Hell King Sect Series/Yan Wang Sect Series 阎王门系列
Red Bean Lyrics 红豆词 Chapter 1
By: Jue Ming 决明
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What does “drunken chaos” mean?
Well, he is a bloody good example of it.
First time getting drunk he beat up his sworn brothers to a pulp.
Second time getting drunk he completely demolished his own house.
But these recorded incidents weren’t really that big of a deal. That is until this most recent time, when he got drunk and laid his fingers on the one precious little treasure that he watched grow up in front of him!
*sigh* since the “rice” is “cooked” and the deed cannot be undone. He could only take it like a champ and face the “pedophilia” accusations.
Turning familial affection into romance, he’s pouring all his love into doting on and spoiling his little wife.
He thought he had a whole lifetime to spend with her in sweet embrace. But cruel fate stood in the way, waiting to tear lovers away from each other ….
Snow fell on Bianjing, slowly yet unceasingly colouring the city streets with a shade of pure white. Looking outside, several playful children were having snowball fights on the streets. Laughter and thin puffs of mist escaped their rosy lips as they rolled around in the snow, shouting and giggling.
Inside the tavern’s second floor private room, a tall, thin, and elegant figure sat near the window. His porcelain cheeks leaning idly against his right hand, and his thin upward tilted eyes were full of smile as he took in the scene of joy and harmony before him. Beneath his seemingly laid-back and cheerful appearance as he enjoys the winter scenery, hides his cold and ridiculing looks at human society.
He held out his left hand to catch the ever-falling snow, as soon as the pure white crystals touched his palm, they were reduced to a puddle of icy water by the warmth of his body.
“That tiny bit of water won’t wash the stench of blood off of you, Bai Yun.” An icy cold voice of indifference callously broke the air of elegance the beautiful man tried hard to create.
The man being referred to as Bai Yun smirked, not angry because of the indifferent ridicule, but rather, self-deprecatingly said to the black-clad man who had just spoken, “Big Brother, even Yang Gui Fei’s Hua Qing Pool won’t be able to cleanse me of this stench. But so what? In any case, I’m not even the stinkiest out of the four of us.”
And with that, his beautiful, shrewd eyes glanced over at the three other men seated at the table. The man with a full face of curly beard sniffed his armpits in all seriousness, then grinned and said, “It’s not me either.”
It’s not that bad, aside from the stench of sweat, it’s just his own unique Shi Yan Guan man musk. Bai Yun patted Shi Yan Guan on the back teasingly, he always knew of Shi Yan Guan’s careless inattentiveness, but never knew he’d be this slow.
“Number Four, the stench of blood can’t be sniffed out like that. Look.” He opened his hand and showed Shi Yan Guan his palm.
The puzzled Shi Yan Guan repeatedly studied the lines on his palm, then finally said after a long period of silence, “Number Two, I guess it’s true what they say, calamity lasts centuries ….”
“Who said I was asking you to read my palm?” Bai Yun didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. He pulled his hand away, then jokingly asked, “What do you see from my palms?”
“A pair of soft and delicate hands, even better than some women’s.”
Shi Yan Guan answered half-mockingly. It’s not that he likes to make a big fuss about Bai Yun’s outer appearance, but it’s simply a sin for a man to have looks more beautiful than that of most women! Had he not seen Bai Yun naked before, he’d most definitely be suspicious of Bai Yun’s true gender.
Bai Yun’s eyes drooped slightly, he opened his hand and studied his palm, a cold, sneering grin slowly crept up his face.
“Soft and delicate?”
But what he himself saw was each and every life he’d ever taken, attaching themselves to his flesh as painful cries of irrefutable evidence, along with the obtrusive and mocking bright red blood stains.
No matter how quickly he cleansed his palms of the viscous crimson liquid, its sickening stench always stayed with him, lingering.
“That’s right, this pair of seemingly delicate hands showed no mercy when it’s holding a sword.” Out of the four of them, the one that looked the most like a simple and honest countryman, Number Three Niu Geng Jie opened his mouth and spoke.
“Number Two, let’s have another match next time.” The outspoken Shi Yan Guan has been quick to propose yet another duel. This is now his sixth time challenging Bai Yun to a fight, the previous five times all ended in crushing defeats. Bai Yun did not immediately react to Shi Yan Guan’s provocation, but simply turned his head towards the man dressed in black and suggested, “If Number Four fails again this time, then let’s demote him to Hell King Sect’s errand boy.”
