his foxy smile, but CQ feels the pain under it. He said that he had hoped Luo would give up the rebel somehow on a whim, because a fight between them can only be ended by one of them dead. Li Ce doesn’t want to die, so he is left with no choice but to kill Luo, the brother he’d tried to love and protect. Why must this happen? A question for which CQ doesn’t have a proper answer either. Probably that’s just the truth of power, anyone who gets in touch with it will be submerged in a bloodshed, which not only consists of the blood of their enemies, but also that of their loved ones. For Li Ce, it’s prince Luo. As for Yan Xun, it’s Mr.Wu, Zhong Yu, Huanhuan, and many others. Never like this has CQ expected to leave from Ximeng.

Another autumn passed and the New Year is approaching. CQ and Yue has kept exchanging letters this time. Yue’s lengthy letters would be always formulated with the weather, the local economics and the political events, all briefed in an official tone as participating summit meeting. In the end, there would be one sentence about taking good care and watching on harmful persons. Li Ce would attempt to sneak a peek on Yue’s letters and would condemn Yue himself of being harmful, while CQ would have to acknowledge that both of them might be right. The New Year’s greeting from Yue has arrived along with piles of gifts including plenty of weird potatoes cultivated in Qinghai. In the end of the letter, written in a dark ink, it reads “Being entangled, wait for me.” The situations hasn’t been easy for Yue, as CQ knows. During the past years, YX and Zhao Yang had maintained a tacit ally for both were confronting the pressures from Yue, Zhao Che and Li Ce. Now that Li Ce has been weakened by its civil war, both Zhao Yang and YX started to make their moves. The tension between Zhao Yang and Zhao Che has reached to an extreme, and YX is waiting for his chance to take advantage of it. In her letter back to Yue, CQ sketched a Q version of the two of them sitting on a hill and facing a grassland edged by a vast lake, then she wrote it carefully “Waiting for you.”

While staying in Tangjing, CQ has met He Xiao for once. The latter had been entrusted by Li Ce with high rank authority in Biantang’s military. CQ was sorry for leaving the Xiuli army in Biantang, but He Xiao apologized that he himself and the Xiuli army had stressed her too much with the responsibilities that shouldn’t belong to her, and he encouraged CQ to leave everything else behind and just live for herself. By the end of spring, Li Ce’s second son is born (the third actually. The second son was dead out of sickness server month ago, which deepened Li Ce’s grief after the death of Luo). Now he has two sons and one daughter, the older son turns to six, and the daughter is four. The mother of Li Qingrong, Li Ce’s second son, is Zhan Ziming, the younger sister of Zhan Ziyu (who had helped CQ to reach Wupeng on his ship, the master of the after death camp in the drama). Zhan Ziming is granted with the highest rank of concubines after the birth of Li Qingrong, and her brother Zhan Ziyu has become a rising star on the political stage. The news that Li Ce was assassinated at Zhan Ziming’s place comes all of sudden. Luckily, the stab isn’t fatal and the assassination is put under investigation. CQ has been taking care of Li Ce by herself after the assassination. She is skeptical about the whole thing, but it’s not the right time to go through with it. Trying to comfort CQ from her worries, Li Ce joked that the preparation of her trousseau must be handed over to Sun Di (Li Ce’s best friend and right hand man), hope that he won’t be corrupt to taking profit from it. Three days later, Li Ce is getting better and it seems that he would be soon recovered. Hearing the assassination, Li Ce’s mother, the empress dowager who has been living in a temple outside the palace after prince Luo’s death, is coming back to visit Li Ce.  She is seemed to be so concerned about Li Ce’s wound that CQ leaves to give the mother and the son a room for their privacy. It is too late for CQ to realize how stupid she’d been to leave the empress dowager alone with Li Ce, and when she runs back, he was stabbed, fatally, by his mother.

Lying on his own blood, Li Ce looks at his mother silently, while she announced in a crazy cruelness her revenge for her beloved son. There is no shock, and either hatred in his eyes. His handsome face is engulfed with a wave of fatigue that was hidden deepest in his soul. At that moment, CQ clearly sees the grief and pain that has always been embedded behind his dark eyes, which reminds her the withered coldness of the snow land in Yanbei. The empress dowager was held in control, but Li Ce orders a let go of her. CQ has accompanied Li Ce for the last moment of his life, while he’d consigned many things to her. CQ can’t help herself from regretting that she shouldn’t have left Li Ce alone with the empress dowager. But Li Ce comforts her with a slight sigh: ”Who would have thought about that? After all, she is my mother.” He also apologizes to CQ for not being able to keep his promise to host her wedding, and urges her to keep going with Yue. In the end, he lets CQ to comb his hair and asks whether he is in a good look. He smiles when his good looking is confirmed. CQ asks him about his further wishes, which he grins with a ”No” after a while of consideration. Then he calls her to come closer: “Qiaoqiao, let me hold you for a while.” The thread of CQ’s tear falls on Li Ce’s chest as his soft and warm breath vanishes.

