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 There's quite a bit of translation notes in this one. 

Also you may have seen that someone else is also translating this novel too. So I decided to stop my translation at this chapter as I initially only wanted to translate the synopsis since the show was going to air, and I'm not sure if I have the time to continue updating at a constant pace.
It will be translated by coffee and diarytea over at !

Please look forward to their translation! 

[Chapter 2 - Jiu Xuan Ji] I want that pearl

 


The country of Ah Nu lies to north west of the border; the ruler is called Sha Da. Just like other nomads, the people in their tribes live near the water and grassland; they have no fixed territory and yet have a cavalry whose strength cannot be underestimated. When Chu Yuan just ascended the throne, the various areas in the northern desert territories constantly caused trouble and disorder; the people living at the border were severely harmed; at that time the primary strength of the imperial troops were tied up by the north east territories; they could only send an envoy towards the country of Ah Nu in the dark of the night, and lobbied for Sha Da to send out troops along with the Eastern General(1); only then was the turmoil in the northern desert territories quelled for two years.  




The country of Chu has always seen the country of Ah Nu as an ally due to this reason. The deceased lying in the alley is Sha Da's blood related brother; his name is Gu Li. Initially, he came to the country of Chu to only pay tribute to the emperor; upon seeing how prosperous the royal capital is, and that his arrival just happens to coincide with the New Year, he decided to stay for a longer period of time. He even intended to wait for the snow in the valleys to melt before departing back to the north west, and yet he unexpectedly lost his life.


With such an important matter, everyone did not dare to act slowly, and quickly brought the corpse to the royal palace.


Outside the residential palace, Eunuch Si Xi is currently leaning against the entrance and snoring; he quickly opened his eyes when he heard people approaching; it was General Li, from the imperial military.


"Eunuch, where is the emperor?"  Esteemed Li(2), being of over 70 years of age, walking a few more steps made him breathless.


"He just went to sleep not long ago; coming at this time, did something important happen?" Eunuch SI XI is also startled by the sudden arrival.


"It's not." Esteemed Li said in a rush, "This is a desperate time, I couldn't care less about manners now; please let Eunuch quickly go and inform about this situation on behalf of this old official."


"Beloved official"(3), what's the matter?" Chu Yuan has already pushed open the door and walked out before Eunuch Si Xi could say anything.

“Emperor.” Esteemed Li quickly went forward, “Just now, the commander of the Imperial Army came to find this humble servant, and told me they found a corpse in the alley behind Fu Yun entrance, it’s the prince of the country of Ah Nu; He has been stabbed in the heart with a knife.”


“Gu Li?” Chu Yuan frowned.


“That’s entirely correct.” Esteemed Li said, “this humble official has already ordered for this incident to be sealed; the body is temporarily placed in empty building beside the hunting grounds.”


“Let’s go and see first.” Chu Yuan walked down the stairs. Si Xi quickly took out a cloak from behind, and placed it on his shoulders, walking at a quick pace all the way.


Everything was going smoothly, just how did this happen?


In the residence of the king of Xi Nan, Duan Bai Yue is currently drinking wine alone under the moon; a blunt sword is on the table in front of him, reflecting a faint white light.


A silhouette jumped down nimbly from the outer walls, and was startled upon seeing that there is someone in the courtyard.


“Where did you go again?” Duan Bai Yue placed down his wine bowl.


“Not sleeping even though it’s midnight, you are sitting here waiting to meet ghosts?” Duan Yao heaved a sigh of relief, “I thought it was master(4) again.”


“Master has already passed away three years ago.” Duan Bai Yue reminded him.


“That’s not certain; what if he is resurrected, he is extremely familiar with the matter of borrowing someone’s body as a place for his soul.” Duan Yao took off the seven to eight bamboo containers at his waist; inside the containers are a variety of insects, the buzzing sound generated by them is enough to give someone a headache.


“San Yan Xue?” Duan Bai Yue randomly took up one of the containers, “Your luck is not that bad.”


“Hey, I observed for almost half a month before catching this one insect.” Duan Yao warned, “If you want one you can go look for it yourself. “


“You think too much, I have no mood to snatch insects from you to raise them.” Duan Bai Yue shook his head, “Go back and pack up.”


“Where are you sending me to again?” Duan Yao asked, eyes widened.  

“I want to go to the capital of the country of Chu.” said Duan Bai Yue.


Duan Yao retreated two steps: “If you want to go, then just go, what does this have to do with me?”


Duan Bai Yue replied: “Because you will be of use. “


Duan Yao: “.......”


“If you are left alone in this residence, it can be foreseen that the entire place will be gone before I come back. “ Duan Bai Yao said, “If it’s not destroyed by you, it will be destroyed by our enemies.”


