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Thread: Bai Ma Xiao Xi Feng

  1. #181
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    And as it looks, the end is near :-D

  2. #182
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    thanks junzi! hoping to read a new installment soon =)

  3. #183
    Senior Member junzi's Avatar
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    By this time, A’man had already helped her father up, and massaged the injury on his chest. Su Lu’ke and Su Pu picked up their sabers, and limped towards Waerlaqi.

    Waerlaqi said, “A’xiu, when I asked you to leave quickly just now, why didn’t you do so?” He spoke in Mandarin, and sounded exactly like her master Hua Hui. Instinctively, Li Wenxiu let slip, “Master!” Waerlaqi replied, “So you’ve finally acknowledged me.” He pulled off the white covering off his head slowly. It was indeed Hua Hui.

    Li Wenxiu was both shocked and upset. She rushed forward and knelt by his feet, crying, “Master, Master, I really did not know that it was you. At first I…… I guessed that it was you, but they said you were a Kazak called Waerlaqi, and you admitted it yourself.” Bitterly, Waerlaqi stated, “I am a Kazak; I am Waerlaqi!” Amazed, Li Wenxiu asked, “You’re…… you’re not a Han?” Waerlaqi replied, “I am a Kazak, my tribe exiled me and forbade me from ever returning. I went to the Central Plains where the Hans live, learnt the martial arts of the Hans, heh heh, and acknowledged Hans as my disciples. Ma Jiajun, how are you, how are you!” Ma Jiajun said, “Master, although I owe you a debt of gratitude, but……” Li Wenxiu was once again taken aback, “Grandfather Ji, you…… he…… he is also your master?” Ma Jiajun said, “Don’t call me Grandfather Ji. I am Ma Jiajun. He is my master, and taught me all I knew. We came to the Muslim Region together. One night he brought me to the Kazak area, and used poisoned needles to murder A’man’s mother……” He spoke in Mandarin. The more Li Wenxiu listened, the more amazed she felt. Using Kazak, she questioned A’man, “Your mother was murdered by his poisoned needles?” Before A’man could reply, Che Erku jumped up and cried, “Yes, yes. A’man’s mother, my dearest Yalixian; one night her whole body turned black, she contracted an illness and died. So it was you, Waerlaqi, you bad man, it was you who killed her!” He wanted to leap over and beat Waerlaqi up, but he was severely injured. A slight movement pained his chest immensely, so he sank to his feet once again.

    Waerlaqi said, “You are right. Yalixian was indeed killed by me. Who asked her to be blind enough to marry such a great bastard like you, and refuse to run away with me?” Che Erku yelled, “You evil man, you evil man!” Using Kazak, Ma Jiajun said, “He had originally wanted to kill Che Erku, but on this night, Che Erku was nowhere to be found. My master wanted to go and look for Che Erku himself and wanted me to poison the well, to kill everyone in the tribe. But we were staying the night in a Kazak house, and the owners treated us very well and ensured we wanted for nothing. I thought for a long time but could not bear to do the deed. When my master returned, he said that he had been unable to find Che Erku. He questioned me, and upon finding out that I had not poisoned the well, flew into a huge fury. He said that I would surely reveal his secrets, and wanted to silence me. He was so menacing that I struck first, and shot three poisoned needles at his back when he did not notice.” In a hateful voice, Waerlaqi said, “You ungrateful brat, you’ve finally fallen into my hands today.”

