READ ME BEFORE YOU START
So...here it is. My grand NIF2 Fan Fiction work. So far I've written about 30,000 English words worth of content. Yes, it's that crazy! They are all written in Chinese originally, and I'm not sure if I could ever translate all of it as it is really really time consuming. But let's just begin and we'll see what happens down the line.
This is not a word by word translation as the Chinese version is written in a particular style that doesn't necessarily fully convert to modern English, but it's 95% the same thing.
And it reads really funny to me when I try to compare the two versions in my head. Languages are weird things when you look at them side by side.
This piece is not the first one I wrote for NIF2, but I do think it's a good one to start with. The story takes place about 3 months after the ending of the drama.
And if you are curious to find out what the gift Lin Chen gave Pingjing for his wedding, image google this Chinese word — 压箱底, and prepare to be really shocked!
Three months later.
Lang Ya Hall hosted its first ever wedding.
Since Xiao Pingjing and Lin Xi arrived two months ago, everyone seemed to have suddenly become much busier. Lang Ya Hall was located deep in the mountains, all things needed to be brought in from the outside. Before their arrival, there was only half a roll of red fabric left, and part of that was made into Xiao Ce's New Year’s clothes. In order to host a wedding, much was to be arranged.
Xiao Pinging and Lin Xi stressed over and over that they didn’t care for extravagance; Lin Chen also happened to be the least rule-abiding person in the world. Naturally, rituals and new purchases were reduced to minimum, still, it was enough to create hustle and bustle for over a month. Lin Xi had no real family of her own; the message delivered from Ji Feng Hall’s Lang Zhou branch informed them that Old Master Li wouldn’t be able to reach Lang Ya Mountain until very close to the wedding date. Since the couple wouldn’t really settle down on the mountain, there was no need to transport dowry up the mountain, when later they would have to carry everything back down again. After all, as the Mistress of Ji Feng Hall, technically all of its branches could be considered as Lin Xi’s dowry, and it became rather unrealistic to calculate how much was really there. Xiao Pingjing had never worried about money matters apart from working out military logistics; Meng Qianxue was also quite clueless about account books since the House of Changlin always had its butler taking care of such matters. Eventually, no one even spared a thought for this matter.
Initially, Lin Xi gallantly volunteered to sew her own wedding garment. Their wedding had already involved every student and employee of Lin Chen’s, she therefore felt obliged to contribute something on her own. She had traveled with Old Master Li to work as doctors all her life; sewing was nothing new to her, being it on a piece of cloth or a real person. Yet when it came to turning a piece of fabric into a dress, she had never actually gone through the whole procedure for even once. After three days of intense needle work, she still hadn’t finished the skirt while her back was aching and her sight blurry. Meng Qianxue came to her aid, but she was no better at such skills. A few days later, they barely finished a jacket and a skirt. Although neither had any decorative touches, the future sisters-in-laws already shuddered at the sound of “clothes”. Xiao Pingjing watched from aside with interest, laughing secretly at their failed effort. When he presented their work of art to Lin Jiu for his assistance, Lin Jiu couldn’t hide his contempt after one quick glance.
“Well, let me figure something out.” Lin Jiu couldn’t help but shook his head.
Within a fortnight, Lin Xi’s wedding gown was ready: refined and tasteful. Lang Ya Hall was a place with crouching tiger and hidden dragon, being on top of whatever was going on in the world was not its only specialty. The future sister-in-laws didn’t care if the clothes was made or bought. They thanked heaven and earth to have another essential item checked off the long list.
Ten days before the set wedding date, Xun Feizhan and Du Zhong arrived at Lang Ya Hall. On the very night they arrived, Pingjing grabbed Feizhan for a sword fight and drank with him well into the night. In the days that followed, Ce’er was stuck on Feizhan. Wherever he went, the child followed. Feizhan rarely had an opportunity to leave the city of Jin Ling, escaping from all the troubles and memories of the past year. He was more than happy to spend his days playing with Ce’er, teaching him martial art, reading and tree climbing.
