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raini7o5

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GENRE FANTASY, 仙侠, XIANXIA
DISCLAIMER: This story, all it's characters and etc. all belong to the orginal author 西西东东

CHAPTERS
00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13
UPDATED 6/10/2017

TRANSLATOR'S RANT
Since I am no longer writing my own story, I figure why not translate a story I love? Living Up To You is short story, which is one of the reasons why I am even considering this because that would be a good thing considering I have a bad track record.. This translation is dedicated to myself and all those like me who have a hard time reading novels in their raw language but can't resist the wonderfulness that is chinese novels!

 
 
raini7o5


Since we have no casting to fawn over, I'll put together my own fictional cast for the characters. Of course my taste is limited mostly to Chinese actors since I watch more Chinese dramas, so no doubt the movie cast would be completely different from mines when it comes out. If you have your own ideas about who should play who, feel free to write them out in the comments, I'd like to see too!




Chen Xiang as Su Mo
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I know he's a singer and an idol actor and usually does modern dramas, but his look seems to fit Su Mo enough. Su Mo is the Hai Huang (Sea King), as jiao-ren are described as having beauty that surpasses all other races and the king of jiao-ren naturally, he's even more striking so I don't think anybody can really fit the bill. I imaging Su Mo to have single eyelid though, since that seems more 'elegant' and his sharp and slightly feminine looks is pretty suitable too since jiao-ren are known to not have gender until they fall in love and then either become male or female, so Su Mo, even though he is male he has to have a slightly feminine touch to his handsomeness I think. Plus this guy looks kind of like Lee Junki. Not sure if Chen Xiang can pull off blue hair though! Su Mo is also a bit of an anti-hero. He's a puppeteer and carries around a creepy doll replica of himself which he claims is his twin little brother Ah-Nuo, but it is actually his Mirror. He practices a shady magic originating in the Central Plains called Li, which to the next degree becomes Jing (Mirror), resulting in his psyche being split in half. He forces his 'evil' half into the doll and controls it with strings but it frequently gets out of hand. Li has allowed him to become very powerful in a short amount of time. This turns Su Mo into an even more complex person on top of his already complex identity and persona. Su Mo is a very thrilling character to read and he's very unpredictable, but one thing is sure: he has one responsibility that he holds above everything else in his world, which is to free the jiao-ren in Yun Huang from enslavement and bring them back to the Jade Sea. Su Mo is like the Moses of Yun Huang haha, leading his people out of slavery and back to their home in the Jade Sea. I can imagine Su Mo as someone who lets out a condescending smirk from time to time and other times, his eyebrows are locked tightly together enduring who-knows-what's-going-on-inside-his-head. Acting-wise, I'm not too confident that Chen Xiang can pull off such a complex character, but hey, it's just his face I need for now.



Liu Shi Shi as Bai Ying

Bai Ying is a ghost, literally. She's the designated wife of the crown prince Zhen Lan, but she threw herself off the White Tower after acknowledging her romance with a jiao-ren slave, but was saved by the three goddesses of Yun Huang and later died a hero, sacrificing herself to open the entrance into the Colorless City so that the Kong Sang people could escape from the invading Bing Yi. Bai Ying is the reincarnation of the legendary Queen Bai Wei of Meng Hua Dynasty thousands of years ago, but she doesn't have the wisdom nor bravery of Queen Bai Wei. Instead, she is soft-hearted and kind to a fault, almost weak in the eyes of some. The Kong Sang people love her despite her supposed taboo rumors with Su Mo, which are actually true. She is like the Princess Diana of the Kong Sang people. Lui Shi Shi has a very soft and gentle aura, which I think is perfect for Bai Ying. The face playing her has to be a face that can never play a scheming, corruptable character, a 'Guanyin'-like face. Lastly, Bai Ying has white hair because she is a ghost. She is also a Sword Saint and continues to hold her sword, defending the weak even in her ghost state. Her unresolved desires from before she died were so strong that it kept her soul from dispersing, turning her into a being called a yin-ling. At night, she can solidify her soul into a physical state, but in daylight she has no power and the sun can destroy her. Her relationship with Zhen Lan and Su Mo are very ambiguous because she is already dead. It's already too late for love, but she still cares deeply for them. Her only purpose of existence is to complete the promises she made to the Kong Sang people, defeat the Bing Yi so that the Kong Sang survivors could come out of the Colorless City and return to Yun Huang. Once her desires are fulfilled, her soul will disperse.



