Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bu Bu Jing Xin Chapter 4 (Part 5-6)

步步惊心/ Bu Bu Jing Xin
Startling Surprises with Every Step
Written by Tong Hua
Chapter 4 (Part 5-6)
Translated by Cutzie
Brought to you by the Magnolia Translation Team


This work is an amateur fan-translation of original work by Tong Hua as available in free online format in Mandarin Chinese at:


The translation is done as good will, so that fellow fans who do not read Mandarin may enjoy this lovely work. We declare that we do not profit monetarily in any way from this work, and also do not pretend to be professional translators, hence apologize in advance for inadvertent translation errors. In addition reposting of the translation must be done with explicit permission of all translators as contactable via spcnet.

Characters Introduced So Far

(In Alphabetical Order)

Crown Prince (Aisin-Gioro Yinreng): The second son of Emperor Kangxi. Currently the Crown Prince and thus next in line for the throne.

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.

Mingyu Ge’ge (Guoluoluo Mingyu): Younger sister of the Eighth-prince’s Di’fujin, Guoluoluo Minghui. Not on good terms with Ruoxi. Most likely the one who caused the original Ruoxi’s accident after an argument. During the Tenth’s Birthday banquet, Ruoxi and Mingyu gets into a fight, resulting in quite a spectacle.

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.

Ji’xiang: A standard greeting one of lower status uses to greet people with higher status in court. The word literally means auspicious and can be translated as, ‘I wish good fortunes, prosperity and happiness to you”

Chapter 4 (Part 5-6)

Jie-jie was as forlorn as before, staring at me silently with that sad expression of hers. As I got thinner by each day, she did as well.

Sometimes, I would hear Qiaohui whisper, “Mistress, why don’t you try to persuade the young miss?”

Jie-jie would softly reply, “It’s no use persuading her. In time, she would understand and learn to accept her fate.” I thought to myself, no, no, that would never happen. I could never learn to understand how my fate could be decided solely by a word from someone else. Since I was young, I learned that hard work would yield results. “Today’s flowers will bear tomorrow’s fruits,” was my motto. I could not accept the fact that my destiny now laid in the hands of someone else. I could not, and would not! I hated the Heavens! Why was I brought here? If I was born here from the beginning, perhaps I could have accepted my destiny more easily. But I had already lived in modern society for 25 years, and had been taught that my destiny should be controlled by my own hands. Now, they suddenly tell me that everything has already been decided, that all I could do is to accept it! Well, I cannot!

It was late autumn. The leaves on the trees had begun to fall. I started to stand under those trees and watched the leaves flutter in the wind. Each one was like a dancer, floating to the left, then right, then up, then down before suddenly spinning like a young ballerina on a stage, possessing an illimitable charm. The leaves, in the end, were still no match for gravity and slowly drifted down, bringing with them that hopeless longing for the wind.

The Eighth and Fourteenth-prince stood next to me for a while, and joined me in watching the dance of the leaves.

“They each bring with them a kind of sadness,” I said tenderly, “They do not wish to fall down but, in the end, could not fight against their fate.”

The Fourteenth-prince replied softly, “You are now ‘heart so broken, at the sight of flowers tears will shed. Pains of separation so searing, at the cry of birds the heart will pound.[1]’ Wait a couple of days until your mood gets better and you won’t think like that anymore.”

I did not speak, but merely continued to watch the leaves swirl in the wind.

Fourteenth waited for a minute then asked, “Ruoxi, you really like Tenth brother, right?”

I raised my hand to catch some of the leaves floating by. “Yes, I really like him. He is lively, honest, and can cheer me up. Most importantly, he treats me really well.” I released the leaves back in the wind and watched it dance in the air, “But I do not like him the way other people think. I just see him as a very good friend of mine.”

“Then why are you upset with his marriage?” The Fourteenth-prince asked, surprised. “The people outside are all talking about how ‘13th sister’ went insane because of Tenth prince’s upcoming wedding.”

I turned to look at him, “I’m upset not because of his marriage, but because of the fact that his marriage was forced. He does not want it,” I paused for a second then continued, “I’m upset because of why our destinies are controlled by someone else, of why we can’t decide our own fate.”

The Fourteenth-prince gasped, staring at me wide-eyed.

The Eighth-prince looked at me fixedly then spoke, his tone serious, “Those words are treason and heresy. You must never repeat them again!”

The corner of my mouth lifted up in a scoff as I turned to leave. He caught up with me within two steps, grabbed my chin hard, his eyes boring deep into mine and asked harshly, “Did you hear me?”

I tried turning my head but found that his force was too great. There was no way I could break free or look away.

He tightened his hold. “Did you hear me?"

I would not answer. The pain kept on increasing until it felt like he was strangling me.

“Eighth brother!” the Fourteenth-prince cried.

The Eighth-prince ignored him, “Did you hear me?” he asked again.

I looked bitterly into his cold eyes as I unwillingly yelled, “Yes!”

He stared at me and slowly released his hands before turning to leave.

