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Translated by Vivian of Exiled Rebels Scanlations

How much wind, frost, rain, and snow do people have to walk through to reach the opposite shore of bliss?

The sounds of cicadas overlapped like ringing in his ears, and a ladybug rustled as it crawled past the tip of his finger. Wild kudzu vines stretched past the branches of an old pagoda tree, and Xiahou Lian heard upright elderberry plants swaying by his ears. The tips of the grass brushed past his ears, itching numbly. There were also the sounds of a brook, splashing, and the quacks of wild ducks in the water.

He opened his eyes hazily and got up from the ground. There was a brook in front of him, and a few large round stones lay in the middle. The old pagoda trees were shadowy and looming, and cool and desolate moonlight filtered down between the gaps in the leaves, slightly dazzling. The moon was high in the sky, and the dome of the sky was a light blue-gray. There were the large black shadows of mountains in the distance, connecting together.

He remembered this place; this was the old Garan.

He had walked in that brook before, as he liked to wear only underpants as he played with the water in the summer, and his entire body became suntanned, so the passersby would call him “big dark brat.” He remembered that he had only been five years old when he crossed the river for the first time. He hadn’t dared to cross the river, so Qiu-dage held his hand. The chicks he raised at home followed behind him, and they all wobbled and chirped as they crossed the river. He also remembered the old pagoda tree next to the river, as he had often squatted on the tree branch, holding a slingshot and aiming at the passing assassins. He would strike whoever had badmouthed his mother behind her back, and the bird-dropping pellets would make their entire body green and white.

Even further ahead was the saber graveyard; he had dug up the assassin Tang Lan’s grave there before. Even further past the saver graveyard and passing through a forest was his family’s small bamboo house. Qiu-shifu’s small courtyard stood nearby, and he could see the Qiu house’s thatched roof from his house. Every time there was a mountain wind, the thatch grass would fly around, and Qiu-shifu would rebuild his roof every year. Next to the cottage and going a few more steps up the slope, one could see the Garan mountain steps, and walking up along the mountain steps would be Garan’s tattered mountain temple. He had once accidentally burned the temple because he had been setting off firecrackers, and that Shi Xin had been angry at him for the first time, so he had been suspended at the mountain gate and blown by the wind for a night. 

He had spent a very long time here, chasing cats, driving out dogs, and plucking the feathers of other people’s little hens, until the year he was twenty, and he killed Shi Xin, defecting from Garan.

Am I dreaming? He thought, Or is my soul returning home?

Xiahou Lian stepped on the stones and wobbled across the brook as he had many, many years ago. The turbulent flow of water reflected his youthful face, a twelve-year-old child, his pupils like stars; nothing had started yet. He crossed the brook and passed through the saber graveyard. The rusted long sabers were packed densely, and the assassins’ tombstones slept peacefully in the moonlight. He walked past the small bamboo forest, pushed open the fence of his own small bamboo house, and memories of the past rushed toward him.

His cruelest and fiercest years were deeply hidden here. He had grown up here and set out, going all the way to the tombstone that belonged to him.

Under the moonlight, the small courtyard was bluish white, with dots of fireflies, like stars that had fallen from the sky. There was a large old pagoda tree next to the fence, and his mother’s tombstone was under the tree. A tall woman dressed in black was standing across from the tombstone, crossing her arms, and there was a long saber with a black scabbard in the crook of her elbow and leaning against her shoulder. The fireflies spun around her, circling and circling, as if they would never stop.

Xiahou Lian burst into tears.

It was a dream; perhaps he had already died, and because he was dead, he could reunite with her.

Xiahou Lian cried as he walked over, yet he stopped a few steps away from her, gazing at her slender back through his vision that was hazy from his tears.

She turned around in the shadow of the tree. She still had that thrillingly gorgeous face, that cynical smile, and those ink-colored eyebrows with corners that were as sharp as sabers, seemingly cutting through this long night.

“Why don’t you come over?” she asked.

“I’m afraid.” Xiahou Lian sniffed as he said, “I’m afraid that once I go there, you’ll turn into a firefly and fly away.”

