Care for another translation, people? This one is by Faerie Queene of the JY forum. I got her permission to post this so here it is. However, don't expect daily updates. She'll keep translating this book till the story's over, but she's too busy to update it on a daily basis.
Queenie's analysis of the story and the author.
Translation of LYS's Legend of the White Haired Maiden
Yu Luo Sha was once asked why she didn¡¯t disguise herself as a man in order to keep a low profile during one of her journeys. But she laughed and replied that she wanted to bring glory to all those who wear dresses, therefore did not want to dress up as a man. That is undoubtedly the reason why I decided to translate Liang Yu Sheng¡¯s ¡°Bai Fa Mo Nu Zhuan¡± or ¡°The Legend of the White Haired Maiden.¡± Like Yu Luo Sha (and I believe, also like Liang Yu Sheng), I hope to bring glory to female characters in Wuxia and give readers an opportunity to enjoy a female character that is so strong and colourful, she overshadows everyone else including the male characters. Unlike the typical beauty in wuxia, Yu Luo Sa does not need protection or help from anybody else. Nor is she a sweet, pacified or innocent little girl. While being noble and heroic, she is also wild and vicious, beautiful and terrifying. To top it all off, she is a female bandit who is extremely well trained in martial arts, but not at all very well trained in the literary arts. To put it simply, Yu Luo Sha is definitely very different.
However, I don¡¯t want to make it sound like ¡°Bai Fa¡± is chick-wuxia. It just happens to be centred around a strong female lead, but that doesn¡¯t mean that it¡¯s centred around sappy romance plotlines. That is another important point to keep in mind about the story. The television serials and movies always emphasizes the romance plotlines of the novel, always playing up the tragedy of Yu Luo Sha and Zhou Yi Hang¡¯s romance. Perhaps LYS himself had originally intended to elaborate more on the tragically-romantic themes as alluded to in the poem that begins the story. But Zhou Yi Hang fails miserably as a male lead (and believe me, I intend to retain every ounce of his nerdiness in my translation) and the novel is not about the romance between Yu Luo Sha and Zhou Yi Hang. But rather, as the very title suggests, it is about the legend of a woman: her story, her legend, but also most importantly, her tragedy.
It should also be understood that ¡°Bai Fa¡± is not some kind of angry male-bashing feminist novel either, although there are a great number of very engaging females in the novel and an alarming number of pathetic men as well. But writing about strong and noble females is characteristic of LYS¡¯s stories and ¡°Bai Fa¡± is undoubtedly a story which privileges and supports feministic issues that bears a sophistication which is well ahead of Liang¡¯s era. Furthermore, there are very engaging men in the novel as well, such as the very admirable Yu Ming Ke, the impressive Wang Zhao Xi, the very adorable Bai Min and the very likeable Tie Fei Long. Furthermore, this novel is a pretty good place to start in terms of LYS¡¯s ¡°Tian Shan¡± series. LYS wrote about the history and outcome of this sect in 22 out of his 35 novels, allowing for much inter-textual referencing and links, further allowing the characters to become more three-dimensional and the stories to be more authentic, as if there really was such a history of heroes in the past. Although ¡°Bai Fa¡¯s¡± Yue Ming Ke perhaps technically cannot be considered as the founder of the ¡°Tian Shan¡± sect, but he was the person who officially established the sect¡¯s eminence and therefore is considered as the founder of the sect.
For me personally, this novel was particularly special because of Yu Luo Sha¡¯s character ¨C which was different and particularly colourful even when compared to the LYS¡¯s other strong female characters. However, that is not to say that the novel is flawless or that it is LYS¡¯s best work. It is definitely a very good work ¨C incredibly sophisticated in many aspects and very entertaining as well. It is definitely one of his most famous works. However, there are many problems with certain plotlines and pacing, especially near the bottom half of the story. I personally think that the story could have benefited had he excised about 4 or 5 chapters. Therefore I don¡¯t plan to do a full translation of every chapter. The chapters or parts of chapters that I decide to not translate will be instead detailed in point-form notes. If I am ever lucky enough to finish the story, I¡¯ll go back to fill in the missing parts. But at this time, I will only translate the parts that I feel would be the most engaging for others to read. Hopefully this way, I can make it to the end.