Duan Yao became disheartened, and sat on the stone bench: “You just know how to take advantage of me.”


“How can I be taking advantage of you.” Duan Bai Yao replied, “I have long said you need to restrain your temper; don’t cause others to leave angrily. At 14 years of age, others are already taking the imperial examination; although it’s fine that you can’t recite poetry, but you also don’t know how to speak tactfully; thinking of this makes my heart ache.”


Duan Yao covers his ears with both hands, initially he wanted to pretend he never heard it, but his attention was taken away from the blunt sword on the table: “What’s this?”


“I don’t know.” Duan Bai Yue shook his head, “I just dug it up from the ground.”


“You went to dig someone else’s ancestral grave?” Duan Yao asked suspiciously.


“Master left it to me before passing away.” Duan Bai Yao said, “He insisted that it must be dug out on this night.”


“You are most likely tricked again” Duan Yao took the bamboo containers on the table, and glanced at the sword once more.


Duan Bai Yue agreed: “I think so too.”


He was brought up to the mountains when he was eight, and casually plucked an unfamiliar poisonous flower, said to increase one’s strength if placed in the bedroom. In the end, on the next day, he saw blurred versions of everyone; when walking his head was heavy while his legs weak; he almost fell into the water. Ever since then, where even an idiot would have indelible memories of this, and so he never accepted presents from the master again; the sword can be considered to be the second present he received.


Duan Yao yawned and went to back to his room to sleep.


Duan Bai Yue raised his head and drank the last bowl of wine, and went back to his bedroom, bringing the blunt sword with him.


After three days, Duan Yao looked at the two horses in front of him, and asked: “So we are sneaking out of the manor, just the two of us?”


Duan Bai Yue nodded: “Of course, what, did you expect to celebrate first?”


“I thought that Emperor Chu knows about this matter.” Duan Yao said tactfully.


Duan Bai Yue shook his head: “Besides you, there is no third person who knows about this matter.”


Duan Yao: “....”


The King of Xi Nan is heading towards the country of Chu in secret; this is a capital offense.


Even though he also will not treat this as a serious matter, but…...with everything being fine, what’s he doing, going to the country of Chu?


“Jia!”(5) Duan Bai Yue lashed his horse whip, and rode towards the north.


The black steed, with its four hooves like the wind, and galloped undauntingly on the road.(6)


A night’s worth of dew falls from the roof, signifying the start of the cool spring.


Inside the royal capital, stall owners selling breakfast items have also set up their stools, tables and chairs; they took advantage of this cold snap to sell mutton soup which chases away the cold; but it’s also time for them to change to selling buns, gruel and chinese pancakes; after all, the weather is getting warmer.


“10 bowls of mutton soup. 20 pancakes.” A group of troops sat down noisily, looks like they had a busy night.


“Alright, please wait.” The owner is nimble and light footed, and served up the mutton soup and pancakes; it’s obvious that he is familiar with everyone; he asked with a smile, “Everyone seems busy recently, Commander Zhang also brought people to patrol, and came to my shop for breakfast yesterday morning. “


“Nothing much happened, it’s just a normal patrol.“ The leader of the troops vaguely said a few sentences, and started eating the dishes voraciously; sensing the atmosphere, the owner stopped the conversation. Although he did not truly think that something has happened initially, but looking at this scene, could it be that something really has happened?


In the royal palace, Chu Yuan has finished drinking the medicine, and yet the headache still persists; almost as if it’s splitting its head apart.


Although it has been constantly said that there are people investigating over the past 3 days, and yet any kind of useful clue has not been found. On that day, after eating roast duck at Tong Fu Lou, Gu Li went to the teahouse to hear a couple of performances, and satisfactorily left. He even gave the qin player quite a bit of silver as a form of appreciation; looking at the whole picture, there doesn’t seem to be any abnormalities, everyone had even thought he alone had went back to the manor; who knew that with the passing of only a few hours, the nightwatcher found him as a corpse in the alley.


“Emperor. “ The official in charge of the investigation, Cai Jin, “There are currently rumours spreading in the capital, according to what this humble servant sees, it’s better to quickly inform the country of Ah Nu about this matter; dragging it out will have no benefit.”


Sitting on the royal throne, Chu Yuan has on a perpetual frown.


Although it can be said that, over these two years, the north west borders have already settled down, the root cause has not been eliminated; the reasons for not sending their troops; the first is that they fear the strength of the imperial army, the second is due to the support from the country of Ah Nu. Now that Gu Li has been assassinated in the capital of the country of Chu, and Sha Da’s temper has always been rash and violent; if someone incites this matter, there can only be uncountable dangers.


