The First Dragon Scale (5)
Such a good pair of hands ended up being painted into this dog-gnawed thing. Ling Long wiped all the balsam juice that had yet to completely dry on the Yong An Marquis with a cold face. Pulling a long face while wiping: “Marquis, what are you messing around for, told you that you didn’t need to paint, but you just had to insist, look at it now, can it even be looked at?”
Even though she was angry, she had a coquettish attitude. She didn’t seem as if she was angry, but acting coquettishly instead. How could the Yong An Marquis be angry? He held Madam’s small hands, repeatedly comforting her and reproaching himself, and finally had to agree to her request to dye his nails as well.
The stately Yong An Marquis was 8 chi tall11 chi is a third of a meter tall, or 33.3, 8 chi is now approximately 1.9m, face as smooth as jade2This description is a reference from “The Romance of Three Kingdoms”, one of the Four Classics in Chinese literature, describing Zhu Ge Liang, a valiant character in the story., constantly thought about and admired by countless young women for his majestic bearing, but was now sitting in front of his wife, as docile as a small lamb, holding his hands out for her to fiddle with. Ling Long was full of creativity, it wasn’t enough to just paint Yong An Marquis’ nails, but she also drew a rounded pig head on each of the nails. She painted it with glee proudly, the Yong An Marquis could neither laugh nor cry.
Chu Zhi was on the side, she was full of expectations since Hou Ye came in, but he still hadn’t noticed her until now. Chu Zhi was a little panicked, she had to look up, hoping that Yong An Marquis could see her. After a long absence, the Marquis definitely never expected that she would come back. As long as she raised her head, he would definitely be able to see her.
Ling Long saw her small movements, she just didn’t take it seriously. She liked simple and crude straightforwardness, and also liked tact with twist and turns. People like Chu Zhi were like a dead centipede that wasn’t stiff3The author subverts the idiom 百足之虫，至死不僵 which can be literally translated to ‘a centipede won’t grow stiff until it dies’, didn’t cry when looking at the coffin4The author subverts another idiom, 不见棺材不落泪, which can be literally translated as ‘won’t cry until you see the coffin’, didn’t turn around even after running into the South Wall5Again a subversion, means ‘to only turn back / turn around after hitting the South Wall. The South Wall being here is referring to the 影壁墙, or a shadow wall. The gates of ancient mansions usually were situated in the South. A shadow wall is a wall outside the residence and was supposed to prevent ghosts from entering their homes.; if they weren’t played to death bit by bit, they would never die6All the original idioms basically mean that someone is very stubborn. The author changes it up and is basically saying that Chu Zhi, instead of giving up when she has completely failed, still holds onto futile hope after being defeated thoroughly.. What kind of deep love and affection could Yong An Marquis have for her? Why was she so dazzled by love that she thought that Yong An Marquis must have wanted no one else but her?
A well matched marriage7 门当户对 = the families are well-matched in terms of social status , these four words were not just strung together casually. It was only because the original owner was a woman gentle to the point of stupidity that this doomed love between Chu Zhi and Yong An Marquis could come to be. If it were the precious daughter of any other large family, Chu Zhi would have been dealt with as soon as she had this enchanting woman temperament. The original owner’s parents were deeply in love8Subtext is that they didn’t know the schemes of those that came between couples who were not in love., and she was also inexperienced in the ways of the world, thought she was married to a father-like lover, but they didn’t know that this was her death warrant.
What the Yong An Marquis liked about Chu Zhi, Ling Long didn’t even need to think about it to understand. The original owner was delicately timid and naive, bordering on cowardly. She listened to the head maid, Chu Zhi, for everything and trusted her very much. Such a woman was like a dodder flower with no assertiveness, rigid and dull. How could the Yong An Marquis, who fought the world on horseback, ever fancy her? Perhaps the original owner’s weakness could arouse his short-term pity, but this pity would soon dissipate, and the delicate yet strong Chu Zhi with an unique temperament came to his attention.
Chu Zhi was naturally beautiful. Her life in the Prime Minister’s residence when compared to that of ordinary daughters was even more comfortable. She had cultivated a delicate and white skin and a gracious temperament, coupled with a good appearance, with the original owner as a foil, the pearl was even dustier. 9明珠蒙尘 = pearl is covered in dust, meaning that precious things/people are in the hands of people who know not their value.
But now Ling Long no longer indulged her. The saying that people wanted clothes, Buddha wanted gold10Clothes make the man was indeed true. Except for the best beauties, who didn’t need external objects to embellish their beauty, like lotus fresh out of the water11清水出芙蓉 is a line from the poem《经乱离后天恩流夜郎忆旧游书怀赠江夏韦太守良宰》by the poet Li Bai. It means that the subject is simple and pure, without adornments, resembling a lotus flower that came out from the water. , most beauties had to rely on brocade, rouge, and jewellery, these could make people who are already beautiful become even more beautiful. However, when all this was taken away, the beauty would be greatly reduced. For the past month or so, Chu Zhi didn’t have top-quality milk cleanser, didn’t have tailor-made rouge makeup, lost her delicate jewelry and fine clothes, and even had a problem where she couldn’t walk conveniently – twilight fell most easily on beauties. What could she use to make the Yong An Marquis constantly think of her?
