In this book, the anti-protagonists seems to be Buddhism and Mongo-Yuan in the beginning. The author doesn’t have anything against Buddhism or Mongo-Yuan. Buddhism is very popular in China, and Mongo-Yuan is a dynasty of ancient China. You can say that this book is a little counterculture from the Chinese perspective.
In ancient China, regular men only lived to about 40-50 years old, so they got married a lot younger. Nobles and officials who had better lives would live a bit longer. Same thing with women. That is why the ages in this book are a little younger to represent ancient China.
The tone of the book is half-serious and half-joking. Sometimes, the correct tone couldn’t be conveyed due to cultural differences. Therefore, if you find some things odd, it is probably due to this.
Some concepts in the book are a bit rough since ancient China was way different compared to nowadays. Therefore, we will be doing some slight modification when necessary without affecting the flow and the story of the novel.]
Chapter 1: The Most Unique Person in the Border City (Part One)
The vicious and cold wind blew from the north. After the wind blew through with the snow, a few dry yellow blades of grass got taken into the sky. The scene was desolate.
If those sentimental poets in the Capital saw this scene, they might create a few poems that ordinary civilians couldn’t understand.
These poets would make poems about things such as the floral lanterns in the Capital and the biggest river in the empire. Of course, the pure girls of Half Moon Pavilion were also the subjects of these poems, but ordinary people couldn’t see these girls.
[TL Note: The original text of ‘pure girls’ means pure prostitutes in pleasure quarters, but it doesn’t fit the context. In ancient China, there were two types of pleasure quarters. One was more traditional and fit the meaning of brothels, but the other one is where the girls were literate, knowledgeable, and can paint, sing, play musical instruments, and play go-chess. These girls weren’t in the prostitution business, and they only offered formal entertainment. Usually, rich and affluent men would visit these places and establish relationships with the pure girls, and they would often marry these girls and make the latter their concubines.]
On the other hand, wars and battles were always great themes for poems.
The New Year just passed, and the weather was still cold.
Especially in this most northwestern border city of the empire that was so remote that even birds wouldn’t poop here.
Without exaggeration, if a man in the city had issues with his prostate, his pee would directly freeze up to his genital.
Dozens of corpses could be seen outside a forest that wasn’t too big. Since it was so cold, these people just died, but their corpses were frozen and became stone-like. The sunlight passed through the blood that was frozen on the corpses, and the refracted light seemed bizarre. The color seemed like that of wine which the foreigners from the west created when it was seen through a crystal glass.
When the leather boots shattered the ice made from blood, cracking noises could be heard.
A soldier who was dressed in black imperial leather armor and a dark-blue inner uniform walked over and wiped away the two small icicles under his nose. Then, he said proudly, “We decapitated 43 enemies and got back the items that were robbed. This doesn’t count as big military merit, but it also isn’t a small one. After this, I will get a small promotion, going from a lieutenant to a captain. If I do get the promotion, I will invite all of you to Beckon of the Red Sleeve.”
“The lieutenant is boasting again!”
[TL Note: Since ancient Chinese military units were categorized differently, we will use the most accurate translation as possible and mark how many soldiers were in the unit to make it clearer. In this context, a troop was comprised of 50 soldiers, and its commander is a lieutenant.]
A soldier shook his head and said, “Even if you take out five-year-worth of your salary, it isn’t enough for the 23 of us to each drink a cup of liquor in Beckon of the Red Sleeve.”
“With Fang Jie here, do I need to pay?”
As soon as he said that, Lieutenant Li Gandang turned around and asked as if he thought of something, “Where is Fang Jie? I didn’t see him since the battle began!”
“Is this something surprising?” Corporal Fu Baobao who had survived through 11 battles with foreign enemies sighed and said, “Although I survived 11 battles, it is nothing for Fang Jie. I bet that even if Fang Jie goes through 110 battles, he will still live well.”
[TL Note: In this context, a corporal was the commander of a team comprised of 5 soldiers.]
Sergeant Qiu Xiaoshu laughed, “He has to protect his wealth, so he is more afraid of death. You are different. You are single… after 11 battles, you are still a corporal. It isn’t something to be proud of.”
[TL Note: In this context, a sergeant was the commander of a section which comprised of 10 soldiers.]
Fu Baobao replied earnestly, “I don’t refute the fact that I’m afraid of death, and I’m proud that I survived. But what about that kid Fang Jie? He never admitted that he is afraid of death. But when did he approach these bandits when we battled? I bet that in less than 15 minutes, this guy will sneak out of somewhere and casually say that to celebrate another great victory, he will invite us to go drink liquor at Yun’s Meat Shop.
The other 22 soldiers who were counting corpses and wrapping up all nodded in agreement.
Qiu Xiaoshu patted Fu Baobao’s shoulder and said, “Since that guy named Fang Jie appeared in Fangu City, our quality of life improved drastically. You can’t argue with the fact that all 800 soldiers and more than 2,000 residents of Fangu like him.”
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