Great Tang Idyll – v1-c036

Lighting The Lamp & Recruiting People For Comfort

Idler’s Note: Sorry for the lateness of this chapter! There was a part that I had some difficulty with… You will know it when you see it. In any case, I apologize if some of the footnotes suck or might still be confusing or incoherent. I tried my best to proofread it all but I was just all researched out… My brain is a bit fried… O_o

Disclaimer: This translation is by a fan for fans. Any opinions or commentary presented here are translated as is written by the original author. Any remarks by the translator will be in footnotes or in an editorial aside. The original work is the property of the author and any other associated copyright holders in their respective territories. Please do not reproduce, redistribute, or resell this translation anywhere else without permission! If you are reading this anywhere else but on WordPress, then it is being reposted without permission from the translator! If you are the copyright holder and/or have licensed this work for English publication and wish for this translation to be removed, please contact me to do so. Thank you!

It was night. The drizzling rain was misty as the charcoal stove in the room spouted fire sparks. Shiliu and Mrs. Zhang-Wang’s maid servant who slept next door each took shifts in the evening watch as they sat and lightly napped in a rocking chair1 by the doorway that Wang Juan had people make.

“Xiaobao, you asleep? The charcoal is burning—it’s inside the room.” Wang Juan used her finger to poke Zhang Xiaobao.

“If I were asleep, I’d still be woken up by you. I was always afraid of being caught so my sleep was also never sound. Don’t fear. The door’s open, ~ne. The possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning is very low. Sleep.” Zhang Xiaobao slightly turned his head, sweeping an eye over the door as he replied.

“But I’m still cold and there’s no air conditioning, no central heating, and no underfloor heating.2 I feel like it’s difficult to breathe.” Wang Juan said.

“That’s normal. I’m the same, too. A child’s body is sensitive. Typically during this time, children as big as us would cry as only security could be felt by being carried in an adult’s arms. With the loss of body heat, it leads to the blood circulation slowing down and an insufficient blood supply to the brain, stimulating the heart as the pressure increases too much.

You would also have this type of thing happen during your trainings before. It’s only that an adult’s body is stronger than a child’s. I was the same way when I had previously been training myself in the mountains as there were times that I wanted to cry. Tomorrow, let’s have them come over to set up the kang [bed-stove]. By then, it’ll be fine.”

Zhang Xiaobao had learned quite a few things before so of course, he knew what the current state was. Most importantly was that he and Wang Juan couldn’t possibly cry. Understanding was understanding—he was also not comfortable and had even used self-induced mental suggestion3 in order to sleep before he had been woken up by Wang Juan.

“I don’t care. I don’t want to use mental suggestions. My body will still be uncomfortable even after going to sleep. You hurry up and think of a way. Right now, I feel empty and helpless. The mental pressure is too much. Even if I can endure it, it’s still detrimental to the body’s growth.”

Wang Juan had naturally gone through this type of thing before. But what she needed for her body right now was physical relaxation and not mental fortification.

Zhang Xiaobao thought on it and felt it was like that. He and Wang Juan possessed tough minds but had no way of guaranteeing normal rest for the body. It was still a bit too early for this kind of physical exhaustion training.

“Actually, it’s very simple. Just sleep by your mother’s side. That way, you would feel warmth and peace of mind. It has no connection to the nervous reflexes. It’s that your body’s muscular control system can form a kind of resonance with your mother’s body. The most obvious manifestation is through the pulse. I don’t know if my Mom will have any effect on you.

At least, I have no problems. As long as I fall asleep, my Mom’s heart rate and metabolism will unconsciously sync up with my heartbeat and metabolism. This isn’t saying that the heartbeats will be the same but is a kind of natural calibration of the frequencies.

During this process, even if a child suddenly feels frightened, they would still proactively seek out their mother’s embrace. And when a mother encounters danger during their dreams, they will still continue maintaining a protective posture over their child.

To give one of the simplest examples, when you really want to pee in your sleep, you’ll discover that all of the toilets that appear in your dreams are all either especially dirty or clogged up. Or perhaps you’re unexpectedly interrupted just as you were thinking of using the toilet until you’ve woken up from the urge to pee.

When a mother hugs a child while sleeping, the same sort of involuntary awareness will be formed. How about you go lie down by my Mom’s side for a while? It might have some effect.”

Zhang Xiaobao talked a bunch and finally suggested letting Wang Juan go to another room.

But Wang Juan shook her head: “I finally understand why was it that some mothers who’d given birth to children but would still look so young while some aged faster. The young ones generally didn’t raise the children by their side and had others take care of them.