So it wasn’t that the Yong An Marquis didn’t see her, but for a while, he didn’t realize that this was his beloved Chu Zhi.
He cheated with Chu Zhi behind his wife’s back, what he enjoyed was this exciting yet immoral thrill. Having sex with his wife’s good sister in his wife’s room was a feeling, for a man like him, where the stimulation and excitement was far greater than the feeling of happiness. It was also because of this that Chu Zhi could make him care about her. Her bold seduction and passionate love let Yong An Marquis love her. Compared to the wooden wife, naturally a charming and beautiful woman was more liked.
But now, his wife was more lively than Chu Zhi – a woman who was taught the Three Obediences and Four Virtues at home to stubbornly maintain a single posture in bed, even if the bed collapses, suddenly became enthusiastic and sexy. Treating such a woman as he wanted, this kind of stimulation went way beyond that of having an affair with Chu Zhi.
His wife was the daughter of the Prime Minister, with a precious body, the best of noble women. Her stride, movement, and manners were textbook perfect. But such a perfect and pretentious wife suddenly changed one day, absorbing people’s essence like a demon12calling her a seductress, how could Yong An Marquis not like it? He was already good at this!
It was because Ling Long had seen through these two people clearly, therefore she reluctantly played with them for a bit. She wanted to be more arrogant and presumptuous in the next world, then she would have to eat her fill in this world. Although Yong An Marquis was wild and clumsy, that was trumped by his advantages from birth13 ie. his face. In Ling Long’s eyes, she could forgive anyone who looked good.
What’s more, now that Yong An Marquis now listened to her, why should she eat him so quickly, love could be cultivated. Though now it was a bit fishy, it could also be refined, wait until he loves her to the point that he couldn’t live or die without her, then she would eat him … until the food reached her mouth, Ling Long was always patient.
Chu Zhi lifted her face ignorantly for a long time. Clearly the Marquis had already looked over her way, but why didn’t he react? Yes, the Marquis must be worried that the Madam would notice, so he deliberately turned a blind eye to her. Later… as long as there was a little time, the Marquis definitely wouldn’t not pay attention to her!
While Chu Zhi was racking her brains to find a chance to be alone with Yong An Marquis, Ling Long suddenly stood up and stretched lazily: “This concubine is tired, I’m going to take a nap. Marquis, this concubine liked the nail polish, but Marquis painted this concubine’s nails like that, so I’ll punish Marquis to wash it off by himself. Chu Shuang, you come in and wait on him, no one is allowed to help.”
“Yes.” Chu Shuang and Chu Xue pursed their lips in a smile, then went into the back room, leaving the Yong An Marquis there with a bitter smile. He sat on the previous seat, took the water that Ling Long used to wash the balsams juice, dipped it with some white vinegar and wiped it slowly. At this moment, a figure approached him tentatively, and Yong An Marquis was very alert. As soon as he looked up, a magnified woman’s face shocked him!
Who was this person if not Chu Zhi!
She stared at him mournfully and sorrowfully, like pear blossoms in the rain14 梨花带雨 is an idiom from the poem 长恨歌 by 白居易 that refers to the beauty of a woman crying http://www.musicated.com/syh/TangPoems/EverlastingRegret.htm, which was originally Yong An Marquis’ favorite bearing, but now Chu Zhi really wasn’t beautiful. Her face was sallow, her eyebrows became rough and untidy because she hadn’t taken care of it for a long time, and her lips were also slightly chapped. The most important thing was that her whole complexion was very poor, poor enough that Yong An Marquis didn’t recognize her at first glance.
On the face close to him, the uneven skin surface and the slightly raised bumps were so conspicuous, which naturally reminded Yong An Marquis of his wife’s delicate face like a freshly peeled egg, and the dewy skin. He once worshipped and kissed it attentively. Even when he was very close, he couldn’t see a pore, her whole body had clean and smooth skin, how was it describable with words?
In the few days he didn’t see Chu Zhi, he really missed her, but his wife kept a close eye on him, and he was aware of his own status, so it wasn’t good for him to go down to see her next door. During this time, his beloved wife was more beautiful than ever. After trying the new, he even forgot about Chu Zhi.
People who had seen the Dragon Girl really could no longer appreciate other women in the world.
Ling Long was no different from humans because of the lack of mana, but she could still live like a fish in the water by her own means, not to mention that as long as she gets a little food, she could call the wind and the rain.