Lastly, I would like to make a note about the title of my translation. The common translated title of the book is ¡°The Legend of the White Haired Maiden¡± (or as T.V serials and movies would translate in hopes of playing up the romance element: ¡°Romance of the White Haired Maiden¡± or ¡°The Bride with White Hair¡±). But I feel that none of these titles can truly capture the themes of the novel. Firstly, the title ¡°Legend of the White Haired Maiden¡± leaves out the word ¡°Mo¡± (demonic) which exists in the original Chinese title. This is particularly important as ¡°Bai Fa¡± is in large part a tragedy about the character Yu Luo Sha. It is important to recognize the stigmatism that she receives and to tease out the irony in such labels as ¡°good¡± and ¡°evil.¡± As Liang points out in his introductory poem: Who is really the demonic one? He asks the readers to judge for themselves. Therefore, in my translation, I¡¯ve opted for the title ¡°Legend of the White Haired Demoness¡± in order to remain closer to the novel¡¯s original title and intent.
I hope you will enjoy this novel as much as I did. Perhaps you will fall in love with the characters as I did, and hopefully Yu Luo Sha can be as memorable a character for you, as it was for me. You perhaps may not even like somebody such as Yu Luo Sha very much (and in all honesty, she is a very flawed person), but I¡¯m sure that you can¡¯t deny the fact that she is as Wang Zhao Xi says, ¡°an extraordinary woman
Legend of the White Hair Demoness translated by faerie queene
Chapter 1: METAL ARROW, DIVINE BOW
YOUTH ASSISTING WEALTHY GOVERNMENTAL OFFICIAL
GOLD SADDLE, NOBLE HORSE
GREAT BAMDOT SHAKES UP MASQUERADE
A solitary sword emerges from the West, amongst thousands of adjacent crags, the demonic shadow roams freely; they say that the mirror of clarity reflects not the stand, the Bodhi is achieved not by the tree(1) , the conclusion arises from the heart, how is one to judge? Those who are demonic are not so? Those who are not demonic are indeed so? Let time be the judge! Let us now digress, and converse about the young and the heroic, while we are gathered together here.
Amongst tumultuous wars of leaden clouds and thunderous storms, exquisite elegance springs forth from the wintry frost. Pity the beauty of an era, a cloud of white hair hanging above her youthful face, still the sole vow that lasts a century does not yet disappoint the hearts promise. The short shovel cultivates the flower, while long poems accompanies the wine. Memories of poems and swords are renewed by the mind year after year. On the summit of Tian Shan, watching the dance of dragons and serpents(2) appear under the pen, the ink is tossed towards the Southern Seas.
(Written under the form of Qin Yuan Chun(3) )
It was a chilly autumn during the ninth month of the lunar year. Over the Northern grass plains trekked an assembly of people and their horses. They travailed along the undulating roads of the Dai Ba mountains near the Chuan-Shaan(4) border. A few robust and steely looking martial art fighters were leading the crowd. In the midst of the crowd was a mule carriage with an open front. Looking through the open front and inside the carriage, a gentleman who looked to be approaching his sixties can be observed. He was draped with a leather cape and possessed a manner that is both elegant and poised. A youngster with brows shaped like swords and eyes as fierce as a tiger rode on top of a tall horse that was trotting beside the mule carriage. The charms tied to his sword emanating noises as they clanged against the sword sheath.
The gentleman sitting within the carriage was the currently retired Supreme Commander of Yun Nan and Gui Zhou Provinces(5). His name was Zhou Zhong Lian and even though he resided in a high governmental position, his character was as his name would suggest still relatively honest and scrupulous. Yet the common saying phrases it well, Three years residing in the scrupulous office reaps tens of thousands in gold and silver. Besides, Zhou was the Supreme Commander, he need not be a particularly avaricious corruptor and already the discounts given to him on his daily expenses and the presents delivered to him by his attendants will naturally amount to substantial proportions. Therefore even though he has already resigned his position to return to his native homeland, he had to hire a number of famous escorts to protect him along the way.
