Title: The Crazy Adventures of Wu Gate
Chapter: 31.1 of 87
Two days later, in the prison.
After Qing Qiao finished scratching out the last word onto the wall, she couldn't resist splitting her mouth open and proudly laughing.
"My kuang cao (messiest type of cursive script) is truly becoming more and more exquisite each day..." She looked at her crooked scribbles and her heart was deeply moved.
(T/N: Below is an image of kuang cao on the left and standard script on the right for comparison. See this picture at fuyuneko dot org.)
Humans were creatures that could endure even the most difficult environments if they had hope. They could enjoy themselves in the face of suffering.
What was this spirit?
It was a warrior's undefeatable spirit!
Prince Du Yuan's residence, the study.
"How's the situation?" Duan Yu was currently writing. His head was partially inclined and his face was hidden in the shadows. His expression couldn't be seen. The tip of the writing brush touched the flipped over snow white paper. The killing point couldn’t be seen, but there was a faint controlled violence.
One of the jailers was kneeling in the room as he said, "To report to the prince, Miss Gu has been very quiet during the past two days. Other than asking for a quilt, she hasn't said another word."
Oh? She was actually this calm? Duan Yu raised an eyebrow.
"Have there been any unusual actions?" Duan Yu easily wrote another stroke.
"This... Miss Du seemed to be deeply committed with engraving words on the wall."
"What?" Duan Yu perked up his ears, "So audacious. Whom is she leaving the message for?"
"This... " The jailer furrowed his eyebrows so that they formed the character "八" and showed a sour expression. "This subordinate is dull-witted and really couldn't grasp the meaning of her message. I could only copy down the words she's been engraving each day and ask Your Highness to determine."
Then, he presented a scroll.
Duan Yu took the scroll and opened it. On the paper, the same sentence was written in bold, cursive script - "Du Chun Jiao was here."
"... Have people prepare a palanquin." Duan Yu closed the scroll and expressionlessly said, "I'm going to visit the prison."
After she finished engraving the thirty-sixty line of "Du Chun Jiao was here", Gu Qing Qiao was suddenly inspired to write something more stimulating and exciting.
She thought of the poems she had written from memory during her school days and the one that had been the most famous for being "the most powerful at pairing in all of history". She couldn't help revealing a wicked smile.
She picked up a stone and concentrated all of her attention in writing a new section on the wall.
Everything is innately good at something, a red apricot branch peeps over the garden wall.
Two yellow nightingales on the green willow sang side by side, a red apricot branch peeps over the garden wall.
There will surely be friends dear and true on the road ahead, a red apricot branch peeps over the garden wall.
I laugh at the sky as the sword fall on my neck, a red apricot branch peeps over the garden wall.
She fell into the deep sea once she passed through the noble’s gate, a red apricot branch peeps over the garden wall.
There is plenty of fragrant grass in the world, a red apricot branch peeps over the garden wall.
I try to persuade the heavenly lord again, a red apricot branch peeps over the garden wall.
Her pure white feather coat floats on the jade green water, a red apricot branch peeps over the garden wall.
May we all be blessed with longevity, a red apricot branch peeps over the garden wall.
(T/N: The author is just showing Qing Qiao being silly even though the actual poems do have deep meanings. Scroll down to the end to read the longer explanation.)
As she was passionately writing the following words without constraint, “The sky is vast and the fields are boundless, a red apricot branch peeps over the garden wall”, she heard an unexpected sound behind her.
Not in compliance with the current trend, someone pretended to cough twice as if he was putting a great effort to suppress something.
She suddenly turned around and coincidentally faced a pair of phoenix eyes there were as bright as the moon.
“Y-your Highness!” Qing Qiao was slightly panicked. She hurriedly stood straight with her hands at her sides and her feet together. Then, she secretly threw away the small stone in her hand and used her feet to push the small stone to the side.
“… You seem like you’re living well.” Duan Yu faintly squinted his eyes as if he was curious about the words she had written.
"I'm honored that Your Highness has come!" She hastily bowed. There was a burst of dryness in her throat.
"... Why are you so scared?" Duan Yu stared at her cowering body. Neither fast nor slow, he said, "Right now, you're the crown prince's favorite person."
Eh? Qing Qiao raised her head and looked at him with confusion.
Duan Yu faintly looked at her. His phoenix eyes were burning with an unknown meaning. "Little Qiao, did you really think that I wouldn't know that the crown prince had secretly brought you into the palace?"
He seemed to have thought of something and his tone sounded extremely sympathetic as he said, "That child... is very worried about you. He won't even listen to my words. It's really troublesome..."
Qing Qiao didn't know what to say. She could only stay quiet.
Duan Yu sighed and mumbled to himself, "... You always have so many strange ideas. I'll have people escort you to the palace tonight. You trial will happen early in the morning in the throne room, so that the crown prince won't start trouble. This way there won't be any adverse changes by dragging things out!"
The blood suddenly retreated from Qing Qiao’s face.
Duan Yu looked at her arm for a moment, then he snorted, turned around, and abruptly left.
Qing Qi watched his figure as he walked farther away, then she suddenly fell to the ground.
She finally understood what the words "plans can never catch up to changes" meant. Everything had already been arranged. Clearly, she would be able to leave here after tonight...
Who can cast a spell to change her into a red apricot branch that peeps over the garden wall and looks at the vast, new sky?
(Continuation of t/n: The second part of each line (a red apricot branch peeps over the garden wall 一枝红杏出墙来) comes from a famous poem Song Dynasty poem, Spring’s Scenery Can’t be Contained in the Garden. There are many interpretation of the poem. One interpretation is that just like spring scenery can’t be contained in the garden, beautiful things can’t be hidden away. 红杏出墙来 is also an idiom that means that a wife is having an affair.
The first part of each line comes from different classical poems. They’re really famous poems and parts of the poems are used as idioms based on the meaning of the entire poem.
For example, the line “She fell into the deep sea once she entered the residence” is from the poem, The servant girl who had been given away. The entire poem is
Sons of high nobility chased after her,
Her tears fell onto a silk handkerchief,
She fell into the deep sea once she passed through the noble’s gate (侯門一入深似海),
Her former lover was now only a stranger.
And the idiom 侯門似海, which means the gap between the nobility and the common people is as deep as the sea, is from this poem.
Qing Qiao's "the most powerful at pairing in all of history" was referring to a 2005 Internet meme that matched “a red apricot branch peeps over the garden wall” to lines from ninety other famous historical poems. The writer commented that this line can be paired with anything. )
(T/N: I’ve been thinking that Wu Gate might not be a good novel to translate. Is a joke still funny when you need to read an explanation to understand it?
A reader that grew up learning about the various famous poems and historical figures mentioned in this novel in school would probably enjoy this novel a lot more. For example, if I mention Harry Potter, it will evoke a lot of imagery and meaning that can’t be described in a few sentences.
Lastly, I’m glad that Qing Qiao is back to being herself and is amusing herself by blatantly carving graffiti.)