Three days before the wedding, Old Master Li finally arrived, looking rather weary from the long travel. He rested for a night then went straight to discuss the wedding arrangement with Meng Qianxue. They spent a whole day finalizing every detail. After dinner, he pulled Lin Xi aside and handed her a rosewood box. Lin Xi opened the box and took a peak, it was a set of exquisite jewelry: a pair of engraved gold hair pins with rubies mounted on top, two gold side combs with etched cloud patterns, a pair of ruby and pearl ear rings. Judging from the precious gemstones and the refined metal work, these must have cost a great deal.
“Master, this is way too expensive.”
“Xi’er, I know you don’t care for jewelries or precious things, but getting married is an important occasion. Although the marriage between you and him is nothing like what most people have, you’re still the daughter of Ji Feng Hall, and your must marry with splendour.”
Lin Xi had lived without protection or care from her parents since childhood; she had grown quite used to relying on herself for everything. Somehow, hearing those words moved something buried deep inside her. A lump came up in her throat and she quickly thanked him before her tears fell.
On the day of the wedding, Lin Xi woke up before daybreak and couldn’t fall back to sleep. Giving up on the effort, she got up and dressed. When she walked out of the room, the bright moon was still shinning in the sky. The morning breeze in the mountains felt cool and fresh, blowing away her drowsiness. She couldn’t help thinking how well Xiao Pingjing had rested for the night. What she couldn’t have known was that he didn’t even manage to sleep for one moment. Though he went to bed early and counted the wooden beams over his head back and forth, he was still wide awake after almost an hour. He then went into the courtyard to practice his sword, hoping to tire himself out so that he would get sleepy, but he got even more energized after the practice. He didn’t dare resolve to alcohol in case he screwed up the big day. After going through all his options, he decided reading in Lang Ya Hall’s giant library would be a good idea. He flipped through book after book, not a single word would stick in his mind. The flame of the oil lamp danced and glittered in front of his eyes, making him feel even more unsettled. Time dragged inch by inch until the eastern horizon brightened with a shade of pink. He hopped onto the roof of the library, witnessing the sunrise that ended this long and sleepless night.
Apart from the helpers in the kitchen, everyone at Lang Ya Hall put down their work on this day; even the pigeons got the day off. Compared to the wedding hosts Meng Qianxue and Old Master Li, the esteemed guests Lin Chen, Xun Feizhan and Du Zhong, and all the students at Lang Ya Hall, Xiao Pingjing and Lin Xi had a much tougher day. The groom didn’t sleep for a whole night, by evening, his head was swimming and his eyelids were fighting to stay open. The bride was dressed in layers of heavy gowns and carrying a head full of gold and gemstones, barely ate or drank anything through the day. After the nuptial drinking ceremony, the guests finally left, leaving the two alone in their bridal room. The newly weds both slumped aside, together they let out a long sigh.
The first thing Lin Xi did was taking off her heavy ceremonial gowns, picking those clinking jewelries out of her hair piece by piece, and gulping down three cups of water. Xiao Pingjing scanned the room draped with red silk and lit by red candles, and rested his eyes on the pile of gifts. He suddenly remembered earlier that day Lin Chen handed him a small box. The gifts from other guests can wait till tomorrow, but Xiao Pingjing was too curious to see what Lin Chen had offered. He got up and started searching through the pile, Old General Wei, Dong Qing, Yue Yinchuan, Xun Feizhan, the names popped up one by one, until he finally found what he was looking for. The box from Lin Chen didn’t even have a mark! Had he not paid special attention when he received it from Lin Chen’s hands, he might not be able to even locate it. The box was made of cedar, small and quite plain looking. He opened the box, and another brocade box was sitting inside. He wondered what the Old Master of Lang Ya Hall was so covert about and lifted the lid.
A quint peach shaped china piece wrapped by layers of silk popped into view. He froze for a while, his sleepy brain was too tired to make a quick response. By the time he realized what was in his hand, Lin Xi had already sneaked up on him. He shuddered in surprise, almost dropping it to the ground. Struggling to maintain his calm appearance, he quietly set the box back down on the table. His heart was pounding like a loud drum, and the drowsiness he was feeling moments ago had completely evaporated. Li Xi knotted her brows, looking at him with questioning eyes. To divert her attention, he quickly grabbed her shoulders.
