The end of my National Novel Writing Month project … … three chapters.
Chapter Two Poems and Chess
Time flowed by.
In a flash, he had come to this medieval time for three months. Spring slowly turned to the heigh of summer. The gardens, fake mountains, pavilions, yards, streets, art boats, Ning Yi slowly familiarized himself with this medieval world. However, he would frequently feel bored.
It was probably that he was too used to being busy. Now that there was no computer, no work, nothing that he could do, his hands itched. The Su Family was happy to see his boredom, especially since the reason that he was to marry in was to give Su Tan Er a reason to stay in her home and not have to marry out. It was best for him, the reason, to be obedient. In conclusion, he enjoyed all of this boredom. Every day, he would stroll the streets, look at the culture of the medieval era, the men and women of this medieval era as he thought randomly. At most, he would think about what he would do when he saw something, how he could multiply the profits and make money.
He had been the boss for too long, he was possessed … … he scolded himself humorously like so. He would only ever think about these things before they sank back into the deep of his mind.
Compared to his idleness, his wife in name, Su Tan Er, was visibly busier. But no matter how busy she was, she would return to the home at a punctual time to eat. From this perspective, this was a benefit of this era. No matter what, a woman could not be free as a man could be. Taking a step back, the general idea was that the rhythm of medieval work was not as suffocating as in the modern era where he would be carrying his computer and flying everywhere as he took care and managed large amounts of information and matters at any time. In this era where communication was not so fast and free, work maniacs like him were not able to be produced. You could always find the time to rest because as you have sent an order out, and the other side had not replied.
It was most likely that he really thought of himself as a obedient and dull man that the person who talked first when they sat together to eat was always her. She would exchange information and enliven the mood. Ning Yi would just say a few words to placate her. He had been in business for so many years and had formed a skill long ago of saying anything but never making the other person feel as though he was just pretending to listen. He was much more skilled than Su Tan Er, so every time they sat together, Ning Yi would think of the two people in the movies.
After the meal, if it rained, they would stay in their own rooms. Su Tan Er would read, occasionally play the zither, do some embroidery while he would purely read and write if he was not staring into space. He would occasionally find some paper and perform business predictions like in the past, thinking up scenarios of the stock market, but then he felt it was not meaningful. Unless there was an emergency, Su Tan Er would leave on a horse-drawn carriage. If the weather was good, Ning Yi would basically go out and roam while Su Tan Er would stay in the stores inside the city. The two were on different paths.
The servant girl called Chan’er was constantly following him. In these few months, she probably became his personal servant girl. This was Su Tan Er’s arrangement. He could see that Xiao Chan wanted to have a good relationship with him, and would always talk when she cleaned up the room, talking about daily matters or where Miss had gone today and did. He could see that she admired and liked her Miss. Su Tan Er was truly good to the servants. Ning Yi would usually nod and smile. When he went out, this little girl would always be behind him. Sometimes, he would feel apologetic and sit in a nearby tea house when he was tired from walking and eat some pastries. The little girl would take out pieces of silver from an exquisitely embroidered pouch to pay and made him feel the life of a second-generation rich person was like this in the medieval era.
It was about the same in the modern era. He never swiped his own card when he went out to buy things … … uh, it seemed that there had been many years since he had really gone out and bought something by himself.
Recently, he liked to watch people play chess at the shore of Qinhuai River.
The streets near that part of the river were not too busy and could be considered the city suburbs. The position was slightly remote and there were no large stores. Those that walked on the road were sellers that carried their baskets on their shoulders. There were not many passer-by. An old many frequently put up a chessboard under a tree near the river and occasionally, there would be several old men there. Some students would occasionally come by. There was a tea stall beside the place where he and Xiao Chan had rested at the first time they came when they had been tired from walking. He had looked around as he sipped tea. The two old men that were playing chess had both been very skilled. He thought, as expected of the medieval era, any two old men were so good at chess. After that, he frequently came. One of the old men was fixed but his opponent constantly changed. But after watching for a while, they were mostly familiar people, and they were all skilled in chess.
