Just a reminder that part 2 will be posted next Wednesday.😊
This story has tons of idioms and this chapter is no exception, especially a wonderful animal-related one meant to insult Yi Liankai 😁. Do you have a favourite animal-related (or anything else) idiom? If you do, do share it with us any time in the comments! If it’s in your country’s language, it would be great if you could briefly explain its meaning in English. Or if there are any idioms that you like from this story, let us know which ones! 💞
On to part 1 of a new chapter! Things are getting a bit hot politically which means more work for Yi Liankai 😂.
© 2017 Meraki
tranzgeek.wordpress.com ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this translation, except linking and excerpts with due credit to the translators and tranzgeek.wordpress.com, is strictly prohibited.
He was as good as his word. Not long after, Qin Sang heard the car horn which signalled his return. He strode in and sat down on the sofa without removing his coat. After sending Zhu Ma out to fetch tea, he closed the door after her and asked, ‘What do you know?’ Chapter originally published at MerakiTranslations.
‘Yesterday Chen Pei said a guard had accidentally discharged his gun. But Murong Feng told me later that it had not been the sound of a rifle. It had been a type of German Mauser pistol which nobody in the Fuyuan army uses. He even asked me if Chen Pei was Li Zhongnian’s man.’
Yi Liankai’s face darkened and he sat unmoving on the sofa. Only his forefinger tapped lightly on the armrest and he seemed to be deep in thought.
Qin Sang rarely ever saw him like this. Although his old self had always been mercurial¹, he had never lost his characteristic playboy persona. Right now though, he was an enigma² and she couldn’t even begin to guess what he was thinking about.
¹ 喜怒無常 xǐ-nù wúcháng: be subject to changing moods.
² 深不可測 shēn bùkě cè: deep and unmeasurable (idiom); unfathomable depths. If you’re not reading this chapter at MerakiTranslations, it has been stolen and reproduced by bootleg websites.
Qin Sang said: ‘Even if the wound can’t tell us anything, the bullet can be traced. Since it didn’t come from the guard’s rifle, we can always explain the matter clearly.’
Yi Liankai’s expression was still dark. After a long while, he finally sighed and said: ‘You don’t understand.’
‘True, I really don’t understand the things you men do. I don’t understand why Er Ge had to go and put Father under house arrest. I also don’t understand why you have to ally yourself with Li Zhongnian and fight Er Ge. I have no idea what you all are fighting over ultimately. The territory is large enough, the army is big enough but still you keep fighting each other. All this endless fighting makes life impossible for the people.³ Why can’t you all just get along?’
Yi Liankai suddenly snorted with laughter: ‘Spoken like a woman.’ Chapter originally published at MerakiTranslations.
Having said that, he stood up and took his hat, preparing to go out. Qin Sang asked: ‘Why are you going out again?’
Yi Liankai replied: ‘Somebody went to the trouble of setting a trap for me. I can’t very well refuse such kindness.’ His mood seemed to have lightened gradually. ‘In such cases, one should always beat the other at their own game⁴ and let them have a taste of their own medicine5 otherwise where would the fun be?’
⁴ 將計就計 jiāng jì jiù jì: meet plot with plot; turn sb.’s trick against him; beat sb. at his own game
5 請君入瓮 qǐng jūn rù wèng: lit. please Sir, get into the boiling pot (idiom); fig. to give sb a taste of his own medicine. Please consider reading from MerakiTranslations rather than at bootleg websites.
It wasn’t until later at night Qin Sang learned that Chen Pei had been dismissed from his post over the accidental killing of the university student and Yi Liankai had arranged for Pan Jianchi to be in charge of the hospitality and security arrangements for Murong Feng. Qin Sang was unsettled by this news. Knowing that Pan Jianchi wanted to murder Murong Feng but was now in charge of the latter’s security was akin to having a lamb in a tiger’s den.6 Various fears preyed on her mind and she hardly slept the whole night.
6 羊入虎口 yángrùhǔkǒu: lit. a lamb in a tiger’s den (idiom); fig. to tread dangerous ground. If you’re not reading this translation at tranzgeek(DOT)wordpress(DOT)com, it has been stolen and reproduced by bootleg websites.
The next morning she was heavy-eyed and fatigued but still tried to stay alert for she was to accompany Murong Feng on a tour of the lake that day. While reading the papers at breakfast, Qin Sang noticed that some parts had been censored7. A skim of other newspapers revealed that some had been censored but others were less courteous and berated Yi Liankai roundly: calling him a wastrel, saying that the Chengzhou army did not support the Cabinet and were regarded as thieves under the Constitution so any negotiations with them were akin to sharing the spoils with thieves. As for the tourist who had been shot dead by accident — that was just another example of the corruption of life caused by warlordism etc.
7 開(了)天窗 kāi tiānchuāng: put in a skylight-leave a blank in a publication to show that sth. has been censored. Please consider reading from tranzgeek(DOT)wordpress(DOT)com rather than at bootleg websites.
The language was trenchant and required reading between the lines so Qin Sang was especially absorbed in her reading. Yi Liankai was not out early today as was his habit and after seeing her reading the papers so seriously, rapped his chopsticks on the table and said, ‘When it’s time to eat, eat. What’s so engrossing about the article that has you neglecting your breakfast?’
Qin Sang had to put the newspaper down but Yi Liankai then picked it up. She thought he would fly into a rage but he was in a surprisingly good mood and commented as he read aloud, ‘ “it would be too much to ask a tiger for its skin8”, “a capricious villain”, “contrary to the spirit of the Constitution and democracy”, “instigating a separatist regime”… According to him, I am an absolute disgrace who has no standing with the people of Fuyuan. Tsk tsk tsk, I should send someone to ask if this writer is willing to be my secretary.’