    To Li Wenxiu Ma Jiajun said, “A’xiu, that night when you fought with that bandit Chen Dahai, once you displayed your martial arts, I immediately knew that you had learnt them from my master, and that the three poisoned needles had not managed to kill him.” Waerlaqi sniffed, “Hmph, what you know is just child’s play, how can you kill me?” Ma Jiajun ignored him and said to Li Wenxiu, “For the past ten over years, I have been hiding in the Muslim Region where the Kazaks live, disguised as an old man, because I was afraid that my master had not died. This is the only place which he did not dare to return to. Once I realized that he was nearby, my first thought was to escape to the Central Plains.” Li Wenxiu noticed that his breathing was becoming weaker and weaker, and realized that after he had been kicked repeatedly by Waerlaqi, his internal organs had all ruptured, and was unlikely to survive. She turned to look at Waerlaqi. The dagger had been buried in his abdomen to the hilt, and he was unlikely to survive either. She had lived in the Muslim Region for a decade, and these were the only two people who had really taken care of and were concerned about her. But who knew that the two of them were entwined with vengeance, and finally ended up fighting and severely injuring each other. Eyes filling with tears, she asked Ma Jiajun, “Grand…… Uncle Ma, since you…… you knew that he had not died, and was in the vicinity, why did you not leave for the Central Plains immediately?” A bitter smile appeared at the corner of his lips. Softly he said, “The willows in Jiangnan have begun to sprout, A’xiu, you’ll have to go back by yourself; in future…… in future you must be careful, Grandfather Ji, Grandfather Ji won’t be able to take care of you anymore……” His voice got lower as he spoke, and there was finally no more sound.

    Li Wenxiu leapt onto his body, crying, “Grandfather Ji, Grandfather Ji, don’t die!” Ma Jiajun had died before answering her question, but she had realized the answer perfectly. Although Ma Jiajun was extremely, extremely afraid of his master, he did not escape to the Central Plains immediately, but he followed her to the labyrinth instead; as long as he continued to be disguised as an old man, Waerlaqi would have never recognized him, but he finally struck out and fought with the person he had feared the most. It was all for her! He had loved and protected her like a grandfather throughout these ten years although he was really a man in his prime. Was there another grandfather out there who treated his biological granddaughter as well? Perhaps there was, perhaps not; she did not know.
    Last edited by junzi; 06-25-08 at 12:23 PM.

  4. #184
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    The two torches lay on the ground; one had extinguished quite some time ago, and the other was rapidly burning out.

    Su Lu’ke suddenly said, “This is really weird; just now when the two Hans were fighting a Kazak, I sent over a punch without even thinking, and it landed on that Kazak’s face.” Li Wenxiu asked, “Why was that? Why did you suddenly help Hans fight Kazaks?” Su Lu’ke scratched his head and answered, “I don’t know.” After a while, he added, “You are a good person, he is a bad person!” He finally admitted: amongst the Hans, there are some bad people who become bandits, but there are good people like Hero Li (the man, who disguised as an old man, had refused to poison the well, so he’s a good person, right?); among the Kazaks were good people like himself, and bad people like Waerlaqi.

    Li Wenxiu thought, “If you had known this years ago, you wouldn’t have whipped Su Pu that badly, and everything would have been different. But would everything really have been different? Even if Su Pu was good friends with me when he was young, when he grows up and met A’man, he would have still fallen in love with her. The hearts of people are too puzzling; I don’t understand.” Su Lu’ke declared loudly, “Waerlaqi, I think you won’t live; we won’t have to kill you anymore, goodbye then!” Waerlaqi’s eyes suddenly gleamed with an evil light, and he raised his right arm. Li Wenxiu knew that he was about to fire poisoned needles, and cried out, “Master, don’t –” At this point, a spark exploded, and the last torch extinguished. The hall immediately plunged into darkness. Even if Waerlaqi wanted to harm people by firing the needles, he was unable to aim at his targets. Li Wenxiu called out, “All of you get out quickly and nobody make a sound.” Su Lu’ke, Su Pu, Che Erku and A’man supported each other and retreated quietly. Everyone knew that Waerlaqi’s poisoned needles were a force to be reckoned, so although he was on the brink of death, he remained able to fire needles to harm others. The four of them retreated from the hall, and saw that Li Wenxiu did not come out. Su Pu shouted, “Hero Li, Hero Li, come out quickly.” Li Wenxiu responded with a sound.

    Waerlaqi said, “A’xiu, are you…… you leaving too?” His voice was extremely miserable. Li Wenxiu felt immense pity, and although he had done many bad things, he had treated her very well. To let him wait for death in this darkness alone was really too cruel. So she sat down and said, “Master, I’ll accompany you here.” Su Pu called a few more times from outside. Li Wenxiu loudly answered, “All of you leave first; I’ll be out in a while.” Su Pu shouted, “This person is very evil, Hero Li, you must be careful now.” Li Wenxiu did not make further replies.