“I’m not a fucking immortal, flying away.” Xiahou Pei sighed helplessly and walked over herself. She squatted in front of Xiahou Lian and tapped his forehead. “How unpromising, crying like a coward.”

He finally couldn’t suppress that suffocating sorrow that was deeply hidden at the bottom of his heart anymore, and it flooded out like turbulent tidewater. Xiahou Lian used all of his strength to embrace Xiahou Pei tightly, sobbing loudly in her arms. Agonizing scenes from the past appeared before his eyes one by one: on the street covered in the setting sun, the dismembered remains, the broken skeleton, the lifeless eye sockets silently looking at him. Pouring the ashes into the saber furnace, the drifting white ashes stained with sparks like fluttering fireflies.

“Mother——” He cried bitterly, tears smearing his entire face. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

At this moment, he seemed to return to many years ago, when he had been that youth that had never held a saber before, a helpless child.

“Foolish child,” Xiahou Pei touched the top of Xiahou Lian’s head, “you did very good, everything was very good.”

Xiahou Pei led him up the cliff, and the two of them sat down cross-legged, gazing at the rustling weeds and thousands of mountains under the moon.

Xiahou Pei opened a jar of wine. Xiahou Lian was still sniffing his nose, so she thumped the top of his head with her fist. “Stop crying, you already have a wife, yet you’re still so weak. If you keep crying I’ll cut you.”

“You even know I have a wife?” Xiahou Lian covered his head. “It’s not like I cry in front of my wife.”

“You two have even kowtowed in front of my spirit, I’m not blind.” Xiahou Pei took a sip of wine. “Never mind, a man or woman is the same, I don’t count on you leaving descendants, it’s good as long as you like him. Is the young couple getting along well, you don’t quarrel, do you?”

“No, he’s very virtuous, if I say something he wouldn’t dare to disobey.” Xiahou Lian said, “It’s a pity you passed early, otherwise he could bring you tea and listen to you ramble, how comfortable you would be.”

Xiahou Pei was quite surprised as she looked at him. “All right you brat, I even thought you would be afraid of your wife, I didn’t expect to have underestimated you.” Xiahou Pei patted his shoulder and said, “It’s good that he’s virtuous. Don’t throw tantrums at home, he’s a young master from a scholarly family, and since he’s willing to be with you, you should be secretly happy.”

Xiahou Lian nodded repeatedly. “Mother, you’re right.”

“I’ve prepared the house for you, so earn some money by yourself and hire a few servants to serve him. He’s a young master, so since he isn’t made for working, don’t make him do manual labor. Letting him embroider flowers at home and recite poems would be quite good. You also have to read some more books yourself, because you need to have things to say as a couple living together. If he reads some poems to you, you’d just be dazed there and not understand.”

“He stopped reading poetry a long time ago.” Xiahou Lian explained, “Don’t worry, we have quite a lot to say, when we start talking we can’t stop.”

Xiahou Pei nodded and said, “You owe him quite a lot, so you should usually be more considerate to him. If you can’t help but argue in the future, just go out and take a stroll to calm yourself down, don’t get angry.”

Xiahou Lian said that he got it. “The young master’s temper is very good, gentle and considerate, we never get angry.”

“All right, then I can set my mind at rest.”

The mountain wind swept past below the cliff, and grasshoppers chirped. The long night was unmeasurably vast, thousands of stars twinkling tranquilly above their heads. Their two shadows, one tall and one short, stretched down obliquely. Xiahou Lian looked down at them; he had already been separated from this peace many years ago.

“Mother,” Xiahou Lian looked at his own toes, “I have so much to say to you, but I don’t know how to say it.”

“Then don’t say it.”

Xiahou Lian was stunned and turned his head to look at Xiahou Pei. Her hair was rolling from being blown by the mountain wind, and Xiahou Lian saw her look over. The glittering light in her eyes landed on him, and her lips contained the hint of a smile. There wasn’t her usual malice and there wasn’t her usual cynicism; it was Xiahou Lian’s first time seeing the gentleness at the bottom of her eyes.