The ones who aged faster typically kept the children by their side. They were always consciously cherishing and involuntarily within their subconscious protecting their child. Their bodies and minds were constantly strained at the same time under a prolonged effort. I’m not going. You think of a way quickly. You’re an International Criminal Swindler—don’t weaken your name.”

“A person such as you is too unreasonable. I currently have no way of telling if you’re being complimentary or derogatory. Fine, I’ll talk. Don’t kick me. Even if you put me down, you still can’t get to sleep. Move the couch against the wall—against the wall of that room my Mom sleeps in. There are two doors here. You stick close to the wall. I’ll be fine at your side here.”

Zhang Xiaobao felt that the rate his brains cells were dying at this time was faster than when he was swindling. At least when he was swindling, he didn’t need to get kicked.

Wang Juan accepted Zhang Xiaobao’s suggestion and woke up Shiliu to have her help push the couch to the specified location. When she lay down again, Wang Juan laughed.

“Impressive, ~ya! Comrade Zhang Xiaobao, no wonder you could swindle so many people. Not speaking of anything else, in your grasp of human nature, you really are not at the normal level. Talk—how many ignorant young girls have you deceived in the past? Pushed them in the corner.”4

“You feel like you can sleep well here, right? There’s a wall on that side. Outside the wall, there are people. This side has me. Calmed down, right? Destroying the bridge after crossing the river,5 killing the donkey after the milling,6 cooking the dog after the rabbits’ death,7 hiding the bow after the birds are gone8 isn’t right, ~di.9 What young girls did I deceive? I was working hard to make money. You only think of yourself. Look at Shiliu. Don’t you feel pity?”

Zhang Xiaobao regretted it. What was this called, ~ah? A woman’s reason had its own reason with no relation to age.

Wang Juan didn’t continue pestering him and looking at Shiliu who was sitting in the chair, she really did feel uneasy—even if Shiliu had three proper meals and one midnight snack.

“I’ve decided. Let’s find some more people from the manor for three shifts per day and every person at 8 hours each. The money will come from the treasury that we both share. Exploitation isn’t the goal; to be able to produce more benefits is fundamental.”

Wang Juan said she’d do it and did. The second day’s morning, she had people find several clever maids in the manor to come over. They could be assured of the loyalty of these people. The daytime still had Shiliu looking after the children. At night, Shiliu laid down to sleep while outside, two maids were positioned inside the room.

These two people could quietly talk there and even light an oil lamp that wouldn’t be quenched for the entire night. It was fine as long as they stepped softly when walking a circuit inside the room every hour.

Other places in the courtyard house also had several additional people to keep evening vigil with the same treatment. It was just that some places had men and they could drink all of the tea that they wanted to along with little snacks10 in order to let the manor have enough life11 at night.

After Mrs. Zhang-Wang learned of this arrangement by her own daughter-in-law, she didn’t understand why she would want to do this as there’d be an additional expense. But since they had used their own money to pay for it, Mrs. Zhang-Wang was also not willing to be overly controlling and so let the little guys mess around.

The result was that waking up in the morning of the day after sleeping, the people of the manor all discovered that they slept especially well last night as each and every one of them clearly had a lot more vigor than in the past. This caused Mrs. Zhang-Wang to become astonished as she called over the steward to inquire after the cause.

The people inside the courtyard house didn’t sleep like she and the others with someone specifically waiting on them at the sidelines. Sometimes, they’d have to worry about problems cropping up during the night so normally, they didn’t sleep soundly. Before sleeping yesterday night, the servants learned of the new arrangements. Understanding that there would always be people around nearby and that they’d be woken up if something did happen, they no longer had any worries in their heart.

“Mistress, Little Mister and Little Miss are indeed extraordinary people. That 6 year old little daughter of mine who would have nightmares every day before actually didn’t get frightened awake yesterday night. Getting up today, she even said to me that she wasn’t afraid as she knew that there would always be people protecting her.”

Steward Zhang didn’t think that such a simple arrangement by Juan-Juan could actually have such a great advantage as he started singing praises to the side.

Mrs. Zhang-Wang was all smiles: “Unh, Steward should go busy yourself. I’ll call Master to go see the children.”

“Xiaobao, think quickly. How to make it, ~ne?” Wang Juan and Zhang Xiaobao were sitting together once the both of them had gotten up in the morning. Placed on top of the paper in front of them was a bit of white sugar. The two of them were preparing to come out with a new product type but couldn’t think of a method so could only futilely glare there.

“What I think is that water should be added. Boil it, ~ah, boil it until the sugar doesn’t melt. When it’s dried, it can be turned into blocks.”

Zhang Xiaobao’s brow had wrinkled up but he still hadn’t thought of a good method. Even the words he spoke out loud himself, he wasn’t certain about.

