步步惊心/ Bu Bu Jing Xin
Startling Surprises with Every Step
Written by Tong Hua
Chapter 7 (Part 3-4)
Translated by Cutzie
Brought to you by the Magnolia Translation Team
Download link: http://www.mediafire.com/?48r25677iz38wqr
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, we 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-prince’s Birthday banquet, Ruoxi and Mingyu gets into a fight, resulting in quite a spectacle. Arranged to marry the Tenth-prince by Kangxi.
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. Likes Ruoxi but is forced to marry Mingyu Ge’ge.
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 7 (Part 3-4)
It was not night yet but I have already told Dongyun to do my hair, put on my new yellow jacket, and rushed Qiaohui to go change.
Qiaohui laughed, “My dear Miss, you still have to wait for the night to be able to view the lanterns and solve the riddles.”
I ignored her and persisted. Qiaohui, finally submitting to my urgency, hurriedly go change, then, taking along two jackets, left the manor with me.
I had just gone several steps away from the front door when I heard someone called behind me, “Thirteenth sister!” I frowned, although this nickname of mine was well known throughout the Forbidden City, no one had actually dared to use it in front of me. Who could be this insolent? I turned around to see Thirteenth prince, in a light blue robe, looking like an ordinary scholar, along with a delicate male servant, walking slowly towards me.
I was extremely happy to see him, smiled and asked, “How can there be such a coincidence?”
He laughed, “If one has the intention, then of course there can be such coincidence.”
I realized that he came specially to wait for me and immediately asked, “How do you know that I would come out to play today?”
He smiled, “Such a festive day, would you just sit and rot in your room?”
The two of us walked side by side while Qiaohui followed from behind with the Thirteenth’s servant. We walked for a while, Thirteenth prince then said, “I invited Miss Lu to come and enjoy the festival with us.”
I thought back, “She’s the girl from the courtyard that we went to last time?”
He nodded. I laughed and said, “Very good! I was just thinking that it would be boring with so few people. Not to mention that I haven’t got a chance to thank her for letting me borrowed her cloak last time.”
Thirteenth prince heard my answered, suddenly stopped, smiled, turned back to his servant and said, “Did I not say so?”
I also stopped, confused, and turned around.
The young servant smiled, walked forward two steps, and, with both hand clasped, bowed and said, “Thirteenth Lord told me that you were not an ordinary girl, but I didn’t believe it. Today, after meeting, I see that what he said is definitely right.”
I also smiled and said, “This must be Luwu jie-jie. I didn’t know that you would be coming today, or else I would have brought the cloak to give back to you.” As I was saying this, I remembered back to the decoration of the room and realized that, though she was a courtesan, she was still a proud individual, afraid to be look down upon, and therefore, did not make direct acquaintance with me.
The sky gradually darkened, the lanterns hanging on both sides of the street seemed endless, as if it was a sea of stars. More and more people filled the streets, with many extravagantly dressed women, drowned in noisy laughter. I tried to take in each and every new sight. Even if it’s just a girl passing by, I couldn’t help but turned around to have a second look. The other three laughed. Luwu teased, “You looked as if you have never been out on the streets before.”
I shook my head, sighing, “Is that not the case? Every day I trapped in the manor, as if I am in jail.” She was stunned for a moment, then started to chuckle.
I have never solved riddles before and therefore just stick to gazing at the lanterns. Thirteenth prince and Luwu also didn’t seem too interested so the four of us just walked along casually.
Thirteenth prince then led us to a small restaurant. The waiter, recognizing Thirteenth prince, hurriedly went to find us a seat near the window, saying, “When the lion dance starts, you can watch clearly from here, where it’s not crowded.”
The four of us sat there, watching the people below and chatting with one another. Suddenly a voice called out, “Thirteenth brother is also here?”
We turned around to see Fourteenth prince standing with a few young men behind us. The young men hurried to perform the ceremonial greetings to Thirteenth prince while Qiaohui and I stood to greet Fourteenth prince, creating a lively scene. However, both Thirteenth and Fourteenth prince did not wait for us to speak, but wave their hands, saying, “We are dressed in civilian clothes, don’t have keep so many customs.”
The atmosphere suddenly became extremely quiet. Luwu was next to me, staring out the window while Qiaohui stood with her head down. I looked at Thirteenth prince then at Fourteenth prince. Though both of them were smiling, the meaning behind those smiles may be totally different. Thirteenth prince smiled lazily, looking as if nothing had happened. On the other hand, though Fourteenth prince’s smile was very refined, the corner of his mouth bought on a certain chill. He saw me looking at him and glared at me coldly. I pouted and lowered my head.
As we were standing there, a thin young man with Fourteenth prince called out, “Is this not Miss Luwu?” Luwu at this time turned around to look at the speaker, her face pale, said nothing, and dropped her head. Fourteenth prince just then noticed that Luwu was a woman and stared at her intently. Luwu kept her head down, her expression indifferent. I reached under the table to lightly take her hand, she leaned her head to look at me, I smiled briefly at her before letting go.
At this time, a short and pudgy boy, his face mocking, said, “To not be romantic is definitely a waste of youth. Thirteenth Lord is surrounded by beautiful ladies left and right. You’re truly fortunate.”