She put her hand on the top of his head and said, “I once worried that you brat were bad at literature and martial arts, and your saber skills were sloppy and mediocre, so I was afraid you couldn’t survive in Garan’s killing field. Since you were young, you were mischievous and specialized in depending on other people’s power, relying on your mother’s bit of capability to be presumptuous. But fortunately, you’ve grown up now, and you’re a man of indomitable spirit. Your saber has killed the people you wanted to kill and protected the people you want to protect. From today onward, no one can easily harm you again. So, Xiao Lian, I feel at ease about all of your choices.”

“But mother…” Xiahou Lian said hoarsely, “it’s too late, you’re already dead.”

“You’ve already taken the revenge you needed to take, and you’ve already returned the debts you needed to return, so there’s only one thing left,” Xiahou Pei rubbed his head as she said, “forgiving yourself.”

Xiahou Lian shed tears as he looked at her. The murderous aura on her face was restrained, leaving only a clean smile.

“Okay,” Xiahou Pei stood up, shading her eyes with her hand as she gazed at the distant mountains, “it’s time, I should go.”

Xiahou Lian’s tears flowed even more fiercely, and he abruptly pounced into Xiahou Pei’s arms. “I don’t want to part with you.”

Xiahou Pei picked him up by his collar and said with a headache, “Brat, I just gave you a few compliments and you can’t do it anymore.”

Xiahou Lian sobbed in her arms, crying so hard he had to gasp for breath.

“All right, all right, dreams always have an end.” Xiahou Pei pushed him away.

“Will we see each other again?” Xiahou Lian lifted his head and asked. 

Xiahou Pei laughed lightly and said, “Youngest son, I’ll teach you one last lesson as your mother. The name of this class is… Saying Goodbye.”

She suddenly lifted her leg and kicked, and Xiahou Lian was kicked off the cliff. His body abruptly lost support, and the mountain wind surged in his ears. As he was falling uncontrollably, he saw Xiahou Pei carrying her wine and turning around, walking toward the long night. As she walked, she raised her left arm and waved.

It was her last goodbye, just as before.


As he fell rapidly, he looked up at the brilliant stars in the dome of the sky. The past years appeared before his eyes: two youths embracing each other for warmth in the snow of Jinling’s Xie Manor, Jingtie slicing the fluttering pagoda leaves in the red walls of the imperial palace, Leading Mechanism killing Shi Xin in Garan Mountain Temple, watching the galaxy flow shoulder-to-shoulder with Shen Jue in Shen Manor… Finally, it was the corpses of the assassins strewn across the wilderness on the summit of Xue Mountain, their blood flowing into rivers.

The wind howled, and in his daze, he heard the calls of the departed, the shouts of mourning souls brushing past him.

“Xiao Lian——”

He closed his eyes and shed tears as he said:



Wind bells jingled, a long series that was fine and broken, drifting out very far. He forgot how much time had passed, but his consciousness was muddled, as if he was submerged in water. All sounds were separated by a layer, coming toward him hazily. Sometimes, he could hear the swishing of the wind shaking the bamboo curtains, the rustling of the tree branches swaying outside the window, the laughter of children running around outside, and he could also sometimes hear distant dog barks, the yowls of wild cats occasionally sounding.

More often, he seemed to turn into thousands of floating threads, drifting in the dark flow of the water, unable to solidify and could only be carried along by the tide. Other times, his consciousness would become slightly clear, and he could hear voices outside, some familiar and some unfamiliar. He kept searching for a familiar voice, looking forward to when it would sound. He caught every single sound just to wait for that person to speak.

“A few days ago, I saw a Spanish missionary, he said that their medical skills there are very different from our Great Qi’s, so I’m thinking that perhaps they’ll have a method.”

The threads of his consciousness solidified, and he heard Shen Jue’s voice.

“Going to Spain requires sailing on the West Sea and the sea route is difficult. Xiahou-xiongdi’s movements are impaired, so safety and danger are even more unpredictable, I think it wouldn’t work.” It was a woman’s voice.