CQ farewells to Li Ce from a far while his coffin is escorted to the royal mausoleum of Biantang. Holding a lantern in her hand, CQ wandered alone in the darkness on the empty streets of Tangjing. Again and again, the foxy smile of Li Ce flashes back in CQ’s mind. She had been too weak for too long, and now, that pathetic useless woman must gone. She remembers that once Yue had said “Life was like one being besieged with thorns, the moves can be held when mind is still, and without moves there is no harm. When mind moves, body moves, and there will be hurts on body and pains on bones, like tortures in hell.” But since all of them had already been trapped in thorns, why not slash the thorns with the sword in hand instead of closing the mind? Biantang is left in thunders and storms after Li Ce’s death, and countless things are left for CQ to taking care of. A cold wind has snuffed out the light of CQ’s lantern, and CQ throws the lantern away. Wiped the last drop of tears away from face, CQ promises to herself that the whining are done, from now on, there will be no tears from her eyes even with the final drop of her bloods running out.

ddmcmc: For me, the death of Li Ce had been the saddest part of the novel. Nobody in the novel had had an easy life, yet different characters made diverse choices on what to withhold and what to give up, and it was their choices made them adorable or despicable. Compare to Li Ce and Yue, I think YX is left with no excuse for abandoning his conscience.

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Princess Agents Novel Recap Vol V (Part 2)

CQ and Yue had spent the rest of the New Year’s fest together. Nothing was special, but this was the happiest New Year ever. Far from Daxia and Yanbei, finally they get to relax and live as the ordinaries. They wandered to the temples and sightseeing around the town, constantly at tiff about everything, just like they’d always been. No one mentioned anything about the past. Life has been kind to her, thought CQ, by giving her a chance to see Yue standing in front of her, alive! The first sentence from Yue while he awkwardly and hopelessly attempts to comfort CQ from the spring of her tears was “I didn’t die yet!” But things could not be that easy. Even without any details, it is not hard for CQ to image what he had been through during the past two years for establishing such a new base of himself in Qinghai.

Back in the ice lake, Yue was saved by Yue Jiu in cost of his own life. The Yue guards, simply named after numbers, have accompanied Yue since he was four years old. They are actually his brothers rather than servants. Beneath the body of the young guard, for the first time in his whole life, Yue cried out loud as a wounded wolf. He remembered CQ once said “no one is a born slave!”, and he started to understand. Three days later, he was found by Yue Qi, who survived and continued to look for him with all the rest of the Yue guards.  Left with a frail breath, Yue was sent to Wolong Mountain to his mentor, a famous scholar and wise man of the continent who had been the mentor of Mr.Wu and Zhong Yu, and educated Yue for eight years (while CQ was bound with YX at the Yingge yard). It took Yue half a year to recover, yet the messages brought back by the Yue guards from Daxia was desperate. He was totally abandoned by his family and his state. His father publicly wiped his body (no one would even bother to check whether the body really is his, as YX had bet with A-Jing) as a penalty of his failure. He was sentenced to multiple guilt by the state, the Qingshan yard had been examined, evacuated and seized. No one else would say anything for him except Zhao Che, who got exiled in return.

Nothing was left for Yue, and he had nowhere to go.  But his mentor asked him to explore a way for himself, and inspired him by destroying the known map of the Ximeng continent, which left with a vast blank in the south west and northern east of Ximeng. Shortly after, he got the news that Meng Feng was exiled to Qinghai and about to pass Cuiwei Guan. He made up his decision and headed to the vast unknown of Qinghai. Stepping on bloods and bodies, Yue had defeated and recruited local gangs and thugs, built up his reputation as a protector among the native tribes and the descendants of the exiles, and won the authority over the territory.  In the darkest time of his life, a family of so called native barbarian opened the door of their shabby home and welcomed him with a bowl of porridge. It was the warmest porridge he’d ever had. All of sudden, he was enlightened with what CQ had always been believing and pursuing. If it wasn’t for such an experience, he might would never understand her dream about a fairer world, and never recognize the delight of creation and protection. To his surprise, that was an even better feeling than the power of conquer and destroy.

By the time when CQ was sieged in Longyin Guan, Yue’s authority over Qinghai has been preliminary, and it was not a good time to expose his real identity. Yet, things didn’t turn well for CQ after her arrival in Biantang. Being the closest ally of YX and the famous Xiuli General of Yanbei, CQ was one of the top wanted war criminals of Daxia, and its regime had stressed Biantang to hand over CQ back. Li Ce had confronted a great pressure from his cabinet officials to agree with Daxia’s request, for Biantang was under the risk of assaulting both Daxia and Yanbei by keeping CQ in its own territory. If Daxia continued its request on CQ, Li Ce might be forced to at least hand over the Xiuli army to Daxia in exchange of CQ’s staying. To stop Daxia’s thirst on CQ, Yue revealed his identity as the Lord of Qinghai and declared the subordination of Qinghai to Daxia. Empowered by his military assets in Qinghai, Yue returns to the center stage of Daxia’s powerhouse again.

The return of Yue also represents the back of Zhao Che, who had followed Yue’s suggestions and thrived his power in the vast land northeast to Daxia. With Zhao Che’s approaching to stage, the game of throne in Daxia between Zhao Yang and Zhao Che starts to boil. Yue has the chance to take over the throne of Daxia by defeating Zhao Yang before Zhao Che arrives and replace Zhao Che later, but he gives it up. It is not because that he is a saint that has no hatred against the state and the family who had betrayed him, it is just because the people of Daxia cannot suffer more wars inner in their own lands. Furthermore, to Yue, Zhao Che, who had never turned his back to him, means much more than just a friend, whom he would try his best to support.