The black-clothed man’s expression remained unchanged, but the corner of his mouth raised ever so slightly, with an air of implied consent. “I feel bad for you Number Four.” Niu Geng Jie gave Shi Yan Guan a look of pity, without trying the slightest to spare his feelings.
“Humph! Who said that I was gonna lose for sure?” Shi Yan Guan ignored the fact that his sworn brothers had absolutely no confidence in him, he had just recently created another set of fist routine, and needed someone to try his moves out on.
The server’s brisk footsteps interrupted the conversation between the four men. The food is served!”
The server was quickly setting the table with wine cups for the guests, when a warmly smiling Bai Yun handed him back one of the wine cups, “Three is enough.”
“Number Two still can’t touch any alcohol.” Shi Yan Guan shook his head and sighed. All of his sworn brothers could drink like a fish and hold their liquor, except for Number Two, who never touches a drop.
“It only takes a small sip to alter Number Two’s personality completely, it’s best that he doesn’t have any.” The hair on the back of Niu Geng Jie’s neck stands up whenever he thinks about “the incident” two years ago, when he and Shi Yan Guan got Bai Yun drunk. So he hurried to gesture no with his hand.
“Don’t worry Number Three, I haven’t touched any alcohol for years, and I’ve almost forgotten all about ’the incident’. Go ahead and drink your wine.” Bai Yun smiled and stuffed a wine cup in his hand.
“Sir, if you won’t be drinking then shall I brew a pot of strong tea for you to warm up? Our specialty here is the flower scented tea.” The server asked courteously.
“Isn’t today the Winter Solstice Festival? Have you guys prepared any red bean tangyuan?” Bai Yun asked. “Number Two, that stuff’s for the girlies!” Shi Yan Guan blurted out, forgetting the fact that he himself also has quite the sweet tooth. “That’s fine, you can pretend that I am one of the girlies, you already make fun of me pretty often for it anyway. Server, bring up two bowls of red bean tangyuan.” Bai Yun explained with a grin.
“Hell King Sect’s ‘Civil Judge’ is referring to himself as one of the girlies …. Number One, you should go and give him a talking-to.” Shi Yan Guan turned to complain to the man in black.
“You’re the ‘Martial Judge’ and you’re telling on me, is that any better?” Bai Yun bickered with Shi Yan Guan as he poured wine for his other brothers, his eyes glancing astutely around the area.
Fortunately it wasn’t lunch hour, there were only a few scattered customers in the entire tavern, this allowed the quick-tongued Number Four to yell out the name of Hell King Sect without gaining too much attention.
Hell King Sect, an extremely well-known organization of assassins in the Jianghu Community, as long as the person employing their services can pay the bill, they will make the kill regardless of who the target is. Good or evil, they are all objects to be terminated.
With the Hell King as their leader, assisted by the Civil and Martial Judges, along with the Black and White Impermanence, they lead various ghoulish underlings like the fearsome demons from the depth of hell, striking fear into people’s hearts, reaping people of their souls. And often at the same time they slit the throats of their preys, they also arrogantly leave behind on the bloody corpse the Hell King’s Order. “If the Hell King wants you dead at the third watch, you won’t live to hear the fifth watch!” Declaring the Hell King’s supremacy over all.
The most headache worthy thing for the officials was the fact that the Hell King Sect was not only efficient, but fast as well. Their lightning speed leaves no clues for the officials to find. While another reason that allows them to elude capture exists among the imperial court officials. Within their ranks are individuals that have relied on the Hell King Sect’s help to rid them of their enemies. That’s why if there were to be an actual investigation, there would be a long list of individuals involved, and the officials cannot afford to offend any members of the royal family. Therefore, it’s no wonder that the Hell King Sect’s influence is growing stronger and stronger.
But at the moment, no one could have guessed that the fearsome heads of the Hell King Sect are currently gathered in Bianjing’s most popular tavern, drinking and chatting in broad daylight.
“Quiet. Are you two afraid people wouldn’t know that the Hell King Sect’s ‘Hell King’, ‘Civil and Martial Judges’ and ‘Black Impermanence’ are sitting here eating sunflower seeds?” Niu Geng Jie whispered a quiet warning as the server approached them carrying two bowls of red bean tangyuan.
Shi Yan Guan and Bai Yun stopped their bickering in a timely manner, the former did so realizing the rashness of his actions, while the latter stopped because his attention was drawn to a tiny white object outside the window, not far from where they were.