“Mn, that makes sense, let me think again.”

“I’m going to the Miao area next month, I have a friend from a Miao village who said that he once encountered someone who accidentally ate azalea flowers and survived by luck, but he was in a year-round coma. Why don’t you wait for me to come back and then make plans.”

Their voices gradually grew distant, and he sank into an inextricable haze again. Leaves fell by his ears, and the fluttering sounds of leaves filled the air. He felt sunlight slowly shine on his body, as well as someone sitting next to him silently, but he seemed to be able to feel that person’s sorrowful gaze, quietly enveloping him, never leaving for even a moment.

Time went by, and after an unknown amount of time, he became conscious once again. A slight breeze brushed his hair, and the sunlight outside shone in, warming the backs of his hands. He felt a little hot and moved his fingers slightly, his eyelids opening bit by bit. The bed curtains hadn’t been closed, so light shone in unscrupulously, like sabers cutting on his eyelids. He covered his eyes with his hand and slowly got accustomed to the light before sitting up on the bed.

He had just woken up, so his mind was still muddled. He was dazed for a while before lifting his eyes and looking around. There were three floral-patterned carpets, a table for eight and a few small stools. There was a celadon bottle on the short table, with an albizia flower inserted inside. Incense was burning in the gilded censer, and the smoke curled as it rose out. He stood up barefoot, but his legs weakened, and he fell down from the footstool. He held the stool as he stood up and waited to recover before he could move. He lifted the floor-to-ceiling bead curtains, and outside, there was a desk and bookshelves on all four walls, stuffed full of blue ancient books and records. He looked at the desk, which was full of piles of brick-like books, some open and some closed. The writing on the opened books was densely packed, and there were also many small cinnabar notes. He looked over for a while, but the words were all crooked and squeezed together like ants, so he didn’t know what they were.

He flipped a few pages and flipped to a naked woman with her stomach half-opened, revealing her colorful intestines.

Xiahou Lian: “…”

What was Shen Jue reading, they weren’t heretical teachings, right…

Xiahou Lian closed the book.

He opened the door and slowly stepped across the threshold. In front of him was a small courtyard, and there were two small water tanks in the clearing, with a few lotuses floating inside. This courtyard was very familiar, but his mind was muddled, so he couldn’t quite recall. A small boy riding a wooden horse below the steps was looking at him blankly, a strand of shiny snot flowing out of his nose.

Xiahou Lian squatted down and waved at him. “Kid, come, let me ask you…”

“Mother!” The child shouted as he ran out, “Uncle Xiahou woke up! He woke up!”

This child looks a little unsightly, he definitely isn’t Shen Jue’s, Xiahou Lian thought silently.

The child hadn’t called an adult over, but he had called over two children. A group of people hastily ran into the courtyard, and the oldest one only looked to be twelve or thirteen years old, sobbing as she pounced on him.

“Uncle Xiahou!”

Xiahou Lian tried to identify her for a long time before hesitantly calling, “Miaozhen?”

“And me, I’m Situ Nongyu! Uncle Xiahou, do you remember me?” Another girl came over.

“I remember, I remember.” Xiahou Lian touched her head. “Is your mother well? Has she come back from the Miao area?”

“What?” Yu-jie’er blinked. “My mother went to the Miao area last year, she came back a long time ago.”

Xiahou Lian was stunned for a while before realizing that the conversation he had heard was a matter from last year. Xiahou Lian asked, “Where’s the governor?”

“Governor?” Yu-jie’er and Miaozhen looked at each other, and Miaozhen said, “The governor is in the capital.”

“Where are we, isn’t this the capital?”

“No!” Yu-jie’er said, “This is Jinling.”

Xiahou Lian was a little lost. Shen Jue had gone to the capital, so he wouldn’t see him for a while.

“Ah!” Miaozhen suddenly said, “Aunt Lian Xiang went grocery shopping, I forgot to send people to tell the master that Uncle Xiahou has woken up.”

Yu-jie’er exclaimed, “Then hurry and go!”