    A’man asked, “Why do you keep calling her Hero Li instead of Miss Li?” Amazed, Su Pu replied, “Miss Li, is she a woman?” A’man said, “Are you pretending to be ignorant or you really couldn’t tell?” Su Pu said, “Why should I pretend to be ignorant? His…… his martial arts are so good, how could he be a woman?” A’man answered, “That stormy night in old man Ji’s house, she won me as her slave, and later let me go. Then I knew she was a woman.” Su Pu clapped his hands, “Ah, that’s right. If she were a man, how could she bear to let such a beautiful slave like you go?” A’man flushed slightly, “Not like that. When I saw the look in her eyes as she looked at you, then I knew she was a girl. Which man in the world would look at you so intently!”

    Su Pu scratched his head, and smiled blithely, “I did not realize one bit.” A’man laughed joyously, and when she laughed she really resembled a flower. She knew that Su Pu’s eyes rested on her all the time, and even if there were a thousand girls looking intently at him, he would also not realize it.

  5. #185
    Senior Member junzi's Avatar
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    It was completely dark in the hall, and Li Wenxiu and Waerlaqi could not see each other. Li Wenxiu sat next to her master, and in the midst of unbounded loneliness, she heard Su Pu and A’man’s laughter and the footsteps of the four people fading into the distance. Only Li Wenxiu was left in the hall, accompanying Waerlaqi, who was on the brink of death, and ‘Grandfather Ji’s’ body.

    Waerlaqi asked, “When I asked you to leave just now, why didn’t you listen to me? If you had left…… Ai.” Li Wenxiu answered softly, “Master, you couldn’t have the one you loved and so you killed her. I couldn’t have the one I loved, but I could not bear to see him killed by someone else.” Waerlaqi laughed coldly, “No wonder.” After a moment’s silence, he sighed, “You Hans are really weird. There are ungrateful, master-harming bastards like Ma Jiajun, bandits who kill without blinking like Huo Yuanlong and Chen Dahai, and kind-hearted girls like you.”

    Li Wenxiu asked, “Master, what happened to that bandit Chen Dahai? We pursued him all the way, but saw two sets of footprints in the snow. Was the other set yours?” Waerlaqi replied, “That’s right, it was mine. After I was hit by the poisoned needles fired by this traitor Ma Jiajun, my body was extremely weak, and I spent more than a decade recovering in a cave. I thought my life was over, but I did not know that you would come and save me, and help me remove the needles. After I had recovered, I often went to the Kazak area in the middle of the night to check things out. I wanted to kill Che Erku, kill the tribal chief who had exiled me. But I did not poison the well just because of you. That stormy night, I was on guard outside your house. I saw you capture Chen Dahai and find the map of the Gao Chang Labyrinth. Once Chen Dahai escaped, I followed him, all the way to the labyrinth. I punched the back of his head, making him faint, and locked him the labyrinth. The previous afternoon, I took that handkerchief map from his bosom, and pulled out ten over threads, and replaced it in his bosom. I then blindfolded him, and tied him to the back of a horse, and chased it far far away.” Li Wenxiu could not have thought that such a ruthless person would have spared someone’s life, so she asked, “Why did you pull out the threads from the map?”

    Waerlaqi laughed dryly for a while, and looked extremely pleased with himself, “He did not know that I pulled out the threads. Once ten over threads are missing from the map, the labyrinth can no longer be found. This evil bandit would likely meet up with the others, and attempt to locate the labyrinth using the map. They are going to go round and round in the Great Gobi, and will never be able to return to the grasslands. These bandits are going to die of thirst in the desert, one by one. Until their deaths, they’ll still be thinking of finding the labyrinth and striking it rich. Haha, heh heh, interesting, interesting!” When she thought of the horrifying situation of a group of people, parched by heat, walking round in circles in a desert which had not a drop of water for miles, she could not help but gasp softly. Even though this gang of bandits had harmed her parents and were her sworn enemies, she could not help but feel upset at the punishment that had befallen them. If she had the chance to meet them, would she tell them: “This map is wrong?” She more than likely would. But Huo Yuanlong, Chen Dahai and the others would surely disbelieve her. They would surely be full of thoughts about striking it rich, going in big rounds in the desert, until they died of thirst, one by one. They would still believe that they were making their way towards the labyrinth, because Chen Dahai had been to the labyrinth personally, by following this map, so it could not be wrong. The labyrinth was filled with countless pearls and treasures; everyone said so, how could that be wrong? Waerlaqi laughed continuously, “Actually, there isn’t even a piece of gold the size of a finger in this labyrinth. All the items hidden inside this place are all widely available in the Central Plains. Tables, chairs, beds, canopies, many, many books, weiqi sets, seven-stringed qins, stoves, bowls and plates, pots…… there is everything but precious treasures. Where there are Han people, these items are all over the place, but these Hans are willing to sacrifice their lives to locate such things, heh heh, it’s completely laughable.”

