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Wen Rui'an Short Stories
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Thread: Wen Rui'an Short Stories

  1. #1
    Senior Member whiteskwirl's Avatar
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    Default Wen Rui'an Short Stories

    I am going to post the few Wen Rui'an (溫瑞安) short stories I translated for my old wuxia forum that has since shut down. I translated three stories or so. It will take me a bit to dig them all up.

    Index

    Brother, Lend Me Your Head
    Cheat
    Are You Dead Yet?
    Arrogant and Prejudiced Sword*



    *working title, may change
    Last edited by whiteskwirl; 01-26-14 at 01:47 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member whiteskwirl's Avatar
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    Default Brother, Lend Me Your Head (老哥,借頭一用)

    Brother, Lend Me Your Head


    by Wen Rui'an

    trans. by JohnD


    When he woke, the water in the stream beside him was still red, his lips pale white like the belly of a dead fish.

    This was already the seventh time.

    He wanted to kill that great evil of the martial grove, that evil person among the rivers and lakes, "Evil Consumes the World" Jin Jiujian, but there had been many barriers to get past: "The Unstoppable" (Jin Jiujian's treasured only daughter Jin Pozhu1, whose martial arts was excellent, and who charged into battle like an irresistible force), "Two Startled Stones" (Jin Jiujian's two sworn younger brothers, who were masters of "Stone Startling Magic"), "Three Possessed Demons" (Jin Jiujian's three personal guards, nicknamed "The Three Demon-Possessed Monsters"), "Four Spirits" (Jin Jiujian's four disciples, each skilled in the four strange skills: "Spirits Can't Guard Their Minds", "Divine Light Separates and Returns", "Spirits Appear and Ghosts Vanish", and "Spirit and Soul Lost Their Way"). There's no way a person can get past them.

    In order to kill the degenerate head of the "Hidden Sect" Jin Jiujian, he first had to get through, one by one, "The Unstoppable", "Two Startled Stones", the "Three Possessed Demons", and the "Four Spirits". Only then could he get revenge on the supreme master who killed his father and exterminated his clan.

    Song Xiaoqian had already tried seven times.

    Seven times without success.

    He had also been wounded seven times--seven times on the brink of death; but he hadn't died, purely by luck.

    This time he had survived, but it made Song Xiaoqian come to a revelation: Since he couldn't kill his archenemy, it would be better to convert an enemy into a friend.

    Song Xiaoqian had this change of heart, but his older brother Song Hushan was unaware of it.

    Song Hushan still wanted to kill Jin Jiujian in order to avenge his father.

    Song Hushan and Song Xiaoqian arranged to kill Jin Jiujian, but Song Hushan's martial arts skills were better, and he first wounded "Four Spirits", and attacked "Three Demon-Possessed Monsters", and was locked in combat with the "Two Startled Stones" when Song Xiaoqian approached him from behind and with one stroke of his sabre cut off his older brother's head, muttering something all the while.

    Jin Jiujian was surprised, and when he asked the reason, learned that Song Xiaoqian had joined them, killing his brother to show where his allegiances lay. Jin Jiujian felt he was sincere, and so admitted him to the sect, though with caution. In the next five years, Song Xiaoqian performed many feats and achieved much distinction for Jin Jiujian's "Hidden Sect", and he won the heart of Jin Pozhu, and he also earned Jin Jiujian's trust. After he and Jin Pozhu married, Jin Jiujian gradually entrusted most of the important work in the "Hidden Sect" to Song Xiaoqian. Meanwhile, everyone asked him what he was saying when he had "put righteousness before family" and killed his elder brother. Song Xiaoqian just smiled and said nothing.

    Later, Song Xiaoqian sent the "Four Spirits" on ahead on some errand and had them ambushed and killed. Then, he set up a plan to force the "Three Demon-Possessed Monsters" to leave, and then planted seeds of distrust towards the "Two Startled Stones" in Jin Jiujian's head, making him think they were going to mutiny, and used that as a pretext to have them killed. Finally, he drove Jin Pozhu mad and had her secretly imprisoned. Then, he arranged an appropriate night and exchanged the sword Jin Jiujian always wore at his waist. Then, when he and Jin Jiujian were drinking one day, he drew his sword.