The high tide of joy ebbed eventually, and the reefs of cruel reality exposes. Yue has a great responsibility to Daxia, plus there is Qinghai for him to taken care of. Soon, Yue must return to his duties and it is impossible for CQ to go to Daxia without raising any storm. Hadn’t they meet in Xianyang by accident, the two of them might let their emotions slip away again, for both would rather leave their counterpart in peace by watching from afar. The reunion in Xianyang is nothing but a vacation and it cannot last ever. Finally, a message on a marriage proposal from the princes of Huaisong, Nalan Hongye, to Yue has ringed the bell of departure. It was YX who had triggered the proposal using his pen pal relationship with Hongye. If Yue agrees on the proposal, his ruling jointly over Daxia & Huaisong is promised, and who on earth could resist such an allure? While Yue’s affection on CQ is so well-known to the world, everyone is waiting for Yue’s reaction to the proposal.

CQ has accompanied Yue until pretty far outside Xianyang where they had to farewell. Yue asks about CQ’s plan for the future, whether would she go back to Yanbei later, which she denies by saying that Yanbei is too cold for her, neither would she go to Zhenhuang cause it is not warm either. When Yue is about to leave, for the first time CQ steps forward and actively holds him from his back, “I am sorry,” says her, “take care!” Yue doesn’t answer and hits the road without looking back. Watching Yue’s leaving makes CQ extremely exhausted and when she realizes it, her face was washed by her own tears. She gets back to Tangjing and farewells to Li Ce. She asked Li Ce to be kind to the Xiuli soldiers and to localize them by encouraging them to marry with girls of Biantang, which Li Ce accepts. Li Ce asks why couldn’t she be together with Yue, for apparently they love each other so much, while CQ answers that “Sometimes, to let go is also a way of love. After all, Yue is man who has duties to his family and responsibilities to his state. I know he’d give all those up if I’d asked. But could this be really good? I understand those responsibilities, which surpass the love and the freedom of one’s own. Once he abandons everything and wanders with me like itinerants, would he be really happy after a longer time? A man like him should have his own career and destiny, so that he won’t be regret when getting old. Moreover, I’m too tired to continue on a road that I cannot clearly see, I need a rest.”

In the next two years, CQ enjoyed her life as an ordinary civilian. She left from Tangjing with Ping’an, Jing Jing and Mei Xiang (saved by CQ in inner Yanbei and stayed to taking care of CQ ever since), and the four of them settled in Xuefu City, a small but famous town of scholars in southern Biantang, where she bought and ran a small hotel for living. She taught Ping’an, Jing Jing and Mei Xiang with various things in her spare time, and rehabilitated her health slowly. Though not intended, news arrive to the hotel constantly. Nalan Hongye’s dramatic proposal to Yue had experienced a plain ending with Yue firstly admitted and then declared that the princess of Huaisong can only be his concubine since he had already married with his wife back in Qinghai. The proposal thus became a joke and dissolved quietly. In Daxia, the competition between Zhao Yang and Zhao Che over the throne emerged to surface. As for Yanbei, YX was having a hard time for the trade between Huaisong and Yanbei was cut by Li Ce’s closing of the river route in Biantang, which is the only way to connect the two separated states.  Being threatened by Daxia and Qinghai simultaneously, YX was running out of capacity to fight against Biantang, so he had to suffer the reality. If all these sounded trivial, then the biggest news was the extravagant wedding of YX, who had married 18 concubines, all connected with his important officials, at a same time. On the second day after YX’s wedding, the Nada palace, a gorgeous palace YX dedicated to his lover, the Xiuli General, had accomplished. But the palace had been kept empty and no one knows the whereabouts of the Xiuli General after her rupture with YX. Some rumored that she had married Li Ce in Biantang. Some other rumored that she actually was the wife mentioned by Yue while responding to Huaisong’s proposal. Some even said that she had returned to Yanbei and indeed was living in the Nada palace. But no one would guess that she is living in the small town of Xuefu, quietly and easily.

Several abnormal events signaling the coming unrest in Biantang had abrupt CQ from her peaceful hotel business. Worried about Li Ce, CQ decided to go and visit him.  On her way to Tangjing, out of expectation, CQ and Yue recognized each other after the two groups of their peoples accidentally met, then helped, suspected, and about to fought against each other.  Standing in front of Yue, CQ can’t help herself from smiling. Almost another two years had passed, CQ had heard a lot about him, that he’d used his influences in Daxia to acquire resources and supplies for Qinghai; that people are migrating to Qinghai for the abolishment of slavery and the encouragement of crafts and businesses; that scholars are also approaching to Qinghai for the opportunity of becoming officials by passing the tests rather than being recommended by powerful families; that instead of a vast of barren land, Qinghai is a place of emerging prosperous. All those stories about him disappeared when she looks at him. Barely 30, handsome as he still is, cool and uneasy as he still is, wrinkles are getting visible from the corner of his eyes, and if looked carefully, a tiredness can be sensed from inside of his eyes.

“You’re getting old!” says CQ, “Was everything good in the past two years?”

Looking back at CQ, Yue feels that all his angers towards her in the past two years has faded, as if the last piece of his childish willfulness has turned old along with her simple sentence.

