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Thread: The Date by Huang Yi

  1. #1
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    Apr 2009

    Default The Date by Huang Yi

    I realize this isn’t wuxia, but it was written by Huang Yi, one of the greatest active wuxia novelists, and I find it very interesting.

    December 18th, 1989

    11:30 AM

    There was a rain shower that day. A light drizzle engulfed the campus in mist.
    I was in a lecture hall in the language arts department, having just finished a lecture on “love in literature.”
    A group of enthusiastic students surrounded me, asking questions and continuing the discussion.
    They were young, and did not realize that most things in the world could not be defined and did not follow laws. Some were just views and opinions.
    As I smiled, answering the questions of a student, another student called from outside.
    “Professor Ma! You have guests.”
    I was shocked.
    Why would I have guests?
    I walked out of the classroom. The student who informed me of the guests passed me.
    She had an unsettling look on her face.
    “Professor,” she whispered. “Your friends are very strange.”
    I did not realize what she meant then, but I did when I walked out of the classroom.
    I’m not someone who’s easily scared, but those three guests almost made me jump.

    Chapter One

    Guests from Far Away

    The three tall men wore identical dark grey suits. The material was new, but the style was that of long ago.
    And the tailoring was very poor. The suits were much too wide.
    Making them look ridiculous.
    But their expressions were not to be ridiculed. They did not display any emotions. Their faces were as cold as the suits they wore.
    Even when I appeared before them, their emotions remained unchanged.
    The three tall strangers stood in two rows. One stood in the front. The other two stood in the back.
    “Mr. Jiaxi Ma?” asked the stranger in front. “The great author, Mr. Jiaxi Ma?”
    His voice was frightening cold.
    His pronunciation was strained. Like that of a foreigner only starting to learn our language.
    But they looked as if they were Chinese.
    “I am Jiaxi Ma,” I replied, after a long pause. “But I am not a great author.”
    The menacing gazes of the three strangers fell on my face, scanning.
    I felt very uncomfortable and stepped back, holding out my arms.
    “Tell me who you are,” I said. “And what you want with me. If you don’t, I have other things to attend to.”
    “Hand over ‘688’,” commanded the stranger in front emotionlessly.
    I was greatly puzzled.
    The stranger in front turned back to a stranger standing in the second row, quickly uttering a few strange phrases.
    I was a language arts professor, and was fluent in seven languages.
    But the language they spoke was completely foreign.
    “Simeng! (this roughly translates to dreaming or thinking about dreams)” said one of the strangers, as if hit by a revelation. “ ‘688’ is also known as Simeng!”
    I was starting to lose my patience by then. The queer language that the strangers spoke sent a shiver down my spine.
    “You must be looking for someone else,” I said politely. “I’m sorry but I must leave.”
    Simeng, I thought.
    What a strange name.
    The two strangers standing in the second row simultaneously reached their hands into their pockets. Their cold eyes shined like those of birds.
    I was alarmed, afraid that they might kill me.
    The stranger in the first row held his right hand, stopping his two comrades. He also stopped me from leaving.
    “688 . . .” he said. “I mean Simeng . . . Simeng is the protagonist of Mr. Jiaxi Ma’s novel. How can Mr. Jiaxi Ma not know who Simeng is?
    I’ve always noticed that the strangers’ speech was strained, but only then did I notice that they never used pronouns, always referring to people only by their names. Like how a human calls a dog’s name.
    I felt cold, and as I turned around, I was met with the sweet sound of a woman.
    “Jiaxi! Are you with friends?”
    The tree strangers cautiously stared at my back.
    It was Professor Aifu from the sociology department. We were supposed to have lunch together.
    After apologizing briefly to the three strangers, I ran off with Aifu. They continued to stare at my back, sending bitter shivers down my spine.
    I was not a cowardly man, but their stare made me feel as if I was inside a freezer.
    “Who are they?” asked Aifu. “They look so creepy.”
    I shook my head.
    “I don’t know.”
    I’ve never written a novel.
    Nevertheless, even if I were to write a novel, I would never name my protagonist something as artificial as Simeng.
    Even as I ate lunch with Aifu, I still felt deeply disturbed.
    I sensed an omen, but I had no idea what it exactly was.