Miaozhen turned around and ran, and Xiahou Lian gazed at the small lonesome courtyard. The lotuses in the two tanks swayed in the wind, slowly overlapping with the withered lotuses in his memory. Xiahou Lian suddenly recalled something and stopped Miaozhen, asking, “Is the master you mentioned Shen Jue?”

Miaozhen turned her head back and said, “That’s the master’s old name, the master is now called Xie Jinglan.”

“So this place is…” Xiahou Lian touched the gatepost, the black paint reflecting his face, “Jinling’s Xie Manor.”

Time spun around, seemingly drawing a large circle, returning to its origin once again. The wind blew past the small courtyard, and he seemed to see the youth of the past in plain white clothes sitting in the corridor and immersed in studying; another youth in linen clothes was squatting by his feet, fighting crickets and playing with grasshoppers. The years flowed endlessly beside them, to a faraway distance.

Xiahou Lian felt a surge of emotion, and his eyes became a little wet, yet he laughed.

“Miaozhen, where is the master, take me to see him.”


Miaozhen and Yu-jie’er pulled Xiahou Lian out of the side door. There was a hubbub of voices outside the alley, each peddling chant higher than the last. Yu-jie’er chattered about the past few years: three years had already passed since the battle at Xue Mountain, all of the officials that had consumed Bliss Fruit had been dismissed, and the azalea flowers in the North had all been incinerated. Shen Jue had brought Xiahou Lian, who had been unconscious, back to the old house of the Xie clan, and the imperial court had granted his resignation, so he returned to his original name of Xie Jinglan. Shen Wenxing had become the seal-holder of the Directorate of Rites, the young emperor still sought pleasures and had little ambition, Zhang Zhao’s reforms were still in progress, the battle with Liaodong had ended two years ago, the imperial court and the barbarians had reached an agreement, and everything was on the right track again.

Miaozhen said that Xie Jinglan had just finished proofreading Mr. Dai’s manuscripts and taken them to Baoyue Building 1 to discuss publication with the owner of the bookshop. It was noon now, so he should still be eating.

They squatted next to the archway of Baoyue Building as they waited, and Miaozhen bought three clay oven rolls, one for each of them. They waited for a very, very long time, but Xie Jinglan still hadn’t come out, probably because he had encountered problems in the discussion. The noon sunlight moved on the archway’s raised sculpting, turning into afternoon sunlight. Xiahou Lian watched the bustling crowd and his eyelids fought up and down drowsily.

Yu-jie’er and Miaozhen were leaning against a marble seat and fell asleep, but Xiahou Lian still held on. He felt thirsty later, and looking back at the entrance of Baoyue Building, there was still no sign of Xie Jinglan, so Xiahou Lian went to a shop across the street to ask for a bowl of water. The owner was very nice and added mint leaves inside, giving it a refreshing taste. He came out after thanking the owner and saying goodbye. Someone was standing next to the archway and talking with Yu-jie’er and Miaozhen. That person was wearing simple clothes; he wasn’t wearing python robes embroidered with gold or a broad belt embellished with jade. He was only wearing plain cloud brocade, relieved of superiority and coldness, yet he was still like someone who had descended from the horizon, like someone who had walked out of his dreams.

Yu-Jie’er pointed at him, and the person turned his head back, looking at him from afar.

He saw the surprise in Xie Jinglan’s eyes, like the evening wind sweeping away thin ice, a pool of spring waves slowly flowing past.

Xiahou Lian clumsily dodged the continuous flow of carriages and crowds, squeezed past a peddler raising up candied hawthorns, and moved around men and women holding children. Xie Jinglan stood below the archway and gazed at him, his wheat-colored face dotted with perspiration under the sunlight, sparkling and practically transparent. At that moment, all yearnings rushed toward him like a white butterfly, and Xie Jinglan gave the manuscripts to Miaozhen before stepping over. Xiahou Lian dodged a peddler carrying a shoulder pole, turned around, and suddenly fell into someone’s embrace.

His heartbeat suddenly stopped in that instant.

He seemed to have waited for ten thousand years, before finally embracing him again.

“Xiahou Lian, you’re back.”

