Ehhh, today’s chapter is relatively short but the next one will be much longer so please hold those brickbats! 😜
In Ch. 8.3, Jiangnan is mentioned as the novel’s locale. 江南 Jiāngnán [literally] south of the River — a region in the lower Changjiang (Yangtze) valley, including southern Jiangsu and Anhui and northern Zhejiang (much celebrated in poetry for its beauties and joys) [Source: Pleco] which I think explains why the author spends time describing certain scenes, as she does in today’s instalment. It sounds like the inspiration for this place is the West Lake in Hangzhou? I’m sure the drama will deviate a fair bit from the novel but going by the stills alone, they seemed to have spared no expense to recreate the look of many places in the novel! If nothing else, the sets will be something to look forward to!
© 2017 Meraki
tranzgeek(DOT)wordpress(DOT)com ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this translation, except linking and excerpts with due credit to the translators and tranzgeek(DOT)wordpress(DOT)com, is strictly prohibited.
Fuyuan lay in the south and its climate was temperate. Although it was winter, it was quite warm in the daytime and only became cold and grey in the evenings. This morning it had started raining early. By afternoon, the fine rain had gradually lessened, a sharp gust of wind from the north was blowing and a light rustling sound signalled that the rain had become snow. Originally posted at MerakiTranslations.
Beads of snow pattered on the windows, giving out a faint crackling sound. The water pipes were heated, making the house warm. The snow that stuck to the windows quickly became small then big pearls of water that slid down the windows slowly, leaving criss-crossing rivulets of water on the fogged-up glass. In a short while, more steam covered the windows so that it looked like patterned glass and the exterior could not be seen clearly. Originally posted at MerakiTranslations.
Zhu Ma did not trust the servant girls to do things well so she went to the wardrobe herself and took out an overcoat made of otter fur. As she brushed it down lightly, she muttered, ‘Going out in this kind of weather is just asking to catch a chill.’
Qin Sang had been combing her hair with a tortoiseshell comb but seemed to have been struck by a sudden thought and unconsciously lowered her hand. She had just had her hair curled and the profusion of jet-black curls hid her ivory cheeks, making her face look like it had lost colour.
Zhu Ma saw her frowning and could not resist asking, ‘Master is really not going to go with you?’
Qin Sang said, ‘He has other business.’ She was reluctant to tell Zhu Ma more. She put down the comb and stood up to have the coat worn. After putting it on, she looked at herself in the mirror for a while before saying to Zhu Ma, ‘Let’s go.’ Originally posted at MerakiTranslations.
Zhu Ma followed her downstairs, carrying her handbag. Pan Jianchi was already waiting there and upon seeing them come out, hurriedly opened the car door.
Ever since the last incident on the streets, Yi Liankai had specially assigned Pan Jianchi, as well as some other bodyguards, to look after Qin Sang. To avoid trouble, Qin Sang rarely went out. However, today was an exception as Chengzhou’s special envoy to the talks, Murong Feng, had already arrived in Fuyuan. Yi Liankai was avoiding this envoy and had instead despatched the Chairman of Fuzhou Province, Jiang Jinyi, to welcome him at the station and then escort him to the West Garden Hotel.
The car left from the city defence headquarters and after travelling alongside Lake Fu for a while, turned off into a side road. Numerous sentry posts had already been set up along this road so that the entire road was cordoned off.
The West Garden Hotel had originally been a private residence built during the Ming dynasty by a famous scholar-official upon his retirement and return to his hometown.¹ Sited on the banks of the vast and misty expanse² that was Lake Fu, it had lofty rock pillars, exquisite gardens and a tower which commanded a view of the entire lake. This view was stupendous enough to have been celebrated in verse by generations of Fuzhou’s literary talents. After the Boxer Uprising, it had been converted by wealthy merchants into the West Garden Hotel and was especially used to receive distinguished guests so naturally its charges were high. This time, for security purposes, the entire hotel had been reserved so the road leading to the hotel had already been cordoned off and placed under heavy security.
¹ 告老還鄉 gàolǎo huánxiāng: (Old) (of a government official) retire and return to one’s native place
² 煙波浩渺 yānbō hàomiǎo: a vast expanse of misty, rolling waters. Translation originally posted at tranzgeek(DOT)wordpress(DOT)com. If you’re not reading this post at MerakiTranslations, it has been stolen and reproduced without consent by bootleg websites.
Qin Sang travelled by Yi Liankai’s bulletproof car which sped along and soon arrived at West Garden Hotel. From far, the white wall and black roof tiles of the hotel’s main entrance could be seen. A red carpet had been laid outside it and from here the sentries increased in number.
When Qin Sang got out of the car, she saw Chen Pei coming up to welcome her. He was head of the Logistics Section and was also in charge of receiving the guests this time. Qin Sang had always kept her distance from Yi Liankai’s subordinates and had only met Chen Pei once or twice before today. Her impression of him was that he was a complaisant and cautious person.
Now he was in full dress uniform, his fingers in pristine white gloves touching the brim of his peaked cap. He clicked his heels together and bowed slightly, saying: ‘Good evening, Madam.’
Qin Sang had always disliked such gestures and did not say much this time beyond acknowledging him with a slight nod.
Chen Pei said: ‘Master Murong has already changed and is resting. I will send someone to inform him that Madam has arrived.’
Qin Sang said: ‘I’m a bit early. Isn’t the dinner at six? Don’t disturb our guest’s rest. You can inform him later.’
Chen Pei responded: ‘In that case, permit me to show you around the banquet hall.’ Originally posted at MerakiTranslations.
Although the hotel’s gardens were in the Chinese style, there was a small Western-style turret in the western corner. Apparently it had been constructed in the final years of the Qing dynasty and intended as a place for the womenfolk of the original family to view the lake. After its conversion to a hotel, the tower had become a Western-style restaurant. Of note was a big hall on the third floor with long glass windows facing south, outside of which was a pretty balcony supported by huge marble pillars that overlooked the misty expanse of Lake Fu.
However, it was now winter and snowing so all the floor-to-ceiling windows were tightly shut. The place was being kept extremely warm and there were so many fresh flowers in vases that the air was overwhelmingly fragrant, to the point of making one feel slightly giddy.
Qin Sang said: ‘There are too many flowers here. Take some away.’
As the hotel staff had been replaced by those from Chen Pei’s staff, they were able to swiftly remove several vases from the scene. After Qin Sang had inspected the arrangements in the banquet hall, she asked him, ‘What did the restaurant manager have to say about the changes to the menu yesterday?’
Chen Pei assured her: ‘Please don’t worry about that, Madam. The hotel hired another chef from Chengzhou so there shouldn’t be any problems.’
Qin Sang gave a slight nod and asked about a few other details. When Chen Pei saw that it was almost time, he conveyed her out through the veranda again and back to the main hall.
Originally posted at MerakiTranslations.
Originally posted by MerakiTranslations. If you’re not reading this post at Meraki, it has been stolen and reproduced without consent by bootleg websites. Copyright 2017 Meraki tranzgeek(DOT)wordpress(DOT)com ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this translation, except linking and excerpts with due credit to the translators and tranzgeek(DOT)wordpress(DOT)com, is strictly prohibited.
Translated and edited by 12