Shawn Dou as Zhen Lan
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Zhen Lan is the last Crown Prince of the Meng Hua Dynasty before it fell into corruption and got overthrown by the Bing Yi. During the hundred years of Cang Liu Dynasty ruled by the Bing Yi people, Zhen Lan had been cut into pieces and sealed off in ice on the mountains at the edges of the four corners of Yun Huang to ensure that the Kong Sang people could never return to power. Due to the power of king's blood in his veins and the Huang Tian ring on his finger, he cannot be killed so he had to endure this humilliation. Even in his last moments before he was cut to pieces, he did not forget to encourage the Kong Sang people to wait for his return and plant seeds of hope inside their hearts and give them a reason to wait, to imagine a day when the Kong Sang people would take back Yun Huang from the hands of the Bing Yi. Zhen Lan is someone who is extremely strong, optimistic and wise. I love Su Mo and Bai Ying, but honestly my favorite character in the series is Zhen Lan. After watching Shawn Dou in Princess Agents, I thought he is the perfect face for Zhen Lan. Behind his bright smile and lighthearted demeanor, there is  a lot of pain and helplessness, but also deep love for his people and a very big and noble heart that can hold all of Yun Huang inside. Although I haven't read to the end of Jing Yet, but from mentioning of him in the Feather series, Zhen Lan supposedly lost both Bai Ying and Su Mo, both people that fought for Yun Huang with him and became very close friends with. All he was left with was a noble name on the pages of Yun Huang's history. He never married and spent the rest of his life alone on the White Tower. His life was a brilliant legacy but he was actually just a very simple and unfortunate guy. In the end, he gained Yun Huang but lost everything that ever mattered to him.



Mao Xiao Tong as Na Sheng
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Na Sheng is the first character that the reader encounters, she is also the eye from which we see Yun Huang, as an outsider. She is a Miao girl from the Central Plains and travels with a band of refugees, crossing the penninsula and the Mushitage Mountains into Yun Huang, searching for a better life. Travelling with her is Mu Rong Xiu and Su Mo, both strangers which she will grow close to as she enters Yun Huang and history unfolds itself. I think Na Sheng is very relatable. She's simple, has simple desires, romantic, brave, and comes off kind of stupid sometimes. She doesn't have any baggages so unlike the other major characters, she is a free soul, but that changes when she meets Zhen Lan and her life gets flipped upside down when the Huang Tian ring chooses her as its bearer. She reminds me of Demigods Semidevils Duan Yu, who learns a powerful skill but sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. It's frustrating in a funny way. Na Sheng is a very sweet girl and I think Mao Xiao Tong's face is perfect for her. I first noticed Mao Xiao Tong in Love O2O, and her chirpy, cute portrayal of Wei Wei's friend immediately came to my mind for Na Sheng.
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raini7o5
11 July 2017 @ 01:56 am