“Here comes your order! Piping hot red bean tangyuan is served!” The server gleefully declared. He placed the tangyuan in front of Bai Yun, then saw that Bai Yun was staring out into the distance absentmindedly, so he followed his gaze and saw what he was staring at.
A little girl about three or four years old was sitting by the corner of a column, a flimsy and tattered fur coat was wrapped around her thin and fragile frame. Her stiff and frozen fingers were placed in front of her tiny mouth, trying to warm her constantly shaking body with the puff of air she was exhaling. Her eyes were dull and blank, like an abandoned puppy, waiting for its owner to return.
A small, thin figure holding a stick of bright red candied haws in the heavy snow was quite eye-catching. “Poor little girl, it’s already been two days now ….” The server shook his head and sighed.
“She’s been there for two days?” Bai Yun raised his eyebrows, the tiny figure before his eyes looked like she could be swallowed up by the snow at any moment.
“I think a young girl brought her there, but she never came back for her. She probably had the baby out of wedlock and simply abandoned the kid in the snow, leaving her to her own devices ….”
“How vicious! That little girl is only a few years old!” Even though Shi Yan Guan was a burly man, it was still difficult to watch a helpless young child tottering in the snow, no matter how heartless a person is. “Number … uhh, I mean Big Brother, aren’t we still missing a ‘White Impermanence’? Why don’t we bring her back with us, perhaps she has talents.” Niu Geng Jie tried to seek out a chance at life for the abandoned child.
“Extremely talentless, don’t waste your efforts.” The man in black referred to as Big Brother is the Yan Wang or “Hell King” of the Hell King Sect, he said the two sentences without an ounce of pity, then continued to sip his wine. In his mind, the law of the jungle is only natural, useless people have no need to survive.
“Say something Number Two, don’t just keep staring!” Shi Yan Guan caught a glimpse of Bai Yun’s handsome, calm face and rushed to try and rope him in. Since the only person inside the Hell King Sect capable of convincing Yan Wang is the silver-tongued Civil Judge.
“Big Brother is right, the child is no martial arts material, even if we bring her back, she won’t escape the fate of being eliminated.” Bai Yun moved to stir the hot soup before him, but his gaze never left the little girl. For the weak, their initial and ultimate fate is always death.
The child’s feeble body shook slightly, her fingers lost control and loosened their grip on the sticky sweet candied haws. She nervously picked it up, her actions stiff, but her pale white lips showed a small smile. The tip of her pink tongue lightly licked the candied haws, it was as it the sweetness lifted her spirits, she returned to her previous position and continued to wait motionlessly.
“But,” Bai Yun paused slightly, secretly cheering for the little girl’s amazing willpower. “We don’t actually need someone who is extremely gifted in martial arts, what we need is—”
“A daughter!” Shi Yan Guan quickly interjected.
Bai Yun raised a puzzled eyebrow, not expecting Shi Yan Guan to come up with something so whimsical and absurd. He was originally going to say “maid”.
Yan Wang furrowed his broad and angular brows, his unhappy demeanour showed his disapproval.
“You want to adopt a ‘daughter’?!” Was he afraid that because we are assassins we won’t be able to have any children ourselves, so he’s going to adopt one now to nail in the coffin and attend to them on their deathbeds?
“Having a ‘flower’ around the mansion is not too much to ask for.” Shi Yan Guan grinned. And the Hell King Sect can be said to have “an overabundance of Yang and a deficiency of Yin”, a total sausage fest, filled with smelly men.
“I disagree.” Yan Wang objected without thinking.
“Number One, it doesn’t really hurt us to have this girl around, so let’s take her in.” Niu Geng Jie stepped in to plead for the little girl as well. If he doesn’t lend a helping hand now, within moments, the little girl would die in the snow.
Currently, there are two proponents against one opponent, and this opponent just so happens to be the toughest to convince. Shi Yan Guan and Niu Geng Jie put all their hopes on the undecided vote—one that belongs to Bai Yun. “Number Two!” Shi Yan Guan impatiently grabbed away the spoon that Bai Yun was about to put into his mouth and said, “You agree with us, right?” His thick eyebrows arched high on his face, as if secretly threatening Bai Yun.
Bai Yun looked at two threatening yet hope-filled faces with amusement.
“So if I agree, does that mean Big Brother won’t object either?” Yan Guan and Geng Jie are being too naive, even if he raises both hands in agreement, a single word of rebuttal from Big Brother cancels out everything.