“Nothing good or bad, just still alive.” Yue replies. And CQ understands that he is not quarreling but telling the truth.  Only people like them could realize that, nothing is good or bad, it is indeed very good for just being alive.

“I’m good too.” answers CQ, even he doesn’t ask, “I’ve started a hotel business, and enjoyed a comfort life.”

“I know.” The man answers flatly, “I’ve had accommodations in there for three times.”

CQ is stunned. Then she hears Yue asking with a low voice, “Two years passed, had you figured it out?”

“Fi…figure out what?”

He frowns, “Are you spending the rest of your life running a hotel?”

Actually, that’s what she really planned.

“Or you planned to pick up someone randomly and marry him before you gets 30?”

CQ becomes awkward, “Who said this to you?”

“Who else?” says Yue, “Of course it’s Li Ce. Don’t you know that the Chun Yu Lou that is facing to you is opened by him, and the Si Hai Inn that oblique to your back is owned by me?”

CQ had been proud of herself by beating the two competitors on the same street with good business, turned out that the bosses were not interested on the hotel business at all. Anyway, that means Li Ce is fully aware on what’s happening out there recently, so no need for her to worry about him.

“So why are you coming out at this time?” asks Yue.

It about Li Ce’s inner politics and CQ don’t know how to explain, so she answers vaguely, “I’m heading to Tangjing.”

“Hum!”  Yue snores coldly. By this time, one of Yue’s man comes to inform him to leave. Yue stands there quietly, and annoyed by the low pressure in the air, he turns his back and about to leave.

“Zhuge Yue!” CQ suddenly calls, “Come for a visit next time when you pass Xue Fu!”

“I have no such time!” Yue replies full of coldness, he turns back slowly, and says it with a gloomy look, “I’m getting back to Qinghai soon, would you come with me?”

He said it as if asking her whether she had ate, and CQ was shocked as a fool.

“Li Ce said that you need some more time to think it over.” says him calmly, “So have you figured it out recently? Would you come with me?”

“You, you have Daxia, and your family…”

“That’s none of your business.” Yue frowns again, “Just tell me are you coming with me or not?”

A group of birds passed by. Another group of birds passed by. Many groups of birds passed by, yet CQ doesn’t speak.

Suddenly, Yue shout to her furiously, “Are you coming or not?”

“I’m coming, coming, coming!” CQ shouts back.

Late in that evening, before they separate again, CQ finds Yue who is playing his flute and sits beneath him, and for the first time, she holds his hand.

“So when will you come to look for me? After the death of Daxia’s emperor? Or after Zhao Che inherits the throne? Can you withdraw in safe? ” She asks him.

Then she stares at him and asks, “Is Qinghai good?”

“It’s ok.”

“Is it beautiful?”

“Some places are worth seeing.” Answers Yue unromantically.

“Then, is it cold?”

“Summer isn’t cold, winter is.”

“But the people there must be loyal.” Says CQ hopefully.

“Are you stupid? Where on earth is without bad persons? It’s all the same everywhere, who can be totally selfless? ”

“Aha?” CQ frowns, “Sounds Qinghai isn’t a good place either.”

“When did I say it is a good place?”
CQ is left with no words. Does this sound like a man is convincing his woman to run away with him?

“But one thing is good in there” He smiles proudly, “my words count!”

Before Yue’s departure, he asks CQ to speak something towards a strange bell. Feeling awkward, CQ shouts to the bell with “Zhuge Yue is a big bad ass!” which infuriates him. But he is soon comforted hearing CQ speaks to the bell tenderly, “remember, I’m waiting for you!”

It turns out that the bell is a recorder that repeats what was recorded when wind blows through it. Therefore, on their way back to Daxia, the whole group of Yue’s guys have heard CQ shouting “Zhuge Yue is a big bad ass!” from the bell. But only Yue hears another sentence, “remember, I’m waiting for you!”

ddmcmc: The last part of this recap is close to a translation cause this is the sweetest parts ever between the two adorable characters.

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Princess Agents Novel Recap Vol V (Part I)

Time flashes and two years past since Yue’s death. CQ was indeed kept in Yanbei, by its people.

Before the ice lake, right after the division with Yanxun over the penalty of Xiuli Army, CQ had withdrawn herself from the frontline of the politics & warfare of Yanbei. It took her almost two years to bring a sign of future prosperity for the land by infrastructure constructions and economic/trade stimulating policies. During the two years, she spent most of her time with the locals of inner Yanbei, such as the tribes at the Huihui Mountain where YX’s mom used to live for the warmness of the hot springs, and the nomads of Shangshen grassland where CQ planned to open a stud farm when she was in jail together with YX. By the time when she met Yue in the old temple where they had the hotpot jointly, CQ was actually in charge of the security of the inlands and the logistic supplements of the frontiers, meanwhile, Yue had created great casualties of YX’s armies with his talented tactics and hindered YX’s step towards Daxia. That’s the reason why CQ and Yue gave congrats to each other for being promoted in the beginning of their conversation.

