Saturday, November 14, 2015

Great Merchant - Dao Ming (Prologue 2)

“THAT IS FOR THIS COURT TO DECIDE, WE WILL BE FAIR AND IMPARTIAL TO EVERYONE, FROM THE LOWEST SCUM TO THE GREATEST JADE EMPEROR.” King Yanlou’s voice booms out once more, as he turns his head slightly towards the man reading the scroll.

“Heh, if only we had your kind of judge back home.” The young man’s bitter smile deepens, mocking the corrupted officials from his country in his heart.

“Silence, you may talk when you defend yourself or have anything to add.” The judge-secretary walks up the steps to the pedestal, scroll in hand as he places it onto the low-rising table in front of King Yanlou and whispers into his ears. The secretary’s brush pen hovering above the scroll, moving to different parts every now and then.

“LI FANG SING, YOU CRIPPLED YOUR NEIGHBOUR’S ARM AS A CHILD OVER A MERE DOG, WHY?” The booming voice rattles the table, his face stern.

“It wasn’t intentional, but I did it nonetheless. I can’t remember the exact details, but he was torturing the dog for no reason whatsoever, then it somehow ended up with me breaking his left arm.”

“YOU ENDED UP KILLING THE SAME DOG THREE YEARS LATER, YOU CRIPPLED SOMEONE IN THE NAME OF PROTECTING THIS DOG, YET YOU KILLED IT WITH YOUR OWN HAND, ISN’T THAT RIGHT?”

The young man’s eyes go vacant as though he can see the past event playing before his very eyes, a silence follows as he nods his head. “I killed it to feed my family and myself, the village was going through a famine, yet the officials still wanted the regular tax on the crops. I won’t say that what I did was right, but I don’t regret it, otherwise someone in my family would’ve surely died.”

The judge questions no further, the judge-secretary walks down from the pedestal and takes over. “Then why did you kill your benefactor, who lifted you up from serfdom and into his household?”

The young man stares at the man, an incredulous look on his face. “Shouldn’t you people know all this already? Why do you need to ask?”

The judge-secretary gently lifts his brush pen up before dropping it softly into his other hand. “Just answer the question.”

“The man is a two-faced shrew, I was groomed by him to be a sacrificial lamb for his corrupt dealings. After finding out the truth unexpectedly, I simply did what I had too to stay alive.” The young man answers with an even voice, as though it had no impact on him then, and has no impact on him now.

Before the judge-secretary can continue his questioning, the young man continues onto something else. “I took over the post held by that beast that wasn’t fit to be either a pig nor dog. Afterwards when I became of age at 16, I worked tirelessly to enrich the country’s coffers, make the citizens’ lives easier, making my way into the Royal Inner Circle within 2 years.”

The young man takes a few steps, looking at nowhere in particular, yet having a look as though he’s staring into the distance. The two magistrates look on patiently, waiting for him to continue. “I thought the Heavens is just, that the man with the Mandate of Heaven would rule righteously. Then I saw the truth. That dog-king seeks only pleasure, increasing his harem whenever possible. It doesn’t matter if the woman is a girl, or that she’s already married, he will have his way. The Queen is no different, ever jealous -using other womenfolks to vent her anger-, she enacts policies in the name of equality. Men and women are fundamentally different! Even those women with the same body types as the men simply can’t keep up! But does she care? No! Women get sent to the mines with the men, same with conscription! And when quotas aren’t met, or the army fails, the womenfolk get flogged until they are crippled!” A disdainful look appears in the young man’s eyes.

“That doesn’t give you the right to usurp the Decree of Heavens and end the Royal line.” The judge-secretary inserts flatly.

“The sons and daughters are no better! Treating the commoners as toys, having their pets ‘play’ them to death. If this is the Decree of the Heavens, then PAI!” The young man spits with disgust. “The Heavens is a sham!”

[T/N: You will notice the use of Heaven and Heavens, they are both one and the same, but this is due to remaining artifact from older translators. In all cases, they are singular when used like this (different from the Judeo-Christian-Islam Heaven.]

The young man’s resolute declaration stuns the magistrates and completely floors some of the guards.

Sensing the silence, the young man continues. “I know my crimes, given the choices, I will do the same things all over again! Let’s just end this charade and send me to Hell already!”

King Yanlou picks up the commandment tablet, lifting it up in the air. “WE NEED TO DISCUSS PRIVATELY, BRING HIM TO THE ROOM OF MEDITATION IN THE MEAN TIME.”

SLAM

“““Huuuooooooooo”””

Dadadada

The guards hum while hitting their rods rhythmically onto the ancient stone floor once more. A pair of guards stands to the left and right of Li Fang Sing, guiding him into a crystalline room filled with light before leaving him there.

