Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bu Bu Jing Xin Chapter 3 (Part 4)

步步惊心/ Bu Bu Jing Xin
Startling Surprises with Every Step
Written by Tong Hua
Chapter 3 (Part 4)
Brought to you by the Magnolia Translation Team
Translated by Plushie
Spot Translation by Lulupony

Please give our wonderful Lulupony a big hug because she's the one who translated the birthday song in this section of the chapter as well as the footnotes pertaining to it. After my disastrous attempt in poetry translation, I'm sure you all appreciate that it is she who did the translations there. ^^"

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Characters Introduced So Far
(In Alphabetical Order)
Dong Yun: One of Ruolan’s maids.
Fourteenth-prince (Aisin-Gioro Yinzheng): The fourteenth son of Emperor Kangxi. He is described as being quite handsome. Is currently around fourteen to fifteen years of age.
Fourth-prince (Asin-Gioro Yinzhen): The fourth son of Emperor Kangxi and the future Emperor Yongzheng. Slightly pale and has an impassive demeanour.
Eighth-prince (Aisin-Gioro Yinsi): The eighth son of Emperor Kangxi. Also known as the Eighth Bei’le. Ruolan is his Ce’fujin (Second Wife). Is often seen smiling out of the corners of his mouth as well as conducting himself with a calm and gentle disposition.
Kangxi: The current Emperor of China.
Ninth-prince (Aisin-Gioro Yintang): The ninth son of Emperor Kangxi. Currently not given a peerage title. Seems to have a more taciturn personality. Nicknamed “the venomous snake” by Ruoxi.
Qiao Hui: One of Ruolan’s maids. Qiao Hui used to serve Ruolan even before Ruolan’s marriage. When Ruolan married, Qiaohui accompanied Ruolan to Eighth-prince’s household. Seems to be concerned for her mistress especially regarding Ruolan and Eighth’s relationship.
Ruolan, Maertai: Ruoxi’s older sister. The two are especially close as they are born from the same mother. She is also the Ce’fujin (Second Wife) of the Eighth-prince. Mild and gentle in nature, Ruolan likes to spend a better part of her days reciting Buddhist scriptures. Has a deceased lover who was a soldier in her father’s army. The man was of Han descent and had taught Ruolan how to ride.
Ruoxi, Maertai (Zhang Xiao): Protagonist of the story. Originally a modern day, white collar professional named Zhang Xiao. Under certain unexplainable, supernatural occurrence, Zhang Xiao’s spirit travelled through time upon her death and took over a young Manchurian girl’s body. Now stuck in ancient times, Ruoxi must navigate through an entirely foreign environment armed only with the little historical knowledge she remembers.
Tenth-prince (Aisin-Gioro Yin’e): The tenth son of Emperor Kangxi. Currently not given a peerage title. A bit of a simpleton. Likes to tease and bicker with Ruoxi. Nicknamed “the blockhead” by Ruoxi.
Thirteenth-prince (Aisin-Gioro Yinxiang): The thirteenth son of the Emperor Kangxi. Nicknamed “the Death Challenging Thirteenth” by his brothers. Has a more carefree and unrestrained demeanour.
Glossary of Terms
(In Alphabetical Order)
Bei’le: Shortened from Duo’luo Bei’le. A peerage title that can be bestowed to those within the royal family. It is the third rank in the Qing peerage system for the imperial line.
Ce’fujin: A title. Meaning second wife or ‘side’ wife in Manchurian.
Di’fujin: A title. Meaning first wife or main wife in Manchurian.
Ge’ge: A Manchurian word for young mistress, or lady. It is a title you would call an unmarried noblewoman (or before they are bestowed an official title by the Emperor) above a certain rank.
Jie-jie: Older sister in Chinese.
Chapter 3 (Part 4)
I clear my throat and begin to sing softly:
Smoke dances from the birthday[1] incense, shadows rise from the birthday candles,
The jade cup with wine of longevity increases years of life,
The golden plate holds birthday pastries and peaches of longevity,
Blessings of fortune that flows endlessly like the currents of the East Sea, and of longevity comparable to the Southern Mountain as it stands erect with time,
Indigo deer, Ling’Chi, and Fortune Grass[2],
Together bless longevity to overflowing heights,
The painting hall is bustling with festivity on this joyous day,
Firm and sturdy is the foundation of longevity,
Which is continuous and surging with joy,
As the birthday banquet opens, smiles fill every face,
Who together celebrate this wondrous day[3]
Just as the last note fades, clapping sounds erupt from right outside the waterside pavilion.
“I was wondering where Tenth Brother had gone! Now we know you’ve set up a private performance here,” says the Fourteenth-prince, continuing to clap his hands while entering the pavilion. Behind him followed a smiling Thirteenth-prince. I greeted them promptly, but was a little embarrassed so I didn’t know what to say in reply.
Strangely, the Tenth-prince did not speak out to counter his brother’s teasing. Instead he stands up and replies, “Was getting a bit inebriated, so I decided to sit down for a bit. Let’s return to the banquet now.”
The Fourteenth-prince however, paces around me in a circle while studying me up and down. “When are you going to sing for me as well?”