For Cang Yue fans, this might not be new news, but for me who just recently finished reading her Feather series and currently trying to finish up her Mirror series, this is very exciting news. The movie was first announced back in 2015 to be a joint by Ruyi Films and Syon Media. The film will be produced by Ke Liming (Tiny Times) and Andrew Mason (The Water Diviner) and scripted by John Collee (The Alchemyst, Master and Commander) with Danny Bergeron (Jupiter Ascending, X-Men: Days of the Future Past) for visual effects. I'm liking that this is being made into a movie as I think the story is one of the few chinese novel series that might actually be suitable for foreign audiences since it is free of most cultural and historical shackles that other more heavily historical/period set novels might face. I think Cang Yue's fantasy epic is also possible for foreign non-chinese faces to take on the roles of these characters. There are different races within Mirror, so there are characters with different physical appearances. Characters come in a variety of hair colors and eye colors: blond hair, blue hair, black hair, white hair, black eyes, blue eyes, gold eyes, purple eyes. It was pretty comical when reading comments to Guo Jing Ming's Ice Fantasy, responding on the all-Chinese cast, but let's be realistic, if it is a drama production and made by chinese production companies while being targetted at a Chinese audience (this I can't be sure of GJM's ambitions) I would have to say that his Legend of Ravaging Dynasties probably was more comfortable to watch due to it being an animated production. If not for this movie already being announced, I would've hoped for an animated production for Mirror and Feather series too, just because I was so much more happy with how L.O.R.D. turned out vs. Ice Fantasy visuals-wise. I'm incredibly shallow when it comes to IPs being adapted for the screen, so I'd rather watch a well-made animated film rather than a live action if it would make the whole production look more convincing. I don't need Fan Bing Bing and Chris Wu though, save your money for better things please, for example hire some more visual effects people! No doubt about it, Mirror would probably demand a lot from visual effects, which makes sense as to why Cang Yue waited all this time before considering adapting her Mirror series for film.

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Always been an avid fan of fantasy genre, especially long and epic ones! Cang Yue is one of those authors that you've heard of for the longest time but never really had an excuse to tap into until someone really shoves you in the face with it, I mean recommends it to you in a very blunt way. Before I ventured off into Yun Huang (what the land is called inside the book) I was suffering from severe Grave Robbers withdrawal as I've just devoured all eight books plus all the side books of Nan Pai San Shu's popular novel series. Nothing better to cure withdrawal than an equally epic series to dive head-first into right? NO!! As it turns out, both the audiobooks for Jing and Yu are not complete and so here I am, writing a post about how awesome these books are instead of reading. I really hate waiting for audiobook updates, which is why I usually never chase incomplete audiobooks while they're updating, but for these two series, I broke my own rule. The audiobooks are really wonderful, by the way, but I'll have to warn anyone if they don't intend to finish the books by either reading them in chinese (if you're literate enough) or find a translation, the wait will probably be long for Yu and maybe infinite for Jing. Luckily for me, I've tried reading the 3rd book of Jing in chinese and although I can manage reading it, I really miss the wonderful audiobook voices that brought the books to life.

Enough gushing about the audiobook and all its awesomeness. On with the review!!

Jing is the epic prequel of Yu. If you are considering hoping onto the wagon and embarking on this epic journey after me, here's a grain of salt for you: the history of Yun Huang is over 900 years and starts with the short story Right Hand of God which is inside one of her short story compilations 星坠卷 Falling Star Scroll along with another short story Dong Feng Po which is in the compilation book 沧海卷 Sea Scroll. Right Hand of God is the prequel of all prequels for all the stories taking place in Cang Yue's world, Yun Huang. It is about the origin of Yun Huang's Kong Sang lineage/peoples and SPOILER-KIND-OF, the story of the twin gods Creation and Destruction that the Kong Sang people worship even until the Yu series . Dong Feng Po is about Jian Sheng (Sword Saint?) Mu Yuan which takes place a few decades before the start of the events inside the Jing Series. The chronological order of the books align with the history of Yun Huang although there is a 900 year gap between the end of Jing series and the beginning of Yu series. If anyone needs a complete write-up of the order to read the books, just let me know I'll find a list and translate it and add it here in this post.

My first glimpse into Yun Huang was while reading Dong Feng Po, the short story. I honestly had no idea that I was reading a Yun Huang story as it was pretty wuxia-ish and had a bit of politics. It wasn't until I got to Jing-Po Jun, the second book of Jing, that I found out that Dong Feng Po was about the first love of Mu Yuan, the swordswoman who happens to be Yun Huan's (Po Jun's) shifu. Then I went on reading all her other short stories since I had just wanted to get a taste of Cang Yue's writing and I was really feeling her wuxia (it's really good) and when I got to her third compliation book, things got a bit fantasy. The first story in the complilation book was Right Hand of God, and it was so different from the other short stories I had read before. It was so interesting and gripping, I couldn't get enough of it. Lucky for me, turned out it was actually the lid of the Pandora's box that is Yun Huang.