However, the youngster with the pronounced eyebrows and fierce eyes was not a bodyguard. His participation in this trip was a result of something else. Zhou Zhong Lian originated from Northern-Shaan(6) area and was borne of a wealthy family that had served the government for generations. Yet although the Zhou family was abundant in their wealth, they were not abundant in successors and many generations of their lineage were succeeded by only one male descendant. Zhou Zhong Lian had only one son and one grandson. His son was named Zhou Ji Xian, and he worked as a governmental official within the imperial city, residing in the position of the Vice-Minister of the Department of Revenue. Zhou Zhong Lians grandson Zhou Yi Hang had accompanied his father to the imperial capital from a very young age. By now, he should be around eighteen or nineteen years of age. Zhou Yi Hang has always been a very intelligent kid, far excelling his peers and hence his grandfather particularly misses him. Thus when he retired his position to return home, he simultaneously sent a letter to his son asking him to also send Zhou Yi Hang back to his ancestral home. Never would he have guessed that not only did his grandson not arrive, but instead a Geng Shao Nan would come in his place bearing with him a letter from Zhous son. The letter said that Zhous grandson was currently in the midst of his studies, preparing to write his exams and therefore could not return with his grandfather at present. This Geng Shao Nan was his grandsons classmate and was well versed in martial arts. Coincidently, he also had something to attend to in Shaan Xi area, therefore Zhou Ji Xian asked Zhou Zhong Lian to kindly bring him along with him, benefiting both sides in the process.
When Zhou Zhong Lian engaged in casual conversation with Geng Shao Nan, he discovered that he was not at all well versed or well acquainted with the literary arts. Zhou thought to himself that a scholar who practices martial arts is unlikely to be very skilled. Thus he silently mused to himself that this Geng Shao Nan must be one of those youngsters who are of average potential, unable to excel in his studies and yet also failing to excel in his sword skills. But surprisingly, the famous escorts that Zhou had hired for the trip treated this youngster with supreme respect and courtesy, leaving Zhou Zhong Lian in a state of puzzled mystification.
It was the forty-third year of the Ming Emperor Wan Lis(7) reign and the Manchurians were uprising in the Northeast sphere, often invading into the country. Shen Zong (8) had already increased the amount of military support(9), a total sum that was now approaching more than half of what the annual taxes yielded and a sum that was being completely sustained by the farmers taxes. Furthermore, upon the emancipated soil of the Northwest plains, the inhabitants were burdened by poverty and bandits ran rampant. Therefore even though Zhou Zong Lian already had a crowd of famous bodyguards as well as his own trusted troops accompanying him on this trip, he couldnt help but be in a constant state of fear and paranoia.
That day they had just past through the Ba Yu Pass when suddenly a pair of extremely fast horses trampled by them. The countenance of the bodyguards who were leading the crowd all underwent a change of colour.
In a flash, Geng Shao Nan had already rushed to the front with his horse asking in a soft voice, What is it? The old head escort replied, It was the Xi Chuan Twin Terrors. Geng Shao Nan acknowledges, Oh, so its the Pang brothers. Theyve spent a few years time on their iron-palms, we should be on our guards.
The Twin Terrors pair of swift horses rushed past the crowd without even looking back. The old head escort said, It doesnt look like theyre preparing to commit a crime. Geng Shao Nan smiled and pulled on his reins to halt his horse, waiting as the mule coach approached, and said to Zhou Zhong Lian in an offhanded manner, Please be at ease old master. There is nothing to be alarmed of. It was merely two small crooks. After a while, behind them approached three more riders with rapid horses, kicking up clouds of dust as they soared past the Zhou crowd without even batting an eye at the trunks of luggage belonging to the Zhou family. The old escort wondered, Why would all 3 faction-leaders of the Dragon-gate clan all take action simultaneously? Can it be that within the Underground world(10) , there arose some kind of emergency or important incident? Geng Shao Nan said arrogantly, Who cares about the so-called Underground world? If they dare to approach us and stir trouble, I need not budge the weapon in my hand as just this single arrow(11) is already enough to send them crawling back to where they came from. The various bodyguards all grudgingly mumbled amongst each other while continuing to heap words of exaltation upon Geng Shao Nan. However, Zhou Zhong Lian observing Geng Shao Nans arrogant demeanour became secretly very displeased as he thought to himself this youngster was simply too conceited.