Anyway, with all the efforts she gave to Yanbei, CQ won a great popularity and respect among the people across the state. She was so beloved by the people, that they started to follow wherever she was going. By the time when CQ arrived in Beishuo, the border city where she fought to protect and forced YX to retreat from his invasion of Zhenhuang, she found a huge crowd of people standing outside the city gate, silently, watching her leaving; plus, the whole troop of the Xiuli army, ca. 9000 soldiers, prepared, to leave together with her. Ping’an was also there, and his younger sister Jingjing. CQ collapsed with tears when Jingjing held her waist and pleaded her to stay, followed by the waves of pleas of her staying from the crowds. Out of such a great responsibility she has for the Yanbei people and the Xiuli army, CQ remained in Yanbei but no other choice, even knowing exactly who was behind all these.

Great changes had happened on the power split of the whole Ximeng continent after Yue’s death. To declare his triumph over Yue, YX faked Yue’s body and send it back to Daxia. Despite their efforts to make clear cut with Yue by exile his body from the family cemetery, the Zhuge family had fallen from the summit of Daxia’s powerhouse. Back in Daxia, Yue was considered as a traitor of the state, a shame of the family, a loser who lost everything for just a woman, and as a collateral damage, Zhao Che was exiled again to the eastern border of Daxia, thus, vanished from the center stage of Daxia’s political play. The younger son of the emperor Zhao Chang had grown slowly to the actual ruler of the state. Obviously that without Zhao Che and Yue, it has been more and more difficult for Daxia to defense itself from the attacks of YX. YX on the other hand, had held firm of the power in Yanbei and summoned the most sever tax policies to support his wars. As for the two other states on the continent, Li Ce had become the emperor of Biantang and managed to stabilize his ruling of the state; Nalan Hongye, the princess of Huaisong continued as the real ruler of her state (Some words about Hongye, she falls in love with YX while keeping a pen pal relationship with him. She’d tried her best to support YX politically and economically, since a stronger Yanbei means a weaker Daxia, i.e., a securer environment for Huaisong. The drama took part of her story and revised it to Princess Liang, but Hongye was a great politician who has less to do with the spies. The pen pal relationship was changed to Yue in the drama). The four states are balanced in a weak deadlock.

Meanwhile, a new power emerged from southwest of the Ximeng continent recently. No one has any clue on the outset and the real capacity of its leader, according to the traders and the inspectors, the only thing for sure is that he called himself The Lord of Qinghai. A sultry land with barren soil, full of ferocious beasts and noxious insects, nothing barely grows, for thousands of years, Qinghai had been a land of exiles and criminals, and some would even prefer death rather than being exiled to the place. Astonishingly, a mysteries power raised from there in a flash, announcing its existence by attacking the southern back of Yanbei while YX almost conquered the Yanming Guan (the most important throat) of Daxia and forced YX to back to defense. By the time when YX arrived, Cuiwei Guan, the southern throat of Yanbei had switched its owner already. YX is somehow sitting on the fires now: to the east, his battlefield extended alongside its border with Daxia; to the north, there had been persistent insults from the nomads of Quanrong; to the south, the vast plain of Yanbei is opened to the Lord of Qinghai by losing the Cuiwei Guan; worst of all, there have been constant unrest from its people back in its inland.

CQ settled in a simple yard on the mountainside of Huihui Mountain. During the two years, seldom did she step out of the yard. Night after night, she gets up after everyone falls asleep and sits alone waiting for twilight. The news of the rebel of Datong Hanghui arrives all of a sudden, with a badly injured solider came in and plead CQ to go and save Zhong Yu. CQ is suspicious in the beginning, then a handwriting from Zhong Yu herself arrives. CQ hurries to meet Zhong Yu, but it is too late. Zhong Yu has been deathly wounded and she explains the rebel to CQ. There had been sever nature disasters in the inner Yanbei and people barely get anything to feed themselves, yet YX insisted on the harsh tax rules to support his wars. Mr.Wu had to stand out for the people knowing what would happen to him. Zhong Yu dead waiting for the arrival of Mr.Wu, but he actually had already dead beforehand. Furthermore, Huanhuan, the youngest sister of YX who had been saved and raised by Mr.Wu also gets killed. CQ meets YX for the first time after Yue’s death when Huanhuan dead in her arms, and YX was tracing Huanhuan. The last emotion of CQ towards YX vanishes, the 9000 soldiers of Xiuli army is confronting a 20 000 troop of YX, prepared to fight.

The Xiuli army managed to break the Siege of YX’s troops and caused great casualties to YX. With a high mobility of light arms, the Xiuli army moves towards southeast of Yanbei and heads to Biantang. CQ’s plan is clear, she would break out of Yanbei through Longyin Guan and reach Biantang with the Xiuli army, but YX is determined to prevent her leaving. He sends the message of CQ’s whereabouts to Zhao Yang who holds the heavy troops Daxia defending the Yanming Guan, and to win some time for Zhao Yang’s heavy troop to transfer, YX spreads the news about CQ’s leaving so that the Xiuli army is bound by a great crowd of people following CQ (Again!). Now there is only 5000 Xiuli soldiers left. In the front, Zhao Yang is arriving with his 100 000 heavy military. On the back, thousands of civilians are following them. Right beside, the city of Longyin Guan shuts down its gates. The Xiuli army and the civilian are totally exposed to Zhao Yang’s troops, and CQ understands that this is how YX would force her back.