This kind of mentally challenging work was probably the one of the rare entertainments he could find. In reality, Qinhuai River was publicly recognized as one of the most prosperous and busiest places with all kinds of art galleys and prostitute hoses. When it was night, it was not peaceful. Every day as he walked, he would frequently hear about love affairs. However, all things had to be restrained. Since he had married into the Su Family, he probably would never experience this kind of entertainment. Since he had already seen all kinds of poor and rich matters in his previous life, he naturally did not have much interest now.
In the next day, the weather was slightly dark but it seemed that the rain would not arrive soon. He and Xiao Chan went to the tea stall. There were two old men playing chess. After playing for a while, a person that seemed like a manservant came over and talked to one of the old men. That old man nodded, “Honorable Qin, there is an emergency at home, this chess match … …”
“Since we have not determined win and loss, why don’t we call it a tie?”
“This is good … …”
The two spoke politely for a few more words before one of the old men left. The old man that had put out the chess board started to clean up. Ning Yi finished off the tea in his cup in one go and stood up. “There’s nothing to watch, Xiao Chan, pay the bill.”
Just as Xiao Chan took out the pouch, the old man spoke, “This son, you have come recently to watch and most likely has your own thoughts about this path. Are you willing to have a match with this old man?” There was no opponent, so he grabbed a random person.
“Uh … …” Ning Yi stilled and then looked at the sky, “I’m average … … alright.”
He sat down opposite the old man and when he helped pick up the pieces, there were naturally inquiries such as “Son, where did you come from.” Ning Yi responded half-heartedly. After cleaning up, they guessed and Ning Yi received white and the right to go first. He was not courteous and put the piece down with a bang.
“Uh, this opening move … …” The old man looked at him. His brow furrowed but he followed.
After ten moves of the two players playing after each other, the old man’s brow was locked even tighter. He inquired in puzzlement, “Dare I ask where Son has learned chess?”
“Self-taught from game records.”
“Oh, no wonder … …”
After saying this, the old man did not speak more. Two two sat silently by the tree beside the river and played. Xiao Chan sat on the side and occasionally looked at the sky. She didn’t really understand weiqi and just felt that the old man under the tree tok increasingly longer to think and his wrinkles had deepened. He would occasionally raised his head to look at Ning Yi or sigh and shake his head. The white stones grew on the game boards, and the black stones were gradually scattered.
More than two hours later, the old man threw down the stones to surrender. He raised his head and examined Ning Yi seriously. Ning Yi still looked calm and as though everything was amusing. “Son’s chess skill … … is high. But the moves are somewhat … …” This old man tried to ponder his words. Ning Yi helped put away the pieces and smiled, “Playing is to win, just like two armies facing each other, how can there be any judgment of the quality of moves?”
“Chess is the game of gentlemen … …”
“This old person feels that chess can show a person’s personality,” Ning Yi said as he put away the pieces, “Is it accurate?”
The old person stilled and then pondered. He shook his head and smiled, reaching out to clean the pieces. “It is not so accurate.”
Putting away the chessboard, and seeing the sky was dark and stormy, Ning Yi and Xiao Chang walked in the direction of the Su Mansion. On the way, Xiao Chan’s eyes as she looked at him became slightly strange. She couldn’t help asking, “Guye won?”
“Ah, in the future, it probably will not be good for me to go watch them play.”
“Didn’t you see that he felt I am a bad person?”
“He feels Guye is a bad person after playing?” The little girl turned back to look. “It definitely is that he is angry Guye won … … the old grandfather is not very sportsmanlike.”
He was naturally just saying this casually. That old person was extremely self-possessed and naturally would not be angry due to losing. But in this era, playing weiqi was to be restrained. Playing between friends was open and honest, and would stop when it reached a point. Those pressuring and uncomposed moves would not be used. However, playing weiqi to Ning Yi was just purely mental effort. Adding on that the two sides did not have the same amount of information, even though the old man also possessed great skill, he was completely defeated under Ning Yi’s continuous barrage of tricks and traps. At least, it gave a small sense of satisfaction to Ning Yi at bullying a medieval person.
When they returned home today, Su Tan Er was also coming back. The servant girl called Xing’er was overseeing some people moving cloth into Miss’ chambers. Those were probably new products and were in a variety of colors. Seeing them return, Juan’er that was on the second floor came down with a large box. “Guye, Guye, Miss heard that Guye likes to play weiqi. He saw this on the street today, and specially bought it for Guye.” In reality, it was a gift someone else gave and Su Tan Er had no use for it so she took it back with her. It was a weiqi set. Ning Yi jumped in fright. “This, thank Wife for me.”
