Hunting for Beautiful Men, a Journey Through Time 狩猎美男之古旅 (Volume 1)
Chapter Eight: Niu Lang Host Club
Niu Lang host club—Turning Niu Lang’s house into a host club.
After applying the medicine to my eyes for an entire night, when I got up in the morning, although I can’t immediately see clearly, I could feel my eyes were much clearer and brighter than before. Due to me strongly objecting to the idea of laying blind on the bed during the day, Uncle Liu had no choice but to do as I have requested, and only applied medicine to one of my eyes during the day, thus giving me this ultra cool “Cyclops” image I have right now.
I took the two halves of the silk handkerchief I’ve washed and cleaned last night and headed straight for Xiao Niu Zi’s house. (Author: Having a bad image isn’t your fault, but having a bad image and leaving the house to scare people is your problem.) Xiao Niu Zi didn’t refuse to let me in like last time, instead, he delightedly let me into the house. See, I knew Xiao Niu Zi wasn’t a vain person that judges a book by its cover.
“Are your feet better?” I didn’t think he’d be inquiring about my health.
“Much better now, your medicine was very effective.” Even better if you can give me the whole bottle.
“Niu Lang, I’ve washed and cleaned the silk handkerchief, but I’m afraid you won’t be able to use it anymore. So if you don’t mind, can I keep it?”
Xiao Niu Zi bashfully nodded.
Don’t get me wrong, I won’t think of this torn silk handkerchief as a token of love, it’s all because I think the quality of this silk handkerchief’s really good and wanted to recycle waste material, put it to use and make a scented sachet. You’ve ripped it so evenly, saving me a lot of time when making the scented sachet, I only need to seal the four sides. Don’t you go and think that just because I’ve given you an origami as a token of gratitude, you can give me a torn silk handkerchief as a token of love, you won’t fool me unless you give me something real and substantial. You are smart, but I’m smarter than smart! What does it mean to look up to men and down on women? It means that when giving gifts to women, men should aim upwards and buy highly expensive gifts, while it’s fine for a woman to aim downwards and buy cheap gifts for men.
“Niu Lang, where’s the flower and stem for my Red Water Flower?”
“It’s Crimson Tear. I forgot to give it to you yesterday.” Then he handed them to me. He stored the flowers and stems separately and kept them in two small wooden chests.
“Also, yesterday I’ve said that I’ll write you a sign to name your house, go and get me some paper and ink.”
Seeing the troubled look on his face, I thought maybe he didn’t own any paper and ink. “If you don’t have any paper and ink, then I’ll go and borrow some from Uncle Liu.”
“No, it’s just that I don’t think there is a need to name my humble abode.” Oh, so you are looking down on my calligraphy skills eh? But he might be right, my writings in Chinese calligraphy were pretty ugly, not to mention writing in traditional Chinese. That’s right, I’ll just write in English! It’s not like he could understand it, so he won’t know if it’s good writing or bad writing.
“I’ll be writing in the ancient language of the gods.” The moment he heard me mention the ancient language of the gods, he pulled out a piece of high quality paper and white jade brush out of nowhere, along with an exquisite inkstone, and laid everything out on the table for me, while looking very serious.
Wow, dude! How much hidden treasures do you have? Judging by your dirty shack I wouldn’t have thought you owned so many expensive things. Looks like Xiao Niu Zi was very good at hiding his wealth.
I waited for him to make the ink, then pretended to be a master calligrapher, waved my hand around and wrote out “HOST CLUB”. (Author: Judging by your Cyclops look, you don’t look like a master calligrapher, more like a mountain bandit.)
Upon finishing, I was going to throw the brush with a flick of my hand like Li Bai, but seeing how it’s made of white jade, I was reluctant. I picked up the writing and examined it. Writing with one eye does look more abstract compared to writing with two eyes. I turned and handed it to Xiao Niu Zi, he carefully took it from me with both hands.
“What does it mean?”
“It means nightclub.”
“What does nightclub mean?”
“It’s like a pavilion or tower.”
“What kind of pavilion is it?”
“It’s kind of like a stargazing pavilion.” But instead you are watching “flowers”.
Xiao Niu Zi carefully ruminated over the two words in stargazing pavilion. He waited until the ink has dried and wanted to store the writing away, but I insisted that he put it up on the door outside. Xiao Niu Zi couldn’t convince me otherwise, so he unwillingly put “HOST CLUB” up on his door outside.
Once everything’s finished, I took the two wooden chests containing the flowers and poisonous stems and was ready to go home, because Uncle Liu said that I have to apply medicine to my eye every four hours during the day.