The group continued their journey towards the west, and by the time the sun was starting to set they have almost arrived near the Qiang Ling towns Qi Pan Pass. The mountain passageways were narrow and cramped as the Qi Pan Pass was Chuan-Shaans hazardous area. It reclines against the mountains and faces the river, the two cliffs reaching heights of over 1000 feet(12). Below, the river currents were constrained by the walls of the mountain crags as it is compressed into a fast rapid that spans a width of about 50 or 60 feet. Once the rapids gushes out of the valley, its force resembles the galloping stampede of a million horses, and its spray becomes a misty haze of vapour. Once the crowd of people exited out of the mountains entrance, they saw that slowly trotting about half a mile in front of them was a white horse. The person sitting on top of the horse was dressed in white, which when contrasting against the whiteness of the horse further accentuates his elegant serenity. Zhou Zhong Lian remarks, That person looks liked a scholar. He seems to be travelling by himself that is much too dangerous. Why dont we run forward and offer to have him join us? Geng Shao Nan shook his head, when suddenly the sounds of bell chimes rang crisply in the air as a horde of six or seven fast horses came rushing up from behind them, speeding past Zhous vehicle. The youngster walking ahead on the white horse had almost arrived at the opening of the mountains narrow entrance. The old escort said with alarm, Hey! Quick! Get out of the way! Theyre going to crash into you! However, before he could finish his words, another huge gust of dirt and dust erupted from the mountain entranceway as another crowd of about 10 or so strong horses were rushing towards Zhou Zhong Lians direction. The two crowds of horses were both stampeding towards the youngster who was being flanked in the middle. There was no doubt that they were going to be crashing into each other. Zhou Zhong Lian opened his mouth to scream although no sound could come out, when suddenly the youngster also gave out a loud shout and the white horse jumped up high into the air. With the speed of a shooting comet, the youngster and his horse actually leapt over a fast rapid that spanned fifty or sixty feet, flying over the face of the river to land on the adjacent valley facing them. The riding skills of the two groups of horsemen were indeed extremely excellent as in the midst of their fast galloping, they suddenly halted their horses with force. The two groups of horsemen then mingled together to form one group and turned the heads of their horses around to block off the entranceway of the mountain.
Geng Shao Nan charged forward on his horse and brought his hands together to form a fist, addressing the man, Id like to ask you fellows to please step out of our way. The man with a very long and lustrous beard shouts back, And why should we move out of your way? A corrupt officials dishonest money should be made available to anyone. Geng Shao Nan replies, But he is not a corrupt official. Another ruffian shouts, For us to move out of your way is not a problem. Just leave behind the trunks and you can go! Geng Shao Nan did not even bother with uttering a single word in reply but instead brought the metal bow down from his back and shot out a succession of bullets, shooting down the people who came forward. The man with the lustrous beard just released a loud laugh. Geng Shao Nan exchanged the bullets for allows, and with a loud whoosh, shot an arrow towards the bandits black flag, snapping the handle into two pieces. Seeing this, the man with the long beard underwent a change of colour. He immediately charged forward a few dozen feet and shouted loudly, Do you know what the rules of the Underground world are? Geng Shao Nan did not reply and instead starts to shoot his bullets with the speed of a shooting star, and with the force of ice pellets they were hurtled towards the direction of the man.