If you want to start these two series, I highly recommend to start with her two short stories mentioned above as they will lay down the foundation, at least you will not be lost when Jing and Yu mentions the past. The audiobook of Yu is farther ahead, Jing the audiobook is incomplete (up to book 2) but still I think reading those 2 books are better than not as Yu heavily mentions the past and the characters in Jing although they are 900 years in the past and basically faded into legendary figures already.

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Something I love about Cang Yue's novels are how vivid she makes the imagery, so when I came across Li Kun's illustrations, my eyes were literally in love. She also illustrated the covers of the Feather Series, so some of these might look familiar. Li Kun also illustrates many other novels for other authors, including a very familiar cover for Tong Hua's Ballad of the Desert that I now know is the work of this illustrator. I think illustrators always need more love, so naturally I can't resist doing an entire post dedicated to my favorite artists from time to time.

Li Kun's work is usually in black and white, which I don't mind as it lets my mind fill in the colors with what I imagine from reading the novels. Although a few of them are basically character-central and just feature the character in a vague setting, most of her illustrations are rather like 'screencaps' of certain scenes in the novel, which makes it so fun for me as I love the novels and I love it even more when I can identify which characters and which scene is being depicted in Li Kun's illustrations. It's kind of like a secret game between the reader and the artist!

If you've also read the books and want a try at the game, click the expand for the rest of the illustrations! If you haven't yet, I'll have a length review coming up soon to pursuade you why you should and what you've been missing out on! Without further ado, check out these gorgeous illustrations already!!

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raini7o5
10 June 2017 @ 01:29 pm