Yan Wang looked gropingly at Bai Yun for quite some time, before issuing a light grunt of approval.
“Number Four, give me back the spoon first, then go and bring the little girl over here.” He’s never been a soft-hearted person, but the little life before his eyes depended on his nod of approval, saving her simply meant another mouth to feed, so why not?
Shi Yan Guan received his instructions, happily dropped the spoon and leapt out through the window.
“Server, please prepare some hot ginger soup for her, she will need it.” Niu Geng Jie carefully instructed, getting rid of the extra set of ears in the process.
“Your reason?” Yan Wang swept a cold glance over Bai Yun, his eerie and vaguely evil pine green eyes burned with imperceptible flames. He didn’t think that the thoughtful Civil Judge would not know that Hell King Sect never takes in a useless person.
“We’ve killed enough people with our hands, even countless children the same age as her. I’ve always wanted to know—which one is easier, killing or saving?” Bai Yun replied casually.
Having known him for more than a decade, how could he not know the question on Yan Wang’s mind? None of them are good-hearted people, and they’ve always steered away from charity work. If they really have to talk about “conscience”, then it’s probably long been devoured by the wild dogs on the roadside. Therefore it’s no wonder that Yan Wang couldn’t understand his sudden act of kindness.
An act of kindness? From a ruthless killer?
Bai Yun laughed inwardly to himself, lightly shaking off the sudden idea. “Big Brother, don’t worry, I’ll try not to increase the burden on the Hell King Sect.”
His guarantee earned a dismissive scoff of contempt from Yan Wang.
A smiling Shi Yan Guan held a startled and crying girl in his arms as he jumped back into his seat. “She must be chilled to the marrow …. It’s okay, don’t cry, these uncles here aren’t bad people.” Shi Yan Guan tried to comfort her.
But obviously, what he thought to be a suave smile was a horrifying grimace in the eyes of the little girl. Coupled with the scary black beard on his face, he looked just like a big black bear grinding his teeth as he prepared to tear apart his prey.
The small girl’s cries grew louder as Shi Yan Guan eagerly patted and coaxed her, scrambling without any success.
“I’ve told you a long time ago to shave your beard. Why would you turn yourself into a black bear when you can be a human?” Bai Yun added insult to injury and laughed at Shi Yan Guan’s helpless look of embarrassment.
“There’s an old saying that says, ‘hairless lip, careless slip’. A man too young to grow a beard is not dependable, so I can’t shave my beard.” Shi Yan Guan said as he handed the little girl over to Bai Yun.
Shi Yan Guan was born with a baby face, despite being sixteen years of age, looked like he was some thirteen-year-old punk. He was always looked down upon by others, and because of this, he decided to grow a beard. His philosophy was that, “if the beard lives he lives, if the beard dies he dies”!
Bai Yun took off his warm fur coat, wrapped it tightly around the girl, and used his powerful internal Qi energy to warm her body. Perhaps it was because the cold gradually receded from her body, or perhaps Bai Yun’s handsome and elegant demeanour soothed her, the crying toddler finally calmed down.
The little girl’s sparkling eyes glanced around her, then her gaze slowly landed on the graceful and almost godlike Bai Yun.
“Mommy ….” The little girl called to Bai Yun, her short and tender arms lifted high above her head, as if wanting a more intimate embrace.
“I’m not your mother.” Although Bai Yun negated her words, but he still held her gently, and asked softly, “How old are you? And what’s your name?”
The girl looked around with her big eyes, seemingly not understanding his question.
Bai Yun held her palm flat in his hand and bent a few of her fingers as he asked, “Two years old? Three years old? Four years old?” The girl seems to have understood, and struggled to bend one of her frostbitten fingers.
“Four years old? How clever.” Bai Yun rewarded her with a pat on the head, his tenderness made the other three stare in amazement. “Number Two, you seem a lot like her father ….” Shi Yan Guan finally managed to close his dropped jaw. Although Bai Yun was usually quite approachable, but anyone that’s seen the savage way he kills, absolutely cannot also see him as the good willed family man currently sitting before them.
“Based on my age, I certainly can be her father. But luckily, so can the three of you.” Bai Yun answered without looking up.
During the Song dynasty, it’s no strange thing for a man to be married at fourteen, and he is already sixteen this year. Had he been more active in his romantic endeavours, perhaps he’d also have quite a few little ones of his own.