    Li Wenxiu had entered the labyrinth twice, and had seen countless items of daily use. The air in the Muslim Regions was very dry, so although a long time had passed, all the items had not decomposed. She had walked all over the halls and rooms, but there were no treasures. She commented, “The myths people pass down are mostly untrustworthy; although this labyrinth is big, there are no treasures. Ai, even my father and mother sacrificed their lives needlessly for this.” Waerlaqi said, “I saw two stone plaques in the labyrinth, and on them were carved the story behind the building of this labyrinth. It was actually built during the reign of Tang Taizong.” Li Wenxiu did not know who Tang Taizong was, so Waerlaqi explained, in bits and pieces, how the labyrinth came into existence.
    Last edited by junzi; 07-06-08 at 09:47 AM.

  6. #186
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    Thanks for another great part of the story!

  7. #187
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    It turned out that this area was where the kingdom of Gao Chang was located during the Tang Dynasty.

    At that time, Gao Chang was a large country in the Western Region – rich in produce and mighty in power. During the reign of Tang Taizong, the king of Gao Chang was called Qu Wentai, who pledged allegiance to the Tang. The Tang sent envoys to Gao Chang, wanting them to adhere to Han customs. To the envoys Qu Wentai declared, “The eagle soars in the sky, the pheasant lies in the shrubs; the cat wanders the hall, the mouse chews in the nest. Each has its own place, so why can’t they live as they like?” What he meant was: “Although you may be fierce eagles flying in the sky, we are wild chickens hiding in the grass; although you are cats stalking the halls, we are tiny mice squeaking in our holes – and there is nothing you can do about it. We should each live our lives, why must we be forced to follow the rules and customs of you Han people?” When Tang Taizong heard this, he flew into a rage. Concluding that they were uncivilized and had rejected his beneficial influences, he sent his great general Hou Junji to invade them.

    Upon hearing this news, Qu Wentai told his officials, “The Great Tang is seven thousand li away from us. In the middle is an enormous desert of two thousand li, which is barren of both water and grass. With cold winds that cut and hot winds that burn, how can they send a massive army over? If they invade us, the more soldiers they have, the more food they’ll need. As long as their army numbers below thirty thousand, there is no need to fear. We don’t need to expend too much energy and just need to guard our capital city tightly. After twenty days, the Tang soldiers will have finished their supplies and should retreat accordingly.” He knew that the Tang army was formidable, and thus conceived of the plan to only defend and not attack. He also gathered a large group of people to build a labyrinth in an extremely secret location, so that they would have somewhere to hide just in case the city fell. At that time, Gao Chang was a prosperous and powerful nation, so many of the skilled craftsmen of the Western Region were gathered there. The labyrinth’s winding passages were completely fantastical in their construction, and many of the country’s rare treasures were hidden inside. Qu Wentai thought, “Even if the Tang army enters the labyrinth, they may not be able to find me.”

    Hou Junji had learnt the art of war from Li Jing, and was adept at military strategies. Brimming with confidence throughout the entire journey, his army swept through the great desert easily. When Qu Wentai learnt that the large Tang army was coming, he was so overcome by worry and apprehension that he did not know what to do, and thus died of fright. His son Qu Zhisheng succeeded him as king. Hou Junji led his troops and attacked their way to the capital city. There were a series of successive battles, and the Gao Chang army suffered great losses each time. The Tang had a type of tall carriage, ten zhang in height, which was specially used for attacking cities. As this weapon was high up like a bird’s nest, it was called the “nest carriage”. The nest carriages were pushed next to the city, and the soldiers standing on top had a good vantage point from which to hurl rocks and shoot arrows. The Gao Chang army found it difficult to fight back. Before Qu Zhisheng could escape into the labyrinth, the capital fell, and he was forced to surrender. The kingdom of Gao Chang, which had been founded by Qu Jia and then gone through nine successors, lasted for one hundred and thirty-four years, before meeting its demise in the fourteenth year of Tang Taizong’s reign.