Getting a bit annoyed by his staring, I retort, “If the Fourteenth-prince does not mind, Ruoxi will be sure to sing a song when it is Fourteenth-prince’s birthday”.
He laughs and asks the Thirteenth-prince, “Thirteenth brother, do you want to request a performance too?”
The Thirteenth-prince only smiles but does not respond. It is obvious that the thirteenth-prince’s personality is more carefree and unreserved than both of them, but he does not joke around with the Tenth-prince. Evidently the relationship between the Fourteenth-prince and the Tenth-prince is much closer, and therefore they are less uptight about joking around with each other.
The Fourteenth-prince seems like he wanted to continue with his teasing, but seeing how my face was turning sour, the Tenth-prince quickly injects, “Fourteenth brother!”
“Ah! Look, Tenth-brother is getting anxious,” the Fourteenth-prince laughs, waving his hands. “Alright, alright, alright! Let’s go!”
One after the other, the three leaves the waterside pavilion. I sat down thinking to myself, “What do they take me for?” Sitting there for a while, I finally decide that if I don’t head back soon, Qiaohui would start getting very worried. Getting up, I begin to walk back.
Even though I am seeing a show of peace and prosperity[4] playing in front of me, I only feel desolation in my heart. I feel all that is happening is being played on a grand stage and I am the audience. On it, a tragedy is being performed right in front of my eyes. If I don’t get emotionally attached, then it wouldn’t matter after the show is done. Nevertheless I am now completely mesmerized by the show, being able to feel and experience everything on stage. Even so, I am powerless to change anything.
Slowly walking back while staring at the ground, I suddenly hear someone shout, “Do you have eyes? Ramming into people like this.”
Surprised, I stopped suddenly in my tracks and looked up. It is Mingyu Ge’ge of the Guoluoluo family. She is standing pertly about ten steps in front of me with a young maidservant standing right behind her. Not in the mood to deal with her, I only wanted to walk past her quickly. She, however, takes two steps forward, blocking my way. Mockingly she says, “What a barbarian, having not a sense of propriety at all.”
I take another step forward, attempting to go around her. However, she also shadows my step and again blocks my way.
A bit irritated, I looked up to stare at her, curious to see what she wants. She haughtily continues to say, “I heard that you had damaged your brain in a fall”.
I also smile and reply, “For some people, they don’t even need to take a fall and their brain is already wrecked.”
The smile disappears from her face. She angrily retorts, “You are just a barbarian that had a mother to give birth to you but not one to raise you”.
I gaze at her intently and respond with a smile, “Some people do have a mother to raise them, but they are still inferior to the barbarians!”
She begins to look a little upset and the more exasperated she got, the more I found it to be amusing. She is still very much a little girl, getting all riled up over only a few meaningless words. Thinking back to the past, to the way I had argued with my classmate who had sat beside me, I had used all kinds of vile and derogatory curses without restrain. While doing so I had also made sure I did it with a calm smile; the calmer and sweeter the smile, the better the effect.
Seeing that I am just calmly smiling at her, she abruptly blurts out, “You are just like your sister. Both of you are just cheap and worthless hoofs[5] who don’t have an inkling of propriety!
I didn’t mind what she called me. Words like cheap (jian) are only just amateur vocabularies in my own swearing dictionary, but I could not allow her to say such things about jie-jie. Ever since I first opened my eyes in this world, jie-jie’s attentiveness, thoughtfulness, empathy, affection and care has all little by little seeped into my heart. She is the person I care about the most in this time period! My only family!
I glare at her coldly. “Where did you hear that from?’
Seeing that I am obviously affected, she looks pleased with herself. “It doesn’t matter where I heard it from. She is still a cheeeaap hooo—” she taunts, purposely elongating the words.
“Whack!” I hurl a slap towards her face, interrupting her words as they come out of her mouth.
Her young maidservant rushes forward to assist her by the arms, crying, “Ge’ge.”
Meanwhile Mingyu looks at me in disbelief while holding her cheeks. I continue to glare at her and coldly ask, “Where did you hear it from?”