The numerous guards in the courtroom file out in an orderly manner, leaving only the two magistrates inside, as a ghostly film of light swirls across the exits and surfaces of the room, isolating the two from the rest of the universe.

King Yanlou picks up the scroll laid out on the table, staring at the numerous lines written on it. With a wave, he pushes one end of the scroll off the low-rising table, causing it to bounce off the pedestal and onto the floor. The scroll continues endlessly into the distance, the size of the wounded part at the end never seems to shrink.

“Your Excellency.” The judge-secretary cups his hands and bows slightly before offering his advice. “Since this man defies the Decree of Heavens, he should be dropped into the lowest level of Hell… I know he’s unrepentant, but look at all these pleas for leniency on his behalf…” The man walks up to the exposed scroll laying on the floor.

“Even the dog he killed pleas for him… it was mutilated with a crippled leg as a pup, yet the young man kept it alive, gave it a home, companionship, a purpose and even brotherhood. It was fated to die young, yet it had a life span of one plus four years. It can be said that it gained fourfolds its life! This is almost unheard of for a soul in the realm of the beasts!”

“YOU CAN STOP PLEADING FOR HIM.” King Yanlou closes his eyes and stroke his long beard in contemplation.

“But surely we can be lenient! Look at all these souls, Realm of Beast, Realm of Men, and even Realm of Seekers, all of them advanced in their karmic cycle because of him!”

“YOU ARE MISUNDERSTANDING ME, LIN BAI.” The judge opens his eye slowly, trying to find the words to convey his thoughts properly.

The judge-secretary has a questioning look as he fiddles with the brush pen in his hand.

“HOW LONG HAVE YOU WORKED HERE?”

The man frowns slightly at the unexpected change of topic, but answers it nonetheless. “I’ve worked for Your Excellency for 1,344,971 years.”

“DO YOU KNOW THE PURPOSE OF OUR JOB HERE?”

Lin Bai’s face drops as he goes into deep contemplation. “I thought we judge the souls that pass through here, and then send them to their next incarnation… But since you are bringing it up, it shouldn’t be just that…”

King Yanlou gives a firm smile, nodding slowly a few times. “SAMSARA, THE ENDLESS CYCLE OF LIFE AND DEATH, IF IT’S JUST AN ENDLESS CYCLE, THEN WE WOULDN’T NEED TO BE HERE.”

The judge-secretary’s eyes widen like that of a cow’s, as though he’s on the edge of enlightenment.

“WE DON’T JUDGE THE SOULS THAT ARRIVE HERE, WE MERELY GUIDE THEM.” King Yanlou’s booming voice seems to completely fill the man’s mind, which is already working in overdrive in anticipation. “SAMSARA, ISN’T AN ENDLESS CYCLE. IT’S THE METHOD USED TO CULTIVATE THE SOUL. THE CEASELESS CYCLE BRINGS EXPERIENCES FROM THEIR NUMEROUS LIVES, REFINING THEIR CORE SOUL. BE IT THE MOST BENEVOLENT GODS OR THE CRUELEST OF DEMONS, THEY ALL HAVE TO GO THROUGH THIS PROCESS.”

“Then…” Hope fills Lin Bai’s eyes, as he truly doesn’t want that young man to be removed from Samsara and thrown into one of the Hells.

“BUT, EVEN I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO MAKE OF THIS.” King Yanlou stretches his right hand out, causing the end of the scroll far into the distance to fly into his hand. “A MERE 999 REINCARNATIONS AND HIS SOUL ALREADY REACHED ENLIGHTENMENT IN A PATH OF THE ENDLESS GREAT DAO. YET, THE SOUL DOES NOT YEARN FOR IMMORTALITY, TELL ME, WHAT REALM CAN WE SEND THIS SOUL TO?”

“So that’s why you…” The man can only shake his head as his understanding catches up with him. “Ah! We can do this instead!” Lin Bai makes a bright smile at King Yanlou as he flourishes his brush pen, with a clear proposal in mind.

[T/N: There's a part here that confuse Ishman somewhere in the chapter, I had no problem with it, the people I asked irl has no problem with it. So it might be a westerner thing. If any of you find anything "strange" here, please limme know so I can try out Ishman's alternative version.]

4 comments:

  1. Next EC chapter is complete, just need a look over by our editor Ishman. Cause seriously, I make a lot of stupid, stupid mistakes. I had to fix the last chapter of THIS series a few times already xD

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  2. Thank you for the translation! This series is starting to get interesting.

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    Replies
    1. I got the general outline of it, it's familiar yet different since it's going the fusion fantasy route (more ID than Coiling Dragon), so I'm actually enjoying myself since it's easy. The editor for EC offered to help out with this series too, so grammar will hopefully improve xD

      As an aside, I got teary eyed doing that part with the dog, I must be going soft xP

      Anyhow, glad you enjoy it, I'll pass the message along to my friend as well :3

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