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 (https://sueleesunshine.com/2017/09/19/princess-agents-novel-english-recapstranslations-collaboration-and-collective-efforts-by-sue-lee-angel-chua-ddmcmc/), 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.