CHAPTER 13 - NAN ZHI

Translation Notes: 同门(tong-men) is the collective term for all of your shixiongs, shijies, shidis, shimeis. Literally, it means 'same door'. During the story, each of the elders in Cang Jia Shan have their own set of disciples, their own 'door' or classroom/house I guess you can say. Tong-men are kind of like classmates, but more like siblings/kin/family since they most likely grew up together and since a shifu role in a disciple's life is like a parent as well as a teacher, so all his other students naturally become siblings. Sometimes though, the term tong-men is inclusive of all the disciples under the entire sect regardless of 'door' so it's up to you to figure out by context. A similar term 关门 (guan-men) disciples, literally 'closed-door' diciples, are a few selected students under a shifu's door that are specially trained and may have a chance of succeeding their shifu as head of the door or house, or even the position of zhangmen if they are one of his guanmen disciples. In the Xian realm, there are 4 major 门派(men-pai) or sects/factions. There are more smaller, scattered ones and probably a bunch of rogues, but there are only 4 prominent ones. Literally, men-pai means 'door alliance' since each sect is basically a bunch of doors banded together. Although Cang Jia Shan has grown very big, it grew from a small group of tong-men under one shifu/founder so all of the elders were likely shidis and shifmeis to each other at one point. Even those disciples under different doors, as long as they are under the same sect, will call each other shixiong, shijie, shimei, shidi. The term 上仙(shang-xian) literally 'high-xian' is also a vague one, at least in this story. We can assume there are many tiers of cultivation, but we don't know when a normal xian starts being labeled a 'shang-xian'. In order to become a xian in the first place, one has to reach a point in cultivation where food and water are unnecessary to sustain the physical body, therefore achieving a state where one would also stop aging. So if you're still eating food, you are not a xian yet. In many xianxia novels, there are xian with appearances of various ages. That could be one of two reasons: they either achieved a xian body at an young or old age, or they decide to use 仙术(xian-shu) to change their appearance as desired. I've been using 'incantations' for xian-shu in this chapter as well as previous chapters, but I guess I'll start using xian-shu in the next since 'incantations' simply doesn't embody enough of the term which is more like 'Xian arts' but I don't want to use the word spells because it makes me think of hocus-pocus haha. Back to methods of staying young and beautiful though, the first method depends on the cultivator's potential for Xian cultivation, affecting the speed of which they reach this first tier and achieve their xian body. That's why it's shocking if someone achieves their xian body in a short amount of time. The second method isn't actually mentioned in this story since certain characters have gone to great lengths for 'beauty' and pursuit of beauty could end badly if self-restraint isn't used. I don't think Cang Yu and Cang Hai look older because they reached the first tier that late, so they might've used spells to make themselves appear more representing of their positions. However a 上仙(shang-xian) or 'high-xian' is different, which I'm assuming from this chapter that this is the last tier before a xian is no longer considered a xian. The word 飞升(fei-sheng) or ascension is used to describe the moment a shang-xian becomes a god and enters into the Shen realm. The term literally means 'fly up' so you can imagine our ascending character actually flying up into the Shen realm and saying goodbye to the Xian and mortal realms for good,  so ascension is not just a state of mind or a transformation of the body and everything else stays the same. Like I mentioned some chapters ago in the notes, it is possible to belong to more than one realm, also possible to go from one into the another. We also know that gods have certain characteristics and they live in another realm that's been sealed for some time now. So then we can assume that there are a bunch of shang-xian right now waiting to get promoted to gods and they've been trying to find the gate of the Shen realm so they can finally get a raise, but so far they've been unsuccessful in defeating the glass ceiling! We know that Cang Yu's been trying to find the gates, so he's definitely one of those shang-xian waiting for ascension. Let's not assume though, that all shang-xian will eventually become gods though, because then that would be too easy: just wait and it will be given. I'm sure it's more complicated than that, but gives these xian something to hope for eh? Lastly, xian do die and they do have 3 lifetimes, the only way to escape reincarnation is to become a god. I know I haven't used a lot of these romanizations in the actual chapters, but now that I think back, maybe I should've because it's kind of relevant. Some things just get lost in translation so easily. That's it! So sorry for the exhaustingly long trivia, I hope it helps you guys answer some questions you might get while you read along, because I promise you guys will be scratching your heads at some point. Just blame it on this chapter, it had too much Cang Jia Shan history in it!!
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The whip wounds on Ling Xi's body took three entire months to heal completely. Herbs wouldn't work on them, neither did Xian incantations have any effect on them. As Ling Xi laid on her bed, looking up at the night sky which did not let in a single ray of daylight, she would always think of Feng Shu.

That year when she had been sentenced to fifty rounds of whipping, Feng Shu had taken double the whip sentence in place of her before he brought her out of the water prison. A total of one hundred whips, not only had he never shown any discomposure in front of her, after that he had never once brought it up again.

All she had taken was one whip, and just that one whip was already enough to get her bed-ridden for three months. Those one hundred whips that were on his body, exactly how long must it have taken before they had completely healed?

Qing Kui shixiong even said that he had been lockup up here at the Xu Wang Cliff for five hundred years before. Here, there was only an hour everyday which one could see sunlight. All sounds from the outside world had been barred out. If she didn't have the company of a Xian spirit, she probably would've caved in just staying here for five days. Those five hundred years, what did those days Feng Shu spent here look like?

Every time these thoughts passed Ling Xi's mind, she would feel suffocated, as if her heart was being grinded by pieces of crushed stone, leaving her with a fragmented, resonating pain. That pain ultimately became a breath of air that she held inside her chest. It was by this breath of air that she would continue her cultivation, as Feng Shu would've wanted, to stay on Cang Jia Shan and become Cang Yu's disciple.

Ling Xi had this feeling all along, that from the moment she had arrived on Cang Jia Shan, the amount of things she could carry inside of her head became more and more. Also it was no longer that difficult to remember certain things. The only exceptions giving her a hard time were certain Xian incantations and how to use them. She would be met with countless difficulties.

For this, her black Xian spirit would usually give her that cold expression of his, mixed in with a tinge of helplessness and disdain, before he demonstrated it for her to see. As time passed, Ling Xi finally realized there was something off.

“Shouldn't I be the one teaching you? How could you take my books?”

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