He barely finished talking; Thirteenth prince’s eyes had already hardened, haven’t got a chance to retort when Fourteenth prince let out a cough, and, his face serious, coldly said, “Chacha Lin, what nonsense are you saying?”
Chacha Lin obviously does not understand how his attempt at flattery had annoyed Fourteenth prince and could only stand there dumbly. The people next to him had recognized me, wanted to warn him but was too late.
I secretly smiled. I was, after all, part of the royal family. It was alright for the princes to tease me, but definitely not outsiders.
Thirteenth prince and Fourteenth prince were still standing, facing each other. I looked up and asked, “Are you here to view the lanterns or to gaze at people?” Finally, everyone sat down.
The lion dance wasn’t bad, the dragon dance was also rather pretty, but of all the people on the scene, the only ones watching were just me and Qiaohui. The others seemed deep in thought, some secretly look at me, a few glanced at Luwu.
Finally, all that should be seen was seen, all that should be played was played; it had become late and was time for us to return to the manor. Fourteenth prince was the first to say, “I will take Ruoxi back.” I heard this and, taking advantage of when Fourteenth wasn’t looking, look at Thirteenth prince and shrugged. Thirteenth prince smiled. After that, Thirteenth prince left with Luwu and Fourteenth took me and Qiaohui, while the rest scattered off by themselves.
The night had become chilly; lucky Qiaohui had brought extra coats for me to wear. I walked side by side with Fourteenth prince while Qiaohui followed behind, all of us silent the entire way back to the manor.
A young male servant opened the door, then, seeing me with Fourteenth prince, hurriedly bowed, and, smiling said, “Miss is finally back. Master Lan had sent people to ask several times.”
Fourteenth prince let him rise, “Is Eight brother in?”
The servant quickly answered, “He’s at Di’Fu’jin’s place. Does Fourteenth Lord want your servant to go tell him you’re here?”
Fourteenth prince walked ahead, “Tell Eight brother I’m waiting for him in the study.”
I was going back to Jie-jie’s when Fourteenth prince called out, his face serious, “Come with me to the study.”
I thought for a minute, why do I have to go to the study with him, but still nodded. I told Qiaohui to go and let Jie-jie know, then followed Fourteenth prince to the study.
We sat in the study for a bit when Li Fu opened the curtain and Eight prince, smiling, walked in. Seeing that I was also sitting there, a hint of surprise flashed across his face.
Fourteenth prince didn’t bother with the greetings, stood up, and said hurriedly, “Eight brother, guess who I saw Ruoxi with today.” Eight prince, still smiling, glanced at Li Fu. Li Fu quickly left, closing the door behind him.
Eight prince sat down and, at the same time, asked, “Who?”
Fourteenth prince looked at me and said, “Don’t know when she and Thirteenth brother became so close that she and Thirteenth brother were in the same place.” He grunted then continued, “As if that wasn’t enough, she was also with a lady from the brothel.”
The more I listened, the angrier I’ve become. Who was he to me, that he could control my actions? I retorted, “So what if I was with Thirteenth prince? So what if I was with a lady from the brothel?”
Fourteenth prince looked at me angrily and asked, “So what? Do you know how many how many young ladies and Ge’ge are in the Forbidden City, why must you hang out with a prostitute?”
I’ve become even more angry, stood up to look at him, sneering, “I only know that Liu Rushi was a prostitute who jumped off a building to preserve her love, that Liang Hongyu was a prostitute who beat a drum to fight against the Jins, that Li ShiShi was a prostitute who rather swallowed a hairpin to die than serve the Jins, that Lin SiNiang was a prostitute who risked her life to save the emperor, that Yuan Bao’er was a prostitute who gladly die…” I suddenly remembered that Yuan Bao’er was from the Ming Dynasty who protested against the Manchus, therefore abruptly stopped talking but continued to scowl at Fourteenth prince.
Fourteenth prince obviously didn’t expect that his two sentences would make me explode like that. He was still angry, but doesn’t know how to refute, could only glare at me, clenched his teeth, and nodded to Eight prince, “Eight brother, you hear? She’s really studious but what kind of nonsense books is she reading?”
 Liu Rushi was a famous prostitute who married Qian Qianyi and committed suicide upon his death
 Liang Hongyu was a prostitute during the Ming Dynasty, famous for her drums-playing skills. She and Han Shizhong met and fell in love, but, because of Han’s low rank, could not marry until he was made general. Hongyu was said to have a heart of steel and often followed her husband into battle. At Huangtian Lake, Han’s army of 8,000 was badly outnumbered against the Jin’s 100,000. Hongyu then devised a plan for her husband and a small number of men to lure the Jin’s warships away from their main force, where the rest of the Song’s armies would attack with flaming arrows. Hongyu climbed onto a mountain to have clear view of the battle and used her drum to guide the soldiers. One drumbeat was to signal the start of the attack, two meant to lure them deeper into ambush, and three let the hiding soldiers know to release the arrows. Thanks to Hongyu, the battle was won and the Jins suffered heavy losses.
 Referring to Korea
 Li ShiShi was a famous prostitute during the Northern Song Dynasty and was known to serve even the emperor. When the Dynasty fell, the king of Jin wanted to have her. Li ShiShi refused and tried to kill herself by stabbing her throat with a hairpin. This failed and she thus proceeded to swallow that hairpin to die.