But the answer is no. So many people had dead, and their life shouldn’t be lost in vain. Without Mr.Wu and Zhongyu, Yanbei is just YX’s Yanbei, and CQ cannot bear to stay in it anymore. Sieged by the troops of Daxia and exposed to a severe winter, hindered by thousands unarmed civilians who are running out of foods and supplies, CQ sees a pair of eyes watching her from the sky with full of peace, ”Stay alive!” says him to her.  “I know,” she smiles and answers to the sky, ”I can hold on, as always!” She looks back to the camps of the people and says it calmly: “I will protect you, as always!”

In half a month, the whole continent of Ximeng has witnessed the most brutal battels between the Daxia troops and the Xiuli army. Fighting to the last drop of their blood, the Xiuli soldiers protected the civilians. Frightened by the indomitable warriors of Xiuli and moved by their resilience, the Daxia troops withdrawn following the order of Zhao Yang. Daxia has changed its strategy from attack to siege. However, the people, young and old, women and kids, are freezing and starving. They started to beg the guardian troop of Longyin Guan city to open the gate and let them in. But the troop is ordered to only open the gate when CQ agrees to come with them. While CQ almost gives in for the sake of the people, another wave of Daxia’s attack arrived. Never like this has CQ thanked for the attack from Daxia, for saving her from the dilemma that overwhelms her spirit. The devastated civilians start to run to the Daxia side and surrender, and CQ understands their strait. Feeling relieved, CQ is too tired to fight. All she wants is to have a rest, she asks the eyes on the sky would it be good if she comes and joins him, and forgets to avoid the arrows that are aiming at her.

Back in YX’s headquarter, A-Jing is begging for a let go of CQ. Finally, YX accepts the reality that he has lost CQ forever. When he is about to order the commander of southern river town of Tangshui to give way of Xiuli army for their retreat to Biantang, he receives a report that the city of Tangshui had already been conquered few days before, and Li Ce, the emperor of Biantang, has passed the city and headed to Longyin Guan leading a troop of 200 000 by himself. Soon, YX figures out that the Tangshui city was not conquered by Li Ce. It is the Load of Qinghai who had paved the way for Li Ce and supported his troop to arrive Longyin as fast as possible. YX starts to realize who the Load of Qinghai actually is.

Same as for Li Ce, when he arrived to save CQ and the rest of the Xiuli army, he had had a brief conversation with the delegator of the Load of Qinghai about the following arrangements of supporting Li Ce’s troop returning Biantang, it is so obvious that all the concerns are focusing on the safety of CQ, and who else this can be?

CQ recovers slowly at Li Ce’s Jinwu palace. It is like a repeating of the times several years ago, when CQ rehabilitates from the poisoning, but CQ has changed so much. The sparks in her eyes distinguished, the optimistic talks about her ideals and ambitions stopped, and there is no hope left for her future. Li Ce feels the pain CQ feels and tries his best to encourage her to live on not for the others, but for herself. Knowing that she will leave soon, Li Ce inspires CQ to rethink the final parts of the battels at Longyin Guan by saying “Qiaoqiao, think carefully, who else in the world could be so kind to you. Willing to sacrifice everything he has, including life, to save you, without telling you. Such person is rare, so think about it thoroughly, and tell me your answer once you figure it out. I will prepare you a good trousseau, and arrange you a glorious wedding.”

Again and again, CQ revises all the details of those battels, who is capable to scheme and accomplish all the tactics, all in all, who can be so kind to her. She is drowned by happiness and hope, finally, she smiles with tears. Quietly, CQ leaves from the palace of Biantang. By the time of the New Year, she arrives in Xianyang, the border city between Biantang and Daxia, where CQ and Yue fight jointly against Liu Xi (disguised by YX). Daxia is right ahead of the road, but CQ becomes hesitate. Being its greatest enemy, she is still a wanted in Daxia. How could she get back there without any negative impact to him and his people? She had endangered him so many times, how could she do it once more? What if…what if Li Ce was just guessing and he is wrong?

Instead of continuing, CQ stays in a hotel in Xianyang for the new years’ festival. Soon, it is the lantern’s fest again. The town is crowed with cheerful people and CQ wandered aimlessly among them alone. In the last lantern’s fest that CQ could recall, Yue bought her a little lantern of rabbit, soon she was separated from him for a firework scared her pony. That night she ended up with YX in a hunting trap…She still remembers that late in that night, a weak candle light in Yue’s room distinguished when knowing her return. CQ feels a bit lost among the joys of the fest, she pays for a little rabbit lantern and holds it as if it is exactly the one Yue handed to her. She follows the crowd to the riverside where peoples put their lantern in the river and make their wishes.

By the time when CQ puts her little rabbit on the water, killing the last spark of her hope, she makes the decision that she will not go and look for Yue because she wants his life settled in peace. The little rabbit flows away and quickly falls in danger of been submerged by a big wave, luckily, a bigger version of the same rabbit lantern flows beneath it and prevented its drown. CQ is relieved watching the two rabbits flow away side by side and rises her eyes from the river, right there, on the other side of the bank, she sees Yue standing up holding an empty straw of rabbit lantern, same as her. By the time she sees him, he sees her as well. Both are shocked, then, the gaze between them becomes still. Suddenly, she starts to run towards him, through the crowds like crossing the hardest route of her life, finally, she reaches to him. She stops by holding his clothes, while he holds her tight in his arms.

ddmcmc: For those who are eager to learn more details of the ice lake and the reunion, here is a link to a beautiful full translation of novel starting from before the ice lake until after the reunion:

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Princess Agents Novel Recap Vol I-IV

The novel consists of 109 chapters in total and the main storyline is separated to six volumes (two volumes in each book).  Here is a list of volumes and the recaps of main events:

Book 1

Prologue: Fore life in modern society (chapter 1-3)

Chu Qiao, 27, vice commander of 11th division of MSS, a sophisticated high rank espionage who had accomplished chains of national security missions, is under a secret trial in a specific prison.