Before I left, Xiao Niu Zi looked like he was going to say something but stopped, then finally, he faltered and asked, “When will you go stargazing with me again?”
“Stargazing?” You still haven’t seen enough?
“Didn’t you say you were going to point out the Niu Lang and Zhi Nü constellation for me?” If he didn’t mention it I would have long forgotten it.
“Right now I have to apply medicine to my eyes at night, I’ll point it out for you when my eyes are better.” Then I escaped “the host club” as he reluctantly saw me off.
When I was about to reach home, I saw that far in the distance, Uncle Liu was already waiting for me in the yard. When he was changing the medicine for me, Uncle Liu told me that it’s a little inconvenient for me right now with my eye, and that it’s best if I don’t wander around too much. Could it be that Uncle Liu was about to take action these few days? And was reminding me not to wander around and lose my life by seeing what I’m not supposed to see? I hurried and nodded to say yes.
That night, I dreamed of Xiao Niu Zi and I starring in the classic Korean drama series “Endless Love”, but the one puking blood and dying in the end was him and not me.
Dream scenario one: Xiao Niu Zi and I walked over to the beach where we professed our love for each other, I hugged him from behind and rested my head on his broad back, my hands kept on stroking his chest and said lovingly, “Where did you hide your wallet?”
Dream scenario two: Xiao Niu Zi sat there holding a kitten, gently stroking its fur, while I stood there with an easel and carefully sketched away. Having sat there for too long and felt a little stiff, he shifted slightly, I immediately shouted, “Don’t move around, I’m almost done drawing the cat, you better hold it properly for me!” (I was only drawing the cat, not him!)
Dream scenario three: Lately his health was getting worse and worse, and was starting to throw up blood. He was afraid of making me worry and avoided telling me the truth, secretly hiding the blood stained silk handkerchiefs. Finally, I found out and asked him sadly, “Why didn’t you tell me? If you told me earlier, I would have given you something to throw up in, so you won’t have to waste so many handkerchiefs.”
Dream scenario four: He laid dying in my arms, I was overcome with sorrow and said, “You can rest in peace, Xiao Tiao Zi will carry the rice for our house from now on.” He had trouble breathing and gasped for air, then threw up blood and died.
Finally, this chapter’s finished! It mentioned Li Bai 李白 and made me think of one of my favourite poem by Lu You 陆游. It’s actually a pair of poems, one by Lu You and another by his cousin Tang Wan 唐琬, as a reply. Go check it out, it’s called 钗头凤. It has a wonderfully beautiful story —>LINK, search for “Phoenix Hairpin”, although it doesn’t have his cousin’s poem there and translated, which is a pity.
I hope you enjoy reading this short little chapter, I enjoy translating this book very much, it’s a really funny book! 🙂
As always, please like, comment, and follow if you’ve enjoyed reading!~ Ciao! ❤
1 There was a wordplay on the saying “重男轻女” which is the practice and belief of preferring boys and men over girls and women in China. Literally translating to “heavy men light women”, which you could pretty much understand its meaning. The author played on light and heavy and referred to the price of gifts men and women should give to each other. Also, 重男轻女 is a bullshit belief, if everyone gets their wish and has a boy then I’ll sit there happily watching BL/Yaoi unfold in China, and people importing brides at high prices from overseas. xD↩
2 One of the Four Treasures of the Study (文房四宝), the inkstone is a stone that one grinds the inkstick on, and holding the ink for writing. It can be plain or exquisitely carved with decorations. Check out the wiki here —>LINK or look at some pictures here —>LINK.↩
3 I’ve explained in the previous chapter why she was going to name it host club, here’s some information if you don’t know what a host club is —>LINK.↩
4 Li Bai or 李白 was an INSANELY famous poet born during the Tang Dynasty, known for his bold, unrestrained and heroic spirit, both in life and in his poetry. He loved drinking and lead a wandering lifestyle. He has numerous infamous poems that even small children could recite, he has a long poetry called 长恨歌, tell the love story between Emperor Xuanzong of Tang and Yang Gui Fei. Check him out here —>LINK.↩
5 You might not have heard of this if you are very young, since this drama is a little dated. But one of the dramas in the series was VERY VERY popular and you might have heard about it, I have even heard about it, despite not liking Korean dramas that much. Have you heard of Winter Sonata? Starring Bae Yong Joon? Yup, one of the four in the series. Although people in China are generally referring to Autumn in My Heart (the first of the series) when they are taking about the Korean drama 蓝色生死恋. Read more about it here —>LINK.↩
6 Xiao Tiao Zi 小条子 has an eunuch’s name, following the Xiao SOMETHING Zi pattern.↩