Tian Shu’s eyes were like the autumn waters seen up close, and Nan Ming’s barren were mountains from a distance.
During the time when *I was still a human, there was a destitute scholar that I remember. He had repeatedly failed the civil service examination, and he once entrusted someone to send me a few of his heart-rending verses, in order to demonstrate his talent. The me back then hadn’t suffered heartache, and only found his bitter poems and sorrowful words amusing. I remember that it had these words describing the bitter gaze of a woman beneath her window: “From up close as the waters of autumn, from afar as the mountains; akin to dewy crabapple blossoms in the night.” It really shocked me when I read it. When you are nearby, it is the water, far away it’s the mountain, deep in the night, it was akin to a pair of crabapple’s blossoms dripping with dew.
The kind of eyes that, should it exist on a person, would frighten those who meet them.
I spoke of my impression honestly. The messenger who delivered those poems quietly left then repeated my words to the poet. Apparently, that poor scholar unfurled the paper and broke into laughter until he coughed blood onto the paper. He left with a flick of his sleeves. Word spread that he went into the mountains, or perhaps entered the monastery to practice Daoism, or Buddhism.
Thinking back to it at this moment, I had indeed done something wrong. My ignorance and incompetence had pushed a great literary talent deep into the mountain. How insightful these two verses were, and how fitting for this scene I was facing.
Tian Shu’s eyes being water, Nan Ming’s being the barren mountain. A pair held one man’s misery, heartache, admiration, and joy as well as his unending affection, while the other held another man’s deep longing and desolateness.
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
Their gazes met, but it was only a mere gaze. Shan Chengling picked up the pot and left the courtyard expressionlessly. Mu Ruoyan feigned calm and turned away, but couldn’t help his face turning pale, nor the tremors through his body as he took a step in the opposite direction.
Heng Wen said, “Getting beaten by the stick, these mandarin ducks are so pitiful.”
I said, “And isn’t the stick beating them so hateful as well?”
Heng Wen yawned, “Nan Ming has no qualifications to blame you. He had also punished before, and with ruthlessness you couldn’t compare to.” He glanced sideways at me, “You should still remember your resentment about Qing Tong and Zhi Lan.”
I sneered, “How could I ever forget.”
Qing Tong was Dong Hua Dijun’s subordinate, his messenger. Dong Hua Dijun had a very friendly relationship with Heng Wen, so he’d also often invite me to play go and drink tea. All of his invitations were delivered by Qing Tong, and since he came by a lot, I became familiar with him. Qing Tong was a discerning boy; he’d been everywhere in heaven delivering letters and no one ever imagined that he’d have a relationship with Zhi Lan, a small goddess of the Pixiang palace. Having a mortal love, and breaking a number of taboos in heaven. One day, he had the bad luck to be caught by the heavenly soldier during a rendezvous. They were dragged through layers of heaven and thrown in front of the Jade Emperor.
At first, Dong Hua Dijun, Heng Wen, and I spoke up for Qing Tong. From the Jade Emperor’s attitude, it would have been a simple punishment, a mere banishment to the human world would do.
Unfortunately, Nan Ming Dijun stepped out of the crowd saying that heaven has its own rules, we cannot bend it for emotion, the punishment had to be as heavy as the heavenly ruling. He spoke so righteously in the Ling Xiao hall that Jade Emperor handed this matter over to him. By Nan Ming’s order, Qing Tong and Zhi Lan were taken to Zhu Xian Terrace, their immortal roots cut, and they were made to reincarnate as animals. Should Qing Tong be reborn as a resourceful rabbit, Zhi Lan would be born as a fearsome tiger; if Zhi Lan was born an ant, Qing Tong would be a pangolin; if Qing Tong was a shrimp, Zhi Lan would certainly be a fish preying shrimps. Only after living nine lifetimes of mutually destroying and eating each other can they live as humans, and still, they’d be born as each other’s enemy and will never be fated together.
At that time, Nan Ming Dijun dared not offend Dong Hua Dijun and Heng Wen, thus he charged *me in the Ling Xiao Hall for the sin of wrongful incitement. He said that since I hadn’t cultivated, the dirt of the earthremained in me, implying heavily to Jade Emperor that *I was the one who incited Qing Tong to seduce Zhi Lan.
Who would have ever thought that it would be Nan Ming Dijun who’d have an affair with Tian Shu Xingjun? For him to fall to this state, this immortal finds it hard to not say: his retribution came speedily.
Nan Ming ah, it looked very poignant when the two of you locked gazes. When you ordered for Qing Tong and Zhi Lan to be turned into animals, did you ever think that this would happen to you?
“When I think of Qing Tong and Zhi Lan, the Jade Emperor’s punishment for Nan Ming Dijun is very just. But, this is not right for Tian Shu. He didn’t do anything and yet he bears a more severe punishment than Nan Ming’s. This is not fair.”
“Saying that sort of thing, aren’t you afraid the Jade Emperor will hear it.”
We toddled back in tandem to Heng Wen’s room, then, *I assumed the role of Li Siming again. Heng Wen needed to report to his duty to Dongjun Wang’s office while I returned to the Han courtyard alone. In the room, Mu Ruoyan sat holding a book; though his eyes were not on the words, it was unknown where it has wandered to.
*I walked up to him. “Ruoyan, you look distracted. Is it your home on your mind or a certain someone?”
Padam: I updated my Kofi button to be my TLC’s, I wouldn’t be able to finish any chapter without her help, so I believe she deserves the tip~ The Patreon link is Da Feng Gua Guo’s jjwxc homepage, beware of spoilers when you go there, Ruyi Dan/egg is also connected to PBD.