Wang Juan was just about to speak but instead raised her head together at the same time with Zhang Xiaobao to see Mrs. Zhang-Wang and Father Zhang approaching them together. Both of their awareness levels were rather high.

Seeing people had arrived, they’d hurriedly stood up in greeting—that thoughtful and well-behaved demeanor made people like them the more they looked at them.

“My son, what is this being made? Rock sugar?”12 Father Zhang came over by that white sugar and asked while smiling.

“Ah~? Dad, there’s rock sugar? Then, wouldn’t there be white sugar, too? It’s over, that sugar of mine won’t make money.” Zhang Xiaobao and Wang Juan were both simultaneously shocked. The two of them hadn’t gotten to eat any rock sugar so had assumed that there weren’t any, ~ne.

Father Zhang seemed to know what his son and this future daughter-in-law were thinking so he smiled while nodding and then shaking his head.

“My son has no need to worry. This white sugar and rock sugar is difficult to produce; the price is also high. Moreover, it doesn’t compare to the fineness that this sugar of my son’s has. The sugarcane required to produce 1 catty of white sugar can produce several times the amount of brown sugar. This sugar of yours only needs to be directly placed within the pot; after it’s thickened, cool it directly into blocks.”

Zhang Xiaobao and Wang Juan emphatically nodded their heads. It looked like bookworms were rather impressive at times. Such a simple method, why didn’t they think of it, ~ne?

Mrs. Zhang-Wang and Father Zhang left after staying with the children for an hour. Zhang Xiaobao and Wang Juan were also no longer in the mood to make the sugar and prepared to hand it over to that one surnamed Zhou to figure out as their training started up once again.

It was another instance of autumn rain that fell as the weather was a bit cooler than the previous days.

Within the Great Hall of Zhang Manor.

“Master13 spake:14 ‘If riches were sought after, even if as a whip hand,15 then I [archaic]16 shall do so. If unable to seek them, then I [archaic] shall follow my preferences…’17 ‘Master used elegant speech:18 Poetry, Books, and the practice of Etiquette—on all these, he used elegant speech.’”19

“My son, stop first.” When Zhang Xiaobao was reciting the things he’d memorized over these past few days, Father Zhang suddenly told him to halt.

“Does my son remember what your father20 has taught of the meaning of ‘Master used elegant speech: Poetry, Books, and the practice of Etiquette—on all these, he used elegant speech?’” Father Zhang here wasn’t satisfied with his son only knowing how to recite it.

“I know. Elegant speech was the official speech21 of the Zhou dynasty.22 Master Confucius normally used Lu dialect23 but used the speech of Zhou officials when reading poetry, reciting books, and in etiquette.” Zhang Xiaobao had been studying extremely hard these past few days.

“And why Poetry, Books, and Etiquette?”24 Father Zhang had actually directly jumped from one question to another question, already at a different place than that of what had been discussed from the Analects.

“Poetry, Books, and Etiquette are contained in the Six Classics.25 The Six Classics: the Classic of Poetry, the Book of Documents,26 Ceremonial Etiquette,27 the Classic of Music,28 the Changes of Zhou,29 the Spring and Autumn Annals.”30 This time, Zhang Xiaobao didn’t wait for his father to ask and straight away listed the Six Classics.

Seated in this hall were the elders of the two families of Zhang and Wang and seeing that Xiaobao was able to answer once asked, they all nodded their heads in approval.

At this time, Father Wang also grew interested. He hadn’t read books in this way like Father Zhang had so he offhandedly asked Wang Juan: “Does Juan-Juan know why there are so many people who study the Six Classics?”

At once, everyone froze, especially Father Zhang—he hadn’t even taught it yet, ~ne.

Wang Juan had no time to fault her father for his ignorance and blind questioning as she replied after a bit of consideration: “A wealthy family doesn’t need to buy good fields for there are a thousand zhong31 of millet within the books; establishing residence doesn’t need a frame to be raised for there is a golden house within the books… If men wish to pursue their lifelong ambitions, then diligently read the Six Classics in front of the window.”32

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19 thoughts on “Great Tang Idyll – v1-c036

  1. Zang’s mom would look young even in old age and the MC himself will look old with all this thinking… This chapter’s footnotes were all useful…a little more than others. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL, Xiaobao will probably learn how to take better care of himself… especially with Juan-Juan on his case. He did pretty much burn down his vitality in his previous life so he’ll know not to do that in this life… This is pretty much his New Game+ here.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Well, if you want to be technical, they are probably endnotes rather than footnotes. 😛

      And yes, I try not to barrage you guys with too many footnotes but this chapter, I found them unavoidable…


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