She is sent back to cell after denied all the charges against her and refused to give more information. A while after, she breaks out and manages to get back the important evidence she found proofing the betrayal of one summit official of China. When she is about to run out successfully with the evidence, she realized that the whole prison is in danger of being smashed for the one who betrayed the country is willing to destroy anything might endanger himself, i.e., Chu Qiao, the evidence, and anyone who gets involved. Handing the evidence to a colleague who comes to save her, Chu Qiao returns and rescues all people in the prison sacrificing her own life.

Vol I:  The Zhen Huang City (The Chang’an City in drama, chapter 4-17)

Backs to conscious, Chu Qiao found herself lying in the middle of a hunting field badly wounded. Soon, she realized her body is of a little girl who is barely 8 years old and together with other girls at a similar age, they’ve been chasing by wolves. While trying to escape with the others, CQ figures out that five noble teenagers are competing in a game to see whose girl (marked on the clothes with the boys’ family names) could survive. The boys are shooting with arrows the wolves when their own girls are in danger while shooting the others’ girls to death. Quickly, there is just CQ left surviving and she had nowhere to hide, meanwhile, all the boys are running out of arrows except for Yan Xun who has his last arrow in hand. YX intendedly misses CQ and loses the game. CQ is then sent back to Zhuge (Yuwen in the drama) family and thrown in a shabby storage, she remembers the names of all the boys on the hunting field and swears to revenge.

Linxi sneaks in the storage during night, brings her food and promises to protect her. Slowly, CQ discovers her new identity as Jin Yue’er, nicked as Xiao Liu (the 6th), one of the Jin siblings (Zhixiang (4th), Lingxi (5th), Xiao Qi (7th) & Xiao Ba (8th) ) who originated from a noble family but punished to be slaves after their father failed in a political scheme, and the whole rest of the family had already been slaughtered. CQ decides to run away by herself cause with such a fragile body of an 8-year old, she could barely do nothing for the others.  Right before stepping out of the main gate of Zhuge’s mansion, CQ hears Linxi’s shriek. Finally, CQ runs back only discovers Linxi been whipped to death right in front of Zhuge Yue (Yes, he is Yuwen Yue), the 4th young master of Zhuge family. Besides Linxi, Xiao Qi is begging for mercy from Yue, but he cruelly ordered to cut Xiao Qi’s hand off when his white boot was stained by her dirty fingerprints (No, he is not THE Yuwen Yue, at least in the beginning of the novel). CQ is stunned witnessing all these brutal scenes of Jin Yue’er’s siblings. Although personally not connected, she still feels tied with them after shortly being taken cared by them.  The existence of CQ attracts Yue’s attention, while CQ quickly calms herself and kneels down in front of him. Yue keeps CQ as his maid since then. When CQ gets back to where all Jin siblings lives, it turned out that Zhixiang has been sent to the “grandpa’s” (Yuwen Xi), and died. When CQ finally managed to bury Zhixiang’s body and back home, Xiao Qi also died. There is just herself and Xiao Ba left, and she swears never lose Xiao Ba again.

CQ carefully plots to kill (through the others’ hands) the persons who were involved in Jing siblings’ death. One by one, they get their debt repaid. Similar as in drama, YX shows his interests to CQ and asks her to come back to Yanbei with him. The Jiuyoutai event begins at the same night when CQ finally kills the “grandpa”. She end up with YX at the Yingge yard. Soon after the Jiuyoutai, Yue went to Wolong Mountain to study with the greatest scholar of Ximeng, and stayed there for eight years.

Vol II: The State of Daxia (The Wei state in drama, chapter 18-36)

Eight years later, CQ and YX survived from countless assassinates and planning to get back to Yanbei under the support of Datong Hanghui, a secrete organization lead by Mr.Wu and Lady Zhong Yu. During the eight years, CQ actually is YX’s mentor, teaching him with fighting skills, warfare theories, etc.. They managed to revenge by killing Muhe Xifeng (Zhao Xifeng) and Wei Shuyou. CQ is commanded to be the arrow coach of Zhao Che (Yuan Che)’s army.

Li Ce (Xiao Ce), the prince of Biantang (Liang) state come to state of Daxia for an official visit while the two states plans to settle a marriage between a princess of Daxia (with Li Ce’s own choice) and Li Ce. CQ accidently beats Li Ce while receiving him, and thereafter has no way to get away from his persistent teasing. Li Ce intendedly announces his proposal to CQ in front of the emperor of Daxia, which triggers a chain of reactions from Yue, Zhao Che, Zhao Song, and YX. Afterwards, Li Ce uses CQ to lure supports from YX and Yue for rescuing him from a wave of assassination targeting to himself (in the wood). He also uses the assassination to negotiate with Daxia for a better tariff for the trade of Biantang, plus, eradicates his enemies back home by provoking a thorough investigation on the assassination in Daxia.