The young child waved the stick of candied haws in her left hand, as her tiny mouth mumbled, “Mommy … wait for mommy ….”
“Your mommy told you to be good and wait for her, right?”
The toddler nodded with an unwavering look of confidence on her dreadfully pale face.
Her mother wanted her to wait, but it seems that she didn’t plan to come back for her, leaving the weak child to freeze to death during winter. How could she bear to murder such a young child? To murder a child’s complete trust? Bai Yun hid his anger, then shook his head and smiled wryly. He’s killed children far younger and more helpless than her, what right does he have to criticize her mother’s cruel abandonment?
A look of slight heartache flashed across his eyes, he felt bad for her. “How long have you been waiting?”
The child tilted her head to one side, and gently repeated his question, “Long … long ….”
“You don’t have to wait anymore.” Bai Yun spoke in a soft and warm voice, looking into the little girl’s eyes, his smiling gaze as deep as the ocean, “Your mommy said that she won’t be back for a while, but wants me and these uncles here to come and get you.”
The little girl looked curiously around at the three people sitting in front of the table, Shi Yan Guan and Niu Geng Jie smiled at her fawningly, while Yan Wang gave her a short glance, not saying a word.
“Do you remember your own name?” Bai Yun continued asking, gently brushing aside the thumb she was sucking in her mouth, “Don’t eat your fingers, it’s not clean.”
The little girl was unhappy about her “food” being taken away and babbled in protest.
So Bai Yun had to pick up the bowl of red bean tangyuan, and fed it to her bit by bit.
Soon, a whole bowl of red bean soup was devoured, leaving behind only a few white tangyuan.
Yan Wang pursed his thin lips in disapproval, but he had just promised Bai Yun that if his three brothers agreed, then he’d accept the child into Hell King Sect, But he’s doubtful, will she be able to survive inside Hell King Sect?
“Little girl, that over there is your Big Papa. Give her a name.” The second sentence was directed at Yan Wang.
Yan Wang wrinkled his brows in disgust, tossing the weak and fragile creature stuffed into his arm at Shi Yan Guan without thinking.
“I’m Little Papa.” Shi Yan Guan quickly caught the child, then pointed to himself and grinned.
Niu Geng Jie immediately grabbed the girl from him and gave her a stiff smile and introduced himself, “I am Third Papa.”
The little girl burst out in laughter from the game of being “tossed, thrown, grabbed, and caught” in mid air.
After being passed around the table, the little girl finally landed back in Bai Yun’s arms, her tender hands happened to land on Bai Yun’s cheeks. Bai Yun wrinkled his nose and leaned in close to her, making her giggle in amusement.
“I am Bai Yun He, your Second Uncle.” Bai Yun stated his full name, but did not refer to himself as her Papa.
“Number Two, why aren’t you calling yourself Second Papa?” A puzzled Shi Yan Guan asked.
“I happen to be sixteen this year, and I certainly cannot bear the responsibility that comes with being called ‘Papa’, so I hope that Little Papa could find it in his heart to forgive me.” He hasn’t even married yet, so why make himself sound old?
Shi Yan Guan scoffed, expressing disapproval at Bai Yun’s modesty.
“Since Big Papa doesn’t want to name you then Second Uncle will do it.” Bai Yun He lifted his right hand and wiped away the sweet soup stained on the corner of the child’s mouth with his pure white sleeve, “Let’s call you Hong Dou, do you like that?
The child grinned, no one knew whether or not she understood.
“Excellent, red beans are also called love beans, the name is quite meaningful and profound.” Niu Geng Jie repeated the child’s new name over and over again, nodding and feeling pleased.
“Number Two is the most scholarly one out of all of us, no wonder he’s able to come up with such an adorable name.” Shi Yan Guan has also given it high praises.
Bai Yun laughed and scanned the two of then, not wanting to tell Geng Jie and Yan Guan that—
This actually has nothing to do with him being scholarly, he chose this name because of the two bowls of red bean soup on the table. Since it’s probably a bad idea to call the child “tangyuan”.
“Hong Dou.” Bai Yun He repeated it again for the little girl.
The girl grinned, revealing her missing front teeth.
“Hong Dou, that’s your name.”
He gave her a name, and at the same time gave her a new life.
That year, a tiny red bean inadvertently fell into the Hell King Sect, officially laying its roots.