8 與虎謀皮 yǔ hǔ móu pí: ask a tiger for its skin– expect sb. (usu. an evil person) to act against his own interests
Qin Sang could not help looking up at him after hearing his comments. Yi Liankai laughed and asked: ‘Why are you looking at me? If even Wu Zetian could recognise Luo Binwang’s talent, why wouldn’t I be as good a judge of such things as a woman from a few thousand years ago?’
Qin Sang merely snorted noncommittally 9 in reply. Yi Liankai said with a laugh: ‘I know, I know. I’m looking down on women again and you object to it.10 You say you went to a Western school, preach justice and filial piety to me at every turn and then when you encounter any trouble, turn into a feminist… You modern women are just troublesome.’
9 不置可否 bù zhì kě-fǒu: decline to comment; not express an opinion; be noncommittal; hedge.
10 不以為然 bù yǐ wéi rán: not to accept as correct (idiom); to object
Qin Sang was not interested in quarrelling with him so she ignored this. Yi Liankai continued: ‘Chen Pei has been arrested but really he’s been treated quite unjustly. He’s General Li’s man so I can’t do much to him. Go and visit his family on my behalf later, send them some things and ask them what else they lack.’ Chapter originally published at MerakiTranslations.
Qin Sang gave a wintry smile. ‘Trust you to think of such a thing. You are the one who had Chen Pei locked up yet you want me to send them things. What’s the point of trying to buy them off?’
Yi Liankai replied: ‘When I don’t do anything, you say I’m nothing but a feckless playboy but when I do do something, you accuse me of buying people off. Now that I’m nominally the Chief Commander, that makes you the Commander’s wife and when it’s not convenient for me to do some things personally, I can only ask you for help. If you’re really unwilling to help, then I’ll just ask Adjutant Pan to go instead.’
Qin Sang was secretly agitated, especially when it came to the topic of Pan Jianchi: she felt that the less involved he was, the better. Her instinct warned her that Pan Jianchi was extremely dangerous and the more he was allowed to do, the more dangerous it became. She truly wished that he was not staying on with them now that Yi Liankai was an enigma to her. She used to be confident in her reading of the latter’s temperament and character but realised now that he had pulled the wool over her eyes: she had no idea what he was really like. That was why she said: ‘All right, all right, I’ll go then.’ Chapter originally published at MerakiTranslations.
After she had accompanied Murong Feng on a tour of Lake Fu, they went to a restaurant which was famous for its braised fish soup. On the way there, they encountered student demonstrators. Fortunately, Pan Jianchi had already arranged for security to cordon the protesters two streets away but even so, slogans such as ‘down with warlords’, ‘return power to the Cabinet’, ‘blood calls for blood’,11 ‘hand over the murderer’ could be heard incessantly. Qin Sang was afraid that there would be clashes and the student demonstrators would be arrested again so she called Pan Jianchi over and warned him about it repeatedly. Pan Jianchi replied, ‘Please don’t worry, Madam. I won’t make things difficult for those students.’ Qin Sang was about to say more when she recalled that he too had been a radical in his youth so naturally he would not do anything to the students. This thought reassured her slightly and after escorting Murong Feng back to the West Garden hotel, she went to visit Chen Pei’s family with gifts.
11 血債血償 xuèzhàixuècháng: 1. A debt of blood must be paid in blood. 2. Blood calls for blood. If you’re not reading this chapter at MerakiTranslations, it has been stolen and reproduced by bootleg websites.
By the time she returned home from visiting Chen Pei’s family, it was already dark. All along the way a heavy security presence could be seen whilst the streets were empty of pedestrians which perplexed her greatly. Back at the city defence headquarters, the watchtowers were brightly lit and several cars were parked in the courtyard. The jet-black cars were neatly lined up in rows like ink slabs. Qin Sang thus asked: ‘Is there a meeting tonight?’
The bodyguard who opened the car door for her replied: ‘Yes. Commander Yu from the city defence and Chief∆ Jiang are both here.’ Chapter originally published at MerakiTranslations.
∆ Best guess for now at China’s byzantine ranks and titles. Please consider reading from MerakiTranslations rather than at bootleg websites.
Qin Sang thought that if Commander Yu and a senior official from the province had come, something big must be happening but what exactly? Could they really be planning to enter into negotiations with the Chengzhou army? Had Li Zhongnian really changed his mind?
She went up to her room muttering irresolutely. As the maid was hanging up her coat, she suddenly heard voices and footsteps below. This was followed by the sound of soldiers shifting their guns in salute and standing to attention and she concluded that the meeting must be over. Zhu Ma poured her a cup of tea. Qin Sang told her: ‘Go and have a look. If the meeting has ended, ask Master if he wants to have dinner here.’
Zhu Ma went accordingly and came back a short while later to report, ‘Master said he’s still busy and asks you to have dinner first.’ Chapter originally published at MerakiTranslations.
‘What’s he so busy with that he doesn’t even have time to eat?’ Qin Sang added with apparent unconcern: ‘Well, let’s not bother with him then. Ask the kitchen to start making dinner.’
‘Missy, haven’t you heard? There was a big incident in the city today. Those student protesters were surrounded and beaten up by the police, Adjutant Pan was badly hurt, someone from the Public Security Bureau fired his gun and they say two students were killed. Several others were jailed and martial law was imposed. The guards said that Master hit the roof over the happenings today and matters are going from bad to worse… .’
³ 民不聊生 mín bù liáo shēng: The people have no way to make a living (idiom, from Record of the Grand Historian Shǐjì [史記]). The people have no means of livelihood; the masses live in dire poverty; the people are destitute.
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