“Mn, I’m back.”

“Will you leave again this time?”

“No, I won’t leave.”

I won’t leave for the rest of my life.

The sunlight became incomparably bright, and time extended indefinitely at that moment. The crowds and carriages turned into phantoms, like the years flowing away. They embraced each other as the vast world and boundless time stretched out below them. There was only them, eternally unchanging.

Translator’s Note: Thanks so much for reading to the end – it’s been a wild journey and I’m glad I was able to enjoy it with you all 🙂 There will be 4 extra chapters, but I’m currently really busy so it might take me a few weeks to translate them, thanks for understanding!

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Translator Notes:

  1. Lit. Moon-Hugging Building.


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January 1, 2023 4:04 pm

Thank you for all of your hard work with translating this! I will be looking forward to the extras, and Happy New Year!! 🙂

January 1, 2023 4:17 pm

god, i’m actually crying, words can’t even begin to describe how much i love this novel, it’s my favorite after reading it.
i love the way it’s written, i love the characters, i love everything about it. This journey of reading it has got to be the most amazing roller coaster of emotions i have ever felt while reading a danmei.
thank you so much for picking up dzyb and translating it so beautifully, i absolutely cannot wait for upcoming projects.

January 1, 2023 5:19 pm

Thank you so much for this translation!!

January 1, 2023 9:52 pm

I am feeling quite emotional as this story has come to an end.
This is now my favourite novel here. So well written and perfectly translated.
The highs, lows, wit, threat, love, hate, regret, revenge, remorse, loss and heartbreak.
In the end their love for each other survived, as did they.
Thank you so much; I appreciate the time, effort and commitment put into bringing this novel to us and I look forward to the extras very much.
Happy New Year!

January 2, 2023 2:25 pm

Thank you so much for this chapter! 🙂 I am exceedingly happy that they will finally have their happily ever after. *sniff*

January 2, 2023 5:48 pm

That certainly was a wild ride. Thank you for translating and sharing this story with us.

January 2, 2023 10:35 am

Beautiful….. it was such an emotional roller coaster but everything was so well written, my heart on a roller coaster ride! I’m so happy that in the end their love survived and I’m looking forward to the extras! Thank you so much for the translation and editing, very excellent work! ❤️❤️❤️ looking forward to the extras when you get to them!

January 2, 2023 11:47 am

This novel brought me so many emotions, it was quite the ride. Thank you for the hard work!

January 4, 2023 11:58 am

Thank You for the new chapter ♡(ŐωŐ人) I can’t believe that we are reaching the end of end~ Take Your time! And Happy New Year ♡

January 4, 2023 6:10 am

I love you guys very much, very very much.

January 4, 2023 1:04 pm

Thank you for the translation and congratulations with finishing the main story! Will be patiently waiting for the extras too 🙂 Happy New Year!

January 6, 2023 8:03 pm

Thanks for translating. This novel was a series of up and downs, tears and laughter and was a memorable ride. The translation quality was amazing, Im grateful for your time and efforts

January 7, 2023 4:26 pm

Thank goodness for the HAPPY ENDING!!!!

Thank you so much for the amazing translation of this beautiful story! Best of luck with your RL stuff and look forward to the extras! ❤️

January 8, 2023 5:25 pm

Thank you for the translation!

January 29, 2023 1:36 am

That was such a beautiful read!! Thank you for you efforts translating this so wonderfully. It is really appreciated that I could enjoy this story because of your efforts!

February 14, 2023 8:30 am

first time commenter!! thank you so much for all of your hard work translating this. these last few chapters covered every emotion on the spectrum and i’m so glad they get to have their peace and happy ending now :__: happy valentine’s day to them and i’m looking forward to the extras!

March 2, 2023 10:04 am

Thank you so much for the translation ❤ Really loved the story~ Hopefully you’ll translate the remaining 4 extras too!

April 23, 2023 10:00 am

Thank you so much for translating this book 💜 It was a painful experience reading the challenges they went through. However I am glad they at least have a happy ending…
Wondering though about his brother’s life…

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