Hello everyone, LONG time no see! *giant virtual bear hugs for everyone*
If you’ve made it this far down and have been reading my footnotes then you’ll know that I’ve gone a little trigger happy with writing it. The whole chapter was roughly 4300 words and the footnotes are 2500 words, it’s essentially half as long as the actual chapter! But I do believe firmly in the importance of giving more background information to readers that might not know or might want to know MORE. Since sometimes these things might be common knowledge to a Chinese person, but not for others. So the footnotes also act as a “cultural ambassador” of sorts. But I do apologize if the footnotes were too long, and by the time that you’ve finished reading it, you’ve already forgotten the main story.
I picked this book because it introduces a lot of the characters that will be featured in the later books without spoiling other books.
As with Singing Spring Melody, there are aspects of this book that I enjoy a lot and other aspects that I don’t quite like. But please do enjoy!
As always, please like, comment, and follow if you’ve enjoyed reading!~ Ciao! ❤
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1 汴京 biàn jīng, is the old time name for Kaifeng 开封 kāi fēng. It is a city in east-central Henan, China. During the Song dynasty (during which our story takes place), it served as the capital city. Click here to read more about Kaifeng—> LINK. A very famous government official named 包拯 bāo zhěng. Often referred to as Justice Bao or 包青天 bāo qīng tiān, who is often featured in television series today presided over the city during the Song dynasty. There was a famous line in a song that goes “开封有个包青天”. Which translates to “Kaifeng has a Justice Bao”. Click here to read more about Bao Zheng or Justice Bao—>LINK.↩
2 白云和 bái yún hé, his name is read as Bai Yun He, but he’s often referred to just as Bai Yun 白云 bái yún. His family name is Bai 白 bái, which means “white”, while Bai Yun 白云 bái yún means “white cloud”.↩
3 In China, brothers (either biological or sworn) do not often refer to each other by name. They usually say 老大, 老二, 老三, 老四. Despite the fact that 老 lǎo means “old”, it doesn’t hold its literal meaning in this case. 大 dà means “big” in the literal sense, but in this case, it signifies the eldest. So 老大 lǎodà can mean big brother or eldest brother if speaking in a familial sense, or big boss if we are talking about rankings in an organization. 老二 lǎo èr, 老三 lǎo sān, 老四 lǎo sì can mean second, third and fourth brother respectively if speaking in a familial sense, or number two, three and four if we are talking about rankings in an organization. You might also see 大哥 dà gē, 二哥 èr gē/二弟 èr dì, 三哥 sān gē/三弟 sān dì, 四哥 sì gē/四弟 sì dì sometimes as well. 哥 gē means “older brother” while 弟 dì means “younger brother”, the numbers signify their birth order with 大哥 dà gē being the oldest. 大哥 dà gē can also mean boss/leader, this is commonly seen in Hong Kong movies about gangs. This set of names carries more of a familial feeling than the previous set. But both can be used in an organization or with sworn brothers.↩
4 杨贵妃 yáng guì fēi, read as Yang Gwei Fei, is not the name, but the title of the Imperial Consort Yang. 贵妃 guì fēi means Imperial Consort, while 杨 yáng is her family name. Her real name was 杨玉环 yáng yù huán, read as Yang Yu Hwan, with 玉环 yù huán literally meaning “jade hoop/ring”. She was born in the Tang dynasty, the dynasty that existed before Song dynasty, and was hailed as one of Four Beauties of ancient China. Known for her love of bathing, lychee fruit, and a more full, fleshy figure (which was popular and sought after during the Tang dynasty). There are lots of sayings and well known fact in Chinese connected to her. A well-known song composed by the poet Bai Ju Yi 白居易 bái jū yì called “The Song of Everlasting Regret” detailed the events of Yan Gui Fei’s life and death. I highly recommend you to read the original and translation here—>LINK. Two famous Chinese operas scenes depicted Yan Gui Fei, one was about a sad Yan Gui Fei drowning her sorrows in wine, while the other depicted her sad demise, being strangled to death by the orders of the emperor. Click here to read more about Yan Gui Fei—>LINK. In recent years, a popular song called 新贵妃醉酒 xīn guy fēi zuì jiǔ or “the new intoxication of Yan Gui Fei” has been appearing all over China. It was sung by Li Yu Gang 李玉刚 lǐ yù gāng, a male singer and performer that plays female roles (especially ancient Chinese beauties). The song is very catchy and beautiful like many of his other songs. Click here to watch and listen to his amazing performance of the song during the annual Chinese New Year Gala—>LINK or watch the complete song MV here—>LINK.↩