“You must be tired after a day of hustle, you should get some rest.” He tried to push her further away from the table. Lin Xi followed his guide for a few steps, then abruptly she ducked down. Slipping out of his hands, she turned around to reach for the box. Fortunately for him, Xiao Pingjing was the one with longer arms. He managed to snatch the box off the table before she could lay her hand on it. Raising it high above his head, he swung his arm to keep it out of her reach.
“It’s just a joke from the Old Master, there’s nothing to see!”
“If it’s a gift from the Old Master, why couldn’t I take a look?” Lin Xin was not ready to give up. When it came to fighting, Xiao Pinging was way better at that than Lin Xin. If it really was his intention to not let her get the box, she wouldn’t even have a chance. That was also his intention, initially. However, after a few rounds, he found it was actually quite fun playing dodge and grab, so he started to lead her, taking the box out of her hands moments before she thought she had nailed it. Perhaps it was due to the wine that she drank on an empty stomach, Lin Xi felt her head started to buzz, as Xiao Pingjing ran around in the room like a naughty child, she was reminded of the time when they first met, how he clang to her at every chance available, coming up with all kinds of excuses just to have a conversation with her. The playful child inside her became wide-awake, and she began to chase after him with all her might.
What they ended up with was a room turned up side down: the candle holders were tipped over everywhere and the table cloth was gahtered on the floor . Lin Xin was still dressed in her long skirt, she stepped on the fabric and stumbled over. Xiao Pingjing reached out just in time to catch her, and they both fell down hard on the floor.
“I give up, whatever that is!” Lin Xi felt tired and she finally had enough playing around. Landing a loud slap on his chest, she sat up and began to arrange her messy hair and clothes. Xiao Pinging pushed himself up along the edge of the platform bed, watching her with disbelief.
“You are not going to look?”
“I don’t have to, I already know.” Lin Xi patted on her skirt a few times, and sat down on the edge of the bed. Seeing the surprised look on his face, she fought to keep her mouth from curling up. Xiao Pingjing didn’t believe her, and they stared at each other for a while. Somehow a speedy exchange of thoughts took place between them without either uttering a word. He was after all a quick-minded person, and immediately he understood she was telling the truth. Lin Xi had been learning medicine all her life, even Ce’er was born with her help, how could she not have guessed? Under normal circumstances this item would be included in the bride’s dowry, but Lin Chen must have realized that Lin Xi had no need for such things; it was definitely intended for him…
“The older he gets, the more licentious he is!” Xiao Pingjing turned away from Lin Xi to hide his flushed face and chucked the box to the side. He planned to turn around after his face cooled down somewhat, but Lin Xi quietly moved up to him. When he turned around, her face was only inches aways. They both froze when their eyes met. Xiao Pingjing swallowed involuntarily, feeling a rush of blood climbing up his neck, setting his face on fire. Lin Xi’s eyes glistened and her cheeks were also glowing pink. She moved even closer, her breath tinted with the scent of wine.
“What do you think, from now on, should I call you Pingjing, husband or prince?”
————— This is a dividing line of modesty—————
Xun Feizhan and Du Zhong sat under the roofed corridor, chatting while drinking warmed wine. Occasionally, Xun Feizhan would glance at the light seeping out of the bridal room down the hill. It stood out even more now that every other room in Lang Ya Hall was dark.
“Time truly stands still in the mountains. It’s not such a bad idea to stay here and live like a god.” Xun Feizhan sighed.
“Our young mistress has great ambitions, I’m afraid she would head out in a few days.” Du Zhong took a sip of his wine and said calmly.
“What about Pingjing then?”
“Obviously he would have to accompany her.” Du Zhong was a little drunk now, he laughed with great confidence : “It’s only a matter of time before Prince Changlin becomes a student of medicine.”
A breeze blew across the mountain, the beady lights under the corridor roof quivered. Du Zhong poked at the coal in the small stove and began telling what he had witnessed since the days in Jin Ling. When he reached the highlights of Xiao Pingjing and Lin Xi’s story, he gloated with so much enjoyment it completely took Xun Feizhan by surprise. He didn’t expect this doctor who had saved his life, who had always appeared so appropriate and poised, was actually a gifted story teller and gossip king. The amount of detail Du Zhong revealed was way more elaborate than what Xun Feizhan had gathered from Meng Qianxue.
It was close to mid-night, all was quiet, only Du Zhong’s chatter was echoing in the empty mountain valley.