  2. #2
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    Jan 2005


    How many chapters will this be? Or is it a shortstory? Never heard of it...

  3. #3
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    Apr 2009


    Quote Originally Posted by WesY2K View Post
    How many chapters will this be? Or is it a shortstory? Never heard of it...
    It's a short story. About eighteen pages.

    And yes, it is fairly obscure, but can be found in various internet compilations of Huang Yi's works.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Han Solo's Avatar
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    Sep 2002


    Thank you for the translation.

    Would be refreshing to see a short Huang Yi story for a change.

    Han Solo

    Quote Originally Posted by bliss
    I think they're probably at the same level as or one level below Ah Qing, which is about the level of a 2nd or 3rd generation Quan Zhen disciple.
    Troll Control

  5. #5
    Senior Member efflix's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
    New Jersey


    thanks PTA! this looks fascinating - am looking forward to finding out who these people are!

  6. #6
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    Apr 2009



    Thanks for being patient!

    Chapter Two

    The Mysterious Woman

    Aifu was very enthusiastic that day, endlessly analyzing a rmance novel she had recently read.
    After leaving the cafeteria, we walked toward the main building, stopping at an intersection.
    Across the road stood a tall, thin woman, staring at us.
    She was more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.
    She wore a yellow dress that flapped with the wind.
    The woman continued to stare at us. By then, I really wanted to hear her speak. Just to hear what it was like.
    Even as we walked past her, she still stood there. Her gaze continued to follow us.
    I felt compelled to look back and my gaze met hers. I felt an uneasy feeling but I continued my stroll with Aifu.
    The most striking characteristic of the woman was not her beauty but her cold emotionless face.
    Even as we turned away, I still kept her image in my mind.
    She didn’t follow us.
    I was a little disappointed.
    Why did she stare at me like that? Her fiery eyes made me quiver.
    “Who is she?” asked Aifu. “Why did she look at you like that, and not at least wave?”
    “I don’t recognize her,” I replied. “Is she a student?”
    “No!” said Aifu. “A student as beautiful as her would be discussed by everyone.
    Although she looks as if she’s no more than twenty one or twenty two, her eyes seem to hide deep secrets. I feel that she is much older.”
    Aifu’s feeling made me realize something. Aifu was right. Her eyes concealed something. They concealed many years of life.
    Those hidden secrets and her young outward appearance made her very appealing.
    “Dingguo from the physics department invited me to a concert,” said Aifu as we stood before the building. “Do you want to come with us?”
    “No. I’m afraid not, “ I said as I turned around. “Have fun!”
    I left Aifu behind. She was disappointed.
    Many people thought I was lonely and condescending. They thought that I enjoyed sealing myself up in my own little world.
    I’ve never felt love for anyone before. Not until I met that strange woman.
    After the afternoon class ended, I immediately went to the intersection where I had met her.
    I didn’t want to believe it but I wanted to see her again and ask her for an explanation.
    After reading in the library for a while, I ate supper and went home around eight o’clock.
    Just as I entered my room, the phone rang.
    “Hello,” I said. “Who is it?”
    All I could hear was heavy panting.
    “Who are you looking for?”
    “No! No!”
    It was a woman’s voice.
    Her strange accent shocked me. It was like the speech of those strangers that approached me that morning.
    “Pardon me, miss,” I said. “Who are you looking for?”
    “Is . . . she there?”
    Her voice was very strained. Like that of a foreigner.
    “I’m alone here,” I replied. “Who exactly are you looking for?”
    She gasped in relief.
    “I’m looking for you, Jiaxi,” she said. “How could you forget?”
    Her words were very sincere, but I was utterly confused. I had no idea what she was talking about.
    Was she mentally unstable?
    “I’m sorry,” I said patiently. “No one should be looking for me. I'm not expecting anyone. I don’t know who you are and I don’t understand what you’re saying.”
    The woman paused for a long time.
    “Is it possible that I’m wrong?” she said. “Maybe everything you wrote is false. If so, then why does everything match . . .”
    “What did I write!” I said suddenly. “Please tell me who you are.”
    The woman sighed deeply.
    “I am Simeng,” she said slowly and gently. “Have you really forgotten about that book?”
    My entire body shook so fiercely that I almost fell onto the ground.
    The three strangers that I encountered earlier mentioned Simeng.
    I was still curious as to what type of person could come with such an artificial name.
    Even when I opened my mouth, I could not speak.
    “Please,” she said weakly. “Please . . . I want to meet you. I’ll wait for you at the park downtown. Don’t let them follow you! They’ll be looking for you . . .”