5 华清池 huá qīng chí or Hua Qing Pool is historically a hot spring pool located in the Tang Dynasty’s Hua Qing Palace. This pool was exclusively used by the emperor until the Imperial Consort Yang was given permission to use it. It was said that the two used to share baths together. Click here to read more about it—>LINK.↩
6 石焰官 shí yán guān, his name is read as Shih Yan Gwan. 石 shí is his family name and means “rock” or “stone”, while 焰 yán means “blaze” or “flame”. The name is very appropriate to the character, because he’s very manly and rock solid, and has a hot temper. The 6th book in the Hell King Sect series is called Stone Playing Record or 玩石记, and it’s all about Shi Yan Guan.↩
7 牛耿介 niú gěng jiè, his name is read as Niu Geng Jye. 牛 niú is his family name and means “ox”, while 耿介 gěng jiè means “upright and honest”. The names very befitting the character, because oxen are known to be simple, honest, hardworking and rather stoic animals, which also describes Niu Geng Jie. If you read my other translation called Hunting for Beautiful Men, a Journey Through Time then you’ll know that the character Xiao Niu Zi shares the same last name as him. It’s the curse of the cows!!! The 3rd book in the Hell King Sect series is called Simple Husband Song or 憨夫歌, and it’s all about Niu Geng Jie.↩
8 阎王门 yen wáng mén, a fictional sect of organized assassins in the Jianghu community. This series of books revolve around characters tied to this organization.↩
9 香片 xiāng piàn, is the collective name for flower scented tea or tea mixed with dried flowers. The most common type is jasmine tea, another is rose tea. In some areas, 香片 xiāng piàn refers exclusively to jasmine tea.↩
10 冬至 dōng zhì, also called the Dong Zhi Festival or Winter Solstice Festival, is a holiday observed in China and other East Asian countries like Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. In southern China and Taiwan, it is customary to eat tangyuan on this day, while in the north, dumplings are eaten to celebrate. Sometimes the tangyuan are made into two colours, some are plain white while some are pink. This festival used to be a bigger deal in the olden days, but as time passes its importance has waned. To learn more about this interesting festival, click here—>LINK.↩
11 汤圆 tāng yuán is a type of Chinese food that is made from glutinous rice flour. The flour is mixed with water to form a dough and that is the main ingredient for tangyuan. Tangyuan can be sweet or savoury, they can be made with fillings inside or without fillings. The sweet tangyuan are perfectly round, and can be either small, solid balls of glutinous rice dough served with sweet soup, or filled with fillings such as red bean, black/white sesame, crushed peanuts and osmanthus flowers. They are either served in the water they are boiled in, or in a sweet soup for a filling snack. Savoury tangyuan are somewhat pointed at one end, and are filled with meat, green scallion and ginger, served in a clear broth. Tangyuan is more of a southern Chinese food, while in northern China, a similar food item called yuanxiao 元宵 yuan xiāo is consumed by locals. The two are essentially the same food, but yuanxiao is exclusively sweet and are served in the water it is boiled in. The method of preparation is also different from that of the tangyuan. Yuanxiao is prepared with solid fillings cut into cubes, then gradually rolled to form a ball by tossing on layers of glutinous rice flour and water. Tangyuan is a traditional food during the Winter Solstice Festival, but yuanxiao is a food typically consumed during the period of New Year celebrations. Click here to read more about tanyuan—>LINK and click here to read more about yuanxiao—>LINK.↩
12 文判官 wén pàn guān is one of two highest ranking judges in The Underworld. He is tasked with keeping records of The Book of Life and Death, investigating the good and evil deeps of people, and determining how long a person is to live for. He is often depicted as a bearded man with a pale face, holding a pen in one hand while The Book of Life and Death in the other. Click here to see pictures—>LINK.↩
13 武判官 wǔ pàn guān is one of two highest ranking judges in The Underworld. He is tasked with escorting souls and executing punishment once the Civil Judge has made his conviction. He is often depicted as a bearded man with a red face, holding an ancient weapon called a 锏 jiǎn that resembles a long solid metal truncheon with a hilt in his hand. Click here to see pictures—>LINK.↩