Not too much happened between Yue and CQ in these chapters (All can be seen in the drama. There is even less between them because Yue does not serve in Zhao Che’s army), except that while Yue tries to prevent CQ from escaping when YX is rebelling outside the royal palace, CQ describes her ideologies to him (that all people should at least be free to live on their own choices, and everyone has the dignity to be treated with respect), which he feels unrealistic and naïve. But he is so affected by her confidence and optimism when she promised to him that Yanbei will be a different world and asked him to wait and see, that he would like to stay behind and watch her on her way.

Similar as in the drama, YX rebels on the wedding day of him and Chun’er. The whole city is damaged and the peoples suffered. YX abandons the Xi Nan Army (Xiuli Army) who supported him in the city. CQ returns and rescues the Army, and prevents the Daxia’s Army from chasing YX utilizing guerrilla warfare. Tragic happens to Chun’er & Zhao Song and CQ escorts them back. Afterwards, she has to detour to Biantang escaping Daxia’s Army that are trying to arrest her.

Book 2

Vol III: The State of Biantang (The Liang state in drama, chapter 37- 52)

CQ meets Liang Shaoqin on her way while fighting with the Daxia soldiers, and the companion of the two begins. The differences between the novel and the drama include that Liang was from a wealthy scholar family and was on his tour of studies, that there was no after life camp and Zhan Ziyu was just a falling noble of Biantang; that Zhan Ziyu had helped CQ because Zhao Song (who had lost his arm already) had asked for it and he needed to repay Zhao Song who had helped him before; that after arrive in Wupeng, CQ found the trace of Liu Xing (her horse, which was taken cared by Yue after she lost it) and followed it to the mansion of Wupeng’s mayor, where she met Yue in the bath.

CQ was injured by a poisoned needle from a local thug while attempting to protect Yue. The two traveled together with the caravan of Xianyang and heading to Tangjing (the capital of Biantang), where they met Mo’er and Xingxing, and they fought against Liu Xi who had slaughtered Xingxing and her family. CQ recognized YX who was disguised as Liu Xi, then she left alone.

By the time when Li Ce meets CQ, she was almost fainted on her horse back, and he was captured by his guards from his attempting to run away from his settled marriage with Daxia. Li Ce brought CQ back to Tangjing, and tried to cure her from the poison. CQ stayed in Jinwu Palace as a guest of Li Ce, who had been gifted with a great talent on mischiefs and amusements, and the two had enjoyed a pretty funny and easy life jointly. That probably was the most relaxing time in CQ’s life. The longer had she hung over with Li Ce, the more she learned about him under his cover of cynicism. After CQ pictured Li Ce’s back story (will be summarized in the recap of Vol V), her feeling towards Li Ce had changed to a sincere respect and a deep sympathy. They’d become the best friend of each other, exchanging their ideas and opinions over the historical and recent events among the four states of Ximeng. CQ realized that instead of dandy, Li Ce was actually a quite accomplished politician, and he will be an excellent ruler for the already much more advanced society of Biantang. Li Ce also learned the fish and water relationship between the ruler and the people from CQ. He had tried to hint CQ to be cautious about YX and to be realistic about Yanbei, but it was too early for CQ to taking his words seriously.

The remaining part of this volume is about Chun’er, who had arrived Tangjing as the princess of Daxia for the political marriage. She’d plotted to kill CQ, who had seen through her plan and threw it back to her. Both Li Ce and Yue had tried to rescue CQ from the crisis raised by Chun’er, but CQ had saved herself beforehand. CQ and Yue had had a fierce quarrel over the faith and the responsibility that CQ insisted, in the end, CQ said that she must go to Yanbei because YX needed her. Yue kissed her desperately and asked whether she was aware that he needs her as well. CQ begged for a let go. Yue told her in an icy voice that she is free to go, then left without any hesitation. Li Ce had sent CQ to the meeting point of YX’s people, he told her that since she already made the choice, it would be good to forget about what had been given up and concentrate on what are lying ahead. CQ thanked Li Ce, and get on her road to Yanbei.

Vol IV: The State of Yan Bei (chapter 53- 74)

The real face of Yanbei and Yan Xun.
The ice lake.

Things happened just as expressed in the drama, except that the whole trap of killing Yue by using CQ was schemed by YX himself. Cheng Yuan was just the one who was operating it.

CQ is saved by YX from the lake and the only reason for her keeps living is because Yue asked so. Her health is severely damaged, also her faith. She feels her life being pointless and loses her courage.  What makes her life worse is that YX announced to the world that Yue was killed by trapes from CQ, aiming at luring the remaining Yue supporters come to assassinate CQ and eradicating all of them. CQ quietly accepts the reality and recovers slowly.

The volume ends by CQ finally bursts up with tears after Yue’s death on her way of secretly leaving Yanbei during the New Year’s Eve, and recalls her conversation with Yue when hearing the sounds of firecrackers. Back then on the way to Biantang, when they were trying to kill Liu Xi and revenge for Xingxing, Yue asked CQ whether she is prepared. CQ asked him to take good care of himself, because: “If you died, I will celebrate with a hundred of firecrackers, for I don’t need to repay you anymore.”

While Yue scoffs back with:” Well, you will never get the chance for such firecrackers!”

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