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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