The man with the beautiful beard moved with the speed of the soaring wind as he took out a thick copper sabre and started waving it around, blocking and deflecting the fleeting bullets that were speeding towards him, causing the bullets to ricochet off the blade and bounce off into all directions as if it was raining a storm of bullets. Geng Shao Nan gradually accelerated the speed of which he fired his bullets, as each bullet flashed by at a speed swifter than the last. The man with the beard was finding himself to be in an increasingly disadvantageous situation as he was gradually becoming inept at warding off the bullets. Amongst the crowd of bandits was a man with thick eyebrows and big eyes who sarcastically shouted, Now allow us to return the favour! as he also took out an arrow and discharged a few crossballs of blue flames, shooting them towards Geng Shao Nan in a crisscross fashion. Geng Shao Nan had only a solitary bow which could not be use for two purposes, thus even though he was able to strike down the Blazing Serpent Arrow flying towards him, he was unable to impede the arrows from impacting upon the luggage of the Zhou family. A poom sound could be heard as the thick sackcloth bag that was lying on top of the vehicle actually caught on fire and a cluster of silver nuggets came pouring out as the bag tore open. The man with the long beard shook his head and surprisingly, a look of disappointment came over his face. Geng Shao Nan executed his divine shooting skill called the Hurricane from Eight Directions where the bullets were catapulted at such an intense and tight speed that they were like a string of pearls, arriving one after another. Eventually, the man with the beard was unable to withstand the bullets anymore and a popping sound was heard as a bullet impacted against a joint on his left hand. Moving with the speed of a shooting star, the man stepped out of the circle of fighters and suddenly forming his fists in an act of reverence he said, Wu tang sects divine shooting skills is most definitely a remarkable skill. My brothers and I were blind, please forgive us for daring to be a nuisance to you. The man who fired the Blazing Serpent Arrow jumped up onto his horse and loudly exclaimed, Please give our regards to Priest Purple Sun, and please tell him that the Fire-Spirit Monkey and Mountain-Roaming Tiger thanks elder him for not killing us many years ago. After saying this, he gave out a whistle and his companions picked up their wounded members and then retreated out of the valley.
Geng Shao Nan put down his arrow and released a loud laugh when suddenly somebody said from behind him, A very excellent shooting skill indeed! Geng Shao Nan whipped his head around and discovered with surprise that it was the youngster with the white horse who had addressed him. During the chaos of the fight, nobody had noticed exactly when the youngster had jumped from the adjacent valley back to this valley. Geng Shao Nan replied, Its mere childs play. Im afraid it will only be the laughing stock of the elite class. The youngster with the white horse laughed and said, Elite? I am no elite class. Luckily this horse of mine can still be of some use, otherwise it would have been impossible for me to escape the danger. Zhou Zhong Lian got off the horse cart and took a long and careful better look at the youngster. He noticed that there was no luggage whatsoever on his horse and the youngsters manner of speech indicates that he has been well educated. From head to toe, this youngster very obviously looks the part of a young scholar. Therefore, Zhou asked, May I ask whether you are engaged in an educational retreat? Please allow me to utter a word of caution though in these times travelling long distances is much too risky. The youngster bowed and replied, Elder, I am a student from the Yan-An City(13), currently I am hastening home to take my examinations. Please forgive me for being rude, but may I ask how I should address elder you? Zhou Zhong Lian smiles slightly and told him his name. Alarmed, the youngster exclaims, Elder Zhou?! But you are the revered inhabitant of our town! Please excuse my poor manners! The youngster then revealed to Zhou his name it was Wang Zhao Xi.
The two fell into easy conversation, getting along very well. Wang Zhao Xi then says, Since I am travelling alone by myself, I was hoping elder you would be so kind as to allow me to trail along with your party, under your guardianship. Geng Shao Nan quickly winked his eyes at Zhou a few times, but Zhou Zhong Lian was old and had a compassionate heart thus he immediately replied, Travelling together can in no way cause any detriment to us, you need not express any gratitude. Geng Shao Nan said coldly, I find it strange for you to be riding such a powerful steed considering the fact that you are a scholar. Thats really quite remarkable. Wang Zhao Xi replied, This horse is of Turkestan breed and is named Radiating Lion of the Night and even though it is tough and sturdy, yet it is still relatively gentle. The Northwest area was famous for their powerful horses and it is well known that even the common inhabitant is infused with great riding skills. Therefore although Zhou Zhong Lian felt this horse to be extraordinary to the point of disbelief, yet he nevertheless did not question nor suspect anything.