“Are you crazy?” the Fourteenth-prince asked, incredulous, “this ‘someone else’ is not just anyone, but the Heavenly Son of the Great Qing! Eighth brother is only looking out for you.” He quickly turned around to chase after Eighth prince.

I stayed where I was, looking up at the leaves dancing against the sky’s blue canvas. It was there Qiaohui found me. She took one look at me, sighed heavily, and then gently helped me up.

“Young Miss, the wind is picking up. Let us go back.”

I slowly followed her in. Jie-jie leapt up as soon as she saw me. She took hold of my hands and helped me sit down.

“Why are hands so cold?” she asked, scared.

She told Qiaohui to quickly go and prepare some hot tea.

She kept rubbing my hands, slowly transferring her heat onto my body, warming both my hands and heart. I saw her thin face and felt a stabbing pain. Frustration swelled up within me and I couldn’t help but to lean against her, crying.

Her arms went around me as she gently patted my back, murmuring softly, “It’s good to cry it out, just cry it out.”

I cried for half a day, until my throat closed up and my tears ran dry. Still, I continued to hug Jie-jie, not wanting to get up. She, too, didn’t say anything and continued to caress my back. After a while, with my head still on her bosom, I reluctantly asked, “Is it because I hit her that Mingyu Ge’ge had to marry the Tenth prince?”

Jie-jie helped me up and used a handkerchief to wipe my tears, “Whether you hit her or not, she would still have to marry the Tenth prince.”

Jie-jie sighed, “We are all merely the Emperor’s pawns. Did you think that he made this decision just recently? In reality, the Imperial Consort perceived the Emperor’s plan and had merely waited for the right time to act out that show with him.”

I didn’t say anything after hearing that but just merely sighed. I had overestimated myself. I thought Mingyu had thought I liked the Tenth prince, and stole him in order to take revenge on me. But it was better this way. At least my guilt towards the Tenth-prince had decreased somewhat. These people of the court…! I suddenly shivered, feeling cold all over. I remembered what I had said earlier and quickly hugged my sister, fear mounting in my heart. I could not keep on saying those stuffs. Absolutely not! Or else, I could cause my sister’s death.

As the leaves began to fall less and less, my mood had also gotten better; at least on the surface anyways. At the very least, I could joke with the maids once in a while. However, my appetite had still not increased. I could barely eat more than a few mouthful of rice.

I had thought about running away from the manor. If I was just a normal girl, then me running away would not draw too much attention. But I was a general’s daughter, the sister-in-law of the Eighth Bei’le, and a maid awaiting the concubine selection. Not to mention that this entire world belonged to the Aisin-Gioro Clan[2], where could I go? Then there was also my sister. If I really left, I was afraid she would not be able to bear it.

One day, I was practicing my calligraphy when Qiaohui came in to announce that the Fourteenth-prince had arrived. I put down my brush and went out to see Fourteenth prince standing in the courtyard.

I went forward to do my greetings, asking, “Why didn’t you come in?”

“Let’s take a walk around the garden,” he replied.

I nodded. Qiaohui came and brought me an embroidered aqua-green brocade cloak and advised me not to stand directly in the wind. I quickly complied and followed the Fourteenth-prince out into the gardens.

Both of us were silent as we walked. After a while, I forced a laugh, “What’s wrong with you? We’ve been walking all this time but you have yet to say anything. You’re boring me to death.”

The Fourteenth-prince laughed hollowly, “Before I came, I had lots of things to tell you. But now that I am here, I suddenly don’t know what to say.”

I stood still and looked at him, “I’m alright now.”

He also stopped walking and sighed, “You’re alright but Tenth brother is not.”

I didn’t say anything but only continued to look at him.

He sighed, “After the Mid-Autumn banquet, he had stopped coming to Court. Imperial Father had asked for him several times. Eighth brother has been saying that he’s not feeling well. If this continues, however, Imperial Father will send a Royal Physician to take a look.”

I looked down at my shoes, “What would you like me to do?”

“Go visit him and then persuade him,” the Fourteenth-prince answered.

I was silent for a minute then I nodded in agreement, “When?”

“After Court tomorrow, I’ll come to pick you up to take you to the palace.”

“Alright,” I answered.

I sat with Fourteenth on a horse carriage. Both of us were silent the entire way.

Seeing as Jie-jie did not ask about anything when I left, the Eighth prince must have already informed her of what’s going on. We rode in the carriage until we reached the outer palace gate. We got off the carriage and then transferred onto sedan chairs. After half a day, we finally stopped and a maid came to help me down.

The Fourteenth-prince walked me into a courtyard, then stopped and pointed to the door facing us, “I won’t go in with you.”

I nodded and walked a couple of steps before he added, “I can only hold off the eunuchs for so long. Be sure to hurry.”

“Alright,” I said before walking in the door.

[1] Two lines from the poem “Spring View” by Du Fu, used to depict a sense of forlorn depression. Translation provided by lulupony.

[2] Aisin-Gioro is the last name of the Imperial family.


  1. Thank You soo much. I was wondering if you know some actual english novels that are set in ancient china. Like this one? Really appreciated!