    Hou Junji captured Ju Zhisheng, his entourage of officials and great heroes, and brought them back to Chang’an. In addition, he had also taken all the treasures in the labyrinth. Tang Taizong stated that Gao Chang had resisted sinicization, and did not understand the goodness of the cultural relics and attire from a superior country. Thus, he bestowed large amounts of books, clothes, utensils, music instruments and other items on the kingdom. But in private, the Gao Chang people commented, “Wild chickens cannot fly like eagles, and tiny mice cannot meow like cats. No matter how good you Han people’s things are, we Gao Chang savages will not like them.” So they took all the items that Tang Taizong had sent, which included books, relics, numerous utensils and statues of Buddha, Confucius and Taishang Laojun, and placed them in the labyrinth without a second glance.

    Over a thousand years, the shifting sands of the desert and the abundant growth of trees had made this secret ancient labyrinth even more obscure. Without a map, nobody would be able to find it. The Kazakhs who currently lived in the area were completely unrelated to the Gao Chang people of antiquity.

    During the time he spent in the Central Plains, Waerlaqi had learnt both the literary and martial arts. He had read Han books widely, and was thus well versed in Tang Dynasty historical incidents. Although Li Wenxiu was of Han origin, she was ignorant of such topics, and felt no interest in learning more. Hearing Waerlaqi’s breathing grow weaker, she said, “Master, you’d better rest and not talk any more. This Han emperor was really meddlesome. Just let other people live the way they want, why force it? Ai, you are often unable to get what you truly like in your heart. As for what others insist on giving you – even if it is very very good, if I do not like it, no matter what, I will still not like it.”
    Last edited by junzi; 03-22-16 at 04:41 AM.

  8. #188
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    Waerlaqi whispered, “A’xiu, I…… I am very lonely. Nobody has ever spent so much time talking to me. Are you willing…… willing to stay with me?” Li Wenxiu reassured, “Master, I will stay with you here.” Waerlaqi answered, “I am going to die soon. After I am gone, you will leave, and never return again.” Overcome by deep grief and desolation, Li Wenxiu could not find the right words to reply. Gently, she held her master’s left hand with her right, and sensed it growing colder and colder.

    Waerlaqi continued, “I want you to stay here with me forever, and never leave my side……” As he spoke, he slowly raised his right hand. Clasped between his thumb and forefinger were two poisoned needles. He thought, “Once these two needles give you a little prick, you will stay in the labyrinth with me forever and never leave me again.” Softly he said, “A’xiu, you are both pretty and gentle, and a really good girl. Stay with me forever. I have been very lonely all my life, no one ever bothered about me…… A’xiu, you are very obedient, a very good child……”

    The two poisoned needles gradually moved closer and closer to Li Wenxiu. But in the darkness, she saw nothing.

    Waerlaqi thought, “My hand has no more energy left, so I have to prick her slowly. If I am fast and she gives me a push, I won’t be able to prick her anymore.” The needles edged towards her cheek – merely two chi away, then only one chi away……
      
    Li Wenxiu, thoroughly oblivious to the fact that the needles were no more than seven or eight inches from her, queried, “Master, was A’man’s mother very beautiful?”

    Waerlaqi’s heart gave a sudden shake, and he replied, “A’man’s mother…… Yalixian……” Suddenly all the energy in his body evaporated entirely. His right hand sank, and he never regained the strength to raise it ever again.

    Li Wenxiu affirmed, “Master, you’ve always treated me very well. I will remember you forever.”
    Last edited by junzi; 03-22-16 at 01:45 PM.

  9. #189
    Senior Member LuDongBin's Avatar
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    A fitting end after such a long time. Thks junzi.