14 黑白无常 hēi bái wú cháng are the names for the Black and White Impermanence. They are tasked with escorting the spirits of the dead from the human world to The Underworld. Some instances, the two deities are depicted as one person instead of two separate beings. They are dressed in black and white robes respectively, and are often depicted as wearing tall sergeant hats. The Black Impermanence is often depicted as a short and chubby man with a black face, holding a feather fan in his right hand and a metal chain in his left. The White Impermanence is often depicted as a tall and thin man with a pale white face and a long, bright red tongue hanging from his mouth. He holds a feather fan in his left hand and a a wooden cangue in his right. Sometimes both are depicted as having black faces and held different objects in their hands. Click here to read more about them—>LINK or click here to see pictures—>LINK1 —>LINK2—>LINK3.↩
15 The original saying in Chinese is “阎王要你三更死，绝不留人到五更” read as yán wáng yào nǐ sān gēng sǐ, jué bù liú rén dào wǔ gēng. It’s stating the inevitable nature of death. There might be certain wording variations, but they all essentially mean the same thing.↩
16 糖葫芦 táng hú lu or sometimes called 冰糖葫芦 bīng hú lu, literally translates to “candy gords” or “ice candy gords”. These are candy coated haws on a stick, eaten as a popular snack in northern China, especially around Beijing and Tianjin, but has now spread to all of China. Modern day varieties use a range of fruits, including strawberries, dates, pineapple chunks, grapes, kiwi slices, tangerine sections, and even grape tomatoes. Some vendors sprinkle on a layer of white sesame seeds on top of the candy coat to give it a unique nutty taste. Click here to read more about it—>LINK. This snack for some strange reason appears in a lot of time travel novels and romance novels.↩
17 阎王 yánwáng 阎罗 yánluó 阎罗王 yánluó wáng are all names for the Hell King, the ruler of The Underworld. He is referred to as Yama in Hindu legends. In the story, I will use Hell King to refer to the position in the sect, and Yan Wan or Yan Luo if I am referring to the person, since that’s his name. It won’t be too confusing, since they are all the same person. Click here if you want to learn more about the Hell King in Chinese mythology—>LINK.↩
18 It is commonly believed in China that karma exists. If you do enough bad things, karma will come and bite you on the ass (or so to say). Which is why people in China have a commonly held belief that if you commit a lot of crimes or do a lot of wicked deeds, then you will be punished with the inability to have children, or have deformed children. Sometimes people even curse at a person that’s wronged them by saying, “You better be careful, or your kid might be born without an asshole!”↩
19 If you are interested in the Chinese, it said 阳盛阴衰 yáng shèng yīn shuāi. Some university programs can be described as this, having a lot of male students and little to no female students. For the opposite meaning, just switch the order of 阴 and 阳.↩
20 The saying in Chinese is “嘴上无毛，办事不牢” zuǐ shàng wú máo, bàn shì bù láo. I am pretty proud of my translation, since it captures the rhyme and more or less the essence of the sentence. But nowadays this is seen as ageist, sexist and judging one based on one’s outer appearance. Oh, how far we’ve come!↩
21 This is somewhat funny, because a saying similar to this exists within the Wuxia world, in which some martial artists have this deep dedication and connection to their beloved chosen weapon, so much so that they swear to perish if their weapon is taken or broken. Do not confuse this with the Biblical quote said by Jesus “live by the sword, die by the sword”. Because it means something entirely different.↩
22 The original Chinese says 干爹 gān diē, which means godfather. Though in recent years, some beautiful young girls in China have sugar daddies that they refer to as their godfathers. They might have sexual relations with the man in order to gain material goods, and sometimes they are even kept as mistresses by married men. So the word godfather can carry an additional layer of meaning in modern Chinese society. For anyone wondering, the movie The Godfather is translated as 教父 jiào fù, literally “religion father”.↩
23 The original name Bai Yun told Hong Dou to address him by is 二小叔 èr xiǎo shū, which literally translates to “second small/yong uncle”. He wanted Hong Dou to call him this because he didn’t want to make himself sound old.↩
24 The character’s name is Hong Dou 红豆 hang dòu, meaning red bean because of the red bean soup Bai Yun was eating. There is a very famous poem in China entitled Xiang Si 相思 xiāng sī or “lovesickness” by the poet Wang Wei 王维 wáng wéi. The poem talked about red beans, and how it represented lovesickness. Of course, the beans in the book are of another variety, and not the ones we commonly eat. I used to own a pair of earrings made from the red beans depicted in the poem, they were quite beautiful!↩