“Emperor. “ Seeing that he has remained silent, Cai Jin reminded him again in a low voice.


“We(7) will personally write a letter and send someone to pass it to the country of Ah Nu. “ After some contemplation,  Chu Yuan has finally spoken, and also asked, “Qian Fan should have arrived back here, right?”


“Replying to the emperor, General Shen will reach the capital in approximately seven days’ time. “ Cai Jin replied, “if he rushes, he will arrive in five days. “


Chu Yuan nodded, and waved his hand to allow him to leave.


The territories of the country of Chu are vast, and the further north it is, the colder it gets . Initially, when just leaving Xi Nan, Duan Yao has only worn a piece of clothing; after a few days he changed into a thick cotton garment; at night, he can’t even bear to leave brazier when having dinner, and can’t wait to bundle up in the blankets and not come out; and yet he was dragged out of the inn by Duan Bai Yue.

“Where are we going again?” asked Duan Yao.


“To be a guest. “ replied Duan Bai Yue.


“It’s actually to be a thief, right?” Duan Yao saw through him.


Duan Bai Yue brought him on to a roof of somebody’s house.


Duan Yao yawned extremely widely.


“Help me retrieve something. “ Duan Bai Yue said.


“Still using ‘retrieve’, it’s stealing then it’s stealing.” Duan Yao pouted, “What is it?”


“See the tower in front of us?” Duan Bai Yue said, “There’s a secret room on the topmost floor; I want that pearl.”


“Let’s confirm first, I will only steal just this one thing; I still want to spend the rest of the night sleeping.” Duan Yao patted the dust on his garment.


Duan Yue Bai nodded.


Duan Yao stood up and warmed up his wrists, and disappeared into the night.


Duan Bai Yue touched his chin, and silently followed after him.


The tower with the treasure was dilapidated, and is falling apart everywhere; Duan Yao was disgusted the moment he went in; by the time he painstakingly avoided the traps, and acquired the pearl in a cloud of dust, he was barely holding back venting his anger to his ancestors.


“Very good.” After going back, Duan Bai Yue is still waiting for him at the same place.

“Take it, here’s your stupid pearl.” Duan Yao threw it like he was throwing a cockroach. “It’s extremely dirty.”


“Do you know what this is?” Duan Bai Yue shook the box in his hand.


“How would I know, and I also don’t want to know.” Dua Yao pulled over his sleeves and cleaned his hands, “Let’s get going, let’s go back”


“That tower is called Jiu Xuan Ji.”(8) Duan Bai Yue continued speaking.


“I don’t care that it is Jiu...or...Jiu Xuan Ji?” Duan Yao’s eyes widened, “It’s a tower of deception?”


Duan Bai Yue nodded.


“That Jiu Xuan Ji, the one that’s full of secret traps that can kill people? That is this crumbling tower?” Duan Yao confirmed it once again, “So this pearl, it’s the rumoured Fen Xing?”


Duan Bai Yue nodded his head again.


Duan Yao took a deep breath, and irritated, asked: “Then why did you let me go?”


A lot of Jiang Hu heroes died in the tower; even metal helmets and armour were shot through. It’s no wonder when he went in just now, the entire building was full of skeletons.

 

Is there anything else more ridiculous?



Notes:
-  Northern desert territories refers to the areas around outer mongolia.
(1) A more literal translation of eastern general is 'east town general' (镇西将军). He is one of the 'four town generals'  (四镇将军) - important military positions in the past. Yes, there is also north, south and west town generals.
(2) 'Esteemed Li' is written as 李大人 (Li Da Ren) literally, 'Li Big Person'. Da Ren is used to address someone of higher standing/their superior. I'm not sure whether to leave it as da ren or not.
(3) 'Beloved official' is written 爱卿 (Ai Qing). It's a term to show that the emperor uses to address people beneath him, which is everyone. (During the Song dynasty it's used to refer to prostitutes though.)
(4) ‘Master’ is written as 师父 (shi fu) - the guy who took him in as a disciple.

(5) The rider would say this when they are getting the horse to start galloping.

(6) It’s written as ‘踏碎一路星光‘ which is confusing. I think 碎(sui, means broken) is supposed to be 随 (also sui, means along). Literal translation would be ‘step along a road of starlight’.

(7) Royal ‘we’.

(8) Jiu Xuan Ji (九玄机) , and also the chapter title, would be translated as 'nine profound traps'. I took the Ji (机) in this phrase to mean trap/mechanisms (机关) since traps were mentioned later on in the chapter.


Thanks for reading! Let me know if there's any mistakes.
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