  10. #190
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    Gosh, an 8 year break, and then completion? That is dedication for you. Well done!

  11. #191
    Senior Member junzi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuDongBin View Post
    A fitting end after such a long time. Thks junzi.
    Quote Originally Posted by CFT View Post
    Gosh, an 8 year break, and then completion? That is dedication for you. Well done!
    Haha, thanks guys for reading! I decided that this would be the year I completed my translation. Made it a new year's resolution. One final instalment to go!

  12. #192
    Senior Member junzi's Avatar
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    Somewhere in the desert, a young maiden was riding a white horse, ambling eastwards in the direction of Yumen Pass.

    She was meditating upon the final words she had exchanged with the Kazakhs at their time of parting.

    Su Lu’ke had urged, “Miss Li, please don’t go, you can live here with us. We have fine young men, and will pick the most outstanding one to be your husband. We will give you many cows, many goats, and build the best tent for you.”

    Li Wenxiu had blushed and shook her head.

    Then Su Lu’ke had said, “You may be Han, but that does not matter, for there are good people even among Hans. Can Hans marry Kazakhs?” Scratching his head, he continued, “Let’s go seek the advice of Elder Habolamu.”

    Habolamu was highly knowledgeable about the Quran, and the most intelligent and most erudite elder in the tribe.

    He had bowed his head and contemplated deeply for a while, before commenting, “I am a humble person who is ignorant of everything.”

    Su Lu’ke had replied, “If the most learned Habolamu also admits ignorance, then the others will be even more so.” Habolamu then explained, “The forty-ninth chapter of the Quran says: ‘O mankind, surely We have created you from a male and a female, and made you tribes and families that you may know each other. With Allah, the noblest of you is the kindest of you.’ All the different tribes and families on earth were created by Allah. He only says that the kindest ones are the noblest. And the fourth chapter of the Quran says: ‘Be good to the near neighbour and the distant neighbour, the companion at your side, treat the traveller warmly.’ The Hans are our distant neighbours, if they do not infringe upon us, we should be good to them and treat them warmly.”

    Su Lu’ke had expressed, “What you said is very right. Can our daughters marry Hans? Can our young men marry Han girls?” Habolamu continued, “In the second chapter of the Book, the two hundred and twenty-first verse says: ‘Do not marry idolatresses until they embrace faith. And do not marry your daughters to idolaters until they embrace faith.’ Finally, in the fourth chapter of the Book, the twenty-third verse strictly prohibits marriage to women with husbands and also to direct relations. Apart from these, everything else is lawful. If it is all right to marry servants and slaves, why not the Hans?”

    As Habolamu was quoting lines from the Quran, all the Kazakhs had stood by respectfully and listened attentively. The scriptures managed to help them solve their difficulty. Enlightened, everyone declared, “What Prophet Muhammad instructs can never be wrong.” Someone praised the elder for his wisdom: “If we encounter any problems, we need only to consult Habolamu, and he will always be able to advise us appropriately.”

    But no matter how brilliant, how learned Habolamu was, there was one puzzle he would never be able to decipher, because even the all-encompassing Quran contained no answer: if the person you loved deeply, deeply loved someone else, was there anything that could be done?

    The white horse took her, step by step, back to the Central Plains. It had aged by then, and could only move slowly, although they would eventually reach their destination. In Jiangnan, there would be willows, peach blossoms, swallows and goldfish…… And among the Hans there would be no lack of brave and handsome youths, or elegant and unrestrained ones…… But this lovely maiden was as stubborn as the ancient Gao Changs: “That is all very very good, but it is just not to my liking.”

  13. #193
    Senior Member junzi's Avatar
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    And with that, my translation is done. 13 years in the making!

    I hope you have enjoyed reading this story. In particular, if you were there in the beginning, thank you for staying until the end.

  14. #194
    Senior Member LuDongBin's Avatar
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    Thks junzi for finishing it.

  15. #195
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    I have not visited this forum for over 10 years, and am pleasantly surprised to see all these completely translated stories. I sincerely thank all the translators and especially junzi for all the hard work put in. Without all of you, non-Chinese readers such as myself will have to settle for tv series or movies for their interpretations.

    Once again, a big thank you. :-)

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