    The woman hung up the phone.

  7. #7
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    Jan 2005


    All I can say is: MORE, MORE, MORE!

    Good translation! Waiting for the next part!

  8. #8
    Junior Member Anok Cukai's Avatar
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    Dec 2008


    Thanks for the translations.
    Please keep up the good works.
    "Beau non fidele en fidele non beau"

    d'enfant fiscale

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Middle Earth (NZ)


    its a pretty good start :-)


  10. #10
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    Apr 2009


    Chapter Three
    An Old Tattered Book
    It was 9:30 when I arrived at the park. I was extremely wary of being followed but found no suspicious vehicles on my way there.
    I felt incredibly silly for coming to the park. Wouldn’t it have been safer to hide at home?
    But I was driven by curiosity.
    I wanted to meet Simeng, and understand why she would be searching for me, a completely insignificant stranger.
    Only after I stepped inside the park did I realize how large it was. I laughed at myself as I thought about how utterly impossible it was to find someone whom I’ve never met.
    I walked around for ten minutes before I finally decided to return home.
    But as I turned, I saw her.
    The beautiful her, hidden by the dark shadow of a tree.
    I could not see her face, but the special aura that surrounded her clearly identified her as the woman I met on the road.
    I quickened my pace, almost running to her, stopping when I was within three feet of her.
    At that moment, I realized just how much I longed to see her again. I even stepped out of my way to meet a complete stranger just because I thought I had a chance of meeting her again.
    Her bright eyes shined like crystals, and contained a rush of powerful emotions.
    But her face was still ice cold, little more than a mask holding back the emotional waves.
    “Simeng,” I said, when I found the courage to end the silence.
    The woman nodded. Her cherry-like lips nervously opened. Her beautiful face displayed emotion for the first time, invoking love.
    “What is going on?” I asked, spreading my arms.
    She lowered her head, but raised her hands.
    A box made of a strange wood-like substance sat in her hands.
    I reached to take the box. My confused eyes scanned her body.
    “Look!” she said, lifting her head. “Open the box in my hands.”
    A very old book sat at the bottom of the box. The cover was rendered colorless by time.
    Large print spelled out “The Date” on the middle of the cover.
    Small letters on the lower left corner spelled out “by Ma Jiaxi”
    Those small letters cast a spell over me, making me speechless.
    My god!
    When did I ever write a book like this?
    I looked at the small letters on the novel that I never wrote. My hands started shaking.
    “This is a romance novel of the twentieth century that sold over a million copies,” said Simeng. “It is the literary legacy of Ma Jiaxi. Forty reprints occurred between 1990 and 2000.”
    Her speech was much more fluent than before, as if she became accustomed to our language.
    My mind was a complete mess by then. I did not take in all that she said, and did not notice the date.
    It was 9:45, December 28th, 1989.
    Why was she speaking of next year and eleven years from now as if she were a fortuneteller?
    The book before my eyes, however, was very real.
    As I was familiar with artifacts, I knew that it was not a hoax.
    It was a book. And I wrote it.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Han Solo's Avatar
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    Sep 2002


    More time travel tale from Huang Yi.

    Thanks for the translation.

    Han Solo

    Quote Originally Posted by bliss
    I think they're probably at the same level as or one level below Ah Qing, which is about the level of a 2nd or 3rd generation Quan Zhen disciple.
    Troll Control

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