    Because of the anesthetic placed in the wine, Jin Jiujian was incapable of dodging, and Song Xiaoqian with one stroke chopped off his arm. Jin Jiujian went to draw his sword, but was surprised to find it wasn't his sword, and Song Xiaoqian again brandished his sword and cut off the other arm.

    "You...!" Jin Jiujian gasped. "How can you do this to me?"

    "For justice, for revenge, I wouldn't hesistate to do anything to get rid of a great villain! Do you know what I said that day when I cut off my brother's head?" Song Xiaoqian, hatred filling his chest, said, "I told him: 'Brother, lend me your head! Without your head I won't be able to hack off that dog head of Jin Jiujian!'"

    "Oh, so it's all for justice! You say I am a villain. I trusted you, and you treat me like this! I've done evil all my life, but it's all nothing compared to your diabolical tricks!" Jin Jiujian smiled bitterly. "In the end, who is the evil one? Aren't you afraid that someone will avenge me?"



    Notes:

    [1] Her name is Jin Pozhu. Pozhu (破竹) also means "unstoppable", or "irresistible force", hence her nickname.'

  3. #3
    Senior Member whiteskwirl's Avatar
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    Default Cheat (詐)

    Cheat


    by Wen Rui'an

    trans. by JohnD



    Liang Jia leaned on his sword, guarding He Lihuo's coffin.

    "Lowlife" martial arts expert "Hate-Transmitting Shooting Sword" He Lihuo and "Tranquility Gate" hitman "Meteor Butterfly Sabre" Liang Jia had a deep hatred for each other. They had fouight fiercely for a long time already, and all along the two had been evenly matched, each with his own strengths and weaknesses. In forty years they had dueled fifty-three times with neither side emerging the victor. They fought until they both realized that neither would be able to defeat the other, that if they continued to fight, it would always end in a draw. So, they decided to make peace with each other and stop fighting.

    Because they had been opponenets for so long, they really understood each other. Once they stopped fighting, they changed from enemies to friends, and became close friends and really admired each other. They became aligned together, and grew closerm fighting aligning themselves against a common enemy and helping each other out when needed. They became sworn brothers.

    In fact, often enemies have a lot of strong points that you fear and respect, and you loathe your enemy's shortcomings. But once your enemy has become your friend, his strong points are a benefit, and his weaknesses become lovable characteristics.

    Now, He Lihuo and Liang Jia were already too old, not as strong and able-bodied as they had once been, yet they had teamed up to resist an enemy; two fighting together is better than one.

    "I really regret fighting with you for so many years. I went half my life without such a great friend!"

    "If we had become friends sooner, then we wouldn't have been roused into practicing and improving our martials arts abilities so we could defeat each other."

    "My only regret is we never settled who was the better between us!"

    "And that's why the martial fraternity is in turmoil, and there is more bloodshed in the rivers and lakes."

    "It's also why we fought in vain for forty years."

    "So, I never wanted to know the answer!"

    After saying this they both roared with laughter and drank and sang boisterously until late in the night.

    Soon after, "Hate-Transmitting Shooting Star Sword" He Lihuo received a challenge from the three brothers "Hatchet Clan" Yu Zhong, Yu Yong, and Yu Mei. In the letter they demanded that He Lihuo hand over his "Shooting Star Sword Skill Manual" or else he would be killed without mercy. He Lihuo immediately informed Liang Jia, only then learning that Liang Jia had been injured while fighting the "Spirit Spear" Sun Family's "Heaven-Sustaining Spear" Sun Taida, and he had not yet recovered from his serious injury, so He Lihuo was left to take on the "Yu Family Three Heroes, Ten Tails and Nine Fiends" by himself.

    The outcome was violent beyond comparison.

    The Yu brothers were fierce and cruel, their martial arts skills outstanding. He Lihuo managed to wound all three and force a retreat, but he was bloodied all over in the process, and by the time Liang Jia and his other disciples and close friends arrived, he was already on the verge of death. Just before he died, he told Liang Jia:

    "Promise me one thing."

    "Go ahead."

    "After I die, the Yu family will certainly come to desecrate my corpse in order to get the sword skill manual. If you can protect my body until it's buried, I already told my son Bo'er to give you the 'Shooting Star Sword Skill Manual'".

    After saying this, He Lihuo died.

    Liang Jia didn't wait for He Lihuo's body to be buried--he only waited for He Lihuo to be put in a coffin, and the He family and friends had dispersed, and then he began questioning He Lihuo's son He Bo'er, "Where is the "Shooting Star Sword Skill Manual" hidden?"