“You, are you Chu Zhi?!” Even if it was the Yong An Marquis who had gone through violent winds and waves, was shocked that in just over a month, a beautiful lady became like this. “Why are you—”
How could Chu Zhi not understand the unfinished meaning in his words, her heart ached, she naturally knew what sort of life she had been living in this mansion without the blessing, protection and trust of the Madam. Alas, she wasn’t grateful to the original owner, but resented that Ling Long treated her like this, as if it was only right that the original owner should dig out her heart and lungs for her15ie. As if it were natural that the original owner should be unconditionally kind to her.
Chu Zhi knew that her beauty was a lot worse compared to before, but the harsh environment was secondary. Her own state was very poor. Ever since she was driven away from the Madam, she has been too worried and can’t feel happy all day long. She was afraid that Madam would torture her, and also that the Marquis would forget her. She thought of all sorts of ways to see the Marquis, but was blocked by the group of servants. She had really had enough these days!
She knelt down with a thump, her knees that were not fully treated could not be more painful, but Chu Zhi couldn’t care that much anymore. Right now she just wanted to ask Marquis for grace, even if it was to send herself out of the residence to become a mistress. If one day, her womb didn’t fail her and she had a baby, wasn’t it still a position to enjoy a life of ease and comfort? The winner was the one who had the last laugh. She would not lose! “Marquis, begging Marquis to save me!”
“What’s the matter?” After all, she was a woman whom he really loved, Yong An Marquis still bent down to help Chu Zhi up, and Chu Zhi took the opportunity to grab his hand. Only then did he realise that her hands had also aged a lot, and there was even a thin layer of scurf on the back of her hand, which should have been caused because it was too dry.
Thinking of the hand that he cupped in his palm that was painted with nail polish, it was literally the difference between heaven and earth.
“Begging the Marquis to let this slave out of the residence! This slave really cannot stay in this residence anymore! Marquis, grant this slave grace, this slave will be grateful to Marquis forever!” Chu Zhi cried, but this time there were no such pitiful and beautiful looks anymore. “If I stay in the Marquis residence any longer, Madam will kill this slave!”
“What did you say?” Yong An Marquis was taken aback. “What does this matter have to do with Madam?”
“The Madam learned about this slave and the Marquis’ affairs, that’s why she has humiliated and abused this slave. This slave has not been able to sleep day and night for more than a month, always afraid that I would die here the next moment. Marquis, Marquis, please save me! For the sake of this slave’s devotion to you…”
When Yong An Marquis suddenly learned that his wife knew of his adultery with Chu Zhi, his expression changed: “How did she know?!”
At this moment, Yong An Marquis’ mood was extremely complicated. He was far more afraid of his wife being sad than of her telling the Prime Minister and causing the two families to turn against each other.
Chu Zhi shook her head and cried: “This slave doesn’t know–“
Yong An Marquis breathed a sigh of relief inexplicably: “No matter then. You must be overthinking. Madam does not know of this matter. You will not mention this matter again in the future.”
Chu Zhi was taken aback, don’t mention it again, what did that mean?
Ah, sorry, I forgot to say; I’m a new translator, so if anyone has any recommendations for the translations, please join our discord and @ me! ^_^
Please enjoy the rest of your week~!
- 11 chi is a third of a meter tall, or 33.3, 8 chi is now approximately 1.9m
- 2This description is a reference from “The Romance of Three Kingdoms”, one of the Four Classics in Chinese literature, describing Zhu Ge Liang, a valiant character in the story.
- 3The author subverts the idiom 百足之虫，至死不僵 which can be literally translated to ‘a centipede won’t grow stiff until it dies’
- 4The author subverts another idiom, 不见棺材不落泪, which can be literally translated as ‘won’t cry until you see the coffin’
- 5Again a subversion, means ‘to only turn back / turn around after hitting the South Wall. The South Wall being here is referring to the 影壁墙, or a shadow wall. The gates of ancient mansions usually were situated in the South. A shadow wall is a wall outside the residence and was supposed to prevent ghosts from entering their homes.
- 6All the original idioms basically mean that someone is very stubborn. The author changes it up and is basically saying that Chu Zhi, instead of giving up when she has completely failed, still holds onto futile hope after being defeated thoroughly.
- 7门当户对 = the families are well-matched in terms of social status
- 8Subtext is that they didn’t know the schemes of those that came between couples who were not in love.
- 9明珠蒙尘 = pearl is covered in dust, meaning that precious things/people are in the hands of people who know not their value.
- 10Clothes make the man
- 11清水出芙蓉 is a line from the poem《经乱离后天恩流夜郎忆旧游书怀赠江夏韦太守良宰》by the poet Li Bai. It means that the subject is simple and pure, without adornments, resembling a lotus flower that came out from the water.
- 12calling her a seductress
- 13ie. his face
- 14梨花带雨 is an idiom from the poem 长恨歌 by 白居易 that refers to the beauty of a woman crying http://www.musicated.com/syh/TangPoems/EverlastingRegret.htm
- 15ie. As if it were natural that the original owner should be unconditionally kind to her