Ravaging Times

chapter 402

[?]: Embracing two Qiaos from the southeast, may he rejoice with them from dawn to dusk.
(shortened from the verse in this chapter)

[Xiahou Yuan]: They changed the words of Cao Zhi’s “An Ode to the Bronze Sparrow Terrace”…
(the version in Romance of the Three Kingdoms is different from the “historical” version.)

[?]: Pphht.
(burst into a laugh)

chapter 402 The Step Between Fortune and Misfortune
(some goes up, some goes down; possibly related to the imagery of ascending/descending the steps of the Bronze Sparrow Terrace)

[?]: Hahahaha, clever edit!

[Cao Ren]: That change makes our Lord seem positively lecherous and muddleheaded.
(the original line sounds like he fully acknowledges Cao Cao’s lust, I’m not sure… :|)
[Cao Hong]: Yes. It sounds like an “excellent” motive to attack the southeast for the “two Qiaos”!

[XHY]: This poem spread through the streets and enraged the people of the southeast.

[?]: Playful as they sound, these words had their rallying effect on the ignorant masses.

[?]: Yes. The two Qiaos are sacred icons of the southeast.
(“…cannot be insulted”)

[Cao Ren]: I’d say regardless of the people’s ignorance, we must handle this carefully or suffer the consequences.

[Cao Hong]: So… are the two ladies really that beautiful?

[?]: Who knows. We northerners have never seen them before.

[CH]: You’re a diplomat, Jiang Gan; maybe you’ve seen them in the southeast?

[Jiang Gan]: Ah, yes. I was once a guest at the Qiao residence. The two sisters definitely live up to the hype.

[JG]: The only comparable beauty might be our Young Master Pi’s wife, lady Zhen.

[?]: Real… really that beautiful…

[?]: The elder married Sun Ce; the younger paired with Zhou Yu.
[?]: Both are key figures of the southeast.

[XHY]: Amazing. Their father benefited by association. You should try to win his favor.

[JG]: Haha, you’re right.

[Sima Yi]: My Lord.

[Xun You]: He’s here.

[Cao Cao]: As Pi-er expected, our army’s attack route by land is nigh impossible.

[SMY]: Yes. The geography of the southeast is too complicated to defend against.

[SMY]: That’s why our army should shelter behind the naval forces in their gradual advance into the southeast.

[CC]: Excellent.

[CC]: Cao Pi’s rapid improvement has won the admiration of the officers.

[CC]: And you have earned more of his trust.

[SMY]: I was only following your order to do what benefits your son, my Lord.
(“…gong-zi…”, but if I use “young master” here the phrasing gets very awkward)

[XY]: So you’ve taken care of everything, even Young Master’s marriage.

[XY]: Lady Zhen, whom our Young Master adored… was apparently a gift from you.

[XY]: Haha, Zhong Da, I think you’ve gifted to the wrong man if you intend to climb to the top.

[SMY]: That’s a rather shallow way to win our Lord’s favor.

[SMY]: Besides, even the finest beauty blooms for mere twenty years or so.

[SMY]: The only glory for the capable man is a reign that lasts for thousands of years.

[SMY]: Our Lord is not the type to wage war over the Qiao sisters.

{flag reads: Cao}
{sfx: pa}

[CC]: Haha, you’ve saved me from the embarrassment.
(more like “saved my face”, but that’s not the gloss; interpret at will)

[CC]: Except… Cao Pi, your father wants to use one of your men.

[CC]: Advisor-to-be,

[CC]: time to go.
(“…please”, sometimes it’s translated as “after you”)

[?]: Okay. Understood.

[?]: Lord Cao Cao wants to keep Young Master.

[?]: Fine, we’ll return then.

{Jia Kui}
[Xu Shu]: Rumor is the best weapon prior to actual fighting.
{Xu Shu}

[?]: The rumors that are spreading through the southeast have solidified the Sun clan’s influence.

[Jia Kui]: But I’ve also heard that Xu Shu will never advise Cao Cao.

[XS]: How could one stand on the sidelines if one intends to ruin Cao Cao? Too bad I came for nothing.

[JK]: That’s why Young Master wants to give you a lift-
(“…support you a bit”)

[JK]: step by step til you reach the top.

[?]: Ah, please wait.

[?]: Is mister Xu on board?

[?]: Hm.

[XS]: I chose the right man to follow.
(“I not follow wrong person”)

{flag reads: Sun}

[Zhao Yun]: Miss Sun,

[ZY]: your ship is over there. Once you go back…

[Sun Shu]: Hm.
(exhale, not a “hum” really, but not a sigh either, though closer in meaning)

[SS]: Is that all you have to say?

[SS]: After all that time we spent together at Henei- have you forgotten everything?

[SS]: Yes, you have.

[SS]: You only remember other people’s business.

[SS]: Even your fiancee could be given away.

[SS]: Yes, it’s a political marriage that benefits both the Sun and the Liu.

[SS]: But what is it to me?

[SS]: How long has it been…

[SS]: that I’ve secretly watched over you.

[SS]: And through all the hardship I was finally rewarded with this day.

[SS]: A woman is only in bloom for mere twenty years or so,

[SS]: and my ten… were wasted in waiting.

[SS]: I was just thinking…

[SS]: could you please keep me?
(there’s no “please” in the original dialog, but I felt the pleading in her voice; I’m not sure whether to use “could” or “would”)

Hold onto me with your hand.

Could you?

[ZY]: We’re here.

[ZY]: Matron-to-be.

[ZY]: Time to go.

Someone was singing along the shore: Gwaw! Gwaw! Cries the osprey on the river’s sandbars…
(readers were confused by the pinyin of the bird’s onomatopoeia “guan”, so I changed it to something like a raven’s cry, though probably not the same)

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