[1] Original word used: 寿(shou), which indicates birthdays, but also refer to longevity.
[2] These are all various coveted natural remedies that supposedly extend life and nourish one’s vitality.

[3] The song derives from the Cantonese opera, Birthday Congrats from the Eight Immortals (八仙寿), which originates from a Southern-style opera in the Yuan Dynasty called The Records of a Shepherd: Birthday Celebration (牧羊·寿). The opera narrates the tale of Su’Wu (140 – 60 BC), who was an esteemed minister during the Western Han dynasty and was abducted by the Huns while dispatched on a diplomatic trip. He refused to surrender and had to shepherd sheep for 19 years around the Northern Sea area (now Lake Baikal in Russia), before finally returning to the Han courts with dignity after much suffering. The song comes from the second act of the opera, where Su’Wu celebrates the birthday of his mother before he leaves.
This translation mainly attempts to convey the meaning of the song, while the original has rhythm and rhyme. The individual meanings of the lyrics matter little as the overall message is a birthday blessing and a wish for longevity for the Tenth prince.
[4] Orig. 歌舞升. Literally means to celebrate peace by singing and dancing. However, it also has the connotation that the celebration serves to present a false picture of peace and prosperity. It is there to pretend that everything is going well.
[5] Orig. (jian ti zi) . /jian means cheap, worthless, or lowly. In this specific instance however, the word jian is being used as a swear word. /tizi literally means hoofs but in the past, it can also be used as a derogatory curse word towards women. Together, the words (jian ti zi) is pretty much the equivalent of “b*tch” in English or along the same lines.


  1. part4!!!
    muah muah muah... thanks yah.... jiayou!

  2. Thank you so much..been waiting for so long HEHE

  3. You guys are amazing!
    The moment I read that the series was based in a book I wanted to read it. Thanks a lot for translating it! <3 ^.^

  4. Thank you for translating!!!!! The quality is also high. I love reading the footnotes! Please update soon!

  5. not to be annoying or anything have been a really long time since you last updated...=[...I know it takes really long...but it have been really lllooonnnggg...thank you for all your hard work ...=D the magnolia subbing team!

  6. haha, when I was reading the Chinese novel I skipped the birthday song lol. Thanks for the translations haha! Love it!

  7. Thanks for the translation!!!!! ...... but are you guys dropping this project? =( I check every week, but you guys haven't said anything, so I'm still holding my breath... Please don't be annoyed but even if you guys don't have the next part(s) ready, can you give us a heads-up? I've been so anxious b/c I think you guys are dropping this project, PLEASE DON'T!!!! Jiayou!!!

  8. hey I'm just it final week? since I'm sure that in Taiwan or like other places school is still going that why u couldn't translate?