    Of course, He Bo'er didn't answer.

    But, he was no match for his father's mortal enemy.

    So, he was beaten until he was hovering between life and death.

    "I'll talk...the sword skill manual is hidden in the coffin...under father's body..."

    Liang Jia, too impatient to wait, hurried to go open the coffin.

    But the three Yu brothers chose that same time to launch an attack.

    Liang Jia fought back. He used his sword to defend the coffin, never retreating, never yielding, fighting to the death.

    Yu Zhong, Yu Yong, and Yu Mei still had their wounds from before, and they were not Liang Jia's enemy, so seeing that the situation was bad, they promptly retreated.

    But, Liang Jia was also wounded; his injuries were not light.

    Gasping for breath and dripping blood, he hurriedly opened the coffin, and with one hand searched around underneath the body looking for the sword skill manual. Suddenly, the dead man opened his eyes and smiled at him.

    Then, a sword stabbed him between the eyes.

    Of course, a dead man can't smile.

    And can't draw a sword.

    And really can't open his mouth and say words like this:

    "I'm not dead. I was just waiting for you to open the coffin to receive my sword. Since we've already fought for forty years, how can we say 'stop fighting' and then stop fighting? Today, I'm the winner."

    He didn't know if Liang Jia heard his words before he died.

    But, the three Yu brothers who had pretended to leave, but were actually hiding, waiting for an opportunity to strike, heard it loud and clear.

  4. #4
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    Thank you very much! Always liked your short story translations!

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    Quote Originally Posted by WesY2K View Post
    Thank you very much! Always liked your short story translations!
    Thanks! I've been rearing to start a long translation project on here but just ain't convinced myself to do it yet.

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    Thanks, whiteskwirl.

    Just noticed that the two short stories were about enemies who became friends then one killed the other in the end.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayariyin View Post
    Thanks, whiteskwirl.

    Just noticed that the two short stories were about enemies who became friends then one killed the other in the end.
    That's true. I didn't realize that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by whiteskwirl View Post
    Thanks! I've been rearing to start a long translation project on here but just ain't convinced myself to do it yet.
    Well, you could always stick to the short stories. There are enough to last a long time. Ni Kuang has a whole ouevre of Wuxia short stories to last for years (including many stories on which Shaw Bros movies are based afaik).

    Or you could tell yourself that 13 chapters of a book are 13 short stories :-)

  9. #9
    Senior Member whiteskwirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WesY2K View Post
    Well, you could always stick to the short stories. There are enough to last a long time. Ni Kuang has a whole ouevre of Wuxia short stories to last for years (including many stories on which Shaw Bros movies are based afaik).

    Or you could tell yourself that 13 chapters of a book are 13 short stories :-)
    Actually I'm interested in getting into Yun Zhongyue's (雲中岳) work. I have a few of his books, and I have read some about him, and it seems he is well-known forhis use of history in his novels, specifically the Ming dynasty. Wuxia scholars Lin Baochun (林保淳) and Ye Hongsheng (葉洪生) said in there book on Taiwan Wuxia history that Yun Zhongyue's novel 《八荒龍蛇》is a classic example of history mixed with wuxia. They even made the claim that:

    說一句大膽的老實話, 金庸的[歷史武俠化]與之相比, 亦不免顯得淺薄!

    which translates basically as: "I would even be so bold to say that comparing Jin Yong's use of history in wuxia with Yun Zhongyue, Jin Yong's cannot avoid seeming superficial/meager!"

    That statement along with other stuff I have read as well as the plot of the novel itself makes me lean towards 《八荒龍蛇》as a good project to take up. But it is a long novel, so I'm still on the fence a bit. In the time it would take me to translate it, I could read probably two dozen other wuxia novels myself. On the other hand, it would be nice to get some fresh air into the English wuxia translation world. Jin Yong and Gu Long are stale and musty by now. We need something new to invigorate discussion.

    I have even thought of doing it in the form of a bi-weekly or monthly wuxia fanzine in which I release the translation in serial form that way. If I can get one or two more translators with me to translate other works, it could be a nice little magazine. But all mere thoughts in my head at the moment.
    Last edited by whiteskwirl; 01-28-14 at 11:11 PM.

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