All throughout the trip, the group of famous escorts that were hired by the Zhou family had stayed close to the mule coach, guarding over it. But at this time, they suddenly gathered around Geng Shao Nan and waited until Zhou Zhong Lian finished his words before they started bowing down to Geng Shao Nan. The old head escort was particularly respectful as he kneels down on one knee and gave a bow of respect before saying, Please forgive this useless old man for being so blind. I had already guessed that Hero Geng you are a grand master, but I never knew that Hero Geng you are actually a prized disciple of the Wu Tang sect. Hero Geng, will you be so kind as to allow this old bag of useless bones to treat you a meal? Hearing the old escorts words, Zhou Zhong Lian was baffled.
Geng Shao Nan smiles and helped the old head escort up on his feet before saying, Its all my fault. I started the fight and since the fight has been started, I might as well finish it. My mission on this trip is not to escort the trunks, I just wanted to do a favour for a friend and to help him I would gladly run the risk of having knives pierce both sides of my chest. Old escort, theres no need for alarm. Upon hearing this, Zhou Zhong Lian became even more perplexed.
Geng Shao Nan was not a scholar. He was actually a second-generation disciple of the Wu Tang Sect. The Wu Tang sects status of power was immense and they were analogous to the big dipper of the martial arts world. The head master of the Wu Tang sect was the Taoist Priest Zi Yang (Purple Sun). He has four apprentice brothers: Taoist Priest Huang Ye (Yellow Leaf), Priest Bai Shi (White Stone), Priest Hong Yun (Red Cloud), and Qing Suo (Green Palm). As a group, they were known as the Five Elders of Wu Tang, and the disciples under their sect reaches hundreds in numbers. Geng Shao Nan was the head disciple of Taoist Priest White Stone, and among the second-generation disciples he was an outstanding figure.
The man with the lustrous beard who had just blocked their way and started a fight with them was called Zhou Tong, also known as Mountain-Roaming Tiger. The man with the bushy eyebrows and big eyes was known as Fire-Spirit Monkey, his real name was Zhu Bao Chun. They were both bandits of the Chuan-Shaan area, and in terms of martial arts, they were above the likes of the Xi Chuan Twin Terrors. The Wu Tang sect was famed for being the divine centre of the martial arts world, therefore the sect established two rules: one being that all disciples must not become thieves or robbers. The second rule being that all disciples should not become escorts or bodyguards. Geng Shao Nan was a Wu Tang disciple, and a Wu Tang disciple escorting a big official with their luggage is not something that is commonly seen. The old head escort showered Geng Shao Nan with such praises because he was first of all afraid that the Fire Spirit Monkey and this group would come back to seek revenge and secondly, he was not sure what Geng Shao Nans purpose for coming on this trip was.
It was only at this moment that Zhou Zhong Lian realized this Geng Shao Nan was a skilled martial artist. He couldnt understand why his grandson would make acquaintances with such an unusual person, so he could only express his gratitude to him once again. Geng Shao Nans face clearly expressed his pleasure and satisfaction at hearing these words and this attitude towards Zhou Zhong Lian was somewhat haughty and arrogant. While Zhou Zhong Lian continued to inquire about Gengs relationship with his grandson, Geng would only change the topic or laugh, ignoring Zhous questions.
The white horse youngster Wang Zhao Xi was extremely quiet and reserved, but during the journey he was very respectful and courteous towards Zhou Zhong Lian and Geng Shao Nan. After two days, they had just past Qiang Ning and were approaching the Yang Ping Pass. All along the journey, there consistently appeared suspicious looking people appearing in crowds, horseback, as well as mule coaches. With just a glance and the old head escort knew that these were secret scouts from the underground world that were being sent over to keep an eye on them. Therefore during the last two days the escorts were all particularly fretful and anxious, yet luckily nothing happened. After they had passed the Yang-Ping Pass, those suspicious looking people suddenly disappeared without a trace. That night as they arrived in Dai An Yi, Zhou Zhong Lian said, Tomorrow after we pass Ding Jun Mountain, the road ahead of us will be levelled and smooth. Hearing this, the escorts all breathed a sigh of relief yet Geng Shao Nan became particularly uneasy, a completely different attitude compared to the cool composure and nonchalance that he bore throughout the journey.