“Guye, go say thanks yourself!” The little girls giggled and ran back up the tower. Ning Yi sook his head and carried the weiqi back to the room. There was no one he knew here, who would he play with?
When Juan’er returned to the room, the people moving the obejcts had left the yard. She copied Ning Yi’s voice, “Miss, Guye said, say thanks to Wife for me.” Su Tan Er who had been looking at the ledger tapped her head. Mistress and servant had grown up together. Even though there was still boundaries of class between them, but there was also sisterly affection. However, when Su Tan Er was busy, it was not good to joke around too much. After she finished reading the account books, Su Tan Er looked closely at the bolts of cloth. At this time, Chan’er and Xing’er also came in. Seeing Chan’er, Su Tan Er smiled. “You went with Guye again to look at a weiqi match?”
“En.” Chan’er’s small shook. “I don’t understand it.”
“I don’t like weiqi either.” Su Tan Er shook her head. She had been busy the whole morning after leaving home and she was just having her first moments of res tnow. She picked up a piece of fine writing paper that was placed on the table. With a frown, she asked Chan’er, “This is really a poem that Guye wrote?”
Chan’er had picked up the paper this morning. She reached over to look and then confirmed, “Yes, I saw Guye writing it, he said he was practicing his writing.’
Su Tan Er’s brow furrowed again as she read it repeatedly before putting it down. Chan’er had hurriedly carried over this poem in the morning. Su Tan Er had been preparing to go out then, and after going to several places during the day, she finally had the time now. Xing’er who had been on the ground floor had not read it either. Seeing Miss’ variety of expressions, her interest was perked. The three servant girls had all learned writing, poetry and math before but when they held the paper, their little faces scrunched up.
“Three lotus roots floating in a clear water pond (San ou fu bi chi) … … raft has daughterly thoughts (fa ke you ai si), Dewdrop … … wets the sand walls, sunset serene sunrise quiet (lu zhu shi sha bi, mu you xiao ji ji.)
In the other room, Ning Yi was organizing the papers on his desk to throw out or burn. He had practiced ten pages yesterday and found that there was one page missing. After some thought, he shook his head and laughed. “It would be strange if you will understand … …”
The rain started to fall.
The large storms of the summer were fierce. As the rain rattled, the sky was dark as though it was evening. However, it was a pleasure to open the window in this weather and look at the gardens and buildings immersed in the rain. A while later, Chan’er came in with some colored cloths. NingYi was looking at the open weiqi set. “Guye, Miss said that this is newly bought silk and for this servant to measure Guye to make clothes. Guye, what color do you like?”
“Making new clothing is not something which doesn’t matter,” the little girl said with a pout. She took out a tape measure and measured Ning Yi. Ning Yi looked at the pouring rain outside and then at the little girl beside him.
“Do you have anything this afternoon?”
“This servant doesn’t know how to play weiqi.”
“Not weiqi, I’ll teach you five-in-a-row.”
“Five-in-a-row?” The little girl raised her head to look at him with puzzlement. She had never heard of such a game before.
So this usually quiet yard in the afternoon was filled with the cheers of this little girl. Even though she was usually composed and calm, Su Tan Er was eighteen and her servant girls were just fifteen and sixteen. If they really encountered something, they could not help but forget themselves. Su Tan Er was sitting in the rooms on the other side as she read by the window. Xing’er and Juan’er were embroidering on benches. They could hear the shouts of “I won, I won” coming faintly through the rain and couldn’t help but raise their heads in curiosity. After this repeated a few times, Xing’er pricked her finger and she gaze in puzzlement at the other side as she sucked on her finger.
“What is Chan’er doing … …”
“Three lotus roots floating in a clear water pond (San ou fu bi chi) … …
raft has daughterly thoughts (fa ke you ai si),
Dewdrop … … wets the sand walls, sunset serene sunrise quiet (lu zhu shi sha bi, mu you xiao ji ji.)
Sound out the first two phrases, (they are English phrases), the last two phrases are homonyms for (OP is an idiot, and doesn’t have a JJ.) The English translation I did is terrible but the poems doesn’t really make sense in Chinese.